Cardinal says Rome doesn't understand Australians
Sydney's retiring Cardinal Edward Clancy last night acknowledged the existence of a 'spy network' within the Australian Catholic Church, which he claims has been exercising 'undue influence' on the authorities in Rome.
In an interview broadcast on ABC Local Radio, he suggested the Australian Bishops were undermined at the Oceania Synod in Rome in late 1998 by unofficial reports sent to Rome by groups of dissidents from among the faithful about the state of the Australian Church.
He said: "I came away feeling that our brethren in Rome didn't fully understand the situation in real life as we have it here. I would think that this group ... did exercise an undue influence in forming opinions and convictions over there. I think that was the big shortcoming of the meeting."
Cardinal Clancy expressed his conviction that the Australian character is not well understood in Rome: "There's a certain egalitarianism that other people often misread and misunderstand ... and also an openness, a sense of inner freedom, that one doesn't very often find in other peoples in other countries to the extent that one finds it among Australians."
Last week's appointment of Melbourne Archbishop Dr George Pell has been interpreted by some commentators as a veiled criticism of Cardinal Clancy and some other leaders in the Australian Church.