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NEWS ARCHIVE FOR AUGUST 2002

   
Feature - Poles take pride in tenacious brand of Catholicism
Poland is, after everything, still a very Catholic place. It's not just that, according to official statistics, some 95% of the population of 38 million is Catholic. It's that a strongly devotional Catholicism still oozes from the national pores - despite the czars, despite the communists, even despite the invasion of the heathen West with its easygoing, post-Christian relativism.
30 Aug 2002

Opinion - Renewed celibacy debate at cross purpose
Auxiliary Bishop Pat Power of Canberra-Goulburn is something of a loose cannon. He enjoys firing off unexpected salvos and has done it again, suggesting that the church re-examine its insistence that priests be celibate. He has even dared, at a very sensitive time, to relate its imposition to the problem of sexual abuse. The bishop knows perfectly well that celibacy is not a doctrine but a discipline of the church, which only the Pope can change. - religious affairs columnist James Murray
30 Aug 2002

Irish seminary ends training of priests after 165 years
The trustees of St Patrick's College, Thurles, in County Tipperary, this week announced it would cease preparing candidates for the priesthood, due to a shortage of students.
30 Aug 2002

Pope offers prayers, blessings after floods in Europe, Asia
Drawing attention to deadly floods that have struck parts of Europe and Asia this month, Pope John Paul II has offered his prayers and encouraged greater assistance to the victims.
30 Aug 2002

Church in Europe getting ready to fight clergy sex abuse
Referring to recent reports of sex-abuse scandals in France, French Bishop Jacques David of Evreux has responded to reports of sex abuse in France by outlining the Church's intention to "combat pedophilia assiduously", while the German Catholic bishops' conference has held its first meeting to define its position.
30 Aug 2002

Weddings decline reflected in Catholic statistics
Statistics showing a 10% drop in the number of weddings in Australia are also reflected in the numbers of Catholic marriages, according to Sandhurst Diocese pre-marriage educator Fr Andrew Fewings.
30 Aug 2002

Visiting Cardinal urges 'globalisation of love'
In Australia to deliver this week's Helder Camara Lectures, Salesian Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez has said that that while we're now witnessing the globalisation of the economy, what is needed is a "globalisation of love".
30 Aug 2002

Brisbane Church responds to Nazareth House abuse revelations
Brisbane Archdiocese Chancellor Fr James Spence has acknowledged "with deep regret" the distress felt by former residents of Nazareth House who filed statements of claim in the Supreme Court in 1999 against the Sisters of Nazareth and the Archdiocese of Brisbane.
30 Aug 2002

Feature - Peace mission of murdered Solomons priest-politician
When Fr Geve, better known as Fr Gus, journeyed over to Guadalcanal's Weather Coast last week, he already knew things would not be easy for him. He had spoken to a number of Honiara people, to Guadalcanal's Premier and others all of whom cautioned him on the danger that he was facing. As Minister of Youth, Women and Sports, however, he felt he had a duty to bring some of the warring factions of his constituency back together again. - Fr Ambrose Pereira SDB
29 Aug 2002

Opinion - Catholic Church must confront issue of celibacy
The new growth that emerges so quickly after a bushfire is truly amazing. But for new life to bloom in the Catholic Church from the dust of its present deep troubles, there must be an honest acknowledgment of the harsh reality of sexual abuse and other shortcomings in the life of the church. Victims of sexual abuse have been damaged in a way only they can fully understand. Given that cases of sexual abuse have been so numerous within the church's present structures, surely it is time to ask some serious questions about the institutional life of the church. - Canberra auxiliary Bishop Pat Power
29 Aug 2002

Paralysed man says Padre Pio cured him
A man left paralysed and unable to speak after a car crash claims he is walking and talking again after St Padre Pio's spirit visited him.
29 Aug 2002

Priest begs mass murderer doctor to confess his crimes
A British parish priest wants to meet mass murderer Dr Harold Shipman in a bid to ease the pain of the town of Hyde.
29 Aug 2002

Archbishop Milingo returning to Rome in October
Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, who went through a marriage ceremony presided over by Sun Myung Moon last year, will return to Italy in October, a Vatican official says.
29 Aug 2002

Delhi Archbishop affirms opposition to forced conversions
Reacting to allegations that Protestant evangelical groups are pressuring Sikhs into Christianity, the archbishop of Delhi has said the Catholic Church "condemns any conversion by force or unworthy means".
29 Aug 2002

Abuse spotlight on Sisters of Nazareth
The Sisters of Nazareth order has admitted paying up to $75,000 to women who claimed they were abused in an orphanage.
29 Aug 2002

Church defends abuse investigation process
Monsignor David Cappo, author of the Church's Towards Healing protocol for dealing with sexual abuse allegations believes people should let the inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse against Archbishop George Pell be completed before criticising the process.
29 Aug 2002

Feature - Faith and fair play - a perfect match
In his best-selling John Eales: A biography, Rugby Union legend John Eales talks about the importance faith has played in his family, Rugby and corporate life. In an international Rugby career that spanned 10 years, John played 86 Tests, a record 55 of them as captain of the Wallabies. His sense of fair play and genial nature made him one of the most respected figures in world rugby.
28 Aug 2002

Opinion - Sex abuse crisis a chance to focus on Vatican II's unfinished business
The Second Vatican Council was the greatest event in the church in my lifetime. The crisis of sexual abuse gives the enormous energy that is needed for further change to occur. We should respond to the crisis of abuse for its own sake and the sake of the victims, but we should also seek to use its energy creatively, sensitively and intelligently in order to take further the unfinished business of the Council. - Sydney auxiliary Bishop Geoffrey Robinson
28 Aug 2002

Enquiry opened toward beatification of Pope John Paul I
A preliminary enquiry into the possible beatification of Pope John Paul I has been opened in the Italian Diocese of Belluno-Feltre, where the "smiling Pope" was born and raised.
28 Aug 2002

Chaldean nun brutally murdered in Baghdad
A 70 year old Chaldean nun has been brutally murdered in Baghdad in an act which the Chaldean News Agency claims was intended to "terrorise Iraqi Christians".
28 Aug 2002

British priest forced to flee Zimbabwe
A priest based in the UK has been forced to flee to a safe house after being arrested three times in Zimbabwe by President Robert Mugabe's security police, the Bishop of Plymouth Diocese said yesterday.q
28 Aug 2002

