Monday, June 30, 2008

Year of Vocations Prayer

Prayer for Vocations

O Holy Spirit, Spirit of wisdom and divine love, impart Your knowledge, understanding, and counsel to the faithful that they may know the vocation wherein they can best serve God.

Give them courage and strength to follow God's holy will.

Guide their uncertain steps, strengthen their resolutions, shield their chastity, fashion their minds, conquer their hearts, and lead them to the vineyards where they will labour in God's holy service.


Gregorian Chant - Gloria in Excelsis Deo

An Focal Scóir - June 2008

The month of June which is also the month of the Sacred Heart opens with a plea from Iraq that the Christians there be not forgotten, defiant and honest bishop continues to urge change, Iran arrests converts, Vatican excommunicates female ordinands, Turin Shroud to go public, service of authority and obedience...

...Irish economy to cause rate of divorce to rise, RC bishop calls for 'zero tolerance' policy, Gospel fulfillment with ordination of women, bishop calls for prison reform, Il Papa and Iran PM no meet, Diocese of Killaloe unease, fine of CSA priest described as an insult, Milingo continues with mission, Russian Orthodox threaten to quit talks with Anglicans, Vatican archive now in Sydney, Gregorian chant highlighted...

...Medjugorje now described as evil, Womenpriests not a splinter group, Fr Damien closer to sainthood, nuns chain themselves at Vatican in protest, RC priest now elected UN General Assembly president, ordination of 1st Czech married RC priest, Holy See in Hanoi, Spain wants next WYD, oldest church found in Jordan, Milingo a victim or villian, cleric claims RC church is hierarchial...

...Il Papa against illicit trafficking, Anglican Church split over female bishop, cardinal warning over disunity in Anglicanism, 1 in 10 Americans ex-RC, RC Church offers therapy to cure gays, priest bans autistic child from church...

...diocese in denial, ban against gays in seminaries is to stay, JPII beatification in 2009, No to Lisbon Treaty, major demand in Germany for exorcisms, Christian-Jewish relations 'difficult', final canonical approval for Neocathechumenal Way, AB meets Dalai Lama, Hitler's mad plan to sack the Vatican, Latvian priest declared righteous, end of era for Christian Brothers...

...Il Papa intent on visiting Holy Land, Anglican Communion at an end(?), Irish Catholic Newspaper blunders, 2012 Eucharistic Congress for Dublin, Il Papa & SSPX to unite (?), Anglican bishops to defect to Rome, no Prada for Il Papa, indulgence for WYD08 (?), nun for sainthood, launch of Pauline Year...

...Solemnity of Ss Peter & Paul unite Il Papa & Patriarch, Il Papa to apologise to CSA victims Down Under, new bishop installed in Down & Conor, love rat priest to sue RC Church, SSPX respond to Vatican ultimatum, Anglican schism becoming evident, Medjugorje under investigation by Vatican, legacy of Mother Teresa, Irish AB receives pallium...

...and thus ends the month of the Sacred Heart (June).

Defiant Russian Orthodox bishop refuses to repent, holds service despite ban

A renegade Russian Orthodox bishop defied a church order barring him from leading services Sunday and rejected a demand that he repent, the Interfax news agency reported.

Bishop Diomid's defiance would set the stage for a potential confrontation in the tightly hierarchical Russian Orthodox Church.

Diomid has made waves by assailing the church for its support of government policies and its contacts with other faiths — essentially saying the deeply conservative institution is too liberal and too worldly.

Following a decision at the Council of Bishops, the church said Saturday that Diomid was barred from serving. It summoned him to Moscow from his diocese on the Chukotka Peninsula, in extreme northeastern Russia across the Bering Straight from Alaska, and demanded he "immediately repent."

But Interfax quoted Diomid's nephew, Alexander Nesterov, as saying that Diomid held a service Sunday in the capital of the Chukotka region, Anadyr, and told parishioners he would not repent because he does not believe he is guilty.

Diomid said he had made his position clear to the head of the church, Patriarch Alexy II, the report said.

In February 2007, the 47-year old bishop issued a statement in which he criticized the Church for its approval of the Kremlin's "anti-people policies" and condemned its ecumenical contacts with Catholics, Jews and Muslims.

He also urged Russians to refrain from using identification cards and mobile phones.

Earlier this week, Diomid's supporters rallied in Moscow calling for the resignation of Patriarch Alexy II and clashed with activists of a pro-Kremlin youth group that condemned the cleric. They also beat up several journalists with icons and banners.

A Russian Orthodox Church spokesman, Father Vsevolod Chaplin, played down the report of Diomid's defiance, saying he could not confirm it. He said Diomid still has time to repent, but will be permanently defrocked unless he does so before a Holy Synod that will likely be held next month.

Chaplin would not say whether the church would seek to prevent Diomid from leading services or take any other action against him before the synod.

Church and state are separated under Russia's post-Soviet Constitution, but Alexy II has claimed a leading role for the church in setting moral guidelines for society. Its growing prominence has caused concerns among minority faiths.

The church has experienced a major resurgence after the 1991 Soviet collapse ended decades of state atheism. The Moscow Patriarchate counts about two-thirds of Russia's population of 142 million as members, and controls branches in other former Soviet republics.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, speaking Sunday at a ceremony marking the 1,020th anniversary of the adoption of Orthodox Christianity by the precursor of the Russian state, signaled support for the church's moves to thwart Diomid.

Medvedev, who attended the ceremony at Moscow's Christ the Savior cathedral with his wife, Svetlana, said the Council of Bishops had "affirmed the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church in all its fullness and placed a barrier against efforts to divide it," the state-run RIA-Novosti news agency reported.

Medvedev also suggested that he opposes the withdrawal of the church that Diomid advocates — and that Russia's dominant faith should bring the country closer to the West rather than underlining differences.

Like relations between the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches, ties between Russia and the West have been troubled by disputes in recent years.

The adoption of Christianity a millennium ago helped integrate Russia into "more progressive European and world processes" and formed a basis for "the common moral, humanistic ideals we have in common with Europe," RIA-Novosti quoted Medvedev, who succeeded Vladimir Putin in May, as saying.


No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Local clergy not hot on sexy priests calendar

A calendar featuring Rome's sexiest priests has hit Australia, causing some of the local clergy to get a little hot under the collar.

The Calendario Romano, produced by Italian historian Piero Pazzi, features 12 dark and brooding young priests swathed in their religious robes.

The sexy celibates calendar appears to have become an unofficial marketing strategy for World Youth Day, with organisers of the upcoming Catholic festival keen to hand out copies to the media yesterday.

Catholic priest and radio commentator Father Bob Maguire told ninemsn the church was clearly going in for the hard sell to get people on board for World Youth Day.

"There is no good way to market the Catholic Church so what they have done is gone the secular way, where you have got to have something attractive to the eyeballs," he said.

"You can't sell it just as it is because people won't take it, therefore you have to cover it in hundreds and thousands."

While the calendar may appeal to young people concerned about appearances, most Australians wouldn't be "taken in by the gloss”.

"If you really believe this calendar means the Catholic Church is attractive then you've been fooled: I think people are more interested in the substance," he said.

Given the background of the Catholic Church, Father Bob said he had reservations the calendar was heading in the wrong direction.

"I am not particularly enamoured with the sexualisation of the clergy, that is one of our lower natures that we can do without.

"It’s a pitch that I wouldn't personally take, mainly because I don’t look good myself — I never have."

Father Ian McGinnity, chairman of the National Council of Priests, said the calendar was pretty unrealistic, considering the man drought of local young priests.

"We would be hard pressed to find a collective of priests of that age," he said.

"I found it a bit contrasting to the reality of a rather senior clergy at the moment…there are some young priests but we do seem to be in a bit of a drought."

Appealing for young people to join the priesthood could be a good thing but there was a danger the calendar could be misinterpreted, Father McGinnity said, adding he would be horrified if priests were thought of as "eye candy".


