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NEWS ARCHIVE FOR OCTOBER 2002

   
Feature - Hong Kong's 'Vatican agent' irks Beijing
He is one of the most outspoken critics of both the Hong Kong government and Beijing, a position that has led Bishop Joseph Zen to be called the conscience of Hong Kong. Recently inaugurated as the new head of the Hong Kong Catholic Church, Zen is happy to describe himself as something of a rebel. "This is more than a breath of fresh air," says legislator Martin Lee. "To have somebody speaking out so clearly in defense of human freedom, I think we are very fortunate to have a bishop like him."
31 Oct 2002

Opinion - On Iraq, the churches must speak out
Few church members are pacifists. Nor are they soft on terrorism. However, they are affronted at the apparent willingness of the government to sweep aside the legal framework of the United Nations and to support a pre-emptive military strike. Most church members have already been profoundly alienated by the shameful treatment of asylum seekers. Now this discontent is coming to a head. Ordinary church people have had enough. - Uniting Church historian Rev Dr Peter Matheson
31 Oct 2002

Catholic lobbyists want Govt rethink on regional development
The Australian Political Ministry Network (PolMin) has called on Federal Parliament to reconsider the 30-year old regional development policy in light of the study released yesterday by National Economics.
31 Oct 2002

Catholic groups preparing to challenge WTO
Several Catholic organisations have joined forces with other Christian groups to organise awareness-raising actions ahead of the World Trade Organisation November meeting in Sydney.
31 Oct 2002

Drought stretches demand for Vinnies services
The resources of St Vincent de Paul are stretched to the limit in the wake of an increased number of calls for help in rural areas to assist families directly and indirectly affected by the drought.
31 Oct 2002

Vatican official urges nurses to challenge commercialised medical care
A Vatican official has asked Catholic nurses worldwide to make their profession more humane by challenging a trend that increasingly commercialises medical care.
31 Oct 2002

Philippines security on alert for Catholic feast
Over 100,000 police and soldiers went on high alert across the Philippines on Wednesday to prevent attacks by any extremist groups as Asia's largest Catholic nation prepared for the traditional Filipino All Souls Day observance.
31 Oct 2002

Pope expresses solidarity at meeting with East Timor bishops
Pope John Paul II yesterday received Bishops Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, and Basilio do Nascimento, apostolic administrators of Dili and Baucau, East Timor, who just completed their "ad limina" visit to the Vatican.
31 Oct 2002

Feature - Rome: the city of eternal queues
One of the things that becomes clear as you walk around the Vatican Museum is that, through the 15th century, Jesus Christ really beefed up. He must have spent the first 50 years in the gym judging by the contrast between the weedy Quattrocento deity and the rippling vision that is casting aside the lost souls in Michelangelo's vision of the Day of Judgment in the Sistine Chapel. - Marius Benson
30 Oct 2002

Opinion - The way of the world
Five years ago, the Archbishop of Canterbury suggested that the public reaction to the death of Princess Diana held possibilities for religion. The princess's failure as a poster-girl for religion is not, in retrospect, surprising. While Diana had favourite hymns - some of them sung at her funeral - she was in her later life a classic example of the post-Christian smorgasbord-believer. - Guardian columnist Mark Lawson
30 Oct 2002

Pell biography launched
In his only reference to the recent sex allegations, Sydney's Archbishop George Pell said at the launch of his biography yesterday that he's disconcerted the biography had been written while he was still alive.
30 Oct 2002

Publication of updated New Catholic Encyclopedia
Publishers in the US last month released the first update since 1967 of the 15 volume New Catholic Encyclopedia.
30 Oct 2002

Archdiocese of Berlin challenged by prospect of bankruptcy
The Catholic Archdiocese of Berlin is on the brink of financial collapse, and extensive layoffs look certain as it struggles with massive debt, a spokesman said on Monday.
30 Oct 2002

Catholic church affirms need to work more closely with Jews
Cardinal Walter Kasper on Monday stressed that the Catholic Church is more committed than ever to improving relations with Jews.
30 Oct 2002

Melkite Greek Patriarch to acknowledge Aboriginal land ownership
His Beatitude Gregory III Laham, the Melkite Greek Patriarch of Antioch, arrives in Sydney on Friday for an 18 day apostolic visit that will also include engagements in Canberra and Melbourne.
30 Oct 2002

Church lobbies Ruddock to keep East Timorese in Australia
President of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Francis Carroll, has written to the Minister for Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, the Hon Philip Ruddock, asking that 1800 East Timorese asylum seekers, who have been in Australia for at least eight years, be allowed to stay.
30 Oct 2002

Feature - A prayer for permanence for Parramatta cathedral
Cathedrals are architecture's tortoises. Agonisingly slow in the making, slower still to evolve and tagged never to be removed, they are our admonishers against fashion and impatience; our exemplars of longevity; our shells of concretised time. The St Patrick's site in Parramatta, though, has hosted - by both accident and design - no fewer than four churches in a mere 175-year eye- blink.
29 Oct 2002

Opinion - Secular humanists are out to get Pell
The release today of Pell's biography by Brisbane Courier Mail journalist Tess Livingstone will probably not discourage the negative controversy surrounding him. Livingstone's book will be accused of hagiography, with some justification. But given that this biography has been published when the Archbishop has just been exonerated from an appallingly flimsy accusation of pedophile behaviour, it is not difficult to sympathise with this presentation. - Angela Shanahan
29 Oct 2002

'Bigot bill' likely for Scotland
Bigotry is set to equal racism under new legislation which could shortly come into effect in Scotland.
29 Oct 2002

Book renews controversy on April siege in Bethlehem
The chief spokesman for the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land believes that the dramatic standoff that took place at Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity in April could have been ended in a matter of hours if Israeli and Palestinian negotiators had shown the desire for a speedy resolution.
29 Oct 2002

