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By Diogenes (articles ) | Sep 03, 2003

Australian Catholics rent their rainbow sashes in agony last month when two orthodox priests were appointed auxiliary bishops of Sydney. Bishops Julian Porteous and Anthony Fisher, O.P., were consecrated yesterday, occasioning an amusingly huffy op-ed that scolds Archbishop George Pell for setting up "beachheads for a conservative, orthodox and pietistic assault on the archdiocese."

Sydney's Catholicism has long been regarded as pragmatic -- as befits the nation's oldest, largest and most diverse city. This pragmatism has expressed itself in a degree of tolerance for the innovations of its clergy, for a benign acknowledgement (in practical terms if not always official pronouncements) that homosexuals are part of the fabric of the city's Catholic diaspora -- and a numerically not insignificant component of the teaching staff in its schools -- and, especially in recent decades, in a lack of enthusiasm for the kind of Catholic tribal displays that were once grist to the mill of sectarianism.

This article appeared not in the Catholic press but in Sydney's principal daily newspaper. That leaves little doubt about the dimension of pragmatism of most concern to the author and his editors.

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  • Posted by: - Sep. 07, 2003 10:15 PM ET USA

    if piety is a god thing, is pietistic a bad thing?