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Liberal manifesto

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 Contents - Sep 2005AD2000 September 2005 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Support the 2005 Fighting Fund! - Peter Westmore
Events: Sydney to host World Youth Day 2008 - AD2000 REPORT
News: The Chuch Around the World
Canadian Bishops' cave-in to 'renegade Catholicism' under fire
Priesthood: America's 'vocation rich' dioceses: latest success stories analysed - AD2000 Report
Can reverence at Mass make a comeback? - Michael Ryan
Interview: Benedict XVI and the power of the Eucharist - Fr John Corapi
Education: Catholic schools of the future - Br John Moylan CFC
Cinema: The Church under Nazism: a sensitive film portrayal in 'The Ninth Day' - Michael E. Daniel (reviewer)
BOOKS: The Myth of Hitler's Pope: How Pope Pius XII Rescued Jews from the Nazis - Thomas E. Woods Jr (reviewer)
A religious response to evil ideologies - John Rego
Letters: Liturgy - John Daly
Letters: Liberal manifesto - Dr Peter Gilet
Letters: Fatima and Benedict XVI - Paul MacLeod
Letters: Society of St Pius X - Fr Kevin Robinson
Events: C.S. Lewis Seminar - Sat 17 Sept 2005 2pm-9pm
Letters: Ethical medicine? - Dr A.W. Hartwig
Letters: Latin Mass - Richard Congram
Letters: Simple Catechisms - Rosanna Sherman
Letters: Gnosticism
Letters: Good reading - E. Pickering
Books: GOING AGAINST THE STREAM: Ethical Aspects of Ageing and Care, by Peter Jeffery - Kerrie Allen (reviewer)
Books: THE ART OF GIVING by Francine Black - Kerrie Allen (reviewer)
Books: THE PATH OF LIFE: Benedictine Spirituality for Monks and Lay People - Gabrielle Walsh (reviewer)
Books: STAIRWAY TO THE UPPER ROOM: Daily Meditations on the Gospel Readings - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: The Holy Shroud, by Antonio Cassanelli - Gabrielle Walsh (reviewer)
Books: More good reading from AD Books
Reflection: Benedict XVI: how to make the new evangelisation more effective - Fr Dennis Byrnes PP

When I opened the National Council of Priests' Discussion Paper (May 2005), I was reminded of that old toy called a Jack in the Box. Out popped, not a head on a spring, but a full liberal Catholic manifesto, as follows.

* Baptism brings us into communion with God and each other. We are not so much the Church Militant as the Church Picnic. There is really no great need for any of the sacraments after Baptism, while the Eucharist is simply a celebration of our togetherness. There is not even a need for an ordained Presider, since we are all priests by virtue of our Baptism.

* By the same token, we, the congregation, are the Church and should decide matters of faith and morals, design our own liturgies and not have to put up with arcane, alien and foreign structures imposed on us by an outside authority. Our church services will thus be inspiring, welcoming, consumer-friendly, Father Feelgood type gatherings.

* If we don't get this, the faithful will leave in droves and take their spiritual custom elsewhere. So there.

* All those lapsed Catholics are baptised and hence still Church members. We should accommodate them by dropping all "divisive" doctrines and practices.

* We should have a radical concern for the poor and marginalised, make them part of our communion, and drop any further awkward beliefs and practices left behind by the lapsed Catholics.

* The Vatican is simply another agent of globalisation, of colonisation. We need, instead, a kind of religious regionalism, like Welsh nationalism.

By being all things to all men, however, we will have nothing to offer but colourful ceremonies, good cheer, and lots of tea and biscuits.

No wonder our churches are emptying. Would that they be spared some of these troublesome priests.

Albany, WA

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 18 No 8 (September 2005), p. 15

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