Tuesday 11 January 2011

With you Always

Below I have posted (in two halves, due to my technical limitations!) a DVD that the Archdiocese has asked all priests to disseminate as widely as possible. This included the extraordinary suggestion that it be played "at Mass" :¬(

It is entitled "With you always" - the new way we are to refer to the Sacraments of Initiation.

I would be interested in comments on it.

(Again, due to my technical limitations, the downloaded video is slightly cut off on the right hand side. Click on the picture once the video has started to take you to You Tube to view it whole!)


Skemdad said...

Father this DVD is terrible. At no point are we told 'why' this change in the order of Sacraments is deemed necessary. It is simply asserted that "it will be better".

I was shocked by the narration, since this must reflect the official policy of the Diocese. The narrator told us that "Ann was brought up Catholic, but she hasn't been to Church FOR YEARS. Colin knows that being brought up Catholic is part of what's special about Ann"!??! The mother then asures the pair that there will be "no problem" with the fact that they are not married and "haven't been to Church for ages". The DVD never addresses the reasons for their decision to have this child Baptised despite their lack of pratice. And the mother was right! There is no problem with any of these issues - they are never even mentioned. We are told later by the narrator that they bring their daughter to Church "OFTEN" - what about the obligation to bring her every Sunday and (now invisible) Holy Day?

The Archbishop correctly asserts that Parents are the first teachers of the Faith - but how can parents such as these hand on a Faith that they do not practice? The idea is absurd! This aspect of non-practice is never addressed.

This is a fairystory -all ends happily ever after. They get married, their children get married, everyone has a lovely time going to Church. Awww! How lovely!

The truth, of course, as anyone actually living in the real world, trying to bring up a Catholic family knowns is that this DVD represents the latest futile attempt to convince us that all is well in the Diocese while the walls tumble down around us. It is too depressing for words.

Anonymous said...

My observations:

I thought it very unedifying to hear an Archbishop speak so disparagingly of his own baptism.

Also, I found the actor playing the priest distracting since he clearly didn't know what he was doing either at the baptism or at the first communion. He wasn't even dressed for mass and was chatting and smiling at the little girl and giving blessings (The makers of this film clearly don't read your blog, father)

It looks very amateurish. Just who is it aimed at anyway?

Larry said...

Dear Fr,
I thought this was a joke. It looks like a sketch from 'Little Britain' with its peculiar characters and dodgy dialogue: "All right den, babe", "She's golden", etc. lol!

Dorothy B said...

As a former resident of the Liverpool Archdiocese I thought I had better watch this, just to see for myself what is happening there.

There seemed to be no real spiritual substance to the video. Things I noticed, at random:
- the complete acceptance of the unmarried state of the couple;
- the eventual decision to marry presented as a really nice thing they decided to do, with no mention of any inspiration - let alone duty - to put themselves right with God;
- the inappropriate timing of the friendly little chat the priest had with the child, just as he was about to give her Holy Communion;
- the difficulty of teaching the requirement to be in a state of grace when receiving Holy Communion, given the postponement of First Confession.

There are so many more things I could mention, but I’m sure others will tackle it far better than I can. Besides, I’d have to go through it again, and I’d rather not. It has left me feeling somewhat drained; rather as I used to feel after many a parish group meeting during the years when I lived there. I feel there’s just too much for one person to address. And certainly too much for one layperson with no influence. That sounds like a cop-out, I know, but I’m sure you understand.

Anonymous said...

Father, thank-you but has April 1st arrived early? I re-post something I posted in November about Archbishop Kelly and 'model' of church! All I will add is that this IS a true representation of the current state of the Catholic Church in Liverpool under Worlock and Kelly. In fact it's actually a lot worse! Just when you though it safe to go back into the water......

