The major conclusion of the Oceania bishopsfest last week seems to be that the poor bishops think they are being martyred by media 'ridicule, derision and character assassination'.
Here's the article featuring comments by Bishop Ingram of Wollongong, President of the Federation of Oceania Bishops Conferences.
He is correct of course to point to the attempts of secular society to exclude religion from the public discourse.
But the bishops should perhaps take a hard look at themselves if they wonder just why they in particular are marginalized and ridiculed (of course Tony Abbott's 'how to know when I'm lying' speech and other such excursions might be another reason why catholics in general are copping it).
But in the case of the bishops, little to no transparency on the abuse cases, and every indication of continued poor to scandalous decision-making on the subject. It undermines all of our credibility.
Continuing contenancing of teaching contrary to the Churches in many parishes and schools, plus sacramental and liturgical abuses.
Endless press releases about asylum seekers - but not backed up by any serious research or action.
And little to no real continuing action on far more crucial life issues that I've ever seen.
If Catholics want to be taken seriously in the public square then they need to be seen to be operating from a tradition that is worth valuing - and that's where good liturgy and much more comes in.
They need to be out there doing serious in depth thinking on key topics, not just spouting worthy platitudes.
They need to back up their words with actual practical action. So where is the mission to asylum-seekers? And I don't mean helping them with their material needs, I mean attempting to convert them! Because if we don't actually think our faith is worth trying to persuade others to believe in, why should anyone take it seriously as a source of input in the debate?
Actions and words need to be guided by an eschatological orientation, not just a desire to be seen to be politically correct on certain issues.
And if then, they reject the good (as they inevitably will), we should rejoice to be reviled for Christ, not whinge about it.