No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Anglican conservatives move to form power bloc

Anglican conservatives, frustrated by the ongoing stalemate over homosexuality in the Anglican Communion, declared Sunday that they would defy the church's historic lines of authority and establish a new power bloc within the church that will be led by a council of predominantly African archbishops.

The announcement came at the close of an unprecedented meeting in Jerusalem by conservatives, who contend that they represent a majority of the 77 million members of the Anglican Communion.

They depicted their efforts as the culmination of an anti-colonial struggle against the church's seat of power in Britain, whose missionaries first brought Anglican Christianity to the developing world.

The conservatives say that many of the descendants of those Anglican missionaries in Britain and North America are now following what they call a "false gospel" that allows a malleable, liberal interpretation of Scripture.

After more than 1,000 delegates to the meeting at a Jerusalem hotel affirmed their platform statement, African women, Australians, South Americans and Indians danced and swayed to a Swahili hymn and shouted full-throated hallelujahs.

Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, who leads the largest province in the Communion, said at a news conference afterward: "It's quite clear we have been in turmoil. With this decision we have a fresh beginning."

He was accompanied by the archbishops of Uganda, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sydney, Australia, and a former American priest, David Anderson Sr., whom Akinola made a bishop of the Church of Nigeria.

They insisted that they were not breaking away from the Anglican Communion or creating a schism. But it is clear that, if carried out, their plans would create severe upheaval in the Communion, the world's third-largest grouping of churches after the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches.

A statement the delegates issued in Jerusalem said that it was time to establish a branch in the United States and Canada that would absorb the churches that have been outraged by the American church's consecration of an openly gay bishop in 1993 and the Canadian church's blessing of same-sex unions.

They also challenged the authority of the archbishop of Canterbury. The current archbishop, Rowan Williams, has been a disappointment to conservatives because he did not discipline or engineer an eviction of the liberal North Americans. The archbishop of Canterbury historically has not had the power to decree policy in the Communion, but in the past he determined which churches belonged to it.

The conservatives said that while they acknowledge Canterbury's historic position, they did not accept the idea "that Anglican identity is determined necessarily through recognition by the archbishop of Canterbury."

They said that what would determine membership in their conservative alliance within the Communion is a manifesto they issued Sunday, called the "Jerusalem Declaration," which contains 14 principles of theological orthodoxy.

A majority of the conservatives at the meeting said they would boycott the Lambeth Conference, a gathering of Anglican bishops from around the world that takes place every 10 years in Britain. That conference begins in mid- July.

There was no immediate response Sunday from the archbishop of Canterbury, the Episcopal Church in the United States or the Anglican Church of Canada.

Some liberal American bloggers sought to play down the conservatives' actions, dismissing them as an attempt to hijack the Communion when, in their view, there are much more important issues for the church to confront, like poverty, AIDS and global warming.


No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

'Church Will Never Accept 'Gay Marriage'

Cardinal Justin Rigali, the Archbishop of Philadelphia is always ready to answer questions, even the hard ones.

He spoke last week at the International Eucharistic Congress about the Church's teaching on sexuality, in the context of the current attack on the traditional definition of marriage.

Asked why it has become more common to see some elements within the Church promoting what is contrary to official Church teaching on homosexuality, Cardinal Rigali was quick to point out that it is not 'the Church' but members of the Church which do so at times.

"This goes back to the time of St. Paul," explained the Cardinal, "St. Paul says they will be teachers with itchy ears."

He added: "They will come up with all kinds of doctrines and this is what's happened in the history of the Church and the history of the world and this will continue to happen."

Cardinal Rigali said however that it was an "aberration" to justify "homosexual conduct and worse than that homosexual marriage."

"The Church accepts people as they are," he said.

"Jesus says the church is like a net, it pulls in everybody, everybody belongs to the church, there are sinners, there are saints, there are people with wrong ideas. But the Church continues to proclaim what Jesus taught."

"There is no room in the Church for the acceptance of aberrational ideas," he said.

"There is room in the church to accept, to understand and to love people whoever they may be. Not to tell them that what they are advocating is right, not to justify it. That is quite different. That is totally, totally different."

Cardinal Rigali, who is also the President of the Pro-Life Committee of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, suggested that no amount of pressure would get the Church to alter its position.

"There are some people that say the church is intolerant - no! We accept people but we cannot be unfaithful to Christ. We will not accept gay marriage. The church has explained this over, and over and over again and she will have to continue to explain it."

Addressing people with same sex attraction he said, "these are good people and our way of treating them is very important. The respect we show them and even the understanding of their personal situations. But just because someone is in a personal situation does not mean we can change our teaching to accommodate the person."

On getting the teaching of the Church across in today's culture, Cardinal Rigali said "The Church has to continue, St. Paul says, ‘praedica verbum’, preach the word in season and out of season and that's what we do."

However, he added, "This is something we have to teach in the most effective way possible, with clarity yes, with fidelity yes, with sensitivity. We can't take people and choke them and say you're going to be doing it and you're going to follow the teachings of the Church and this is the teaching of the Church. No. St. Paul says in omnia patientia doctrina, speaking to Timothy, ‘with all patience and following the teaching’, following the teaching, these are the two elements."

"We present the beauty of human sexuality," he said, "we explain God's plan. We try to understand people who have the same sex attraction we try to help them; try not to speak platitudes to them but tell them what God's plan is and how they are to face their life."

The Philadelphia Archbishop concluded: "That's why we have organizations like Courage and Encourage because for parents it's a very, very difficult thing. But God's plan is to be presented in all its beauty, all its power with fidelity."

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Pope calls new Archbishops to ecclesial unity and fidelity

During the celebration of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul at the Vatican Basilica, Pope Benedict XVI called the Archbishops who had just received the pallium to be shepherds of the whole world.

He said the world, like the Gospel’s lost sheep, has lost its way home.

The Mass was attended by Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I, who in an unprecedented gesture was invited to deliver a homily.

The Patriarch's homily, which preceded the Pope's, centered upon the growing links of friendship between the Roman Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church, whose see is in Constantinople.

The majority of the Christians who remain in the areas once evangelized by St. Paul belong to the Orthodox Church.

Following the tradition established by Pope John Paul II, during the solemnity 40 of the 42 Archbishops of the world appointed during the last year received the pallium from the Pope’s hands as a symbol of both their pastoral authority and their unity with the Pope.

“By their martyrdom,” Pope Benedict said during the homily, “Peter and Paul are now part of Rome: by his martyrdom Peter too has become a Roman citizen forever. By their martyrdom, their faith and their love, both Apostles show us where true hope is found. They are the founders of a new kind of city, which always has to be rebuilt in the midst of the old human city, which remains threatened by the opposing forces of sin and human selfishness.”

”By virtue of their martyrdom,” the Holy Father continued, “Peter and Paul are forever in a mutual relationship. A beloved image of Christian iconography is the embrace of the two apostles on their way to martyrdom.”

“We can say: their own martyrdom, deep inside, is the achievement of a brotherly embrace,” he added.

Pope Benedict then explained that the permanent mission of Peter is “to ensure that the Church is never identified with a single nation, a single culture or a single state, that it may always be the Church of all. That she may gather humanity beyond any border and, in the midst of the divisions of this world, that she may always bring the presence of God’s peace and the reconciling strength of His Love.”

Addressing the Archbishops who were about to receive the pallium, the Holy Father recalled that the pallium “has been made with the wool of lambs, which the Bishop of Rome blesses every year during the feast of the Chair of St. Peter,” thus making the pallium “a symbol of Christ’s flock, over which you preside.”

“When we take the pallium over our shoulders, we are reminded of the Shepherd who takes over his shoulders the lost little lamb, which by itself can’t find the road back home, and brings it back to the flock.”

“The Fathers of the Church,” he continued, “have seen in this little lamb the image of the whole of humanity, which is lost and can no longer find the way home. The Shepherd who brings it home can only be the Logos, the eternal Word of God Himself.”

