From Carolyn Webb at the Sydney Morning Herald:
A CATHOLIC lobby group has railed at bishops to be more accountable, reject discrimination and do more listening to their flock.
In a scathing open letter to the Pope and Australian bishops sent to parishes across the country, Catholics for Renewal says that the church no longer adequately inspires people.
"It has alienated too many adults who were born of Catholic parents, attended Catholic schools and lived a sacramental life," the letter says.
"It has become disconnected from, and irrelevant to, the lives of too many of our children ... it appears as an institution focussed on centralism, legalism and control, with few effective structures for listening and dialogue, and often more concerned with its institutional image and interests than the spirit of Christ." It says the church "has been tainted by injustice and blemished by bad decisions".
Followers are still reeling from the sexual abuse scandal which rocked the church, the letter says. The church's claim of infallibility was stifling discussion on important issues, including human sexuality and new forms of ministry for women and married men, it says.
The Catholics for Renewal chairman, Peter Johnstone, called for "ordinary Catholics" to speak out and for priests to listen to them.