Kenya nuncio skeptical of FBI conclusion on missionary death
The papal nuncio in Kenya is questioning the FBI report that claimed the 2000 death of Mill Hill missionary Fr John Kaiser was a suicide.
28 Aug 2002

Catholic Welfare pleased with Govt direction on families
Catholic Welfare Australia has voiced its support for Government efforts to make more services available to parents "in their most creative and difficult task of being good parents to their children".
28 Aug 2002

Church outlines scope of Pell enquiry
The Catholic Church has announced the terms of reference for its enquiry into allegations of sexual abuse against the Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell.
28 Aug 2002

Feature - Italian press feasts on papal plots during northern summer
August is the silly season for Italian newspapers, which may explain the recent rash of journalistic scoops about the Vatican -- some odd, some tantalizing and some outright fabrications. The month began with a bang. Italian readers opened their papers on 1 August to banner headlines: "Youth Fires on Papal Motorcade, Wounds a Policeman." What really happened was that a 14-year-old boy shot a BB-pistol in the air during festivities along the papal motorcade route; the pope was nowhere near the site. The police dismissed the whole thing as an act of stupidity and turned the youth over to his parents.
27 Aug 2002

Opinion - Catholics don't run the country
Employment Services Minister Tony Abbott recently referred to what he claimed was a "tectonic shift" that had taken place in Australian politics. Namely, what he termed "the increasing catholicisation of the Coalition". Really, there is not much to get excited about. According to Tony Abbott's statistics, some 30 per cent of the Howard Government's frontbench are Catholics. This is about the same as the percentage of Catholics in the Australian community. - Gerard Henderson
27 Aug 2002

Welfare award to champion of regional Australians
Centacare Adelaide's Family Relationships Program manager Pauline Frick has been named winner of the inaugural Perkins Award presented by Catholic Welfare Australia.
27 Aug 2002

Hundreds pray at Mother Teresa's tomb
Hundreds of school children, social workers and foreign volunteers offered flowers and bowed their heads yesterday at the tomb of Mother Teresa on the 92nd anniversary of her birth.
27 Aug 2002

Bishops firm on celibacy
A number of Australian bishops surveyed by The Australian newspaper have failed to echo Canberra-Goulburn Auxiliary Bishop Pat Power's weekend call for a review of the celibacy rule.
27 Aug 2002

Church accused of hindering murder case
A notorious Melbourne paedophile potentially implicated in the murder of a 12-year-old boy escaped investigation because the Catholic Church failed to report his behaviour, it has been alleged.
27 Aug 2002

Pope to skip Philippines visit
Pope John Paul II will not visit the Philippines early next year, the Vatican said yesterday, despite what officials had said was his personal desire to go.
27 Aug 2002

Pope stresses urgency of humanity's "ecological vocation"
Pope John Paul II has said man's "ecological vocation" is more urgent than ever, given the grave threats to the environment.
27 Aug 2002

Feature - When your adult child chooses a different path
Despite our efforts and our waiting times of faith, despite years of words and example and prayers, we are in a situation that we never envisioned. Our daughter is pregnant and not married. Our son is living a materialistic, no-time-for-religion lifestyle. Our son has "come out" and is in a gay relationship. We are heartbroken. We feel both guilty and betrayed. Our pain is deep.
26 Aug 2002

Opinion - Would a war against Iraq be just?
If key members of the government are to be believed, Australia seems headed for war against Iraq. Yet in contrast to the debate leading up to the 1991 war against Iraq, there has been practically no mention of the traditional conditions for waging war. Why is this? I would suggest the reason is that just-war theory does not support a new war against Iraq. - Fr Bruce Duncan CSsR, consultant Catholic Social Services Victoria
26 Aug 2002

US Bishops' committee instructs against kneeling for Communion
The US bishops' committee on the liturgy has said that Catholics should not ordinarily receive Communion while kneeling.
26 Aug 2002

Polish priest 'spied on Pope' for communist authorities
A high-ranking Polish priest spied for communist authorities on church officials including Pope John Paul II, who was the bishop of Krakow at the time, a government institute said Friday.
26 Aug 2002

Priest-parliament member assassinated in Solomon Islands
A Catholic priest in the Solomon Islands was murdered last Tuesday on the orders of a notorious tribal warlord.
26 Aug 2002

Abbott, Pell 'put unborn ahead of the living'
Catholic leaders show more concern for the unborn than the living in their stands on stem cell research and asylum seekers, a prominent business leader told a Sydney prayer meeting yesterday.
26 Aug 2002

Pell accuser's past crimes 'leaked'
The criminal history of a man allegedly sexually molested by Sydney Archbishop George Pell was leaked to the media by the Catholic Church, a victims support group said yesterday.
26 Aug 2002

Canberra bishop urges rethink on celibacy
Auxiliary Bishop Pat Power of Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese has suggested a review of compulsory celibacy for priests in the wake of the clergy sex abuse scandal.
26 Aug 2002

Feature - 'Lost for words' in moment with Pope
Adam Morris of Canberra was "lost for words" when he was one of 10 young people who received a block of rock salt from John Paul II during the vigil on the second last day of the World Youth Day in Toronto. "I had been so excited about meeting him and speaking with him, I had even thought of exactly what I was going to say," says Adam. "But when the moment came I was lost for words. - Catholic Weekly
23 Aug 2002

Opinion - Church's duty of compassion for animals
I believe that the Church has a part to play, locally and globally, in influencing a more humane concern for the lives and deaths of our fellow creatures. We can backtrack 800 years to the words of St Francis: "Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission to be of service to them whenever they require it." - British actor Joanna Lumley in Priests and People
23 Aug 2002

US nuns urged to 'bend their charisms' to serve justice
To survive, US women religious must avoid a "mindless openness to everything" while modifying their specific missions to deal with contemporary problems, especially justice issues, according to the keynote speaker at the annual assembly of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
23 Aug 2002

Scientists find errors in dating of Shroud of Turin
New studies reveal that the 1988 carbon-14 dating analysis of the Shroud of Turin did not take into consideration the mending done to the cloth in the Middle Ages.
23 Aug 2002

