It is impossible to divorce someone’s character from their views…

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The compassionate merciful response to Kieran Conry’s apology and resignation has been acknowledged and received. The man must now get on with the rest of his life. But mercy does not mean brushing it under the carpet.  As a catholic community it is important to learn from any mistakes made.

I have been researching Kieran Conry on Google and have stumbled upon a huge amount of information. Here are the facts:

His ministry:

  • He was ordained in 1975
  • In 1980 he became the private secretary to the Apostolic Delegate (Pro-Nuncio from 1982), Archbishop Bruno Heim, and then his successor Archbishop Luigi Barbarito.
  • He was appointed Monsignor in 1984.
  • From 1988 to 1993, Conry was a member of the National Conference of Priests, and its Vice-Chairman from 1992 to 1993.
  • From 1993 to 2000, he was involved with training counsellors for Catholic Marriage Care.
  • From the beginning of 1994 to 2001, Conry was Director of the Catholic Media Office in London, the press office of the Bishop’s Conference of England & Wales, and also Editor of Briefing, the Bishop’s official journal.
  • On 8 May 2001, Conry was named the fourth Bishop of Arundel and Brighton by Pope John Paul II. He received his episcopal consecration on the following 9 June at Arundel Cathedral.
  • He was Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Department of Evangelisation and Catechesis.
  • He was the Church’s Bishop for Youth.
  • He sat on the Mixed Commission of the Conference of Religious.

His views:

  • He is described as being an ‘uber liberal’.
  • Bishop Conry has been critical of going to confession regularly, saying that, in his experience, people would always come back saying the same things week after week, suggesting that no interior conversion or repentance was actually taking place.
  • He supports same-sex civil partnerships for the legal benefits it gives to those involved.
  • He was not a fan of the Latin Mass.
  • He was in favour of contraception.
  • He disagreed that secularization was the real reason for the Church’s decline in the west.

Let’s not underestimate how high up this man was. He was Chair of  Evangelisation and Catechesis for goodness sake! It explains a lot about the church in the UK doesn’t it?! It is impossible to divorce someone’s character from their views. Perhaps now in the light of recent revelations it is easier to understand what kind of character he truly had, and how that was motivating his views and decisions for the Church.

But there are also deeper issues here.  For instance – did the other UK Bishops know about Conry’s affairs (going back to 2001)? And if so, why was he ever put in the position of Bishop in the first place? These are really serious questions. If the hierarchy knew – which seems very possible – then that surely presents us with a much greater scandal yes?

This article i found written January 2002 seems to highlight these fears:

CRONIES, CROOKS AND CRISIS POPES

It seems that Kieran Conry was earmarked for higher things by Cardinal Hume during his time as Director of the Catholic Media Office. Despite one priest’s assessment of his time there as being “by any objective standards a disaster,” Conry became one of the sponsored ‘untouchables’ – and acted accordingly. “For a period I saw quite a bit of Conry,” a deacon confided. “He seemed to live in a secular, corporate world rather than a priestly one. I never once saw him dressed as a priest. His point of view was unfailingly liberal.”

In other words, he was left to do his own thing. And if that is considered par for the priestly course nowadays, I guess one could say the same about his ‘special friendship.’ “Kieran was often seen out and about with his female friend,” a London priest informed me. “Everyone knew about it in the same way that everyone, including the bishops, knew about the homosexual relationship between Martin Pendergast [ex-Carmelite priest] and Julian Filochowski [Director of CAFOD, the bishops’ overseas aid agency].”

At that time, in commenting on the routine breaking of vows of chastity acknowledged by the hierarchy in a message to the Pope, Mgr (now Bishop) Arthur Roche had assured The Times that “… the bishops of England and Wales are realists.” Just how “realistic” they are I indicated by relating, among other cases, the example of the London priest well known to be living with his Pastoral Assistant, who he took along to Deanery meetings at the Bishop’s house! In that context, Mgr Conry ‘merely’ keeping regular company in such public fashion is hardly surprising. Yet even if such increasingly common ‘relationships’ are purely platonic, the point is that scandal is given, above all to those of simple and delicate conscience who are offended by it and interpret it in a bad sense. St. Joseph Cafasso, a nineteenth century version of the Cure of Ars, called this kind of scandal “the scandal of the little ones.” A priest’s life is not his own, and so the Saint exhorts him to absolutely abstain from any behaviour which might give scandal, even if caused by appearance only and the result of the ignorance of others.