Miracle attributed to Perth statue tears
Oil from Perth's weeping statue is producing miracles, according to parish priest Fr Henry Walsh, who said a Sydney colleague told him last week about a cancer sufferer "cured" after witnessing the statue's "tears".
29 Oct 2002

German Cardinal warns Sundays losing their meaning
Sunday as a day of rest is a guard against "enslavement by the world of work", said Cardinal Karl Lehmann, president of the German bishops' conference.
29 Oct 2002

US Bishops preparing Catechism aimed at young
Bishop Donald Wuerl, chairman of the US bishops' Committee on Education, is hoping that a new catechism aimed at young adults will be ready for Vatican review by November next year.
29 Oct 2002

Maluku locals welcome dissolution of Jihad fighters
Church people from Indonesia's Poso and Maluku islands have expressed hope for a lasting peace following the dissolution of a Muslim militant group accused of inciting violence against Christians.
29 Oct 2002

Papal visit to Spain mooted for northern Spring
John Paul II will visit Spain in the first half of next year, according to the country's apostolic nuncio says.
28 Oct 2002

Feature - Loneliness: our secret dividend
Loneliness haunts the young in a very particular way. It comes turbocharged with a restlessness that can beat you up like the playground bully, especially on a Friday or a Saturday night when it seems like the whole world is doing something exciting and you have been left out. You want a larger connection to the world, deeper intimacy, and a soul mate that you have not yet found. - Fr Ronald Rolheiser OMI
28 Oct 2002

Opinion - Faith is not an escape from suffering
Religious leaders have attempted to say something about the tragedy in Bali. There have been some moving sermons, tender thoughts. A theologian once wrote "So much religion seems like a bad cosmetic job on the ravaged face of human existence". It is at the point when personal pain could shock us into a new kind of awareness and compassion, that religion tends to soothe us with slogans and platitudes. - Michael B. Kelly
28 Oct 2002

Swiss Guard commander resigns to become police chief in Lucerne
Colonel Pius Segmuller, called by Pope John Paul II to take command of the Swiss Guard following the 1998 murder of the corps' commander, has resigned from his post.
28 Oct 2002

Anglican archbishop to launch Pell biography
Sydney's Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen will tomorrow launch Tess Livingstone's biography of the city's Catholic archbishop Dr George Pell.
28 Oct 2002

Sudanese bishops plead for help to end genocide
Two Sudanese bishops, calling the civil war in their country genocide, have asked the international community for help in ending the violence.
28 Oct 2002

Zimbabwe bishop stays silent on harassment of priest
A Zimbabwean bishop has defended his silence on the harassment of a priest in his diocese, saying that speaking out "would put many lives in danger".
28 Oct 2002

Catholic lobbyists urge scrutiny on Australia's rights obligations compliance
Monitoring of Australia's compliance of its international human rights obligations is fundamentally flawed, according to the Australian Political Ministry Network (PolMin).
28 Oct 2002

Feature - Preemption, aggression and Catholic teaching
The moral justification for military action against Iraq requires the reconciliation of a 21st-century military doctrine - "preemption" or "anticipatory action" - with teachings first developed by a fourth-century African bishop. The Bush administration has engaged this discussion head-on through its recently released national security strategy, a 35-page document that unapologetically states that the United States will strike first against threats to its people and interests when it deems it necessary.
25 Oct 2002

Opinion - Australians paying dearly for a flawed policy on crime
Australian prisons are fast becoming the new asylums of the third millennium. The prison industry is booming, while Australia spends far less on mental health services than similar countries. Most Australians actually believe there is a crime wave in this country. We have been manipulated by the tabloid headlines and the shock tactics of talkback radio hosts, complemented at times by the false advertising and posturing of political parties anxious to achieve or maintain power. - Fr Peter Norden SJ
25 Oct 2002

Bordeaux Mayor hands church over to Lefebvrists
Church leaders in the French city of Bordeaux have sued to regain one of the southern city's oldest Catholic churches after the mayor handed it to followers of the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.
25 Oct 2002

Dominican friar top adviser for Brazilian presidential candidate
A prominent Brazilian Dominican friar said he believes Brazil's next government will keep its promises to the poor.
25 Oct 2002

Bishops announce Anglican-Roman Catholic Unity prayer day
Australia's Anglicans and Roman Catholics will pray together for church unity on Monday 4 November, the chair of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Committee for Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations has announced.
25 Oct 2002

Irish Cardinal promises cooperation with Government probe
Cardinal Desmond Connell of Dublin (pictured) has promised that Church authorities will "cooperate fully" as government officials expanded their investigation of clerical sex-abuse charges.
25 Oct 2002

Catholic Health joins Rural Alliance
Catholic Health Australia's 17 rural hospital members have joined the National Rural Health Alliance, the peak national body that works to improve the health of Australians living in rural and remote areas.
25 Oct 2002

Singapore Archbishop warns against falling for terrorists' "trap"
In the wake of the recent terrorist bombings in Bali and the Philippines, Archbishop Nicholas Chia of Singapore has warned against "falling into the trap of identifying terrorism with Islam".
25 Oct 2002

Feature - Paper saints
Journalism is probably the last place you'd expect to find saints, and using the term might be stretching things a bit. But some of the finest Christians I've met have been in journalism and I speak after a lifetime in the profession in Australia, Britain and the USA. - John Coleman
24 Oct 2002

Opinion - Reflections on Nobel Laureate Jimmy Carter
The near universal reaction to the naming of former President Carter as a Nobel Laureate was jubilation. Jimmy Carter's new status as a truly global figure will prompt a re-evaluation of his role as a tireless devotee of international human rights and as the most religious president in US history. But Carter's remarkable record on civil rights and human rights may now be appreciated much more fully. - Robert F. Drinan SJ
24 Oct 2002

Pope says church art should not be hidden in storage rooms
Church art should not be hidden away in storage rooms, but needs to be shown and made known among the entire community, Pope John Paul II has said.
24 Oct 2002

