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APRIL 20 2012 THE CATHOLIC HERALD
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Poll: most Catholics in Ireland want female priests
BY MICHAEL KELLY
THREE OUT OF FOUR Irish people who identify themselves as Catholics find the Church’s teaching on sexuality “irrelevant,” according to new research published by the Association of Catholic Priests.
The survey, conducted by the research association Amarach, also showed that almost 90 per cent of those surveyed believe that divorced or separated Catholics in a stable second relationship ought to be able to receive Holy Communion at Mass. Under Church law, divorced and remarried Catholics who have received an annulment may receive Communion.
The figures were compiled from a sample of 1,000 Catholics and, according to researchers, have a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.
According to the results, 35 per cent of those surveyed attend Mass at least once a week, and 51 per cent attend at least once a month. Five per cent of those surveyed who identified themselves as Catholics never attend Mass.
The Association of Catholic Priests which represents about 20 per cent of Ireland’s priests, is campaigning for changes in the Church. Its members maintain that they are mainstream Church and not dissidents; their founder, Redemptorist Fr Tony Flannery, has been asked by the Vatican to stop writing for his order’s monthly magazine.
The survey appeared to reveal a wide disparity between what the Church teaches and what the selfidentified Catholics believe.
Eighty-seven per cent disagreed with Church teaching on an unmarried priesthood and said they believed that priests ought to be allowed to get married, while 77 per cent said the Church should admit women to the priesthood. When asked “to what extent do you agree with the Catholic Church’s teaching that any sexual expression of love between a gay couple is immoral”, 61 per cent said they disagreed while 18 per cent of those surveyed believed homosexual acts to be immoral.
Two out of three surveyed want a greater role in choosing their bishop.
The survey results were released last Thursday. One week earlier, during his Holy Thursday Mass, Pope Benedict XVI advised against dissent from Church teaching, saying it was not a legitimate path to reform. In March, the report of an apostolic visitation to the Irish Catholic Church in the aftermath of clergy sex abuse scandals criticised what it described as a “fairly widespread” tendency among Irish priests, religious and lay people to dissent from the Church’s teaching.
Fr Sean McDonagh, a member of the leadership team of the Association of Catholic Priests, said the survey “confirms that those who are advocating for change in the Church are not a tiny minority, but are, in fact, at the heart of the Church”.
He said Irish Catholics are “crying out for change and do not want the Church to go backward, but to move forward and change”.
A spokesman for the Irish bishops’ conference said that “the recent Apostolic Visitation highlighted the need for a new focus on the dignity and role of all the faithful and for deeper formation in the faith”.
“The results of this survey confirm the importance of all in the Church taking up this task in a spirit of communion and sharing the good news of the Gospel in a rapidly changing social and cultural environment in Ireland today,” he said.
John Murray, a theologian at the Mater Dei Institute of Theology in Dublin, said he welcomed the survey “if it can lead to a discussion about the Church’s teaching”.
“There has been too little discussion of these issues in the past,” he said. “We are paying the price for this now. The Church’s teaching is largely misunderstood by many people in Ireland.”
Dr Murray said he was “not surprised that many people have difficulties with some of the Church’s teaching”.
Dr Murray said he believes there has been a “vacuum for many Irish Catholics. That’s partly why people reject these teachings; they’ve never had them presented in a worked-out way.” He said it had been his experience that “when people see the depth of the Church’s teaching, they understand and appreciate it much more”.
He warned that the Church “cannot sacrifice truth based on an opinion poll. Ultimately the Catholic Church teaches what it teaches based on the fact that it is true, not based on the fact that it is popular.” Mark Dooley: Page 8
Fr Graham Turner, pictured at his ordination at Salford Infimary chapel Photo: Mgr Michael Regan
Priest with leukaemia dies only a week after ordination BY MARTIN DUNLOP AND ED WEST
A PRIEST has died from leukaemia a week after he was ordained in hospital by Cardinal Keith O’Brien.
Fr Graham Turner, 48, passed away peacefully on Monday morning, having been ordained for St Andrews and Edinburgh Archdiocese on Easter Monday at a hospital in Lancashire after his treatment for the cancer failed.
Fr Turner’s ordination was postponed last June after he was diagnosed and doctors began aggressive treatment. When Cardinal O’Brien heard during Holy Week that the prognosis was bleak for the critically ill deacon of St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, he appealed for prayers at the Chrism Mass and plans to ordain him for St Andrews and Edinburgh Archdiocese were revived.
