It has been twelve months since Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, shared his thoughts for envisioning the roadmap for the future of the Catholic Church in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains at a Diocesan Forum. This forum brought together key leadership and local representatives from parishes, schools, ministries and agencies.
Twelve months on, it is an opportunity to revisit Bishop Vincent’s address. How do his words reflect our own personal and communal journey? Moving forward, how may the Holy Spirit be calling us to Go Out Into the Deep?
Catholic Outlook will be republishing Bishop Vincent’s address to the Diocesan Forum over the coming days.
To read the full address, click here.
Most Reverend Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv DD STL, Bishop of Parramatta
Address to the Diocesan Forum 2019, Parramatta
“Envisioning the Church in Western Sydney for the New Millennium”
13 July 2019
PART 2: BRINGING ABOUT CULTURAL CHANGE
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 diocesan and parish 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. 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 the richness of our full humanity.
Part 3 will be published tomorrow.
To read Part 1 of Bishop Vincent’s address, click here.