Pastor’s Corner for the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, by Fr. Bruce Botha SJ


The final report on the diocesan phase of the Synod on Synodality has been published. I am sending you a copy of the report in the hopes that you will read the record of our journey, the deliberations made and the direction which the Holy Spirit is leading us as Church. The extract below highlights the image of the Church that many people encounter, which is the very opposite of the Church we desire. We can do better, we must do better if the Church is to be a credible witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ.

“While there was a determination on the side of the Archbishop and Synod Committee to make the process as inclusive as possible, fear of retribution and stigmatisation prevented some people from participating in the listening circles being established across the archdiocese. A woman who wanted to participate in a listening circle asked if her parish priest would find out that she had participated. She was afraid that if she said anything that he disapproved of she would face some form of retribution. A subcommittee established to spearhead listening circles for LGBTQ Catholics reported that every single person that they approached to help with its work refused. Yet again people were afraid of being stigmatised.

It became obvious that the Church many parishioners encountered was steeped in prejudice and patriarchy, the very opposite of the Church envisioned by the people of the Archdiocese in the 2019 synod. There was a certain discomfort and concomitant resistance to listening to people on the margins of the Church.”