Zambian bishops express sorrow at former archbishop's defection
Zambia's Catholic bishops have issued a statement inviting all Christians to continue praying for the former Archbishop in the hope that "he will decide to repent and come back to the Church".
Brisbane detention centre plans condemned
A Catholic refugee worker has condemned Federal Government plans to build another detention centre, possibly on Brisbane's western outskirts.
Pope wants truth about Guatemalan bishop's murder
John Paul II urged that the truth be told about crimes committed against the Catholic Church in Guatemala, particularly the 1998 murder of Bishop Juan Gerardi.
Justice priest calls for dialogue on homosexuality
The Director of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart justice office in Sydney has criticised the gay and lesbian protest at the recent installation of Dr George Pell, suggesting that "dialogue is the way".
Church in China mourns devoted Archbishop
The Catholic Archbishop of Guangzhou, James Lin Bingliang died at the age of 88 last Friday in his home in the Canton region of China.
Vatican suspends US cathedral renovation
The Vatican has asked the Archbishop of Milwaukee in the US to put his cathedral renovation plans on hold because they may be contrary to norms for church architecture.
Opinion - Bureaucrats upend liturgical renewal
The Vatican is busy disassembling some 35 years of work on liturgical renewal. Certain Vatican functionaries, in league with the most reactionary elements in local churches, could not tolerate movement toward inclusive language, seen as a feminist "wedge issue" that would eventually lead to pressure for women's ordination. Something is wrong when bishops who attended Vatican II and undertook the work of translating sacred texts into the vernacular are swept aside. - NCR
Feature - Did the KGB harm the Pope?
20 years ago Pope John Paul narrowly escaped death at the hands of a Turkish assassin in St Peter's Square in Rome. A new book examines the Bulgarian connection and implicates the KGB. Its intention is to "recount the extraordinary story of one man's dedication to the task of freeing the people of the Soviet bloc from Communist totalitarianism, the zeal with which the CIA under the leadership of Bill Casey assisted him, and the KGB's determination to stop them". - The Tablet
Vatican regrets marriage of Archbishop Milingo
The Zambian archbishop who married an acupuncturist in a group wedding conducted by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon can no longer be considered a bishop, the Vatican said on Monday.
Cardinal Dulles speaks out on Ratzinger-Kasper dispute
Cardinal Avery Dulles of New York has weighed in on an ongoing debate between Cardinals Walter Kasper and Joseph Ratzinger on the distribution of authority between the universal Church and the local Church.
Priest and lay anti-nuclear collaborator convicted in UK
A British priest and his lay accomplice who have been found guilty of trespass and criminal damage arising out of an action protesting against nuclear weapons.
Bishops formalise Women's Commission
Members of the Commission for Australian Catholic Women, and their new Executive Officer, Therese Vassarotti, will be formally commissioned by Bishop Peter Connors at a special ceremony to be held in the Crypt of St Mary's Cathedral next month.
East Timor Bishop visits West Timor
East Timorese Bishop Basilio Nascimento has arrived in Indonesian West Timor at the start of a three-day visit to encourage tens of thousands of East Timorese refugees to return home.
'Good Pope' to get final burial in St Peter's
The body of Pope John XXIII will be moved to a new resting place in. St Peter's Basilica on Sunday after a mass on the 38th anniversary of his death.
Opinion - Practical problems in mutual obligation
Welfare groups have focused on the paltry sum the Government has dedicated to welfare in the Budget. But the Budget has also thrown up a more fundamental concern in its extension of 'mutual obligation'. Mutual obligation involves making sure that welfare recipients are really in need and also 'do their share'. But it brings up difficulties for the large number of the people not very well-educated, sick, or physically or mentally disabled, or mentally ill. - Catholic Weekly
Feature - Catholic high schools confront complex issue of pregnant grads
A pregnant graduate has been denied the right to participate in a US Catholic school graduation ceremony in Baltimore today. The principal took the action when she learned of the student's pregnancy in early April. The student says she observed the Church's teaching on the sacredness of life when she unhesitatingly rejected the idea of an abortion. Many schools find themselves torn betweeen supporting a student's decision to affirm life and the school's toleration of sexual permissiveness. - CNS
Church in Poland apologises for Jewish massacre
The Catholic Church in Poland has apologised for the killing of about 1600 Jews in a massacre during the World War II.
Pope pleads for peace in Macedonia
John Paul II raised his voice to plead for peace in the Balkans, after last week's clashes between the Macedonian army and Albanian rebels.
Russian Catholicism on the rebound amidst opposition
Ten years after its rebirth in Russia, the Catholic Church is enjoying growth, though not without opposition.
Support for remarried divorcees in Europe
A new initiative in favour of increased rights for Catholic remarried divorcees has been launched in Austria's Salzburg archdiocese.
Missionaries criticise WHO claims that leprosy is defeated
Italian missionaries serving in Ghana and Uganda have described as "dangerous triumphalism" claims by the World Health Organisation that leprosy has all but disappeared.
Irish priests want lapsed Catholics to toe the line
A straw poll of priests in each of Ireland's 31 dioceses found most believed church teachings banning unwed partners from receiving communion should be enforced.
