I entered at a key point in his address, when he was advising his flock on how to live a good Christian life. As I sat down, he said "And it is important that you do not involve yourself with any isms, such as...."
I'll get back to the two isms he specifically warned against in a moment. First, I want to say how impressed I was by the mass itself. The cathedral is both beautiful and monumental (the largest church building in Australia, it took 81 years to complete). The music was uplifting and also beautiful; I have never heard better sacred music than that sung by the boys choir (which has an unusual history - the Vienna boys choir was touring Australia when WWII broke out and so remained in Melbourne for many years, leading to the formation of the cathedral choir).
|The altar, St Patrick's Melbourne|
|Stained glass window, St Patrick's Melbourne|
But back to the isms. The two that came into the archbishop's mind to specifically warn against were conservatism and fundamentalism.
The warning against conservatism made me think of just how much the Catholic church in Melbourne resembles the Anglican church of about 30 years ago - one seeking to comfortably identify with the liberal establishment.
But this is where the church is digging a hole for itself. If you want to be an establishment liberal, then, yes, the worst thing you can do is be "fundamentalist". But the way that liberals define the term fundamentalist nowadays is quite specific.
For a liberal, a fundamentalist is a person who rejects the liberal idea that there is nothing objectively right or wrong, as what is right is the subjective act of defining your own good and being tolerant and non-discriminatory in allowing others to do the same.
The problem is that the Catholic Church necessarily violates this belief. The church does, in fact, assert that some acts are objectively right or wrong (i.e. it judges, it discriminates). Furthermore, the church upholds beliefs about the existence of distinctions between men and women that also restrict the way that people might define their own good (e.g. a woman cannot choose to become a Catholic priest). That, in the liberal definition, is also fundamentalist.
The church cannot remain itself if it attempts to be a liberal institution following liberal concepts.