Launch out into the deep: Archbishop's message for Lent
Lent is a source of hope for those who are discouraged by signs of decline in the Church around them, according to Australian Catholic Bishops Conference President, Archbishop Francis Carroll.
Vatican reins in Jesuit theologian
The Vatican has reined in a Jesuit theologian, declaring that his book on religious pluralism contained "notable ambiguities" that could lead a reader to "erroneous or harmful positions."
Vatican official worried about the commercialisation of sport
The Vatican has told participants at the recent World Conference of Tourism in Barcelona that sports should be freed from violence and excessive commercialism.
Pope takes steps to heal Lefebvre schism
In an effort to overcome the schism caused by the unauthorised ordination of four bishops by the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Pope John Paul II has appointed four new members to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.
Cardinal urges opposition to McVeigh execution
Executing convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh would amount to honoring a request to commit suicide, Chicago's cardinal said on Monday in urging opposition to the death penalty.
Brazilian bishops criticise carnival AIDS campaign
The Brazilian bishops have criticised an anti-AIDS campaign organised by the country's Health Ministry on the occasion of this week's Carnival festivities.
Opinion - The US Jesuits' problematic embrace of the contemporary
If St Ignatius were alive today, would he be a Jesuit? It is highly doubtful. Once known as the Pope's marines, his order has become one of modernity's midgets, chasing after every last fad of political correctness, no matter how pathetic or scandalous. With notable and heroic exceptions here and there, the Jesuits of America represent a culture of dissent and decadence within the Catholic Church -- a dilettante culture defined by something akin to a death wish. Georgetown University's recent elevation of a non-Jesuit -- John J. DeGioia -- to its presidency is the latest snapshot of the order's decline. Naturally, the move is cast as a glorious evolution in the school's history. - American Spectator
Feature - Message stick links the sacred in two cultures
An Aboriginal Message Stick is now enshrined in Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne. It is a powerful symbol of the richness that Aboriginal culture offers to the liturgy. In today's settings Aboriginal Catholics see the Message Stick as a very important symbol when carried alongside the Book in the Gospel Procession. In our culture, message sticks were used as a means of communication with other groups. The messengers were young men who displayed the message to the elders of the groups they passed through; safe passage was then granted. The symbolism of the message stick identifies with the message of the Scriptures being handed to the priest, who then explains it more fully to the people. - Madonna
Stories of hope from Timorese youth at Project Compassion launch
Project Compassion, the annual Lenten appeal of Caritas Australia, will be launched today with stories of East Timorese rebuilding their communities from two young people from the Oecussi enclave.
A shared start to Lent for Adelaide archbishops
The Catholic and Anglican Archbishops of Adelaide will together mark the commencement of Lent tomorrow with an Ash Wednesday visit to pray with the children at the first combined Anglican and Catholic school in Australia.
Journalist says spy suspect a devoted member of Opus Dei
Robert Hanssen, the senior FBI official accused of selling secrets to Russia for 15 years, appeared to be 'almost obsessed' with the Catholic Church and Opus Dei, according to a journalist who befriended him in the 1990s.
Pax Christi sounds alert on 'unbearable collective punishment' in Israel
The international Catholic peace organisation Pax Christi has reported that Palestinian territories are 'open air prisons', and that Israeli settlers are using violence and abuse with the complicity of the Israeli army and silence of the Churches.
Korean Church worried about new age Ki movement
The Ki health education movement is a de facto religious sect that is attracting many Christians, mostly Catholics, in Korea.
Russians debate barcodes as the work of the antichrist
The Theological Commission of the Russian Orthodox Church has calmed fears that barcodes conceal the 'number of the beast' - 666 - mentioned in the book of Revelation.
Opinion - A ruling that would sicken a Pharisee
Jenny is a child whose suffering from celiac disease obliges her to observe a gluten-free diet. In a 1995 circular letter to the episcopal conferences, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, expanded on Canon 924.2: "Special hosts … in which gluten has been removed are invalid matter for the celebration of the Eucharist." Because Jenny's young body cannot digest gluten, she has been denied permission to receive her first Eucharist. One sign of an unhealthy institution is its obsession with detail and control. There must be priests in Boston and elsewhere who are sitting on the edge of their beds and weeping, wondering if this is what they went on their bellies for on the day they were ordained. - NCR
Feature - An Australian Catholic dialogue with the Dalai Lama
Melbourne filmmaker Peter Thomas visited the world's most famous refugee, the Dalai Lama, in his refuge in a hill station in northern India often dubbed 'Little Lhasa'. "He laughs a lot, and beckoned me to bless him. Self-consciously I said it and added that it seemed absurd to ask God to bless the re-incarnation of the Buddha of Compassion. He laughed again and gently, yet sincerely replied, 'and God bless you too'. The word compassion was never far from our conversation. I modestly suggested that the Buddhist notion of compassion and the Christian understanding of love were compatible. We agreed. I shared with him my theory that as in the West love was a devalued word, the word 'compassion' had much appeal. He agreed that Jesus' teaching to 'love your enemy' was in essence the same as the Buddhist teaching on 'compassion'. He said that compassion is unbiased and detached. When you are 'close' to someone you are attached and therefore biased but compassion is truly demonstrated when it is exercised towards your enemy." - Australian Catholics
Wollongong Diocese to take priest case to Rome
The diocese of Wollongong will appeal against a Vatican order to reinstate Fr John Nestor, whose conviction for sexually assaulting a former altar boy was overturned on appeal.
