Hopes for Church's new chapter

Aurora invited members of our community to reflect on and share their hopes for the Catholic Church at this liminal time in its history.

Hopes for Church's new chapter

News reports and responses to the announcement of the (then) imminent resignation of the 264th Pope, Benedict XVI, used expressions like “surprised”, “shocked”, “lightning bolt” and from renowned Vatican-watcher John Allen, “a true stunner… in the modern media-saturated age”.


There has been a plethora of ‘eulogies without a death’, and of course, speculation on Pope Benedict’s likely successor. On a lighter note, new questions have arisen, such as, ‘what will Benedict’s title be after he steps down?’ and ‘what will happen to his papal ring and seal?’ The answers may be known by the time you read this and the conclave will be at hand. Once the ‘new man’ is announced, real questions begin and answers will take longer to emerge.




Aurora invited members of our community to reflect on and share their hopes for the Catholic Church at this liminal time in its history.


Aaron Kearney

I truly hope the new Pope will find a way to make the church more inclusive, perhaps even progressive. I see women, young people and the First World drifting from the Church because they don't feel sufficiently included. They are still hunting for the sense of community, connection, a desire to tackle big questions and make the world a better place but seem to feel the Church doesn't serve those needs. A Pope who could establish connections such as these would be a gift to the Church and the world.


Aaron Kearney, 1233 Breakfast presenter



Daniel Feenan 1

I hope the new Pontiff will be aware of the challenges of past events and will take a mandate into the future to guarantee that victims of child abuse can be treated with respect and diligence. It is well documented that a breakdown of the hierarchy and the cessation of poor guardianship of children is what is needed. Let's hope for a clear and combined effort to ensure that the faith I grew up with will continue for generations.


Daniel Feenan, victim of convicted priest James Fletcher



Patricia Egan

It will be impossible for the next Pope to meet all the hopes and expectations people will have of him, but I'm sure I am not alone in hoping that the Cardinals will elect someone with the simplicity of Pope John XXIII, who is truly open to the Holy Spirit and who has the vision, wisdom and courage needed to lead the Church in renewing its life and mission according to the mind and heart of Jesus.


Patricia Egan RSJ, former Chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle



Michael Healy

My hope for the Church is that it becomes less Roman and more catholic, allowing bishops throughout the world more scope for discerning and responding to the needs of their local communities. I hope that the Church in its mission continues to pursue "a preferential option for the poor", reaching out to the most marginalised in our society. I believe the Church needs to review its stance on priestly celibacy and the role of women, and above all listen to the promptings of the Spirit in the voice of the faithful.


Michael Healy, President, Lower Hunter Region, St Vincent de Paul Society



Ryan Gato

I hope that the new papacy allows the Catholic Church to connect with the younger generation. Having a real connection with youth that understands and relates to their needs is vital in providing them with direction and guidance about their faith. Above all, I trust in prayer that our new pope is a holy man full of prayer, wisdom and hope.


Ryan Gato, teacher at St Peter's Campus, All Saints College, Maitland



Smith , Alison

In following a year where the Australian Catholic Bishops invited the whole church to a 'Year of Grace', I hope this new papacy will continue to renew our relationship with Christ and the Church. It is an opportunity for renewal within the Church itself, as it strives to bring meaningful change to people's lives. I hope this new papacy brings with it an opportunity for Catholics, and non-believers, to redefine the relevance of the Church today.


Alison Smith, teacher at St Joseph's Merewether



Richard Lennan - 2

Since the Pope represents the faith of the Church in a unique way, I'd like a pope who reminds us that there's always a gap between God and our ideas about God, even when we are most convinced that God agrees with us; a pope who reminds us that unshakeable faith in God's loving care does not eradicate our 'unknowing', including the fact that we do not know with certainty how best to live our tradition of faith in the light of present challenges. Consequently, I'd like a pope who leads us all in renewed humility before the mystery of God, a pope who encourages us to keep pondering, together no less than alone, how we might more faithfully respond to the summons of God's Holy Spirit in our present moment of history, and a pope who invites us all to loving openness to one another in order to experience the surprise of discovering where the Spirit can be at home.


Rev Dr Richard Lennan, priest of this diocese and Professor of Theology, Boston College



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