Being Consulted, Being Told

It's been interesting reading the debate here in the comment section over the last fortnight regarding the Hamilton Diocesan plan.

To bring readers up to speed – there is a new model being proposed for the diocese which will see new pastoral areas being established. Under this new model, which I understand is intended to be in place as early as January 2015, priests will not work solely within a parish, but will be clustered across a geographical area. There will no longer be an identified parish priest, rather there will be a group of priests serving a much wider area.The driver for this new plan is the reducing number of active priests, and recognition that those who still are active are aging.  The Hamilton diocese have made the decision not to recruit priests from overseas (I'm not sure why) so there is no "quick fix" in this area

Reading the various comments here on Being Frank hasmade me wonder whether this is an initiative that all catholics in the Hamilton diocese should expect to be consulted on, or whether as this is an issue of priest supply, it is for the clergy solely to decide and work through. I don't have a fixed position on it as I can see both sides of the argument. It is fundamentally an issue of being consulted or being told. Either way will lead to second guessing. It is an interesting question for the laity to reflect on – should they expect, as of right, to be consulted on such a decision?

Be Sociable, Share!

    Comments: 44

    1. Rubyshine April 24, 2014 at 1:26 pm

      I don't think we should expect to be consulted. I think it's arrogant of me to think I have a better solution than the Bishop and Priests who surely have a much better understanding of the work-load and pressures on the clergy.

      I don't know if it's going to mean a major re-shuffle of priests, or if they'll try and keep things as settled as possible through the initial changes. Either way I'm sad at the idea of losing our parish priest because I think he's fabulous (I understand the Hamilton city parishes are being grouped in a way that will separate some parishes that are currently linked) , but that's just me having a whine. I'm sure there are lots of parishioners who would be sad to farewell their parish priest or are perhaps anxious about the accessibility to a priest and mass in the future.

      I think it's important, therefore to keep the laity informed. Let them know specific changes that will affect their parish as early as possible so that they don't hear it on the grapevine, and so that they can adjust to the changes.

      It's perhaps different for laity involved in parish councils, who again have a better understanding of various pressures, but for the average person in the pews I think consultation is really just "management" making people feel like their input is important when really it isn't. Because the decisions will get made regardless of our opinions. But maybe I'm just cynical.

    2. Dominican April 24, 2014 at 1:40 pm

      Yes, but have the priests been consulted or are they being told by a retiring bishop and the two priests charged with the dismantle of the diocese as we know it what is in fact a fait accompli?  Canon law may have something to say about the rights of parish priests and those rights should be investigated without delay.  Concerned laity should be writing directly to Rome.  A canon lawyer would be able to provide the address.  What is proposed will have far reaching consequences for the Hamilton Diocese and it seems to me there is a lack of transparency.  I understand parish chair have been included in the proposals but they are not always representative of  the people in the pews.  I realise the Catholic church is not a democracy but most parish council members have not been chosen by their parishes.  I really would like to know apart from the two priests  who have come up withe the "plan" just how many of our priests think this is a great idea and the way to go Hamilton!  It is a very strange undertaking days weeks or months away from the appointment of  a new bishop  and something I believe should not be contemplated until a new bishop is installed.

    3. Benedicta April 24, 2014 at 1:43 pm

      It seems to fit within the Code of Canon Law (517)….as long as these parishes without their particular priest have their pastoral care ordered to a priest moderator.

      I don't think Catholics needed to be consulted in particular as the Church has ways of dealing with a situation where priests are in short supply….as in Canon 517 etc.

      Rather I think the discussion always needed to be had as to why there is a shortage of priests, how long there has been clear evidence that a shortage was coming, and what had been done about it, or what solution had been envisaged.

      I think the New Zealand Church in some diocese have been waiting for women's ordination and prepared laity for 'priestly' roles.

    4. Benedicta April 24, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      I agree with Dominican regarding Councils not reflecting parishioners in the pews. The wrong people have ended up in the wrong roles….elevated according to a particular vision of the Church.

      The process followed for decades has emptied the Churches….though the Churches in most cases are so ugly it takes extraordinary faith to sit in one with any Catholic sense at all.

