Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources
 

NEWS ARCHIVE FOR FEBRUARY 2003

   
Feature - John Vianney: The saint who read souls at a glance
Visitors to Ars, France, still feel the presence of its unusual 19th-century pastor and saint—the patron of parish priests worldwide. His gift as a confessor is what drew thousands of penitents to line up, sometimes three days in advance, to experience what many recalled as his ability to see into the deepest recesses of the soul.
28 Feb 2003

Opinion - Jesus was lonely too
Loneliness is one of the most crushing human emotions. The feelings of abandonment and isolation create an overwhelming sense of helplessness and despair. People in the throes of a heightened state of loneliness often fall prey to temptations or behaviors that are extremely atypical. - author Charles Stanley, excerpted from "A Touch of His Presence" (Zondervan)
28 Feb 2003

Hawaii diocese receives word of Damien miracle
Fr Damien DeVeuster, the Belgian priest who devoted his life to leprosy patients on Moloka'i and then died of the disease, is edging closer toward sainthood.
28 Feb 2003

Newly-enthroned Anglican leader praises Pope
In an interview broadcast by Vatican Radio shortly after his installation as head of the worldwide Anglican communion, the new Archbishop of Canterbury has said that he draws inspiration from the thought of Pope John Paul II.
28 Feb 2003

John Paul II calls for 'examination of conscience' on music in liturgy
John Paul II called for an examination of conscience on the beauty and dignity with which Catholic communities should celebrate the liturgy, particularly in regard to music.
28 Feb 2003

Vatican acts to simplify removal of abusive priests
An official of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said on Wednesday that Pope John Paul II has given the Congregation the power in some "very clear, grave cases" to laicize priests who have sexually abused minors without going through an ecclesiastical trial.
28 Feb 2003

US Ambassador to Vatican stands firm after archbishop's attack
US Ambassador to the Vatican Jim Nicholson rejected criticism of US "unilateralism" on Iraq, saying the United Nations has already provided for the possibility of armed intervention if Iraq refuses to disarm.
28 Feb 2003

Catholic Welfare says tax move will slow unemployed return to work
Treasurer Costello's "preemptive" strike on tax credits will discouraged unemployed Australians receiving welfare benefits from seeking employment, according to Catholic Welfare Australia's national director Toby O'Connor.
28 Feb 2003

Feature - The Final Frontier: The armchair pilgrim's guide to online shrines
The discipline of exploring the Internet can take on a spiritual dimension, and can be understood, at least at times, in the ancient terms of "spiritual journey", "quest", and even "pilgrimage".
27 Feb 2003

Opinion - No just war outside the law
Pre-emptive strikes against suspect countries could be a legacy of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. Without the authorisation of the UN, would such strikes be a breach of international law? - Lord Daniel Brennan QC, president of the Catholic Union of Great Britain
27 Feb 2003

Religious dramas more popular than reality TV in Italy
Reality TV shows and Hollywood blockbusters may scoop top viewing in most countries but in Italy religious films are attracting almost as many viewers to the small screen as soccer.
27 Feb 2003

Australian Marist takes over as Newman diaries editor
Australian Marist Br Francis McGrath has been appointed editor of the Letters and Diaries of John Henry Cardinal Newman project at the Birmingham Oratory in England.
27 Feb 2003

Church backs transsexual marriage challenge
The Church is backing moves to challenge a Family Court decision allowing transsexual marriages.
27 Feb 2003

New statistics reveal continued drift to private schools
Private schools are soaking up all the growth in students across Australia although NSW government schools have shown a surprising increase in numbers over the past year.
27 Feb 2003

Church probe concludes statue tears are vegetable oil
A Perth Archdiocesan inquiry into the weeping Virgin Mary statue found the fibreglass figurine was shedding vegetable oil tears.
27 Feb 2003

Catholic Commission highlights war crimes warning for Australia
Melbourne's Catholic Commission for Justice Development and Peace has amplified the warning of 42 eminent international law experts who signed a statement declaring that an invasion of Iraq may constitute a war crime and crimes against humanity.
27 Feb 2003

Feature - Message of peace from a dusty field in Baghdad
A wonderful thing happened this morning at our vigil in a field across from UN headquarters in Baghdad. We've made an encampment there with an open-sided tent and several large banners that read Let The Inspections Continue, Inspections Yes, Invasion No and Let There Be Peace on Earth. NOTE: The author of this article is NOT Fr Jim Monaghan, former South Australian YCW chaplain, as previously advised
26 Feb 2003

Opinion - Pope wins diplomatic tussle with Blair
No doubt about it, the Pope held the best cards. He knows that Blair prides himself on his moral standing. He also knows that Cherie will feel uneasy if her husband's plans run counter to her Church's teaching. Using these facts as leverage, the Pope will have put pressure on the PM to rethink his allegiance to George Bush's war. - Cristina Odone, Deputy Editor The New Statesman, former editor Of The Catholic Herald
26 Feb 2003

Romanian church leaders speak out against Dracula theme park
Church leaders in Romania are warning against attempts to relocate a planned $A56 million Dracula theme park, saying the park would present an inaccurate image of the country.
26 Feb 2003