'Rebel' cardinal emphasises role of local bishops conferences
Cardinal Karl Lehmann, whose elevation to the College of Cardinals suprised many observers, has told reporters that national bishops' conferences should play an important role in the Church's decision-making process.
British Bishops to screen 'Catholic' organisations
The bishops of England and Wales have announced a more rigorous process for organisations claiming entitlement to a listing in the official National Catholic Directory.
French bishop charged with hiding child abuse
A French bishop has been charged with failing to turn in a priest after allegedly discovering in the confessional that he had sexually abused young children, lawyers said on Friday.
German Muslims prosper as Churches lose support
The number of Muslims in Germany increased from 6000 to more than three million between 1945 and 2000.
Most Italian entertainers pray before performing
Eight out of every ten entertainers in Italy said they 'never forget to pray before going on stage or on the air', a survey has found.
Opinion - Dissecting racism
'They soon forget their offspring'. An analysis of this defence of the removal of Aboriginal children by a Protection Officer reveals the 'them' and 'us' mindset that lies beneath racism. Fr Andrew Murray says that much racism is rationalised on the basis of differences of capacity, physiology and outlook. He says that to be non-racist, we need to be able to respect people, whom, we might not be able to understand due to cultural and linguistic differences, as having inner lives as significant as our own. - Catholic Weekly
Feature - Faith, hope and modern martyrs
In October 1996, Archbishop Christophe Munzihirwa of the diocese of Bukavu in eastern Zaire was all that stood between hundreds of thousands of Hutu refugees and potential annihilation. He had long criticised all parties to the region's violence. His last hope, shared with the handful of missionaries and diocesan personnel who stayed behind with him to shelter the refugees, was for rapid intervention by the international community. International assistance was not forthcoming, and Munzihirwa was assassinated. The death of Christophe Munzihirwa forms but a single episode in one of the most sweeping Christian dramas of the century just ended: the resurgence of martyrdom on a vast scale. - NCR
Queensland result a cry from the economically marginalised: Catholic commentators
Catholic politicians and political observers believe the huge Labor Party win and the decimation of the Coalition at last weekend's Queensland election has signalled a voter revolt against economic rationalism.
'Son of church' defends small business 'battlers'
Describing himself as a 'son of the Church', Federal Employment Minister Tony Abbott said that his time spent among "supporters and disciples" of Mr B.A. Santamaria had helped him appreciate the historical role of unions and the AIRC in "civilising capitalism and in establishing the dignity of work".
John Paul II Creates 44 New Cardinals
John Paul II created a record 44 new cardinals on Wednesday morning, reminding them that 'the Church is not based on calculations or human power, but on Jesus crucified'.
Vatican criticises latest bombing of Iraq
The Vatican has expressed its disapproval of last week's bombing of Iraq by US and British warplanes.
Sub disaster prompts Japanese bishops to criticise US 'war mentality'
In the wake of the 'needless' tragedy of a US nuclear submarine ramming a Japanese fishing vessel near Honolulu earlier this month, the Japan Catholic Council for Justice and Peace has denounced the 'war mentality' of the United States.
Controversial novelist to write on Pope's visit to Cuba
Controversial Spanish novelist Juan Jose Armas Marcelo, author of several racy novels with high levels of sex and violence, has announced he is finishing a book inspired by Pope John Paul's visit to Cuba.
Opinion - Political process should give conscience a voice
Recently NSW Liberal leader, Kerry Chikarovski, remarked that her party would probably allow a conscience vote on euthanasia. This contrasts with the actions of other leaders who, in recent times, have disallowed MPs a conscience vote when voting on controversial issues. Historically, parliaments assumed members would vote according to conscience as a matter of course. This was, of course, before the advent of political parties. It is a measure of their growth that they now feel entitled to intrude into the domain of conscience and impose sanctions on their members' moral judgment. - Catholic Weekly
Feature - Survey finds Catholic school students more hopeful about future
When University of Kansas professor Diane McDermott started to test her hypothesis that minority children had less hope for the future than other schoolchildren, there was one variable she forgot to factor in: Catholic education. McDermott conducted a statistical survey of about 1200 schoolchildren -- both public and private -- in northeast Kansas. One of the most surprising results of the study was that those in Catholic schools had significantly higher hopes for their future than did their public school counterparts, despite the fact that the Catholic schoolchildren came from the same lower socioeconomic background as other children surveyed. - CNS
Hospital patients get Catholic TV channel
A television channel programmed for hospital patients was launched this week in Catholic Hospitals in Australia.
New debt relief campaign
An international campaign aimed at relieving the world's 52 poorest countries of debt has been relaunched in Australia with the Catholic Church again throwing its weight behind the cause.
John Paul II knocks again on Athens' doors
Pope John Paul II has officially requested the consent of the leader of the Greek Orthodox Church, to visit Athens as a pilgrim and head of state, according to Catholic sources in Greece.
Religious groups wary of Bush cash plan for church charities
President Bush's plan to allow churches, synagogues and other religious bodies to compete for government money is drawing quiet objections from religious groups that are among the biggest providers of social services.
Newman 'miracle cure' may make him a saint
On yesterday's 200th anniversary of the birth of 19th century British Cardinal John Henry Newman, the media in London were reporting that he is a step closer to canonisation.
