Monday, 2 April 2012

Compass April 1: Bishop Manning has to go!

So the much-vaunted Compass program (you can watch it on ABC's iview) that was flagged as being about the future of Wilcannia Forbes turned out to be just a not so subtle excuse to attack Cardinal Pell.

The attack took three fronts:
  • the new Missal, which he had a key role in through his work as President of Vox Clara;
  • the construction of Domus Australia, the new pilgrim house in Rome; and
  • his handling of the debate over the future of Wilcannia Forbes.
Wilcannia-Forbes: a diocese without a future?

The main complaint here seemed to be lack of consultation over the proposal to split the diocese up.


I have to say that show did those advocating a future for the diocese no favours. 

Certainly the picture the show presented was devastating. 

Only one priest ordained in thirty years.

Only 13 active priests left for twenty parishes.

And not mentioned in the show, the problem of the current management regime chewing up and spitting out orthodox priests brought into help out....

Against this background, the best idea that Apostolic Administrator Bishop Manning can come up with is finding some retired blokes in their 60s or 70s to train as late vocations. 

The cost-effectiveness of this aside (remember even a very late vocation priest needs a few years training, and what is the current disability free life expectancy for Australian men in their 60s?  Average total life expectancy I think is about 72 for that group I  think...) it didn't actually sound like he had found anyone who was interested!


Then there was finances - the diocese apparently wants to be cross-subsidied by city parishes elsewhere (that Domus Australia money should have been ours was the line).

Well sorry.  Last I heard Wilcannia-Forbes was not a third world country!  During the drought years it suffered, but things have looked up since.

Maybe there are some parishes that are predominantly aboriginal where there might be some case for this. But if Catholics in the area want to stay as a diocese then they need to demonstrate that they care enough to make a show of paying their way.

The real problem is surely, as everywhere else in the country, is that despite all those schoolchildren we saw in the program, most people who claim to be catholic, including most of the parents of those children, don't turn up at Mass and hence don't contribute financially.

A suggestion for Wilcannia-Forbeites

So here is the thing.  It is probably far too late now, but if Wilcannia-Forbes really wants to survive, I'd suggest a massive lay mobilisation effort, fast.

Organise to get everyone who claims to Catholic when it comes to the census to get to Mass this Easter, and then to keep going to Mass. 

And organise prayer vigils for vocations and the future of the diocese each day this week (or perhaps some schedule leading up to Pentecost).

Perhaps it is too late.  But you could also pray for openness to accept and work to support whatever decision Rome makes (or has already made) on the future of the diocese.

Domus Australia and the Missal

The rest of the show was the usual collection of liberal whinges flowing from erroneous theology.

I have to admit I particularly enjoyed presenter Geraldine Doogue's contrast between 'those who believe in orthodoxy and those who support Vatican II'!  Did she really mean to imply that Vatican II was not orthodox?  Well the SSPX would certainly agree!

It really is extraordinary the fuss being kicked up about the new translation when you think that less than fifty years ago, the Church didn't just change a few words here and there, but the entire language of the Mass and most of its specific content!  But fifty years ago when people started ripping out altar rails and altars and wreckovating our churches. 

Those rebel priests need to get a sense of perspective (perhaps a compulsory theology boot camp to counter the nonsense they were obviously taught back when they went to seminary might be instituted for such men?  I'd volunteer to teach at it!).

And then there was the fuss over the cost of  Domus Australia. 

Bishop Manning wanted the money to go to the poor somewhere (anywhere) else instead of a pilgrim house in Rome. 

Yeah, that expensive ointment St Mary Magdalene used to anoint Our Lord's feet really should have been sold to give to the poor.  Oops, wasn't that Judas' line?


A Canberra Observer said...

Quisling (the real one) would surely wonder if he should rather have been declared a national hero of Norway - by way of contrast to those who protest they are for the Church but their seeming every breath is devoted to its destruction.

Martin S. said...

If you wanted to effectively neutralise the Catholic Church, in our context, you'd pretty much act exactly like the ABC.

And at the same time they extract tribute by way of our taxes and triumph over us in it.

Interview faithful young people about the liturgy you'd get a wildly different story to Doogue's.

"But let me say this in support of the carbon tax. It has finally made clear the massive disconnect between the media-political classes and the majority of people for whom they claim to speak." Tim Blair

Same goes for establishment liberal Catholics, "evil oft does evil mar"

Demography already shows what will happen to their supposed legacy. Doogue just functions as a palliative to the decrepit and senile.

Maureen said...

Horrors - TERRIBLY depressed at the thought that my almost-66-year-old husband may have only six years left!
I was left shell-shocked and angry after Vatican 2 destroyed almost everything my beloved father and grandmother had believed in and lived by; I just couldn't come at that, and I kept well away - until I discovered the Latin Mass again!
Rightly or wrongly, like it or not, there are now two brands of the Faith. Theologians can discuss this till the cows come home, but I do on occasion attend Mass at my local parish, and if there weren't a sign outside telling me that it is a Catholic Church, I would not recognise it at such.

Kate said...

I'm just stating the odds Maureen, individuals can certainly beat them! We have in front of us after all the Pope, the Queen and mnay others as examples of longevity.

And I imagine that if a reasonably healthy older man did put up his hand and say he had a vocation, most bishops would welcome with open arms - consider for example the recent ordination in Sydney of a retired Anglican priest.

That said, the cost of sending someone to Rome for three years of the late vocations college and doing everything else necessary to support them is not negligible! So they would have to be pretty convincing about their capacity to learn fast and stay the the Anglican case, I imagine he already had a pretty good theological formation (probably better and more orthodox than a good many Gaudium et Spes era priests) to build on for example.

My main point is really that we must look for longer term solutions, not one's that only postpone the issue for another few years.

As for the two brands of faith, well yes, there is something in this.

There is a parish near me whose priest is extremely orthodox and is doing is best to bring a diverse congregation along with him. But I have to say that while I'm normally happy to go to mass there, every time I think I'm ready to sign up to them, they start indulging in invent your own liturgy/rituals or other oddities, and I run a million miles...

Gavin Abraham said...

I suspect Bishop Manning was talking about married men, as well, but didn't want to actually say it. One of the New Zealand bishops raised the idea of viri probati at the Synod of the Eucharist in 2005 or 2006.

Antonia Romanesca said...

“And not mentioned in the programme, the problem of the current management regime chewing up and spitting out orthodox priests brought in to help out....” ~~~ That orthodox Catholic priests should be treated in this way and so unappreciated [should the word actually be ‘resented’?] is incredibly hard to understand. Surely they are the backbone of the Church in Australia now?
In regard to those generally termed ‘overseas priests,’ who are in effect serving in Australia in a missionary capacity, one can only wonder how their bishops back in their country of origin feel, when they learn that the priest they have generously and so ethically offered, “cannot be recontracted in Australia for a further 3 years”, with the result that the parish that offered priest has served, is left empty of a priest. Surely any reasonable person, Catholic or no, is going to ask ‘where are things moving here?’