EARTH, WIND, FIRE and WATER....OH! and the POT

                              "Now tell us what 'twas all about"

In May,2003 in the Archdiocese of Brisbane there was a great jamboree summoned by the then Archbishop John Bathersby,and styled an Archdiocesan Synod, and, if it did not have a "cast of thousands" in the old Hollywood phrase, it did boast 800 participants.Reportedly it had an initial Budget of AUD 1,200,000, but by the time all the whiteboards and butchers' paper had been packed away, the figure being bandied about was $2,300,000.

Now Retired Archbishop Bathersby
In 1951, when I was in 6th Class in primary school, we studied the poem "The Battle of Blenheim" by Robert Southey. In the poem the old man Kaspar lives on the battlefield site long after the war. A little boy, Peterkin asks him "Now tell us what 'twas all about", but Kaspar cannot rightly tell, he assures Peterkin "But 'twas a great victory!" 

We recently came upon an unpublished critique of that 2003 Synod, and after more than 9 years it makes instructive reading. And it offers us a chance to reflect upon a similar exercise in the troubled Broken Bay Diocese in recent months . Archbishop Bathersby is now removed from the Brisbane scene by retirement and Bishop Walker in Broken Bay has only 365 days until he also lays his crosier aside.

The critique is evidently written very soon after Archbishop Bathersby delivered his " RESPONSE TO THE OUTCOMES OF THE SYNOD CONSULTATION" , let us read on :


The continuing $1,200,000 SYNOD 2003 exercise of the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane, with some 800 participants has laboured greatly. But to judge by Archbishop John Bathersby's " Response to the Outcomes of the Synod Consultation" it's results could have been obtained by attending any backyard barbecue or Dinner Party attended by Catholics for the last 35 years. The difference was that in this exercise, a few in significant Church administration positions have been able to insinuate ideas contrary to Church teaching into the results which the Archbishop chooses to set aside - for the present.

It is hardly a surprise that the main result was to show that Catholics involved believed that "education in the Faith" was their highest priority. This was followed by "building Faith communities" , engaging and connecting with young people, celebrating liturgy, deepening spirituality, serving in ministry, effective, communication, Christian mission in daily life,working for justice, strengthening ecumenical and interfaith collaboration.To some non-Catholics, some of the above might be novel, but to Catholics it is simply a checklist for getting on with the job.

The Archbishop's response is, in it's own way, more revealing than the pea of wisdom brought forth by the massive bureaucratic processes of the Synod consultation.His Grace blithely ignores the widespread resistance to the pagan/occult themes of "Earth, wind, fire and water" and the Pot which his bureaucracy had grafted into the Synod exercise.Ignoring it, he exempts himself from the need to identify and deal with those responsible, and evades the question of his own knowledge and consent to their use.

 Those too young to have known the vigour of the pre-Vatican II Catholic Church in Australia, need only look about them at the Cathedrals, churches, Monasteries, convents, Colleges, Schools, Hospitals, Hostels and Orphanages etc. built by a Catholic population only 35% of what it is to-day, but 4 times the percentage of that Catholic population regularly attending Mass."Blind Freddie" would realize that something has gone radically wrong.

But, Archbishop Bathersby writes as if a new Church discovered itself in the Second Vatican Council. He speaks of " an alternative to an older vision that served the Church splendidly in times past, but that needed a clearer engagement with the world."

This is truly breathtaking self-delusion. For much of the last 35 years since the Council, the " new Church " people have been busy subverting all that was and contemplating their navels, abandoning the Church's engagement with the real world. Hospitals have closed, schools have been closed or their Catholic character has been destroyed, direct work with the poor and the underprivileged has diminished (sometimes replaced by management of Government programmes) genuine community life in the Church has shrunk, great religious orders have been wrecked by quack psychology, enneagrams and a myriad of personality analyses, and by the destruction of authentic community life,Obedience and Poverty and perhaps much else in many cases.

How could this happen? You might well ask! Who is responsible?

The Catholic Church has a clear answer. The Bishop of the Diocese is responsible "to Teach, to Sanctify and to Govern." Indeed it is for just these very functions that he has been Ordained as a Successor of the Apostles. The Church teaches that he has thus been given by God not only the power to act, and the Grace to assist him, but also the responsibility to act.

In his Response, His Grace does refer to himself as "spiritual leader" but that seems as close as he will allow himself to get to owning the power and the obligation " to Teach, to Sanctify and to Govern." This is not surprising for he has on a number of occasions preached that " power is evil" - literally. Not the failure to use legitimate power when duty obliges, not the abuse of legitimate power, but "power" itself. (One wonders where His Grace's novel view leaves the All- Powerful God?) It is arrant nonsense of course.

Having forsworn the use of power, thus ignoring Duty and leaving Grace aside unused, failure to teach is hardly to be wondered at.

Accordingly, when some carefully planted dissenters in the SYNOD assembly consultation seek what is directly opposed to the teaching of the Catholic Church ( e.g. The Ordination of women and routine 3rd Rite of Reconciliation) His Grace does not tell them that they are wrong and why they are wrong nor does he tell them what is right and why it is right.

