As the Robot used to say to Will Robinson…
This appeared in the parish bulletin on Sunday:
Working for a Renewed Priestly Ministry
Sponsored by Catholics for Ministry and Catalyst for Renewal
The purpose of the Public Forum is to encourage the Australian Catholic Bishops to broaden the possibility for ministry in order to address the current crisis.
The second purpose is to support priests in praishes who are currently overburdened as they strive to provide Eucharistic and Pastoral Ministry.
Date: Thursday 22nd November.
Venue: Camberwell Civic Centre.
Speakers – Dr. Paul Collins, Terry Curtin, Marilyn Hatton, Dr. Anne O’Brien.
Okay, I think we can see where this is coming from. Unfortunately I can’t go, because we have an important ecumenical meeting on that night.
But two questions: How are the Bishops of Australia supposed to “broaden the possibility for ministry”? What type of ministry are they talking about? The heading says “Working for a renewed priestly ministry”. By “broaden” do they mean admitting married men? Women? Part-timers? Non-seminary training? Aside from the question whether it is licit or desirable to “broaden” the priestly ministry in these ways, I don’t think there is much that the Bishops of Australia can do unilaterally apart from the universal Church. Of course, if lay ministry is the topic, then there are plenty of ways in which this can be “broadened”–but we don’t need the bishops to do it. We can do it ourselves by starting where we are.
And what do them mean by “to support priests…currently overburdened”? Really, the answer to that is very simple. First, be a friend to your parish priest. Second, volunteer to help in the parish somehow. Third, encourage young single men to the vocation of priesthood (or, if you are a young single man, take up the calling yourself) so our “overburdened” priests will have some colleagues to call upon for real support.
I don’t know why we need a meeting for this. But methinks I can guess.