Michael Daly CJ Blog

A Companion of Jesus

Right Speech

“Help my words to be generous and tender today,
for tomorrow I may have to eat them.”

BM

November 26, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Leaving Social Media Platforms

I have decided to leave Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I am thankful to the many folk who have interacted with me, both positively and negatively over many years! I have been challenged and hope I have challenged. But now is the time to say goodbye to these platforms! I have come to see that although I wanted to convey love and grace and the beauty that saves the world, through these channels, I have been drawn into a vortex that I find problematic…even destructive to our humanity! And so I must say adieu and farewell. I will hopefully now find more time to be a contemplative and will be writing more here on my blog and on the ‘Companions of Jesus’, website, @ https://www.cjesus.net

BM

November 26, 2022 Posted by | News | Leave a comment

Pornography.

I have had many friends (and still have many) who were/are involved in pornography. Today thousands of men and women are selling their bodies in and to the porn industry. Before I begin, I had better let you know that I love my friends and those caught up in the web of pornography! I do not judge them or condemn them. I do not judge or condemn those addicted to pornography. But, saying all this, I do believe that they are doing themselves and others a disservice and potentially destroying their lives and the lives of countless others for a candy coated poisonous pill.

Sexuality and sex is a very attractive and beautiful thing! It has sadly been made distasteful and misrepresented by the Church for too long! The Church has abused women for ages (and still does) and so it is no surprise to see women prostituting themselves in pornography. Homosexuals have been condemned by the Church and so they too have sought to escape the prison of abuse and domination and the internet is packed with homoerotic images and porn. The victims of sexual abuse within churches, reveal a major problem that is the outcome of the Church making sexuality and sex something dark, off limits, unless you are married and that only within a heterosexual union. The Church has made sex and sexuality a forbidden fruit, but as it is very enticing to eye and senses, both Adams’ and Eves’ desire to eat of it! The problem I see with pornography is that it destroys love by replacing it with lust. Those caught up in the porn industry, actors, producers, viewers are not bad or evil, but are addicted to the rush and euphoria that sex has. Some sadly are enticed or even forced into it for the gain of others, while some just get into it for money and a skewed idea of pleasure. The internet has sadly opened a doorway into this world and it has been destructive to both the young and old. men and women!

As I said at the start, I have friends, (young and old) who are part of the porn industry and I have watched them drown in the smorgasbord and vortex of an ever growing pornographic addicted world. I continue to reach out and love my friends and think that is all I can do…should do! I am not here to say I am right and you are wrong! I am not here to judge others for their choices. I wont tell my friends they are bad, sinful, or lost. I will be honest with them, and I will remain as a friend and will walk with them and support them as they (so often) struggle and seek love, only to find themselves lost in an uncaring world and Church. I will continue to bless them and will try to show them the real beauty that saves the world. My prayer for anyone caught up in pornography, is that they will escape the vortex and addiction, that destroys their own and others, humanity!

BM

November 25, 2022 Posted by | Thoughts | Leave a comment

Chew The Fat With The Friar! Wrestling with God

I have been thinking about wrestling and how Jacob Wrestled with God when he wanted a blessing. Here are some jottings of my thoughts/notes from my journal:

Genesis 32 23 – 33

Intimacy/Wrestling

Hip/Sciatic Nerve

Limp

One side of body

Balance

A spiritual significance?

I have come to realize that I have wrestled all my life with God! I limp badly and my spiritual balance is all over the place, unless I use a stick/staff to help support me walking. I also realize that my wrestling with God has drawn me into an intimate relationship with the one who calls me to follow. My following is not easy as my wrestling has caused me to limp, as my spiritual hip has been touched. What is my spiritual hip and what is my spiritual sciatic nerve?

