Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources
 

NEWS ARCHIVE FOR JANUARY 2003

   
Opinion - Should clerics speak out on political issues?
Geoff Kitney argued in the SMH on Saturday that we need clerics who will speak out on political issues. He criticises politicians, like Foreign Minister Downer, who have been critical of clerics entering political debates. Kitney says: "Australia needs people to go out and voice their opinions freely and without intimidation. Democracy works best when it is inclusive and expressive. And the more uncomfortable that process is for the politicians, the more pressure they are put under to account for their statements and their actions the healthier it is for the nation."
5 Jan 2003

Feature - Your belly laugh is Catholic
It's a fact that Catholics love to laugh. In the tradition of its founder, who came offering love, forgiveness, and redemption, Catholicism brims with laughter, sociability, eating and drinking, love for nature and babies, and the telling of jokes.
31 Jan 2003

Opinion - Reviewing Tess Livingstone's 'George Pell'
Come the end of the book and Livingstone indulges a fantasy. The archbishop is now the cardinal prefect in charge of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The person wondering whether or not to read this book may be well advised to start at this point, for it tells much of the author's mind and intent. - Michael Whelan
31 Jan 2003

Apparition of Our Lady of Coogee Beach
Hundreds of Sydneysiders flocked to the Coogee Beach headland yesterday to witness what they say is an apparition of the Virgin Mary.
31 Jan 2003

Asbestos scare forces Sydney school evacuation
Another asbetos scare at a Catholic School in Sydney yesterday forced the evacuation of students and teachers.
31 Jan 2003

Catholic spokesman urges rigorous response to business ethics mentor plan
Pressed by a Sydney newspaper to comment on a plan for a 'network of mentors' to foster more ethical behaviour in company boardrooms, a Catholic Bishops' Conference has spokesperson has suggested a rigorous approach is the only way.
31 Jan 2003

Pope proposes ideal of 'authentic wisdom'
Pope John Paul II has spoken of a human capacity to go beyond the surface of things that equates to a "participation in the very mind of God".
31 Jan 2003

Multifaith condemnation of push for legalised abortion in Indonesia
Leaders of Indonesia's five recognised religions have issued a joint statement to condemn abortion and a possible government move that they say would legalise abortion in the country.
31 Jan 2003

Vatican considers peace mission to Baghdad
The Vatican is giving serious consideration to a plan that would send a delegation from the Holy See to Baghdad in a last-minute effort to avoid a military confrontation, according to Catholic World News.
31 Jan 2003

Feature - New Jersey ban on funeral Mass eulogies raises issues of church practice
Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark has created a stir with his recent decree that any eulogies for deceased Catholics should take place outside the funeral Mass. While eulogies are commonly accepted in many non-Catholic funeral services, they have not been part of traditional Catholic practice.
30 Jan 2003

Opinion - Unprecedented ignoring of Church opposition to war
Opposition to this war has been sweeping through Western Churches. The situation is unprecedented since never before have the Western democracies fought a major war without the blessing of their Churches. Surprisingly, there has been little media comment on this in Australia. - Fr Bruce Duncan CSsR
30 Jan 2003

Venezuelan seer says God 'holding back arms of terrorists'
Catholic mystic Maria Esperanza di Bianchini of Venezuela has said that God is protecting Americans from further acts of terrorism, but says the US must construct two churches at the site of the former World Trade Centre in New York.
30 Jan 2003

Pope renews Olympic truce appeal
Pope John Paul II has repeated an appeal he made jointly with the leader of the Orthodox Church of Greece for an Olympic Truce during the 2004 Olympic Games.
30 Jan 2003

Adult marrow breakthrough at Sydney's St Vincent's Hospital
Researchers at St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, in a world first, are using adult stem cells derived from bone marrow to replace the types of brain cell that are damaged in multiple sclerosis (MS) sufferers.
30 Jan 2003

Jesuit warning on approaching famine in Ethiopia
As the country faces another disaster perhaps on a scale worse than that seen in the 1980s, fresh calls for help for Ethiopia were issued this week by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS).
30 Jan 2003

Caritas Australia sends relief aid to the Solomon Islands
Caritas Australia has sent $10,000 to assist the people of Anuta and Tikopia Islands who were affected by Cyclone Zoe.
30 Jan 2003

Pax Christi continues to urge diplomatic solution to Iraq crisis
As the Iraqi weapons inspectors' report was submitted to meet this week's UN-mandated deadline, the international Catholic peace movement Pax Christi reiterated its strong support for a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the crisis.
30 Jan 2003

Feature - Greg's music gets through to Pope
Not many people have a papal stamp of approval on their chosen career. But Greg Magirescu sat upon the papal stage at World Youth Day last year and watched Pope John Paul II enthusiastically tap his hand and stamp his foot to music performed by young Catholic entertainers.
29 Jan 2003

Opinion - Paedophilia paranoia
The exaggerated fear of the invisible presence of paedophilia is like the fear of the invisible presence of witches in 17th century Massachusetts. The difference is that whereas witchcraft was always nonsense, paedophilia actually exists and is indeed a great danger to children. But society can start to behave just as irrationally, seeing paedophilia everywhere and believing the strangest things about it. - Clifford Longley
29 Jan 2003

Surprise finding that British teens 'love to go to church'
Two out of three young British teenagers who attend church say they enjoy the experience, according to a survey of 2200 children by the Christian Research group in the UK.
29 Jan 2003

Filipino nuns recommend measures to prevent abuse by priests
The Women and Gender Development Commission of Religious superiors in the Philippines has proposed measures for the Catholic bishops to implement so as to prevent clergy abuse in the country.
29 Jan 2003

Vatican marks 20th anniversary of new Code of Canon Law
Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of the promulgation of the new Code of Canon Law, the legislative body that defined the directions of the Second Vatican Council.
29 Jan 2003

Pope prays for peace in Middle East
Pope John Paul II made a new plea on Tuesday that the Middle East be spared from war, asking that representatives of Orthodox churches from the region join him in prayers for peace.
29 Jan 2003

Churches increase opposition to Mugabe's 'food policy'
Outspoken comments of Zimbabwe's Bulawayo Archbishop Pius Ncube late last year have been followed up by further criticisms from a range of Church leaders.
29 Jan 2003

Catholic Welfare pleased with politicians' support for family health
Catholic Welfare Australia yesterday welcomed moves by the Liberal and Labor parties to highlight the important issue of children's health and well-being.
29 Jan 2003

Feature - North Sydney students learn from exposure to Peru poverty
"My trip to Peru really changed my perspective on life," remarks Macushla, who leads the College social justice group. "It made me see how much I have. I also saw that it was within my capability and resources to help these people. I didn't want the group's work in Lima to be a token gesture." - Laura Johnston, Young Journalists Award recipient
28 Jan 2003

Opinion - Step aside and let divine authority speak
Recently a debate took place as to whether Therese of Lisieux should be named a "doctor" of the Church. Her proponents argued few theologians have touched as many lives as Therese, while those arguing against it pointed out she died at 24, not exactly the age of wisdom. Those in favour won because doctors heal people and her writings have healed persons in a way that many other writings that are academically and theologically superior have not. - Ron Rolheiser OMI
28 Jan 2003