Having left Safe Harbours on the good ship Titanic II from Liverpool Docks, the members of the committed and dedicated Ship’s Band are currently tuning-up for a rousing rendition of “For Those In Peril On The Sea” which will be followed quickly with “Nearer My God To Thee”. Whilst the band members are following their leader in practice, the humble deckchair attendants are busy shuffling the deckchairs around to ensure best placement to catch the sun's rays as it fails to beat down on the very few passengers sailing.

Meanwhile in the Captain’s Quarters, Captain Kelly with the use of his shalalee conducts his close officer friends in a verse or two of “My God I Love Thee Not”. Whilst the good Captain is distracted by his fellows’ hearty singing he fails to observe that the vessel, crew and passengers, placed under his charge by the First Sea LORD, have been steered far from their intended course and are headed for the sand-banks of Morecambe Bay. At that point the band will strike-up with “O I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside” followed by a stirring rendition of “There’s No Place Like Home”.

Should we worry? No – not at all! Why? Because I believe the good Captain can walk on water, sorry mental blip - walk across the infamously dangerous ground!

Please forgive me if I don’t follow him into the quicksand, neither will I support, financially or otherwise a spiritually bankrupt Archdiocese. An Archdiocese that was, for so many years led by one (may he rest in peace), who many still mistakenly view as a great man, but who commenced, encouraged and oversaw the deconstruction of Catholicism in this Country and particularly in the Archdiocese of Liverpool. Many of this man’s protégés are now running the Catholic-Lite (C) brand dioceses the length and breadth of England.

His successor in Liverpool has continued and developed in many ways that deconstruction. This is not just incompetent buffoonery - it is deliberate, wilful and malicious incompetent buffoonery veiled in an innocuous M&S cardigan!

They have sought and destroyed that which was One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. They have destroyed that which was paid for with the “pennies of the poor”. They have succeeded in destroying the ‘Faith’ of the faithful and they continue in their relentless quest.

Psalm 27: 4 & 9
"Give them according to their works, and according to the wickedness of their inventions. According to the works of their hands give thou to them: render to them their reward".

"Save, O Lord, thy people, and bless thy inheritance".

georgem said...

It's a shocker. I can add little to what's already been said.
The Catholic faith has been reduced to sentimental mush.
Oh, well, there's always the Ordinariate.
(Thank goodness the Mozart Requiem is playing on R3).

Jon H said...

This is vile. How does this dross pass muster? The 'family', who exhibited NO faith whatever, are never challenged to even THINK about conforming themselves to the teachings of the Church. The priest (and I agree with the earlier contributor that they should have at least have used a real priest instead of someone from the local amateur-dramatics society. Perhaps no real priest was willing to take part in this farago?) was very 'nu-church' indeed. A wishy-washy, crimpeline-clad, effete wimp. Yuk!

Peter D said...

Sadly, I think you will find that the gentleman is indeed a 'real life' Liverpool Archdiocesan clergyman and what you see is, I'm afraid, all too real!

Jon H said...

Peter D,
Are you serious? If this is a real priest then things are worse than I thought. Ye gods!

Debbie Grimshaw said...

Father, am I the only one who has noticed that the Sacrament of Confession has been sidelined in this process? We were not told when, or at what age, this Sacrament would be celebrated. This is not right. Do we not believe in sin anymore?

torchofthefaith said...

Dear Fr. Simon

Thank you for sharing this. I've much to say and must therefore make this in parts!

As this is aimed at Archdiocesan catechists it is worth comparing the content with some key catechetical principles as defined by the Church.

Catechesi Tradendae 5 and the General Directory on Catechesis teach that the purpose of all catechesis is to bring people into intimate communion with Jesus Christ as only He can lead us into union with the Blessed Trinity. True Catechesis must therefore be Christocentric and Trinitarian. Other key principles are that authentic catechesis should give priority to doctrinal content prior to experience, be rooted in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, emphasise the Priority of Grace, the New Life in Christ (including the Moral Life and the Life of Prayer), discipleship in communion with the Church, the Hermeneutic of Continuity to name a few.

