Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources
 

NEWS ARCHIVE FOR JANUARY 2004

   
Feature - The dilemmas involved in end of life issues…
The Bulletin magazine this week devotes its main feature to the difficult ethical issues that arise in end of life issues similar to those Americans have been going through with the Terri Schiavo case. These are difficult issues the Church, and the Bishops, will have to face in Australia as well. The article reveals that even many doctors (44% in one study) have little understanding of the law or the ethical issues involved in these matters. How are ordinary families to get on as they are the one's with the legal responsibility when decisions have to be made about the withdrawal of feeding tubes?
30 Jan 2004

Opinion - A look at the other side of what went on in the ICEL controversy
The NCR editorial today - Liturgical coup is a lousy way to do business - gives us a rare behind-the-covers look at some of the politics that went on in the lead-up to the new English translation of the Roman Missal.
30 Jan 2004

US Bishops place two NZ films in their Top Ten
The US Bishops have named Lord of the Rings and Whale Rider amongst the top ten films of 2003. Also, as we go to press in late breaking news the ABC is reporting the Archdiocese of Boston has made another large payout to victims of abuse.

WELCOME BACK MICHAEL MULLINS: Our regular editor, Michael Mullins, returns to take over the news from Monday. Thanks for your company over the summer break, Brian Coyne (Relief Editor).
Send news tips and media releases to news@cathnews.com

30 Jan 2004

Names of 3 Aus reps to Int'l Youth Forum announced
The names of the three university students who will be representing the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference at the International Youth Forum in Rome at the beginning of April were announced yesterday.
30 Jan 2004

US research shows pro-life legislation educates in that direction
Catholic World News reports a new study by a post-doctoral fellow at the Harvard-MIT Data Center indicates that state laws regulating abortion reduce the number of abortions.
30 Jan 2004

2004 Lent theme has its focus on children
Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", yesterday presented the Pope's Lenten Message for 2004 to the world's media. The theme of this year's message is: "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me".
30 Jan 2004

Pope urges Church lawyers to stricter interpretation of marriage laws
In an address to open the judicial year the Pope has urged Church lawyers to a stricter interpretation of the laws governing the Sacrament of Marriage and the annulment of marriages.
30 Jan 2004

Vatican lobbies for cheaper AIDS drugs
A senior Vatican official on Thursday called for public pressure on pharmaceutical companies to lower the price of drugs to fight the spread of AIDS in poor countries. – Reuters
30 Jan 2004

Feature - The rebirth of Orthodox religious practice in Russia
As a way of providing background reading to the news story today of the Russian Orthodox intransigence towards meeting Pope John Paul, this Independent (UK) feature makes useful reading. It reports on the massive regrowth of the Orthodox Church in Russia.
29 Jan 2004

Opinion - How do we know what happened at the Crucifixion?
James Shapiro (author of Oberammergau: The Troubling Story of the World's Most Famous Passion Play) looks at the difficulties artists and filmmakers have had down through the centuries in telling the Christ story with pictures. This LA Times story makes for interesting reading in light of the graphic portrayal it seems the world is about to see unfold in Mel Gibson's film.
29 Jan 2004

2 US lay groups organising massive survey of priests on optional celibacy
Triggered by a number of well-publicised open letters from diocesan priests two of the new lay groups that have arisen since the abuse crisis are planning a massive survey of US priests on the question of optional celibacy. The results of the survey are expected to be published in May.
29 Jan 2004

Is the Pope getting mystical?
We reported yesterday on the continuing tremendous output of words from the Pope in recent days. His own Wednesday audience yesterday almost had a mystical quality to it as he explored the meaning of our personal relationship with God and of maintaining hope despite the good and bad in the world around us.
29 Jan 2004

Mystery of Sydney Cathedral window solved
The Catholic Weekly this week reports a Sydney researcher has solved a 138-year-old mystery surrounding the first stained-glass window in St Mary's Cathedral.
29 Jan 2004

Boy prays for his Mum's killer
This is more a universal Christian rather than a Catholic story. The Melbourne Herald-Sun this morning has a heart rending but uplifting font-page story of a young boy, Ben Jacobs, as he comes to grips with the murder of his mother Vicki (pictured).
29 Jan 2004

Qld Catholic Education head "heartened" by response from politicians
The Catholic Leader in Brisbane reports this week that "the Queensland Catholic Education Commission (QCEC) executive director Joe McCorley has been 'heartened' by the response from political parties to its demands in the lead-up to the State election". Our detailed report (click headline) has other local stories.
29 Jan 2004