Crying statue dries its oily tears
A statue of the Virgin Mary which appeared to weep stopped shedding its oily residue about the same time as a scientific investigation into the phenomenon was completed.
28 Jan 2003

Vatican rejects appeal by women priests
The Vatican said yesterday that it has upheld its decision to excommunicate seven women who call themselves priests, saying the move was necessary to protect the rest of the faithful.
28 Jan 2003

Pope warns against 'inauthentic' families
Pope John Paul II warned against what he calls "inauthentic" versions of family, stressing that marriage between a man and woman is the only true basis for a family in God's eyes.
28 Jan 2003

Caritas chairman receives honour on Australia Day
Chairman of Caritas Australia, Bishop Hilton Deakin, was honoured on Australia Day by being made a member of the General Division of the Order of Australia.
28 Jan 2003

Pell stresses freedom of worship for Australian Moslems
Members of Australia's Islamic community should continue to worship as they choose, according to Sydney's Archbishop George Pell, who said "the extremism of fanatics overseas, or even a few hot-heads here, should not be foisted on them as typical of a whole community."
28 Jan 2003

Catholic justice council questions Iraq 'pre-deployment'
The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council has questioned the so-called "pre-deployment' of Australian forces to the Middle East.
28 Jan 2003

Feature - NSW captain says cricket's like faith: you have to believe
"My faith gives me a focus in how I lead my life and go about my cricket," says NSW cricket captain Simon Katich. "In cricket, you have to believe in your ability; otherwise you get yourself into trouble. Faith is a lot like that. You have to firmly believe in something."
24 Jan 2003

Opinion - US failing to convince on morality of Iraq war
The mainstream western churches, having subjected the claims of the Bush administration to careful scrutiny, remain unconvinced about the moral legitimacy of the war and have refrained from blessing any such endeavour. Their opposition has presented the US administration with an unprecedented problem of moral legitimacy. - Fr Bruce Duncan CSsR
24 Jan 2003

Gay cure advocates visiting Australia next week
The Sydney Archdiocese is hosting a visit next week from a controversial clinical psychologist and priest team from the US who claim that homosexuality can be cured.
24 Jan 2003

Bishop says pro-abortion politicians should not receive Communion
Any Catholic politician who supports abortion should "abstain from receiving holy Communion until he has a change of heart," said Bishop William K. Weigand of Sacramento, California.
24 Jan 2003

Cardinal tells meeting that family unit remains 'good news'
Cardinal Jaime Sin of Manila has told the 4th World Meeting of Families in his city that the institution of the family is not outdated, but remains "good news" for the world.
24 Jan 2003

Archbishop's Australia Day call for prayers for rain
Tasmania's Archbishop Adrian Doyle has called on all Catholics and people of good will to pray for widespread rain across the nation on this Australia Day weekend.
24 Jan 2003

Vinnies challenges Australians' poverty 'denial'
Australians either don't believe poverty is a problem or can't conceive there are solutions, according to St Vincent de Paul Society National Council President John Moore.
24 Jan 2003

Melbourne Commission calls Iraq war 'morally questionable'
Deployment of Australian troops to Iraq for a possible war was morally questionable, Melbourne's Archdiocesan Commission for Justice, Development and Peace has said.
24 Jan 2003

Feature - Vocation Centre invokes spirit and place
A new Vocation Centre is being inaugurated in Brisbane this month. "This is a whole cultural mind change, it's not just about how many numbers we can get through or how many people we have got in the process," said Fr Tony Randazzo, the Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese. The new Vocation Centre is laid out as a horizontal model, with five different levels to cater for people at different stages of discernment.
23 Jan 2003

Opinion - The street of ashen dreams
Our little street of ninety-nine houses—now fewer than ninety quite sound—has become a media microcosm of bushfire devastation. Our fire, they say, was deliberately lit that morning before racing down the valley. I for one was at the end of my tether. Who would do a thing like that? Should we cry vengeance, and demand stiffer penalties? How do we inculcate responsibility? - Charles Hill
23 Jan 2003

Indian President snubs Hindu fanatics by praising Jesuits
Indian president A P J Abdul Kalam praised the contribution of the Jesuits in the field of education, in his opening speech at the 6th Jesuit Alumni World Congress in Calcutta on Tuesday.
23 Jan 2003

Mexican and US Bishops urge respect for immigrants
The bishops of Mexico and the United States have written a joint pastoral letter to appeal to their flocks and nations to recognise and promote the rights of immigrants.
23 Jan 2003

New development in Just War teaching
Archbishop Renato Martino, the recently appointed president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, has advanced the view that Church teaching on the justice of warfare are evolving, much like the Church's stance on the death penalty.
23 Jan 2003

Vatican to release guidelines for discerning alleged apparitions
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is set to release new guidelines on how to distinguish authentic apparitions from false claims, in the wake of an explosion of alleged private revelations.
23 Jan 2003

Papal envoy blames TV for threatening family values
The Pope's representative at the 4th World Meeting on Families in Manila has urged delegates to reject secular lifestyles that threaten Christian family values, singling out television, which he said "jeopardises the parent's right to educate".
23 Jan 2003

Pope prays for Canberra fire disaster victims
The Holy Father has offered his prayers for the people of Canberra and the city's firefighters.
23 Jan 2003

Feature - Ignorance keeps divorcees estranged from Church
Many divorced people could become reconciled with the Church if they presented annulment petitions, according to one of England and Wales' leading Church law experts. Monsignor Bill Mitchell says lack of knowledge of the procedure is a major barrier in encouraging lapsed Catholics to return to the Church.
22 Jan 2003

Opinion - Commuter rest
Coming home in the early afternoon, I imagined the woman across the aisle worked in IT. Funnily enough, she opened her leather backpack and pulled out a cheap plastic pair of rosary beads. I was comforted that something so simple can satisfy our hunger.
22 Jan 2003

Expelled theology student sues diocese over seminary teaching
A former lay theology student has filed a $A3.38 million lawsuit against the New York Diocese of Rockville Centre, alleging that its seminary taught "pro-homosexual" doctrine.
22 Jan 2003

Manila families' meeting organiser satisfied with registration count
An organiser of the Fourth World Meeting of Families said she is satisfied with the number of people expected to attend the Manila gathering, despite the pope's absence and a recent US travel warning.
22 Jan 2003

Vatican preparing document on New Age movement
Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, in cooperation with the Pontifical Council for Culture, is next month expected to release a document on the New Age movement.
22 Jan 2003

Pope expresses spiritual closeness to divorced
Pope John Paul II has expressed his "spiritual closeness" to divorced Catholics, and reminded them that they are called to participate in Christian life, respecting the rules of the Church.
22 Jan 2003

West Australian priest pleads guilty on abuse
A priest of the Bunbury Diocese pleaded guilty in the District Court yesterday to 12 counts of indecently dealing with children under the age of 13.
22 Jan 2003

Religious congregations acknowledge Canberra fires emergency workers
Religious congregations working in the Canberra-Goulburn area have pledged prayers and practical help to the people who have lost loved ones and homes in the devastating fires in the Australian Capital Territory.
22 Jan 2003

