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Two faces of the Catholic Church


John Murphy and refugeesLast week two events disclosed different faces of the Catholic Church. The first was the funeral for Monsignor John Murphy, who for most of his working life was concerned with immigration. The second was the Vatican appointment of Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett as Apostolic Administrator of the Brisbane Archdiocese. It follows the acceptance of Archbishop John Bathersby's resignation on the grounds of age.

I came to know Father Murphy when I was helping to establish small Catholic communities of recently arrived Cambodian and Laotian refugees.

Refugees were often seen as a problem either to be deplored or to be solved from above. John, who was Director of the Melbourne Catholic Immigration Office saw them as people, and trusted them to shape their own community life.

He always accepted their hospitality when invited, listened and encouraged them. His style can be seen in the photograph above. He stands comfortably at the right of the group, is part of it but not central to it and is clearly a representative of the wider church. He enjoys the occasion and encourages the families and the Vinnies who support them to be at home both in their Cambodian community and in the wider Australian church.

Anyone who approached John for help knew instinctively that he would not see their request as a problem but as a simple expression of human need.

I realised this when attending a celebration of the 25th anniversary of his ordination. I had cycled across to the church unprepared for the steady rain which fell during my ride. Arriving cold and dripping, I instinctively went to the presbytery to ask if I could borrow an old pair of John's trousers for the celebration. With John, that was what anyone would naturally do. So I was momentarily taken aback to find that the housekeeper saw me and my bedraggled state as a problem rather than as a person in need. But John soon arrived and I was fixed up.

A few years later I took over from him in visiting the Immigration Detention Centre. There I heard many stories of how he had visited former detainees and immigrants when they were sick, and had occasionally spent all night with dying patients.

When John later moved to Canberra as Director of the Australian Catholic Immigration Office, he continued to focus on people and not on problems. He supported people who applied for visas for family members. In a period when asylum seekers were treated with increased brutality, he worked for an effective church commitment to them.

The lives of people like John Murphy give some credibility to the claim of churches to expertise in humanity. His was the pastoral face of the church.

The administrative face of the Catholic Church was on display in the Vatican arrangements for the Brisbane church following Archbishop Bathersby's resignation. Their salient point was that they were unusual.

The ordinary canonical procedure when an Archbishop dies or retires is that the senior auxiliary bishop is responsible for the governance of the diocese. He must convoke a meeting of the Archdiocesan consultors who then elect an administrator until a new bishop is named. These procedures show a trust in the local church to manage its affairs as it prepares for a new Archbishop.

The Vatican appointment of a Bishop outside the diocese as apostolic administrator replaced the ordinary canonical process. To say this is simply to state a fact. It does not question the wisdom or legality of doing so, still less the appropriateness of the person appointed. But bypassing ordinary procedures has costs.

After a much-loved Archbishop steps down, many people, including priests, grieve his loss and are anxious about the future. It is a time when people are vulnerable. In such circumstances any breach of normal process, particularly through the appointment of someone from outside the local church, heightens anxiety and arouses suspicion that the local church is not trusted. People imagine that they are seen as problems, not as people.

That in turn makes it hard for the people to see the new administrator as a person, and not as a problem. The affective unity of the community and the effectiveness of the administrator are thus put under threat.

Under such circumstances the administrative face is seen to wear a scowl. That perception can always be overcome by magnanimity. But the test of administration is whether it encourages the pastoral face of the Church embodied so well in Father John Murphy.

Andrew HamiltonAndrew Hamilton is consulting editor of Eureka Street


Topic tags: Andrew Hamilton, Father John Murphy, Catholic Immigration, Archbishop John Bathersby, Brisbane, Bishop Ja



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Existing comments

Thank you Andrew, for this observation. Does this not confirm to the ever increasing centralisation mania by the Vatican?

Peter M | 24 November 2011  

Essentially, sadly,simply...the church is two - faced.

As for phrases like.."The ordinary canonical procedure(s)."...can anyone even imagine such a phrase coming from the mouth of Jesus?

Brian Haill - Melbourne | 24 November 2011  

Sad to hear of the passing of Fr Murphy. I knew him many many years ago. Can you tell me more about where he has been since in melbourne and when he passed on. I loved that man and his work.May he rest in peace in the loving hands of all those fellow people he assisted and his God.

PHIL | 24 November 2011  

I missed the news of Fr John Murphy's passing and am sad to read it here. This is a fitting tribute.

