By Patrick B. Craine

OXFORD, June 16, 2009 ( – Most Rev. Patrick O’Donoghue, who retired as Bishop of Lancaster at the end of April, delivered a powerful address to the Oxford University Newman Society in January, calling the Catholic students to faithful service of the Church.

Bishop O’Donoghue’s talk dealt with his recent instruction Fit for Mission? Church, published in August 2008, which called for the restoration of authentic Catholicism in England.

In his address, Bishop O’Donoghue highlighted the importance of the Second Vatican Council for the contemporary Church, calling for a fuller and more authentic implementation. “It’s now up to us to fully embrace the ‘true’ teaching and decisions of the Council,” he said, “and abandon the ‘fictions’ foisted on us by some clergy, religious and laity who are disobedient and arrogant in their will-to-power. So, I am calling for an enquiring fidelity to the teaching of the Council”.

The bishop called on the students to challenge the false teachers within the Church, no matter their stature. “If you hear any Catholic say or teach something that goes against the teaching and discipline of the Church, as safe-guarded by the Pope,” he said, “politely, but firmly, challenge them, be they a lay catechist, teacher, deacon, priest or even a bishop”.

He highlighted several major obstacles to a true implementation of the Council: “rejection of the past”; “rejection of the moral authority of Church in favour of the authority of conscience”; “influence of secularism in the Church”; “scepticism or at least down playing of the supernatural”; and “humanity becomes the measure of everything”.

Bishop O’Donoghue said he is convinced, “that the remedy for all these trials and troubles in the Church in England and Wales is for each one of us to embrace sacrifice as the hallmark of our lives in the world and in the church, the hallmark of our spirituality”. The bishop suggested a number of sacrificial acts to embrace.

First, “embrace the Tradition of the Church,” he said, emphasizing the need for personal, family, and liturgical prayer. Second, the bishop said, “embrace a self-critical conscience….I want you to re-discover the ancient Catholic attitude of a self-critical conscience that includes suspicion about the obsessions and cravings of human nature”.

Third, the bishop called the students to “embrace obedience to the teachings of the Church”. “Start from the assumption that the Church has good reasons for teaching the doctrines and morals that she teaches” he said. “Search out those reasons, make the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church the most thumbed and creased books in your libraries.” 

Fourth, he told them to “embrace the total Catholic world view”, and fifth, to “embrace the divinity and humanity of Jesus”.

Bishop O’Donoghue concluded his address by calling the students to spread the truth throughout Great Britain. 

For Bishop O’Donoghue’s talk to the Newman Society:

See related coverage:

English Catholic Bishops have Failed to Admit “Sickness” of Dissent in the Church: Lancaster Bishop


Commenting Guidelines
LifeSiteNews welcomes thoughtful, respectful comments that add useful information or insights. Demeaning, hostile or propagandistic comments, and streams not related to the storyline, will be removed.

LSN commenting is not for frequent personal blogging, on-going debates or theological or other disputes between commenters.

Multiple comments from one person under a story are discouraged (suggested maximum of three). Capitalized sentences or comments will be removed (Internet shouting).

LifeSiteNews gives priority to pro-life, pro-family commenters and reserves the right to edit or remove comments.

Comments under LifeSiteNews stories do not necessarily represent the views of LifeSiteNews.