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NEWS ARCHIVE FOR OCTOBER 2001


Caritas Australia launches Afghanistan appeal
Caritas Australia has launched a special appeal for funds to provide humanitarian relief for the refugees fleeing Afghanistan. - Caritas

China says Pope's apology did not go far enough
China said on Tuesday that Pope John Paul's apology for Church errors of the colonial past did not go far enough because he did not say sorry for canonising Catholic martyrs on China's National Day last year. - Reuters

Vatican adopts mail security precautions in wake of anthrax scare
The Vatican has asked its employees to adopt the security precautions recommended by the International Postal Union. - CNS

New bishop for Sydney's Maronite community
The Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Francesco Canalini, has announced the appointment of Monsignor Ad Abi Karam as new bishop of the Lebanese Maronite Diocese of St Maroun of Sydney. - ACBC

Expert says rocky marriages need church help
Chair of the Federal Government's National Marriage and Family Council Pauline Frick has called on the Catholic Church to back up its passion for the institution of marriage with funding for marriage counsellors in poorer dioceses. - Southern Cross

Priest-author flees home after death threat
A Scottish priest who has published a book detailing the sexual abuse he suffered as a child has fled his church following an attempt on his life. - CWN

Opinion - Can the West avoid a 'holy war' with Islam?
The Allied military intervention in Afghanistan in pursuit of Osama bin Laden's terrorists has suddenly raised the frightful prospect of a religious war lasting many years. Muslim religious authorities have insisted that nothing in Islam justifies surprise, terrorist attacks on innocent civilians as occurred in the United States. But the western world is alarmed at the militancy of certain Islamic groups which instead of denouncing this terrorism have sounded the drums of 'holy war' or jihad. - Fr Bruce Duncan CSsR / Catholic Weekly

Feature - Irish missionary era coming to end
Retired Bishop John Mahon stood on the desert airstrip and shrugged his shoulders. An aircraft carrying the President, Mrs McAleese, had just landed on another stop of her African tour to pay homage to Irish missionaries. But their era was coming to an end, he said. - Irish Times


Pope calls Pakistan church attack an 'evil act'
Pope John Paul condemned the murder of Christians in a Pakistani Catholic church on Sunday as "an evil act" and said he was praying for the victims and their families. - Reuters

Pope ready to travel to China
John Paul II would travel immediately to China, if that country's authorities thought it was an opportune moment to normalise relations, a Vatican representative has said. - Zenit

Pell joins church leaders' cloning plea
The Archbishop of Sydney, Dr George Pell has joined other Church leaders in warning of the "grave offence to human dignity" of "producing human embryos by a cloning process or any other method of non-sexual reproduction". - Catholic Communications (Sydney)

Catholic Health critical of 'half-measure' Coalition aged care package
The announcement of an aged care package by the Prime Minister eases the burden of caring for residents in aged care homes, but leaves the elderly on public hospital waiting lists stranded, according to Catholic Health Australia CEO Francis Sullivan. - CHA

Lobby group finds most election candidates support asylum seeker policy reform
The Australian Political Ministry Network (PolMin) has revealed that the majority of respondents to its Federal Election House of Representative and Senate Candidate Survey support reforms to Australia's Asylum Seeker and Refugee policy. - PolMin

Fatima visionary reportedly warns Pope of danger ahead
News has emerged that Sister Lucia dos Santos, the last surviving Fatima visionary, several weeks ago sent Pope John Paul II a letter reportedly warning him that his life is in danger. - Inside the Vatican

Opinion - Life must go on
A favorite cliché of the talking heads during the past couple of weeks is that life in the United States has changed forever.
Seven million Germans died in World War II and somehow Germany revived. In 1358, a third of Europe died of the plague. Humans have no choice but to forget as best they can, even in the midst of grief. - Fr Andrew Greeley / Daily Southtown

Feature - New ways of reading the Bible
Twentieth-century biblical scholarship has sought the Jesus of history by the modern critical method. This approach is now challenged by a number of contemporary scholars. A movement has grown up known as "the canonical approach", which suggests "critical" scholars could have lost the plot by fastidiously looking away from questions about the abiding religious claims of the canonical texts. - John Barton, editor The Oxford Bible Commentary / The Tablet


Gunmen kill 16 Christians in raid on Pakistan Catholic Church
Masked gunmen shot dead up to 16 Christians at Sunday prayers in an unprecedented attack in the central Pakistani town of Bahawalpur, witnesses said. - Reuters

World Bishops condemn terrorism
At their month-long Synod in Rome concludes, Bishops from around the world issued a sharp condemnation of terrorism coupled with a moral denunciation of "gross inequalitites: between nations. - AP

Pope sends envoy to Afghan refugees
Pope John Paul II on Thursday appealed to the world for aid for thousands of Afghan refugees fleeing US-led military strikes, and sent an envoy to visit refugee camps in Pakistan. - AFP/Zenit

Underground Catholics hail Pope's efforts to build bridges with China
Messages from members China's underground Catholic Church have welcomed the Holy Father's initiatives to heal the rift between the Vatican and the Chinese Government. - Fides

Catholic welfare body endorses call for poverty enquiry
Catholic Social Services Victoria on Friday welcomed Labor's commitment to convene a Poverty Summit and to negotiate a Compact with the community sector should it win office. - CSS Vic

