Bishop Putney installed as Bishop of Townsville
A Macedonian priest warned of worsening social and economic conditions in his country, following the mid-March launch of an ethnic Albanian rebellion.
Former Brisbane auxiliary Bishop Michael Putney was installed as Bishop of the Diocese of Townsville on Tuesday evening.
Cardinals resist Pope's rapprochement with Lefebvrists
Pope John Paul II encountered some vigorous debate last week when he brought together the heads of the curial dicasteries to discuss the progress of dialogue that could lead to schismatics from the Society of St Pius X being welcomed back into the Church.
Diocese speaks up for isolated Kimberley communities facing hunger
The Coordinator of the Broome Diocesan Office of Justice, Ecology & Peace said yesterday that he is appalled by news that some isolated Kimberley communities are again running out of food.
Canberra bishop meets with priests no longer in active ministry
17 former active priests who live in the Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese met earlier this month with Auxiliary Bishop Pat Power in a further step of reconciliation stemming from the spirit of the Jubilee Year.
Pharmacist wins grant for health ethics research
Clinical pharmacist Timothy Hanlon has received the 2001 Mary Philippa Brazill Foundation Grant for research and education in health ethics.
Priest says social, economic conditions worsening in Macedonia
A Macedonian priest warned of worsening social and economic conditions in his country, following the mid-March launch of an ethnic Albanian rebellion.
Opinion - The next pope: let's stop speculating
Some dissidents have a view of Vatican II that is the opposite of that held by the teaching church. They thought the council abandoned the hierarchical view of the church and generally repudiated the past. The hope that a new pope will, however subtly, jettison the magisterium of John Paul II would seem to be precluded by the fact that he has created 125 of the 135 cardinals who will choose his successor. - Ralph McInerny, author of 'The Defamation of Pius XII', in Beliefnet
Feature - God's broker
Fr Senan Ward, an Augustinian priest, is the chaplain and head of the Catholic AIDS Ministry in Melbourne. For six years he has prayed with and comforted people who are HIV positive and helped farewell people who have died from AIDS. Many of the gay men and women who have died of AIDS have felt rejected by the church and their families. The loved ones who farewell them are often uncomfortable with religion. - Madonna
Pope reveals he wears a Carmelite scapular
Pope John Paul II wrote a letter for the 750th anniversary of the reception of the scapular by the Carmelite order, in which he reveals that he has worn a smaller version of the scapular since his youth.
TV comedian apologises for blasphemous skit
Television personality Rove McManus has apologised for the content of a skit by an American stand-up comedian on his variety show on Tuesday.
Bomb attack on Indian priest, nun
Two major attacks on Christian targets were reported in India last weekend, with three people including a priest and a nun being injured in a bomb attack.
Vatican confirms Pope's Mediterranean tour
The Vatican confirmed earlier this week that Pope John Paul II will travel to Greece, Syria and Malta in May, stressing the trip is one of his pilgrimages to Biblical sites.
Jailed priest facing court over peace protest
A British priest who has been on remand in prison since November for his part in a peace protest is appearing in court this week.
Counsellor says women choose abortion for quick exit
Most women choose abortion over adoption because they can't stand the thought of someone else bringing up their baby, according to the director of Adelaide Archdiocese's Genesis Pregnancy Support Centre, Gay Barnes.
Opinion - Lent causes a few pangs of jealousy
We are deep into the season of Lent, and some remarkable things have been happening to me. I have discovered that not being Catholic at this time of year means I don't have to give up a bunch of stuff as my Catholic friends do. But because I am a guy and not a very mature one I tend to get jealous when I am excluded from things. I guess you could say I have Catholic envy. - Beliefnet
Feature - More Catholics seen zeroing in on centering prayer
Centering prayer, the rediscovery of an ancient monastic practice, has become one of the favoured prayer forms among Catholic religious and laity alike. "The great battle in the early stages of contemplative prayer is with thoughts," says Trappist Fr Thomas Keating. "By interior silence, we refer primarily to a state in which we do not become attached to the thoughts as they go by." - CNS
Missionaries hit back at media accusations on sex abuse
The Union of Missionary Institutes has strongly criticised international media outlets for not making it clear that priests accused of sexual abuse of nuns in Africa are local clergy and not foreign missionaries.
Strong but mixed reaction follows Pell appointment
Australian Federal Minister and Catholic layman Tony Abbott has praised the appointment of Melbourne Archbishop Dr George Pell as Archbishop of Sydney, while former Human Rights Commissioner Chris Sidoti predicted that priests will leave the Church as the new archbishop propells it 'back to the middle ages'.
German priests defy archbishop over loyalty oath
Almost 50 priests of the Freiburg diocese in south-west Germany have refused to swear an oath of loyalty introduced throughout the country last year
Vatican official spells out stand against drug injecting rooms
In response to a request by the International Narcotics Control Board to explain the Church's opposition to medically supervised drug injection rooms, a Vatican official has argued that 'compassionate' solutions are more conducive to the preservation of human dignity than supervised drug use.
Rome says animal organ transplants are OK, for now
The Pontifical Academy for Life has tentatively approved the transplanting of animal tissues and organs into human bodies in order to combat life-threatning illnesses.
US nuns offer themselves as guinea pigs for Alzheimer's research
Elderly Benedictine nuns in the United States are continuing their involvement in a program to test drugs designed to arrest Alzheimer's disease.
