Dunkeld Priest: Scottish Catholicism is quite Presbyterian – No surprise then…

Dunkeld Priest: Scottish Catholicism is quite Presbyterian – No surprise then…

ElevationofHosttradmassThe headline of this thread is part of the front page headline of our March 2007 newsletter, Issue No. 44.  The complete headline reads:  Dunkeld Priest: “Scottish Catholicism is quite Presbyterian” – No surprise then that he disposes of the doctrine of Transubstantiation.

The headline introduced a report on a Dunkeld priest – Fr Tom Shields –  who completely betrayed the Faith in an interview which was published in the Church of Scotland periodical Life & Work…

The Life & Work interviewer remarks that  “Catholics have varying interpretations, even mongst themselves, about what exactly Transubstantiation means” (and it is not clear if this observation comes from the interviewer, or the priest) but Fr Tom Shields comments:  “If you understand ‘substance’ in a commonplace way as ‘depth’ (as in ‘that person has depth’) most Catholics would agree that, yes, in the substance of the bread and wine something special happens here.”

Now, as I pointed out in my commentary at the time, “something special” is the description you would apply if you witnessed a daylight robbery at your local bank and managed to find a policeman within an hour…  And, again, as I pointed out in my commentary at the time, I know of at least one RE teacher on record as saying that if she ever has the power to remove one single word from the dictionary, it will be the over-used to the point of being meaningless term “special”.

So, why am I resurrecting such an old newsletter report? Has Fr Tom Shields repented of his theological and ecclesiastical gaffes? Not quite. Unfortunately, like most of the priests who have featured in our newsletter over the years, Fr Shields is now featuring in the secular press for less than edifying reasons.    Click here to read report.

But before anyone jumps to the conclusion that I’m keen to discuss this sad news of another priest suspended pending police enquiries into historical abuse claims, not so.  I was about to close down and look for another topic, when I noticed this little nugget:   Last year, Bishop of Dunkeld, Stephen Robson appointed Shields to head up the church’s youth formation programme and to help with religious education in schools.

A priest who can’t explain the doctrine of  Transubstantiation to an adult Protestant, isn’t going to be a raving success in the world of the Terrible Teens, now, is he?

Comments (46)

  • Clotilde

    The word supernatural seems to have been omitted from modern catechesis long ago, well at least 40 to 50 years ago!

    I was about age 7 (yes, that was long ago)when I first learnt the word and have not forgotten it. The way that Holy Communion is given nowadays in most (but not all) modern Masses shows that no-one, least of all the priest, understands what it means.

    Where did you find that wonderful image of Christ at the mass?

    September 21, 2015 at 9:51 pm
    • editor


      Caught ! I have used that image of Christ at Mass many times in the newsletter. I’m taking your apparent surprise as a sign that you’ve not seen it before in which case you score nought out of ten. I’ve been in discussions at board level about whether everyone who receives the newsletter actually reads it, and you have reinforced my view that the answer to that question is “no”. We’re looking at ways to cut down on the mailing list, so we’re torn between putting in a simple slip, as we did some years ago, to opt into remaining on the mailing list OR a questionnaire to quiz alleged readers in order to discover just how much of the contents they actually do read. So, dig out your old copies and start swotting up 😀

      To answer your question, I can’t remember the original source for the image, but I now have it in my images folder and use it fairly regularly in the newsletter. It is beautiful and communicates the dogma of Transubstantiation in a unique and profound manner. Maybe Fr Shields will pay us a visit and see it – and realise what he’s missing in not meditating often on the truth that Christ is truly present, body, blood, soul and divinity, in the Blessed Sacrament, in every particle.

      September 22, 2015 at 12:19 pm
      • Clotilde

        No not surprised as I have seen it before. I have a duplicate which is made into a simple plaque by a local man who manages to find such images and produces lovely plaques with different holy images of Our Lady and the Sacred Heart which he gives us to sell at our SPUC coffee mornings. I was curious to know where this image came from, that’s all. I do read your CT from cover to cover but my memory is not as good as it should be….

        September 22, 2015 at 9:37 pm
      • Pat McKay

        Clotilde, I may be able to assist here.

        I have a paperback titled ‘Tiroler Bauernkalendar 1975’, which has the same image on p.39 and some German text beneath it. A rough translation is as follows:-

        …..‘This picture is no drawing, but a special authentic photo. It’s of a grace received by a German priest the third day after his Ordination, on 29th August 1932. Neither the celebrant priest, altar servers nor the priest’s brother (who took the photo) saw anything at the time. It wasn’t until the film was developed that the image miraculously appeared. I personally know the priest who received this grace and can vouch for the absolute authenticity of it. Father Franz Keiser.’….

        Hope this is helpful. If you ask the Editor nicely (please and thank you), she might even forward my pdf scan of it to you.