Bishop Belo calls for return of refugees to East Timor by year's end
Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo has repeated his call for East Timor refugees in Indonesia to return to their homeland by January. - CNS

Opinion - US pursuit of 'justice' a form of righteous violence
A spirituality of righteous violence which the Spanish brought to the Aztec world, still shapes the Christian world, and is embodied particularly in the attitude toward "enemies" in US domestic and foreign policy. America's enemies, whether the leaders of communist states, or Saddam Hussein in Iraq, are always embodiments of Satan. We are the righteous ones waging war to defend the realm of God, democracy and the free market, against these minions of Satan. - Rosemary Radford Ruether / National Catholic Reporter

Feature - Messenger of hope to the discouraged
Mark Nimo was a teenager living away from his home in Ghana, facing new kinds of choices - between parties, girls and drinks. But his newfound freedom led to a crisis that made him think suicide was the only option. At his lowest point, Mark was invited to a Catholic charismatic prayer meeting. He entered apprehensively, but was soon surprised by the joy within.
Catholic Weekly

  
Pell says religious indifference challenges bishops
Sydney's Archbishop George Pell has said that specific questions of church governance that featured at the Bishops' Synod should not distract church leaders from "principal challenges"' like widespread religious indifference. - CNS

Vatican olive branch spurs hopes for China ties
A bold initiative from Pope John Paul to mend ties with China ignited hopes on Thursday among Chinese Catholics and defiance in Taiwan, whose only ally left in Europe is the Vatican. - Reuters

Vatican ratifies child soldier, prostitution pact
The Vatican on Wednesday ratified two amendments to a treaty that would stop the use of child soldiers and protect children from sexual abuse, and it promised to lobby other governments to do the same. - Reuters

Catholic Health says Coalition health initiatives don't go far enough
The health initiatives outlined by the Coalition yesterday are worthwhile, but avoid some crucial areas of concern to the Australian community, according to Catholic Health Australia Chief Executive Officer Francis Sullivan. - CHA

Pro-life priest sentenced to jail, but freed to serve in military
Fr Norman Weslin was sentenced by US District Judge Richard Arcara to five months in federal prison Friday for "criminal" contempt in Buffalo Federal Court, but because the Pentagon is considering his status as a military chaplain, he remains out of jail. - CWN

Church protest against plans for Dracula theme park in Romania
Clergy in Romania have voiced their concern about government plans to build a Dracula theme park. - Ananova

Opinion - War against terrorists: young people air their views
"John Howard's just doing it for the people of Australia because there's an election", "If there is a God why is he letting this happen?", "Hate always begets hate". The Catholic Leader sought the views of six Year 10 students on Australia's decision to send troops to support the United States offensive against terrorists based in Afghanistan.

Feature - Keeping watch on the quality of life of marginalised
Many people living with a mental illness moved from institutions to boarding houses, which were also problematic and not monitored for many years. Sr Myree Harris RSJ, convenor of the new Coalition for Appropriate Supported Accommodation for People with Disabilities, said: "The important thing about it is that vulnerable people are being protected now by the fact that there's a lot more scrutiny of the conditions under which they're living." - Catholic Weekly


Bishop calls for cooperation between nations on asylum seekers
Chairman of the Australian Bishops' Committee for Migrants and Refugees, Bishop Patrick Dougherty, has blamed the drowning of nearly 400 refugees near Indonesia on "unscrupulous people smugglers", but emphasised that the solution lies in cooperation between nations. - Catholic Leader

Religious leaders unite in peace procession to Bethlehem
The apostolic nuncio and religious leaders in the Holy Land led a procession for peace on Tuesday from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. - Zenit

Vatican aide warns indiscriminate reprisals won't defeat terrorism
Terrorism is not defeated with "revenge" or "reprisals which strike indiscriminately at the innocent", Archbishop Renato Martino has told the UN General Assembly. - Zenit

Pakistan church leaders call for restraint in Afghanistan
Pakistani Catholic and Protestant bishops have called on the United States to "exercise restraint" in bombing Afghanistan, and the bishops pledged to care for Afghan refugees who enter Pakistan. - CNS

Australian sisters wait to return to Pakistan
Nine Australian Mercy Sisters who left Pakistan on the Australian High Commission's advice before the first US strikes against targets in Afghanistan are still uncertain about when they will be able to go back. - Catholic Leader

Date set for canonisation of Opus Dei founder
The canonisation of Opus Dei founder Blessed Josemaria Escriva has been scheduled for 26 June 2002. - Inside the Vatican/Observer (London)

Opinion - People who throw their children into the sea
"I certainly don't want people of that type in Australia; I really don't," Prime Minister John Howard said on Melbourne radio. We know few firm facts about the incident, and Mr Howard seems to assume wicked people, though it is more likely that they are desperate people. This government has led us into racial prejudice not as an end but as a means, and we are poorer for it. - Fr Andrew Murray / The Catholic Weekly

Feature - Fewer Catholic children named after saints
100 years ago, one out of every 20 girls born in the United States was being named Mary. Now the Blessed Virgin's name ranks a lowly 47th. Researchers report that the Catholic practice of giving children religious names has declined substantially over the past two generations. - CNS


Jesuit Policy Unit says health services not reaching disadvantaged
The poor and the disadvantaged miss out on specialised health services available through General Practitioners, according to a study released yesterday by the Melbourne-based Jesuit Policy Unit. - Jesuit Social Services/CHA

