Weeding the garden in South Brisbane

On Saturday, I weeded my lawn. I had let it go for a long time, and during the winter it had turned into a field of lush, green onion weed. Yech. If I had left it any later it would have flowered. I understand that once this happens, the bulbs begin to multiply or something. Any way, a stitch in time saves nine, as they say. Better to be merciful and pull up the tares now, so that the lawn has a chance to grow come Spring.

Not withstanding Jesus’ own advice to leave the tares growing among the wheat until the last judgement, the weeding metaphor relates well to the pastoral ministry. Deal with a problem now, and deal with it properly, because if you leave it for later it will only come back ten times bigger to bite you.

It is a lesson that Archbishop Bathersby might well be pondering at this time.


See further:

St Mary’s South Brisbane

The Courier Mail: Future of St Mary’s South Brisbane Church in doubt

Letter to AD2000

Cathnews article – which quotes a parishioner rather disingenuously saying that a “very right wing parishioner came and was offended by…an image of a praying monk which they mistook as a Buddha”

However, from St Mary’s own blogsite:From St Mary’s Blog site

MINDFULNESS MEDITATION GROUP In the Buddhist tradition of the Most Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh (Thây), Practices on Monday evenings in the Church from 6.45pm till 8.30pm. Contact Lyndall a/h on 33001855 for further info

Hmmm. So was it a “Buddha” or a “praying monk”? But wasn’t the Buddha a “praying monk”?


More thoughts…

Isn’t this a rather strange way of handling the situation? I mean, effectively, His Grace appears to be suggesting (in the kindest possible way) that he intends to excommunicate the entire parish. And he says this in a letter, for goodness sake; a letter which doesn’t really spell out the procedure from here on in.

Now, I know this is really none of my business, but if you were the bishop, wouldn’t you simply move quickly to appoint a new orthodox parish priest? Nb. according to the letter, the current parish priest is in fact simply an administrator, not the “parish priest” as has been continuously said; and it appears that this administrator has permitted a priest from another diocese to effectively run the show. The current administrator has been in the parish for 28 years. A recipe for disaster. Long pastorates can sometimes lead to ensconced idiosyncrasies, whereas regular changes of pastors generally keeps a parish more conscious of the fact that it belongs to a diocesan church and is not a self-contained community. It was the same situation in Redfern in Sydney. Archbishop Pell dealt with that – although not with entirely happy consequeces to be sure.

Still. Have a look at that church building. Isn’t there going to be property issues if in fact the parish as a whole does accept the Archbishop’s ultimatum? And what will orthodox Catholic parishioners (those who are still there) be told to do? Travel elsewhere?

It all begs too many questions. I expect that we will hear more.

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0 Responses to Weeding the garden in South Brisbane

  1. Victoria says:

    It seems that Cathnews were having a bob each way. To accompany the text “very right wing parishioner came and was offended by…an image of a praying monk which they mistook as a Buddha”
    they chose a picture of Buddha.

  2. eulogos says:

    I read the comments on the Courier News article. There are actually people there writing about how awful it is that the Catholic church tries to tell us what to believe.

    Talk about majorly missing the point! And note how this person has to be assuming that there really isn’t any Truth. If there were, you would want to know it, wouldn’t you? Don’t tell me what 7×9= because I have every right to believe that it is 52. Well if all 700 of them want to believe that it is 52, they have a legal right to it, but they can’t call it a Mathematical Church.

    They were also angry that the church was told to rebaptize people for using the wrong formula. ” Please come back and exchange your tank before your dive; we put CO2 into it instead of O2.” “How ridiculous and petty of you to think a few words or letters different matter! How arrogant of you to insist that it be done YOUR way! ” “But, but, your life depends on it.” “Don’t be so doctrinaire!”

    The idea that there is such a thing as truth about religious or moral matters is just about extinct, as far as I can tell from these comments.
    Susan Peterson

  3. eulogos says:

    The bishop’s letter is wonderful in its expression of what communion with the Catholic church means,

    but incredibly passive towards the rebellion at St. Mary’s, as if he can only shrug his shoulders at the situation.

