Sydney priests want say in future of theology school
Today's Sydney Morning Herald has reported that priests are seeking involvement in moves to rationalise opportunities for theological education for both seminarians and lay Catholics.
The paper repors that an inquiry into the Sydney theological college has "fuelled disquiet over the leadership style of the Sydney Archbishop, Cardinal George Pell, and the future of religious university education in Australia".
The Catholic Institute of Sydney provides theological education for students at the Archdiocesan Seminaro of the Good Shepherd, and to lay and religious students.
Sydney priest, Fr John Crothers, has said that clergy have been kept in the dark over a review of the future academic and financial viability of the Catholic Institute of Sydney whose prime job is to educate candidates for the priesthood.
Cardinal Pell, who is the institute's chancellor, has appointed a committee to consider the institute's "inability" to serve the church's seminarians, examine student numbers and tackle its growing operational deficits.
The review comes at a time when two universities are preparing to open their doors in Sydney and the archdiocese has defended its multimillion dollar funding support for one of these, the Perth-based University of Notre Dame.
The inquiry is to examine the desirability and cost of educating lay students at the institute in view of options available elsewhere.
In a letter to Online Catholics, Fr Crothers said a number of priests had complained at a meeting of the archdiocese's Council of Priests last month that they had not been consulted about the inquiry or even told it was taking place.
But a spokesman for the archdiocese said submissions had been extended for one month to take account of all views.
Brisbane-based Redemptorist theologian Professor Tony Kelly, of the Australian Catholic University, said every theological institution is feeling the pinch with the emergence of the new players.
The Institute's president, Fr Gerard Kelly, said the review was not about closing the institute but about reviewing operations, in particular finance and budgeting. "My hope is at the end of it we might find ourselves on a more secure financial footing."
Clergy irate over Pell inquiry into college (Sydney Morning Herald 19/9/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Institute of Sydney - Committee of Enquiry Call for Written Submissions (Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney 22/7/05)
Catholic Institute of Sydney
Archdiocese of Sydney
Seminary of the Good Shepherd
Committee to probe Sydney theology institute (CathNews 9/8/05)
Priestly anger in Sydney (Online Catholics 14/9/05)
19 Sep 2005