Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources
 

NEWS ARCHIVE FOR DECEMBER 2003

   
Feature - In China, Christmas shopping OK but not unofficial worship
It's a classic Christmas shopping moment in the unlikely setting of central China - though one that is becoming more common as Chinese, few of whom are Christians, adopt the holiday as a festive time to shop. But for members of China's unofficial Christian congregations, this is a season of fear as communist authorities crack down on unauthorised worship, detaining activists and bulldozing churches.
24 Dec 2003

Opinion - Joy for all humankind
Worry and the fear of suffering can take away our joy. When a joy drawn from the Gospel wells up in us, it brings with it a breath of new life. We are not the ones who create this joy; it is a gift from God. It is constantly renewed by the look of trust with which God regards our life. - To the Wellsprings of Joy - Letter 2004, Brother Roger of Taizé
24 Dec 2003

Catholic Health says auctioning aged care not on
Catholic Health Australia yesterday urged the Federal Government not be distracted by "fanciful notions of free market solutions which do little for the sick and much for the profiteers".
24 Dec 2003

Transitional deacon meets permanents at National Conference
Australia's permanent deacons made a concerted effort to build bridges with the country's "transitional" deacons by inviting them to their recent National Conference held in Sydney.
24 Dec 2003

Nuns give gifts to sex abuse claimants
Nuns have donated cars, overseas trips, home appliances and other gifts to victims who claim they were abused as children in two New Zealand orphanages.
24 Dec 2003

More political leaders give Christ the bum's rush
The baby Jesus failed to rate a mention in Christmas messages issued yesterday by Prime Minister John Howard and Opposition Leader Mark Latham.
24 Dec 2003

Pope cuts Christmas schedule
A few days ago, Pope John Paul II advised the faithful to celebrate Christmas far from the "noise and bustle" of modern life, and that is precisely how he plans to spend the holiday himself.
24 Dec 2003

Holy Land Patriarch's Christmas appeal for peace
The senior Catholic clergyman in Jerusalem has made a pre-Christmas appeal to Israelis and Palestinians to make peace and end the suffering of both peoples.
24 Dec 2003

Defection threat over Anglican stance on gay clergy
One of Australia's most prominent Anglican priests has converted to Catholicism over dissatisfaction with gay and women clergy, as a delegation of conservative Anglicans goes to the Vatican for talks that could lead to more "defections".
23 Dec 2003

Feature - Sleepless in Australia
It's their first Christmas in Australia and some of them just can't sleep. For these men, part of a group of mainly Afghan asylum seekers who arrived in Brisbane from the Australian immigration detention centre on Nauru in September, this is not the sleeplessness of excitement or anticipation but of utter fear.
23 Dec 2003

Opinion - Does the Vatican have secrets?
John Paul said to 1000 journalists in January 1984 that the Vatican is a "'house of glass' where all can see what is happening and how it carries out its mission in faithfulness to Christ and the evangelical message." The Vatican is hard for outsiders to grasp, but this is less because it's secretive than because it's unique. - John L Allen The Word From Rome
23 Dec 2003

Scottish cardinal says British obsessed with sex
Cardinal Keith O'Brien said in a statement this week that the UK is in danger of descending into a "bacchanalian state" in which everyone is obsessed with their own sexual pleasure.
23 Dec 2003

Philippines parishes help victims of landslide caused by logging
The Church has reacted swiftly in response to damage and distress caused by landslides that have already killed at least 89 people in the central and southern Philippines.
23 Dec 2003

Arsonists hit nativity scenes at two Melbourne churches
Arsonists have set fire to nativity scenes at Camberwell's Our Lady of Victories Basilica, days after a similar fire at the nearby Immaculate Conception Church, Hawthorn.
23 Dec 2003

Pope stresses unity of purpose among Christians
Pope John Paul II has spoken of his "awareness of Christ's desire for unity among believers" that has led him to "intensify ecumenical contacts" with orthodox, Anglican and other Christian churches.
23 Dec 2003

PC Christmas: Don't mention the 'C' word
Brisbane's Archbishop John Bathersby has commented that the conscious effort by public figures to avoid mentioning the word 'Christmas' is a "sad reflection" of an increasingly secular society.
23 Dec 2003

Irish church crackdown on behaviour at funerals
Ireland's National Centre for Liturgy has issued guidelines designed to curb inappropriate behaviour at funerals including the telling of blue jokes and the placing of photos and football shirts on coffins.
22 Dec 2003

