John Warhurst’s unique perspective as a Church insider-outsider means that he walks a fine line. As an insider, he works within the Church in many leadership and governance roles; as an outsider, he leads ginger groups and lobbies for change through both Church and mainstream media.
Wrestling with the Church Hierarchy is a personal account of attempting to come to grips with the power structure of the Church at a time of necessary reform of those structures. As a forceful but understanding critic, John shows no fear or favour when dealing with Church authorities. He is adamant that the Church needs many more women in leadership positions, greater lay participation in co-responsible governance, and much more extensive transparency and accountability in all aspects of Church affairs, including finance and communications.
John considers the Plenary Council 2021-2022 a crucial once-in-a-generation opportunity to advance these reforms. But it’s not the only opportunity. John’s message is that the time for dioceses and parishes to introduce reforms is now.
John Warhurst AO is Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the Australian National University, Chair of Concerned Catholics Canberra Goulburn and a Delegate to the Plenary Council. He was co-author of The Light from the Southern Cross: Promoting Co-responsible Governance in the Catholic Church in Australia.