European Union's anti-God stance could draw churches together
Vatican ecumenical chief Cardinal Walter Kasper is to host an academic symposium on papal primacy in May and has asked Orthodox theologians to take part.
26 Feb 2003

Anti-GM Zambia Jesuits accused of fostering famine
A group of First World scientists has said the Jesuits in Zambia are insensitive to hunger in their defence of domestic economic interests.
26 Feb 2003

Pope says science must benefit poor
Pope John Paul II has urged scientists to work to close the gap between rich and poor nations, insisting that research should not be subject to economic or political interests.
26 Feb 2003

Pope encourages Mother Teresa nuns to follow her example
Pope John Paul II has urged the Missionaries of Charity to model their lives on the founder of their order, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, discovering and serving Christ in the poor.
26 Feb 2003

Bishop says war debate should be informed
The chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council has encouraged Catholics to inform themselves before engaging in the "intensifying" debate on war and peace.
26 Feb 2003

Feature - Keeping politicians on their toes
When the media publish images of politicians kissing babies and political leaders making a string of promises, chances are there's an election in the air. But a few months later, it's time to turn the promises into action—to deliver the goods. Advocacy groups such as Catholic Social Services Victoria keep an important watchful eye on governments.
25 Feb 2003

Opinion - Vatican New Age document unfair to enneagram
The enneagram, the personality-type indicator which has become a popular tool in Catholic retreat circles, is made to sound alarming, with refernce to its non-Christian origins. But most symbols in Christian doctrine predate Christianity: what makes them Christian is the belief that underpins their application. - Sr Elizabeth McNulty, author of Planted in Love: the Enneagram, reason and conversion.
25 Feb 2003

Cardinal defends confessional seal against proposed violation
A legislative proposal that would require priests in Maryland in the USA to report suspected child abuse would violate the seal of the confessional, warns Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
25 Feb 2003

Pope tells North African bishops to maintain dialogue with Islam
Pope John Paul II has encouraged Catholics living in countries with Islamic majorities to promote dialogue with their Muslim brothers and to be signs of God's love through aid to the needy.
25 Feb 2003

Pope says private Mass for Blair family
Pope John Paul II has celebrated a special private Mass for Tony Blair and his family in the Vatican.
25 Feb 2003

Iraq aid workers braced for war
Caritas Iraq is gearing up to help the thousands of Iraqi civilians who may be caught up in any conflict in Iraq.
25 Feb 2003

Zimbabwe archbishop rebukes Australian cricketers
Archbishop Pius Ncube has criticised the Australian cricket team who played Zimbabwe yesterday in Bulawayo, accusing them of being unsympathetic to the plight of ordinary Zimbabweans.
25 Feb 2003

New Vinnies shelter for homeless opens in Adelaide
A $3.1 million shelter for homeless men was opened by South Australian Premier Mike Rann in the Adelaide's Whitmore Square on Sunday.
25 Feb 2003

Feature - Chaplain, firefighters overwhelmed by Rhode Island nightclub fire
Local parish priest Fr Robert Marciano received an emergency message on his pager from the police at about 11:30 p.m. Minutes later, as he arrived at the scene, fire and rescue crews were converging at the nightclub, which was totally engulfed in flames, and patrons, including some who were on fire, were running out the door.
24 Feb 2003

Opinion - It's not easy being Catholic
Anti-Catholic sentiments surface at many levels, from media reporting and political manoeuvring to snide remarks from friends. We're tempted to go underground, avoid religious conversation, or water down our beliefs. Archbishop Phillip Wilson of Adelaide suggested a better response while speaking at the US Catholic Bishops' Conference in Dallas last September. - Teresa Pirola, coordinator The Story Source writing/publishing ministry
24 Feb 2003

Franciscans sell Melbourne property for $8 million
The Franciscan Order of the Friars Minor has sold its landmark Kew property La Verna for about $8.3 million.
24 Feb 2003

Russian Patriarch meets with new Papal envoy
Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II received the Vatican's new envoy to Moscow on Thursday, raising hopes of a possible end to a dispute between two major branches of Christianity that has prevented Pope John Paul II from fulfilling his dream of a visit to Russia.
24 Feb 2003

Church challenges landmark court ruling on marriage
Churches have urged the Federal Government to appeal a Family Court decision that has "re-defined the meaning of marriage and legalised transsexual marriages".
24 Feb 2003

Date set for Mother Teresa's beatification
The Vatican has announced that the Pope has chosen 19 October - the 25th anniversary of his pontificate - as the date for the beatification of Mother Teresa.
24 Feb 2003

Pope's Mission Sunday message stresses prayer
John Paul II has called on the Church to be more contemplative, more holy and more missionary, grounding its work on fervent prayer.
24 Feb 2003

Pope appeals to Blair against Iraq war
Pope John Paul II held a private audience on Saturday with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, offering the Vatican an opportunity to voice its strong opposition to a possible war against Iraq.
24 Feb 2003

Feature - There's no such thing as a bad kid
One bitterly cold winter's night, with the rain gushing down in icy sheets, Father Chris Riley made his way wearily out on to the streets of Sydney to take food and hot drinks to the homeless children huddled in the city centre.
21 Feb 2003

