I don’t have to like it!

I had an interesting converstaion with my parents on the weekend. We were discussing our Diocese's new pastoral plan, 'Who is My Neighbour?' and the impact it will have on parishes in the Hamilton area. For those of you who haven't seen or heard about the plan, it outlines how we will move from 23 parishes to 9 pastoral areas. Each pastoral area will be made up of a number of Catholic communities who will share three priests, one parish council, one parish office etc.

I guess, this plan had to happen. The reality is that we are running out of priests. The report publishes the ages of the priests in our diocese and, believe me, the numbers are not encouraging. The Bishop has talked about how he has tried recruiting priests from overseas with some success but there needs to be a shift in our expectations to deal realistically with the problem at hand, a problem that is only going to worsen as our priests age and retire.

The problem is, I don't want to be realistic. When I was sick in hospital a few years back I had visits from the hospital chaplain which was nice, but what was really special was when the priest came and annointed me. I've attended liturgies of the word before when our priest was away, but what I really crave is holy Mass. I know a deacon can perform a funeral, but when my family members die, I want a requiem Mass. When I need advice and guidance in spritual matters, sure I could go to a lay spiritual director, but I trust the guidance of my priest. Priests, by their very consecration are holy men, close to God… am I wrong to feel that the ministries of lay people are a kind of "second-best"?

At Hearts Aflame two years ago I was lucky to attend Fr Gerard Boyce's lectures and one phrase of his in particular stayed with me: "The Church has seven Sacraments – spend your life collecting them and then living your life in the reality they make you." When we have less priests, will it become harder to "collect" the Sacraments?

I know in coming years we will all have to step-up in our parishes, but I don't have to like it. Maybe I'll just continue to bury my head in the sand… it seems a lot easier than facing what's coming.

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    Comments: 116

    1. Benedicta April 2, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      Lay people don't have clerical type ministeries. The Ordained do.

      I am not excluding the sort of pastoral help that pastoral assistants can give to priests….visiting the sick and troubled, helping in catechetics and toward confirmation etc, helping in pre-funeral arrangements.

      But a lay leader is stepping into the sacramental and liturgical. I see that priests are now called parish leaders. In what was can a lay leader not be considered a parish leader if the priest is not there….a little Orwellian change by changing the rhetoric…bingo the special charism of the priest has been relativised and eventually erased from your memory.

      I think your reaction is simply Catholic. It seems to me as a sort of violation…things aren't in their right order.

      I am in a diocese in the same situation. I hate it and it won't work, it will kill the Church in areas. Its based on Church killing theology (without giving a great long diatribe…..we followed the Germans and not the papal kind. Look what the Germans are doing now….so are we without the money). You will get a Schussler-Fiorenza version of 'church' but as Benedict said if you take that line to its proper conclusion we will end up like the quakers or very quiet pentecostals. We will be Liberal enthusiasts/ritual makers with a lay leader.  

      What I believe is that it is a manufactured solution. That priest shortages, while having some cultural base, have been manufactured. Lay pastoral leaders aren't a stop gap they have been intended for decades…the pet theology of those who don't know the wisdom of their own tradition (I'm being kind)…many waiting for women to become ordained is the silent mantra. It won't happen ever (they hope!) and so this is what we get…mainly women in the back door as mini clerics.

      I feel a little bitter so forgive me…because having heard one express her own thoughts I know she hates the Church…especially the Catholic Church as the successor of Peter and instituted by Christ which she clearly and pointedly denied and we are required to believe it….

      It is easier to change the institution and blame 'Rome' than it is to hold to the wisdom of the Tradition and preach the Gospel. That is the pattern now for everything including the illicitly married.



    2. Dominican April 2, 2014 at 2:16 pm

      So do I understand from what you have written M&M that this is a fait accompli?

      It seems to me that those who use the phrase "Parish leaders'   are attempting to "dumb down" the role of priest,  and reduce him and what he represents.

      I believe practising Catholics will always have a requiem mass available to them.  My immediate experience is that deacons "do" the mixed marriages and funerals services (those without mass) and we will eventually get used to deacons baptising I guess.  Do deacons truly realise they have an ordained ministry – I wonder??

      Lay participation is stepping into and blurring the role of our priests everywhere.  Take extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion blessing all the children will nilly  – is it any wonder people don't realise there is a difference or don't they care?

      BUT funny thing though, I know people in hospital not necessarily facing death always ask to see a PRIEST! not the chaplain or lay visitor. People who aren't catholic often want to talk to a PRIEST not Mrs………..with a brooch on her lapel and a diploma which says she can run a parish.

      Value the priests we have, pray for them, support them, encourage them –  you know they have your spiritual (and temporal) welfare at heart – don't try and take over from them.

      It must be very disheartening to sit in a confessional and no one comes or offer Stations of the Cross for just a few.   There are still priests who don't require you to make an appointment.

      The church in NZ was served by a very small number of priests in the early 19th century.  Don't suppose they had much spare time as they travelled on horse back to their various mission posts – probably no day off and no time for social activities!

    3. Teresina April 2, 2014 at 3:11 pm

      If that is the pastoral plan I can only say it is a testament to the complete failure of the running of the Hamilton Diocese.  The bishop has dais that he has tried unsuccessfully to recruit priests from overseas.  If that is true then why was one holy priest sent back home by the bishop when he wanted to stay in the diocese?  They say if you don't want priests you won't get them, so I think this is just one more plan to elevate lay ministry and protestantise the local church even more than it is now.  You can imagine the in-fighting that is going to go on with parishioners jockeying for places on the one parish council between how many parishes?

       Although there is a need for priests in outlying areas I know many have questioned why there are so many priests tied up in small parishes in relatively close proximity to one another with so few priests available for bigger populations.  Surely priests should be allocated where there are higher numbers of Catholics even if it means a bit more travel for Catholics.  

      Mind you, are we not getting closer to the stage when there will be more priests than parishioners in the next 20 years?  That is the more likely scenario and will definitely happen more if this plan is implemented.

    4. Teresina April 2, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      Another thing to be borne in mind is that we now have large segments of the Catholic population from overseas countries who are requesting priests who can offer Mass in their own language.  That is something the bishops need to address.  There does need to be recruitment of priests from overseas because from what I understand these groups are not happy with European priests.  They want someone who understand their culture.  From what I understand the seminary is full of seminarians from overseas so why do they  need to leave this country once they are ordained?  Something does not add up.  

    5. Benedicta April 2, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      It seems serious to me…not that the number of Catholics is down but the change in the Church in some quarters. They are advancing and unsustainable plan.

      Where I am the priests don't even seem to want priests. If you move they anoint you. If you are standing in close proximity you receive the Eucharist without a question. The ones I have come across are all au fait with intercommunion in many cases, totally for it with spouses in mixed marriages. Confirmation is a nonsense in that case. Even if there is a theological argument it is poor…no one can accidentally become Catholic by marrying one…God gives us the free choice always. Divorced and remarried….what's that?

      It seems to me to be in schism in effect but not in fact. They have built a whole edifice in the Church based on anticipation of change.

      They are hanging their hopes on Pope Francis and putting it out there as if fait d'accompli.

      Then comes Lent and they want us all to go to Confession….its weird. I suppose from time to time they want us to act like Catholics. I won't go to a Diocesan priest I go to a Marist.

      Pope Francis won't come through on their particular causes at all.

      This is rather like England before the Act of Supremacy which as event undid the Catholic presence. But note how it must have been in the years before. The Act of Supremacy was passed in Nov. 1534. But Henry had already married Anne Boleyn in Jan 1533. But note that St Thomas More reading the signs of the times resigned as Chancellor in 1532.

      I think we are dodgy waters…not because of the parish closures but because of the mode of Catholicism playing its hand.


    6. withhope April 2, 2014 at 4:59 pm

      Why does a Catholic need a priest, anymore? Protestants don't. There are scores of 'Liturgies of the Word', with communion, these days. After all, the liturgy of the word, the gathering, the community is what Catholicism is all about these days, anyway. Sacraments? Heheh. Oh dear, we have to get with the program. Men don't want to be priests anymore because, in the spirit of VII, there's no such thing as a 'vocation' anymore. Just people being people.



    7. Teresina April 2, 2014 at 5:28 pm

      Withope, it seems that is the aim and what some dioceses have been heading for for sometime to get rid of the priesthood all together. Taking your analogy, there will be plenty of priests to go around for those Catholics who want them.  Those who like their liturgies of the word or communion services will naturally flock to those centres who have them.  I won't refer to them as pastoral centres – it sounds like sheep being herded into holding paddocks.

      Also, this plan is has obviously been decided under the current bishop but a new bishop of Hamilton may have an entirely different approach all together.  It seems to me that such planning should be left to the new bishop.   

    8. Boanerges April 2, 2014 at 6:08 pm

      Teresina I agree that significant pastoral changes should be the domain of the new Bishop. My understanding is that the willingness to wait for a new appointment has been superceded by the realisation that immediate action is needed. That plan is highly ambitious with what appear to be unrealistic timeframes to get new pastoral areas/ priestly arrangements in place.

      I don't understand the NZ Bishops don't encourage overseas priests to come and minister here given the current needs. Can we really afford to be so choosy? Or am I missing something?

    9. Benedicta April 2, 2014 at 6:21 pm

      Yes, I would say you are missing this….

      Get the plan in place before the new Bishop is installed that way he can't easily take another direction.

      They know what they are doing and have bought into long ago. They are 'reimagining the church' out of existence…

      I understand the appointment of the Bishop in Hamilton has a number of rejections?

      So they can't get their man….so they will get their plan.



    10. Boanerges April 2, 2014 at 6:31 pm

      Benedicta, I was meaning the reluctance to employ overseas priests, not the diocesan plan… Or are you suggesting they are all part of the same strategy I.e. One feeding into the other? I had viewed them as almost separate matters but your post has got me thinking…

    11. withhope April 2, 2014 at 6:56 pm

      While the job discription for 'catholic priest', remains, 'rogerian psychobabbalist and 'daily' protestant pulpist, i suspect that vocations will continue to diminish. After all, people need a sacrificial priest who can absolve sins. But then I think I wore mufty more in my uniformed school days than priest and bishops do now. That's the real sign of the change in the job – if a priest is just a pew person who presides who needs them?

