Saturday, 14 January 2012

Diocese by diocese review of Australia: call for contributions!

I just wanted to reiterate my invitation to anyone to interested to provide material, or point me to where I should look, on particular dioceses.

This series is certainly garnering a lot of interest (daily web hits are increasing daily, and went over 1100 views yesterday, which is quite a bit higher than my normal hit rate), so I'd very much like to ensure that I present as accurate a picture as possible on what is currently happening in the Australian Church.

Thank you to contributors so far...

First, a thank you to the couple of people who have provided me with some concrete material and links, it is extremely helpful, and will appear in one form or another soon.

And also a thank you to those people who have commented on posts to provide additional information, corrected or challenged my take on things.  I do realise that sometimes it is easier to react once you've seen something written down then to formulate it upfront!

I don't expect my take on things will always be quite right, so do feel free to debate.  I'm relying on what I've heard and read about dioceses over the last few years, as well as what's available online from diocesan websites and assorted studies.  In some cases I know the dioceses quite well, having visited them often, and/or having friends and relatives living there.  In many others though, I'm just relying on the limited research time I can devote to this task turns up.

So I do appreciate comments, even just to tell me you think I've got it wrong.  Keep them coming!

Contributions welcome

But I'd really appreciate more contributions on the dioceses I've yet to post on, both to speed up the research process, and to ensure I don't get it too wrong!

As I've signalled, I'm gradually working my way through the Australian dioceses (and thanks to the person who suggested a look at NZ - but I'm not sure I'm familiar enough with what has been happening over there, and I'm sure there are some native bloggers who could be challenged to take up the task!)  to give a sense of what is happening in each of them, and what needs to happen to position the Church here to convert Australia!

I'm very interested in hearing about both the good news stories and the bad.

I'm interested in hearing about what you see as the strategy your bishop has adopted, and whether or not you think it is working.

And please do point me to specific webpages you think I should look at - you can assume I'll look at the diocesan website, but it is extremely helpful to be told what to look out for, or alerted to other related sites and articles (eg for TLM communities, monasteries, particular parishes, etc)!

In particular, please do email me about things like:
  • the great parishes in your diocese, and what makes them great;
  • key initiatives that you think are important, such as Adoration, bi-ritual parishes, monasteries attracting vocations, etc;
  • priests who you think would make good bishops!;
  • the size and activities of your TLM community;
  • the problems!  I'm not normally going into detail on particular cases of liturgical abuses etc, but if there are widespread problems that you think exist in a particular diocese, I do need concrete examples so I can get a falvour of what the nature of the problem is.
Priests and bishops who have said the EF

And by way of a PS, please don't forget I'm also looking to update my list of priests who have said the EF - those who have generously responded to the laity's desire for the EF especially deserve our prayers!


Matthias said...

FR Collin Marshall also says the EF at St Aloysius Church along with Fr Tattersall and Fr McDaniel

Richard Collins said...

As an observer, that is, a visitor to Australia from time to time, I believe that Melbourne Diocese provides a model that should be emulated elsewhere in the world.

I like the way that FSSP priests share parishes with priests who only celebrate the Ordinary Form of Mass and I like the way that priests of the Society are able to operate independently from their own churches in some instances.
It is a great pity that more coverage is not given to this prime example of providing the faithful with both forms of the Mass.

Kate said...

Richard - I'm not sure I understand what you see as the unusual features of the model there.

But I think you've got a few things wrong.

1. The priests are not in fact FSSP - the original two left a few years back while the third came from the Transalpine Redemptorists I think.

2. It is not unusual for FSSP and TLM priests more generally here in Oz to say mass in several locations - in Canberra the FSSP say mass at two different otherwise OF parishes, and previously did a once a month out in regional Goulburn.

This is more about financial and practical realities than anything else - catering for spread out but often small TLM congregations. In the main there is very little interaction with the parishes concerned. In many if not most of these cases the TLM communities pay rent to the parishes whose churches they use, rather than being regarded as a normal part of the parish. That may be different in bi-ritual parishes around the country though.