One assumes that this is the case with Mgr Conry. But regardless, does it not leave the gravest questions about ecclesiastical propriety? Not to say about his prudential judgement and ability to offer wise moral leadership and counsel to others? Especially when shortly before his episcopal consecration Mass he is seen in Italy strolling hand in hand and enjoying leisurely outings with his lady friend at Palazzola, the residence on Lake Albano belonging to the English College. Again, it was the appearance of scandal that upset those who viewed the liaison, including one priest who was sufficiently disgusted to make representations to a Vatican Congregation. Word quickly spread and it is said that Church authorities may have queried Mgr Conry about the matter. Whatever the case, it is a measure of the unqualified protection afforded to Modernist cronies that not only did Mgr Conry’s less than discreet romantic entanglement not disqualify him from consideration for a bishopric in the first place, but that the Palazzola coup de grace did not even delay his elevation by a single day.

It is especially shocking in light of the numerous sexual scandals in recent years which have caused such harm to the Church in general and episcopate in particular, and which, one might have thought, would have seen Rome acting swiftly to snuff out the slightest possibility of further tabloid headlines. Not on your life. Ensconced in a plum see, Bishop Conry is now fulfilling the standard expectations of his liberal patrons: Protestantising and bureaucratizing his diocese behind a welter of Modernist buzz-words about “community,” “renewal” and “change.” – (Article written Janurary 2002)

Who knew about Conry’s affairs? Who turned a blind eye? Who allowed him to carry on in his position when he never should been there? How did he get selected for the position of Bishop in the first place? What is the agenda in the UK hierarchy?

One cannot help feeling that he was selected not for his personal holiness, strong moral character or his ability to uphold doctrine, but instead for his progressive, liberal views. Views that were formed in the mind of a man with a lot on his conscience.

What a mistake-a to make-a.

 

 

Spources: http://www.christianorder.com/features/features_2002/features_jan02.html

7 thoughts on “It is impossible to divorce someone’s character from their views…

  1. Surely the spectre at the feast is Cardinal CMOC. He promoted and protected Kieran Conry. It is barely credible that the UK hierarchy at the highest level was unaware of a brother bishop’s failings. Why did no-one try to correct him or attempt the salvation of his soul? The real scandal is one of corporate spiritual bankruptcy. Where is the mention of failing God in all this?

  2. The Conry problem began with Cardinal Hume. Why so many English and Welsh Catholics regarded, and still regard, Hume as a saint genuinely puzzles me. He wasn’t a terrible administrator because he was too deeply spiritual to care about the day to day realities of running a huge archdiocese: he was just incompetent; and he wasn’t that spiritual. I have gatherd from more than one source that when his incompetence created difficulties temper tantrums were the norm and it was always somebody else’s fault. My old PP, Cardinal Winning (but he wasn’t a cardinal then) was, according to the popular press (and The once Catholic Tablet), a hard-nosed administrator and a hard-headed political infighter, a bit of a bruiser compared to the intellectual and saintly Basil Hume. Well, I knew Oor Tam really well, and not just as my PP. Fluent in Italian and French and, if memory serves but I might be wrong, not too bad in Spanish, Cardinal Winning had a Licentiate in Sacred Theology, a doctorate in canon law (cum laude) and was the only secular priest in Great Britain qualified as an advocate of the Sacred Roman Rota. He was also a personally deeply spiritual guy. Over lunch with his second curate, Fr Neal Carlin, there would almost invariably be an argument about something or other but as soon as lunch would finish it was into the church and down on their knees. Spiritually refreshed, whatever they had argued about was forgotten. Cardinal Winning was devastated by Bishop Roddy Wright’s betrayal. Somehow I don’t think Cardinal Hume would be all that bothered about Conry’s. And I gather Murphy-O’Connor isn’t. In fact it is already being said that he has another such in mind to replace him. (PS: There was another British priest an SRRAdv, the Franciscan Fr Willie O’Connell OFM, who preceded Mgr, now Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke as Defender of the Bond at the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura (the former 1974-88, the latter 1989-December 1994 when he was nominated Bishop of La Crosse. I would be extremely grateful if anyone could supply me with any details about Fr Willie.)