Church is a source of hope in war-torn northern Uganda
The civil war, which has been raging in northern Uganda between the government and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) over the past 15 years, has resulted in extreme poverty and a destroyed infrastructure, Archbishop John Baptist Odama of Gulu told journalists during a visit to Bonn, Germany.
Opinion - Increase in irresponsible arms sales to trigger happy Third World countries
Arms exports have been declining since the end of the Cold War, but the Third World is buying a bigger share of the weapons. Many weapons are destined to countries that do not observe basic human rights. In 1994 the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace noted that while the right to legitimate defence by armed means exists, purchasing countries should carefully evaluate the reasons for their arms acquisitions, and selling countries should not treat arms sales like other commercial goods because of the close relationship between weapons and violence. - Zenit
Feature - Church plays vital role in keeping Ghana democratic
During his visit to Sydney last week, Bishop Thomas K. Mensah of Ghana told The Catholic Weekly that the Catholic Church in his country is a vibrant institution that plays an important role in keeping democracy on track, through a coalition with other churches. "During the recent elections in December, all the Christian churches formed a coalition to monitor the elections. We kept explaining how they (the people) could vote and why they should vote. It paid big dividends. We voted peacefully and had very good results … We educated people not to be intimidated. To stand up for the truth. Simply that."
Catholic Commission stands up for poorly paid workers
The interests of low paid workers should remain at the forefront of all wage negotiations, according to the Australian Catholic Commission for Employment Relations. - ACCER
Wollongong priest wins appeal to Rome over suspension
The Sydney Morning Herald reported yesterday that the Vatican has overruled its Australian bishops by ordering the reinstatement to pastoral duties of a Wollongong priest whose conviction for molesting a former altar boy was overturned on appeal. - SMH
New cardinals to create Vatican record
Pope John Paul II will formally create 42 new cardinals today, a record number. - BBC/ICN
Pope pleads for peace as Mideast tensions rise
John Paul II again denounced 'the logic of hatred and violence' in the Middle East and appealed for dialogue as a way to peace. - Zenit
Palestinian priest wins award for peace efforts
Fr Elias Chacour, a Palestinian Melkite Catholic priest involved in education for Palestinian and Jewish children, has been awarded the Buddhist Niwano Prize for 2001. - Zenit
Disputed icon increases Russia-Vatican tension
The Kazan Mother of God, a small 30cm high 16th century icon said to be responsible for many healings and other miracles, is aggravating the rift between Russia and Rome. - Fides
Opinion - Parish staff more powerful than Rome
American writer Fr Andrew Greeley argues that the problem of authority is experienced in the Church not so much with the authority exercised by the Vatican or the by Chancery Offices but by the local parish. Members of the laity are often abused by untrained, authoritarian, and enthusiastic parish staff members who are determined to force parishioners down the path of virtue. The laity figure that the Vatican and the diocesan chancery are far away, have no direct influence in their lives and can safely be ignored. However, it is in the local parish where the church exercises its only remaining power to control the lives of the people - the denial of access to the Sacraments.
Feature - The power of story
Story holds a sacred place in Aboriginal culture, as it does in the gospels. Jesus always used story to convey his message. Elizabeth Pike tells her story: 'I really hated [selling furs and hats in a department store]. I was extremely lonely without family or friends, and became so deeply depressed I was suicidal. Fortunately an elderly lady, Miss Virtue, who worked with me came to my rescue. Through her support and kindness, I was led into the Catholic Church.' - Madonna
Pope repeats his wish to visit Armenia
Pope John Paul II on Sunday reiterated his desire to visit Armenia and paid tribute to Armenian Catholics, who he said had suffered greatly for their faith. - AP
Pope to preside over biggest consistory in history
Pope John Paul II is set to preside over the biggest consistory in the church's history, creating a record 44 new cardinals during three days of ceremonies at the Vatican. - CNS
Latin American pope a possibility, says Archbishop
With the creation of 11 new cardinals from Latin America this week, the possibilities increase for the next pope to be elected from that area, a Venezuelan archbishop has said. - Zenit
Hong Kong bishop criticises 'evil' label for Falun Gong
Hong Kong's Catholic church has labelled as 'alarming' chief executive Tung Chee-hwa's recent comments calling the Falun Gong movement an evil cult, the Sunday Morning Post reported. - Reuters
Intercommunion causes conflict between Dublin archbishops
Archbishop Desmond Connell of Dublin has reacted angrily to a statement of his Church of Ireland counterpart welcoming Catholics to receive communion in the churches of his Anglican denomination. - RTE
Priest fined for drink driving on communion wine
A Spanish priest has been arrested for driving while drunk on Holy Communion wine. - Ananova
Opinion - The vocations crisis a result of disloyalty to Rome
American Archbishop Elden Curtiss claims the successful dioceses and religious orders as those that promote orthodoxy and loyalty to the Church, are unambiguous about ordained priesthood as the Church defines that ministry, have bishops who are willing and able to confront dissent which weakens support for vocations, and are willing to call forth candidates who share their loyalty to the Pope. "When this formula, based on total fidelity to Church teaching, is followed in dioceses and religious communities," he writes, "then vocations will increase." - Catholic World Report
Feature - Avery Dulles' red hat a reward for Faithful Service
In his four decades as a Catholic theologian, Cardinal-designate Fr Avery Dulles SJ has served as an adviser to Vatican officials and American bishops and was a leading figure in forging the momentous declaration of understanding between Catholics and Lutherans in 1999. He says in this interview for the New York Times that the theologian addresses two audiences: the public one, comprising Catholics at large; and the private one, which includes the church hierarchy. But whether he is interpreting doctrine and scripture for the church's adherents or offering confidential advice to its leaders, the theologian must always act in the interests of the church, he said, with a clear consciousness of the value of its traditions. He says of Vatican II: "The council was a period of opening up, and people got all too much opened up and began to feel that everything was up for grabs, and that every doctrine could be challenged." He has written that the relationship of a theologian to the surrounding culture should be a critical one. He wrote that by taking "a somewhat critical attitude" toward secular culture, he was following a principle of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, "of acting against whatever can lead one away from total faithfulness to Christ and the hierarchical church." - NYT
Pope urges SVDP to re-think its apporach to charity
Pope John Paul II has called on the St Vincent de Paul Society to adopt a 'fresh approach to charity' that emphasises solidarity with the poor.
