Monday, 26 July 2010

One Wonders...

Catholic Family News - 25.7.2010

As activities begin to warm up in advance of Pope Benedict XVI's visit, the Birmingham Oratory is advertising for a sacristan. 'Please note that the post is only open to single males as it is necessary that the person live in to carry out the duties of the position'. As James Preece writes in his Catholic and Loving it! Blog, 'One wonders . . . if the Birmingham Oratory is so short staffed why not invite Fr Dermot Fenlon, Fr Philip Cleevely or Brother Lewis Berry to do it? It seems strange to me that they are advertising at all considering the fact that the Birmingham Oratory is currently under visitation with no end in sight for the ongoing exile of three holy men. Surely the most important thing is to unite the existing community rather than making moves to replace them?

An Open Letter

An Open Letter to Father Felix Selden CO, Delegate of the Apostolic See for the Confederation of the Oratory, from parishioners of the Birmingham Oratory and members of the National Association of Catholic families.

'We are grateful to Father Felix Selden for having had the courtesy to reply to our letter of 1st July, in which we enquired about the return of Father Dermot Fenlon, Father Philip Cleevely and Brother Lewis Berry to the Birmingham Oratory.

Unfortunately none of our questions were answered. His argument appears to be that as mere lay people, we have no right to know what is going on at the Birmingham Oratory. However we are parents, chosen by God to discharge the duty of protecting vulnerable young people in a society at war with our values. We have seen the inexplicable removal of two priests and a brother who have exerted themselves heroically in the defence of our Catholic families. Consequently, our family and others are now left much more vulnerable. I am afraid that is very much our business and indeed intimately affects our families: we have every right to a coherent explanation of what is going on, and an assurance that these priests and brother will be returned to their ministry with us forthwith.

'Father Selden expresses concern that lay people are protesting the conduct of the Apostolic Visitation and suggests that this is creating scandal 'and might dangerously harm the Church and the Oratory of Birmingham'. It is very difficult to read this in any other way than as a veiled threat. Is there a threat here of direct action against the lay protestors, or indirect action against the two priests and brother concerned if the lay people cannot be silenced? We are bound to point out that the scandal was absolutely not of our own making. We will not easily forget the look of bewilderment on our children's faces when they heard from the pulpit the announcement of the expulsion of these three holy men with no explanation, and the difficult task we have (and continue to have) in trying to mitigate the enormous scandal that has been done to these little ones. There is a very ready remedy: bring back those of our good pastors who are innocent of any wrong doing (as we have been assured is the case with these three).

'No threat will convince us as parents to remain silent: the threat from the immoral culture all around us, which in many sad cases has infiltrated the Catholic Church even to the extent of compromising some of her pastors, is far more deadly to us than anything that might be done to silence us. We love the Catholic Church very much but cannot elevate Church reputation and image above our children's moral safety. Our children's very souls are at stake and we will not be silence'.

'We ask once again: are these three holy men going to be returned to Cardinal Newman's Oratory where they belong or not? If they are to return, when will that be'?