John Lilburne's journal about a letter to The Australian from Father Peter Nicholls saying he is "fed up with decrees from Vatican offices".



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Letter by Father Peter Nicholls

Journal of 2 Feb 2002 about Chaplain Fleming's letter




1014 L Mon 4 Feb 2002

There is a letter in The Australian today from the Father Peter Nicholls in Tasmania. He concludes:

Those of us working, as Chaplain Fleming says, at the coalface, are fed up with decrees from Vatican offices that are so out of touch with where the believing and practising Catholics of this country stand, not only laity but clergy as well.

It is high time those who work in these offices began to listen to the ordinary people -- who are the Church.

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:

The growing cost of career suicide

There is a disturbing new trend of people trying to get the sack, reports Jennifer Verrall.

Not happy in the job? Can't stand your boss? Can't abide a team member who is working with you on an important project?

You can resign or, as one of Australia's largest recruitment agencies has discovered recently, you can initiate a campaign of uncooperative behaviour that you hope will lead your employer to sack you. ...

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.