Jesuit Refugee Service accuses Australia of exploiting terrorist threat
The Rome-based international office of the Jesuit Refugee Service has said Australia is taking advantage of the need for extra security against terrorism in order to prevent asylum seekers from entering the country. - JRS

Commission says refugee drowning highlights failed Govt policy
In expressing sorrow for the estimated 370 refugees who drowned after their ship sant en route to Australia, Melbourne's Catholic Commission for Justice, Development and Peace has said the tragedy points to the inadequecy of Australia's asylum seeker processing procedures. - CCJPD

Synod enters the homestretch
As the month-long Synod of Bishops entered its final week, a draft of final proposals that will be presented to John Paul II was read in his presence on Monday. - Zenit

Cardinal Martini says Synod marks high point in church unity
Despite some disagreement over the relationship between the local and universal church, the October Synod of Bishops has marked a high point in church unity, according to Milan's Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini. - CNS

Astrology threatening Church in Eastern Europe
Christians in former Communist countries are being challenged by an influx of sects and a rise in astrology, a conference in Budapest has been told. - Zenit

Opinion - Street cred for the Gospel
A new ad in the UK comparing the fashion for body piercing with the crucifixion aims to appeal to young people. Jesus himself was a believer in mass communication. In terms of soundbites, you won't find anything better than the Beatitudes. - The Tablet

Feature - God making a comeback in US classrooms
Patriotism — complete with references to God — is fashionable again in American schools, gaining support in recent days from parents, educators, veterans groups and Congress. The US House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to adopt a nonbinding resolution encouraging public schools to display the words "God Bless America" as an expression of national support. - Washington Times


Catholic Health welcomes Labor's plan to boost hospital Medicare
Catholic Health Australia has praised the Labor Party's pledge to invest in the public hospital system as "moderate but well targeted". - CHA

Pope regrets arrival of war in Bethlehem's Manger Square
Pope John Paul II, saying he was deeply saddened by the latest news from the Middle East, decried the shooting death of a youth in Bethlehem's Manger Square, a few metres from the traditional birthplace of Jesus. - AP

Pope beatifies 'model' married couple
A husband and his wife praised by Pope John Paul II for leading an exemplary life were beatified on Sunday, the first couple beatified in at least five centuries. - Reuters/Ananova/Inside the Vatican

Welsh archbishop, pressured to resign, meets with pope
A Welsh archbishop who is under pressure in his archdiocese to resign met Pope John Paul II at the Vatican on Thursday, the archbishop's spokesman said. - CNS

Catholic churches attacked in Malaysia
Arson attempts against Catholic churches in Malaysia might be a reaction to the US-led attacks on Afghanistan, unofficial Church sources reported. - Zenit

Archbishop calls for ban on Halloween celebrations
Britain's Archbishop Vincent Nichols is calling on Catholics throughout his Archdiocese of Birmingham to distance themselves from traditional Halloween celebrations at the end of the month. - CWN

Opinion - Peace among religions comes before peace among nations
Religious and political leaders have wisely insisted that terrorism should not be identified with the religion of Islam. Hans Küng once wrote: "There can be no peace among the religions without dialogue between the religions. There can be no dialogue between the religions without research into theological foundations." - Jacques Dupuis SJ / The Tablet

Feature - Loitering with intent in the service of God
The Church in Dublin sent Fr Alan Hilliard, a former backpacker, to tend to the spiritual needs of the Irish in Sydney, especially travellers. "They find themselves in a land where if anything happens it's huge and traumatic. You can just offer them support and help." - Catholic Weekly


Philippine Bishops criticise President for bringing back death penalty
Catholic bishops in the Philippines have denounced President Gloria Arroyo for reinstating the death penalty. - BBC

Vietnam sentences Catholic priest
Vietnam sentenced a dissident Catholic priest on Friday to 15 years in prison on charges he undermined the country's unity and violated a detention order. - AP

Funding cut to hit homeless
More than 300 homeless and at-risk youth could find themselves without accommodation and support after Christmas following the withdrawal of funding for Good Shepherd Youth and Family Services in Melbourne. - Catholic Leader

Vatican encourages local church museums to link religion, culture
In a circular letter, the Vatican encouraged the establishment of local church museums as a place where religion and culture can meet. - CNS

Papal envoy at UN says women's rights will humanise globalisation
The promotion of women's dignity and rights is indispensable "to reap the benefits of globalisation and avoid its negative effects," a papal representative has told the United Nations. - Zenit

Pope's friend says he's good for another five years
Vatican sources have denounced as a 'lie' the content of a Washington Post feature highlighting concerns over John Paul II's health. - Zenit

Opinion - Children have a right to education
Education is the most powerful weapon that can be used to change the world. Around the world today, 125 million children get no schooling at all. Child labour can keep children from schooling. It would cost $16 billion a year to achieve basic education for all the world's children within 10 years, a tiny figure compared with the $1,200 billion spent yearly in debt repayments by developing countries. - Catholic Weekly

Feature - Synod debates mirror those of Vatican II
Of the nearly 250 bishops attending the Synod of Bishops this month, only a handful were present at the Second Vatican Council more than 35 years ago. But on several controversial issues, synod speeches strongly echoed the council's debate. - CNS

