Thursday, 16 May 2013

Pope Francis on priests and bishops as wolves!

Yesterday in my series on Renewing the Church in Australia, I wrote about the priest problem.  Pope Francis' latest daily sermon was on just this issue, so I thought I'd give you the highlights reported in the media by way of a follow up.

And there is another useful bit of data I want to highlight on the participation of women in the Church too.

First though, for those who need to catch up the series so far covers:
Today's novena prayer: counsel

Later today I'll post today's part in the series, on the importance of greater transparency and accountability in the revival of the Church.  In the meantime though, you might want to pray and meditate on today's gift of the Holy Spirit in the traditional Novena, for the gift of counsel.

Come, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide me in all my ways, that I may always do Thy holy will. Incline my heart to that which is good; turn it away from all that is evil, and direct me by the straight path of Thy commandments to that goal of eternal life for which I long. Amen.

You should also recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and seven Glory Be's.

And if you want to say the consecration prayer and daily prayer for the gifts, you can also find them here.

Pope Francis on careerist wolves

Yesterday's reading at Mass in the Ordinary Form was actually on the very topic I posted on yesterday (curiously I hadn't realised that as we actually got the wrong reading at the Mass I went to!).  Here is what Pope Francis has to say on the topic from CNA/EWTN:

"Pope Francis said on Wednesday that bishops and priests must take care to avoid temptations in order to be an effective shepherd, protecting their flock from dangers.

He urged the Catholic faithful to pray for bishops and priests, “because if we go on the road to riches, if we go on the road to vanity, we become wolves and not shepherds.”

The Pope’s words came in his May 15 homily in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence at the Vatican.

“A bishop is not a bishop for himself,” Pope Francis said. “He is for the people, and a priest is not a priest for himself. He is for the people: to serve, to nurture them, to shepherd them, who are his flock – in order to defend them from the wolves.”

When the bishops and priests do this, he said, they foster a “relationship of protection and love” between God and the pastor and between the pastor and the laity.

This shows “a true love” that unites the Church, he explained...

He cited St. Augustine’s commentaries on the prophet Ezekiel. Augustine warned against the temptations of wealth and vanity, when the bishop and priest “take from the people,” make deals and become “attached to money.”...

A bishop or priest on “the road to vanity” is one who “enters into the spirit of careerism – and this hurts the church very much,” the Pontiff said. Such a man “ends up being ridiculous: he boasts, he is pleased to be seen, all powerful – and the people do not like that!”...

He urged bishops and priests to pray much and to “boldly preach the message of salvation.”

The role of priests and the influence of women in Australia

And finally, on a side note to my post on the dubious case for the existence of the ACBC Office of the Participation for Women, particularly given the erroneous ideas they seem to be propagating, some interesting new research from the 2011 NCLS Operations Survey for Catholic Parishes, published by the ACBC Pastoral Research Office (PRO).

It shows that far from lacking visibility and influence in the Church, women hold pretty much all of the offices open in parishes aside from those reserved to the ordained clergy.

The survey shows that while the vast majority (95%) of parishes continued to be led by a parish priest (ie the majority of parishes continue to be led by a priest except of course in the ultra-liberal dioceses of Bathurst, Maitland-Newcastle, Broome, Hobart, Sandhurst and Toowoomba), in practice the priest alone was the leader in only 29% of parishes. Many of the responding parishes, the PRO reports, indicated that the leadership of the parish could best be described as a team, including both ordained and non-ordained members.

But here is the key result.  The PRO's Newsletter No. 2 states that:

"Parishes were asked about the types of leaders in the parish, their working arrangements and demographics. The 163 responding parishes indicated that, with the exception of the ordained roles, most other roles in the parish were predominantly held by women."

And guess what, youth workers aside, most of them were aged 40 plus (with overwhelmingly female pastoral associates are predominantly aged 60 plus).

So either the Office for the Participation of Women was never needed in the first place.

Or it has succeeded all too well, and can now be abolished so that priests can wrestle back their role from the aging blue rinse set.

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