        September 23, 2015 at 7:16 pm
    • Nicky


      I was also taught the word before my First Communion and could explain that the bread and wine before the Consecration, still looked like bread and wine after, but was actually the “Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord”. That was stock teaching in Catholic schools in those days and it stayed with us for the rest of our lives.

      What chance do youngsters have these days, with disbelieving priests like Fr Shields giving them RE and “heading up” the youth formation curriculum and chaplain to two primary schools. It’s a real scandal and yet most modern Catholics couldn’t care less.

      September 22, 2015 at 9:38 pm
  • Therese

    Well, quite. More depressing still is that despite the abundant – and never ceasing – evidence that something is dreadfully wrong in the Church, there are still those who refuse to acknowledge the devastation that has occurred over the last 60 years and who continue to defend the indefensible, or failing outright defence, to ignore the obvious. I doubt now whether anything will shake the apathy and persistent and wilful ignorance of such “Catholics” – and that’s from the top down.

    We’ve fallen so far from the truth that I wouldn’t be surprised if some numpty drops a line to chastise Editor for persecuting this poor priest.

    September 21, 2015 at 9:54 pm
  • Prognosticum

    The logic of this thread would seem to be that accusations of sexual abuse somehow confirm doctrinal irregularity in those who have a history of doctrinal irregularity. But this is utterly spurious. One might just as well say that accusations of adultery confirm a propensity to travel in those who like to go to Europe for their summer holiday. Apart from any other consideration, accusations have by their very nature yet to be tested in a court of law. An accusation does not amount to a conviction unless in the court of public opinion where the real numpties congregate to knit under the guillotine untroubled by purely secondary concepts like innocent-until-proven-guilty, burden of proof, natural justice, etc.

    Yes to the criticism of doctrinal irregularity; yes to legitimate criticism of bad appointments in Catholic education; but an emphatic no to Catholics assuming the base standard of tabloid justice currently in vogue in the United Kingdom. Our faith in Christ calls us to a far higher standard upon which we will surely be judged.

    I wonder if blogger Therese is capable of projecting herself for a moment into a situation whereby either she or a loved one were to be publicly accused of a heinous crime. The accused may or may not get their day in court depending on the force or otherwise of the evidence against them, but even if they are tried by a jury of their peers and found not guilty, they will forever stand condemned in the court of public opinion which, especially in the age of the internet, never forgets let alone forgives. We may call this state of affais many things, but just is not one of them, and it should make us ashamed to call ourselves British or, if you prefer, Scots.

    This thread, in my opinion, is, to say the least, gravely misconceived and will do nothing to enhance the reputation of the blog.

    September 22, 2015 at 3:08 am
    • editor


      Your comment is yet another example of the selective charity syndrome (SCS) so often in evidence on this blog, when our critics set to work on “Catholic Truth”, “the editor”, “(Named, regular) blogger” or simply “this/the blog” – that last one is the favourite mode of attack. SCS means that “this/the blog” et al, is not to be given the benefit of your great charity – that is reserved for dissenters and those who, like Fr Tom Shields, consider the Catholic Church to be nothing more than another form of Presbyterianism.

      I went out of my way in the article to say that this thread was not for the purpose of discussing the police enquiry into alleged historic abuse claims against Fr Shields. Whether or not he is guilty of any crime, he should not – absolutely not – be given any responsibility for young people within the Church, least of all in their education in the Faith. That is very clearly set out in the article, and any other interpretation of my words is sheer mischief making – a complete lack of charity.

      For, to say that we are somehow suggesting that allegations of sexual abuse “somehow confirm doctrinal irregularity in those who have a history of doctrinal irregularity” is to put words into my mouth, or – more accurately – onto my keyboard.

      As for your belief that it is “utterly spurious” to make that link – I didn’t make that link. I merely pointed out that “… like most of the priests who have featured in our newsletter over the years, Fr Shields is now featuring in the secular press for less than edifying reasons.”

      That is merely the observation of a fact, which I am entitled to make in an allegedly free society (yeah right) without having bad motives attributed to me.

      Pity he’s closed it down, but another blog administrator in the USA opined years ago – and I quoted him at the time in our newsletter – that there IS a link between liturgical and sex abuse. Take it up with him, if you have a problem with it. I interpreted it as meaning that priests who are faithless, and think nothing of distorting the worship of God, are unlikely to be too fussy about distorting anything else, God’s gift of sex included. It’s a point of view. Nobody is saying that every priest who wears rainbow vestments is guilty of sex abuse but it is a point of view. Think about it.

      Now, you needn’t feel obliged to participate in this thread if you think it has been posted for ulterior, bad motives. You can’t possibly know that, of course, because you can’t read my soul and my words are very clear. We cannot discuss the allegations against Fr Shields as we have no details anyway and no charges have been brought, and it is a matter of natural justice to allow the legal process to take its course. It is, however, equally a matter of natural justice that young Catholics are taught the Faith by those who are fully believing Catholics, whether teachers or priests, and the bishop who appointed, to educate the young, a priest who cannot explain a central dogma of the Faith (and therefore is unlikely to believe it) is guilty of a far more serious charge than any facing Fr Shields.