Feature - Boarding days
For some students the idea of living at school is akin to a nightmare, while others have visions of a never-ending school camp surrounded by friends. For many country families, boarding school is a necessary reality and can mark a key time in their child's life. - Anthea Comerford, Iona Presentation College WA (first prize winner, senior division, Australian Catholics Young Journalists' Award)
21 Jan 2003

Opinion - Church has forgotten Just War tradition
For the past 30 years have witnessed a great forgetting of the classic just war tradition among those who had long been assumed to be its primary intellectual custodians: the nation's religious leaders, moral philosophers, and moral theologians. The just war tradition "lives" at the higher levels of the Pentagon than it does in certain offices at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. - Papal biographer Gustav Weigel (see also response in The Tablet this week)
21 Jan 2003

Fiji counts the cost after Cyclone Ami
Catholic sources in Suva are gradually receiving reports on details of the devastation caused by the cyclone that ripped through Fiji earlier this month.
21 Jan 2003

Zimbabwean priests rally in support of Bulawayo archbishop
Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, have issued a statement supporting their archbishop, who is under attack for his defense of the poor.
21 Jan 2003

Israelis Block Patriarch Sabbah at Tel Aviv Airport
Latin-rite Patriarch Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem was unable to leave Tel Aviv airport on Friday because of a security search he was subjected to by Israeli officials.
21 Jan 2003

Two die in Colombia church shooting
A gunman burst into a Catholic church in Colombia during Mass on Sunday morning, killing two people and wounding six others.
21 Jan 2003

Pope says God's grace could make Christian Unity possible
John Paul II has begun a week of Prayer for Christian Unity by saying that full unity among Christians is possible, with God's grace.
21 Jan 2003

Canberra Archbishop pledges prayers, assistance to fire victims
Archbishop Francis Carroll of Canberra-Goulburn yesterday pledged prayers and practical help to all those who lost loved ones and homes in the devastating ACT bushfires.
21 Jan 2003

Feature - Success of 'Sacred Space' pray-at-computer site
A person at a computer has a sense of privacy and intimacy; comfortable, upright and attentive, subsconsciously screening out distractions, he concentrates on the screen - gazes, in fact, at the screen. What better description of the attitude of attentive listening to God?
20 Jan 2003

Opinion - Bishop Belo's lonely struggle for East Timor peace and justice
However one understands what has happened in the unfolding of his resignation, East Timor and the Church have suffered a severe loss in the departure of a remarkable man and exceptional leader. - Melbourne Auxiliary Bishop Hilton Deakin
20 Jan 2003

Australian study says religion can be good for your health
Today's West Australian reports on work being done in Australia that amplifies US research that associates greater participation in religious activities with better health.
20 Jan 2003

Melbourne Archbishop's stalker fined over breach
A woman who repeatedly stalked Archbishop Denis Hart after claiming she was sexually abused by a priest was fined $100 on Friday for breaching an interim intervention order.
20 Jan 2003

Adelaide Catholics encouraged to observe International Year of Fresh Water
Executive officer of Adelaide's Justice and Peace Commission Chris Keating has urged local Catholics to focus on this year's UNESCO International Year for Fresh Water.
20 Jan 2003

US Presidential hopeful rejects Vatican conscience call on politicians
One of the Democratic presidential hopefuls has rejected the Vatican's new guidelines for Catholic politicians.
20 Jan 2003

Pope urges Catholic School upbringing
Pope John Paul II yesterday urged Catholics to send their children to Catholic schools, saying the education will help the young confront the "big questions of existence".
20 Jan 2003

Vatican 'sex glossary' to protect family from 'cultural manipulation'
The Holy See will soon publish a glossary of 90 words related to sexual and family issues, according to Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, director of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
20 Jan 2003

Business as usual after Paris cathedral bomb scare
A day after an explosive device found inside the basilica forced its evacuation, tourists were returning.
17 Jan 2003

Feature - Faith an anchor for the boy from Boree Creek
"My faith gives a purpose to the template of life," says Tim Fischer, former Deputy Prime Minister, Trade Minister and National Party Leader. "It gives your life a set of parameters … helps build inner-strength and confidence. Any crisis is best dealt with underlining faith."
17 Jan 2003

Opinion - Document affirms primacy of conscience for politicians
A century ago, the Catholic Church was opposed to all forms of liberalism and very suspicious of democracy. Now even its critics would accept that the church is a leader in espousing the cause of democracy. But it still clings to the primacy of truth rather than the primacy of majority opinion. The document sees the formed and informed conscience of the politician and church leader as critical for getting at the truth. - Fr Frank Brennan, associate director Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre, Sydney.
17 Jan 2003

New York cardinal accused of snubbing bishops' lay review board
Members of the national review board overseeing US church efforts to eliminate priest sex abuse are surprised and angry after what appears to be a series of high-handed directives from New York Cardinal Edward Egan.
17 Jan 2003

Korean Christians unite to help bring together North and South
Christian denominations and the Catholic Church in Korea have undertaken an official commitment to work together for reconciliation between the South and the North.
17 Jan 2003

Pope encourages prayer at the start of the day
Pope John Paul II believes beginning the day with prayer is the best way to face life's joys and difficulties because it enables us to live close to God.
17 Jan 2003

Australian Bishops back Pope's 'no to war' campaign
Australian Catholic bishops have spoken out in support of a call by Pope John Paul II last week for world leaders to say 'No to War'.
17 Jan 2003

Carroll supports Vatican call for politicians to act morally
Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference President, Archbishop Francis Carroll has backed a Vatican call for Catholic politicians and lay people to be guided by their moral convictions when making political decisions.
17 Jan 2003

Feature - Sister Angela's healing touch
Dealing with claims of sexual abuse by church members would seem to be the last job anyone would want to do. Sr Angela Ryan is part of a skilled team seeking to redress injustice and move all concerned towards healing.
16 Jan 2003

Opinion - Cold War warrior who knew the true enemy within
There was certainly enough truth in [Australian Catholic political agitator Bob] Santamaria's comments to justify his bitterness. He and other Cold War anti-communists had been slandered as liars and agents of imperialism for making claims about the Soviet dictatorship which were later proved to be entirely correct. But whether the threat of communism justified everything that Santamaria did is another question. - Ross Fitzgerald
16 Jan 2003

Mel Gibson says he's being crucified for playing movie Christ
In an interview broadcast on the US FoxNews channel, actor Mel Gibson claimed he is the subject of harassment and "attack" for making what many expect to be a highly realistic movie about the suffering of Christ on the Cross.
16 Jan 2003

Glasgow Archbishop admits doubts on after-life
Archbishop Mario Conti has told a Scottish newspaper that he has "doubts" about some of the fundamentals of the Catholic faith, contrasting his questioning attitude with his mother's "utter confidence" that on death she would meet her friends and hear heavenly music.
16 Jan 2003

Vatican says sex-change operation does not change person's gender
After years of study, the Vatican's doctrinal congregation has sent church leaders a confidential document concluding that "sex-change" procedures do not change a person's gender in the eyes of the church.
16 Jan 2003

Agency awards top marks for ACU standards
The Australian Catholic University (ACU National) has been praised by external auditors for keeping its Catholic character and for setting high standards in indigenous education and community service.
16 Jan 2003