Pope warns Peru on loss of values
Repeating one of the themes of his pontificate, with specific reference to the current crisis in Peru, Pope John Paul II said that 'a democracy without values easily becomes a visible or concealed totalitarianism'.
Catholic and Protestant theologians meet on indulgences
For the first time since Martin Luther, Catholics, Lutherans and Reformed Protestants have gathered in Rome to discuss the issue of indulgences.
Keep out of our affairs, Russian Orthodox head tells Pope
The head of Russia's Orthodox Church on Thursday called on Pope John Paul to prevent Catholics from actively seeking converts in the former Soviet Union and to stop encroaching on Orthodox churches.
Caritas steps in again after latest El Salvador quake
Caritas-El Salvador and the organisation's international network reacted immediately to the 6.1 earthquake that hit the country last week.
Nude female Jesus photo stirs furor
New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani began assembling a task force to monitor "decency" in tax-sponsored art exhibits on Friday, as a museum opened a show including a photograph depicting Jesus as a naked woman.
Opinion - Lay movements - the new papal stormtroopers
While it would be easy to dismiss the Jubilee celebrations as an exercise in triumphalism, they marked the unveiling of a new model for the church - the Pope's legacy to the third millennium, according to British writer Gordon Urquhart, author of 'The Pope's Armada'. To achieve his ambitious goal of countering secular influence (the 'culture of death'), his 'culture of life' must be translated into civil legislation and, through a presence in legislatures, courts, academic and medical institutions, and the media, a vast lay army is required. To achieve his 'new evangelisation', he has cultivated a vast array of lay communities over the last 20 years, including Opus Dei, Focolare, Communion and Liberation, the Legionaries of Christ, and numerous others. - The Guardian
Feature - The Generation X theologian
31 year old Tom Beaudoin is portrayed as the theological voice of America's Generation X. He is completing his PhD at the Jesuits' Boston College, and hopes 'to found a theological society linked by the Internet'. Beaudoin's reputation is based on his 1998 book, 'Virtual Faith: The Irreverent Spiritual Quest of Generation X'. He says that members of his generation 'express their cynicism about religion by through either playfully irony or complete dismissiveness. To defend his own irreverance, he quotes from 19th century Cardinal John Henry Newman, who said that deep blasphemy can be evidence of an encounter with a deep truth, what Newman called the paradox of our "intercommunion with divine faith and human corruption." He has analysed the music of Madonna and other elements of popular culture, which he regards as 'one of the premier mediators of the spiritual quest among younger generations'. - NCR
Agreement to protect exploited workers
The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission in Brisbane Archdiocese has moved to help protect the rights and wages of workers in the textile, clothing and footwear industries. - Catholic Leader
Adelaide church plans welcome for refugees
In a move which Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock could interpret as provocative, Catholic organisations have organised a 'welcome' event for refugees. - CathcommSA
Pope expresses sorrow following second El Salvador earthquake
John Paul II expressed his personal sorrow and his closeness to the Salvadoran people, reeling under the impact of a second deadly earthquake in a month. - Zenit
New cardinal could face prison sentence
Cardinal-Designate Roberto Tucci SJ is one of three Vatican Radio officials who face a year's imprisonment if convicted next month on charges of environmental pollution of the Rome suburb where the station's main transmitters are located. - AP
Starving North Koreans prepared to eat Germany's mad cows on death row
In a move which Caritas cites as evidence of the gravity of the situation, North Korea has asked Germany to send to Pyongyang the 400,000 cows destined to be incinerated because of mad cow disease. - Fides
Rio Archdiocese ready for influx of Mardi Gras penitents
The Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro is preparing for the higher than usual demand for the Sacrament of Reconciliation during Mardi Gras by providing extra priests in makeshift confessionals at the city's Maracanazinho stadium. - Zenit/Ananova
Opinion - Freezing takes embryos out of sacred context
Melbourne bioethicist writes of what he considers the tragedy of IVF teams creating human embryos in such numbers and the use of embryo-storage. He says the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declares that embryo freezing is an offence against human dignity in which the embryos are deprived of material shelter and gestation. The natural state for an embryo is to be sheltered within the women's body where the embryo implants and continues its development are denied both the opportunity to develop, to gestate and they are denied the sacred context of the women's body within the communion of her relationship to her husband and the family they have become. - Kairos
Feature - Where have all the Holy Land pilgrims gone?
