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Pell 'quite sure' door is shut to radical reform


Pope John Paul II had protected the Catholic Church from radical change and his successor should do the same, Sydney Cardinal George Pell, said yesterday.

Cardinal Pell, one of the 117 cardinals who will elect the new pope, said from Rome that a reformist was unlikely to be elected.

"I don't think ... anyone who really knows the church believes that there's any radical change likely. I'm quite sure that the general line of a fidelity to basic Catholic teachings ... is absolutely unassailable. I believe that the general line and the tradition will continue."

But Canberra-Goulburn auxiliary Bishop Patrick Power said the papal election presents an opportunity to rethink the ban on married priests.

It was not just a matter of the Church reading the "signs of the time", Bishop Power said, but adjusting to the realities of falling priest numbers. The church's stance on contraception could also be revisited in time, he said.

"We need to always be faithful to the traditions of the church but equally we need to apply the teachings of Jesus to society. If the Church's teachings on contraception are systemically ignored, that needs to be addressed. I'm not saying necessarily changed, but it's not enough to restate church teachings."

Jesuit priest Fr Michael Kelly said it was important the Pope's successor continue to talk with marginalised Catholics.

"The legacy of John Paul II is a transformed world but the forces that drove him to be such a powerful figure on the world stage was his clarity and determination to identify values, advocate them and see them embodied.

"There's been a downscaling of the significance of bishops; an inability to engage on issues people raise above the predictable framework, and that applies to anything from the role of women in the church to the translation of prayers used in Mass."

Father Kelly said he did not support a church that "rubber-stamped the latest liberal fad" but questions of personal devotion and relationships with God had "little to do with attitudes to church policies and styles of governance".

SOURCE
Pope's teachings to stay: Pell (The Age 4/4/05)
Pell 'quite sure' door is shut to radical reform (The Australian 4/4/05)
Less preaching, more listening, say liberal voices (Sydney Morning Herald 4/4/05)
Time for married priests, says bishop (The Age 4/4/05)
Time to rethink celibacy: bishop (The Australian 4/4/05)
No praise for Pope on AIDS (The Mercury 4/4/05)

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5 Apr 2005