Opinion - Critics should condemn Church with love and understanding
Fr Paul Collins seems to be a particularly turbulent individual in what has become a very turbulent Church. Although the Church strives for human perfection, it is a self-admitted Church of sinners. As sinners we cannot help but disappoint at times and nor can our Church. We must also remember that living out the Gospel message is not an intellectual exercise. Although we must use our minds, we need to temper our intellect with our hearts and this is where some critics fall down. - Catholic Weekly
Feature - The heroic silence of theologian Yves Congar
Cardinal Congar (1904-1995) was one of the great theologians of the Second Vatican Council and a pioneer in fields such as ecumenism and the theology of the laity. Congar's journal, just published in French, includes a detailed listing of the ecclesiastical sanctions he was bound to obey, without ever having had the possibility of knowing the specific accusations against him. In the years before Vatican II, his pioneer proposals on ecumenism and the role of the laity in the Church caused concern in the Holy Office and among his superiors, who silenced him. - Zenit
Dr George Pell appointed Archbishop of Sydney
Melbourne's Archbishop George Pell was last night named to succeed Cardinal Edward Clancy as the eighth Archbishop of Sydney.
Pope issues challenge to counter evangelising efforts of Protestant sects
Pope John Paul II has expressed concern over the growth of fundamentalist sects in Latin America, calling them a "serious obstacle" for evangelising the "continent of hope".
Tasmanian CEO fighting battle for protection of recruitment practices
The Tasmanian Catholic Education Office has said it will consider legal action if told it cannot legally continue advertising for teachers supporting Catholic values.
UK survey says many young lapsed Catholics believe they will return
Two-thirds of young people who have stopped going to church, think they will come back, one day, according to new research conducted in the UK.
Vatican not rushing to judgment on John XXIII's remains
While Pope John XXIII's face was found to be perfectly preserved when his body was exhumed earlier this year, Vatican officials for the time being are not calling it a miracle.
Put morality first, British bishops tell voters
The Catholic bishops of England and Wales last week urged Catholics to be aware of the "moral chasm" in British politics when they vote in the British general election.
Opinion - Sincerity and transparency the key to avoiding sex abuse
Over the past 10 years I have met with many victims of abuse. I continue to be deeply moved by the pain in the lives of victims and by the ongoing emotional 'ripple-effect' of abuse. [The Australian Catholic Bishops'] Towards Healing is a genuine and effective response to this abuse. Towards Healing is a public document and is open to public scrutiny. There is now a high level of transparency in the church's response to issues of abuse. Sincerity and transparency are foundational words for the effectiveness of all forms of pastoral ministry. - Adelaide Vicar General Fr David Cappo in The Southern Cross
Feature - After 37 years, starlet nun still prefers rural abbey to Hollywood
Dolores Hart remains a member of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences, but cannot vote for the Oscars because she is a contemplative nun and cannot leave her rural Connecticut abbey to see the films. She was the first actress to kiss Elvis Presley on the silver screen, and was the top-billed actress in Where the Boys Are, MGM's highest grossing movie of 1962. The following year she became a contemplative nun. - ABCnews.com
Surprise as Vatican officials exhume body of Pope John XXIII
Vatican officials made an unusual discovery after exhuming the body of Pope John XXIII -- his face has not changed since his death 37 years ago.
Queensland bishop opposes Toowoomba brothel
Bishop William Morris of Toowoomba has publicly spoken out against an application before the city council for permission to open a brothel.
South Korea leads to world in conversions to Catholic faith
South Korea is Asia's third most Catholic country, after the Philippines and India, and has the highest annual adult baptism rate in the world, according to statistics published by the Fides missionary news agency.
Report says Northern Ireland Catholics getting fairer share of jobs
Catholics in Northern Ireland are getting a fairer share of jobs, a report claims.
Portuguese bus crash kills 14 Fatima pilgrims
A tour bus packed with pilgrims returning from a visit to Fatima careered off a highway in northern Portugal and rolled down a steep ravine Saturday, killing 14 passengers and injuring 24 others, six of them seriously.
Los Angeles cardinal says lay ministry push helping priestly vocations
The church's emphasis on lay ministry is not diluting vocations to ordained and consecrated life, according to Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles.
Opinion - Sex, power and priesthood
Last week's highly disturbing reports about the sexual abuse of nuns by clergy signal the need to rebuild trust within the Church, if its crdedibility is to be re-established and its witness enhanced. The key issue is power. In Africa, priests acquire considerable clout, while the position of women is subordinate. In these circumstances, women find it difficult to say no to men, and especially priests, and they may themselves be attracted to men who offer them security and benefits. - The Tablet
Feature - The link between spiritual and bodily health
Becoming holy is a spiritual task, but it is not opposed to physical health. We are mistaken if we think that the world is concerned with the body and the Church is concerned only with the soul. Christ's desire to heal and bless the sick became obscured in the Church's tradition, particularly in the sacrament of the 'Last Rites', which is in reality the 'Anointing of the Sick'. Vatican II made it clear that 'a return to physical health' may follow reception of the sacrament if such healing is 'beneficial to the sick person's salvation'. - Priests and People
Australian Church apologises to brutalised child migrants
Two peak bodies within the Catholic Church yesterday issued a public apology to all men and women who suffered because of their experiences as child migrants brought to Catholic institutions in Australia.
Liturgical authority acts to protect lectionary from new devotion
Australia's National Liturgical Commission has sought to put the popular new 'Divine Mercy' devotion in perspective by amplifying a Roman decree that prayers and readings derived from the devotion should not override those set down by the official lectionary.
Author says Shakespeare was 'secret Catholic sect member'
William Shakespeare led a secret double life as a member of a banned Catholic sect, according to claims in a new book.
Bush tells Americans to obey the Pope
President Bush on Wednesday called Pope John Paul II "truly one of the great men" and urged Americans to put his teachings into practice.
Catholic Commission backs pensioner revolt
Brisbane's Archdiocesan Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC) has supported pensioner protests against the Federal Government's decision to grant social security recipients only half the CPI increase.
