Arundel & Brighton: More Reflections.
First, let me say it very straight: the departure of Bishop Conry is very good news. As long as I have followed the things of Catholic England (seven years at least), Bishop Conry has always been one of the worst enemies of sound Catholicism, and a promoter (at least by willful blindness; I’d rather say by willful malicious intent) of the destruction of sound liturgy, and sound Catholicism, in his diocese.
It is, therefore, not without a certain rise in my adrenaline level that I now read around comments of people who say things like “he was always so nice” or “he always celebrated a reverent Mass”. Heavens, there is no damn liberal these days that is not frightfully “nice”, and I begin to think the first good sign in a bishop is that he isn’t. It also does not help much to celebrate a reverent mass oneself, if one’s priests celebrate masses with launch of M&Ms among the pewsitters, and the like. As to the bishop being “the one who has given us back Friday abstinence”, I could make the pun that we have seen how much he believed in abstinence himself, but more to the point I would bet my pint if there was one diocese in the Land where Friday Abstinence was either ignored or considered a yoga practice, it was his. Anyone who does not consider Conry one of the many poisonous fruits of nuChurch has his Catholicism in need of urgent repair, period.
This link is just an example after three seconds of web search: a bishop dressed in sweater tells us to put up with noisy children at Mass, and feels so trendy he can’t believe how cool he is.
No reverence, no clerical habit, no sense of sacred; in short, no Catholicism. Is it such a big surprise that he was unable to take his Job seriously in other – admittedly, difficult – areas?
Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi. Bishop Conry is just the latest demonstration of this great truth. He trashed the Liturgy, and the Devil gave a good thrashing to him. We can hope he recovers. But more on this below.
As to the “we are all sinners” meme, I would also like to invite my readers to not allow this evident truism to blind them to the great scandal given by a bishop who is discovered – I know no one of my readers is so stupid to believe the man was not cornered; not even one – to have failed his vows in the most obvious of ways; not as a disgraceful but isolated slip, but actually as a way of life. I wonder how many seriously, devout priests who wanted to celebrate the TLM he has discouraged, threatened, or not allowed in his diocese? There is more to say on this, but it will be for another post.
I am now awaiting the details about this story; after which I will allow myself to pose questions like: who knew and did nothing? Who accompanied the rise of this priest knowing of the breasted skeleton in the closet? The question will be allowed, will it not? Or are we “not to judge”?
As last observation, please consider the press release of (still) Bishop Conry: it contains the phrase
As a result, however, I have decided to offer my resignation as bishop with immediate effect and will now take some time to consider my future.
Boy. I’d have expected he says “I am going to lock myself in a monastery for the next six months, hoping to remember why I became a Priest”.
Nope. The subtext of this seems clear to me. “Family” first, Christ and obligations of the habit nowhere!
Again, I wait to know more of this. Perhaps he has three children with the woman, and is afraid about their future. But boy, “I will now take some time to consider my future” does smell of reckless entitlement. “Sorry boys. Wasn’t to be. Weighing my options now. Peace and love. Kieran”.
There is also no word of repentance, no hint of the end of this relationship. There are “apologies”, which in England are more common than “good morning”, and do not even imply an admission of guilt. The narrative here is the usual Anglo-Saxon one: I apologise if you are upset and scandalised; but hey, I think I might scandalise you even more and throw away the habit altogether. At which point I will apologise again for the “shame I brought on the Church”; and do, again, what I damn well please.
I will, of course, pray for Bishop Conry. I will do so enthusiastically, because I am a Christian, and in his grand fall I see the danger and the littler falls of us; the little people who, say, never became priests because they took the vow of celibacy seriously; and are astonished at people who become priests or bishops with a mistress on the side, and then inform us they are “considering their future”.
Still: there can be no doubt that the announcement of his departure is really, really good news, because this is another damn liberal going away from where he does a lot of damage.
Of course, Francis could appoint someone even worse at his successor; but it would be his own fault and responsibility. For us, today is a new chance, and another bad bishop becoming a cautionary tale. Forcing a bit the situation (not the logic), when Stalin dies you are happy that the damn Commie bastard is gone, not afraid that someone even worse than him might come to power.
Pray for bishop Conry.
And for a better successor.