      Read again the clearly stated purpose of this discussion in the blog article. If you insist on sticking to your most uncharitable – and entirely groundless accusation against us – that has to be between you and your confessor. Clearly the first two bloggers who posted here, understood the purpose of the thread – they make no mention of the police enquiry.

      Please don’t feel obliged to comment further on this thread, unless, of course, you have views about the appointment of Fr Shields in Catholic education which, on reflection, you would like to share. It’s a waste of time and energy for me (and the others, for that matter) to have to spend time defending my choice of posts – put bluntly, if you don’t like a particular topic, ignore it.

      Oh and, for the record, I’m Scots-Irish.

      Thank you.

      September 22, 2015 at 9:32 am
      • Prognosticum

        Editor, sorry, but mystifying smoke screens and the odour of burning martyr will not do.

        In reply to me, you wrote the following: ‘As for your belief that it is “utterly spurious” to make that link – I didn’t make that link. I merely pointed out that “… like most of the priests who have featured in our newsletter over the years, Fr Shields is now featuring in the secular press for less than edifying reasons.’

        ‘I merely pointed out’! Come off it. Pull the other one. If you did not wish to make that link, why, pray tell, did you feel the need to reproduce the article in the first place? You were under no obligation to do so since we are dealing here with an accusation–not a conviction–which at this stage in the search for forensic truth could honestly do nothing to enhance your portrayal of Father Shields’s orthodoxy and suitability for a role in Catholic education. I remain firm in my conviction that the presumption of innocence is a matter of the natural moral law long before it is a right enshrined by Scottish and British legal tradition. In the light of this, it is simply not coherent for a blog which makes so much of its Catholic identity to behave like the an irresponsible Red Top. Frankly, I expected a higher standard from this quarter.

        As for you advice concerning my future contributions to this blog, thanks but no thanks. If my comments are unwelcome just because they are not the mirror-image of yours or those of your friends, you have the means at your disposal to block them. Until that happens, I will continue to contribute as I see fit. It is precisely because I believe in power of objective truth that I believe in the freedom of speech, the power of argument, and robust debate. Anything else is an affront to the faith which the vast majority of us here wish to defend.

        September 22, 2015 at 9:11 pm
      • Nicky


        I don’t see any “mystifying smoke screens” in editor’s posts. I find it amazing that you are not one bit bothered that this priest is being investigated for some possible criminal activity, presumably you want it hushed up and a lot of good that has done the Church in the past. You also don’t think his denial of the Real Presence is important. Just a wee “irregularity”. That’s amazing, to me.

        You said “I believe in the power of objective truth” but the objective truth is that the editor has said nothing about Fr Shields being investigated by the cops, and focused on his being given a post in Catholic education despite not believing in Catholic teaching and thinking the Catholic Church is not much different from the Presbyterian Church. If you don’t think that’s a good topic for a Catholic blog, then that is your right but I do think it’s a good topic, pity it’s been overtaken by hypocrites who keep on about Fr Shields being investigated by the police, after accusing the editor of trying to get us to do that. It would be more logical if you ignored that investigation and just commented on the newsletter report from 2007.

        What is it that is really getting you? It can’t be that she linked to an article in a very popular Scottish newspaper as if she has extended its readership by millions – that’s plain stupid. She hasn’t said he’s guilty of anything, hasn’t passed any opinion at all on his “case”. She has just reminded us about his views about Transubstantiation, not told to her in confidence but published in a Protestant magazine. She only “made the link” that priests who have been reported in the newsletter are often also later on making an appearance in the media. That is true. I’ve noticed it myself, Cardinal O’Brien is one of the best examples! So, what is your problem?

        September 22, 2015 at 9:30 pm
      • Therese


        Your unedifying reply is unworthy of someone who professes to believe in the power of objective truth, as is your childish, and I must say, spiteful insinuation that those contributors on this thread who do not agree with your opinion are “friends” of the Editor. This is not the playground, Prognosticum, and we are not children. I visit this blog because it is one of the few places left where I can communicate with Catholics who actually know their Faith and who understand the gravity of the situation we find ourselves in. Please don’t be so patronising; you not the only one who expects a higher standard of behaviour.

        September 22, 2015 at 10:36 pm
      • editor


        Your comments are becoming more and more unwelcome on this blog, because they are off topic and seeking to cause trouble – not
        because they are not a “mirror image of mine [or other sound Catholic bloggers – ridiculous allegation, typical of disrupters who lack the maturity to say “sorry – I’m spoiling the thread… enough already!]

        I’m not renowned for my patience. Unless you wish me to moderate your posts – which I do with those who fail to abide by our simple house rules – then I suggest you engage with the topic.

        September 22, 2015 at 11:22 pm
      • Frankier


        You don`t seem to have much belief in the freedom of speech for Therese.

