QUEENSLAND - ORTHODOX CATHOLICITY FIGHTS BACK
|QUEENSLAND CATHOLIC DIOCESES MAP|
When it comes to Catholic demographics, geographical size is almost in inverse proportion to demographic size.
The population of the State is estimated at 4,550,000, Catholics represent approx. 25% of that number, say 1, 137,500.However the aggregation of each of the Dioceses claimed population is considerably below that figure, perhaps due to different dates of compilation , which are not made clear.
However, Brisbane is of course far and away larger than all the others put together, somewhere in the vicinity of 750,000 people In order of size the other Dioceses in seem to be Rockhampton, Toowoomba, Cairns and Townsville( the last named does not appear to publish a Catholic population figure - this may have something to do with the oft discussed possibility of its being absorbed into Cairns Diocese.
The recent retirement and replacement of Archbishop Bathersby in Brisbane, now under the firm hand of Archbishop Mark Coleridge, and the deposition of Bishop Morris and his replacement by Bishop McGuckin in Toowoomba have secured the South of the great State for orthodox Catholicism.On 4th August this year Bishop "call me Brian"Heenan of Rockhampton turns 75 and has in fact already submitted his resignation to the Holy Father, and says it has been accepted to take place at a future date. So, assuming a sound appointment there,half the State geographically and the vast majority of the State demographically will be in orthodox Catholic hands. More significantly , that would create a majority of the Queensland Bishops and also therefore, of the Trustees of the Provincial Seminary who were orthodox and in step with the Holy Father.And it might encourage the Seminary administration considerably.
For Cairns Diocese ( Bishop Foley) there will be no change until until 2023 in the normal course - it will be remembered that Bishop Foley was a very public sympathiser with the deposed Bishop Morris. In Townsville, Bishop Putney ( the Eucharist "is a symbol") will, in the normal course, be in place until 2021.Despite having resorted to ensuring pictures of him in proper clerical attire( rather than the customary open necked shirt, multiplied on Google Images in the lead up to the choosing of the new Archbishop of Brisbane. In vain.
So we see that the complete restoration of Queensland to Catholic orthodoxy remains about 11 years away. However, in the interim we must comfort ourselves with the restored status of the vast majority of the population and about half the land mass. For the Toowoomba and Cairns situations, we call to mind Saint Augustine's words concerning Bishops:
"But that which is the house of God is also a city. For the house of God is the people of God; for the house of God is the temple of God….: as she has builders, labouring at her building up, . To this guardianship these words of the Apostle relate: “I fear, lest by any means your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity which is in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3 He was guarding the Church. He kept watch, to the utmost of his power, over those over whom he was set. . For . For the Greek word Episcopus, and the vernacular Superintendent, are the same; for the Bishop superintends, in that. . And, that He who knows your minds may be Himself your keeper. Since we can see you both coming in and going out; but we are so unable to see what are the thoughts of your hearts, that we cannot even see what ye do in your houses. How then can we guard you?? Far be it! For where is He of whom it is said, “Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman wakes but in vain?” Psalm 126:1. We are watchful on our guard, but vain in our watchfulness, except He who sees your thoughts guard you. He keeps guard while you are awake, He keeps guard also while you are asleep. For He has once slept on the Cross, and has risen again; He no longer sleeps. Yea, brethren, . For . . ."( Emphasis added.)
We need to pray for the faithful in Townsville and Cairns , and for ther Bishops who are accountable for the great responsibilities they bear.