Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sign the Counter Petition! John XXIII Coop leads the way!

Unfortunately they don't have this for online signing. Nevertheless, here is the John XXIII Coop's attempt to organise something to counter "That Petition":

The Australian Bishops need your help ...
Sign The Counter-Petition !


A petition is circulating in response to the current crisis in priestly vocations. It calls on the Australian Bishops to (inter alia):

“encourage a wide-ranging discussion of the role of women in ministry … including the question of women’s ordination.”

This is in open defiance of the Apostolic Letter of the late Pope John Paul II Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, which states:

Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgement is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.

A member of the Church’s faithful will thus instantly recognise that the agenda behind this petition is not part of the solution: it is part of the problem!

This petition now has some 9000 signatures. It will be presented to the Australian Bishops Conference at the end of November.

What can I do to respond?

• Pray earnestly in all charity for every signatory to this petition, that “their hearts may regain sanity and return to the unity of truth.” (Good Friday Liturgy, Extraordinary Form)

• Pray for the Australian Bishops. There is a wonderful opportunity afforded to them by this unfortunate event! Pray that they will have the courage to respond as one to this petition with a clear and forceful articulation of Catholic teaching on the priesthood, and on the obligations of Catholics with respect to magisterial teaching.

• Sign our counter-petition. We want to let the Australian Bishops know that there are many Australian Catholics who are loyal to Holy Mother Church, who are obedient to the magisterium, and who deplore the efforts of dissidents to create a counterfeit Church. We wish to encourage the Australian Bishops in their office as true shepherds of the flock and support their decisive steps to protect it from the predations of wolves.

• Copy and spread our counter—petition and letter amongst your Catholic friends Australia-wide. And don’t forget to return it to the address supplied by November 15 so it can be presented to the Australian Bishops at their November Plenary Conference.

Our Lady Help of Christians, pray for us!

And here is their "Counter petition":

A Letter to the Australian Bishops

We, the undersigned Australian Catholics, profess loyalty to our Holy Mother the Church, to the Vicar of Christ, Pope Benedict XVI and to the Australian episcopacy as it strives to build up the body of Christ.

1. We acknowledge that there is a drastic shortage of priests and religious serving the Catholic Church in Australia.

2. We submit that this stems predominantly from a systemic undermining by dissidents, over several decades, of Catholic principles in the areas of theology, philosophy, spirituality, liturgy and catechetics.

3. We deplore those efforts of dissident or poorly catechised Catholics to suggest the ordination of women as a solution to the current crisis in ministry. Such open defiance of the magisterium is scandalous and demoralising. We request of you at this time a strong reaffirmation that the Church “has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgement is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.” ( Ordinatio Sacerdotalis )

4. We believe that, rather than resort to superficial and bogus measures, the only effective way to respond to this crisis is to attack its root cause. We urge the prompt removal of dissident
Catholics from positions of influence in Catholic institutions across the nation, and their replacement with suitably qualified men and women of faith.


5. We note as a ‘sign of the times’ that vocations to the priesthood and religious life are languishing in those institutions which have compromised their Catholicity, whereas vocations are flourishing in authentically Catholic institutions in Australia and worldwide.

Sincerely yours,

The Undersigned

Please return this petition by November 15 to:
John XXIII Fellowship Co-op
Box 22 Ormond
Victoria 3204

A little strident, perhaps. I still recommend my "Open Letter to the Catholic Laity of Australia", as it proposes some positive measures other than chucking out all the dissidents (which would leave us with a very small church!).

16 Comments:

At Tuesday, October 30, 2007 11:31:00 pm , Blogger Peter said...

I saw this document for the first time today. I think it is the first time I've seen the word 'bogus' in an official document! ;)

 
At Wednesday, October 31, 2007 1:50:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

We request of you at this time a strong reaffirmation that the Church “has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgement is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.” ( Ordinatio Sacerdotalis )

Related to this, Sister Sara Butler is making an appearance in my diocese to give a talk upholding the Church's position on Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. It's taking place at the Center for Pastoral Leadership.


FutureChurch will not be amused.

 
At Wednesday, October 31, 2007 8:56:00 am , Blogger Schütz said...

Excellent, Christine--will you be going along? If so, let us know about how it goes. And if you get a chance to speak to her, tell her that there is a Catholic blogger in Australia who is a great fan!

 
At Wednesday, October 31, 2007 12:10:00 pm , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

I welcome the expression of different views from those expressed in the first petition, but I have to say that this is not a well-thought-out effort.

