ARCHDIOCESE OF BRISBANE - THE BATHERSBY YEARS 2008 Pt.II

POPE BENEDICT XVI

"Let us be quite frank : the ability to cultivate vocations to the Priesthood and the Religious Life is a sure sign of the health of the local church. There is no room for complacency in this regard. God continues to call young people; it is up to all of us to encourage a generous and free response to that call. On the other hand none of us can take this grace for granted."
Address to the Bishops of the United States, National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 16 April, 2008 - by Pope Benedict XVI.


THE SICK MAN OF THE CHURCH IN AUSTRALIA

By this measure, in 2008 , the Church in Brisbane and Queensland was sick indeed.

Publications of the Holy Spirit Seminary, Banyo Blessed and Opened by Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, showed that there were 8 Seminarians at the time. There were 890,168 Catholics in the Province of Queensland.

The situation was far worse than even those figures suggest, because :

one of the Seminarians belonged to Wollongong NSW Diocese, and

three of the remaining Seminarians were from Nigeria - ( and very impressive and reverent they were.)

We were thus left with 890,168 Catholics producing 4 Vocations!!This  is a ratio of 1 for every 222,542 Catholics. At the same time , in Perth W.A. there were 23 Seminarians ( EXCLUDING another approx. 28 Neo-Catechumenate Seminarians) - a ratio of 1 for every 19,660 Catholics. In Melbourne there were 34 Seminarians for a ratio of 1 for every 38,520 Catholics and, in Sydney there were 50 Seminarians (Excluding 28 Neo-Catechumenate Seminarians) producing a ratio of 1 for every 36,440 Catholics.

The result for Queensland was about one sixth that of Sydney and Melbourne and about one twelfth that of Perth. Clearly, somethings were rotten in the State of Queensland and that included prominently, Archbishop Bathersby's Brisbane Archdiocese.

RADICAL REFORM

Only ten days after Cardinal Levada returned to Rome after opening the new Holy Spirit Seminary in the presence of its Trustees - the Catholic Bishops of Queensland ( except William Morris - said to be "recovering from surgery") - and the new Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Lazzarotto, the process of radical reform was begun.



The new Rector is greeted by his former Boss.

It was announced that the new Rector of the Seminary was a Brisbane Priest who had been working in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for some years - Father Anthony Randazzo ,and, lest anyone doubt from whence the appointment had originated, he was nominated Monsignor and Chaplain to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. The news was greeted with great ( even wild) enthusiasm by orthodox Catholics in Queensland for whom it had been "a long time between drinks"as the saying goes..

Perhaps others were less than enthused. Not since the time Of the late Archbishop James Duhig (d. 1965) had a Monsignor been nominated in Brisbane Archdiocese. And the appointment had obviously been insisted on by the Holy See.



The Generic Coat of Arms of a Chaplain to His Holiness -
not likely to be seen in egalitarian Brisbane!


Some years ago , a senior Priest of the Archdiocese had informed us that "the fellas ( as the local Presbyterate like to refer to themselves) don't go in for that stuff of elevating some above the others".This is an attitude that sits uncomfortably with a Church that by its Divine constitution is Hierarchical ,and which has accordingly been so through its 2,000 years history.

THE LONE MONSIGNOR

Monsignor Randazzo is relatively young, perhaps in his mid 30s. ( Monsignori must be at least 35 years of age and have been a Priest for at least 10 years.) He is of medium height with a marvellouly bright and outgoing personality, a sharp intelligent wit and a beautiful singing voice. His love of the Priesthood of Jesus Christ and of His  Sacred Liturgy is profound and he had studied Canon Law in Rome in preparation for an intended stint in the Archdiocesan Matrimonial Tribunal .After this he was called back to Rome to serve in the small staff of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then headed by a certain Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

Can any good come out of Brisbane we hear you ask? Plainly yes, but not so much out of Brisbane Archdiocese, as out of a loving and faithful Italian Catholic family living on the Gold Coast.

We cannot doubt that here we have a very special Priest. Joyfully charged with the graces of Holy Orders and faithful to the Magisterium, he is fully alive to the wonder and the dignity of the Sacred Liturgy. Monsignor Randazzo, Rector of the Holy Spirit Seminary, is obviously the choice of the Holy Spirit working through our Holy Father.He wasted no time in beginning to put the House in order. Within 12 months the Professorial Staff had been completely changed and the Tabernacle of the original grand Chapel had been recovered from a side chapel and enthroned in proper dignity at the centre rear of the Sanctuary! Much more that was good was set in train for the Seminarians formation.

Who knows what further responsibilities may await him.


Meanwhile Archbishop Bathersby ,( who is"said to have once complained that "George Pell is always telling everyone what to do!!" - Probably mentioning Catholic Doctrine and Discipline at Bishops Conference meetings.- Very inconvenient! )  embarasses  the Cardinal with local Liturgical abuses!
Note the Silver Jug for pouring the Precious Blood - strictly forbidden in Redemptionis Sacramentum.,. 

Comments

Paolo said…
Thank you for this diligent summary of what has happened in QLD. It helps others outside your state to understand what is behind the headlines. But, I am not sure that QLD is the most dispirited part of the Church in Australia. In Tasmania, weekly mass attendance is down to 6-7000 people, two thirds of whom are over 50 (from a population of @90,000 Catholics). Vocations have been scarce here for 20 years, and two young priests (one local, one from Sri Lanka) have left the priesthood. Without radical change, I would expect to see @1500 practicing Catholics for the state within 20 years. A key difference here is that dissent has been almost as prevalent, but much less open and obvious. I suspect that the effects have been even more insidious...
Tabernacle Tom said…
let's face it - the dissent has been kept pretty well under wraps in Qld too! Dissenters are targeted as "Fanatics" and publicly villified and ridiculed. Resistance has been kept isolated and unfortunately quiet. Good christians don't want to cause scandal. And no device exists for minority laity - even if well informed - to oust church clergy from their positions - and I guess neither should there be. We have been stuck with our clergy much like a small band of angry rats cling to the sinking ship watching the proffesional sailors relentlessly drive the boat under the water. Watching as they who should know a lot better - have robbed several generations of catholics from their true faith.

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