Russian Orthodox "no" to Pope John Paul
Reuters is reporting today that the Russian Orthodox Church has ruled out any prospect of a meeting between its head and the Pope. The news service says the Pope "has long had his sights set on a visit to Moscow to help reconcile the two churches, divided since the Great Schism of 1054".
29 Jan 2004

Feature - My Monastery is Silver
Terry Monagle asks how ordinary Australians can be spiritually active in the business of everyday life.
28 Jan 2004

Opinion - Imagine for a moment…
"Why should we think that it is only within the world of science that we have much to learn? Imagine for a moment what it would be like to follow similar developments in the social sciences, spirituality or theology. Imagine a church or global community that encourages the same kind of research, inquiry or imagination that is filling the minds of the men and women who are controlling the two Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. Imagine listening to the news with breaking stories about spiritual advancement and new theological discoveries." Sr Rita Larivee invites you to imagine in NCR.
28 Jan 2004

Bookies taking bets on the next Pope
CWN reports English Catholics and Protestants alike have attacked as "tasteless and immoral" those bookmakers who are offering odds on which cardinal will succeed Pope John Paul II. But everyone will want to read who the favourite is so click on the headline above to find out. (It's an Italian!)

NOTE: We did receive a number of emails giving details of omissions from the Australia Day Honours List. You can view the updated list HERE.
28 Jan 2004

Media should seek truth not just ratings - new Vatican Secretary
The new secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Bishop Renato Boccardo, says people who work in the media should consider themselves at the service of truth and not just be concerned about capturing the largest audience.
28 Jan 2004

Pope keeping up the pressure with his views
Whatever might be said about the Pope's physical condition, there can be no doubting his continuing commitment by force of media output. Our detailed report tries to give an overview of a number of significant statements in recent days.
28 Jan 2004

Rights Agency to sue Cardinal Joos over "gaysEQUALS_perverts" comment
Catholic World News is quoting Reuters in a report that a human rights agency intends to sue Belgian Cardinal, Gustaaf Joos, over his comment last week that gays are perverts. CWN says another Cardinal in Madrid was sued last month.
28 Jan 2004

Dr Warwick Neville to head JPII Institute
The Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, yesterday announced the appointment of Dr Warwick Neville as the new Director of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family.
28 Jan 2004

Catholic Ed Commission Head backs public accountability
The executive director of the NSW Catholic Education Commission, Dr Brian Croke, has backed government accountability changes for private schools saying they "should put an end to the misinformed notion that non-government schools are not accountable".
28 Jan 2004

Feature - The Pope's Message for World Communications' Day
Some in the secular press have written up the Pope's Message for World Communications' Day (issued on Sunday) as "criticism of the media". You can decide for yourself if that is what he was saying or was he endeavouring to draw attention to the role the media can play in defending the family?
27 Jan 2004

Opinion - An optimistic outlook from Rome on the search for Christian Unity
To conclude the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Zenit carries an interview with Bishop Farrell, Secretary of Council for Promoting Christian Unity. He says there "are lights and shadows" in the present state of the search for Christian unity. His overall message though is upbeat and optimistic. "The overall picture is of achievement and progress."
27 Jan 2004

UK Cardinal makes waves on sex education and marriage prep
The leader of the Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, is making headlines with an attack on schools for providing "sex education galore" while failing to prepare pupils for marriage.
27 Jan 2004

Queensland Catholic educators put demands to politicians
The Brisbane Leader reports this week that Queensland Catholic education authorities are lobbying for a better deal from politicians in the lead up to the State election on February 7.
27 Jan 2004

Philippines' Bishops speak out against corruption
The Catholic Bishops in the Philippines have issued a strong pastoral statement on corruption in the lead-up to the May elections.
27 Jan 2004

Bishop Mark Coleridge gets Vatican guernsey
Melbourne Auxiliary Bishop, Mark Coleridge, has been given further recognition by Rome. On Saturday it was announced Bishop Coleridge has been appointed as a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
27 Jan 2004

Australia Day Honours
Click on the headline to see a list prepared by volunteers of Catholics who received Australia Day Honours. By one count more Catholics were honoured perhaps reflecting the changing pattern in religious practice in Australia.
27 Jan 2004

Hickey calls for unity, end of political labelling in local Church
In an unusually lengthy personal reflection in the Australia Day weekend edition of The Record newspaper, Perth Archbishop, Barry Hickey, has made a strong call for unity and an end to labelling in the Catholic Church. Cardinal Pell used his Australia Day column in the Sunday Telegraph to argue: "a nation needs goals other than money making and sporting achievement to remain good and healthy".
27 Jan 2004

