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Archbishop calls off Methodist ordinations

By on Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Liverpool Cathedral (Photo: Press Association)

Liverpool Cathedral (Photo: Press Association)

The controversial proposed ordination of Methodist ministers in Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral in July has been called off.
On the advice of the Vatican Archbishop Patrick Kelly of Liverpool has withdrawn the invitation he gave to the Methodist church last year.
In a statement last week the archbishop said he had always recognised that “the occasion would be a symbol”.

Given “the iconic reality of the Metropolitan Cathedral far beyond Merseyside it would be watched, interpreted, scrutinised quite properly by many. And symbols are dangerous things; they can explode,” he said.

“Every pattern of ordination known to me is at the service of communion and an occasion for profound renewal of the most personal, hidden demands of discipleship. Spotlights, controversy, fear of misinterpretation undermine the prayer and discipleship into which the Spirit would lead us,” Archbishop Kelly said.

The proposed ordination service was roundly attacked by Catholic bloggers earlier this year. One called it “sacrilege”, while others criticised it for the confusion it would bring.

“It might result in people who protest against Catholic truth… conducting a service in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in whose presence they don’t believe,” Ben Trovato wrote on the blog Countercultural Father. He continued: “It might lead people to imagine some equivalence between Methodism and the One True Church founded by Christ.”

Archbishop Kelly gave permission for the ordination service last autumn when he was approached by the Rev James Booth, chairman of the Liverpool Methodist District.

Methodist ordinations take place in conjunction with the annual Methodist Conference. Buildings of other denominations are often used because the Methodist have fewer large churches of their own.

Archbishop Kelly said the event “was not just a question of a large enough venue. It could also be a word about the ecumenical journey to which we have been long committed, which was re-affirmed when Cardinal (Walter) Kasper visited Liverpool at Pentecost in 2010 and yet more powerfully by Pope Benedict during his visit to this island last September.”

But over the last few months, while convalescing following his hip replacement surgery, Archbishop Kelly said he had “time to reflect” on his decision.

“I found myself often wondering if what I had encouraged was inappropriate at this time and a possible scandal in the original meaning of that word, a stumbling block for an ordination and for the ecumenical journey.”

He said he was “not entirely surprised” when learning that “this was the judgment of the Holy Father’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity in their interpretation of the principles set out in the ecumenical directory of that same Pontifical Council”.

Sadly, he said, he would have to withdraw the invitation. “I recognise that this decision will bring pain to some, relief to others, and confusion to many. I am very aware that it gives rise to very practical problems for the Methodists only two months before their ordinations,” he said.
“I can only apologise for any drift for which I am responsible and pledge that I will continue to be as faithful as I have for all the nearly 50 years of my life as a priest to the ecumenical journey to which the Second Vatican Council committed every Roman Catholic,” he said.
Mr Booth said he had been delighted when Archbishop Kelly had agreed to the ordination “in the glorious building that is the Metropolitan Cathedral”.

“There had been careful conversation about how the Methodist ordination service could appropriately and properly be held in the cathedral, honouring and respecting both Roman Catholic and Methodist tradition and understanding, while at the same time affirming the ecumenical journey that we share and the fact that the destination of that journey is not yet reached,” he said.

“To say that I am disappointed that this decision has had to be taken would be an understatement, but it is a decision that I, and the Methodist church, must respect and understand,” he continued.

Referring to Archbishop Kelly as “a colleague and friend” he said he knew it was “a decision he has not taken lightly, but under that discipline of belonging that, as Methodists, I hope we understand”.

The Methodist ordinations will now take place in the Anglican cathedral in Chester.

One of those who had been due to be ordained in the Metropolitan Cathedral, Mark Rowland, said in his blog that the withdrawal of the invitation “reflects the rather colder wind that is now blowing for our ecumenical dialogues and relationships”.

He said: “The 21st century will look very different to the 20th in that regard and it is perhaps regrettable that we did not seize more fully the opportunities that were then available but are now fast slipping away, if they have not already gone.

“If this can be a wake-up call to us all as to the urgency of the ecumenical task then it has the possibility to be a blessing, but I suspect it may simply be a sign of what is to come.”

  • http://ccfather.blogspot.com/ Ben Trovato

    Sorry if it sounded patronising – that was not my intention.  Email/com boxes are not the best medium for communication.

    Where we differ, it seems to me, is that you believe ‘It does not matter whether we are Orthodox, Catholic (of the Roman Variety), or Protestant in its many forms;’ whereas I believe that it does.

    Where Protestantism (of whatever variety) and Catholicism (of the Roman variety) directly contradict each other, clearly either one is right and the other wrong, or both are wrong.  Both cannot be right.  Luther, Calvin, Latimer, Ridley, Cranmer, did not think it did not matter.  Neither did More or Fisher.  

    There is something about truth here, and one cannot, it seems to me, separate caritas from veritas.

    Thanks for your prayers, and I assure you of mine.