The pallium, the Pope added, is also “a symbol of our love for Christ the Shepherd and of our love, together with Him. It becomes a symbol of our calling to love humanity like Him, together with Him: those who are searching; those who have questions; those who are sure of themselves, and the humble, the simple and the great. The pallium becomes a symbol of the calling to love all of them with the strength of Christ, so that they may find Him and in Him, find themselves.”

“This is the ministry to which the Lord is calling us,” the Pope concluded. “Let us pray now that He may help us to exercise it rightly.”

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Catholic bishops take shots at HPV vaccine

Alberta's Catholic bishops are warning parents to think twice about letting their daughters be vaccinated against a cancer-causing, sexually transmitted virus.

But the bishops, in a joint statement issued last week, stop well short of barring Catholic schools in Alberta from administering the vaccine, and acknowledge that parents are the "primary decision-makers" when it comes to their children's health.

The Alberta government recently announced it would fund a program to offer the vaccination against human papillomavirus.

Alberta's Health Minister said he wants Catholic schools to co-operate with the newly announced government immunization program against human papillomavirus (HPV).

Ron Liepert said school boards will have to "live with the long-term consequences" if they refuse to participate in the new campaign.

"I'm not sure what the debate is about," said Liepert, who noted the program is voluntary.

"They need to look at this through the eyes of cancer survivors who have clearly said to us, 'Please do this.'"

The bishops said the HPV vaccine has raised questions about whether it sends a message to girls that casual sex is acceptable.

"Catholic teaching is that sexuality is a God-given gift that should be reserved for marriage," the bishops wrote.

"So-called 'casual' or 'recreational' sexual activity carries with it profound risks to a young person's spiritual, emotional, moral and physical health.

"At best, a vaccine can only be potentially effective against one of these risks, that to physical health, and may have other unintended and unwanted consequences."

Most other provinces have also implemented programs and, in some jurisdictions, the move has generated controversy. At least one Catholic school board in Ontario is refusing to allow the vaccine in its schools.

Partnering with parents

Chairwoman Cindy Olsen said the Edmonton Catholic School Board supports the position of the archdiocese - and will begin implementing the vaccine program in the fall.

"We believe there's a partnership between parent, school and church and different partners have different responsibilities," said Olsen, "In the area of health, the responsibility defaults to the parent."

She said the board sees the Gardasil vaccine as being much the same as other vaccines offered to students, in that it's up to the parents to decide whether their children will receive it.

The vaccination will be made available to girls in Grade 5 in September and to girls in Grade 9 next year.

It protects against the four strains of human papillomavirus that cause 70 per cent of cervical cancers and 90 per cent of genital warts.

Parents will be asked to sign a consent form before their daughters receive the vaccine, which is administered in three shots over six months and is most effective before girls become sexually active.

The bishops' statement said there is "no general consensus that HPV vaccination is the most prudent strategy in terms of allocating the health-care resources aimed at preventing deaths from cervical cancer."

The bishops went on to urge parents to "learn the medical facts about Gardasil and its limitations before deciding whether their daughters should receive the vaccine."

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Irish missionary archbishop receives the pallium

Recently-appointed Archbishop Richard Anthony Burke SPS of Benin City, Nigeria, was among 41 metropolitan archbishops from all over the world who received the pallium from Pope Benedict XVI at a Mass celebrated in the Vatican Basilica on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles.

Archbishop Burke is a native of Fethard, Co. Tipperary, and a member St Patrick's Missionary Society, Kiltegan, Co Wicklow,

Others among the metropolitan archbishops to receive the pallium are: Cardinal John Njue, archbishop of Nairobi, Kenya, who received the red hat last year and His Beatitude Fouad Twal, recently appointed patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins.

The pallium is a symbol of the Pope's communion with the new archbishops who are the heads of major local churches throughout the world and of their shared collegiality with the papal authority.

It is a small vestment, a circular band of white lamb’s wool a few inches wide with six black or red crosses attached. It also has pendant falling down at the front and the back. It is worn over the chasuble at Mass.

In 1984 Pope John Paul began this ceremony in the Vatican Basilica of bestowing it personally on all new metropolitan archbishops on 29 June, the Solemnity of SS. Peter and Paul, Apostles, and it has continued every year since.

Archbishop Burke is the second of three children of the late Mrs. Margaret Mary Burke and the late Mr. Cornelius Burke. Ordained in 1975 for St. Patrick’s Missionary Society, Kiltegan, Co Wicklow, he worked in the dioceses of Port Harcourt and Warri, Nigeria (1975-1990).

From 1992-95 he was Director of Formation of the Major Seminary of St. Patrick’s Missionary Society, located on the Campus of the National University of Ireland at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth.

He was ordained co-adjutor bishop of Warri in 1996, becoming the ordinary of that diocese in 1997.

He was installed as archbishop of Benin City on 7 March this year.


No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Cardinal launches history of his alma mater

A book which chronicles one of Ireland’s best known seminaries and boarding schools, St Patrick’s College in Cavan, has been launched by Cardinal Seán Brady, who is himself both one of its former students and former teachers.

The College Boys: a history of the students of the Kilmore Academy and St Patrick’s College, 1839-2000 was researched by historian Raymond Dunne and – until his death - the former bishop of Kilmore, Francis McKiernan.

The cardinal praised the work of Mr Dunne and the late bishop who decided to compile the book after St Patrick’s ceased to operate as a boarding school in 2000.

“My alma mater, like every strong and loving mother, retains a huge hold on me,” he remarked, adding that on a recent visit to the college chapel after becoming a cardinal, he was deeply moved to be in the presence of a former teacher, a former pupil from his own teaching days in the college and his own nephew, who is currently one of its students.

Dr Brady said he regretted that Bishop McKiernan had not lived to see the book published but knew that though physically absent, he was there in spirit.

Bishop Leo O’Reilly said the book stood alongside several other histories of aspects of the diocese and praised the work of the local history society Cumann Seanchais Bhreifne, which fostered the study of the area’s past.

He said it would be “impossible to overstate the importance of the colleges to the Church and society” and added that he hoped St Patrick’s would continue to do so.

“I hope the recent pastoral letter on Catholic education will help all our schools to rediscover and renew their vision and ideals and enhance that contribution in the years ahead” said Dr O’Reilly.

The Kilmore Academy was founded in 1839 and some 900 students passed through it over the following 35 years, including a hundred priests and six future bishops.

By the late 1860s, the Academy had out-grown its buildings and the then bishop, Nicholas Conaty, embarked on the building of St Patrick’s College to supplant it.

The college ceased to take boarders in 2000, and its first lay principal, Patsy Lee, was appointed in 2005.

The College Boys is available from bookshops or direct from St Patrick’s College (049-4361888) at €35.


No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

The Controversial Legacy of Mother Teresa

‘Saints, should always be judged guilty until they are proven innocent.’

-George Orwell.

Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, also known as Mother Teresa, captured the media attention of the world for her pious service of the poor and abandoned children of Calcutta.

Born in Skopje – now capital of Macedonia- on 26th of August, she was raised by her strict Albanian mother to be a staunch Roman Catholic .At the age of eighteen she joined the sisters of Loreto as a missionary and came to India in the year 1929.

In the year 1950 the Vatican gave permission to Mother Teresa to start the diocesan congregation that would become the Missionaries of Charity.

The mission of the charity was a noble one as it was to take care of the homeless, the destitute and the unwanted people.

The order, Missionaries of Charity, had thirteen members, which grew to more than four thousand nuns running orphanages, hospices for the care terminally ill and Aids patients. In 1952 Teresa converted an abandoned Hindu temple into the Kalighat home for the dying. The order opened the Nirmala Shishu Bhavan, the Children's Home of the Immaculate Heart, as a haven for orphans and homeless youth.

