Australian priests critical of their bishops, survey finds

Many of Australia's 3000 active and retired Catholic priests are critical of their bishops and admit they do not believe crucial church teachings, according to a survey to be released this week.

Dr. John O'Carroll, a communications lecturer at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst and colleague Chris McGillion, who coordinates the university's journalism program, sent the survey to 1550 active and 160 retired priests, and 542, or about 32 percent, responded. They conducted 50 face-to-face interviews and are publishing the results in a book, What Australian Catholic Priests Really Think About Their Lives and Their Church.

While most clergy find fulfillment in the priesthood, many say they are overworked, poorly managed and feel constrained in their religious vocation by bureaucracy and parish administration. Nearly half of the surveyed priests consider their bishops as "an exclusive group and one far too subservient to Rome," the book says.


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