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NEWS ARCHIVE FOR 2002

   
Feature - Bethlehem reduced to city of crushed cars, rotting garbage
The sounds and the smells of the old city of Bethlehem have changed. Now instead of the tantalizing smell of exotic spices and sizzling grilled meat mingling with the sounds of tour groups tramping their way to the Church of the Nativity, one hears the crunching of glass underfoot and smells the rotting garbage.
30 Apr 2002

Opinion - St Augustine's lesson for US cardinals
In the year 425, a scandal rocked the African diocese of Bishop Augustine. A priest in the community attached to the cathedral died leaving personal property. Augustine said that he would set up a special board. If one man had broken his vow, why should people not suspect that others might also be doing so? - Northwestern history professor and author of 'Why I Am a Catholic', Gary Wills.
30 Apr 2002

Young not happy with church life
Most Australian church-goers feel a strong sense of belonging to their congregation but many young people are still dissatisfied with what their church offers, a survey shows.
30 Apr 2002

Vatican reaches out to Islamic world
The Vatican has signed an unprecedented agreement with the Government of Turkey to promote religious dialogue between Christians and Muslims.
30 Apr 2002

Caritas aid workers witness horror of Jenin
Caritas Australia partners Caritas Jerusalem, who have been distributing food, medicines and blankets to the people of Jenin have expressed their shock at the conditions they found and the plight of the refugees.
30 Apr 2002

Catholic Health urges Govt to come clean on medical indemnity
The CEO of Catholic Health Australia has challenged the Federal Government to release a "legal framework that will provide certainty and security for all parties" affected by insurer United Medical Protection's decision to go into voluntary liquidation.
30 Apr 2002

Parents threaten Catholic Church in South Australia
The Church is facing legal action from parents of intellectually disabled children allegedly sexually abused by a school bus driver in Adelaide.
30 Apr 2002

Social justice bishop highlights "great concern" over casual workers
Australia cannot be described as a fair society if the growing number of casual workers are denied basic workers' rights, according to Australian Catholic Social Justice Council Chairman Bishop William Morris.
30 Apr 2002

Feature - US lay Catholics demand more say in Church affairs
Nearly a week after an extraordinary Rome papal summit on clergy sex abuse, American Catholics are not only still fuming about how their cardinals and bishops have handled the matter, and some now are calling for a grass-roots movement to take more control of the church, at least within their own parishes. Some theologians are predicting an inevitable power shift, warning of a catastrophe in fundraising if the status quo remains.
29 Apr 2002

Opinion - Mr President, if you are really a Christian ...
I have read that you are a Christian. I believe that Jesus spoke seriously when he has commanded us to love our enemies. If you intend to follow Jesus and to revere the God of peace, practice a correct moral leadership, giving up this war and guiding us down a new path of disarmament, justice for the poor and healing of mankind. You cannot serve at the same time the God of peace and the false gods of war. - Peace activist Fr John Dear SJ in open letter to US President George Bush
29 Apr 2002

Rallies in Russian cities protest spread of Catholicism
Demonstrators in 25 Russian cities have protested against the rising profile of Catholicism in the country.
29 Apr 2002

Catholics opting for smaller families
Catholic fertility rates have plummeted - even more sharply than the national trend to smaller families, with the number of families with four or more children falling from 19% to 4.5% in the 25 years to 1996.
29 Apr 2002

Brazilian cardinal questions celibacy
Cardinal Paolo Arns, retired Archbishop of Sao Paulo, has criticised the obligatory celibacy of priests in an interview published by the Brazilian newspaper O Globo.
29 Apr 2002

Pope sending special envoy for Bethlehem talks
Pope John Paul II has sent a special envoy, Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, on a peace mission to the Holy Land.
29 Apr 2002

Catholic Health calls for informed debate on stem cells
Politicians must seek to be educated beyond the spurious claims made in the press on serious issues such as human cloning and embryonic stem cell research, according to Francis Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Health Australia.
29 Apr 2002

Vatican may simplify annulment rules
A new Vatican document containing new rules for church courts that handle requests for declaring a marriage invalid is likely to introduce more rigorous annulment procedures, but may also resolve outstanding issues that have been slowing approval for Catholics seeking to remarry with the church's blessing.
29 Apr 2002

Feature - Bishops, media views of 'zero tolerance' create gap in perceptions
US church leaders left a Vatican summit on clerical sex abuse saying they felt encouraged to take new steps to curb such abuse and rein in offenders. But they arrived home in the United States to a largely negative reaction and headlines that read: "Cardinals Confront Sex Abuse and Come Up Short," and "Vatican Summit Confounds, Angers".
28 Apr 2002

Opinion - Clergy sex abuse caused by 'culture of dissent'
It is no accident that the bulk of the abuse cases recently reported took place between the mid-1960s and the late 1980s, a period in which a culture of dissent took root in American seminaries, theology faculties and church bureaucracies and in which clerical discipline broke down. Men who adopted habits of intellectual self-deception in the seminary--pretending to accept church teachings that they really didn't believe and had no intention of teaching--are more likely to lead lives of self-deception in their sexual conduct. - Papal biographer George Weigel
28 Apr 2002

Church spokeswoman warns on TV's 'Big Brother'
Geraldine Capp, a spokeswoman for the Catholic diocese in Melbourne, has warned that the housemates in Channel 10's Big Brother are not good role models for young Australians.
28 Apr 2002

Turkish President vetoes amnesty to Pope attacker
Turkey's president on Friday vetoed an amnesty bill that could have freed the Turkish gunman who shot Pope John Paul II from a Turkish prison 10 years early.
28 Apr 2002

