and Onora O'Neill
Catholicnews.com reported on Archbishop Milingo's Mass of
21 November 2002.
It explains that he appeared to deviate from the prearranged
programme several times. First by coming up to give the homily:
"... Archbishop Milingo set aside an official prayer
book that was already on the lectern and flipped through the
booklets to read a series of healing prayers based mostly on
Then, encouraging the other priests to join him, he held his
hands over the congregation, which sang a hymn petitioning the
Holy Spirit for physical, emotional and spiritual healing while
the screams of several sick people echoed off the church's stone-vaulted
The article describes the elaborate security precautions used:
dozens of security agents, the pews roped off, Archbishop Milingo
remaining in the sanctuary and being ushered away when stopping
to talk to someone in the procession. Its his first public Mass
in 15 months. But even with all this and the media spotlight
on the event there were the deviations from the official liturgical
According to the article:
"... In an interview with the Italian daily Corriere
della Sera Nov. 21, Archbishop Bertone said the Zambian archbishop,
a former Vatican official, had agreed to respect church rules
and would no longer recite healing prayers during Mass or perform
public exorcisms. ..."
Its an understatement to say there is a credibility problem.
What can be done when those with authority go off track? Archbishop
Milingo is the extreme example, attempting marriage. But there
is also the problem of bishops moving pedophile priests and deviating
from the liturgical books.
There seems to be an unwillingness and inability to do much
Yesterday on the radio I heard the lecture "Trust and
Terror" by Onora O'Neill. I was impressed: "All trust
"... A supposed right to a fair trial is mere rhetoric
unless others - all relevant others - have duties to ensure such
trials: unless judges have duties to give fair decisions, unless
police and witnesses have duties to testify, and to testify honestly,
and so on for all involved in a legal process. Duties are the
business end of justice: they formulate the requirements to which
Declarations of Rights merely gesture; they speak to all of us
whose action is vital for real, respected rights. ...
Where states or parts of states are weak or failing, it is
idle to object when they do not secure full rights for everybody:
they can't do it. ..."
This reminds me of Nigeria, with its recent deaths. Catholicnews.com
reports on what Father George Ehusani wrote:
"... "What we have been witnessing in Nigeria in
the last few years is actually the failure of state and the collapse
of governance. There is nothing on the ground to demonstrate
that ours is not a land run over by political bandits, ethnic
warlords and religious fanatics," ....
"The average citizen now seems to have lost confidence
in the capacity of those in power to protect lives and property,"
"Where one part of the country can decide to operate
an Islamic legal code that is clearly at variance with the national
constitution, cutting off the limbs of petty offenders, condemning
poor adulterers to death by stoning, and harassing non-Muslims
every so often, the impression created is that no one is in charge
of our affairs, and there is no law and order in place,"
After the lecture Onora O'Neill was asked about the Christian
attitude to love. I thought she gave a good reply:
"It seems to me entirely fundamental but it is so difficult
to get that into the right arena so I looked at a slightly narrower
thing which was the question of not lying, which of course is
central to the Christian tradition. And we know, and I don't
have to tell anyone here, what sort of lies and half truths are
commonly circulated and we know how difficult it is to challenge
the lie, particularly the lie that is the lie of one's own friends
or one's own community, and I think that trust is built by not
going along with that sort of thing. And it's very difficult.
I chose something small but I actually think it's half way to
heroic: not putting up the communist party slogans in the shop
sounds to us easy. We haven't faced this one. But there are analogous
things that could be done among us."
By J.R. Lilburne, 27 November 2002. I give what I have
written on this page to the public domain.