Opinion - Church-bashing media should give credit where it's due
The secular media is now, more and more, seen as the champion of the poor. It's the churches that have been, and still are, at those places with the poor where nobody else wants to be. - Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
21 Feb 2003

Vatican rates America's Cup chaplaincy a success
The Vatican delegation to the America's Cup yachting regatta has reported that its mission was worthwhile, according to a media release from the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.
21 Feb 2003

Cardinal Kasper sees ecumenical progress with Orthodox churches
Despite the tensions that have marred relations between the Holy See and the Russian Orthodox Church for the past year, the Vatican's top ecumenical officer sees distinct signs of progress in dealings with the Orthodox world.
21 Feb 2003

Pope hits out against sarcasm
Pope John Paul II described sarcasm as a modern form of martyrdom, suggesting a sarcastic person delights in "isolating the righteous with mockery and irony".
21 Feb 2003

Letter reveals Edith Stein asked Pope Pius XI to condemn Nazism
Just a few weeks after Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany, St. Edith Stein - a Catholic convert from Judaism who was soon to enter a Carmelite convent - wrote to Pope Pius XI asking him to condemn the Nazi ideology.
21 Feb 2003

Agency warns famished Ethiopia and Eritrea 'running out of time'
British Catholic aid agency CAFOD fears that Ethiopia and Eritrea could be running out of time to save millions from the effects of a severe food crisis.
21 Feb 2003

PM quotes Pell wisdom to justify war
Prime Minister John Howard yesterday used Sydney Archbishop George Pell's support of the Just War theory to bolster his case for Australian participation in the proposed US-led war in Iraq.
21 Feb 2003

Feature - Religious a 'sign of permanence'
"I think one of the things people lose sight of about religious life is that it has been around for a long time," says Josephite Dr Kristin Johnston, the new executive director of the Australian Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes. "In today's post-modern society, characterised by fragmentation of relationships and a more transitory way of life, the Church and its religious are a sign of permanence, of integration."
20 Feb 2003

Opinion - Priest shortage is not all bad news
If the sacramental dimension diminishes in importance, the Church itself, as the fundamental sacrament, will be devalued in the eyes of the faithful. We propose a different way out of the predicament, on the lines of the Second Vatican Council that lead us back to the biblical sources and to the rich tradition of the Church. - Fritz Lobinger and Paul Zulehner
20 Feb 2003

Bangladeshis flock to weeping Virgin
Thousands of people in the Bangladeshi port city of Chittagong are flocking to a church where tears are reported to have been seen on a statue of the Virgin Mary.
20 Feb 2003

Hong Kong bishop says Taiwan not the issue between Vatican and Beijing
Hong Kong's outspoken Bishop Joseph Zen said on Tuesday that the stumbling block to diplomatic recognition between Beijing and the Vatican was what Beijing would allow the Holy See to do in China, not the question of Taiwan.
20 Feb 2003

New stem cell battle looms
Queensland Catholic MP Ronan Lee is helping to lead the charge to scuttle state legislation on embryonic stem cell research.
20 Feb 2003

Pope expresses grief for Korean subway fire victims
Pope John Paul II has sent a telegram expressing profound grief to the Bishop of Daegu, South Korea.
20 Feb 2003

Kofi Anan meets with Pope on Iraq crisis
UN Secretary General Kofi Anan visited the Vatican on Tuesday, and spoke privately with Pope John Paul II for about 30 minutes, primarily about the crisis in Iraq.
20 Feb 2003

Archbishop calls on Ruddock to let the East Timorese stay
Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference president Archbishop Francis Carroll has written to Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock with an urgent plea to allow a group of East Timorese asylum seekers to stay in Australia.
20 Feb 2003

Feature - Philippines poverty exposure for young Australians
'Prepare to be shocked.' This is not the slogan for the latest Hollywood thriller, but the gentle warning given to the participants of the fifth Getting Involved Globally (GIG) trip prior to their arrival in the Philippines. And shocked they were.
19 Feb 2003

Opinion - Parliamentary conscience vote should be 'unfettered'
The politician, on particularly matters of moral or ethical issues, needs to have the unfettered right to a conscience vote regardless of the public view. If the public is dissatisfied with the stance taken by the politician the ultimate sanction available to the public is to vote the politician out of office. - Queensland ALP Senator John Hogg, commenting on the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's recent directive to politicians to reflect Church teaching in their political stances
19 Feb 2003

Russian Ambassador says Pope should visit Moscow
The Russian ambassador to the Holy See has reportedly endorsed the idea of a visit to Moscow by Pope John Paul II - a visit that is one of the Holy Father's most cherished ambitions.
19 Feb 2003

Church renegs on deal to sell commercial rights to Guadalupe virgin
The Archdiocese of Mexico City has announced it has terminated a deal to give an American company commercial rights to the official image of La Virgen de Guadalupe for five years for $A21.75 million.
19 Feb 2003

EU snubs Pope with no reference to God
All reference to God is to be omitted from the future European Union constitution, despite a personal plea by the Holy Father to retain a spiritual aspect to the document.
19 Feb 2003

