[Opinion] Philippa Martyr: Barking up the wrong pulpit

The Catholic Weekly

July 5, 2020

By Dr Philippa Martyr

Francis Sullivan’s passion is undoubted. His grasp of the real issues facing the Church isn’t.

Francis Sullivan recently expressed concerns in the US National Catholic Reporter that fallout from the Pell case would derail the Plenary Council.

The Plenary Council has little authority to make changes

I suppose my first concern is that Francis believes the Plenary Council is important enough to make changes to the Church in Australia. Really it has very little authority, and its report has to go to Rome for final ratification. The suggestion that it could be derailed by an unrelated High Court decision seems over-dramatic.

Much more interesting is that it’s currently rumoured that the Plenary Council is costing the Church in Australia millions of dollars.

I’m surprised that Francis hasn’t demanded instead that the Plenary Council’s full financials be published and asked why this largely cosmetic exercise is absorbing money that could be used to compensate clergy abuse survivors.

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