Anglican head's 'hurt' a reminder of 'disagreements yet to be resolved'
The Archbishop of Canterbury accused the Catholic Church on Wednesday of being "hurtful and unhelpful" in its attitude to sharing the sacraments with the Church of England.
Opinion - Melbourne Archbishop says Eminem is beyond the limits of toleration
We value a tolerant and pluralist society. Where do we draw the limits? One proposal contained in Victoria's draft Racial and Religious Vilification Bill is to exempt artistic and academic works. An article about the rap musician, Eminem, by a US nun working with street kids, sets out what might become above the law. She says: "This dark philosophy of recklessness, hopelessness and nothingness, spooned out in bite-size chunks by angry rap icons named Eminem and Puff Daddy and Dr Dre, [make] me want to cry." - Archbishop George Pell in Kairos
Feature - Missionaries say sexual abuse is incomplete picture of church
Reports of sexual abuse of nuns by priests are serious, but they do not paint a complete picture of the church in Africa and elsewhere, said senior members of religious orders, missionaries and a Vatican official. The dimensions and geographical extent of the sexual abuse are still largely unknown, they said, and are complicated by sometimes overlapping issues of cultural practice and simple failure to live celibacy vows.- CNS
Vatican denies abuse of nuns is epidemic
The Vatican on Tuesday denied a report in a US Catholic newspaper that sexual abuse of nuns by priests - especially in AIDS-ravaged Africa - is a serious problem.
Pope John Paul II Visiting Greece
Pope John Paul II will visit Athens on 4 and 5 May as part of a Biblical pilgrimage following the footsteps of the Apostle Paul, a Vatican official said on Tuesday.
Titanic priest's letter discovered
A letter from a young seminarian who sailed on the Titanic for the first two days of her fateful voyage, has recently been discovered.
Balkan Bishops working on peace strategy
As the world talks of the possibility of a major new conflict in Europe's Balkan region, the local Catholic bishops have met in Vienna to analyse the situation and offer a joint Christian response.
Pope says feminine holiness crucial for church
"Feminine holiness is indispensable in the life of the Church," Pope John Paul II said on Tuesday in his message to the World Union of Catholic Women's Organizations (WUCWO) meeting in Rome.
Australian women set up interfaith network to heal divisions
A group of women from various faith traditions are today launching a network intended to build bridges in Australian society.
Opinion - Victoria's Relationships bill takes the meaning out of marriage
As the Herald-Sun noted, "some sections of the Bill treat almost any relationship—whether incestuous, polygamous or accidental—as a marriage." The Catholic Church condemns unjust discrimination against people and vilification of anyone, including gay, lesbian and other unmarried people. But it does not follow from this that the few remaining supports or 'privileges' which the state gives to marriage and marriage-based families should be removed. - Fr Anthony Fisher OP in Kairos
Feature - Korean Church responding to special pastoral needs of Internet youth
In his World Communications Day message on 24 January, Pope John Paul II said the Internet "offers unique opportunities for proclaiming the saving truth of Christ to the whole human family." But while acknowledging its potential for good, the Catholic Church in Korea has decided that an urgent pastoral effort is required to counter negative effects of the Internet on young people. On 1 February, a 15 year old Korean youth killed himself following the instructions of a suicide site. Br Park Kyong-sok from Don Bosco Communication Culture Centre said: "We have to provide youth with more attractive time and space of communication than cyberspace."
Catholic education director worried about decline in male teacher numbers
The decline in the proportion of male teachers in Catholic schools can be explained by the prevailing view in Australian society that 'real men don't teach', according to a researcher at the Australian Catholic University.
Chilean bishop's report confirms 1973 executions
Bishop Emeritus Carlos González has confirmed a report of the execution of 35 people arrested in Santiago's Palacio de la Moneda on the day of the 1973 military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet.
Syrian Muslim leader declines invitation to pray with Pope
The leader of Syria's Muslims has announced there will be no prayers with Pope John Paul II when the Catholic leader visits the country in May.
AIDS cure clears way for canonisation
The miraculous cure of an AIDS patient in 1996 is enabling the canonisation in June of a 19th century Italian priest.
Kenyan bishop warns against Satan's deceptive miracles
Bishop Cornelius Arap Korir of Eldoret Diocese in Kenya has warned local Catholics against cults, charlatans, healing ceremonies and miracle workers.
Africa Cardinal launches anti-poverty campaign
Wilfrid Napier, South Africa's newly created cardinal, has called on church members to help him lobby banks to support the poor and unemployed.
Opinion - Body Parts - gifts of God to be shared
Recent revelations indicate that human body parts have been taken without family permission. Body parts are essential for the continued practice of medicine as well as for the development of new treatments for diseases. But the number of people willing to donate body parts is dwindling rapidly. The good gifts of the Lord are to be shared. Even in this most intimate and personal way, which involves a real and literal giving of self. - Catholic Weekly
Feature - Cardinal Cassidy ready to return home after a job well done
Australian Cardinal Edward Cassidy retired in early March after 11 years as president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and as president of the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. "One of my conclusions from these years is that you very often go easier to the mind through the heart than directly," he said. "A relationship of respect, trust and friendship encourages people to look at what they have in common and to find ways of overcoming differences." - CNS
Reports highlight abuse of nuns by priests in Third World
Several reports written by senior members of women's religious orders and by an American priest assert that sexual abuse of nuns by priests, including rape, is a serious problem, especially in Africa and other parts of the developing world.
Lefebvre schismatics could get similar status to Opus Dei
Reports indicate that the Vatican is preparing to welcome the excommunicated members of the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebre's Society of St Pius X back into the Church, with the status of a personal prelature.
Death silences Sydney radio priest
Parish priest and former media personality Fr Jim McLaren died in Sydney on Friday at the age of 70 following a battle with cancer.
