Australian Reforming Catholics


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AUSTRALIAN REFORMING CATHOLICS SURVEY RESULTS

Our Home Page highlights keeping members informed and providing a forum for their views. To an extent our arcvoice Quarterly seeks to do this. But in 2005 the Secretariat conducted a Survey of all members as a practical beginning to a studied inclusion of the members in ARC's way forward. There were 62 responses - a very good result. In 2006 another Survey was conducted with over 60 responses. The integrated results of these two Surveys are posted below. Please note that in 2006 some of the questions were googlies! For example, the answers to questions 2006 No. 2 and 2006 No. 5 under Theme E - Human Sexuality, were in the majority "No". Which makes these responses more considered?

Any Survey is a response to the questions asked. There will certainly be more and different questions that need to be asked. But there was a surprising support on all issues, enough to have the responses gazetted here as part of ARC's way forward. The way to alter this result is through the ballot box. Alterations, subtractions and additions must come from the members, and the Secretariat will facilitate that consolidation and expansion.

There is a tentative proposal to conduct a third Survey in 2007. Instead of polling on doctrinal or procedural topics, the intention would be to ask members how they feel they are being treated within ARC, what changes they would like and how they see ARC progressing towards its goals.

The original Survey allowed for Reservations to be expressed to each Proposal. The responses gave several pages of Reservations and comments (although most were broadly in favour of the proposals). A summary of the Reservations is included below.


Results of the Survey showing voting scores

THEME A: Administration of ARC

Proposal 1:
          2005
ARC policies are formulated and endorsed by the financial members and implemented through a Secretariat elected at an AGM
Approve  56 With Reservation  4 Not Approve  0 Abstain  2
Proposal 2:
          2005
Financial members vote on policy issues at an AGM or by sending in absentee votes
Approve  53 With Reservation  5 Not Approve  2 Abstain  2
Proposal 3:
          2005
One member of the Secretariat is appointed as an external ARC spokesperson. Other ARC members can speak externally in a private capacity only
Approve  48 With Reservation  10 Not Approve  2

Abstain  2

Proposal 4:
          2005
Each Secretariat will act on a consensus model - No one is in charge, all are in charge
Approve  48 With Reservation  10 Not Approve  2 Abstain  2
Proposal 5:
          2005
Each ARC Secretariat will call ARC Campfires/Conferences and General Meetings
Approve  59 With Reservation  0 Not Approve  0

Abstain  3


THEME B: People Power

Proposal 1:
          2005
The Church is all its people and the Holy Spirit indwells and informs all
Approve  57 With Reservation  1 Not Approve  0 Abstain  4
Proposal 14:
          2006
The Holy Spirit inhabits each heart and informs each mind
Yes  52 No  0 Discussible  7 Abstain  1
Proposal 2:
          2005
People are longing for a stronger, more visible Christian emphasis on love, not law.
Approve  59 With Reservation  1 Not Approve  0 Abstain  2
Proposal 18:
          2006
The Church comes through to people more as dogmatic than understanding
Yes  50 No  0 Discussible  9 Abstain  1
Proposal 3:
          2005
Hierarchical Church structures need to be reformed to let us all own our church.
Approve  55 With Reservation  5 Not Approve  0 Abstain  2
Proposal 15:
          2006
The bishops and priests do enough to acknowledge and foster the faith maturity of adults
Yes  5 No  48 Discussible  6 Abstain  1
Proposal 4:
          2005
Central control dominated by one culture delivers injustices.
Approve  54 With Reservation  3 Not Approve  3 Abstain  2
Proposal 16:
          2006
In practice, the doctrine of sensus fidelium or the Faith residing in the people is given only lip service
Yes  57 No  0 Discussible  6 Abstain  0
Proposal 5:
          2005

The Church should encourage modern scientific investigation as integral to God's evolving universe.

