I HAVE been following the current disagreement between Archbishop Bathersby and Fr Kennedy of St Mary’s, South Brisbane in regard to the latter’s use of self-chosen words instead of the Church’s sanctioned ‘Father, Son and Holy Spirit’.
In 1947, as a baby, I was baptised a Methodist, raised as a Methodist/Presbyterian and eventually married as an Anglican. This marriage collapsed in the late 1970s.
Even though I had no strong allegiance to a particular faith, I have always sought to live my life as a Christian.
However, in the early 1970s, I began to question my personal faith, especially as the Church of England seemed to be constantly making compromises to suit contemporary lobby groups, eg women priests, homosexual groups and bishops who stated that the Resurrection never happened.
As a serving soldier (regular army 1966-86, Vietnam 1967-68), I began talking to army Catholic priests, two in particular, Fr Gerry Cudmore (recently deceased) and Fr John ‘Tink’ Tinkler (currently in Moama, NSW).
I found the Catholic faith to be uncompromising in it teachings and demanding in its requirements. I immediately felt that this was what I was searching for.
However, it was about this time that the improper conduct of some priests and some in the Catholic Church’s cover-ups became public knowledge and it was solely for this reason that I did not take the final step to fully commit to the Catholic Church, although I continued to identify with the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Thankfully, as I have recently discovered, the Church now has definite protocols to deal with such matters.
In the mid-1990s, I became romantically involved with the widow of an old army mate (much to both our surprise). I had known the family since the early 1970s.
Julie has always been, and remains, a staunch Catholic. In 2000, we married in a civil ceremony (my being a divorced Anglican did not permit me to marry Julie in the Catholic Church) but immediately went to Mass where the priest blessed our union and our wedding rings.
Since becoming a couple almost 10 years ago, I have been a semi-regular visitor to Mass with Julie, but not, of course, participating in the Eucharist.
In September 2003, through St Peter’s Catholic Church, Cabooolture, I began the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) program which culminated on Holy Saturday 2004 with my being baptised and confirmed in the Catholic Church.
My life’s journey was now at another beginning, that of being a regular church attendee, that of being a Catholic, one who accepts the Church’s teachings and pronouncements, but, if I have any disagreement or question, am able to seek clarification, advice, change, etc through the hierarchical system of my local priest, the archbishop, the cardinal and finally the Vatican.
The disagreement between Archbishop Bathersby and Fr Kennedy should, in my humble opinion, be a non-event.
Priests are initially taught at a theological college, culminating with further teachings at the Vatican. Surely any potential priest would have raised any concerns with the teachings at either of these places.
The Church’s teachings require priests to follow certain requirements.
If they cannot abide by these teachings, those priests should either put their case in writing to a higher authority for consideration and determination or follow their conscience and resign from the Church.
The teachings are the central core of the Church and members of the congregation require unity, constancy, leadership from those appointed and change, if necessary, only after long consultation between the congregation and the Church, not change arbitrarily imposed.
There are those who say that they are already doing God’s work among society’s marginalised, and I am sure that we all appreciate such fine work.
But surely, if one is to be part of the Church, should they not first be in communion with the Church and its teachings?
The Catholic Leader is an Australian award-winning Catholic newspaper that has been published by the Archdiocese of Brisbane since 1929. Our journalism seeks to provide a full, accurate and balanced Catholic perspective of local, national and international news while upholding the dignity of the human person.
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