Opinion - New hope from an old pope
It is one of the many paradoxes of John Paul II's reign that, at the end of his long papacy, there are extraordinary possibilities of change. In part, this is because his actions as an evangelist can be out ahead of church teaching. His letter to inaugurate the third millennium could be a blueprint for reform. Far from delivering a monologue, Rome now speaks with a plurality of voices. - John Wilkins (editor The Tablet) in The Guardian
Feature - Why the Lefebvrists remain uncompromising
Following the Society of St Pius X pilgrimage to Rome during Holy Year, the Vatican offered an olive branch to the schismatic followers of the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. But talks have stalled due to the unwillingness of the Society to make certain concessions. Bishop Bernard Fellay, successor to Archbishop Lefebvre (and one of the four bishops whose consecration sparked off the schism in 1988) told the Swiss daily La Liberté why they are not prepared to compromise. - Diocese Report
Catholic Commission supports Beazley promise on GST
The Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission applauds the commitment made by Mr Beazley in the Budget Reply to address the destructive impact of the GST on charities if elected to Government.
Pope pledges action on consistory outcomes
John Paul II has promised to draw "opportune operative indications" from the proposals offered by last week's cardinals' consistory, to address the Church's great challenges.
Vatican verifying reports of archbishop's intentions to marry a Moonie
The Vatican said on Saturday it was waiting for self-styled Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo to clarify his intentions after the church of Reverend Sun Myung Moon said it would preside over the bishop's marriage to a Korean.
WA Christian Brothers leader sets record straight on child migration
The Christian Brothers' Holy Spirit Province Leader Br Tony Shanahan has written a strongly-worded letter to a Perth newspaper to set the record straight on a series of popular misconceptions reported by a columnist.
Franciscan backs two initiatives on Israel
The Israeli Franciscan priest Fr David Jaeger, an expert on relations between Israel and the Holy See, has said peace in the Middle East requires an end both to Palestinian violence and to colonisation by Israel.
Kenyan church wants enquiry into missionary's death
The Catholic Church will soon make a formal request to the government for a public inquest into the death last year of US missionary Fr John Kaiser's death.
Opinion - It's time to make Australia once again a land of fairness
During the hundred years since Federation many social structures have been put into place to guarantee a safety net and some sort of equity in the provision of social needs such as housing, education and health care. However as we stand on the brink of our second century as a nation there is enough evidence to suggest that our direction has turned towards a narrowing of opportunities for participation in work and wealth and a devaluing of citizenship. - Fr Joe Caddy (Catholic Social Welfare Services Victoria) in Kairos
Feature - The making of the next pope
Open campaigning was taboo, but last week's consistory - effectively a pre-conclave - offered a platform for candidates to display their holiness, intellect, compassion and political orientation. Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Belgium, 67, moved him up several places, Vatican analysts agreed. His arguments in favour of collegiality and reaching out to other Christian churches appealed to many. "What people really liked was that he did not try to preach," an observer said. "He had concrete proposals and made his case simply. That went down very well." - The Guardian
Commission welcomes 'overdue' basic banking product
The Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission gave qualified support to the Basic Banking Product introduced yesterday by the National Australia Bank (NAB), urging the entire retail banking sector to follow suit.
NATSICC chairperson urges churches to help with reunions
Ahead of Sorry Day tomorrow, the Chairperson of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC) has said there have been signs of healing since the tabling of the Bringing them Home report.
Leading cardinal calls for honest look at church problems
Cardinals from around the world ended the consistory on Wednesday, with an influential European urging his fellow prelates to be frank about the challenges facing the Roman Catholic Church.
Vatican wants lower-priced medicines in developing countries
Archbishop Javier Lozano Barragán, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, has called for affordable pricing for medicines destined for Third World countries, and the promotion of research for products designed to cure illnesses specific to those countries.
Charity reports new air attacks on Sudanese civilians
The international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) reports that an air attack on the southern Sudanese town of Narus has claimed the lives of three people, including a child of six.
Astronomer urges informed dialogue between science, religion
There can be no productive dialogue between science and religion if either side is dominated by ignorance, according to the director of the Vatican Observatory.
Opinion - Orthodox bishops will ensure more than lip service to Rome
When the Statement of Conclusions was first released, with its clearly spelt out reform agenda, the Holy See had reason to hope the situation in Australia would soon improve. However the apparent reluctance of a number of bishops to go beyond lip service [has required] a recent succession of strong and orthodox appointments, culminating in Archbishop Pell's move to Sydney. - AD2000
Feature - Monsignor Jack Egan, 'conscience' of the city of Chicago
John "Jack" Egan, a priest whose battles for social justice made him one of Chicago's most influential religious leaders, died last Saturday at the age of 84. A 1965 photo of him marching with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. became a call for clergy to join the civil rights movement. "He really had a way of challenging people on very serious moral issues without alienating them," said Fr John Minogue, president of DePaul University. "And with that, he kept the dialogue open so that change could actually happen." - Chicago Tribune
Sexuality, globalisation on cardinals' agenda
Discussion at this week's cardinals' consistory at the Vatican has been wide-ranging, from the need for a manual to help the Church better understand human sexuality to the pros and cons of globalisation.
Catholic Commission says Budget welfare spend masks crackdowns
The Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission is concerned that the spending on Welfare Reform in Tuesday night's Federal Budget is grossly inadequate.
East Timor nuns massacre trial to begin in July
The trial for the massacres committed in 1999 in the district of Los Palos will formally begin on 3 July in Dili.
Mother Teresa canonisation probe nearing completion
The evidence-gathering phase of the canonisation process for Mother Teresa will be complete within three months, said Archbishop Henry D'Souza on Tuesday.
US study finds priest shortage restricts access to Anointing of the Sick
With fewer priests available to administer the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, it is becoming increasingly difficult for seriously ill patients to receive the sacrament when requested by pastoral caregivers.
European women call for inclusive language in liturgy
Feminist theologians in Germany and Austria have criticised Liturgiam Authenticam, the new Vatican instruction on liturgical translation, for clinging too closely to 'male-oriented' Latin texts.
