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reminds us of the changing nature of the Catholic Church in Australia

By: 'Kairos Catholic Journal' - 27th of May 2008

The release of this volume reminds us of the changing nature of the Catholic Church in Australia. Not only are Catholic organisations now primarily staffed by lay persons, they are also being led by them. Such people generally have not had the lengthy nurturing in Catholic ethos that the clergy and religious who preceded them had, making these resources invaluable for those working in Catholic organisations.


‘Identity and Mission in Catholic Agencies’ has its origins in a colloquium held in Melbourne last year on the theme of identity and mission in Church-based organisations. Organised by the Australian Catholic University along with the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Catholic Religious Australia, the Catholic Institute of Sydney, Catholic Social Services Australia and the National Catholic Education Commission, it had participation from the full range of Catholic sectors: health, education and welfare.


The volume presents keynote addresses and papers given at workshops and will be an excellent source for personal and group reflection for those engaged in Catholic organisations.


The Bishop of Townsville, Michael Putney, is a theologian and a leader in interfaith dialogues. He reviews the growing literature on Catholic identity and holds that we come to understand that identity not simply through an internal discussion, but in dialogue with other Christians, faiths and secular culture.


Executive director of Catholic Social Services Australia, Frank Quinlan, identifies the common challenges faced in the health, education and welfare sectors related to maintaining and developing Catholic mission and identity. Fr Mark Raper SJ, provincial of the Australian Jesuits and president of Catholic Religious Australia, examines issues religious congregations face as their numbers have declined but as they wish to see their work continue in new ways.


The volume editor, Professor Neil Ormerod, considers the ‘vast implications’ of Pope Benedict XVI’s first Encyclical, ‘Deus Caritas Est’, while Fr David Ransom proposes four characteristics essential to Catholic identity.


– Adapted from Kevin Mark, Review of Identity and Mission in Catholic Agencies’ by Neil Ormerod, ed. in ‘Kairos Catholic Journal’ vol. 19, no. 8, 18 May 2008


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