Leon J. Podles :: DIALOGUE

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The Cons of Decentralization

November 29th, 2013 · 4 Comments

Pope Francis has called for a decentralization of the Church. But that is no cure for many of its problems, especially of serious ones like sexual abuse. The Anglican Church as a decentralized structure which makes it difficult to act, at least according to Archbishop Aspinall, the Anglican Primate of Australia.

Like Catholic Cardinal, George Pell, Primate Aspinall is keen to remind anyone who will listen, that he is not like a CEO of his church, in that he has no power over his apparent underlings. Aspinall has so little power, that he has called on the commission to recommend that the government pass laws to force his church to be more humane towards its victims, through a national compensation system.

“I think, in terms of the Anglican Church, it would be much quicker and simpler for us if that were imposed on us from outside. And then dioceses wouldn’t fall into the trap that Grafton did in terms of focusing on financial matters to the detriment of victims. They would simply be given a determination by a statutory body and required to find the money,” Aspinall said.

He felt that it would be essentially impossible for the Anglican Church to set up such a fund, because it would require agreement from all 23 dioceses. Agreement was unlikely, because, as he poetically put it, “Anglican politics makes federal politics look like kindergarten.” Members of the Church would “take a dim view” of having to sell property to raise cash for victim compensation and assistance.

Anglicans, with a married clergy and female bishop, can be as hard-hearted as Catholic celibate males. The clergy of both churches also same attitude to money: it is the lifeblood of the church.

Tags: Anglicans · Australia · clergy sex abuse scandal

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Joseph D'Hippolito // Nov 29, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    I remember JPII’s defenders saying that he wasn’t like a CEO, either, when the Catholic clerical sex-abuse crisis broke at the turn of this century. Well, if bishops have “no power over their apparent underlings,” then what good is a hierarchical leadership system that depends so much on bureaucracy?

    This is nothing but passing the buck, whether it’s done by JPII’s defenders (et tu, Mark Shea?) or Arsebishop Aspinall.

    Moreover, for Aspinall to suggest that the Australian government compel the church to submit to a national compensation system not only is the height of moral cowardice. It’s also dangerous. It effectively puts the church at the mercy of the state — and the state likes nothing better than increased power at the expense of private individuals or institutions.

    Good God, how do people like Aspinall get church leadership positions, anyway?

    Then again, this is just another example of the end-times apostasy that the authors of the epistles’ prophesied.

  • 2 Mary // Nov 29, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    Agreed wholeheartedly!

    In the end of his recently self published book ,Fr Despard of Scotland, reiterates the same conclusion concerning the great apostasy of the end times.

  • 3 IllinoisCatholic // Nov 30, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    The dying progressive wing in the Church wants more collegiality because progressives are still powerful in the local Church bureaucracies. The Dutch Church is the perfect example of “collegiality.” The Church there imploded rapidly in the 1960s. Once progressives get control of a national hierarchy, they quickly obliterate the teachings of the Church. Also, I’m sure many conservatives don’t want any interference from Rome. For example, Rome slowed down the American bishops’ mass closings of American parishes.

  • 4 Janice Fox // Dec 4, 2013 at 6:32 am

    FWIW, Methodist bishops have more power than Anglican bishops. I do not know how this affects money in the Methodist denomination.

    Many people have endowed churches in their wills; but, churches never seem to have enough money. A decentralized church is open to take over by any organized group of people who want to spend church monies on their own agendas. If you donate more money than is needed to run the local parish, you will never know into whose pocket it will finally reside.

    Fr. Despard must have known that whistleblowers are quickly defunded. I hope he makes enough money on his book to support himself.

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