The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 led to a new discovery of Christian pilgrimage as an enriching experience. Catholics of all ages, young and old, rediscovered this ancient tradition. But today the Holy Land is "off limits". Reports of violence, killings, lack of security have led tourist organizations, religious and non, to stop planning pilgrimages. A spokesman for the Latin Patriarchate press office in Jerusalem said: "For five months we have not seen a tourist or a pilgrim. The Holy Places are deserted, hotels have closed, tourist workers and operators are out of work. We beg our friends, priests, journalists, tourist operators: please come back, we need you!" - Fides
Man awarded $2.5 million for strapping
A man who sued a teacher and the trustees of the Catholic Church over strappings he received 17 years ago was today awarded more than $2.5 million damages by a Sydney jury.
Catholic Women's League acts against cloning
The Catholic Women's League has called on governments of the world to reaffirm the UNESCO Document on the Universal Declaration on Human Genome and Human Rights.
Pope's full three-year agenda does not include retirement
The Holy Father's program for the next three years is full, and it does not include retirement or a reduction in the number of commitments.
Chilean archbishop warns agains proposed sterilisation law
A new rule permitting voluntary sterilisations 'opens the doors' to abuse directed against the poor and uneducated, the archbishop of Santiago has warned.
Ratzinger slams 'cult' rock music
Reports in the popular press indicate that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has strongly criticised rock music as a distraction from the Christian faith.
Mobs attack Valentine's Day shops
Activists opposed to St Valentine's Day have gone on the rampage in an Indian city, destroying gifts and cards.
Opinion - Sickness softens the hard of heart
Sickness can soften the hearts of both sufferers and carers, ennobling them. There is no better example than Pope John Paul II himself. This elderly man fought his way back to health after an assassination attempt. He then forgave and visited his would-be assassin, showing a health of spirit far beyond mere physical recovery. And now he struggles with Parkinson's disease and advancing years. But his touching fortitude in suffering is as potent a ministry as his earlier outreach to the world. Many are the stories of those who, nursing the sick, have found Christ in those they tended. - Catholic Weekly
Feature - Sr Rosalie's own miracle of the loaves
Sr Rosalie Griffin describes herself as 'just an ordinary struggler'. But the thousands of homeless and lonely men who have moved in and out of St Mary's House of Welcome in Melbourne during her 40 years there regard her as quite unique. She recalls: "The daily budget allowed for four loaves of bread. So giving two loaves away one afternoon to a desperate woman with children meant a dire shortage the following day. That night I prayed for help because there was no money to buy more bread. The next day was the feast of the Sacred Heart. I walked into St Mary's and was met by a woman who offered me thirteen loaves of fresh bread for the men. God worked beside me every day." - Madonna
Pope worried about cool reception when he visits Ukraine
Pope John Paul II expressed concern on Sunday over his forthcoming trip to Ukraine, where he faces opposition from the country's Orthodox Church.
Cardinal says religious indifference worse than atheism
The President of the Pontifical Council for Culture said on Sunday that the disappearance of atheism in the post-Communist era is not good news for the Church.
El Salvador Jesuit says poor can't afford earthquake prevention
A month after the disastrous earthquake which caused thousands of deaths and immense damage in El Salvador, Jesuit Theologian Jon Sobrino says the poor are unable to defend themselves against another earthquake.
LA Cardinal regrets seeking clemency for drug dealer
Cardinal Roger Mahoney conceded on Monday that he made a 'serious mistake' in asking President Clinton to commute a convicted cocaine dealer's sentence - which Clinton did on his last day in office.
200 couples cross their hearts in St Valentine's town
More than 200 couples have promised to marry during the coming year, before the urn containing the relics of the patron of the enamored, which is kept in the Basilica of St. Valentine in the Italian town of Terni.
The day of the celebrity ponytail clip
As tennis star Pat Rafter cut his hair for a good cause in Australia yesterday, a Marianist priest was making a similar gesture in the US.
Opinion - Church officials should be nice to journalists
British Catholic commentator Clifford Longley argues that any institution which has to deal with the press on a regular basis will eventually discover that the only policy that works in the long run is one of constructive engagement. Requirements like submitting questions in advance, or demanding the right to vet the journalist's copy afterwards, should be avoided. 'No comment' should always be the answer of last resort, and regarded as an admission of failure if not of guilt. Tell the whole truth, or as near as possible. Never, never lie, not even for 'the good of the Church'. It is useless to try to control the press's agenda: it knows what it wants. It is worse to turn a critic into a foe by recrimination or revenge. - Priests and People
Feature - World Day the Sick: a weekend to remember
It was a weekend of visits, meeting people, discussions and prayer for those involved in the World Day of the Sick celebrations held over the last couple of days. This visit held particular significance for the St John of God Brothers because a member of the Vatican Delegation and Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, Bishop Jose Redrado, is a member of the congregaton. Its Burwood facility is dedicated to the treatment of the mentally ill, and the delegation thoroughly enjoyed its visit. A few mothers undergoing treatment for Post-Natal Depression approached Archbishop Lozano seeking a Special Blessing for their respective children. - ACBC
Catholic health body says Labor aged care promises appear good
Catholic Health Australia has welcomed the Federal Labor party's commitment to setting and funding a new level of care in aged care homes.
