THE Pope’s long-awaited apostolic exhortation following the 1998 Oceania Synod has touched on many of the issues that have concerned Australian Catholics for some time.
It is both positive and realistic in its assessment of the Church in Oceania.
In some ways, it contrasts with the summary document that was released at the end of the synod in December 1998.
The 1998 document identified ‘a crisis in faith’ in Australia and painted a less than rosy picture of the Australian Church in a number of areas.
The Pope’s apology to indigenous people and the victims of sexual abuse in the Church is welcomed and should be seen as a reinforcement of the Australian Church’s already initiated efforts to right the wrongs of the past.