Vinnies concerned about mentally ill being sent to jail
Sr Myree Harris, president of the NSW St Vincent de Paul advisory committee for the care of people with mental illness, told a Sate Government inquiry that "experts from all government departments and from non-government agencies working together" were needed to improve the lives of those with mental health problems.
19 Feb 2003

Catholic lobbyist says asylum seekers unfairly blames for detention centre outbreaks
The Australian Political Ministry Network (PolMin) has said that recent outbreaks of asylum seekers from detention centres point to the need for an "immediate restructure" of the entire detention regime.
19 Feb 2003

Cardinal Etchegaray briefs Pope, Kofi Anan is next
Cardinal Roger Etchegaray has briefed Pope John Paul II on his mission to Baghdad, and UN secretary general Kofi Anan arrived in Rome for a meeting with the Holy Father, as the Holy See continued its energetic diplomatic efforts to avoid war in the Persian Gulf.
19 Feb 2003

Feature - Faith seeking fantasy: Tolkien on fairy stories
Tolkien has left an intriguing essay, entitled On Fairy Stories and written at the very time he was bringing The Lord of the Rings to completion. Significantly, it is quite evidently a theological statement, with a specifically Christian focus. To Tolkien's mind, such terms as 'fairy-story' and fantasy describe something stronger, more creative and more adult that the usual connotation of such a phrase. - Anthony Kelly CSsR, Professor of Theology, Australian Catholic University
18 Feb 2003

Opinion - Don't take it out on the troops
Australia is a free country and people are entitled to their opinions and if there should be war declared and Australia takes part in it, there will, naturally enough, be people who oppose that decision. But they should not target the serving members of the defence force because they did not cause the problem and they are simply doing their country's bidding. - Monsignor William Fuller, administrator Australian Catholic Military Ordinariate
18 Feb 2003

Vatican archive opening gets more attention from media than scholars
The early opening of Vatican archival records related to Vatican-German relations immediately prior to World War II has attracted more media attention than scholarly interest, an official at the archives said.
18 Feb 2003

Queensland call to cut church building rights
Churches in Queensland could be required to observe planning laws when proposing to alter or demolish their heritage-listed buildings.
18 Feb 2003

Weeping Mary withdrawn from church display
A statue of the Virgin Mary - the subject of scientific tests after apparently "weeping" an oil-like substance - has been taken off display at a Perth outer suburban church.
18 Feb 2003

Court told dormitory brother preyed on homesick boarders
A Marist brother at Sydney's St Joseph's College would take his homesick students into his bed, where he would comfort them before indecently assaulting them, a court was told yesterday.
18 Feb 2003

Catholic lobbyists welcome new debate on wages policy
The group PolMin has welcomed the new debate on wages policy initiated by the introduction of the Workplace Relations Amendment (Protecting the Low Paid) Bill 2003 into the House of Representatives last week.
18 Feb 2003

Envoy returning from Baghdad to Rome says peace still possible
"Peace is still possible in Iraq and for Iraq," said Cardinal Roger Etchegaray. "I return to Rome shouting it as hard as I can".
18 Feb 2003

Feature - Exodus of Catholics from Iraq troubles Vatican
Buried in the Vatican's new yearbook for 2003 is a striking statistic, and it helps explain Vatican apprehension about a new war in Iraq. At the start of 1991, just before the first Persian Gulf War, the Catholic population of Baghdad was counted at more than 500,000. Today, Catholics there number about 175,000.
17 Feb 2003

Opinion - My husband, the priest
It lives with us in various ways, some concrete, like more children from another marriage, only quieter. He's still got his first chalice and paten stored in a box in the back of a closet. The history goes beyond the physical relics, though. Leaving the priesthood is, of course, difficult on every level.
17 Feb 2003

Queensland poll reveals slip in church influence
Fewer than one in five Queenslanders regularly attend church services, according to a survey published in yesterday's Sunday Mail newspaper.
17 Feb 2003

NSW opposition leader refuses to put faith in IVF
John and Lucy Brogden's "devout" Catholicism is being credited with their decision to adopt a baby, rather than follow the many thousands of Australians who conceive through IVF.
17 Feb 2003

German liturgical translations face Vatican scrutiny
In the wake of Vatican pressure towards translations that conform more to Roman models in the English-speaking world, evidence suggests a similar overhaul is taking place in other languages.
17 Feb 2003

Spanish theologian says Just War is old hat
The just war theory has given way to a commitment to building a new just world order, according to Spanish Redemptorist theologian Marciano Vidal.
17 Feb 2003

Pope urges Aziz to push for Iraqi commitment to disarm
Pope John Paul warned Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariz Aqiz of the disastrous consequences of war, urging him to push his country towards a commitment to disarm.
17 Feb 2003

Saddam tells envoy that Pope must tackle religious bias
President Saddam Hussein of Iraq has urged Pope John Paul II to address the "racial and religious discrimination" which has made his country a target of possible military action, state television reported.
17 Feb 2003

Feature - Filipino families impress Australian delegates
Last month's Fourth World Meeting of Families in Manila made a profound impression on Australian participants. It was the vibrant faith of Filipino families that had the most lasting impression. The city of Manila was festooned with banners welcoming overseas guests and close to a million people attended the closing Mass.
14 Feb 2003

