Bishop highlights poverty of vocations in bush

Canberra-Goulburn auxiliary Bishop Pat Power has responded to Cardinal George Pell's assertion that Sydney has "about enough" students for the priesthood, pointing out that there is an acute crisis of vocations in many regional areas, and Tasmania.

CLICK HEREHe was speaking to ABC Radio National's Religion Report yesterday, in answer to comments made on ABC Radio's AM earlier this month that there is no real vocation crisis in Australia, given that Sydney has 42 or 43 seminarians for the priesthood, and that is "just about enough".

"I must say that I was disappointed," said Bishop Power. "It struck me that the two elected representatives; Archbishop Doyle in Tasmania has 17 diocesan priests for the whole of the state. Bishop Chris Toohey has about 12 or 13 active priests for his diocese of Wilcannia Forbes, which takes in about half the area of New South Wales."

He continued: "Well, it's one thing for a city bishop to say I'm alright Jack, but his brother bishops, and many other bishops here in Australia would have similar experiences to Archbishop Doyle and to Bishop Toohey."

Cardinal Pell was interviewed on AM after he told the worldwide Synod of Bishops that abandoning celibacy would be a serious error. He took a different position from Australia's National Council of Priests, which called for a consideration of optional celibacy.

Bishop Power said that Cardinal Pell does not necessarily represent the feeling of Australian bishops on this matter

"He wasn't elected by the Australian bishops, and I'm not saying that doesn't give him a legitimate place there," he said. "I'm certainly saying that the views that he expressed are not compatible with what the Australian experience is."

Speaking in place of Cardinal Pell - who is still in Rome - Bishop Julian Porteous told ABC Radio's The World Today that he is certain that Cardinal Pell is very conscious that there is a shortage of priests.

He said: "It's not the fact that's the problem, it's the how to resolve the issues that are created by it, and the Cardinal is very convinced, as are the Synod fathers, that the answer is to work more thoroughly to promote vocations to the priesthood."

Vocational crisis confronts Catholic Church: Bishop Pat Power (ABC Radio The World Today 26/10/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
National Council of Priests

Kasper continues talk of communion for divorced and optional celibacy (CathNews 25/10/05)
Synod opts for major vocations push, not easing of celibacy (CathNews 19/10/05)
Pell call to preserve celibacy rule (CathNews 12/10/05)
Priests Council's Synod call for married clergy (CathNews 4/10/05)
Bush bishop backs priestly celibacy debate (CathNews 31/1/05)
Alternative priests' council hits back on mandatory celibacy (CathNews 28/1/05)
Council of Priests argues for married clergy (CathNews 27/1/05)
Bishops' Secretary confirms priests' survey on celibacy (CathNews 31/10/04)

Bishop Pat Power on the Synod of Bishops (ABC Radio The Religion Report 26/10/05)
Jane Anderson, John Hill, Pat Bishop and Fr John Walshe on Compulsory Celibacy (ABC Radio The Religion Report 26/10/05)
Most priests are happy, new book says (Catholic News Agency 26/10/05)
Pastoral Letter highlights fall in priest numbers (The Universe 19/10/05)
Catholic Church to review seminary study (Monsters and Critics/United Press International 16/10/05)
Celibacy not the problem, say bishops, lifelong commitment is (Catholic News Agency 17/10/05)
Catholic Church Looking Abroad for Priests (Christian Today 17/10/05)
New Vocations Program Encourages Renewed Priests to be 'Fishers of Men' (Catholic News Agency 14/10/05)
Gay men can be priests if celibate: paper (Leading the Charge 16/10/05)
Vatican Moves to Oversee Gay Priests (Leading the Charge 15/10/05)
Catholic bishops reaffirm priestly celibacy in draft proposals to pope, urge new vocations (Associated Press 16/10/05)
Catholic Church recruiting abroad (Sunday Herald 16/10/05)
Editorial: Celibacy and the priesthood (The Tablet 15/10/05)
Lack of Priests Seen as a Symptom of a Problem of Faith (Zenit 13/10/05)
U.S. Bishops Launch New Vocational Campaign (Zenit 13/10/05)
Holy See to issue document on prison ministry (Catholic News Agency 13/10/05)
Statutes of Priestly Formation Center in Rome OK'd (Zenit 12/10/05)

27 Oct 2005