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Bishop Davies calls for ‘prayer, not punditry’ ahead of conclave

By on Friday, 1 March 2013

Pope Benedict waves to the crowd yesterday AP/Press Association Images

Pope Benedict waves to the crowd yesterday AP/Press Association Images

True reform in the Catholic Church will not come from administrative changes under a new Pope but by the renewed faithfulness of all her members, the Bishop of Shrewsbury has said.

At a Mass of Thanksgiving for Benedict XVI Bishop Mark Davies said
“A chorus of voices in the days ahead will sound a discordant note insisting we put aside their witness and abandon the sound teaching we have received. I have heard such voices at the time of every Conclave of my own life-time.”

At the Mass, which began as Benedict XVI’s reign ended, he told the congregation at the Church of Holy Angels, Hale Barns, Cheshire, of the constancy of the Petrine office by noting the observation of Blessed John Henry Newman that the Church is as “unchangeable” as Jesus Christ Himself.

The real crisis in the Church is always a “crisis of saints”, Bishop Davies argued, “the need of those men and women outstanding in holiness by which the Church is genuinely renewed in every generation”.

“How foolish it would be to assume that a change of administration rather than a change of heart would bring about true reform,” the Bishop said.

The particular background of the new Pope is of little importance compared with the office, Bishop Davies said, adding that “what matters is that our new Pope will be faithful to the task entrusted to him, truly be a Holy Father for us”.

Bishop Davies strongly urged Catholics to “take no part” in “punditry” over who would replace Benedict. “During my visits to primary schools children often ask me as their bishop such questions: how old are you? which football team do you support? what is your favourite food? Perhaps with a little more adult sophistication we might have the same curiosity about our next Pope. In the days ahead we will hear many apparent experts urging the merits of one candidate or another. I ask you to avoid taking any part in this: the days before us surely demand of Catholics not punditry, but prayer!”

  • Jon Brownridge

     It seems to me that a greater sin is your judgement of two Popes and your discarding of non-Catholics as “dogs”.

  • Jon Brownridge

     That is quite a reply, Jabba. Very well stated. I was about to reply myself but after reading your account I think I will give it some further thought.

  • Gingangoolie

    Southern Baptists say Christ drank goat’s milk at the Last Supper??!?!?!?! May God forgive them!

    What next will crop up? A skinny latte? Sticky Toffee Pudding for afters?

    May God forgive me?!?!?!!
    For people who claim to know the Holy Bible inside out, they don’t appear to take what is recorded by those who were actually there e.g. John.

    When they write ‘wine’, who are we – or they – to argue that?

  • Jon Brownridge

     Are you saying you see the Holy Bible as a history book then? Not many scholars would agree with you.

  • Gingangoolie

    Many scholars don’t agree with each other, never mind little me!

    Even if the facts are as plain as the nose on your face (a fleshy nose, not a wooden one like Pinocchio), scholars will still debate with a regiment of angels upon the existence of heaven.

    There are those scholars who still consider King Richard III as worse than Beelzebub (as presented in the Shakespearean angle) is factual.

    We are big enough to concede that he had a curvature of the spine… but the rest of King Richard’s centuries-long bad press is now questionable.

    Going back to all things biblical…

    I have read enough factual books written by eminent historians/theologians/archaeologists and have watched enough factual programmes/documentaries to acknowledge that facts effectively harmonise their findings with evidence written in the Old and New Testaments.

    In all my years of reading about the Jewish faith and having spent time with acquaintances from different spectra of Judaism, not one of them has mentioned goat’s milk being used in the Passover feast. Roast lamb, unleavened bread, bitter herbs and wine – check!

    Using an irreligious example for the sake of argument – be honest! - would you take your best mates for, say, a major celebration/commiseration/farewell to a slap-up lunch – only to have on offer goat’s milk instead of good beer, good food or fine wine for the main course?

    Neither would I.

    Jesus rebuked and remonstrated with his followers and those learned yet snotty bigwigs at the Temple but he never insulted them!

    He may have been poor but he was never a cheapskate.

    Wine is part of the Passover feast which Christ was sharing with his disciples. He became OUR Paschal Sacrifice. It’s in the Eucharistic Prayer (have I lost you, now?).

    Wine is for celebration as well as commemoration – why else would telly ads from Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsburys or Marks and Sparks feature the finest wine and the finest quality food when it comes to Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day etc. etc. etc.

    At a funeral, there may be turned-up cucumber sandwiches and sausage rolls but at least you get a drop of alcohol!

    In the Roman Catholic Church, priests are known as ‘Celebrants’ because they ‘Celebrate’ Holy Mass. That is my favourite description of a RC priest, by the way: Celebrant!

    And what is the first aisle in the corner shop or local offie or supermarket you go to when there is a celebration etc. The Wines and Spirits, of course! Next, you might go to the bakery, the deli, the bakery, the freezer for some Haagen-Dasz …

    Wine becomes Christ’s Precious Blood when the priest-celebrant asks the Holy Spirit to come down and change the wine into Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

    Wine was served at the Wedding Feast of Cana – Christ changed water into wine as his first miracle.

    I hope our new pope will strongly emphasise the very essence of our Roman Catholic Faith – Transubstantiation!

    This mystery may be lost on such Mr CleverTrousers such as Dan Snow and the rest…

    … but God’s ways are not ours and, as Blessed John Henry Newman said, ‘God knows what he’s about.’

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

     WHY do some people behave like explosive TEENAGERS? So sad!

    Going through the develomental history of anything in the Church will help if not being alive as a person in today’s world following Jesus the Lord who KEPT……. and also BROKE…..

    Thomas Poovathinkal SSP