British Cardinal calls for Church 'honesty'
The Church should not be afraid to acknowledge mistakes and willing to remedy them, according to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor.
24 Oct 2002

Court told priest 'used worker like prostitute'
A former Melbourne Catholic priest being investigated for alleged sexual misconduct was accused in court yesterday of treating a community worker like a prostitute.
24 Oct 2002

Lobby group says Commissioner misses need to fix flawed migration policy
The Australian Political Ministry Network (PolMin) yesterday regretted the failure of Human Rights Commissioner Dr Sev Ozdowski to recommend a complete overhaul of the 44 year old Migration Act.
24 Oct 2002

Commission says Vic Premier fails community by refusing to ban handguns
The Catholic Commission for Justice Development and Peace yesterday accused Victorian Premier Steve Bracks of falling the community in the wake of the tragic shooting at Monash University last Monday.
24 Oct 2002

Report suggests up to 170,000 persecuted Christians die every year
The Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need has revealed that 130,000-170,000 people die every year as a result of violence directed against Christianity.
24 Oct 2002

Feature - Cathedral shrine for Bali victims
A special shrine of candles and flowers for the victims of the Bali tragedy has been designed for the main altar of St Mary's Cathedral. The names of those victims who have been confirmed dead are listed on the shrine. The Dean of St Mary's Cathedral, Mons Tony Doherty, says: "This shrine may provide an opportunity for the people of this city, whether Catholic or not, people of any religious belief or none to take some time in reflection and prayer in the sanctuary of the Cathedral.
23 Oct 2002

Opinion - Spiritual shouldn't dabble in politics
Paradoxically, religion is probably more necessary now than ever. Wars cannot be fought without some sense of what we are fighting for. A large part of what this war is about is whether Western society has any values worth upholding. Unlike Americans, Australians are unable to define those values. - Angela Shanahan
23 Oct 2002

Vatican communications head says many learn morality from media, not Gospel
Archbishop John P Foley, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, has told an audience in the US that it is from the media, and not from the Gospel, that many people today derive their own moral standards.
23 Oct 2002

Indian Catholics consider including Sanskrit in prayers
The synod of bishops from India and Philippines, which began on Sunday in India, is studying a proposal to include the Sanskrit word "Sachidanand" in liturgical prayers, in order to make Christianity more acceptable to Hindi speakers.
23 Oct 2002

US bishops issue reminder on kneeling during Eucharistic Prayer
Standing during the eucharistic prayer at Mass in US dioceses is permitted "only on exceptional and extraordinary occasions ... and never on a regular basis," the US bishops' Committee on Liturgy said in its latest newsletter.
23 Oct 2002

NZ CWL cites cases of domestic violence
The Catholic Women's League in New Zealand has documented cases of violence after receiving a questionnaire on the subject earlier this year from the World Union of Christian Women's Organisations (WUCWO).
23 Oct 2002

Melbourne report calls prisons the 'asylums of the third millennium'
The Jesuits' social research centre in Melbourne has foreshadowed Friday's launch of a report raising serious questions about the use of prisons and tax-payers' money to incarcerate those who are mentally ill.
23 Oct 2002

Catholic Welfare says soaring house prices push poor out
Catholic Welfare Australia has pleaded for additional funds to be allocated to public housing, on the eve of the Commonwealth and the State/Territory Housing Ministers negotiations for their next Housing Agreement (CSHA).
23 Oct 2002

Feature - No family, no state for man named Peter
I was at Nairobi Airport to meet young Peter Martizy, an 18 year old refugee from Rwanda, who had just been expelled from Australia. Peter's parents were killed in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. He and his twin 10 year-old sister escaped to Mozambique. John Guiney of Jesuit Refugee Service said that in recent months the Australian Government through the High Commission in Nairobi has been far more open to the plight of refugees, due to the pressure on the government from within Australia. - Br Sean McManus CFC
22 Oct 2002

Opinion - Outgoing Anglican head has weathered ecumenical challenges
I thank God for the great Catholic Church; I have learned so much through it. I've been in the Vatican with the Holy Father and prayed in his private chapel with him. Their hearts and my heart are torn by the difficulties that stop us being fellows round one table. One of my commitments was to get closer to the Catholic Church, and at the grass roots I think we have. - George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury.
22 Oct 2002

Belgian Jesuit receives Vatican rebuke
A top Vatican official has said that 'ruinous positions' on interreligious dialogue being taken by some Catholic theologians have weakened the Church's educational efforts among the faithful.
22 Oct 2002

Prominent NZ priest steps down after sex misconduct claims
High-profile Christchurch Catholic priest and justice campaigner Jim Consedine has stood down from his parish amid allegations of sexual misconduct against women.
22 Oct 2002

Pope says family members must talk to one another more
Pope John Paul II has identified helping families in difficulty as one of the most urgent priorities for the Church's pastoral mission, particularly through fostering their spiritual lives and encouraging members to talk to one another.
22 Oct 2002

Catholic Welfare urges ALP to make job-creation the priority for bush
Catholic Welfare Australia (CWA) Director Toby O'Connor told Friday's ALP Poverty Roundtable that economic reform and job creation are priorities for regional Australia.
22 Oct 2002

Tate calls for International Criminal Court to take over Bali investigation
Tasmanian priest Fr Michael Tate, former Federal Justice Minister, has suggested the newly established International Criminal Court should take over the investigation and any subsequent trial on the Bali bombings.
22 Oct 2002

Scholar claims oldest Jesus evidence
A magazine editor announced yesterday that a newly-discovered inscription on a burial artifact in Israel is "the first appearance of Jesus in the archaeological record".
22 Oct 2002

Feature - Pastoral care in the Outback
Organised religion doesn't always play a huge role in the lives of Outback Australians, but spirituality is a big part of our lives. In times of need you always know friends and neighbours will be there for you. I miss going to Mass but, looking at the magnificent land we live in, I know God is close to me in every day.
21 Oct 2002