New Vatican penance document due this week
The Vatican is scheduled to release a new "motu proprio" on the sacrament of reconciliation on Wednesday.
28 Apr 2002

Pell to chair Vatican translation committee
The Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship has appointed Sydney's Archbishop George Pell as chairman of its new 12-member committee for "reviewing translations of liturgical books into English".
28 Apr 2002

US cardinals welcome zero tolerance of sex abuse
As America's Catholic leaders met at the end of a week dominated by unprecedented discussions on sexual abuse by priests, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua of Philadelphia insisted they have embraced a "zero tolerance" policy for clergymen who have molested children.
28 Apr 2002

Priest tests to weed out pedophiles
All candidates for the Catholic priesthood in Brisbane are to be subjected to full psychological and psycho-sexual screening to weed out those students predisposed to pedophilia.
28 Apr 2002

Feature - St Benedict's wisdom on how to run a successful business
Business professionals in the UK are signing up for Benedictine business training programs that aim to apply the Rule of St Benedict to business dealings. Douai Abbey's Prior Dom Dermot Tredget says the Benedictine way of life has survived because the monks have been immensely adaptable. "From the first monks who set up communes to the great monastic powerhouses of the Middle Ages to the Cistercians colonising and cultivating land nobody else wanted, the Benedictines have been smart and shrewd operators for the kingdom."
26 Apr 2002

Opinion - Catholics resisted intolerance in Australian community during WW2
When Italian migrants were declared 'enemy aliens' in 1940, the Archbishop of Melbourne, Daniel Mannix, issued a statement that the Italian Catholic community were loyal to the Holy Father and to the Commonwealth and, as such, were not to be treated as enemy aliens by anyone in the Catholic community. His was a lone voice.
26 Apr 2002

Priest killed in rebel-held eastern Congo
Gunmen have shot dead a Catholic priest while he was driving along a stretch of road in rebel-held northeastern Congo, aid officials said on Wednesday.
26 Apr 2002

Our Lady of Fatima to feature at East Timor Independence celebrations
Bishop Carlos Belo and Dr Ramos Horta have travelled to Fatima in Portugal to receive a pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima, which will be the focal point of East Timor's independence commemorations on 20 May.
26 Apr 2002

Pope hopes for quick completion of Roman Missal translation
Pope John Paul II said he hoped an English translation of the new Roman Missal would be completed quickly to help Catholics participate more fully in the Mass.
26 Apr 2002

Pope clears way for more canonisations, beatifications
Decrees clearing the way for the proclamation of four saints and 12 blessed - almost all from the 20th century - were promulgated Tuesday in the presence of John Paul II.
26 Apr 2002

Bishops announce selection of ambassadors for World Youth Day
Bishop Peter Connors has announced youth leaders from Townsville and Canberra-Goulburn as official delegates of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference to the World Youth Day celebrations, to be held in Toronto, Canada in July.
26 Apr 2002

Inconclusive end to US bishops' Rome abuse trip
At the end of their two-day meeting with the Pope and other top Vatican officials on how to prevent clerical sex abuse of children, American cardinals issued an inconclusive statement.
26 Apr 2002

Feature - Vatican-US summit participants debate reassigning abuser-priests
As the unprecedented Vatican-US church summit on clerical sex abuse got under way, U.S. participants said they were debating the central question of whether priests who abuse minors could ever receive another assignment. Pope John Paul II told participants at the opening session that there was no place in the priesthood for "those who would harm the young," but also said church leaders could not overlook "the power of Christian conversion."
24 Apr 2002

Opinion - Service or power?
It seems to me that the problem of the Church is not so much one of predatory sexuality but of power, which has a subtle tendency to convince religious leaders that they are free of the constraints that binds lesser mortals, because of their elevated calling. Sadly such delusions often lead to inappropriate exploitation in areas of sexuality. - Brisbane Archbishop John Bathersby
24 Apr 2002

PNG bishop sacks would-be MP
A priest contesting the June general elections in Papua New Guinea yesterday admitted lying to his bishop about his political career.
24 Apr 2002

Paris cardinal criticises fascist presidential candidate's use of Papal slogans
A presidential candidate facing an election showdown with Jacques Chirac is using expressions made famous by John Paul II, much to the dismay of Paris' archbishop, Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger.
24 Apr 2002

Catholic Health warns Howard on insurance
Catholic Health Australia (CHA) last night warned that the Prime Minister's strategy to revive health insurance "could come unstuck".
24 Apr 2002

Archdiocese spurns sermon on homosexual 'disorder'
The New York Archdiocese distanced itself yesterday from a high-ranking official's sermon that blamed the Catholic Church's sex scandals on homosexual priests and American immorality.
24 Apr 2002

Pope condemns 'appalling sin' of sex abuse priests
The Pope bluntly said sex abuse by priests in the United States "was rightly considered a crime by society" telling American cardinals yesterday that there is no place in the priesthood for abusers.
24 Apr 2002

Justice Commission wants full judicial inquiry into Curtin
Melbourne Archdiocese's Catholic Commission for Justice, Development and Peace (CCJDP) Melbourne yesterday called for a full judicial inquiry into the conditions within Australian Immigration Detention Centres.
24 Apr 2002

Feature - Western Christian priests denied entry to Russia
Another Catholic clergyman has been denied re-entry into Russia, allegedly in retaliation for the Vatican's decision earlier this year to transform interim apostolic administrations in Russia into full-fledged dioceses. Russian politicians prefer not to speak up in defence of religious freedom.
23 Apr 2002

