“To lose one auxiliary, Your Grace, may be regarded as a misfortune…”

…to loose two of them might, to some folk, seem like carelessness!

But of course, we here in The Great Episcopal Incubation Chamber don’t see it like that, and certainly our Archbisop doesn’t.

Here is his announcement of the latest Glad Tidings of Great Joy from the Holy See:

I have pleasure in notifying you that the Holy Father has appointed Most Reverend Timothy Costelloe, S.D.B., D.D., Archbishop of Perth.

?The announcement will be made in Rome at twelve noon on Monday, 20th February 2012 (10.00 p.m. e.a.s.t).

?We are deeply grateful to Bishop Costelloe for his work in Melbourne as a Salesian Priest, Formator, Parish Priest and Auxiliary Bishop.

?He has given great leadership as Chair of the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria, Chair of the Board of the Archbishop’s Office for Evangelisation and Chair of Mannix College Council, as well as his long involvement with Catholic Theological College, and with many parishes and communities.

?As he prepares to take up his new appointment we assure him of our congratulations and prayers for his new responsibilities.

?The date of a Mass of Farewell (with an opportunity to meet the people) in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral will be advised in due course. The date of his Mass of Reception in Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Perth is Wednesday, 21st March, 2012. The time is yet to be confirmed.

?From the time of his departure an Episcopal Vicar will be appointed for the Northern Region until the appointment of a new Auxiliary Bishop.

Yours sincerely in Christ,

Denis J. Hart


SCE offers its heartiest congratulations to Archbishop-designate Timothy, and we invoke the intercession of his namesake St Timothy for his future ministry.

In the mean time, while there are plenty more appointments of new ordinaries yet to be made of around Australia, I hope the Holy Father realises we only have two auxiliaries left…

About Schütz

I am a PhD candidate & sessional academic at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Australia. After almost 10 years in ministry as a Lutheran pastor, I was received into the Catholic Church in 2003. I worked for the Archdiocese of Melbourne for 18 years in Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations. I have been editor of Gesher for the Council of Christians & Jews and am guest editor of the historical journal “Footprints”. I have a passion for pilgrimage and pioneered the MacKillop Woods Way.
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39 Responses to “To lose one auxiliary, Your Grace, may be regarded as a misfortune…”

  1. Joshua says:

    He’s an excellent, excellent fellow, and as a former Perth resident I’m very glad that Hickey will have so worthy a successor. My only regret is that the rumour about Costelloe for Hobart turned out to be false… How long, O Lord?

  2. Hannah says:

    I knew about a month ago that it was to be him, and I happy for him, a good man and priest, though I am so sorry that it was not Bishop Don Sproxton a marvellous auxillary of Perth. Perhaps Age might have had something to do with it. But Bishop Sproxton is one of the most “available” “accessable” “meetable” Bishops there are in Australia. Have known him over 24 years and one of the most humble ones, next to Archbishop Hickey.
    also as a Perthian person.

  3. Peregrinus says:

    Archbishop-elect Costelloe has my prayers and good wishes.

    In general, though, I can’t help feeling that there is something amiss about the idea that someone who’s not from Perth, and has only ever spent a couple of years there, is moved across the continent to become Archbishop of a diocese whose people, priests and history he must barely know.

    Over on Australia Incognita, Kate is doing a diocese-by-diocese commentary on the state of the church in Australia, and one of the issues she looks at is how successful each diocese has been in generating the vocations to priesthood that it requires. That strikes me as a useful and significant measure of the health of a local church. But isn’t it equally important, and ecclesiologically appropriate, that a church should produce its pastors in the episcopal sense of that word as well as in the sacerdotal sense?

    A bishop isn’t a middle-manager, put in by head office in Rome to run the branch office of a big multinational corporation, in order to test his mettle for some higher office elsewhere. He’s the spiritual father of the church in the place where he is bishop, and it’s kind of hard to be father in a meaningful sense of a community that you barely know. I can’t avoid the feeling that the practice of appointing people from remote places is more like appointing a stepfather or a foster-father than an actual father.

