May 09, 2006

Paul Collins: George Pell does not speak for Catholicism as a whole

The Australian

May 10, 2006
CATHOLICS who know how the church is organised in Australia are driven mad by the media presumption that George Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney, is the official spokesman for Australian Catholicism. He's not. If it's anyone, it's the president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. Pell represents no one but himself and the archdiocese of Sydney.

The media, of course, love him because he takes a boots-and-all approach to issues, especially controversial ones. This is a deliberate decision. Some time back he said: "Catholics need a style a mite more confrontational and certainly less conciliatory to secular values. The cross is a sign of contradiction." ...

He certainly doesn't have the numbers in the bishops' conference. The president is elected directly by the bishops by secret ballot, and Philip Wilson, the Archbishop of Adelaide, was elected last Friday.

Wilson, one of the younger bishops at 55, was ordained a priest for the diocese of Maitland-Newcastle and was previously bishop of Wollongong. He inherited a difficult situation in Wollongong when he was appointed in 1996, with a neglected diocese, sexual abuse cases and the activities and so-called apparitions of the Little Pebble, William Kamm.

Posted by kshaw at May 9, 2006 02:07 PM