Approve  57 With Reservation  1 Not Approve  1 Abstain  1
Proposal 17:
          2006
Advances in scripture scholarship are communicated to the people in the parishes
Yes  5 No  47 Discussible  6 Abstain  0
Proposal 6:
          2005

It is important that the people elect their own Bishops

Approve  42 With Reservation  16 Not Approve  3 Abstain  1
Proposal 7:
          2005
It is important that the people participate in decisions to set up, amalgamate or close Parishes
Approve  56 With Reservation  4 Not Approve  0 Abstain  2
Proposal 8:
          2005
It is important that the people participate in major building/financial decisions.
Approve  51 With Reservation  9 Not Approve  1 Abstain  1
Proposal 9:
          2005
It is important that people who are elected to Church Councils participate in the decision making.
Approve  57 With Reservation  4 Not Approve  0

Abstain  1

THEME C: Rights and responsibilities

Proposal 1:
          2005
The principle of an informed conscience must always be respected.
Approve  57 With Reservation  5 Not Approve  0 Abstain  0
Proposal 12:
          2006
The final arbiter of right and wrong for each individual is her/his conscience, after mature consideration
Yes  56 No  2 Discussible  2 Abstain  0
Proposal 2:
          2005
All Catholics, female and male, should have equal opportunity to assume responsibilities in the Church.
Approve  57 With Reservation  2 Not Approve  2 Abstain  0
Proposal 7:
          2006
Women are, in fact given equal rights in the Church
Yes  9 No  45 Discussible  5 Abstain  1
Proposal 3:
          2005
Freedom of speech and enquiry applies in the Church as much as in secular society.
Approve  57 With Reservation  5 Not Approve  0 Abstain  0
Proposal 9:
          2006
Church structures are in some ways unjust to women
Yes  54 No  1 Discussible  3 Abstain  2
Proposal 4:
          2005
Let the Church follow Jesus in his embrace of all who are suffering discrimination.
Approve  57 With Reservation  4 Not Approve  0 Abstain  1
Proposal 13:
          2006
The Church can oblige a Catholic to act against her/his conscience
Yes  3 No  52 Discussible  4 Abstain  1

THEME D: Liturgy and Sacraments

Proposal 1:
          2005
Liturgy should reflect the culture and modes of expression of local communities.
Approve  54 With Reservation  6 Not Approve  0 Abstain  2
Proposal 1:
          2006
The Sacraments should be open to divorced and remarried Catholics
Yes  57 No  1 Discussible  29 Abstain  0
Proposal 2:
          2005
The Third Rite of Reconciliation should be re-introduced.
Approve  54 With Reservation  4 Not Approve  1 Abstain  3
Proposal 3:
          2005
Criteria for Ordination should be reviewed.
Approve  57 With Reservation  4 Not Approve  1 Abstain  2
Proposal 8:
          2006
Ordination should be open to women
Yes  52 No  2 Discussible  6 Abstain  0
Proposal 4:
          2005
Inclusive language should be adopted in all liturgical texts.
Approve  53 With Reservation  7 Not Approve  0 Abstain  2
Proposal 10:
          2006
The continuing use of exclusive language in liturgy and practice disadvantages women
Yes  51 No  5 Discussible  4 Abstain  0
Proposal 11:
          2006
The image of God in most Catholics' minds is of a male
Yes  50 No  3 Discussible  3 Abstain  3

THEME E: Human Sexuality

Proposal 1:
          2006
Some traditional Church teaching on sexuality needs re-examining in the light of more recent research
Yes  57 No  0 Discussible  2 Abstain  1
Proposal 2:
          2006
Masturbation is a mortal sin'
Yes  3 No  54 Discussible  3 Abstain  3
Proposal 3:
          2006
Homosexuality is a natural state for some
Yes  52 No  1 Discussible  7 Abstain  0
Proposal 4:
          2006
An essential purp[ose of sacramental marriage is mutual comfort and support
Yes  54 No  2 Discussible  4 Abstain  0
Proposal 5:
          2006
The use of condoms in marriage is a mortal sin
Yes  3 No  53 Discussible  3 Abstain  1

Reservations expressed by members returning Survey Papers

(Survey respondents are indicated by a number assigned to their survey return)


THEME A: Administration of ARC

Proposal 1: ARC policies are formulated and endorsed by the financial members and implemented through a Secretariat elected at an AGM.

No.:    Strike out financial. Some people can't pay/no alienation of anyone
No. 56:  How are policies endorsed?

Proposal 2: Financial members vote on policy issues at an AGM or by sending in absentee votes.