Opinion - Archbishop Pell: a case study in false accusations
Vatican fears about the inadequacy of the US bishops' norms on dealing with clerical sex-abuse allegations are not without foundation - judging by the experience of Sydney's Archbishop George Pell. The archbishop has been cleared by the independent inquiry set up to investigate an accusation of sexual abuse against him. Still unanswered, however, are questions about how the media cover this and similar cases, and how Church procedures deal with the abuse accusations.
21 Oct 2002

Scots move to snare St Patrick
Talks between Scotland and Ireland on mounting a joint bid to stage the Euro 2008 soccer festival could be wrecked by an overzealous Scots council who believe St Patrick belongs to them.
21 Oct 2002

Pope expresses sorrow after murder of two priests in Colombia
John Paul II has sent two messages to express his sorrow over the recent killings of two priests in Colombia.
21 Oct 2002

New instruction highlights identity of parish priest
Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos and Archbishop Csaba Ternyak, respectively prefect and secretary of the Congregation for Clergy, presented today the Instruction "The Priest, Pastor and Leader of the Parish Community."
21 Oct 2002

Pope John Paul II beatifies six
Pope John Paul II beatified six future saints yesterday, adding founders of religious orders and two teenage Ugandan missionary martyrs to the ranks of those on the path to possible sainthood.
21 Oct 2002

Robinson answers Pell delay complaint
The bishop implicated in the church's failure to inform Sydney Archbishop George Pell of allegations of sex abuse against him has spoken out.
21 Oct 2002

Australians honour Bali bomb victims
Australians turned out in force for yesterday's national day of mourning, honouring the victims of the Bali bomb blasts.
21 Oct 2002

Feature - Richard Brennan, doctor to the world
"This man was just lying there and I couldn't understand why God would let this suffering occur," says Dr Richard Brennan. "But in his despair, the man had his faith to turn to," he says. "It made me realise that in immense suffering there's the possibility of joy." That was two years ago when Richard, medical head of the International Rescue Committee, was visiting a hospital in Liberia.
18 Oct 2002

Opinion - Recalling the earthquake in Rome
The Roman Curia wanted Vatican II over by Christmas. Then the bishops could go home and everything would return to normal. But it was not going to be like that. (More than 20 year later) in 1985, Pope John Paul II called an extraordinary assembly to "celebrate, relive and renew" Vatican II. We suspected that at that 1985 synod in Rome the whole Vatican II experience was in fact on trial. A historian of the French Revolution has said that those who half-make revolutions, dig their own graves. - The Tablet editor John Wilkins, based on his Sydney lecture earlier this year
18 Oct 2002

Ratings reveal CathNews is Australia's most popular religious website
Church Resources has been informed that its CathNews website is ranked No. 1 in the Lifestyle-Religion category by Australia's premier internet ratings agency.
18 Oct 2002

TV quiz show format used for Synod document catechesis
A parish priest in Vietnam's central highlands is using the format of a popular TV quiz show to teach his parishioners truths contained in Ecclesia in Asia, the Pope's apostolic exhortation that followed the Vatican's 1999 Synod for Asia.
18 Oct 2002

Vatican rejects parts of US Bishops' abuse policy
The Vatican yesterday rejected some elements of the US Catholic Church's new sex abuse policy and cautioned the American bishops from going ahead with them.
18 Oct 2002

Catholic bishops condemn Philippine bomb blasts
Catholic bishops in the Philippines have condemned two lethal bomb blasts in the south and say there could be possible religious undertones in the incident.
18 Oct 2002

Caritas Australia calls for international response to Bali bombing
Caritas Australia, the Church's national aid and development organisation, has indicated that it is deeply disturbed by the implications of last Saturday's Bali bombing, urging international action to eradicate what Caritas considers its root cause.
18 Oct 2002

Vinnies to challenge ALP on commitment to Australia's poor
Members of the St Vincent de Paul Society National Social Justice Committee will today travel to Canberra to ask why it put 'Tampa politics' ahead of social policies before last year's federal election.
18 Oct 2002

Feature - How Archbishop Pell spent his self-imposed exile
Sydney's Dr George Pell likened it to being in prison, albeit, he said, a very comfortable prison, having spent the duration at Cathedral House, with strong support from his fellow priests. He used his inner strength and self-discipline to while away the long and often dark hours. "Physically," he says, "I organised myself to look after myself, so that I exercised every day and had a routine of work. Spiritually I continued my round of duties, which are regular prayer, mass and meditation. I found these very helpful." - interview with Jane Fraser
17 Oct 2002

Opinion - Peace after Bali?
Since the Bali terrorist attacks of 12 October we realise only too well that none of us is safe from attack. Wherever we go events catch up with us, as do our responsibilities. We can no longer say, "it does not concern me" or "it happened far away there is nothing I can do". We share the shock, pain and grief of all those who have lost young sons and daughters or friends in this callous violence. - Fr Greg Burke ocd
17 Oct 2002

China still struggling to implement Vatican II
The Church in China is still catching up with the Second Vatican Council four decades after the council began, according to the director of a Church social service centre in mainland China.
17 Oct 2002

Northern Ireland archbishop regrets suspension of coalition government
An Irish archbishop has expressed disappointment at the latest suspension of Northern Ireland's power-sharing government.
17 Oct 2002

Pell criticises Towards Healing notification delay
Archbishop George Pell of Sydney has criticised the Towards Healing program for a two-month delay from when the complaints of sexual abuse were made against him and when he was informed, according to The Catholic Leader.
17 Oct 2002

French bishops say US action against Iraq appears unjustified
The French bishops' conference said potential US military action against Iraq does not seem morally justified and may strengthen a feeling that America applies a double standard in enforcing UN resolutions in the region.
17 Oct 2002

Pope approves Rosary makeover
The Holy Father has marked the 24th anniversary of his papacy by introducing changes to the Rosary, the prayers said using sets of beads.
17 Oct 2002

