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Pell sees larger role for lay leaders

Lay Catholics leadership will become increasingly important in Sydney parishes over the next decade, according to the Archbishop of Sydney Dr George Pell.

"At least for the next 10 or 15 years there is going to be something of a shortage of priests in the Sydney Archdiocese," he said. "There are some signs that we're getting a goodly number of seminarians now, but I think that work in the parishes will have to be supplemented by part time lay leadership."

Dr Pell was addressing representatives from Catholic lay organisations at a gathering of the Knights of the Southern Cross.

The archbishop said: "Most of the areas of growth in the Catholic Church in the last 50 to 60 years have not come from the initiative of the hierarchy but from charismatic individuals and lay people.

"Certainly as a bishop I feel it's my task, provided a proposal is half sensible, to at least give people room to move, or to encourage their initiatives."

Dr Pell commended lay initiatives such as the charismatic movements, the Neocatechumenal Way, Focolare, the Emmanuel community and Opus Dei, because they offered clear Christian teaching, support for the Pope and the priesthood and are centred on Christ.

"They also offer community support for one another and a clear sense of direction and support," he said. "We need to encourage lay movements that sponsor vocations and give support to people."

"I think if there are going to be genuine movements of the Spirit, of renewal, they should be both Marian and Petrine; in favour of Our Lady and supportive of the papacy. I would say without exception the movements which are going ahead throughout the world meet those two criteria."

Catholic Weekly


Knights of the Southern Cross
Neocatechumenal Way
Opus Dei
Emmanuel Community
Italian study says 'New Movements' are not sects (22/7/03)
Pell acts to resolve Redfern priest crisis (21/7/03)

14 Aug 2003