Meetings, meetings

Up at Archbishop's House in Southwark today for a meeting called by Archbishop McDonald for all the Deans of the Diocese. We were discussing the process of consultation on a vision for the Archdiocese. It wouldn't be right to comment on the discussions themselves; not that there was anything terribly secret or earth-shattering, just that it was a preliminary consultation and I respect the process.

The process itself is prompted by the possible future shortage of priests in the Archdiocese and the possible need for some "restructuring" (cutting of Masses, merging of parishes etc.) In Southwark, this is not an urgent need because we are relatively well off for priests.

My own chief concern in such discussions (or "hobby horse" if you will) is that we should not see the shortage of priests as inevitable. There are many examples of good practice in the new ecclesial movements that demonstrate how fidelity to the magisterium and to the liturgical life of the Church will bring about a new flowering of vocations and spiritual life among the young.

I think too, that we have failed to preach Humanae Vitae and this has contributed to our present problems. The Worlock Archive by Clifford Longley documents how the Bishops of England and Wales opted for a policy of silence on this issue in order to defuse controversy. However, if we believe that the teaching is true and good, we must preach it. The families who live the teaching of the Church in this area are the seedbed for vocations. We will not convince everyone. But when we persuade even a few families to live the teaching of the Church, we see great results in committed young adults and priestly and religious vocations.

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