  • Nick

    This looks a lot like you are torturing the Bible to conform to your preconceived ideas.

    Anyway, just look at the results of the Protestant “Reformation”.

    In the 16th century, the human part of the Church was sick (although not nearly as much as Protestant s say). There were two paths so solve this

    1) Revolt
    2) Reform

    Path 1 was chosen by Martin Luther, who chose the wrong name “Protestant Reformation” for it.
    Path 2 was chosen by the Church, aided by courageous Catholics (such as the Jesuits) and the Council of Trent. The result was wonderful.

    Now, what was the result of Path 1 (revolt)? See, Luther started by saying that any person could understand the Bible by himself. But some years later, he himself said “Jesus, there are as many sects as heads”.

    And in 2011, there are more than 30000 Protestant denominations, disagreeing with each other. They don’t even agree on Christ’s resurrection (some theories say that the resurrection is symbolical). Which is right? And if one is right, and 29999 are wrong, the Revolt was a a catastrophe – most Christians were led astray.

    And what did this cause the world? It obviously caused scandal. With the Christians all separated and disagreeing, how can you expect to convert the heathens? Once I counseled a street woman (who was begging for cigarettes) to seek the Church. She asked “which one?”.
    Also, among Christian themselves there is a huge indifferentism and relativism. The idea is that we can only  solve religious conflicts is by declaring that all religions are equal, giving up on evangelization, and don’t following any religion too seriously.

    Finally, look what the doctrinal shallowness of Protestantism caused the world. It was the 1930 Lambeth Conference that unleashed artificial contraception into Anglicanism, soon followed by other Protestants.
    These days, only the Catholic Church condemns artificial contraception, but very few people listen.

    And the contraceptive, sex-is-mainly-for-fun mentality caused just what Paul VI said it would cause – an unprecedented degradation of morality, adultery, divorce, homosexuality, bizarre promiscuity, and since 1973, abortion-on-demand.

  • Philomena Carolan

    I think Archbishop Kelly could be making a big mistake with this but, having said that, what I have read of Mark Rowland has said, it could just be a big turn around, who knows?

    There are two ways of looking at this, it could be a rift in the church for Ecumenicalism (that is what I was thinking) because, not accepting the Odinations of Methadists in the Metropolitan Cathedral could cause a rift but, then it could be a turn around and just the job for the future of the Catholic church for the way things are.

    I think maybe both men have a valid point, Archbishop Kelly and Mark Rowland as the Pope has made things quite difficult to say the least for the Catholic church which certainly has and still is ripping the Catholic church apart. The Pope has been much of a fool in the past by accepting Anglican priests in the Catholic church but not abolishing celibacy, but from God (our maker) who knows what is around the corner? The Pope says no to abolishing celibacy but, he could be in for a very rude shock, the tables could really turn on him…..we really don’t know do we!

  • Philomena Carolan

    Don’t be down right rude and sarcastic to David that was awful, I apologise on his behalf David, I am a Roman Catholic and I agree with what you are saying, everyone has a right to their opinion, even if some like it or not so, it is tuff if you don’t.

  • Philomena Carolan

    Hello,

    I do agree with you and can I email you privately please? I would like to talk to you, I am sure you will understand as what I want to say is positively not for this site but it is not embarrassing.

    Thank you

  • Rich

    All,

    Without being narrowminded or arrogant, Ben Travato’s comments conform exactly to the teaching of the Catholic church and I guess David’s comments conform to the teaching of the Methodist church. There is a difference, as clearly articulated by the two men. We can’t realistically ignore that difference or pretend it doesn’t matter, its there, its real; and we can hadly compromise the teaching of our respective chuches. What we can do is work with it, understand it and respect each other in holiness.

    In the Catholic church we claim (rightly so in my opinion) that we have the fullness of redemption, and I’m still waiting for someone to persuade me otherwise. What we often fail to do is translate this into holiness, and I guess that’s the challenge for us.

  • Rich

    You’re not serious?

  • Rich

    Again, you’re not serious – I hope.

  • Fr Wayne

    Another tirade from you. You  are definitely  foolish. I left the church many years ago as a layman. I was ordained many years later in the Orthodox Church as a priest,  after seminary studies. So your fanatical comments about someone you clearly do not know, and who you have never met, comments based on supposition, have clearly shown you to be a very silly person.

  • Alban

    Oh I am so sickened by the many hateful comments from my Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ towards other Christians of other denominations. I say to you, concentrate on the truth of Almighty God and the triune essence of the Deity and not on questionable man-made dogmas and doctrines.

  • M Rimmer

    As the methodists are re entering communion with the Anglican Church why not use that cathedral down the road – literally? Why not approach a Church which believes that there are a number of different ways to follow Christ ie different denominations as oppose to the one which (and in my opinion rightly) believes it is the only one? 