Vatican marks 24 years of John Paul II's leadership
Pope John Paul II yesterday celebrated the 24th anniversary of his election as head of the Church by declaring that he will fulfill his mission "until the end".
17 Oct 2002

Feature - When Fr Ken dropped into the lion's den - a true life adventure
For Fr Ken Boland, 64, a Blessed Sacrament priest from Melbourne, the Nullarbor is one of the last, great, uncharted places on - or below - the face of the earth. "It's a place of profound mysteries and natural beauties," he says. As a licensed pilot and flight instructor of 30 years, Ken concluded that the daunting task of mapping the Nullarbor's seemingly endless plain could best be achieved by an aerial survey. A friend volunteered the use of his ultralight aircraft for the job.
16 Oct 2002

Opinion - Inducing fear of crime helps politicans win elections
Crime rates have been increasing in Australia slowly over the past 30 years, but not at the crisis levels sometimes portrayed by the media and some politicians. What has increased has been the fear of crime in response to the misplaced perception that crime is out of control. Increasingly, responses to this fear have been to increase jail terms, create tougher laws and increase the number of police. Law and order is a dominant feature of most state elections in Australia, as political parties engage in a type of bidding war to show who can be the 'toughest on crime'. - Just Comment
16 Oct 2002

Sydney rampage student receives good behaviour bond
A Christian Brothers College Waverley student was yesterday sentenced in Waverley Local Court to an 18-month good behaviour bond without a conviction being recorded against his name after he pleaded guilty to one count of causing malicious damage.
16 Oct 2002

Pope says Chile recovery requires forgiveness
Pope John Paul II has called for national reconciliation in Chile in order to heal the wounds of the last three decades.
16 Oct 2002

Caritas Australia promoting Christmas Gift Certificates
The Australian Catholic Church's international aid and development agency is inviting Australians to buy Christmas gifts for their friends and loved ones that will improve the lives of the needy in other countries.
16 Oct 2002

Catholic Mission urges yellow armband wearing to 'remember the children'
Catholic Mission has calls on the Australian public to support their remember the suffering of children around the world next Wednesday by wearing a yellow armband, and signing a petition calling on the government to do more for children.
16 Oct 2002

Bishops welcome Pell's return
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference yesterday welcomed the return of Dr George Pell to his duties as Archbishop of Sydney.
16 Oct 2002

Adelaide Archbishop encourages 'proper' response to Bali tragedy
Adelaide's Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson says the ratio of suffering from the Bali tragedy could be greater than the September 11 attack on America, but that Australia should prepare a "proper response" to the tragedy based on a full knowledge of the facts.
16 Oct 2002

Feature - Churches shepherd asylum seeker to safety
A man who spent 16 months in Villawood immigration detention centre - and faced deportation to the north Asian country he fled - has been spirited out of Australia to a safe haven by church groups after his High Court appeal for refugee protection failed. Members of the Uniting Church and the Jesuit Refugee Service hatched the plan to prevent the 42-year-old man being sent to the country of his birth.
15 Oct 2002

Opinion - A flawed process
Has George Pell become the latest victim or beneficiary of the Catholic Church's inadequate sex-abuse investigation procedures? After a week-long independent hearing and a further week's deliberations, the retired Victorian Supreme Court judge Alec Southwell declared there was insufficient evidence to uphold the complainant's allegations. - Religious writer Kelly Burke
15 Oct 2002

Philippine Bishops skeptical about suspension of death penalty
A commission of the Philippine bishops welcomes the President's suspension of death penalty executions in the country but cautions the Church to remain vigilant because the issue involves politics.
15 Oct 2002

Orders name Australian leaders
Fr Jo Dirks has been re-elected Australian provincial leader of the Blessed Sacrament congregation, while Fr Mark Raper (pictured) is the new Provincial of the Australian Province of the Jesuit order.
15 Oct 2002

Vatican denounces Russia slur on Catholic Church
In the latest episode in an increasingly bitter battle with Moscow, the Vatican on Monday denounced what it called a "despicable operation" to discredit the Roman Catholic Church in Russia.
15 Oct 2002

Pope to add new Mysteries to Rosary
Informed Vatican sources indicate that Pope John Paul II will mark tomorrow's 24th anniversary of his election to the pontificate with the release an apostolic letter that will include that adding of five new mysteries to the Rosary.
15 Oct 2002

Both sides claim win as Pell cleared
The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, and the man who accused him of sex abuse both claimed vindication yesterday after a former Supreme Court judge ruled he was not satisfied that the complaint against the Archbishop had been established.
15 Oct 2002

Archbishop reminds shocked nation that good overcomes grief
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference President Archbishop Francis Carroll yesterday assured those grieving or anxiously awaiting news following Saturday's Bali bombing that "life is stronger than death".
15 Oct 2002

Feature - Lesson in woman's sad life and tragic death
A young woman whose tortured life ended in a haze of drugs and prostitution will be laid to rest by Perth's Archbishop Barry Hickey. Pier Kaal's life started off with enormous promise but ended in a suburban Perth house where she had been abused by two men who had offered to help her. Family could not save her and in the end the former model could not save herself.
14 Oct 2002

Opinion - War threats and make-believe
Unlike that body of philosophers who found it difficult to distinguish the real from the unreal, I have always thought I could tell one from the other relatively easily. I really thought, for instance, that Alice in Wonderland was just one more fanciful piece of children's literature that had been written by the Englishman Lewis Carroll. Now I wake up in the morning and know that the story is not fanciful at all. It is real. It is, in fact, a study in current US politics. - Benedictine author and lecturer Sr Joan Chittister
14 Oct 2002

Teachers' 'Christ' role model status highlighted
Catholic school principals and teachers are the only 'Christ' figure most Catholic students will ever meet, an Australian Catholic University (ACU) professor told a conference on the Gold Coast earlier this month.
14 Oct 2002