    12. withhope April 2, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      'scuse me, that should be I wore civvies less. call me odd but I think it's quite telling when clergy don't want or it doesn't occur to them to be identified as set aside for God.

    13. Benedicta April 2, 2014 at 6:58 pm

      I think that overseas priests per se are not actually part of the plan. But time has overtaken their opportunity to do things their way. That doesn't mean that overseas priests are not welcome in particular I am sure that they are made welcome but they aren't the goal at all.

      The problem has been in front of them since at least the 1980s. Allowing for the shuffle after Vatican II they would have wanted things to get on track…surely? But no….no serious effort with any results.

      Personally, I think if any young Catholic man had turned up and said that he thought God was calling him into the priesthood that would have been against him. What they wanted was spiritually minded community organisers.

      It is easier to change the institution to suit than to stand by Tradition and preach the Gospel.


    14. withhope April 2, 2014 at 6:58 pm

      But then Francis' black shoe magisterium is probably something clergy feel they need to emulate.

    15. Benedicta April 2, 2014 at 7:12 pm

      Of course even mentioning all this would give one a bad name….as if one wanted to 'go back' and wasn't able to change.

      I am not in this position at all.

      What could have kept the equilibrium through Vatican II and prior was this:

      The nature and Grace issue should have been worked through (which it can be with both sides intact). Garrigou-Lagrange should have restored the full Thomistic texts to prior the fourteenth century commentaries….and then kept the momentum of Thomism moving in the seminaries. That would not have given our dodgy German theologians wiggle room.

      What happened was the Germans got the upper hand in the created vacuum…ready made with theology in tact. What should have been done prior to Vatican II was not started for another seven years after the Germans got the head wind.

      Our teams (mostly ….Bishop Meeking did not) followed the Germans or followed the ones who followed the Germans or followed the ones who followed the ones who followed the Germans. The Germans created creative space in their ecclesiology for other theologies…because their own is based on a fragmented and fragmenting philosophical nightmare.

      So Catholicism without realist philosophy….aka the best bought forward by Thomas Aquinas was dead in the water.

      That is why when you look around the USA in other parts of the Western world some diocese are making it and others aren't. The ones who are making it UNDERSTAND about the basso continuo of realism which keeps their boat afloat and allows us to see the reality beyond us present and hidden.

      I would put Cardinal Pell into the category of one who knows what he is doing. But it makes a prelate unpopular because by holding the line the unconverted worldly's in the pews, clerics and religious don't get it, they want to make peace with the world,  and so it is not a comfortable ride but the only one to pull things through.

    16. sienna April 2, 2014 at 7:12 pm

      Whoa, back up there.  How come some laity are discussing this?  I understood the priests are still at the debate stage of the proposal.  I believe on some matters Bishop Browne has refused to make a decision – wait for my successor being the reason so how come this  PLAN  is getting the green light.

    17. withhope April 2, 2014 at 7:18 pm

      actually, all a dispairing bishop needs to do is look at those seminaries that are flourishing. That would be, some with irregular canonical status like sspx, or those with full and normal canoical status like the italian Franciscans. except that the problem with that is that it is EF seminaries that call vocations, are somehow out of bounds. Although Summorum Pontificum made 'regular' the 'EF' again, it also put unusual prescriptions upon those disposed to the Old Mass – sort of suturing them legally to the new mass in a new way, hence why they could do what they did the Franciscans in Italy. Someone really does have a sense of humour in the vatican. Meanwhile, as pew-punters become more divorced (no probs, the synod in Oct will sort out the legalities of that) from Catholicism, the more anything will be considered 'Catholic'  , whether or not it contradicts Dogmatic definitions held throughout the ages. This is aggiornamento.


      on the lighter side:


      A little boy was listening to a long and excessively boring sermon in church. Suddenly his eye the red sanctuary lamp caught his eye. Tugging his father's sleeve, he said, "Daddy, when the light turns green can we go?"

    18. Rubyshine April 2, 2014 at 7:38 pm


      a letter was given out at my Parish over the weekend, outlining the plan. The timeframe given was for most of it to be implemented by the end of this year, and the rest by the end of 2015.

    19. Teresina April 2, 2014 at 8:01 pm

      This diocese has called Rotorua a pastoral area for some years now and amalgamated all the parishes there – so that was the start of it

      That plan should not be put into place by a retired bishop full stop.  There has been no consultion of the laity either except for those hand picked few that have driven this diocese into the ground over the time I have been here for the past 20 years.  We have at least 9 Sunday Masses in Hamilton that are already jam packed, so how are three priests going to handle the numbers as there is no way that Masses can be cut out.  It means those priests will have to say three Sunday Masses each to cope with the numbers because if they try to jam any more into the churches then they run the risk of contravening safety regulations of keeping exit doors, etc, clear.  If there was a fire at any Mass there could be serious injury with the way the foyers are being jammed with people overloading from the church.    So we need more Masses not less.

      Serious questions have to be raised when the Bishop of Hamilton refuses to ordain one man who had been in the seminary for seven years; gets rid of a good priest, refuses the offer of one overseas order of priests to establish in the diocese.  So I for one do not believe that there has been any ongoing attempt to get priests from overseas at all.  The would be women priests are running this diocese and they will be the ones behind the plan.

    20. Benedicta April 2, 2014 at 8:22 pm

      Yes, Teresina…no doubt true…but …

      Bishops aren't required to consult the laity. They have full powers of governance which is their due. They do consult their priestly council.

      Our diocese is about 8 months ahead by the sound of it.

    21. John Whyte April 2, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      I'm not sure how many here are from the Waikato Diocease.  I've read the Bishops preamble letter but I haven't seen any specifics as of yet (I.e I couldn't tell you what the areas actually would be).  But there are a couple of points that spring to mind

      1) The mass count, especially in the rural areas of the Waikato is very low.  For example Piopio, Te Kuiti, and Otrohanga are serviced currently by one priest.  I understand that Piopio has two sunday masses a month with aproximately 20 people there.  Te Kuiti has 40 on a Sunday, with Otrohanga 60 (and no young families).  These places are all within 1/2 hour's drive of each other.  I'm amazed they have had their seperate Sunday masses for so long.  

      2) The priests aren't there.  I think we should trust the Bishop's word that he has tried to import them but he is unable to obtain the necessary numbers.  

      3) Some of these changes are happening already.  Hamilton has three physical churches that for a long time were serviced out of one presbytary.  And there are no less than 4(!) 9am masses on most weekdays.  

      As a result I think there will be a fair amount of complaining about having to drive 30 minutes to get to mass, (when people drive longer to go to the supermarket).  Also general complaining about mass times changing and different priests.  

      But Benedicta has hit the nail on the head, this could easily be hijacked in order to push in 'more laity involvement' 'more liturgies of the word' (presided over by lay people).  It is very reasonable to believe there are persons within the diocease who have a very strong agenda in this direction.  

      I do think a lot of it will revolve around who are the lay persons in these parishes.  Who is on the parish councils?  How big the cry is, etc.  So for goodness sakes if you are in the Hamilton diocease make your voice heard.  Speak out that you would prefer fewer masses with no liturgies of the word.  And get on those finance committees to voice concerns about money being spent on the clericalization of the laity.  

      And of course pray.  

    22. John Whyte April 2, 2014 at 8:29 pm


      One thing that has always struck me as weird about catholicism in this country is that the laity want to clericalize themselves.  There is no understanding how to meet as Laity for any act of prayer or worship, without trying to clericalize it.  

      Everytime there is no priest it seems to be 'liturgy of the word with holy communion'.  It bemuses me, why no pray the rosary for more priests, use the divine offiice, have a prayer meeting, pray the divine mercy, or any number of other possible options.  Rather some old woman is plucked from the congregation and blurrs the line between the congregation and a priest.  

    23. Rubyshine April 2, 2014 at 8:35 pm

      John, just to clarify, when you say, " And there are no less than 4(!) 9am masses on most weekdays" do you mean that there are 4, 9am masses, across the whole week, or you saying that there ar 9am masses, at 4 separate parishes on most weekdays? Or something else?

    24. John Whyte April 2, 2014 at 8:44 pm


      At 9am on most weekdays there are 4 masses starting. Frankton (everyday) mellville (everyday) and te rapa – fairfield – silverdale have 9am most days. When I was a student 5 years ago the attendence numbers combined across these 4 would be the same as noon at the cathedral. I think its nuts that we have so many masses only those not working can attend

    25. Rubyshine April 2, 2014 at 8:54 pm

      I'm not sure that info is up to date anymore. I say that because last year I was trying to work out what the mid-week mass options were, and found the same info you have.

      Then a few months ago my parish put up parish times around the city http://www.stpeterchanel.org.nz/contact-information/contact-information.html which amounts to one 9 am mass somewhere in the city everyday.

      I obviously haven't driven around all the churches to check out what they all do, but I do question how current some of the information out there is.

    26. Don the Kiwi April 2, 2014 at 8:55 pm

      Whoa back there !!   Let's not run off at the mouth ( keyborad) without the correct facts.

      I don't have my info with me, so I'm going from memory.The Hamilton Diocese has presently 36 parishes. These are to be reduces to 17 parishes, contained within 9 Pastoral areas which were previously 3 priests' Deaneries. So the existing parishes will be "clustered". For example, my parish of St.Mary Immaculate in Tauranga will be in the Pastoral area containing Tauranga, St. Josephs, Te Puna, St.Thomas More , Mt Maunganui, and St. Patrick's, Te Puke.. Within that Pastoral area will be 2 parishes – St.Mary Immaculate Tauranga, and St. Josephs, Te Puna as one parish, and St.Thomas More Mt. Maunganui, St. Patrick's Te Puke as the other parish

      All the churches will retain their identity, and Masses will continue to be said each Sunday and where practical, on weekdays. However, the suggestion is that the new parish be given a new name – e.g. one suggestion has been the Parish of the Holy Family – incorporating St. Mary, and St. Joseph. In our parish area we are having a meeting on May 1st. to discuss this – all are welcome from those parishes. 