  
Bishops call for prayer as Australian force is deployed
Archbishop John Bathersby, Vice-President of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference, yesterday asked Australians to pray for those Australian service personnel being sent to Afghanistan. - ACBC

Synod members outline characteristics of bishop's ministry
Before drawing up proposals for the pope, members of the Synod of Bishops outlined the basic characteristics that should mark their ministry. - CNS

Pope condemns Nigerian violence
Pope John Paul II has condemned a spate of violent clashes last weekend between Muslim and Christian youths in the Nigerian town of Kano. - BBC

China tells underground clergy to lie low during APEC forum
Chinese officials told underground Catholic clergy in Shanghai not to "wander around" during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in their city. - CNS

Italian priest kidnapped in Philippines
Eight gunmen seized an Italian priest celebrating mass on Wednesday evening in a church in the southern Philippines, close to where Muslim guerrillas are holding a US missionary couple. - Reuters

Cardinal Cassidy says authority the stumbling block for ecumenism
Retired Australian Cardinal Edward Cassidy told a Melbourne audience earlier this month that the question of authority lies at the heart of work towards church unity. - Catholic Leader

Opinion - Unbounded love the antidote to all-out hatred
The spirit of evil is more alive than ever. And with diabolic reasoning it is able to induce people to acts of destruction that can plunge the whole of humanity into a state of anguish. Doesn't this make you think that the time has come for us to put everything on the line so that good may triumph? - Chiara Lubich

Feature - Rising and falling stars at the Synod
The stock of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger seems never to have been higher (his address was the most loudly applauded during the synod). Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, Archbishop of Milan, who until the Extraordinary Consistory in May this year was one of the principal supporters of reform, has been little heard from at this Synod. But other "reformers" have raised eyebrows, like Bishop Patrick James Dunn, of Auckland, New Zealand, who suggested a radical reform of the Sacrament of Penance, which included eliminating the sacrament in its current form. - Inside the Vatican


Vatican marks 23 years of John Paul II's papacy
Bishops applauded Pope John Paul II and wished him many more years as pontiff as he began the 24th year of his papacy on Tuesday. - AP

Synod's small groups appear to find consensus on several issues
Members of the Synod of Bishops, meeting in small groups, appeared to find consensus quickly on issues ranging from their obligation to be strong teachers to the need for improvements to the synod structure. - CNS

Pope says 11 September attacks call for new war against poverty
Pope John Paul II has said that last month's terrorist attacks in the US signal the need for a more urgent commitment to end poverty and hunger. - Zenit

Oceania journey too taxing: Pope to stay home
Expectations that the Pope would come to Australia to present his response to the Synod of Oceania held in November 1998 have been dashed by a Vatican announcement that he will deliver his response in Rome. - Catholic Weekly

Bishop says more arms, poverty mean greater disasters to come
A Vatican statement delivered at the United Nations on Monday said a world trend toward "more arms and more poverty" is leading toward "disasters even greater than what we endured on 11 September". - CNS

Josephites elect Kiwi as Congregational Leader
The Sisters of St Joseph have elected Sr Katrina Brill from the New Zealand Province as their new Congregational Leader. - Sisters of St Joseph

Opinion - Opportunities for faith in the post-11 September world
The closing decades of the last millennium were decades of great certainty. All of this changed on 11 September. The Catholic Church, has like everybody else, been caught on the hop. The opportunity of the moment is also the challenge to engage faith thoughtfully with a world that is significantly changed. - Fr Andrew Murray SM / Catholic Weekly

Feature - Church recognises US man as 'canonical hermit'
Philadelphia's Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua officially recognised Richard Withers as a hermit during a church service this week. He had petitioned the Church for the official status since 1984, citing 1983 canon law changes that restored the ancient category of lay hermit. The 46 year old convert from Judaism has lived alone since 1984 under private vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. - AP


Key reports due as Synod sharpens focus
The Synod of Bishops in Rome is entering its decisive phase as it focuses on the key topics addressed during its early sessions at the beginning of the month. - Zenit

Lobby group says water is a gift of God to be shared among all
In a statement for this week's National Water Week, Catholic lobby group PolMin has said that water is not only an ecological issue but also an economic and social justice issue. - PolMin

Women's Commission reaching out to dioceses
The Bishops' Commission for Australian Catholic Women explored avenues of making contact with women around the country, at its meeting in Sydney last Friday and Saturday. - CACW

Priest says Islamic foreign ministers opposed to terrorism
A Catholic priest who attended the recent Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers in Qatar said representatives of 57 nations declared themselves in opposition to terrorism. - CNS

Nigerian archbishop suggests Bush build hospitals instead of bombing Afghanistan
The head of the Nigerian bishops' conference suggested US President George W. Bush take a break in bombing Afghanistan and root out terrorism by building hospitals instead. - Fides

DNA evidence suggests skeleton is St Luke's
A genetic analysis of a skeleton entombed in a church in the Italian town of Padua has shown that it could be the body of St Luke the Evangelist, who died about AD150. - Independent

Opinion - World Trade Centre smoke highlights the gift of breathing
When I was terrified, I breathed deeply, desperately drawing air through the makeshift mask I wore all the way home to Brooklyn. Now I often find myself holding my breath, almost unconsciously. Then I catch myself and breathe. That breath is nothing short of sacramental. - Beliefnet