Vatican publishes overview of church teaching on environment
Official Catholic teaching on the environment is based on the belief that creation is a gift of God that must be protected, used responsibly and shared equitably, said a new Vatican book.
23 Aug 2002

Vinnies helps those with nowhere to go after hostel fire
A Brisbane priest said a hostel fire which claimed three lives in the northern seaside suburb of Sandgate last weekend has highlighted a lack of emergency accommodation in the city.
23 Aug 2002

Church responds to more abuse claims
The Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, has been forced to respond to another sex abuse claim after an alleged victim accused the Melbourne archdiocese of having "covered up" a scandal involving a church worker and a priest.
23 Aug 2002

Church bodies give details of refugee initiative
In a major humanitarian initiative to be launched on Migrant and Refugee Sunday this Sunday, Australian Catholics are being asked to help in a proposed partnership with the Federal Government that would see families and children in detention centres allowed into the community.
23 Aug 2002

Feature - Catholic colleges in US struggle with sex
With sexually active students on their campuses and the Vatican unswervingly opposed to premarital sex, America's Roman Catholic colleges face difficult choices on such sensitive matters as condom use and unwanted pregnancies. Except for a handful of schools, the 230 colleges and universities do not provide condoms or other contraceptives on campus, drawing renewed criticism that their students face a higher risk of sexually transmitted diseases. Yet the schools are far from monolithic on sex-related issues. Many offer up-to-date information on sexual health; some provide referrals for students seeking birth control or considering abortions.
22 Aug 2002

Opinion - I fear for my church
I mind my little grandson Thomas Benedict. We walk through the streets of Richmond and past St Ignatius Church where some months ago on a glorious Sunday afternoon, Tom was baptised. I find myself wondering what Tom will make of this Catholic Church, into which his parents have chosen to induct him. One thing is clear. The old certainties are being swept away, and the future looks grim for this church that is so dear to our hearts. For my generation of Catholics, the change has happened swiftly, accompanied by a sense of grief and almost of disbelief.
22 Aug 2002

Cardinal says Pope's agile mind linked to his prayer
John Paul II's intellectual ability must be attributed to prayer because "humanly, there is no other explanation", says the chamberlain of the Holy Roman Church.
22 Aug 2002

Italian police intercept plot to attack church
Four Moroccans and an Italian were arrested on Monday by police in Italy on charges of plotting to blow up a basilica in Bologna.
22 Aug 2002

Vatican and Muslim leaders unite against racism
Muslim and Vatican representatives have jointly rejected racism and called for the building of a world of justice and peace.
22 Aug 2002

Catholic Health says increased benefits essential to sustain private hospitals
Catholic Health Australia (CHA) is concerned by reports of a 40% increase in medical benefits paid by health insurers during the last financial year, saying that private hospitals are not receiving a large enough share of the funds to sustain their operations.
22 Aug 2002

Social justice nun seeks help for freed detainees
Acting head of the Catholic Social Justice Council Sr Suzette Clark said the Federal Government's plans to allow more women and children asylum seekers to live in the community rather than behind barbed wire in detention centres is "a step in the right direction but still only involved women and children".
22 Aug 2002

Sex abuse rampant at YCW camp, say altar boys
Three more former altar boys claim to have been sexually abused at summer camps held in the 1960s at the site where the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Dr George Pell, is alleged to have assaulted a 12-year-old boy.
22 Aug 2002

Feature - Pell's perfect path
Many have been hunting him. He had avoided the arrows. Now he has stood down as Catholic Archbishop of Sydney pending the results of an investigation into allegations that he sexually molested a 12-year-old boy 40 years ago. Back then he was a rare Catholic hero in a small-mouthed Victorian country city where Irish Catholic life was dominated by the priest and the football. One of Ballarat's leading sons, Pell bestrode both. A school football hero, he had eschewed sporting glory for the priesthood. Some said it was nearly preordained.
21 Aug 2002

Opinion - Pell accused, and it could be shattering for the church
If the allegations against Pell are proved to be well-founded, the consequences for the Australian church would be devastating. But if Pell emerges from this inquiry with no questions to answer, his reputation as a churchman will be greatly enhanced. More than that, however, he will have set a high standard for his fellow bishops to follow and have demonstrated that the church regards none of its personnel as above accountability. - Chris McGillion
21 Aug 2002

Protest at Vatican against disappearance of married archbishop
A small party of radicals protested at the edge of St Peter's Square yesterday against the Vatican's seclusion of a Zambian archbishop who shocked the Church by marrying a South Korean woman last year, then backed out of the marriage after being threatened by excommunication.
21 Aug 2002

Shock jocks off air after New York Cathedral sex stunt
Opie and Anthony, co-hosts of WNEW-FM's popular drivetime program, remained off the air yesterday as a 350,000-member Catholic group pushed for their station to get its license revoked. The pair allegedly broadcast a live, eyewitness account of a couple having sex inside the landmark St Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan.
21 Aug 2002

New Colombian archbishop offers mediation
The new Archbishop of the Colombian diocese of Cali - whose predecessor was assassinated - has condemned kidnapping as the worst crime against humanity and has offered to mediate the release of deputies of the country's Cauca Valley and other hostages.
21 Aug 2002

Catholic Health welcomes palliative care education initiative
Catholic Health Australia (CHA) has described Minister for Ageing, Kevin Andrews' palliative care education initiative announced yesterday as 'a good start'.
21 Aug 2002

Pope makes it clear once more he won't retire
During an emotional four-day visit to his Polish homeland that ended on Monday, the 82-year-old Pope John Paul II made clear he was well aware of his poor health but that talk of resignation was out of the question - at least for the time being.
21 Aug 2002

Archbishop Pell refutes abuse charge
Sydney's Archbishop George Pell has vehemently denied an allegation that he sexually molested a 12 year-old more than 40 years ago, saying it is "a smear of the most vindictive kind". However, he said his decision last Tuesday to take leave as Archbishop of Syndey was for the good of the Church and to preserve the dignity of the office of archbishop.
21 Aug 2002

Feature - Priests in search of a role
Last February, a mysterious advertisement appeared in The Tablet. It read: "Married priest, available for Sunday supply for any parish otherwise deprived of Mass due to the shortage of priests." The married priest in question has revealed himself to The Tablet as the veteran peace campaigner Bruce Kent. "I was being a bit cheeky, I suppose, but I was trying to bring out the fact that there is a number of us around who could be useful."
20 Aug 2002