Opinion - Valentine's Day quandry for single Catholic women
For many single, unattached women, Valentine's Day is a holiday to be endured rather than celebrated. Single women who'd like to get married are in a predicament, says Barbara Dafoe Whitehead in her new book, Why There Are No Good Men Left: The Romantic Plight of the New Single Woman (Broadway Books), because they no longer have a mating system with a set of recognised rules, conventions and practices.
14 Feb 2003

Engaged couples gather at St Valentine's tomb to seek blessing
Jesus is the best role model for engaged couples hoping to perfect their love, and the Gospel is the best marriage preparation manual ever written, an Italian bishop told couples gathered at the tomb of St. Valentine.
14 Feb 2003

Guatemala bishop's killer killed in prison riot
A former military officer convicted in the 1998 assassination of Guatemalan rights crusader Bishop Juan Gerardi was decapitated on Wednesday with five other inmates during a prison riot in Guatemala City, officials said.
14 Feb 2003

Vatican addresses issue of road rage
A rise in the incidence of road rage, as well as the ongoing tragedy of road accidents, has led the Holy See to develop a pastoral strategy to foster positive values for drivers.
14 Feb 2003

Church prepared for more sex abuse claims
In response to predictions that 2003 may be the worst yet for allegations of sexual abuse of children by clergy, a spokeswoman for Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart said the archdiocese is willing to confront the past and to deal with sexual abuse claims.
14 Feb 2003

Pope's envoy leads Iraqi Catholics in peace Mass
The Vatican's envoy to Iraq, Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, has celebrated mass in Baghdad's cathedral, before a crowded congregation of anxious Iraqi Christians.
14 Feb 2003

Religious leaders in anti-war plea to Howard
A group of prominent Christians, including three bishops, have signed an open letter to Prime Minister John Howard against attacking Iraq.
14 Feb 2003

Feature - Aboriginal reconciliation in the Brave New World
Pat Dodson has some sharp words for anyone who thinks the Aboriginal reconciliation process involves delving into the past. The man known as the father of Aboriginal reconciliation is adamant that the challenges of the modern world are the same for Indigenous people as they are for Christians.
13 Feb 2003

Opinion - Anti-war talk should go to the heart (not ideology) of the matter
Churches have spoken out quite strongly [against war in Iraq], but probably are not heard because they are talking a different language from that of our governments. If we enter into this just war or non-just war theory, we just enter into a theory, that it's no contact with the world. That means that we enter into a discussion that leads nowhere. War can be just or unjust, but it's always bad, it's always tragic, it is always consequences that are terrible. This we have not been able to say so clearly. - Claudio Maria Betti Director of Special Operations, Community of Sant'Egidio, Rome, currently visiting Australia
13 Feb 2003

Little Pebble disciple cleared of sex assault charges
The "right-hand man" of NSW South Coast-based sect leader William "Little Pebble" Kamm (pictured) has been cleared of charges of indecently assaulting a girl, but he has confessed to improper actions involving her sister.
13 Feb 2003

Catholic educators nervous about pizza man's university plans
Many officials in Catholic higher education in the US are reportedly uneasy about plans of Dominos Pizza founder Tom Monaghan to build a new Catholic university on a remote 303 hectare site near the Florida Everglades.
13 Feb 2003

Vatican health care official warns 'global ethic' will wipe out Christian values
Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers president Archbishop Javier Lozano Barragán has warned Christian values will be replaced with a "universal ethic" as part of the movement towards globalisation.
13 Feb 2003

Pope, recovering from head cold, keeps public audience schedule
Pope John Paul II appeared on schedule for his regular weekly public audience on Wednesday, despite suffering from a cold.
13 Feb 2003

China detains underground Catholic priest
A priest in China's underground Catholic church was detained after saying a secret Christmas Mass, according to a statement from a US religious activist yesterday.
13 Feb 2003

Cardinal Etchegaray meets Iraqi leaders
Cardinal Roger Etchegaray arrived in Baghdad on Tuesday, telling waiting journalists that he would urge Saddam Hussein "to cooperate with the UN on the basis of peace and international law".
13 Feb 2003

Feature - Tough nights for priest after train crash
Helensburgh parish priest Fr Patrick Vaughan admits he has had trouble sleeping since the Waterfall train disaster. He walked through bushland before being picked up by an ambulance and taken to the site. "I was tying my shoelaces and my hands were shaking," he says. "I performed the Anointing of the Sick to the people who had died; and the people I couldn't get to, I just prayed for them."
12 Feb 2003

Opinion - People 'outraged' at war talk
We urge President George Bush, Prime Minister Tony Blair and Prime Minister John Howard to step back from the brink of war. Not only will history judge us by our actions and inactions but, more significantly, God will judge us! Badly devised, externally imposed and short-sighted 'western' solutions have led from one problem to another in the Middle East throughout the past century. - Bishop Peter Ingham of Wollongong, addressing the city's peace rally on Saturday
12 Feb 2003

Italian Catholics can get 'unchristened'
Disaffected Catholics in Itally have come a step closer to washing off holy water they were baptised in as tiny children.
12 Feb 2003