The charitable activities of the order established organisations in other parts of India and also worldwide, especially, in Venezuela, Asia, Africa, US and Europe.1

The Extraordinary career of Mother Teresa

The brief curriculum vitae of Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu does not do adequate justice to the extraordinary career of Mother Teresa. In public and in the media, her wizened body and her wrinkled face radiated a quiet compassion, which could only be seen on saints' faces as they calmly served the wretched of the earth.

The media revelled in showing photographs of starving babies in Mother Teresa’s hands. Other photos revealed Mother Teresa in a saintly light as she hugged the dying who were vulnerable in their last moments of life. She became an icon of service to humanity and international recognition poured in first as trickle and then as flood. She won Padma Shri (India), Order of Merit, Golden Honour of the Nation (Albania), culminating in the Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded to her in 1979.

As an international celebrity, Teresa became a brand ambassador of the Vatican espousing the controversial policies of the Roman Catholic Church with regard to abortion, divorce and contraception.

When she died in 1997 the Holy See began a process of beatification towards declaring Mother Teresa as a saint. For canonizing Mother Teresa it was necessary to establish two miracles unless the Pope dispensed it.

The first miracle- the healing of a tumour in the abdomen of an Indian woman, Monica Besra, following the application of a locket containing Mother Teresa's picture- was mired in controversy as the medical doctors attending on her and her husband claimed that the tumour was cured by conventional medicine.

A devil’s advocate

Christopher Hitchens, an author and journalist, who declared Mother Teresa as a pious fraud, challenged the beatification and canonization of Mother Teresa. He said ‘her intention was not to help people’ but ‘she was working to expand the number of Catholics.’

His objections were overruled by the Roman Curia who saw no obstacle to the canonization of Mother Teresa. Hitchens alleged that there was no examination of the witnesses who claimed that Monica Besra was not cured by a miracle but by prescription medicine. It was also alleged that Monica Besra had tubercular cyst not malignant tumour as claimed by her order.

All these claims were perfunctorily examined without critical scrutiny raising doubts that the standards were deliberately lowered to put the canonization of Mother Teresa on a fast track.2

But the Vatican was in a quandary - if the scrutiny process was diluted and divine intervention in human affairs is too promiscuously recognized, the church exposes itself to skeptical questions that if one leper can be cured by divine help then why not other lepers?

Does the Lord show preference in not eradicating infant leukemia and mass poverty?

If so, is such a God biased in saving some souls but not the others?

Such questions relentlessly open the floodgates of critical challenge lowering the credibility of the Faith. This unease was reflected in some cardinals who objected to the fast track canonization of Mother Teresa.

However the beatification of Mother Teresa took place on 19th October 2003 and the title ‘Blessed’ was conferred on her.

This placed her firmly in the ante- room of sainthood.

A spanner in the hagiography

In a cynical age such as ours, where the highest form of human endeavour are self-seeking individuals working for the maximization of personal advantage, it is not surprising that tales of personal sacrifice bring tears to the eyes.

The reputation of Mother Teresa as a saviour of the poor received a turbo boost when Malcolm Muggeridge filmed Mother Teresa’s work in Calcutta titled Something Beautiful for God, which was shown on BBC.

He wrote a book with the same title, which sold more than 300,000 copies sold, reprinted 20 times and translated into 13 languages. There was no looking back for the obscure Albanian Nun who catapulted to world celebrity.

The hagiography industry churned out books with titles helper of the poor, protector of the sick, and friend of the friendless, which established the icon status of Mother Teresa as a living example of a saint.

It must be said to the credit of Hitchens that he initiated the critical process of challenging the status of Teresa and the hagiography industry devoted to the sanctimonious humbug of deifying Teresa.

In 1994 he produced a documentary film called Hell’s Angel, which was broadcast on Channel 4.

The film was vilified and the author was subjected to abuse. Undeterred, Hitchens meticulously researched the life of Mother Teresa and published a book called The Missionary Position.

In this book, Hitchens rakes up controversial issues about Teresa and calls into question the credulous nonsense written about the saviour of the poor.

In bad company

In a broadside delivered against the uncritical adulation of Mother Teresa, Hitchens asks inconvenient questions- what was Mother Teresa of Calcutta doing in the presence of the hated family of Baby Doc Duvalier who was the ruthless dictator of Haiti?

The event referred to by Hitchens was the visit of Mother Teresa to Haiti in 1981 to accept the Legion d'Honneur.

In a magazine called L’Assaut, a propaganda organ for the Duvalier family, there are photos of Mother Teresa holding the bangled hand of Michele Duvalier (wife of Baby Doc) and gazing at her with respect and reverence.

The magazine quotes Teresa as having said, ‘Madame President is someone who feels, who knows, who wishes to demonstrate her love not only with words but also with concrete and tangible actions.’

Whether the oppressed people of Haiti who were murdered, raped and pillaged by the Duvalier family for generations, echoed her sentiments is not known, as they were not quoted in the magazine.

Her pious endorsement of the Duvalier family was in line with the extreme Right wing and conservative faction of the Vatican hierarchy supporting the Duvalier oligarchy.3

While it would be tempting to view Mother Teresa’s Haiti visit as a social faux pas not worthy of criticism, there is overwhelming evidence that she supported repressive dictators and regimes in Central and South America.

She gave support to the Reagan administration by her participation in the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which was awarded to her inside the White House in 1985, when right wing death squads embroiled the administration in a scandal relating to the murder of four American nuns and the Archbishop of San Salvador in Central America.

Her admonition of the Sandinista Revolutionary Party gave support to the contras, a vicious mercenary army actively funded by the Reagan government to bomb schools and hospitals in Nicaragua, raised serious doubts about her political neutrality.

During the suspension of civil liberties in India by Indira Gandhi in 1975, the Mother uttered no words of criticism. She purred beatifically-‘ People are happier. There are more jobs. There are no strikes.’ Her friendly relationship with Mrs Gandhi and the Congress party played an important role in silencing the criticism. ‘Mother Teresa’ says Michael Parenti, ‘is a paramount example of the kind of acceptably conservative icon propagated by an elite-dominated culture, a saint who uttered not a critical word against social injustice, and maintained cosy relations with the rich, corrupt, and powerful.’4

Money has no smell

Other controversies dogged Mother Teresa. One of the most serious scandals to affect her reputation was her financial involvement with one of the biggest frauds known in American history - Charles Keating.

The savings and loan scam of Keating swindled $252 million, mainly from small and poor depositors. A staunch Catholic he gave Teresa $1,250,000 in cash and the use of a private jet.

In return Mother Teresa gave a glowing character certificate and pleaded for his clemency during the trial. The Deputy District Attorney for LA, Paul Turley in a tersely worded letter addressed to Teresa asked her to return the money stolen by Keating.

Mother Teresa did not return the money. No action was taken by the court for its recovery. It appears that saints are immune from coercive proceedings.5

The theology of suffering

At the heart of suffering lies a deception, which must be examined rationally to understand the theory and practice of Mother Teresa.

At a 1981 press conference she was asked: "Do you teach the poor to endure their lot?"

She replied: ‘I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ. I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people.’

Her reply made her critics accuse her of loving suffering more than the sufferers. The spectacle of suffering was beneficial for faith as only in pain one thought of the Lord. The alleviation of pain of dying patients was not an important objective.

There is a memorable anecdote about her attitude to suffering. A patient was approached by Mother Teresa who dished out theological platitudes instead of providing painkillers to the patient.

‘You are suffering like Christ on the cross,’ Mother Teresa allegedly told the patient. ‘So Jesus must be kissing you.’

The patient is said to have replied, ‘Then please tell him to stop kissing me.’

This bizarre attitude to suffering was reflected in her hospices and orphanages. ‘In 1991, Dr. Robin Fox, then editor of the British medical journal The Lancet, visited the Home for Dying Destitute in Calcutta and described the medical care the patients received as "haphazard".

He observed that sisters and volunteers, some of whom had no medical knowledge, had to make decisions about patient care, because of the lack of doctors in the hospice.

