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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Welcome to the Barney Church Where the Synod Spin has Already Begun

My previous post on the Barney priest in the Diocese of Orange elicited a comment that identified where he is now, Santa Clara in Yorba Linda. What's more interesting is what he's up to. Fr. Barney clearly wants the Church to change according to the recommendations of the German bishops and others like Blase Cupich of Chicago. In short, they want the Barney Church.

Many people warned that regardless of what the Synod on the Family actually said, the perception  would be what really counts. And "Fr. Barney" (Fred Bailey) is already hot to spin the synod and change the doctrines in practice if not in word. Here's some of what he said in last Sunday's bulletin message:

While much of our media has been engrossed with debates, candidate’s poll standings, flooded highways and water conservation, the Synod on the Family has been proceeding in Rome… OUR Catholic Church is opening windows of debate to allow the many different voices from around the world to share their concerns regarding what constitutes a family, how we as a church can support/accompany people in their desire to build familial relationships, how we can pastorally/mercifully invite back to the Eucharistic table those whose marriages have fractured and overall invite all sorts of people back to sacramental nourishment so they can build their own lives of grace more easily.... During these last few weeks, it was like the German Bishops had read my recent Bulletin letter regarding ‘mercy’… imagine my surprise when I read that German Cardinal Reinhard Marx had spoken to his fellow bishops from around the world, urging: “we should seriously consider the possibility – based on each individual case and not in a generalizing way – to admit civilly divorced and remarried believers to the sacrament of Penance and Holy Communion.” This should be permitted, he continued, “when the shared life in the canonically valid marriage definitively has failed and the marriage cannot be annulled, the liabilities from this marriage have been resolved, the fault for breaking up the marital life-bond was regretted and the sincere will exists to live the second civil marriage in faith and to educate children in the Faith.” Many, especially the people of Chicago, are taking notice these days following the interview given by Chicago Archbishop, Blase Cupich, in which he told reporters in Rome he favors pathways to offer Holy Communion to divorced and remarried Catholics. He said the church must respect the decisions those Catholics make about their spiritual lives and he believes the same is true for gay Catholics in relationships. I think we have to make sure that we don’t pigeonhole one group as though they’re not part of the human family, so there’s a diff erent set of rules for them,” Cupich said during the roundtable news briefi ng Friday. “That would be, I think, a big mistake.” The Synod is wrapping up its deliberations in these final October days…and then the Holy Father is responsible for synthesizing all that has transpired into possibly definitive and impactful directions/actions/invitations. Over the years, in conversations with individuals about how the Catholic Church operates, I have often used the image of us being (at our BEST) a BIG Mediterranean/Latin-Type Family. Boisterous, loud, not always all in agreement about everything…but when any of our FAMILY wants to come home for a family meal….they are always welcome. Eating at the table does not mean everyone condones or agrees with everybody else…but it does mean that FAMILY is cherished and honored over and above disagreements, disputes and wounds. In order to be whole and well, people need to eat good food, talk, challenge each other, exchange ideas….and ideally this happens best within family. What our Church is perhaps awakening to is the vast diversity of what FAMILY can actually resemble…but nonetheless in which love, faith and grace can dwell. Once the Roman conversations have concluded there will be some collective holding of breath…some waiting for an invitation to come HOME for supper…and some hoping the world remains what, in their estimation, it has always been....  the Synod is the start of a global discourse on insuring that the Catholic Church is a clear and loud voice saying: ‘Stand up, come to Jesus’ and not a cruel institution concerned only with gilding the word NO while telling people to shut up. As the liturgical years starts to close in the shadow of a VERY lively Synod, which voice from today’s Scripture has reigned within our hearts? Have the actions of our life become a voice telling the broken to shut up or have we, through our actions (which always speak louder than words) become a voice of hope and healing, inviting the broken to come to Jesus? 
Once again those who uphold doctrine are portrayed as representing a "cruel institution" while voices like Fr. Barney are filled with mercy. Read the whole nauseating thing. It's clear Fr. Barney wants a big friendly "I'm okay, you're okay" Church where everybody is "broken" (but not in a sinful way, such a negative word, sin). And nobody should be denied the Eucharist no matter what because we're all a big, happy family.

Chances are those in sinful relationships already receive Communion at Santa Clara. Can you imagine Fr. Barney refusing anybody who wants to "follow his own conscience" and approach for Communion no matter how sinful his lifestyle? And can you imagine an extraordinary minister dressed like a devil, like the one at Fr. Bailey's Barney Mass, refusing Communion to the devil himself?