Moira Byrne Garton | 24 November 2011  

Let us pray for the repose of the soul of Monsignor John Murphy. May his soul and the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace. Eternal rest grant unto him, O lord and let perpetual Light shine upon him.

With the appointment of Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett as Apostolic Administrator of the Brisbane Archdiocese, it wil be interesting to see whether things will get better or worse or not change at all.

I am glad Archbishop John Bathersby's resignation will allow wome new blood and hopefully overcome some of the problems that have been around for years that should have been fixed.

I hope that the archdiocese may become more authentically Catholic and that we leave the world of Gaia and other disturbing practises that were allowed far too long. I hope the seminaries fill and true Catholicism be brought to the people of Brisbane

Trent | 24 November 2011  

You can hope all you like Trent but I doubt it will get you anywhere. Faith, hope and love, three things abide, but the greatest of these is love. And isn't that the point of Andrew's article?

GingerMeggs | 24 November 2011  

Perhaps we don't know all the facts, but it would seem like more of the usual bullying from the scribes and pharisees. If that is the case, it is indeed disappointing that Bishop Jarrett would accept such an appointment.

Peter Downie | 24 November 2011  

Mons John Murphy was school chaplin in my primary school at Parade, Later he was a good friend in Canberra. A humble and holy soul with rich and wise homilies. The imposition of the Administrative face happens in all industries public and private it is a fact of life!

Paul Monagle | 24 November 2011  

Thank you for this comment. "...seen as problems, not as people" or I would add as members of the Mystical Body of Christ and players in the drama of redemption. All outside the hierarchy are seen as potential problems. Towards the end of the 19th century Cardinal Manning (London) was warned:"Beware of the laity - they are beginning to show the cloven hoof."

The most scandalous example of episcopal misbehaviour was Bishop Thomas Muldoon's treatment (Sydney 1966)of a respected nun, professional, academic psychologist Mother Margaret Gorman. Muldoon actually used the words "her end is perdition". At the protest meeting which I attended the Bishop's behaviour was condemned - but not by his superior Cardinal Gilroy. That protest meeting was one of the better moments in the history of the Church in this country.

John Nicholson | 24 November 2011  

God preserve us all from Trent's 'true Catholicism', please!

Actually Trent, with this Pope and our Cardinal Pell, that's what we have today.

A two-faced corporation with a likeness to Communist China, trying to take back an imagined Glorious Past.

Were Father Bob to be the Australian Cardinal, or Archbishop of Brisbane, the world would be a different place and people might not desert the Church quite so happily.

Sadly, good people tend not to rise to the top of most organisations, particularly in the religious industry, which is a cut throat place of power seeking people, frequently of very doubtful values, and value.

Harry Wilson | 24 November 2011  

My initial response to Andrew's article was to ask the question: Why juxtapose the two events - Fr Murphy's death and Bishop Jarrett's appointment?
Fr Murphy was a legend in his own lifetime - and a worthy one.
Archbishop Bathersby may have retired on the ground of age but I think if he hadn't he would have died of a broken heart.It was his intense love of his diocese, its people and its people that drove his every action.
And when one is misunderstood or maligned in following what one perceives as the law of charity the heartbreak is all the more painful.
From the banks of th Tiber the diocese of Brisbane is probably seen as an administrative problem; from the banks of the Brisbane River it looks like a people crying out for a spiritual lifeboat with a humble captain at the helm.
So maybe Andrew was right to emphasise the personal over the problematic.

Uncle Pat | 24 November 2011  

Perhaps it was felt that an administrator would prove less problematic for this dysfunctional archdiocese than leaving it in the incompetent hands that have failed to show leadership in many areas over recent years (Catholic education, liturgy, the priestly life, Bill Morris to name a few)

john frawley | 24 November 2011  

It's a sad reflection that that the "Church" often mistrusts the good will of it's people!

Thank you for the opportunity to reflect on the example of Fr John Murphy. I knew him in the 6os and am encouraged by his generosity of spirit and willingness to trust and see 'good'.

Maria Nechwatal | 24 November 2011  

For those with attitudes like TRENT, may I suggest they form a breakaway church called "Romanism"? Their values are neither Christian nor Catholic - but definitely Roman.

AURELIUS | 24 November 2011  

Sadly I note that you aren't surprised that the normal procedure hasn't been followed in the appointment of an outsider to act as administrator in the Archdiocese of Brisbane. I see this merely as a part of the power push by the conservatives. I love my faith and will continue to live it but the hierarchical situation leaves me cold.