Sciatica affects only one side of the body and my spiritual sciatica affects just one side of my spirit. It seems strange that without the wrestling, I could wander freely and be without a limp…but when I want to really know (hold onto) Love, I find myself wrestling and I am no longer able to wander freely. Is this a prison or is this true freedom? I want God/Love, to bless me…but as I hold on, my desire can so easily wane and so in my desperation, I end up wrestling with Love! To wrestle with Love means I must live with a limp, as Love will affect the way I walk and will at times show me the fragility of my life and yet will give me a stability that is totally counter intuitive. I would rather wrestle with God/Love than be so able that I never realized how disabled I truly was. I would rather limp having wrestled with Love than run without ever being held in Love’s embrace.

My spiritual hip is that part of me that I rest on, theologically, doctrinally, morally and which gives me balance in my inner being. My spiritual sciatic nerve is that which underlines my balance inside my spiritual hip, helps me walk and stand, gives me faith and and asks questions, raises doubt and causes hope, creates pain and makes me limp. When my spiritual hip is touched my spiritual sciatic nerve sends a message of discomfort to me that should make me check my balance. As I try to walk in the light, I now must limp in the light! While I don’t like the discomfort, I realize that should I never have wrestled intimately with Love, I would never have received the blessing that makes me strong! I would have continued in my own strength to amble freely, but with no real knowledge of Love or living truly loved. I would continue to be so right and yet be so wrong!

Of course I still have selfishness…a great part of me wants to live as I want. I sin and enjoy it…that is until I try to move! Then I limp…and I realize that I am still wrestling…though joyfully still embraced, in the awesome furious grip, of divine love!

BM

Notes From Journal

May 21, 2022 Posted by | Thoughts | Leave a comment

Chew The Fat With The Friar! Extinguished Lights.

I recently visited St Anthony of Padua church in Rye, East Sussex. This was one of my first parishes when I was part of the OFM Conventual Order. back in the early 70’s. The church has not really changed much since those days and it brought back many memories. I rang the bell of the presbytery and a Canadian Franciscan brother opened and chatted for a while. The saddest part of our conversation was the realization that most (if not all) the Conventual friars I once knew, were now either dead or very old and in care. The Order now had a custodian from Romania, overseeing it.

The meeting raised many questions in my head and heart.

I have noticed now in my 68th year that so many of the priests and brothers I once knew as, bright, funny, thoughtful and progressive, somehow have become lifeless, dour, backward and spiritless! It seems to me that they all had lost something. Lost that original vibrant calling that drew them to the priesthood or religious life. I know that getting older with failing health can cause us to slow down and may add to our demise….but there is something more! I believe the Church has added to the demise of these brothers. It has slowly stripped away their humanity and replaced that with a facade of religious (exclusive) superiority. The priests I once knew as friendly, interesting and human, somehow have become lifeless, robotic individuals who can still seemingly, talk the talk, but have lost the ability to walk the walk! I wish this wasn’t so but I have seen it time and time again. Of course not all priests and religious fall into this category and many remain vibrant channels of the Good News! But…too many have had the light in them extinguished!

BM

May 20, 2022 Posted by | Thoughts | Leave a comment

Chew The Fat With The Friar! My Take on The Recent Baptism Farce!

The Baptism Farce

There has been a lot of talk around the recent nonsense of a Bishop telling a priest that as he had used the wrong word, “We”… baptise you” instead of,  “I”… baptise you”, thus invalidating the sacrament of baptism! This along with another story of a deacon who using the same words and having baptised someone who later became a priest. The priest then was told he was not a priest as he was not truly baptised and you have to be baptised, before you can receive the sacrament of Ordination. As the words were not as set out in the rubrics, then he was not truly baptised and therefore not a priest. This invalidated every mass he had celebrated or any sacrament he later performed as a priest. The Vatican ‘Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith’ (AKA Modern Pharisees) have confirmed this nonsense.

But….If a priest vicariously acts as Christ in the performance of a sacrament, and is therefore the visible sign of Christ ministering the sacrament, then by logic, whatever he says or does within that sacrament must be Christ’s action and words. By making a formula, that says only specific words may be enunciated and thus tying divine power and the sacrament to specific words, you make, what I can only call, is a magic spell!

Another problem for me with this matter, is the idea of a male, sacerdotal vicarious priesthood, being over the Body of Christ (The gathered Church); Simply put, the “I” over the “We”.

