News carried in the earlier
part of this edition last week has certainly generated
a lot of generally very positive press for the Christian Brothers
and the Edmund Rice Network around Australia. (You'll find
links to some of that further down this page.)
The Christian Brothers
might be looking to new challenges at the "front line"
of the places of material and educational poverty in the world.
It could be argued though that our own
backyard is the new "front line" of emotional and
The Brothers are not
actually turning their backs on those challenges as some newspaper
reports implied. They are seeking a collaborative partnership
with those of us who have been the beneficiaries of the largesse
of Edmund Rice's vision in countries like Australia over the
last century and a half to continue that work.
As lay men and women
who are attracted to the vision and charism of Edmund Rice
we have new challenges just as the Christian Brothers do.
It is to help find and light the pathways that will make the
Way offered by Christ accessible and intelligible to those
struggling in our own affluent, educationally and socially
privileged communities under the burdens, distractions and
often depression of their affluence, education, social privilege
The harsh reality
we face in countries like Australia today is that by the time
they get to adulthood 85% of people who were baptised as Catholics
cannot see the relevance of Christ and religion in their lives
as it has been presented by the institutional Church in the
recent past. While many of
the causes of the present crisis in religion (but not necessarily
a crisis in spirituality) facing our nation are beyond our
control, there are many aspects that are within our control.
Our challenge within the Edmund Rice Network is to take
control of the factors that are within our control. The very
emotional and spiritual well-being of the upcoming generations
who will lead this nation may well depend on our success in
finding the fresh ways that fulfil our responsibility to "bring
the Good News to ALL nations (people)".
Now for the continuing
challenge we face...
This follow-up part
of edition 14 of Edmund Rice Network News provides further
news of what is happening in the life of the Brothers themselves.
As importantly though, we hope it might also inspire thought
and reflection on how we might address the continuing challenges
we face in our little patch of responsibility in this great
big and exciting, if challenging world we live in.