Jesuit says mosque construction a political act
While warning against anti-Muslim prejudice, a Rome-based Jesuit has said that the construction of mosques in certain places could be detrimental to the integration of local immigrant communities.
Sydney seminary intake 'best for 15 years'
The Rector of the Good Shepherd diocesan seminary in Sydney, Fr Michael Foster, has described this year's intake as 'the best for 15 years'.
Zimbabwe Catholic Church leaders blame Govt for people's misery
Leaders of the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe have accused the Zimbabwean Government of inflicting misery on its people.
Opinion - Springtime in Jerusalem - letter from a nun
Unlike the flowers that grace the Negev, the ditches and barricades that the Israeli army has built around population centres, have rendered a whole people isolated from hospitals, schools, and their places of work. One German woman who feels great empathy for the Jews, recently remarked: "It seems that what the Jews learned out of the concentration camps was to apply the same procedures to the Palestinians now." More and more people are seeing this comparison as all too real. - Independent Catholic News
Feature - Hildegard of Bingen: Woman of her age
The 12th century Hildegard of Bingen possessed a clutch of talents which would make even the most eclectic of media-donnas curdle with envy. Writer, visionary, prophet, composer, artist, herbalist, politician, preacher, property owner, upbraider of emperors and favourite of Popes, she could even exorcise demons and heal the sick. She invented her own language, wrote one of the earliest surviving morality plays, established her own convent, and terrorised her detractors. - The Observer
Order says CDF treated Paul Collins 'with generosity'
The Rome-based Procurator General of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart has distanced his administration from Paul Collins, the Australian priest of the order who has resigned in the wake of an investigation of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).
School principal supports teachers' ban on gay art exhibition
The principal of All Hallows' School in Brisbane has said she fully supports a decision by staff not to take students to a controversial art exhibition featuring graphic homosexual scenes.
Foot and mouth disease dampens Ireland's St Patrick's Day celebrations
An Irish bishop led his congregation in prayers for an end to foot-and-mouth disease Saturday, on a somber St Patrick's Day overshadowed by the battle against foot and mouth disease.
Italian Government threatens to silence Vatican Radio
Italy's environment minister has threatened to cut off Vatican Radio's electricity, claiming that electromagnetic waves from its antennas are spreading cancer.
Search for chief executive advances Bishops' Women's Commission
The Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference is moving into the next phase for the Commission for Australian Catholic Women as it launches its search for the Commission's Executive Officer.
Church takes Easter message to suburban shopping centres
For the first time, the Brisbane Catholic Archdiocese is taking the Christian message of Easter to people where they shop, by displaying a poster image of Jesus Christ in shopping centres.
Opinion - Where have all the penitents gone?
Confession used to be one of the defining marks of Catholic practice. Yet today confessional boxes often stand empty. In the opinion of one British parish priest, many practising Catholics have dropped individual confession because they have developed, with the Church's help, a greater sense of self-worth, and are no longer prepared to whisper guilty secrets to a mediating priest. - The Tablet
Feature - US Bishops reflect on their collaboration with women
The current and two past chairmen of the US bishops' Committee on Women in the Church and in Society reflected on the lessons they've learned before an audience of top women diocesan leaders in Chicago last week. "When men are offered unsolicited advice, we see it as tantamount to saying we are incompetent," according to Archbishop John G. Vlazny of Portland, Oregon, the committee's chairman since 1998. "But women offer helpful advice as a sign of love." - CNS
Bioethicist warns human cloning could happen in Australia
Plans by a team of US and Italian doctors to clone human babies could just as easily be legally carried out in Australia, a Catholic bioethicist has warned.
The strong hands of Mother Teresa revealed in statue
A life-sized, bronze statue of Mother Teresa was displayed on Wednesday in Calcutta, the city where she spent most of her life helping the destitute and dying.
Bush offers St Patrick's Day welcome to Ian Paisley
President Bush has provoked a strong reaction from US Catholics by inviting Ian Paisley to the White House for St Patrick's Day.
BMW presents new vehicle to pope
The German car manufacturer BMW presented Pope John Paul II with a new car on Wednesday, at the conclusion of the regular weekly papal audience.
Melbourne nun forgives street attacker who broke her hip
A Brigidine nun on Wednesday found words of forgiveness for the man who robbed her and broke her hip in a vicious street attack.
Study of encyclicals reveals popes' favourite words
When he writes encyclicals, Pope John Paul II's favorite word is 'God'. Pope Paul VI's was 'church', while Pope John XXIII used 'life' the most. Pope Pius XII favoured all three of the above, along with 'Christ'.
Opinion - St Patrick a prophet of peace
An escaped slave himself, St Patrick was the first person recorded as speaking out against slavery. ""But it is the women kept in slavery who suffer the most - and keep their spirits up despite the menacing and the terrorising they must endure." Patrick acquired the political clout to do something about slavery, human sacrifice, and war by placing the bishops next door to the kings to keep an eye on the most powerful raiders and limit their depredations. - Catholic Weekly
Feature - Internet uniting Church in Latin America
The new digital communications technology has probably become the most efficient way to promote communion and communication in the Church in Latin America. "It is in the area of computerised information where the year 2000 witnessed a veritable explosion of creativity, desire to serve, and flowering of Catholic entities, which have incorporated this means of communication," President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Archbishop Foley told a recent meeting in the Vatican.
Bishop stands up for exploited outworkers
Australian Catholic Social Justice Council Chairman Bishop William Brennan told a rally outside NSW Parliament House last week that all Australians must be shocked at the working conditions endured by outworkers.
85% of young British Catholics think extra-marital sex is OK
A survey has revealed that 85% of young Catholics in the UK reject the Church's teaching that sex outside marriage is morally wrong.