Bishop seeks artworks for restored cathedral
Bishop Kevin Manning of the Sydney Diocese of Parramatta has announced a gifts policy for St Patrick's Cathedral that emphasises works of art.
Rising abortion rate sounds alarm for Archbishop and SA Govt
Archbishop Leonard Faulkner has called on Catholics to create a positive community environment for mothers and babies as a practical step in turning around SA's worsening abortion rate.
Europe's Catholic heartland renews interest in making babies
The number of births is on the rise in three of Europe's most Catholic countries following a sharp decline in the past decade.
Women priests in waiting studying theology in Austria
Women who are being unofficially trained for the priesthood in Austria and are looking for a bishop to ordain them have been told they will have to wait.
Catholic actress says playing Jackie Kennedy a privilege
Jill Hennessy, who portrays Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in the upcoming NBC miniseries Jackie, Ethel, Joan: Women of Camelot, said playing the former first lady was a unique kind of privilege.
Opinion - The Pope thinks more about sex than we might imagine
Is our sexuality a joke perpetrated by our Creator? Does it mock us? Was it intended to humble us? Veteran US Catholic commentator Michael Novak argues that Pope John Paul II has given better answers than secular culture to dilemmas surrounding sexuality and marriage. According to Novak, the Holy Father's views on sex reflect the riches of the Catholic tradition - erotic, poetic, profound. The Pope has responded profoundly to the shallow assertion that 'God does not care what we do with each other's bodies, he only cares whether we treat each other as persons'. - The Tablet
Feature - The priest in line to lead Europe's most atheistic country
Though Catholic by tradition, the Czech Republic is frequently called the most atheistic nation in Europe. But one of the names suggested as a possible successor to ailing President Václav Havel is that of Fr Tomás Halík, a professor of religion and sociology who was ordained secretly in 1978. Since the fall of communism, he has emerged as a leading moral spokesman in his country. - NCR
Cardinal Clancy says sick and dying are not a burden
Preaching the homily at yesterday's Vatican World Day of the Sick celebration in St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, Cardinal Edward Clancy emphasised the positive contribution the sick and dying make to the community.
Gays target churches at Sydney Mardi Gras opening
The Catholic and Anglican churches are collaborating with politicians to enforce homophobic and discriminatory policies against gay men and lesbians, speakers told a gathering of 20,000 outside the Opera House for Friday night's opening of the city's annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras calebrations.
Pope says forgiveness is the key to peace
For both individuals and nations, forgiveness is the only way to peace, Pope John Paul II said in his annual message for Lent.
Pope 'plans high level structural reforms'
The Holy Father is planning major shake-ups to high-level Church organisations in order to prepare Christianity for the challenge of the new millennium, London's Catholic Herald has claimed.
Vatican to fight AIDS in Uganda with health care and education
The Holy See will donate $A934,579 to the effort to fight AIDS in Uganda, the Vatican has announced.
Italian priest hopes to celebrate masses at North, South poles
An Italian priest says he hopes to make history this year by celebrating Mass at the North Pole on Easter and at the South Pole on Christmas.
Opinion - Eccentric philosopher defended Catholic faith
Catholic philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe, who died last month, was one of the best known philosophers at Oxford in the past 30 years. According to Archbishop George Pell, she was an eccentric with the courage of her convictions. She was a formidable defender of Pope Paul VI's 1968 teaching against artificial contraception, and she often spoke up for the Real Presence in the Eucharist. Anscombe recounted how after teaching her child about this, she returned to her pew after communion the child asked "Is He in you?". When Anscombe replied "yes", her three year old child prostrated herself. - Kairos
Feature - St Valentine's Day matchmaking at Knock
The weather might still be wintry but, in a small office near the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock, in County Mayo in the west coast of Ireland, business is booming. The weeks around St Valentine's Day are the busiest of all the year at the Marriage Introduction Bureau. Set up in 1968 by Fr Michael Keane, the bureau has introduced more than 13,000 couples. - Independent Catholic News
Vocations slide: fewer men line up to study for priesthood
Most of Australia's diocesan seminaries have fewer vocations to the priesthood this year, but there is some optimism for the future.
Franciscan says new Israel PM will continue peace process to retain popular support
Israeli Prime Minister-elect Ariel Sharon will have to continue the Mideast peace process if he doesn't want to lose popular support, according to a prominent Franciscan based in the Holy Land.
Pope encourages organ donations
The Holy Father has encouraged the work of organisations promoting the donation of organs.
Youth conference warns Indonesian Catholics against mixed marriages
At a youth gathering in the Indonesian archdiocese of Pontianak last month, Capuchin Fr William Chang, rector of the Interdiocesan Theological Seminary of Kalimantan, warned young Catholics against marrying people of other faiths.
Polish priest warns against Harry Potter
A priest in the Polish city of Wroclaw has condemned the bestselling children books by British author J.K. Rowling, which he claims spread pagan ideas.
Did Catholicism come between Kidman and Cruise?
Speculation is increasing that actor Nicole Kidman's reluctance to renounce the remnants of her Catholic faith was responsible for the much-publicised end of her marriage with fellow actor Tom Cruise.
