Church in crisis calls for reimagined future

Centre stage at the 2018 Marian Lecture in Melbourne (MelbourneCatholic)

The Church is being reborn in ways beyond the traditional structures, inviting us to reimagine the future and venture out into the unknown chaos that will bring new life, guests at the 2018 Marian Lecture heard recently. Source: MelbourneCatholic.

The 2018 Marian Lecture, "A New Generation of Church", was held at the Christ Lecture Theatre at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne.

The lecture is an annual event for the Australia-wide Marist Association of St Marcellin Champagnat, offering a point of encounter and dialogue with prophetic voices in the modern Church to explore what living as an authentic disciple of Christ, in the way of Mary, means in the 21st century.

Moderated by Marcelle Mogg, Group Director from St John of God Health Care, the speakers included Parramatta Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv, Dr Bernadette Tobin, Director of the Plunkett Centre for Ethics at the Australian Catholic University, and Professor Greg Craven, Vice-Chancellor and President of Australian Catholic University.

Bishop Long invoked the rich imagery of Pope Francis in envisaging a Church that is like a field hospital after battle, with the ability to heal wounds and warm hearts through compassionate accompaniment. He called for the Church to reject the trappings of power and privilege and to engage simply and directly with the poor at the grassroots.

“We are into a time of crisis,” he said. “But crisis allows us the precious opportunity to learn the power of vulnerable trust, to act more prophetically and to live more fully, more creatively, more boldly, more at the periphery.

“The church is being reborn in ways beyond the traditional structures. Like the river that has changed its course, we have a choice to make. It is not in yearning for or holding on the known and the familiar but in reimagining the future and venturing into the unknown chaos like the old exodus that we shall find new life.”

Dr Tobin called for those in health care to make their care of the sick an expression of God’s loving care for all, especially in vital and often challenging end of life care. Professor Craven said that Christians will ultimately be judged by their fruits, and that words must be matched with authentic and loving actions. He linked this especially to the compassionate treatment of LGBTI persons in the Church, as modelled by Pope Francis, and with the way Christians speak to and about each other.


2018 Marian Lecture: A New Generation of Church (Melbourne Catholic)

A New Generation of Church in the way of Mary: Bishop Vincent Long address  (Diocese of Parramatta)

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