Sunday, March 10, 2013
Not so. The conversation was diverse, mostly covering topics of ordaining women as priests, priestly celibacy, lay ministry, women deacons, sexual abuse, with some mention of contraception, status of homosexuals, same sex marriage, “mythology” of Adam and Eve, inter-Christian marriage, etc.
Though the conversation was diverse it did enjoy, however, a common theme, i.e. the Church is behind the times and needs to change. No defense of the faith was provided, no rational arguments were made to justify current practice and policy, no statements by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI were offered that might enlighten minds. Although a number of callers voiced anti-Catholic bias and opposition, particularly aimed at the hierarchy and official doctrine, no correction or explanation was advanced to counter. What was offered certainly was more sympathy than anything for the tired old clichés and attacks on the faith.
And we wonder why such a high proportion of Canadian Catholics hold dissenting views and attitudes towards their Church. These average Catholics need affirmation and explanation of their Church’s teaching, not doubts, skepticism, and criticism so they can be built up in their faith rather than torn down and jilted.
So what happens when a Catholic priest stokes the fires of dissent by appearing on a talk show and invites criticism and dissent of his Catholic faith and joins with the caller in pressing for change in Church teaching? Here’s a recent story from Crisis magazine recounting the excommunication, dismissal, and laicization of Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest who had long and defiantly—and in spite of numerous warnings—engaged in what was officially described as a “campaign against the teachings of the Catholic Church.” He repeatedly and obstinately engaged in public agitation in favor of female ordination.
What exactly are we up against here in Newfoundland in regard to leadership in our Catholic community? Take a look at this recent article published in The Telegram, our local newspaper. Here you will find more of Father Lundrigan’s unorthodox views, as well as a surprise peek into the mind of Archbishop Martin Currie. Some Catholics were scandalized by this article and rightly so.
More to come.
Posted by ELA at Sunday, March 10, 2013
Labels: Catholic Church crisis, dissent and heresy, NL
Interview with Reverend Paul Lundrigan
Rev. Lundrigan has been doing pastoral work at St. Joseph's and St. Kevin's since September, 2000. In Goulds, there are approximately 7000 Catholics, 600 - 700 of whom regularly attend mass, while St. Kevin's sees approximately 150 – 200 regular parishioners of the 600 – 700 Catholics living in Petty Harbour. Lundrigan's role, he explains, is to lead his parishioners in rituals which express their Catholicism, as well as to facilitate individuals' exploration of their faith. This latter role, Lundrigan considers, is especially crucial during life's intense moments; moments of both joy and anguish. Through marriages, births, illnesses, and deaths, Lundrigan works to guide his parishioners' in their reflections on life, love, mortality, and faith. In less extreme instances, Rev. Lundrigan also works to guide and encourage his parishioners' expressions of faith, whether through ritual or through deeper spiritual or philosophical examination.
Aside from fund-raising activities, Lundrigan faces another set of difficulties in his pastoral work in being a part of the global Catholic Church. For Lundrigan, the tension between his freethinking and his responsibility to the Catholic Church is very present. Though he works to respect his responsibility to the Church, Lundrigan has often found himself in conflict with its official positions. This tension became especially tangible during an incident in 2003, when Lundrigan openly criticized the Church's anti-gay-marriage campaign in front of his congregation, and was publicly reprimanded by the archbishop at the time. Since the incident, Lundrigan reminds himself of his responsibility by reflecting on and advocating what he considers to be the real value of the Catholic Church. He explains that this value is found in the Church's core ideals, in its emphasis on supporting ones community and in helping those in need.
A conversation with Rev. Paul Lundrigan is a lesson in faith, church history and the politics of the Catholic Church.
The priest, who this year will be winding up a dozen years at St. Kevin’s in the Goulds neighbourhood of St. John’s, has not been one to hide his feelings about the church and its need to evolve. He also serves St. Joseph’s Petty Harbour Catholic Church.
“Not only can we not go back — this is what I am hearing from masses of people — ‘We need to move forward and change some of the things that do exist,’” Lundrigan said, referring to the Roman Catholic stalwarts in Rome who want to revert to ancient traditions as a cure for some of the worldwide scandals that have rocked the church.
“We have to get rid of some of the current traditions. … The celibacy issue — why is it our priests aren’t allowed to marry? What benefit is there in that?
“No. 2 — why are we ignoring half of our church’s and our society’s population, not listening to their voice, not letting them have any governing role or leadership role in the church? Women should be more than just helpers. … They should have governing roles, should be ordained, should be leaders.”
Lundrigan said at the parish level, all are welcome to worship and women are given as much involvement as possible.
“I know change is happening and I need to do my part to help with that. So at the end of the day if I think this is wrong I have to stand up and protest against it,” Lundrigan said.
“Some of the things should change. We’re going to work towards getting changed. Some of the things that can change, we’re going to change and we’re going to do it ourselves.”
In 2003, then archbishop Brendan O’Brien publicly chastised Lundrigan before the priest’s two congregations because in a sermon Lundrigan had criticized the church’s efforts to persuade Ottawa to quash legislation allowing same-sex marriages.
“I’m lucky this new bishop (Currie) is a good guy. We fight a lot and there are times when I go up one side of him and down the other. And there are times when he does the same with me,” Lundrigan said, now a decade later.