Baghdad Catholic University rector comments on weapons inspectors
The rector of Baghdad's Catholic University has called upon international leaders to respect the conclusions reached by UN weapons inspectors in Iraq.
16 Jan 2003

Jesuit study finds poor excluded from job market
Communities of disadvantaged families are effectively excluded from the competitive job market, according to a Jesuit Social Services study based on interviews with residents of a Melbourne public housing estate.
16 Jan 2003

Feature - US nun has answers to health care's curly questions
Clients describe Sr Carol Taylor as a person who can make complex and difficult topics clear and compelling to people who know little about the new genetic research revolutionising medicine and health-care practice. The calls and letters come from every part of the country and places like Australia, France and Japan.
15 Jan 2003

Opinion - Prosperous nations must share their goods and know-how
The lifestyle of the prosperous, their patterns of consumption, must be reviewed in the light of their repercussions on ... nations left out in the cold. All peoples are entitled to receive a fair share of the goods of this world and of the know-how of the more advanced countries. - State of the World, According to John Paul II: Address to the Diplomatic Corps Accredited to the Vatican
15 Jan 2003

Pope spreads the Word by SMS
The Pope is spreading the word through a new text messaging service in which he sends subscribers a thought for the day by SMS.
15 Jan 2003

Brazilian President adds liberation theologian to staff
Brazilian President Luis Ignacio "Lula" da Silva has announced the appointment of a leading liberation theologian as a special advisor on social issues.
15 Jan 2003

Canadian parish church says 295 baptisms invalid
In an embarrassing slip-up, the baptisms of nearly 300 children in a Quebec parish have been declared invalid because they weren't performed properly.
15 Jan 2003

Chaplain defends Guantanamo Bay
The senior chaplain at the United States military base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba has defended the conditions under which 600 detainees from the American action in Afghanistan are being held.
15 Jan 2003

Slur on Mother Teresa in paper stuns Church
A bizarre attack on Mother Teresa published in a British newspaper last week has produced a reaction of surprise and dismay within the Church.
15 Jan 2003

Priest charged with child assault
A 60-year-old priest is set to appear in a West Australian court to face multiple charges of indecently dealing with children.
15 Jan 2003

Feature - Reconciliation crucial to Afghanistan reconstruction
"Unless you address the issue of violence, nothing you do in Afghanistan will be sustainable," said Paul Butler, former Afghanistan director for Catholic Relief Services, the American Caritas organisation. "You just don't send in relief supplies. You work through a community to do a common project."
14 Jan 2003

Opinion - Iraq war: fears of an Australian Army insider
The Australian Army, in its most recent rewrite of its keystone doctrinal document, The Fundamentals of Land Warfare, 2002, specifically endorses the criticality of adhering the 'just war' precepts for the long-term restoration of peace to be achieved. I hope our military leaders will not be asked to turn a blind eye to this doctrine, in order to satisfy the demands of our US allies. - Gary Stone, Brisbane based Military chaplain and deacon
14 Jan 2003

French chefs bid to remove gluttony from sin list
A group of French chefs, writers and media stars will petition Pope John Paul II this month to remove gluttony from the list of the seven deadly sins, Le Journal du Dimanche paper has reported.
14 Jan 2003

Hong Kong polls rank bishop as 'Most Significant Person in 2002'
Several polls ranked Hong Kong Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun as the territory's most significant person of the year 2002.
14 Jan 2003

Another Vatican appointment for Archbishop Pell
Sydney's Archbishop George Pell has been appointed to the presidential committee of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
14 Jan 2003

Zimbabwean Christians speak out against cricket tour
Churches from the country's main Christian denominations issued a statement at the weekend expresssing their dismay at the British cricket team's decision to play in Zimbabwe.
14 Jan 2003

Pope issues fresh cloning denunciation
Pope John Paul II has said that cloning - like abortion and euthanasia - reduces a person to a "mere object".
14 Jan 2003

Pope 'doing everything' to stop Iraq war
Pope John Paul II has once again argued forcefully against military action in Iraq, demanding adherence to existing international agreements.
14 Jan 2003

Feature - Challenges facing new Baghdad bishop
Andraos Abouna, the new auxiliary bishop of Baghdad, was personally consecrated by the pope along with 11 other new bishops last week. Abouna will aid Patriarch Raphaël I Bidawid of Baghdad in shepherding a community of some 600,000 Iraqi Chaldean Catholics, who may soon find themselves at ground zero of the war John Paul is begging the world to avoid. - John L. Allen
13 Jan 2003

Opinion - Why Tolkien says Lord of the Rings is Catholic
The Lord of the Rings is "fundamentally religious and Catholic," even though Christ is never mentioned in its pages. It is best understood if it is read through the prism of the Gospel, in much the same way that the Old Testament is best understood if it is read in the light of the Gospel.
13 Jan 2003

Godliness is next to manliness
Testosterone is keeping men away from church as religion fails to satisfy the thrill-seeking urge, according to research in the United States.
13 Jan 2003

New book of papal poems for publication
A new book of poetry by Pope John Paul II - called a a mediation on religion - will be released by a publishing house owned by his former diocese in Poland.
13 Jan 2003

Cuban cardinal says Pope's visit changed little
Cuban Cardinal Jaimi Ortega said on Saturday the Communist-run government continued to ignore the Catholic Church, and always tense relations had not changed five years after Pope John Paul ll visited the island.
13 Jan 2003

Vatican rules out confessions in cyberspace
The Holy See's Apostolic Penitentiary has instructed bishops not to use email and fax to consult on matters covered by the seal of the confessional.
13 Jan 2003

Bishop calls for Australia Day focus on forgiveness
As chair of the Bishops' Committee for the Family and for Life, Bishop Eugene Hurley of Port Pirie has asked Australians to focus on the family, and to develop a "lifestyle of forgiveness", during the Australia Day commemoration on 26 January.
13 Jan 2003

Pakistani bishops' justice and peace commission condemns 'hate speech'
The Pakistani Bishops' Justice and Peace Commission has asked the government to end "hate speech" against minority religions.
13 Jan 2003

Feature - Mysticism in a Postmodern Age
Do you want to be really uplifted from something out of Rome? I mean REALLY uplifted. Then go and check out Zenit's interview on Tuesday with Fr Jesus Castellano Cervera on Mysticism in the Postmodern Age. Fr Cervera is Vice Rector of Rome's Teresianum Pontifical School of Theology and a consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. We seem to be moving into a more mystical time spiritually. As Fr Cervera says "Today there are many people who speak in the name of God, of the Virgin, and of the saints, who present messages. Today mysticism abounds on Internet, where there are many sites with revelations and messages". The challenge we all face though is to sort the grain from the chaff -- the false prophets from the authentic prophets. What you will find in this interview with Fr Cervera is a beautifully balanced and wonderfully frank discussion on mysticism.
10 Jan 2003