Opinion - Don't cross the line with embryo research
We watch as almost daily we hear of great new and exciting discoveries in the world of medical science. We welcome this. We are keen to support, and participate in this progress. These new discoveries offer us new insights, and the inspiration that the forces of our world can continue to be channelled to help men and women. But progress is not inevitable. Wrong turns are possible and these are taken. Destructive human embryo experimentation is a marker event to be resisted. - Archbishop George Pell
20 Aug 2002

Irish couple married in eyes of God, not law
An administrative error at an Irish church 38 years ago meant a County Wicklow couple never had their marriage registered with the state.
20 Aug 2002

Russia cancels another Catholic priest's visa
Russia has revoked the visa of yet another foreign-born priest, in the wake of the earlier withdrawal of visas for a bishop and an Italian missionary priest.
20 Aug 2002

Mother Teresa beatification could occur this year
The beatification of Mother Teresa of Calcutta may be scheduled before the end of this year, depending upon the outcome of an October meeting in Rome..
20 Aug 2002

Vatican gives blessing to Pope telemovie
A television drama depicting the early life of Pope John Paul II has been given the blessing by the Vatican, according to reports.
20 Aug 2002

Pope bids farewell to beloved Poland with Mass at mountain monastery
Bells tolled as the popemobile approached the Kalwaria Zebrzydowska monastery, draped in Polish and Vatican flags, and a waiting crowd of some 60,000 people chanted "Your people welcome you, John Paul II."
20 Aug 2002

Catholic Welfare joins new push for funding Family services programs
Catholic Welfare Australia is one of three peak bodies on the Family Relationship Forum, which has just released a background paper identifying new directions in the provision of family relationship services across the country.
20 Aug 2002

Feature - Poland pulls further from Pope's values
Pope John Paul II played a key role in bringing democracy to Poland, but in 1991, returning to his homeland for the first time after the collapse of communism, he lashed out at the "whole civilisation of desire and pleasure which is now lording it over us, profiting from various means of ... seduction. Is this civilization or anti-civilisation?" At the weekend, the Holy Father found that the social changes that troubled him 11 years ago have accelerated. A new demographic survey commissioned by the government portrays a Poland that has shed the religiosity and social conservatism of the communist era and transformed itself into a society that behaves very much like its more affluent Western European neighbours.
19 Aug 2002

Opinion - Will the pedophilia scandal affect the role of women in the church?
What the scandal highlights in the most glaring of ways is the total absence of women from the inner chambers of ecclesiastical discussion and procedural review. Would women have stood by quietly, said nothing, even agreed to a policy of moving clearly abusive men from parish to parish where they could jeopardise the lives of other children so that the system itself could be saved? - Sr Joan Chittister OSB
19 Aug 2002

Mexican Catholics outraged by film depicting priest having sex
A new film with scenes depicting priests having sex and consorting with drug dealers has drawn strong criticism from some Catholics in Mexico.
19 Aug 2002

About 90 Ugandan youth 'lost' in Canada
About 90 of the Ugandan youth who travelled to Toronto for last month's World Youth Day have not returned to their home country.
19 Aug 2002

Half of US Catholic clergy sees a gay presence in priesthood
Attempting to bring hard data to a persistent rumour in the Catholic Church, Chicago researchers said on Friday that more than half the country's priests say they perceive a gay subculture in their diocese or religious institute, with 19% saying it clearly exists.
19 Aug 2002

British aid agency says strike against Iraq would create catastrophe
Any pre-emptive military strike against Iraq by the West would create a humanitarian catastrophe, warned a British Catholic aid agency.
19 Aug 2002

Pell suggests paid maternity leave should include stay-at-home parents
Sydney's Archbishop George Pell added his voice on Friday to the maternity leave debate, supporting a government-funded paid maternity leave scheme.
19 Aug 2002

Pope ends homecoming trip to Poland
In a tearful, farewell Mass in his beloved Krakow, Pope John Paul II told more than two million Poles yesterday that he would like to return one day - but "this is entirely in God's hands".
19 Aug 2002

Feature - Holy Father's 23-year odyssey
The old model was that the pope stayed in the Vatican and people came to him, like an emperor receiving supplicants. John Paul, however, felt called to be a modern St. Paul, taking his show on the road in a world that had to be evangelised all over again. In any analysis of his papacy, the trips loom as one of its most original and important features. "I am a pilgrim-messenger who wants to travel the world to fulfill the mandate Christ gave to the apostles when he sent them to evangelise all men and all nations," John Paul II said during a visit to Santiago de Compostela in Spain in November 1982.
16 Aug 2002

Opinion - Prime Minister has faith in the God squad
Interestingly PM Howard's pulpit-thumping cabinet lieutenant, Industrial Relations Minister and former seminarian Tony Abbott, has made his own spiritual case for electoral success. If you believe the Abbott theory, the Coalition has shown a deft ability to walk with the angels. He told the Melbourne Media Club that the Canberra press gallery, preoccupied with day-to-day political manoeuvring, had overlooked a "tectonic shift" in the political landscape. This was the increasing "Catholicisation" of the conservative parties, with 13 of Howard's 42 frontbenchers having a connection with the church. - Michael Millett
16 Aug 2002

Padre Pio's spirit 'helps paralysed car crash victim walk'
A young Italian paralysed and unable to speak after a car crash says he can walk and talk after St Padre Pio's spirit visited him.
16 Aug 2002

Catholic Weekly wins prestige press award
Sydney's Catholic Weekly picked up the premier Australasian award for religious journalism, the Gutenberg Award, at last week's Australasian Religious Press Association conference.
16 Aug 2002

Indonesian bishop concerned about resurgence of violence in Poso
Bishop Joseph Suwatan of Manado has expressed concern over the resurgence of violence in the city of Poso, denouncing the recent spate of attacks that he said undermined the peace treaty signed by Christians and Muslims last December.
16 Aug 2002

Catholic lobbyists send 'largest' petition to Parliament
In the lead up to Refugee Sunday (25 August), the Australian Political Ministry Network (PolMin) has achieved a milestone in Australia's current asylum seeker policy debate by lodging with the House of Representatives the largest ever petition from the citizens of Australia concerning the policy.
16 Aug 2002