    I did a quick survey of the Australian dioceses (excluding the eastern eparchies and the military ordinariate) to see whether the present bishop or, if there is a currently a vacancy, the most recent bishop, was originally ordained (as a priest) for that diocese. Strikingly, of 28 dioceses, only three are served by a bishop who was originally ordained for the diocese – Broome, Hobart and Melbourne. Not a single diocesan vacancy filled since 2001 has been filled with a priest originally ordained for that diocese.

    Much more commonly, a bishop is appointed who was originally ordained for another diocese in the same province. 17 of the 28 dioceses have been filled in this way.

    That leaves 8 dioceses held by men who were originally ordained neither for that diocese nor for another diocese in the same province – Sydney, Lismore, Canberra-Goulbourn, Port Pirie, Bathurst, Paramatta and Perth. Interestingly, every single one of those appointments has been made since 2001. And the trend seems to be accelerating; of dioceses filled in the last five years, fully half have been filled with men who were ordained neither for that diocese nor for another diocese in the same province. And a clear majority of appointments in that period were of men who, immediately before appointment, were auxilaries or even diocesans in other dioceses.

    I can’t help worrying that what we are seeing here is the development of a “career structure” for bishops. Priests move dioceses to be appointed as auxiliaries, and then they move dioceses again, and even more provinces, to be appointed as diocesans. And they may even be moved again, to be diocesans elsewhere, in more prestigious dioceses. They’re into the “management track”. This doesn’t seem to me calculated to build the kind of relationship that a bishop should have with his diocese.

    Whether this reflects the state of health of the Australian church – too many dioceses unable to produce their own bishops – or a change in the way Rome makes Episcopal appointments, and the way Rome thinks of bishops, I don’t know. But, either way, it’s worth thinking about.

    • Gareth says:

      Appointing Bishops who have not necessarily grown-up or been a priest from that Diocese has a long history – after all for over one hundred years in Australia the majority of our Bishops were Irish born and bred.

      The Bishop from my Diocese is one of the few who was originally ordained for their Diocese […edited because I don’t want to end up in court nor be accused of peddling slander on my blog – have a care, Gareth… Or start your own blog to make/repeat such stories – SCE]

      Also your point in a Bishop being consistent in the episcopal sense of that word as well as in the sacerdotal sense – surely the two are linked – if a Bishop (or something in the Diocese) is failing miserably in having young men (and women) put themselves forward as canditates for vocations, surely the Bishop can be said to be missing the mark in the pastoral/episcopal sense.

      • Peregrinus says:

        Hi Gareth

        Yes, I’m aware of the appointment of Irish bishops to Australian dioceses in the past. But the Australian church was mission territory at the time; that’s how mission territories get their bishops.

        You could argue, of course, that it’s still mission territory (or that it has become so again) and you could certainly make one or other version of that argument with respect to some dioceses. Ironically, though, Broome – a mission diocese if ever there was one – has a home-grown bishop. More to the point, if Australia in general was mission territory that would explain bishops being appointed from abroad, but it wouldn’t explain bishops being moved around within Australia.

        You suggest that the failure of a diocese to generate its own bishop may be a reflection on the state of the diocese (just like its failure to generate priests). Maybe – but in Perth, Archbishop Hickey is well regarded and his vocations record is good. Yet Perth is finding its next bishop in the northern suburbs of Melbourne.

        I don’t think it should be an inflexible rule that a bishop should always come from the diocese. But the expectation should be that this will normally be the case, and in the selection of bishops this should be a factor that carries considerable weight.

        And, while I’m being all old-fashioned about it, I also suggest an episcopal appointment should normally be permanent. It should be highly unusual for a diocesan to be moved to another diocese, and no bishop should ever accept appointment thinking that there is a realistic hope that he will be moved to a more prosperous or more prestigious diocese in a few years time. That’s not how fathers behave. Of the 28 bishops in my little survey, four were previously diocesans in a different Australian diocese. That’s a bit high, I think.

      • Gareth says:

        Your concerns are not valid because it was an individual posters response not your own blog making comment.

        I note that PM has made a comment that is in general consensus with the point being made.