Opinion - The ethics of how war, and peace, is reported
Every profession, every vocation, every trade, indeed every human endeavour carries within it a certain moral tension. Every day of our lives we are each called on to make moral choices. These choices are not always black or white. More often than not they are between something which is moral, or at least legal, and something which is "the most moral thing to be doing at that particular instant". The profession of journalism is perhaps one of the one's where these tensions are most obvious. Perhaps that is why, along with used car salesmen and priests, journalists tend to rate so lowly in the opinion of the general population in public esteem. The opinion piece today is an interview that Zenit recorded recently with Cees Hamelink, professor at the University of Amsterdam and author of Perspectives of Public Communication: A Study of the Churches and The Ethics of Cyberspace. His particular focus in this interview is on how the media handle war and peace. Journalists and editors at each moment of their lives are torn between the need to get their stories read and the need to simply let the facts speak objectively for themselves. The unfortunate reality is that we all enjoy watching a good fight or contest. That is why sport and politics consumes so much public attention. Writing about people being nice to one another does not sell newspapers or increase television ratings. Reporting conflict does. This is an important article in its own right for its discussion of the ethics of how conflict is reported. But as readers too, we all face ethical choices and these lessons might be taken over and reflected on in terms of the moral choices we all face in living our ordinary everyday lives in order to become wholer or more noble beings.
10 Jan 2003

Abuse scandal exposure continues
This story which we are sure is such a pain to everyone who reads this news service is not going away. The international secular media continues to be saturated with stories on the latest revelations, many of them taking a local angle on what has been occurring. Our full report endeavours to give a summary of the more significant developments in recent days.
10 Jan 2003

More than a dozen doctors consulted over Mother Teresa miracle
Catholic News Service published a report on Tuesday about the process of investigation of the miracle that has led to Mother Teresa of Calcutta's beatification. Our website story gives the links to the latest revelations.
10 Jan 2003

Asia's uncounted births threaten child rights
The ABC reports: Asian nations have vowed to take action over millions of unregistered births, saying the situation denies children access to education and healthcare, and makes them vulnerable to exploitation. A UN conference in Bangkok attended by representatives of 25 nations heard that two-thirds of the world's 50 million unregistered births each year are in Asia.
10 Jan 2003

NZ takes in 150 refugees from "Pacific solution"
The ABC is reporting that New Zealand has agreed to take in another 150 refugees, mostly from Iraq and Afghanistan, who have been waiting in Papua New Guinea and Nauru as part of Australia's "Pacific solution".
10 Jan 2003

New Book: How PJPII views International Justice
Zenit reports today on a new book published by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace that provides an overview of the Pope's thinking on international justice. The book, John Paul II and the Family of Nations contains John Paul II's addresses to the Diplomatic Corps between 1978 and 2002.
10 Jan 2003

Vatican to reinforce Catholic orthodoxy
The BBC's religious affairs correspondent in Rome, Robert Piggot, has been given prominent coverage in a lengthy report arguing that the Vatican intends "to reinforce traditional standards and discipline" and "crack down especially hard on homosexuality in the Church".
10 Jan 2003

Feature - A capitalist on the road to Santiago de Compostela
More great holiday or leisure time reading: in yesterday's news we had Kenny Moore from Just Good Company complaining that capitalists can't get enough you know what. Today we have a fabulous feature story of another capitalist in Canada who threw it all in and went on the great walking pilgrimage in Spain to Santiago de Compostela. This is more than just a pleasant travelogue, though. Like Moore, this "recovering Canadian capitalist" Rocco -- he doesn't give us his last name -- is reflecting on some of the values of life we've adopted in the West. It's a long article but you can print it out to take to bed or to sit out in the garden to read. It is also accompanied by links to some of the places he visited on this month-long spiritual trek in the footsteps of St James. Did you know that around 40,000 people a year undertake at least a section of this pilgrimage?
9 Jan 2003

Opinion - Clash of three "super systems"
The opinion piece today we've found is an interesting reflective piece by a Boston-based writer, Ken Sanes, published a couple of days ago in the Asia Times. Sanes' hypothesis is that the world is engaged in a big battle for hearts and minds between three "super systems": militant Islam, corporate capitalism and statist liberalism. He does not convince this reader that what is happening in militant Islam deserves to be "categorised" as a "super system". A more intelligent reading might be that what is happening in Islam is also happening within Christianity. The militant element in Islam reached the munitions' dumps to try and force their insecurities and ways of thinking down the necks of humanity before the militant Christians did. This is not a clash between "systems" but within the "systems". How can society tame the demon of insecurity? Christ, and Pope John Paul, keep telling us to "Be Not Afraid!". It is not empty rhetoric. There are however many appealing thoughts in Sanes' alternative hypothesis that are worth reflecting on and taking into one's thinking about the other theories that people are thinking about these days to try and understand the state of tension that the world now finds herself in. This is a long article that is perhaps best printed out and read at leisure.
9 Jan 2003

Vatican issues first crime report for Holy City
The secular media is reporting the story of the Vatican issuing its first report on crime within the tiny city-state. The overwhelming majority of the 608 infractions committed last year were thefts and purse-snatchings and over 90% of those responsible were never caught. The Vatican city state only has 455 permanent citizens but millions of visitors each year. The Vatican Museums alone have three million visitors. There were no capital crimes committed in the city state last year. Capital crimes though are not unknown as for instance the murder of one of the Swiss Guards in 1998 and the attempt on the life of Pope John Paul in 1981. Asked why the Vatican decided to issue the report, a spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini said, "We have nothing to hide."
9 Jan 2003

The tragedies on the African continent
The tragedies on the African continent continue to generate enormous coverage in the media but it almost seems the rest of the world is so concerned with their own problems that nothing is happening to alleviate the situation. Our detailed report carries a summary of just a couple of stories of what could be reported of the stories that have a religious or social justice dimension.
9 Jan 2003

Jewish population in Jerusalem is dropping
The Jerusalem Post was reporting Jerusalem's Jewish population, as a percentage of the city's total, continued to decline in 2001, with Arabs making up one in three residents, statistics released on Monday by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies showed. Some 455,000 of the cities 670,000 residents, 68 percent, were Jewish, while 32% were Arab. In 1967, when the city was reunited, Arabs made up only a quarter of the population.
9 Jan 2003

Paganism "fastest growing" religion in Australia
The Sydney Morning Herald carries a story this morning entitled "The Pagans of Suburbia" investigating the rise of Paganism. The 2001 Census revealed that Paganism is the fastest growing religion in Australia.
9 Jan 2003

52% of Australians think Aboriginal people not disadvantaged
The lead story in the Welfare Watch email newsletter of Catholic Welfare Australia today carries a report on research by ACOSS (Aust. Council of Social Services) that shows that 52% of Australians believe Indigenous Australian are not disadvantaged. The newsletter, that is a relatively new communication's initiative by Catholic Welfare, also provides updates on Aged Care and Family Issues, Immigration/Population, Public Housing and Welfare Reform. The newsletter is also available on the web.
9 Jan 2003

Lateran Uni focus on Communication & Liturgy
Zenit News Agency carries a report on a new course at the Lateran University in Rome focussing on liturgy as a communicative event, as well as the cultural relevance of the ritual forms and the importance of language, gesture and word in liturgical action.
9 Jan 2003

