Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Confused of Clifton

This Saturday is the day of the meeting for the self-selecting representatives of Diocese of Clifton to get together and discuss the initial findings of the Bishop's Seeking the Face of Christ initiative. I will be in distant lands so will not be able to attend, though I would like to.

The Bishop's aim was to find the "vision of the sort of Church the Lord is calling us to be", the pdf is available from the Clifton website.

The document meditates on our shared vision through the following themes: "made in the image and likeness of God", "God in all things", "communion of God's people" and "revealing the face of Christ". We, the Bishop's flock, had been asked for our views.

I hope and pray that the findings (which I did my best to contribute to) make reference to the priesthood, the Bishop's document doesn't. I hope there is more than a fleeting mention of the sacraments and that they are mentioned by name, his document does not. It would be nice if the Eucharist was mentioned and its central and essential significance stressed, unlike the Bishop's document which doesn't mention the Eucharist once.

I do not intend to knock Bishop Lang or criticise his efforts. I hope that the less than transparent consultation reveals the desires of the Catholic community in general and not just those who speak the same language as the Bishop (his document is not easy to respond to), however I have my doubts.

Maybe I'm just a hot head, self-opinionated and with my own exclusive, selective agenda. I found the whole procedure very isolating, there was no chance of parish based, prayerful discussion on the document. Surely, the Catholic Church, through the sacraments and the prayers of the faithful is the surest way to find the face of Christ (isn't that what has successfully happened for 2000 years?). The Church exists to save as many souls as possible and to strengthen both the religious and the laity to "take it to the streets".

Bishop Lang's document is poles apart from the language and tone of the Holy Father, whose words so often make my heart leap for joy.

We must pray hard that God's will be done.
Saint Peter, Saint Paul and Saint Colette, pray for us.


Philip said...

You've hit the nail on the head. Do our bishops read anything written by the Holy Father? If they did, one would expect them to attempt to emulate him in both style and content.

It comes to something when a "hot head[ed and]... self-opinionated [laywoman]... with... [her] own exclusive...[and] selective agenda" exhibits more Spiritual inspiration than does her Ordinary! LOL

God bless, and enjoy the break.

Rita said...

Philip: I do believe our Bishop to be "spiritually inspired", I have to otherwise the sacramental life of our diocese is invalid! I just feel that he, along with other influential persons in this diocese, has painted himself into a corner with his use of language. The document was a complete turn-off to my husband who couldn't be bothered with it..he is far more articulate than me and has a much greater wealth of experience within the Church. How many others like him found this process too cumbersome and woolly?

FLM: I respected your wishes!!! Prayer is essential at this time, it is so nice to know I'm not alone, my parish is quite remote and it can feel like a wilderness in many ways. Thank you and God Bless.

la mamma said...

Thank you, Rita. I know what you meanabout the wilderness thing. I don't think it will last, though.

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

All this seems so...pointless.
When Listening 2004 came out, I dutifully filled out the forms and sent them off. NOTHING happened. It all just disappeared into a black hole.
It's just sad-so much hurt.

Nick said...

Since leaving Bristol for Oxford in '97 i hadn't realised Clifton remained within the Catholic fold!

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

i will pray for God's will..

Rita said...

Nick: you are cruel and smug! ;-) Clifton will rise once more....but we will all have to spend much more time on our knees before it does.

la mamma said...

Baby in one hand but thought you might like to see this: http://wdtprs.com/blog/2007/10/diocese-of-clifton-liberal-in-the-best-sense-of-the-word/ Can't seem to embed it as a link, sorry. Hope you're having a good time away, wherever you are!

Rita said...

Thank you, la mamma, an interesting article.

I'll try to be as upbeat as Fr Z, it is certainly a step in the right direction!