I know this title will illicit many responses. What I want to make clear is that I respect Father Bob Maguire, I feel he has made a great contribution to Australian youth. It his faith and his convictions that have carried him through his life and inspired him in his work. His dedication to the Australian people and those who the Australian people welcome from afar is irrefutable. He is not a victim and I don't want to portray him that way. He clearly understands his place and the work he undertakes. This is my opinion, but I feel his work speaks for itself. Check out his website http://www.fatherbob.com.au/
What I mean to say by my title is that I wish to consider for discussion whether or not being an instituted member of the Catholic Church has ultimately hampered his capacity and his resources to help those that have been the object of his hard work for so many years. I base my concerns on how the hierarchy of the Catholic Church are so easily sweeping aside this beacon of Christian decency, faith and dedication and removing him from his technical responsibilities as Parish Priest simply because of his age – at least that's what the Papers are saying and it seems to be the official story.
Don't get me wrong, without the Catholic Church, Father Bob wouldn't be a Father Bob, it is his identity, it is the base of his life, his valuable life. It is entirely his personal choice what he does and he has done far better than so many in their long years. He is clearly capable of making good decisions. The support of his Parishioners and his Church HAVE probably contributed much to his resources over the years. But now the Church has made a decision for him which he clearly doesn't think is in the best interests of himself and his Parish. He even appeals to his supporters to take action on his behalf, to let the Church know precisely what its decision will mean for those living in the Melbourne area. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-11-04/new-document6/3626554
It is clear he is dedicated to the Church, it is admirable, as an atheist I certainly don't have that kind of conviction.
This is a clear division though, of 'people power' versus 'the institution'.
The institution, the Catholic Church. Is a male run, male dominated Monarchy. The instituted leaders of the Catholic Church (Bob being a member of that leadership) receives its authority from God as defined by the Bible and various doctrine instituted over the years of the Church's foundation. The Catechism being the dominant manuscript. These have resulted in the Church having mostly clear rules, mostly clear ideologies and has caused it to be effective in leading its lay members over a good thousand years or two. There may be more to say about precisely how effective it has been in preserving its message through its actions but that isn't the purpose of the discussion.
Then there is the lay majority. The families who compose parishes around the world, who embody Catholicism in their daily lives and are devout. In this men and women are said to be equal, (maybe) . It is demanded that in being devout that they identify with the Catholic Church's teachings, and follow them in the strictest practicable way. There are some who sensibly realise that some of these demands are too high, and choose to live equally good lives, but without the restrictive particulars. In all of the lay majority it is considered the first and dominant thing to be concerned with is that Jesus loves all unconditionally, and that he embodies what it is to be a perfect human being.
Logically and in my hypothetical situation; these two do not match. Thanks to our liberating experiences and our 'blessed' opportunity to be born into a democratic nation. We seem to think unconsciously that the power of the people should also extend to this Monarchy that is the Catholic Church. I simply don't see how someone who is devout should expect this. The Pope claims to have direct unquestionable power from God. UNQUESTIONABLE? That means that he knows best and you shouldn't question it. By extension, those who act in the Popes name, down the hierarchy all have that unquestionable power from the unquestionable resource. Shouldn't you simply agree?
How does this tie back to Father Bob and his situation right now? Its only my opinion, Father Bob may disagree with me. But I see him as a person of the People, for the People and in the name of God. What I see the Catholic Church as? For God, in the name of God, and in this system, all of his followers merely lambs, children and servants to his divine will as instituted by this Church. Might I go so far as to say slaves?
In this time where the Church would present these challenges to Father Bob, wouldn't it be simply more effective that he be free, under his own will in the name of God (as that is clearly his preference) to continue his good work? What I am suggesting I don't even expect Bob to entertain. It is heresy. Why? Because the Church defines this as clearly contradicting its will. A good servant should never contradict the will of the master. It is a non democratic system. Father Bobs situation is a clear demonstration that the Church is imperfect in it's capacity to serve those that dedicate their lives to it. I am not talking about one person now, I am talking about all of those people who Father Bob has engaged with and whose lives he has helped to improve.
Disclaimer: This is a BLOG post, I am clearly no expert, I haven't been vetted by any institution and I am only taking advantage of the liberties the internet allows in sharing my OPINIONS. You may agree or disagree. You may challenge what I say. I am happy to talk about it. I also reserve the right to avoid talking about it as I have the duty to myself to maintain my sanity.
I have signed this petition in support of Father Bob being reinstated in the position that the Church seeks to remove him from. I encourage everyone to sign in principle to support a man who is clearly a 'good thing' for the people of Melbourne and his Parishioners. http://www.change.org/petitions/reinstate-father-bob-maguire-as-parish-priest-south-melbourne-savefatherbob
For this post I will be monitoring comments. Keep them civil please. Anonymity will also be suspended for a short time. Sorry to those who I can normally trust to preserve their sense of personal responsibility.