Pray for the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton

Like many Catholics in this Diocese I am still perplexed and experiencing a wide range of emotions, felt by, I am sure, laity and priests alike. Poor priests, who had to read that statement this weekend.

Let's pray for Kieran Conry, for the family and lives affected, for a holy and faithful Bishop for the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton and for the flock he leaves behind. My own sins and crimes trail before me, as well readers know, so who am I, indeed, to judge?

One cannot help wondering, though: Are there any other bishops of England and Wales who may possibly be unfaithful to their vows while failing to shepherd and feed their flock? Will they do the decent thing and resign? Natural justice would seem to demand it, since it would be rather hypocritical if they permitted the fall of their brother but did not consider their own positions as well. Or are they, also, waiting for someone else to spill the beans in the Daily Mail? Perhaps those who knew of the bishop's activities waited instead for this very public explosion should also consider their positions as Shepherds of the Faithful.

Do pray for Kieran Conry. I wish I could write something as kind and noble as what Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith has written but in truth I met the then Bishop Kieran only a handful of times during which I spoke with him only very briefly indeed. I learned most about him from the interviews he did and the pastoral letters I heard. I am told by others of his fine human qualities and I sincerely hope that he finds peace, forgiveness and happiness in the Lord in this life and in the one to come. Whenever I met him he was kind, warm, interested in us and courteous, though I was a bit taken aback when he asked if we "really believed all that stuff" about Marian apparitions and sites of Marian pilgrimage. I got the impression he did not understand people's devotion to Our Lady and the Saints, nor those who genuflected towards the Tabernacle and knelt for Holy Communion. 

If anyone could do with an embrace (preferably away from the camera) from the Vicar of Christ right now, its probably him. I really do feel for him. That said, I'm pretty crestfallen, so I could do with one myself. I doubt the Holy Father would come near a traddie leper like me though. We're not the flavour of the month in Rome, are we? It really is astonishing just how much damage one Cardinal, now retired, can do in the Catholic Church, isn't it?

For the time being Arundel and Brighton is sede-vacante. This is perhaps one day on which the Holy Father might forgive a few long faces or Catholics who have been to Mass and look like they have been to a funeral. We are told that it is a holy thing to forgive, to resist anger and bitterness and to weep over the sins we hear of others, rather than condemn or judge. The laity and the clergy however cannot be blamed for the cascade of different emotions being felt at this time. Pray for all of us in this Diocese, including the former Bishop himself and especially for priests and a new Shepherd for the Lord's flock here.

Damian Thompson's latest piece on the 'unfolding drama' now rocking the Catholic Church in England and Wales is not very encouraging as far as the renewal of the Church in England and Wales is concerned. It all sounds like a bit of an 'old boys club' to me and as we know, 'boys will be boys'. God help us all and send us true Shepherds, not these ridiculous hirelings who actually consider that by deliberately not talking about sexual morality to your flock while living without sexual morality as a Bishop, you have not been a bad bishop.

Faith in our Families has a run down of the then +Conry's ecclesiastical career here. I'd also be interested to know: What did The Tablet and its powerful friends in high places know of this saga? After all, Kieran Conry was the wine correspondent and was well placed within the beating heart of the Catholic Establishment. All round, there is a sense of a possible cover-up that leaves a rather nasty smell not entirely different to the stink of the 'filth' lamented by Benedict XVI, who interestingly found so few episcopal friends in England and Wales.

"It's good to be here!"
Last but by no means least, here in Brighton, Kieran is the talk of the town because for the first time ever, the former Bishop has made front page news. I'm of the mind that we shouldn't judge Kieran Conry, because Our Lord tells us not to, lest we be judged.

I don't think I can judge Kieran's career as a Catholic Bishop either, because I'm not really convinced that he was or is a Catholic in the traditional sense of the word, but then, so many Bishops and priests these days nowadays aren't, are they? It goes without saying that scandal involving a Successor to the Apostles doesn't just damage the credibility of the Bishop individually, along with that of the particular See, but the credibility of the Church, Her Faith and especially the credibility of Her message that the Gospel can indeed be lived. Christ and His Church asks the impossible from no man, for what is impossible to men, is possible to men who live for Christ and all priests receive in Holy Orders the strength and grace to do so. This is grace and strength those called to this Sacrament can accept, co-operate with, or wilfully reject.


Fidelity Always, a now frequent commenter here, left a comment in support of Cardinal Richard Marx's 'moral position' on sexual matters, in complete contradiction to the Magisterium, so I decided that it was time for this commenter to find somewhere else to speak his mind.