Despite the deacon’s physical frailty, he was ordained by the cardinal at 2pm on Monday in the chapel at Salford Royal in the presence of Mgr Michael Regan, St Mary’s Cathedral administrator and Fr Turner’s parish priest, Mgr Rod Strange, rector of the Pontifical Beda College in Rome, Fr Turner’s parents George and Marilyn, brother, Ian, sister, Sue, and clergy friends from Salford diocese and St Andrews and Edinburgh. When the cardinal visited the new priest again last Friday he noticed that the hospital staff had decorated Fr Turner’s room with the congratulation cards he had received and photographs from the ordination ceremony itself, taken by the chaplains, which gave him comfort.
“The hospital chaplains had taken the photographs during the ordinations and they gave him great strength in his final days,” the cardinal said.
But Fr Turner’s condition remained critical, and Cardinal O’Brien said: “I received a phone call from the hospital chaplain at Salford Royal at 10pm on Sunday night and was told Fr Turner’s condition had changed and that he ‘looked different’. They called in his parents at 3.45am and he was given the sacraments. His parents, brother and sister were there when he died peacefully at 7.15am.”
Parishioners of St Andrews and Edinburgh archdiocese are also mourning the deaths of two other priests in the archdiocese last weekend, Fr David Barr and Fr Patrick Kelly.
Fr David Barr, 69, parish priest of St Margaret’s, Dunfermline, died unexpectedly last Friday.
The cardinal said: “In his 23 years as parish priest of St Margaret’s, Fr Barr ensured that the internal reordering of the magnificent church building was maintained and enhanced to the highest perfection and also ensured that major relics of St Margaret previously used during the annual national pilgrimages to Dunfermline were housed in the beautiful little chapel dedicated to St Margaret within the large parish church.”
Retired priest Fr Patrick Kelly 77, died on Sunday, at St Joseph’s House in Edinburgh, the home of the Little Sisters of the Poor community.
Sr Marie Claver, superior at St Joseph’s, said that Fr Kelly had passed away “very peacefully” on Sunday in the presence of Fr Thomas Hennessy, chaplain to the Little Sisters of the Poor in Edinburgh, and members of the St Joseph’s community.
Cardinal O’Brien will attend Fr Turner’s funeral Mass at St John’s, Bolton, on Monday at 12 noon before the late priest’s body is brought to St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh for Mass the following day at 12.45pm.
Mgr Regan, who was Fr Turner’s parish priest and friend, said: “The hospital chaplaincy team, the local clergy, and hospital board were superb, they pulled out all the stops. Graham was completely able to say his part in the Eucharist. He was able to talk.
“It was emotional, for his family particularly. It was good that he achieved the end of his journey.” Editorial comment: Page 13
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SNP candidate quits over abuse of midwives
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
A COUNCIL candidate for the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) has resigned following allegations that he described two Scottish pro-life midwives as “money-grabbing witches”.
Lyall Duff, a candidate in North Lanarkshire, was suspended by the SNP after he was accused of posting the comments on Facebook and has now confirmed his resignation from the SNP.
A party spokesman said: “Lyall Duff has informed the party that he has resigned his membership of the SNP, which therefore ends the party’s disciplinary process.
“While it remains the case that Mr Duff’s name cannot legally be removed from the ballot paper, he is not an SNP candidate and we do not support his candidacy in any way.”
The comments referred to midwives Mary Doogan, 57 and Concepta Wood, 51, who recently lost their legal battle not to assist with abortions.
The Facebook comments which are alleged to have been written by Mr Duff state: “Sack the money-grabbing old witches and make them pay back every penny they earned in disgust doing their career choice.”
Mr Duff is reported to have compared the midwives to animal lovers working in an abattoir and questioned why they chose to join the health service in the first place.
The development is expected to damage the SNP in the council elections because nominations have now closed so Mr Duff’s name will still appear on the ballot paper.
The Court of Session in Edinburgh had ruled earlier this year that midwives Miss Doogan and Mrs Wood had to accept the decision of their hospital management to oversee other midwives who were performing abortions on the labour ward.
The midwives argued that they had never been required to supervise abortion procedures in the past and that the hospital was asking them to be morally, medically and legally responsible for abortions.
Although they said that this conflicted with their profound objection to abortion, the judge ruled that the midwives involved were not protected by the conscience clause of the Abortion Act.