      Within the wider Pastoral area will be three priests – as there are now in the separate existing parishes. This may change in other areas – small pastoral areas may have only one preist, whereas larger ones may have three priests. But the intention is that ALL churches will have the same number of Masses as present; Mass times may need to be adjusted.

      So that's the plan affecting my local area. I'll check the comments to see if I can answer other queries.

    27. Teresina April 2, 2014 at 8:57 pm

      I heard a couple of years back that the plan in Hamilton City is to have just three parishes: the Cathedral, St Josephs and St Columbas.  It was planned to close all the other parishes.  This ha been mooted for a long time, long before there was a priest shortage.  Perhaps everyone should write to the Nuncio and ask for priests to be sent here to help the bishop if that is the case.

      As regards daily Mass, John Whyte is missing the point that each Mass is efficacious in itself, even if said by the priest alone – the more Masses that are stopped the less there is to combat evil in the world and no doubt that is what the devil wants.  There should be daily Mass in every parish not just the odd one here and there.   The problem is the elderly cannot drive and get themselves to other parishes, and while car pooling might be able to be arranged on a Sunday with people working it would be almost impractical during weekdays.

      Some people have mentioned that there is a need to get the inner city chapel going again so that working people can attend Mass.  I agree with that. When I worked in the city it was almost impossible to get across to the lunch time Mass and back to work in an hour – I tried walking and busing and had to go straight after communion to get back and missed the first part of Mass as well.  The way the Faith grows is through daily Mass, and I do think there need to be more options for young working people as well as for the elderly.     

    28. Benedicta April 2, 2014 at 9:05 pm


      Good comments.

      I know I am sounding like a prophet of doom. I wish I could say its just about this one thing or that one little thing….but I am very sure that any depth sounding of the the theologies preferred in the New Zealand scene (what I call the Holland of the South) are a death knell to the Church.

      None of these German (there is a Belgian in there but close enough) theologians are 'excommunicated' or denounced in any certain way. Some have had their teaching blocked or restricted. But they dissolve Catholicism because the philosphies which shape them deny objective reality in a way that makes the sacraments an unreal concept, that includes the Real Presence. At the same time it changes the shape of salvation history so that creation, rather than the Incarnation and Redemptive work of Christ, becomes the epoch of history….everything spiritually necessary is given in our creation….which makes the Magisterium rather obsolete and oppressive. Even becoming a Catholic is a bit unnecessary….just a bit of paper for something you have in a way already. Pope Benedict has been telling them this since when and for how long? He didn't mince words. He knew his stuff as did Pope John Paul II (though his focus was Communism – how much can one do).

      So it goes on….these are real ideas with real effects.

      It is an internal reformation or rather revolution in the Church which will fall over. It can't be transcended by going to the higher place sometime and we all meet in the happy Catholic place again together. It will fall over…..

      The Holy Spirit can change hearts and minds and wills and admit new people who think differently. Or the Holy Spirit will let things fall over at our own hands and then from the ashes something new. Unless someone like a Bishop who knows what is needed to restore the Church in the deepest levels. Liturgy and parish closings are symptoms. Priest shortages are symptoms.

      The seminaries started drying up in the 70s….that was over thirty years ago. They weren't interested in dealing with it as they thought they had the headwind and dodgy Rome was in the way and would catch up with them sometime.

      No do….the Popes have been right on the button with their theology and their philosophy and have been brilliant in fact…we have probably been blessed with two doctors of the Church.

      As a laywoman in the same situation with one dodgy Mass for simply miles…this is what I would do. Know that the best minds I know of say that the Tradition will be held by small faithful groups. So if possible connect to such a group….I am not in Opus Dei but that would be one. There are others. Read and educate yourself….read the Popes, the lot, biographies and writings. Read the Saints. Do the Divine Office daily at least Morning Prayer. Say the Rosary. Learn Lectio Divina and commit to frequent prayer.

      If you rely on Mass on Sunday only you will more than likely at some time lapse.

      Do what Vatican II told you to do and enter into holiness and take on the riches of the Church. Then whatever happens never leave. As St Augustine said….never leave the barn or the barn doors will shut and you will be outside.

    29. Benedicta April 2, 2014 at 9:12 pm


      36 parishes down to only 17. Well its necessary they say but not a winning move.

      I am assured that the Holy Spirit builds up the Church which leaves us to be the Church closers. It can't be posed as acceptable or inevitable…it wasn't.

      That said its great Hamilton and Auckland have Deacons. We don't, they aren't wanted. Deacon is a wonderful ordained ministry with sacramental and preaching effects. I think if we had few priests and a whole clutter of Deacons I would feel a little easier.

    30. Don the Kiwi April 2, 2014 at 9:12 pm

      I suspect, Dominican and Benedicta, that you are in either the Wellington Arch-diocese, of the Palmerston North Diocese.

      Sadly, these dioceses have been taken over by rather radical feminist groups. Eg., Bp. Denis told me a couple of years ago that in Wellington at a diocesan council meeting, a feminist group got up and moved a motion that they NEVER have the Diaconate in the Wellington diocese ( for a pretty obvious feminist agenda ) and the motion passed with one objection – apparently a Tongan woman who was disgusted at the meeting's resolution to exclude the oldest Order of Ordination except for bishops in the Church ( check Acts. Ch. 6 ) Sadly, Bp. John did not have the cojones to overrule the motion – which he has the authority to do. I met a priest a few years ago who was on temporary placement to Wellington – he went into the diocesan office to introduce himself. The woman behing the desk said to him, " and remember who you work for – you work for us!" Not Christ, not the Church, but for them. Pretty much explains the problems in Wellingtton, with women leading parishes as Lay Pastoral Leaders and no priest. And as long as this persists, there will be no priests. That, my friends, is the protestantisation of the Church.

      And Palmerston North diocese, under Bp. Peter Cullinane, known as the most liberal bishop in NZ, has fared little better. Bp. Denis Browne may have his faults, but I applaud him for encouraging and growing the Diaconate in the Hamilton diocese. Kudos also goes to Bp. Pat in Auckland – but he went about introducing the diacontae too hastily and in the wrong manner – so there are a few road-blocks there.

      I'll keep looking at the comments   :-) 

    31. Don the Kiwi April 2, 2014 at 9:20 pm


      If you take into account the geography and the demographics of the Hamilton diocese, you will see that with existing parishes, amalgamate into a cluster under the umbrella of a pastoral area is a very good thing, but you really need to see the deatil, which at the moment I can't show you, because I don't have it with me. Maybe tomorrow.

      A lot of the other comments have gone off into irrelevant tangents, so no further response tonite.

    32. John Whyte April 2, 2014 at 9:22 pm


      I may be incorrect re te rapa / fairfield / silverdale its been a while since I attended. But st pius Melville and st columbas frankton are 9am so that makes 3 masses every day all with same start time

    33. Teresina April 2, 2014 at 9:24 pm

      Don, at present in your own "pastoral" area there are 5 priests and 11 Masses – how are 3 priests going to say 11 Masses?  The plan falls down.

      In Hamilton we have 6 priests and 11 Masses – how are 3 priests going to be able to say 11 Masses.  The plan falls down.

      In the Rotorua pastoral area they have 2 priests and 5 Sunday Masses – the plan then becomes unfair because the ratio of Masses is more then for the priests of Hamilton.

      The only way this plan can work is if Masses are cut out all together and then as I say you are going to have mass overcrowding and no one will put up with it.  It's bad enough now at Mass like a bun fight.


    34. Benedicta April 2, 2014 at 9:25 pm


      I'm not fessing up where exactly. I don't want to direct anything to my prelate…he is my prelate.

      It must be in these times in some places the hardest thing to be a Bishop…lonely, isolating and eternally responsible. I wish him well and many Graces.

      The hardest thing is our need for human company, advice, direction. Everyone want to go the right way.

      They haven't. I am sure and I know it. At the deepest level from which these impulses spring with nothing attributed or anything to do with individuals.

      Cardinal Pell knew this problem. When he went to Sydney he emptied the Seminary of its staff. He did the right thing. You cannot go around, through or with people whose theological commitments are going to destroy the very ground your Church and Bishopric stand on. It can't be made peace with, you have to start again.

      Yes, I support the Deaconry 100% for the reason that it is an authentic part of our received Tradition.

      I wouldn't go so easy on the other Bishops….there are those who follow the Germans, follow the ones who follow the Germans and so on.

      The Liberal Tradition which has created our society is toxic to the core to Catholicism.

      The plan they need is to resacralise all that is in there power to do so to the depths and power of the Tradition in so far as they are able to get help in any form to retrain and reshape. Get rid of what doesn't fit. Its a battle not a compromise.


    35. John Whyte April 2, 2014 at 9:26 pm


      Id be keen on more details. I couldnt find those online and ive only seen the covering letter. I think its obvious that we don’t have enogh priests but I hope these changes dont lead to a clericalizatoon of the laity.

      I agree that whilst bishop Dennis has faults he has done a lot of ttuely good work.

    36. Teresina April 2, 2014 at 9:26 pm

      Don, are you aware that the order of permanent Deacons resurrected by Vatican II specified they were to be unmarried celibate men and there is a move in the US to have that now restricted to celibate men?  I do think it sends the wrong signals when I see a married deacon in clericals with his wife sitting in the front seat because it appears to be a priest with a woman.  

    37. Benedicta April 2, 2014 at 9:26 pm

      I am not in Palmerston North. Bishop Drennan does know what he needs to know.

    38. Benedicta April 2, 2014 at 9:29 pm


      That post about celibacy requirements for Deacons…they can be married….all the paper work is in place. And NO his wife doesn't look like a priest! Its a good thing and not a practice run….they are a stabilising factor in the Church in these times not a destabilising factor.

