Bishop’s must be conservative

“Bishops must be conservative”. Instead of being on the edge pushing boundaries (which would lead to even more conflict-ridden factionalism), the role of a bishop is to create a community that holds people together, that sets boundaries and is a source of unity.”

That’s what Patty Fawkner heard her pairsh priest say, and it left her pondering this word “conservative”. “Seeing myself politically left of centre and holding more liberal views within the Church, I can all too easily use “conservative” pejoratively and “ultra-conservative” as the ultimate putdown”

“What is the gift of being conservative?” she continues  “The etymology of the word conservative – ‘to keep safe altogether’ – points to the value of that gift. I begin to realise that within myself I am both conservative and liberal. Both are God-given human tendencies that can dynamically interact and co-exist in a healthy tension within me and within the Church. Both conservative and liberal have their strengths and their blind spots. Both can be entrenched equally in ideology, each taking the moral high ground convinced that God is on their side.”

Patty Fawkner is an adult educator, writer and facilitator. She is an Australian Good Samaritan Sister who is on the leadership team of her congregation.

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