Friday 27 March 2015
Has Cardinal Nichols Rebuked Priests Or Simply Expressed Disappointment?
Cardinal Nichols has said we should be making our views known to our own Ordinary (our own Bishop), through established channels, rather than in the press.
To be fair to him, I'm not entirely sure he is rebuking those of us who signed the letter; I think he is simply expressing a disappointment that we have not communicated our thoughts through established channels. I think his disappointment arises from the fact that he has misread the letter (or had it shown to him in an unfavourable light) as a statement to our Bishops through a non-ecclesial channel. But it is not a letter which enters into dialogue with our Bishops (that dialogue is indeed taking place in our Diocese by Deanery discussions). Rather, the letter is a simple Declaration of Faith; a support of defined Catholic doctrine and ages-old discipline.
If the Cardinal has attempted to rebuke us, we have the right to ask, 'What is wrong with affirming the Lord’s own teaching; the teaching of St Paul; 2000 years of magisterial teaching and Tradition, and the centuries long discipline of the Church? Since when did loyalty to the Church become a bad thing?'
To be honest, I suspect fewer Catholics are disturbed by the letter from the clergy than they are by the impression Cardinal Nichols has given by saying he was disappointed in the text of the 2014 Synod: “I didn't think it went far enough, there were three key words as far as I was concerned … ‘respect’, ‘welcome’ and ‘value’. I was looking for those words and they weren't there and so I didn't think that was a good paragraph...I wasn't satisfied with it.”(see here) In saying this Cardinal Nichols has at least implied that he does not hold to the teaching of the ages and wants the discipline changed, as is reported of him.
I think the Popes down would be much more inclined to support the letter’s signatories than Cardinal Nichols appears to be, which is disappointing, because his statement may not have been needed had the letter been read (or shown to him?) correctly. Perhaps we could ask the Cardinal to read the letter again? Meanwhile, let us seem him as expressing disappointment, rather than as rebuking. Charity, I think, requires it.