Feature - Architecture: Renzo Piano designs pilgrimage church
Renzo Piano is one of Italy's most famous architects. He is nearing the end of building what will be one of the most famous, and the most visited, churches in the world -- a 7,000 seat basilica for one of Italy's most revered modern saints, Padre Pio. Our feature story link today will take you to a multi-media feast. You can watch the video clip (requires Real Media plugin) or simply read the report. Again this is something lighter for holiday enjoyment but I might make one provocative point: I part company with those "tent Catholics" who believe we should not be investing the enormous amount of money required for these sort of monuments. Despite all the advances in communication technology, architecture remains one of the most fundamental mediums of communication. Buildings do not simply shelter us from the elements. They help us reach down into our souls and up into heaven. An interesting disclosure in this report is that the Capuchin Friars who have commissioned this place of pilgrimage at San Giovanni Rotondo in Southern Italy are also investing a lot of money in a broadcast facility that will enable people the world over to share in the liturgies to be held there.
8 Jan 2003

Opinion - Celibacy in Corporate America
Something on a lighter note: Kenny Moore is a former priest but now works for a Fortune 500 company and has a wife and two children. He has written an entertaining opinion piece in the first issue of the new cyber-journal on religion and culture, Just Good Company. In short, his argument is that the pace of life is speeding up so much in the corporate world -- and by extension this could be applied to almost all places in Western culture -- that we're finding less and less time for leisure and things of the heart and soul. We may as well all be celibate given the pressures we're beginning to live under. He concludes: "So, all you celibate business folks out there, take a word of solace from this former monk: if you're having less sex than youÕd like, you're not alone. And for all those who want to fix the clergy by eliminating celibacy, take a look in the mirror. Similar to us, much of the clergy are decent types, laboring in an inherently flawed system, doing the best they can as imperfect mortals. As fellow celibates, we can understand that. At least they're getting some eternal rewards for their asceticism. We're not. Bottom line: they may be better business folks than we are. Their return on investment looks impressive."
8 Jan 2003

Nine years to travel from Anglican priest to Catholic Bishop
One of the new auxiliary bishops in the Archdiocese of Westminster is a former Anglican priest who converted to the Roman Catholic Church just 9 years ago. Bishop-elect Alan Hopes, 58, is one of two new auxiliaries appointed by the Holy Father to assist Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. Fr Hopes was ordained an Anglican minister in 1968. He converted to Catholicism in 1994 and was ordained a Catholic priest the following year.
8 Jan 2003

Scottish Soccer fans could break law with Sign of the Cross
CWN and secular media sources report that Scottish soccer players and fans who bless themselves during matches face arrest under controversial new anti-sectarian laws. The suggestion has provoked outrage from Church spokespeople.
8 Jan 2003

Vatican recognises new ecclesial community
Zenit is reporting on the recognition given by the Pontifical Council for the Laity to a new ecclesial community called the Community of the Beatitudes which was founded in France in 1974.
8 Jan 2003

New TV documentary on the Pope a "humdinger"
Globe & Mail columnist John Doyle wrote yesterday that a new documentary on the Pope screening across Canada on the CBC network on Tuesday and Wednesday night is a "humdinger". He writes: "This is definitely not your run-of-the-mill Life & Times about some low-grade Canadian celebrity. It's a detailed, three-hour examination of his life, career in the Catholic Church and influence over events in the world."
8 Jan 2003

Cyclone: Caritas was on the ball
Jack de Groot, National Director of Caritas Australia, provides an update on what Caritas Australia is doing for the people of the Solomon Islands. If you can help with a donation contact Caritas on 1800 024 413. Our detailed reports also includes an essay written by Archbishop Adrian Smith of Honiara for the BBC which provides interesting insights into the history of Tikopia.
8 Jan 2003

The push for inclusion of Christianity in European Constitution
Zenit News Agency carries two reports in its first bulletin after the break on the debate going on about the inclusion of Christianity in the European Constitution. Last Friday the President of the European Parliament, Patrick Cox, had a meeting with Pope John Paul and later met with Cardinal Angelo Sodan, Vatican Secretary of State. Following the audience, Vatican Press Office director Joaquin Navarro-Valls explained in a statement that the Holy See does not ask for a privileged legal status. Rather, it asks "for the safeguarding of the effective exercise of religious liberty, in full respect of the secular character of civil and community institutions, as well as of non-confessional organizations," he said. In a separate report, the President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, says the future European Constitution should not exclude cultural and religious traditions, especially the Christian, which forged the continent.
8 Jan 2003

Feature - The Top 10 neglected Catholic stories of 2002
NCR's correspondent in Rome, John Allen, reckons his job is "the most exciting beat in journalism -- a unique mix of politics and spirituality, cult and culture, intrigue and theatre. It is, quite simply, the Greatest Show on Earth!" If you want to read what is possibly the single best Catholic news story of the past 12 months, do yourself a treat and take the time to read Allen's analysis of the "top 10 neglected Catholic stories of 2002". It has just been published on the NCR website and is a treat for anyone who is seriously interested in following "the Greatest Show on Earth!" This is Allen's top 10 -- it is a "must" for informed holiday reading:

10. ICEL Transformed
9. The Unsinkable John Paul II
8. The Church and the Silver Screen
7. Catholics and Jews
6. The Vatican and the War
5. Autonomy of Religious Orders
4. Holy Rehabilitation
3. Latin American Catholicism
2. The Deal in Campos
1. Healing the East/West Divide
7 Jan 2003

Opinion - Cardinal "Spin" -- a new look at Cardinal Newman
On Saturday, the Guardian carried a review of a new biography on Cardinal Newman that seems likely to cause a rethink of the accepted picture of this famous convert to Catholicism and the impact of the Tractarians on Anglo-Catholicism in the English speaking world.

The reviewer, historian Tristram Hunt, argues that "in his new biography of Newman, Frank Turner sets out to dismantle the cultivated self-image of the Apologia [Pro Vita Sua]. Going beyond where even Strachey feared to tread, Turner takes an intellectual sledgehammer to the eirenic reputation of this quintessential representative of Matthew Arnold's "Hellenic" ideal. As one of the leading historians of 19th-century thought and the author of The Greek Heritage in Victorian Britain, he performs it with panache."

Hunt continues: "What Turner leaves us with is Newman the theological street-brawler -- less a detached, self-doubting searcher for truth than a spirited combatant desperately battling the influence of evangelicalism within the Church of England. By focusing on Newman's early life and contrasting it with his delicately crafted autobiographical narrative, Turner exposes a very different Cardinal Newman to that of Catholic lore or the artfully dissembling agenda of the Apologia."