Opinion - Silencing: old tactic that doesn't work
Silencing speaks of an institution that has lost its ability to persuade. Yet silencing loses its effectiveness when people ignore the order and keep talking, as they do about women's ordination, for example. The observer is obliged to ask: What is it about conversation and debate that makes the Roman Catholic church so afraid? Why is the church so fearful of open and honest due process in controverted situations? - NCR
Feature - St Therese of Lisieux relics arrive in Northern Ireland
The relics of St Therese of Lisieux have arrived in Northern Ireland in what is the biggest religious sensation in Ireland since the Pope visited over 20 years ago. The relics of the 19th Century French saint, are on a 75-day tour of the country, and have already generated huge crowds at churches and cathedrals in the Republic of Ireland. The tour has sparked some controversy with visits to one of the Irish Republic's biggest jails. - BBC
Catholic body says health budget a mixed bag
Last night's Federal Budget has drawn a mixed response from the Executive Director of Catholic Health Australia, the peak body representing Catholic health services.
Bishops reassure Australia's demoralised priests
The Catholic Bishops of Australia have written to diocesan and religious priests around the country to reaffirm the priests' role as a major source of vitality in the life of the Church.
Pope opens meeting with cardinals
In a mix of the ancient and the modern, like one cardinal's mobile phone ringing during silent prayer, cardinals from around the world began on Monday to ponder the challenges facing the church and who might lead it after Pope John Paul II.
Catholic Institute gets funding for Science and Religion course
The Catholic Institute of Sydney has received a special grant to fund the development of a new course focusing on the ongoing dialogue between science and religion.
Pope John Paul II called 'the greatest feminist of all'
A speaker at a Sydney conference at the weekend described the Pope as the "greatest feminist of all" because of his "fearless and consistent defence of women against the modern trend to turn them into sexual or reproductive objects".
Bush draws inspiration from Dorothy Day
Quoting Lyndon Johnson, Knute Rockne and Dorothy Day, President Bush used his commencement address at the University of Notre Dame to encourage individual and corporate participation in battling poverty.
Opinion - Church must be a player in globalisation
As its name signifies, the Catholic Church is no stranger to globalization. The Church's mission from the beginning has been to spread the Good News to every corner of the earth. In the course of pursuing that mission for 2,000 years, she has time and again confronted challenges posed by transformations of culture as well as by cultural differences. - Zenit
Feature - Coming to Catholicism via film
On a recent visit to Australia, award-winning Japanese documentary film-maker Shigeki Chiba told how, as a 19-year-old economics student, he saw the Kurosawa film To Live, which was instrumental in his conversion to the Catholic faith. "That movie gave people a message of courage in living and I (decided) I wanted to make movies that would give people courage." - Catholic Weekly
Cardinals gather in Rome for consistory
Nearly all the Church's 183 cardinals have begun a four-day meeting in Rome to discuss the future of the Church.
Bishop Belo calls for political peace
Dili Bishop Bishop Carlos Belo has urged political groups in East Timor to settle their differences peacefully as the territory prepares for full independence.
Pope resists Israeli pressure to censure Syrian President's comments
Syrian President Bashar Assad's criticism of Israel and the Jews during Pope John Paul II's visit to Damascus has left a lingering diplomatic and interreligious controversy at the Vatican.
Missionaries flee Sudan fighting
For the second time in two months, serious fighting has rocked Sudan's western Upper Nile area, forcing the evacuation of foreign aid workers and missionaries, and disrupting relief operations.
Catholic bishops meet Tamil Tiger rebels
Ten Sri Lankan bishops have held peace talks with high-ranking Tamil rebel leaders to help end the country's 17-year civil war.
Pope urges respect for indigenous in Mexico
Pope John Paul II called on Saturday for more respect for Mexico's Indians, saying greater pluralism would reinforce the idea that all Mexicans are part of the same family.
Opinion - Hitting the wrong note
The author of Why Catholics Can't Sing says complaints about liturgy always seem to come down to one source of pain: the feeling of exile. People sense they are being driven out of their spiritual home by music. Christians have always sensed that music during worship is not just pretty sounds. It is also a way of displaying orthodoxy, confidence, solidarity, and even a kind of territorial "ownership". - The Tablet
Feature - Developing the 'bounce back' factor
"I was a lousy parent sometimes," says Jesuit Social Services family therapist Constance Jenkin, co-author of A Parent's Treasure Chest: Exploring the path to resilience. "So many parents get so scared or disheartened by the problems they face that they just give up and that can be dangerous for the child." Constance would like to see parenting programs in secondary schools to help parents deal with fears associated with drugs, teenage parties and alcohol. - Australian Catholics
Vietnamese freedom fighter priest arrested again
Fr Thaddeus Nguyen Van Ly, a Catholic priest who last year campaigned for religious freedom in Vietnam, was arrested early on Thursday morning in his parish church in Hue.
Bishops thank volunteers for 'massive contribution" to Church life
Australia's Catholic bishops have used the occasion of the International Year of Volunteers to formally acknowledge and thank volunteers for their contribution to the life of the Church and the wider Australian Community.
FBI in Guatemala to probe murder of US nun
American FBI agents have arrived in Guatemala to investigate the killing of Sr Barbara Ann Ford, according to US diplomatic sources
Pope urges diplomats to be peacemakers
Pope John Paul II stressed the value of diplomacy in restoring peace to troubled regions while accepting the diplomatic credentials of a number of new ambassadors to the Holy See last week.
Pope busy on 81st birthday
His body frail but his spirit strong, Pope John Paul II marked his 81st birthday on Friday with a full schedule of audiences and addresses.
Sculpture of Pope fetches $A1.7 million
A provocative artpiece featuring a sculpture of Pope John Paul II crumpled under a black meteorite fetched $A1.7 million at a Christie's auction in New York.
