ARCHDIOCESE OF CANBERRA AND GOULBURN FREE No. 362 March 2020 Circulation 19,000
Lay woman joins Council of Priests
By Felicity de Fombelle
council. “I said, ‘I’m not a priest’,” she told the Catholic Voice. “Then he gave his reasons for inviting me. “At my first meeting I was a little intimidated. The Archbish- op introduced me and said the reason Cathy is here is because she is a woman and a wife and a mother and a grandmother and everything people sitting around this table have no idea about. “I feel very humbled. It is significant. It shows that women have a voice. “The most interesting thing for me is that we are being lis- tened to now, more so, perhaps. I see this as a great opportunity not just for me but for the clergy and the whole church. “I am not just visiting and reporting on the meeting but have been appointed as a member which is pretty amazing. My role is to see issues from a different perspective than what the priests do.” Archbishop Mark said Cathy had the right “to participate fully in all discussions.” In his statement, he said: “I decided to do this because I became convinced that women needed to be more part of the decision-making processes of the Archdiocese, and even at this early stage I would say that the move has shown its worth.” Minutes of a Council of Archbishop would invite Cathy to be appointed a member of the council, but Archbishop Mark denied she had been appointed. “I haven’t appointed women to the Council of Priests or the College of Consultors,” his statement said. “That would be impossible, since by Church law all appointed members of both bodies must be clergy. “What I have done is invite women (two in each case) to attend the meetings of the two bodies as observers, but with the right to participate fully in all discussions. “They are to be part of the making of decisions, if not the taking of decisions which is proper to the appointed members and ultimately to the Archbishop.” Priests meeting sent to the Catholic Voice state that the
I haven’t appointed women to the Council of Priests ... What I have done is invite women to attend the meetings with the right to participate fully in all discussions . They are to be part of the making of decisions ... I became convinced that women needed to be more part of the decision-making processes of the Archdiocese ... The authority of the ordained is in no way undermined ... I find it hard to see how any diocese wouldn’t benefit from having women more closely and consistently involved in its decision-making processes.
A LAY woman has joined the Council of Priests in Brisbane in what is believed to be a first for the Australian Catholic Church. In a move to boost women’s decision-making powers, Archbishop Mark Coleridge has invited former ABC journalist Cathy Uechtritz to join him, his Vicar-General and 20 priests and deacons on the council. The key decision-making body represents the clergy in a diocese and advises the Bishop. In Brisbane it meets every two months. In a statement to the Catholic Voice , Archbishop Mark said he was convinced women needed a bigger decision-making role in the church. And the former Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn, and current President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, revealed he had also invited two women to join the College of Consultors, which is a
Statement by Archbishop Mark Coleridge provided to the Catholic Voice
“The Archbishop introduced me and said the reason Cathy is here is because she is a woman and a wife and a mother and a grandmother and everything people sitting around this table have no idea about.” New Council of Priests member Cathy Uechtritz
smaller group of priests advising the Bishop. “It is up to other dioceses to make their own decision but I find it hard to see how any
diocese wouldn’t benefit from having women more closely and consistently involved in its decision-making processes,” Archbishop Mark said.
Cathy, 59, who joined Arch- bishop Mark as Director of Government Relations last June, said she was “a bit stunned” when he invited her to join the
Students swamp small country school
Students are swamping St Joseph’s Primary in Adelong, which has the biggest growth in our Archdiocese. Enrolments have soared from 20 students eight years ago to 48 this year and principal Kirsty Beaven is delighted. Full story Page 5
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