Without wishing to unnecessarily prolong correspondence on a particular topic, I feel additional clarification regarding the forthcoming Brisbane Archdiocesan Synod is desirable if readers are to have a proper appreciation of the matters raised in my letter in the November AD2000 and referred to by Neville Davis in February.
The following is a part of Archbishop Bathersby's comments in his statement of 16 September 2002, referring to the outcome of the Synod Consultations. (The italics are mine).
"The tension in the Church between its local and universal reality is indicated by certain other matters named in the consultation that cannot be the Synod's major focus, otherwise it will grind to an unproductive halt. These matters thrown up by the consultation indicate the desire of some people to dream beyond present limits towards ministries and practices that are not allowed by the universal Church. Such matters as the ordination of women, married clergy, return of priests who have left active ministry, greater use of the Third Rite of Reconciliation, and a number of others, although understandable in a world where diversity is the rule, for the moment can only be noted, and if possible communicated to the authorities of the Church through the appropriate channels. This tension between the universal and local Church will no doubt continue into the future, and for most of us will probably not be resolved in our lifetime.
"Nevertheless the pain associated with some of the matters raised in the consultation is a sign both of the privilege of belonging to such a huge community, as well as an indication of the difficulty which large institutions have in effecting change quickly. The Synod is both an exercise in discerning the Spirit from below, as well as an opportunity to place the local Church's collective wisdom in contact with the teaching authority of the Church so that our Synod reflection may enable us to see God's design more clearly."
My interpretation of the Archbishop's comments is that he is sympathetic to the notion of change in the areas mentioned, but does not consider such feasible under the present circumstances.
The point which escapes me is the need for such changes, which could have serious implications for millions of faithful orthodox Catholics and the unity of the Church.
JOHN F. NOLAN