    • Adam says:

      Well once again Melbourne supplies an Ordinary from its pool of auxiliary bishops. We have seen Pell, Prowse, Connors, the late Grech, Tomlinson and now Costelloe all move up from auxiliary to a See of their own. But what does this say about Sydney and the other dioceses mentioned above that they cannot get one priest of their own number to become their bishop? Does it mean that no good episcipal material can originate within those 6 dioceses that have to ‘get’ a new Oridary from elsewhere? Something is radically wrong, is it not, when one archdiocese is fast becoming an episcopal-producing machine for the rest of Australia.
      And of course the vast majority are all CCC priests from the Melbourne seminary. Not to mention Archbishop Doyle and the Administrator of Toowoomba.
      The pool of bishops is becoming depleted and still the vatican will have to fill Brisbane and Hobart and soon-to-be Ballarat. Not to mention what David has noticed (wisely) that Melbourne will now have -2 auxiliaries. But what point is there of appointing new auxiliaries to melbourne, when within a few months they will be exported elsewhere?
      Surely Brisbane and Hobart have priests who could be appointed bishops of their home Sees?
      Well, I guess we will have to wait and see………….

  4. Dan says:

    I remember being struck by the fact that Bishop Tim looked quite masculine wearing that pink/purple cassock. He reminded me of that final scene in “The Cardinal” where the camera pans up toward him wearing the cassock.

    When I served mass with him, there was something that made me think; that’s the kind of man I want to be. He is a very straight, what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of bloke, and I haven’t met too many priests like that.

    It is certainly quite a loss for our archdiocese.

    • Hannah says:

      Dan you say “I havent met too many priests like that,” I have many and also Bishops and A/Bishops (though not Victorian), and Bishop Sproxton is one “like that” A/Bishop Hickey is/was a shepherd totally in the style of Jesus and there are several others one from Poland who made me immediately think “Jesus” and another “Italian” who did the same. But there arent too many who set my heart aflutter. most I suspect are career people.
      I hope that A/Bishop Elect Costello will be happy and a good Shepherd for the people of W.A. I used to be naive and think that the Holy Spirit chooses leaders but I was forced to grow up and see feet of clay and the pedastals broke and shepherds with crooked crooks.

  5. Kate says:

    Peregrinus – Appointing from outside surely just reflects the general mobility of the Australian population.
    The ABS found that in the five years before the 2006 census, 43% of Australians changed address! Most of that (86%) was within the State (but potentially across diocesan boundaries), but still, combine that with migration from overseas and you ahve a picture of a highly mobile population.

    Australians are used to people moving into an area in a way that is not true in many other countries.

    And why not pick the best possible bishops, not just the best that happen to be available in a particular diocese?

    • Peregrinus says:

      Because bishop is a spiritual and sacramental relationship involving (a) the bishop and his church, and (b) the bishop and the college of bishops. It’s not a job description form to which you are trying to match a bunch of interchangeable candidates.

      Being a bishop isn’t supposed to be a career, in which you seek more and more lucrative/prestigious appointments in order to “progress”. Country dioceses are not “starter wives”, to be abandoned when someone has grown up, learned how to conduct a relationship and is now ready for a real marriage with a wealthier and more interesting wife.

      I hasten to add that I’m not intending to criticize Abp. Costelloe, or even his appointment to Perth in particular. It’s more that his appointment has been the occasion for crystallizing a few thoughts that have been floating around in my head for a while.

      Googling around for support in my views I find it in a gratifying quarter. Ratzinger, J – who admittedly has since gone on to become bishop in a diocese in which he was never incardinated :-) – was reported in 1999 as saying that bishops should ordinarily remain in one diocese for life, and as regretting leaving the diocese of Munich. “The view of the bishop-diocese relationship as matrimony, implying fidelity, is still valid”, he said. “Sadly, I myself have not remained faithful in this regard.” We can imagine a small smile accompanying the last bit but, still, he’s making a serious point.

      In saying this, he was backing up an argument previously made by Cdl Gantin, who had commented on the “amazing careerism” he experienced as head of the Congregation of Bishops. “He said that candidate often pressured him for higher offices, and proposed that bishops should be transferred only in rare circumstances.”) And Cld Estevez also expressed similar views.

      Now, they are specifically talking about translating diocesans from one diocese to another, but I think the attitude they express has implications for the appointment of diocesans in the first place. (After all, who marries a spouse they have never met?) A church [i]should[/i] be producing its own pastors, including its own bishops, and the process by which bishops are discerned and appointed should reflect and foster this. If it is systematically not happening then there is something wrong either with the church or with the process (or, of course, with both).


