Bishop Accountability
  Letter to the Editor

By Fr. Joseph Hennessey
The Pilot
May 10, 2002

I am disappointed in my brother priests who have formed the so-called Boston Priests Forum. I say "so-called" because they do not represent the majority of Boston priests. To use an old cliche, some of my best friends are members. I think their actions are regrettable, though certainly well intentioned.

Do they have the right to associate? Of course. But in the Church, all rights are conditioned by prior obligations and I would point them to c.233 of the Code of Canon Law, there the common good of the Church is the value by which the exercise of their rights should be measured. And this is where I am sure we disagree: That in the current moment, their actions could be perceived as elitist and divisive. Others might say the division are already there, but such an organization will deepen and harden the divisions.

Should we discuss the issues? Absolutely; but we don't have to form separate cliques to have good, animated discussions. In fact, the formation of such groups will inhibit rather than contribute to the exchange of views.

In these extremely difficult days, the watch-phrase should be "sentire cum ecclesia", think/feel with the Church. Does this mean blind, unthinking obedience? of course not. But it does mean sticking close with our bishops who are near the heart of the Church, next to the center of the Church, which is not a debating society, but the Body of Christ. The speakers that the BPF listen to, never, in my experience, give the hierarchy the benefit of the doubt.

Fr. Joseph Hennessey


Original material copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.