No, it’s not Geoffrey Robinson’s dream come true, rather it is Catholica Australia’s latest poll. They have two questions:
1) Who do you think might best lead & rejuvenate the Catholic Church in Australia after WYD?
2) Who do you think might be the best Archbishop of Sydney?
The odd thing is that while you get the chance to vote for any of Australia’s 44 bishops (and a few priests) for the first question, you only get a list of the current Archbishops and a smattering of other bishops to chose from for the second question (Bishop Pat Power – Aux Canberra-Goulburn, Bishop Geoffrey Robinson – Retired Sydney, Bishop Chris Toohey – Willcannia-Forbes, Bishop David Walker – Broken Bay, Bishop Michael Putney – Townsville, Bishop Kevin Manning – Parramatta). It seems odd that none of the current auxiliaries of Sydney are included here, nor even all the NSW bishops. How democratic is a survey like this that doesn’t even offer you a full ticket?
Mind you the first question is rather problematic too… Here is how it reads:
In the first question we are asking the question as to who you believe might provide the best “perceived leadership” of Catholicism in this nation if Cardinal Pell leaves Sydney? Who do you think has the best qualities as a leader to inspire Catholics in this nation and to generate some resurgence in the Church? So, we are leaving open whether that person occupies the position of Archbishop of Sydney, whether or not they become a Cardinal, or if they are President of the Bishops’ Conference. (Interestingly the appointment of Cardinals is made by Rome, as is the Appointment to the position of Archbishop or Bishop of a Diocese. The position of President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference is decided not by Rome but by a democratic vote by all the active bishops in Australia.)
It seems to suggest that Cardinal Pell is the “perceived” leader of Catholicism in this nation. And seems surprised that the President of the Bishops Conference is elected by the Conference. What odd ideas they have over there at Catholica…
Of course, we do well to remember Cardinal Pell’s quip about the Holy Spirit sometimes getting it right and sometimes getting it wrong with respect to the appointment of popes and bishops (the Cooees crowd have a good take on this one). We shouldn’t imagine that by taking a “democratic” vote we would do any better!