Mugabe threatens to 'regulate' meddling Catholic Justice Commission
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has singled out the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) for meddling in the country's internal affairs and has said his government will regulate it.
14 Oct 2002

Pope looks to improve Orthodox ties
Pope John Paul II proposed on Saturday that the Catholic and Orthodox Churches should create a joint institution to try to improve relations and help heal the 1000-year schism between the them.
14 Oct 2002

Catholic Social Services meets today to consider Vic election agenda
Catholic Social Services Victoria is today holding a conference to begin the broad community process of discerning and discussing the issues and setting the agenda for the upcoming election.
14 Oct 2002

Social Justice Council supports Muslim's right to pray at work
A statement backed by the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council and the Dean of St Mary's Cathedral, Monsignor Tony Doherty, urges employers to be "open-minded and flexible" in response to requests to allow Muslim workers to pray during working hours.
14 Oct 2002

Lawyers claim Pell inquiry damaged by media leaks
As the head of the inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse by Sydney Archbishop Dr George Pell considers his findings, the legal teams acting for both sides are assessing the damage caused by leaks to the media.
14 Oct 2002

Feature - Former British child migrants remember
This Sunday a reunion is being held in Newcastle for 31 former British child migrants who arrived in the city on the SS Ormonde 50 years ago and were placed at the Murray Dwyer Orphanage, Mayfield. Former British child migrant and Master of Ceremonies for the reunion, Mr Mike Blair says he feels a mixture of emotions about Sunday's reunion. "I feel a little trepidation but, at the same time, I'm excited. I'm looking forward to meeting the men again, some of whom I have not seen since I left the Murray Dwyer Orphanage.
11 Oct 2002

Opinion - The case for containment, not conflict
During the Cold War, just war theory was reinterpreted through the prism of nuclear deterrence, which worked beyond expectation. But we now face a new and unprecedented situation in which many states have sought to acquire weapons of mass destruction for strategic reasons or as deterrents against enemies. Perhaps 40 countries have the technical capability to make relatively cheap chemical and biological weapons. - Fr Bruce Duncan CSsR
11 Oct 2002

Former Catholic principal's Russian love quest ends in murder
A 55 year old former teacher and principal in Bathurst Diocese in NSW has been murdered in Russia in a probable Internet bride scam.
11 Oct 2002

Womens ordination group to meet in Hobart
The group Ordination of Catholic Women (OCW) will meet in Hobart next month in defiance of directives by the Church hierarchy that women's ordination must not be discussed.
11 Oct 2002

Old indiscretion returns to haunt Queensland Brother
The District Court in Brisbane was told yesterday that Brother Robert George Chambers shot a pupil twice in the back of his legs as the boy drank from a water fountain in the school yard in 1968.
11 Oct 2002

German cardinal warns church bureaucracy may dull the faith
Cardinal Joachim Meisner has urged workers in Catholic Church institutions to return to an "encounter with the person of Christ", warning that the ecclesial bureaucracy runs the risk of obscuring the faith.
11 Oct 2002

New Brisbane Clinic to cater for refugees
Brisbane's Mater Health Service today opens Australia's first community health clinic aimed at assisting asylum seekers and refugees.
11 Oct 2002

Pell accuser reacts to 'selective leaking'
Lawyers representing the man who has accused the Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, of sexually assaulting him 40 years ago are already crying foul, even before the verdict of last week's inquiry has been announced
11 Oct 2002

Feature - True Self, False Self
Meditation teaches how to focus on the real, in the silent still place at the centre of our being, the Source within. Many people begin meditation because of a crisis in their lives - illness, separation, grief, depression; others because the hunger for something more has become an undeniable need.
10 Oct 2002

Opinion - Comics as means of communication of religious values
Comics can be an excellent means of religious communication. Every means of communication can be used for good or evil. Think of a scalpel. It can kill in the hands of a murderer, but in those of a good surgeon, it can save millions of human lives. - Italian cartoonist Carlo Climati
10 Oct 2002

Guatemala court annuls Bishop Gerardi murder verdict
A court of appeals in Guatemala has overturned the convictions of four men linked to the murder of Bishop Juan Gerardi in 1998 and ordered a new trial.
10 Oct 2002

Differences split Philippines missionary congregation
42 members of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM) in the Philippines are working to build a new missionary society while waiting to be released from their congregation.
10 Oct 2002

Tamil Nadu Bishops object to conversions ordinance
Christian groups in India's Tamil Nadu state are opposed to an ordinance that bans conversion by "force" or "allurement," but Hindu leaders say they welcome the new decree.
10 Oct 2002

Missionaries of Charity no comment on Mother Teresa miracle controversy
The Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta have decided to ignore the controversy sparked off by the claims of a tribal woman that Mother Teresa had "healed" her.
10 Oct 2002

Ratzinger defends Catechism on 10th anniversary of publication
On the 10th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger defended the text against some theologians' "hostile rejection" because of its alleged failure to incorporate modern biblical research and ecumenical sensibilities.
10 Oct 2002

Vatican prepares draft directives against admitting gays as priests
The Vatican has prepared a draft document containing directives against the admission of homosexuals to the priesthood, informed Vatican sources said.
10 Oct 2002

Feature - Strength in the midst of Outback adversity
Though the great majority of Australians don't live there, the outback figures prominently in our consciousness. In the small towns of the outback, religious sisters are one with the people. They know the sense of desperation felt by many who see the young people go to the cities, while they remain behind, well beyond retirement age.
9 Oct 2002

Opinion - RE teachers should teach the faith
Children at Catholic primary schools today spend much of their religious education lessons talking about babies. They consider how they have been nurtured, loved and cared for by their parents. Most teachers feel comfortable when facilitating conversations among seven-year-olds, but unfortunately fewer feel confident about talking of the motherhood and fatherhood of God. - Clare Watkins, vice principal Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, Cambridge
9 Oct 2002

