26 April, 2020

Denied the Sacraments

The present affliction of our world as a result of which millions have no access to the Sacraments of the Church might not seem so grievous when put into the context of such deprivations in our history.

Consider, for example, the situations of those Catholics who came to live in Australia as a part of white settlement after 1788. For thirty years, those Catholics - mainly convicts - lived their lives without having the benefit of the Sacraments, excepting Baptism and Matrimony. For quite brief periods between 1800 and 1820, the limited ministrations of Catholic priests alleviated this deprivation from the lifeblood of the Church.

Sydney Cove (Circular Quay) as sketched following the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788.
Image : State Library of NSW.

And even after 1820 until almost 1830, there was but one priest on the mainland tending to the spiritual needs of those Catholics living in the settlements on the East coast of Australia.

Over the next several weeks on this blog, we will outline the beginnings of Catholic life in Australia - to the extent that historical records allow it.  It is a mixed story of piety and laxity, missionary fervour and negligence, wisdom and ignorance, remarkable courage and fallen weakness. Outstanding people emerged which figure in this history, whilst much of the story of those years remains unrecorded and forgotten.

Please continue to follow the story here at In Diebus illis.

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