Feature - Pope John Paul's health raises fresh concerns
There are fears that the pope, 81, his old athlete's body giving in to the battering of age and Parkinson's disease, might drift into incapacitation and leave the church rudderless or in the hands of aides and associates acting in the name of an unwary pontiff. In times of crisis -- now, for instance -- the pope's voice frequently sets the moral tone for much of the West. - Washington Post


Catholic Health seeks Medicare 'Grey Card' for older Australians
Catholic Health Australia has proposed a Medicare Grey Card that will give uninsured low income people over 70 access to elective surgical and medical services available in the private sector when waiting lists in public hospitals are too long. - CHA

Catholic ethicist criticises embryo testing breakthrough
Melbourne ethicist Nicholas Tonti-Filippini has warned that an IVF breakthrough that allows doctors to test all sets of chromosomes for abnormalities in embryos is akin to making designer babies. - ABC

Pope repeats call for faithful to pray Rosary for peace
For the fourth time in two weeks, John Paul II appealed to the faithful to pray the rosary "for peace at this time burdened by grave concerns." - Zenit

Franciscans hope to go on peace mission to Afghanistan
A group of Franciscan friars, members of an itinerant fraternity, have expressed the desire to go on a peace mission to Afghanistan. - Zenit

Setback to Vatican-China thaw
A concerted diplomatic effort to bridge the deep divide between China and the Vatican has suffered a setback, with the downgrading of a conference designed to begin a new dialogue between the two antagonists. - Financial Times (London)

Priest barricades himself in to protest forced retirement
A 70 year old priest Ireland, has barricaded himself inside his presbytery in protest at the appointment of a younger successor. - Times (London)

Opinion - Vocations crisis: the Church is not alone
In the course of research on vocations, I found some remarkable parallels with secular agencies, which seem to be struggling in a similar fashion to the Church. Reports on nursing and teaching stated that the shortage of recruits would not be solved simply by throwing more money at people. Nursing's collapse is a cultural and spiritual one, a failure of the notion of charity and compassion, not the result of failed pay bargaining rounds. - London parish priest Fr John Armitage

Feature - Internet offers the Church a world without borders
With the advent of Catholic Internet apostolates and Catholic online resources, modern communications are reflecting the timeless mission of a Church without borders, that operates in a world that is jealous of its borders. Not only do such efforts present the international scope of the Catholic faith, but they are also reaching into places where the Church is not welcome. - National Catholic Register


Argentinian Cardinal recommends communion as mark of Church government
Speaking of relations between bishops and Rome, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, told the current World Synod of Bishops at the Vatican that the communion is a more appropriate model than subsidiarity. - Zenit

Vatican official praises Nobel peace prize award to Kofi Annan
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, the Vatican's permanent observer at the UN headquarters in Geneva, told Vatican Radio that the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the United Nations and its secretary-general, Kofi Annan, is an important omen for the future of the institution. - Zenit

Catholic Health says Labor falls short on meeting the cost of care
While supporting the direction of Labor's plan for aged care released in Melbourne at the weekend, Catholic Health Australia is skeptical about whether the real cost of care would be met. - CHA

Washington Archbishop urges Catholics to fast
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington, urged all Catholics in the archdiocese on Thursday to fast one day a week until the conflict in Afghanistan ends. - AP

Caritas begins new projects to help Afghan Refugees
Caritas' international network has mobilised to set up sanitary facilities and provide potable water in six new camps for Afghan refugees in northwest Pakistan. - Zenit

ACU to hold public forum on global terrorism
Australian Catholic University will hold a public forum to reflect on the events of 11 September, on Wednesday evening in Sydney. - ACU

Opinion - Too much reality can extinguish the human imagination
The question in many minds now is whether the familiar dominant images of our "civilised" past can hold out against the images of 11 September. Many people feel traumatised and unable to pray. Bad images cannot simply be told to go away. They need to be healed or driven out by good ones. - Dominic Milroy OSB / The Tablet

Feature - Flying the colors for God and US foreign policy
"Unspeakable grief and pain have also given birth to a new sense of unity and have given the nation a chance to show its true character," according to a statement from Pax Christi USA. The patriotic fervour brings together God and country, with organised religion serving the nation. But some are warning against using God as a cheerleader for US foreign policy and military strategy. - National Catholic Reporter

  
Vinnies calls for policies to help disadvantaged
The St Vincent de Paul Society has said major political parties must come up with policies that demonstrate compassion and concern in order to avoid three million Australians remaining like disadvantaged refugees in their own country. - Catholic Leader

Archbishop Pell reminds world's bishops about hell
Sydney's Archbishop George Pell chose to speak about the "forgotten" teachings on purgatory and hell during his intervention at the current World Synod of Bishops in Rome. - VIS/ACBC

Indonesian bishop calls for calm amidst anti-US riots
Catholic leaders in Indonesia have issued an urgent call for calm, and called an emergency meeting with other religious leaders, in response to widespread anti-American riots this week in Jakarta. - Fides

Pope urges prayers for world peace
Pope John Paul, speaking on the eve of a day of remembrance for those killed in the attacks on the United States, asked for prayers for world peace. - Reuters

US Bishops' president tells Bush military action was necessary
In a letter to President George W. Bush on Tuesday, the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops said US military action in Afghanistan was regrettable but necessary. - CNS

Vatican police use priestly disguise to improve security
Police officers guarding the Vatican are disguising themselves as priests, according to a report from the British Ananova news organisation. - Ananova

An eye for an eye?
An American life is obviously worth more than an Afghan life, right? Let's say for the sake of argument that we will have to kill six Afghans for every American who died in the terrorist raids. That means our righteous revenge will require the death of perhaps thirty thousand Afghans. It would be much wiser of Bush to remind the bloodthirsty element in our population that vengeance still belongs to God and that God will repay. - Andrew Greeley / Beliefnet

Nauru: Tiny island with a big heart
Nauru's population of 12,000 rose dramatically when the asylum seekers disembarked from HMAS Manoora. As they arrived at Nauru, parish priest Fr Karl-Maria Brand MSC told his congregation: "The best investment of our money is in the poor and needy."


