I might have mentioned before I was brought up Catholic. Even though I definitely don’t regard myself as one anymore, I still keep an eye on what goes on within the ranks. So I’ve been quite interested in reading about what’s going on in St Mary’s and Toowoomba in Queensland.
If you’re not up to speed – one priest, Father Peter Kennedy has been sacked for being a little unorthodox. He blessed some same-sex couples and put a Buddhist statue on the altar. Neither Fr Kennedy not his congregation are giving in. Close by, Bishop William Morris is starting to get similar attention for his views that the Church needs to ordain people other than men as priests.
Support for either man within the Catholic community, at least according to the message boards, is not too strong. I’ve been tempted to get into the discussions, but I’ll probably stay out of it for the moment.
I’m in two minds about the whole thing. This are pivotal issues for the Church. They could get with the program and embrace common sense, human rights, etc and change direction slightly. This would reinvigorate the Church and give it a new lease on life. Or they could keep their heads in the sand, lose these two priests and all the people who see them as the way forward for the Church. Catholicism has changed (albeit slowly) in the last two thousand years, so why shouldn’t it change now?
In general, the numbers of both Catholic priests and faithful are steadily decreasing. The hardcore would say this is because the world is slipping further into sin. The intelligent will point out that the Catholic Church is way behind the times. Last year’s World Youth Day wasn’t a celebration of Catholicism, it was a recruiting drive.
What I can’t work out is whether or not I want the Catholic Church to change. It would be exciting for the Church to broaden its horizons and move into the real world. Evangelical Christian groups like Hillsong are leaving them for dead. The sentimentalist in me opts for this, and wants me to get involved in the debate. The sadist in me wants Rome and the Church to get even more conservative and irrational, so that they continue their slide into oblivion. Sorry, Heaven.