Melbourne priest's plea to end underworld violence
Former prison chaplain Fr Peter Norden told the congregation at Friday's funeral of underworld figure Graham "the Munster" Kinniburgh that it's time to stop the city's "senseless loss of human life".
22 Dec 2003

British PM's wife challenges Pope to fix sexism in Church
Cherie Blair, the Catholic wife of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, has said that the Pope should make it a priority to rid the Church of sexism and see women as "thinkers" as well as "workers".
22 Dec 2003

Tasmanian sex abuse crisis continues
The Mercury reports this morning that the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church in Tasmania is deepening, with nine separate complaints having been made against senior church officials.
22 Dec 2003

Pope turns thoughts to Christmas
Amid Christmas preparations worldwide, Pope John Paul II reminded the faithful in his weekly address yesterday that it is necessary to "prepare the soul" in order to "intensely live this great mystery of faith".
22 Dec 2003

Bishop says Nauru self-harm reports not surprising
Highlighting the need for an end to the government's so-called Pacific Solution, Bishop Joseph Grech has said reports of self-harm by a number of Afghani people being held in detention on Nauru are sad but not surprising.
22 Dec 2003

Feature - Muslim devotion to the Virgin Mary
The mother of Jesus is often appealed to in even the most half-hearted attempts to approach Muslim-Christian relations in a positive manner. At a gathering of Italian Jesuits, a Muslim professor who had been invited to speak about the experience of minority religious traditions in Italy, made so bold as to say he thought Muslims had a more genuine devotion to Mary than Catholics. - Daniel A. Madigan SJ
19 Dec 2003

Opinion - Christ born uninvited
Thomas Merton put it this way: "Into his world, this demented inn, in which there is absolutely no room for him at all, Christ has come uninvited. But because he cannot be at home in it... his place is with those others for whom there is no room, those who are denied the status of persons." - Fr Ronald Rolheiser OMI
19 Dec 2003

Bishops present ethics teachings in new booklet
Australia's Catholic bishops have issued a booklet titled Being Human that sets out concisely Catholic teaching on the human person that underpins the Church's response to ethical questions on such issues as human cloning, reproductive technology, marriage and sexuality.
19 Dec 2003

ACU supports education in East Timor
Australian Catholic University Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Sheehan has led a delegation to welcome the first group of 53 enrolling students at the opening of the Catholic Teachers College at Baucau, East Timor in November.
19 Dec 2003

Iraq to return religious buildings seized by Saddam
Iraq's Governing Council has decided that religious schools and houses of worship confiscated by Saddam Hussein be returned to their legitimate owners.
19 Dec 2003

Pope says Christmas offers hope to world plagued by conflict
Pope John Paul II has said the celebration of Christmas should bring a sense of hope in a world that often seems overburdened by problems and conflicts.
19 Dec 2003

Rockhampton Diocese compensates nine abuse victims
Nine boys who were victims of a Queensland paedophile priest have received compensation from the church. The boys were sexually abused by Michael McArdle from 1972-1979 in various locations in Queensland where he served as a priest.
19 Dec 2003

Perth archbishop backs Premier's stand on religious freedom
Archbishop Barry Hickey of Perth has called French President Chirac's moves to legislate secularism "ridiculous" after Western Australian Premier Geoff Gallop's dismissal of suggestions that the state follow the French lead.
19 Dec 2003

Feature - The scoop on the Pope
Outside of the North Korean government in Pyongyang, no bureaucracy is harder for a journalist to crack than the Vatican's. And no one does it better than John L. Allen, Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter. In just three years, Allen, 38, has become the journalist other reporters - and not a few cardinals - look to for the inside story.
18 Dec 2003

Opinion - Surprise a lost friend this Christmas
Christmases have come and gone and they will continue to come and go. Each year we proclaim: "Glory to God in the highest". Are we any better off? BE STILL! LISTEN! LISTEN TO YOUR HEART! Do you remember when you dropped in unexpectedly to surprise an estranged friend? - Bishop Michael Malone of Maitland-Newcastle
18 Dec 2003

Boston Archdiocese to close underused parishes
Archbishop Sean O'Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston has announced plans to close a number of underused parishes in an attempt to overcome financial problems exacerbated by revelations of sexual abuse by its priests.
18 Dec 2003

Bethlehem faces another gloomy Christmas
Israel has barred Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat from Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem for a third straight year, as the West Bank town prepares for yet another depressing Christmas.
18 Dec 2003

French leader supports ban on religious symbols in schools
French President Jacques Chirac asked parliament yesterday for a law banning Islamic head scarves and other religious insignia in public schools.
18 Dec 2003