  • Rev.David Griffiths

    Thanks Nick. It does not help serious discussion to accuse someone with whom you do not agree on matters of Christian doctrine of ‘torturing the Bible in order to conform with their ‘preconcieved ideas.’ You have made unwarranted assumptions that are absolutely wide of the mark about someone of whom you know nothing, other than what you have read in these blogs. It does not help the cause of serious theological debate.

    Jesus talked about those who followed Him being known by their fruits. The fruits of the Protestant Reformation included the Bible being accessible for all who could read it. The fruits of the Wesleyan Revival included the changed lives of people and communities throuughout this country as they found savation in Jesus Christ. The fruits of the later evangelical revivals which followed later included a social impact upon the nation which led to the abolition of slavery.

    Agreed, there are more than 30,000 denominations in the Christian Church, and some of these are the result of things happening that ought not to have happened. We will not know where truth lies until we meet Him in glory. In the meantime it’s up to all Christians to show some humility towards one another, and admit that none of us have an exclusive hold on the truth. We are all sinners in need of God’s forgiveness. What ultimately matters is that we recognize our common accountability to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, and love one another as much as we love ourselves. Everything else is secondary.

    I have been a Christian for 56 years, and served as a Minister in the Methodist Church for 45 of them. During that time I have experienced some wonderful fellowship with colleagues in the Roman Catholic Church belonging to a wide variety of traditions within your communion – Franciscans, Benedictines, Jesuits, Holy Ghost Fathers, Nuns of varying orders, We have talked, prayed, worshipped and worked together, and much more. So it saddens me whenever I meet Christians of any tradition – including my own – who give the impression they think they have a monopoly of the truth, and question the authenticity of Christians who may have a view which is different from their own.

    John’s Gospel is a good place to start if we want to know more about relationships within our Lord’s Church.

    David

  • Nick

    > “The fruits of the Protestant Reformation included the Bible being
    accessible for all who could read it.”

    The Protestant Reformation (using your term) happened concurrently with the popularization of the printing press and literacy.
    These latter two factors, along with the Catholic Reformation, would by themselves lead to better Bible awareness – no revolt needed.

    > “The fruits of the later
    evangelical revivals which followed later included a social impact upon
    the nation which led to the abolition of slavery.”

    Slavery would still be abolished in Catholic countries, no Protestantism needed. The Holy See was against slavery; their fight against slavery was one of the reasons for the expulsion of the Jesuits in some countries.

    > “What ultimately
    matters is that we recognize our common accountability to Jesus Christ
    as our Lord and Saviour, and love one another as much as we love
    ourselves. Everything else is secondary.”

    But what is “love”? If you ask the Episcopal Church or the Presbyterian Church, “love” is helping a pregnant woman to get rid of an unwanted baby. See here – http://www.rcrc.org/about/members.cfm

    And what is “accountability to Jesus Christ”? If you ask a liberation theologian, he will say that that you need to foster Marxist struggle. He will say that “love one another” means really “love the proletariat and hate the burgeoise”. In Latin America, liberation theologians support violent Marxist bands that kill people.

    Spiritists also talk about “love”. I have a spiritist acquaintance – in fact, he is the director of a spiritist center. He recently murdered his own mother, by denying her medical treatment for a terminal disease, and finally smothering her with his own hands. “It is time for her to disincarnate”, he said.

    Clearly, we need the Church and sound doctrine. Without it, we repeat the biblical metaphor of “blind people leading blind people”.

  • Rich

    Absolutely right Nick, and that’s why we have a duty, desire, need to seek out the truth. Truth isn’t relative, its absolute, and it represents God’s will. In seeking out truth, we’re looking to seek out the will of God, to follow him and to live closely with him – in humility, knowing that others may not have the same view.

  • Fr Wayne

    Thank you for your comments. They are so true! I could not handle the arrogance and self-righteousness that many Roman Catholics displayed, and still display. It come from an attitude of exclusiveness; considering themselves the “true church” etc. All others are wrong and “deficient”. As long as you obey the vatican, follow the prescribed rituals then you are on the right track. They show no love, compassion or acceptance of anyone who chooses in conscience to follow another Christian path. The words used by some of these followers of the “true” church, on this blog,  speak for themselves. This debate started because a Catholic Archbishop chose not to allow the Methodist Church to conduct ordinations in his cathedral. One of the most remarkable, sincere and christian men that I ever met was a Methodist Minister who was the nearest thing to a saint that I have ever encountered. He followed Jesus so closely that he lived and breathed Christ, showing compassion and understanding to all he met. I cannot say the same about some of the priests I used to serve on the altar with. The paedophile problem speaks for it’self. Given the appalling history of the Roman Church, comments about “heretics” and the like are obscene and arrogant in the extreme.

  • Fr Wayne

    What an arrogant statement: ” I find all these various liturgies, services and theologies profoundly deficient.” Who are you? One wonders why you bothered to attend Evensong at Westminster Abbey, a service which I find extremely beautiful.  Further you say: “or that it is possible for some (ignorant or troubled) people to work out their salvation in these denominations.” The arrogance here is simply appalling. Most of the ignorant /troubled people as you call them are exposed by the comments they make, such as the ones you have posted .

