Wednesday, 19 February 2014

More evidence for why Fr Timothy Radcliffe should be cancelled by Dublin's Divine Mercy conference

Fr Timothy Radcliffe O.P.
Fr Timothy Radcliffe O.P. has issued a statement in response to calls by concerned Catholics, including myself, for this weekend's Divine Mercy Conference in Dublin to cancel his appearance due to his dissent from Catholic teaching on sexual ethics. Deacon Nick Donnelly of the excellent Protect the Pope blog has already detailed Fr Radcliffe's unorthodox contribution to the Church of England's Pilling review on homosexuality, and Kathy Sinnott and Fr Dominic Allain have taken apart that contribution in an edition of Kathy's Celtic Connections radio programme on EWTN.

In his statement on the Divine Mercy Conference website, Fr Radcliffe admits that:
"I have presided occasionally at Masses which were intended to be especially welcoming to gay people."
The Masses in question are the infamous Soho gay Masses. Fr Radcliffe goes on to claim that:
"There are no grounds at all for regarding these Masses as gatherings of dissenters from the Church’s teaching."
Fr Radcliffe's claim is demonstrably false - there is a mountain of evidence that those Masses were precisely "gatherings of dissenters from the Church’s teaching" - see my blog-posts of 25 Aug. 2010 9 Sep. 2010, 13 Dec. 2010 and 7 Jan. 2012 ) Fr Radcliffe himself gave words of succour to those dissenters in his sermons to them. On 7 May 2004, The Catholic Herald reported that Fr Radcliffe "has presided over a Mass for London's gay Catholics." The paper also reported that Fr Radcliffe told a recent convert that he "must understand that he has joined with all sorts of people whose opinions on homosexuality may differ widely." The paper quoted Fr Radcliffe saying that:
"You are becoming one with all sorts of people with whom you may profoundly disagree, and who may appear to reject your sexual orientation and much that you may hold dear ... [such as] Cardinal Ratzinger".
And in a sermon on 18 August  2010 at the Soho Mass, Fr Radcliffe complained that:
"Every statement that comes from the Vatican seems to provoke more misunderstanding, more embarrassment, more frustration. My indignation with what the Vatican says is only exceeded by my indignation at its wilful misrepresentation by the press."
In a 10 March 2012 article in The Tablet entitled "Can marriage ever change", Fr Radcliffe wrote:
"This is not to denigrate committed love of people of the same sex. This too should be cherished and supported, which is why church leaders are slowly coming to support samesex civil unions. The God of love can be present in every true love."
In a 26 November 2005 article in The Tablet entitled "Can gays be priests?" Fr Radcliffe interpreted the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's document on "Persons with homosexual tendencies and the priesthood". Criticising Fr Radcliffe's interpretation, Fr Alphonsus de Valk wrote that:
"The article has done a disservice to the attempting to deconstruct the Vatican warnings ... In unjustly deriding the Vatican warnings, Fr. Radcliffe has given succor to other detractors."
In 2006, Fr Radcliffe joined Britain's leading dissenting Catholics in contributing an essay to "Opening up: Speaking out in the Church", a book of essays produced as a tribute to Martin Pendergast, one of Britain's leading Christian homosexual activists and one of the organisers of the Soho gay Masses. The book was co-edited by Julian Filochowski, Pendergast's civil partner, and Peter Stanford, another notorious dissenter from Catholic sexual ethics.

On 10 July 2009, Fr Radcliffe gave a talk to a Catholic parish in Mashpee, Massachusetts, in which he said:
"It's not that sexual ethics are particularly important. I don't think they are" (video at 8min40sec)
"We have to find ways of promoting our vision of the Christian family so as we can have a context within which to raise children, another generation; but we have to do it in a way which doesn't trash the relationships that people actually have" (video at 1min)
This echoes Fr Radcliffe's words in:
"[S]hould the Church accommodate her teaching to the experience of our contemporaries or should we stick by our traditional sexual ethics and risk becoming a fortress Church, a small minority out of step with people’s lives? Neither option seems right ... I confess that I do not know the answer."
  • a  keynote address to a US religious education conference, in which he was reported as saying:
“We accompany people in friendship as they become moral agents. Let’s look at the gays. For some reason--I don’t actually understand why--it’s become a very hot topic in all the churches at the moment. It’s tearing the Church of England apart. It’s the cause of great dissension in our own church. Usually when we think about it, we ask, ‘What is forbidden or permitted?’ But I’m afraid I’m an old-fashioned and traditional Catholic, and I believe that’s the wrong place to start. We begin by standing by gay people as they hear the voice of the Lord that summons them to life and happiness. We accompany them as they wrestle with discovering what this means and how they must walk. And this means letting our imaginations be stretched open to watching Brokeback Mountain, reading gay novels, having gay friends, making that leap of the heart and the mind, delighting in their being, listening with them as they listen to the Lord.”
In March 2012, Stephen Hough, a concert pianist who is openly practising homosexual Catholic, argued in favour of same-sex marriage in a blogpost on The Telegraph website, in which he said:
"I am heartened by Father Timothy Radcliffe's article in The Tablet which tries to place marriage and partnerships from a Catholic viewpoint in a clearer perspective. As the former head of the Dominican Order worldwide, he is the most senior churchman to offer a revisionist view on this issue ... If Fr. Radcliffe's lone voice were a united choir from the bishops worldwide the Church might be in a better position to discuss this issue and make a valuable contribution."
Fr Radcliffe has a problem understanding and accepting the concept of obedience, both to the truth and to the Magisterium which proclaims that truth:
  • During his 2009 Mashpee talk, he said that the Catholic Church "tends to be addicted to the culture of control" (video at 3min40sec).
  • In an article in The Catholic Herald on 2 December 2005, ("A wound to the Body of Christ"), Fr Radcliffe complained that Catholics during the Counter-Reformation "had to toe the party line, to stick to precise formulations of dogmatic positions".
  • In an article in The Catholic Herald on 10 December 2006, writer Raymond Edwards described Fr Radcliffe as the "darling of English progressives" and criticised what he described as Fr Radcliffe's "misunderstanding of the role of the Church's Magisterium" and his "agnosticism" regarding sexual ethics.
Again, during his 2009 Mashpee talk, Fr Radcliffe was asked about relations between the Catholic Church and the newly-elected President Barack Obama. He replied (video at 9mins28secs) that:
"I think that the most important thing is to have a mutually-respectful dialogue with President Obama. He is a very bright man. I have to say that when he was elected, in England you cannot believe the excitement we had. And I believe that he is a man with whom the Church can be in dialogue, on all sorts of issues."
Fr Radcliffe then called to the stage Professor Thomas Groome to speak as an expert on the Church's "dialogue" with Mr Obama. As has detailed, Professor Groome is a leading dissenter from Catholic teaching within the world of Catholic education. Cardinal George Pell has banned his books within the Archdiocese of Sydney. Professor Groome said (video at 0mins40secs)  that:
  • Obama "on many, many issues, really embraces Catholic social teaching"
  • "many Catholics would not be in favour" of banning all abortions
  • banning all abortions would be "to send abortions back to the back-alleys of our country"
  • Obama is "deeply committed to reducing the numbers of abortions"
  • Catholics "can work with" Obama on the abortion issue.
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