The reviewer concludes that even though this 700 page is dense and heavy going, "... it is an important book, not least for Turner's (annoyingly undeveloped) thesis that, in their aggressive assault on Protestant culture, Newman and the Tractarians did not ferment a spiritual resurgence of Anglo-Catholicism. On the contrary, they 'contributed to the late-century religious and cultural vacuum in the English-speaking world which secular forces would fill'. Perhaps that was why Bloomsbury didn't feel the need to attack Newman -- they were all on the same side."
7 Jan 2003

Solomon Islands cyclone: missionaries appeal for aid
It seems over the Christmas-New Year period most of the Catholic Church has gone on leave. Virtually all of the Catholic Media Agencies have taken a break and apart from the Pope (who never seems to stop) and CathNews very few others seem to be home. In particular it has been difficult trying to get a Church story on the tragedy going on in the Solomon Islands -- a place in evident political and economic turmoil that is now having to cope with the devastation of one of the most powerful cyclones to hit the Pacific. Independent Catholic News has carried the first report we've seen where Salesian missionaries working in the Islands have appealed for aid.
7 Jan 2003

Pope ordains 12 Bishops as Vatican marks Epiphany
CWN reports on the ordination of 12 new bishops in Rome yesterday as the Church celebrated the fest of the Epiphany. The ordination of bishops by the Roman Pontiff is a Vatican tradition for the Epiphany celebration.
7 Jan 2003

Push to stop child trafficking
The BBC carries a report of a meeting of international experts in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, on Monday to look at ways to stop child trafficking and exploitation.
7 Jan 2003

Church now careful to investigate all claims
NY Newsday is reporting that the Church "is now afraid to ignore any claim" of abuse and illustrates this with the case of Maurice Cartee. The paper says "Cartee's allegations, which included a charge against New York Cardinal Edward Egan, weren't made public until two days after Christmas, when it was announced by the New York Archdiocese that they were unfounded" and quotes Fr Richard John Neuhaus, editor in chief of First Things, saying "the bishops are extremely reluctant to do anything that could possibly be construed as not taking a charge with relentless seriousness."
7 Jan 2003

Christianity on the Rise
As relief editor for CathNews I have been away from reading the international news in the intensive way that Michael Mullins does each night as a matter of course. The most obvious change in twelve months -- besides many of the large newspaper chains now beginning to charge for accessing their online services -- has been the explosion in the reporting of what is going on in Islam. In the Western world there now appear to be as many stories on Islam being reported in the media each day as on Christianity. Fox News carried a report On Friday though that Christianity is still on the rise and by 2025 can be expected to have more supporters than any other system of belief.
7 Jan 2003

Jesus "healed using cannabis" - research claim
The Guardian reported yesterday: "Jesus was almost certainly a cannabis user and an early proponent of the medicinal properties of the drug, according to a study of scriptural texts published this month. The study suggests that Jesus and his disciples used the drug to carry out miraculous healings".
7 Jan 2003

Feature - As Europe draws closer, Roman Catholicism & Orthodoxy are still miles apart
Associated Press writer Brian Murphy provides an analysis of the strained relations that still exist between the Orthodox faiths of the East and Rome. "Conflicts continue as political forces draw Europe together. NATO is preparing to welcome some of its former East Bloc foes in 2004. The same year, the European Union plans to push its borders eastward, drawing in millions more Orthodox followers. Bulgaria and Romania, deep in the Orthodox heartland, could also join the EU as early as 2007. Matters of faith are not so easily mended."
6 Jan 2003

Opinion - Testing the moral legitimacy of war against Iraq
With the world's religious leaders becoming increasingly vocal in their condemnation of the plans of George W Bush and Tony Blair to wage war on Iraq, supported by others such as the Prime Minister of Australia, The Tablet this week carries a timely article analysing the moral legitimacy surrounding this fast changing issue. Fr Bryan Hehir is director of Catholic Charities in the US and former Head of Harvard Divinity School. Hehir argues "President Bush believes that deterrence is not enough to meet the combined challenge of weapons of mass destruction and terrorist groups with global capabilities. In one sense he is right. Classical deterrence is barely suited to transnational terrorist attacks by groups with no home address. But the extension of that logic to Iraq requires a stronger argument than the one made so far. Iraq is not a transnational terrorist network but a territorial state with resources, population and military forces. It is not, therefore, immune to the logic of deterrence".
6 Jan 2003

Crazed axeman attacks historic church
A man wielding two axes went on the rampage in an English country abbey on Friday, injuring two people and wrecking valuable works of art in the historic church.
6 Jan 2003

Russia introduces RE in schools
Associated Press reports that school administrators in the Noginsk district, with some 20,000 students about 22 miles southeast of Moscow, have added religion to the curriculum as a moral framework to replace Lenin's now discredited communist dogma. After a recent endorsement from the Education Ministry, such programs look set to spring up around the country -- despite a federal law prohibiting religion in schools and the Russian constitution's separation of church and state. The full report (see link below) also says "Supporters of Orthodox culture classes so far have been more vocal than opponents. On Dec. 15, several hundred people gathered with icons and crosses in front of the Education Ministry, saying they were defending ethnic Russians' right to know their culture."
6 Jan 2003

Nuns as sexual victims get little notice
The St Louis Post-Dispatch carried a disturbing report on Sunday, picked up by other major media outlets around the world, of research at the St Louis University paid for by several orders of religious nuns that shows "about 40 percent of all nuns in the United States, have suffered some form of sexual trauma". The study was undertaken in 1996 and reported in some respected but small circulation religious journals in 1998 but not picked up by the mainstream media.
6 Jan 2003

Vatican preview of 2003
CWN carries a report in its bulletin yesterday of a Vatican preview of 2003 that was originally published on 30 December. It is interesting to read this overview of the year ahead which includes an analysis of the increasing number of cardinals who will be retiring this year.
6 Jan 2003

25 Catholic martyrs died in 2002
At least 25 Catholics died for their faith during the calendar year 2002, according to the Fides news service. The list includes 1 archbishop, 18 priests, 1 Brother, 2 sisters and 2 seminarians and 1 layman. These courageous persons are called affectionately "martyrs of charity" by Pope John Paul II.
6 Jan 2003

More pressure from religious leaders against war
Associated Press is reporting a significant statement from Archbishop Renato Martino in Rome's La Republica Newspaper on Saturday which provides an insight into the thinking of the Pope. The Archbishop is quoted as saying the Pope is "deeply worried" and he "lives the drama of the moment, he feels involved personally". Martino argues "unilateralism is not acceptable. We cannot think that there is a universal policeman to take a stick to those who behave badly." Meanwhile Archbishop Desmond Tutu has unleashed a broadside at British PM, Tony Blair, saying he thought Blair's support for President Bush, "mind boggling". AFP reports that on Friday the Church of England issued a prayer for the people of Iraq for use by parishes and congregations across Britain.
6 Jan 2003

Feature - Why young adults are embracing Christian Orthodoxy?
In a provocative review in the first edition of Just Good Company -- the new cyber-journal for religion and culture -- Jim Bowman reviews the recent book by Colleen Carroll "The New Faithful: Why young adults are embracing Christian Orthodoxy?". This debate seems to be raging at a lot of places in the Church at the moment including, from time to time, in the CathNews discussion forum. Some, such as Carroll, see great hope for the future in what is occuring. Others believe the development has no legs because it can only appeal to a limited psychological sub-set of the community. It appeals to that sub-set extremely well but has little chance of reaching outside that sector to the broad masses in youth culture across the Western world. Bowman is taking Carroll to task so reading this review is a way of having a look at what the issues are on both sides in this discussion.
3 Jan 2003