Legalism has no place in the Church! It is destructive and contrary to the freedom Christ has won for us! We maybe likened to the Galatians, who started out free but wanted to run back to a dead legalistic, ritualistic living! So who or what has bewitched us? Why have we allowed this nonsense to rule our lives?

The only answer I can see is it belongs to a system that desires to control and dominate. It is far removed from the simple message of the Good News and is sadly founded on an erroneous belief that it is the sole holder and guardian, of the whole deposit of true faith!

I write this, not as a canon lawyer or a theologian, but from my vocation and calling as a simple Franciscan friar.

When I made my first Confession in 1961 I remember that the then, bishop of Southwark, Cyril Cowderoy, who was my confessor on the day, never asked me to make an act of contrition. This undoubtedly, caused me much concern later in life, as I was a legalist! I am sure that the rubrics were not followed and so many, (like me) would deem my confession as invalid! Thank God I have been set free from that prison of legalistic death!

Maybe the question of weather the baptisms were illicit (which undoubtedly from HMC point of view, they were) one might better ask were they therefore invalid? Does not mercy triumph over judgement? And is God so confined, to blessing only those, who get the words of the spell right! God forbid! It’s about time HMC grew up and started to love better, than spend its days in judgement of good priests, who live the evangel.

I have always used the words. ‘I baptise you…’, but seeing how wonderfully rich  the image of the Body of Christ together is, in speaking as Christ, and pronouncing in the unity of the Holy Spirit, “ We baptise you….”, a deeper awareness of the divine is somehow revealed and the sacrament enriched.

I am sure I will write more about this and similar matters in the future! Until then, live loved!

BM

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

February 19, 2022 Posted by | Thoughts | Leave a comment

Chew The Fat With The Friar! Who Cares?

In the present Pandemic, I have been wondering about the world and how we interact with each other, especially how we care for each other. So many good people are caring for others in hospital, at home and in Care homes as well as in our general interaction with people in our local environment, out shopping and in offices, pubs, clubs etc etc. “Care” I believe is central for our future as well as our humanity!


C.S. Lewis wrote the provocative book, ‘The Screwtape Letters’. It is about an exchange of letters between an elder devil, named Screwtape, and his nephew, Wormwood, who is on his first mission to learn the subtle techniques for tempting people.
Uncle Screwtape counsels, ‘The goal is not wickedness but indifference.’ The older devil explained to his nephew, ‘Your job, my dear Wormwood, is to provide me with people who do not care.’
I wonder if Wormwood has had any influence over my life?
What about you?


BM

December 12, 2021 Posted by | Thoughts | Leave a comment

Chew The Fat With The Friar! Why do I bless Gay Marriages?

I have often been asked why I bless gay marriages, so here follows some of my reasoning.

I think I need to say at the outstart, that I bless all marriages, heterosexual and homosexual. I believe marriage is a sacred covenant and a sacrament. Behind the question to me, is the belief that homosexuality is wrong and not supported by the bible or by Church history or tradition.

I really can’t go into this in any depth, as the matter of hermeneutics and language is not something that can be handled by this short, personal blog. I recommend a reading list at the end of this blog, that some might find helpful.

I need to start by saying, that I do not believe homosexuality is wrong, an aberration or sinful. I believe people are born with a need to know they are loved and that for the majority, this will mean that they will grow up with an attraction and sexual desire, for and towards, the opposite sex. But for many others, they will grow up, attracted and having a sexual desire, for and towards the same sex. It is my belief that it is not good for anyone to be alone, and I believe this is in accord with the heart of God.

Now there are passages in scripture, which have been used to abuse those attracted to the same sex. In fact there are many passages in scripture that have been used to abuse many! When I hear people tell me that the Church has taught this for two thousand years, I look with dismay, as the Church sanctioned slavery, based on reading scriptures for over fifteen hundred years and has continued to restrict women in ministry, because of some scriptures. Scripture and history alone do not make good pointers to the heart of God!

I believe that we need to look through the prism of Jesus to understand or interpret scripture and not look through the prism of scripture to try to ascertain or understand the heart of God!

