'Creating Our Future' (letter)

'Creating Our Future' (letter)

Patricia Byrnes

Thank you for your report on Toowoomba's Creating Our Future. It sums up my own views on the subject, having attended several meetings connected with this document.

What I find most disturbing is that Creating Our Future purports to present the wisdom and concerns of all Catholics in the Toowoomba Diocese. Certainly, many meetings were held, but the feedback was filtered.

The most blatant example of this was at the large, well-planned and expensive Diocesan Gathering held in Toowoomba in October 1998. Five representatives from every parish were invited, plus people from various groups within Catholic education.

The three main concerns of my parish, as tabulated from a questionnaire and discussed at an earlier meeting, were the shortage of priests, the need for loyalty by bishops, priests and people to Church teachings, and the need for orthodox religious education. However, the first two were translated into "leadership" and the last into "spirituality", with no clarifying sub-headings included.

At another group session I attended, there was a real battle to get the appointed chairman to write down what was said. The excuse given was that there was "no consensus."

This experience was not limited to my group. All "orthodox" Catholics I spoke to were belittled as ignorant, right wing or unrealistic, and their concerns either not reported at all, misreported, or hidden under some vague heading. I felt betrayed, not by enemies, but by friends, and people in well paid Catholic education positions.

PATRICIA BYRNES
Toowoomba, Qld

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