Opinion - Jesus must weep over Jerusalem
Jesus told Peter to put his sword away at the hour of his arrest. It is clear that Jesus rejected the way of the Sicari, the terrorist assassins of his day who were so quick with their knives. I suspect that Jesus would recognise Sicari methodology in the suicide bombers of today. Yet Jesus himself knew he was destined to be a victim of the terrorism of the state, that cold and calculated type of terrorism that is called justified execution. - Mark Gruenke MM
23 Apr 2002

Benedictine nuns using web for sex education
A community of the Benedictine nuns in Angri, in the Italian province of Salerno, have set up a website with illustrations of the reproductive cycle, abortion and contraceptives including the day-after pill and female condoms.
23 Apr 2002

Virgin Mary statue hit in Bethlehem Nativity Church shooting
The statue of the Virgin Mary situated on Bethlehem's Nativity Church of Bethlehem was damaged last night in an exchange of fire that broke out around the Manger Square.
23 Apr 2002

Relief work hampered in Jenin camp
A group of Italian Catholics were among the few foreigners who were able to help rescue people in the Jenin refugee camp in the wake of the Israeli troop pullout.
23 Apr 2002

Catholic Health urges tax breaks to pay for aged care
In the midst of debate over how to fund the country's increasing aged care responsibilities, Catholic Health Australia has urged a "social insurance scheme", where workers would receive tax breaks for saving to cover their future health care.
23 Apr 2002

Archbishop speaks out against celibacy for priests
The President of the Scottish Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Keith O'Brien of St Andrews and Edinburgh, has said he has "no problems with celibacy withering away".
23 Apr 2002

US cardinals arrive at Vatican for talks on abuse scandals
Meetings today and tomorrow and Wednesday will mark the first meeting of senior Vatican officials and cardinals to discuss the problem of paedophile priests.
23 Apr 2002

Feature - Survivor's tale of the siege of Bethlehem
It was the stench that finally drove Jihad Abu-Qamil out of the Church of the Nativity, besieged by the Israelis for almost three weeks. The 16-year-old who looks no older than 12, ran away from the church, giving himself up to the soldiers. He is the only person who has emerged to tell the tale of squalor and defiance in one of Christendom's most holy places, built on the site of Jesus's birth.
22 Apr 2002

Opinion - The loneliness for priests living through the abuse scandals
We lay folks can only begin to imagine what it must mean to be a priest in recent weeks and to wake up day after day to read new headlines about ugly betrayals and awful violations of youngsters that have occurred in the church to which you have given your life.
22 Apr 2002

Peace priest' says IRA ready for deal in 1981
Fr Alec Reid, the priest who helped broker peace in Northern Ireland, said he believed IRA terrorism would have ended as early as 1981 if there had been more goodwill from other parties.
22 Apr 2002

Cardinal Law wishes he could 'undo the harm'
Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston received a standing ovation yesterday after telling parishioners he wished he could "undo the harm" from the handling of sex abuse allegations against priests.
22 Apr 2002

Pope tells new priests to 'be perfect'
Days before the unprecedented Vatican summit on clergy sex abuse in the Church in the US, Pope John Paul II told 20 newly ordained priests yesterday that they must be perfect and adhere to a "higher loyalty".
22 Apr 2002

Pope says don't ban children from watching TV
Parents should not ban children from watching television - instead TV producers should make "programs that promote the growth of the person, the sense of goodness, the capacity to address correctly to most difficult aspects of life," according to Pope John Paul II.
22 Apr 2002

Pope wants Holy Places returned to pilgrims for prayer
Expressing his deep concern over the continuing standoff at Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, Pope John Paul II yesterday called upon the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
22 Apr 2002

Vatican to halt general absolution
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) is about to issue new instructions on the Sacrament of Reconciliation aimed at halting the practice of general absolution.
22 Apr 2002

Feature - Zambia Mass both lively and sensual
The people coming to Mass walk into the churchyard, sit on the concrete benches circled under the tree and chat with friends until it is time for Mass to begin. Everyone has come to join in the celebration of the liturgy. Livingstone is a town of 100,000 people, a great many of whom are Catholic. We are made to feel welcome, folks give us the triple handshake. The celebration belongs to the people from the first to the last song.
19 Apr 2002

Opinion - 11th century pope a model for church reform
In the midst of what is surely the greatest crisis that the Catholic Church has faced in modern times, Catholics might reflect for a moment on the example of pastoral leadership provided by Leo IX (1049-54), a relatively obscure Alsatian-born pope whose feast day is today (19 April). Bruno travelled to Rome dressed in the simple garb of a pilgrim and was greeted there with acclaim. He was crowned as pope, and two months later he convened a synod in Rome that denounced simony (the buying and selling of spiritual offices and benefits) and violations of clerical celibacy, such as we have today. - Fr Richard P. McBrien, professor of theology, University of Notre Dame, USA.
19 Apr 2002

Aceh Christians become more united as Shari'a is implemented in Aceh
Christians in Aceh, Indonesia, are responding to the implementation of Shari'a - or Islamic law - in their province with joint prayers and measures that reinforce their religious identity.
19 Apr 2002

Australian cardinal defends Pope's fitness for the job
Asked about Pope John Paul II's health, Cardinal Edward Cassidy told the Australian Associated Press recently that "the Pope is a bit weak, and his knee hurts him, but his heart and mind are strong."
19 Apr 2002