        September 23, 2015 at 4:51 pm
    • Therese


      I am not without imagination, and therefore perfectly capable of “projecting” myself into such a situation. Your own imagination seems to be working overtime, however. My disgust with this story was clearly with the appalling failure of this priest to teach the truth of Transubstantiation, which leads me to believe that he doesn’t understand or believe it. That is a dreadful indictment, but alas I don’t think he’s unique in his betrayal of the very essence of Catholicism, and I’m afraid your rather effete description of this catastrophic failure as “doctrinal irregularity” reinforces my opinion of the devastation that is afflicting the Church.

      September 22, 2015 at 11:38 am
      • editor


        Well said. It says it all when even a semi-regular Catholic Truth blogger like Prognosticum considers a priest’s effective denial of the doctrine of Transubstantiation to be a “doctrinal irregularity” – which, whatever that means, sounds like something rather more trivial than denying the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

        We don’t know whether or not Fr Shields has done anything wrong criminally – we didn’t discuss the allegations against the Motherwell priest who was falsely accused, and I was delighted when he was exonerated, so we do not post every news report of priests being investigated by the police, contrary to that implied criticism, and we hope that the allegations against Fr Shields are proven to be unfounded.

        Yes, it is noteworthy that just about every priest who has ever featured in our reports on dissenters, have also featured in the secular press for less than edifying reasons, but that isn’t the topic under discussion. Just how widespread is the loss of divine and Catholic Faith in the Real Presence, is what should have jumped out at anyone reading the blog introductory article.

        Recently I was reminded of the fact that a former Rector of the seminary (now closed) in Glasgow, manifestly did not believe in the Real Presence, and, no doubt, still doesn’t believe. Yet he, too, is in a position of influence over people in a Scottish diocese.

        So, little wonder that the Scots bishops have admitted that Scotland is now missionary territory (see our August newsletter, front page report.)

        I wonder what made them say that? After all, they’ve been appointing apostate priests to important positions of trust and influence for years now. Are they likely, even at this late stage, to join up the dots and see that it is inevitable that the Faith will die out if even the priests don’t believe in a central dogma(s) of the Faith?

        Or were the Bishops uncharitable to disturb the faith of all those Catholics, priests and laity, who think the Church in Scotland and the rest of the UK is basking in the sunshine of Vatican II, enjoying the promised “new Springtime of Vatican II”? If Fr Shields was a “good” priest, in that the people like him and he has great “pastoral” concern for his flock, does it really matter if he goes in for a little “doctrinal irregularity” now and then?

        One wonders…

        September 22, 2015 at 12:09 pm
    • Frankier

      There are plenty of more serious things that would make me ashamed to be called British, or Scottish even, and you wouldn`t need to be too long into the history books to find them.

      September 23, 2015 at 4:42 pm
  • Darth Papum

    More depressing news about our clergy. While we chastise their behaviour, we also pray for them and hope that they’re getting the help they need too.


    September 22, 2015 at 1:07 pm
    • Constantine

      It seems strange when it is so easy to block someone who may be bothering you on facebook.

      September 23, 2015 at 9:09 pm
  • Crying for Mercy and Justice


    Speaking as an outsider your answer to Prognosticum is almost an act of homage to the fictional character Francis Urquhart who often replied to probing, defamatory, comment about someone, with the observation “you might say that but I couldn’t possibly comment”. Why else would you highlight ” another blog administrator in the USA opined years ago – and I quoted him at the time in our newsletter – that there IS a link between liturgical and sex abuse.”

    Ed: you’re really showing your age – I’d forgotten all about Francis Urquhart. But now that you’ve reminded me, I can say without fear of contraception, that he said “I couldn’t possibly comment” when asked tricky questions about his political masters. Nothing to do with “defamatory etc” comments – he just wanted to play silly political games instead of giving a straight answer. So, your analogy falls well wide of the mark – that tends to happen when people search for some ulterior motive, instead of being charitable, and taking people at their word. There is, without any doubt, a link between priests losing the Faith and immorality – of all kinds. When the Faith goes, the Morals are sure to follow… I’ve said that more than once, often, even, so I can’t see the big deal about my citing a retired blog administrator who said something similar. You wouldn’t have liked him one bit. If you think I’m outspoken, you definitely would not have liked him.

    The priest is question is not being investigated for his understanding of dogmatic theology, or for giving bad advice on youth formation.

    Ed: obviously. Nor did his bishop make such an investigation after publication of the Life & Work article. Had he been employed in just about any other walk of life and been published showing his ignorance about his job, he would have been hauled in and asked for an explanation. People get sacked for less. However, you’ve missed the point entirely. It’s because of his ignorance/lack of belief in Transubstantiation that he is unsuitable to work with Catholic youth. Nothing to do with the police investigation. Get it now?

    The article doesn’t even say what matters are being investigated. Any alleged victims may be adults. It does mention children and young people but in reference to guidelines and not directly in relation to police enquiries.