Opinion - Jesuit cautions against talk of 'culture of death'
Labelling an entire culture a "culture of death" is simplistic and unworthy of Christians, according to Fr John A. Coleman, professor of social values at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. "Any real Christian critique is more than some generalised moaning about certain negative elements of culture. ... There are elements in any culture which cause desolation - because they are contrary to what God desires or to authentic humanity," he said. - CNS
Feature - Catholics and the roots of jazz
It's a century since jazz arose from working-class neighbourhoods at the bottom of America, as a melding of the sacred and profane, of Catholicism and jazz, music moving between streets and sacred spaces. In heavily-Catholic New Orleans, sorrowful hymns like "When the Saints Go Marching In" gave the early jazz idiom a pronounced religious coloring. In 1938 Louis Armstrong - a baptised Catholic who was raised a Protestant - recorded the song at a parade beat, anchoring it forever as an anthem of the second liners. - NCR
Catholic Commission challenges Govt on welfare reform
The Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission yesterday issued Seven Principles for Welfare Reform, calling on the Government to cease penalising the poor.
Catholic spokesman hits out at Anglican support for gay relationships
The Anglican Primate's call for a softer church stance on lesbians and gay relationships is at odds with mainstream Christianity, according to Sydney Catholic archdiocesan spokesman Fr Brian Lucas.
Caritas Australia hosting international meeting on indigenous issues
Caritas will take delegates from 22 Asian countries to visit sites of significance for indigenous Australians during an international meeting of development experts it's hosting next week.
Pope says hedonism and consumerism stifle vocations
Hedonism and consumerism are asphyxiating the generosity of many youths, John Paul II said in a message to the Carthusians on the ninth centenary of the death of their founder St. Bruno.
Vatican says sexual morality is unchanging
In addressing moral problems facing modern men and women, Catholic theologians must recognise that certain concepts regarding the dignity of human life and sexuality are unchanging, the Vatican has said.
Cockney Bible published in Britain
The first copies of the Bible in Cockney went on sale this week.
Opinion - Our Lady delivers after praying the Rosary
Despite all the powerful scruples of my Protestant training, I took up the rosary one day and began to pray. I prayed for a very personal, seemingly impossible intention. On the next day, I took up the beads again, and the next day and the next. Months passed before I realised that my petition had been granted. - Beliefnet
Feature - We always knew about God
Ngarrgooroon country in the Bungle Bungles of Western Australia is Hector Jandany (Sundaloo) country. The old man has no anger. In his Warmun community he is deeply revered as the 'Ngapuny man', the man of God. 'We always knew about Ngapuny [God] and the Spirit', he said. 'But youse mob had to tell us about Jesus'. - Australian Catholics
Vatican criticises 'ambiguities' of Spanish theologian
A Spanish theologian has agreed to a Vatican demand that he revise several of his books on moral theology in order to emphasise the Catholic Church's official position on contraception, homosexuality, masturbation, abortion and other issues.
Broken Bay Diocese seeks outside help to deal with student abuse
The Catholic Schools Office in the NSW Diocese of Broken Bay has moved to assure the public that last week's allegations of 'inappropriate student behaviour' at St Peter's Catholic College, Tuggerah Lakes, are being dealt with by the College in cooperation with the Department of Community Services and the Police.
Three Salesians killed in India
Two priests and a seminarian were shot dead on Tuesday by a group of militants in the capital of the north-eastern Indian state of Manipur.
'Nothing new' in Vatican liturgy translation document
There's nothing new in the Vatican's 7 May document on translating liturgical texts, according to the National Liturgical Commission's executive secretary, Fr Peter Williams.
Deacons for NSW diocese
Broken Bay Diocese in NSW has taken the first steps toward having permanent deacons.
Crooner Perry Como remembered as a man of faith
Singer Perry Como, who died at the weekend at his home in Florida six days short of his 89th birthday, was known as a man with deep religious faith.
Opinion - Vatican topics soft on reform
The Vatican's agenda for next week's consistory of the world's cardinals appear to downplay discussion of power sharing in the church. In convoking the gathering, the Pope John Paul challenged officials to take a hard look at "careerism, distrust and jealousy" in the life of the church. But the set of questions prepared by the Vatican's secretariat of state appears to envision a more wide-ranging discussion, in which "collegiality," a church term for sharing of power, is simply one theme among many. - NCR
Feature - Mixed views on new Vatican liturgy instruction
Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago said of the new Vatican instruction on translating liturgical texts, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating." One overarching theme he saw in the instruction was its repeated emphasis on bishops' conferences as the ones responsible for overseeing the translation and inculturation of the liturgy in their own countries. Auxiliary Bishop Richard J. Sklba of Milwaukee said media focused right away on the inclusive language issue in the instruction's translation principles, but he saw two "more fundamental issues of concern" in its approach to Scripture translation. - CNS
Archbishop urges couples to take pre-marriage education option
Adelaide's Archbishop Leonard Faulkner has strongly encouraged engaged couples to take up pre-marriage education, although the program is not mandatory.
Rwanda witness says refugees left to save nuns
A Rwandan nun testified on Monday that a former fellow nun at a Rwanda convent encouraged refugees who had sought shelter there to leave in order to spare the nuns' lives during the country's 1994 genocide.
Pope says nuns are the presence of God's tenderness
The life of nuns must be God's caress for all people of our time, John Paul II said in a message to the International Union of Superiors General of religious congregations.
Church rescues 86 child soldiers in Sierra Leone
The Catholic Church has begun to shelter the first group of child-soldiers who, up until now, were fighting with the rebels in Sierra Leone's civil war.