US Bishops divided over reassignment of priest sex offenders
As US cardinals prepare for next week's unprecedented Vatican summit on clergy sex abuse, their fellow church leaders remain divided over whether to reassign some abusive priests.
19 Apr 2002

Negotiations at Church of Nativity stalled
A meeting planned between the Palestinians and Israeli to discuss the siege of the Church of the Nativity was cancelled yesterday morning.
19 Apr 2002

Townsville Mater welcomes probe
The board of the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Townsville has welcomed an independent enquiry into its cardiac unit after revelations that the death rate for heart valve surgery at the hospital was almost four times the Queensland state average.
19 Apr 2002

PM to push on with IVF singles ban
John Howard will push ahead with plans to give states the power to ban single women and lesbians from accessing in-vitro fertilisation services after the High Court yesterday refused an application by the Catholic Church to prevent a Victorian woman using IVF.
19 Apr 2002

Feature - The other side of the altar
It has been 28 years since Lee Ganim celebrated Mass, consecrating the bread and wine and exhorting the faithful to "Go in peace to love and serve the Lord." But a wife, four sons, one grandson and a successful career as a real estate agent and restaurateur later -- he still considers himself a Roman Catholic priest.
18 Apr 2002

Opinion - Relics - nourishing the memory of holy men and women
Memory, generally, is an essential and powerful faculty in the religious imagination. We remember' and we, ourselves, are changed in what we bring to mind. Our memory, however, needs to be nourished. It requires something tangible to be cultivated otherwise our memories become vague and no longer have power for us. -
18 Apr 2002

ACU study reveals extent of student poverty
Poverty among tertiary students is an urgent social problem, not just a rite of passage, says the author of a new study of student incomes, released by the Australian Catholic University.
18 Apr 2002

Jesuit compares PM to Sir Joh on human rights
Lawyer and human rights cmpaigner Fr Frank Brennan SJ has likened Prime Minister John Howard's administration to former Queensland Premier Sir John Bjelke-Petersen's government in its record of human rights abuses.
18 Apr 2002

Boston cardinal divulges secret Vatican talks
Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston revealed that he made an unannounced trip to the Vatican in the past few days to "seek counsel and advice" from the Pope and other Church leaders.
18 Apr 2002

Ethicists challenged to consider using IVF embryos to save siblings
The creation of IVF embryos to produce children who could save the life of a sibling has sparked a national debate, with ethicists branding the move troubling and potentially dangerous.
18 Apr 2002

Bethlehem Franciscans stress neutral stance
A spokesman for the Franciscan friars barricaded inside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem has warned against any suggestion that the friars are aligned with one or the other side in the Palestinian-Israeli struggle.
18 Apr 2002

Caritas Australia provides assistance to Caritas Jerusalem
Caritas Australia has provided $40,000 in immediate assistance to Caritas Jerusalem's efforts to assist those affected by the current violence in the Holy Land.
18 Apr 2002

Feature - Palestine's disappearing Christian population
Palestinian Christians comprise less than 10% of the population of the Holy Land, down from 35% a decade ago. Christians in the Palestinian territory are in an odd position. Israelis hold them at arm's length because they're Palestinian. Yet Muslims don't embrace them fully because they're Christian.
17 Apr 2002

Opinion - Church crisis has been constant theme of Virgin's warnings and prophecies
That there was a crisis looming for the Catholic Church has been a constant theme of prophecies from reputed seers for the last quarter of a century. Our Lady of America - a partially-approved apparition - warned in 1981 that certain "priests and consecrated virgins" were being caught in a "web of evil" that included "unnatural acts" while others were teaching "false doctrines" and "repudiating" the sacraments.
17 Apr 2002

Video reveals plan to bomb French cathedral
"This cathedral is God's enemy," says an Arabic speaker on a shaky 20-minute video, as a group of men allegedly plan to bomb the marketplace beside Strasbourg's Notre Dame Cathedral.
17 Apr 2002

German bishop accused of sex abuse quits "for Good of the Church"
Pope John Paul II has accepted the resignation of Auxiliary Bishop Franziskus Eisenbach of Mainz, Germany, who had been accused by a woman of sexual abuse.
17 Apr 2002

Moscow archbishop protests threats to religious freedom
Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Moscow had lodged a formal protest against "a serious threat to freedom of religion" in Russia.
17 Apr 2002

Cardinal Dulles calls clergy sex scandal a media beat-up
US Jesuit Cardinal Avery Dulles has said that the current clergy sex abuse scandal is an "American media creation" that "does not rise to the level of historical church crises such as the Gregorian revolution in the 12th century or the Protestant reformation of the 16th century."
17 Apr 2002

Cardinal Ratzinger turns 75 but remains in job
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, celebrated his 75th birthday yesterday, but will not retire after the Pope declined to accept his resignation.
17 Apr 2002

Heavy gunfire around Bethlehem Church of the Nativitiy
Heavy shooting has broken out near the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, as the Israeli siege there enters its third week.
17 Apr 2002

Feature - What chance a black pope?
It is simply not done for a senior curial official to suggest in public that the Pope might, one way or another, be about to quit. And yet Cardinal Ratzinger - and there is scarcely anyone more senior - had suggested that at the conclave which will follow the present pontiff's departure, the cardinal electors might choose an African as the next Bishop of Rome. - Historian and papal biographer Michael Walsh
16 Apr 2002

Opinion - Celibacy's history of power and money
Let's remind ourselves how the Catholic church got into the celibacy mess. It didn't have anything to do with sex, purity and holiness. It was money. As priests and bishops were becoming wealthier, they were becoming worldier, and Gregory VII told married priests they couldn't say Mass. - Arthur Jones
16 Apr 2002

