Readers of AD2000 are probably aware that a Synod of the Brisbane Archdiocese has been called by Archbishop John Bathersby "to consult and dialogue with the people of the diocese on matters that he considers vital to the exercise of the Church's mission. This process will result in decrees and directives for pastoral programs promulgated by the Bishop for the well-being of the local Church and the fruitfulness of its mission in the world."
All members of the Archdiocese were invited and encouraged to participate in consultations and gatherings (over a two year period) to culminate in the Synod Assembly during the Easter season of 2003.
As could be anticipated, only a very small number of parishioners have seized the opportunity to participate, whether through modesty, apathy or humility it is hard to say. However, from what little information I have been able to gather, I understand that there has been a determined effort by some liberal activists to seize the opportunity to push their programs.
Such proposals as readmission of married priests to active priestly functions, full acceptance of divorced and remarried Catholics to eucharistic participation, acceptability of artificial contraception for married or unmarried Catholics, admission of women to the priesthood, married priests, wider use of the Third Rite of Reconciliation, and other radical reforms, the Holy Father has rejected time and again.
While there is little chance of such succeeding in the foreseeable future, the fact that such changes are being allowed an opportunity to be voiced arouses fears that the Church we have known and loved is in the process of being "modernised".
I trust that the defenders of orthodoxy will be keeping a close watch on developments in Queensland in 2003.