    5. Don the Kiwi April 24, 2014 at 3:04 pm


      It has been pretty obvious since the early 1970,s that there was going to be a shortage of priests – that is the era known for "The Collapse of Vocations" – it happened so quickly, some people even put a date on it.

      What was done about it ?  Obviously not enough. There was too much innovation going on, feminists gained quite a lot of power in seminaries etc, the homosexual lobby gained a foothold, and these things are only now being countered. Read "Good bye, Good Men" by Michael Rose – its a real eye opener. I purchased a copy in 2002, and it explains a lot.

    6. Benedicta April 24, 2014 at 9:45 pm


      Its all such a shame. Feminism is a crazy way of thinking. I think they must have bullied the Bishops and priests, sending them into hand wringing apologetics; buying into the feminist way of thinking at the cost of the priesthood. One article I read by one insistent local religious feminist described the complementarity of male and female as 'dualism'. For goodness sake! I don't know what it is with women like this but if I find myself in the same room I get the creeps.

      What I can't understand is how well educated, presumably informed priests with philosophy and theology couldn't find their way out of the paper bag these nuns on the run put them into. How did they fall for it?

      I am wondering if there hasn't been a massive crisis of faith in high places…..did they not have the knowledge to defend the priesthood or did they just prefer the alternatives because they had essentially lost some truth about Christ and the priesthood? Why on earth through these decades was there a steady march of Call to Action representatives haunting these shores?

    7. Teresina April 24, 2014 at 11:57 pm

      I totally agree with what Dominican has to say too.  There is mention that the Priests Council was consulted and agreed but how many priests are on the Priests Council?  Only about four or five I think and all hand-picked by the Bishop, so bound to agree with him anyway.  Like the majority of Heads of Council the majority will go along with the Bishop as well.

      With the recent survey I believe such a precedent has now been set for consulting the laity, especially on issues that are going to greatly affect them.  I have heard that some parishioners are expressing concern that monies they have stored up for their parishes over the years will go to bail out other parishes … not to mention elderly parishioners who are gong to struggle to attend Mass if Masses are closed down – as has happened in some parishes – Waihi for example. 

      An interesting thing I heard recently from a friend in Wellington that when she approached one of the women pastoral workers in Wellington about what they were doing about a shortage of priests the same view was expressed: they have decided not to invite priests and seminarians from overseas because of cultural differences.  In Wellington as the priests are removed from parishes so women pastoral workers are put in their place – so you can see where we're headed.  Also, looking around the pews I would hazard a guess that close to 50% of the congregation are Asian.  Therefore, there are sound reasons for inviting priests or seminarians from Asia for the pastoral care of these immigrants.  How many older immigrants are able to speak English well?  Therefore, it must be difficult for some to have their confessions adequately heard.  Also I understand that a priest should not hear the confession of someone who cannot speak his language.  

      I repeat that I was at a Mass on New Year's Eve where a Phillipino Bishop said he was in talks with Bishop Browne to send priests to Hamilton for the Phillipino people who were asking.  John Whyte has mentioned one group who have requested a priest and not agreed to by the Bishop.

      The bishops need to start considering everyone and not just the would-be women priests among these pastoral workers.  I suggest that everyone write to the Papal Nuncio and respectfully request that such decisions be left for the new Bishop of Hamilton.

      We have complained for years and years at the way the Church is going – the clericalisation of the laity at the expense of the priesthood – but we have never listened and we just have to sit and watch as the Church goes into further decline.  I believe if this pastoral plan is put into place it will be the death knell of the Hamilton Diocese.  Meanwhile the Bishop – once again – is overseas on pilgrimage.  It seems to me he spends much more time overseas than taking care of his priests and the diocese.

    8. Teresina April 25, 2014 at 12:01 am

      By the way – on top of the pilgrimage I understand his chandeliers cost $10,000 each – I ask is that a reasonable upgrade of a property to living standards?

