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Bishops reassure Australia's demoralised priests

The Catholic Bishops of Australia have written to diocesan and religious priests around the country to reaffirm the priests' role as a major source of vitality in the life of the Church.

The Letter to the priests was finalised during the Plenary Meeting of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference held earlier this month.

"We decided to write to the Priests of Australia because we believe they needed to hear from us," said President of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Carroll. "There are a lot of pressures on priests, from many sources, and as their brothers in Christ we, the Bishops, wished to affirm them in their priesthood and to let them know that they are never taken for granted or unappreciated."

Writing on behalf of the Bishops Conference, Archbishop Carroll emphasised that the priests are the bishops' closest collaborators, and they do not intentionally wish to over-burden the priests.

"We admit that a level of administration can sometimes appear to separate us from you and that you are asked to bear the heavy burden of responsibility for diocesan pastoral plans and programs."

The text of the letter will appear soon on the Bishops' website.