  • Bellevuetarn

    Why should Archbishop Kelly withdraw his invitation?  Clearly, it was issued in the clearest of good consciences and was entirely in conformity with what he believes to be right.

    True, no Catholic interpretation of his action can in good faith be given and no justification of it can cloak it being anything other than a direct statement that Archbishop Kelly  does not believe communicatio in sacris to be anything other than a good thing.

    I believe that, viewed in a Providential light, it can only be a good thing. Archbishop Kelly makes his position eminently clear and his honesty should be applauded and we know to whom we ought not look for proper guidance and teaching.

  • Anonymous

    Please stop referring to us as “Roman Catholics” – a derogatory terms coined by Puritans who sought to convince others that the “Church of Rome” was particular only to Rome and that Roman Catholics were merely a branch of the Catholic Church.

    We are Catholics, it is the Catholic Church – of which there are many different Rites and uses that do not necessarily belong to the Latin / Western (or Roman) Church. We do all, though, unite in one Communion with the Office / Ministry of the Apostle whom Our Lord Jesus Christ appointed to feed his sheep.

    If you do not like Catholics, it might do you some personal good not to visit the Catholic Herald. You’re not going to gain any converts here – the wise do not exchange the truth for a lesser version of it. I am sure you have had lots of friends from various religious orders – though I have no idea what that has to do with it. Most of my friends aren’t Catholic, but that’s of no consequence at all in discussing the truth – which Jesus gave witness to by his very Passion and Death.

  • Bellevuetarn

    and what are you all about, Alban? Tell us, please

  • Bellevuetarn

    How transparently unCatholic and clearly indifferentist. Archbishop Lefebvre was right.

  • miki

    I dont wish to know  even meet you,your comments clearly show lack of CHRISTIAN CHARITY I wonder if you are a priest!!!!!!  Im not interested of your being ordained or not,thats your bussiness sir! you are foolish 100 x to comment about Catholicism and you are not a Catholic,IDIOT!!!!!!!

  • miki

    you would rather put your title as “STUPID FR.WAYNE” nonsense!!!!!!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OTCKAYXC6V65WVJUPZFYCCUEUU Lee

    Read the Latinof that document. Also this document is not Magisterium but consultative !

  • Bellevuetarn

    I have just read the editio typica – the original and official text and not a translation, perhaps perverted here and there and perhaps to deceive and mislead so as to fit an undisclosed agenda, maybe? It does not say what you want it to say or what you think it says. Sorry, about that but you are misled. You must read the whole and in Latin if you are to understand the true intent of the document.

  • Anonymous

    I noticed in an earlier comment that you revealed you had left the Catholic Church and have now been ordained a priest in the Orthodox Church. As you know, the Churches of East and West are primarily separated because of historical events, rather than theology or a lack of recognition of each other’s orders. Having said that, in recent moves to reunite East and West, things have usually been hampered by the Orthodox tendency to believe that the Eastern Church alone is valid and that even the Catholic Church is in heresy. So, it would appear to me that you are not typical of the Orthodox Church. 

    It is both Orthodox and Catholic teaching that protestant sects are either flawed or in error and that their forms of worship are deficient. The so-called arrogance you seem to think is only particular to me, is actually merely a proclamation of a truth shared by both our Churches as expressed by our Bishops and the Pope – whose Ministry and Office many Orthodox people are now beginning to appreciate and even accept. If you’re telling me that the Orthodox Church is some liberal organisation that never refers to protestants as heretics, then I think you might want to further investigate recent statements made by Bishops and Patriarchs of your Church – whom you are in communion with. The Catholic Church officially stopped using terms such as anathema and  heresy about 50 years ago (if not before), but it is still normal for these words to be used in Orthodox statements – sometimes referring to the Catholic Church (Filioque) and nearly always when speaking of Protestantism.

    Before attending Mass this morning, I went through the Divine Liturgy according to St Basil [trans. approved on 21 May 1989 by Metropolitan Theodosius, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America]. I can only assume that, as an Orthodox priest, you will have celebrated this sacred rite? Here are some phrases from the Anaphora: “Remember, O Lord, all the Orthodox Episcopate, who rightly define the word of Thy truth,” and “Prevent schisms amongst the churches; pacify the ragings of the pagans; quickly destroy the uprisings of heresies by the power of Thy Holy Spirit.” Not very “liberal” or “tolerant” are they? Maybe that’s why so many disaffected Catholics (who long for clarity, tradition and muscular Christianity) join the Orthodox Church? 

    Instead of trying to make Catholicism seem like a rigid bogeyman, and painting Orthodoxy as something opposite to this, it might be better to refer to the Orthodox  Church according to her liturgy and teachings? I

  • Anonymous

    I am not a cardboard cut out or one dimensional person. Maybe you are? I doubt it though.