Catholic Health blames Govt for aged care nursing crisis
Catholic Health Australia (CHA) has accused the Federal Government of "sitting on its hands" instead of facing up to the reality of increased cost of providing aged care.
18 Dec 2003

Last audience as Pope prepares for full Christmas schedule
Pope John Paul II held his last general audience of the year yesterday, appearing in relatively good form but making it only halfway through his speech to an audience of some 10,000 pilgrims.
18 Dec 2003

Flak for Vatican cardinal over Saddam dignity call
Respected US right-wing Catholic commentator Michael Novak has savaged Cardinal Renato Martino, prefect of the Pontifical Commission for Justice and Peace, for defending the right of the captured Saddam Hussein to dignified treatment at the hands of his American captors.
18 Dec 2003

Feature - Artist's own work brings him closer to God
In September 2000, artist David Rastas was robbed at gunpoint by a stranger whom he had trusted implicitly. He overcame his sense of paralysis through his own art work, a stained glass installation titled My Refuge and My Strength. He has since become a much more spiritual person, with a closer relationship with God and a new sense of purpose.
17 Dec 2003

Opinion - Forgiveness offers ultimate peace
Only forgiveness can free a person from hatred and rage. It is a tragic mistake to think that revenge does. Forgiveness does not mean that one must forget what was done. Nor does it mean one gives up rights to justice, but simply a willingness to display compassion and mercy. - Fr Andrew Greeley
17 Dec 2003

Prominent priest gave last rites to slain man
High-profile Catholic priest Fr Peter Norden will conduct a funeral Mass on Friday for slain Melbourne crime figure Graham "The Munster" Kinniburgh.
17 Dec 2003

Guatemala 'political' priest dead
Gunmen in Guatemala have shot dead a priest who was twice a candidate for mayor of the capital.
17 Dec 2003

Clancy loses papal conclave voting right
Sydney's retired Cardinal Edward Clancy turned 80 on Friday, which means he loses his right to vote for the next pope, and Australia will have only two electors at the papal conclave.
17 Dec 2003

Pell blames Sunday sport for decline in mass attendance
Organised sport had taken the place of organised religion for many Australians on Sundays, Sydney's Cardinal George Pell said in an interview with the press published in today's Daily Telegraph.
17 Dec 2003

Pope insists peace remains possible
Stressing that peace remains possible, Pope John Paul II has said the war against terror must be waged on both political and educational fronts, and include clear analysis of the reasons behind terrorist attacks.
17 Dec 2003

Cardinal says Saddam treated like a cow
Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said he felt compassion for Saddam and that the world should have been spared the images of his medical examination after his capture.
17 Dec 2003

Feature - Picking a Pope
Choosing a pope is a bit like hunting for one's dream house. Buyers start with an ideal: say three bathrooms, hardwood floors, a fireplace, a spacious yard and a great view of the mountains. Then the hard work of looking at what's actually on the market begins. - John L. Allen
16 Dec 2003

Opinion - Even Saddam deserves dignity
The figure of a disheveled, bearded Saddam, his head being inspected for lice by a gloved US medico, was sensational television. We know that Saddam failed utterly to honour the principle of human dignity. But he is first and foremost a human being, and as such is worthy of our respect. - Sr Patty Fawkner SGS, Director Uniya
16 Dec 2003

Perth Cathedral set for completion
Perth's Archbishop Barry Hickey has said the design for the completion of St Mary's Cathedral will be chosen within the next few months, and work could start before the end of next year.
16 Dec 2003

WA Church hits back after Govt provocation
Catholic Mission in Perth has accused the Federal Government of making misleading and inflammatory statements about this month's riots at Port Hedland detention centre.
16 Dec 2003

Melbourne priest freed on sex assault charges
A priest who sexually abused a schoolboy and said celibacy was to blame for his indiscretions walked free from the Melbourne County Court yesterday after being given a suspended sentence.
16 Dec 2003

Vatican sees IT at service of peace
At the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society, the Holy See has presented a vision of information technology as an instrument of peace.
16 Dec 2003

Vatican to heed Mossad's terror warning
Italian police have taken the unprecedented measure of closing the main avenue leading to the Vatican every night over Christmas after the Israeli intelligence service Mossad passed on a warning about the possibility of attacks on Christian sites.
16 Dec 2003

Iraqi bishop says serpent's head finally crushed
Bishop Rabban al Qas from the Kurdish region of northern Iraq has described the capture of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is a "moment of joy for all Iraqis" that signals the beginning of "peaceful rebuilding" of the country with the help of a "liberating" military presence.
16 Dec 2003