Frank Roy, Labour MP for Motherwell and Wishaw, told the Daily Telegraph: “If the SNP had acted earlier, they could have asked the courts to order that the SNP logo and name be removed from the ballot paper, but they have sat on this for almost two weeks now offering him their political protection. Glen Reynolds: Page 12
Two men fined for hateful messages Council tells schools to teach paganism
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
PAGANISM should be taught in schools alongside Christianity, Islam and Judaism as part of the RE syllabus.
Cornwall Council has told its schools that pagan beliefs, which include witchcraft, druidism and the worship of ancient gods, can be taught as well as the world’s three main religions.
The new syllabus, outlined by Cornwall’s RE advisory group, states that from the age of five children should begin learning about Stonehenge, which has become a shrine for some druids, from the age of 11, pupils should explore modern paganism and its importance for Cornwall and many of its residents.
The council has stressed that the teaching of Christianity still comprises two thirds of the RE curriculum.
According to the 2001 national census there are about 40,000 pagans in England and Wales.
The agreed syllabus explicitly states that at Key Stage 3, children should learn about “the development of modern paganism and its importance for many in Cornwall”, “the importance of pre-Christian sites for modern pagans” and “how modern paganism is diverse and how this diversity is expressed in Cornwall”.
BY ED WEST
TWO men have been prosecuted for posting sectarian, anti-Catholic messages on Facebook in the first case of its kind in Northern Ireland.
Matthew McKenna, 20, and Dean Boyd, 21, whose girlfriend and child are Catholics, wrote anti-Catholic messages on the social networking site, including a threat to kill all “taigs”.
The messages were posted last summer during the height of the Orange marching season in Co Antrim and were reported to police by Sinn Fein Northern Ireland Assembly member Daithi McKay, who was named by McKenna in one post and who told officers he feared for his family’s safety.
Magistrates court judge Richard Wilson told the men: “I hope you realise how inappropriate and stupid your comments are. It is comments like this that excite and exacerbate any tensions within this community and we can well do without it.”
Both accused pleaded guilty to posting a message which was grossly offensive or indecent. Boyd was fined £250 and McKenna £400.
The case follows an incident in Swansea where student Liam Stacey was sent to prison for 56 days for posting racist remarks about Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba.
NEWSBULLETIN London and Durham to put on display £9m gospel ST CUTHBERT GOSPEL, sold by the Jesuits for £9 million, is to be displayed with its pages open in the British Library and then next year at the Palace Green Library in Durham.
Fund, the Garfield Weston Foundation and the Foyle Foundation and from charitable trusts and individuals.
The British Library bought the book – thought to be the oldest in Europe to survive fully intact – with help from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art
The Gospel was buried with St Cuthbert on the island of Lindisfarne in 698AD and found in his coffin in Durham Cathedral in 1104. It has been on loan to the British Library for several decades.
Archbishop reviews Lent initiative ARCHBISHOP Patrick Kelly of Liverpool spoke to Vatican Radio last week about the New Evangelisation initiative piloted in his diocese over Lent.
The initiative, called Missio Metropolis, consisted of a series of talks, reflections, services and devotions, including early morning Masses at least once a week. Liverpool was one of several European cities chosen to pilot the scheme by the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation.
Archbishop Kelly said the highlight was a performance of Franz Liszt’s Via Crucis which, he said, “we decided to make part of the praying of the Stations... when it finished there was not the slightest temptation to applaud. There was just an amazing silence.”
He also said he was surprised Liverpool had been picked for the initiative because it was smaller than the other 12 European cities.
Church to host Russian singers RUSSIAN singing troupe Lyra are to perform at the parish of St Thomas More, Manor House, north London next month.
The concert, on May 20, will feature Russian Orthodox music followed by Russian folk music.
Andrey Sysoev, the group’s tenor, is choir master at St Peter’s Cathedral in St Petersburg. For tickets, priced £10 for a family, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parish exhibits vestments ENGLISH MARTYRS parish in Chard, Somerset, is to put antique vestments on display tomorrow.
The historic items of priests’ clothing include a late 18th-century cloth of gold High Mass set, a chasuble of watered silk with 24-carat gold bullion, copes and Victorian lace albs.
They are owned by Fr Michael Galloway, a priest of the ordinariate who assists at the parish.
More schools become academies THIRTEEN more Catholic schools have converted to academy status this month, according to the Catholic Education Service of England and Wales.
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