    Like Scripture itself, men are usually a mass of contradictions and can hold views that seem to conflict with each other.

    As a follower of Jesus Christ it is a fundamental belief of mine that he wants all the baptised to be One – members of one Church, and in complete communion with each other. This is a duty enjoined upon us. As a theologian I am also very interested in solving the difficulties that exist between those Churches and Christian communities that wish to be One. But, as a Catholic, I am informed by my faith that the One Church that Christ wishes us all to be members of is the Catholic Church. Please God, the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church will unite one day – to create once more One visible Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. As one intimately aware of Protestant theology and our Catholic teaching I know for myself that protestantism is deficient, and prone to relativism. I don’t do my brethren in those protestant groups a disservice by “being nice at all costs”, as true dialogue and ecumenism always needs truthful statements  – as difficult as it is for some one-dimensional or sensitive people to deal with the confused reality of the situation we find ourselves in.

    The type of “ecumenism” that says “we’re all as valid as each other” is plainly false. If we were as valid as one another, then the Christians  would never have entered into the evil of schism or would have given their lives for a truth opposed to the teachings of another Church or sect. The Catholic Church tends to remain constant, throughout the ages, whilst protestants are prone to relativism and changes in relation to the world (accepting homosexuality, etc). Here is a great difference between to two forms of Ecclesia – does the Church change and contradict herself in each passing age, or does she remain, like her Head,  “the same yesterday, today and tomorrow”?

    Being 3D is much more enlivening than being a one-dimensional or black and white cardboard cut-out type character.

  • Anonymous

    PS – I am particularly surprised that, for whatever reason, you accuse me of being “highly critical” of Vatican “ecumenical policies” (whatever that means)! If you wish to slur someone, please provide evidence to support your claims.

    I have in other posts quoted Dominus Iesus, the most recent Vatican document on Ecumenism, as well as the Holy Father (who is “the Vatican”). Therefore, you should be aware that all I have said is completely in tune with Catholic teaching both throughout the ages and as it is currently expressed.

    Please read the Churches teachings – you might be surprised to find out that they are not as “tolerant” or hippyish as you’ve been led to believe.

  • Anonymous

    PPS – Just out of interest… Are you the same (Rev Fr) Joseph S O’Leary who writes a blog that seems to constantly criticise the Vatican, seems to promote the gay culture and offers a Buddhist-Christian view on the world? 

    I only ask as it would be enlightening to know. Of course, my apologies if I have confused you with some other person.

  • Bellevuetarn

    For my part, I do not find AReluctant Sinner hard to follow and I must acquit him of being (needlessly or unjustifiably, at least) highly or otherwise critical of the Vatican’s ‘ecumenical policies’. ‘The Vatican’ is code for the Pope and those who speak or purport to speak for the Pope and so I am sure that ‘the Vatican’ not only deserves criticism from time to time but that it is our duty to criticise when we believe we see need. The clerical heirarchy got us into the mess in which we now wallow, trying to keep our mouths and noses above the polluted waters into which the priests and bishops carelessly allowed us to fall. It is now for us to keep a watch on the very incompetent ‘custodes’ who have served us, the Church, so very, very poorly

  • http://markrowland.livejournal.com/ Mark Rowland

    Unitatis Redintegratio is a decree of the Second Vatican Council. Others more qualified than I can tell us about the status of decrees of ecumenical councils of the Catholic Church. But maybe this will suffice: “Haec omnia et singula quae in hoc Decreto edicta sunt, placuerunt Sacrosancti Concilii Patribus. Et Nos, Apostolica a Christo Nobis tradita potestate, illa, una cum Venerabilibus Patribus, in Spiritu Sancto approbamus, decernimus ac statuimus et quae ita synodaliter statuta sunt ad Dei gloriam promulgari iubemus.”

    Here’s the Latin version of what I quoted in my previous post:

    “Hi enim qui in Christum credunt et baptismum rite receperunt, in
    quadam cum Ecclesia catholica communione, etsi non perfecta, constituuntur.”

    Please offer a corrected translation if you feel that the one provided by the Vatican is inaccurate or un-Catholic.

  • http://markrowland.livejournal.com/ Mark Rowland

    It’s certainly true that it doesn’t say what I want it to say. If it did, it would say “People who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church.” I’ve quoted the relevant portion from Latin text in my reply below to Lee. As I suggested to him, please offer a corrected translation if you feel that the English translation from the Vatican is inaccurate.

  • Alban

    I, sir (or madam) am a thinking Catholic. I believe in thinking positively about those elements which unite us rather than those things which to some are divisive. I am essentially a person goodwill.

  • Bellevuetarn

    Really? I did not understand.

    So, being ‘a thinking Catholic’ means being free to encourage other (presumably less ‘thinking’) Catholics to ignore  ‘questionable man-made dogmas and doctrines’, does it? That is what you have done, is it not?