      • Gareth says:

        Suggesting that Bishops moving interstate for appointments are progressing their career is drawing a long bow. They could very well be the best person for the role.

        My case in point – many smaller Dioceses only have a small supply of priests, the vast majority of which do not have a background in canon law. It would make sense that senior prelates not with such a background would be positioned in a role.

        • Hannah says:

          Gareth dont be naive, of course its a career move. From Bishop to A/Bishop/to /cardinal/to possibility of papacy. Of course its a career move. I know of only one individual who said no to an upward move. he didnt want to leave his “large family” and wanted to complete work he started. He has.
          As for the rest, well behind most there is a call to uphill move. As I said I had to wake up from a deep sleep and see that even clergy are full of politics. the spirit is fitted somewhere…maybe.

          • Gareth says:

            There is many things, both positive and negative, to be said about Australian Bishops but I sincerly dont think ‘careerists’ would be one of them.

            • Hannah says:

              I definitely think “careerist” is one of them. The other issues follow from “careerist”

            • Adam says:

              of course BXVI gave an address in Rome late last year on this very topic of ‘careerism’ within the episcopal ranks. He condemned it. And of course that is to be welcomed but the fact is that the Church has always been a hotbed of careerist priests and bishops and cardinals. look at history and any observer will see how many bishops and cardinals have been appopinted by relatives who have been popes. This was rampant in the Middle ages. So nothing new. Part of the human fabric and also today ‘catching the eye’ of a senior prelate will help a priest leap up the episcopal ladder. Studying in Rome, working in a Vatican dept is surely a help and in Australia if you are a Vicar-General, espcially in Melbourne, you are destined to be a bishop cf Connors, Deakin, Prowse, Tomlinson – the list is endless. Arrive as VG and depart as a bishop asap.
              But as for bishops moving across states and boundaries etc, in the USA this is very common. The archbishops of New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia have most recently been appointed from other Sees far away.
              So nothing new – but it’s not what you know, rather who you know on the episcopal chess board !

        • Peregrinus says:

          “My case in point – many smaller Dioceses only have a small supply of priests, the vast majority of which do not have a background in canon law. It would make sense that senior prelates not with such a background would be positioned in a role.”

          Well, it’s not me who suggested it first. It’s Cardinal Gantin, who would be in a position to know. And he seems to have received support from Cardinals Ratzinger and Medina Esteviz.

          But your suggestion that many dioceses are too small to produce a pool of candidates who are both suitably qualified and suitable talented is interesting, not least because I suspect it’s correct. And my response to that is that these dioceses are too small to be viable. If the assembly can’t realistically produce its own pastors, it can’t be a “particular church”.

          I realise that suppressing a diocese is a hard choice. But, if we don’t, we basically “break” the ecclesiological model that we are supposedly committed to. The monarchical model of episcopacy makes no sense if what we have is not a monarch, but a monarchical “class” with its own internal hierarchy, with junior members being sent out to govern dioceses with which they have no real connection, in the expectation of moving on in time, and the hope of rising eventually to a major metropolitan diocese. These are not monarchs; these are viceroys and provincial governors. These are not fathers, but professional houseparents.

          It may be that the monarchical model is finished. The rise of things like national bishops conferences might suggeset as much, with the gradual replacement of substantially autonomous dioceses by collaborative national leadership. But this is probably not a development which should “just happen”; it should be the outcome of prayerful reflection and discernment.

          And we should also face up to its implications. We cannot say that, e.g., a failure to address sex abuse properly in diocese X is the responsibility of diocese X alone if, in fact, diocese X is not autonomous but is a unit in a larger national (or transnational?) church with a collaborative leadership.

  6. Kate says:

    While I think you are overstating the case, I actually agree with you somewhat on the desirability of producing at least a proportion of internal candidates and avoiding careerism.

    But you don’t have to live in a diocese forever to get to know and love it – sounds like the new Perth AB made quite a positive impression and acquired an attachment to it in the course of his couple of years there; and people do visit etc for example! And of course religious are not normally bound to a particular diocese at all.

