Terms of Service

Those charged with drafting the infamous Code of Practice Which Will Not Do might like to have a look at recent events in the Diocese of Ambikapur, in central India, as reported by The Eurasia Review.

A Catholic priest, missing for 14 months, has accused a group of priests of kidnapping him as revenge for disobeying his bishop. Father Suman Xaxa told the police and media on Nov. 30 that unknown abductors had taken him blindfolded from his room in the bishop’s residence. They left him in a far away cave where he has remained since Sept. 14, 2009. He reappeared in a prayer centre with ‘unruly beard, soiled clothes, apparently very sick and unable to speak.’ The police admitted him to a government hospital.

Now, that’s the way to deal with stroppy clergy who have “issues” with their bishop!

Down in TEC

Over the pond now, for the latest attendance figures from The Episcopal Church (Proprietor: Mrs K J Schori). Statistics just published for 2009 demonstrate that all is not well in the Land of the Free. For a start, the number of active baptised members of TEC is shown as 2,006,343 (down from 2,057,292 in 2008). The total Average Sunday Attendance was 682,963 (down from 705,257 in 2008). Apparently, no less than 42% of Churches in TEC have shown a decline in membership of 10% or more over the past five years, with 54% of Churches showing a similar level of decline in Average Sunday Attendance over the same Period. Sadly, the published stats just don’t give any information at all about the one area of TEC growth under Mrs Schori’s leadership (sic) – but admitting just how much has been spent lining lawyer’s pockets through litigation would probably only serve to accelerate this almost terminal decline – and KJS ain’t that stupid . . .

Google is (not) your friend

Nearer home, it’s a relief to see that someone at http://ordinariateportal. wordpress.com is concentrating. What with all the excitement, it might have been easy to overlook the Google Sponsored Links which were appearing whenever one visited the site. To be sure, adverts for a Catholic Vocations Conference or even a Christian Dating Website might well appeal to your average member of the Ordinariate, but the Website of WATCH was probably something they thought they had escaped. Thankfully, though, (or sadly, depending on your point of view), the links have now disappeared.

Downhill all the way

A recent story from News Agency AFP deserves wider circulation:

‘Slaloming down the slopes in billowing cassocks in the tracks of their late compatriotPopeJohn Paul II, Polish priests vie for the “papal cup” prize in the annual clergy ski championships. Each year ski-mad priests flock to Poland’s southern Beskid Slaski mountain range bordering the Czech Republic to indulge their passion, as bemused fellow skiers watch them whiz by in their priestly garb. ‘Each year, this is how we kick-off the competition for the John Paul II cup,’ explained Father Damian, one of the organizers of the recent event that first started 14 years ago. ‘When we take our cassocks off, that’s when the real competition begins,’ he added. So far no nuns have taken up the challenge but Father Damian says the slopes are open to them too. ‘If at least three show up one day, we’ll create a special category,’ he vowed.

Three nuns? Now, there’s a thought…

Liturgy News

Worrying times for the Catholic Church in Australia, according to some bloke who writes for the Sydney Morning Herald. Apparently, numbers of priest blokes down under are vexed by the up-coming introduction of the new Roman Missal, claiming that they weren’t ‘consulted’ (why would they be?) and up to (wait for it!) twelve blokes may refuse to use the new Rite. The Chairman of the National Council of Priests of Australia, Fr Ian McGinnity, said hundreds of its 1,600 blokes were ‘pretty steamed up’ at Rome’s lack of consultation but most had not yet decided how to respond. At least a dozen had indicated they would not use the new English translation, he said. Asked what sanctions a local bishop could apply to defiant priests, Fr McGinnity said: ‘I really don’t know. I suppose he could suspend a bloke. But given the [priest] shortage, it’s unlikely.’ One such bloke is Fr John Crothers, of St Declan’s, Penshurst, who added, ‘I won’t be saying the priest part. If the people wanted to do the responses in the new translation, it’s up to them.’ (It’s what they call Patrimony, you know.)

Fashion News

News just in from Ghana, where the Catholic Church in Kumasi has slapped a ban on ‘indecent dressing’ by members of the church. Apparently, over the last few years there have been growing concerns about increasing levels of indecent dressing within the church, as church leaders appear to have relaxed long standing dressing codes. Monsignor Douglas Peters, Vicar General responsible for the Catholic Archdiocese of Kumasi told Citi News that Ghanaians are copying blindly from the Western world and urged his congregation to be guided by the spirit of morality. ‘We have been picking from other countries and we are destroying ourselves, not everything European or American is good for Ghana. We should be guided by morality, so ifyou are a fashion designer or Christian, be guided by the morality of the church, that is our goal’. 30Days readers – other than the faint-hearted – who need guidance on the sort of fashion that might attract such a ban can get something of a clue at http://tiny.cc/ghana30