Pope admonishes bishops on 'designer religion' in Germany
Pope John Paul II has written a personal letter to all of the cardinals of Germany, warning them in unusually blunt language about the condition of the Catholic Church in their country.
Death threats cause missionaries to abandon Catholic schools in India
Missionaries and teachers of Catholic schools in the north-eastern Indian State of Manipur have been forced to flee following persistent death threats from separatist militants.
Papal frontrunner warns against the devil
One of Italy's most senior churchmen, considered a possible successor to Pope John Paul II, has attracted controversy for his insistence that the devil is a reality, The Tablet reports.
Artwork featuring papal meeting with meteorite set for auction
A life-size waxwork of Pope John Paul II being struck down by a meteorite, part of last year's Apocalypse exhibition at the British Royal Academy, is set to fetch up to $A1.2 million at auction.
Opinion - Strings attached to Pope's appointment of new German cardinal
Bishop Karl Lehmann received a letter from the Pope during his elevation to the College of Cardinals in Rome last month which contained more than a congratulatory message. It amounted to an admonition, taking as its theme the internal secularisation of the church in Germany, and giving specific instructions about what the German bishops should do about it. It is an instance of political maneuvers within the church. The fact alone that a cardinal should receive such a letter when being appointed is astonishing. - Frankfurter Allgemeine
Feature - Churches struggle to help Christian victims of Israeli-Palestinian conflict
With homes damaged in shooting between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers, livelihoods vanishing like the tourism, and the closures of their towns, the Christian community is experiencing its own crisis. The drop-off in tourism since October has hit the Christian community especially hard. Many have been jobless for nearly six months. - Independent Catholic News
Adelaide archbishop says there's no dignity in euthanasia
Any attempt to legalise euthanasia legislation in South Australia should be opposed as a threat to the respect for human life, according to Adelaide's Catholic Archbishop Leonard Faulkner.
Vatican preparing pronouncement on ethics and the Internet
Participants of the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications are working this week on a statement on ethical issues related to use of the Internet.
International Caritas repeats plea for end to Iraq embargo
Caritas International has repeated its call for an end to the UN-backed embargo against Iraq, saying its principal victims are innocent civilians.
Italy fails to charge Vatican officials over electromagnetic pollution
An attempt to charge three Vatican Radio officials, including Cardinal Roberto Tucci, its president, with "polluting Italy's air with electromagnetic waves" foundered on Monday because court officials were unable to serve them with papers notifying them of the hearing.
Kenyan archbishop defends women against President's slur
The head of the Catholic Church in Kenya, Archbishop Ndingi Mwana Nzeki, has spoken in defence of women following the comment from President Daniel Arap Moi that women are hindered from making progress because they have small brains.
Clergyman says Britain's ills are divine retribution for Queen's meeting with Pope
Queen Elizabeth II and the Scottish First Minister - who have both met the Pope within the past six months - have been blamed for the floods, train crashes and foot-and-mouth epidemic, which have all plagued Britain in recent months.
Opinion - Where is the charity in charities?
Charities are often preoccupied with government funding, including such questions as how tax law relating to them and their various activities might be changed. For Christians, a deeper concern sits below these discussions and the change they can be expected to induce. This concern is for the continuance of charity itself, meant in the primary sense of the injunction of Jesus to "love your neighbour as yourself". - Catholic Weekly
Feature - Asylum seekers forced into the arms of traffickers
Genuine asylum seekers are paying large sums of money to smugglers to come to Europe illegally, because they are afraid of the official asylum process. That is one of findings of a series of studies commissioned by the Jesuit Refugee Service. Fr John Dardis SJ, Regional Director of JRS Europe said: "People who are the most vulnerable and who have most claim on our compassion are afraid to pursue that claim through channels open to them as a right." - Independent Catholic News
Pope beatifies 233 casualties of Spanish civil war
With an appeal for an end to Spain's separatist terrorism, Pope John Paul II on Sunday beatified a record number of candidates for sainthood - 233 nuns, priests and lay people who died in Spain's civil war. - AP
Thai bishop calls on Catholics to free women from oppression
Aware of various cultural conditions that prevent the recognition of women's dignity, a Thai bishop has called on Catholics to help set women free from every form of oppression. - CNS
African bishops back import of cheaper drugs to fight AIDS
Southern Africa's Catholic bishops have supported efforts to import cheaper, generic (non-branded) drugs to fight South Africa's epidemic of HIV-AIDS. - Tablet
British attorney general calls for rights for Catholics
The law should be changed to allow the monarch to be a Roman Catholic or to marry a member of that faith, Lord Williams, the British Attorney General, said at the weekend. - Electronic Telegraph
Italian anti-mafia priest's beatification process making good progress
The beatification process of Fr Pino Puglisi, a Sicilian anti-Mafia priest, who was murdered in 1993, is progressing well, according to Church officials in Palermo. - CRTN
Hong Kong Catholic Church takes Govt to task over Falun Gong
Fanning controversy over the Falun Gong, the local Catholic church has attacked Hong Kong's top security official for publicly criticising the spiritual group, which is banned on the Chinese mainland. - AP
Opinion - John Paul II's radical humanism
Amidst wide-ranging criticism in Ireland that dismisses Pope John Paul II's views as authoritarian and reactionary, his biographer George Weigel presented him as a moral colossus with huge influence worldwide. Weigel argued that his greatest contribution has been a particular kind of radical humanism, a belief in the unique dignity of each person because he or she has been created by God. - Irish Times
Feature - So close to God
Terry Monagle prays at the bedside of a dear friend as she dies. 'I watch her body move as she breathes under the blanket. Above the blanket is the jaundiced skin and the silver hair. I pray, aligning my breath with hers. The prayer feels deep and rich.' - Australian Catholics
