Those Godless Clergy

  (26 May 09)
  by Greg Spearritt

It’s a never-ending source of media fascination: the clergy who doubt the out-there divinity thing.


At one end of the spectrum is outrage, for example in Tess Livingstone’s Australian opinion piece condemning Fr Peter Kennedy for doubting the existence of Jesus. How hypocritical of him to celebrate the Eucharist each Sunday! (See Australian Story or  ABC TV iview for more on what Kennedy believes – or doesn’t.)


A much more sympathetic hearing is given to former Bishop of Edinburgh Richard Holloway by Andrew West of the Sydney Morning Herald. Holloway, who’s in Australia promoting Between The Monster And The Saint, his most recent book about the Church, also still presides at Holy Communion, despite being an avowed agnostic.


You have to concede that the Livingstones of the world have a point. None of Kennedy’s doubts were voiced in any significant public way while he was at St Mary’s Catholic Church. Obviously, they would have constituted far too much of a challenge to orthodox Catholic teaching to be acceptable to the Catholic Powers that Be. Holloway, too, has become far more vocal on such matters as a retired bishop. In his case, articulating some of his ideas may not have been fatal to his career, but they’d certainly have made it rockier.


Did Holloway and Kennedy – like the significant minority of clergy still on the job who have similar doubts – fail their congregations by keeping schtum?




I too was disappointed by the response in the oz.... what has happened to the spirit of Vat II?

Posted by Rob Speirs

Of course Tess is a dogmatic right-wing catholic true believer.

A staunch supporter of the "authority" of the "magisterium" and all the associated blather that goes with that conceit.

Posted by John

I think that clergy do a disservice to their conggreations when they don't share any of the advances of historical biblical criticism from the last 200 years.

Posted by Chris Donges

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