    Ed: if you read the blog article slowly, you will see that the Daily Record report is NOT the focus of this thread. I repeat, yet again, that we find it very interesting indeed that dissenting priests reported in our newsletter for their apparent loss of divine and Catholic Faith, more often than not, end up featuring in the secular press as well, being investigated for one thing or another. If YOU don’t find that of interest, well, move on – don’t let us keep you.

    To follow your logic The Scottish Government as a whole, and Nicola Sturgeon in particular, should be investigated by The Church in relation to their theological and liturgical views because of their named person policy for young people.

    Ed: definitely! Clearly, anyone who wants to send in spies to the homes of the entire population, to monitor them from before their child is born until he/she is 18 years of age, doesn’t hold to views about life, marriage and the family that are acceptable to any Catholic. So, having investigated the NP legislation in some detail, as we have done at Catholic Truth, the Bishops should then strongly warn Catholics against voting for them.

    Right – I’ve answered your post this time. If – as I strongly suspect – you are not here as a serious contributor but merely to pick fights, I suggest you stop right now. I’m much too busy to be bothered with silliness. If you have no problems with Fr Shields being put in charge of Catholic children, or given any influence over young Catholics, given his mixed-up (to put it mildly) views about Transubstantiation, then you’ll not be happy here. I wonder if you’d be quite so defensive about a teacher of any other subject showing similar ignorance. But then, it’s only the Faith and as long as the youngsters can pose for photos wearing T Shirts in support of the refugees and collect for SCIAF, what’s the problem – init?!


    September 22, 2015 at 2:01 pm
    • Therese

      As I said, I wouldn’t be surprised….

      September 22, 2015 at 8:03 pm
      • editor

        Now folks what follows was sent to me by a reader in England – with the (oh dear! SOooooo very uncharitable message: “the Cardinal just HAD to leak this, didn’t he?” Critics of Catholic Truth will be tied up in knots now, because this doesn’t come from CT, but from Cardinal Nichols. Did he really HAVE to leak this information to the press?)


        The Catholic Church is bigoted, misogynistic, controlling, judgmental, outdated and pharisaical – in the view of some its own most devoted members, according to an unprecedented official snapshot of opinion in the pews revealed by Britain’s most senior Catholic cleric.

        The frank and at times blistering assessment of opinion among the faithful is disclosed in a report, published by Cardinal Vincent Nichols ahead of what is expected to be a historic gathering of bishops in Rome next month which will discuss issues including divorce and homosexuality. Read more


        PS – thanks to those who defended my unworthy self when replying to Prognosticum, but I truly would prefer you not to do so – certainly now, ignore any more such remarks because when I see them, they will be deleted and it only makes more work for me if I have to delete responses as well. Get on with the discussion and leave these dead to bury their dead so to speak 😀 – all supportive comments greatly appreciated and will be noted in the Book of Promotion & Pay Rises – be assured 😉

        September 22, 2015 at 11:34 pm
      • westminsterfly

        Deacon Nick Donnelly had an article about Cardinal Nichols support for the ‘gay’ agenda published in an Irish newspaper, and it was blogged here:- https://catholicismpure.wordpress.com/2015/09/20/cardinal-nichols-the-synod-and-the-gay-agenda/

        September 23, 2015 at 1:06 pm
      • editor


        Thank you for that – it is a very believable angle on the machinations surrounding the Synod. I’ve just skimmed it just now, will read properly later.

        Just a quick word to the others on the business of naming names – I’ve been out all day and caught on phone most of the time since my return, and trying to catch the USA news reports on the papal visit, so I’ve not studied every post but can see there is still a disagreement about my linking to the Daily Record.

        I’m done with trying to convince anyone that it is no sin to have done so – let those who think it is, pray for me. I laughed when telling a friend about it over lunch, saying that if I were as devious as certain people try to paint me, I could have said “oh look, I found this old edition of the newsletter and Fr Shields denied the dogma of Transubstantiation, let’s discuss it” and no doubt, someone would have posted the Daily Record link in the comments, as Darth Papum posted the link about Fr King. Honestly, talk about mountains out of molehills! (PS I want Darth to be ticked off for posting that link, folks, else I’ll scream “discrimination” 😀 )

        There are people, even who frequent this blog, who have argued against the exposure of dissenters in the newsletter and it always amazes me. Especially when they think nothing of taking their copy to read! Reminds me of a sketch on Alf Garnet some years ago when Alf feigned shock horror at some top shelf magazines, while thumbing through the pages from start to finish! The fact is, if we had followed the advice to keep names out of our reports, we would, right now, almost certainly, be suffering at least one priest-promoted-to-bishop that I know of personally, who rejects the dogma of Transubstantiation. This priest, who once held a prominent position within the Church in Scotland, has been, for years, the bishops (of Scotland) favourite to take up office alongside them. And but for our report on his dissent, the chances are, he would have been appointed. Or so we were told at the time, by a Vatican contact. I’ve not named him here, deliberately. For pure mischief – keep wondering! 😀

        Then there is the time I was chatting to a woman who reads our newsletter. She thanked us for naming one openly homosexual priest, who has featured many times in our reports, because she didn’t know that he was openly homosexual and her sons served his Mass. She determined to stop her sons serving his Masses and would tell him her reason. I don’t know if she ever did – I’m not in regular contact with her and haven’t seen her since that conversation, but I think her determination to remove her sons from that priest’s influence is understandable.

