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Reaction to Canberra priest's statement about Resurrection


Canberra-Goulburn Archbishop Francis Carroll sounded a note of caution after one of his priests said in a Canberra Times feature that he does not believe Christ physically rose from the dead on Easter Sunday.

Subsequently, The Canberra Times reported on Sunday that "controversy has arisen in the senior ranks of the Catholic Church" over the claims. It did not name the priest.

Archbishop Carroll - also president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference - said some in the church would be "disturbed" by the comments.

"I'm always a little nervous when expert theologians speak about these things," he said. "I think some of these nuanced views can be distanced from the simple faithful such as myself."

The unnamed "expert" priest was local priest priest and scripture scholar Fr Michael Fallon MSC, who is believed to have been quoted out of context.

Other theologians, including a Charles Sturt University theology professor and a senior lecturer at St Mark's National Theological Centre, were quoted in an article in The Canberra Times yesterday as concurring with the views of the unnamed priest.

However, the Archbishop Carroll said that he believed the majority of the faithful "wouldn't be fussed" by the comments.

There was similar controversy in the Anglican Church in Perth, where the Cathedral Dean Rev Dr John Shepherd denied during his Good Friday sermon that sinners would be punished by God.

"The idea of God suffering and dying to pay off some fictional debt makes a travesty of God," said Dr Shepherd.

Meanwhile the parish priest of the remote south-east town of Bombala, in Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese, has highlighted the role of the Passion Play in the life of a faith community (pictured).

Fr Mick McAndrew told the Bombala Times: "Children interact with older parishioners, parents can see the pride of grandparents as they participate with their children in a faith sharing exercise and the children, with their energy and excitement put their heart and soul into the presentations which help everyone know their part in the account of Christ doing God's work."

"In every era of the Christian Church's existence, people have found a way of inserting themselves in the life of Christ. They want to know what it was like to have been there," continued Fr McAndrew.

"While the rituals of the Holy Week and Easter services in Church are our way of worshiping God and giving thanks for Jesus Christ sharing faith with us, an important step along the way to church and full and active participation in those services, is knowing and feeling what went on," he said.

SOURCE
Christ claims anger clergy (Canberra Times 27/3/05)
Ideas on sin are destructive: Dean (The West Australian 26/3/05)
Church News (Bombala Times 30/3/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn

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31 Mar 2005