Dr. Fox specifically held Teresa responsible for conditions in this home, and observed that her order did not distinguish between curable and incurable patients, so that people who could otherwise survive would be at risk of dying from infections and lack of treatment.’8

Moreover, the formulary at the facility Fox visited lacked strong analgesics. Fox also wrote that needles were rinsed with warm water, which left them inadequately sterilised, and the facility did not isolate patients with infectious diseases.

There have been a series of other reports documenting inattention to medical care in the order's facilities. Some former volunteers who worked for Teresa’s order have also expressed similar points of view.

Mother Teresa herself referred to the facilities as "Houses of the Dying”

The orphanages where abandoned children were housed showed shocking lapses of care so strongly advertised in the media all over the world. Donal MacIntyre - a reporter and documentary-maker for Channel 5 Television who worked undercover was astonished at what he saw-

‘ I saw children with their mouths gagged open to be given medicine, their hands flaying in distress, visible testimony to the pain they were in. Tiny babies were bound with cloths at feeding time. Rough hands wrenched heads into position for feeding. Some of the children retched and coughed as rushed staff crammed food into their mouths. Boys and girls were abandoned on open toilets for up to 20 minutes at a time. Slumped, untended, some dribbling, some sleeping, they were a pathetic sight. Their treatment was an affront to their dignity, and dangerously unhygienic.’9
The donations, which poured from all parts of the world, were not invested in buying drugs and medical equipment for the care of the sick and dying.

Instead, it was diverted to the Vatican Bank for general use.

But when it came to her own treatment ‘Teresa checked into some of the costliest hospitals and recovery care units in the world for state-of-the-art treatment.’10

Conservative agenda

The Vatican under Pope Paul II used the popularity of Mother Teresa to support controversial issues on abortion, divorce, and contraception.

The Roman church remained implacably hostile to abortion even if was necessary to save the life of the mother or in instances where women were raped and requested abortion.

Its views on divorce and contraception were steeped in medieval values. The dogma of the Roman Catholic Church with respect to contraception is well known and has invited protests from all over the world.

Mother Teresa lobbied hard on the referendum to lift the constitutional ban divorce in Ireland in 1995. Her position was that of a hardliner opposing the removal of the ban on divorce.

In her meeting with Margaret Thatcher in the year 1988 the main discussion centred on Abortion instead of the plight of the city’s homeless.

In Spain she lobbied hard on behalf the clerical forces to prevent legislation liberalising abortion, divorce and birth control.

At a open- air mass in Knock (Ireland) in 1992, she addressed the devout with the following words-‘Let us promise Our Lady who loves Ireland so much that we will never allow in this country a single abortion. And no contraceptives.’

In her Nobel Peace Prize speech in 1979, Mother Teresa famously said -‘ I think that today peace is threatened by abortion, too, which is a true war, a direct killing of a child by its own mother.

Today, abortion is the worst evil, and the greatest enemy of peace. Because if a mother can kill her own child, what will prevent us from killing ourselves, or one another? Nothing.’12

Sums up Susan Jacoby,‘Teresa never showed any concern, in India or elsewhere, about the root causes of poverty — including lack of education, corrupt dictatorships, inequitable distribution of wealth, bigotry against social, ethnic, or religious under classes, and contempt for women.’13

Selecting Saints

Any Institution such as the Roman Catholic Church, which has a relationship of trust with its devotees, must maintain high standards of moral probity to retain the trust and confidence of its members. Such confidence should not be diluted in the name of political expediency.

In the past, the Church crushed dissent and heresy through the office of the Inquisition to retain power.

In modern times, such powers do not exist. Its legitimacy lies in moral persuasion, which is exercised through the proper selection of saints who epitomise all that is best and pure about the Church.

During the 26-year papacy of Paul II, the Pope had canonised 483 individuals to sainthood. Among the less savoury individuals selected for the honour of beatification was the reactionary Msgr. José María Escrivá de Balaguer, supporter of fascist regimes in Spain and elsewhere, and founder of Opus Dei, a powerful secretive ultra-conservative movement feared by many as a sinister sect within the Catholic Church.

Other selections for beatification, which raised eyebrows, were Pius IX, who reigned as pontiff from 1846 to 1878, and who referred to Jews as dogs and Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac, the leading Croatian cleric who welcomed the Nazi and fascist Ustashi takeover of Croatia during World War II and openly supported the Croatian fascist regime that exterminated hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews, and Roma. 14

Mother Teresa was a mild reactionary when compared to the egregious examples of Msgr. José María Escrivá de Balaguer, Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac, and Pius IX but certainly not an inspiring example for the Church.

More worthy persons such as Archbishop Oscar Romero who spoke against Right wing death squads for oppressing the people of El Salvador received shabby treatment at the hands of Pope Paul II.

The death squad murdered the Archbishop for speaking out his mind against tyranny and oppression.

The people of El Salvador venerated him as a saint. But Pope Paul II used his authority to ban any discussion for his beatification for a period of 50 years. No protests were made by the Pope to condemn the murder.

The Pope merely murmured –‘Tragic’ when asked for his comments. The ground swell of support for the martyred priest made the Pope to relent: the ban was cut down to 25 years. The Archbishop was put on a slow boat to sainthood.

The Byzantine intrigue of the Vatican in selecting its saints would make a cynic say in mock wonder, ‘The ways of the Vatican are indeed mysterious.’

And that sense of mystery only deepens when one considers the extraordinary beatification of an Albanian nun called Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu.


No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Vatican to Probe Medjugorje Sightings

The Vatican announced it will form a commission to investigate the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Bosnia's southern town of Medjugorje.

Local media quoted on Friday Bosnian Cardinal Vinko Puljic saying that this will be the first Vatican commission ever to visit Medjugorje.

In 1991, a Commission set up by the Bishopric Conference in the former Yugoslavia visited the town, but ruled that nothing out of the ordinary ever took place.

The Vatican has never investigated the sightings, nor has it recognized them.

Puljic stressed that no swift decision should be expected as the commission will look separately into the apparitions as well as into the work of local clerics.

The process of recognition of apparitions by the Vatican usually takes decades.

On June 1981, six young parishioners from Medjugorje reported seeing a white form with a child in her arms on one of the surrounding hills. They interpreted this and other apparitions they reportedly witnessed as the Holy Mary.

The story spread quickly and Medjugorje became one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in Europe, attracting millions of visitors each year. The development has transformed the remote and poor village into one of the most developed and rich small towns in the country.

Though the Vatican’s lack of recognition has not stopped the pilgrims, it has nearly created a split within the Roman Catholic Church in Bosnia as local priests have continued providing services in the Medjugorje church even when threatened with expulsion from their order.

Mostar’s Bishop Ratko Perić, who is responsible for the southern Bosnia region, still publicly denies any apparitions in Medjugorje.

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

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GAFCON Final Statement


Praise the LORD!
It is good to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.
The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel. (Psalm 147:1-2)

Brothers and Sisters in Christ: We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, send you greetings from Jerusalem!


The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), which was held in Jerusalem from 22-29 June 2008, is a spiritual movement to preserve and promote the truth and power of the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ as we Anglicans have received it. The movement is global: it has mobilised Anglicans from around the world. We are Anglican: 1148 lay and clergy participants, including 291 bishops representing millions of faithful Anglican Christians. We cherish our Anglican heritage and the Anglican Communion and have no intention of departing rom it. And we believe that, in God’s providence, Anglicanism has a bright future in obedience to our Lord’s Great Commission to make disciples of all nations and to build up the church on the foundation of biblical truth (Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 2:20).

GAFCON is not just a moment in time, but a movement in the Spirit, and we hereby:

  • launch the GAFCON movement as a fellowship of confessing Anglicans
  • publish the Jerusalem Declaration as the basis of the fellowship
  • encourage GAFCON Primates to form a Council.