    9. Teresina April 25, 2014 at 12:09 am

      Also, I suggest that retiring priests and getting rid of overseas priests (such as the Korean chaplain) is a cost-cutting measure.  How bad are the diocesan finances???  Why is there such a large contingent of paid workers at the Chanel Centre?  Why are new diocesan premises planned to be built when there are perfectly good facilities at the Chanel Centre?

      Is it true that when priests are retired they are no longer paid a stipend because they get National Superannuation?  Is that the idea of hastening priests into retirement?  What about the hefty priests fund?  What has been done with that?  Are our priests being properly looked after in retirement, which is what that fund is for?  If the Bishop is not properly looking after priests then the laity need to ask him the hard questions …


    10. Teresina April 25, 2014 at 12:14 am

      I have to say that as a life-long Catholic I would never have asked or felt the need to ask such questions of the bishops in the past but now I do.  I no longer feel able to trust some of the bishops as I did in the past – some of them have proved not fit for the role.  

    11. Teresina April 25, 2014 at 12:30 am

      The NZ Catholic reports:

      "In December 2013, Bishop Browne appointed Msgr Trevor Murray and Fr
      Darren McFarlane as the coordinators of the Hamilton Diocesan Strategic Planning Committee. He later invited Carole Fleming, the chairperson of the diocesan pastoral council, to join them."  

      However, looking at Waihi Parish where Msgr Trevor Murray is Parish Priest, a pastoral plan, which appears to be the blue print for the overall diocese was published on 18 August – so well before December this plan was being implemented in Waihi and so consultation is just fancy words.

      Also in Tauranga Mons Frank Eggleton says that it is "non-negotiable".  So that sums it up – the Bishop is ramming this pastoral plan into position before he goes – no doubt to satisfy the women pastoral workers in the diocese – several are great friends of Msgr Trevor Murray and have had a lot of say in the development of priests and where they get shuffled to.

    12. Abenader April 25, 2014 at 12:52 am


      "no doubt to satisfy the women pastoral workers in the diocese"

      Can you develop this further (and why might this be the case)? I recall a few years ago, a deacon was going around to the various churches explaining the need for deacons (prior to the 'recruiting' of such) and he happen to mention words along the lines of 'dont worry ladies, this is not to leave you out of the picture/discriminate or words os a very similar sentiment. I found this comment a wee bit baffling. On the other hand, I see at quite a few parishes (and all the way up), is these 'gate-keepers' and such-like who hold key positions and it appears that they must be appeased (or most certainly consulted).

      What gives??

      As a final thought, the NO certainly has that feelings/feminine aspect which I do NOT experience/see with the TLM.


    13. Dominican April 25, 2014 at 6:32 am

      I wonder just how many women in the Hamilton Diocese have the "diploma" .  I know of one such person who regularly tells anyone listening "she is qualified to run a parish".  How many more are there waiting in the wings? 

      This is tantamount to an attack on priesthood from within. And I will ask again "what do the deacons do?"   Is there any foresight or future plan eg how many do we need, what areas should they be working in specifically.  One parish has about 4 ! Or is there a if you put your hand up, do the course, you can be a deacon AND FOR WHAT? The deacon in my parish can barely give a blessing without looking apologetic for doing so.

      Someone is copying Wellington obviously with the blessing of Bishop Browne

    14. Teresina April 25, 2014 at 10:36 am

      Abernader and Dominican, Carole Fleming for one is involved in pastoral planning also and is a representative on the New Zealand National Pastoral Planners Network and representative on the Australian body.  You can read details of the Australian body and the NZ connection – including details of stewardship that was introduced in Wellington in 2011 by Bishop Dew – so stewardship is tied up with the pastoral re-organisation.

      The following bulletin gives details of a case study of a parish and reconfiguration of parishes, etc – no doubt what the Waihi/Hamilton Diocese Pastoral plans are based on:

      Carole Fleming was brought in to be the head of the parish council of one of the first tranzparishes in Hamilton about 8 years ago.  So she has been involved the reorganisation of parishes from the start.  I would think that she has been behind the Waihi and Hamilton Diocese re-org plans.  This is very much treating the Church like a business with "collateral damage" being the promotion of lay people into leadership roles with the consequent loss of Masses and downgrading of the priesthood.

