Mons Tony Doherty is “quite chuffed” to be made a Member of the Order of Australia, but believes “modesty is the key” to helping heal a bruised Church.
“I’m very conscious of the fact that we’re living in a very bruised Church at the moment, and I think that has to be the starting point for any thinking about who we are,” said the parish priest of Rose Bay-Dover Heights who was recognised for service to the Catholic Church through adult faith education and pastoral care, and to his parish.
“It is the opposite thing that is occupying my mind at the moment, and that is that we’re wounded.
“We should be putting more effort into being more honest and more transparent and more just in the way that we go ahead with our ministry.
“The general population needs to see us as being very conscious of what’s happened.”
This is the mindset with which he is trying to approach his own ministry, said Mons Doherty, who will celebrate 50 years of priesthood on 20 July next year.
“I think I became a priest not to go overseas to talk to people who haven’t got the Gospel … I think I became a priest to try to make sense of my faith to my close group of colleagues, all Catholic, who weren’t excited by the Gospel message.
“It was that group of people that I wanted to explain my faith and the Gospel to, and that’s been with me for longer than 50 years ... in adult education – I was there for 17 years, from 1977 to 1994 – and I did a lot of writing then and a lot of small group work.”
Honoured priest looks at healing ‘bruised Church’ (Catholic Weekly)