Pope phones beseiged Franciscans in Bethlehem
"Continue with courage to resist and guard the holy sites" was the message of the Holy Father when he telephoned the Franciscan friars in Bethlehem yesterday afternoon.
16 Apr 2002

Pope beatifies six in St Peter's Square
Pope John Paul II beatified six holy men and women from Europe and Latin America in a ceremony in St Peter's Square on Sunday.
16 Apr 2002

Sexual abuse hits Church finances
Payments to victims of sexual abuse by priests in the United States could reach $A2 billion, according to an estimate quoted by the the US Jesuits' magazine America, which says many people are so angry about the scandal that they want to punish the church.
16 Apr 2002

Pope summons US cardinals to Rome to discuss scandals
Pope John Paul II has summoned leaders of the Catholic church in the United States to the Vatican to discuss recent disclosures of sex scandals, which have rocked the church.
16 Apr 2002

Pope says medical research must not sacrifice ethics for profit
John Paul II warned against the risk of research that is based solely on economic interests to the detriment of the dignity of the human person.
16 Apr 2002

St Vincent's Hospital research sidesteps moral dilemma
Sydney scientists are pioneering adult stem cell research which sidesteps the ethical dilemma posed by human embryonic and cord blood cells.
16 Apr 2002

Feature - Playground of war blessed by an angel
The laughter of children playing at the Orphanage of the Holy Family is shattered by the rattle of machinegun fire.
15 Apr 2002

Opinion - Anti-Catholicism alive and well in the USA
Anti-Catholicism is as American as apple pie. Most Catholics rarely encounter it in their daily lives, and they do not take it seriously. Therefore, anti-Catholicism will persist in American life indefinitely, giving the lie to the claim that Americans have left prejudice and discrimination behind. It lurks beneath the surface of American culture and raises its ugly head only on occasion — as it now is doing on the sexual abuse crisis. - Fr Andrew Greeley
15 Apr 2002

Fresco of blond Jesus uncovered in Rome church
A 14th century fresco depicting the head of Christ has been uncovered in Rome during the restoration of Michelangelo's sculpted figure of Moses.
15 Apr 2002

Cuban Communist party urges supporters to oppose Church
Cuba's Communist Party has issued a statement in which it calls upon its members and supporters to work against the influence which the Catholic Church may have on the people of the country.
15 Apr 2002

Pope urges "effective inclusion" of elderly in society
Society must uphold the dignity of older people, and must resist the temptation to be guided by economic criteria in determining aged care policies, according to Pope John Paul II.
15 Apr 2002

Melbourne Archbishop appeals to parishioners for leads on abuse priest
Melbourne's Archbishop Denis Hart has directly appealed to members of a suburban parish for information about misconduct by disgraced priest Fr Ronald Dennis Pickering.
15 Apr 2002

Cardinal faces axe in child abuse crisis
Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law was clinging to office at the weekend after files showing that he protected a self-confessed paedophile were released.
15 Apr 2002

Franciscans refuse to quit besieged birthplace of Christ
Weak, hungry and at growing risk, a group of Franciscan friars and nuns gathered in the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem at the weekend for a ceremony in which they agreed to continue to remain inside the besieged basilica, despite a lack of food and water.
15 Apr 2002

Feature - Vatican II's momentum for change, 40 years on
One of our sisters recently told me how in the early to mid-60s, many of them were reading Cardinal Suenens book, The Nun in the Modern World, effectively wrapped in brown paper for fear of ridicule. For many religious, it was the first book that echoed something of their own sense of stepping out and facing the world. - Sr Clare Condon
12 Apr 2002

Opinion - Reflections on an escape from Bethlehem
One cannot but remember the story of Mary and Joseph riding on a donkey trying to cover and hide the baby Jesus from the evil eyes of Herod's army troops, troops searching for the potential baby 'terrorist'. I was not able to take this story out of my mind as we were driving on dirt roads around Bethlehem and Beit Jala trying to leave Bethlehem.
12 Apr 2002

Canadian teenager taking gay prom date battle to court
17 year old Marc Hall is lauching a legal battle to take his 21 year old gay partner to a school prom after the Principal at Monsignor John Pereyma High School banned Marc Hall and his gay date from the event.
12 Apr 2002

Armed youths storm PNG retreat house
A gang of up to 25 young men surrounded the retreat house of the Handmaids of the Lord congregation outside Port Moresby in the early hours of last Saturday morning before breaking and entering and looting the premises of property worth $A3108.
12 Apr 2002

Vatican delegate regrets resumption of nuclear arms race
In a speech before a UN Committee, Vatican delegate Monsignor Francis Chullikatt, has regretted the "regression" in the implementation of a 2000 commitment from nuclear weapon states to work towards "the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals".
12 Apr 2002

Caritas alarmed by Israeli obstruction of aid to Palestinians
Catholic aid agency Caritas Internationalis has expressed shock at the 'violent and frightening' events happening now in the Holy Land, stressing that it is becoming "increasingly difficult" for aid organisations to provide relief to those who need it.
12 Apr 2002

Vatican sets limits to cooperation with sex abuse investigations
The Vatican has insisted that it is firmly against the policy of the Catholic Church to hand over files on priests to civil investigations in Ireland or elsewhere.
12 Apr 2002