Pope says governments, churches should support Catholic hospitals
Catholic hospitals offer a public service that should be recognised and supported by local governments, Pope John Paul II has said.
Vatican aide calls morning after pill 'abortive'
The "morning after" pill, which has recently become widely available in many countries, is an abortive medication, a Vatican official told Spain's National Congress of Hospitals.
Opinion - Sexual maturity more important than orientation
Archbishop Bertone, secretary to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, declared recently that "men with a homosexual orientation should not be admitted to seminary life". It need not be a particular problem for seminary rectors, however, because of the Church's expectation that priests in the Catholic Church are to be chaste celibates. There are questions to be asked about the sexual integration and maturity of all future priests, including those who are gay. - The Tablet
Feature - Kasper the friendly Cardinal
Cardinal Walter Kasper, 68, talks in a remarkably open way, making it difficult to believe at times that he actually works in the Roman curia. He often speaks about decentralization in the church, the need for pastoral flexibility, and the problems created by documents such as last year's Dominus Iesus. Kasper's ascent suggests to Vatican observers that currents swirling in anticipation of the next papal conclave, whenever that might occur, lead to a surprisingly wide range of possibilities. - NCR
Vinnies blames GST for poverty increase
The St Vincent de Paul Society yesterday released a report that claims the GST is partly responsible for the increasing gap between rich and poor Australians.
New study backs authenticity of Shroud of Turin
A new study indicates that the Shroud of Turin has bloodstains on its reverse side, suggesting the image of the man it bears was not copied.
'Culture of efficiency' killing Sunday rituals
The Argentine Bishops' Conference has said that a so-called "culture of efficiency" is killing not only religious practice but family life by fostering changes in the way people spend their Sundays.
Pope says every believer should be a missionary
Every Christian believer, and not just those who take vows, should become a missionary, John Paul II said last week.
1000 protest in Moscow against Ukraine papal visit
Russian Orthodox leaders backed 1000 people protesting in Moscow's Pushkin Square on Saturday against John Paul II's forthcoming visit to Ukraine.
Philippine Cardinal apologises to poor for neglecting them
The influential Cardinal Jaime Sin apologised to the poor of the Philippines on Sunday, acknowledging that the church has neglected them and made them easy prey for selfish, powerful people.
Opinion - Satanic possession gives the Church a positive press
It seems odd that The Exorcist could be construed as in any way offensive to religious people, especially those of the Roman faith. In fact the Catholic Church has received significant effective advocacy through the horror genre. In all of these films, it is Catholicism, and moreover Catholicism of the most conservative and traditional kind, that is proved 100 per cent correct - about good, about evil, and about the human condition generally. - SMH
Feature - Advocacy part of charity for St Vincent de Paul Society
Vinnies has 40,000 members across Australia. It's the country's biggest charity provider. In the mid-1990's it was riven by a dispute, which was rooted in power and ideology. Conservative Society members thought they should be merely tending to the poor and needy. Progressives wanted the causes of poverty to be identified and wanted to agitate for change. - ABC PM
Bishops express Federation wish for social harmony
The Catholic bishops have warned that Australians should not let the Federation Centenary celebrations obscure the challenge to confront and combat many social issues facing the nation.
Pope marks 20th anniversary of assassination attempt
Pope John Paul II was yesterday marking the 20th anniversary of the attempt on his life with a Thanksgiving Mass.
Lech Walesa credits Pope for communism's downfall
Former Polish Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, who himself has been given the credit for the end of communism in Poland, has told a press conference in the US that Pope John Paul II deserves 'the greater credit'.
Kennett praises Pell's predecessor in Melbourne
Former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett has paid tribute to a former Archbishop of Melbourne, Sir Frank Little, in the context of an attack on his successor Dr George Pell.
Ecumenical head regrets Anglican bishop's absence from Pell installation
National Council of Churches Secretary-General Rev David Gill fears Archbishop George Pell's appointment as Archbishop of Sydney could signal a new era of religious division in Sydney.
Eros Foundation continues campaign against Church
An independent report claims there were 450 cases of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Australia between 1990 and 2000.
Opinion - Who will weep for McVeigh?
On one level, the case of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh is relatively uncomplicated. He killed 168 people, and has admitted the crime. He expresses no contrition, labelling the children who died "collateral damage". The religious community might remain firm in its opposition to the death penalty, but the McVeigh case has widened the breach with the majority of the culture that still sees capital punishment not as vengeance that continues a cycle of death but as an essential component of justice. - The Tablet
Feature - Wanted - Single Swiss men ready to give lives for Pope
Sweating beneath medieval armour in a small Vatican courtyard, 26 young men stepped forward one-by-one to vow at the top of their lungs to defend the pope, even at the cost of their lives. While the Swiss Guard recruits' shouted oaths in early May were as enthusiastic as in previous years, the Swiss Guard is facing a recruitment slump. - CNS
Pell outlines 'central challenge' during installation homily
Dr George Pell was installed last night as the eighth Archbishop of Sydney in a ceremony in the city's St Mary's Cathedral.
Catholic Committee calls on Govt to rethink migration quota for refugees
The Federal Government would enhance its public profile if it were to reconsider the quota it has forecast for its humanitarian Program for the next twelve months, according to the Bishops' Committee for Migrants and Refugees.
Bishops adopt a national policy for Pre-Marriage Education
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has agreed to adopt a national policy on Marriage Preparation for the Catholic Church in Australia.
Bishops appoint Executive Officer for the Commission for Australian Catholic Women
The Chairman for the Bishops' Committee for the Laity, Bishop Peter Connors, has announced the Bishops' Conference has approved the appointment of Mrs Therese Vassarotti to the position of Executive Officer of the Commission for Australian Catholic Women for a term of three years.