Phil van Brunschot | 24 November 2011  

It is understandable that many who have been critical of Abp Bathersby's governance of Brisbane warmly welcome the appointment of +Jarrett as administrator. Perhaps they would see his role over the next months as that of one who gradually accustoms the clergy and people of Brisbane to the likelihood of a completely different style of leadership and ecclesiastical culture.

+Jarrett is an convert from Anglicanism, conservative and trusted by Catholics who enthusiastically embrace the 'Hermeneutic of Continuity' platform of Benedict's 'Reform of the Reform.'

My guess is that one of +Jarrett's principal tasks is to pave the way for the appointment of Melbourne Auxiliary Bishop Peter Elliott as the new Archbishop. He too is an Anglican convert, mentored into the Church by Fr George Pell in 1968 during their time in Oxford. +Elliott has all the right credentials: PhD from the JP II Institute, episcopal delegate to the Ordinariate in Australia, frequent guest lecturer on the Latin Mass and celebrant of the EF and OF in Latin, guest of rock solid orthodox champions of the New Evangelization such as +Edward Slattery of Tulsa, OK (04/11) and +Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix (10/11).
Furthermore, +Elliott' motto is appropriate:
'Prepare His Ways.'

David Timbs | 24 November 2011  

Well, whatever happened to subsidiarity?

ErikH | 24 November 2011  

A sensitive, generous piece Andrew. It's a fine diagnosis of the inadequacy, even the evil, of legalism to put your finger on the distinction between reaching out to people with a pastoral heart and setting them aside in order to solve the problems they make for you through disciplinary sanctions.

Joe Castley | 24 November 2011  

I'm saddened to hear of John's passing. He will be sorely missed by many people.

His willingness to collaborate across the 'silos' of church agencies enabled a more effective response to the needs of migrants and refugees. As National Executive Officer of the ACSJC I was certainly very appreciative of his openness to joint activities.

I am teaching a module on social ministry at EAPI in Manila this week and will hold up the example of John's action for the program participants today.

Sandie Cornish | 24 November 2011  

I can understand there is a period of transition and adjustment and loss when a Bishop retires.

I think however the juxtaposition of Father Murphy against the processes of appointment of Bishop Jarret is drawing is a long bow and frankly I think is unhelpful. So in my view is the assumption that the process of appointment means the Diocese has been adjudged as not trustworthy to run its own affairs. Or that the priests of the Diocese should be suspicious and anxious. Or that Bishop Jarrett should be as a consequence be viewed as a problem.

The pastoral approach should also be adopted by those of the Diocese towards Bishop Jarrett should it not? Aren't we a big enough Church and mature enough to give a new appointment a go ?

Hayden Legro | 24 November 2011  

John Frawley,

Not very charitable. If your response is an indication of what an "authentic Catholic" is then, please God, save us from "authentic Catholics".

Steve | 24 November 2011  

I don't know what part of Brisbane Trent comes from, but my parish has four Masses filled to almost capacity every Sunday; a great youth group; and many young families as well as us oldies. I also consider Trent's criticism of Archbishop Bathersby to be completely wrong. From a leadership role in a lay apostolate organisation I had many meetings with the Archbishop and found him very caring and having a great love of the people of Brisbane and personally a very humble and prayerful man. Also this role took me to many different parishes and although some had amalgamated with neighbouring parishes the numbers attending Masses was quite good. Trent, I'd like to share with you that when I was young my father used to tell me if there was someone I didn't like to pray for them and before long they would be better people. Of course as I grew older I found that it was not that person who had changed but myself. So Trent if you don't like the Church in Brisbane why not pray for us.

Pauline | 24 November 2011  

It seems the church as an institution is becoming less and less relevant to many who turn away in the face of bureaucratic rigidity, intolerance and sexual scandal. The hierarchy of the institution responds by bunkering down to protect itself and maintain its dignity (ie comfort and privilege)

AURELIUS | 24 November 2011  

There appears to be some confusion from this article. There is Msgr John Murphy (RIP) and Fr John Murphy - two different people - the latter is apparently still very much alive.