Catholic Bishops ask all Australians to Pray for Peace today
The Vice-President of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference, Archbishop John Bathersby, has called on all Australians to observe the today - Thursday 11 October - as a day of prayer for the victims of recent terrorism in America. - ACBC

Australian nuns leave danger zone
Nine Australian Sisters of Mercy have returned from Pakistan on the advice of the Australian Hig Commission but say they will review the situation in the coming week. - Catholic Leader

Nigerian archbishop says religious intolerance causes terrorism
Addressing the World Synod of Bishops in Rome, Nigerian Archbishop John Onaiyekan of Abuja, said the world must look for the causes of terrorism. - Fides

Pakistan's president promises protection to religious minorities
Catholic bishops and leaders of other minority religions met with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who promised to protect the communities from violence at the hands of Islamic extremists. - CNS

US Bishops urge 'resolve and restraint'
Saying military action is always regrettable but sometimes necessary, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops on Tuesday urged America to use "resolve and restraint" in its airstrikes on Afghanistan. - AP

Catholic Health reacts to 'phantom' aged care strategy
The body representing the Catholic health and aged care sector has sharply criticised Federal Aged Care Minister Bronwyn Bishop for concealing from the public the contents of the Government's Aged Care strategy. - CHA

Opinion - Will the war against terror serve justice?
Applying just war criteria in the current situation is more than usually complex. Certainly the United States has good reason to pursue those responsible, but to what extent could the Allies wage war on countries harbouring them without inflicting great harm on innocent people? - Fr Bruce Duncan CSsR / Kairos

Feature - Kazak interpreter says she converted after papal visit
Vatican officials often say the positive results of Pope John Paul II's foreign trips take years to develop, and their pastoral success is not always easy to measure. But a week after the pope returned from Kazakstan late last month, an unusual letter of conversion was published by the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano. - CNS


Bishops at World Synod insist church needs strong teachers
In an age marked by skepticism, fear and confusion, the Catholic Church needs strong teachers on a universal level and in dioceses, according to members of the Synod of Bishops. - CNS

Jesuit leader tells tells bishops that inter-religious dialogue is a duty
To dialogue with representatives of other faiths in situations of violence and polarisation is often difficult, but essential, according to Jesuit Superior-General Fr Peter-Hans Kolvenbach. - Vidimus Dominum

Pax Christi calls attack on Kabul 'another step backward'
The international Catholic peace organisation Pax Christi has condemned this week's US-led military attacks on Afghanistan. - MISNA

Russian Orthodox leader slams Papal trip to Kazakhstan
Patriarch Alexei II has once again expressed his disapproval of Pope John Paul II's recent visit to Kazakhstan. - CWN

Quebec bishop urges companies to recall social debt to workers
In the face of announced job cuts and fears about the fate of the North American economy, the president of the Quebec bishops' assembly urged companies to remember their 'social debt'. - CNS

Nicaragua still suffering three years after Hurricane
Cardinal Obando y Bravo, Archbishop of Managua, said that "three years after hurricane Mitch, the situation of the country is still critical". - ACN

Opinion - Ecumenism has a grassroots future
The old, institutional and bureaucratic ecumenism is moribund. The Holy Spirit is at work structuring a new ecumenism loosely along the lines of the World Wide Web. It is dispersed. Decisions are made mainly through local initiatives, and there is a minimal need for centralised control. - Methodist theologian Thomas C. Oden, speaking at a major ecumenism event this week at Notre Dame University, Indiana / UPI

Feature - Concerned pope burns the midnight oil
Pope John Paul II put in a little overtime as the bombing began in Afghanistan on Sunday night. He followed the events closely from his office located in the Apostolic Palace above St Peter's Square, where the lights were on late. - Inside the Vatican


Synod urged to recognise 'feminine genius'
Two lay auditors at the Synod of Bishops in Rome have urged the Church to be more open to what they termed 'feminine genius'. - Zenit

Marist Brothers choose psychologist for new superior general
Br Sean Sammon, a 53 year old psychologist from the US, has been elected the new superior general of the Marist Brothers. - Zenit

Missionary warns US attack could spark civil war
A Salesian missionary working in Pakistan warned last week that an American attack in the region could trigger a civil war. - ICN

Our Lady requests prayers to avoid world 'blood bath'
Sister Lucy, the only surviving witness to the Fatima apparitions in 1917, has reportedly told Carmelite nuns in France that she has received a communication from Our Lady requesting Carmelites to pray that the world might be spared a 'blood bath'. - The Remnant

