John Lilburne's journal about a letter to The Australian from Father Peter Nicholls saying he is "fed up with decrees from Vatican offices".
1014 L Mon 4 Feb 2002
There is a letter in The Australian today from the Father Peter Nicholls in Tasmania. He concludes:
According to The Official Directory of the Catholic Church in Australia 2001, Father Peter Nicholls is the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Hobart, which covers all Tasmania. This makes him Archbishop Doyle's deputy or "second in command". According to Canon 477 the Vicar General can be freely appointed and freely removed by the Archbishop.
Such a critical letter, in a national newspaper, by a Vicar General indicates a high degree of division between the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Australian with the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.
So it seems that the "believing and practising Catholics" of Australia need to decide where they stand. With the Pope, or not? With the Vatican, or not? With the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or not? With the Code of Canon Law, or not? With the liturgical books, or not?
It should be that following one's priest and bishop is the same as following the Pope and the Vatican. But when a Vicar General writes that he is "fed up with decrees from Vatican offices" it is increasingly clear that there is a difference.
Catholics in Australia need to question who they have been believing and what they have been practising.
I have been trying to think of explanations for misbehaviour by priests. An article in The Age, on Saturday (in the My Career section) has me wondering:
Where Archbishop Doyle stands will be indicated by whether or not he sacks Father Peter Nicholls as his Vicar General.
Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 4 February 2002.