Feature - The Sacred meets daily grind in Church's liturgy
It is 40 years since Pope Paul VI signed a document during Vatican II that changed the face of liturgy in the Catholic Church. Brisbane's St Paul's Theological College President Fr Ormond Rush told a recent seminar that schooling in a sacramental imagination "must include as its primary art the art of mystical attentiveness in daily life, a spirituality of the ordinary, a mysticism of the everyday".
15 Dec 2003

Opinion - Taking off the mask
Born in Sydney in 1951, I was thrust into the rough and tumble of a boys' boarding school at the age of nine. I learned to wear a mask, starting a split that would eventually become a chasm, between who I really was and who I thought I was expected to be. - Andrew Howie
15 Dec 2003

Lobby says legislation needed for equitable access to higher education
Independent Catholic lobbyist PolMin has called on the Federal Parliament to legislate for equitable access to higher education in Australia.
15 Dec 2003

Knights of Southern Cross working with Freemasons
After 80 years of mutual suspicion between Catholics and Freemasons, the Knights of the Southern Cross will join Melbourne's Freemasons in their Dallas Brooks Hall home to "seal an unlikely bond".
15 Dec 2003

Melbourne Archbishop to step in on schools
The Archbishop of Melbourne will investigate claims that Catholic priests are increasingly undermining school principals and the work of their staff, The Age reported on Saturday.
15 Dec 2003

Ratzinger says cut talk at Mass for sake of essentials
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has said that church services risk being overloaded with explanations and worship disrupted by being too "busy", according to a report in The Tablet on Saturday.
15 Dec 2003

US singer uses Vatican stage to criticise Church
American singer Lauryn Hill deviated from her scheduled performance at the Vatican's Christmas concert on Saturday night, alluding to the clergy sex abuse scandal and calling on Church officials to "repent".
15 Dec 2003

Pope says interreligious dialogue crucial in war against terror
Pope John Paul II has said mutual respect for religious freedom is crucial to the health of Christian-Muslim dialogue, and will help ensure joint efforts to eliminate the causes of terrorism.
15 Dec 2003

Christmas tree to appear in St Peter's Square today
The Vatican Christmas tree, a 30 metre spruce from the Italian Alps, will arrive in St Peter's Square today.
12 Dec 2003

Feature - The principal remains the same
Sr Judith Redden has spent two decades as principal of Adelaide's St Aloysius' College, but her level of enthusiasm is as high as ever. "Young people today have more pressure to cope with, but they don't change."
12 Dec 2003

Opinion - Priests should keep their seductive rhetoric out of public debate
I think the priest in politics has a good deal in common with the creative writer addressing the issues of the day, as depicted in The Australian last Friday by Frank Moorhouse: "I sometimes wonder whether storytellers of high profile are..disqualified from public statement because we are often falsely (but seductively) trusted to have special insights which we do not necessarily have."
12 Dec 2003

Complaints body OKs South Park's "Red Hot Catholic Love"
South Africa's Broadcast Complaints Commission has dismissed a "flood of complaints" by Catholics that followed the screening of an episode of the animated cartoon series South Park titled "Red Hot Catholic Love".
12 Dec 2003

Catholic social worker says Schoolies dangers persist
A higher police presence at this year's Schoolies Festival on the Gold Coast may have been a mixed blessing, with many young people being lulled into a false sense of security as the celebrations wore on, a Catholic social worker has said.
12 Dec 2003

Pope says God sides with victims
Pope John Paul has said that God watches over each person and all peoples, intervening to save those who are oppressed and to judge those who do evil.
12 Dec 2003

Official says Vatican's job is to listen, not police
A leading official of the Roman Curia has said the Vatican should have "more respect for, and listen to, the local churches", and not behave as if its role is simply "to instruct, to teach, and to correct".
12 Dec 2003

Pope meets Israeli foreign minister
Pope John Paul II called for "concrete acts" from Israel and the Palestinians to break the current impasse in the peace process, during a meeting yesterday with Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom.
12 Dec 2003

Feature - Australian student finds ancestor at English college
Maria Crosby travelled half way around the world to spend a gap year at Stonyhurst College in Lancashire, and then was amazed to discover a family connection with the ancient Jesuit school.
11 Dec 2003

Opinion - Johnny of the Cross
Johnny Cash's virtues were just as hard-fought as his vices. In life Johnny Cash - who died on 12 September - struggled for and against the God whose grip on him was so frustratingly and thankfully relentless that it was able to absorb all that fierce rage and all those addictions.
11 Dec 2003