Catholic Health supports Govt boost to Aged Care workers' standards
Catholic Health Australia (CHA) yesterday issued a statement of support for the Government's initiative on the National Aged Care Workforce Strategy, which "challenged the aged care sector to embrace a minimum qualification for aged care workers to Certificate III level or its equivalent before 2008".
16 Aug 2002

Catholic Welfare queries missing disability dollars
Catholic Welfare Australia is worried that some jurisdictions have reported spending less on disability services than was promised under the recent bilateral funding agreement.
16 Aug 2002

Feature - The Bethlehem Siege: an insider's account
I am a Palestinian from Jerusalem's Old City and a member of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. Ordained to the priesthood in June 1992, I serve as the Roman Catholic pastor of the world's oldest parish: Bethlehem's Basilica of the Nativity of Our Lord. Thirty other friars, four Catholic nuns, nine Greek Orthodox monks, five Armenian monks and I were caught by surprise last spring during the 39-day siege of the basilica and its adjoining buildings. - Fr Amjad Sabarra OFM
15 Aug 2002

Opinion - Faith deserves a fair hearing in our democracy
In 1984 the American social commentator Richard John Neuhaus wrote an incisive book called The Naked Public Square. In it he argued that in the past few decades there had been an attempt to squeeze out those with a religious perspective from the realm of public policy debate. Neuhaus argued that liberal democracies need the foundation of public virtue, which in turn is based on the moral and religious values of its citizens. - Bill Muehlenberg, ethics lecturer & President Australian Family Association
15 Aug 2002

Germaine Greer defends Blair wife's loyalty to Church teaching
Feminist icon Germain Greer has warned British Prime Minister Tony Blair to respect his Catholic wife's decision not to practise contraception.
15 Aug 2002

Vatican envoy explains Milingo's condition
There's a deliberate campaign of misinformation over Archbishop Milingo's issue bent on maligning the Catholic Church, according to the Vatican's nuncio in Zambia Archbishop Orlando Antonini.
15 Aug 2002

Visiting theologian says contraceptive culture fails marriage
Marriage preparation courses in the Catholic Church should tackle today's contraceptive culture head on, says the visiting American Catholic moral theologian and scholar Prof Bill May.
15 Aug 2002

Pope leaves Friday for sentimental visit to Poland
Pope John Paul the II will travel back to his native Poland on tomorrow for the ninth time since he became the leader of the Catholic Church. This time, the pope will be visiting the Krakow region where he served as a priest, a bishop and then a cardinal.
15 Aug 2002

Rockhampton bishop calls meetings to discuss church sex abuse
Bishop Brian Heenan of Rockhampton has convened gatherings across the diocese to consider sexual abuse in the Church. The first was in Rockhampton last Tuesday. Others will follow from next Monday.
15 Aug 2002

Vatican likely to reject US Bishops' Dallas Plan
The Vatican will not grant approval to the norms adopted by the US bishops' conference for the discipline of sexual offenders, informed sources have told Catholic World News.
15 Aug 2002

Feature - Poles start to hear Pope's pro-Jewish message
Pope John Paul's childhood in the sleepy Polish town of Wadowice before World War II exemplified how harmonious relations between local Jews and Catholics could be. As a boy, Karol Wojtyla played soccer with Jewish kids in a park between the church on the main town square and a synagogue down the road. He would invite friends, Jewish and Catholic, to his family's modest three-room apartment to hear stories told by his father, a retired army officer. His landlord was a Jew.
14 Aug 2002

Opinion - Beyond crime and punishment
Hearing confessions is a rather dangerous and lethal profession. It creates a kind of patience with sin that is often scandalous to outsiders. But confession is a very good thing about my Catholic tradition that might not be recognised in the midst of our shame about the pedophilia scandal. Good confessional practice does not encourage you to read a situation in a forensic or argumentative context, and in fact quite the contrary. The whole purpose is healing and reconciliation. - Fr Richard Rohr OFM
14 Aug 2002

Mother Teresa voted India's greatest citizen
Mother Teresa, the Macedonian-born Catholic nun who spent her life caring for the poor in the slums of Calcutta, has been voted India's greatest citizen in a magazine poll.
14 Aug 2002

Catholic, Jewish leaders discourage evangelising Jews
America's Catholic bishops and leaders of Reform and Conservative Judaism have issued a joint statement affirming that Jews should not be targeted for conversion to Christianity.
14 Aug 2002

Shroud of Turin undergoes secret restoration work for conservation
Promising a press conference and extensive documentation nextt month, Cardinal Severino Poletto of Turin has confirmed conservation work on the Shroud of Turin.
14 Aug 2002

Tasmanian parents issue statement of support for priests
Admitting that some minors have been deeply hurt by abusive priests, Tasmania's Catholic Schools Parents and Friends Federation has issues a statement stressing that priests are welcome in the state's schools.
14 Aug 2002

League will fight sex slavery trade
Catholic Women's League Australia has put up its hand to join the fight trafficking in human flesh in the sex industry.
14 Aug 2002

Vinnies urges end to migration zone bill
Legislation to excise about 3000 islands from the Australia's refugee zone should be rejected, according to the St Vincent de Paul Society.
14 Aug 2002

Feature - Excommunication losing its kick
"I thought excommunication was, you know, like extinct," said Irene, a Brooklyn high school senior. It is not, as the Vatican made clear when it recently excommunicated seven women 'priests' ordained by a dissident Argentine archbishop. But the ancient punishment is used rarely enough to make it seem obsolete.
13 Aug 2002

Opinion - Emergence of Catholic 'sharia' law in Australia
Once the ALP was the natural Catholic party. Now, in a historic realignment, we have a clutch of high-profile conservative Catholics such as Tony Abbott, Ross Cameron and Kevin Andrews prominent in the Howard Government and influencing sensitive issues. Other conservatives, such as National Party leader John Anderson, bolster their influence. These serious men have a hankering, going by their statements, to legislate something like a Catholic "sharia" law. - Terry Monagle
13 Aug 2002

Californian diocese to put windows in confessionals
The Diocese of San Jose is taking the recently established "no tolerance: policy on sexual misconduct to a new level, with its bishop ordering that windoes be placed in all confessionals, allowing others to see inside while parishioners reconcile their sins.
13 Aug 2002

