Saturday, 10 July 2010

"Catholic Herald links Pope's visit to Birmingham Oratory to indefinate expulsion of three Oratorians"

John Smeaton – 3.7.2010

How scandalous that, on the front page of this weekend's Catholic Herald, the removal of three courageous Birmingham Oratorians, defenders of human life, is directly linked to a decision that Pope Benedict is now "able to come" to Cardinal Newman's burial place and home during his lifetime. Please read, below, what Dr Tom Ward says about this.

Fr Philip Cleevely, Fr Dermot Fenlon and Brother Lewis Berry, three of the closest allies of families and of the pro-life movement in Britain, who have been skilfully and publicly advocating papal teaching on contraception, abortion and homosexuality, are currently unjustly exiled for an indefinite period from the Oratory in Birmingham, their home.

In a previous post, I asked:
Could it be that external forces, who want a Catholic Church which is inclusive of the Blairs' anti-life, anti-family positions, are bringing pressures to bear in this situation? How very convenient it would be, especially in the run-up to Pope Benedict's visit, if uncomfortable issues such as the teaching of the Church on contraception, abortion and on homosexuality were also safely hidden away?
What on earth are Catholics and non-Catholics to make of the situation? On the one hand three staunch pro-life, pro-family advocates suffer apparently peremptory ecclesiastical injustice. On the other hand Archbishop Nichols, just a couple of months ago, was painting the previous government's intentions on sex and relatonships education in an entirely postive light - when those intentions included continuing to enable the promotion and facilitation of abortion, contraception and homosexuality in schools, including Catholic schools.

What on earth is happening when, on the one hand, apparently peremptory ecclesiastical injustice can be unhesitatingly meted out to staunch upholders of Catholic teaching on life and the family, and, on the other hand, the appointment of a blatantly anti-life, anti-family former Member of Parliament to be deputy director of the Catholic Education Service is indignantly defended by representatives of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales?

One person who won't be safely hidden away is the widely-respected Dr Tom Ward, president of the National Association of Catholic Families and corresponding member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. Last night he made the following statement:
"Three Oratorians have been condemned to an indefinite sentence of removal after abrupt eviction from their home at Cardinal Newman’s Oratory in Birmingham.

"This penalty of an indefinite sentence to widely distant monasteries is ordinarily associated with very serious moral failings. However it appears that the investigative process was incomplete before they started their sentence. How therefore could there have been a verdict? Indeed was there even a charge? These men are attested by their own authorities to be innocent, virtuous and to have done no harm. They have an almost unrivalled track record in this country of defending life and the primary and inalienable right of parents as educators of their children. They are totally faithful to and outspoken in their defence of the Papal Magisterium.

"The draconian penalty (although some will protest that they would prefer some other euphemism) awarded to these three just men was press released by the official spokesman of their own Oratory. The resultant publicity has done, indeed continues to do vast injustice to their deservedly good reputation yet, to my knowledge, not one priest in the land has publicly defended the names of their innocent brothers. The only defence of these three Oratorians has come from parents whose families the Oratorians have defended against the encroachments of a hostile government which has, all too often, had hierarchical support.

"It is a scandal that these three men, one of whom is 68 years old, have been abruptly removed from their homes and sent into exile for an indefinite period.

"It is a scandal to put the physical and psychological health of innocent men at such risk.

"It is a scandal that these men with outstanding ability to cooperate in the defence of the authentic understanding of Cardinal Newman’s teaching on conscience have been summarily removed from the Oratory which, in the light of the imminent Papal beatification of its founder, has now become the best platform in the world from which to defend Newman and the Papal Magisterium.

"It is a scandal that the enforced absence from the Oratory of such men has been reported as now enabling the Pope to visit the Oratory.

"It is quite simply a national scandal."