At John XXIII College we are first and foremost a Catholic school inspired by the Gospel example of Jesus and the lives of Pope John XXIII, Ignatius of Loyola and Mary Ward. Our school needs to be a Christ centred learning community where the safety and well-being of our students is the highest priority.
Some years ago, I spoke to a highly respected member of a Religious Order and asked him about the future given declining numbers in his Order. His response was empowering:
‘The Future is you!’
He did not mean me personally, but he did express that we are very much a Church for the laity. The sense of ‘Church’ for many at our College is the experience they receive at John XXIII. We continually reflect on the education that we are providing and make changes where necessary. We need to provide our students with a strong Gospel message of hope, reconciliation and a desire to seek justice in our world.
At a more global level our Church must change. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse highlighted many shortcomings. The care and well-being of those impacted by sexual abuse is clearly the most important consideration. We continually examine our practices and policies to ensure the well-being of our students, staff and wider community.
A new generation of Catholics is looking to the Church hierarchy for leadership in response to a changing world and emerging problems, such as sexual and power abuses. All in our community would be aware of the announcement of the guilty verdict against Cardinal Pell this week. It is understandable that this news is very distressing for many people at our College and beyond.
Most Rev Timothy Costelloe SDB Archbishop of Perth’s statement can be accessed here.
At a time when some of us may feel challenged by what is taking place in the Church, it is critical to remember that we are people of faith and hope. We have the opportunity to use our voice at the Plenary Council. http://plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au/resources/have-your-say/