The Global Anglican Context

The future of the Anglican Communion is but a piece of the wider scenario of opportunities and challenges for the gospel in 21st century global culture. We rejoice in the way God has opened doors for gospel mission among many peoples, but we grieve for the spiritual decline in the most economically developed nations, where the forces of militant secularism and pluralism are eating away the fabric of society and churches are compromised and enfeebled in their witness. The vacuum left by them is readily filled by other faiths and deceptive cults. To meet these challenges will require Christians to work together to understand and oppose these forces and to liberate those under their sway. It will entail the planting of new churches among unreached peoples and also committed action to restore authentic Christianity to compromised churches.

The Anglican Communion, present in six continents, is well positioned to address this challenge, but currently it is divided and distracted. The Global Anglican Future Conference emerged in response to a crisis within the Anglican Communion, a crisis involving three undeniable facts concerning world Anglicanism.

The first fact is the acceptance and promotion within the provinces of the Anglican Communion of a different ‘gospel’ (cf. Galatians 1:6-8) which is contrary to the apostolic gospel. This false gospel undermines the authority of God’s Word written and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the author of salvation from sin, death and judgement. Many of its proponents claim that all religions offer equal access to God and that Jesus is only a way, not the way, the truth and the life. It promotes a variety of sexual preferences and immoral behaviour as a universal human right. It claims God’s blessing for same-sex unions over against the biblical teaching on holy matrimony. In 2003 this false gospel led to the consecration of a bishop living in a homosexual relationship.

The second fact is the declaration by provincial bodies in the Global South that they are out of communion with bishops and churches that promote this false gospel. These declarations have resulted in a realignment whereby faithful Anglican Christians have left existing territorial parishes, dioceses and provinces in certain Western churches and become members of other dioceses and provinces, all within the Anglican Communion. These actions have also led to the appointment of new Anglican bishops set over geographic areas already occupied by other Anglican bishops. A major realignment has occurred and will continue to unfold.

The third fact is the manifest failure of the Communion Instruments to exercise discipline in the face of overt heterodoxy. The Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada, in proclaiming this false gospel, have consistently defied the 1998 Lambeth statement of biblical moral principle (Resolution 1.10). Despite numerous meetings and reports to and from the ‘Instruments of Unity,’ no effective action has been taken, and the bishops of these unrepentant churches are welcomed to Lambeth 2008. To make matters worse, there has been a failure to honour promises of discipline, the authority of the Primates’ Meeting has been undermined and the Lambeth Conference has been structured so as to avoid any hard decisions. We can only come to the devastating conclusion that ‘we are a global Communion with a colonial structure’.

Sadly, this crisis has torn the fabric of the Communion in such a way that it cannot simply be patched back together. At the same time, it has brought together many Anglicans across the globe into personal and pastoral relationships in a fellowship which is faithful to biblical teaching, more representative of the demographic distribution of global Anglicanism today and stronger as an instrument of effective mission, ministry and social involvement.

A Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans

We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, are a fellowship of confessing Anglicans for the benefit of the Church and the furtherance of its mission. We are a fellowship of people united in the communion (koinonia) of the one Spirit and committed to work and pray together in the common mission of Christ. It is a confessing fellowship in that its members confess the faith of Christ crucified, stand firm for the gospel in the global and Anglican context, and affirm a contemporary rule, the Jerusalem Declaration, to guide the movement for the future. We are a fellowship of Anglicans, including provinces, dioceses, churches, missionary jurisdictions, para-church organisations and individual Anglican Christians whose goal is to reform, heal and revitalise the Anglican Communion and expand its mission to the world.

Our fellowship is not breaking away from the Anglican Communion. We, together with many other faithful Anglicans throughout the world, believe the doctrinal foundation of Anglicanism, which defines our core identity as Anglicans, is expressed in these words: The doctrine of the Church is grounded in the Holy Scriptures and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular, such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal. We intend to remain faithful to this standard, and we call on others in the Communion to reaffirm and return to it. While acknowledging the nature of Canterbury as an historic see, we do not accept that Anglican identity is determined necessarily through recognition by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Building on the above doctrinal foundation of Anglican identity, we hereby publish the Jerusalem Declaration as the basis of our fellowship.

The Jerusalem Declaration

In the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit:
We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, have met in the land of Jesus’ birth. We express our loyalty as disciples to the King of kings, the Lord Jesus. We joyfully embrace his command to proclaim the reality of his kingdom which he first announced in this land. The gospel of the kingdom is the good news of salvation, liberation and transformation for all. In light of the above, we agree to chart a way forward together that promotes and protects the biblical gospel and mission to the world, solemnly declaring the following tenets of orthodoxy which underpin our Anglican identity.
  1. We rejoice in the gospel of God through which we have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Because God first loved us, we love him and as believers bring forth fruits of love, ongoing repentance, lively hope and thanksgiving to God in all things.
  2. We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God written and to contain all things necessary for salvation. The Bible is to be translated, read, preached, taught and obeyed in its plain and canonical sense, respectful of the church’s historic and consensual reading.
  3. We uphold the four Ecumenical Councils and the three historic Creeds as expressing the rule of faith of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
  4. We uphold the Thirty-nine Articles as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s Word and as authoritative for Anglicans today.
  5. We gladly proclaim and submit to the unique and universal Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, humanity’s only Saviour from sin, judgement and hell, who lived the life we could not live and died the death that we deserve. By his atoning death and glorious resurrection, he secured the redemption of all who come to him in repentance and faith.
  6. We rejoice in our Anglican sacramental and liturgical heritage as an expression of the gospel, and we uphold the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as a true and authoritative standard of worship and prayer, to be translated and locally adapted for each culture.
  7. We recognise that God has called and gifted bishops, priests and deacons in historic succession to equip all the people of God for their ministry in the world. We uphold the classic Anglican Ordinal as an authoritative standard of clerical orders.
  8. We acknowledge God’s creation of humankind as male and female and the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family. We repent of our failures to maintain this standard and call for a renewed commitment to lifelong fidelity in marriage and abstinence for those who are not married.
  9. We gladly accept the Great Commission of the risen Lord to make disciples of all nations, to seek those who do not know Christ and to baptise, teach and bring new believers to maturity.
  10. We are mindful of our responsibility to be good stewards of God’s creation, to uphold and advocate justice in society, and to seek relief and empowerment of the poor and needy.
  11. We are committed to the unity of all those who know and love Christ and to building authentic ecumenical relationships. We recognise the orders and jurisdiction of those Anglicans who uphold orthodox faith and practice, and we encourage them to join us in this declaration.
  12. We celebrate the God-given diversity among us which enriches our global fellowship, and we acknowledge freedom in secondary matters. We pledge to work together to seek the mind of Christ on issues that divide us.
  13. We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed. We pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord.
  14. We rejoice at the prospect of Jesus’ coming again in glory, and while we await this final event of history, we praise him for the way he builds up his church through his Spirit by miraculously changing lives.

The Road Ahead

We believe the Holy Spirit has led us during this week in Jerusalem to begin a new work. There are many important decisions for the development of this fellowship which will take more time, prayer and deliberation. Among other matters, we shall seek to expand participation in this fellowship beyond those who have come to Jerusalem, including cooperation with the Global South and the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa. We can, however, discern certain milestones on the road ahead.

Primates’ Council

We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, do hereby acknowledge the participating Primates of GAFCON who have called us together, and encourage them to form the initial Council of the GAFCON movement. We look forward to the enlargement of the Council and entreat the Primates to organise and expand the fellowship of confessing Anglicans.

We urge the Primates’ Council to authenticate and recognise confessing Anglican jurisdictions, clergy and congregations and to encourage all Anglicans to promote the gospel and defend the faith.

We recognise the desirability of territorial jurisdiction for provinces and dioceses of the Anglican Communion, except in those areas where churches and leaders are denying the orthodox faith or are preventing its spread, and in a few areas for which overlapping jurisdictions are beneficial for historical or cultural reasons.

