|THE GREAT SAINT BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX|
FAMED FOR HIS DEFENCE OF THE CHURCH
In Part One of this Post we reflected upon the unique character of the Catholic Church - founded by Christ under the leadership of Saint Peter and his lawful Successors and guaranteed the presence of Christ until the end of time , assured of its ultimate protection against Satanic attack.We saw that Christ Himself gave the Church its mission to preach His gospel to everyone throughout the world until the end of time.
As we went along, we saw that Christ's desire for the unity of His Church, both organic and in Truth, had been frustrated by the Protestant Deformation and by dissenters within the Church in the present in the present age.We particularly took note of the adoption by some, of the
idea that all religions are equal. Among those propagating this heretical view are some Catholic Universities and some Priest- Lecturers.We looked at the origins of this error and found them in the Protestant Deformation and the so-called Enlightenment . We saw that the new belief system adopted by these false teachers disclosed in fact their loss of the Faith. And that many of them and their fellows in secular institutions no longer even believed in the idea of absolute truth.
Finally we asked what we faithful Catholics might do in this situation and still remain true to Christ's intention for the Church and for us.
Firstly, let us not be what Pope Francis has called " backseat Christians"
" nice" cosy and limiting ourselves to pious prayer. LIMITING We will need plenty of pious prayer , yes indeed, but we must remember that God works in the World usually through us. We are the ones to whom He has given the Holy Spirit. Since our Confirmation our spiritual " batteries" are full-charged, and it is up to us to draw upon the Grace thus given us to guide and sustain us in action.
Secondly then, we need to determine an effective course of action to achieve reform of our Catholic teaching organisations and of the errant teachers. And if their reform cannot be achieved we need to achieve the development of alternative authentic Catholic institutions and the removal
from office of the false teachers. ( " Oh! is that all?" I hear you say mockingly ! Stay with me.)
Who is responsible for these institutions and the employment of these false Teachers? There are three guilty parties :
The Bishops of Australia are in ultimate control of Australian Catholic University, and of our Catholic Education Offices throughout the country.
The Catholic Institutions that use and support those Catholic Education institutions.
You and I - to the extent that we have been inactive in protesting to our Bishops, to the teachers and administrators, organising ourselves,and informing the Holy See.
Sad to say it, but of the three , one would have to say that it is the Bishops who bear the greatest burden of responsibility.They are ordained to that responsibility : to teach, to sanctify and to govern. They have, it is true, often merely gone along with the creation of structures which have distanced them from the possibility of practical influence. This may have been congenial and comfortable but it is , where it has happened, a dereliction of duty.Of course, any reasonable person would concede that a busy Bishop cannot govern his Diocese and at the same time directly govern a large educational bureaucracy, let alone in addition, play a direct role in governing a large trans- Diocesan body such as Australian Catholic University.And of course Academics are adept and eloquent in defence of Academic independence, though frequently reserving that skill and eloquence when it comes to the question of defending Catholic teaching.
Nevertheless, it is not beyond the realm of possibility for the Bishops to seek advice and assistance from those experienced in Change Management at the professional level, and then to devise more appropriate Management structures which would give them back effective ultimate control. Once that is in place, the wayward Academics and Administrators will quickly learn to "come to heel"and respect the direction of the Bishop and the Teachings and practice of the Christ's Catholic Church.Or, if the consider not doing so, they will be aware of their fate.The navies of the world long ago learnt the efficacy of a " shot across the bows".
Though it would be more complex, the reform of Australian Catholic University could be addressed in the same fashion.But there is a problem there. The ownership of and responsibility for Australian Catholic University is in the hands of the Bishops of each Province in which it is located. Not to put too fine a point on it, one could say that in the recent past, that is since the formation of Australian Catholic University, not all of the Bishops in Australia have been noted for their orthodoxy.So some of them considered the state of the University quite acceptable. Since the reform of the Australian Episcopate ( after the 1998 Statement of Conclusions See: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccdds/documents/rc_con_ccdds_doc_20000630_dichiarazione-vescovi-australiani%20_lt.html )is only part way through, and in some sense " stalled" for want of several appointments, the needed consensus to achieve action will not always be available in every Province. The University problem is thus quite special in the Australian context.