3. On the other hand in some places TLM masses are quite integrated into otherwise OF parishes - Adelaide is an example, where the FSSP priest is part of the cathdedral parish. I don't think that is the case with the Melbourne Blessed Newman community though.

4. In reality sharing a church creates endless problems - who gets to say midnight mass there for example, EF or OF. Melbourne and Perth have solved that by making the Latin Mass chaplain rector of the Church.

5. As you might note if you go back to comments on an earlier post, the Melbourne community certainly have lots of activities, do lots of elaborate liturgy, and look great on the surface. But the congregation continues to be relatively small and while it occasionally grows a bit, never seems to be as large as it should be.

Anonymous said...

RE: Canberra EF Mass - I must say I was rather saddened to hear the Goulburn Mass had ceased. Add to that the fact that, looking at the website, there appear to be no activities other than daily Mass (I suppose that is something) and confession times are no longer advertised, it appears to be a congregation in decline.

Kate said...

True enough anon - but could you please give yourself a pseudonym!

In fairness, the Goulburn Mass was always a bit of a stretch, given the Canberra chaplaincy consists of one person! It meant the priest involved saying three masses in a day, with a longish drive after a rather late in the day sung mass (the main community mass starts at 11.30), so perhaps understandable.

Hard to know whether the lack of activities reflects or is a cause of decline really. The lack of activities in a community other than the mass tends I think to create a vicious circle: if you have catechesis, social events, etc, it attracts people in because at least in principle (such things can always belie reality of course!) it says that the priorities of priest and people are outward looking, about mission, mutual/pastoral support and engagement in the wider world.

Joshua said...

A friend of mine tells me that he emailed you details quite some time ago (a few years, perhaps) about the state of affairs in Tasmania...

Kate said...

Joshua - As it happens I have received some input on Tassie, but I have to say I fail to recall an email on the subject dating a few years back (though that doesn't mean much!) and can't find it on a keyword search through my mail. If he or she still has a copy, now would be a good time to resend it...

A Canberra Observer said...

I am also saddened to read that the Goulburn Mass has been discontinued. I have heard nothing of that.

I would tend to disagree with you Kate - this Mass was once a month (ie about every 5th weekend), and if memory serves it was originally commenced at the request of the Archbishop. The distance involved is not great when one considers what rural priests in Australia have done since the beginning, and continue to do. (Read Fr John O'Brien's 'The men of '38' for an account of the early days).

Kate said...

Let me say I haven't confirmed that Goulburn has gone - its just that all references to it happening have dissapeared from the web so I assume it has.

And I think you are being a little unfair CO - yes, heroic priests of yesteryear did many great things, and some today still do (think Fr Durham of Rockhampton, a retired priet who travels vast distances to provide the TLM) but everyone's capacities are different.

And perhaps also (and I'm probably being wildly over-optimistic here) the need for it is a little less, since I assume the purpose was in part to entice people away or prevent slippage to the SSPX with the seminary based out there, given the prospect of the SSPX reconciling.

A Canberra Observer said...

but 'active ministry' in a big country, especially for non-territorial chaplaincies, perhaps must go hand in hand with a Pauline-like readiness to 'hit the road', literally and figuratively.

Richard Collins said...

Kate, many thanks. you are right, my remarks were made following a visit in 2006 and things have moved on.
What (was)of interest as an unusual feature then was that sharing of a parish is virtually unheard of in Great Britain and, I suspect, is pretty rare in mainland Europe.
One thing I do recall clearly is that the congregation at Burke Hall was large rather than small.
I do hope that has not changed.
I am returning in March and will have a chance to see matters at first hand.

Joshua said...

There is no longer a Mass at Burke Hall - the Jesuits, whose it is, informed the Latin Mass chaplains that they were about to renovate it, in a manner not sympathetic to the saying of the Latin Mass (I presume this meant ad orientem); in other words, they more or less asked them to leave. The Mass has been relocated to St Aloysius.

Richard Collins said...

Joshua - the Jesuits have a great deal to answer for. Thank you.