Pope's fatigue 'part of his legacy'
The fatigue which Pope John Paul II shows during his papal voyages "will remain in the heritage of the Church" as an example for future pontiffs, the Vatican's chief spokesman has suggested.
Dispute over bullfight in Fatima town
Plans to hold a bullfight in the Portuguese pilgrimage town of Fatima have been condemned by the local church.
Opinion - Pell: The Vatican's instrument for reform
The Holy See's close interest in the condition of Australian Catholicism became evident at the time of the Synod of Oceania, when a meeting led to an agreed documentation of urgent reforms, titled the Statement of Conclusions. Archbishop Pell commented in May 2000: "I think the Statement is ... a bit understated". During an interview on ABC Radio on 1 April, Cardinal Clancy suggested the Australian bishops had been undermined at the Synod of Oceania. - AD2000
Feature - More Catholics opting for marriage outside the Church
New research indicates that fewer young Catholics than ever before are marrying in the church. Catholics today are less likely to marry at all. According to a survey by a Purdue University sociologist in the US, only about 40% of young Catholics involved in interfaith marriages are married in the church. "It was so stressful and difficult," one young Catholic said about arranging an interfaith marriage within the Church. - US Catholic
No plans to curtail papal travel
While showing signs of physical fatigue, Pope John Paul II has no plans to curtail his travel schedule, his spokesman has revealed.
ACSJC slates $13 pay rise as 'miserable'
The recent decision by the Industrial Relations Commission to increase the basic wage by only $13 a week is "miserable", according to Dr Tim Battin of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council.
Brisbane church support for child protection laws
Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Brisbane Fr James Spence has indicated church support for recent Queensland legislation designed to protect children and adolescents.
Human rights group suspects political motive for US nun's murder
The killing of a US nun who collaborated with assasinated human rights advocate Bishop Juan Gerardi in Guatemala may have political roots, according to human rights activists.
Bombs explode in Indian cathedral
Three bombs exploded in succession late on Saturday night in the cathedral in the Indian city of Muzaffarpur.
Dutch nuns get the Internet habit
Surfing cyberspace has hooked a group of Dutch nuns, who plan to open their own Internet cafe.
Opinion - Shifting sacraments of initiation from head to heart
In the past, the emphasis in preparation for the sacraments was on knowing about them. We now appreciate that the sacraments are not pegs upon which to hang education programs. The bringing of confirmation back to an earlier age means there is a sensitivity to those things religious and spiritual which is unique to childhood. - Fr Maurice Shinnick in The Southern Cross
Feature - Crossing the borders of race and creed
Jose Zepeda fled El Salvador in 1984 after the murder of Jesuit friends and the assassination of Bishop Oscar Romero. He was looking for a safe life in Australia where he immediately resumed his volunteer work with the Church. Today he heads up Brisbane's Centre for Multicultural and Pastoral Care. - Catholic Weekly
Vatican Commission bans inclusive language in liturgy
The Vatican has issued new norms for the translation of liturgical texts that ban rendering of the original Latin in inclusive language.
Pope arrives in Malta
Pope John Paul II arrived in Malta last night for a visit which a church official said would help the small Mediterranean republic face its "crisis of values".
Pope prays for Mideast peace in ruined Golan town
Pope John Paul II on Monday called for a "conversion of heart" among all parties in the Middle East.
Australian Archbishop accompanying Pope to Ukraine
Adelaide's Coadjutor Archbishop Philip Wilson has been invited to join Pope John Paul's pioneering trip to Ukraine next month.
Indian Church hails court judgments in nuns rape case
Ten of the 25 men accused of the 1998 rape and robbery of nuns in a convent have been sentenced to life in prison, in a judgment welcomed by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India.
Television forcing extinction of language of Christ
Aramaic, the language of Christ, is heading for extinction in the last three remote Syrian mountain villages where it is still spoken.
Opinion - An answer to the absence we all feel
Western culture is spellbound by the celebration of the free and autonomous individual, the quest for authentic selfhood. But religious experience is intimately tied to an experience of "more than", which stirs the soul of the poet, leads the questioning of the philosopher, and urges the prayers and yearnings of prophets and saints. This is what it means to love God and neighbour, the first and greatest commandment. - Terry Veling in The Age
Feature - Activist nun wants frank discussion of women in the Church
When controversial Benedictine nun Sr Joan Chittister strode to the podium at a major educational conference in the US, she received a rousing welcome, the crowd rising to their feet to salute a figure who appears to be as much the poster child of Catholic liberals as she is the bane of religious conservatives within the church, who had urged a boycott of the event. She told the audience: "We can talk about cloning, about nuclear war, about pedophilia. But we can't talk about women. At most we ought to honour their questions with some serious discussion." - NCR
Mosque visit crowns Pope's tour
The Pope's visit to the Umayyad mosque in the Syrian capital Damascus was an historic highlight on his three-nation tour retracing the steps of Saint Paul.
Lawful government must stay, says Cardinal Sin
Archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Jaime Sin, denounced the desecration of a Catholic shrine and called on the Filipino people to protect the duly constituted government of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo amidst the massive protests by supporters of ousted President Joseph Estrada
Catholics in Ireland returning to church
Recent figures show that mass attendance in Ireland is on the rise for the first time in almost four decades.
US nun apologises to gays on behalf of Church
Sr Jeannine Gramick, who was ordered in 1999 to end her 22-year ministry to homosexuals but defied the Vatican's attempts to silence her apologised on behalf of the Church on Sunday while receiving an award at her country's largest symposium on gays and lesbians.