Church seeks help to pay bills for World Youth Day
The Church in Canadia is asking Catholics to reach into their pockets to help cover a $A35.63 million deficit left behind by the gathering.
13 Aug 2002

Vatican releases joint Catholic-Islamic statement
A joint Catholic-Islamic committee has issued a statement condemning racism and pledging mutual efforts to promote peaceful and respectful dialogue across ethnic and cultural boundaries.
13 Aug 2002

US Catholic orders to look after their abusive priests
Leaders of male religious congregations in the United States have decided that sexually abusive priests should be kept away from children but not expelled, a less restrictive plan than the zero-tolerance policy that the country's bishops adopted for diocesan clergy in June.
13 Aug 2002

Vatican spokesman scotches papal retirement rumours
The Vatican confirmed yesterday that Pope John Paul II's travel plans include a return to Rome from Poland next week, contrary to a published report that the Holy Father might retire to his native land after the pilgrimage.
13 Aug 2002

Bishop says Qld Govt 'unpaid wages' offer only hints at justice
Toowoomba's Bishop William Morris has described the Queensland Government's "unpaid wages" offer to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as only a "faint shadow of justice".
13 Aug 2002

Feature - Reversal of fortune for Divine Mercy saint
25 years ago, her writings were banned by the Vatican and her legacy, a special devotion to the divine mercy of God, seemed in doubt. Today she is a saint, her diary has been translated into more than a dozen languages and her Divine Mercy movement has attracted millions of Catholics around the world. For St Faustina Kowalska, it's been a remarkable reversal. And like several other sainthood stories in recent years, this one had a hidden protagonist: Pope John Paul II.
12 Aug 2002

Opinion - To minimise sex abuse, we should forget about power
We have to take a really good, long look at ourselves and say, 'How is it possible to make change to minimise [the likelihood of] this happening again?' Change needs to be towards a ministry that is lifegiving and healthy and based on service, rather than on power: Based on the values of the Gospel, rather than on the values of the world. - New Zealand Marist vicar provincial Fr Tim Duckworth
12 Aug 2002

Medics on alert for Pope visit
More than 100 doctors will be on standby in Krakow for ailing Pope John Paul II's visit to Poland this week, Deputy Health Minister Andrzej Nauman has said.
12 Aug 2002

Pope calls for international presence in Mideast
Pope John Paul made an emotional appeal yesterday for peace in the Middle East, and gave his apparent support to an international peacekeeping forces in the region.
12 Aug 2002

Australian heads new Rome institute
Rome's Gregorian University is opening an Institute for the Study of Religions and Cultures, with Fr Daniel Madigan, an Australian Jesuit priest, as first president.
12 Aug 2002

Climate change worrying Pacific leaders of religious congregations
The global warming caused by "human irresponsibility" is bringing suffering to the people of the Pacific, and threatens "a great flood of environmental refugees", according to leaders of Religious Institutes of the Pacific, who met last week in Suva.
12 Aug 2002

Retiring international English liturgy chief speaks out
Scottish Bishop Maurice Taylor has issued a statement defending the International Commission on English in the Liturgy following the completion of his term as chairman of its Episcopal Board.
12 Aug 2002

Woman appointed to head Melbourne Catholic Education Office
Susan Pascoe became the first woman and first lay person to be appointed director of Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Melbourne.
12 Aug 2002

Feature - Millennials discovering faith lost by boomers
Jessica Gonzales is part of the generation dubbed millennials, children born starting in 1982, who researchers believe are more spiritual and less individualistic than their mostly baby-boomer parents. Fr Christopher Robinson, professor at DePaul University in Chicago, said religious rituals - what he calls "chanting and smells and bells" - are attractive to the millennials. That's because, coming from homes that rejected tradition, the practices are new to them, he said.
9 Aug 2002

Opinion - When my favourite priest's past caught up with him
Presiding over our local parish, Father Phil was the rare kind of priest who actually engaged his audience. He spoke to us as though we were capable of more than rehashed, over-simplified Bible stories. But one day, Father Phil's past caught up to him. He was accused of sexual misconduct with a minor in a previous city. His life in our parish came to a screeching halt.
9 Aug 2002

Witch hired to teach at London Jesuit college
The British Jesuits' Heythrop College, part of the University of London, has appointed Vivianne Crowley, who describes herself as a Wiccan high priestess, as a visiting tutor.
9 Aug 2002

Rabbi-author tells Catholic audience to reject 'sin of perfectionism'
A rabbi and best-selling author urged Catholic health care professionals gathered in Chicago to reject "the sin of perfectionism" and to make their workplaces "sacred space."
9 Aug 2002

Aussie victims to be honoured at Manhattan Catholic church
The Epiphany Catholic Church on Manhattan's east side is to host a memorial service for the Australian community in New York who lost family and friends in the 11 September terrorist attacks.
9 Aug 2002

Catholic Church rejects push for Malaysian Islamic state
Malaysia's Catholic bishops have issued a rare press statement to express alarm and concern over Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's declaration that Malaysia is an Islamic state.
9 Aug 2002

Holy Spirit Sisters to sell Brisbane hospital
The Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters have placed Holy Spirit Hospital on Wickham Terrace in Brisbane up for sale.
9 Aug 2002

Pope's appeal spares 36 from the death penalty
Guatemala's president has ordered a moratorium on the death penalty for the remaining months of his term of office, after speaking on the matter with the Pope.
9 Aug 2002

Feature - Black nun who knows show business
Although she's heard horror stories from other black nuns about racism and about harassment inside religious orders, the story of discrimination has not been her story. Thompson directs the Office for Minority Affairs at Fordham University in New York. She has been a longtime member of Broadway's prestigious Tony Board, drama coach to actresses Gilda Radner and Christine Lahti, and personal friend to the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
8 Aug 2002

Opinion - Govt policy is 'White Australia' revisited
Government propaganda had rekindled the fear of the foreigner, particularly the dark foreigner whose language we cannot understand. Like the 'wogs', the 'dagos', the 'slope-heads' before them, we have quickly labelled them with a demeaning term - "rag heads". It is indeed the White Australia Policy revisited. - Fr Jim Carty, Marist Refugee Centre
8 Aug 2002

