Author Archives: Peter Johnstone

Peter Johnstone

About Peter Johnstone

Peter Johnstone consults in good governance practices and is committed to renewal of the Catholic Church.

Catholics want reform

Catholics are rising up and accepting responsibility for renewing their Church. Catholics across Australia and New Zealand have met via Zoom to support the growing movement for reform of the Catholic Church.

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PETER JOHNSTONE. Archbishop rejects top woman theologian – business as usual.

Peter Comensoli, still only 12 months into his new job as Archbishop of Melbourne, seems to have adopted the old ways of Catholic episcopal autocracy. He has unilaterally determined that an internationally acclaimed Catholic theologian, Sister Joan Chittister, be removed … Continue reading

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PETER JOHNSTONE. Is religious freedom code for a licence to discriminate?

Just one worrying aspect of current talk that religious freedom needs to be legislated is that the need is rarely explained. There is vague reporting of the ‘right’ of religious schools to teach faith-based doctrine. This begs the question as … Continue reading

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PETER JOHNSTONE. Breaking the seal for the common good.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has recommended that the Catholic ‘seal of confession’ should not exempt priests from a proposed offence of ‘failure to report’. That offence would apply to any failure to report to … Continue reading

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PETER JOHNSTONE. Bishops in the headlights.

Catholic bishops throughout the world should regard themselves as on notice following the dramatic offer of resignations by all the bishops of Chile. There are already calls (Paul Collins) for Australian bishops to emulate the Chilean bishops in light of … Continue reading

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PETER JOHNSTONE. Catholic Reform Groups Want Urgent Action from Bishops.

The Catholic Church in Australia faces continuing decay unless bishops listen to grassroots Catholics. Some 50 representatives, women and men, of nine Catholic groups throughout Australia advocating for systemic reform of the Church, gathered in Canberra a few days ago. … Continue reading

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PETER JOHNSTONE. Should Australian Catholic Bishops be Trusted?

“The bond of trust between the laity and their bishops has been severely impaired…a serious erosion of trust in the hierarchical leadership of the church’’.- leading Australian Catholic theologian Professor Neil Ormerod of the Australian Catholic University in Fairfax papers … Continue reading

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PETER JOHNSTONE. Public relations responses to Royal Commission

The damning findings of the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in the recent reports on the Catholic dioceses of Melbourne and Ballarat seem to have elicited a standard Church response: 1. Accept critical findings; 2. Express … Continue reading

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PETER JOHNSTONE. The Seal of Confession: resorting to the Age of Christendom

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has recommended to Australian federal and State governments, that the Catholic ‘seal of confession’ should not exempt priests from a proposed offence of ‘failure to report’. The response of some … Continue reading

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PETER JOHNSTONE. An ill-informed plenary council for the Catholic Church.

Only those in blind denial could fail to realise that the Catholic Church in Australia is now in the midst of a massive and existential crisis. It is, above all, a crisis of governance. The Catholic bishops’ main response to … Continue reading

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PETER JOHNSTONE Catholics,can definitely vote ‘Yes’

Two Catholic bishops have written pastoral letters to their dioceses in which they make it clear that Catholics should not discriminate against same-sex couples and should listen to their consciences in considering how to vote in the ABS survey, now … Continue reading

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PETER JOHNSTONE. The Catholic Church is ‘Circling the Wagons’

“This is no time to circle the wagons in some supposedly self-protective manoeuvre.”  (Archbishop Coleridge, Chair Bishops Commission for the 2020 Plenary Council)

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PETER JOHNSTONE. (Announcement) International Authority on the Church’s Governance to visit Australia

Dr Richard Gaillardetz, an eminent lay theologian who raises some of the hard questions for the Catholic Church concerning its governance, is coming to Australia for the National Pastoral Leaders and Pastoral Planners Conference. This is a conference organised by … Continue reading

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PETER JOHNSTONE. An Open Letter to the Catholic Bishops of Australia

Most Australian Catholics have long been aware that the structures of their Church are autocratic; most were brought up accepting that Church decision making is unaccountable and often secretive, that bishops are remote from their people in their decision making, … Continue reading

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PETER JOHNSTONE. What sort of bishops do Catholics want?

Concerned Catholics who responded to a recent Catholics for Renewal online survey showed widespread dissatisfaction with the current state of their local diocese and parishes. Their dissatisfaction referred to current governance arrangements, the need for a stronger pastoral focus and … Continue reading

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PETER JOHNSTONE. The Royal Commission and the Catholic Church’s Dysfunctional Governance

  In May 2016, the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released Issues Paper 11 – Catholic Church Final Hearing, inviting submissions for its final Catholic Church hearing scheduled for three weeks 6-24 February 2017. That … Continue reading

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PETER JOHNSTONE. A Plenary Synod in 2020 for the Australian Catholic Church

  The Australian Catholic Church is planning a national/plenary synod of the Church in Australia. Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane has announced that the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) has decided to conduct a plenary council/synod in 2020. Few Australian … Continue reading

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Peter Johnstone. Bishop Robinson at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

“the major obstacle to a better response from the Church has been the Vatican.”   Bishop Geoffrey Robinson On Monday 24 August 2015, Bishop Geoffrey Robinson spent a day in the witness box at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to … Continue reading

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