Nun says McVeigh should be locked up for life
Sr Helen Prejean, the author of Dead Man Walking, has said a more fitting punishment for Timothy McVeigh than execution would be to keep him locked up for the rest of his life surrounded by pictures of Oklahoma City bombing victims.
Church theology expert suggests new council every 50 years
Jesuit theologian Fr Francis A. Sullivan has suggested that the Catholic Church convene a new ecumenical council every 50 years.
Opinion - Pope's humble attitude wins hearts
"The Pope in Greece is like the first man on the moon", comments Greek Catholic theologian Fr Yannis Spiteris. "The symbolic picture of the historical event is Orthodox Archbishop Christodoulos giving an arm to the Pope of Rome." - Fides
Feature - The Nun Study: Unlocking the secrets of Alzheimer's
Sister Ada and Sister Rosella are suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Along with hundreds of other nuns in their order, the School Sisters of Notre Dame in the US, they have joined a long-term study of Alzheimer's disease that could teach the rest of us how to escape the worst ravages of this heartbreaking illness. Since 1986, University of Kentucky scientist David Snowdon has been studying 678 School Sisters, and has teased out a series of intriguing — and quite revealing — links between lifestyle and Alzheimer's. - Time
Pope praised for healing Greek visit
Pope John Paul II celebrated mass for 15,000 Greek Catholics on Saturday, the second day of his ground-breaking visit to Greece in which he has sought to heal a 1000-year rift with the Orthodox church.
Arab historian claims Jews manipulating Pope
A prominent Syrian historian has alleged that American and European Zionists prodded the Vatican into absolving Jews of responsibility for the death of Jesus.
Cardinal Clancy farewells St Mary's congregation
Hundreds of parishioners arrived at Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral yesterday for Cardinal Edward Clancy's final mass as Archbishop of Sydney.
Cardinal Cassidy given Jewish interreligious award
The American Jewish Committee last week honoured Australian Cardinal Edward I. Cassidy with its Isaiah Interreligious Award during its 95th annual meeting in Washington.
Nuns deny accusations of complicity in Rwanda's genocide
Two Rwandan nuns accused of complicity in the genocide that swept their country in 1994 told a court on Friday that they were just innocent bystanders.
First Tetum language New Testament translation arrives in Dili
Copies of the first ever translation of the New Testament in the East Timorese Tetum language arrived in Dili last week.
Opinion - Bush's attempts to woo Catholics won't work
Many Catholics, including archbishops, are suddenly agog at the fawning attention being paid to them by the White House. President Bush espoused Catholic social doctrine at the recent John Paul II Cultural Centre dedication: "In the culture of life ... we must welcome the immigrant, we must defend in love the innocent child waiting to be born." But when it comes to social issues, Bush is set directly against much that is bedrock Catholic social teaching. - NCR
Feature - In the footsteps of Paul: Pope gets in touch with his 'apostolic soul mate'
As head of the church, Pope John Paul II holds the keys of St Peter. But in his heart, it is the evangelising spirit of St Paul that has shaped his ministry and led him to the far reaches of the globe. Shortly after arriving in Greece, he said of St Paul: "His mighty figure towers over the two millennia of Christian history". Later, fulfilling a personal dream, the pope paid a meditative visit to the Areopagus, the Athens hillside where the apostle delivered missionary talks to a skeptical group of philosophers. - CNS
Fragile Pope setting out on delicate mission
Pope John Paul leaves in fragile health today for a delicate mission of religious and political peace that will take him from Orthodox Greece to Muslim Syria and Roman Catholic Malta.
Archbishop calls SA euthanasia bill a threat to law
Attempts to legalise voluntary euthanasia in South Australia threaten to undermine one of the foundations of the legal system - the protection of society's most vulnerable from being killed, Adelaide's Archbishop Leonard Faulkner has warned.
Centacare manager draws attention to 'pockets' of poverty
The Australian economy canot be referred to in general terms while there are significant incidences of poverty in some states, according to Centacare's national manager for employment Mr Phil Murray.
Eating disorders, gambling spur annulment applications
Bulimia, anorexia and addiction to gambling are causing an increase in applications for marriage annulments in Spain, ecclesiastical judges report.
Survey shows young adult Catholics favour personalised faith
A survey of young adult Catholics in the US reported a strong preference for a personalised faith, rather than one emphasising the rules of the institutional church.
Paulians decide mission doesn't just happen overseas
The Paulian Association has decided to adopt the name of its overseas mission service - PALMS - as the name for the entire organisation.
Opinion - Euthanasia: Hiding reality behind euphemisms
Dr John Fleming, Director of the Southern Cross Bioethics Institute in Adelaide says the draft Dignity in Dying Bill 2001 speaks of "medical procedures to assist the death of patients who are hopelessly ill". All of us, priests, relatives and loved ones, are happy to assist a patient to die - through love, support and the sacraments. But assisting a patient to die is not the same as killing a patient. - The Southern Cross
Feature - El Salvador: Climbing Up From the Rubble
"El Salvador will never be the same," Cecilia de Benavides whispered, her soft brown eyes communicating pain and resolve. "We are a different community now. We have to organise ourselves better and find out how we can help rebuild. We have to have confidence in God." - St Anthony Messenger
Vatican to display John XXIII's body in St Peter's Square
The Vatican said on Monday that it will put the body of Pope John XXIII on display in St Peter's Square on June 3, the 38th anniversary of his death and the Feast of Pentecost.
Cardinal calls for support for Philippine President
Manila's Cardinal Jaime Sin has called on all Filipinos to support President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo after news surfaced of a potential plot to return ousted leader Joseph Estrada to power.