As David says, this is strident, and is framed in terms which will alienate potential supporters. There is probably a large group of people who don’t favour the views expressed the first petition, but who would not be willing to say that the root cause of the current clergy shortage is “a systemic undermining by dissidents . . . of Catholic principles in the areas of theology, philosophy, spirituality, liturgy and catechetics”. That group of people will not sign this petition.

And, of course, the bishops to whom this petition is addressed will fully understand that many of their own number are counted by at least some of the petitioners as among the “dissidents” who have been engaged in systemic undermining, and who must be promptly removed from positions of influence. They are unlikely to find this argument a compelling one.

This petition also treats the first petition as suggesting “the ordination of women as a solution to the current crisis in ministry” which, as I have pointed out before, is not what the first petition says. In fact the first petition conspicuously goes out of its way not to advocate the ordination of women. And this petition ignores every other point raised in the first petition. The impression given, then, is that these petitioners either haven’t read the first petition, haven’t understood it or (most likely) are not really reacting to the first petition, but are using the occasion as a springboard to sound off on their favourite themes.

Finally, there’s the question of numbers of signatures. It’s not a case that the petition with the most signatures wins, but the promoters would presumably like to create the impression that their ideas do command some acceptance within the church. This petition has been launched very late and, no matter how much latent support there might be for the ideas it expresses, it will be hard-pushed to garner many signatures by the time the bishops conference starts. Furthermore, it’s not available on-line, and I suspect that its very strident and combative tone will make many priests uncomfortable about allowing it to be promoted, or available for signature, in church doorways after mass. I don’t think the promoters have thought this through at all.

This petition, to be honest, is self-indulgent. It will enable the promoters to gratify their feelings by expressing themselves in strong terms and getting a few digs in at those whom they perceive to be their enemies, but at the cost of failing to build any kind of consensus against the first petition, alienating much potential support and probably having no influence whatsoever on the course of events.

David’s open letter is a vastly better contribution, and anybody wishing to advance an alternative view from that expressed in the first petition would be much better advised to start from there.

 
At Wednesday, October 31, 2007 3:38:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Yeah, sure beats all those resolutions at synod, doesn't it!

 
At Wednesday, October 31, 2007 8:54:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

I agree with much of what you say, as usual, Peregrinus, especially the bit about my open letter being much better than the Counter-Petition!

As you say, it focuses on the clauses in the original petition to do with ordination of women, and ignores all the rest.

Doesn't this say something? Doesn't this suggest that the original petition would have been a far better thing if women's ordination had not been mentioned at all? Good grief, even I might have signed it if that clause had not been there!

As for putting this new counter petition at church doors for people to sign, I oppose that as strongly as I oppose the placing of the original petition in such a place.

As Past Elder comments, this sort of silliness really belongs to protestant synods!

 
At Thursday, November 01, 2007 1:31:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Excellent, Christine--will you be going along? If so, let us know about how it goes. And if you get a chance to speak to her, tell her that there is a Catholic blogger in Australia who is a great fan!

David, I would like very much to go. The presentation is scheduled for late November on a Sunday evening so I'm hoping I can attend. (I'm sure there will be some good coverage in our diocesan paper about it though, so if I can't make it I'll pass it on).

 
At Thursday, November 01, 2007 7:19:00 am , Anonymous Lucian said...

Luther's 95 Thesen in der alten Deutschen Sprache, die zur Zeit Luthers gesprochen war. (Ich habe die alte Deutsche Buchstabe fuer den verlaengerten 's' durch 'ß' dargestellt).

 
At Thursday, November 01, 2007 1:40:00 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hold on there just a minute:

Whilst it is true to say this petition is flawed because of its strident tone, its fundamental analysis is right:

“a systemic undermining by dissidents . . . of Catholic principles in the areas of theology, philosophy, spirituality, liturgy and catechetics”.

Our heads are in the sand if we think otherwise. Sure:

- these are not the only reasons
- the "dissidents" also include a lot of well meaning people who think they are doing the right thing, but objectively are no.

All very well to say that petitions are a protestant thing, but they wouldn't be at all necessary or resorted to if the people whose actions give rise to them did the Catholic thing: obey the magisterium, the wishes of the Holy Father and the Councils properly interpreted in continuity with Tradition.

 
At Thursday, November 01, 2007 3:13:00 pm , Blogger Jeff Tan said...

Would it make sense to send BOTH that counter-petition AND David's open letter? Can we get people to affix their names to the open letter as well, and send it along, too? I don't know if it can be purely by blog, however -- just how many Aussie Catholic bloggers are we talking about in the first place?