    39. Teresina April 2, 2014 at 9:32 pm

      Also, the plan doesn't cover the fact that we have large groups of fillipinos and others who are entitled to Mass, if they wish it, in their own language.  Why aren't more fillipino priests and Asian priests being brought into the diocese.  The bishops of those countries are not suffering a shortage of priests and would be happy to supply priests I understand.  So there is something now right there.

    40. Teresina April 2, 2014 at 9:38 pm

      But Benedicta, that is not what Vatican II envisaged and apparently deacons under Canon Law are required to be celibate.

      "A highly regarded Canon Lawyer claims that married men ordained to the diaconate or the priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church must practice continence. What does Canon #277 say and what does it mean? Will the discussion raised by Canon lawyer Edward Peters reach Rome? With the coming infusion of married men serving as Priests and deacons it is time for a clarification of Canon #277 which dispels confusion".


      And I wasn't saying the wife looked like a priest.  I was saying that the deacon dressed in clericals with his wife in the front seat can lead to confusion and someone think there is a priest running around with a woman.

      I also don't think it's good to have deacons in vestments talking about their children in the sermon.  How are kids able to differentiate between a priest and a deacon?  When children hear a deacon dressed almost exactly as a priest talking about his wife and children during the sermon then that must create a conflict in the minds of kids.  Kids don't even know the difference between a liturgy and a Mass and I have heard one kid say they preferred Christine's "Mass" because it was shorter.



    41. Benedicta April 2, 2014 at 9:45 pm


      I was aware of the issue and the link you mention does not apply to the New Zealand situation. It is resolved.

      Yes, it can seem a bit strange with Deacons as its 'new'. But the fact is it is part of the Tradition and has been brought forward so we go with it its part of us. Kids will have to work it out.

    42. Benedicta April 2, 2014 at 9:49 pm


      For what its worth…..I would bring the Penny Catechism into schools right now! It sets the right orientation doesn't it?

      I went to a Sunday School as a child and had the Gospel stories only. We coloured in drawing to go with it and also drew our own. It did evangelise me…I didn't get the Church then but I certainly knew, loved and defended Jesus…I even fought with one of my friends over Him on the street corner where we lived when I was seven.

      So if a heart is open, God goes in.

      I think the Holy Spirit will do extraordinary things in these days some time some how. We just have to arm ourselves up and get ready to swim in deep waters sometimes alone.

    43. Teresina April 2, 2014 at 10:09 pm

      Benedicta, can you explain how it is resolved that New Zealand deacons don't have to conform to Canon Law.  Has Canon Law been changed?  Do you not see the conflicts I mention?  Also, I happened to notice a young man who made visits to the Blessed Sacrament quite regularly.  We got talking and he mentioned that he had been brought up Catholic but now attended the Baptist church and was thinking of going to bible school but he did like to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament.  He said I would consider being a deacon because they can marry.  So immediately there is a problem and I think that the married diaconate will only contribute to the priest shortage.  I am not saying they are not good men but nearly every man and his dog in Hamilton is a deacon. There appears to be not much screening at all which is bad because some of the sermons aren't good.  I am not including Don the Kiwi in this discussion because from the way he writes on Being Frank I am sure his sermons are orthodox.  We also know someone else who is a deacon who is not orthodox in any sense of the word.  There also doesn't appear to be enough training for deacons either.

      As regards the Penny Catechism.  Yes, I do think that should be brought into primary schools.  I still remember some of what I learned as a child, such as "Who made you?  
      God made me.  Who is God?  God is Our Father in heaven, the creator and lord of all things.  Why did God make you?  God made me to know, love and serve Him on earth and to be happy with Him forever in heaven" and it goes on, simple questions with simple answers but ideal for children.  And of course as time goes on the simple answers are replaced with understanding and more indepth knowledge but it is a grounding for children.

      And here are two other great little sites with which index the Penny Catechism and the other answers many Catholic questions on them:



      I guess if this discussion as regards the Penny Catechism is to be carried on further we should move it to the Sunday Scrum. 



    44. Teresina April 2, 2014 at 10:11 pm

      I should clarify that the young man who was visting the Blessed Sacrament and told me he was thinking of going to Bible college, I asked him if he had considered the priesthood and he said he would consider being a deacon because they can marry, so that is the big conflict I think.  Actually, Hamilton Diocese if you look at the seminary intake compared to Christchurch and Auckland has the smallest intake of seminarians … due no doubt to the diaconate.

    45. Dominican April 2, 2014 at 10:12 pm

      No Don I have been in a number of parishes within the Hamilton Diocese since its inception.  There are already some priests shouldering a heavier load than others.  We have a deacon in my parish – never seen him in clericals.

      Not sure what he does really.

      I think there is only one 9am mass in Hamilton on a Sunday.


    46. Teresina April 2, 2014 at 10:16 pm

      Consider a young man who feels a calling to priesthood.  He thinks about it.  He knows marriage and a family is also open to him BUT the diaconate is also open to him later if he so decides to go into it.  That could dissuade many young men from even trying out priesthood first knowing that they can satisfy their urge to do good and pastoral work without the sacrifice required of priesthood … 

    47. Teresina April 2, 2014 at 10:21 pm

      Dominican, yes, there is only one 9 am Mass on a Sunday.


    48. Benedicta April 2, 2014 at 10:26 pm


      Benedicta, can you explain how it is resolved that New Zealand deacons don't have to conform to Canon Law.  Has Canon Law been changed?

      As to the permanent Diaconate the Canon you mentioned is unclear. I am not an expert but did in my travels ask a local Canon Lawyer who I trust who said that the matter at the time I asked was unclear. That was before the Diaconate was rolled out into the parishes as such. From memory I did reconnect on the subject and I was told by the same person that there had been a firm directive from Rome which resolved that which was not clear…..and no they don't have to cease from marital relations with their wives.

      The link above is related…from Fr Hardon who I know you trust and he mentions the distinctions for celibacy at the bottom.

      I appreciate your concerns re your other comments but we have to trust that the Church can do what the Church has done before and adapt ourselves to an renewal of Tradition. It is not the same thing at all as 'lay leaders'.

    49. Benedicta April 2, 2014 at 10:28 pm

      Consider a young man who feels a calling to priesthood.  He thinks about it.  He knows marriage and a family is also open to him BUT the diaconate is also open to him later if he so decides to go into it.

      Yes, a hypothesis….but it is better to just let the Church be the Church and in this case She is authentically so. Its a blessing.

    50. Benedicta April 2, 2014 at 10:36 pm


      This link was written by Marist Fr Duggan (now deceased). The section called 'Denying the Real Presence and Immortal Soul' is worth a read. Basically he is saying what I have been saying. For a little lesson he mentions phenomenology of Husserl….

      All this nonsense has haunted the NZ Church and won't go away – you have to eject it!



    51. Benedicta April 2, 2014 at 10:39 pm


      This link is an example of what contemporary Thomists are teaching…..Matthew Levering is stunning.

      He worked through the problem in the book John Whyte is reading…about God's Providence and predestination….that some souls will be lost. He worked through the Tradition including doctrine, St Thomas, engaged to modern esteemed church fathers (and dismissed their ideas) and finally ended up with St Catherine of Siena who most fully had extrapolated the Tradition on the matter and so it ended. It was brilliant theology with everything at its service…..the way the medieval monastics tried to do it!

      Yeah………..so good.

    52. Don the Kiwi April 2, 2014 at 10:43 pm

      Teresina. your 9.24 pm.

      You are jumping to conclusions without all the facts. For starters, the two priests at Te Puna are Marists. They also covered Katikati and the Maori Pastoral care for th diocese. They are leaving Te Puna and being based in Rotorua, where they will continue their Maori Pastoral care under the title Whaia te Whaia. Katikati is becoming apoart of the Waihi parish. Many things are stil to be discussed and finalised – at this stage, only the broad outline is cast in stone – there is much detail to be discussed and agreed by the parishes, and the pastoral areas.

      Your 9.26 pm. comment in wrong in every detail.

      Your ranting about deacons and marriage is wrong – all you are doing is causing mischief and confusion. There is no rquirement for a deacon to be celibate – he can be ordained if he is already married. However, if he is already ordained, he cannot marry.Permanent Deacons have been in the Hamilton dioces since 1992 – and have been in the US , Europe and US since the early 70's. In fact, in some parts of Europe in specific areas, the permanent diaconate has persisted since the begining.

    53. sienna April 2, 2014 at 11:14 pm

      Well I know there is a shortage of priests but could money also have something to do with this Hamilton Diocese plan?

    54. Teresina April 2, 2014 at 11:45 pm

      Don the Kiwi, "your ranting about deacons and marriage is wrong" a disgusting comment from a deacon and largely why I don't agree with the type of deacon we have in this diocese.  YOU ARE THE ONE WHO IS WRONG.  Read the following:


    55. Teresina April 2, 2014 at 11:49 pm

      Don the Kiwi, I suggest you write to Ed Peters and accuse him of causing "mischief and concern" as he states:

      "My position is, of course, that Western law and tradition expect, beyond any question, the observance of perfect and perpetual continence among all clerics, and that arguments from, say, silence and/or inadvertence (hallmarks, I suggest, of a hermeneutic of rupture) are insufficient to defeat that expectation. But that is not to say that the Church cannot choose to modify or abandon her clerical discipline in this regard; indeed, I suspect that the Church can change her expectations here, and that persons with deeper knowledge of, among other things, the theology of holy Orders, the sacred liturgy, and the nuptial imagery of the Eucharist should advise her on whether such change is a good idea or a bad. My only point is that the Church has not, contrary to common assumption, formally changed her expectation in regard to complete clerical continence, and that damage is being done to important ecclesiastical values by assuming otherwise. As for what the Church will decide to do in this matter, or when she will decide to do it, such things are not for me to say."