NZ church reaction to 'Wise Men' condom ad
Wellington's Cardinal Thomas Williams has attacked a Christmas safe sex advertising campaign that depicts a trio of jeans-wearing men with packets of condoms in their back pockets and subbed the Three Wise Men.
11 Dec 2003

Vatican officials attend private screening of Gibson's 'The Passion'
Just days after Mel Gibson refused to allow his film The Passion of the Christ to be shown at a Vatican-sponsored film festival, several Vatican officials were invited to private screenings in Rome and a copy was sent to Pope John Paul II.
11 Dec 2003

Week of appointments in Australian church
Several Cathoilc organisations have this week announced appointments of new members of their boards or commissions, following endoresement by the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference during their recent Plenary Meeting in Sydney.
11 Dec 2003

Pope pushes French bishops on vocations slump
Pope John Paul II has told France's bishops that they must not "give in to discouragement" at the failure of their "many initiatives" to promote vocations to the priesthood, but instead confront the problem with unwavering faith.
11 Dec 2003

Australian Primate to co-chair Anglican Roman Catholic dialogue
The Archbishop of Canterbury has appointed Perth Anglican Archbishop Peter Carnley to lead the Anglican participation in the ongoing dialogue aimed at unity between the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches.
11 Dec 2003

Centacare dismayed at Carr capitulation on easy alcohol
Centacare Catholic Community Services in Sydney has expressed its "alarm and dismay" at "the simple announcement by Premier Carr that NSW has been 'forced' to deregulate access to liquor".
11 Dec 2003

Feature - Archbishop Fulton Sheen's cause advances
Archbishop Fulton John Sheen is most remembered for his radio and television programs and his numerous books, but he may also be remembered universally as a saint. The opening of his Cause for Canonisation has advanced since it was officially opened in September last year.
10 Dec 2003

Opinion - A fair go in an age of terror
Australia's commitment to human rights has been compromised. We have given priority to border protection at the expense of our responsibilities under the Refugee Convention. In this year's address to the Diplomatic Corps, Pope John Paul II said that the protection of the freedom and rights of the human person take "precedence over every political project". - Sr Patty Fawkner, Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre
10 Dec 2003

New research shows religious people are happier
Religious people are happier than those without spirituality in their life, and those who celebrate Christmas according to its original Christian meaning are more content than those Christmas focus is on consumer gifts.
10 Dec 2003

Education reform spells windfall for Notre Dame
Perth's Catholic Notre Dame University is expecting to gain from the Federal Government's offer of undergraduate loans, which will allow more students to enter private institutions such as Notre Dame and Queensland's Bond University.
10 Dec 2003

Jesuit alarmed by Vic Govt broken promise on children in adult prisons
Fr Peter Norden of Jesuit Social Services has pointed out that Victoria's Bracks Government is continuing to allow adult criminal courts jurisdiction over 17 year olds, despite its election pledge at the last two State elections to change the age jurisdiction to 18.
10 Dec 2003

Marist brother returns Order of Australia to State Governor
Sydney Marist Brother Gerry Burns has handed back the Order of Australia he received a year ago because he felt hypocritical holding onto an award for his services to children because he believes Australia's dealing with the children of asylum seekers has been shameful.
10 Dec 2003

Melbourne Commission's register of fading human rights
Australia is retreating from children's rights and political ignorance of human rights generally is at its worst in 50 years, according to the annual human rights register of Melbourne Archdiocesan Commission for Justice, Development and Peace.
10 Dec 2003

Council urges Govt to insist on human rights at Guantanamo Bay
The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council has issued a Human Rights Day call on the Federal Government to do more to secure the fundamental rights of two Australians detained by American authorities at Guantanamo Bay.
10 Dec 2003

Feature - Lord of the Rings celebrates richness of God's creation
The Lord of the Rings is filled with religious symbolism and the back-story permeated with Catholic teaching on virtue, providence, redemption and social justice. Tolkien succeeded in creating a powerful epic, with strong religious overtones, but one that is also accessible to many audiences, including non-Christians and young people.
9 Dec 2003

Opinion - Thomas Merton and the human genius for self-deception
It glared at him from his own soul, and dogged him all his days. He knew only too well the human propensity to displace the real with the illusory obviously, which is not restricted to the individual. It operates in human systems, including institutionalised Christianity. - Fr Michael Whelan SM, Director Aquinas Academy, Sydney
9 Dec 2003

Campaign to ban anti-Catholic bonfire event
A Catholic man has begun a campaign to halt the annual burning of an effigy of the Pope on a controversial bonfire in England.
9 Dec 2003

