…but we generally believe that, as prerequisite, those we consult must have some sort of experience, expertise, wisdom, authority or knowledge in the area on which they are advising. In relation to the nature, structure, dogma and mission of the Catholic Church, Barney ol’ boy, you have none of these. Mind you, I’m always prepared to listen to someone who has something original or helpful to say. But your advice (published in today’s edition of The Age under the title“Catholicism should lower the drawbridge”) was lacking even in this.
I mean, was it you or your editor who chose to put in the subheading “Some changes to church doctrines would make it more appealing”? Come on, Barney. You have been reporting on the changes to doctrine in the Anglican Church long enough. You know the stats. Do you have any proof that the more “go with the flow” approach of the Anglican or Uniting Church has proved “more appealing” to Australians than the doctrinal approach of the Catholic Church?
“Now it is time to try a touch of democracy.” What? Do you think that is how it works in the Church? We try this, and if it doesn’t work, we try that? That’s a little bit like me thinking “I will put LPG gas in my car today, because it’s cheaper.” Doesn’t matter if my car doesn’t run on LPG or doesn’t even have an LPG gas tank. It looks just the same as LPG run cars, so why not give it a go and see if it will work? The Church might look like any other human organisation, but it is completely different mechanically and it runs on different fuel.
You chose as your target World Youth Day. Heck, that’s to be expected. You can virtually smell the rising tide of sectarian anti-Catholicism in the Australian media as WYD approaches. But its about YOUTH, man! So how on earth do you justify rolling out (as on wheelchairs) the opinions of the the “three stooges” of geriatric Australian Catholic Dissent: Max Charlesworth, Paul Collins, Geoffrey Robinson? It’s World YOUTH Day, man! Not World OLD DISSENTERS BEYOND THEIR USE BY DATE Day!
Barney, you say that
In fact, of course, the church can and does change — both culturally and theologically — around the edges while maintaining its central message.”
You don’t quite get it. Yes, the Church changes, but when it does so it is NOT “responding to its environment”. It is responding to its essential mission and purpose which it has from Christ himself. In different contexts, the gospel must be preached in different ways in order to remain the same gospel. The impulse for change comes from within, not from without. It is the difference between a block of stone being shaped by a chisel chipping in from the outside, and a tree being shaped by growing and changing from the inside. If you can’t get this, you won’t get the Church.
Deary me, Barney. You are the head religion reporter for one of Australia’s leading daily newspapers. Take a look at yourself, man, and ask yourself if this un-original sap you dished up for our breakfast today is the best you can come up with.