I refer to "Toowoomba's 'Creating Our Future' - or a recipe for further decline?" (November AD2000). This Diocesan Pastoral Plan managed to omit alternative opinions that were expressed at the Diocesan gathering where this plan was "birthed."
The final document, with its chaotic wordspeak masking a questionable agenda, is no more than I would expect, after my distasteful experience at the Diocesan Gathering.
The group in which I participated dealt with Pastoral Leadership. The "shortage of priests" issue was the underlying fuel for calls for greater lay participation in Church affairs. The emphasis was on this direction rather than on suggestions as to how priestly vocations might be increased or reference to any underlying reasons for the declining vocations.
I suggested that priests could be sought or accepted from other dioceses, from inside or outside Australia, where seminary numbers are healthy and priests can be spared - as an interim solution to the imminent dearth of priests in the Toowoomba Diocese. This was rejected outright and not even written down. It seemed that the agenda had been set before the Gathering occurred.
Of the ten people in the group, only myself and one other supported endeavours to assess the reasons for declining vocations. This decline is inexorably linked to the overall crisis of faith due, in part, to poor teaching of our Catholic beliefs and truths in Catholic schools and institutions.