In light of these principles we may observe that this DVD is clearly not informed by the principles outlined above.

Also the Archbishop himself introduces a Hermeneutic of Dis-continuity in his discussion of his own Baptism in the pre-Paul VI era. Personal experience is also used as a means to bring in 'change'.

Alan John Houghton

torchofthefaith said...

Part Two

Further points -

1. The Archbishop asserts that nobody should come between the parents and children when it is a question of following the Lord - Yet this is exactly the problem parents have been trying to fight in 'Catholic' schools which are vigorously promoting the Culture of Death and moral/ethical/religious relativism.

2. This couple receive a 'lovely welcome' - and of course so should all people encountering the Church. However their vice is upheld as virtue. My wife and I received no such warm welcome on our wedding preparation course a few years ago when the Archdiocesan catechists bullied us for believing that sex outside of marriage and contraception were sinful practices... Are all homes really A Holy Place?

3. These parents are held up as examples of those who can teach the Faith. However, they are in a relationship of fornication. Were they called to repentance, Confession and discipleship prior to their wedding or just encouraged to keep fornicating prior to the ceremony? (as were the couples on our marriage prep..).

4. That a Catholic diocese can produce a DVD promoting women in unchaste clothes at Mass - complete with played out close-up shots - shows how far we have fallen.

5. The couple attend Mass 'often' - do they not observe the Sunday obligation and if not do they Confess this prior to Holy Communion?

6. The images of Little Church do not accord with the authentic approach - the Sacred Scriptures are on the floor instead of on a table/altar, there is no candle, the leader is reclining casually on the carpet.

7. The images of the Church show a man chewing in the benches during the Liturgy. Fr. Kevin McLoughlin - yes he is a real priest of the Archdiocese and brother to Fr. John McLoughlin the head of the Dept for Pastoral Formation bringing in these changes - prays 'May they be the best of teachers' - How will this be possible without true conversion and formation?

8. The discussions of Mass focus more on the 'banquet'/community dimension but not on the Holy Sacrifice and Real Presence. It is odd to see the priest chatting chumily to the little girl prior to her reception of Holy Communion.

9. Canon Law states that First Holy Communion must be preceded by First Confession.

10. The video concludes with a 'future-pacing' type technique wherein 'feel-good' music and words and a projected happy ending help to programme the viewer into thinking that all shall be well if this new route is taken. However, the reality is more likely the opposite due to the lack of evangelisation and formation given to parents/catechists.

11. Speaking of programming - this now helps to make sense of the Archbishop's Pastoral Letter for the Feast of the Holy Family which made little sense as either a letter or a pastoral document - but perfect sense as a programming text to bring others to adopt another 'latest thing fixes all problems' ideology. The Archbishop's short letter employed the title phrase With You Always no fewer than 13 times and sacrificed English meaning to achieve this.

After being stopped from teaching the Faith through the official channels because of our orthodoxy we started our own thing - Torch of The Faith and we aim to impart authentic catechesis according to the mind and heart of the Church. We're small but authentic.

May God bless you!

Alan John Houghton

Anonymous said...

How very odd that the unmarried couple can be encouraged to go to hundreds of different meetings: "Journey in Faith Group", "Baptism Group", meetings with the "Parish Team", their "designated catechists", not to mention a "lovely chat" with the priest's housekeeper, yet we do not see them attend Mass at all. As usual in the modern Church is this land everything is reduced to a community activity. There is no sense of the sacred or numinous. Colin is made welcome, not by attending holy Mass, but by taking a stall at the Parish Fair! How sad.

Skemdad said...

Father, was it seriously suggested by the Diocesan Authorities that this DVD should be shown at Mass?

veritas said...

It is refreshing to read such unbiased and open comments. Thank you Fr for your open and honest guidance and thank you for your willingness to allow your parishoners to air their views

Anonymous said...

father...what i can say is little - but all i will say is that i am praying for you!

torchofthefaith said...