Opinion - Are conservatives giving up in the Roe vs Wade abortion fight?
R.R. Carlo in a column on the BeliefNet website explores the impact of recent comments made by President Bush's nominee to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, Professor Michael McConnell, on the status of the Roe v Wade decision. Carlo argues that McConnell's comments amount to an acceptance from social conservatives that it is time to accept the Roe vs Wade decision and to move on.
3 Jan 2003

The unluckiest church on earth
A British archaeologist has uncovered what is probably the unluckiest church in the world. The church was wrecked by two earthquakes, a flood, and a landslide - all of which happened while it was still being built.
3 Jan 2003

Pope to publish new book of verse
Quite apart from his role as Vicar of Christ and leader of the approximately 1 billion Catholic people in the world, the Pope has generated quite significant sums of money in his own right through books that he has published during his Pontificate. The Time of London reports: one of the unexpected bestsellers of 2003 is likely to be a volume of poetry by the Pope in which he not only reflects on his role in history and religion, in a kind of "last testament", but also offers thoughts on the qualities required of his successor.
3 Jan 2003

Christian clergy not the only ones under pressure...
It would seem from this story that it is not only clergy in the Christian churches who are feeling the pressure these days. The Bangkok Post carried a report yesterday saying that the Buddhist clergy in Thailand faced a tough year in 2002 and this year face an uphill task to "restore their former political clout and public credibility".
3 Jan 2003

Church reaches out to young adults with 'Theology on Tap' talks at restaurants and bars
Voice of America carried an audio report on New Year's Day of the endeavour that is finding considerable appeal in the States of "Theology on Tap" talks for young adults in restaurants and bars. Obviously similar to the Spirituality in the Pub endeavour which is so popular in Australia, you can read the transcript, or better still listen to the report online at Voice of America (requires Real Media plugin to hear the audio file).
3 Jan 2003

The opposition of the churches to war
Here at CathNews we have been endeavouring to bring you a summary of the position being taken by the Catholic and other churches to the fight against terrorism and the calls for a war against Iraq. The latest issue of Sojourners magazine carries an indepth article which endeavours to provide a comprehensive understanding of the stance being adopted across a broad coalition of religious leaders in the United States.
3 Jan 2003

Calls for rethink on Refugee Detention Centres
The fires at Refugee Detention Centre's over the Christmas-New Year period have brought further calls for the Federal Government to modify its policies. Various spokespeople for the Catholic Church have been vocal in the news including Fr Frank Brennan SJ and Bishop Eugene Hurley of the Port Pirie Diocese. The Policy Director for Jesuit Social Services, Fr Peter Norden SJ, put out a media statement yesterday saying "While no Australian citizen will respond positively to the extensive damage to five immigration detention centres in different parts of the country in the last four days, a more reasoned response will attempt to interpret this behaviour as the actions of frustrated and desperate people. It is now time to consider a more effective management approach than mandatory detention" he concluded. Meanwhile the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists claims the series of fires and riots demonstrate there is a mental heath crisis among detainees.
3 Jan 2003

Feature - Archbishop of Canterbury attacks image obsession
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has used his first New Year message to criticise the modern "obsession" for make-overs and re-branding. Dr Williams said that the trend among businesses and charities to reinvent themselves was caused by a restless anxiety about how they appeared to the outside world. In a message broadcast on BBC2 on New Year's Eve, he compared this insecurity to the unchanging nature of God and said that individuals did not need to struggle endlessly to be loved.
2 Jan 2003

Opinion - Man should be saved where he is, not where he ought to be!
Robert Blair Kaiser published his latest Rome Diary (No. 46) just before Christmas. In his punchy, journalist way he's at it again exploding a few verbal grenades about the goings on in Rome and elsewhere in the Catholic Church. In this issue he takes aim at former U.S. Presidential candidate turned conservative commentator, Patrick J. Buchanan. Here's a sample of both Kaiser and Buchanan: "Many so-called conservatives give lip service to the [Vatican] Council. Not Buchanan. In bolder terms than I have seen up to now, Buchanan says Vatican II was 'an unrelieved disaster for Roman Catholicism.' And he knows where to put the blame: on Pope John XXIII. When Pope John threw open the windows of the Church, writes Buchanan, 'all the poisonous vapors of modernity entered, along with the Devil himself'." Kaiser goes on to defend the vision of Pope John XXIII and why he sees it continuing to be relevant today.
2 Jan 2003

A seminarian's perspective
James McAuley was a regular contributor to the CathNews discussion board before he commenced his seminary studies in England about three months ago. On New Year's Eve he posted a message to the board that provides an interesting and detailed insight into the way his life has changed since he commenced his studies. It also provides an insight into the rigour that seminarians are subjected to these days in the wake of the problems besetting the Church.
2 Jan 2003

No let up in abuse revelations
Still dominating the news of anything "Catholic" in the secular media are further stories, and revelations on the abuse scandals. The Boston Globe reported yesterday the Rev. Ronald H. Paquin pleaded guilty on Tuesday to three counts of child rape and was sentenced to 12 to 15 years in prison, becoming the first Boston Archdiocese priest to admit guilt in a criminal molestation case since the sex abuse scandal exploded in January. Other media are reporting on the case of a priest who appears to have committed suicide in New Hampshire after being accused of child abuse that occurred 30 years ago. Another story coming into focus is the situation in Los Angeles where the Statute of Limitations has been lifted for twelve months and it is expected there will be at least 200 lawsuits filed when the courts open after the New Year break.
2 Jan 2003

Newspaper names Nun as "Individual of the Year"
A 65-year-old Catholic nun, Sr Rosario Hackshaw, is the winner of the Trinidad & Tobago Express "Individual of the Year 2002" award. A six-member panel of judges (three external and three internal) unanimously chose Sr Rosario in recognition of her selfless contribution to community through her tireless work with the Helping Ourselves Prosper Economically (HOPE) project that sets out to raise financial help for hard-up Trinidadians and Tobagonians wanting to set up small micro-businesses.
2 Jan 2003

Bishops sue New York State to stop mandated birth control insurance
The eight Catholic bishops of New York state filed a lawsuit against the state on Monday to overturn a new law that requires employers to offer health insurance that covers birth control for women. The bishops contend that the law forces the Catholic Church to endorse immoral and sinful practices. "Such an outrageous law ought to alarm anyone who loves America and the freedoms for which it stands," the eight bishops said in a statement. "We cannot let this unprecedented intrusion on our religious rights go unchallenged."
2 Jan 2003

UK Government considered moving Catholics out of Northern Ireland
The BBC reports: "Plans to 'transfer' most of Northern Ireland's Catholic population south of the Irish border were secretly considered by Whitehall officials during the worst violence of the early years of the Troubles. Papers released under the 30-year-rule reveal Sir Edward Heath's 1972 government considered moving hundreds of thousands of Catholics if they could not stop the worsening sectarian violence."
2 Jan 2003

Pope: End "senseless" Middle East violence
Pope John Paul II opened the New Year on Wednesday by pleading for an end to the "fratricidal and senseless" conflict in the Middle East as the church celebrated its World Day of Peace. "Despite the serious and repeated attacks to the serene and joint cohabitation of peoples, peace is possible and right," the Pope said, to rare applause interrupting his homily during a New Year's Day Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.
2 Jan 2003