      Our blueprint for a parish that became priestless is St Peter Chanel Parish in Hamilton.  What happened there?

      First off the parish lost it's Sunday Mass and were given a vigil Mass instead.  This is despite the strong objection of the parish a delegation meeting Bishop Browne requesting the Sunday Mass be retained – he refused.  Much to the consternation of St Columba's parish they lost their vigil Mass.  The consequence – people from St Columba's started to attend St Peter Chanel Parish vigil Mass and the reverse parishioners who preferred Sunday Mass went to St Columba's.

      The consequence:  St Peter Chanel was well managed and debt free.  Now they have had to borrow money to be able to cover their expenses no doubt because of the loss of parishioners to other parishes.  Also when the new parish priest of the tranzparish was appointed a few years back he announced that he had more to do than say Mass and so daily Masses in the parish were cut back from 6 to 2.  In the tranzparish of three parishes St Peter Chanel has been the only parish without a resident priest and have felt like "the poor relation".  Parish life there is no longer the same.

      Another pastoral worker at the Cathedral who advertises for "table setters" and is expressly said she wants to be a priestess is well known for giving orthodox priests a hard time – overriding what they have to say and eventually getting rid of them.  The latest priest to be got rid of was the Korean chaplain who said a very reverent Mass and was very orthodox.

      At one time on the Hamilton diocese website was a list of people involved in various "ministries".  You could see several were involved in multiple ministries: RCIA, Liturgy Committees, Schools' policies, ICEL, Catholic Support Services to name a few.  One such woman involved in multiple ministries has the ear of the Bishop.  She has a radical view of priesthood.  She sees priesthood not as a vocation but as a career that needs developing with priests sent off overseas for study, etc.  One older priest told me that that is detrimental to the life of a priest and that overseas study used to be undertaken during seminary training.  He said if a priest is sent overseas once he has been ordained it can make it very difficult for him to settle back into parish life after that.  But obviously the bishop has listened more to this "development" idea because there has been a steady stream of priests sent out of the diocese despite so-called shortage of priests.  This woman is also a great supporter of Bishop Cullinane and tried (through his influence) to introduce standing during the Eucharistic prayer.  Her reasoning: "Bishop Peter says we always stand when a guest comes into the room".  So under this concept Our Lord becomes a guest in His own house.  She was/is also involved with the Palmerston North Diocese and has a "we are Church" outlook with the consequent flow on effects of that.  She has been involved for 25/30 years in many different ministries where Hamilton has seen priestless Sundays, etc.  Is it good that a few people hold multiple positions over so many years with no fresh blood coming into the diocese? 

      Those are just three of the women I know about involved in the Hamilton Diocese but of course there are many others.  One nun, for instance, who got so used to running parish liturgies in an outlying parish that she refused to let a priest celebrate Mass when he came on a Sunday.  If the priests had the support of Bishop Browne this sort of thing would never happen.

      It will be a very sorry outlook for the Hamilton Diocese if this pastoral plan is rammed through by Bishop Browne before he formally retires: priests spread across pastoral areas with no responsibility for individual parishes which will be run by a hand-picked few who will then dictate what type of music and Mass we are going to have as the priest will have what little authority he has now taken away.  

    15. Teresina April 25, 2014 at 11:03 am

      Another point is that Bishop Browned said at a Mass in Tauranga about 18 months ago that he was shortly retire but "I can do a lot of damage before then".  Therefore, this "damage" he referred to is that the reorganisation of the diocese to the overall detriment of the priesthood and the laity?  It is a very serious statement for a bishop to make.  I haven't heard of anything similar being said before.  Certainly not a statement one would expect to hear from a bishop who cares for his diocese, is it?   This is the only damage I am aware of that the bishop has done or is about to do and it is WILFUL DAMAGE because his statement shows that he is well aware of the consequences of such a reorganisation.  He needs to be removed by Rome before that damage takes place. 