        Anyway, I know that that same mother – and others in my circle – would be livid if her children were under the influence of Fr Shields. The very least that anyone has a right to expect of a Catholic priest is belief in Transubstantiation and the very least we have a right to expect of a bishop is that he keeps any priest who denies this central dogma, not least in a Protestant publication, well away from any position of influence of the young.

        The question was asked about his Masses and whether or not they could possibly be valid. Good question. Any answers?

        September 23, 2015 at 9:57 pm
      • Vianney

        Who needs the Orange Lodge when you’ve got Cardinal Nichols?

        September 23, 2015 at 10:54 pm
      • spudeater

        I must give vent to a cri de cœur which can no longer be stifled.

        Please can you all stop bashing Cardinal Vincent Nichols. Do you not realise the strain he must be under when, on the one hand, he is so seriously confused about what being a Catholic means while simultaneously, he is able to wake up each morning and repeat to himself, ‘I am a cardinal in the Catholic Church. I AM A CARDINAL IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH!’ and be factually accurate in the repetition?

        Have some empathy with his apathy-bordering-on-sympathy surrounding doctrinal laxity.

        September 24, 2015 at 12:34 am
      • Athanasius


        I wonder if His Eminence was reciting those words under his breath when he placed flowers at the altar of a Hindu deity?

        Maybe he should extend the sentence to sound: I AM A CARDINAL IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND HAVE THE RED NECK TO PROVE IT.

        September 24, 2015 at 1:03 am
      • editor




        September 24, 2015 at 8:11 am
      • westminsterfly

        Yes Athanasius, I’ve never forgotten that breathtaking scandal – compounded by the fact that the Westminster diocesan website first issued a statement saying that he had done this dreadful act, and then when the scandal broke, whipped that statement off. Fortunately, a journalist had taken a screen print of the original statement on the website which was widely circulated on the Telegraph and other blogs. http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/damianthompson/100017721/archbishop-vincent-nichols-offered-flowers-at-the-altar-of-hindu-deities/

        September 24, 2015 at 10:10 am
      • Michaela

        Westminster Fly,

        I remember that scandal at the time – how can that cardinal look at himself in the mirror? No wonder he’s part of the Cardinal Kasper cabal wanting to condone sinful behaviour at the synod. He’s lost the faith. That’s obvious – honouring a Hindu god shows that.

        September 26, 2015 at 11:30 am
      • Christina

        Ed, re “any answers” as to whether or not a priest who does not believe in Transubstantiation effects a valid Consecration (and therefore celebrates a valid Mass), I think the short answer must be ‘No’. Apart from using the correct matter and form, the priest must have the correct intention in order to confect the Sacrament. Invalidity of matter and form are easily spotted, but intention is not.

        The necessity of correct intention for sacramental validity was defined by the Council of Trent (7th Session, Canon11) as follows: ‘If anyone says that in ministers, when they effect and confer the Sacraments, there is not required at least the intention of doing what the Church does, let him be anathema’.

        The words ‘at least’ have led some to claim that the faith of the priest does not matter as long as he ‘intends to do that which the Church does’, which, in the case of the Holy Eucharist, flies in the face of all logic and reason and ignores Trent’s other anathemas concerning lack of faith in the Real Presence. St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that he must intend to do ‘that which Christ and the Church do’, that is to change bread and wine into the Body, Blood,Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, and the priest who does not believe in Transubstantiation cannot have the intention to do any such thing.

        The theologian Ludwig Ott (1906 – 1985) in his ‘Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma’ 1955 (available from Tan Books and Amazon at eye-watering prices, though a paperback edition was published in 2009, and Amazon has some second-hand copies) distinguishes between ‘intentio interna’ and mere ‘intentio externa’ and teaches that the priest must have an internal intention, one that is directed not merely to the external execution of what he does, but also to it’s inner significance. The ‘intentio externa’, he teaches, ‘not being compatible with the concept of doing what the Church intends, or with her dogmatic declarations’. If a priest ceases to believe he cannot intend to consecrate the bread and wine ‘in order that the Real Presence be made present in them’ and his intention becomes merely external and ineffective. All the reason one need to avoid the Novus Ordo Missae, unless one is sure of the Catholic faith of the priest celebrating.

        September 26, 2015 at 10:09 pm
      • editor


        In a nutshell – spot on!

        September 24, 2015 at 8:18 am
  • Eileenanne

    You may be speaking the truth when you say that it was not your intention to start a discussion on the Daily Record report. You have, however, ensured that the content of that article has been made known beyond the readership of said rag. Was that intentional, or were you so excited at the opportunity to rake up Fr Shields’ past offences that you failed to realise what you were doing?