Dear Father

Alan has said quite a bit already but we've also only just noticed that suggestion that the video should be shown at Holy Mass.

Does that mean that some parishes will be doing this on Sunday? If so then this is even more disturbing.

Angeline Houghton

Tom said...

I must say that I find some of the comments somewhat disconcerting. I personally thought that the DVD was excellent, as welcoming parishes, surely it is our responsibility to welcome all who seek the Lord? If someone came into your church who was not married and had a child would you send them away, or would you see an opportunity for faith development?

Anonymous said...

I have been following this blog waiting for some positive comments regarding 'with you always' and found Tom's comments refreshing. As a parishioner involved in a parish in Liverpool, I know the changes in society are all too evident. Yes there are couples unmarried who have children, yes there are Catholics who have been away from church for a long time that is not uncommon. I too was away from church for many years and my husband was not a Catholic when we married, nor when our son was born.

I felt a urge to go back to church when my son was born and was (thankfully) welcomed with open arms despite my many years away.

My faith had never left me just circumstances overtook us. I am blessed to be part of a parish who did not judge, did not assume that because I had not been to church for many years that I had no faith. My husband and I had our son baptised and and the welcome we received made such an impact that although we did not attend regularly we did 'dip in' now and again.

The welcome we received was enough and several years later I was very proud to stand by my husband at his baptism at the age of 35. SO... my point is please do not judge, just because people may appear to have no faith they may actually be waiting for someone to say ' it's ok, welcome back '

The postscript to the story is that my husbands daughter ( yes he was in a previous relationship and unmarried! ) saw the the Holy Spirit touch her dad and she too was baptised at the age of 19.. I was again proud to stand next to her. My step daughter has her own son now and guess what... we are preparing for his baptism. All because someone took the time to say 'its ok, you are welcome here'.

Anonymous said...

about time we had some positive comments about this new initiative...what we are doign is not working...so perhaps we should give this a try.

As a member of a parish in Aigburth, Liverpool, i think it can only bve a good thing to encourage those who have fallen away from the practice of their faith to try it once more!

georgem said...

I don't believe that any of us who looked askance at this video would ever argue against welcoming back those returning to the Faith. Many of us have lapsed at some time in our lives. It is one of God's great gifts that what was lost can be found and it is a cause for rejoicing.

What is curious about the video is the implied message that you can live any way you like, flout God's precepts and just pick up where you left off without any remorse or repentance. That awkward little sacrament of Confession, which nobody much likes, doesn't come into the frame. Neither does the parish priest, except for a couple of walk-on parts. And what's this about going to Mass "often"? What about going to Mass every Sunday as we are bound to do?

I accept that the purpose of the video is, quite rightly, to give out the message not to be afraid to come back, even with little steps, and that nobody will point the finger of judgement in a parish community which is open-hearted to returnees.

But I think the emphasis is skewed. Any way to get people back is not necessarily a good way if they don't understand/subscribe to the tenets of the Faith. Hopefully, what was shown in the video was a course of solid catechesis, though it wasn't made clear that it was about much more than being nice and explaining the mechanics.

The parish community's welcome cannot trump God's. He has waited patiently and silently. But it is His grace and love toward we sinners which prompts the journey back and gives completion to our lives. Being part of a supportive community is one of the benefits.

skemdad said...

Georgem, thank you for your thoughtful post. The issue is not whether we 'welcome' the lapsed back - of course we do - but how can we help them to conform themselves to the teachings of the Church.

The anonymous lady who posted yesterday made the extraodinary statement that "the welcome we received made such an impact that although we did not attend regularly we did 'dip in' now and again." By her own admission the 'welcome' was not enough to get them to practice the Faith! Catholics who 'dip in' now and again are not obeying the commandments or the precepts of the Church. Did no-one explain this during their 'welcome'?

Irene ( aka anonymous ) said...

skemdad... I did not say the welcome was not enough at all... my words were 'the welcome we received made such an impact that although we did not attend regularly we did 'dip in' now and again.