Friend of 'Aussie battler' to be remembered today
Today's Feast of Blessed Mary MacKillop is an occasion to recall a life that embodied characteristics "integral to the Australian identity", including "a sense of a fair go for everyone, and her willingness to stand on the side of people often referred to as the 'Aussie Battler'".
8 Aug 2002

Vatican comments on excommunications of women 'priests'
The seven women who claimed to have been recently ordained as priests were excommunicated because they had attacked the fundamental structure of the Catholic Church, a top official told Vatican Radio on Tuesday.
8 Aug 2002

Pakistan bishops condemn attack on Christian school
The Church in Pakistan has condemned "in the strongest terms" Monday's attack by presumed Islamic Unitarians against the Christian school in Murree, Pakistan.
8 Aug 2002

Cuban bishop says defector WYD pilgrims were seduced
A Cuban bishop said yesterday that young Cubans were pressured or encouraged to stay behind in Canada after World Youth Day ended in Toronto last week.
8 Aug 2002

'Society' priest pleads guilty on 13 child sex charges
70 year old ex-priest Vincent Kiss will be sentenced next month after he pleaded guilty to 13 child sex charges in a Sydney court yesterday.
8 Aug 2002

Catholic bishops join lobby to PM for Iraq attack re-think
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference President Archbishop Francis Carroll has joined with other Canberra church leader in an expression of 'grave concern' at the possibility of a US led attack on Iraq and Australia's involvement in such a conflict.
8 Aug 2002

Feature - Chinese Bishop prepares for 2008 Olympics
Catholic Bishop Michael Tieshan Fu is promoting the provision of religious services for athletes and sports fans in Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games. "The Church is making arrangements for priests, nuns and divinity school students to learn foreign languages like English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Korean," he said. Fu, who is also chairman of the Catholic Church aligned to the Chinese Government and not the Vatican, said that the Catholic Church in China has always assisted foreign believers in practising their religious faith at local churches.
7 Aug 2002

Opinion - Sacred life knows no church
Alan Trounson, whose company is the recipient of $46 million in public funds, seems to have scored an own goal with his outrageous remarks that Catholics and ethicists (or just Catholic ethicists?) who oppose embryo research are "irrational hypocrites". It is part of a resurgence of a form of acceptable anti-Catholicism that, because it is part of an anti-Christian philosophical offensive, is much more damaging than mere narrow sectarianism. - Angela Shanahan
7 Aug 2002

Bishops condemn killing of Hindu pilgrims in Kashmir
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) has condemned yesterday's terrorist attack on innocent pilgrims in which nine innocent were killed.
7 Aug 2002

BoysTown workers asked to explain records
BoysTown Catholic charity has issued a "please explain" to several current and former employees after an audit revealed irregularities in financial records.
7 Aug 2002

US religious orders may keep abusive priests
Clergy from religious orders, who make up one third of priests in the United States, can continue working in restricted roles in their communities even if they've sexually abused minors.
7 Aug 2002

Panelists assess effects of church sex scandal on ministry
The scandals prompted by clergy sex abuse are likely to prompt the "distancing of a significant number of Catholics" from church teachings already ignored by some, such as birth control and abortion, a New York Times columnist told a gathering of Catholic health care and social service leaders in Chicago on Sunday.
7 Aug 2002

Inmate says priest provided cash and drugs for sex
A report claims a part-time prison chaplain was manipulated by Adelaide prisoners who accused him of providing cash and drugs in return for sexual favours.
7 Aug 2002

UK church leaders protest Iraq invasion plans
A Pax Christi petition signed by a group of church leaders including incoming Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has fired a pre-emptive shot against the military build-up for an attack on Iraq.
7 Aug 2002

Feature - Mercy Sisters open up Sacred Spaces
The Vatican said in Cultural Heritage of the Church and Religious Families, issued in 1994, that "architectural works of art and every other kind of artistic and historic treasures should be shown the utmost attention because they are vehicles of culture and evangelisation and they become eloquent witnesses of the faith of the Church". That is what the Mercy Sisters at Singleton in the NSW Hunter Valley are trying to do with their 'Sacred Spaces' project established in 1995, which has seen their convent and grounds opened up to the wider community.
6 Aug 2002

Opinion - Pell's pointing to 'greater' guilt a diversionary tactic
On the face of it, Archbishop George Pell was only stating the obvious in Toronto in his comments about abortion being a "worse moral scandal" than clerical pedophilia. One problem is that the church can't do much about abortion. Clerical sexual abuse, however, is something the church - and its senior hierarchs - can do something about. As Pell declared in a statement last Friday, his "commitment to eradicating this evil [of clerical sexual abuse] and to seeing that victims are treated justly and with compassion is a matter of public record". Why then sully it now, if only unintentionally, by making comments that can be construed as distracting attention from that effort? - Chris McGillion
6 Aug 2002

Church removes women 'priests'
The Vatican has excommunicated seven women who were ordained as priests in Austria earlier this year by a rebel archbishop from Argentina.
6 Aug 2002

8 US bishops want council to discuss root causes of scandal
Eight United States bishops have written a confidential letter calling for a Plenary Council to be called as soon as possible to discuss what they consider the "root causes" of the current crisis in the Church.
6 Aug 2002

School and parish newsletters for Internet distribution
A Catholic organisation formed in 1997 to manage the Catholic Church's telecommunications needs, has teamed up with a local software company to establish a web-based system of producing and distributing school and parish newsletters.
6 Aug 2002

Anti-bias law 'threat to religious freedom'
Proposed laws aimed at stamping out religious discrimination face defeat if they are introduced to the South Australian Parliament.
6 Aug 2002

Vatican fights to keep UN voice
Catholic Church leaders are fighting efforts to have Vatican representatives removed from the United Nations and European Parliament.
6 Aug 2002

Life threat for Pope ahead of Poland visit
A threat to kill Pope John Paul II has appeared on the website of Poland's biggest selling daily newspaper, the Gazeta Wyborcza, less than two weeks before the pontiff's visit to his native country.
6 Aug 2002

Feature - Pius XII's secret efforts on behalf of Jews
Historian Fr Peter Gumpel SJ has to draw on his considerable priestly qualities to suppress his obvious inner anger when people today attack Pius XII. The wartime pontiff had issued scores of public denunciations of Nazi racism, as papal nuncio in Bavaria, as secretary of state under Pius XI, and as Pope: for his opposition to Hitler, he was lampooned in the Nazi press as a friend of the Jews and as a Jew himself. His secret efforts were heroic.
5 Aug 2002