This comment was in addition to a veritable raft of comments he had already left. He emailed me under a created anonymous email account so I still could not identify his name, but despite his blatant cowardice still decided it was I who was not a 'true gentleman'. Bizarrely, this individual went on to actually apologise for 'taking over' my blog comments section while still sending in two to three comments every few hours. Clearly, the commenter doesn't understand that a real apology means changing the behaviour that led to your apology.

He must be either obsessed or addicted to this blog. He clearly has something against the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, so I know its nothing personal. However, when I decided to inform him that his comments were no longer welcome on my blog he decided to get personal on my personal life. Thanks for your concern Fidelity Always and, by the way, I know the Deposit of Faith was not entrusted to me but to the Pope and Bishops. Of course, if the Pope and Bishops should ever stop teaching it and teach something else instead, which seems to be the case, the laity and the clergy are free to shout from the rooftops that they should be teaching that entrusted to them, and not something else entirely.

Let's face it, according to the now (place face in palm now) "liberated" Kieran Conry, doing as such never did him or the flock entrusted to him, any harm whatsoever. Perhaps you should start your own blog, Fidelity Always. It's good to be 'Mr Editor'. It means that as 'Mr Editor' you are able to decide who comments, who doesn't and have the last word on a discussion after having blocked their persistent emails which border on sustained harassment. I don't know who you are, but I hope that one day, should I and you make it there, we shall merrily meet in Heaven, where I'll be more patient and charitable and you'll be less annoying. He emails under the name 'Inspired to Comment'.

Henceforth, his comments (and emails) are deleted immediately upon my receipt of them, without my reading them.


fr jim said…
Is A&B Diocese vacant? As far as I'm aware the Holy Father hasn't accepted the resignation yet!
The only thing that surprises me about this is that it has taken this long to come to light in the wider world. Christian Order published an account over 10 years ago about how Conry had taken a young woman with him to Rome for his pre-ordination retreat. He was brazen - the students and staff at the English College were all aware of what was going on. People reported it and tried to stop the ordination going ahead, but they were met with the reply that the Holy Father had already made his decision.

One of the detriments of the desire to show a united face among the episcopate is that they will cover up for each other and turn a blind eye to corruption and sacrilege just like they covered up the child abuse. As soon as one steps out of line and accuses another of wrongdoing - like the recent case in Paraguay - the rest stomp on him and Rome gives them the sack.

Nobody should be surprised by this farce in A&B - it has been known about in high places for long enough. This is simply a case of a man who should never have been made a bishop in the first place.
The Bones said…
Fr Jim

I wondered the same myself but I assume that the story has created so much scandal that there is no way back.

As you suggest though, His Holiness is unpredictable.
Unknown said…
When Benedict resigned, Conry was very critical of his pontificate. That tells me a lot about the man. :-(

Maybe his bud Francis will allow married priests and re-marriage after divorce. Then Conry can keep his job. Yeay!!

Seattle kim
Unknown said…
Francis wants a smelly sheep church. Wouldn't Conry fit well into that scheme?
The Bones said…
Yes, as I said, His Holiness is unpredictable, but in the latest 'interview' with the Mail, I read that + Kieran did not see anything as having a negative impact on his 'job'.

Being a priest or a Bishop is of course, not a 'job'.

EditorCT said…
One of our readers alerted me to your notice about "Fidelity Always" who is a pain in the neck, to put it as traditionally as possible. I've had to take the same action, as he has pestered us over at Catholic Truth for a long time. So, you are absolutely correct to give him no more cyberspace.

Unlike you, however, I can feel nothing but anger at the sheer nerve of ex-Bishop Conry who made profession out of destroying the Church in his neck of the woods and beyond, via his appalling interviews in the Catholic press, all the while living a scandalous double life.

Yes, of course, we must pray for him but don't let's overdo the sympathy vote.

I'm bogged down with various things right now and struggling to keep up with the Catholic Truth blog, so I am unable to participate further (anticipating a lot of ticking off for my lack of charity! So be it!)

God bless
Long-Skirts said…
" having a negative impact on his 'job'."

Truly, another "hireling". Of course we must pray for this man and you, Bones, are quite the charitable and very good Catholic young man!


There is a Rock
Upon we’re built
That evil men
Will sometimes tilt
And though they vex us
To the hilt
We never leave
Reject or jilt
We daily kneel
In His Blood spilt
To weigh down Rock
Of golden-gilt
And as they sink
In their sin’s silt
As though He built
On one lone stilt
Upon this Rock
His voice, love’s-lilt
We stand our ground –
Do what Thou wilt!
Gungarius said…
Deacon Augustine,

I can't help thinking your first paragraph's last sentence explains the mysterious resignation of B16.

