BlogWatcher - Father Bob's cafeteria Catholicism


The Fairfax atheist blogger Dick Gross interprets the well-publicised retirement of South Melbourne parish priest Father Bob Maguire as “vengeance against a ‘Cafeteria Catholic’ by Cardinal George Pell”.

“However, cafeterias are also places where people engage in life. They are not posh. They are not sinful. They are vibrant hubs where humans congregate and thrive. That His Eminence would view the word ‘cafeteria’ as a put down indicates a willingness to take his faith to the margins of Australian society rather than sacrifice his religious purity.”


The Divine Wedgie comments on the debate on whether anti-sexploitation campaigner Melinda Tankard Reist can be regarded as a feminist. Tankard-Reist has been subject to personal social media attacks from feminists who regard a pro-life position incompatible with feminism.

“Interestingly, in recent days, a number of feminist writers have publicly come out in defence of Tankard Reist, none of whom are christian and some of whom even reject her pro-life stance… As part of their discipleship, Christians arguably need to discern the overlaps… [because] it is possible at a philosophical and strategic level to form alliances with such feminists in a manner that still extends Christ's reign.”


dotCommonweal has a post on the reception of the New Missal in India, written by a US academic there on sabbatical.

“Since English is one of the principal languages in India, the Delhi Archdiocese is also dealing with the new missal.  They rolled it out on the Epiphany… The confusion the first week was palpable… Conformance to the new missal seems to have declined significantly during the last two weeks.  Even the priest has slipped back into some of the old locutions (e.g, ‘Lord I am not worthy to receive you…’)”


At UCAN, Father Michael Kelly blogs from Thailand on the growing pattern of marriages among foreign tourists who want to tie the nuptial knot at one of the country’s many beachside resorts.

“[Wedding agency] Take Us To Thailand recommend that couples attend to the religious and/or civil elements in registering their marriages before they leave home and arrive in Thailand. So why go to the effort and expense of doing it all away from home if the legal and religious record is back there? … The knock down argument may be a surprise, but not really – the cost!”


Sam Clear blogs from the Guadalupe Pilgrimage, which involves 17 young Australian Catholics and Sydney auxiliary Bishop Peter Comensoli journeying through Mexico and the USA. He describes the visit to the pro-life Sisters of Life in New York.

“The Villa de Guadalupe… is normally reserved for holding retreats for pregnant woman, those who’ve suffered through an abortion or those struggling with life-issues, so we are truly privileged to be welcomed into this refuge and to learn first-hand from the sisters how they bring love and light into such troubled lives. Simply sharing in the celebration of the Eucharist with them was peace-filled beyond description.

"Peace-filled, yes, somber, hardly! The Sisters of Life bounce around this place like kids let out of the car at the McDonalds playground after a long drive. When it’s time to gather, a sister skips through the hallway’s ringing a bell, ushering to come with a smile and joy. We’re told they pray and fast regularly, so we’re assuming that the peanut butter cream pie and Hershey Chocolate cake after dinner were especially for our arrival. Maybe not though.”


Australia Incognita writes on Armidale in the latest instalment in her series of diocesan profiles. In a section titled “Transparency and accountability”, she criticises the “strange lack of a diocesan website for Armidale, the only holdout amongst Australian dioceses”. But nevertheless “Armidale has a reputation for orthodoxy and orthopraxis under Bishop Luc Matthys… I'm led to believe there is a regular Latin Mass held in Armidale - but there don't seem to be any details of it on the web.”

One commenter suggests “it is possible that web-based communications are not as relevant in rural dioceses”. 

“Give me a break!” replies Incognita. “This is Tony Windsor's electorate, the man who supports the Gillard Government in part on the promise of the National Broadband rollout taking place there asap”.


Sentire Cum Ecclesia comments on ABC TV’s planned Compass “Holy Switch” series in which devout (but not “rigid”) religious practitioners are invited to take part in the religious lives of families from a different faith tradition.

“The exercise sounds interesting, but is undermined by the requirement that applicants be ‘not rigid in adhering to their beliefs’… It is one thing to “be open to new experiences and interested in how the beliefs of others shape their lives” but another thing to be what amounts to being unfaithfil to one’s beliefs.”


David Timbs blogs at v2catholic on the neglect of the tradition of localism in the Church.

“In the authentic letters of Paul he always begins by greeting ‘the saints in…’ He was very conscious that he was relating to Christian communities in distinct places… One of the great fruits of Vatican II was the reawakening among Catholics of the sense of the essential ‘localness’… Some years ago, two influential Cardinals had a rather passionate and robust debate on this very issue. Cardinal Walter Kasper, then Prefect of the Congregation for Christian Unity, and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith… Benedict (Ratzinger) would probably declare the matter closed and resolved in his favour… Ratzinger’s scholarly opinion has now becoming the official policy of Benedict XVI’s pontificate.”

Michael Mullins, founding editor of CathNews, compiles this 'Blog Watcher' column every week.

Disclaimer: CathBlog is an extension of CathNews story feedback. It is intended to promote discussion and debate among the subscribers to CathNews and the readers of the website. The opinions expressed in CathBlog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the members of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference or of Church Resources.

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