We thank God for the courageous actions of those Primates and provinces who have offered orthodox oversight to churches under false leadership, especially in North and South America. The actions of these Primates have been a positive response to pastoral necessities and mission opportunities. We believe that such actions will continue to be necessary and we support them in offering help around the world.

We believe this is a critical moment when the Primates’ Council will need to put in place structures to lead and support the church. In particular, we believe the time is now ripe for the formation of a province in North America for the federation currently known as Common Cause Partnership to be recognised by the Primates’ Council.

Conclusion: Message from Jerusalem

We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, were summoned by the Primates’ leadership team to Jerusalem in June 2008 to deliberate on the crisis that has divided the Anglican Communion for the past decade and to seek direction for the future. We have visited holy sites, prayed together, listened to God’s Word preached and expounded, learned from various speakers and teachers, and shared our thoughts and hopes with each other.

The meeting in Jerusalem this week was called in a sense of urgency that a false gospel has so paralysed the Anglican Communion that this crisis must be addressed. The chief threat of this dispute involves the compromising of the integrity of the church’s worldwide mission. The primary reason we have come to Jerusalem and issued this declaration is to free our churches to give clear and certain witness to Jesus Christ.

It is our hope that this Statement on the Global Anglican Future will be received with comfort and joy by many Anglicans around the world who have been distressed about the direction of the Communion. We believe the Anglican Communion should and will be reformed around the biblical gospel and mandate to go into all the world and present Christ to the nations.

Feast of St Peter and St Paul
29 June 2008



No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Southern Cone to continue to receive American dissidents

ARCHBISHOP GREGORY Venables, the Primate of the Province of the Southern Cone, says he will continue to take on board Anglicans deferring from the US Episcopal Church (TEC).

Speaking at the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in Jerusalem he also told reporters that he wished more bishops at GAFCON would attend the Lambeth conference next month.

Answering a question at Friday’s press conference he said disillusioned Anglicans were welcome in his province.

“This is something that started because we had no option but to respond and it will go on as long as there is a need.”

He added: “Hopefully something will happen soon which will conclude this sort of transitional emergency period we’re in but until that happens then we have to go on doing this.”

The Province of the Southern Cone covers the countries of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

Ever since the consecration of the openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson in 2003 members of The Episcopal Church have been seeking his province for oversight, deeming TEC as too liberal.

At the press conference Archbishop Venables defended his reasons for attending Lambeth. He is one of the few GAFCON bishops to go to the conference.

“With regard to Lambeth each of us decided to make our own personal decision ,some time back, not to make a group decision and that we would work on this as individuals and honour each other’s decision. I felt that after consulting with a large number of people that it was right for me to be at Lambeth and to go there and take part in it.”

He added that there was need for more dialogue in the church.

“I don’t think there’s much need to listen more about where we all stand as I think that’s all very clear. But I think there is more need for dialogue. That’s one thing that some of us are aware of as seriously lacking. I’ve been in this business for many years now and I’ve yet to come away from a meeting feeling that we’ve really connected and talked seriously about the issues.”

Archbishop Peter Jensen, Sydney Diocese, was also at the press meeting. He said that the liberal acts of some parts of the Anglican Communion had awoken a global movement.

He said: “All around the world the sleeping giant of evangelical Anglicanism and orthodox Anglicanism has been roused by what has happened in Canada and the USA.”

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

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Rabbi row to leave Jews leaderless

Dublin's Jews could find themselves without a rabbi in four months unless community members can resolve a crisis over who will lead their Terenure congregation.

This comes after the synagogue's council failed to approve the presumptive nominee to the post of congregational rabbi following the retirement of Chief Rabbi Dr Yaakov Pearlman.

Rabbi Zalman Lent, who put himself forward for the post with the backing of the Jewish Representative Council, has resigned in protest from his current position as youth and outreach rabbi with four months' notice.

A significant number of community members have reacted with outrage and have petitioned the synagogue's council to convene an extraordinary general meeting, which must be called before 16 July, to resolve the impasse.

Community sources say the synagogue council, which is responsible only to dues-paying members of the modern orthodox Dublin Hebrew Congregation, is against appointing Lent, who belongs to the Chabad-Lubavitch hasidic movement, because they believe it would give the sect too much power in Ireland.

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

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Irish priests set to stay in Zimbabwe

Irish missionaries in Zimbabwe are to stay in the country despite escalating tensions in what opposition leaders have called a state-orchestrated campaign of murder and violence.

The dozen Irish missionaries based in the country - most of whom are in their 60s or are near retirement - are Jesuits or members of the Kiltegan Fathers, Franciscan and Carmelite Orders.

There are also Irish priests seconded from British-based dioceses.

Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe last Friday staged run-off elections which were described as ‘‘an exercise in mass intimidation’’ by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

He then pulled out of the election for the safety of his supporters.

A spokesman for the Franciscan Order, which has three Irish priests based in the capital, Harare, said it would be monitoring the situation and that the clerics were ‘‘keeping a low profile’’.

‘‘Obviously, the situation is tense there at present, but we are keeping a constant eye on it, and would consider what action to take if the situation changed,” said the Franciscan provincial secretary, Fr Joe McMahon.

Three Irish Kiltegan Fathers, who are also based in the Harare diocese, were ‘‘very eager to remain’’, according to a spokesman for the mission. Fr John Marren said the three men have been in Zimbabwe since the mid-1990s.

Fr Michael Bennett, from Ardee, was a member of the Kiltegan Fathers’ mission in Mutare until his permit to remain there was blocked earlier this year.

He said Irish priests based in Zimbabwe would not wish to leave ‘‘just because things get tough’’.

‘‘We are different to development or aid workers in that we learn the language and the customs and make this our home. There is a real sense that the people want us to remain at this time, and that we are needed now as much as ever,” Bennett said.

Bennett said that non-black priests were not being targeted at present, but added that local clerics had been attacked by youths affiliated to the ruling Zanu-PF party.

He said that, while he did not think the attacks were sanctioned by a directive from the ruling party, priests were targeted because they were outspoken about injustice.

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

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Papal chariot winging its way

IT'S AS synonymous with the Pope's image as Air Force One is to the US President.

The Popemobile, the recognisable white armour-plated vehicle, arrives in Sydney this evening after being shipped from Rome via Amsterdam, a sure sign the spiritual leader of the world's Catholics is soon to follow.

Pope Benedict's wheels for his historic visit to Australia is no ordinary car. It's a specially modified, custom built Mercedes-Benz M-Class two-door sports utility vehicle.

It weighs four tonnes, three times the weight of a medium-sized family sedan.

Given Australia's wintry conditions, the Vatican has selected the all-weather version for the Pope's visit.

It comes with a glass enclosure featuring bulletproof windows, doors and roof to protect the pontiff from all sorts of threats, ranging from the crush of fervent devotees to assassins.

There is enough room for two security officials to sit by his side.

The octogenarian pontiff will have the option of standing or sitting in a chair, normally upholstered in white leather, that can be raised so he is more visible to crowds. It boasts a full climate-control system to ensure the pontiff doesn't get too hot or cold. It also has a CD player.

Once the Popemobile rolls off a commercial flight this evening, it will be handed over to a logistics company and to the police to conduct training exercises. The Vatican insists there will be no photos and no sneak peeks.

A spokesman for World Youth Day, Jim Hanna, said: "The arrival of the Popemobile is one of the strongest tangible signs that Australia is in for a papal visit. That and the early arrival of thousands of pilgrims into Sydney over the past few weeks."

The Pope will be making at least two public appearances in the Popemobile on his visit. On July 17 he will be driven from the Hungry Mile to the Opera House, then on to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Art Gallery Road, The Domain and Hospital Road before heading up Prince Albert Road to St Mary's Cathedral.

On July 20, the day of the closing Mass, the Popemobile will do a circuit of Centennial Park before the pontiff is driven to Randwick Racecourse.

The Popemobile is designed to travel at slow speeds so its occupant can interact with adoring crowds thronging the roadside, but it can also make a speedy getaway if necessary.