Kathryn | 24 November 2011  

The author's attempt to contrast these two "faces" of the Church makes no sense. The appointment of Bp Jarrett is just as much a pastoral act as it is an adnministrative one. And Mons Murphy was appointed to his position by the bishops who created it and they and "the Vatican" (as ES calls the Pope when he does something it doesn't agree with) thoroughly endorse his work which he is doing at their specific command. He didn't make the Church care for refugees as the author seems to think.

It is only in the past 40 years that auxiliary bishops have been common. And they may frequently, but certainly not invariably succeeed the archbishop. There is certainly no break with established custom in appointing an administrator from another diocese. One of Brisbane;'s two auxiliaries is currently administering Toowoomba, and the other could hardly be asked to run Brisbane on his own. The only unusual thing here is that there was not a permanent replacement appointed immediately on the retirement of the incumbent. But this seems to be a current problem with the general tardiness of the Congregation for Bishops, nothing particular about Brisbane.

Peter G | 24 November 2011  

Oh, Andrew, I just love the oozing, sensitive tone of your article. I also knew Monsignor John Murphy. May I mention that he gladly accepted decisions made by the Holy See - like many other Catholics, and of course you would know what St Ignatius expected Jesuits to do: to accept authoritative decisions with obedience, willingly, and even by conforming their judgments to the same.

Chris Boyce | 24 November 2011  

Chris Boyce,

Are we expected, by God, to accept any and every decision by the "Holy See". Throughout history there have been some atrocious decisions that we would be duty-bound to dissent from. Are we expected to put our brains and consciences in "neutral"

Steve | 24 November 2011  

What hasn't been entertained properly in this conversation is Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett's own views on his appointment as Administrator.

As Bishop of Lismore and surrounds he has/had a big responsibility and it is quite likely that he is privately apprehensive at the task of guiding Brisbane in the short term.

We shouldn't automatically align him with 'the problem'.

John Angus | 24 November 2011  

Christians who do not like the teachings of the Catholic Church and who criticizes the Pope and the Vatican do not have to associate with the Catholic Church. There are many different denominations they can choose from and they would be welcome to probably any one of them.

Ron Cini | 24 November 2011  

Thanks Andy for a measured article. As you say we do not know the reason for the alteration of normal procedure in this circumstance. Perhaps we do not need to however you omit to mention that even if such an intervention is absolutely necessary some simple communication from the Vatican (or the Nuncio) would go a long way to allay people's natural anxieties and fears communication from above to help allay people's natural anxieties and fears at such time. It also shows a respect that appears so lacking for the ordinary people "in the pews" in much of the church now

david | 24 November 2011  

the point of Andrew's article it seeems is increasing nervousness of the heterodox forces in this country. They don't want to actually have to BE Catholic just to get the finance stream that comes from being inside the Church. They had a good run under Bathersby - eg the whole Peter kennedy debacle might never have happened otherwise.

Peter in Canberra | 24 November 2011  

I know both Mons Murphy and Bishop Jarrett. I like(d) them both very much, and I'm particularly indebted to Mons. Murphy for his attention to me in a personal matter, the spirit of which Fr Hamilton gets exactly right. RIP Mons Murphy.

I'm also aware that Archbishop Bathersby is personable to many - possibly "much loved" as Fr Hamilton attests. But it would be another, altogether unpastoral, step to deny that there aren't thousands of mass-going Catholics in his archdiocese, loyal to Pope Benedict, who take serious, trenchant, considered objection to his administration of the diocese over the years. To portray him as "much-loved" is one-sided and indeed, rather the stuff of polemic - as if to assert that, if one didn't "love" him in the sense of heartily endorsing the thrust of his administration, one couldn't "love" him in the more profound and Christian sense, that one can love and pray for those whose policies and actions, even if well-meaning, one cannot in conscience endorse.

Catholics who knew him will pray for the soul of Mons. Murphy, as he would have earnestly desired. Queensland Catholics I know will go on praying for Archbishop Bathersby, even post-retirement.

And for the eminently pastoral Geoffrey Jarrett.

HH | 24 November 2011  

Thank you Andrew for your clear observations. Bishop Bathersby allowed the windows to be opened as urged by Vatican II. There are many in the Church who talk of authentic or orthodox catholicism. What are they taking about. I suspect it is the old ritualism of the 1950's and earlier.

As a catholic, loyal to the mission of Jesus, authentic catholicsm is finding God in my life and loving others as I love myself. It is as simple and as challenging as that. All else must fit these two commandments, otherwise it is not catholicism.