Parents say school treated boy 'like a leper'
The parents of a five-year-old boy with a speech disability have complained to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission after the Maitland-Newcastle Catholic Schools Office denied him immediate admission to a school.
9 Dec 2003

Figures shatter private school myth
The majority of wealthy families choose government schools for their children rather than Catholic or independent schools, according to figures for South Australia released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
9 Dec 2003

Melbourne priest blames celibacy for assault
A Melbourne court heard yesterday that a priest who indecently assaulted a 15-year-old boy told police celibacy was to blame for the sexual abuse of minors.
9 Dec 2003

Commission says new Missal translation "off to good start"
The Vatican's Vox Clara committee on English translations of liturgical texts has expressed its satisfaction with progress on a fresh translation of the Roman Missal.
9 Dec 2003

Pope celebrates Feast of Immaculate Conception
Pope John Paul II paid homage to the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary yesterday, which was observed as a major feast day in the Catholic Church and a holiday in Italy.
9 Dec 2003

Feature - As pope's health fades, who wields the real power?
The pope is alert. The pope seems weak and vacant. Both assessments of the pope's condition are offered by visitors to John Paul II these days, and both are accurate. As he fades, others are stepping in to fill the widening void
8 Dec 2003

Opinion - Mary targets her message
In every apparition, Mary appears to a poor person. The mother of God has never, it seems, appeared to a Wall Street banker, a major civic or Church leader. She picks on the poor, to provide them with something the elite find elsewhere - a romantic vision of the faith by which to sustain themselves emotionally. - Fr Ronald Rolheiser OMI
8 Dec 2003

Release of plans for Brisbane Cathedral Precinct
The Archdiocese of Brisbane has released architect plans for the completion of the St Stephen's Cathedral Precinct project, which will start in mid-January.
8 Dec 2003

Irish bishops apologise over sex abuse handling
In releasing a report that acknowledged the church's past failures, the Irish bishops have apologised for their handling of child sex-abuse cases.
8 Dec 2003

Jesuit journal argues against quick withdrawal from Iraq
Civilta Cattolica, the influential journal of Italian Jesuits, has argued strongly against a quick withdrawal of allied forces from Iraq, insisting that the Western world must not "abandon the Iraqi people to their fate".
8 Dec 2003

Failed school excursion sparks riot
A failed Mandurah Catholic College excursion to the Port Hedland Detention Centre sparked a riot on Thursday night that left two centre staff with suspected spinal injuries.
8 Dec 2003

Temporary reprieve for refugee schoolgirl facing deportation
Refugee schoolgirl from Hobart's St Mary's College, who feared deportation to her native El Salvador, has been granted a student visa to remain in Australia until March 2005.
8 Dec 2003

Pope says music at Mass must be dignified
Pope John Paul has said that Gregorian chant and pipe organs always hit the mark, but new compositions and other instruments can be appropriate if they reflect the sacredness of the occasion and help people pray.
8 Dec 2003

Feature - Freedom laced with fear
The 31 year old has been behind bars for 14 years, but when he's released in time for Christmas with his family he will inevitably remain frightened, according to the assessment of Brisbane archdiocesan Catholic Prison Ministry (CPM) co-ordinator Denise Foley for a 31 year-old prisoner.
5 Dec 2003

Opinion - Marriage a cure for social ills?
President Bush is seeking to promote marriage as a way to stabilise the lives of poor people. But it's clear the effects of poverty itself may be a significant reason why marriage is a low priority for some. The best training in the world may fall on deaf ears if the rent is due and there's no money; if children are sick and there's no health care coverage.
5 Dec 2003

Bishops elect new leader of Chaldean Catholics
A Baghdad-based bishop was elected patriarch of Babylon, spiritual leader of the world's estimated one million Chaldean Catholics, the Vatican said on Wednesday.
5 Dec 2003

Bishops' committee to support local news writers
The Bishops' Committee for the Media is to develop a kit for parishes to help them take advantage of opportunities to spread the Church's good news to the local media.
5 Dec 2003

Victims' group uses media to threaten archbishop
Hobart's Archbishop Adrian Doyle has expressed his disappointment at a victims' group's attempts to get him to act on alleged cases of clergy sex abuse my making threats through the media.
5 Dec 2003

Perth seminar told liturgical renewal a "work in progress"
Last night's Perth seminar to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Vatican II liturgy document Sacrosanctum Concilium was told that despite the Council's strong consensus on the need for liturgical reform, it still remains to be achieved.
5 Dec 2003

Returning deportees say Afghanistan was "like hell"
Two Afghan asylum seeker students from an Adelaide Catholic school who were deported from Australia in October have described their homeland as being like something out of hell.
5 Dec 2003