Impasse ends between Irish priest and bishop
A year-long confrontation between an Irish curate and his diocesan authorities has ended, after 71-year-old Fr James Cashman agreed to accept a post as a convent chaplain as proposed by Bishop Eamon Walsh of Ferns (pictured).
9 Oct 2002

Hobart priest battles Council over parking meters
The parish priest of Hobart's inner-city St Joseph's fears the introduction of one hour parking restrictions on Sunday morning will some keep members of his congregation away from mass.
9 Oct 2002

Church backs Amnesty report on treatment of children
An Amnesty International report that accused Israel and the Palestinians of showing an "utter disregard" for the lives of children is "fair and well documented," according to a Church official.
9 Oct 2002

Vatican response to Dallas policy due next week
The Vatican's response to the US bishops' "Dallas policy" on sexual abuse will probably be released next week, informed sources report.
9 Oct 2002

Jesuit magazine finds redemption theme in latest Springsteen album
The influential Italian Jesuit magazine La Civilta Cattolica has paid tribute to US musician Bruce Springsteen, suggesting his recent album inspired by the events of September 11 2001, conveys a "strong sense of redemption".
9 Oct 2002

New Vatican document to address role of Parish Priest
The Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy will soon release a new document on the role and identity of the parish priest, prepared at the request of Pope John Paul II, who suggested the need for such a document during the last plenary meeting of the Congregation last November.
9 Oct 2002

Feature - Vatican II: 40 years later
On that first night of the council, the battle of ideas and of structures had already begun. Years of work and compromise, countless words and conversations, endless wrangling over documents would both produce and accompany a sea change in the church. However, for all of the lofty words and exhaustive scholarship that went into the council, the historic gathering was infused with the deep and stirring humanity of its author.
8 Oct 2002

Opinion - Bush's loss of faith as dissenting churches don't suit his purpose
Bush was happy to use the churches when it suited his political purpose of replacing federal obligations to the poor with charity and noblesse oblige. But as the president itches to rain bombs on Baghdad, never in his reign has the church been so separated from the state.
8 Oct 2002

NZ Catholics consulted on new bishop
Catholics on the South Island of New Zealand are being offered a rare opportunity to participate in the consultation for a successor to Bishop Len Boyle.
8 Oct 2002

New Hong Kong church leader warns on anti-subversion law
Hong Kong's new and outspoken Catholic leader says an anti-subversion law proposed by the territory's government is frightening as it possibly could be used against the church, which supports underground Catholic groups outlawed in mainland China.
8 Oct 2002

Vatican calls for urgent protection of refugees
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations Office in Geneva, called for the protection of refugees and asylum seekers when he spoke at the 53rd Session of the Executive Committee of the Program of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
8 Oct 2002

Committee pledges hunt for source of Pell complainant character slur
The body that examines abuse allegations on Friday vowed to try to find those who leaked personal information about a man who claims he was sexually assaulted by the Archbishop of Sydney, Dr George Pell.
8 Oct 2002

Opus Dei founder canonised
Pope John Paul II canonised Opus Dei founder Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer during a solemn ceremony on Sunday morning at the Vatican.
8 Oct 2002

Darwin bishop points finger at alcohol as cause of 'black death'
Bishop Ted Collins of Darwin has blamed drug and alcohol abuse for the escalating murder rate among Aborigines in the Northern Territory.
8 Oct 2002

Feature - Opus Dei tries to come in from the cold
Opus Dei, the conservative Catholic group which feels it has been maligned and misunderstood, wants to come in from the cold. The group is making an effort to win over any remaining sceptics before Sunday, when Pope John Paul makes a saint of the group's founder, Spanish priest Josemaria Escriva.
4 Oct 2002

Opinion - Shaping a church in the postmodern age
Tom, how is it that the US bishops, religious men, could fail for so many years to show compassion for the victims of sex-offending priests?" Part of the problem, I found myself responding, was that the bishops had depended too much on the advice of their lawyers. But that answer never got to the heart of the question: How could the bishops coddle victimisers while treating victims as virtual inanimate objects? - Tom Fox
4 Oct 2002

Visiting Salesian says Timor needs to beat the 'dreamers'
East Timor has made significant progress since the devastation wrought by pro-Indonesian militia in 1999, but periodic reality checks are needed to ensure reconstruction remains on track, Br Marcal Lopes said during a visit to Perth last week.
4 Oct 2002

Blessing to mark World Animal Day on Feast of St Francis of Assisi
Brisbane Catholics have been invited to bring their pets to a suburban parish on Sunday for the traditional blessing of the animals.
4 Oct 2002

Adelaide vicar general warns against gambling
Gambling might be an accepted part of Australian culture but most Australians agreed that gambling does more harm than good, according to Monsignor David Cappo.
4 Oct 2002

Archbishop Pell faces his accusers
The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Dr George Pell, held the Bible in his hand yesterday and swore before God that he would tell the truth about an alleged incident 41 years ago.
4 Oct 2002

Bishops' researcher slams commercial focus of cloning research
The Australian Bishops' research officer Dr Warwick Neville highlighted "troubling conflicts of interest" and the "commercial focus of research groups" in a submission to a Senate Committee last week.
4 Oct 2002

Vatican reasserts opposition to war in Iraq
The Vatican renewed its opposition to war in Iraq on Wednesday, saying military action would only make matters worse and that a pre-emptive strike raised serious ethical and legal problems.
4 Oct 2002

Feature - Eucharist at Ground Zero
I tell the story in Searching for God at Ground Zero that the first Mass we had was on the weekend following the attack. We were all at a very small dust-covered table with the chalice, the paten, and the bread and the wine on top of it and we celebrated Mass. There were quite a few firefighters and police officers gathered around. - Fr James Martin SJ
3 Oct 2002

Opinion - Killing the unborn is manslaughter
Byron, the seven-month-term unborn son of Renee Shields and Ben Allen, was killed as a result of Michael Harrigan's road rage last November. Harrigan escaped a manslaughter charge because manslaughter does not apply to the unborn. Now the Attorney-General, Bob Debus, is looking at whether the definition of manslaughter can be extended to include unborn children. Logic supports this.
3 Oct 2002