Nun sees broad role for women's commission
The newly-elected deputy chair of the bishops' Commission for Australian Catholic Women has outlined a wide-ranging brief that emphasises creating opportunities for ongoing dialogue between men and women in the Church, rather than exclusively revisiting issues such as the ordination of women.
Church in Laos suffering from religious discrimination
While the country's constitution guarantees religious freedom, the communist regime in Laos imposes severe restrictions on Christian believers in everyday life, according to staff of the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.
Brisbane Archdiocese establishes deanery for ethnic communities
The Archdiocese of Brisbane has formed a deanery for ethnic communities, a first for the Church in Australia.
Italian theologian says liberals distorted words of Pope John XXIII
An Italian theologian has suggested that church liberals twisted the words Pope John XXIII used to open the council in order to advance their own agenda.
Opinion - Freedom from the shackles of sexual promiscuity
Papal biographer George Weigel says: "The sexual revolution promised to liberate us from the shackles of prudery and repression and the dishonesty of sexual hypocrisy. Its aims, advocates claimed, were profoundly humanistic. Chastity, in John Paul II's theology of the body, is what he calls 'the integrity of love'. It is the virtue that allows us to love another as a person, rather than to use another as a pleasure-object." - Catholic Northwest Progress
Feature - Sister June's ministry of tattoo removal
Jeff Scott was 13 years old when his left hand was tattoed with a swastika with a lighting bolt through it. "I wear a glove when I work," he said, "so people don't see it. Scott subsequently had the tattoo erased at a clinic run by Dominican Sister June Wilkerson at Providence Holy Cross Hospital in the US. She says the tattoos of her clients get in the way of employment, of relationships, of life itself. In extreme cases, they are tattoos that inspire hatred, sometimes enough to kill. - NCR
Women's lobby to fight Church on IVF case
A prominent women's rights group will take on the Catholic Church in a High Court battle over whether single women and lesbians should have access to IVF treatment.
Bishop calls Living Wage Case the 'test of a just society'
An adequate 'living wage' - and not market forces - is the best indicator of an economic system that is functioning justly, according to Australian Catholic Social Justice Council (ACSJC) chairman Bishop William Brennan.
PM tries to build bridges with charity groups at SVdP launch
Prime Minister John Howard yesterday launched the St Vincent de Paul Society's annual winter appeal in Sydney, and in doing so attempted to heal a rift between the charity and the Federal Government over welfare policy.
NSW bishops sound alarm on religious freedom
The Catholic bishops of NSW and the ACT have said that recent recommendations by a number of government bodies challenge the Church's right to run its schools, hospitals and social welfare services in accordance with the tenets of the Catholic faith.
Catholic body challenges Govt on aged care services
Catholic Health Australia is one of several organisations warning that funding for the aged care sector needs to increase by more than $240 million to prevent facility closures and a drop in the standard of care.
Melbourne consultors to elect temporary Pell replacement
A bishop will be appointed this month as the temporary administrator of Melbourne Archdiocese as the Vatican begins the closed selection of a replacement for George Pell.
Opinion - Pope will heal discord during this week's Greece visit
Rome-based Greek Catholic theologian Fr Yannis Spiteris OFM Cap says: "At the moment there is a lot of noise. But as soon as the people see that the Pope comes with humility, on a mission of love, and Greek Orthodox believers see a priest who suffers, a bishop to be admired, a pilgrim not a conqueror, then the argument will stop and the hatred will dissolve." - Fides
Feature - NSW deacon brings lived experience to ministry
"I believe that I have learned more about gospel values from my life experiences than from the study of theology," 63 year old father of three and NSW South Coast deacon Paul Rummery told Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocesan newspaper Catholic Voice. "The driving force for me is the great need to bring back to people the relationship aspects of their faith and not see it as just a duty and an obligation. Sometimes the theology of the past has seemed to make people subservient to knowledge."
Pope calls for Christian humanism in Catholic schools
Pope John Paul II has told educators that their work must uphold Gospel values in a way that embraces different cultures.
Puerto Rican on road to canonisation
Pope John Paul II beatified five holy men and women on Sunday, including a layman from Puerto Rico, the island's first native to be beatified.
Pope's appeal for McVeigh rejected
US Vice President Dick Cheney has rejected Pope John Paul II's request that President Bush spare Timothy McVeigh's life, insisting on Sunday that the Oklahoma City bomber should be put to death.
Archbishop says it's a sin to tell a lie to the media, and stupid as well
Pontifical Council for Social Communications President, Archbishop John P. Foley, has told an audience in Rome that they should never lie to the media in order to do 'what is best for the Church'.
Brisbane hospital moves to focus on preventative health care
Investment advisor and author Noel Whittaker officially opened a one-stop preventative health initiative at Brisbane's Mater Hospital last week.
TV documentary claims 'cliques of gay priests' dividing Church
The growing number of homosexual men training for the Catholic priesthood is creating "divisive cliques" of gay and straight students, according to the rector of an English seminary.
Opinion - Deniable death of a turbulent priest
Fr John Kaiser had made a name for himself as a defender of the victims of ethnic clashes, adolescents allegedly molested by senior figures and Kenyans who clashed with powerful elites. Not only does the FBI's preposterous suicide theory not fit in with Kenya's immediate post-independence past of bumping off inconvenient people, it does not gel with the broad history that saw determined missionaries come to Kenya, ensconce themselves in obscure parts of the country and "civilise" the natives. - The East African
Feature - Real men do teach
Nick Larson loves teaching and is passionate about trying to make a difference in the world by helping children develop academically and socially. The Adelaide teacher argues that, despite public perception, teaching is a rewarding career for a man - it's just that his male friends wouldn't choose it if you paid them. - Southern Cross