    56. Teresina April 2, 2014 at 11:56 pm

      Don the Kiwi, my comment "Don, at present in your own "pastoral" area there are 5 priests and 11 Masses – how are 3 priests going to say 11 Masses?  The plan falls down."  The fact that two priests are Marist makes no difference to the fact that at present there are 11 Masses being said in your "pastoral" area.  You have said no Masses will be taken away therefore my question still stands how will 3 priests say 11 Masses or are you telling me that at present there are 3 priests saying 11 Masses because the two Marists don't count?  Give us a break we can add up even if you can't.

    57. Teresina April 3, 2014 at 12:17 am

      Donald J. Keefe, S.J on a married incontinent diaconate:

      "This anomalous departure from the ancient tradition of clerical continence appears to have its inception in the discussions of the restoration of the permanent diaconate during the second Vatican Council.[4]  However, it cannot be shown to have been authorized by the Council, whether tacitly or overtly, nor by Pope Paul VI in the documents by which he formally instituted the restored permanent diaconate and permitted the ordination to it of mature married men, nor by the 1983 Code of Canon Law.  …

      Therefore, the restoration of the permanent diaconate and the ordination of married men to the permanent diaconate in the wake of Vatican II requires a further examination for, if the effective condonation of clerical noncontinence in married deacons and married priests in the Roman rite is in fact legitimate, that legitimacy can rest upon no other grounds than the documents underlying the restoration of the permanent diaconate.  In what follows, we shall show that those documents provide no justification or warrant for diaconal noncontinence.  …

      When the majority reaffirmed the requirement of celibacy traditional for unmarried deacons, and at the same time approved the ordination of married men to the diaconate — thus approved the ordination to the permanent diaconate of men who were not celibate — they did not thereby license the use of marriage by such deacons; had they done so, there would have been no possible basis for their firm refusal to drop the requirement of celibacy for younger candidates for the diaconate.

      In sum, there is every reason to insist that the sacrament of orders remains as it has been, and that the current practice — one cannot speak of its canonical institution — of a noncontinent diaconate is an aberration which will not attain a permanent standing in the Church.

      Donald J. Keefe, S.J."


    58. withhope April 3, 2014 at 3:32 am

      a mardiaincdio is almost worth the giiggle. dono – if the stink of fagggggggy woooooly shheeepieees is somewhat the heeeeeeeed herd gives a about sokayyy.sure  wizogleeliooooooh gets it all.  AP 27. tick toq

    59. withhope April 3, 2014 at 3:41 am
    60. withhope April 3, 2014 at 3:42 am

      'scuse me. when BF had an edit option, may not have needed 'scuse.

    61. Benedicta April 3, 2014 at 6:56 am

      Withhope….have you been drinking????


      I think you need to read Ed Peters again. What he was raising was that the Code was unclear and pointed to the general requirement for continence. But the Code did not discriminate between the transitional diaconate and the permanent diaconate. What was being asked for was a clarification. And they got one. The current Code did not adequately meet the question posed. That was Ed Peters concern. Celibacy is more deeply with the service at the Altar…the institution of covenant.

      If you think about it marriage has its own sacramental standing and to demand celibacy from the married is wrong.

      The link I gave you to Fr Hardon made the distinction quite clearly…a married deacon can't marry again, even if widowed and a single man who becomes a deacon can't marry as a deacon.

      Others may have a different point of view but if they want the Diaconate (which they can or course) then they have resolved the question.

      You mightn't like it but its licit and valid.

      Is this off topic? 


    62. Don the Kiwi April 3, 2014 at 8:13 am


      Again, you are making false assumptions. How do you know that at least some of the married deacons are not observing clerical continence? Of the 18 deacons in the Hamilton diocese, I konw of at least 5 who observe clerical continence, even though it is not a requirement.

      You keep quoting Ed Peters, and i certainly respect him as a canon lawyer   You notice that he starts the passage you quote with, "My position is, of course……….."   So he is expressing his own view. Perhaps if you are so concerned, you should speak to Fr. Richard Laurenson who is the Canon Lawyer for the Hamilton diocese – or Deacon Nick Bruce, who is also a canon lawyer. 

      Remember that celibacy is a discipline of the Church – not a dogmatic statement or belief. Benedicta hits the nail on the head when she says, "If you rhink about it, marriage has its own sacramental standing and to demand celibacy (she actually means continence) from the married is wrong."

      And that is exactly the position of our canon lawyers. There are certain inalienable rights in a marriage, and continence cannot be imposed except by the consent of both the spouses within that marriage.

      Interesting how a discussion on the re-organising of the diocese has morphed into a discussion on diaconal celibacy and continence.  :-)

    63. Benedicta April 3, 2014 at 10:27 am



      Don and Boanerges

      While we are talking about the flourishing of the Church, and in light of the Bishops concerns about Catholic education…'they need to encounter Christ'….I want to make a little plug.

      The Jesuits said something like 'give a child of seven and I will show you the man'. Which is true that young minds are set in a certain way.

      The teenage years are too late to make a great impact. (Unless God steps in!).

      The links above are to Catechesis of the Good Shepherd from 3 years till around 12. I see something has started in Tauranga. Its brilliant and should be the form of Catholic immersion at the young age level.

      I sat in on a training session with young mums and a dozen Missionaries of Charity and they were very enthusiastic.

      What it does is open the heart and mind to see in a sacramental way….that things hidden reveal themselves to us of what they actually are. So it forms the Catholic mind sacramentally.

      It could be something Deacons (and perhaps their wives as well) could teach at the parish level…and help the mums and dads as well.

      Add to that the Penny Catechism and it would be a fairly simple and profound programme.

      Just a thought…


    64. Teresina April 3, 2014 at 11:06 am

      Don and Benedicta, absolutely right that Ed Peters is seeking clarification and still is because the Code of Canon law affects both married priests and married deacons.  His argument is explained here:

      "B.  [CURRENT DEACONS, PLEASE READ.]  Those who have been ordained to the permanent diaconate already and have not been made aware of this requirement are not bound by it.  Under Canon Law, no one can be bound to surrender a right unless they were made aware of it at the time of their ordination.

      It is important to note that Dr. Peters very much sees the current situation as one that is irregular.  What’s more, he doesn’t even seem to take any one specific position on how to rectify it.  More to the point, I cannot find anywhere that he suggests that married deacons should have imposed on them a requirement of continence.  He is simply stating that Canon Law does in fact make such an imposition.

      Peters offers four solutions for rectifying the current situation:  (1) reaffirm the unbroken tradition of continence for all clerics, including married deacons – from this point forward begin enforcing the requirement with newly ordained men, (2) reaffirm the practice for priests, but abandon it for married clergy, (3) change the requirement to a temporary continence for married clergy, or (4) abandon any expectation of continence for married clerics.

      Dr. Peters’ thesis is simple: practice and Canon Law are not in conformity.  One of the two (or both) needs changed.  Either rewrite or otherwise clarify the current Code or change the practice to confirm with the Code.  Those who have come out in violent opposition to Dr. Peters seem to have missed this point.  While I am sure that Dr. Peters has his own personal preference within the four options, I cannot find anywhere that he oversteps his bounds as a canon lawyer: he merely states that something needs done, and he offers the list of possible solutions."

      – See more at: http://the-american-catholic.com/2013/01/30/the-controversies-of-the-permanent-diaconate/#sthash.jr0x6gYK.dpuf

      What I stated originally – and Benedicta said was incorrect – and Ed Peters confirms is that Vatican II did not suggest that the requirement of celibacy be removed from the permanent diaconate.

      The discussion that has been taking place is that the Church needs to decide one way or the other to amend Canon Law.

      We have communion in the hand brought in as a disobedience and several other things.  You can't have things both ways – the Church has gone down the tubes simply because of this disobedient way of achieving change and the Church is not flourishing because of it.  

      The case for celibacy is a long tradition in the Church as stated:

      "St. Jerome:

      Priests and deacons must be either virgins or widowers before being ordained, or at least observe perpetual continence after their ordination… If married men find this difficult to endure, they should not turn against me, but rather against Holy Writ and the entire ecclesiastical order.

      Pope St. Innocent I:

      This is not a matter of imposing upon the clergy new and arbitrary obligations, but rather of reminding them of those which the tradition of the Apostles and the Fathers has transmitted to us.

      St. Peter Damian:

      No one can be ignorant of the fact that all the Fathers of the Catholic Church unanimously imposed the inviolable rule of continence on clerics in major orders. The Body of the Lord in the sacrament of the altar is the same as the one carried by the immaculate hands of the Virgin at Bethlehem. To be able to touch It, it is necessary to have pure hands, sanctified by perfect continence."

      There was a proposal to change the Canon Law and put in an exemption for married deacons and I imagine married priests but it was not carried forward and the Canon law remains:


      The Law states:
       1983 CIC 277
      § 1. Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and therefore are bound to celibacy which is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can adhere more easily to Christ with an undivided heart and are able to dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and humanity.

      § 2. Clerics are to behave with due prudence towards persons whose company can endanger their obligation to observe continence or give rise to scandal among the faithful.

      § 3. The diocesan bishop is competent to establish more specific norms concerning this matter and to pass judgment in particular cases concerning the observance of this obligation.

      Now this law makes it quite clear that in line with Church tradition, the provisions of the unchallenged 1917 Code and the reintroduction of Permanent Deacons [actuated by Pius XII for ex-Lutherans and continued by Paul VI's legislation]
      that the rule for 'continence' remains."

      As the Jesuit priest I quoted earlier says he thinks that the law will be made clear and that Canon law will be enforced mandating celibacy for future married deacons and married priests.  So Don has nothing to fear.  

      I think there is a problem for the Church having non-celibate married priests and deacons alongside a celibate priesthood and a problem with vocations to a celibate priesthood.

    65. Teresina April 3, 2014 at 11:20 am

      Don the Kiwi, where have I made any assumption about what deacons are celibate or who are not?  I have merely put forward the position of the Church, as explained by Ed Peters, and where I think a non-celibate diaconate could be causing problems for us with a shortage of priests.  It is all very well for you but we need priests full stop.

