|Simple enough? Cardinal Burke celebrating Low Mass in Oxford.|
'And if the right answers are not forthcoming, then we have Francis' blessing on boycotts - on withholding money from purposes which do not contribute to simplicity and the alleviation of poverty. The church collection, like "purchasing", "is always a moral - and not simply economic - act."
The internal quotation is fromt the Encyclical, but of course it is talking about purchases, not the fulfilment of the Fifth Precept of the Church and Canon 222 that we support our pastors. Loftus is suggesting that if we don't like all the spending priorities of our priests and bishops, we should starve them of cash. Tempting though that might be, it is only because reasonable people allow a degree of latitude as to what their donations can be spent on, that we have bishops and priests at all.
But then Loftus really hates our bishops. The previous week he'd written a letter to The Tablet (20th June 2015) suggesting that priests who'd been laicised to marry be reinstated in pastoral ministry. What possible reason could there be to stop them? Loftus can tell us:
'the walls of ecclesial vindictiveness which shut out so may from full participation in the Church they love'.
That's it: the bishops who have over many years given an extraordinary degree of favour to openly dissident groups of former priests like Advent are motivated by 'vindictiveness'. There can't be any other reason, can there, for maintaining clerical celibacy, or the seriousness of clerical vows?
Well, at least there may be a practical reason against married priests. As the following week's letter page pointed out, you can't support a family on the £8,000 commonly given to Catholic priests. That's assuming, of course, that everyone hasn't stopped contributing to the Sunday collection.
See my short series of posts on clerical celibacy here.
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