From The Vine, the diocesesan newspaper of Northampton Diocese, November 2014.
|Uncaptioned photo accompanying the story on the|
front page of The Vine.
After a short account of her career up to now the article concludes:
'In a quiet way she knows the world is watching her.'
It is nice to know that, at 71, Bishop Doyle is still able to carry out bold experiments. I am a little unsure about this one, however. These parishes must, in canon law, have Parish Priests: only a parish priest (or 'priest in charge') can sign off things like permissions to marry outside the parish. These priests, presumably the neighbouring priests named in the article, have responsibility, morally and in canon law, for the souls in those parishes. We are being told, however, that they will not be allowed to exercise the authority which comes with the responsibility. To say the least, that puts them in an awkward situation.
As to what the article's second sentence means, I truly have no idea. Suggestions in the comments box, perhaps.
The 'experiment' going on in these two parishes is an experiment in depriving the faithful there of spiritual paternity. Pastoral care, or what is purported to be pastoral care, is being exercised by a person lacking the grace of the sacrament of Holy Orders and the psychological profile necessary to exercise spiritual paternity.
Presumably this experiment is a response to a shortage of vocations. Is the diocese expecting any future vocations from parishes deprived of the example of a priest giving his flock pastoral care?
If they think that there is a problem of vocations to the priesthood, they should have a look at the situation of active religious sisters, and particularly the kind which don't bother with any kind of religious habit. The vast numbers released from their vows, the collapse in vocations, and the rocketing average age of religious sisters, makes the problems of vocations to the priesthood look like a picnic. It seems like every week that a convent goes up for sale. Is this where the Diocese of Northampton is looking for help?
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