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

  1. 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!!!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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