    Which ‘ questionable man-made dogmas and doctrines’ may we safely ignore? Tell us, please.

    I ask so we may all become ‘thinking Catholics’, like you. We can then liberate ourselves from all this ‘divisive’ doctrine and skip merrily along the indifferentist yellow brick road to the unholy grail of one new world-wide religion that is neither fish nor fowl nor good red herring. That is where your ‘thinking’ will take us. ‘ I am essentially a person goodwill.’, you write. Your type of goodwill is not at all Catholic. It is typically Modernist and unCatholic.

    How far may we be ‘thinking Catholics’, like you, before we turn Catholicism into a pick and mix religion, like almost all the protestants?

    How should we – as ‘thinking Catholics’, of course - view the Magisterium? We can ignore it, if it is ‘divisive’ to ‘some’?  Sounds very much like Paul VI’s attitude to the Mass – ditch what some find ‘divisive’. 

    Very Modernist. Not at all Catholic, be it never so ‘thinking’.

  • Rev.David Griffiths

    Sorry if you were offended by the term ‘Roman Catholic.” I didn’t mean to cause offence. Who said that I do not like Catholics? I certainly did not, and have worked with many – priests, nuns, and laity – from time to time throughout the 45 years I have been a Methodist minister. I have shared in worship, prayer, bible study and ministry with Catholics, and I hope I shall continue to do so. I have worshipped in Catholic Churches, a Benedictine Monastry, and a Domincan Friary, and attended Bible studies led by a Franciscan priest. My wife and I have some very close friends who are Catholics.

    I visited the Catholic Herald’s website because I was interested in the kind of responses to the pressure put upon Archbishop Kelly not to allow Methodist ordination services to be held in the Metropolitan Cathedral in Liverpool, which might wide and I visited several times when I lived in Lancashire.

    I shall continue to visit the Catholic Herald’s website, and hopefully engage in constructive discussion, without any intention of trying to ‘gain any converts’, as you describe it. It really doesn’t help to give the impression that you believe your Church has a monopoly on the truth,

    One thing about which we are in total agreement. Jesus gave witness to the Truth through His Passion and Death. We are called, as His disciples -  regardless of the particular tradition of the Christian Church to which we belong – to bear witness to that truth by what we say, what we do, and what we are. Everything else is secondary.

  • Rev.David Griffiths

    We could all point to the frailties and sinfulness in each other’s Christian traditions.Nick. The foul crimes committed as a consequence of the troubles in Northern Ireland bear witness to this. What is needed is a large dose of humility on all our parts to admit that none of us have a monopoly on the truth. Jesus uncompromisingly declared that whether or not the world recognizes that we belong to Him depends on how far we show love towards one another.

    You ask ‘what kind of love…’? The word which St.Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 13, and which we translate as ‘love’ is ‘agape’ – the word used consistently throughout the New Testament to describe God’s love for His Son.

    You make reference to Marxist liberation theologians in Latin America. Forgive me if I am mistaken, but I have always understood that it was the Catholic Priests in Latin America who first developed the concept of liberation theology. I’m sure you will out me right if I am mistaken,

    My reference to us all being accountable to the Lordship of Christ in our lives is based upon St.Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, Chapter 2, verses 5 to 11.

    The social impact of the Evangelical Revival to which I referred is well-documented. What is worth noting is that all around the world today Christians of all persuasions work together in harmony for Justice. CAFOD, the Methodist Relief Fund, Christian Aid, TEARFund, World Vision, and many more organisations bear witness to this.

    Why can we not just rejoice at being fellow-Christians together, seeking as best we can to serve Christ in His world? We live in a broken world which needs healing. 18 months ago my wife and I returned to a town in Sierra Leone where we had lived for 4 years in the 1970′s, and which had been torn apart by the dreadful civil war. We were accommodated by the Catholic priest on that occasion. He and the Methodist minister. together with their sisters and brothers in Christ, work together in evangelistic outreach, pastoral care, and community development, in the name of Christ, as their part in the process of healing. As the hymn says, “Names and sects and parties fall. Thou, O Christ, art all in all.”

  • Rev.David Griffiths

    Many thanks for your message, Philomena. Sorry if it looks as though I might have ignored it. I responded positively when it arrived in my email box through Disqus, but I really don’t know how to set it up any further. Kind Regard, David

  • Anonymous

    ps further to earlier message I have now registered with Disqus if that’s any help. David

  • Anonymous

    Your message “No Christian denies…” initially came to me via Disqus, Ben, & it was via that route I replied, but it does not seem to have arrived amongst these blogs. Maybe my replies to Nick and AReluctantSinner will help, if you don’t mind wading through them. I really can’t add any more to what I said in my message to you 5 days ago.

  • Nick

    > “You ask ‘what kind of
    love…’? The word which St.Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 13, and which we
    translate as ‘love’ is ‘agape’ – the word used consistently throughout
    the New Testament to describe God’s love for His Son.”