The welcome we received was enough and several years later I was very proud to stand by my husband at his baptism at the age of 35.'

I do apologise I should have been more clear... we did not attend reguarly for about 12 months, then we went back to chuch, ( yes I even went to confession every Saturday and still do!!!! ) and 3 years later ( attending church 3 to 4 times a week - and every Holy day too ) after that my husband was baptised -

He went through the RCIA programme too, imagine that a parish actually caring about adult faith.

And no on our initial welcome came round shouting 'repent sinner...repent, we took it in small steps and we got there

I would have thought that this would have been cause for celebration some one returning ( have you ever heard of the prodigal son or the good sherpherd )

Southport Catholic said...

Irene and anonymous ("it is about time"), I think that youbare missing the point somewhat. I have not read anywhere here that Catholics who have lapsed should not be welcomed back, nor should we as parish communities cast judgement on people who do come home - that surely is between them and God. But it is our responsibility as Catholics, and certainly it would seem to me that the Priest has the greatest responsibility, to help those returning in their journey of faith - central to this is encouraging a deeper understanding of faith, embracing the sacrament of the Church and being faithful to her precepts. It must be remembered that this video is a catechetical tool to be used on practicing Catholics - in which case the exception should not be presented as the rule. In the modern world it is a battle to remain good and faithful to God's commandments. In understanding why we should be Church goers this video does little but to confirm the secular view that all is ok, and then the faith aspect is introduced by saying that all are welcome. This simply cannot be true, we are told that God chose us and knew us always, WE have to choose him - just as the prodigal son chose to return home repentant. It is too simplistic to assume that this video with draw back the masses, it will not. It is Our committed practice of the faith and example in the world which will lead people from the error of their ways - faithful witness must stand above all things. This video does draw good questions for us to ask in our lives, why go to church? Do we understand the sacraments? Are we living as good Catholics? And what can I do to be in full grace with God? This is not a wishy washy faith, it is tough - but rewarding. I experience anti-Catholic attacks everyday, even in jest; at work, in the pub, on the football field - a development of interior love and devotion must follow the external practice of the faith. It is easy to slip into a routine of missing weekly mass, but surely this is the most basic thing we can do out of love for God. Thank you Fr Simon, this blog is insightful, academic, faithful and encouraging - the fruits of faith will be drawn from this.

Skemdad said...

James Preece has some insights into this on his blog which may interest: http://www.lovingit.co.uk/2011/01/with-you-always-from-the-archdiocese-of-liverpool.html

Mummymayhem said...

I don't really care that Sally or Bob or Maria welcome me with a firm handshake and a happy smile. I care that my redeemer suffered in agony for me, and threw his arms wide for me and loves me, even though I am undeserving of it.
I go to church to meet God, the God who knows me and cares for my soul.Maybe catechists should be less about,"Hey look at us, aren't we fun!", and more about,"Look at Him!"

Merry Del Val said...

“The desire to restore everything indiscriminately to its ancient condition is neither wise nor praiseworthy.” Pope Pius XII

Mary Simmons said...

Dear Fr,
Thank you for making this available. I asked our PP, who is quite liberal in his ways, about this DVD & he told me that he was too embarassed to show it to the parish. He added that the diocese must be embarassed as well or it would have been put on the diocesan website. Having seen it I think I agree with him.

Anonymous said...

Many of the comments have rightly highlighted the fact that the fictional 'couple' in the DVD remained unmarried for several years after their 'lovely welcome' despite their frequent attendance at meetings of various kinds.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (2353) describes the situation of this couple as "gravely contrary to the dignity of persons" and "a grave scandal", yet the DVD makes no mention of the sinfulness of the situation. As one comment put it:

These parents are held up as examples of those who can teach the Faith. However, they are in a relationship of fornication. Were they called to repentance, Confession and discipleship prior to their wedding or just encouraged to keep fornicating prior to the ceremony? (as were the couples on our marriage prep.).

