Good on ya, mate!
Brian Godsell, Marsfield, NSW.

It seems to me that Fred Jansohn (Mass appeal? OLC #113) is very close to the mark regarding the irritatingly minor language changes proposed for the Mass.

We don't need them and we don't need to conform exactly with the whole English-speaking church. We only need to understand what we are saying. Perhaps a good Australian response to "the Lord be with you" would be "Good on ya, mate".


Too much space is not good for George
Harry Mithen

Like many others, I am not really amazed by -- but despairing of -- the way you continue to give George space.  Why even tell us what George thinks about fear?  We can guess it.  We know what he thinks about conscience, guilt, updating our worship, selection of bishops, listening to fellow-priests, homosexuals.

He's got his ideas.  There are reasons why he thinks that way.  There are reasons why he, himself, is such a fearful person. 

God bless him, and give him peace. But do you really think giving him so much space is good for him?


Let the community call priests forth
Fr John Vildzius PP, Bridgewater, SA.

Further to the articles of Eric Hodgens (The Bishops’ last chance, OLC #112) and George Ripon (Lay presidency at the Eucharist:  Why not?  OLC #113), one other strategy appeals to me.

There are some men -- yes, keeping within the current guidelines only -- in my parish whom I consider would make good priests. I imagine that this would be the case in most, if not in all, parishes. Why cannot our local communities call forth these men to be priests for their pastoral care?

After community discernment, the Parish Pastoral Council, which of course includes the Parish Priest, could approach such men with their invitation. I envisage a basic three-year course of training before ordination, and then on-going, part time formation.

One of the weaknesses of our current training system is a six-year block that "completes" training in a rarefied atmosphere. Then, some priests do not build on that initial training for the rest of their ministry.  An ongoing process would ensure continuing development on all levels.

This is a strategy we could enable today.

Another element to consider is for the ministry of priesthood to be for a set period of time -- say, 10 years -- but renewable. While our theology says priesthood is forever for a person ordained, ministry need not be.

Even now under limited circumstances, priests who are retired or have limiting illnesses still remain priests but are not in ministry. Perhaps the list of circumstances could be extended.

Some thoughts for the mix.


The experimentation continues
John Bunyan, Campbelltown, NSW.

George Ripon's article (Lay presidency at the Eucharist:  Why not?) was stimulating and his suggestion about "lay presidency" does make an Anglican like myself at least think again about Archbishop Jensen's controversial promotion of "lay presidency", but also about the Church's reasons for associating the ministry of the bishop and the bishop's presbyters with the celebration of the Eucharist.

However, the article does not seem to notice that there are already married priests in the Roman Catholic Church (whether "converts" or the normal married priests of the "Uniate" rites), and that something might be learnt from them and from the experience of having married priests, men - in some places, women also  - in the Anglican Episcopal Communion.

Some "practical considerations" have long been taken into account. For example, ordinary Anglican parishes in Australia have long had to pay a proper wage to their (very often) married priests. However, the outback in the past was often served by single priests in the Bush Brotherhoods, and today some churches in the most remote places, with married clergy, have to be heavily subsidised by dioceses or mission bodies.  But the poorer parts of our cities, and parishes in drought-afflicted towns increasingly cannot afford the quite large stipend packages (plus assessments payable to their diocese).  In my Church, still too often a Church of the well-off, not a Church of the poor, and insufficiently Catholic in this sense, they either go under, or are combined with other parishes, or sometimes find new ways of operating and new forms of ministry. 

One must say that very often, having a married priest with his wife and family in the rectory has brought great blessings  (I write as a single priest) and it is remarkable how many fine men and women in English history, for example, have been children of the rectory.  Of course, some have suffered from growing up in a rectory.

Again, there are some cases now where husband and wife are both ordained, although some wonder how wise this is.  And there is a growing number of women parish priests.  This is still a time of experiment -- and of course controversy -- and whether we have married clergy as well as single, and women as well as men. Obviously there is always more thinking to be done about clerical ministry and its relationship to the broader ministry of the whole people of God.

I'll risk saying, however, that I hope that the priesthood does not ever become a profession, like that of primary school teachers, mainly confined to women, even though that is far from in sight in most parts of my Church.   

And if Anglicans do need many more women serving at a "high" level in dioceses as archdeacons and bishops, and in other ways and fresh ways, some parishes  -- not my local one --  need a greater proportion of men in the pews and an awareness of the things which can deter men from coming to church ! 

Thanks for Online Catholics and for the depth and diversity of its articles.


Peace cannot be built on blasted homes
Sir Sigmund Sternberg KCSG, Mrs Mavis Badawi, Rev. Dr Marcus Braybrooke, Anthony Bailey, KCFO, Dr Khalid Hameed, CBE, Rabbi Tony Bayfield

The Three Faiths Forum*, with years of commitment to open and respectful dialogue among the faiths which share the legacy of Abraham, the man of peace, urges the combatants in the Middle East to pull back from the edge of total conflagration while there is still a chance.

There is no future to be found in bullet, bomb or rocket, only blood and devastation. There is no peace which can be built on the blasted homes and mangled remains of innocents. Decades of conflict have already more than made that point.

How many more must die before this dreadful lesson strikes home?

We welcome the call of the G8 nations for an end to the violence and their commendation of those Middle East nations which have sought to restore peace to an area which so desperately needs it.

* The Three Faiths Forum, a Christian-Muslim-Jewish trialogue, was formed in the United Kingdom and is a branch of the International Council for Christians and Jews.


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