    Is this letter ALL? Has he taken other steps in private? Even Bishop Clark in Rochester, NY, USA, was able to take definite steps against Corpus Christi parish after Rome told him to. He moved the pastor, and large numbers of the church left and founded a schismatic parish. That was unfortunate, but at least then everybody knew which was the Catholic Church and which was not.

    I want to see him remove the administrator, evict the interloper, and send a real Catholic priest as pastor. If the people don’t like it, they can form a schismatic community. Then everything will be clear, and people won’t be able to pretend to themselves that they are Catholics when they are not.

    Susan Peterson

  4. Joshua says:

    The last comment said it rightly: Bp Bathersby reveals himself as “incredibly passive”.

    He seems unable to bring himself to act.

    Contrast this with his swift action against the Latin Mass – when some disgruntled Latin Mass goers (at the only approved EF in Brisbane) wrote angry letters to him about various incorrect actions in the diocese, what was his response?

    He forbade the Latin Mass to be said, except on Sundays; in other words, he punished the priest and people in a mean and vindictive way, and in essence threatened them with being closed down.

    Since Summorum Pontificum, their priest has resumed daily Latin Mass, but at present has no church that will permit him to use an altar on weekdays, so has to say Mass at his residence.

    What a noxious double standard!

    Brisbane really is the pits.

  5. Peregrinus says:

    Bats has a point. You can’t force people to be in communion with you. You can certainly force them out of communion with you, though, or accelerate that rupture, but that is pretty much the last thing any bishop ought to do, ever, to anyone. Hence, if he is to err, a bishop ought to err on the side of maintaining connections, building bridges and seeking to repair relationships, not terminate them.

    Sure, he could reassign the administrator, appoint a new administrator or paster and thereby reassert control over the church building. But the church building is just bricks and mortar, and is of no real consequence. If the price of doing that is irrevocably driving the community out, then that action does not build up the church; it breaks it down.

    There are obviously difficult decisions facing the archbishop here, and no choice open to him is free of downside, or will insulate him from criticism. But I think his instinct here is sound; he wants this community in the church, not out of it, and he’s inviting – or perhaps challenging – them to want the same thing, and to act like they want it.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Now, I know this is really none of my business, but if you were the Bishop of Rome, wouldn’t you simply move quickly to appoint a new orthodox Archbishop of Brisbane?

  7. Peregrinus says:

    I couldn’t, unless I could first of all remove the current Archbishop of Brisbane for being unorthodox. And, even in the brutal, undemocratic, totalitarian Catholic Church, this does actually require fairly cogent evidence of unorthodoxy. To the lasting regret of some, the slogans of the Rad Trad Cultural Revolution don’t actually count as evidence, so what’s a pope to do? He’ll stick with Bats.

  8. Joshua says:

    Ah yes, faithful Trads are atacked for being divisive (the only remaining sin) while those who can’t even manage to baptize validly are mollycoddled lest we seem less inclusive.

    If it weren’t so serious it would be laughable.

    (OMG, I sound like PE!)

  9. Joshua says:

    And as I mentioned above, Bathersby had no qualms about restricting the use of a perfectly valid and orthodox rite (the EF) and thereby pushed people toward rupture of communion – but they were Trads after all, fit only to be despised.

    Lefties, on the other hand, are to inherit the Church, don’t y’know, so their antics must be winked at…

  10. Joshua says:

    As David would no doubt say, the real issue here is that the people of St Mary’s have not only been cut off from true catechesis, they have been subject to false catechesis for decades – this is spiritual abuse of the faithful, surely a terrible crime.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Joshua: well said.

  12. Terra says:

    The issue with Archbishop Bathersby is not (necessarily) lack of orthodoxy, but the failure to take appropriate timely action -failure to teach. That is a very serious issue for a bishop.

    And on this subject there is an interesting article on the canon law aspects of this problem up on Catholic Culture, focusing on what can be done in these circumstances:http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=8391&repos=1&subrepos=&searchid=291963

    The article is nothing to get excited about, it mainly chronicles inaction during the JPII years. Still, the world has changed a little, and it did make me wonder if the visit by Cardinal Levada ( http://australiaincognita.blogspot.com/2008/05/cardinal-levada-in-brisbane.html) earlier in the year might have been an apostolic visitation, one of the possible steps in a process…But perhaps I'm just being optimistic!

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