BRISBANE Auxiliary Bishop Michael Putney has advocated dialogue to resolve differences within the Australian Church, suggesting it begin with a mea culpa from each side.
Delivering the inaugural Bishop James Cuskelly Memorial Lecture in St Stephen’s Chapel, Brisbane on May 3, Bishop Putney looked at the subject of “A Church in dialogue with itself and with others – Australia 2000”.
He said he chose this topic because of his belief that in Australia dialogue as a way through issues was “almost inevitable” and because of Pope Paul Vl’s advocacy of dialogue in his encyclical, Ecclesiam Suam. Bishop Putney did not believe polarisation was as widespread in the Australian Church as many people thought and said that most Australian Catholics did not belong to either of the ecclesial extremes.
Suggesting dialogue begin with saying sorry, he said the Jubilee Year was the year “for such acknowledgments of failure and of repentance”.
He said he was not suggesting that repentance occur in some kind of national public forum.
“Rather,” he said, “I am suggesting a change of attitude to ourselves and to others whoever they be.
Advocating the merits of dialogue with other Christian Churches, Bishop Putney said that this had led to several fruitful documents in recent times, both in Australia and overseas.
Such dialogue required both fidelity to one’s tradition and openness to the other.
Bishop Putney said inter-religious dialogue was not something Australians were as familiar with, though meetings had started to take place.
Bishop Putney will repeat his lecture at the Chevalier Resource Centre, Kensington, Sydney, at 7.30pm on May 18.