Catholic Health says wealthy Australians could pay more for drugs
The curtailing of public funding of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme can be justified only if properly targeted to the better off and prosperous in the community, according to Catholic Health Australia CEO Francis Sullivan.
12 Apr 2002

Feature - In Europe, marriage is back
New figures show the number of French marriages has reached a 15-year high. "The reason is very simple," explains French demographer Hervé Le Bras. "All over Europe people are getting married later, so for a few years there was a drop in marriage rates.
11 Apr 2002

Opinion - Anti-Semitism on the rise
Balanced media coverage in Church circles of the Middle East conflict is an extremely difficult issue. Palestinian politics and Christian theology have become inextricably intertwined. Attitudes tend to progress beyond legitimate criticism of Israel to hatred of the Jews. - Sr Marianne Dacy NDS, Archive of Australian Judaica, University of Sydney
11 Apr 2002

Study confirms "back-pew" Catholic stereotype
A new Catholic University of America study of worship habits shows that people who turn up to church up to half an hour early typically sit up front and are fully engaged in the service, while the "stragglers" are more likely to sit in the back and be less engaged.
11 Apr 2002

Cardinal says older persons are "guardians of the collective memory"
Archbishop Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Ministry of Health, has told the United Nations Second World Assembly on Ageing in Madrid that older persons are the "guardians of the collective memory".
11 Apr 2002

Priest says jail being used for wrong purpose
Authorities are increasingly using the criminal justice system as a substitute for education and health services by sending young people with drug and mental health problems to prison, says Jesuit priest Fr Peter Norden.
11 Apr 2002

Franciscan head fears Bethlehem bloodbath
As time passes and the conditions in which people are holed up in the Church of the Nativity complex are deteriorating, hopes of avoiding a bloodbath are diminishing, according to Franciscan Minister General Fr Giacomo Bini.
11 Apr 2002

Cardinal Arinze attributes 11 Sep attacks to abortion, euthanasia
The Vatican said on Tuesday the 11 September 11 attacks in the United States were the product of a society that promotes the "culture of death", including abortion, euthanasia and genetic experiments on humans.
11 Apr 2002

Vatican document sets limits for popular piety
The Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of Sacraments has encouraged practices of popular piety such as the veneration relics, as long as they avoid supersition.
11 Apr 2002

Feature - Weep for Jerusalem
Sometimes the Church of the Holy Sepulchre seems like a microcosm of the tensions that reverberate throughout the Holy Land: clusters of Greeks, Armenians, Franciscans, Syrians, Copts and Ethiopians exchange blows over who owns a chapel or whose right it is to clean which step. But events in Holy Week this year emphasised the pedantry of such squabbles.
10 Apr 2002

Opinion - Thérèse relevant to Australians today
The relics of a French Carmelite nun represent some of the strangest aspects of Catholic life. Thérèse was grieved not so much by the suffering around her as by that suffering caused by human sin. She recognised too that people can turn explicitly against the light. - Archbishop George Pell
10 Apr 2002

Abuse survivors remembered at Edmund Rice Bicentenary Mass
Sunday's Edmund Rice Bicentenary Mass in Dublin celebrated the flourishing of the spirit of the Christian Brothers' founder, but also acknowledged the hurt and abuse perpetrated by some Brothers.
10 Apr 2002

Adelaide Catholic school principal sacked over porn
A Catholic school principal has been dismissed for using his office computer to distribute hard-core adult pornography.
10 Apr 2002

Catholic Health welcomes philanthropists' aged-care review
The director of aged care for Catholic Health Australia, Richard Gray, said a review of Australia's aged care sector by two businessmen would greatly benefit the sector, particularly given its independent nature.
10 Apr 2002

Bethlehem friars fear further Israeli strike on compound
As officials make assurances that the government is attempting to defuse the situation, an Israeli military spokesman has said the army intends to make things as difficult as possible for the Palestinian militants inside the Church of the Nativity compound.
10 Apr 2002

Church says asylum seekers victimised by newspaper distortion
Catholic Social Services Victoria has voiced its concern over what it considers unfair reporting of issues concerning asylum seekers, specifically a headline in the Melbourne Herald-Sun that implied that only seven out of 292 Afghans detained by Australia on Nauru are genuine refugees.
10 Apr 2002

Sydney Archbishop pledges funds for adult stem cell research
Archbishop of Sydney Dr George Pell said yesterday the church would be prepared to contribute $50,000 if the federal and NSW governments committed "significant money" for research into adult stem cells.
10 Apr 2002

Feature - Adelaide Aboriginal Ministry welcoming Afghan refugees
Afghani refugees are receiving a warm welcome at the Otherway Centre, which has been helping them with resumes and interpreting. Aborigines and Afghanis share similar experiences and have had a lengthy association dating back to the opening up of the Outback.
9 Apr 2002

Opinion - The role of Catholic schools in nurturing the sacred
One of the prime purposes of Catholic schooling is to keep alive, and to renew, the culture of the sacred in a profane and increasingly secular world. 90 years ago, French sociologist Emile Durkheim said the role of religion is to regular relations between the sacred and profane. - Prof Gerald Grace, author of Catholic Schools: Mission, Markets And Morality
9 Apr 2002

Moscow Patriarch says Easter greetings to Pope didn't imply warmer relations
Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow says the Easter greetings he sent to John Paul II did not imply a rapprochement with the Catholic Church.
9 Apr 2002

Priest killed in Colombia while celebrating mass
Gunmen burst into a church in Colombia Saturday evening, killing Fr Juan Ramón Núñez, who was celebrating Mass, together with layman, Joaquín Quebrada.
9 Apr 2002

