Conor Bradley is a member of St Matthew's Parish, Page
INSIGHTS FROM SIX CATHOLICS
I commend Archbishop Prowse for arranging the recent listening sessions. At the one in Yarralumla, I suggested the following steps to change the administration and culture of the local Church. Importantly, they would also signal to wider society that, after the Royal Commission, the Church is serious about reform.
- That the Archbishop propose to the Bishops’ Conference that it accept Pope Francis's invitation to bring forward proposals for married priests. Francis has given many signals that he is open to the possibility of ordaining married men.
- That a Diocesan Council be set up representing priests, laity, and religious to advise the Archbishop on the management of the Archdiocese. (I noted in a recent Catholic Voice that a similar Council was established after the Vatican Council, but apparently did not continue).
- That Archbishop’s House be sold and more humble but functional accommodation be found as a residence and office. Such a prophetic gesture would signal to the wider community that it not just "business as usual" in the Catholic Church.
- That the ban on Letters to the Editor in the Catholic Voice imposed by Archbishop Coleridge be lifted to provide a forum for Catholics in the Archdiocese. The present ban treats the laity as children, not adults capable of respectful dialogue.
Over the years, we ignored Bishop Power when he urged reform. His words should be revisited.
Moira Coombs is a member of Catholics Speak Out, an organisation working for renewal of the Australian Catholic Church in the spirit of Vatican Council II and following the lead of Pope Francis. She is particularly concerned about the role of women in the Church.
Since 2010 and the emerging extent and nature of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and its associated cover-up, I reacted as many have with such anger, and a sense of betrayal and disgust that such evil was allowed to permeate the Church. Personally a bond was broken then. Since that time, I have agonised over whether to leave a Church which appeared to me to not care about the lives damaged by the actions of Church personnel but appeared concerned merely with reputation or standing in the community at large.
I was torn because being a Catholic is part of who I am and is what has formed me as an individual, and consequently not easily disposed of. I have thought long and hard about what is needed to ‘put things right.’ Can things be put right? Change is certainly necessary in order that the Church return to that which Christ founded. The issues that have brought us all to this crisis require close examination. The place of women in the Church is of paramount concern and importance, but I viewed with dismay the recent demise of the Diocesan Women’s Commission. A sad reflection of how women are perceived by the Church’s hierarchy and an indicator of what kind of direction the Church will take from here.
Fr Peter Day
Peter Day serves the communities of St Mary’s in Bungendore and St Bede’s in Braidwood. He lives at HOME in Queanbeyan which provides supported accommodation for 19 men and women with chronic mental illness.
Wanted: Shepherds willing to lay down their lives. It’s not as though we need degrees in theology, or the Church to discern what our founder had in mind for his leaders.
Jesus was poor and powerless.
The world is watching… is waiting to see if our current crop of leaders might be willing to empty themselves as well – and pour water into a basin and begin to wash feet.
Simply, the ordained hierarchy of the Catholic Church needs to divest itself of power – that insidious drug that has taken it to the precipice – and share it more substantially with the body of the Church in governance, strategic decision making, financial supervisions, selection of office holders. The fact is we are trapped in an administrative and cultural prison preventing us from doing our core ‘business’: bringing Good News to the poor in deed and word.
- time for the adults in the pews to end the parent to child monologue that prevails;
- time to end the exclusion of women;
- time to take back our Church from the hired hands who have allowed the wolves to scatter the sheep.