    16. sienna April 25, 2014 at 11:17 am

      Bu Teresina there is a very obvious overlooking of one priest in particular. Intelligent,  holding a tertiary degree before entering the seminary eminently suitable for further study but Orthodox! so suppressed.  People flock to him

    17. Teresina April 25, 2014 at 11:30 am

      Sienna, I absolutely agree with that comment and, hopefully, that will all change when we get a holy bishop who has the welfare of the priests and his diocese at heart, and this priest you mention could ably fulfil that role himself.  If the pastoral plan goes ahead of course no one will know when or where that good orthodox priest is saying Mass so all the good work he has done will be undone!

      What we have got to look forward to under the new diocesan plan will be similar to what is outlined in Wollongong:

      ""The process is entitled “Parishes Working Together: Starting Afresh from Christ.” Bishop Peter is asking local communities to consider equitable sharing of their clergy, ministries and resources across parish boundaries, inviting people to consider grouping themselves into regions. Clustering and merging of parishes is not a new reality in our church, but Bishop Peter seeks to fully inform people about the options involved and the implications of different choices. However, the process is not simply about looking at grouping of parishes, rationalising Mass times and considering the placement of priests. At a deeper level, the laity are being encouraged to step up to the opportunity of being co-responsible with the clergy during this process of revitalising the Diocese, so that the local church is better equipped to enact the mission of evangelisation. How will lay people be supported and empowered to live out their baptism? Among the suggestions being put forward, is to provide formation and training for lay pastoral ministers, who will be able to assist in parish life. "

      Lay pastoral ministers … 


    18. Benedicta April 25, 2014 at 11:55 am

      Just a couple of comments. I am in agreement with the concerns everyone is expressing. From the theology/philosophy perspective I have a concern that 'the diploma' that Dominican mentioned is not particularly well formed. What concerns me is that the content and the training of those who teach 'the diploma' is not actually recognised as Catholic. This is not to say that the tutors don't adhere to Catholic teaching, but I do think that if any teacher at any level is teaching the Catholic Faith then that teachers formation needs to be in the truth of the faith. Catholic teaching doesn't recognise wandering theology….but holds that theology/philosophy/scripture/moral teaching are all ordered from the truths of the faith itself. Therefore the qualifications of teachers and lecturers need to be ones that are recognised from Pontifical institutions. The University of Otago is not a qualification that can teach Catholicism. Theological chairs in Catholic Universities…are not recognised as Pontifical. The proper Church qualifications are STB, STL, STD etc and the related qualifications of the same order in Canon Law and so on.

      I don't think it enough that Catholic staff are appointed on the basis that they are Catholics alone, but need to be holding the proof of qualifications recognised as Pontifical.


    19. Benedicta April 25, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      I just put these two links. The first is from a Diocese in Australia I know of that is working really well. The seminary is full. The Diocesan priests – many have Pontifical Doctorates and teach in the seminary. The standard is high.

      Also the second….a Catholic woman who does teach in the above Diocese and is well regarded. Note the Rome STD. Note her subject interests are consistent with the Faith.

      Please be aware that there are many many women who are faithful to the Church, have no ambitions to change its priestly order. But as Thomas Aquinas said are living out there prophetic vocation as teachers of the Faith.

      We need these women to come through. They do support the Faith of the Church thoroughly and do not undermine the Church in any way.





    20. Teresina April 25, 2014 at 12:14 pm

      Benedicta, thank you for those links.  I know that there are many good, intellilgent and well educated women who do support the Faith of the Church and do not seek to undermine the Church.  However, the concept of lay people in these positions is not ideal for the promotion of priestly vocations.  Unless and until the priesthood is promoted and the priest is returned to his former position as teacher and nurturer of the Faith we will not get vocations to the priesthood.  It is as simple as that.  The elevation of lay people – the good and the bad – has been to the detriment of priestly vocations and, no matter how good lay men and women are, they cannot administer the sacraments that we lay people need.  The local Church will wither and die if we continue in the way we have been going with the promotion of lay people to positions formerly held by priests and religious only.  