Irish bishops announce sex abuse claims audit
Irish archbishop Dr Sean Brady has followed an emergency meeting of Ireland's Catholic bishops with the announcement of an independent audit into the controversy surrounding alleged clerical child sexual abuse.
9 Apr 2002

US theologian appointed to Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith
Pope John Paul II has appointed Dominican Fr Joseph Augustine Di Noia undersecretary of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
9 Apr 2002

Bethlehem Church of Nativity in flames
Parts of Bethlehem's besieged Church of the Nativity are in flames as the week-long siege continues, with several hundred Palestinian gunmen and civilians fleeing Israeli tanks are holed up in the church complex alongside monks and nuns.
9 Apr 2002

Vatican not impressed with Australia's stance on asylum seekers
The plight of unauthorised immigrants in Australia and the federal government's policy of mandatory detention has reached the highest levels of the Catholic church, retired Australian Cardinal Edward Cassidy said.
9 Apr 2002

Feature - What's happened to men's spirituality?
Beyond the banging drums and clashing symbols, Catholic men have a lot to gain from tapping into an authentic men's spirituality movement. But after a quick blossoming of "Iron John" gatherings, much of the buzz around the men's movement has quieted down.
8 Apr 2002

Opinion - Bishops face difficult journey to regain credibility
The leadership of this church, stumbling over itself once again to convince a weary flock of its sorrow over another round of sordid details and broken trust, has had a long time to find the path toward honesty, integrity and accountability. The leadership of this church must understand that the old approaches will not get them to that moment of truth.
8 Apr 2002

Ratzinger says pope "still has energy for important tasks"
Pope John Paul "speaks less than he did, but he asks very precise questions", Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has told the German newspaper Die Welt.
8 Apr 2002

Los Angeles cardinal accused of sexual abuse
Cardinal Roger Mahony, the head of the US's largest Roman Catholic archdiocese, in Los Angeles, says he has been accused of molesting a female student in 1970.
8 Apr 2002

Bishop says Woomera conditions "justified mass protest"
But the actions of almost 1000 people who travelled to Woomera over Easter have been praised by Auxiliary Catholic Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn Pat Power who said the protest rightly drew attention to Australia's cruel treatment of asylum-seekers.
8 Apr 2002

Archbishop Pell expresses concern over stem cells
The move to introduce stem-cell research has set us on the ``slippery slope'' of morality, Catholic Archbishop George Pell said yesterday.
8 Apr 2002

Vatican seeks to end Israeli-Palestinian standoff
Vatican diplomats have reportedly put forward a proposal to Israelis and Palestinians to end a standoff at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on the site traditionally regarded as the birthplace of Jesus.
8 Apr 2002

Australian bishop urges international intervention in the Holy Land
The acting chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council has backed UN calls for international intervention in the Holy Land.
8 Apr 2002

Feature - Church with a turbulent history
Situated on Manger Square 8km from Jerusalem, the Church of the Nativity is built over a grotto where the Virgin Mary is said to have given birth to Jesus. For centuries, it was one of the most fought over holy places. It was seized and defended by a succession of armies - including Muslim and Crusader forces.
5 Apr 2002

Opinion - Culture of dissent to blame for sex scandals
Favourable as the The Boston Globe generally is to homosexual behavior, and insistent that the Boy Scouts allow gay leaders to work with boys, it was no doubt salutary (if terribly painful) for the Globe and other media to hold the Catholic Church to a different standard, Catholic teaching. For if the erring priests had followed that teaching, there would have been no scandal. - Michael Novak
5 Apr 2002

Czech bishop wants 'lesser evil' prostitution legalised
The Catholic archbishop of Prague has called for prostitution to be made legal, warning that the sex trade is invading the country and causing a crisis in moral values.
5 Apr 2002

Catholics cautioned against African Bible
The Archbishop of Nairobi has cautioned Kenyan Catholics against an "African Bible" that is being offered as an alternative to approved editions of Scripture.
5 Apr 2002

Centacare invests for future of disadvantaged
Centacare Sydney, the Church's welfare agency in the Sydney archdiocese, has launched a registered foundation which will use the interest from its investments to fund Centacare's work with disadvantaged people in the community.
5 Apr 2002

Bethlehem church door blown open
A door to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem has been blown open, apparently by Israeli soldiers. But Israeli troops have not entered the shrine.
5 Apr 2002

Church will give to child victim fund
The Catholic Church in Queensland has announced that it will contribute money to the Forde Foundation, which helps victims of abuse in government and church-run institutions.
5 Apr 2002

Church condemns PM decision on stem cell research
"This is a tragic day," said Catholic Health Australia CEO Francis Sullivan in response to the Prime Minister's proposal yesterday that the States and Territories should allow the use of surplus ART embryos for research purposes.
5 Apr 2002

Feature - Today you will be with me in paradise
The concept of heaven has not been having a good press lately. The powerful conviction, held by some Islamic extremists, that suicide bombers will gain the immediate reward of paradise may appear easy enough to brush aside as being a simplistic distortion of all religion as well as of Islam itself.
4 Apr 2002

Opinion - Spare a thought for all the good gay priests
If there is no difference between the evil of gay intimacy and the evil of sexual abuse, is it any wonder that some conflicted souls act upon that assertion? It would be nice if those who insist gays in the clergy and laity must be condemned to loneliness and sexlessness, acknowledged that this is a very hard cross to bear. - Andrew Sullivan
4 Apr 2002