    Some degree of mobility can be a good thing, stopping cronyism and providing a good shake up when required. It helps prevent dioceses becoming to insular and forgetting that they are part of a universal church, catering to a highly mobile population! I’d personally be pretty worried if internals were found for places like Toowoomba for example!

    But I do agree about the problem of ambition! Translating auxiliaries is fair enough: the job is essentially a training one. Translating diocesan (arch)bishops into ABs elsewhere, it seems to me, is a different matter, except in special circumstances (I can see a good case for such a transfer in the case of Brisbane for example, where some experience might be of considerable value!).

    The hard reality though is that Australian dioceses have been extremely uneven in the number of priestly ordinations in recent decades: and if a diocese hasn’t been ordaining priests, you can hardly expect it to generate good bishop candidates! So I’d be expecting to see a lot of candidates in coming years from Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Wagga Wagga, very few from elsewhere…

    • Peregrinus says:

      I think what we may be seeing is a period of rapid evolution in the ecclesiology of dioceses and bishops.

      Before the modern era – before Trent, say – the bishop really was a monarch in his own diocese. Yes, his appointment was normally confirmed by the pope, but the pope was a long way away, didn’t know the bishop or his diocese, didn’t have good or timely information about what went on there and, realistically, couldn’t remove the bishop even if he wanted to. In truth, the bishop was answerable to (and beholden to) the king much more than the pope, but the king’s interest in the diocese was mostly confined to the more worldly aspects of its operations – revenues, patronage, that kind of thing.

      In the modern era this gradually changed, with Rome not only claiming but increasingly exerting its authority. And, if anything, this tendency was intensified by the rise of political liberalism, which saw the state disentangling itself from ecclesiastical affairs, leaving a gap for the papacy to fill in relation to, e.g. the selection of bishops. And this coincided with rapid progress in communications and transport technology, which made the exertion of papal authority a practical possibility in a way that it mostly had not been in the past.

      But we also have a rapid expansion of the Catholic church into Africa, Asia, the New World. The church has many times more dioceses today than it had, say, at the time of Vatican I. Inevitably, the exertion of papal control increasingly came to mean the exertion of control by a papal bureaucracy, rather than by the pope personally.

      The result is a situation – or the danger of a situation – in which we have a (typically) small diocese and a very large and authoritative and not really accountable central authority which claims, and in practice exerts, more and more control over the diocese. There is too great an imbalance of power there for there to be any real dialogue or negotiation about how control should be exerted, and how it should be apportioned between the central and the local. And I suspect the growth in the status and relevance of national bishops conferences is a response to this. In canon law they have a fairly shadowy existence and a limited role, but in practice they are becoming increasingly important. Not only do bishops conferences relate to Rome much more effectively (mostly) than individual dioceses can, but they also assume an increasingly important role in representing the church to the nation – the increasingly integrated, mobile nation. And of course representing the church to the nation becomes more and more important as the nation becomes more pluralist and/or more secular.

      The interesting point is that the conference, unlike the bishop or the pope, is a collective body. In Latin Catholicism we have relatively little experience of collective pastoring, but it seems as though we are going to get more. The fact that the bishops conference is made up of diocesans and auxiliaries ensures a geographical spread, but to some extent we lose this if half the diocesans are in fact formed in Sydney or Melbourne. And if bishops are increasingly appointed to fit a standard template assumed to be appropriate to all dioceses (as opposed to being selected because they have already established a good network and a good role for themselves and a good history in the particular church concerned) we lose diversity, which is one of the strengths of a collective body.

      • PM says:

        Mind you, there’s nothing new about a ‘standard template’. John Molony relates a presbytery joke from the 1950s about the qualifications to become a bishop in Australia. The candidate should be (1) Catholic, (2) male, (3) a Propaganda Fide graduate – but (1) and (2) are optional!

        Seriously, though, I have been told by a well informed priest that the trend to appoint outsiders may be deliberate, in part a result of the sexual abuse problem and in part also because of problems like that in Toowoomba and general concerns about the state of faith and practice. If there are hard decisions to be made and established ways to be changed, it helps if the bishop isn’t an old mate of those affected.

      • Schütz says:

        This is a big topic, Perry. The changing ecclesiology(s) is a major subject of east/west dialogue. The business of kings and the independace of the episcopate is largely what Vatican I was all about.