    That was not my point; my point is that without a Magisterium, people can distort “love” to mean truly hideous things – such as killing an unborn baby out of “love” for his mother.

    > “You make
    reference to Marxist liberation theologians in Latin America. Forgive me
    if I am mistaken, but I have always understood that it was the Catholic
    Priests in Latin America”

    I don’t know if they were the first, but they were sadly part of this. But fortunately in the Catholic Church we have a Magisterium, which condemned class hate in 1984. People who know the Magisterium know where to find the Truth; it they want to choose the path of hatred, it is solely their choice.

    > “My
    reference to us all being accountable to the Lordship of Christ in our
    lives is based upon St.Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, Chapter 2,
    verses 5 to 11. ”

    I bet the Episcopal Church professes those passages too, even while it supports abortion. Christianity without Magisterium leads to confusion.

    > “The social impact of the Evangelical Revival to
    which I referred is well-documented. What is worth noting is that all
    around the world today Christians of all persuasions work together in
    harmony for Justice.”

    I am not against united works; I just abhor this idea that the Truth doesn’t matter, that good intentions and an abstract “love” are enough. Stalin and Margartet Sanger probably had good intentions too.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for your comment about the Methodist Minister you met. I have been taken aback by some of the exchanges in these blogs. Praise the Lord that there many folk (far too many who I know to mention them all!) in every tradition, including your own, whose words tell a different story. I had a Jesuit colleague a number of years whose whole life was a living testimony to how God’s love, expressed in Jesus, speaks and works through down-to-earth ordinary human beings.

  • Bellevuetarn

    Dear Rev Griffiths

    I am happy you have had so much contact with ‘Catholics’. My only sorrow is that the contact has not been a stimulus to your finding the fullness of the Catholic Faith that comes to us from the Apostles, which is what I would, above all, wish for you.

    You write: ‘It really doesn’t help to give the impression that you believe your Church has a monopoly on the truth”. My problem is to understand how, with so much contact with those you say were catholic clergy, you had not come clearly to realise that, in effect, it is exactly that which the Church claims. The fullness of Revelation is only to be found in the Catholic Church. That is Dogma/Doctrine and if anyone has misled you into a false belief that other is the reality then I apologise for their error. They did not speak truly.

    Christ gives witness to Himself in and through the Catholic Church. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and none comes to the Father but through Him. He is most fully and unambiguously seen at work in the Catholic Church and His salvation comes to us through the seven Sacraments, participation in which ordinarily requires visible membership of the one, true Catholic Church..

    I bear witness to the Truth, now. I do so in telling you what you will not like to hear but which Christian Love demands that I make plain to you. To be ‘nice’ without being truthful is merely deception, would you not agree?  Pax et Bonum to you and Mrs Griffiths.

  • Anonymous

    I have only just picked up your message to Father Wayne. It was deeply moving. The sorrow, anger and pain you express is heartfelt. Even if you do decide to leave the church, please don’t cut yourself off completely from the Body of Christ, which embraces many traditions as well as the Catholic. God can lead you to one where you will find His healing through a loving community. Whether it is Catholic or Protestant does not really matter. As a Protestant (of the Methodist variety!) I have been taken aback by so many of the hurtful comments in these blogs, But I do know from my own experiences that they do not tell the whole story, and that the love of Christ can still be found in many people’s lives throughout His Church. The Lord bless and keepm you.

  • Anonymous

    I have  been dipping into and contributing to the discussions in these blogs over the last week or so, since Archbishop Kelly withdrew permission for Methodist Ministers to be ordained in the magnificent Metropolitan Cathedral in Livepool. Some of the comments have appalled me. Whatever happened to  “See how these Christians love oneanother!” by which the early Christians were known!  It will be Petecost Sunday in less than a week, How about celebrating the occasion with an unexpected outbreak of love, humiity and respect?

  • Nick

    In fact, people with “good intentions” have caused some of the greatest atrocities of History.

    We are blinded to this fact because of the puerile demonization of people like Hitler. They talk about uncle Adolph as if he simply woke up in the morning saying “hum, I would like to kill some 6 million Jews. That would be fun. I love death”.

    In fact, Hitler was a vegetarian, and a huge believer in animal rights. Nazi propaganda said that a nation’s worth is measured by how well it treats its animals.

    He was also staunchly anti-tobacco.

    Under his watch, Germany came from an economic catastrophe (unjustly inflicted by other countries) to prosperity and might. People liked him. And (I assume) he liked the people.

    What he did to Jews (and, on a minor scale, to blacks, gypsies, and Catholics) was due to a misunderstanding of human dignity and human rights – he valued racial strength more than individual human dignity. Also, his conspiratorial views on Jews led him to insanity.

    If we demonize people like Hitler, we are doomed to repeat his mistakes.

    In fact, we already did.

    Worldwide, 50 million babies are killed in their mothers’s wombs every year. That’s 8 Shoas per year.

    By the way, both Margaret Sanger and Marie Stopes were big fans of Hitler.

