ARCHDIOCESE OF BRISBANE - THE BATHERSBY YEARS 2003 STUMBLE IN ATTEMPT TO REGAIN THE INITIATIVE

A POT FOR EVERY PARISH

Everyone who is a fan of classic movies will be familiar with the series of  musicals that featured the diminutive, but then youthful Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland as young performers whose solution to all their problems was always the same : "I know! Let's hire a Hall and put on a Show!" It was always a success, and they all lived happily ever after. But that was in the Movies.

Something of the same spirit has recurringly been abroad in the Archdiocese of Brisbane. As far back as 1985 Brisbane Catholic Education was promoting an extravaganza of a Conference at the Bardon Professional Centre featuring such luminaries as Father Ron McKiernan ( see previous posts), Father Bill O'Shea ( see previous posts) and 40 other speakers who have neither sunk into infamy or risen to fame.It cannot have changed the world or the Archdiocese - no-one ever mentions it, and I only know about it because an elderly solicitor gave the A3 printed brocure to me with some other interesting information.

Not deterred, in  1989 an "ARCHDIOCESAN ASSEMBLY"was held. This was evidently a major project seemingly emanating from Bishop Cuskelly's CENTRE FOR CHURCH LIFE AND MISSION. It came up with copious recommendations and proposals after a prodigious amount of preparation and activity. When I commenced working in the Archdiocese as Canonical Financial Administrator, I was given a copy of the document, then only about 18 months old, and told that much of it was opposed to orthodox Catholic teaching and practise and that it was being filed as an effective "dead letter".My informant was well-placed to know, though not a Cleric.


By the time I finished my contract with the Archdiocese, I had become all too familiar with the activities of of the "New Church"" clique and their use of Rand Corporation meeting manipulation techniques to achieve desired outcomes by phoney "consultation"and "facilitation".I had seen them in action on several occasions, and seen the results all too often.


So when the 2003 Synod came around, I carefully monitored the preparations , to observe their techniques in action. The full armoury was employed even down to manipulating the seating arrangements for some situations. Priests were treated just like lay folk and the more skillful faithful Priests were seated with groups that would neutralise their influence.


The Archbishop was not, I believe, the prime motivator of the Synod. I can recall a proposal for such a gathering - not using the word "Synod" - had been  proposed by Father Ron McKiernan before his history was made public, though I think it was conceived as a rather different event. More likely that proposal had, within the CENTRE FOR CHURCH LIFE AND MISSION where Father McKeirnan then worked, morphed into a Synod which would be more useful for the purposes of the New Church agenda of others in that operation.


It seems that  at an early stage a small group of Nuns familiar through some means (!) with the language , ideas and implements of Witchcraft and Lesbianism got control of the planning process for the establishment of themes and promotion materials.


And so it came to be, as we have shown in previous posts, that the whole promotion process was built around Homosexual/ Lesbianism "Rainbow"" Colours, and that the "Four Elements"were woven into the Synod preparation process and each Parish was provided with a Terra Cotta Synod Pot which has Witchcraft associations. Ah! And I forgot to mention that in the lead up to the Synod each Parish was also presented with a wooden Staff with slit top section and "Rainbow"Ribbons - symbolic of the four elements and the ""journey"toward the Synod. It might be noticed in all of this there was no hint of authentic Catholic Prayer or Worship. I have no doubt that His Grace was blissfully unaware of what was being done under his very nose. Once the show was rolling, he was fully engaged in promoting it.


Of course, by the time the whistles were being blown all over the Archdiocese and in the Media, it was very hard to disown it all. These were all just silly suggestions.


So the Synod came and went. Nothing really changed, it was business as usual. But , just as the Pope gives his post - Synodal Exhortation to the Synod (of Bishops) Fathers, we had Archbishop Bathersby give to the Archdiocese his reflections on the Synod recommendations. The bureaucrats who had pushed the whole exercise wanted to make sure that THIS "Assembly"did not become a "dead letter".


                        ARCHBISHOP BATHERSBY WITH AKUBRA AND STAFF


His Grace's two and a quarter page response ( he had already issued an eight and a quarter page "Response"to the Synod promulgation by himself, include the following paragraph :


"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, the greater use of the Third Rite of Reconciliation, and a number of others, though 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 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. "(Emphases added.)


This is a remarkable formal admission of unwillingness and failure to "teach, to sanctify and to govern". It will be noted that in each of these matters the constant teaching of the Catholic Church is well known and very clearly enunciated. The role of the Ordinary on receiving the document was to bring to the Synod participants with Fatherly love, firm teaching to correct their errant ideas . He is the "authority"not some  remote person or persons "through appropriate channels". He is their Bishop he is there before them for just that purpose.


Having washed his hands of the matter, he goes on to compound his error in speaking as if , at some future time, their requirements might be met.What a sorry affair.


His Grace summarised the whole of the Synod deliberations under his proclamation that the Archdiocese would adopt the headline goals : "Jesus, Communion and Mission"


This much of the Synod has been remembered, if only because it is officially repeated at regular intervals.
Yet it seems so obvious, that one wonders if the whole expensive exercise was worthwhile to re-state what we already knew. And, again, it sits uncomfortably with His Grace's failure to bring the Synod participants into full communion with the Church, local and universal by teaching and sanctifying them


Eight years down the track the Synod is principally remembered for the Witchcraft Pot scandals. What an immense expenditure of time , energy and money to achieve so little But maybe I am wrong, and the fact that evildoers were allowed to "come out "was worthwhile to flush them out for future attention. .Any Diocese contemplating such an exercise ought to scrutinise the purposes of the proponents very closely. And it needs to be continually borne in mind that the Church bureaucrats who usually conceive and develop such plans have a vested interest in such exercises to justify their salaries.
Unfortunate Post-Synodal Artwork

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