CONCERNED CATHOLICS OF CANBERRA. A Catholic future – Out of hope not fear.

Opponents of reform of the Catholic  Church in Australia risk doing enormous further damage to the church and its own community, a  former member of the  Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse , Robert Fitzgerald AM, says.Mr Fitzgerald is to address a forum of the Concerned Catholics of Canberra Goulburn group next Tuesday, 16 April, on the theme  Governance for our Church – Out of hope, not fear. He says that while many in the church  are grieving and struggling, now is the time to listen, reflect and act.  

“The Royal Commission has exposed not only the truth of abuse and wrongdoing in religious and other institutions, but has revealed deep flaws in the governance, leadership and culture of  the Catholic and other churches,” Mr Fitzgerald says.

The very integrity and legitimacy of the church leadership had been challenged. “Acknowledging the truth that has been revealed, the Church must be open to better governance, improved leadership and a culture that places the interest of the most vulnerable at its heart.

“The current models of governing are losing legitimacy within the church communities and society.

“Those in church who continue to deny the extent and impact of abuse  and persistently hinder reform do enormous damage to the interests of the church and its community of believers. Their approaches failed us in the past and they will fail us into the future.

“Critical to restoring legitimacy are models of governance that are based on the voice and participation of women and men , whether lay, religious or ordained. They must be based out of hope not fear. They must be designed to serve the people not institutional reputations and privilege.

“Those who have been abused demand no less that we now act, so that the wrongs of the past are never repeated.

“Every church should be a place that is safe, honest, nurturing and inspiring for all , especially the young and vulnerable,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

Robert Fitzgerald will be speaking at the Concerned Catholics of Canberra Goulburn event at the Chapel, the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, 55 Blackall Street, Barton, at 7.30 pm Tuesday 16 April.

Contact    Mark Metherell 0417 603 697


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8 Responses to CONCERNED CATHOLICS OF CANBERRA. A Catholic future – Out of hope not fear.

  1. Peter Donnan says:

    Hi Rosemary,

    All good with your post 18 April but re your 12 April posting:

    The Reformation occurred centuries ago, as you write but what precisely is this ‘Reconstruction’ you speak of and why is it ‘the apt stratagem today’?

  2. Rosemary O'Grady says:

    Oops!! I see the earlier piece finally got-home! Well, now I am foist on my own petard.
    You are free to use ALL my words against me!!!

  3. Rosemary O'Grady says:

    I have attempted a response to this, Peter. Truncated, as ever, because I use a Public Library pc – for Internet – connection!! I’ll try to get back to this later in the week and amend any inconsistencies. Tks, again, for taking the trouble.

  4. Michael Flynn says:

    I hope to make the meeting and discover if Canberra Goulburn has signed up to the redress scheme as a Catholic Archdiocese and as teaching orders operating here. The St Vincent de Paul Society has signed up as a national Council and so elsewhere. Also I could learn if the ACBC has supported the Uluru Statement from the Heart. We have seen some imposed truth telling in sexual criminality and next we could look at the facts about the impact of missionary activity on the spiritual practice here for 60,000 years.

  5. Rosemary O'Grady says:

    This is a joke, right?
    Those who have been abused have been ‘demanding’ for decades… what makes ‘now’ so different?
    Concerned Catholics feel the rub that has come with exposure – they want to be part of a good church, admired by all. Reform? That ship sailed 500 years ago. Reconstruction is the apt stratagem today – what are the odds?

    • Peter Donnan says:

      Hullo Rosemary,

      I attended Concerned Catholics of Canberra Goulburn sponsored talks by Francis Sullivan and Des Cahill but will miss the upcoming talk by Robert Fitzgerald. These speakers have had a long, heart-rending exposure to so many sessions of the Royal Commission that they have ‘supped full with horrors’.

      Your reference to ’joke’ and ’feel the rub’, as well as your preference for the terms ‘reconstruction’ rather than ‘reform, may puzzle some readers.

      In a Pearls and Irritations forum on April 1, you suggested ‘advice gratis to yr mate Bishop Long.’ I took the jocular reference to ‘yr mate’ in my stride but in the interests of precision I responded: “I do not personally know Bishop Long but S. Browne (SMH, 2017) reports: “The Bishop of Parramatta, Vincent Long Van Nguyen, has told a royal commission he suffered sexual abuse by a member of the clergy after arriving in Australia as a refugee from Vietnam in 1981.”

      From previous interactions with you online, Rosemary, I know that you have strongly held beliefs with which I generally agree – viz. “I see ‘Inequality’ as the key issue in the world today because from it stem all the evils of the world: poverty, war/violence/aggression/domination/exploitation…”

      The challenge for you in this instance is to clarify how you position yourself along a spectrum – Reform, Reconstruction, Reformation, Radical Change, Revolution, Turn Away in Disgust etc. Concerned Catholics C-G are particularly focused on ‘a number of governance, cultural and structural issues arising from the RC’ but if you see that as too limited, or maintain that ’reconstruction’ is the ‘apt stratagem’, I would like to hear more of y9ur supporting ideas.

      • Rosemary O'Grady says:

        Salut Peter !
        I’m going Parisian this Easter out of deference to ND de Paris & le grand orgue, the fate of which I have , yet, to discover.
        Look: I have tried x 2 to reply to your understandably critical comments about my style of Comment – I will fight almost to the death for yr right to be so – but x 1 the digital technology ate the rather long commentary, and x 2 when I’ve tried to replicate it I’ve got a little side-tracked.
        I have another attempt in-hand so that if you were attending one of those sessions of : ?revision? over Easter you could call e out for the simpleton I am. But the fact is that I’d rather post something more considered. So I’m taking it away and shall try again.
        2 points from the lost pieces: No criticism of Bishop Long: I meant the ‘mate’ remark in a friendly fashion, not an actionable one; second: In my experience – people will commit to makng something ‘work’ if they have a ‘stake’ in it. If people are ‘Members’ of a ‘Body’ with equal or designated (agreed) rights – they will contribute to the functioning of that body. This is what corporations formed by Articles of Association by Members are ‘for’. And so on … in that vein. As you see: I can be labelled a Constitutionalist; sure, but in a heavily-populated world, that seems t me the way to go; for Equality’s sake.
        I have more in my head/heart on that subject.
        Third: there is one magic bullet: the Golden Rule/Mean: Do as you would be done by… and like-formulations. If I have one symbol for spirituality it is this: mariposa – the butterfly of Hope which emerged against the odds when Pandora emptied her box. Lighter than an anchor – and excruciatingly temporal.

        • Peter Donnan says:

          Hi Rosemary,

          Re Bishop Long: the point that struck me was how indiscriminate sexual abuse can be: the present bishop of Parramatta – a good man who speaks with credibility – testified at the Royal Commission.

          You referred to ‘problems with digital technology’ and that you use a public library to access the Internet. This makes it very challenging to follow the sequence of postings.

          The spirituality of the mariposa – the butterfly of Hope – reminds me of Manning Clarke’s spirituality when he used the term a ‘shy hope’.

          Returning to words of your original posting: “Reform? That ship sailed 500 years ago. Reconstruction is the apt stratagem today.”

          I understand the first part of your posting: The Reformation occurred centuries ago, as you write. What is of interest to me, is what you mean more precisely by ‘Reconstruction’. Many Christians have turned away from the Church in disgust; young people in particular are not regular mass attendees; even committed Catholics on this site have written about why they remain practising Catholics.

          So what is ‘Reconstruction’ and why is it ‘the apt stratagem today’?

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