Rise up with new evangelical vigour

Catholics evangelical vigour

An Australian archbishop is calling on catholics “to rise up with new evangelical vigour”.

He made the call in a commentary on a plenary council preparatory document.

Archbishop Julian Porteous of Hobart (pictured) said Catholicism in Australia faces crises such as a loss of faith and declining religious practice. The plenary council working document shows “serious failures” that suggest a lack of confidence and “evangelical vigour”.

Porteous commented, “I sense a church that has lost confidence in itself; a church that has lost confidence in its identity and mission.”

The document’s doctrinal contradictions and general tone, he said, can encourage Catholics to shrink from their “prophetic task” and become caught in a “spiritual paralysis”.

“This is the time for the Church to rise up with new evangelical vigour. This is the time to turn all our attention to announcing a word of life and hope,” Archbishop Porteous said.

“The sharp edge of the call to conversion and faith is lacking in the document. In the face of the rise of those who declare that they have no faith, it is necessary more than ever to issue the call to faith,” said Porteous.

“The Church in Australia is in the midst of an existential crisis as it witnesses thousands abandoning participation in the sacramental life of the Church each year,” he added.

“The Church is in serious decline, yet no real recognition of this reality is given in the document. Because the crisis of faith is not acknowledged, the document makes no effort to propose a way forward for the Church,” he said.

Porteous wrote his comments in response to the working document “Towards the Second Assembly,” produced as the Catholic Church in Australia is amid its Fifth Plenary Council.

For Porteous, Catholics need to take the path of “entering more deeply into the mystery of the Church to unleash the power of the life of grace”.

He called for the Catholic Church to be prepared “to be a prophetic voice speaking truth with love within the culture, to challenge the prevailing ethos.”

“Have we become afraid to speak out about what we believe?” he asked. “If we shrink from our prophetic task, we will become caught in a spiritual paralysis.”


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