Feature - The Secret Life of the Church in an Age of Scandal
A new book, Our Fathers, on the abuse scandal in the US is causing a lot of interest in the media. A NY Times reviewer describes it this way: "Our Fathers is a valuable, sometimes verbose, frequently shocking account. But even its most extreme expressions of anger are accompanied by a serious respect for questions of faith." You can read excerpts on the Newsweek site.
23 Jan 2004

Opinion - Young reactionaries, aging radicals – an unusual clerical divide
Here's a "must read" for anyone seriously interested in seeking to understand the difficult social milieu the Church is moving through. Sociologist and priest, Fr Andrew Greeley has been tracking the evolution of the beliefs and practices of the Catholic clergy and laity in the United States. Here are his latest findings. The research data is from the US but many parallels might be drawn to the other English-speaking, Western democracies.
23 Jan 2004

Church in Sri Lanka distances itself from "unethical" conversions
The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka is trying to distance itself from some Christian groups that have come under criticism in this Buddhist-majority nation for bribing poor people to convert.
23 Jan 2004

Now beards under scrutiny in France
France's education minister said on Tuesday that the proposed ban on Muslim headscarves, Jewish skullcaps, and "large" Christian crosses in schools could be expanded to include beards and bandannas if they are worn for a religious purpose.
23 Jan 2004

A not so big "welcome" to Bethlehem, Jericho and Emmaus pilgrims
Israeli authorities are making it impossible for pilgrims to travel to Bethlehem, Jericho, Emmaus and Qumran according to a report just in from PIME: asianews.it.
23 Jan 2004

Vatican ends controversy on Mel Gibson film publicity
Yesterday the Vatican issued an authoritative press statement to end the speculation confirming the Pope has seen the film but saying: "It is the Holy Father's custom not to express public judgments on artistic works, judgments which are always open to diverse evaluations of an aesthetic nature."
23 Jan 2004

SJoG clergy too ill for extradition, claims lawyer
The lawyer for three Sydney St John of God members facing extradition to NZ has claimed they are ill and should not face extradition. The 82 y.o. Brother has throat cancer "and has to take morphine every four hours" the lawyer told the court in Sydney.
23 Jan 2004

More non-Catholics than ever in NSW Catholic schools
In an exclusive report, the Catholic Weekly is reporting the percentage of non-Catholic students in Catholic school in NSW has doubled over the last decade, and numbers are continuing to grow at an ever faster rate. In another story, Catholic teachers in Victoria are set to strike claims The Age.
23 Jan 2004

Feature - An escape from slavery
Nicholas Kristof explains in this article his heart rending experiences of seeking to buy the freedom of women sold into prostitution. "I have described the sex trafficking in places such as Cambodia as a modern form of slavery, and I believe that. But the scene emphasised the moral complexity of a world in which some girls are ambivalent about being rescued and not all brothel owners are monsters."
22 Jan 2004

Opinion - A War of Words
Austen Invereigh argues the translation of the new Missal into English from the Latin text is the fruit of a long and bitter struggle – one that mirrors the battle over authority in the Church.
22 Jan 2004

Another US Bishop warns pro-choice politicians
A second US Bishop, this time an Archbishop from Louisiana, has warned pro-choice politicians to refrain from presenting themselves for communion. Archbishop Alfred Hughes' comments are not as hardline as the widely reported ban proposed by Bishop Raymond Burke of Wisconsin.
22 Jan 2004

Catholic doctors oppose EU euthanasia proposal
The International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (FIAMC) has issued a statement strongly opposing a proposal to be put to the Council of Europe on euthanasia.
22 Jan 2004

Jews, Catholics agree to fight anti-Semitism
The historic meeting of Jewish Rabbis and Catholic Cardinals in Washington on Tuesday has agreed to find ways to fight anti-Semitism.
22 Jan 2004

Big rise in reports of child abuse In Australia – Govt. Report
A Federal Government report due out today says reported cases of child abuse in the general community have surged by more than 60,000 in the past year to just under 200,000. In America, CNS is reporting a Vatican official endorsing the efforts of the US Bishops' to combat abuse in the Church.
22 Jan 2004

Another Belgian Cardinal raises eyebrows in another direction
Cardinal Gustaaf Joos has come out with some provocative statements about "gays being perverts" in a magazine article. The Belgian bishops have quickly come on the record to say he was giving a personal opinion.
22 Jan 2004

What sets Catholic Education apart… Archbishop Philip Wilson
In the midst of the present passionate debate about values in education, Adelaide Archbishop, Philip Wilson, says the Church is not primarily interested in Year 12 matriculation but in what happens when people die.
22 Jan 2004

