The Report commissioned by Catholics for Ministry, funded by Women and the Australian Church, and compiled by Peter J Wilkinson and published today is one of the most comprehensive assessments of the looming not just crisis, but disaster, the Catholic Church is facing across the island continent of Australia in delivering the core sacraments and pastoral care to the continually increasing Catholic population of the nation. The harsh reality facing many Catholics alive in Australia right now is that when they die in the next 10, 20 or 30 years time, their families will simply not be able to find a priest to provide them with the last rites. There will not be enough priests available across large parts of the continent, or they will be so stretched providing the last rites or pastoral care to others, that the families will have to 'make do' with the services provided inhouse by funeral directors or they will increasingly have to rely on government licensed funeral and marriage celebrants. Regular participation in the other core sacraments, including the Eucharist, particularly in the remote and regional dioceses will become a rarer and rarer event.
Although the study was completed for the Australian Church, the information can be applied to the American Church. It is interesting that one of the sponsors of the study was Women and the Australian Church, but in the reported test, there is no mention of women and the priesthood. My question is: Has the time passed already to think about "saving" any vestige of the hierarchy as it exists?
The editors make an interesting comment when they say a small group of Bishops need to band together and upset the applecart publicly., forcing the institution into change. Privately this has already happened with the ordination of women on the Danube River in 2002.
I find interesting tidbits here and there. One group of priests in Bellevue, Il spoke out in public asking the bishop to release funds for victims of sexual abuse rather than carry out more litigation.....They need to be given more media attention in Catholic circles.
Belleville Priests Condemn Bishop's Action Thursday, February 24, 2011 at 15:51 http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700112979/Priest-group-wants-diocese-to-pay-up-in-abuse-case.html?s_cid=rss-5
Full test of the Willkinson Report
Diane Dougherty http://www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org/