|Immaculate Conception, Hawthorn|
But once again the main focus of the mass was a celebration of diversity and immigration. There was an almost comical moment when the priest sternly invited the congregation to examine themselves in case there was any lingering resistance to cultural diversity.
It's a suicidal theology. If Australia was once 95% Christian it can only become less so through a process of immigration, particularly since the main source countries are Asian and Middle-Eastern, rather than, say, Latin American.
In effect, the priest is insisting that the central thing in being a good Christian is to accept the decline of the Church; perhaps even to support a process in which his own historic church will one day be occupied by members of some other religious group.
|Crowning of Mary|
The solution is for the clergy to carefully think through a theology that brings about its own rapid decline. Can such a theology really be right?
(I remember now that the priest said that the people being referenced in the Gospels as strangers to be welcomed were groups like the Somalis, Sudanese and Japanese - which at the time I thought was a strange comment (the Japanese being a long way from the Holy Land), but perhaps it shows how much the priest wants Christians to be oriented to the non-Christian other, just as liberals want us to be oriented to whoever is regarded as the most other.
It's that liberal mindset of making the "test" how much you're willing to give way to the person most different to you - which for a Christian will be a Muslim or a Buddhist. But you can't expect to give way and to maintain the same place you once had. You will have a diminished place or perhaps none at all. So it's not exactly prudent to make that the "test".
And another thought: wouldn't the ultimate test of proving how open you are to Islam or Buddhism be to join one of those religions? Isn't that the logical end point of the kind of theology being preached in suburban Catholic parishes?)