Address to the staff of the ACBC General Secretariat – Part 3: Beyond the Clericalist Model

4 September 2019
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.


Most Reverend Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv DD STL, Bishop of Parramatta

Address to the staff of the ACBC General Secretariat, Canberra

“Working for the Church in the Time of Perceived Irrelavancy”

Canberra, 22 July 2019




It is becoming increasingly evident that sexual abuse crisis in the Church is a symptom of a broken system and a dysfunctional culture. The clericalist model of Church with its by-product of clerical hegemony has served us well beyond its use by date.

The Church as understood and articulated by the Second Vatican Council sees itself as a pilgrim People of God, incarnate in the world. It is a new paradigm – one that is based on partnership, collaboration, participation and empowerment as opposed to the old way of clerical control, and monopoly at worst, or lay subservience and passivity at best.

The time has come for us to implement decisively this participatory, inclusive and collaborative model in our ecclesial structures.

The Royal Commission recommends that the clerical governance structures be reviewed, drawing from the modes of governance already implemented in Catholic health, community services and education agencies.

We need to create a Church more humble, transparent and accountable to the faithful and the community at large. The time has come for the Church to be truly the Church of the baptised and together with the ordained, all the People of God can create a new culture of humility, accountability and service.

It seems to me that the Church cannot have a better future if it persists in the old paradigm of triumphalism, authoritarianism and male hegemony.

She will not be fully energised while the faithful are still unable to participate with full citizenship in its life, governance structures and decision making processes.

So long as we continue to exclude the laity, especially women from the Church’s governance structures, decision making processes and institutional functions, we deprive ourselves of richness of our full humanity.

Part 4 will be published tomorrow.

To read Part 2 of Bishop Vincent’s address, click here.


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