Cardinal joins critics of new plans for human cloning
Italy's Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini has hit out at plans by doctors from Italy and the US to clone human beings. - BBC
Ursuline nun investigated for murder of Congolese president
Sr Antoinette Fari, for years a prison-pastoral worker in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has been taken to the capital Kinshasa for questioning by the Military High Court concerning the assassination of President Laurent Desire Kabila there on 16 January. - Fides
Priest quits to save order from Ratzinger wrath
Fr Paul Collins MSC, described as 'Australia's most controversial priest', has resigned in part to spare his order from getting caught in the crossfire between him and the Vatican. - SMH/Age
New bishop for Victorian diocese
Melbourne Archdiocese auxiliary Bishop Joseph Grech has been named bishop of the Bendigo-based regional diocese of Sandhurst. - ACBC
PNG Church calls for investigation into police attack
The Catholic Church in Papua New Guinea has called for an investigation into an alleged attack by PNG police on refugees from the Indonesian province of Irian-Jaya. - ABC
Ted Turner apologises for 'Jesus Freaks' comment
Outspoken US media mogul Ted Turner apologised on Friday for calling Catholic employees of CNN "Jesus freaks" for displaying ashes on their foreheads on Ash Wednesday. - Reuters
Opinion - Theologian's work merits encouragement, not censure
In a different kind of Catholic church, Fr Jacques Dupuis SJ might have been one of the veteran theologians made an honourary cardinal in the consistory that took place last month. His years of scholarship and service as an adviser to the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue clearly demonstrate his fidelity to the church. Instead, Dupuis finds his book rebuked Feb. 26 by the Vatican's doctrinal authority, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as containing dangerous 'ambiguities'. - NCR
Feature - New cardinal feels 'half Australian'
Australia has a new cardinal after all, with newly appointed Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan declaring Australia to be his second home after Vietnam. "When the Holy Father announced I would become a cardinal my heart turned to Australia," said Cardinal Van Thuan who has been in exile from Vietnam since 1991. - Herald-Sun
Catholic high school shooting shocks US diocese
A Scranton diocesan spokeswoman called Wednesday's student shooting at Bishop Neumann High School in Pennsylvania a 'sad and shocking' reminder that violence can occur anywhere.
Catholic animal welfare group says foot and mouth cull unnecessary
As the destruction of farm animals continues across the UK - and one zoo put down 18 healthy animals in a bid to curb foot and mouth disease - a Catholic animal welfare group in the UK has branded the cull as 'brutal and unnecessary'.
Greek leader warms to idea of papal visit
The leader of Greece's Orthodox Church on Sunday said he would be willing to meet Pope John Paul II in Athens, despite strong reservations within the church to a papal visit.
Chile donating copper for dome of St Peter's
Pope John Paul II has sent a message to Chilean President Ricardo Lagos thanking him for his country's donation of tons of copper that will line the exterior of the dome of St Peter's Basilica.
Catholic activist calls for police restraint over protestors
A former Brisbane archdiocesan social justice commission chief has called for police restraint when dealing with hundreds of peaceful protesters expected to converge for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM) in the city later this year.
Priest sociologist says Irish 'still Catholic, but on their own terms'
Leading US Catholic academic Fr Andrew Greeley has said that the Irish are no longer Catholic if acceptance of church teaching is the measure of faith.
Opinion - Is Australia still the land of the fair go?
Genuine solidarity with the less fortunate must be the hallmark of Australia if it is to be a truly great nation, Catholic Bishops Conference President Archbishop Francis Carroll told Australia's political leaders at last month's ecumenical worship service held to mark the opening of the 41st Parliament in Canberra. Preaching to a congregation at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church that included the Prime Minister, Opposition Leader and Governor-General, Archbishop Carroll said: "In this country which prides itself on being egalitarian, and in giving everyone a fair go, there appears to be a growing division with the haves and the have-nots with unacceptable levels of poverty existing side by side with extravagant affluence." - Catholic Voice
Feature - Celtic spirituality: Finding God in the 'thin places'
According to the Celts, places where people feel most strongly connected with God's presence are referred to as "thin places." It is in these locations where the seen and unseen worlds are most closely connected and inhabitants of both worlds can momentarily touch the other. "For us, then, it is a place where it is possible to touch and be touched by God, as well as the angels, saints and those who have died," according to the leader of a group of American pilgrims who travelled to Ireland to discover the God of the Celts. - St Anthony Messenger
Vatican officials hail UN efforts to protect Buddha statues
Vatican officials welcomed UN diplomatic efforts to prevent the destruction of two massive historic Buddha statues by Afghanistan's Islamic Taliban leadership.
Vietnam detains priest opposed to US trade pact
Government authorities in Vietnam have detained an outspoken Catholic priest and branded him a traitor after he urged the US Congress not to ratify a historic bilateral trade pact because of human rights abuses.
Jesuit says bishops should practise what they preach on women's role
While church authorities acknowledge the dignity and rights of women, they need more courage to hand effective decision-making roles to women, according to an Italian Jesuit in an editorial written for today's International Women's Day.
Moscow patriarch feels the heat on hoped-for papal visit
Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow complained on Tuesday that Russian politicians are pressuring him to accept a visit from Pope John Paul II, a trip the Orthodox leader said would not take place until differences between the two Churches are surmounted.
Italian archives reveal Pius XI considered Hitler an Antichrist
If Adolf Hitler had wished to visit the Vatican, Pius XI would have had the Führer first ask publicly for forgiveness for persecuting the Catholic Church in Germany.
Priest says lapsed will return to church if invited
Non-practising Catholics are generally good people who long to be reconciled to themselves, to Christ, to the Church, but need an invitation to come back, said the Director of the Catholic Enquiry Centre Fr McKee.