US Bishops set to elect first black President
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops is poised to elect its first black president, Bishop Wilton D. Gregory of the Belleville diocese in southern Illinois. - AP

Installation of new Archbishop of Singapore
12,000 people packed Singapore's Indoor Stadium on Sunday to witness the installation of 63 year old Archbishop Nicholas Chia. - Straits Times

Opinion - Seek alternate route on asylum seekers
Because many of the asylum seekers are Muslims fleeing persecution from fundamentalists, they do not normally seek assistance from the Catholic Church. As a Church, we are challenged to go out and meet the strangers along the road rather than wait till they knock on our door. - Brenda Hubber, Melbourne Catholic Migrant & Refugee Office / Kairos

Feature - A priest called Ludmila
The underground Catholic Church in Communist Czechoslovakia ordained married men and a woman vicar-general. The aim was to bring the sacraments to those who otherwise would have to do without. A new book details how Fr Felix Davidek performed the clandestine ordinations after he was consecrated a bishop, because non-celibate priests came under less suspicion from the Communists. - The Tablet


Bishops insist collegiality should not challenge papal primacy
This month's Synod of Bishops in Rome has been told that petitions for an increased role of bishops in Church governance must not undermine papal authority. - Zenit

'Shadow synod' demands radical reforms
Calling the Vatican "the world's last absolute monarchy", dissident Catholics from around the world have demanded radical reforms in their Church, including ordination of women priests. - Reuters

Adelaide expert says don't blame asylum seekers
An Adelaide expert fears middle-eastern asylum seekers may be even less welcome in Australia and internationally as a result of the horrific terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. - Southern Cross

Pope beatifies Nazi martyr
Among the seven candidates beatified by Pope John Paul II yesterday was a German trade unionist and journalist executed by the Nazis in 1945. - Zenit

Welsh archbishop refuses to be 'scapegoated' over abuse claims
The controversial Catholic Archbishop of Cardiff in the UK has reportedly refused an appeal from the Pope's representative to resign his post. - BBC

Pope approves retirement of Lismore bishop
Pope John Paul II has approved the retirement of Bishop John Satterthwaite as Bishop of the NSW regional Diocese of Lismore. - Lismore Diocese

Opinion - Where is the real emotion in our liturgy?
The prospect of eternal life in the Kingdom of God doesn't seem to make Catholics want to be happy and joyful. Catholics use these words in such a hollow way. People aren't happy when they attend liturgies, they aren't happy that they have the privilege of worshipping their creator. - Youth report for the 2003 Brisbane Archdiocesan Synod consultation process / Catholic Leader

Feature - Forgiveness: a 'gift' that comes when the time is right
As President Bush was speaking about vengeance last month, a conference on forgiveness was taking place in a college in Massachusetts. Guest lecturer Donald W. Shriver said it is "premature" to talk about forgiving the 11 September terrorist act until the wrong has been confronted, acknowledged and "maybe partly punished." - National Catholic Reporter

  
Pope says religious difference not an excuse for violence
Pope John Paul II called on Christians and Muslims on Wednesday to repudiate violence, insisting that religion must never be cause for war. - AP

Catholic aid in front line helping Afghan refugees
Catholic aid organisations are working hard to provide some relief for tens of thousands of Afghan refugees pouring into Pakistan as the threat of war persists. - Fides

Vatican says protecting environment goes along with globalisation
Environmental protection needs to go hand-in-hand with globalisation, and corporations should be made to answer for actions that damage human health or the natural environment around the world, a Vatican official has said. - CNS

SVdP fears for the new jobless after Ansett collapse
The St Vincent de Paul Society is bracing for a huge increase in demand for its services following the collapse of Ansett airlines and a downturn in tourism. - Catholic Leader

US survey says religious teenagers delay sex
Religious teenagers are more likely to wait until they are older to have sex, according to a new survey and report from the US. - AP

Catholic newspaper prays to boost circulation
Staff on a Dutch Catholic newspaper are praying to attract more readers, with the editor is also calling on its 12,000 registered readers to pray to God for a circulation boost. - Ananova

Opinion - Wellbeing requires search for beauty amidst ugliness
Recent world events like the US terrorist attacks and their aftermath can also play on people's minds in subtle ways. We should all take time out to care for our own mental and spiritual wellbeing. A lot of us don't actually even think about doing that until something goes wrong in our lives. - Maureen Doherty, chaplain coordinator, St John of God Hospital, Sydney / Catholic Weekly

Feature - There's no such thing as a typical Muslim
There are 750 million Muslims in the world, some 500 million of them non-Arabs. The diversity is staggering. The Quran, like all scriptural texts, does not come with an owner's manual. It can be interpreted in peaceful or bellicose ways, depending on the interpreter's inclinations. - National Catholic Reporter


World Synod scrutinises role of bishops
As the month-long synod of the world's bishops proceeds through its first week, a German bishop drew applause for urging a stronger approach among bishops toward governance and correcting doctrinal error. - CNS

Tasmanian meningococcal outbreak affects Eucharist distribution
Tasmanian churches are being forced to change their Eucharist distribution practices following the recent outbreak of meningococcal disease. - ABC

Netact says voter education can achieve election outcome for social justice
Responding to the perception that both major political parties are unresponsive to social justice issues, a coalition of Catholic social justice, welfare and educational agencies has launched a kit designed to empower voters to "make a difference on polling day". - Netact