Catholic social justice, welfare groups issue NSW election kit
A coalition of Catholic social justice, welfare and education groups, NetAct, has launched a kit to give voters information on eight key social issues for the New South Wales state election on 22 March.
12 Feb 2003

Catholics work to keep US soldiers supplied with rosaries
From Maryland to Tennessee, in schools and in homes, Catholics are working to keep US soldiers supplied with rosaries.
12 Feb 2003

Vatican official claims Americans ready for 15,000 troop deaths
Archbishop Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, has claimed that some 100,000 body bags and 6000 coffins have been airlifted to a US military base in Sicily as part of American preparations for war on Iraq.
12 Feb 2003

Anxious Iraqis place hope in Papal Envoy
Catholics in Iraq are anxiously awaiting the visit by Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, the Pope's personal representative.
12 Feb 2003

US theologian tells Vatican officials war would be self-defence
US State Department envoy Michael Novak has made a theological case for war on Iraq to a skeptical Vatican audience, arguing that military action was justified under traditional self-defense principles and not under some new concept of preventive war.
12 Feb 2003

Feature - The O'Neills - One family's faith mission
Twins Peter and Kevin O'Neill, both Columban priests, and their sister Kate, a Sister of Our Lady of the Missions, believe their family's befriending of Vietnamese refugees in the 1970s helped transform three curious kids into cross-cultural Christian missioners.
11 Feb 2003

Opinion - The deficiencies of an old superpower
Whether Saddam is forced out peacefully or by invasion, only a small portion of the problem in the Middle East will be dealt with. The real work - of persuasion, of coalition building, of [we Americans] seeing ourselves in relation to the rest of the world in ways other than a collection of consumers with an unlimited right to all the earth's resources - will remain.
11 Feb 2003

Brisbane bishop to retire today
Bishop John Gerry retires today after 28 years as Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Brisbane.
11 Feb 2003

Vatican prepares release of confidential pre-World War II documents
As the Vatican prepared to give scholars access to its files relating to Germany before World War II, public attention focused almost exclusively on diplomatic reports contained in the Vatican's so-called "Secret Archives".
11 Feb 2003

Depardieu embraces God after finding faith in Augustine's Confessions
Gerard Depardieu, the French film star whose private life is almost as dramatic as his films, chose the country's most magnificent theatrical setting for what may be the most important performance of his life.
11 Feb 2003

New talks reported between Vatican, Chinese government
The Vatican has renewed diplomatic talks with Beijing, seeking an end to government persecution of the underground Catholic Church, according to the Far Eastern Economic Review.
11 Feb 2003

Call for better community care for aged on World Day of the Sick
Catholic Health Australia (CHA) CEO Francis Sullivan has echoed the Pope's plea for today's World Day of the Sick for improved care of the sick and elderly who remain at home.
11 Feb 2003

Carroll doubts Just War as Pope sends envoy to Iraq
Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference President Archbishop Francis Carroll told a high-profile ABC Radio forum that he's not convinced there is Just Cause for war with Iraq.
11 Feb 2003

Feature - Visiting Iraqi sister expresses her people's worries over war
"Very worried and very afraid" are words used often by a visiting Iraqi religious sister talking about a possible war in her country. Sr Fida'a Petrus, a quietly spoken woman in the traditional cream Dominican habit with dark veil and rosary beads, is staying with family on Auckland's North Shore.
10 Feb 2003

Opinion - Religion infiltrating journalism's breaking news stories
It was no surprise that journalists discovered the spiritual side of the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster early in the news cycle. There is an element of faith in almost every news story and reporters are getting better every year at articulating this realm of life. When done well, this journalistic exploration invites the readers and viewers to chew on the themes of diversity, tolerance, collaboration, race, ethnicity and nationality. - Kelly McBride
10 Feb 2003

Vandals destroy Coogee 'virgin'
An illusion of the Virgin Mary at Sydney's Coogee Beach was destroyed by vandals early on Friday morning.
10 Feb 2003

World Catholic population passes one billion
The number of baptised Catholics "has increased worldwide from 757 million in 1978 to 1.06 billion in 2001", according to the new Annuario Pontificio (Pontifical Yearbook).
10 Feb 2003

Sacked Sydney choirmaster claims Archbishop was hijacked
Sydney's Catholic Archbishop George Pell yesterday confirmed he had approved the sacking of St Mary's Cathedral's choirmaster David Russell, after Mr Russell broke his silence on the matter with a plea for his reinstatement.
10 Feb 2003

Pope warns against Church red tape
Pope John Paul II has cautioned against the "bureaucratisation" of the Church, stressing that Church organisations and Bishops conferences must serve bishops, not take their place.
10 Feb 2003

Pope tells world: Don't resign yourself to war
Pope John Paul, speaking ahead of a flurry of Vatican diplomatic efforts to avert conflict in Iraq, on Saturday urged the world not to resign itself to war.
10 Feb 2003

Centacare Adelaide tells why asylum seeker committed suicide
A letter to an asylum seeker from the government offering voluntary return to Afghanistan was the 'final straw' that led to suicide, according to Centacare executive director Dale West.
10 Feb 2003