    • Schütz says:

      I think it is worth considering that the model Perry is holding up as traditional would actually exclude religious priests from consideration. In fact we have a number of recent(ish)ly ordained bishops from this field: I can think of a Jesuit, a Dominican, a Franciscan and now a Salesian. This raises for me the question of the practice of the Eastern Church, which prefers monastics for bishops. Then that gets me thinking about the history of the appointments to the See of Constantinople, which even in ancient times regularly drew from already ordained bishops from elsewhere. Which then brings me back to Rome – when was the last time a Roman priest became bishop of Rome? I think the historical truth is not as straightforward as the ideal being laid before us…

      • PM says:

        For history wonks, there is the fascinating phenomenon in late antiquity of several archdeacons of Rome being elected to the papacy – without already being bishops or even priests. It was historical research on this topic which underlay Vatican II’s insistence (contrary to widespread opinion in the schools before the ressourcement) that episcopal consecration was a sacramental act rather than just the conferring of jurisdiction: a deacon was consecrated with the same ritual as someone who was already a priest, implying that episcopal consecration also conferred the priesthood.

    • Schütz says:

      I could add that appointing bishops from outside the see – especially religious – could in fact be very healthy. It brings in leaders who have no “history” in the negative sense. It means they are able to act with a greater freedom and without having to repay favours or grudges from the past.

      • Peregrinus says:

        “The changing ecclesiology(s) is a major subject of east/west dialogue. The business of kings and the independace of the episcopate is largely what Vatican I was all about.”

        Do you mean what Vatican I would have been about, had it not been adjourned without ever getting beyond item 1 on the agenda, papal infallibility?

        “I think it is worth considering that the model Perry is holding up as traditional would actually exclude religious priests from consideration.”

        It would, but what I am proposing is not an inflexible rule; more of a a weighty consideration. It’s a norm that can be departed from. Besides, I think if a religious had an experiential reliationship with a particular diocese which was analogous to that of a secular priest of the diocese, appointing him would be consistent with the norm I am suggesting.

        In fact historically the appointment of religious as bishops (outside mission territories) has been comparatively unusual. It still is, though perhaps it’s becoming less unusual; three priests, originally ordained as religious, have been appointed as diocesans in the past three years in Australia.

        “Which then brings me back to Rome – when was the last time a Roman priest became bishop of Rome? I think the historical truth is not as straightforward as the ideal being laid before us…”

        Well, patriarchal dioceses might reasonably be cases where less weight should attach to the “native son” preference. With respect to Rome, I should point out that the diocesan bishopping is in practice done by the Vicar-General, and Cardinal Ruini was indeed ordained for the Diocese of Rome.

        (And, in answer to your question, the last pope to have been originally ordained for the diocese of Rome was Pius XII.)

        “I could add that appointing bishops from outside the see – especially religious – could in fact be very healthy. It brings in leaders who have no “history” in the negative sense. It means they are able to act with a greater freedom and without having to repay favours or grudges from the past.”

        Favours or grudges with respect to the people in the diocese, perhaps. On the other hand you open them up to being influenced by a different set of favours and grudges with respect to the people who secured their appointment to the diocese, and who may secure their future appointment to another, “better” diocese.

        But, yes, you do make a good point. At times a diocese will benefit from outside influence, and appointing an “outsider” bishop may be a good way to bring that about. But I did say at the outset that appointing an outsider might be indicative of a problem in the diocese, and this could be an example of that.

      • Adam says:

        And in the USA this has become very common practice, especially for major Sees. In the last 3 years Los Angeles (biggest in USA), New York (prime See) and Philadelphia have all had new archbishops appointed who came from other states in America. It’s very common practice for auxiliaries also to be appointed from other states as well, rather then from local clergy. New episcopal broom with no ecclesiastical baggage perhaps !

  7. Marcel says:

    The Archbishop elect’s Doctoral dissertation causes me some discomfort. It was a critical evaluation of John Paul II’s theology of the priesthood. It was critical from the liberal side. There is a heavy does of Schillebeeckx and Rahner in the fotnotes also. I am surprised by this appointment. For a taste of it you can read an abridged version, in essay form, at Compass Review.

