The Australian Bishops have issued an important pastoral letter on what they identify as a "crisis of faith" in the Australian Catholic Church. They speak of growing secularisation, and also "different understandings of the person of Jesus Christ, the nature of the Church, the role of conscience and various moral problems [which are] not all understandings are in agreement with Catholic teaching".
    The action they seek is "prayer, reflection, discernment, responsibility and action to which the Pope calls us". The Pope has asked for a "confident and committed response on the part of all Catholics". Rome has requested that the Australian Bishops "correct errors, not by blunt use of authority, but through dialogue and persuasion."
    The context for this call is the aftermath of three meetings in which the Australian Bishops took part in Rome, and what they say is the "confusion, hurt and anger" conflicting reports about these meetings have caused for many of the faithful. More recently, what the Bishops call the "deliberate and intrusive surveillance of clergy and liturgical celebrations" by some groups, in order to bring the weight of authority to bear on the perpetrators of the errors, has also caused great pain. The crisis is also reflected in the recent controversy over the Third Rite of Reconciliation.
Read the full statement of the Australian Catholic Bishops
9:38am 15/4/99 / Aust Cath Bishops Conf


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