This DVD is cruelly deceptive in leading people to believe that it is okay to live in this manner. God help us! How can the Archbishop dare to speak of the "Domestic Church" when this DVD portrays such a scandalous relationship? This is not a Domestic Church - it is a sinful scandal (CCC 2453).

Anonymous said...

Is it just me or does Collin's hair style evolve into a Legionary of Christ style side parting???
Seriously though, thank God for the SSPX!!

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute...is it just me or does the video suggest that confession will come after first communion??
If that is the case then the Archbishop is creating a situation that will multiply unworthy communions and potentially mean that people are receiving the Sacrament while not in a state of grace.

GWAM said...

Yes, "anonymous", yes it does: and therein lies the most sinister (the right word, if not an understatement) aspect of this highly disingenuous "work". Let's employ some factual deconstruction of this film: here we have two real life priests (Fr McLoughlin and Fr Inch) pretending to be actors in a work of arch-faction and fantasy (no part of the narrated story is real - but it is presented as such, as though it were an unfolding fly-on-the-wall docu-drama filmed episodically over a period of 15 or so years, with the clear intention of duping unsuspecting parishioners across the archdiocese that all in fact "was" well, not that all "might be" well); also there are several other bit part actor-players (whom I'm reliably informed fulfil those same lay-duties in real parish life: parish assistants, "catechists" etc.) who have either willfully colluded in this faction-propaganda or have themselves been duped into it; and there are also scores of other pew-based parishioners (e.g. at the mock-up Confirmation service) who have presumably been conned into becoming background extras.

I said sinister and I meant it.

Seriously, you couldn't make it up, as they say. Yet the most disturbing part is that is EXACTLY what the Archdiocese has done here. They have presented a fairy-story (that very same thing that militant atheists love to mock Catholics for believing in) as a Trojan Horse device to covertly usher in (under the masquerade of pretending to open and transparent) a new era which, if unleashed, will lead to generations of Eucharistic sacrilege and abuse.

I just simply cannot believe that I can all too readily believe that this is taking place; moreover that I have no trouble at all in identifying the type of passive aggressive, ovine-cum-lupine, deftly coded-shorthand that is the constant MO for the Archdiocese of Liverpool. I've seen and heard it for years and years.

This DVD - (Diabolical Video Diatribe) - is the very model of Liverpool's typical agenda of circiterism.

Consider the script and the awkward, "well", chatty gloss-over employed by the narrator:


Debbie [corridor]: "You may have noticed we've not mentioned the Sacrament of Reconciliation..."

(dissolve, fade scene)

Narrator: [over new classroom scene] "The Sacrament of Reconciliation...well...that will be introduced gradually through the primary years and as they grow in understanding of what it means to be reconciled to God and to the community..."


And there it was. Sleight of tongue. Hidden by a cleverly placed scene-shifting distraction. A pretence that the narrator and Debbie were actually engaged in a reciprocal Q&A vignette. Debbie matronisingly seeks to quell our "don't worry, I know what you're thinking" anxieties by introducing the subject of Reconciliation and has no sooner done so before she hands over to the narrator who then condescendingly seeks to convey that he is genuinely providing a direct response by actually saying nothing at all!!

Accusation to Archdiocese: "You haven't addressed the matter of Reconciliation."
Archdiocesan response: "Yes we have - it's there, six minutes into part two of the DVD."

And that's exactly how the Archdiocese of Liverpool operates its policy of fog and circiterism: pretend to address something directly by not actually addressing it directly but giving the impression that it's being directly addressed while slipping an awkward truth under the mat in the process. Box. Ticked. Next!

The message, though, is deafening for those with ears: Reconciliation, Penance, Confession - it's just an afterthought, a subject ill-deserving of anything more than a crafty script-dodging technique and a pesky sacrament to be conveniently brushed aside.

Indeed, sinister is an understatement.