Monday, 19 March 2012

State of the Church in Australia diocese by diocese: the list

Here is the updated list of the diocese by diocese reviews.

A big thank you to those who have provided me with contextual material on dioceses, and pointed me to issues and resources to assist the write-ups. 

Thank you also for the comments that provide correctives, confirmation and additional information.

Please do keep sending material in - I'd be particularly grateful to hear your views and suggestions for key points to make in relation to the dioceses I haven't yet written about, viz
  • Adelaide;
  • Melbourne; and
  • Sydney.
But follow up material on the dioceses already covered is also welcome.

Introduction to the series

Where are up to - looking forward to the Year of Grace


State overview and Archdiocese of Brisbane
Rockhampton, Townsville, Toowoomba and Cairns

Western Australia

State overview and Archdiocese of Perth
Bunbury and Geraldton: Australia's patchwork spiritual economy
Broome and the Social Justice model: is it enough?


Archdiocese of Melbourne
Sale: Healing the virtual schism?
Sandhurst: position available, please accept!


Tasmania: Can a spiritual desert yet be revived?


Archdiocese of Sydney
Broken Bay Pt I ; BB Pt II: Broken Catechesis; BB Pt III: Lay leadership
Wollongong Weirdness
Maitland-Newcastle: Bishop Wrong?
Lismore: how long does it take to turn around a dead-beat diocese
Wagga Wagga: Australia's spiritual powerhouse?
Wilcannia-Forbes: the case for more transparency
Wilcannia -Forbes revisited: what to do?

NSW-Australian Capital Territory

Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn

South Australia-Northern Territory

Archdiocese of Adelaide
Darwin and Port Pirie


Anonymous said...


Any thoughts on writing on the Eastern Rite Eparchies in Australia (Chaldean, Melkite, Maronite, Ukrainian)and the Military Ordinariate.


Kate said...

Not really!

I don't know enough about them - if those who know something about them would care to send me some thoughts, I might be prepared to do a piece on them, but otherwise it is not territory I feel comfortable treading in!

Anonymous said...

Can't thank you enough for all the work you have put in to produce these very informative articles. It's funny looking back to a time where you were tossing up whether to continue with this blog or not. Thanks be to God you decided to continue.
God bless you and your work,


Kate said...

Hmm, thanks Adam, glad you are enjoying them.

I'd have to say though that I continue to toss up whether to continue - on this series as in many of my posts, lots of webhits but not much indication of whether I'm hitting the mark or not...!

Anonymous said...


Lots of webhits means that your blog is being read, absorbed and then disseminated among the wider Catholic community and and that in itself means you are being successful. If you are looking to see specific positive results from your work, you won't see this in your lifetime necessarily, and secondly, when you are in the business of thoughts, ideas etc, often the success is realised well after you are dead and buried. Look at some of the fruits from BA Santamaria's work over many years, particularly regarding the reform of the Catholic Church in Australia, some of which only now, little by little, are being realised.

Continue to fight the good fight Kate by being faithful, and not necessarily by being successful.


Kate said...

I certainly hope that is true Adam, but I do worry about things like whether I'm being overly critical of some, just reflecting back my own anger, or encouraging disrespect of our bishops!

gmck9431 said...

Must echo Anon's comments. Yes I think you hit the mark OK but have you considered that us ordinary people out here may not feel competent to comment? Maybe the hits in themselves give you a message.
Just a thought; what about some comments on the Bishop's Conference? How big is the bureaucracy and who are they? Etc.
An episode in the early 80's left me with a distrust of anything that comes from there.
On that point; I must confess to a dislike for anything that comes from "consensus".
Consensus inevitably means compromise, and compromise often means the sacrificing of principles or an excuse for not making a difficult decision.
Please forgive the ramblings of an old man and please keep at it.
God bless and prayers

Kate said...

Fair point GMCK, but while some of my webhits are coming from my usual readers and hopefully there friends, plus one or two orthodox referring blogs/aggregation sites such as the Pulpit, there are othes who read I'm sure to see what that rabid woman is going to say next...

Indeed, on Wilcannia-Forbes for example, I've picked up quite a few webhits from an aCatholica Forum referral, although as this time absent of any insults other than being labelled a 'conservative blogger' (which is not a label many conservatives would apply to me!).

Your suggestion on looking at the Bishops Conference is an interesting one, there are certains aspects of its bureaucracy I've been itching to tkae a critical look at. I'll ponder the idea further once I've finished the diocese by diocese posts.

Providing of course I have time. I'm currently underemployed but I will actually need to get a paid job this year so I can pay to have my roof fixed inter alia!

Mormorador said...