Feature - Mysticism and Rationalism
ABC's Compass program last Sunday night broadcast an excellent discussion examining the tension between Mysticism and Rationalism. The transcript is now online. From the rationalist side, Phillip Adams argues: "I would have thought that the great divide will be between the stupid and the intelligent". From the Mysticism side, David Tacey argues: "people are finding that secularism is not nourishing enough … but you can't simply say, well the failure of secularism is the success of religion. Because to some extent religion has proved wanting as well".
21 Jan 2004

Opinion - The laity is in danger of being disheartened - new Tablet editor
Over coming weeks and months there will no doubt be many in the Church reading The Tablet with interest to see if there are significant shifts in editorial direction under the new editor, Catherine Pepinster. Just published on their website, Ms Pepinster, provides an overview of the role she sees the paper continuing to play. In part, she argues, "the laity, in a church becoming more controlled by the Curia, is in danger of being disheartened."
21 Jan 2004

Monotheist Religious Dialogue: Two significant meetings
The Ninth Congress of the Islamic-Catholic Liaison Committee has just concluded in Rome. In the US high level representatives of the Church attended a Jewish sponsored conference to foster better Jewish-Catholic relations.
21 Jan 2004

Activists support "Untouchables" at big conference in India
Anti-globalisation activists who have gathered in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) for the World Social Forum have rallied for an end to discrimination against minority groups, such as those born into the Dalit caste in India.
21 Jan 2004

Q'land Election: Catholic Social Action Office pushes Water Policy
The Catholic Social Action Office in Queensland says water and water management needs to be a major consideration for voters in the lead up to the State election.
21 Jan 2004

Abuse Crisis: Poll - most priests want celibacy discussion
Three stories today: •A poll of priests in a US diocese shows more than half want discussion on celibacy. •Report of a meeting of 190 priests with Bishop in NY. •UK priest remanded in NZ.
21 Jan 2004

Cardinal comments on absence of a sound moral and ethical basis for business dealings
Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the president of the Italian bishops' conference, has commented on the Parmalat business scandal in Italy. The debacle, he said, exposed "an unexpected vulnerability in our economic and financial system," caused largely by the absence of a sound moral and ethical basis for business dealings. CWN
21 Jan 2004

PM's comments on public schools causing sharp response
There has been a sharp reaction in all of the Australian media today to the Prime Minister's comments yesterday on State schools being too "politically correct and values-neutral". Our detailed report endeavours to provide an overview.
21 Jan 2004

Feature - The challenge presented by Jesus Christ
Here's Fr Andrew Greeley pondering the enduring mystery of Jesus with a secular audience in the Chicago Sun-Times. "If Jesus makes you feel comfortable with your agenda, then he's not Jesus!"
20 Jan 2004

Opinion - Why the next Pope needs to be an Italian
Attracting attention in recent days has been an article originally published in Italy arguing why the next Pope needs to be an Italian. Here is a translation of the original that has been published in the International Herald Tribune. Don't get too worked up, the writer, Roberto Pazzi, is being tongue in cheek. He has some interesting thoughts along the way though.
20 Jan 2004

Attacks against Christian Churches in Sri Lanka increasing
AFP reports: "Another Catholic church was attacked near Colombo on the weekend despite armed police protection amid escalating assaults against minority Christians" in the Buddhist-majority country of Sri Lanka
20 Jan 2004

Pope sends message to the "great peoples of the East"
To mark the start of the New Year in the East, on Sunday the Pope took time out to send a message to the "great peoples of the East, especially the Chinese, Vietnamese and Koreans, who during the next few days are celebrating with joy the end of the lunar year." The East is celebrating the start of the lunar New Year 4702 – the Year of the Monkey.
20 Jan 2004

Male Teachers: Sydney CEO to challenge Equal Rights ruling
The SMH reports this morning "Catholic educators will renew their bid to discriminate in favour of men to boost the low number of male teachers in primary schools".
20 Jan 2004

PM says State schools too "values neutral" for parents
Parents are moving their children out of government schools because the State system is "too politically correct and too values-neutral", according to Prime Minister John Howard in a news' story in The Age this morning.
20 Jan 2004

Prayers for Christian Unity
Elsewhere in the world, this week is celebrated as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. In Australia we celebrate this week from 23-30 May because of the summer holidays. Our detailed report carries the Pope's address to pilgrims in Rome on Sunday to open the week.
20 Jan 2004

Anglican Synod to debate Papal Primacy
A joint Roman Catholic and Anglican report arguing that the Pope should be recognised as the "universal primate" is to be debated by the General Synod of the Anglican Church next month.
20 Jan 2004

