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By Chris McGillion, Geraldine Doogue

Why Catholicism in Australia has didn't hold its relevance regardless of common proof of a starvation for that means, values and a renewed experience of group.

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Finally, the letter urged the bishops to ‘broaden the dialogue of faith’ by including clergy and laity and suggested that, in the light of the Statement, this might be a good time to convene a synod of Australian Catholics. Lay Catholics were confused and divided by what they read in the Statement, not least because it seemed diametrically opposed to so much of what had been expressed by their bishops about the concerns and frustrations of the faithful at the Synod for Oceania. Many people saw the document as an extremely blinkered view of the reality facing the Church.

The matter, however, was raised again before the 1996 Wood Royal Commission into Police Corruption in New South Wales. QXD 16/6/03 11:44 AM Page 25 VISIONS, REVISIONS AND SCANDAL: A CHURCH IN CRISIS taken so long to bring Evans and Comensoli to account and whether questionable connections involving the police may have played a part in protecting the two by covering up the complaints against them. What the commission found was less a dereliction of duty on the part of police than one on the part of the Church.

On 4 May 1993, Parramatta’s Bishop Bede Heather wrote a circular letter to all members of the Society of St Gerard Majella, a small religious teaching order of priests and brothers based in the parish of Greystanes in western Sydney. ’ What he said was that in ‘view of written and signed information that has come to me from members and former members of your Society, and after taking canonical advice, I have decided to institute a Special Enquiry into the Society’. Among the issues to be addressed were ‘the observance of the discipline of religious life in the Society’ and ‘the sexual impropriety which is alleged to have taken place’ within it.

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