      Over the years anyone who has urged obedience to the Magisterium – both lay person and priest – has been stomped on by the current entrenched set of  modernists in this diocese, and yet it is the laity who are suffering the loss of Masses through the lack of priests.  This is no doubt due in many ways by the constant promotion of liberal policies in this diocese.

      The first thing a new bishop needs to do is have a complete clean out and start afresh with some new younger people, loyal to the magisterium, who are not promoting women priests, a married priesthood, etc.  The RCIA also needs a complete gutting.  The same people are virtually on every pastoral committee in the diocese.  This has been a complete and abject failure and I understand the diocese is almost bankrupt if not entirely bankrupt. 

    66. banter April 3, 2014 at 11:38 am

      Just to return the conversation back a little to Mary&Martha's original post.  I'm not interested in deacons.  I want a priest.  Deacon is second best.  Who are they? I don't understand that vocation and have no interest in investigating.  That might be a wrong thing to say but nup I would always prefer the priest.  Over lay people, over nuns, over deacons.  Give me/get me a priest would be my cry if I was in trouble.  As Teresina says just above 'we need priests full stop'.

      There is a shortage of priests is the oft-heard lament.  Let me point out also that the congregations are apparently getting smaller too so what's the concern?  Also, really how many priests are needed?  Why has this become a numbers game?  I'm sick of that whole statement because it engenders a hopeless defected mentality amongst the faithful.  It says 'we are dying, we are declining'.  It's bad news and that sort of expression needs to stop because it does nothing but demoralise people, the more the statement is repeated the more they begin to believe and then it inenvitably begins to come true.

      I believe that public proclamation by the Diocese of Hamilton is the very wrong thing to do.  I feel quite sorry for people living up there and subjected to that type of direction from above.  The last time I heard any of the clergy in Christchurch talking about vocations was about 12months ago.  Father Paul Williamson gave a sermon and I distinctly remember hearing him say in a loud and enthusiastic voice 'our seminary is full…full of faithful young men'.  Such a different message.

    67. Don the Kiwi April 3, 2014 at 12:06 pm

      It is probable that we will have a new bishop by around June. Any changes that are being implemented in part or in full according to the strategic plan will no doubt be re-appraised by the new bishop.


      There are three orders – Bishop, Priest and Deacon. The bishops are the successors of the apostles and as such have the full authorityChrist gave to the apostles. Priests share in the ministry of the bishops, and subject to them. The order of deacons is different, in that they are the "workers" if you will, to assist the preists in the work of the corporal works, also  in baptising, marrying and burying, assisting the priest in service on the altar, proclaiming the word and preaching and serving the people – that's it. Deacons cannot Confirm, say Mass, hear confessions or give the Annointing of the Sick. So the diaconate is a different vocation – available to men over 35 years of age. There is quite a process to go through – four years, as opposed to 7 years for a priest. As mentioned previously, read Acts of the Apostles, Ch. 6, and that tells of the institution of the diaconate .

      It is highly unlikely that a young man who has a calling to the priesthood, would opt to become a deacon because he may want to marry – it is a different calling. There are 18 deacons in the Hamilton diocese, with 2 more to be ordained this year, and 5 currently in formation. Most priests are very happy to have a deacon – to assist in any manner of things, which lighten the load of priests, who  are very busy.

    68. Teresina April 3, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      Absolutely right, Banter, Christchurch does have a good number of seminarians but then Christchurch Diocese has virtually been the only beacon of light in the whole of the country for years with all the bishops in Christchurch following the magisterium.  While, yes, it is negative to state it, nevertheless, we will not increase vocations in the current climate of Hamilton with the entrenched team that we have in this diocese led by women who are simply opposed to priesthood.  Any plan and change should be left to the new Bishop of Hamilton and his decisions should not be being anticipated.  We are certainly not at the point of crisis where such a plan needs to be implemented yet.  To withdraw priests from a couple of the smaller areas, which unfortunately would require some people to drive a little further, would be a good interim solution rather than this whole shake-up that is going to be unsettling for priests and the laity.  As it is, calling Rotorua "the Pastoral district of Rotorua" seems to break them off from the diocese into their own little patch and that is what will happen with breaking the diocese up into pastoral areas which isn't necessary.  Furthermore, building new offices with extra expense is also unnecessary and should be left to the decision of the incoming bishop.   Pope Francis has called for more austerity in the Church and so building of these new premises cannot be justified when there is already a good solid building in existence.

    69. Don the Kiwi April 3, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      The Hamilton doicese currently has 5 men in formation for the priesthood – 1 will be oradained probably later this year, and the othere will be ordained over the next 4 years. I understand there are 2 or 3 young men in pre-seminary discernment – but I'm not sure.

      It is a good thing that the seminary in Auckland is full – with I think 27 men in formation for NZ. The lack of vocations to the priesthood shows a lack of Faith within the Church, and a lack of encouragement. It appears to me that there is a general swing away from the liberalism that has poisoned the Church over the last 40 years or so, and a move back to more traditional and orthodox values. We're even starting to hear Gregorian chant again – we have been having our Scola Mariae choir sing some, and will have more this Easter. Most of our young priests are also more conservative, and prepared to speak out on the Truth of the Church, and the Latin Mass is slowly making a comeback.

      So all is not doom – let's remember the work of the Holy Spirit. Most change happens for pragmatic reasons due to circumstances at the time, and many people resist change because it disturbs or frightens them. There's the old saying, "if its not broke, don't fix it". One can hardly say that about our dioceses here in NZ

    70. Boanerges April 3, 2014 at 12:20 pm


      There is a shortage of priests is the oft-heard lament.  Let me point out also that the congregations are apparently getting smaller too so what's the concern? 

      I think the concern is that in order to maintain the current number of buildings and services we don't have enough priests. The reality is that we actually don't need that many anymore. As someone else posted earlier, we are all happy these days to drive 20 mins to a supermarket, mall etc but squeal at the thought of having to do the same to attend Mass. It is our expectations that need to change, and also our willingness to look beyond a "neighbourhood parish" model. 

    71. Teresina April 3, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      Don the Kiwi, "many people resist change because it disturbs or frightens them".  How often have I heard that phrase over the years by people who wanted to bring unnecessary (and often in disobedience) changes were brought in which were liberal and undermined the Church, as breaking the diocese up into pastoral areas will do.  Unfortunately, many Catholics buckled under that phrase.  Instead of speaking out they didn't because that is the answer they got, "Oh you're just averse to change".   Many now, knowing the destruction wrought by misguided people pushing their way on to the Church – and having the power ot do it – disregard that and keep battling on.  Others don't bother and just give up and leave. 

    72. Teresina April 3, 2014 at 12:32 pm

      Personally, I am well past caring what happens to this diocese – they can cut it up into 30 pieces if they like – sell it off, whatever.  The current entrenched group are just hastening the demise of this diocese.  They have had their way for years and look where we are now.  But thankfully in the next 10 years or so the younger priests we have and the good generation of young people that they are fostering will rebuild a good solid diocese out of the rubble that the failed current "we are Church" lot have left behind. 

    73. sienna April 3, 2014 at 12:38 pm

      I heard that the Diocese of Hamilton  could be "run" by 10 priests if priests did what priests are supposed to do.  Seems Hamilton Diocese is being swamped by deacons.

    74. Teresina April 3, 2014 at 12:39 pm

      Boanerges, "It is our expectations that need to change, and also our willingness to look beyond a "neighbourhood parish" model" – what you are saying is that we need to face reality that the system is collapsing.  What generations built up has been destroyed.  And no doubt this is what God intends that what we have that is a sort of Claytons church – what you get when you really haven't got the Church – has to be dismantled.  Yes, I am quite willing to travel to a parish where they have a good solid priest and so will others who wish to maintain the Faith.  But the reality is that the vast majority will not – and why should they?  After all they have no reason to because they really have very little knowledge of the Faith and so nothing to cling to.  In many cases petrol will be the deciding factor of whether a person attends Mass or not.  The vast majority in 10 years time will be elderly and probably won't be able to attend as they would like to.

      Expect to see a very small Church in the next 10 years with ample priests for those who continue practising.

    75. Don the Kiwi April 3, 2014 at 12:43 pm


      It is a simple fact that some people resist change, and it is a key point in restructuring – I learnt this in my management studies back in the 1970's when i was in management with a large window manufaturing company which had branches throughout NZ What is really needed is, that if change is suggested that it be properly analysed to ensure whether or not it is needed, and whether the steps being taken are the correct ones. I fail to see how what is being propsed could be branded "Progressive" or "Liberal". The structure of a diocese is the responsibilty of the bishop, and this proposal seems to me to be a good way to restructure the dioces that is now around thirty years old, but was set up simply using the organisational structure that had been in force for probably 80 years before that.

      I don't see how this could be branded destructive, misguided  or out of disobedience. All administrative structres need to change from time to time – that is why businesses have to restructure to survive. As the consultations occur over the next few months, maybe a clearer picture will emerge. I think we're going off half-cocked here, even though I agree that people should express their reasonable concerns.

      BTW I got the term/name wrong; there will be 9 Collegial Areas – not pastoral areas. Boils down to the same thing I suppose.

    76. Teresina April 3, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      Don the Kiwi, why is there a need to divide the diocese up at all? Obviously the intention is to sell off property and close down Masses.  That is the reality.  No need to set up different clusters to do that.  The Church model we have is sufficient but obviously, as with so many changes when they reorganise the workforce – lay people off in reality – they do that under the umbrella of restructuring.  Yes, of course people who are going to lose their jobs, their parishes will resist and you can't blame them.  When it comes time to close down all the "collegial" areas and there are an over abundance of deacons what will you do?  You will just have to accept it the way everyone else has or be considered averse to change.  Of course you were trained to handle such changes, otherwise how would change be effected in society?  How many times has the health system been revamped under so many guises and more and more costs landed on citizens and less and less paid to the workers?  These terms are now hackneyed old terms.  I have heard many an employment review hearing where they go through the motions, the employee is heard but the reality is they are going to lose their job at the end of it because they are just "collateral damage".

