The Canberra Times has this
Hard times: troubled bishop writes to Pope
BY GRAHAM DOWNIE, RELIGION REPORTER
08 Mar, 2011 08:12 AM
The parlous ["parlous"? This is somewhat obsolete version of "perilous".] state of the Catholic Church in Australia led Auxiliary [!] Bishop of Canberra Pat Power [the old gent in the powder-puff blue jumper, above] to write formally [Is there any other way?] to the Pope in November.
No reply has been received and Bishop Power is considering early retirement.
He said yesterday he was disappointed rather than disillusioned with the Church.
The second Vatican Council had given great hope and some wonderful things had happened, he said.
”But in other ways we have retreated into fairly narrow positions. [?] I just think it is a shame the potential we had to be a source of inspiration within the whole community has been diminished.” [Has there been nothing in Australia which contributed to that over the last few years? Or is that Rome's fault too?]
Bishop Power had been prompted to write to the Pope, particularly over the parlous ["parlous" again! It wasn't a mistake the first time!] state of the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes, which has remained without a bishop since the resignation of Bishop Chris Toohey almost two years ago. [And Rome didn't appoint Bp. Power?]
The diocese, which covers more than half the area of NSW, has 20 parishes and only about 15 priests.
”I maintain that what is happening in Wilcannia-Forbes at the moment is going to progressively become the situation in other Australian dioceses,” Bishop Power said. [If they can't find a priest to promote to bishop in all this time... Hmmm...]
The Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn had kept the ship afloat to some extent, with overseas priests. But Bishop Power said he was deeply concerned about the health and morale of its priests. ”I am not saying the morale in the diocese is not good, but it is tested when priests are doing a whole lot more than really they should be asked [So! Retire early!] .. Part of my role is vicar for clergy. I am genuinely concerned for the health and well-being of our priests.”
Bishop Power will turn 70 next year. ”I am thinking seriously of retirement when I turn 70.” Bishops and priests normally retire at 75. [Wait a minute! There is a priest shortage but he is thinking about retiring five years earlier than his priests?] On whether he had expected a reply from the Pope to his letter, Bishop Power chuckled and said, ”Normally, when you write a letter, you expect a reply.”
But he took no personal insult that he had not yet received a reply. [The Pope might be busy. After all these are parlous times.]
The Canberra Times reported in December the archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn was in difficult financial straits and parish priests were being asked how they intended to rectify the position.
Bishop Power attributes in part the crisis in Australia to undermining of the Church by conservative Catholics reporting to Rome on more liberal developments.
Given the lack of reply to his letter to the Pope, Bishop Power said, ”They are amazingly well connected.” Their views were reflective of the extreme religious right prominent in the US.
Don’t worry, Your Grace, I am sure your formal letter to the Holy Father was forwarded to the Congregation for Bishops. Even now it rests on a desk in that Congregation’s office for auxiliaries located on sublevel 2 next to the steam pipe trunk distribution venue.
I want to give shout out to the Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, an outstanding group. These are the sort of priests who would willingly work long after 75 years of age and die, as priests, with their boots on.
I’ll leave the combox open here, though it be parlous to do so.
Don’t be nasty or I’ll suspend your posting ability.