Cardinal Sepe offers goodwill toward China at Cardinal Wu's funeral
As Hong Kong Catholics mourned their departed leader, a senior Vatican official expressed goodwill toward China, as well as a hope for more dialogue between the local Church and the Hong Kong government.
3 Oct 2002

Iraq cleric reveals the sufferings of his faithful
An influential Iraqi cleric has lifted the lid on the scale of suffering endured by the country's Christian community petrified by the threat of war.
3 Oct 2002

Khartoum continues persecution of Church in Southern Sudan
The Khartoum government's ban on humanitarian flights in southern Sudan threatens to bring widespread hunger to an area already suffering from military bombings, a Catholic bishop warns.
3 Oct 2002

Leading Palestinian warns on diminishing peace prospects
A leading Palestinian has warned that the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is 'seriously endangering' the possibility of a two-state solution in the Holy Land.
3 Oct 2002

1000 Aussies fly to Rome for Opus Dei founder canonisation
About 1000 Australians have booked to fly to Rome for Sunday's canonisation of Blessed Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, founder of Opus Dei.
3 Oct 2002

Former chief justice tells Catholic principals of lost tolerance
Australians are losing their sense of tolerance and beginning to believe asylum seekers should be denied human rights, former High Court chief justice Gerard Brennan said yesterday.
3 Oct 2002

Feature - Spiritual warfare in Africa
The scene before me is parish life but not as I know it in the West. Under the trees women cook and wash while a mad, violent young man with his hands tied thrashes around in the dust, screaming. Former archivist Fr Gerard Mwonge certainly not the stereotype of a healer and exorcist. But such is his reputation that crowds arrive in his parish every day seeking help.
2 Oct 2002

Opinion - The dangers of playing God with our food
The Catholic Church has been slow to wake up to the crucial questions posed by the introduction of genetically modified crops. Genetic engineering in crop terms has tended to drift in with the environmental agenda which has not been given the same high level of priority as life issues. But as Christians we have been charged by God with stewardship of the earth. Environmental and life issues are not mutually exclusive, they are two sides of the same coin.
2 Oct 2002

Archbishop urges Catholic evangelists in Asia to be culturally sensitive
Catholics must take care not to be "pedantic, pompous and distant, but spontaneous, personal and life-related" when proclaiming the Good News to people of other faiths, says Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil of Guwahati in the Indian state of Assam.
2 Oct 2002

Vatican announces major changes to its Curia
The Vatican yesterday announced a series of major changes in the leadership of the Roman Curia, including the appointment of African Cardinal Francis Arinze (pictured) to the position of prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship in place of retiring Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez.
2 Oct 2002

Vatican body recognises Mother Teresa miracle
The Congregation for the Causes of Saints yesterday recognised as authentic a miracle attributed to Mother Teresa of Calcutta, making her canonisation a formality.
2 Oct 2002

Activities of jailed priest reportedly resurface in Pell inquiry
According to speculation in The Age this morning, the activities of jailed sex abuser Fr Gerald Ridsdale may be on the agenda for the "secret" commission into allegations that Sydney's Archbishop George Pell sexually abused an altar boy 41 years ago.
2 Oct 2002

Aboriginal Ministry priest in appeal for Afghan detainee
The Church is appealing to Federal Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock to intervene in the case of 19 year old Afghan detainee Qadir Fedayee.
2 Oct 2002

Melbourne Justice Commission urges boycott of 'blood tax'
The Justice, Development and Peace Commission of the Melbourne Archdiocese is calling on Australians "troubled" by the war on Iraq to boycott the payment of any war levy.
2 Oct 2002

Feature - Assisi frescoes rise from the rubble
A series of restored ceiling and wall fresco paintings are being unveiled at the medieval shrine of St Francis at Assisi in central Italy, five years after an earthquake seriously damaged them. Four people were killed when part of the ceiling of the upper Basilica of St Francis collapsed in the 1997 earthquake, and a memorial service to them is being held as part of the ceremonies marking the restoration. Giotto and Cimabue created the frescoes by painting on fresh plaster The earthquake shattered some of the church's ancient fresco paintings into tens of thousands of tiny fragments.
31 Oct 2002

Opinion - Unity issues complicate Vatican decision on sex abuse norms for USA
As the Vatican debates how it will respond to US norms on clerical sex abuse, it is not only dealing with the finer points of church law. It is also confronting larger issues of church communion -- the particular ties that exist between a bishop and a priest and those between the pope and the bishops. At the end of September, those bonds of communion seemed to be pulling Vatican officials in somewhat different directions.
31 Oct 2002

Polish broadcaster wins showdown with Cardinal Glemp
A controversial Polish Catholic radio station has apparently averted a direct confrontation with Cardinal Jozef Glemp.
31 Oct 2002

Kidnapped missionary reported dead in Congo Republic
Fr Jean Guth, a Spiritan missionary kidnapped last Easter, died during captivity in Congo-Brazzaville, according to his religious congregation.
31 Oct 2002

Refreshed Pope ready to return to Vatican
Appearing healthier, Pope John Paul II was set to return to the Vatican yesterday, after his usual summer at the papal residence of Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.
31 Oct 2002

US Bishops welcome health coverage for unborn
The General Secretary of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has welcomed a ruling issued yesterday that unborn children are eligible for health coverage.
31 Oct 2002

Critics complain about 'closed door' Pell inquiry
The inquiry into sexual abuse allegations against Sydney Archbishop George Pell was criticised yesterday as being overly secretive.
31 Oct 2002

Vatican to scrutinise Neocatechumenate statutes
Pope John Paul II has asked leaders of the Neocatechumenal Way to cooperate with a Vatican examination of their catechetical practices and liturgy.
31 Oct 2002