Feature - New Director of schools facing broad challenge
After two years in the state education bureaucracy, Susan Pascoe is back with the Victorian Catholic Education Office as its new director. "I think there is evidence that we're expecting more of teachers," Susan says. "Even over just the past few years, there was the suicide intervention taskforce. At the turn of the previous century, it was things like whether there was enough chalk available, or that the children were standing in line straight."
7 Feb 2003

Opinion - The loneliness that comes with leaving home
Finding a home is not, in the end, so much a question of finding a building, a city, a country or a place where we feel we belong. That's part of it. More deeply, finding a home is a question of moral affinity, of finding another heart or a community of hearts wherein we feel at one. - Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
7 Feb 2003

Church in Tasmania facing fine over monument damage
The Tasmanian Heritage Council says the Catholic Church could face a substantial fine for damaging an historic monument at Our Lady of Mercy School at Deloraine in the north of the state.
7 Feb 2003

Hong Kong Archbishop attacks Govt over anti-subversion law
The leader of Hong Kong's Catholic Church, Archbishop Joseph Zen, has criticised the government over the way it handled consultations over the territory's proposed anti-subversion law.
7 Feb 2003

Foley says 'bad examples' biggest hurdle for evangelisation
The greatest barrier to evangelisation is not an inadequate use of the media but rather the bad example given by some Catholics, according to the president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Social Communications Archbishop John P. Foley.
7 Feb 2003

Pope's Lenten message calls for charitable action
The Vatican has released the Holy Father's message for Lent 2003, which focuses on Jesus' assertion that it is "more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).
7 Feb 2003

Zimbabwe Archbishop says Govt is meddling in Church
Bulawayo Archbishop Pius Ncube has accused the Zimbabwian government of planting its agents within the Church in order to divide it along political lines.
7 Feb 2003

Cardinal predicts Novak's effort to sell Vatican on Iraq war will fail
Cardinal Walter Kasper has predicted that Michael Novak, an American Catholic intellectual asked by the US government to try to persuade Rome of the morality of a possible "preventive war" in Iraq, will fail.
7 Feb 2003

Feature - Peace, peace, peace - that's the message from Medjugorje
Medjugorje visionary Ivan Dragicevic has embarked on a whistlestop tour of Australia. He quoted Our Lady's anxious message of peace for the world: "Dear children, Peace, Peace, Peace. Peace must be between man and God and among men. Dear children, this world, this mankind are heading towards a great danger and heading towards destroying itself."
6 Feb 2003

Opinion - Raising awareness is key to conquering child sex abuse
Raising community awareness of child sexual abuse issues and encouraging prevention and detection is as much the brief of the Professional Standards Office as is dealing with complaints, according to Adelaide's new director of the Professional Standards Office, Sue Cain. "I think we still have a lot of work to do on that in the church, because some people still have difficulty believing that abuse happens within the church."
6 Feb 2003

Ex-priest to be extradited on child sex abuse charges
A former priest who became a trauma counsellor in London is to be extradited from the UK to New Zealand on 19 charges of sexually abusing 11 different boys.
6 Feb 2003

Anger over sacking of Sydney Cathedral stalwart
One of St Mary's most senior and long-serving figures has been dismissed over his association with a fellow church worker convicted of child sex offences which took place in the early 1980s.
6 Feb 2003

Perth Archbishop attacks sex Bill
A total ban on prostitution should be enforceable if the State Government believes it can control organised prostitution, according to Perth's Catholic Archbishop Barry Hickey.
6 Feb 2003

Bishop concerned about PM's stress level
Canberra auxiliary Bishop Pat Power, who sparked an angry response from the Prime Minister on Tuesday over the looming war in Iraq, says he's concerned about the stress John Howard is under.
6 Feb 2003

Iraq deputy PM heading to Rome for audience with Pope
Iraqi foreign minister Tariq Aziz will visit Rome for a private audience with Pope John Paul II later this month, as the Vatican continues its all-out diplomatic effort to stave off war in the Middle East.
6 Feb 2003

Jesuit welcomes High Court 'fair go' asylum seeker appeal ruling
Lawyer Fr Frank Brennan is pleased with Tuesday's unanimous High Court ruling that preserves the appeal rights of asylum seekers.
6 Feb 2003

Feature - Churches together under one roof
Scale models of Australian churches and cathedrals - 'thousands of hours' of work - are on display in the crypt at St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney. City of Sydney town planner Richard Braddish says he was always looking to combine two great passions - his faith and model making.
5 Feb 2003

Opinion - Spirit of God moves over the waters
Certainly, Australia is a place of wind and fire, eager for water, and drought-stricken for the love of God. When the rain does eventually come, not only the bushies dance in it. Some things that people almost give up on, like the land, can be transformed. There's the anguished movement of dark clouds as they cover everything, the stabs of thunder, the rolling universe in torment and then there's gust upon gust of thudding rain, and a sweetness palpable in the light breeze. Maybe this is what can happen to the human heart, as it undergoes baptism. - Fr Andrew Bullen SJ
5 Feb 2003

NZ Govt gives benefits to Catholic theology students
Access to Catholic tertiary education has become easier for New Zealanders with a Ministry of Education announcement that Good Shepherd College students are to have access to student allowances and loans.
5 Feb 2003