Unfortunately some church leaders, who speak of orthodox catholicism, are imposing ritualism on church communities. This is very sad.

Archbishop Bathersby will be missed greatly, but I am sure his spirit will live on and great work will continue.

Patrick Kempton | 24 November 2011  

Maybe 'Trent' isn't a persons name in this case, but where this particular person wants the Church to return to? And by the way it is going, making questionable appointments such as +Jarrett to Brisbane, (albeit as an Apostolic Administrator only) and his appointment to Lismore as Bishop in the first place, it is well on the way. I am sure that everybody, priests and people of the Lismore Diocese, would have been taken aback by his appointment to Brisbane but that shock was soon settled by the realisation that his appointment would not and seriously could not be based on merit or the good work he has done in Lismore, but would simply be based on geographical location only. But then again, why appoint him in the first place? Some years ago, before the appointment of the current Bishop of Armidale, a senior priest of that diocese was appointed Administrator of the Diocese, pending an Episcopal appointment. Why didn't this happen in Brisbane? Me thinks there may well have been some backroom deals done, especialy coming hot on the heels after the recent Ad Limina visit to headquarters.

Onlooker | 24 November 2011  

To RON CINI: If you had a son or daughter who loved you but questioned your teaching or authority, would you abandon them and suggest they look for another family? I think this is the issue at stake here - once we stop being compassionate to each other, the church stops being a church and becomes a political party or a warring tribal faction. This is sad.

AURELIUS | 25 November 2011  

Thanks for the postings, especially for the tributes to Mgr John Murphy.

A couple of points on which I was perhaps not clear. First, the ordinary processes that follow a Bishop's death or retirement are not about choosing a successor or a decision maker. They are about gathering the consultors to elect someone to keep the business of the diocese going, as the Vicar General does in ordinary times.

Second, in speaking of the face of the church, I was not speaking directly of reality, but about reality as people will naturally perceive it within its particular context. Both matter - the reality of course more than the reality perceived. I gave reasons why the two events I juxtaposed might be perceived in particular ways.

To carry on the discussion, I would argue that in the Australian Catholic Church currently perceptions do matter a lot. The numerical diminishment in church attendance is undeniable. My judgment, necessarily subjective, is that many active, informed and committed Catholics are hanging on by their finger nails in the face of the many images of the church they see as unattractive and unchristlike. I find this deeply concerning.

If my perception is right, it is important not only that relationships in the church are conducted well, but that they are seen to be conducted well and bear the face of the Gospel. We should all be magnanimous in overlooking behaviour we perceive as high handed, and in assuming good faith on the part of those who offend us. But we should generally refrain from acting in a way that we can predict will demand such magnanimity from others.

Andy Hamilton | 25 November 2011  

As a friend of mine, a priest in another church, has often said . . . "either you're the kind of person who thinks that rule matter, or you think that people matter."

Right now, the rules seem to be winning out bigtime !!!!!. . And it seems to be purely sake of exercising authority for the sake of exercising authority with no other purpose in mind. "We are in charge!"

While he eschews the Hitler Youth of his early years, perhaps some of it did rub off on Pope Ratzinger . . . given the way he is running the church?

Robert Rennick | 25 November 2011  

Ron Cini's comment reminds me of a discussion I once had with a heath insurance fund which insisted on referring to me as a 'member'. I pointed out that unless I was able to have some input into the way the fund was run, the best that I could be called was a 'customer' but not a 'member'. Ron's comment suggests to me that the Church, which I thought was the body of Christ, should not consider its lay people to be 'members' in any true sense of that word, but only 'customers' who, if they are dissatisfied with the type of service that they get, should just shop somewhere else.

Ginger Meggs | 25 November 2011  

So very well observed Andrew. I witness other examples of the pastoral v administrative faces...they're all around us. Let us be more clearly pastoral presences of Jesus among his people. rita

rita grunke | 26 November 2011  

It is very easy to portray the individual pastoral works of someone which cannot be refuted as against a decision of the church hierachy on the other hand which will never please everyone as the church is not a democracy.

While the church is not perfect in its administration I do not agree with the implied assumption of Father Hamilton that church numbers have diminished significantly as a result of perceptions of these matters.

