Renewed Vitality in some Churchs? Not the Sydney Catholic Church

The recent National Church Life survey shows (SMH) that the Pentecostal churches, which have grown 30 per cent in the past 10 years or so, were ranked highest by their own congregants on their ability to inspire, nurture faith and readiness to try innovations. Followers of the Salvation Army also reported high levels of satisfaction.

The Catholic Church ranked lowest on six of nine core qualities of church life, including calibre of leadership.The findings underline an internal report recently commissioned by the church’s bishops, which found Catholics had deserted the church because of perceived poor leadership and abuse scandals.

You can count me in among the dissatisfied Sydney Catholics. If religion was a company, I would have quit the Sydney Catholic Church much earlier. Each week, I often asked myself why do I come for mass? I’m not an atheist but I feel disfranchised by the words and action of the local Catholic Church. Where is the love? Where is the sense of care from the bishop to the flock he is entrusted? Instead I see a Church desperate to hold onto the congregation without making efforts to connect to the people or being relevant to their changing needs.

I see are heavy handedness response, demands or edicts declared by the clergy on the laity supported by hard explanation from the clergy with a mention of some biblical verse added. It’s not a relationship of Christian love, but unilateral decision imposed. An example, is the Charitable Works Fund appeal held a fortnight ago. The fund supports agency such as Centacare – Natural Family Planning. I cannot give my full support for this agency because I cannot reconcile the teaching of the Catholic Church with discouraging the use of condoms. Condoms prevents unwanted pregnancy and save lives.

Well, some may think that I could simply withheld fund to that appeal but such action would be at the expense of the parish church which I am not for. Each parish in the Archdiocese of the Sydney is given an appeal quota to fill, and if the amount collected is less than the quota, this needs to be made up out of other parish income. St Patrick Church’s quota (where I regularly attend mass) is $80,000 per year. That’s a lot of money to impose on the people and the Church income.

Maintaining my Christian Catholic faith is just too hard in Sydney. Would I leave the Christian Catholic faith? If this situation continues, I might take a temporary break from the Sydney Catholic Church.

Related link: St Vincent’s Redfern (ABC)

One thought on “Renewed Vitality in some Churchs? Not the Sydney Catholic Church

  1. The Lord Jesus never said that following Him was going to be easy. Instead, He told us that if we want to be his disciples, we have to take up our cross daily and follow him.

    There is no doubt that the moral teaching of the Catholic Church, established and still guided by the Lord Jesus, is difficult especially its teaching on love, marriage and sexuality. This teaching prevents unwanted pregnancies and saves lives. Practicing Catholics don’t have sex outside of marriage; if they are informed by attending a course on Natural Family Planning, they know when they are fertile and, with the help of God, can abstain during the fertile time when they think it is necessary to avoid pregnancy.

    Catholic teaching calls men and women to sexual honesty. In God’s plan, sexual intercourse is exclusively a marriage act. Within marriage, the marriage act ought to be a true marriage act, one that renews , at least implicitly, their marriage covenant to take each other for better and for worse. Contraceptive behaviors say “I take you for better but definitely NOT for the imagined ‘worse’ of possible pregnancy.” That’s why marital contraception is intrinsically dishonest.

    You can read lots more about this in my book below my signature. By the way, I am a married layman, and most of the effort to uphold the teaching of Humanae Vitae in the States has been done by the laity.

    Let me also recommend that you read “Understanding Humanae Vitae” and “Not Just for Catholics” in the “And More” section of our home page. You may be interested to know that one of the most famous American converts, Scott Hahn, started on his way to the Church by first accepting Catholic teaching on birth control while he and his wife were still Protestants. Just in the last few weeks, Francis Beckwith, a leading Evangelical entered the Church despite the loss of a prestigious position that it cost him. There has been such a steady flow of truth-seeking Protestand ministers into the Church that an organization was founded by some of them to help others on the way (Coming Home Network).

    In this time of preparation for the feast of Pentecost, may the Holy Spirit lead you to the fullness of the truth.

    John F. Kippley
    “Sex and the Marriage Covenant: A Basis for Morality” (Ignatius, 2005)
    “Natural Family Planning: The Question Answer Book” a short, free, downloadable e-book available at
    http://www.NFPandmore.org

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