BRISBANE, Queensland (ChurchMilitant.com) - An Australian Catholic is calling for a prayer campaign for his archbishop, under fire for controversial remarks appearing to contradict Church teaching.
Bernard Gaynor is exhorting fellow Catholics to pray a daily Rosary for Abp. Mark Coleridge of the archdiocese of Brisbane. Archbishop Coleridge has come under fire in recent years for saying he is unopposed to legalized abortion and for appearing to deny the Kingship of Christ, among other things.
Gaynor says people should pray for the archbishop that he may "become a truly great bishop, bravely defend the Church and lead the souls under his care to Heaven."
The Australian layman told Church Militant, "Praying the Rosary is only a very first step; but I could think of no better way to assist Abp. Coleridge to do his duty than by asking Our Lady to help him."
"While I am very critical of Abp. Coleridge," Gaynor noted, "I hope and pray that he becomes a great saint and leads the souls in his diocese to Heaven. I want him to succeed. Indeed, as one of his flock, I have a vested interest in helping him to succeed."
Gaynor brought up the notion that people get the leaders they deserve: "In some respects, the laity deserve the bishops we have because, collectively, we have failed to take our own faith and salvation seriously."
As of press time, about 50 people have signed up to pray the Rosary daily for Abp. Coleridge.
Though he has spoken out in defense of the right to life, Abp. Coleridge once said he is "not against decriminalization" of abortion, and that the law needs to "strike the balance" between the mother's life and the child's life.
Gaynor commented in a Dec. 2 video, "If the archbishop wanted to give politicians struggling with their conscience some wiggle room on this issue, he could not have done a better job."
Archbishop Coleridge compared legalized abortion to the Holocaust, but subsequently apologized to pro-abortion politicians for the analogy in February 2017.
Gaynor's video brought up other scandals tied to Abp. Coleridge, such as a semi-nude feminist fashion display that happened in a church in his archdiocese.
Because Abp. Coleridge is president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC), Gaynor says the archbishop "has been the key driving force" behind the Australian Plenary Council — an upcoming 2020 gathering of the nation's bishops that could lay out alarming new plans for Catholicism in Australia.
Preparation for the plenary council largely consists of processing feedback from tens of thousands of laypersons. Much of the feedback calls for heresy and liturgical abuse.
Faithful Catholics fear these responses are warning signs about what will unfold at the 2020 council.
Gaynor commented to Church Militant this week, "The plenary council is paving the path to formal, open schism within the Church in Australia. There is no getting around this and no point denying it anymore or hoping for anything less."
"It is unfolding like a slow-motion train wreck before our eyes," he reflected. "This is occurring because the process gives the impression — whether by accident or design — that any idea comes from 'the Spirit.' Some of these ideas certainly do, just not from the Holy one!"
He criticized Abp. Coleridge for failing to speak out against the heterodox ideas being proposed.
"It is extremely concerning that he has failed to take any effort to correct the heretical and sacrilegious ideas that have been promoted during this process and directly in front of him," said Gaynor, "such as the proposal put forward by his own diocese that the Church should bless homosexual relationships."
Brisbane's Abp. Coleridge has faced criticism from faithful Catholics in the past.
He came under intense scrutiny on Twitter in October 2018 for saying he was "not too sure" he wanted Christ as his King.
Not too sure I want (or have) him as either.— Mark Coleridge (@ArchbishopMark) October 7, 2018
Backlash from Catholics was immediate, with a number of negative tweets in response.
Three days later, Abp. Coleridge tried to clarify, saying, "I don't favour royalist ideologies 'of this world' which make Christ remote, the Church triumphalist, the Pope and bishops princely, et cetera."
I worship Jesus reigning from the Cross, whose "kingdom is not of this world" and who "casts the mighty from their thrones"...I don’t favour royalist ideologies “of this world” which make Christ remote, the Church triumphalist, the Pope and bishops princely etc. #StJohnXXIII pic.twitter.com/m66kjUIljS— Mark Coleridge (@ArchbishopMark) October 10, 2018
Many Catholics on social media thought the explanation was insufficient. For instance, one layman tweeted back, "What you were presented with was NOT a royalist ideology."
What you were presented with was NOT a royalist ideology.— Joey de Vivre (@TSentenil) October 12, 2018
Another Twitter user remarked, "You should recant what you said about not wanting Christ as King." The archbishop, however, did not take the advice.