Flat White

Is the Catholic Church going Woke?

2 June 2022

1:00 PM

2 June 2022

1:00 PM

Double Shot Editor Terry Barnes wrote on Tuesday there was an article just waiting for me to write on a report recommending that the Mass commence with an acknowledgement of country. Well, here it is…

Given this report was prepared as part of the Catholic Church’s Plenary Council process, I refer Spectator Australia readers to my piece on this subject last year. The Plenary Council is part of the Church’s XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which I have also written about in these pages. 

Therefore, it is best to deal with Plenary Council issue from an overall perspective, rather than focus on specific aspects.

As I wrote last year, the Plenary Council is looking for ways to continue on its Woke journey to find new methods to placate the mob, even though this insistence on modernising has led to dwindling congregations – except in parishes and orders that are faithful to tradition, doctrine, and the Church’s Magisterium.

The Plenary Council is ostensibly a democratic affair, with a few hundred members from around Australia coming together in July for the second assembly to vote on matters of importance to the life of the Church. But ask anyone, from Latin Mass traditionalists to Woke Jesuits, and they will tell you how frustrated they are that the real work has gone on behind closed doors since the first assembly late last year. The main drivers of the Plenary Council process are Elissa Roper (who wrote the report the subject of this article in the Australian) and Bishop Shane Mackinlay.

Roper describes herself as a ‘parish theologian’ and has much to say about the role of the laity in the Church, which is to say, the laity should be running it. She once tweeted anger at having to get the parish priest’s permission to make a ‘minor announcement’ at Mass. How impertinent of the priest to insist on the Mass, the summit of the Church’s life, being as reverent as possible and not a free-for-all circus! She added that ‘lay people are bullied’ and their gifts ‘outright rejected’.


On her ‘On with the Synod’ webpage, Roper wrote that, ‘Synodality is a foundation for understanding the nature and mission of the Church.’

I must be crazy for thinking, for all these years, that the mission of the Church was to, ‘Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the time.’ (St Matthew 28: 19-20).

On her website Roper also asks the question: ‘Consider some of the doctrine with which you struggle. How would you grapple with this doctrine while perceiving the Church as a stronghold against the perils of modern culture?’

I think you will by now be getting my drift. Elissa Roper sees the Plenary Council and Synod process as the vehicle by which to cause destruction from within. As Adam Wesselinoff reported in the Catholic Weekly back in February, Roper has called for ‘synod and council members to work to weed out clericalism and identify those factors which diminish the power of their activity together’.

‘Let us celebrate and deepen our identity together, and let us identify and root out that which diminishes us, especially for and with those people whose voices are not respected,’ she said.

Ah, yes, identifying the ‘oppressed’ and shaming of the ‘oppressors’.

Shane Mackinlay is the Bishop of the Diocese of Sandhurst. On the website of the National Centre for Evangelisation, Mackinlay wrote about the Pope’s encyclical Fratelli tutti, commenting that:

‘Pope Francis offers profound and practical reflections on bringing healing and reconciliation in relationships that have been damaged by conflict and division […] Recognising this, Pope Francis insists that any reconciliation must always begin with acknowledging truth and a commitment to justice, especially in situations where future harm needs to be prevented.

‘In this context, one of the contributions that Pope Francis offers is to emphasise dialogue and encounter between people, in an environment when so much of our communication, especially online, is an impersonal exchange of opinions or a presentation of a photoshopped and misleading ideal. He reminds us that genuine dialogue always begins by wondering what I can learn from others, rather than by seeking ways to convince them to agree with me.’

I wonder if Papa Bergoglio’s shameful treatment of Cardinal Zen came into Mackinlay’s mind when he wrote his fawning piece?

As for the recommendation regarding the acknowledgement of country, I refer to the comments made by the newly-elected President of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe, regarding laws ‘abolishing’ the confessional seal. Archbishop Costelloe argued, rightly, that these laws were an exercise in virtue-signalling, while doing nothing to prevent the awful scourge of child abuse, and indeed politicising this terrible issue. An acknowledgement of country at the start of a Mass is virtue signalling in the same vein, doing nothing to end the scourge of indigenous disadvantage in this country.

A final thought. Elissa Roper and Bishop Mackinlay, since they are so intent on ‘listening and discerning’ might want to go and talk to Warren Mundine. At the recent Samuel Griffith Society conference in Sydney he told the audience that around 56 per cent of indigenous Australians are Christians, and they begin their meetings with… a prayer, not an acknowledgement of country. Go figure!

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Curtin University.

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