Opinion - Euthanasia - not the only way to go
The moment one enters the euthanasia debate moral issues impinge. Australian Catholic University Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Sheehan asks under what circumstances, if any, should doctors be allowed to sedate a suffering and dying patient to a point of unconsciousness and then allow the patient to expire? What about freedom of choice? And where does the burden of proof lie in the matter of euthanasia? - Catholic Weekly
Feature - Finding God on the job
Do people get away from it all and go to retreat houses or other quiet places because the workplace is a spiritual desert. Greg Pierce of the US National Centre of the Laity believes that work and the workplace has been sold short. "It's true Jesus tried to get away occasionally to pray," notes Pierce, "but he didn't insist everyone join him, and he seems to have interrupted these interludes of solitude whenever the people came looking for him." He is promoting a spirituality that can flourish within the nitty-gritty of the workplace, one that recognizes "the intrinsically spiritual nature of work". - NCR
Holy Land Franciscan says Israelis, Palestinians not ready for peace
A leading Franciscan in the Holy Land has suggested that Israel and the Palestinians are not ready for peace and that a longer, slower peace process would provide better results.
Pope to visit Syria, Malta in early May
Pope John Paul II plans to visit Syria and Malta in early May as part of his travels to Biblical sites, the Vatican said Monday.
Pope urges Albanians not to jump ship
Pope John Paul II has encouraged the Catholic bishops of Albania to enlist young people in the building of a new nation, helping them to 'overcome the temptation to emigrate'.
Cardinal Martini tells First World to return what it stole from poor countries
Cardinal Carlo Martini of Milan has told a conference on Third World debt that every effort ought to be made to cancel the debt of the poor countries, giving back to them what was stolen by wealthy countries.
Indian Priest remains in critical condition after being shot at school
A priest who served as a Catholic school principal remained in critical condition after being shot when he refused entrance to three strangers.
MTV edits religion out of reality show
A 22 year old Catholic student from Georgia Tech University has gone public to express his frustration that references to his religious faith were edited out of the episode of a 'reality' TV program of which he was the subject.
Opinion - What made the Jubilee such a beautiful experience?
On Sunday Pope John Paul II described the Jubilee Year as a beautiful memory that must be a launching pad for a new missionary thrust. The young religious writing this article describes the force of the 'greatest event of inculturation of all time'. She attributes the 'vivid emotions' that linger in her heart following the Jubilee to the 'inner vitality' of the Holy Father which bears witness to the Holy Spirit.
Feature - Russian bishops tell Pope of growth of reborn church
Four Catholic Bishops from Russia are currently in Rome for their ad limina visit, which is taking place a few months ahead of the tenth anniversary of the institution of canonical structures for Catholics in Russia and Kazakhstan. While their relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church remains problematic, they are able to tell the Holy Father of the abundant signs of strength and vitality in the newly restored Church. - Fides
7-Feb-01 - Vidimus Dominum
Commission for Australian Catholic Women holds its first meeting
Facilitating respectful dialogue and promoting open communication on the participation of women in the Catholic Church in Australia are key priorities for the Commission for Australian Catholic Women, which held its first meeting on Friday.
Webcam multiplies welcome for new Adelaide archbishop
Adelaide's groundbreaking 'ChurchCam' - a camera used to broadcast last Thursday's welcome Mass for Adelaide's next Archbishop - attracted more than 5400 web surfers in just over an hour.
Beatification process begins for Pope's university friend
The Archdiocese of Krakow in Poland is asking the Holy Father to testify in the process of beatification of Jan Tyranowski, a Polish tailor who was a friend of Pope John Paul II during his university years.
Slain Guatemalan bishop's case set for trial
After almost three years of theories, arrests and re-arrests, four men and one woman are to go on trial this month in the slaying of Bishop Juan Gerardi.
Jesuit abducted at Zimbabwe roadblock
A Jesuit priest was abducted in Chishawasha, 20km east of Harare last week.
Patron saint of the internet imminent
A Dutch bishop has claimed that the Vatican is about to appoint a patron saint of the internet.
Opinion - Red hat for 'bad boy' German bishop proves Pope is his own person
The naming of Bishop Karl Lehman proves that the media cannot predict the mind of the Holy Father. Lehman created controversy last year for suggesting Pope John Paul II should resign. Earlier he had supported continuing church involvement in a state-run pregnancy counselling program that included the possibility of abortion. Lehman's appointment sent shock waves through the European press, because -- in the media's view -- Cardinal-designate Lehmann long ago failed the papal loyalty test. - CNS
Feature - Adelaide prison chaplain says doing time does not solve crime
Women and men are often "in prison" long before the judge puts them behind bars. And women often do it harder because they have the anguish and guilt of leaving their children behind, says prison chaplain, Sr Adriana Volono. "Prison is the last resort; they are screaming for help and they can't deal with the pressure. Often they've been in their own prison before they're sent there officially," she said. The stress is too much so they subconsciously do something quite violent, if not to themselves then to someone else, to get themselves inside where they have boundaries." - Southern Cross
Caritas Australia sends field staff to Indian crisis
Caritas Australia has sent Anna Kiousis and Melville Fernandez, two of its field workers, to the area where the massive earthquake recently struck in north-west India.
Curia cardinal addresses business leaders including Bill Gates
At a conference in Rome on the future of the workplace, attended by major business personalities such as Bill Gates, Archbishop Francois-Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, stressed that the economy should remain respectful of human dignity.
Pope reaffirms catholic 'no' to gay marriages
Pope John Paul on Thursday reaffirmed the Catholic Church's official opposition to homosexual marriages, saying they were not natural.
