Friday, 25 October 2013

Confraternity of Catholic Clergy

The Bishop of Lismore, Australia, the Right Rev Geoffrey Jarrett 
offers Mass at the Oratory Church in Oxford.

The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy held its annual Colloquium in Oxford this week.  Bishop Jarrett was among the speakers.  Pictured below, he addressed us on "The Priest as Teacher: opportunities and challenges for the renewal of catechesis."  Those listening were particularly impressed to discover the strides made in improving the quality of Catholic education in his diocese of Lismore - and in Australia generally.  There seems to have been a thorough encouragement of good practice and a positive challenge taken up to do what all Catholic schools are called to: teaching and passing on the Catholic and Apostolic Faith, as he put it, particularly working on those areas where there has in the recent past been a lack of distinctively enthusiastic Catholic education. He champions the motto, "The parish altar is at the heart of every Catholic school."

Fr Francis Marsden, columnist and parish priest in the Archdiocese of Liverpool spoke on "The Priesthood under fire", reminding us that we could fire back in defence of the attacks on the priesthood from within and without the Church - using some of the principles of Just War Theory!

Fr Jerome Bertram of the Oratory addressed us on the Conversion of England and not becoming disheartened about the possibility of doing so.  After all, we have done it before!

Bishop Jarrett has attended the Colloquium each year and is particularly welcome as one of the leading lights of the Confraternity of Clergy in Australia, where it has great popularity among the priests.  It is something all priests in this country should consider joining.  We are a varied group but certainly characterised by looking to remain faithful to the Church's teaching.  It is not a lobbying group but a genuine attempt to create a supportive framework for priests (and deacons and bishops).  In these times when there are so many negative commentaries on the role of the priest and indeed attacks on the very nature of the Priesthood, it's good to have a positive experience and hear a positive message.

The beautiful Lady Chapel in the Oxford Oratory.

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