Opinion - Govt should pay parents to have children
Families get short shrift in the modern world. Many people would actually like to have children but find the expense and the generally anti-child nature of much of Australian society quite daunting. The answer? A simple but substantial, non-means tested family allowance would help. Australia also needs to look at the real cost of having a family. Not just the financial cost, but the social and emotional cost too and consider how these burdens can be alleviated. - Catholic Weekly
Feature - My son has Asperger's
"'Watch this', my friend said bobbing around in front of my six-month-old son. 'He's looking straight through me.' 'Weird', my friend said. 'I've never seen a baby do that before.' That was the first time I heard my son's behaviour described as weird. It was not the last. Over the years I have been hurt, have cried, despaired and prayed about my son. Finally I ignored others' opinions and have come to terms with my son's disability. - Kathy Hoopmann in Australian Catholics
Archbishop says extended Easter shop hours erode 'sacred time'
Adelaide's Archbishop Leonard Faulkner has expressed concern that new Easter Saturday trading hours in the city will deny the opportunity for family and individual time for prayer and rest, particularly for the many young people in casual employment. - CathcommSA
Pope to pray in mosque
John Paul II is to become the first leader of the Catholic Church to set foot in a mosque when he visits Syria in May, a church official said on Monday. - BBC
FBI attempting to break confessional seal in alleged spy case
Investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been interviewing priests in an attempt to extract clues that may lead to the prosecution of spy suspect Robert P. Hanssen. - CNS
Russia denies entry to leading Catholic official
A Polish Jesuit priest who for most of the past decade has played a crucial role in rebuilding Catholic institutions in Russia was refused a Russian entry visa on 27 February for the third time in a row. - Keston
Israeli officials assists Franciscans to reclaim monastery by force
Israeli court officials broke down the door of the St. John of the Desert monastery on Sunday, enforcing an order to evict six Melkite monks and return the site to its owners, the Franciscans. - AP
Cuba experiences a rebirth in vocations
Vocations to the priesthood and the religious life are increasing in Cuba, despite economic and social difficulties, and increasing government hostility to the Church - Zenit
Opinion - Moderates in the race for next pope
Their buzzword of the 'moderates' is 'collegiality', signifying a church whose future is worked out at the local level rather than in curial offices. For most of his pontificate, Pope John Paul has appointed conservative cardinals, but last month he reversed form by elevating new moderates. Certainly there were also conservative elevations, but the biggest news out of the consistory is that the moderates are back up to fighting weight and Catholics hoping for a more decentralised church have reason to feel new optimism. - NCR
Feature - Russian Catholic Church seeking to locate members of the faithful
Despite a decade of rapid growth, the Roman Catholic Church in Russia still faces huge challenges in seeking out and better serving Catholics in the world's largest country. ``First we need to find these people," said Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz. "We say there are about 500,000 or 600,000 Latin-rite Catholics in Russia ... We are establishing parishes when people are coming to us, but our priests are not able to go everywhere." - CNS
Papal envoy visiting Iran
A Holy See diplomat celebrating Mass at a church in the Iranian capital Sunday delivered a message from Pope John Paul II to Iran's Christians, calling on them to "remain good and committed Christians."
Chile's cardinal urges forgiveness for torturers
Chile's new cardinal, Archbishop Francisco Javier Errázuriz of Santiago, has courted controversy by suggesting it would be better for Chile if there were fewer new legal cases brought against agents of the former military regime of General Augusto Pinochet.
Vatican censure of interreligious dialogue theologian 'won't harm Indian church'
Theologians and church officials in India have acted to calm fears that a "notification" the Vatican issued concerning Belgian Jesuit Father Jacques Dupuis' book on religious pluralism would affect the interreligious dialogue that is an essential part of the work of the Church in the country.
Bombay Cardinal says persecution is good for the Church
While lamenting the presence of the 'small group of [Hindu] fundamentalists' attacking Indian Christians, Cardinal Ivan Dias has said that the persecution will ultimately prove 'all for the good of the Church'.
Australian cardinal retires from Vatican post
Cardinal Edward Iris Cassidy has retired from his position as President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75.
US diocesan leaders have their say on the role of women
Women in diocesan leadership positions in the United States say their participation in church decision-making is sometimes hindered by sexist attitudes, church structures or the strident voices of women themselves, according to a new survey.
Opinion - Time to end immigration go-slow
Landmines campaigner Sr Patricia Pak Poy has called for a more generous immigration policy which gives top priority to vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees. "They don't flee their own country for nothing. There is always a major reason why they would do that. Mandatory detention is not very effective in helping people come to terms with their situation … the conditions are too harsh and as I understand it, they are kept in very prison-like conditions and locked in and lights are kept on all night." - Southern Cross
Feature - Is FBI covering up truth about death of US priest in Kenya?
