Get real, stop theologising: Bishop Manning

In an interview in which he criticises an over-emphasis on theological education, Parramatta Bishop Kevin Manning says that the Church has become "too professional" leading to a loss of sensitivity for other people who are suffering and need compassion.

"Many people have educated themselves in theology and so on," Bishop Manning said in an interview with Catholica.

"I often wonder what it is for? They're educating themselves away from those situations down there on the ground ... when we lose that sensitivity for other people—people who are suffering, people who need compassion — and start theologising about things and leave it up on the intellectual level we're not doing the job.

"We're not interpreting [the Gospel] in the terms that Christ wanted us to — and that is in our attitude of loving other people, and especially loving those who are below our status and people who are suffering," Bishop Manning said.

"Intimate contact between priest and people is lacking to some extent. We've become too professional; too administrative. And I include myself in that. The role of the bishop has become very much centred in his chancery office whereas, what was Christ's attitude to all this? He was out there with the people all the time. I think we've lost that very important contact between the shepherd and his people.

"We've become a middle class church … we've lost the poor people out of our schools – we've become too middle class; our schools have become too costly – and, to me, that's telling a story right through the church. We are neglecting the poor and the needy.

"My conclusion is that as we climb up the social ladder and become nice and comfortable in our lives with money and affluence and everything else we don't need God. I think this is what has happened in many of our parishes," Bishop Manning said.

Commenting on the reasons for the lack of priestly vocations, Bishop Manning said that "today I think the young people have got it too good.

"They think there's too much to give up in order to become a priest. To be a priest one has to have a certain amount of courage," Bishop Manning said.

The state of Catholicism today (Catholica, 14/8/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Bishop Kevin Manning, Parramatta diocese

Abbott lashes Catholic "fellow travellers" (CathNews, 12/7/07)
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14 Aug 2007