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South African bishops respond to Bishop Dowling’s criticism of Popes John Paul, Benedict

Catholic World News - August 16, 2010

The bishops of South Africa have responded to a June address in which a fellow bishop, Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg, offered strong criticism of the extraordinary form of the Mass and what he characterized as the “restorationist” vision of Venerable John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.

“When interpreting the signs of the times and discerning God’s will under the guidance of the Holy Spirit tensions and disagreements can arise even among bishops,” the bishops said in a statement. “This calls for tolerance and sensitivity. Above all care should be taken not to label bishops e.g. as ‘restorationists,’ conservatives or progressives but rather to address the issues.”

“We are confident that the leaders of the Church, whether the Curia in Rome or the local bishops of a country, are people of integrity who are striving to be faithful to the Gospel, despite human frailty and in some exceptional cases great human failure,” the bishops continued. “The bishops’ conferences of the various countries are the forum for open, sincere and honest dialogue as we discern what discipleship to Jesus means in our world.”

“Through our baptism we have given our lives to Christ and therefore subject our individual choices to the Gospel and the always developing teaching of the Church,” the bishops added. “While everybody is bound to their conscience it is important to remember that ‘an upright and true moral conscience is formed by education and by assimilating the Word of God and teaching of the Church’ (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church # 374). Certainly at times tensions can arise. In such a case it is essential that humble discourse continues.”

“The radical nature of the teaching of Christ often causes us to go against the main stream of human thinking as it did in biblical times and throughout Church history,” the bishops concluded. “Nonetheless we your bishops must be bold in our fidelity to the Gospel. We call upon all Catholics to be equally bold in standing up for the doctrinal, social and the moral teaching of the Church. Doing so is a crucial part of the evangelizing mission of the Church for transforming society.”

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  • Posted by: patriot6908 - Aug. 16, 2010 4:37 PM ET USA

    "We call upon all Catholics to be equally bold in standing up for the doctrinal, social and the moral teaching of the Church. Doing so is a crucial part of the evangelizing mission of the Church for transforming society.” To say the least... ...doing so will prevent our society from making hell look like a Sunday in the park within a decade or so.

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