    September 22, 2015 at 7:17 pm
    • Therese


      I’ve noticed that you often seem to be one of the contributors to threads about proven and/or alleged scandalous behaviour of the Scottish hierarchy. Does your interest in the reputation of the Catholic Faith only lie within Scotland, or are you able yet to give us your opinion of the sacrilegious song to Gaia during Mass which was mentioned in an earlier topic? Does the presiding priest at that abomination deserve reprimand, even though it was perpetrated in Canada? I apologise for harking on this theme, and no doubt will be reprimanded for going off-track, but I am sincerely interested in understanding such a singular focus on similar topics when it is allied with a seemingly blind disregard for outright blasphemy. Your lack of response on that matter, even though you were called upon more than once to voice your opinion, is surprising.

      September 22, 2015 at 10:24 pm
      • editor


        Eileenanne only comes onto this blog to attack me. That is now clear as crystal. Like all of my critics, she likes to give the impression that she is oh so charitable, hates to think of these priests who hit the headlines being in any way criticised. Shucks, no! Catholic Truth is just so very wicked! So, just ignore her. I cannot recall any occasion when she posted a meaningful comment on any thread – if I’m wrong on that, I apologise in advance, but the overwhelming majority of the time, she’s out for my blood.

        And I really do care, as you can imagine… 😉

        September 22, 2015 at 11:26 pm
  • Margaret Mary


    What I’m reading on this thread is an awful lot of frustration from people who want to catch you out, but can’t. You didn’t talk about the Daily Record article at all, so why do they all highlight it if they think it should not be discussed? That’s the give-away. They are the ones talking about the Daily Record article, not you. The same people attacking you over the Daily Record link haven’t even made a comment about Fr Shield’s disbelief in Transubstantiation. It’s all saying more about your critics, than about you, IMHO.

    I notice that one of your critics (Eileen) has accused you of posting the link to the Daily Record article about Fr Tom Shields, for bad motives, but she didn’t say the same to Darth Papum about posting a link to the report about Fr King’s stalking. I call that double standards.

    September 22, 2015 at 9:10 pm
  • Athanasius

    The editor of this blog knows me very well, and I her. We both speak our minds frankly when the occasion arises, even with each other at times. I have the highest regard for her and this apostolate and I believe firmly that she would never present anything here that she thought for one second was unjust and/or sinful.

    Having said this, I think the Daily Record link to a report that Fr. Shields is under criminal investigation was a serious error of judgement. Fr. Shields has not yet been charged, much less convicted of the very serious crime he is under investigation for and is therefore entitled to his moral good name until the lawful authorities prove otherwise without shadow of doubt. It would have been better that the link to that report had not been posted and no reference made to the police investigation now under way.

    Cases of sexual sins and crimes perpetrated by prelates, priests and religious, I speak of proven cases, are always very disturbing events that I find it difficult to comment on at the best of times. Call me an ostritch if you will, but In this regard I share the sentiments of St. Paul who said that such things should not be so much as named among us. Others may disagree with me on this, but I would rather our focus was on the real heart of the matter, which is the present apostasy from the Faith that is giving rise to all manner of heresies and immoralities, not only amongst priests and religious but much more prominently and numerically amongst the faithful.

    In this regard, and as editor has pointed out, her main aim was to highlight Bishop Robson’s appointment of Fr. Shields to head up the religious formation of Catholic youth. In this she is absolutely right to highlight the lunacy that now dominates at episcopal level in the Church. Fr. Shields, by his own mouth back in 2007, demonstrated that he does not hold to Catholic doctrine in the matter of Transubstantiation. In other words, he qualifies as a heretic. Now I wouldn’t let a heretic take charge of my dog’s education much less the education of young, impressionable Catholic minds and souls.

    That bishops everywhere are appointing such priests to positions of influence, even engaging them as seminary rectors, is the truly terrifying reality that Fr. Shields represents.

    Speaking personally, it is this universal aspect of the crisis in the Church, by which I mean the doctrinal/theological issues arising from conciliar episcopal Modernism, that I prefer to concentrate on. This is the real source of the present rot, of which Fr. Shields is just another tragic local example.

    Let’s face it, there is so little Catholic Faith left in Scotland today, and it’s the same everwhere. Two generations of un-Catechised Catholic faithful. Is it any wonder that sound, brave Traditional priests are hard to come by and that the average parishioner can no longer distinguish between theological truth and error, even if he or she had the slightest inclination to do so. My guess is that Fr. Shields was just another product of those now-defunct hippie institutions that were once Scotland’s Catholic seminaries.