Sri Lankan bishop challenges rebels on child soldiers
A Tamil bishop in Sri Lanka has given Tamil militant rebels the names of children allegedly forced to serve in the rebel army.
5 Feb 2003

New Papal Encyclical on Eucharist due soon
Pope John Paul II will publish a new encyclical on the Eucharist within the next few months, informed Vatican sources have revealed.
5 Feb 2003

Inside the Vatican magazine names Top 10 Catholics for 2002
Inside the Vatican magazine has released its list of top 10 Catholics for 2002, which includes late François Xavier Nguyên Van Thuân and murdered Belorussian journalist Viktor Taresevich.
5 Feb 2003

Catholic Health concerned about diversion of health money away from hospitals
Catholic Health Australia yesterday urged reform of the 30% private health insurance rebate in the interests of a fairer and more effective national hospital system.
5 Feb 2003

Canberra bishop confronts PM on Iraq war
Prime Minister John Howard and Canberra auxiliary bishop Pat Power had a heated public exchange yesterday after Bishop Power urged him not to go to war with Iraq.
5 Feb 2003

Feature - Triangles of courage
The plight of Germany's Jehovah's Witnesses has not yet widely come to light. A fifth of them died as a result of opposing the Nazi regime. Jehovah's Witnesses refuse to give allegiance to any worldly government, in fidelity to their belief in a future Kingdom of God on earth.
4 Feb 2003

Opinion - Not yet enough evidence for a Just War
Our elected Government decides when Australia goes to war, one of its most serious responsibilities. Decisions about war belong to Caesar, not the church. But to my mind, the public evidence is as yet insufficient to justify going to war, especially without the backing of the UN Security Council. - Archbishop George Pell of Sydney
4 Feb 2003

Public pressure hastening Dublin Cardinal's 'imminent' retirement
Cardinal Desmond Connell is expected to tender his resignation as Archbishop of Dublin within the next few weeks.
4 Feb 2003

Pope says nuns, brothers, religious priests 'a sign of God's love'
On the occasion of the World Day of Consecrated Life, Pope John Paul has called those consecrated to God in poverty, chastity and obedience are a 'manifestation of divine love for the world'.
4 Feb 2003

Pope warns against genetic manipulation of human life
Warning of genetic manipulation that violates the dignity of human beings, John Paul II has insisted that individuals "cannot trade with life".
4 Feb 2003

Lobbyist plans rural tour to talk water reform
Church lobby group PolMin is embarking on a speaking tour of parts of drought-affected New South Wales to suggest that Catholic Social Teaching has some insights to contribute to the current debate on water reform.
4 Feb 2003

Vatican 'no problems' with Harry Potter
The good versus evil plot of the best-selling J.K. Rowling books are imbued with Christian morals, a Vatican press conference was told yesterday.
4 Feb 2003

Vatican's 'proceed with caution' on New Age Movement
The Vatican weighed in yesterday on the New Age movement, saying some aspects of the search for inner peace were positive but warning that they can't replace true Christian religion.
4 Feb 2003

Feature - Viet Govt giving mixed signals on religious tolerance
At one level, allowing more Catholic seminarians to train for the priesthood, allowing 700,000 New Testaments to be printed, all point to the beginnings of greater tolerance. Yet when free speech is exercised prison sentences rapidly follow, including the 15 years solitary confinement of Fr Thaddeus Nguyen Van Ly, who was sentenced in 2001 following a trial without a defence lawyer.
3 Feb 2003

Opinion - Deep divisions in Australian society over Iraq troop commitment
If Australia goes to war against Iraq without a United Nations mandate, it will be the first time since Vietnam that our troops have been committed to war without bipartisan support from our political leaders. With Labor leader Simon Crean refusing to support a war against Iraq which is not UN-sanctioned, the divisions in the Australian community are becoming more apparent.
3 Feb 2003

God's architect design for Twin Tower space?
Antoni Gaudi, the avant-garde architect of Barcelona's Sagrada Familia church who could soon be beatified has become the latest candidate to design a replacement for New York's destroyed World Trade Centre
3 Feb 2003

Judge apologises to gay activists on behalf of Catholic Church
A judge in Washington DC declined to sentence three gay activists for disrupting a meeting of the US bishops' conference last November, saying that the Church had done "tremendous violence" to them by denying them the Eucharist.
3 Feb 2003

Vatican bans transsexuals from religious orders
The Vatican has sent superiors of religious orders a confidential document prohibiting transsexuals from entering consecrated life and requiring expulsion or suspension of religious who undergo "sex- change" operations.
3 Feb 2003

Charity's 'bacon priest' founder dies
Dutch-born Norbertine Fr Werenfried van Straaten, founder of the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, died of natural causes on Friday at the age of 90.
3 Feb 2003

Melbourne Commission urges churches to back UN on Iraq
The Melbourne Archdiocesan Commission for Justice Development and Peace (CCJDP) issued a statement on Friday condemning the proposed US attack on Iraq as "morally unjustified".
3 Feb 2003

Pope prays for space shuttle victims
Pope John Paul on yesterday called on people to pray for the seven astronauts killed in the break-up of the space shuttle Columbia and said his prayers were with their families.
3 Feb 2003