The conundrum of Catholicism

  (02 March 13)
  by Greg Spearritt

There has been a lot of bad press lately for the Catholic Church. From badly-behaving archbishops and corrupt cardinals to criminal neglect and abuse to out and out paedophilia among clergy followed up by a callous insensitivity to victims of abuse, it’s a torrent of problems. In places the Church continues, nonetheless, to wield its power politically as though secular states should still be somehow beholden to its authority and accept its repressive nineteenth-century values.

On the other hand, many of the most enlightened, reasonable and tolerant religious voices I hear locally are Catholic ones (albeit mostly lay voices). Without the low-profile, consistent work of many Catholic social justice groups (there are examples all around Australia) this country would be a much less compassionate and civilised place.

A conundrum indeed, since any parish or bishop straying from official view or practice is quickly brought into line or shown the left foot of fellowship.

Will a new Pope make any difference?




I don't think what liberal Protestants have to say on this matter is of much interest to anyone inside the Catholic church. They see only the institutional church and judge it as if it were a big and not very efficiently run corporation. Everyday Catholics in the parishes know that the real nature of the Church is something quite different and the bond that holds them together is an organic( sacramental) one. Scandals come and go as long as flawed human beings run the organisational structure and will do so until the day of judgement when all will be consummated and only Caritas remains..

Posted by fred

scandals in the Church are not earth-shattering. There have always been scandals and always will be. It's just business as usual. The focus instead is getting on with the job, not naval-gazing. The new Pope will set things aright.

Posted by Thomas

I wonder if what liberal Catholics have to say on the matter will hold any interest for those inside the Church...

Posted by Greg

Hi. As a practicing Catholic I agree with the sentiments hear. Despite the scandals and the abuse there is much good in the Catholic Church. While the criticism Catholicism receives is in part due, and reform is needed in many areas it conveniently groups what is a smaller part of significantly larger whole all into one amorphous stereotype forgetting that not all clergy or religious are paedophiles something that is far from the truth. Objectivity is required.

Posted by Jeremy Fraser

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