To: Petition Signatories and all interested
From: The Petition Coordinators, Paul Collins and Frank Purcell
A number of people in Melbourne who signed the petition have urged us to hold a Public Forum just before the Bishops gather for their Conference. We have agreed to this and this letter is to draw your attention to it.
Working for a Renewed Priestly Ministry
Sponsored by Catholics for Ministry and Catalyst for Renewal
Thursday 22nd November at 8.00 pm
The Camberwell Centre
340 Camberwell Rd, 3124
Parking: Enter via Inglesby Street.
Our petition has received over 10,900 signatures with more still coming in. The majority of the signatures have been gathered at Masses throughout Australia. It shows extraordinary levels of support for the petition among regular church-goers.
The purpose of the Forum is four-fold:
- to demonstrate the support in Victoria for the Bishops:
- taking some new initiatives to tackle the crisis in ministry;
- taking effective steps to give women a real role in the leadership of the Church
- to give Victorian Catholics an opportunity to offer suggestions on possible ways in which the Bishops could do this.
We hope you and members of your networks can be there.
Frank Purcell & Paul Collins
44 Wilmot Rd
— The Petition Wording —
An appeal to the Australian Catholic Bishops to ordain priests for our parishes
To the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference
We, the undersigned Australian Catholics, wish to express our support for our bishops who are preparing the Australian Catholic Church for new forms of ministry and leadership. We request the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference to place the following items on the agenda for their plenary meeting in November this year, 2007.
We ask that the Bishops:
- Acknowledge that there is a major crisis in ministry within the Australian Catholic Church.
- Acknowledge that there is no doctrinal or theological barrier to the ordination of married men. The Australian Church has already ordained married former Anglican priests.
- Take practical steps toward ordaining suitably qualified married men.
- Encourage a wide-ranging discussion of the role of women in ministry and in the authority structures of the Church, including the question of womens ordination.
- Establish appropriate scriptural, theological and pastoral training programs (campus, distance and online) to prepare suitable women and men for ministry. These candidates should have the recommendation of their parishes and communities, and should participate in mentored pastoral work.
- Invite priests who have left the ministry to return to active priesthood, subject to negotiation with the local bishop.
We do this because of our growing concern that three serious issues are putting the future of the Catholic Church in Australia at risk:
- The increasingly acute shortage of suitable priests to maintain our Mass-centred, Eucharistic spirituality and the celebration of the other sacraments;
- The increasing drift of young people from the Church because of the difficulties we face in our ministry to them;
- The lack of full leadership roles for women.
(Anyone signing this petition who would be willing to seek written signatures from people without email, please contact the authors at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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