No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

SSPX “answer without response” to Vatican ultimatum

The schismatic traditionalist Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) has reacted to a Vatican ultimatum by challenging the conditions Rome set for its return to the Catholic fold.

By sending this in a letter, SSPX leader Bishop Bernard Fellay partly fulfilled one condition of the ultimatum, i.e. answering by the end of this month.

But he did not fulfill the more important other half of that requirement, i.e. that he respond positively. In fact, he told the Vatican that other conditions — to accept papal authority and not criticise the pope — were too vague to be accepted, according to SSPX spokesman Rev. Alain Lorans.

As Lorans put it: “You can say he’s not responding, despite answering it.”

This is a clever way of ducking deadline pressure, but it doesn’t answer the real issues. It looked like the Vatican had the SSPX in a corner when the ultimatum of June 4 became known early this week.

By wording the five conditions so vaguely that contentious issues such as the new Mass and the Second Vatican Council reforms went unmentioned, Pope Benedict and Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos — the Vatican official dealing with traditionalists — may have thought they might win over the schismatics.

Benedict had already taken the first step towards a possible accord last year by liberalising the use of the old Latin Mass that the SSPX has championed as its visible trademark.

The ultimatum made a further conciliatory gesture by keeping the explicit requirements to a minimum.

Pope Benedict, 13 March 2007/Osservatore RomanoBut Benedict has his red lines too. Compare the current five conditions to the much more explicit five conditions that SSPX founder Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre accepted in May 1988 (with the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) but renounced the following month.

The new list of conditions strips away the explicit demands of the 1988 document, but they basically remain implicit — a fact that Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi confirmed this week.

Fellay clearly saw that and spoke out bluntly against the ultimatum a week ago at an SSPX seminary in Winona, Minnesota. The eye-catching quote in that sermon was “They just say ’shut up’ … We are not going … to shut up.”

He also offered a longer and quite vivid image of two icebergs. The tip of one iceberg is the old Latin Mass and its underwater part stands for Church tradition.

The other has the new Mass at its visible tip and the underwater part is a symbol, he said, of Vatican II and of these modern ideas, what they call the spirit of the Council, which has come in with all these reforms which have almost kicked down the Church.” Referring to the restoration of the old Mass, he said:

“What happens with this motu proprio is as if they would have taken this tip of the iceberg. When we see this, we have the impression, OK, they take the tip, so they take everything which is below. That’s not exactly what they did. They tried to take the tip and to plant it on the other iceberg, the iceberg of the new thing. And so we have two tips and they say it’s only one tip. But if you try to go and see and look under the water, what is below, you will see that they maintain that the only thing you can have below is the new thing.”

Bishop Bernard Fellay, 13 Jan 2006/Franck PrevelThe text of that part of Fellay’s sermon and the full audio posted here show how firmly Fellay — who sharply criticised Benedict only days before meeting Castrillón Hoyos to discuss the Vatican’s conditions — is upholding the SSPX rejection of Vatican II reforms.

Two other SSPX bishops (Alfonso de Galarreta and Richard Williamson) have also spoken out against the ultimatum. For his part, Benedict has changed the wording of the Vatican demands and partly conceded the old liturgy (”partly” because he supported it anyway).

But he has not budged in principle on the Council that he himself attended and helped shape as a young theologian.

So it’s back to a rock and a hard place. Will either side blink? Fellay says he has plenty of time and the ultimatum showed Vatican’s in a hurry. He told Swiss radio RTSI (in Italian, from 17:44) Maybe it’s wrong to say so directly that I reject, that I totally reject (the ultimatum), that is not true. Rather, I see in this ultimatum a very vague and confused thing … we have relations with Rome that develop at a certain pace, which is really slow … there may now be a chillier period, but frankly, for me, it’s not finished.”

The Vatican conditions may be the best the SSPX can ever get and Fellay has replied positively to one-half of one condition out of a total of five. That’s just enough for him to get semantic and say that maybe it’s wrong to say he totally rejected the ultimatum. Well, he certainly didn’t accept it, or even come anywhere near accepting it. Is he just buying time waiting for the Vatican to blink?

It looks like the Vatican’s turn to reply. What’s next?


No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Saint Peter and Saint Paul...unity through individual diversity! (Contribution)

Yesterday we celebrated the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.

Throughout the Universal Church, we are constantly reminded of the heroic attributes each man dedicated towards the spread of the Gospel to the entire world.

Saint Peter, the Prince of the Apostles and the Christologically bestowed head of the Church gives us a great example of human weaknesses transformed into great accomplishments of his successful preaching and ministry, initially to the Judaic followers of Jesus and finally to the entire Roman Empire.

His martyrdom at Rome illustrates the unwavering faith Peter maintained in the mystery of Jesus’ Paschal Mystery and inspired Gospel message.

Saint Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles presents an equally “larger than life” image of a man that experienced the power of the Gospel’s conversion through his own transformation from a persecutor of the Christian faith to one of the greatest influences on the entire course of Catholicism and its spread throughout the world.

In a modern world, that easily transports messages and information throughout the world in literally seconds, the massive evangelical success of both Saint Peter and Saint Paul is unsurpassed by their travels, teachings and ministry to both heirs to the covenant of Abraham and the covenant of Jesus on the cross.

Petrine and Pauline traditions are the fundamental cornerstone that influences the continuation of the Apostolic ministry of Peter’s Successor, Pope Benedict XVI.

Since the death of both pillars of the Church, Peter and Paul, the Vicar of Christ has consistently applied and spread the teachings of the Apostles to the ends of the entire earth.

In Rome the Pope celebrated the true universality of the Church’s missionary and apostolic teachings with the imposition of pallia upon forty nine metropolitan archbishops, that are united all over the world to the manifestation of Saint Peter and Saint Paul’s legacy in the foundation and continuation of the Church of Rome.

Throughout the centuries, the Universal Church has celebrated the exceptional Gospel witness of both of these great men. Both Saints Peter and Saint Paul are continued illustrations of the desire for Christian unity the Church seeks throughout the ministry of both Eastern and Western representations of the Catholic faith.

This hope for restored unity is indicated by the presence of the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople at Saint Peter’s in Rome to share in the Liturgy of the Word with Peter’s Successor and witness the Catholic Liturgy of the Eucharist.

Pope Benedict since the inception of his Petrine ministry continuously presents every opportunity for East and West to heal the schismatic wounds that have separated the Roman Church and the Church of Constantinople since 1054.

Ecumenical progress and modern history are being initiated with the joint participation of His Holiness Benedict XVI and His Beatitude the Metropolitan Patriarch.

As Catholics, we continuously hope and pray for juridical and sacramental reunion with our distressed brothers and sisters of the Eastern Church.

Benedict also imposes the pallia on new archbishops today. The pallium is a symbol of a metropolitan archbishops union with the Successor of Saint Peter. The most ancient traditions of the Church always recall this universal symbolism of doctrinal and legislative unity with the Bishop of Rome.

It is especially notable that Benedict XVI is wearing a different form of the pallium than which we are accustomed.

However, the modification of this sign and symbol of authority and unity indicates Benedict’s constant desire to achieve the continuity of hermeneutics throughout the Universal Church.

Clearly, the change in papal vesture indicates the Church has very many methods of indicating its sacramental and theological message through multitudes of sacred signs and symbols.

The uniquely different methodologies of Saint Peter and Saint Paul are great examples of the plurality of the Universal Church’s methodology in catechesis and evangelization; however, the theological essence is always the same.

Today is also a Solemnity all members of the Church should celebrate with great devotion and attention. It shows the true and essential diversity that exists liturgically and legislatively in both Eastern and Western branches of our faith. Different in liturgical expressions, but united in doctrinal beliefs.

Perhaps the inclusion of the Patriarch of Constantinople at today’s celebration of the Catholic liturgy will offer a kairotic moment towards reunification so that the words of Jesus might be fulfilled, “That they may be one!” +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce