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The dissent at St Mary's in South Brisbane, according to Christopher Pearson in The Australian, is because the local hierarchy has been 'scandalously remiss'.
Two major areas would fit this description in Brisbane: the formation of teachers for Catholic RE, and the formation of seminarians.
Eamonn Keane's A Generation Betrayed castigates the destructive influence of Thomas Groome's theory and praxis on catechesis and on the formation of teachers and cites the disturbing results of Professor McLaughlin's survey of the beliefs, values and practices of student teachers at the Australian Catholic University (ACU).
The Catholic Leader (8 February 2009) informs us that 'the ACU is now the primary higher education body for teaching theology for the Catholic Church in Queensland', and that the 'new rector of the Holy Spirit Seminary Monsignor Tony Randazzo also hailed the change for allowing 'cross-pollination of ideas' between the seminarians and the broader public ... studies would be carried out in the framework of the good strong Catholic tradition that is offered by ACU.'
It is high time that both the hierarchy and Msgr Randazzo face the reality of the confusion and dissent promoted within some departments of the ACU, for example in Dr Ian Elmer's public challenge to Catholic teaching on the priesthood (23 November 2008) see www.catholica.com.au/forum/forum_entry.php?id=19276
According to Dr Elmer, 'If we can change our view of slavery in the light of changed moral sensibilities, then we can change our policy on ordaining women for the same reasons.'
Dr Elmer also believes, 'Both hierarchy and laity are seen as 'witnesses' whose combined efforts, thoughts, study and reflection lead to the sensus fidei' and that the Pope's authority 'can only derive from the whole community.'
If this is typical of what our seminarians and teachers are being taught it is no wonder there is a crisis of faith in Christ's Church here.
PETER D. HOWARD
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 22 No 3 (April 2009), p. 14
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