    Incidentally, the lovely Josef Mengele escaped to Argentina and earned a living by doing abortions.

    So much for the “never again!” people shouted when WWII was over.

  • Bellevuetarn

    I am all for ‘love, humility and respect’ but there is no ‘love’ or ‘respect’ where there is no Truth. Humilty should compel truth. Love should compel truth. If we do not speak the truth of authentic Catholic teaching then we are no longer Catholics

  • Bellevuetarn

    I really wish we – Catholic and non-Catholic – Christians all – were able to get basics straight.

    Would we agree that anyone who holds, confesses and/or teaches and/or proclaims the Catholic Faith is a brother Christian? If so, that person believes him or herself to adhere to the visible Catholic Church?

    On the other hand, it must in truth be declared that not to believe and to profess belief and faith in the Sacred Scriptures, Holy Tradition, the divine origin and institution of the seven Sacraments and in the Universal and Apostolic Primacy of the Roman Pontiff fails to signify full and integral communion with the Catholic Church.

    A Catholic Cathedral, Church, Chapel or Oratory is not simply another of those ‘ places of worship of various denominations that are going to be used this July.’ These in honest and true, Catholic ecclesiology are meant to be and are created as piaces where Christ the Eternal High Priest – through the agency of a validly and therefore apostolically ordained Priest present with us, today - re-presents and makes Himself once more really present as the Saving and Sacrificial Victim of Calvary. Christ does this over and over, again and again at every single valid Mass. It is for this reason and for this reason alone that I specify that ours are not as are other ‘places of worship’. You, having learned some Theology from the Jesuits (as did I, at Rome) will know this to be the fullness of Catholic belief.

    Being a Catholic is a great gift of God, from and through whose Spirit, alone, the Gift and Grace of Faith can come and it is only through the Eternal Word – the equally divine and eternal Son of the Father – that we can hope for the blessed vision of God. No Catholic should be puffed up or arrogant. We should all be humble and desirous of serving each other, since none of us deserves the Faith, which is ‘love so amazing, so divine’. It is always ‘nihil meritis meis’, is it not?

    That said, our duty in Love is to be truthful, right? Truth demands we tell it as it is, that we do not dissemble or fudge the issues. What love or union is possible when it is underpinned not by Truth but by some sort of well-intentioned fraud? 

  • Bellevuetarn

    I really wish we – Catholic and non-Catholic – Christians all – were able to get basics straight. Would we agree that anyone who holds, confesses and/or teaches and/or proclaims the Catholic Faith is a brother Christian? If so, that person believes him or herself to adhere to the visible Catholic Church? On the other hand, it must in truth be declared that not to believe and to profess belief and faith in the Sacred Scriptures, Holy Tradition, the divine origin and institution of the seven Sacraments and in the Universal and Apostolic Primacy of the Roman Pontiff fails to signify full and integral communion with the Catholic Church.A Catholic Cathedral, Church, Chapel or Oratory is not simply another of those ‘ places of worship of various denominations that are going to be used this July.’ These in honest and true, Catholic ecclesiology are meant to be and are created as piaces where Christ the Eternal High Priest – through the agency of a validly and therefore apostolically ordained Priest present with us, today – re-presents and makes Himself once more really present as the Saving and Sacrificial Victim of Calvary. Christ does this over and over, again and again at every single valid Mass. It is for this reason and for this reason alone that I specify that ours are not as are other ‘places of worship’.

    Our duty in Love and Holy Charity is to be truthful, right? Truth demands we tell it as it is, that we do not dissemble or fudge the issues. What love or union is possible when it is underpinned not by Truth but by some sort of well-intentioned fraud?     

  • Bellevuetarn

    To love is to be honest. To dissemble is to lie. Love fosters life in Christ Jesus. Lies kill the soul and repel the generous soul, rather than attracting it. Be sure of this: a well-intentioned lie will inevitably be found out and will give greater scandal and will cause greater harm than any allegedly ‘divisive’ truth..

  • Anonymous

    By all means speak the truth of what you believe is authentic Catholic teaching – just as I and many more like me speak the truth that what we believe is that salvation is found only in Jesus Christ. On that, I am sure the two of us believe. I wonder if you could help me, please, by explaining what you mean by “There is no ‘love’ and no ‘respect’ where there is no Truth”?

  • Anonymous

    Has anyone said that “Truth doesn’t matter”? Scripture clearly teaches that the kind of Love described in 1 Corinthians 13 has primacy over everything else because it reflects the love that God has for His Son. Jesus declared that the world will know that we belong to Him when we act this kind of love to one another
    I do not want to sound disrespectful for that is not my intention. But surely as Christians we do not measure whether what we say and do is right and wrong by the yardstick of the Magisterium’s declaration, however wise they may be, but Jesus Himself.  

    The problem is that when we point the finger of accusation at other Christians, and the Churches to which they belong, we have three fingers pointing back at ourselves.