Foreign born priests-no solution


Bishop Smith of Edmonton 15 years ago banned Catholic New Times in the Pembroke area. Not orthodox for him. He was and is a John Paul ll bishop who answered to one —the bishop of Rome. Smith is quite a conservative so watch what he did.

In the last few years Smith sent  packing 4 Nigerian priests  who had come  cto Edmonton. They were even too much for the bishop.

It’s simply a bad fit. I am sure there are some good men in this cohort but they bring such a lousy, priest-centered ecclesiology that they really are fish out of water. In Africa they may be tolerable and accept, as due to them, all deference and rewards which come to the ordained. This is just what Pope Francis rails against—clericalism.

On top of their poor ecclesiology many bring a pronounced chauvinism and misogyny. Add to this a total obliviousness to the Canadian context and our rich Catholic Social Teaching.Reverse mission  we can accept but clericalism, patriarchy, misogyny,—no thanks..



My beautiful late friend the Franciscan Mike Crosby wrote a great book about celibacy:Rethinking Celibacy Reclaiming the Church. Mike’s image: a fisher throws his line into the water. On this side (celibate men) he gets no bites. On the other side of the boat, fish are leaping into the boat but they are married men and women.Forbidden to reel them in. Lesson:the Catholic church is denying priesthood to gifted, baptized married men and women on utterly spurious grounds. This country could easily priest its own people, men and women who know the culture and are faithful to the kingdom vision of Jesus.

But no, bishops are in place who will not do the obvious: tell Rome to wake up, listen to the sensus fidelium of the Catholic people in this country and accept the obvious solution. They don’t. They stay mum.and they go fishing to other continents where the fish are jumping out of the water and out of poverty  to join the exclusive all male, pope in the parish priesthood.

Australia’s Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse issued its report last December “Clericalism is linked to a sense of entitlement, superiority and exclusion, and abuse of power,” the report said.

No kidding.The  upper management of this church has not adjusted to the quantum leap in lay theological sophistication in the last 50 years since Vatican ll.They are demanding  agency the right to be heard as baptized catholics. father knows best is an old trope and a bad TV show.

Now even Bishop Smith is becoming aware of these imports to Canada. But will he tell Rome the obvious?

Decades ago Bishop Alex Carter of the Soo moaned to me: We are stuck. He was very frustrated. In 1971 he had called for ordaining married men first, then proceed to women….that was 47 years ago and before the Polish pope staked his pontificate on banning women from all 7 sacraments. 13 years of Vatican ll energy was dissipated when Woytyla slammed on the brakes and began the counter-reformation.

Remember Bishop Remi de Roo’s story


We were enjoying an open discussion of all sorts of topics. I was determined that one of them would be the ordination of mature married men. I was sitting next to the Pope, at his right hand. He attacked his food with gusto, pausing occasionally to hold his fork and knife upright in his hands. At one point, I suggested that we might consider the pastoral problems caused by the shortage of priests, particularly in remote areas like the ones represented by most of the bishops who were present at that luncheon.

He ignored my request by glancing to his left. The exchanges moved along;

I waited for a second opportunity for a lull in the conversation. This time, speaking in French to make sure he would grasp every word, I carefully but directly faced him with the issue of our people being deprived of the Eucharist. Should we not call to ordination mature married men who could provide the spiritual nourishment that was so sorely lacking in areas deprived of clergy? He turned and glared at me, then banged deliberately on the table with his fist holding the knife handle. In a loud and emphatic tone of voice he declared, “Deus providebit!” (God will provide!). That was, sadly, the end of the exchange.

Well, God won’t provide, hasn’t provided but the Catholic people  can if given their rightful role in this church.

Imports from Nigeria are no solution.