What to do when a public institution like a church goes awry? It's proving pretty tricky in the newest South Australian Diocese (only 40 years old); the Diocese of the Murray. It's difficult to get any facts straight; the church habitually goes into 'secrecy mode' when it gets into trouble. With a lot of 'core business' being confidential, it doesn't take much to pull that rabbit out of the hat when ever you try to get things straight. There is of course no reason why anyone should tell me anything.I just happen to be in a neighbouring parish in the next Diocese over.
There is a troubled group of lay people called "The Voice of the Laity" (website here) but it is clear from their website that they are almost as confused as anyone else.
This indeed is part of their complaint, they have had curious 'half-baked meetings' and a series of 'ill-kept promises' if only a fraction of their complaints are to be believed.
The Bishop is presnetly on sick leave, and one imagines it will be hard for him to come back so widespread is the ill-feeling. What do you do with a Bishop who can't go back to his Diocese?
Amidst allegations of bullying and financial peculiarities (if not impropriety) it is difficult to know just what is happening.
There is talk of the metropolitan see (Adelaide) absorbing its little sister, though it is difficult to see certain strident Murray clergy allowing that to happen without a fight. It is difficult to see how a seriously disheartened Adelaide Diocese after 5 years of its own woes, can actually be promoted as in a position to do it.
But all is secret and confidential, so it is difficult to know if all or any of this is true.