Saturday, 3 May 2014
Can someone explain why we have Bishops Conferences?
I have been very disturbed lately about the situation of the good Bishop Egan and the Bishop's Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW). It really makes me wonder what their function is.
The situation concerns Catholic politicians who vote for laws contrary to Catholic teaching - in this case, the law of same-sex marriage (SSM).
The case of Bishop Egan was reported in the Daily Telegraph. The bishop publicly said that Catholic politicians who voted for SSM should not present themselves for Holy Communion, as their voting against church teaching is a grave sin, and until they repent and go to confession about voting this way, they must not receive Holy Communion. The church is very clear about this. Anyone in a state of mortal sin cannot receive Holy Communion until they have repented and received absolution. Bishop Egan was only repeating what St John Paul II, Pope Benedict and Cardinal Burke have always taught - which is official church teaching. Bishop Egan is quite right. He is doing what every bishop should do. He is witnessing to the Truths of the Catholic Faith. That is the role of bishops!
Sadly, one of his Catholic politicians took offence at this and complained to the powers in Eccleston Square (where Cardinal Nichols resides). The bishops decided to have a little meeting about this poor politician - as they do. The outcome was relayed by Mgr Marcus Stock. He said that the bishops conference had decided that Catholic politicians who voted for SSM can of course receive Holy Communion. Now quite frankly - this is disturbing and flies in the face of that good bishop Egan. The bishops conference has over ruled one of its bishops. This is dreadful actually. It says no bishop has any authority over his own diocese anymore. This is wrong. The Church is NOT a democracy but the Bishop's Conference has democratised it - very bad.
Of course, publications like The Tablet applauded the decision of the CBCEW. The Tablet calls itself Catholic but it should be stripped of this title. It is no more Catholic than the Anglican Church Times. And yet - dear reader - The Tablet is sold by the shed load in Westminster Cathedral - the most senior Catholic church in England.
Yes I have written to Cardinal Nichols about this - I never get a response.
I also wrote to Bishop Egan with my support and he replied soon after. He also asked for prayers.
Sorry folks, but this is a lamentable situation.
Ban the Bishop's conferences and let the bishops have jurisdiction over their own dioceses!
Any comments gratefully received.