Ratzinger backs call for African Pope
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on Tuesday added his weight to support for the candidacy for the papacy of the Nigerian prelate Francis Arinze.
4 Apr 2002

Salesians elect Mexican as ninth successor to Don Bosco
Fr Pascual Chavez Villanuova, the Salesians' Mexican-born councillor for the American region, has been elected the ninth successor of Don Bosco in a ballot that lasted just 20 minutes.
4 Apr 2002

Commission speaks up for homeless single women
Melbourne's Archdiocesan Commission for Justice Development and Peace Melbourne (CCJDP) has highlighted the plight of homeless single women, who it claims are "invisible in our society" and in need of "official attention".
4 Apr 2002

Archbishop welcomes woman's rethink on Euthanasia
Archbishop John Bathersby of Brisbane has welcomed a decision by a Gold Coast cancer sufferer, at the centre of a euthanasia bid, to give palliative care one last go, reports The Catholic Leader.
4 Apr 2002

Churches want PM to protect surplus embryos
Church leaders urged a rethink on creating surplus human embryos, ahead of a decision by Prime Minister John Howard on whether they should be used for stem cell research.
4 Apr 2002

Pope makes urgent plea to save Holy Places
The Pope launched an urgent diplomatic initiative yesterday to try to "save the Holy Places of the Middle East" as spiralling violence engulfed the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
4 Apr 2002

Feature - Papal advisor says forgiveness is the way to peace
Cardinal Francois Van Thuan, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, says all nations including the US must participate in dialogue. He says: "It is the only way to have peace, to arrive centrally at a point of forgiveness, and after that reconciliation. If we do not have true reconciliation through forgiveness, we will never end war."
3 Apr 2002

Opinion - Middle East needs an international peacekeeping force
The lack of regard even for sacred symbols, such as the holy night of the Jewish Passover or the City of Bethlehem, is a striking demonstrations of the depths to which the conflict has sunk, of the disappearance of any barriers to the most brutal expressions of the mutual rage. Logically it could be for an international force must replace the Israeli forces in the occupied territories. - Fr David Jaeger, Israeli Franciscan of the Holy Land Custody
3 Apr 2002

Priest demands brides have virginity certificate
A priest in Brazil is refusing to marry women without a certificate to prove they are virgins.
3 Apr 2002

UK Catholics challenge churchgoers' image in TV soapies
A British Catholic group has launched a campaign to challenge the portrayal of churchgoers in television drama programmes as mad and morally suspect.
3 Apr 2002

Released underground Bishop warned not to say mass
Bishop Julius Jia Zhi Guo of Zhengding in northern China, was released last week after three days in isolation, but warned by police not to celebrate the rites and Masses of Holy Week and Easter.
3 Apr 2002

Caritas Australia providing relief to Afghani earthquake victims
Caritas Australia has provided $A40,000 in immediate relief to those affected by the earthquake that hit the district of Nahrin in northern Afghanistan last week.
3 Apr 2002

Canberra bishops urge Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territories
Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Canberra-Goulburn Pat Power has joined Anglican bishop George Browning in expressing dismay at the loss of human life and destruction of poverty in the escalation of violence in Palestine.
3 Apr 2002

Catholic Health wants more support for aged care bed construction
Responding to yesterday's withdrawal of permission for the construction of high-care beds, Catholic Health Australia has called for better licence allocation procedures, together with more action to support the construction of high-care beds.
3 Apr 2002

Feature - Curtain closing on Pope's centre-stage role
For more than 23 years, Pope John Paul II has stood at the center of the church's liturgical stage, celebrating more than 1300 public Masses at home and abroad -- a record no other pontiff can touch. But those days may be slowly coming to an end. Vatican sources said that even if the pope's knee mends as expected, his other health problems have made him less steady at the altar and less able to walk, genuflect, stand and sit.
2 Apr 2002

Opinion - New urgency in the quest for peace
The Palestinians have suffered great injustice by being driven from their homeland by force, with the support of western powers, particularly the US which continues to give billions of dollars a year to Israel. But while there is no way to undo what has been done, the Palestinian people are still suffering greatly, with the demeaning humiliation by the Israeli military checkpoints and the security apparatus. - Fr Bruce Duncan CSsR
2 Apr 2002

Study finds worshipping God benefits mental health
A Canadian study examining religious commitment among psychiatric inpatients has found that religion is beneficial for mental heath.
2 Apr 2002

LA Cardinal calls sex abuse scandal a 'purification'
In reaction to the widening sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the US Catholic Church, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles told more than 300 priests and 700 parishioners at last week's chrism Mass that "the church and the priesthood are undergoing an incredible purification."
2 Apr 2002

Pope accepts resignation of Polish archbishop accused of molestation
Pope John Paul II has accepted the resignation of a Polish archbishop accused of sexually molesting seminarians, although the archbishop of Poznan has continued to deny the allegations.
2 Apr 2002

Irish bishop resigns over handling of sex case
The bishop of the Wexford-based diocese of Ferns has resigned following criticism over his handling of sex abuse allegations that followed the airing of a BBC television documentary.
2 Apr 2002

British Cardinal pays tribute to Queen Mother
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, spiritual leader of Catholics in England and Wales, has paid tribute to the Queen Mother, calling the British Royal Family's 101 year old matriarch "a great and gracious lady".
2 Apr 2002

Jerusalem Patriarch condemns Israeli occupation
In his Easter message to the people of the Holy Land, Latin Catholic Patriarch Michel Sabbah insists that the key to peace lies in the end to Israeli occupation of the West Bank.
2 Apr
2002