No.:10   Would much prefer consensus on policy
No. 12:  Approval of absentee voting forms sentout prior to the AGM
No. 37:  I'd rather have more pressure on coming to meetings
No. 45:  Be aware of setting up Dogma
No. 56:  I do not go to AGM's
No. 60:  But please excuse me as a new arrival

Proposal 3: One member of the Secretariat is appointed as an external ARC spokesperson. Other ARC members can speak externally in a private capacity only.

No. 12:  There should be a second spokesperson available if the first is away or not available
No. 24:  Counted and voted upon by Chairperson
No. 33:  Appoint a deputy external ARC spokesperson to speak publically in case No. 1 is not available
No. 34:  Perhaps more than one (2?) are needed in case one is not available
No. 35:  Would that be on all issues? Maybe needs to be on basis of expertise and availablity. But I agree. It should only be with Secretariat approval
No. 36:  Not sure why this is recommended
No. 48:  Sometimes there can be specific circumstances
No. 62:  On contentious or obviously divided issues, suggest views/endorsement of Secretariat be sought before going public
A disapproving member wrote: How would absent members participate in discussion/interaction/decision making processes?

Proposal 4: Each Secretariat will act on a consensus model - No one is in charge, all are in charge.

No.   2:  As long as a two-thirds majority allows you to make a decision. Don't be tied up by just one person or a tiny majority
No.   7:  With emphasis and education responsibility of All
No. 14:  "No one is in charge, all are in charge" does not reflect meaning of consensus
No. 26:  Could lead to confusion if no specified leader
No. 30:  Sometimes you need someone in charge
No. 31:  What is consensus? 8-1? 7-2? or 9-0?
No. 48:  As above but consultation should resolve
No. 62:  Can this really work effectively?

Proposal 5: Each ARC Secretariat will call ARC Campfires/Conferences and General Meetings

  No reservations

THEME B: People Power

Proposal 1: The Church is all its people.

? Not absolute of catholicism
   ?"motherhood statement". In terms of "is" the Church cannot be anything else

Proposal 2: People are longing for a stronger, more visible Christian emphasis on love, Not law.

   ? can't really speak for "people"

Proposal 3: Hierarchical Church structures need to be reformed to let us all own our Church.

No.   2:  As long as this does not preclude decision-making
No. 12:  Begin sentence with "Some"
No. 14:  Begin with "Hierarchical/Patriarchal:
No. 47:  But how, without chaos?
No. 50:  "own"? Applies to smaller churches, I would think

Proposal 4: Central control dominated by one culture delivers injustices.

No.   2:  A meaningless proposition
No. 12:  Not clear meaning! In a mono-cultural small community or society injustice need not necessarily follow
No. 14:  "one culture" needs clarification/better expression
No. 27:  Not necessarily always the case
No. 50:  I probably agree but meaning needs clarification
No. 55:  Is it thought a mix of cultures would deliver justice? Or compromise? Too broad to fit one of the options

Proposal 5: The Church should encourage modern scientific in investigation as integral to God's evolving universe.

No.   6:  Would Not ********(illegible word) "modern science", whatever is meant by that, as emphasis on contemporary knowledge scholarship
No. 55:  Depending on the purpose, and the independence of scientists involved

Proposal 6: It is important that the people elect their own Bishops.

No.   6:  They have campaigns, a la Presidency/PM?
No.   7:  After a process of being well informed
No. 10:  It is also important that members do not carry the day, for a Bishop cannot work without the full support of his clergy
No. 14:  People could elect "popular" person not one "qualified". Needs clarification. Could present as in Proposal 7
No. 27:  The people who elect need to be informed
No. 28:  Information re candidates needed
No. 33:  People to include clergy and religious
No. 41:  Difficult to know how parisioners would know would-be candidates
No. 38:  Could be too much like voting in NRMA Directors. Too little is known of candidates.
No. 42:  How could this work?
No. 43:  I would be happy to have an interim electoral college of proportionate members from deaneries representing laity and priests
No. 45:  Do not need bishops!
No. 46:  The leadership qualities of the bishop need to be scrutinised
No. 48:  What if people are given biased information e.g. censorship/controls through local pressure groups?
No. 50:  I would probably agree for smaller local or national churches but not for international churches
No. 50:  Depending on process

Proposal 7: It is important that the people participate in decisions to set up, amalgamate or close Parishes.

