Dear Parents and Carers
Without doubt the past week has been a huge challenge for anyone or organizations associated with the Catholic Church. The whole event has been polarizing and has created such hurt and confusion for so many across the country. Everyone has their own story and experience of Church. Personally, the important thing to remember at this very moment is the fundamental reason many of us gravitate towards the Institution of the Catholic Church, and that is we the people, are followers of Jesus Christ. The flaw, is the fact that we are people, disposed to suffering through the relationships we encounter with each other and the institution.
Today we have so much detail and so many differing opinions it is just about impossible to fathom where the truth lies. My great worry is how young people can make sense of the polarized reactions of us older generations. We all own so much baggage because of our individual experiences. It must seem so alien for kids to understand that someone is in jail, and a convicted ward of the state, yet still holds such a high position in the world Church. How can that be?
Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli told his parishioners that the soul of the Catholic Church “has been grievously wounded from the evil of sexual abuse.”
“It feels like we have reached Golgotha (the place where Christians believe Jesus was crucified), where the smell of death is thick in the air and the sense of panic and confusion is pervasive.”
For some there is comfort in the knowledge that we have surely reached the lowest point in our Church’s history here in Australia. Let’s pray that out of this pain and confusion there will be some respite and hope.
For many of us the slow demise has been obvious through our generations. In 2005 Pope Benedict stated that religion in mainstream Australia was “moribund”, spiritless. We tried the World Youth Day and that didn’t quite cut it. In the past week there has been a flicker. St Paul’s word is “Tshuva”, to wake up and repent. Perhaps, Jesus has a sense of humour and the providence of this happening at the start of Lent is timely.
We are not great at expressing our faith and beliefs. It is a perennial state or condition for Anglo-Australian Catholics. But I think we have had a tshuva moment. As St Oscar Romero noted, “the scales fell from my eyes”. I can imagine Mary MacKillop saying, “It is what it is” and it is up to the little C, the congregations, the people to accept the Apostolic challenge of Baptism and serve others in the model of Jesus.
We all feel broken, we feel great empathy for those who are suffering. But let’s not allow this to distract us from what Catholic schools, hospitals, aged care, charities and community services do brilliantly. That is to serve. Let our praxis prevail and the other challenges will sort themselves out.
Brian Turner, Principal