My wife and I were married for twenty-one and a half years before she died. We shared each other and became stronger in our love for one another as we lived together and not alone. Our love was consensual, caring and constructive. I know a couple of gay guys who have lived together for over forty years! They love one another and are committed to each other, in exactly the same way as Sue and I were. Their love is consensual, caring and constructive! Does God condemn them? Does God call them an aberration, an abomination? Does God think He made a mistake in creating them? No…No…No!

I was called a spastic when I went to school as a young boy. I was different to the other boys and girls in my road…and they called me a spastic as I shared my school days with others who were bent, twisted and deformed. Outwardly I was not disfigured…but internally I was, as others knew better and I was in a minority. Undoubtedly God had made a mistake as we were an aberation…spastic abominations!!

I sadly have heard “Christians” tell people who are sick in body or in mind, that they are just receiving the reward of their wickedness…and yes, scriptures were used, to enforce these diabolical spoutings!

So to get back to the question as to why I bless gay marriages and do not condemn any within the LGBTQ+ community…it is that I try to see through the prism of Jesus and believe that Jesus is the total/complete/entire revelation, of God! So if an interpretation of scripture does not line up through the prism of Jesus, then I take it as being quite wrong!

BM

Some books/reading matter that I have found helpful:

The Book of the Queer Prophets. Curated by Ruth Hunt

In the Shelter. By Padraig O’Tuama

The Pink Line. By Mark Gevisser

Nomad. A Spirituality for Travellig Light. By Brandon Robertson

Our Witness. The Unherd Stories of LGBTQ+ Christians. By Brandon Robertson.

A Life of Unlearning. By Anthony Ven Brown

December 12, 2021 Posted by | Thoughts | Leave a comment

Unwrathing God

December 12, 2021 Posted by | Teaching | Leave a comment

Chew The Fat With The Friar! Is the Church misogynistic and bigoted?

I fear the Church has for too long been both, misogynistic and bigoted! I also fear it still has a long way to go before we see an end to this!


I grew up in a devout Roman Catholic family and started my Franciscan life within the Roman Catholic Church. I was born before the Vatican II and was a novice when some of the teaching and direction of Vatican II was being implemented. There was much good that started to be born from Vatican II, but the misogynistic, patriarchal stuffiness still remained and to a great extent still remains a stench in the Church today, (Misogynist: showing feelings of hating women or a belief that men are much better than women) Until, we let go of the idea of a male sacerdotal priesthood, we will continue to abuse our sisters and lord it over them! Some of the other Church traditions have opened the windows and doors and there are now many wonderful and holy women, in oversight of parishes and congregations, here in the UK and around the world. These true sisters of the gospel have had a mountain to climb and have had to battle the misogyny that churches have revelled in for far too long!


Is the Church bigoted? (Bigoted: having strong, unreasonable beliefs and disliking other people who have different beliefs or a different way of life) Sadly, the answer is yes! It has for too long thought of itself as inerrant and has continued to abuse those who it disagrees with. Whether in theology or in conscience; over women in the priesthood or prespyterate; over sexuality, and over LGBTQ issues, to name but a few areas. It has burnt those who disagreed with it and excommunicated and excluded those who did not conform.


So what does the future hold?


I have hope that the institution will slowly (I say, ‘slowly’, as I do not think this is something that will happen over night!) line itself up with the mind and heart of Jesus Christ and walk the walk and not just talk the talk! Yes, it will be messy! But that is exactly where the Holy Spirit can move and create! I pray that love will lead us and open the shut misogynistic and bigoted hearts of all who are supposed to be shepherds of the flock. I pray that we all will contribute to the pulling down of these abusive, ideologies and twisted theologies and false mindsets. I pray our hermnutics (and our exegesis) will be directed by love and seen and understood through the prism of the eyes of Jesus.

Live Loved!

Brother Michael
Note: This is my personal opinion and not necessarily the opinion of any of my Franciscan, sisters and brothers.

December 2, 2021 Posted by | Thoughts | Leave a comment