Opinion - Institutional failures of communication
I can't be the only one who sees an uncanny parallel between the Enron collapse and the Catholic church's current scandal. Each one, an institutional failure of a mostly male-dominated, hierarchical, "don't ask don't tell" corporate culture. But maybe the problem is really a failure of communication: These institutional brands aren't what they used to be.
5 Aug 2002

Mel Gibson rumoured to play Christ
Mel Gibson is reported to be considering playing Jesus Christ in a new film.
5 Aug 2002

Chinese nuns first to take vows since 1949
Six nuns devoted their lives to Christ in Beijing were the first group of nuns in the country to take vows since Liberation in 1949.
5 Aug 2002

Study says religious professionals live longer than others
Priests, religious and protestant clergy live longer than the rest of the population, according to a conclusion drawn from three decades of research published in the current edition of the Journal of Religion and Health.
5 Aug 2002

Vatican says future trips to include more papal rest
Pope John Paul II began his 11-day, 22,000 km trip to the Americas by triumphantly walking down a set of aeroplane steps in Toronto, sign that he might be old and frail, but should not be counted out.
5 Aug 2002

Pell reaffirms controversial comparison
Sydney's Archbishop George Pell told a media conference in Sydney on Friday that he stands by his reported statement to youth in Toronto that abortion is a greater evil than sex abuse.
5 Aug 2002

IVF researcher apologises to Catholic for 'irrational' slur
Leading embryonic stem-cell researcher Alan Trounson has apologised to Catholics and ethicists for labelling them "irrational hypocrites", after his outburst damaged the campaign by John Howard and the premiers to introduce uniform national legislation to ban cloning and allow stem-cell research.
5 Aug 2002

Feature - Corporate scandals spotlight need for ethics training
In these times of corporate scandal, Fr Martin Calkins SJ admits it's sometimes frustrating to teach business ethics. "We've been at this for 30 years as a scholarly group, and we just seem to be getting nowhere," Calkins, who teaches at Santa Clara University in the US, said he told a colleague recently. "There seems to be just one scandal after another."
2 Aug 2002

Opinion - Litigation maker it harder for Vinnies to help poor
What's the world coming to when you can't even give your old toaster, washing machine or fridge to a deserving family on struggle street without fear of being sued all the way to struggle street yourself? The St Vincent de Paul Society and all the other agencies that look out for the battlers left behind in our globalised world have had to stop taking donations of electrical goods because of public liability concerns.
2 Aug 2002

Mel Gibson hits out at Church over sex abuse
Actor and Oscar-winning director Mel Gibson, who plays a priest in the forthcoming movie Signs, yesterday called for a hard line against pedophile priests.
2 Aug 2002

Pope winds up trip to Americas
With an embroidered Indian stole draped over his shoulders, an invigorated Pope John Paul II beatified two Mexican Indian martyrs yesterday, proclaiming them examples of "how one can reach God without renouncing one's own culture."
2 Aug 2002

Relationships rhetoric a good start
Catholic Welfare Australia (CWA) yesterday endorsed sentiments expressed by a senior parliamentarian highlighting the essential role that relationships play in fostering healthy family dynamics and building a strong society.
2 Aug 2002

Catholic group labels Govt rejection of UN report 'arrogant'
The Catholic lobby group PolMin yesterday called the Federal Government arrogant and hypocritical after it rejected the report of the UN Human Rights Commissioner on its treatment of Australia's detained asylum seekers.
2 Aug 2002

Shift to belief that life begins instantly
Australians are gradually moving towards the belief that embryos are human in the earliest stages of development, a survey has found.
2 Aug 2002

Deputy PM defends Catholics after 'irrational' slur
Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson yesterday repudiating Wednesday's comments by research head Professor Alan Trounson that Catholic ethicists are "irrational hypocrites" in opposing the use of excess IVF embryos for medical research.
2 Aug 2002

Feature - Mexican families more loyal to Virgin than to church
She is said to have helped families through sickness and crisis. She is considered so unconditionally loving that even gay activists have marched to her shrine to pray for society to accept them. Mexico's embrace of the Virgin of Guadalupe and Juan Diego, the Indian messenger, doesn't mean Mexicans cleave to Catholic doctrine as closely as they once did.
32 Aug 2002

Opinion - Morality by committee sells short embryos' rights
In many hospitals and medical centres, ethics committees are formed of people from many medical and nursing specialties, but also of lawyers, clergymen and non-professionals. The decisions would be based on a majority vote, and it would not be unexpected to find that the decisions are contrary to traditional moral absolutes, and sentimentality has become directive. - Dr Joe Santamaria, member Pontifical Academy for Life
32 Aug 2002

UK bishop welcomes Catholics in 'irregular marriages'
Catholics in irregular marriages and other sexual unions should know that there is a place in the Church for them, and should not be dissuaded from attending, said the Bishop of Plymouth, Bishop Christopher Budd.
32 Aug 2002

Marist regrets 'reprehensible' decision on torture protocol
The Federal Government decision not to endorse a draft UN protocol against torture is "reprehensible", says Fr Jim Carty of the Marist Refugee Centre.
32 Aug 2002

Canadian bishops not commenting on Cuban WYD defections
Canadian bishops are not planning to comment yet on the apparent defection of 23 Cubans who were part of a delegation of 200 Cuban pilgrims at World Youth Day in Toronto.
32 Aug 2002

Pope talks reconciliation in Guatemala
Wearied by 36 years of civil war, Guatemalans welcomed John Paul II as a "Messenger of Hope", the name given to the Grupo TACA Airbus-320 which brought him from Toronto.
32 Aug 2002

Pope canonises American Indian saint
In a ceremony mixing Indian and European traditions, Pope John Paul II canonised the Church's first Indian saint yesterday, calling Juan Diego a catalyst for converting the Americas to Christianity.
32 Aug 2002

IVF researcher calls Catholics 'irrational'
Ethicists opposed to using excess IVF embryos for medical research are irrational hypocrites, according to Professor Alan Trounson, Australia's leading researcher in the field.
32 Aug 2002