Bishop Arnold uses Pope Francis to Justify Illicit Masses

From 14-17 November 2022, the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales gathered in Leeds for their autumn plenary meeting at Hinsley Hall.

They issued a podcast of a press conference on the meeting, you can listen to it here but I warn you, it is deathly dull.

Bishop John Sherrington is the lead on life issues and talks about clause 9 which seeks to criminalise a broad range of activities around abortion clinics. Sherrington is "concerned" about this. That's it. That's all they could muster. "Concern".

More practically, Right to Life UK (@RightToLifeUK) have created a handy tool to contact your MP in advance of the debate on Monday on the abortion buffer zones, you can find it here.

We covered the buffer zone exclusion issue in some detail on Catholic Unscripted a month ago. The situation is quite extraordinary. It is a shame the bishops offer no teaching or practical advice in their "resolution". The huge irony is that a resolution is, by definition, a firm decision to do or not to do something: The bishops of England and Wales resolve to firmly do nothing.

Back to the press conference; there is lots of what seems to be very positive talk amongst the bishops on the podcast about the synod. However I heard privately that, though they were not allowed to discuss it publicly, and many bishops were expressing grave concern over the synod, particularly the obvious damage and confusion that it is wreaking across the Church. Given the tone of discussion among Catholics engaged with the synod process, one has to wonder if this is some lame attempt to sell the process to us? If it is, it is a wet & useless as everything else the bishops do.

In fact, I find it somewhat incredible that there is no one in the Church hierarchy who is prepared to openly express these concerns, which are regularly reported in the Catholic Press. Instead, bishops seem content to just follow along meekly. Given the chaos and confusion being spread about the Church, their meekness and lack of pastoral sensitivity in this regard seems to be a clear indication that they care not for the mission of the Church, their priests or the faithful.

Consider the real situation faced now by clergy in the confessional. Is communion after re-marriage something to repent of? It appears not. Homosexuality (traditionally, sodomy is a sin that cries to heaven for vengeance) - all good according to the German and Belgian bishops. The Pope is not condemning the Flemish bishops or the Germans or Hollerich and is actively meeting with and promoting Father James Martin, so who can call anyone to repentance on these issues? What about promoting and procuring abortion? Seems that is acceptable for the present pontiff as well given his outspokenness regarding the denial of Holy Communion to abortion promoting politicians. How do priests deal with the cure of souls in their care? The bishops don't even seem aware of any of these real, on the ground concerns. Where is the fire for the faith which we saw even in quite recent times?

In the absence of any mention even of the faith which animates and unites us (I think Jesus was mentioned once by bishop Nicholas Hudson), the bishops speak most animatedly about the idol they have put in place of that faith: the new god of environmentalism. Indeed "environmental issues" were one of the two "Resolutions" which appear to be the purpose of the meeting. I use the word "purpose" lightly because the first "resolutions" resolve neither to do nor to not do anything. The second appears to be a subversion of the practice of Friday abstinence relegating its theological dimension to subordinate under the primary function of reducing carbon emissions. What is this if not further  incense burnt on the altar of modernism to a movement which says we can create our own utopian future by bowing to an ideology which seeks to diminish the dignity of the human person and reduce us to "a plague on the earth".

Pope Benedict carefully and beautifully taught about our responsibility of stewardship, but, despite the echoing of some of these themes within Laudato Si & Fratelli Tutti Pope Francis' actions in his pontificate seems to go beyond this sensible, coherent and beautiful teaching and stray dangerously close to the cull of humanity - the destruction of meat production - a ban on carbon fuel production - regulation of all aspects of humanity by social credit scoring - ban travel for a large swathe of the population - regulation of small businesses out of existence - imposition of tyrannical bureaucratic never legislated for "policies" and new thought crimes against the environment & the utopian progressive view - and of course alienation of generations from fertile sex & creating nuclear families & cohesive cultural communities & even being able to reproduce (19% of Gen Z now self-identify as trans or non-binary - 13% identify as LGBQ even though the clinical psychologists determine only 2.9% +/- 0.3% of any natural society is homosexual & it requires social/cultural engineering to increase this (eg Islamic world where porn-viewing revealed >40% of Pakistan/Bangladeshi/UAE males are predominantly homosexual/bisexual!) - and the birth rates are plummeting! The same is happening in urbanised Africa & the NGOs are promoting it with billion dollar LGBTQ+ programs. 

None of this is part of the discussion, instead bishops support environmental issues seemingly with little scrutiny and make mention of their aspiration that this will make them "down with the kids" - literally they do that!!

Similarly, they seem to think that the same applies to gay issues. I recall when it was coherent for Catholic catechists to argue that Catholic anthropology should not use terms like LGBTQI because it is wrong to equate the centre of a person with their sexuality: we are so much more than this! But these days seem positively halcyon now compared with what is going on!

When Michael Haynes of Lifesite News asked bishop Arnold whether “LGBT Masses”, widely promoted by him in Salford diocese, taught Catholic Church teaching – specifically on sexuality, chastity, and the denial of Holy Communion to those obviously living in a state contrary to Church teaching, such as in a practicing same-sex relationship, Arnold immediately deferred to pope Francis – what is the point of him? Do bishops now bear no responsibility for teaching the faith? Does bishop Arnold have no idea himself what the Church teaches or should teach on the issue? What a sorry excuse for a bishop!

“Pope Francis asks us to welcome everybody and to accept people as they are, made in the image of God,” Arnold replied, “and I think the Mass should focus primarily on the message of the Scriptures of the day – that we are concerned about the ongoing conversion of all of us.”

Can they not see the CONTRADICTION?

I have no doubt every child can. This is not what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches about this issue and frankly it smacks of moral relativism: Fast becoming the hallmark of this papacy!

They are robbing the faithful of the opportunity of repentance and re-making their lives in the image of Christ. In short, they are doing the opposite of what they are commissioned to do!

Personally - and I am sure you won't be surprised to hear, dear reader, I find the matter of the discussion, the resolutions and the podcast, from what I have heard and read, to be utterly ridiculous and far removed from the challenges we face and the reality of Catholicism in England and Wales today. The bishops come across as disinterested in the Catholic faith, boring, over officious and overly concerned with their own machinations and self aggrandisement. Blind to the needs of the faithful and of Christ's Church. 

They fritter away any relevance they may still have and compromise their moral voice, so needed at this time.


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