However, of even greater ultimate concern is the problem of the Catholic Education Offices and schools in every Province.They educate more than 700,000 children in about 1,650 schools around the country.They are thus at the heart of the work of inculcating the Faith and Catholic Practice( or they should be) in all of the Catholics who will soon come of age in their Faith. Reform has been tackled in a number of Dioceses , but few Bishops would dare to suggest that all is anywhere near what it should be.
Here we come to see the vicious circle that has evolved in a church saturated with the false "spirit of the Council" : the present corps of Catholic School Teachers in Australia have mostly been educated at school by the false " spirit of the Council" ideas, and by Australian Catholic University for professional qualifications in a like atmosphere.And some of them go on from there to become lecturers themselves at the University.
Whether they become University Lecturers or Teachers in our schools, they are thus not really competent to teach Catholic Faith and Practice to their students (" Nemo dat quod non habet"). No-one gives what he does not have. The students , whether Primary, Secondary or Tertiary passing through their hands are mis -taught, and the errors forced on them by coercive marking and grading systems.The only exceptions to the rule, are those who educate themselves in the Faith and in Catholic Practice and keep it a secret from the markers and graders by submitting " what they want to see" to their educators, even though they do mot personally believe the falsehoods they have written.The moral dilemma this creates for those students is cruel - especially in what should be a CATHOLIC environment.
At an early stage in any reform process, a re-education procedure with results being linked to remuneration levels or pilgrimage travel rewards for example, will be essential. And in those Dioceses which still don't have authentic Catholic Religious Education texts these will need to be provided. If that is to be done in a timely fashion, they will need to be imposed, because the customary pattern of operation of the existing bureaucracies - quite apart from questions of orthodoxy - is dilatory and self-indulgent and hostile to reform in many cases.
The next category we have mentioned, is those Catholic Institutions which use and support these Educational institutions.Because we are looking at an overall construction with each element depending largely on the substructure on which it depends and which it feeds.
Consider that the Seminaries which educate our Priests send their Students in most cases to Australian Catholic University. Though some Bishops already refuse to support it and send their Seminarians to the North American College in Rome. Others only send some there. Further, our Catholic Education Offices send Trainee Teachers to Australian Catholic University exclusively and Catholic Hospitals in many cases draw their Trainee Nurse from the same University.
The withdrawal of these students from the University would rapidly bring it to heel , and if an alternative entity had to be set up as an interim measure, so much the better. Such an arrangement would no doubt create a great deal of stress for those defending the Truth. But that is worth everything.
And it is time for compromise and waiting for improvement to come to an end! Without radical action the decay will only spiral downward at an ever greater rate.
There are other Tertiary Institutions controlled by the Church such as the Catholic Institute of Sydney and the Broke Bay Institute which are also relevant. The former has been, to a very large extent reformed during the Episcopate of Cardinal Pell, but the latter is a completely un-reconstructed "spirit of the Council" operation under the aegis of Bishop David Walker ( retiring in 171 days but who is counting?). It has been legally re-structured to try to establish independence from the Diocese and to avoid the Mandatum no doubt. The reform of the thing will be the task of Bishop Walker's yet to be appointed Successor.
Lastly there stand YOU and I. We have all watched over the years, as numbers of our Bishops have fallen down on the job or just shuffled along. We have watched as Catholic Education systems threw away Religion texts and went all " warm and fuzzy"and filled our childrens' heads with
" We We" songs instead of Hymns etc etc.. Most of us would not have been aware of the state of Australian Catholic University unless we had attended it or had a students there from our families.But there have been articles written about it.
But despite occasional individual protests, and I have seen some excellent ones fail -and a few succeed, the general approach has been to say "What can I do?" Virtual despair!
But in this electronic era that is no longer a viable excuse for inaction.The means to protest in an organised and systematic way, to our Bishops and failing there to the Holy See, and separately to the Top levels of Australian Catholic University in each State and Nationally , and to the Directors of Catholic Education in each State ( with copies to the relative Bishops) and to other responsible parties, lie at our finger tips at our computer Keyboards as a beginning.
We started out looking at what Jesus Christ did and wanted done. Now we see how the Father of Lies has succeeded in undermining the execution of God's Will AND ON OUR WATCH.
Let us get active to undo his hateful work and restore what God wills.