Vietnam's cool reaction to Vatican's choice of new cardinal
The Vietnamese Government reacted coolly on Thursday to the Vatican's naming of a new cardinal who is a one-time political prisoner and a relative of a late president of the former South Vietnam, its arch wartime enemy.
Bishop says Church guilty over slave-labour
Germany's leading Catholic bishop says the Church there should recognise its guilt in the plight of the victims of forced labour schemes during the Second World War.
Church cautious about French move against sects
The Catholic Church has expressed its reservations about French legislation that would cover the crime of "mental manipulation" and be aimed at so-called religious sects.
Opinion - The human family in the face of disaster
Jon Sobrino, a Jesuit theologian at the University of Central America in San Salvador reflects on the earthquake in El Salvador. 'Some - the fanatics - say the earthquake is God's punishment. Others, the majority, turn to God gratefully. "Thank God we are alive", they say; "with God's help we'll pull through." Some, faced with tragedy, put themselves in God's hands: "Let his will be done", they say.' - The Tablet
Feature - The Hidden Treasure of Church social teaching
St Vincent De Paul has been talking about it and acting upon it for years. It forms the basis of Caritas' programs worldwide. And according to a series of Popes it should inform the behaviour of all Catholics. Yet many of us aren't even aware of it. It has been described as the Church's "best kept secret". - Catholic Weekly
Aged report disappoints Catholic health body
Catholic Health Australia (CHA) has regretted that a major report on aged care glosses over the significant threat to funding of care in residential aged care facilities.
No extra marks for fee-payers at ACU
Fee-paying students are marked the same way as other ACU students, says Australian Catholic University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Sheehan.
Homeless youth nun blames popular music for alientation
Sr Mary Rose McGeady, a Daughter of Charity and president of Covenant House, a US organisation which helps runaway youths, identified the lyrics of rap stars Eminem, Puff Daddy, Dr. Dre and other MTV artists as a source of hopelessness among young people.
US family challenges church ruling on communion hosts
A five year old girl with an allergy to the gluten in communion wafers is the subject of controversy following Boston Archdiocese's refusal to break with tradition and substitute a rice wafer.
Nuns 'can use Pill for risk of rape in war zones'
Spanish Catholic nuns have the right to use contraceptive pills if they live in war zones and face the threat of rape, says a Church leader.
Mad cow crisis reaches Vatican dinner tables
Europe's mad cow crisis has reached the Pope's dinner table, according to the Holy Father's butcher.
Opinion - More time needed to decide on GM food
Even if biotech crops cause no significant damage to the environment or consumers, companies have been guilty of trying to introduce them without an adequate explanation. While an irrational rejection of new technology should be avoided, blind confidence in scientific progress is not desirable either. Therefore, while rejecting alarmist and pseudoscientific claims about dangers from biotechnology, further debate on this issue is desirable so the world can benefit from a new agricultural revolution. - Zenit
Feature - Adelaide's new Catholic archbishop `hungry to learn'
Fresh off the plane late on Wednesday, 50-year-old Archbishop Philip Wilson from NSW candidly admitted he knew very little about his new home but was "hungry to learn". "One of the tasks I have set myself is to simply drive around the diocese so I get a feel for the whole place and where the churches are and who the people are." - The Advertiser
Perth Archbishop urges Christians to become politically involved
Ahead of the Western Australian State Election, Archbishop Barry Hickey has called on Christians to enter the political process in greater numbers for the sake of the country.
Pope says human life and dignity is threatened
The great challenge for Christians in a godless society is the defence of human life from conception until natural death, John Paul II warned on Tuesday.
Pope not welcome in Greece
Reacting to an invitation to Pope John Paul II, recently issued by Greek President Costis Stephanopoulos during a visit to the Vatican, the Greek Orthodox Church has advised the Holy Father to stay away from Greece until differences between Rome and Athens can be solved.
Some Hindus reject Christian aid for Indian quake victims
Tension between Hindus and Christians is hindering relief efforts following India's deadly earthquake, according to a Catholic priest who says he was driven away from a hospital when he arrived to help.
Nun signals need to monitor corporate values of Bush presidency
President Bush's administration will bring new challenges to the corporate responsibility movement, according to the interim director of the New York-based Interfaith Centre on Corporate Responsibility.
Two virgins consecrated in ancient church ceremony
Two New York women have been consecrated as virgins during a Catholic ceremony which dates back to the church's ancient days.
Opinion - Meekness with an edge
Many regard 'meek' Christians an 'easy touch', offering little or no resistance to opposition. While Jesus did not push himself forward, this in not an all-encompassing picture of him. At tunes a Christian must act strongly because to act any other way would be at variance with his or her conscience. We could not in conscience stand by and see a people such as the East Timorese obliterated. - Catholic Weekly
Feature - All you ever wanted to know about cardinals
With the appointment of seven new cardinals on Sunday, Pope John Paul II continues to break precedent and remake the College of Cardinals. For example, the appointment of Walter Kasper as a cardinal was significant. Becoming a cardinal does not increase an archbishop's canonical authority in his diocese or in his country, but it does add to his prestige and influence. People in red hats tend to stand out in a crowd. The scarlet color symbolises their willingness to shed their blood for the church (three cardinals died violently during the 20th century). When John Paul II was elected in 1978, 24% of the College of Cardinals was Italian; now it is only 18%. - America