    21. Vatican2Survivor April 25, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      Sienna re your comment  on the tertiary graduate rejected from the seminary for his orthodoxy–Yes this happens alot –I applied to study for the priesthood only to be told, by the priest assessing me, that the Catholic seminary is' protestant and liberal but you might see that liberating'. When the Priest saw my shocked expression, on came the invisible handcuffs and with them the apartheid of the suppression of Catholic orthodoxy.As my vocation to the priesthood ended, this priest was later promoted to Vicar General. This explains why particulatr types of nonorthodoxy seem to have become influential and dominant, there is method to the madness as there is to the shortage of priests and the closing of churches.

    22. beyblade April 25, 2014 at 12:48 pm

      Teresina – I think it was yourself that posted that with the tranzparishes there is an expectation that resources will be shared etc – and people are worried about funds being raised locally going elsewhere. My insight is that resources have been moved from the parishes to the schools for years now, all take with no give back to the parish and now the numbers are falling, and the funds/resources are decreasing.

      I am in the Dunedin Diocese but a lot of what you describe is going down here; nuns that want to run parishes and whom undermine the local priest; priests who have no support from the Bishop and educators who are feminists and are moving up the power structures. Actually Anne Kennedy was the Primary Support person at our Diocese's Catholic Education Office before it became a committee and our last PP told me that she was responsible for one of the worse Masses he ever attended, where the priests had to sit in the pews and the laity were all up around the altar – I got the feeling it  happened a few  years ago. Now she is working in the Aotearoa Catholic Institute.

      In 2009 I was told by this nun that the women were all going to rise up………..(tumbleweed rolling down the street) – i think some women have gotten involved and are busy 'managing' parishes, but they tend to be smug and older.  I see no engagement with the women of my generation (40 year olds) and (speaking for myself) the notion of being super women and working, raising children, coaching sport, continually fundraising for schools  doesn't wash any more. Offering to volunteer at Church gets further down the priority list the more I am not listened to. One of the issues i have pointed out is the lack of support for Priests.

      Teresina – have you thought of starting a petition? "Please Listen to Your People" Obvviously we would have to sign our real names which is fine with me. I remember someone mentioning the number of hits this site recieves – if someone could organise a peition and a link i would go to it. Then I think we send a copy to the Nuncio and another to the Bishops Conference.

    23. Teresina April 25, 2014 at 12:49 pm

      Vatican2Survivor, can you elaborate on anything else you were told in your interview?  For example, was there any promotion of women priests, etc?

      I came across this booklet of keynote speakers at a conference celebrating 40 years of the RCIA.  The suppression of Catholic orthodoxy you mention is well documented here with a who's who of liberals mentioned in this document as the movers and shakers of the RCIA programme in NZ.

    24. Teresina April 25, 2014 at 1:00 pm

      Beyblade, I agree with all your sentiments.  Something needs to be done.  I am not sure about how to go about a petition which I would sign myself if someone could set it up.  Maybe Catholics United for the Faith could do something.  They were very instrumental in the past at holding the bishops to account.  I think it requires an organisation behind such a petition.  However, one thing we can do individually is to write directly to the Nuncio because those letters I am told have to be sent to Rome and a copy sent to the Bishop so he does get informed of people's views.  It does take a bit of an effort to write but if you know people who share your sentiment they could also sign your letter.  We were encouraged in the 80s to write to the Sacred Congregation for the Faith about the abuses that were going on in the Mass.  I and others did that and we received a response from the Sacred Congregation.  The culmination was Inaestimabile Donum a document, as you will know, which was a response to abuses in the liturgy and Pope St John Paul The Great stated that the document was brought about as a result of the many complaints coming from the laity about liturgical abuses from around the world.  So the pen is mightier than the sword as they say.  We must conquer apathy and write together with like minded people.

    25. Vatican2Survivor April 25, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      Yes Terisina

      I remeber that the interview kept returning to the question of was the Pope too narrow in not permitting Women priests–this added to my anxiety and fears taht the character of formation at the hands of such men would place my vocation and future of my soul seriously at risk. If

    26. Vatican2Survivor April 25, 2014 at 1:06 pm

      Again I have not been able to write a complete message on this site–are others noticing any difficulties?