No. 24:  Participating members should increase
No. 28:  Final decision needs to be made otherwise another talkfest
No. 60:  If adequate preparation be given to people
No. 62:  Through participation of elected Parish Pastoral Councils NOT practical to seek participation of everyone

Proposal 8: It is important that the people participate in major building/financial decisions.

No.   6:  Need to see how could implement
No.   8:  People with competence to do so
No. 14:  It is important. Be definite - people are to participate. It is our money!!
No. 28:  Final decisions need to be made - otherwise talkfest
No. 31:  An accountable financial committee to be delegated
No. 41:  Committee would need to be appointed to make decisions
No. 62:  Again - through elected Parish Pastoral Councils

Proposal 9: It is important that people who are elected to Church Councils participate in the decision making.

No. 14:  They do now. But PP's have legal rights over which laity have no power.Should be PP's to have legal rights with people
No. 28:  Who elects Council?
No. 52:  Replace "participate" with "have a deliberative voice"

THEME C: Rights and responsibilities

Proposal 1: The principle of an informed conscience must always be respected.

No.   4:  If they have expertise in the field.
No. 26:  The principle of the primacy of an informed conscience must always be respected.
No. 28:  Most Catholics not concerned about informing their consciences.
No. 44:  No need for "an". Statement is universal.
No. 56:  There is absolute good and evil.

Proposal 2: All Catholics, female and male, should have equal opportunity to assume responsibilities in the Church.

No.   2:  What does this proposition mean? What responsibilities?
No. 24:  The injustice to existing ******(illegible) priests should be dealt with first.
No. 50:  An oversimplified statement

Proposal 3: Freedom of speech and enquiry applies in the Church as much as in secular society.

No.   2:  Surely within the context of the Church's belief?
No. 12:  It should apply more visibly in the Church (as the City of God) than in any secular society. The Church should be a "light to the nations", a model of freedom and justice.
No. 14:  Be specific - "Australian" secular society.
No. 24:  So many clergy and nuns and lay people continuously hurt others by "Participating"
No.47:  Freedom of speech and enquiry should apply in the Church etc.

Proposal 4: Let the Church follow Jesus in his embrace of all who are suffering discrimination.

No.   2:  Where specifically does the Gospel say this in the modern sense of discrimination?
No.   7:  <>Envigorate and encourage all church members tofollow Jesus in his embrace etc.
No. 14:  [discrimination] Seems too restrictive, needs expanding.

THEME D: Liturgy and Sacraments

Proposal 1: Liturgy should reflect the culture and modes of expression of local communities.

No.   6:  Communities are heterogeneous and this needs to be part of expression.
No. 14:  Should have regard to tradition.
No. 23:  Where local culture conflicts with Christian values or meaning?
No. 36:  The liturgy around the world is always home.
No. 38:  Within reason and faith symbols
No. 55:  Reserve judgement. Could become rather amorphous depending on definition of local community and whether you include communities within a community.
No. 60:  Some communities are stuck in the Good Old days

Proposal 2: The Third Rite of reconciliation should be re-introduced.

No. 10:  It's already there. Restrictions on its use are what should be modified.
No. 35:  More correctly - "Should be expanded to include..."
No. 50:  Has this rite been suppressed?
No. 56:   ?

Proposal 3: Criteria for Ordination should be reviewed.

No. 61:  But not as being done in U.S.A.
No. 56:   ?

Proposal 4: Inclusive language should be adopted in all liturgical texts.

No.   4:  Sometimes can trivialise the content.
No. 14:  Add "based on Australian English". To be linked to Australian English (NotUSA/UK etc) - big cultural difference
No. 22:  It is up to the particular community to decide this. No discrimination should exist if one particular group wishes not to use exclusive language and stick with traditional language. Possibly different versions of liturgical texts should exist in order to cater for this?
No. 26:  This, of course, refers to texts that are not specifically male or female
No. 28:  Care here - preserve the literary purity
No. 36:  It can dumb down the text
No. 50:  Questions the "all". Needs further exploration
No. 55:  Haven't a strong opinion one way or the other. Neither approve or disapprove
No. 56:   ?


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