Dear Kate,

On your comments about the Latin -

Could you please give chapter and verse on "the canonical requirement is to be 'well versed' in Latin"; I am interested in the relation of this (and the term as a translation itself of Latin) to the now-authoritative 2007 document I mentioned. I hope 'well-versed' isnt a traddie equivalent of participatio actuosa => active => clown-mass.

Certainly the phrase in Vat. 2 Optatam totius:
Ac praeterea eam linguae latinae cognitionem acquirant, qua tot scientiarum fontes et Ecclesiae documenta intelligere atque adhibere possint

Is met by the one year requirement interpreted generously and as applied to Australian circumstances. Note the remote potency implied by 'possint' (not potest), and the Doc's care in its initial paragraphs to say that it has to be adapted for local conditions. The Aust. Bishops' Programme of Studies (2007) does this (which I have mentioned in posts above), and is therefore definitive.

So my initial point holds (that the Wagga-ites are not the only seminary following the regulations on Latin, and it is unfair to insinuate that everyone else is a Latin cesspool).

W.R.T. reading canon law sources, a seminarian doing a year of Collins would require some additional self-study thereafter, but with most of Collins done one would have enough Ecc. Latin to start, at least reading along with a translation of particular clauses in which one has an interest. (With some looking-up of inference indicators and tricky/specialist vocab, as Collins is a bit bare, esp on argument-terms and scholarly-prose adverbs). Presumably you dont think seminarians should be totally fluent as to read Canon Law prior to any canon law study of its particular terminology? That would be bizarre.

Instant access to untranslated papal documents could indeed be a headache, esp. anything after the 1500s, but again, the Australian Latin requirement is not set with that in mind. (It would be reasonable, however, for students to be able to hack their way through Denzinger for example after a year of 24 units of Collins and some summer private study). Linguistic fluency would be augmented by conceptual fluency a seminarian acquires as he studies theology.

Some old standard manuals of philosophy would be most certainly accessible after Collins, as they were written for seminarians with exactly a small dose of Latin (e.g. the manual Gredt after doing Scanlon or Lowe, or Collins), to be read the year after Latin courses were done. Moral theology manuals perhaps would be a bit trickier, but that is because a seminarian would have typically read them after Latin study plus a few years of philosophy and theology, before encountering moral theology later. So there would have been time for consolidation of language skills.

Lets be careful not the nostalgise the Good Old Days, and universalise the degree of fluency priests had at the time on the basis of the residue that one sees in traddie priests nowadays. A lot of them were struggling through back in the day.

And there are now far more ESL students now for whom these requirements have to be applied mut. mutand. (as your surveys are revealing).

Kate said...

Mormorador - There are detailed norms for seminary requirements, but I was referring to the Code of Canon Law, 249 (which also mentions fluency in both one's native language and other languages necessary or useful for formation. The relevant latin is "..linguam latinam bene calleant..".

My copy of the Code translates that as well-versed, but you could also reasonably translate it as 'properly experienced' or perhaps 'very fluent' I think - Lewis and Short define calleo as 'To be practised, to be wise by experience, to be skilful, versed in'.

I'm not really talking about pre 1500 docs - there are a surprising number of quite recent papal documents (take a look at Pope Benedict's Apostolic Constitutions for example) available in Latin only so far as official versions go (think Summorum Pontificum!), and even some surprising things not available in English even in unofficial versions. And while grammar wise you could puzzle them out (or stick them in google translate!), a year of Collins wouldn't really give you the necessary vocab to read these.

I'm not suggesting things were better in earlier decades - I've heard all too many stories of the crib notes passed around of latin lectures for seminarians whose latin was nonexistent in reality etc!

The difference between then and now though is that there were enough people around who fluent who could act as resources for everyone else. Thats gone now.

So what I'm thinking about is what we need priests to know now if we are to genuinely recover the tradition.

Maureen said...

Our old family priest, the one who baptised me, gave me First Communion,subsequently officiated at our wedding, and even baptised our youngest son when we visited him in the UK, always said that his class at the seminary in Rome, was the last to have attended all lectures in Latin.
Not absolutely sure of the dates, but I think he was ordained in the mid-thirties, as he was the same age as my father who was born in 1911.

Anonymous said...

Please keep up your blog. I read it every day and enjoy it very much. Moreover, I think that you are doing a great service to the Church and are "hitting the mark". Orak

Chris said...

I would like to endorse Orak's comments as well. I'm sure there are many of us who find your writings well informed, intelligent, inspiring and entertaining, and you always show a deep respect and dignity for the Church, the Holy See and the magisterium.
Thank you.

Kate said...

Thanks Chris and Orak, appreciated.

Angele Dei said...

I have to join the chorus and congratulate you Kate on what has been the most thourough and honest analysis on the state of Catholicism in present day Australia that I have seen.

Keep up the good work and God bless.