Sydney families pilgrimage scheduled for April
Catholic families from across Australia are being invited to make a pilgrimage to Sydney in April for a weekend of inspiration and celebration at the second National Catholic Family Gathering.
5 Dec 2003

Feature - St Patrick's Cathedral Parramatta sets standard in Church architecture
Destroyed by fire in 1996, Sydney's Parramatta Cathedral has been restored, and was re-opened on Saturday with a Dedication Mass. Also, St Anne's Church at Bondi Beach was built in 1934, and won the Sulman architecture prize the following year. But recently the church has been at the centre of a stand-off between parish priest Fr Paul Foley, who has been carrying out structural changes to the church interior, and members of the congregation who want to see the building preserved in its original state.
4 Dec 2003

Opinion - 40th anniversary a signal to re-apply Vatican II liturgy document
We certainly did experience strange times in liturgy after the publication of the Constitution on the Liturgy by the Second Vatican Council in 1964. Unfortunately there were many other communities that were not so blessed and set about implementing the liturgical reform without wisdom. Now is the time for us to return to the principles of the reform to ensure that the critics of the many abuses of the past may experience the Liturgy as envisaged by the Council fathers. - Fr David Orr OSB, lecturer in liturgy, Catholic Institute of Sydney
4 Dec 2003

Sea change for welfare body head
Catholic Welfare Australia's founding National Director Toby O'Connor is stepping down after 19 years service in the Catholic Welfare sector.
4 Dec 2003

Media baron's troubles worry London Catholic newspaper
The troubles of beleaguered newspaper baron Conrad Black, owner of the London Daily Telegraph and former owner of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, are worrying staff at London's Catholic Herald.
4 Dec 2003

Church optimistic after India-Pakistan peace initiatives
The Catholic Church in India has welcomed the latest peace initiatives between India and Pakistan, praying that they will lead to lasting peace in South Asia.
4 Dec 2003

Storm damage forces early holidays for Melbourne students
Students at a number of Catholic schools including Marcellin College Bulleen were turned away from school yesterday, with some being told not to come back until next year.
4 Dec 2003

Archbishop warns against liturgy nostalgia
Hobart's Archbishop Adrian Doyle has spoken of the folly of looking back at the pre-Vatican II liturgy with rose-tinted glasses and forgetting the enrichment the Council's reforms have added to the life of the Church.
4 Dec 2003

Pope: religion calls us to build bridges - not incite violence
Pope John Paul II has called on religious leaders not to use the name of God to incite violence, speaking on Tuesday to a gathering promoted by the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and the Iranian-based Organisation for Islamic Culture and Communications.
4 Dec 2003

Feature - How to help the refugees
"If you want to help our refugees, buy a travel pass or phone card and send it in," says Sylvia Winton, co-ordinator of the Asylum Seekers Centre in Surry Hills. "These people's needs are very basic." The Asylum Seekers Centre, established by Catholic organisations including the Good Shepherd Sisters, the Mercy Foundation and the Jesuits, has for 10 years been looking after the "huddled masses" of the world who seek sanctuary in Australia.
3 Dec 2003

Opinion - My monastery is silver
On the train, I read from a small book the morning prayer from the office of the church. It takes four stations. After that I just sit, half asleep, half praying a mantra, wondering about my fellow travellers, feeling empathy for their lives. Lay people, no less than monks need a rule, a deliberate scheduling of God time and activities within our busy and volatile lives. - Extract from Fragments: Moments of Intimacy by Terry Monagle
3 Dec 2003

Australia's Catholic Mission helping AIDS orphans
Catholic Mission took the opportunity on World AIDS Day on Monday to draw attention to its work with children orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and its ongoing need for donations from the public.
3 Dec 2003

Jewish human rights organisation recognises Pope's "lifelong friendship"
Representatives of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a Jewish human rights organisation based in the US, have gave Pope John Paul II the centre's 2003 Humanitarian Award for his "lifelong friendship" with the Jewish people and for his efforts to promote Catholic-Jewish understanding.
3 Dec 2003

Holy Land Franciscans hope for Bethlehem Christmas pilgrim rush
The Franciscan custodians of Catholic shrines in the Holy Land are seeking a "peaceful invasion" of pilgrims, specifically visitors to Bethlehem for Christmas.
3 Dec 2003

Pope to see Mel Gibson Christ movie
Pope John Paul II has reportedly asked to see Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ, which is due for release on Ash Wednesday
3 Dec 2003