No, not at all. His Grace tells them he is " happy and delighted to note all that the consultation has produced" and says that these things " for the moment can only be noted"....."and for most of us, will probably not be resolved in our lifetime." This is mischief making of the most outrageous kind, and it flies in the face of " Ordinatio Sacerdotalis" the irreformable teaching of the Church and of any intelligent appreciation of Our Divine Lord's words "....whose sins you shall retain they are retained..." In ordinary circumstances , apart from imminent battle, earthquake, volcanic eruption, tsunami,ship sinking, the need for individual confession to hear and judge the sins and the penitent's disposition makes routine use of the 3 rd Rite impossible.

Deceit or delusion are evident in the above.Either way, what do these comments say about the Archbishop's communion with the Holy Father?

But is it hard to find an example of a Diocesan Synod properly conducted ? Not at all. We have a glorious example of a Diocesan Synod held by the late Archbishop of Krakow in Poland.Returning from the Council, where he had played a very significant role, the Archbishop wanted to TEACH his people all that the Council had taught and required. Perhaps I should mention that his name was Karol Wojtyla - that is right - Blessed Pope John Paul II. What a dramatic and inspiring example . A Synod to TEACH.

But the Brisbane Synod, under the influence of Earth, Wind, Fire and Water and the Pot - what was its purpose? According to His Grace it would ASK his people what they want/think/feel. He spoke of " discerning the Spirit from below."
It is as if in his mind, the Church is upside down, not TEACHING what has been received from God Most High, but rather asking what we might want to be taught or do.

A "spirit from below" discerned perhaps in Earth, Wind, Fire and Water..and the Pot. What spirit is that likely to be?

Like so much post- Conciliar error, this congregational Synod is asked to celebrate itself as "We", busily replace "He" Who became Man to save us from our sins, Who came to teach and to sanctify us.

What 'twas all about.

The Diocesan Synod was a product of the bureaucracy of the Archdiocese of Brisbane working to promote its New Church ideas through the medium of the Synod Consultation. It was not their first attempt at this. In the latter years of Archbishop Francis Rush's episcopate a similar jamboree had been held, called , if I remember rightly, an Archdiocesan Assembly. The proposals of the Assembly were essentially the same. They were the product of the same Rand Corporation Process of manipulation, which gives the participants the feeling they are acting freely, whilst they are steadily being manipulated toward the desired proposals of the controlling clique. This is achieved through plenary sessions, breaking into groups, intense " facilitated" discussions, reporting back, consolidation of these reports by "leaders" and a final report inevitably endorsed in another Plenary Session. The proposals were noted by Archbishop Rush and then pigeon holed never to see the light of day again.

In Archbishop Bathersby they had a far more malleable and even sympathetic fellow traveller. He allowed the document to stand , and as we have seen, expressed his pleasure at its conclusions, whilst putting the heretical ones in abeyance.

Neither Archbishop Rush nor Archbishop Bathersby condemned the proposals. It could be tendered in Archbishop Rush's defense that " Ordinatio Sacerdotalis " had not been issued at the time- it is a suggestion that does not hold water of course, since the 2,000 year Tradition of the Church and the example of Our Divine Lord are conclusive. Their failure to condemn error and defend the Truth of Catholic Doctrine and Tradition is a marked example of the nature of the post- Conciliar scandal given by many Bishops.

The Troubled Waters of Broken Bay

With only 365days to go until his retirement at 75, ( people are counting!) Bishop David Louis Walker who has been at war with most of his Priests over his determination to promote the idea of lay leadership of Parishes above Priests assigned ( strives to avoid appointing Parish Priests) and who has for years had NOT ONE SEMINARIAN ( he recently imported two from Vietnam , poor fellows - but at least people can no longer say he has none), held a Diocesan Synod. The Bishop has one of the strongest Diocesan bureaucracies in the country. You will not be surprised that the Synod was not held to Teach, to Sanctify or to Govern, but to discern the way ahead. Same old same old, and surprise, surprise it came up with predictable pious utterances, avoiding outright heresies produced in the North, but sufficiently vague to enable the bureaucracy to attempt to "heavy" the soon to be appointed new Bishop into letting them continue to run the Diocese.


The Diocesan bureaucracies staffed at the top by many ex - religious have known their way around Church structures, have appropriated legitimate Church words  ( "Synod" for example) and invented their own "church speak" ( " ways of being church" and other such puerile nonsense) and they have appropriated such techniques from the world of civil Government and commerce as the Rand Corporation procedure which came out of the Korean War aftermath and handling brainwashed ex prisoners of war, as suit their purposes.

But, the reader says, you talk as if these bureaucrats often do not have the welfare of the Catholic Church at heart. You have understood me well.

In a number of Archdioceses and Dioceses, this is the case. Many of these people have an agenda and it is NOT the Agenda of the Catholic Church. It is in fact, to subvert the Catholic Church and to turn their Dioceses into something else, no longer teaching what the Catholic Church teaches or doing what the Catholic Church does. In some cases they have been aided and abetted by Diocesan Bishops who have even led them,or have been entirely supportive of them, in other cases the Bishops have simply refrained from restraining them and have failed to  correct them, or discipline them. These Bishops have either been deposed, retired early, retired in the normal course or are about to retire.

 But the bureaucrats will remain in many cases - like white ants  - gnawing away at the substance of the Faith until all that is left is the appearance.

What is needed is radical house cleaning of Diocesan , Archdiocesan and even Australian Catholic Bishops Conference bureaucracies to ensure total fidelity to the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church.


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