  3. Reblogged this on Deaconjohn1987's Blog and commented:
    These are sad times for the Church; as Our Lady said in Her Second Message at Garabandal: Since it pained Our Lady so much it was given instead by St Michael the Archangel:

    As my message of October l8th has not been complied with and has not been made known to the world, I am advising you that this is the last one. Before, the cup was filling up. Now it is flowing over. Many cardinals, many bishops, and many priests are on the road to perdition and are taking many souls with them. Less and less importance is being given to the Eucharist. You should turn the wrath of God away from yourselves by your efforts. If you ask His forgiveness with sincere hearts, He will pardon you. I, your mother, through the intercession of Saint Michael the archangel, ask you to amend your lives. You are now receiving the last warnings. I love you very much and do not want your condemnation. Pray to us with sincerity and we will grant your requests. You should make more sacrifices. Think about the passion of Jesus.

  4. He was Chair of Evangelisation and Catechesis for goodness sake! It explains a lot about the church in the UK doesn’t it?!

    Well, actually it can only explain anything relevant to the Church in England. Fortunately we in Scotland were not affected by his position as Chair of E and C. Furthermore, the situation in Scotland is not exactly a whole lot better than it is in England so I’m not sure how far you can ascribe your situation to his Chairmanhip of E and C. However, I suspect that Hugh McLoughlin has a much better idea of these things than i do.

  5. Reading the Tablet today you would think we were losing an almost Saint! yes, we are all sinners, yes lots of people in the Diocese “liked” him because he failed to present the challenge at all of following Christ, instead basically saying – make up your own mind – especially at confirmations when he would basically say it was okay they might not ever come to church again, true, but the feeling of parents being let down was always evident.

    How do we gather together the many instances of where Bp Corny was NOT a good pastoral leader, without being accused of running a negative campaign? caustic letters sent to lay people trying to gain understanding and forgiveness or rectifying wrongs. Deacon left with no support at all when they are ill and cannot carry on with their duties, forced out of paid employment with the Diocese.

    The Tablet article mentioned how Conry could be foolhardy and reckless, an example would be how, shortly after his appointment he gave a lift home from a youth event to a 14 / 15 year old girl then waited in the girls home until Mum got back. NOTHING happened and the Mum was relating this to me in glowing terms of how kind he was, NO I said, it was reckless!! it was nether illegal nor immoral but considering the mess into which he stepped in the Diocese, it was reckless and he continued in that vein.

    Looks like Conry has no desire to lay down his priesthood – fine but we must not let this man have any sort of influence again as his recklessness may become something worse.

  6. Excellent news today and quite surprising. First, the Pope accepted Bp Conry’s resignation and, rather than perhaps trust anyone else in the Diocese with a Vicar Generals role, Archbishop Peter Smith has been appointed Apostolic Administrator. A&B is of course in the Southwark provincethat AB Peter leads, but when Cormac was promoted to Westminster Msg Hull was charged with the Apostolic duties. Thank God that Pope Francis appears to have realized the low morale in the diocese and has acted swiftly and decisively to give the best possible steer to the diocese and defuse those who would seek to still allow Conry to have an influence in the diocese. Thank you Pope Francis.

  7. Must apologise, I am half asleep (5.41 am) and hadn’t noticed that the reason I was directed here by Google was because I had commented on this at the time of publication and had myself mentioned Fr Willie. Must get to bed! Apologies again. As also for all the typos above.

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