Catholic lobby wary about ALP's Christmas gesture for asylum seekers
Independent Catholic lobbyist PolMin has responded cautiously to the Australian Labor Party's new policy designed to release children asylum seekers from detention before Christmas.
3 Dec 2003

Caritas emergency food aid to East Timor
Caritas Australia will begin emergency food distribution in East Timor from next Monday, following two years of drought that have drastically reduced food supplies in the fledgling nation.
3 Dec 2003

Feature - Watching for subtle forms of violence in the classroom
A workshop involving Catholic educators in southern Califormia revealed that most violence encountered in the classroom stems not from physical actions but from emotional and verbal actions, such as showing a lack of respect to fellow students, exhibiting prejudice and stereotypes, and intentional exclusion of classmates from groups and activities.
2 Dec 2003

Opinion - Embracing fundamentals but not fundamentalism
When I became Catholic it was the most liberal theology that concerned me most. But now it is the far right wing reaction, a reactionary return to the legalities and externals of the Church of the modern pre Vatican II past. The Church teaches us to be radical, but not fanatical. A fanatic merely mimics the externals of genuine radicalism without really understanding its meaning or spirit. - John Michael Talbot
2 Dec 2003

Anglican-Catholic talks break down over gay Anglican bishop
London's Daily Telegraph is reporting that the Vatican is preparing to suspend unity talks following a final meeting in the New Year, following last month's consecration of the Anglican Communion's first openly gay bishop.
2 Dec 2003

Caritas World AIDS Day call for solidarity
To mark yesterday's World AIDS Day, Caritas Internationalis was promoting the theme 'Live and Let Live' to eliminate the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS.
2 Dec 2003

Commission promotes action for debt cancellation
Brisbane's Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of Brisbane is encouraging Catholics to contact their Federal MPs and Senators to demand that Australia cancels debt owed to the country by poor nations.
2 Dec 2003

WA state primary schools do away with manger
Nativity plays and carols have become a thing of the past at some schools in Western Australia because teachers fear their Christian overtones could offend parents or students who follow a different religion.
2 Dec 2003

Pope backs campaign against death penalty
Pope John Paul II has added his voice to support the renewal of the international campaign against the death penalty.
2 Dec 2003

Religious urge Free Trade water exclusion
The Social Action Office (SAO) of Queensland religious congregations has called on negotiators and Federal Cabinet to exclude water from the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Australia and the USA.
2 Dec 2003

Feature - Year 12 student has had enough of war
Sydney Year 12 Catholic student Evan Dawood hopes never to have to experience the horror of war again. He was born in Iraq during the Iraq-Iran conflict of the 1980s, then endured the rigours and horrors of the Gulf War before fleeing with his family to Jordan. However, when the family sought to reunite with close relatives in Sydney, their residency application to Australia was rejected.
31 Dec 2003

Opinion - Why the media are so interested in the Pope
The secret of the media's interest in John Paul II lies in his capacity to re-establish a common system of reference, meaning a general framework of each age in which the words such as soul, family, God, prayer, human love and sexuality are placed in a precise context and have meaning. This pontificate has re-created a common lexicon, to aid the acceptance of the Gospel. - Vatican press office director Joaquín Navarro-Valls
31 Dec 2003

Archbishop Milingo making unauthorised trip to Africa
Against the advice of the Vatican, Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo has embarked on a trip to his native Zambia despite the opposition of the Zambian bishops' conference.
31 Dec 2003

Brothers face extradition to NZ to face abuse charges
Three St John of God brothers, aged 56, 67 and 81, will be extradited from Australia to New Zealand to face charges of sexual abuse committed in Christchurch up to 50 years ago.
31 Dec 2003

Jesuit challenging States on "prison" youth strategy
Jesuit Social Services Policy Director Fr Peter Norden says several State and Territory authorities are spending tens of millions of dollars incarcerating the poor and the homeless in juvenile remand facilities, instead of providing community-based housing and support services at a much cheaper rate.
31 Dec 2003

Pope prays for AIDS victims
Pope John Paul II has marked today's World AIDS Day by offering prayers to those who suffer from the disease and encouraging those in the Church who care for them to continue their efforts.
31 Dec 2003

Dedication of rebuilt Parramatta cathedral
Seven years after it was nearly destroyed by an arson attack, St Patrick's Cathedral in the western Sydney diocese of Parramatta was officially dedicated on Saturday.
31 Dec 2003

Bishops back Sydney bid for World Youth Day 2007
Australia's Catholic bishops have thrown their support behind a bid for Sydney to host as many as 150,000 young people for World Youth Day, 2007.
31 Dec 2003