      The reality is that this "restructuring" of the diocese is going to lead imminently to the closure of some parishes, no more Mass in some areas.  You can call it whatever you like but the reality is the same just more demolition of the Church.    

    77. Teresina April 3, 2014 at 1:00 pm

      Also, Don, most restructuring is due to bad management of the company and the worker suffers.  In this case the Diocese has been badly managed and the laity suffer.  For one thing the majority of parish secretaries will be laid off.  In some areas where there is little work that will be a major blow to that family.  Just a little collateral damage the result of bad management and the over-sized group on full pay and top wages at the Chanel Centre.

    78. Teresina April 3, 2014 at 1:07 pm

      No doubt the restructuring is to get around the employment law where laying people off you have to have a reason!

    79. Boanerges April 3, 2014 at 1:08 pm


      an observation on your 12:39 comment – "what generations have built up is being destroyed" – I agree with your sentiments, but also think that this is not completely the fault of pastoral planners, deacons, even Bishops…the reality is that NZ is not the church going nation it was forty years ago…the faithfulness and adherance to mass going and in a wider sense, to community values is just not there anymore in our country…in many ways what the Church is facing in Hamilton diocese is just a microcosm of wider community issues..none of the other more established church traditions are especially florishing these days…it is not specifically a "Catholic" issue. 

      Just some random and close-to-off-topic thoughts! 

    80. Teresina April 3, 2014 at 1:08 pm

      Little comfort for those families who may have to move to get work to know that the Bishop of Hamilton will be enjoying his retirement in a luxury home complete with chandeliers and marble fittings.

    81. Teresina April 3, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      Boanerges, the fact that we have got pastoral planners, deacons has no doubt led to the demise of the local Church.  The traditional structure, followed by the traditional orders and traditional Mass parishes do not have that and it is the only structure that has been proven to work and build up the Faith.  Once we moved away from that that was the end.  It was warned about.  Wasn't heeded, and we now have this result.

      I would suggest to anyone who wants to practise their Faith that they move to a city where there is more likely to be the availability of a priest, Mass and the sacraments. 

    82. Don the Kiwi April 3, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      Teresina. your 12.55 pm.

      You are a real doomsday merchant, aren't you?

      Tell me where you got you inside information on parish secretaries being laid off, getting around employment laws, families suffering, parish properties being sold off,masses being discontinued?

      If these things are so obvious, please enlighten me.  In fact, at our meeting last Thursday, all these points were covered and it was made very clear that none of these things would happen – certainly not in our Collegial area. I can't speak for the other areas, but I'm sure the same criteria will apply.

      And you 1.12 pm. comment is simply more pessimistic scare mongering. You really need to take a grip of yourself. I'm over this discussion.

    83. Benedicta April 3, 2014 at 1:40 pm


      I think you are being too hard on Deacons and what is required. This is a lucid interpretation of what has happened. I don't agree necessarily that Ed Peters is 'insisting' as this chap says…but if you follow his lead to Canon Law you will see where the dispensation has been founded.

      I also trust the Dr of Canon Law who told me (in NZ) that the issue was resolved.

      Deacons, a legitimate and traditional part of the history of the Church, are not the cause of its demise.



      I think you are a blessed man in a blessed ministry….I wish we were inundated by Deacons but sadly no.

      Did you check out Catechesis of the Good Shepherd?

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



      Clearly you are in a more blessed place and haven't grasped the basis of what seems negative talk.

      It is awful….to apply happy talk to it and talk it up is what we have had for a long time…its seems to me a sign of madness.

      Fr Paul Williamson is brilliant….I am sure priests are happy in Christchurch.

    85. Benedicta April 3, 2014 at 1:48 pm


      the reality is that NZ is not the church going nation it was forty years ago

      That's true. But the Church in NZ cast its lot a certain way and we are feeling it more surely than would have been otherwise. The proof in the shape of diocese all over the western world. Some up and some down.

      They followed Call to Action in the USA and let a steady stream of speakers in to set up a false notion of where things were at and the future.

      Why on earth would they turn to Call to Action to instruct us….

      They dissolved the ground the Church stands on and kept the outfits….and even vestments are hard to find.

    86. Benedicta April 3, 2014 at 1:51 pm


      I think general distaste for post Vatican II comes in many guises, which makes more of a meal out of legitimate concerns than necessary.

      There is heaps and heaps for Deacons to do….all the evangelising…the Bishops need in the schools…in the parishes, so much.

      You can bury me when my time comes!

    87. the enthusiastic border-collie April 3, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      But at least the Catholic schools are full up and smartly dressed. 

    88. Teresina April 3, 2014 at 3:11 pm

      Don, if you read M&M's post properly then you would know where the information has come from: "Each pastoral area will be made up of a number of Catholic communities who will share three priests, one parish council, one parish office etc".  Therefore, logically, if sharing there will be only 1 or 2 parish secretaries at the most.  I understand that is what happened in Rotorua – one got laid off.  I stand to be corrected on that.  The old presbytery at St Michael's has been pulled down.  Fair enough as it was old.  But logically things are going to be sold off and jobs lost.  What happened to the two or three parish secretaries in Tauranga – now defunct I gather.


    89. Teresina April 3, 2014 at 3:14 pm

      Benedicta, the matter cannot be resolved while the Canon Law remains unchanged as Ed Peters points out.

    90. Teresina April 3, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      And Don, you have no parish secretaries to be laid off because that has already occurred, so I am told, and the work is done on a voluntary basis as it used to be done in years gone by, which to me is the sensible thing.  But if you have people in employment as parish secretaries then they are entitled to know what is going on.

    91. Teresina April 3, 2014 at 3:18 pm

      Well, Don, if what I say at 1.12 is scare mongering, tell me how 3 priests are going to manage 11 Masses if no Masses are to be cut out?  Put your money where your mouth is please.

    92. Teresina April 3, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      And, Don, you have said the two Marist priests are being moved from your collegial area to the Rotorual pastoral area – that means Rotorua will have 4 priests instead of 3.  I am sure that is not going to go unnoticed – regardless of whether they have a special ministry or not it means there will be 4 priests who can be called upon for Mass.  Not to mention the fact that one other priest goes down to the Tyburn monastery – therefore they have access to 5 priests.  The plan is getting more and more confused as it develops!

    93. Benedicta April 3, 2014 at 4:25 pm

      Benedicta, the matter cannot be resolved while the Canon Law remains unchanged as Ed Peters points out.

      Ah the surety of it to be sure to be sure……move over all Doctors of Canon Law….you may rest awhile…the Vatican has a hot line to Teresina.

      I have an opinion…that Church law can be clarified without a change to Canon Law if the clarification doesn't stand in contradiction to said Canon Law but simply offers its clarification based on another already present point within that law appropriate to the situation at hand…and so already present in that Canon Law….the whole law doesn't need to be re-promulgated.

      But it, unlike your own, is only my simple opinion….real Doctors of Canon Law who test us on these fine details often surprise us with their winning moves. Nor do they all agree.

      The paper has blown in favour of Deacon's not having to deny their wives the entire sacrament of marriage. Which of course could start a whole new argument if it did….on what grounds can Church Law override Sacramental Law based on Revelation?


    94. Teresina April 3, 2014 at 6:10 pm

      Benedicta, you are confusing to say the least.  On the one hand, you lamant the state of the Church, on the other hand you are quite happy with change in law to take place wihout a change in Canon Law – no wonder we are in such a mess.  That is what has been happening since Vatican II, with disastrous results.  I would prefer to rely on Ed Peters rather than any NZ Canon Lawyer.  

    95. Teresina April 3, 2014 at 6:13 pm

      Also, Benedicta, you are speaking from a position of no experience with deacons.  I don't appreciate a lot of their sermons.  I don't appreciate one deacon saying that we don't have to bother with Rome because we have our own church out here.  I don't appreciate a lot of the things that one Auckland deacon, well known on Being Frank, has stated with regards to Church law.

      You would think that deacons would be screened to at least find out if they accept the Church's teachings or not.  We have some deacons in Hamilton who are very liberal minded, but I guess that wouldn't trouble you in the least because you are so inconsistent in most things.

    96. Dominican April 3, 2014 at 6:46 pm

      So just out of curiosity how does one get to be a deacon.  Do you put yourself forward, does your parish priest decide you would be really good at it.  Will we see deacons moving into presbyteries with the shortage of priests?

    97. the enthusiastic border-collie April 3, 2014 at 6:50 pm

      Simply, how can a group argue their case and present their "brand" when the employees and managers still squabble (today deacons and pastoral areas)over what they are presenting and why you shouldn't go down the street. The Chesterton analogy of church with richly varied coherent interor has become a cacophonous market of fads. A woeful "church of anticipation" as said above.

      Anticipation of what? Becoming Anglicans, humanists, environmentalists, agnostics?

      We are relying on immigrants to fill the absence of baby boomers and now their children who are supposed to be the energetic 25-40 year olds of the parish.

      Further we are bound support Cathoilc schools that produce no priests and few parishioners. 

      If ever there was a case of committee paralyzed laurel sitting it is the english speaking Cathoilc church. 

      Death, judgement, heaven, hell; that will sort the question out. At least most of us can agree on the first element on the list. 

