Ballarat Diocese (letter)

Ballarat Diocese (letter)

Peter Jenkins

Helen Daniel in AD2000 (May 2001) suspects racism is the reason the Ballarat Diocese does not redress its shortage of priests by importing them from overseas.

I believe she has missed the point. Poland has a surplus of priests. One of the priests at St Patrick's Cathedral is Polish. So it is false and a bit unfair to ascribe racism to the Diocese.

Yet the Bishop of Ballarat, it seems, does not want to sponsor migrant priests from Poland or anywhere else; despite public protestations to the contrary, he may not want more priests. As he has been wont to remark, "It is a lonely life. Who would want to be a priest?"

The Bishop's approach, it appears, derives from the same thinking as inspired an attempt three years ago to remove the Cathedral's beautiful high altar and install a Baptist-type pool in the middle of the sanctuary. AD2000 reported on this at the time and I too know something about it, as I was there among those faithful helping to dissuade our good Bishop from this ill-conceived venture.

Some priests give the impression of being no longer Catholic in their Eucharistic beliefs, while some bishops have succumbed to the demands of the feminist nuns and the paid chancery change-agents closely in attendance upon them.

Ballarat's Bishop, too, does not appear desperately unhappy about the prospect of replacing priests with teams of paid lay "pastoral associates" - most of them women - to conduct the new "communion services."

Here and there priests report their dumbfounded astonishment at presiding while such ladies, anticipating the day when there will be no priest, "consecrate" their own individual portion of bread and wine in the "sacred synaxis" or "magnificat meal."

Are we seeing today what St Paul prophesied? "The mystery of iniquity is already at work, only he who now restrains it does so, until he is taken out of the way" (2 Thessalonians 2:7).

Diocesan insiders are talking excitedly about the advent of "the priestless Church" - if that is not an oxymoron. Yet Catholics need to face this question squarely; in some places urgently. What shall we do to fulfil the Sabbath obligation to honour our Lord worthily when we cannot minister to Him through the hands of a priest in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?

Hampton East, Vic

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