We, the undersigned Catholics, wish to express our support for our bishops who are preparing the Catholic Church in England and Wales for new forms of ministry and leadership. We request the Catholic Bishops Conference to place the following items on the agenda for their next plenary meeting.In the combox, Fr David Barrett has sent a copy of the "fully corrected and clarified text" that he sent to email@example.com:
We ask that the bishops:
1. Acknowledge that there is a major crisis in ministry within the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
2. Acknowledge that there is no doctrinal or theological barrier to the ordination of married men. Our church has already ordained married former Anglican priests.
3. Take practical steps toward ordaining suitably qualified married men.
4. Encourage a wide-ranging discussion of the role of women in ministry and in the authority structures of the Church, including the question of women's ordination.
5. Establish appropriate scriptural, theological and pastoral training programmes (campus, distance and online) to prepare suitable women and men for ministry. These candidates should have the recommendation of their parishes and communities, and should participate in mentored pastoral work.
6. Invite priests who have left the ministry to return to active priesthood, subject to negotiation with the local bishop.
Dear petitionersI certainly second that!
As a Catholic priest ordained 15 years ago and now doing further studies in Rome I would like to:
1. Affirm my wholehearted support for the ancient practice of celibacy for the presbyterate in the life of the Church
2. Affirm my wholehearted support for the maintenance of clerical celibacy as a necessary sign to the world of the priority of the Kingdom of God and the call of Jesus, of love for Him and for His Church over other earthly ties
3. Affirm my support for celibacy not just as a discipline but as a practice grounded in the example of the Lord Himself, as a way of life that expresses the heart of the priesthood as a complete self-giving for the Church, as Christ gave Himself totally for His one bride - and so affirm that there are good doctrinal and theological reasons for this practice
4. Affirm my wholehearted assent for the Church's definitive teaching concerning the reservation of the sacrament of Holy Orders to men alone
5. Affirm my wholehearted assent to all of the Church's teachings, not as "Vatican policies", but as the teachings of Jesus Christ who gave His teaching authority to the Church's Magisterium
6. Affirm my prayers for those who have left the priesthood to get married, but my disagreement that they should be allowed back to active priestly ministry still married - such a move would be discouraging to those who have tried to maintain the promises they made at ordination and is a sign of a lack of respect to them
7. Deprecate this petition as an attempt to further the culture of dissent in the Church, a dissent whose real nature is a refusal to believe and so is opposed to the full act of faith, and so will do no good but will serve to encourage division in the Body of Christ
8. Acknowledge that there is indeed a crisis in the life of the Catholic Church, but this has been caused by dissent from the teachings of the Church, a lack of thorough Catholic catechesis, a lack of holiness and prayer in the life of the Church, an unwillingness to evangelise culture with the fullness of the Catholic Faith and a growing antagonistic secularism in the world which dissent actually promotes.
Yours in the Faith
Fr David B Barrett
Casa Santa Maria
Via dell'Umilta 30