Although.. um.. I'm not looking forward to posting the letter on our bulletin board at the parish. Who knows how many formidable ladies in my parish (if not in the council with me) will give me dirty looks from thence? Not to mention calling me divisive.

I don't know how many are of the dissident kind there, but I'm sure there are some. I've seen some rather embarassing books in our parish lending library, and apparently no one, not myself in the council, nor the pastoral associate, nor the parish priest, can remove those books, since the parish does not own them. The service is being run by the laity once a month. One book, in particular, was worrying, "Voices of Women."

 
At Thursday, November 01, 2007 6:10:00 pm , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

Whilst it is true to say this petition is flawed because of its strident tone, its fundamental analysis is right:

“a systemic undermining by dissidents . . . of Catholic principles in the areas of theology, philosophy, spirituality, liturgy and catechetics”.

Our heads are in the sand if we think otherwise.


The problem with this analysis is that almost everybody can suscribe to it, provided they are allowed to point at someone else as the “dissidents”. For every “liberal” whose questioning stance is a threat to doctrina there is a “conservative” whose attitude is destructive of communio. For every “left-winger” who fails to appreciate the significance of liturgia there is a “traditionalist” who is suspicious of diakonia. And so forth.

Encouraging a welter of recriminations and counter-recriminations is hardly the way to solve the church’s problems. The huge attraction of David’s letter is that it encourages me to focus on, not on what other people are doing wrong, but on what I can do right. You may or may not agree with the Paul Collins petition, but at least its focus is positive; it is framed in terms of positive things the church can do. Whereas this latest petition is focussed entirely on what other people in the church are doing wrong, and how to stop them doing it. Even if I agreed with the underlying analysis – and I don’t – the approach is wrong, wrong, wrong.

 
At Thursday, November 01, 2007 7:47:00 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course the parish priest can ask that books which are not faithful to the teaching of the Church be removed from the parish lending library. The parish priest is the spiritual father of the parish. Is the lending library on parish ground? If some books were anti-semitic, anti Islam I wonder if the priest would consider that he couldn't ask that they be removed.

 
At Thursday, November 01, 2007 10:30:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Vielen Dank, Lucian!

And did the rest of you notice, as I have just done, that all this discussion of placing petitions at Church Doors took place on what our Lutheran brothers and sisters regard as "Reformation day"?

 
At Friday, November 02, 2007 12:39:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

I noticed!

What, was the indulgence thing in that vein too?

Great that with your "magisterium" there doesn't have to be "petitions".

 
At Saturday, November 03, 2007 2:52:00 am , Anonymous Augustinus Renovatus said...

I am sitting here in Europa, the fount of all modern Catholicism and thinking what a huge waste of time this petition is. Basically and emphatically I think what those petitioners need to realise is, that petitions are firstly a waste of time and this one especially. The Bishops of Australia will just laugh it off or have group fit, perhaps even be a little worried at the language or they may in fact agree and then just move on with their deliberations.
But the fact is that the shortage of priests is due to one thing- A LACK OF HOLY PRIESTS. If priests focused on prayer more and were seen to be men of prayer in their lives, by praying in their deserted churches, then perhaps, no indeed there would be change. What did the Cure of Ars, Padre Pio, do most of their lives? Pray and hera confessions. They prayed incessantly. But now ots only the Carthusians and Trappists who pray and the parish priests just go out and socialise, go to the races, run youth groups AND forget to pray.
So, when was the last time your saw your parish clergy at prayer, reading their breviaries, kneeeling in their churches at prayer. I guess 99% would have to answer, never!! And this is a sad and horrendous judgment.
Isn't it amazing that M Teresa used pray for hours each and every day before she and her nuns went out into the streets to touch the poor and derelict.
It is time there was a return to prayer. One church in Paris is a focus of prayer for people and loads flock there. Can this be said for the Church in Australia.
Priests, get back to praying - that is the gospel revolution.
Find your inner spiritual lives that you have lost after 8 years of seminary training.
That's what really matters and now the bishops ought issue a new call for PPP - personal priestly prayer, then we may see a new priesthood that can inspire the Church.
Augustinus Renovatus.

 
At Saturday, November 03, 2007 10:47:00 pm , Blogger Jeff Tan said...

> Of course the parish priest can ask
> that books which are not faithful
> to the teaching of the Church
> be removed from the parish lending
> library. The parish priest is
> the spiritual father of the parish.

Easy to say, but I wonder how the doing will fare? I'll bring it up to him again one of these days. Knowing that I wouldn't want to be known as the culprit who suggests throwing these books away, I wouldn't be so quick to judge him, knowing, too, that he happens to be a rather orthodox priest.

 

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