Toe the line... or hoof it

  (05 May 11)
  by Greg Spearritt

The Catholic Church is up to its old tricks. No quarter given: toe the official line or else. So Toowoomba’s Bishop Morris must give up his position, apparently for some very tame comments some years ago in which he urges parishioners to “reflect carefully” on options for increasing the pool of available priests, including allowing married and female clergy.  


We live in an era where many churches, including all the other ‘mainstream’ varieties, tolerate a good deal of progressive speculation from clergy regarding both doctrine and ecclesiology.


Perhaps this is the genius of the hard-line position held by the Vatican. In the marketplace, the Catholic brand is distinctive: it has come to be associated with authoritarian, black-and-white religion. It seems there is no shortage of takers.    


The saddest part of the Toowoomba saga is that Catholics, up to now, have been amongst the town’s most thoughtful and even progressive Christians. Their choices are stark: toe the line or hoof it. The possibility of change from within seems as far away as it ever was before Vatican II.




Update... According to the Toowoomba Chronicle, Bishop Morris will be hanging around, albeit as Bishop Emeritus. “They certainly can't get rid of me that quickly,” he's reported to have said.

Posted by Greg

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