    27. Teresina April 25, 2014 at 1:07 pm

      Beyblade, the Nuncio does take an interest.  A group of us were invited to speak to the Nuncio's secretary to express our concerns.  We did this under the auspices of Catholics United for the Faith.  Perhaps that is the body to join and strengthen its arm.  Everyone needs to write because everyone will be affected in the end.  

      Here is the address of the Nuncio:

      Archbishop Martin Krebs, Apostolic Nuncio, Mailing Address:  P.O. Box 14-044, 112 Queen's Drive, Wellington 6241


    28. banter April 25, 2014 at 1:08 pm

      Yes. I've noticed the difficulties with editing etc.  But what I wanted to ask VII survivor was, what year was this that you were having the interview with the vocations director? 

    29. Teresina April 25, 2014 at 1:10 pm

      Vatican2Survivor, yes, I have had difficulties with posts too.  Are you able to complete that post which is very interesting, particularly that the person in charge of assessing vocations should say that "Was the Pope too narrow in not permitting women priests".

    30. sienna April 25, 2014 at 1:13 pm


      The tertiary graduate wasn't rejected from the seminary but when his orthodoxy was discovered  further opportunity 

      for study  appeared to be shut down

    31. Teresina April 25, 2014 at 1:20 pm

      Sienna, that would be correct because I heard Bishop Browne state that he didn't know how many of his priests had become so orthodox.  Those who are have been held back as much as is possible from being parish priests as well as being prevented from further study.  Then we have the situation where a seminarian after almost seven years in the seminary was refused ordination by Bishop Browne plainly because he was too orthodox and had upset a group of lay women in St Columba's parish – one involved in the RCIA programme in particular who has the ear of the bishop.  I happened to be at a Mass where this woman was present and the seminarian was invited to give a sermon – it was wonderful, so orthodox – something we hadn't heard for years.  My heart sank when I saw this woman in the pew because instinctively I knew that would be the end of his vocation – a few days later the seminarian was informed by Bishop Browne (by email I am told) that he would not ordain him

    32. Teresina April 25, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      As Bayblade has named names I think it is time the Hamilton names were mentioned too.  The women I understand who have had the most influence on Bishop Browne in the Hamilton Diocese are:  Elsie Flay, Andrea Savage and Carole Fleming

    33. Rubyshine April 25, 2014 at 1:31 pm

      I know a lot of people here are anti the feminists. I'm still a bit of a fan of them for many reasons, so that may well colour my thoughts.

      However, my general thought is that the buck stops with Bishop Browne. I don't care who is talking to him, he's a grown man who can make his own decisions. To go blaming any group for influencing him is to negate his responsibility, and his ability to form his own views.

      I also just wanted to expand on the idea of not expecting to be consulted, does not preculde the duty to report things that cause grave concern.

    34. Vatican2Survivor April 25, 2014 at 1:39 pm


      It was was well over fifteen years ago at least. I applied again since, elsewhere in NZ. Faced again the same sort of inquiry which took place on similar lines which generally shows the first interview was not an exceptional one off never to be repeated lapse or bad day exception.Remember  the priest'sJungian babble–being asked to get intouch with my anima and feminine side and allthese ideas from an occultic seyance– driving dopey psychodynamic pseudo concepts, and these, during the interview to somehow assess my suitability for seminary studies,–never was asked did I love Our Lady visit the Blessed Sacrament or respect the eternal magisterium and so on When I worked as a psychologist, i listened at length to exseminarians. They had all sorts of info, experiences, trauma  over a time scale from their days when they were in the seminary when it was in Mosgiel, to nearer the present which make for a very entrenched and sad picture .

    35. Teresina April 25, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      Rubyshine, yes, I agree that the buck stops with Bishop Browne but if you get to meet these women you will soon discover how strong and persuasive they are and many men are weak these days.  They say behind every successful man there is a strong woman but that can be good and bad depending on their aims.  

    36. Teresina April 25, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      Vatican2Survivor, thank you for telling us of your experience both in interview and in discussions with ex-seminarians.  My aunt told me a few years back that three friends of her son all went into the seminary together – this would be 25 plus years ago of course.  All of them came out.  One committed suicide; one had a nervous breakdown and the other would not talk of his experience in the seminary.  I can only imagine it was something akin to what is written about in "Good bye good men".  Three ruined lives.  Shocking.

