The credibility of the Church

December 2, 2013 at 2:03 am (Catholic Church, Commentary, Pope Francis)

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

Lewis Carrol:- The Walrus and the Carpenter.

Yes, indeed it is the time to speak of the Catholic Church! Why you ask? Perhaps some recognition should be given to the current questionnaire and survey that Pope Francis wants Catholics to participate in.

Before I start I suggest you click on Will Heaven’s piece which I completely agree with:

Let me suggest a number of simple questions that could have been put to the faithful and not so faithful:

1. Do you agree with the Church’s position on birth control and contraception?

2. In your opinion is all conscious sex outside marriage a mortal sin?

(It is generally agreed that wet dreams are sinless.)

3. Are there ever circumstances where gay sexual unions are blameless?

4. Is the only license endorsing sexual activity for the faithful granted through the sacramentality of marriage?

5. Do you agree that males are the only people who can be ordained to the priesthood?

6. Should the Catholic clergy be allowed to marry?

7. Do you agree that it is a mortal sin to not hear Mass on Sundays and Days of Holy Obligation?

8. Should the Church generally allow in parishes the practice of the Third Rite of Confession?

9. Would you be disappointed if there are no changes to the Church’s present official position on many questions of faith and morals?

10.  Pope Francis seems to be telling us that the Church in the past has been too obsessed with, in my words, questions concerning the bedroom, and if there is not some sort of balance he states that “…the moral edifice of the Church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.” Following on from this, in your opinion, is the Church now in a credibility crisis?

The time has definitely come to ask with the Walrus:

… why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings (?)



  1. Antony Ruhan said,

    Problems can be merely verbal, purely conceptual, purely practical (involving action), purely factual or involving all four levels of reality: i.e. real problems. Slipping from one level to another without trying to find reality merely confuses and irritates people. Some may regard these remarks as pedantic. On the other hand, they may themselves be superficial and childish. When we really grow up, we find that some problems are central to life, while others are related, but less important. If we just follow our emotions, we go round in circles. We’re not serious people.

    Some of the questions listed above are central. While differing in some respects, every culture in every period of history places the family, the clan or extended family as basic. The mother and father and growing children form an environment for human life. Peoples, i.e. nations with their cultures, have always protected the family because of its intrinsic value and have done so by laying down norms of proper behaviour. We call them moral laws. The word ‘morality’ derives from ‘mores’, the Latin word for customs. Good people respect these customs or laws. Bad people break them: they destroy the good life, wanting to follow every impulse without accepting responsibility for their actions, which have human costs.
    Religions incorporate these values to protect the good life of the people.

    The questions above about sexual morality have to find their answers within the context of the good laws and customs of human societies. Other questions are secondary: they concern administrative and historical developments in religious or cultural institutions. In different places and in different periods these institutions deal with them efficiently or not. But they can be dealt with and renewed in the latter case.

    You and your friends need to give more serious thought to what your words imply – if you are concerned with their implications and are not just letting off steam!

  2. deberigny said,

    Antony, thank you for your comments. As always they are reflective,erudite and thoughtful. Please see:

  3. David Wall said,

    Hi Dad, this is how I’d answer those:

    1. Somewhat, only when it’s about after conception given there’s no hard evidence to say when human life begins or even what the essence of life is. But if God creates life and life is not limited to a physical body, then it comes down to people breaking a child’s free will before that child even has a chance to express it.
    2. No, the act of marriage isn’t a creation of God. It’s really an oath made between two people. Wouldn’t make sense that God would require us to make any oaths to Him if he created us with free will.
    3. Yes, considering no one can say for certain that God didn’t create some men and woman gay
    4. No, if God made us as sexual beings, and sex is only endorsed by God after marriage, it poses a huge design dilemma considering our sacrament of marriage wasn’t created by God. Wouldn’t make sense God makes design errors.
    5. No, how could God love all his children equally if 50% of them have special privileges the other 50% don’t have.
    6. Yes if they want. Why would God disallow anyone to make oaths of love and commitment to each other?
    7. No, why would God dedicate just one day a week and only certain locations for us to be close to Him? Why would he not worry about the other days and places? Wouldn’t a loving parent want to be close to His children all the time and in any place (not just in a man made structure)?
    8. It’s good to have people others feel they can confide in without judgement. If confession achieves that for some, I can’t imagine God would be opposed.
    9. No, I suppose someone would be disappointed only if they had some personal investment in the church meeting their own present beliefs. The church has many opportunities to be a more loving organisation, and would be helpful for so many if it went down that direction. But if it couldn’t, then it would be best it doesn’t subsist into the future.
    10. As the church stands for aligning itself with God, it’s only as credible as how much it meets that. So far generally speaking throughout history, it hasn’t been very credible on those terms. Pope Francis has been moving the church into a more credible direction I would say. So I suppose it’s a wait and see..

    Hope you’re well Dad, see you soon.

  4. David Wall said,

    By the way, It seems there’s plenty of atheists in the church – not just the parishioners but the clergy too. A continual uncertainty of the existence of God is a form atheism. That doesn’t do much for it’s credibility and you’d have to wonder why a person who is unsure whether God exists or not persists. Not saying you’re like that dad – you actually taught me a lot about God when I was a kid.

  5. David Wall said,

    Where do you get this Pope Francis survey, did they hand it out in the church?

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