Blaming the God - given structure of the Church for the failure of individuals to engage in a faith -life overlooks the ability of church members to forgive their leaders as we are called to do to every person. It also forgets that decisions are not made in a vacuum but one would assume after prayerful reflection seeking the guidance of the Spirit.It also importantly overlooks the fact that other significant factors such as the spread of secular humanism,materialism and the confining of religious belief to history by influential media and individuals in our civil culture are causing numbers to diminish. Rather than juxtapose the pastoral with the ecclesial in the way Fr Hamilton has done, perhaps a basic understanding of the nature of the church (ie its ecclesiology) might assist those church members hanging on (as clearly evidenced herein) to be a little more robust in their faith in the church as the body of Christ.

Hayden Legro | 28 November 2011  

"..the test of administration is whether it encourages the pastoral face of the Church.." I would seriously challenge such a banal statement. The test of the administration of a diocese is surely the success of the "administrator" in preserving and protecting and nurtuing the faith of his diocese, is it not? Of combatting error and bringing the straying sheep (and we will always stray) back into the fold? That is the role he has accepted, and the outcome of his consecration as a successor to the apostles. On this will he be judged. To those surprised that less-than-usual processes were employed in finding an administrator for Brisbane, I would suggest that a moment's thought be given to Romes's view of the diocese, and of the not insignificant number of disturbing complaints received over past decades on sheer heresy and heterodoxy up here - as some have said before, Queensland unfortunately remains in many ways "mission territory". So many of the comments I read above reflect unabashed protestant perspectives. Please, please remember that publicly denying the doctrine of Christ's one and only Church is a mortal sin, which separates one permanently from God - a situation rectifiable only through the infirmary of the confessional and God's infinite mercy. Catholics have forgotten - or have never been taught - the essence of their faith, and lapse so easily into heresy. I can tell you that this is clear nowhere more than in Brisbane. May God bless +Bishop Jarrett - he has a long road ahead, but I struggle to think of an Australian prelate more capable. Deo gratias.

Waverley | 30 November 2011  

I could not decipher what you were saying re Bishop Jarret being the admin for Brisbane now after the incumbent's retirement. Seemed above my pay grade.
But I would say is:
1. The present senior auxiliary is occupied with Toowoomba diocese and the 'mess' there, so he could not be doing the same job for two dioceses at once.
2. Jarret is 74 and due to retire himself in 2012. That is the fact and he is not, never going to go to Brisbane. That is the reality and I think a blessed one for the people of Brisbane, as they would not take to him as a very conservative bsihop who has made no impact whatsoever on Lismore or anywhere else. That is fact.
But above all of this, the fact is Australian Catholicism has a massive episcopal leadership problem now and into the next 5 years. At least 6 dioceses are and will be vacant in this year. There are at least 3 archbishoprics to be filled very soon and the pot of applicants is empty. Hobart will be up soon and there are less than 45 active priests in the whole state. Victoria has Sandhurst and Ballarat to fill in 2012. And usually auxiliary bishops get bumped up to run a See.
But there must be loads of head searching and prayer to find so many new bishops in the coming months. Then in 5 years, Pell and Hart will have to retire. So Mark Coleridge, your time as Archbishop of Syd ney, the red hat - awaits you there if you are not called to Rome beforehand to head a Curial department.

Adam | 02 December 2011  

Have just seen your comment about many Catholics 'hanging on by their fingernails'. I think that is probably a very accurate assessment. Indeed many have just lost total grip over the past decade or so and wandered off. Those hanging on must surely have been totally scandalised by the priest-abuse scandal that has rocked Western catholicism and indeed you have to wonder of Irish Catholicism will not implode totally within the next few years. Arch Martin is fighting a rearguard action there in Dublin, heroically in fact and under attack by his co bishops, many of whom ought be sacked. The Irish Church needs a good cleaning out and indeed the talk is of reducing the number of dioceses dramatically. The vatican needs a root and branch clean out.

But back to your fingernails and biting - the Church is reall in dire need of a total makeover and full road check. Its not a transfusion that is needed - more a total transplant of parish structures, clergy identification to stop the paralysis that is fast becoming the norm in the Church.

Adam | 05 December 2011  

brian haill; Jesus kept the equivalent canon laws of his time eg synagogue attendance and ritual meal[last supper-his dispensing of the law was by exception-in fact demanding adherence to the Decalogue and ritual rubrics of cured checking out with priests
so cut the Jesus-anarchist humbug
quite clearly the petrine commission was the antithesis of democratic process[investing near dictatorial power in peter[whatever you loose on earth........."[no mention of consultation]

Father John Michael George | 13 December 2011  

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