Catholic lobby group says asylum seeker policy impasse demands summit
Australia's Asylum Seeker Policy has reached an all-time new low with the Federal Government's decision to use force to remove asylum seekers from the HMAS Manoora off Nauru, the Australian Political Ministry (PolMin) said yesterday. - PolMin

Exorcists discuss resurgence of superstition
150 exorcists meeting near Rome last weekend observed that Western society is currently witnessing a rebirth of divination, sorcery, witchcraft and magic often mixed with a superstitious use of religion. - Zenit

Kidnapped Divine Word priest released in Colombia
A Divine Word priest kidnapped by Colombian guerrillas was released unharmed, according to an announcement from his order. - CNS

Opinion - Why bishops lack credibility
The bishop is not a pious private believer, he is a public witness. He must face the problems of the day from the church's point of view, not only to save himself but also to defend the faith, correct errors and deepen knowledge of the truth. - German Cardinal Joachim Meisner, speaking to the Synod of Bishops in Rome on Monday / Zenit

Feature - The Gospel according to the Simpsons
The Simpsons - Matt Groening's animated TV series about the dysfunctional family of middle Americans - is being embraced by churches, becoming distinguished figures on theological courses, and in texts for students training to be priests. A new book claims that far from being subversive of the moral fibre of America, the Simpsons embody its sturdiest values and impart a highly religious tone to viewers. - The Guardian


Catholic bodies seek to mobilise voters before election
Catholic Welfare Australia and the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council have released a joint election statement to ensure that voters are fully informed and committed to the democratic processes taking place during the Federal Election campaign. - ACSJC/Catholic Welfare

International Caritas sends team to Pakistan to aid Afghans
The church's confederation of Catholic relief agencies, Caritas Internationalis, is sending an emergency-response team to Pakistan to provide aid during the exodus of Afghan refugees. - CNS

Ratzinger criticism for Italian Prime Minister
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has taken public exception to a statement by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who caused an uproar in Italy by saying that Western culture is superior to Islam. - CWN

New York cardinal says US should search soul
New York's Cardinal Edward Egan said on Monday that, after last month's attacksm the United States should search its soul about whether its role in some parts of the world could have created a climate of hate. - Reuters

Overhaul for Catholic education in South Australia
Adelaide's Catholic education system will be streamlined under a sweeping shake-up proposed following an independent review of the Catholic Theological College. - Southern Cross

Successful test Of Vatican educational webcast
After successfully testing an educational video-conference that was broadcast through the Internet, the Congregation for the Clergy is now preparing to offer similar programs of formation for priests on a regular basis. - CWN

Opinion - Mixed messages from Church on 'Just War'
Pope John Paul II said to an audience in Kazakhstan: "I beg God to keep the world in peace." The next day his spokesman said the Vatican would understand the use of force for "self-defence" that is "proportionate to the threat". Cardinal Martini said: "It is an extremely serious risk," while Cardinal Kasper said: "Something has to be done." - Los Angeles Times

Feature - Isolation of US now seems out of place
The US is cut off from much of the rest of the human family, often victim of America's material successes and consumer-driven lives. In 1996, the US Ambassador to the UN said the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children due to US-inspired sanctions were worth the political objective of annihilating the regime of Saddam Hussein. Her language betrays a certain US attitude about how dispensible America considers people in other parts of the world. No wonder they get angry. - National Catholic Reporter


Synod discussing role of bishops
John Paul II on Sunday opened the 10th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, inviting them to openly discuss calls to re-think the role of the pontiff and to give more power to the church at local levels. - AP
2-Oct-01

Pope urges prayers to save world from terrorism
Declaring 11 September a dark day in history, Pope John Paul II on Sunday called for frequent prayer to help save the world from the "vicious scourge" of terrorism and said justice goes hand-in-hand with peace. - AP
2-Oct-01

Pope among favourites for Nobel Peace Prize
Pope John Paul II and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan are the favoured candidates for this year's Nobel Peace Prize. - Zenit
2-Oct-01

Sudden death of Papal Nuncio in PNG/Solomons
Apostolic Nuncio to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands Archbishop Hans Schwemmer died in Cairns yesterday after a sudden illness. - Catholic Bishops Conference of PNG/Solomons
2-Oct-01

Bishop warns against 'God is on our side' attitude
It's dangerous to claim that "God is on our side" in the US war against terrorists, Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Lake Charles said at a recent prayer service. - CNS
2-Oct-01

Canonisation could be in sight for Opus Dei founder
Blessed Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, founder of Opus Dei, might be canonised next year, according to unofficial Vatican sources. - Zenit
2-Oct-01

Opinion - Moral theologian offers principles to guide anti-terrorist attacks
Any possible response is likely to have only limited success at best. Yet when a community undergoing terroristic attack deliberates about how to respond, anger and hatred induce the illusion that very violent responses are likely --and perhaps almost certain -- to succeed. - Germain Grisez
2-Oct-01

Feature - Pakistani Christians fear attacks by Muslims angered by US hostility
Christians in Pakistan have reported increased hostility from Muslims amid fears of US retaliation strikes on Afghanistan following the 11 September terrorist attacks. Jammed into their unmarked old chapel, the small but fervent congregation of Sacred Heart Catholic Church prayed for America to defeat terror without creating Christian martyrs. - AP
2-Oct-01