    September 22, 2015 at 11:51 pm
    • Michaela


      I think to say that it was a “serious judgment of error” to post the link to the Daily record article is over the top, to say the least. There’s nothing in the article except that Fr Shields is under investigation for historic allegations, doesn’t say which kind. Not all priests (or others) to be under investigation for historic allegations are charged with anything, let alone convicted, so it’s hardly taking away from anyone’s character to report that they have been accused of something. I am also wondering what “moral good name” he has if he is publicly denying Church dogma in a prominent Protestant publication like Life & Work.

      If there are no charges brought after the investigation, it is likely that this priest will return to working with young people and if even one parent is alerted to their child’s spiritual danger under his care, that’s enough to justify this thread, IMHO.

      September 23, 2015 at 9:29 am
      • Lily


        “I think to say that it was a “serious judgment of error” to post the link to the Daily record article is over the top, to say the least”

        I couldn’t agree more. We are well past the time for worrying about naming names. This crisis in the Church is quite unique, if St Paul had to deal with what is going on now, in his day, he would have named names. I remember he identified someone who was living in an incestuous relationship by saying it in one of his letters to that community – he might not have known the person’s name but everyone else would have when he said he’d heard that one of the community was living with his stepmother in a sexual relationship. Everyone would have known who that was, no doubt, even if they didn’t tell St Paul the name. He didn’t hesitate to write about it in his letter to them.

        Anyway, that is too much fuss about a link to an article. As you say, there’s no crime in being accused of something.

        I’m more concerned that Fr Shields has been working with young people, when he doesn’t believe in Transubstantiation. How can he do the priestly work of saving souls? What about his Masses? They can’t possibly be valid. Why is there not more of an outcry about that, than the Daily Record report?

        September 23, 2015 at 6:57 pm
    • Nicky

      The Pope agrees with Athanasius about not speaking about sexual sins. This is from The Week –

      ‘Coolest Pope ever’ more relaxed about abortion and gays

      20 September 2013

      Pope Francis has a new label – the ‘Coolest Pope Ever’ – after an interview published yesterday revealed he had resisted pressure to talk about abortion and homosexuality, and urged that the church must not be “obsessed” with these issues.

      The 76-year-old Argentinian was interviewed by an Italian Jesuit magazine, the BBC reports. He reviewed the interview before publication – and it was translated by a Vatican team – so there is little room for ambiguity or misinterpretation.

      Asked about remarks he made in July that it was not his place to “judge” homosexuals, Francis clarified that he had indeed been talking about all gay men and women, not just about gay priests, as some commentators had thought.

      He added: “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that.

      “The teaching of the church [is clear] but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time… The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent.”

      Personally, I think it is best to follow the Gospel teaching on bringing darkness into the light.

      September 23, 2015 at 11:09 am
      • Athanasius


        Please do not take my words out of context, especially to the extent of equating them with Pope Francis’ silencing of the Church’s moral teaching.

        I think the point I made earlier was perfectly clear, so no need to Further elaborate. Besides, editor has already indicated that she wants the conversation to move on to Fr. Shields’ doctrinal failings, which is the purpose of this thread. As she would say: “please and thank you”.

        September 24, 2015 at 12:18 am
  • Athanasius


    Your latest comments about Cardinal Nichols have just emphasised what I said in my own post about the rot being at the highest level. However, reading your PS comments makes me wonder if I should still dig out the tin hat and flak jacket.

    September 22, 2015 at 11:56 pm
  • Therese

    I’m very hurt that my own contribution to the series of broad questions which I sent is not included in the article.

    This is a gem: “As children grow into young adults they do not identify with an organisation
    that holds outdated and misogynist views. “They live their lives according to what they think is right” …

    That’ll be fornication, contraception, living in sin then… how cruel and bigoted the Church is not to condone such behaviour.

    September 23, 2015 at 7:46 am
    • Michaela


      LOL! That’s it exactly – they want the Church to condone sin. End of.

      September 26, 2015 at 11:27 am
  • Clotilde

    Sack cloth and ashes time. Weeping and nashing of teeth time…God have mercy on these heretical prelates and on the Holy Catholic Church.

    September 23, 2015 at 1:47 pm
  • Athanasius


    Given what Fr. Shields said about Transubstantiation in 2007, unless he has since recanted, it seems pretty obvious that his Masses must be invalid. After all, the intention of the priest to do what the Church intends at the consecration is paramount. If he doesn’t believe that, then Transubstantiation simply does not occur at his Masses. People should avoid the Masses of Fr. Shields, if only because there is a major doubt over their validity. And he should never be put in charge of educating Catholic youth at any level. Bishop Robson needs his episcopal head examined!

    September 24, 2015 at 12:56 am
    • editor


      Well said. That is it in a nutshell.

      Bishop Robson is, too, by all accounts, a well meaning bishop who has some sympathy for the TLM, or so I’m told. It’s just a pity that the rot has set in to such an extent that he may not even know about Fr Shields’ Life & Work interview/description of Transubstantiation. Add to that, the furore that would undoubtedly follow if he acted in the matter. What a mess!

      September 24, 2015 at 8:10 am

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