Page 2, 16th August 1968

16th August 1968
Page 2
Page 2, 16th August 1968 — TENSION MOUNTS

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Keywords: Religion / Belief

wrong, It is an improvement on what we had before: a fact which indicates that further improvement can be expected. The debate will go on within the Church: Catholics must givesomc proof to the world that their faith and life are its right setting. stimulus and inspiration."

The middle view and perhaps the one most likely to be adopted by the majority of the clergy is expressed by Fr, Richard More Sutherland. Bishop Butler's secretary.

He considers that priests do have the trust and confidence of their bishops and can make their vicws known through such channels as a

letter to the bishop or discussion at deanery and council of priests level.

The attitude of Fr. Sutherland appears to be reflected in the decilion of Bishop Cashman of Arundel and Brighton to hold two meetings of his priests—nearly 400 to debate the encyclical in September.

The Bishop has promised his priests they may speak with frankness and without impunity.

The suspension of Fr. Weir came only a day after Archbishop Cowderoy in a hardhitting pastoral letter criticised the "disobedient priests" who misled people by not heeding the command of Pope Paul that the traditional rules must be followed until and unless he mak' s a change.

When this letter was read out in Fr. Weir's .church at North Cheam on Sunday a number of lay Catholics walked out in protest.

Various reports put the number from five to N. Because at that stage Fr. Weir had only been suspended from preach • ing or hearing confession. Archbishop Cowderoy's pastoral was read by Fr. Weir's Superioi-, Fr. Laurence Duprez.

On 'Saturday Archbishop Cowderoy wrote a personal letter to Fr. Weir and invited him to reconsider his decision. He was kiven certain conditions within Which he could. in the words df Mgr. Hubert Gibney, spokesrfian for the archbishop, "honestly continue to act fully as an assistant priest in the parish.

"He was allowed all the time he needed to consider the matter. r ' could say Mass,

while d, but if he could

not accept the conditions. then %%mild be suspended from all priestly duties and would necessarily have to leave St, On Monday evening. the day after the Archbishop's pastoral had been read. Fr. Weir informed the Vicar General of Southwark. Mgr. Gibney, ne could not accept the conditions.

On Sunday the parishioners of St. Cecilia's drew up a 34signature petition to Archbishop Cowderoy, asking for Fr. Weir's duties to he retained.

Delivered to Mgr. Gibney before Fr. Weir had stated he could not give his "external obedience" the petition said: "The people of this parish have the highest regard for his sincerity. compassion, and his zealous work with the young people. . . .

"-I-he Church cannot afford to lose priests. especially those of the calibre of Fr. Weir."

A spokesman for the Archbishop said when the petition was delivered to Archbishop's House, one of the organisers stressed that the vast majority of those who signed it, wished to dissociate themselves Completely from Fr. Weir's views on the encyclical.

On Tuesday night 'et another group went to Mgr. Gibney and pleaded for Fr. Weir. Appearing on television news that evening Mgr. Gibney said he could not reverse the decision until Fr. Weir agreed to external obedience. 'However," declared the VicarGeneral, "I don't think this is a matter of conscience for Fr. Weir. I think he's just a young man who is unwilling to obey his superiors."

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