Sunday, September 18, 2005

Seeing Scarlet

It's Monday midmorning in Oz and I've already gotten several e.mails blaring this headline from the Sydney Morning Herald: "Clergy irate over Pell inquiry into college."

I was told the other day that this was coming -- it's just the tip of the iceberg of fury Down Under.

That said, away we go.....

An inquiry into Sydney's leading Catholic theological college has fuelled disquiet over the leadership style of the Sydney Archbishop, Cardinal George Pell, and the future of religious university education in Australia.

Sydney priest, Father John Crothers, has protested that clergy had been kept in the dark over a review of the future academic and financial viability of the Catholic Institute of Sydney whose prime job is to educate candidates for the priesthood.

Cardinal Pell, who is the institute's chancellor, has appointed a committee to consider the institute's "inability" to serve the church's seminarians, examine student numbers and tackle its growing operational deficits.

The review comes at a time when two conservative universities are preparing to open their doors in Sydney and the archdiocese has defended its multimillion dollar funding support for one of these, the Perth-based University of Notre Dame.

The inquiry is to examine the desirability and cost of educating lay students at the institute in view of options available elsewhere.

Basically, as has been outlined to me by several sources in Australia and elsewhere over the last several days, Pell sees the Catholic Institute of Sydney as out of accord with his ecclesiology, so he'll either have CIS shook up and remade in his own image or, alternatively, he'll strip it and make Notre Dame the George Pell Catholic Institute of Sydney and send the sems there, etc. The seminarians can already take classes at the new Notre Dame campus in Sydney and have them count for proper credit.

Either way, Pell wins.

As for NDA's future plans, one church-watcher says, "It will include a law and medicine school, which has the secularists and liberal Catholics in the media turning cartwheels...."

Throw into the mix some rumblings among the suffragan bishops of New South Wales, and you've got the makings of World War III. Cartwheels all around.

I've got my eye all over this one. Stay tuned.



Blogger Fungulo said...

The Sydney media and you seem to have pretty much all the details except one - the Library. Big George is dying to get his hands on it, to give it to his fellow 'reformers of the reform'. And the suffragan bishops of the Province of Sydney will (rightly) fight him. This will indeed be a battle royal, which will end up on the desk of the new pope - whose role will be fascinating to watch.

I'll wager now that Benedict will come down on the side of the bishops against Big George.

Imagine that - while in Sydney for WYD 2008, Benedict goes the few miles to one of the neighboring Sees to bless a new seminary, opened in opposition to Big George!

It's all too funny, but it will get VERY ugly before then.

Stay tuned indeed!

18/9/05 19:34  
Blogger patrick said...

Is Benedict a Pell-skeptic? I'm curious what you mean by that....

18/9/05 19:40  
Blogger Fungulo said...

It's interesting you should take it that way - I certainly did not mean it that way.

No, Benedict is his own man.

Being a wise man, he'd decide according to the merits of the cases, rather than the ideology, seniority, fame etc of the people representing each side.

And the fact is that (despite Big George's absolute power having corrupted him absolutely) the Library isn't Big George's to give away, and even if he starves the Institute (where the Library currently is) out of existence, it still won't be his to give away.

One cas disagree with people like Big George on issues, many or few, and still not be a 'Pell-skeptic' - even Benedict.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that one can disagree with Big George and still remain faithful to the Magisterium - but that's CERTAINLY not a view shared by Big George!

18/9/05 19:50  
Blogger R. Thornton said...

Iceberg of fury; it will get VERY ugly—is it impossible to imagine a serious, a strenuous disagreement and an ensuing contest of like character, but one characterized nevertheless by Christian charity and even affection, which the aforementioned expressions seem to exclude? I don't know the situation, but if ugliness and fury are on the horizon, perhaps we should pray for our brethren in Australia that the Lord will preserve them in love. I hope this does not come across as good-two-shoes piety.

18/9/05 20:11  
Blogger Fungulo said...

I don't know about where you are, but where I am, it's very possible to have 'fury' and 'ugly' and still do it with love.

Are all your disagreements sweet ones? Lucky you!

18/9/05 20:16  
Blogger R. Thornton said...

Dear Fungulo,

Not all my disagreements are sweet—unlike this one with you. Still, I think an agreement can be "non-sweet," i.e., great, severe, intense, deeply-felt,vigorous, etc., without descending into fury or ugliness or nastiness, all of which do seem to me to imply a lack of charity. I'm guessing this is more of a disagreement over semantics, perhaps?

Yours affec.,

R. Thornton

18/9/05 20:47  
Blogger Fungulo said...

Dunno. It's your disagreement, not mine . . .

. . . and when it's all said and done, no matter what kind of spin you put on it, when ANYONE disagrees with Big Geroge, it ain't pretty.

18/9/05 20:53  

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