The unfinished investigation into Fr John Kaiser's Death has become a point of controversy in Kenya. Four months after the fact, the official FBI investigation has not been concluded but Kenyan religious leaders and people close to the late Fr Kaiser fear that US FBI agents might be involved in a cover-up since they seemed to have been looking into suicide as a possible ending to the former human rights crusader's life. - Maryknoll
Church groups call for immigration detention reform
The Flood Report into the country's immigration detention regime has given Catholic organisations hope that may bring Australia's asylum seeker protection practices into line with internation human rights law. - ACSJC
Missionary despairs as Dayak headhunters net 3000
'May God forgive them for they do not know what they do' is the only conclusion of a longtime missionary in the Indonesian province of Kalimantan, following the death of up to 3000 ethnic Madurese settlers at the hands of native Dayaks. - Fides
Animal rights group claims Jesus was a vegetarian
A vegetarian group is selling Easter cards implying Jesus Christ didn't eat meat. - Ananova/CWN
Czech state radio censors church ad
In a move reminiscent of the Communist era, state-run radio has banned a radio commercial produced by the Catholic bishops on the grounds that it amounts to proselytism. - Zenit
Church steeples off limits for Italian mobile telephone masts
Church towers should not be used to host mobile telephone masts, the Italian Bishops' Conference announced on Friday. - Guardian
New York Catholics boycott St. Pat's Parade
Thousands of Catholics have boycotted the first of the city's two St. Patrick's Day parades because the politician selected as grand marshal supports abortion rights. - AP
Opinion - Mobile phones stunt teenagers' emotional growth
Mobile phones can inhibit the emotional growth of teenage school students and delay the cutting of "apron strings" because their parents are just a mobile phone call away, according to Adelaide's St Aloysius' College deputy principal, John Konopka. Mr Konopka says some students used their mobile phones to call their parents when they fell out with a fellow student while others spent recess and lunchtime chatting on their mobile to their boyfriend instead of socialising with their peers. - Southern Cross
Feature - Size matters to future of Catholic hospitals
The merging of Catholic health services gives them a better chance of survival, according to Sr Annette Cuncliff Cunliffe, congregational leader of the Sisters of Charity and Chair of Catholic Health Australia. "Because [health funds] negotiate deals with each hospital separately, the smaller the hospital they're negotiating with, the greater the health funds' power." - Catholic Weekly
Bishop Robinson says let public judge Church on sex abuse
Bishop Geoffrey Robinson has commented that a revision of the Australian Catholic Church's procedures for responding to sexual abuse complaints "establishes public criteria according to which the community may judge the resolve of Church leaders to address issues of abuse within the Church". - ACBC
Cinema buff pope gives '2001' top billing
The Pope hosted a relaunch last night of the remastered and restored version of Stanley Kubrick's classic science fiction film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. - London Times
Jesuit General praises castigated theologian
Following the Notification received from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by Fr Jacques Dupuis, his Jesuit Superior-General Fr Peter-Hans Kolvenbach has described him as a 'pioneer of interreligious dialogue'. - Vidimus Dominum
Kenyan Church leaders accuse UN refugee body of corruption
Kenyan church leaders have denounced UN High Commission for Refugees staff members for taking bribes before offering to help refugees find homes. - CNS
Archbishop says pastoral planning is about gospel values, not structures
Catholic parishes immersed in Adelaide's current pastoral planning review should not allow debate about "structures" like buildings and Mass times to obscure thinking about gospel values, according to Archbishop Leonard Faulkner. - Southern Cross
Tax Office rules Catholic bodies may do GST-free business among themselves
Transactions between members of the Catholic GST Religious Group are not subject to GST, according to a ruling received from the Australian Taxation Office dated on Monday. - ACBC
Opinion - Brands are the new religion
"Brands are the new religion. People turn to them for meaning," according to ad agency Young & Rubicam, which says successful brands are "the ones that have the passion and energy to change the world, and to convert people to their way of thinking though outstanding communications." Y&R said today's brand builders could be compared to the missionaries who spread Christianity and Islam around the world. "It was the passion with which they communicated those beliefs that led to people responding in their millions." - Financial Times
Feature - German Catholic radio station open to the world
Although Domradio (Cathedral Radio) is a church station, it is not allowed to preach the Gospel. Its license requires it to present the full range of programming and reflect the full breadth of social reality. Station head Ingo Bruggenjurgen says Domradio's studio location close to the cathedral gives the staff the right feeling: "Our presenters sit in front of the microphone and see the great gothic Cologne cathedral across the square in front of them. On the square itself, life goes on, and you can see people going about their business. That's where we are: In the middle of the world, but with our eyes firmly on the church." - CNS
Church's sex abuse guidelines updated
The Church's 1996 guidelines on how to deal with and prevent sexual abuse occurring in the Church have been updated, with effect from today. - Catholic Weekly
Pope writes letter on Cardinal Newman
John Paul II has proposed the influential 19th Century English Cardinal John Henry Newman as a model for Christians today. - Zenit
Jerusalem patriarch says destroy churches, not homes
In his Lenten pastoral letter, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, has called on Israeli troops to spare the homes of Palestinian families and destroy their churches instead. - CRTN
Cuban Communists seeking to erase traces of papal visit
The Communist Party in Havana has given the order to cleanse Cuba of all traces of John Paul II's historic visit to the island three years ago, according to an Italian bishop just returned from Cuba. - Zenit
Film to portray Pope Pius XII as traitor to Holocaust Jews
A film on the life of Pius XII, the wartime pontiff accused of failing to help the Jewish victims of the Holocaust because of his alleged anti-Semitism, is finally to be made after four decades of disapproval by the Holy See. - London Times
Kung proposes mandatory papal retirement
Prominent theologian and frequent critic of the Vatican, Fr Hans Kung, has proposed term limits or a mandatory retirement age for popes. - Catholic Leader
Opinion - New York rabbi calls Pius XII a 'righteous gentile'
Even before Pius XII died in 1958, the charge that his papacy had been friendly to the Nazis was circulating in Europe, a piece of standard Communist propaganda against the West. It disappeared under the flood of tributes, from Jews and gentiles alike, that followed the pope's death. But a fictional and highly polemical 1963 play claimed that Pius XII's concern for Vatican finances left him indifferent to the destruction of European Jewry. - Rabbi David Dalin in The Weekly Standard
Feature - Investigating the death of a modern martyr
Last year an American missionary in Kenya was found in a ditch with the back of his head blown off. Though it was suggested that Fr John Kaiser had committed suicide, investigators - including the FBI - are not convinced. He was due to give testimony to another commission on issues relating to land and land-grabbing a few days after his death. Some of his Church colleagues believe that he was planning to level fresh allegations against the same government ministers he had accused before the Akiwumi Commission. - Electronic Telegraph