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Around the Church

23 August 2020

What is religion worth to society?

While any measure of value of religion to society goes beyond dollars and cents, a recent study by the Archdiocese of Brisbane has provided a glimpse into just how much the Catholic Church contributes to the economy.

The study shows that the Brisbane Archdiocese’s parishes, schools and agencies contribute $2.5 billion to the Queensland economy in south-east Queensland alone.

‘In think even our own aren’t aware of how significant our contribution is and the extent of the work we do’, said Brisbane Archdiocese’s Director of Government Relations Cathy Uechtritz told The Catholic Leader.

The results will prove a valuable aid in discussions around the value of religious contributions to society and the government funding directed to Catholic services.

‘The Church has always done this work, it just hasn’t been very good at telling it as it humbly carries on going about the amazing work it does’, said Uechtritz.


Creating a safer Church

Catholic Professional Standards Limited has released the draft second edition of the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards, and has invited the community to provide their feedback.

The safeguarding standards are a response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Sexual Abuse, and highlight what needs to be done to create a nationally consistent culture of safety and care for children and adults.

The second edition expands the framework from the safeguarding of children to include requirements and practices for the protection of adults at risk.

> Members of the community have been invited to review the standards and offer their feedback by 28 August. The standards and review form can be found here:


More time to discern

One of the bonuses of the delay in the two Plenary Council assemblies is that Australians have more time to discern and engage in prayer ahead of these important gatherings.

There are new dates for the assemblies – October 2021 in Adelaide, and July 2022 in Sydney. Plenary Council facilitator Lana Turvey-Collins said the extra time offers the opportunity for individual and community discernment.

‘The recently-published discernment papers were finalised in the midst of the pandemic. They are a key step in the process of discernment and preparation for all of us. The time and space

between now and the first assembly, now in October 2021, enables deeper reflection, dialogue and consideration of how we’ve all been affected by recent global events.’


Focus needed on ‘human’ aspects of priesthood

Priestly formation should focus as much on relationships and formation around sexuality as it does on the intellectual, spiritual and pastoral aspects of priesthood, international child protection expert Fr Hans Zollner told Australian seminarians and formators in July.

Catholic Professional Standards Limited hosted an online Seminary Formation and Safeguarding Seminar, which included a keynote from Fr Zollner for seminarians and others involved in forming people for religious life. 

‘My own experience tells me that we really focus much in formation on questions of faith and theology – and this is certainly one key area – but we focus much less on relational, emotional and other issues that also need to be addressed’, said Fr Zollner.

He asked formators to consider how many priests leave the priesthood because of crises of faith or theology-related issues, as compared to those who leave because of issues around human relationships and sexuality.

‘I’m a university professor, so I have nothing against intellectual formation. But when we look into the real needs and the real challenges that priests live up to, my question is whether pastoral, spiritual and the human formation needs much more attention given to them.’


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