Catholics throughout Australia will welcome the contents of the Statement of Conclusions that emerged following meetings between representatives of the Australian bishops and the heads of key Vatican congregations (see February AD2000). The document sets out in suprisingly frank terms the seriousness of the religious crisis in the Church in Australia as well as the measures needed to address key problem areas. The Holy Father has made it clear to our bishops that he expects the Statement to be implemented.
It was heartening to note the promptness of several dioceses in publishing full texts of the Statement of Conclusions in their newspapers, e.g., Perth, Melbourne and Parramatta, among others. It was clear that at least some Australian bishops wanted their people to be fully informed of the situation as a preliminary to implementing the agreed program.
Meanwhile, it is vital that orthodox Catholics give their bishops every support in tackling the problem areas in their dioceses, e.g., liturgical abuses, poor catechetical programs, unsatisfactory teacher education in religious areas, and the public dissent by some priests, religious and theologians.
Orthodox Catholics should educate their fellow-Catholics as to the true state of affairs while keeping diocesan authorities informed of situations requiring attention. There is no need for bishops to be left in the dark. The terms of the Statement of Conclusions could not be clearer as to what needs to be done in a whole range of areas.
Michael Gilchrist: Editor (email - firstname.lastname@example.org)