    98. Teresina April 3, 2014 at 7:05 pm

      Dominican, from the Hamilton Deacons' website it does say that they need to be put forward by their parish priest and to have been engaged in church ministry for some time.  There is one deacon living in a disused presbytery in Hamilton, so that is quite feasible that will happen.   Also something we can look forward to – taken from the website:

      "Can women be ordained as deacons?
      At this time women are not ordained to the diaconate. As most people realize, Pope John Paul has taught that the Church does not have the authority to ordain women to the priesthood. It is not clear whether the specific teaching of this document applies to deacons as well. The Church has not taught definitively on the subject of the possibility of the ordination of women to the diaconate. When approached on this very question, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican, Cardinal Ratzinger, responded that the possibility of ordaining women as deacons remains a question open for discussion. Some theologians hold that, because of the essential unity of the sacrament of orders, it would be impossible to ordain women to the diaconate~ others argue that, even within the essential unity of the sacrament, sufficient diversity exists to distinguish between the sacerdotal (priestly) orders of bishops and presbyters, and the order of deacons. Because of this diversity, they argue, it might be possible to ordain women deacons.
      It is unlikely that women will be ordained to the diaconate any time soon. However, it is important to recognize that the discussion of such a possibility does not fall into the same category as proposing the ordination of women to the priesthood. Unless and until the official teaching authority of the Church determines otherwise, the topic of women deacons remains open for discussion and debate.
      Those who would have the church defer the introduction of the diaconate to a diocese until women can be ordained seemingly do not understand the central spiritual and sacramental dimension of the order. It is wrong to  use it as a political football. The grace of the sacrament reflects the church’s commitment to service.
      The debate continues and will be enhanced by the motu proprio   “Omnium in Mentem” promulgated  by Benedict XVI   December 2010. "

    99. Teresina April 3, 2014 at 7:07 pm

      So if the ordination of women to the diaconate becomes a reality – and is certainly being pushed for in some sections – we will then see a deaconess standing at the altar raising the previous blood as happens at Mass.  What a thrill for us all.

    100. Teresina April 3, 2014 at 7:20 pm

      Absolutely, border-collie, we are relying on immigrants to fill the pews but from what I have heard we can't rely on a second generation of them because most of the younger ones follow their NZ counterparts and Mass is the last thing on the agenda for most young Catholics these days.  So there is no reason to be dividing the diocese up in this way except to break up the concept of priesthood further – remove the priests away from the laity and not make any one priest responsible for one parish with the consequences of that.  It has been tried in one tri-parish in Hamilton and it hasn't worked.  I know the parishioners weren't happy and most moved off to parishes where there was a priest so they could get some consistency.  Now they have divided up again and brought in another priest and the laity seem a bit happier now but at least seven weekday Masses were cut out and the consequent loss of grace in that – one priest in that set up is obviously not saying daily Mass.

    101. beyblade April 4, 2014 at 9:39 pm

      Sorry for posting the following here – but this came out in my child's school newsletter today and I wouldn't mind some thoughts – is the Sacrament of reconciliation really the same as playground restorative practice or is this more catholic school speak to make the Church superfluous.




      Next week there are 18 children who will be receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation next Tuesday. As Fr B   wrote in the Parish Newsletter “Please keep them in your prayers, especially for their appreciation that God reaches out to us via ordinary words, actions and people through parents, teachers and clergy to minister his love, mercy and care for us”.

      The Sacrament of Reconciliation is very similar to the Restorative Practices which we use at our school as you will see from the following extract from our Safe Environment procedures:

      Relationship Management

      We intend to provide a safe and healthy physical and emotional environment at all times for all persons using the school. The most important aspect of all behaviour management will be that relationships need to be restored. We therefore use a restorative process to address behaviour incidents. Through this process, the student/s involved are required to take responsibility for their behaviour, acknowledge its impact on others, identify and negotiate with those involved how they might repair any damage caused and carry out the consequence agreed upon. Follow-up to ensure consequence is carried out is vital for the success of this process.

      The benefits of using Restorative Practices are that:


      § everyone has a voice


      § it provides the opportunity to develop communication as a means of resolving conflict


      § it encourages children to take personal responsibility for their behaviour choices


      § there is dignity for all


      § there is the opportunity for empowerment for the victim


      § relationships are repaired


    102. Dominican April 4, 2014 at 10:18 pm

      Oh dear Jesus have mercy on us.

      Beyblade that is a  load of s………

      No wonder our children have no sense of sin. But then we must not bruise the crushed reed and upset the parents – can't have them getting wind of the 10 commandments now can we?

    103. Benedicta April 4, 2014 at 10:32 pm

      Beyblade….that's pretty awful. I agree with Dominican.

      I did read somewhere in a USA situation where a mother had a child coming up in a matter of weeks for the Sacraments of Initiation. The mother realised her child knew nothing very much at all. She had a friend who was a catechist who privately instructed her child and got her ready.

      I don't know what the options are….but it seems really wrong to give young people the sacraments and deny them the knowledge and opportunity to participate fully.

      You could withdraw your child and prepare for next year properly.

      Discuss the notice with your parish priest….take it from there.

      So sorry….get that Penny Catechism out…..

    104. bamac April 4, 2014 at 10:43 pm


      This late at night , that all sounds psychologica"l gobly gook! "  Can they themselves understand it … let alone young children?

      And they feel that Reconciliation is the same?  really

      Mrs Mac

    105. Teresina April 4, 2014 at 10:46 pm

      Beyblade, do you have any parents that you can discuss this with?  I would definitely go to the school and the parish priest and find out what the children have been taught about reconciliation. If you find they have been taught nothing I would take my child out of the programme.  Surely the priest who is administering reconciliation would want some assurance himself that the children know what the sacrament is?  I would also write to the school and express your concerns and copy your letter plus a copy of the newsletter to the Bishop.  What hope for the future generation if this is what is happening?

    106. IAGHW April 4, 2014 at 11:06 pm

      That is one thing I do not get… now many diocese had adopted the business model to run the church… why aren't they firing the staff they hire due to poor performance or lack of compentance… The school is lacking performance in terms of teaching children the faith (which is presented in their blueprint) and the staff obviously lacking compentance by publishing junk as such! if it is in a cooperate environment which the diocese staff so desired, those incompetance individual would be all fired long ago!

    107. Teresina April 4, 2014 at 11:29 pm

      Here is what our schools once were like and could be like again.  It is obvious they have got something we're missing:


    108. Teresina April 4, 2014 at 11:32 pm

      Sorry posted the wrong link.

      Here is what our schools once were like and could be again.  It is obvious they have got something our schools are missing:


    109. IAGHW April 4, 2014 at 11:39 pm

      They (the teachers and staff) actually care about the soul of their students… that may be the differences

    110. Teresina April 4, 2014 at 11:51 pm

      IAGHW, exactly right.  If the bishops want to preserve the Faith in New Zealand they  need to be doing something about it now.  We have good Catholic teachers and they should be given first pick of the jobs in our schools.

    111. Rubyshine April 5, 2014 at 8:33 am

      It's unclear to me from the school newsletter whether this is what the children have been taught about reconciliation in its entirety, or whether they're simply trying to make conncections between Reconciliation and other aspects of life that the children and families are familiar with.

      There's a big push in education that everything has to be "relevant." Always we look for the example of, "it's like…" so that students can link learning to their own experience.

      Now that someone has made me think on it, I can see similarities between reconciliation and restorative practice. Except, you know, God. I can understand the intention.

      The problem to me, is that I don't believe all things need to be made relevant or comparable to be validated. Reconciliation, baptism, marriage….they are what they are. Beautiful and without need for "relevance"


    112. beyblade April 5, 2014 at 10:19 am

      I re-read the statement in the newsletter and to be fair it did say 'similar' and I thought same, but it struck me as comparing say cats  to dogs – both from the animal kingdom and have four legs!

      I think God is missing from the school reflection, and the intercession of the Priest and the absolute bigger picture – somehow the school makes Reconciliation seem all quite trite.

      My daughter went through the programme a couple of years ago – it's interesting that of the 18 children undergoing First Communion and Confirmation – i have seen 2 Koreans who attend the state school and one Filipina  child who attends the Catholic school at Mass – so much for preparation – but that's ok because our DRS doesn't attend Mass either!

      Other general comments – I have told Bishop Colin about all this, I recently raised it with our new PP, and I was told that we can't proselytise the school ( i thought we were all of the same beliefs) and that as a parishioner  I need to be 'attractive and welcoming'.


      Another aside (sorry) – one of our tagged teachers, who has worked at the school for 14 years is heading for the North Island – she too has held the DRS position and in the 19 years i have been active in our parish I have only seen her at Sunday Eucharist once and then I didn't recognise her at first as it was so out of context.  Good luck North Island!!

    113. Teresina April 5, 2014 at 1:30 pm

      Beyblade, you can't proselytise a Catholic school?  I think I've heard it all now.  However, one thing in saying that what your pp is saying is it is not a Catholic school, so why is the Church subsidising it?  That could be your next question.

      Although it seems to me that, from what Cardinal Brandmuller is saying, that many bishops and theologians (and therefore priests) are ignorant of Catholic doctrine we are all wasting our breath.  The problem then in sending children to a "Catholic" school must be conflicting for them so perhaps it's best to take them out of all Christian living classes (if that is what it is called these days) and teach them the truths fo the Faith yourselves.


    114. Teresina April 6, 2014 at 12:21 pm


      Bishop Denis admits that there is no attempt in this diocese to increase the number of priests and therefore he is allowing a priestly shortage in this diocese.  I know in fact that at least one order of priests from Argentina who requested to establish in Hamilton Diocese was turned down by Bishop Denis.

      In response to that I am writing to the Nuncio because I don't think that a bishop who has past retirement age and, therefore, no doubt because of his age and lack of vitality that a younger more proactive bishop would have is no longer fit to make such major decisions that would so change the parish life of thousands in his diocese.

      I encourage everyone who is concerned to write to the Nuncio and try to avert this calamity for the Diocese of Hamilton.

    115. Dominican April 6, 2014 at 1:07 pm

      And an order of nuns Teresina on the pretext that such a decision was one for the new bishop. Yet he is prepared to force this new plan through or perhaps our new bishop has seen and approved what is proposed.  NOW THERE'S A THOUGHT!

    116. Teresina April 6, 2014 at 2:00 pm

      The letter says "A tight but achievable timeline for all collegial areas bar one by 14 December 2014.  The timeline envisages:

      Presentations to parish and school leadership, further consultation and discussions at the level of the collegial Area and parish.  What does that mean?

      Extraordinary, when you think there has been no consultation of the laity at all – except for a hand picked few who would back what is happening to the hilt.