The Church in Melbourne is experiencing its “darkest days” and is standing on “broken ground” in the wake of the sex abuse scandal, Melbourne Archbishop Peter A Comensoli has said. Source: The Weekend Australian.
Archbishop Comensoli called for a new way for the Church, suggesting the legacy of St Patrick could be a model upon which the Archdiocese of Melbourne could rebuild.
In a speech on Friday, he called on the Catholic faithful to embrace a future that moved away from the church’s institutional centre and relocated it among “our local neighbourhoods of grace”.
Archbishop Comensoli said the Catholic presence in Melbourne had been great, presenting as a force for political good, underpinned by the foundations of St Patrick, who was the second bishop of Ireland, arriving in that country in 432AD.
He did not specifically mention the jailing of Cardinal George Pell but made clear that the Church was reeling after the events of last week, urging a new way ahead for the faith. “I cannot deny that I also stand here tonight amid the darkest days of our proud history in this city,” he said.
“An earthquake has occurred and the landscape has shifted permanently. What has been a source of pride and comfort, built by our forebears, no longer captures people’s minds and hearts, and leaves our children indifferent. At this time of deep crisis and humiliation, might it not be time to let go of the past and begin anew?”
Archbishop Comensoli drew on the experiences of parishes outside of the Melbourne CBD that are flourishing, with sometimes thousands of people attending each week.
“This is the proposal I want to put to you tonight, wounded but proud, shaken but determined,” he said. “That the future of the Christian faith in our city lies in letting go of the old landscape of a Catholic Melbourne and instead re-beginning the work of Patrick, replanting our city with the seeds of the Gospel, rediscovering a knowledge, language and pedagogy that can transform lives.
“It is a proposal to make the move away from the institutional centre and relocate ourselves among our local neighbourhoods of grace."
These are ‘the darkest days’ for the Catholic Church (The Weekend Australian)