      One other thing I am told too is that one former teacher in the seminary who has been promoted by Bishop Browne for his replacement bishop was known to carry a teddy bear around and to pray on young seminarians.  I think this needs to be known for the sake of the abuse that has already taken place.  We don't need a repeat of that.

    37. Teresina April 25, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      I am told by a friend in Auckland that many recently ordained priests and ex-seminarians will be aware of the teddy bear incident and that they should write to the nuncio requesting that he not be accepted as a bishop anywhere in this country.  He is still being put forward by Bishop Browne apparently and it would be a traversty if we get him as bishop. 

    38. Teresina April 25, 2014 at 2:22 pm

      By the  bye, does anyone know what has happened to Marty Ruthal.  Has he given up posting?

    39. bamac April 25, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      Vat 11 survivor,

       There have been at least two young men that I have heard of , and possibly others who followed their example , who found their orthodox ideas were not acceptable here in Auckland  so took temselves over to Australia where they were acceted in a Victorian seminary .    Please God the wonderful work that Cardinal Pell did re seminary training in both Victoria and NSW will not be let unravel with the his replacement , who ever he may be.

       Mrs Mac

    40. sienna April 25, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      I heard of a young man who mentioned to his PP  he felt called to priesthood and was told  you have relatives who are priests and that's enough from one family.  Needless to say the relatives are orthodox priests!


    41. Dominican April 25, 2014 at 2:53 pm

      Teresina, more dangerous are those behind the scenes who load the rifle for others to fire

    42. bamac April 25, 2014 at 6:45 pm

      Very true Dominican.

      Reading through all the comments on the situation in the Church in Hamilton … to call it sad is not nearly enough , unbelievable that the Catholic Church has been brought to this state … the websites, their logos, and content you gave us Teresina of goings on in Australia with NZ included   ( not a crucifix  anywhere to be seen ) to me didn't even look Catholic …. Please God other bishops here don't follow suit too closely … my prayers for Hamilton .

      Mrs Mac

    43. Teresina April 25, 2014 at 7:40 pm

      I agree Mrs Mac, that was one of the things that crossed my mind when I was looking at the sites – nothing Catholic that I could see.  It is more as if the Church is being run like a business – the pastoral plans are set out as such.  Sadly it's not the Catholic Church as we knew it, is it?

      Your statement is so true, Dominican.

    44. bamac April 26, 2014 at 4:50 pm

      Someone was asking what some of our ordained deacons are doing ….. Most of you will remember our Chris who contributed to many posts here and made so many of them stretc a long way .    Thought that you might be interested to know how he is doing here at St Mark's .

          Most Saturday mornings Chris comes to be part of our morning Holy Mass … he always wears his clerical garb .  Befor Mass we have a Holy Hour so when Mass is to begin either Father or Chris give us a blessing whth the litle Monstrance before they put Our Blessed Lord back into the tabernacle …. Chris does this with great reverence when it is his task .  During Holy Mass Chris reads the Gospel  and then helps with the preparration of the bread and wine before the Consecration and distributes either the sacred Hosts or the Precious Blood .

         Sometime last year when we had had Vocation Sunday Chris organised a display in our foyer of literature and such from various communities around Auckland … he put a lot of effort into it and was there  ( in clericals) encouraging people, paticularly young ones to have a look.

         During this Lent He ran sessions weekly on the Gospel readings of the different Sundays there-in.   I was not able to attend but know that he had a group there at every meeting .  Next Sunday , Mercy Sunday , he has organized,  at 3 o'clock , the recitation of the Chaplet , something in honour of the Canonizations that will happen on that day in Rome and we will finish with Benediction …. … so Chris keeps himself busy  … Although I have seen him still talk about his belief in the ordination of women on Vox Nova , I have never heard him mention it in our parish   ,  or any of the other of the ideas  he seemed to love to discuss here on B F . …he is always there in the foyer after Holy Mass for those who would like to talk to him


      Mrs Mac