    “In spite of the ‘servant theology’ of priesthood which John Paul so strongly advocated, the Church continues to struggle with clericalism. It would be unfair to lay the blame for this solely, or even primarily, at John Paul’s door. However, it can be pointed out that his theology did at times appear to labour under the burden of a theological dualism which draws a sharp distinction between the sacred and the secular, the holy and the profane, the Church and the world. It can be argued that it is precisely this dualistic approach which breeds clericalism by reserving the area of the ‘sacred’ to the clergy and committing the area of the ‘secular’ to the laity.”

    These are peculiar sentiments for a Bl. JPII generation student and priest who is now upwardly mobile.

    • Schütz says:

      It depends how you read this. ++Tim has a concern for the new evangelisation, yet there are many who would see evangelisation as a ‘sacred task reserved to priests. I am sure he was not referring to laity having a role in the liturgy. Yet at the same time, I know there are priests who think they alone have the role of doing churchly things, and that the sole role of the laity is ‘in the world’s.

      • Marcel says:

        In the last few days I have familiarised myself with all of Bp. Costelloe’s published essays, book reviews and the Doctoral dissertation. I think it is fair to say his criticisms of the hierarchy and Pope John Paul II fall on the liberal side. He refuses to ‘lock the gate’ on non-negotiables (take this for instance):

        “The matter of women’s ordination is not the specific concern of this study, but its urgency in the life of the contemporary Church does indicate that the drawing of a distinction between the ordained ministers, who act in persona Christi capitas, and the rest of the baptized, gives rise to the urgent question of the relationship between them, and the role that the ‘non-ordained’ are called to play in the Church. If there is to be any resolution of the issue of women’s orders, and any healing of the pain caused by the Church’s position, it can only come about on the basis of a theology which adequately addresses this question.”


        ““While the questions of clerical celibacy and the ordination of women have not been the direct focus of this study, our examination of the Pope’s theological positions provides a solid theological and doctrinal basis upon which to formulate some criteria for judging the Church’s official position on these important matters. Another valuable area for ongoing research into the Pope’s theology, therefore, is a re-examination of the questions of clerical celibacy and the ordination of women in the light of the Pope’s development of the specific sacramental nature of the ordained minister in the Church.”

        Openly heterodox, hard to say. Yes, yes, no, no; definitely not.

        • RJ says:

          Marcel, have no fear. Having studied more than one course under Archbishop Costelloe, I can definitely attest that he is firmly loyal to the Magisterium, as well as an admirer of both Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict.

          In particular, he affirmed in class the Church’s teaching on women’s ordination, and its infallibility. In this light, the passages you quote simply reflect his pastoral concern for those who have not yet accepted this teaching or understood its reasons; the style, which may seem ambiguous, is really just normal jargon for academic publications.

          His position in the theological ‘spectrum’ seems to me somewhat similar to that of Cardinal Avery Dulles, whom he refers to in class quite a bit: both faithful to the Church’s tradition, and well-acquainted with post-conciliar theology and happy to learn from its positive insights.

          In short, he is a lover of truth wherever it is to be found – a promoter of ‘reform in continuity’ and genuine development of doctrine, as Newman explained it.

          Beyond this, he has a warm personality, good sense of humour, great pastoral sensitivity, is an excellent retreat director and lecturer. A self-effacing man – no careerism here. Devoid of cynicism or negativity. And, I believe, genuinely holy.

          Perth is blessed.

        • Peregrinus says:

          “does not agree with everything JPII ever said” =/= “heterodox/unorthodox/dissenter/disloyal”

        • Schütz says:

          I don’t see anything directly wrong with what ++Tim wrote in these passages you quote. What he is saying is that the theology needs to be spelled out. Much the same way that JPII himself spelled out the theology behind Humanae Vitae which Paul VI seemed unable to do. Not every pope has to do the whole thing in one hit. Maybe a future pope will do the “spelling out” which JPII didn’t. That being said, I think that Sara Butler did a great job of spelling out the thinking behind JPII’s refusal of the ordination of women.

  8. Matthias says:

    Spare a thought for the Anglicans in Sydney where the ArchBishop is Peter Jensen. The Dean of the cathedral is his brother Phillip and i think there are about 4 other Jensens involved in the Archdiocese .

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