There has been a good deal of discussion in these columns on two issues: (I) Does the draft document, "The Church 2000" — as has been widely claimed — really represent the attitudes and ideas of the majority of Catholics of this country?
(2) Is the NCP, both in its approach and its recommendations, a truly representative voice of the broad mass of the priests it claims to represent?
We should all be deeply grateful to the NCP for putting the answers to both questions beyond further dispute.
(1 ) Resolution 3 (Official Report, Fifth National Conference, pill) states: "The response to 'The Church 2000' has disclosed that there is little interest in the document among priests.This is indeed both frank and unequivocal. We may regret it: it may display an appalling lack of judgment on the part of the clergy; but — if the report is to be believed — they want no part of "The Church 2000."
(2) Clearly, any resolution one would expect to be framed by a group genuinely representing such a perverse generation could only recommend that the rejected document he withdrawn. Instead, it is recommended that steps be taken to bring the brethren to a different frame of mind, a policy which is their right to pursue as individuals, but not their role as representatives.
Indeed, Fr Kearney is reported (p9) as saying "representatives (sic) should turn to the bishops and remind them of their responsibility to form (italics mine) the minds of their priests." (Note, in parenthesis, that the working party, of which Fr Kearne,y was a member, on p8 of the preliminary report, welcome a suggestion "that the report," ie. "The Church 2000" "should be accepted more wholeheartedly by the bishops." Who is to form their minds for them is not stated).