14 May 2021

There must be a story here ...

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has apparently made available under its customary formal heading the text of a 'Pastoral Letter' for Pentecost. In this text, we are told that their Graces and their Lordships have decided to "speak out together ... as bishops of England, Wales, and Scotland". (What is the Scottish situation?)

I always get excited when prelates talk about "speaking out". It's that dear little three-letter word "out" which sets my wotsits tingling.

But there appears to be some sort of rumour that not all the bishops could bring themselves to agree to this text. And those, few, diocesan websites which I am able to access ... readers will be aware that I am hopeless at this IT stuff ... make no reference to the 'letter'.

A bit of a tease, yes?

I do not read Church periodicals and I live the life of an irrelevant and rightly despised recluse. But surely, out there, somebody knows what is going on and could enlighten both me and my readers?

Dogmatically, the theme of the Pastoral is that we should not divide the Pentecostal gift of the Spirit from the involvement of the same Spirit in currently fashionable "Environmental" concerns.

Nothing wrong with that, is there.

17 comments:

Éamonn said...

Never mind the bishops'/dioceses' websites, I could find no trace of the letter on the https://www.cbcew.org.uk/ site. I found a PDF copy on a parish website but there was no mention of Scotland anywhere. I am inclined to ascribe its absence to technological ineptitude rather than unwillingness to support the letter's eco-guff.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. ABS expects that John 3:8 will be cited by Chelsea Clinton or Joe Perry or somebody else at some Vatican Conference on Anthropogenic Global Warming and Harricains.

Harricians is how Crackers in So. Flo. pronounce hurricanes.

John F. Kennedy said...

"...a 'Pastoral Letter' for Pentecost." So do you think they are going to "come out" for it or against it?

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Eamonn: so the copy you saw did not include the words I quoted, "speak out together ... as bishops of England Wales and Scotland"?

Éamonn said...

Indeed, it did not. It was a PDF document headed "Bishops Conference of England and Wales".
https://www.stlsidcup.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Pastoral-Letter-for-Pentecost-2021.pdf

It is not signed by anyone, either, which is odd for a letter.

Chrysologos said...

A facsimile of the CBEW Pastoral Letter can be found on Mark Lambert's 'De Omnibus Dubitandum Est' blog (https://marklambert.blogspot.com/2021/05/establishing-new-object-of-worship.html.)
The offending inclusion of Scotland's bishops with CBEW is in the penultimate line of the third paragraph.
Before reading the aforementioned post, I suggest readers of a nervous disposition should have a large, strong G&T to hand.

E sapelion said...

The letter is on the CBCEW site now.
https://www.cbcew.org.uk/pastoral-letter-environment-pentecost/
and it can now be found under NEWS.
Yes Father, it does include the words you quoted, about half way through.
There is also a film, but :-
Secure Connection Failed An error occurred ... experienced an internal error.
Error code: SSL_ERROR_INTERNAL_ERROR_ALERT
I suspect Éamonn is right to ascribe it to technological ineptitude.

Bob said...

https://www.stlsidcup.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Pastoral-Letter-for-Pentecost-2021.pdf

https://www.cbcew.org.uk/pastoral-letter-environment-pentecost/

4th paragraph
"as bishops of England, Wales and Scotland"

Bob said...

https://www.stlsidcup.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Pastoral-Letter-for-Pentecost-2021.pdf

https://www.cbcew.org.uk/pastoral-letter-environment-pentecost/

4th paragraph
"as bishops of England, Wales and Scotland"

An American said...

"I live the life of an irrelevant and rightly despised recluse"

Stop making fun of me!

Friedlon said...

The trace of said document on the cbcew website is https://www.cbcew.org.uk/pastoral-letter-environment-pentecost/
and it contains the words quoted by Father.

E sapelion said...

Having read this, I find it very bland. I can't see anything as clear as your summary Father "we should not divide the Pentecostal gift of the Spirit from the involvement of the same Spirit in currently fashionable "Environmental" concerns" but what would be wrong with that? It is clearly dangerous if we do not involve the Holy Spirit, that leads to to fanatacism of the Animal Liberation Front, and advocating abortion to reduce the 'burden of population'.

Jhayes said...

Appears to be a joint statement of the two bishops conferences:

This article from April mentions that the CBCEW "are preparing a joint statement with the Scottish bishops on the plight of the planet to be published on Pentecost Sunday"

Also, that

"Catholic bishops have found the ultimate environmental tonic – a gin distillery – to fuel their green energy drive.

The Catholic Church is now the biggest purchaser of green energy in England and Wales, bishops have revealed. Churches, church halls and presbyteries are all now using green energy through an interdiocesan project – with more than three-quarters of their gas derived from a Scottish gin distillery."

https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/14083/gin-fuels-green-spirited-catholic-church

F Marsden said...

Each individual bishop is supreme in his diocese under the Pope. However an Episcopal Conference does not have this sort of authority throughout its area. Its authority is limited to about 27 specific issues - Holydays of Obligation, how much of the Divine Office deacons have to say etc.

I doubt that the Episcopal Conference has the authority to stipulate that a "pastoral Letter" shall be read in all churches of the country. An individual bishop might adopt it and tell all his priests to proclaim it from their pulpits the following Sunday, but I don't think that the collective Conference has any such rights. Especially if it isn't signed, and we don't know whether all or a majority or a minority of the bishops agree with it.

Is it just a text produced by an eager environmental beaver in 39 Eccleston Square London SW1V 1BX? With all the authority of the penpushers there situated?

Jhayes said...

Dear F. Marsden!

It doesn't appear that the CBCEW has stipulated that the letter shall be read in all churches. The introductionon its website says "A Pastoral Letter on the environment, prepared by the Bishops of England and Wales, for use in churches on 23 May 2021, Pentecost Sunday.

https://www.cbcew.org.uk/pastoral-letter-environment-pentecost/

That leaves open to each Bishop to decide how the letter is to be used in his diocese, if at all. As you pointed out, CIC Can 455 #4 provides that, with the exception of items in #1, the Conference is not able to act in the name of all the Bishops unless each and every Bishop has given consent.

That is one reason (among others) why the USCCB is unlikely to bar Joe Biden from receiving Communion (at least one Bishop has said that JB is welcome to receive Communion in his diocese).

motuproprio said...

The President of the Conference has ordered it to be read in his diocese and doubtless many others have or will too. The interesting thing will be whether there are any recusants.

Bill Murphy said...

Yes, this piece of Episcopal eco waffle is still on the Bishops' website as of 17th May. Along with the latest COVID advice, of course.

https://www.cbcew.org.uk/pastoral-letter-environment-pentecost/

Does not the COVID advice to well ventilate churches (so they are cold) conflict with eco advice on energy insulation?