He would have witnessed first hand the goings on of curial officials acting in the name of a sick and incapacitated Pope and I'm sure would have been determined not to let it happen again.
Bruvver Eccles said…
I believe that "Fidelity Always" does already have his own blog. Under his real name, in fact.
Robert said…
The Bishop has not resigned and it is to be hoped that the pope will refuse his resignation. If you have done wrong, you stay and put it right. I supect that much of the ire directed against the bishop is his supposed liberalism. Now I am no lefty- I enjoy a Latin mass with choirat such a church as Farm Street, but I am really concerned at the posturing of extreme right wing Catholics such as crawl out of crypto fascist set ups as the anti semitic SSPX and LMS. Only Christ was sinless. Leave the man alone. His hounding is nearly as bad as that meted out to that great man O'Brien.
Genty said…
A lot of folks are being awfully nice and sympathetic towards Kieran Conry, but mark this. He expresses shame but still thinks he was a good bishop. He apologises. What, for being found out? Had it not been for a whistleblower he would be carrying on with his morally corrupt lifestyle while enjoying the prestige - and sycophancy - an ecclesiastical title endows.
Well, I’m angry. I’m angry at a man who apparently feels liberated now the world knows he’s broken his vows and offended against God whom he solemnly promised to serve. Not that God has received much of a mention.
Today is the feast day of Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. While praying for Kieran Conry we should also be praying to the great Archangels to defend the Church from the moral and spiritual lethargy which allowed Kieran Conry his leeway.
We are all sinners, yes. But this should not blind us to the enormity of a scandal that went unremarked for years, maybe decades, by those in the know.
Anonymous said…
On the contrary, you speak the truth.
Anonymous said…
The Bishop acted spoke and acted as if it was just a job, rather than a full giving of the whole self to the Glory of God and the salvation of souls through following Christ's mission to the Apostles.
Pedant said…
I think you mean to refer to Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich. I am not sure what Richard Marx's position on communion for divorced couples is, but his songs were very popular back in the late 80s.
Joe Potillor said…
Praying for your diocese....may a worthy successor be named. I hear the Pope makes direct phone calls.
Unknown said…
Well I'm glad you sincerely feel for him , Bonester, but I sure as hell don't. He was screwing around with another man's wife and he got caught. I wouldn't give my own husband any sympathy if he did that. And if Jesus were incarnate he'd probably take a whip to the man and he'd deserve it.

Seattle Kim
Unknown said…
The current rock is chipping away at itself.

Seattle kim
The Bones said…
Well I've done some pretty shameful things in my life so...
P├ętrus said…
@The Bones

so? You are being lined up as the next Bishop of Arundel and Brighton?
Anonymous said…
If you believe what utter nonsense you've represented by these words, you do not accede to the Deposit of Faith and the Natural Moral Law. Bishops have to strive for holiness if they are to do their sacred duty. They are ordained by God to teach, govern and sanctify souls in accordance with the unchanging truths of the Faith and of morals. The right thing when one has been found out is to repent and cease the sinful behaviour, do penance, etc. resigning is just a small essential part of what's necessary to mitigate the damage to souls, the offence to Our Lord God.
Anonymous said…
In such circumstances, it was scandalous that he should have been consecrated bishop. Horribly, as we know, the fact of consecration of many of the bishops is a scandal as so many have been publicly opposed to the Faith and morals before consecration. Blessed Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle . . .
Nic said…
The Tablet's little editorial was especially slippery; - and devious and destructive of Faith. The suggestion that Mr conry had merely fallen foul of tradition (a well known barrier to feeling liberated) is a lie. I think they were TRYING to say he was just behaving like the married man that beastly tradition wouldn't let him be. No. He slept with someone else's spouse. Many married people have committed adultery. But they don't all, although he did. He behaved like a self-absorbed shit. Which is what I take him to be.
Back to the most uneconomic magazine of all time (no one pays for it so it is clearly kept on as a vanity project )
One is forced to assume they were protecting their boy.
Nic said…
Oh, and I did enjoy Robert's highly comedic comments. Nothing other than a highly developed sense of humour could explain
" If you have done wrong, you stay and put it right" - a reference to staying in his "job" to put his sin "right"? Hilarious!
Tancred said…
This Bishop seems very satisfied with himself.
Unknown said…
My dear Bonester, we've all done shameful things. I've had 3 abortions, and if I'd notched my bedpost for every lover, it would be sawdust. Then, years later, I became a Catholic. I don't do the big sins anymore and I try to
do penance and make amends for what I've done. It's never enough. But for a bishop to be involved in such deliberate immoral behavior?

Seattle kim
Unknown said…
Bishop Marino of Atlanta was involved in a similar scandal with a young woman. He realized the terrible damage he had done and quietly retired to a monastery for the rest of his days. That's penance.

Seattle Kim
susan said…

Amen Seattle Kim, on all points....Amen.