Feature - The inter-religious difficulties in our nearest neighbour
The Australian carries a feature story this morning examining the inter-religious difficulties in Indonesia. Sian Powell and Sandra Nahdar argue: "It is illegal to foment hatred against religion or race in Indonesia, yet the Government also effectively forbids a sure-fire way to build understanding between religions: inter-faith marriages."
19 Jan 2004

Opinion - Theologian calls on Church to affirm Islam as well as Judaism
Professor John Schmitt argues "Islam has been the subject of some statements issued by the pope and the congregations, but there is no major text that asserts the essential ties among Judaism, Christianity and Islam."
19 Jan 2004

Local stories:
• Vic law change may make death of foetus culpable offence
• Ruddock says religious divorce not for secular courts to decide
19 Jan 2004

Feminine "genius" needed in an age of insecurity and confusion says Pope
On Friday the Pope received the participants in the national congress of the Italian Women's Center. The theme of the conference "Women as They Face the Expectations of the World" led to the Pope making comment on the female "genius" and humanity's need for it in an age of insecurity and confusion.
19 Jan 2004

Theologian calls for "humanization of death"
Zenit is carrying a significant news report today on a call from a Rome-based theologian and expert in geriatric care calling for new approaches on how the Church deals with death.
19 Jan 2004

Catholics harassed also because of French law – Cardinal Lustiger
Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, Archbishop of Paris, says bishops around France have reported dozens of cases in which Roman Catholic girls had been harassed for wearing a cross, or nuns criticised for appearing in public in their habits. There were widespread protests around the world on the weekend at the proposed French laws banning religious symbols in State schools.
19 Jan 2004

Israel's Chief Rabbis ask Pope for "anti-Semitism" Day - historic meeting
The Pope endorsed a musical initiative in Rome on the weekend to foster harmony between the world's three major monotheist religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. There was also an historic 90 minute meeting between His Holiness and the two Chief Rabbis from Israel. The Chief Rabbis have asked the Pope to endorse a world "anti-Semitism Day". Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar said the Pope responded to the suggestion "positively".
19 Jan 2004

Second Catholic news agency critical of Vatican communications
A second high profile Vatican columnist with one of the major Catholic news agencies has published a report critical of the way information is being distributed to the world by the Vatican at the moment. Last week it was John L Allen in NCR. This week it is John Thavis in CNS.
19 Jan 2004

Feature - The Eve of Destruction
And here's a good stir for the weekend – virtually guaranteed to boil the blood of both progressives and reactionaries, men and women. Karen Armstrong is writing about the problems of both women and men in this article in The Guardian. She argues: "We are now living in a world that is perilously torn apart by religious extremism. We can no longer afford faith that feeds in any way upon hatred, exclusion and disdain. Before we condemn the bigotry of other traditions, we should try to heal the prejudice that has damaged our own".
16 Jan 2004

Opinion - Overcoming the fear of disapproval
Here's a great reflection to mull over on the weekend. Fr John Catoir in a column in the Catholic Weekly is reflecting on the fear that we all experience some time in our lives – the fear of disapproval. Part of our Irish-Catholic cultural heritage in Australia has been a pretty big dose of a sense of inferiority, or being disapproved of, and this sometimes manifests itself in reverse forms of bigotry and trying to prove we are not inferior. Fr Catoir is not an Aussie but his article is loaded with common sense. Much to think about here. This reviewer would suggest to Fr Catoir though, that used in the wrong way, religion can make the problem worse!
16 Jan 2004

Death of Bishop Noel Daly and other stories where prayers are requested
Bishop Noel Daly, the former Bishop of Sandhurst in Victoria died suddenly but peacefully at home on Wednesday. Our detailed report provides a link to the tribute and other stories where prayers have been requested.
16 Jan 2004

Paradox of Sin – "price of Redemption"
Zenit news agency places a slightly different emphasis on the Pope's reflection on Wednesday to the one we brought you yesterday from VIS: "The great paradox of Christianity hinges on the fact that sin was the reason for the passion, death and resurrection of Christ, says John Paul II."
16 Jan 2004

Schools: Catholic "success" in WA downplayed, Brisbane examines uniforms
Two stories from opposite sides of the continent: The West Australian is carrying a front page story this morning on the increasing success of Catholic and other non-government schools in public examinations. In Brisbane, the CJPC is going to put fair trading issues under scrutiny regarding school uniforms.
16 Jan 2004

Abuse: SJOG Bros oppose extradition to NZ/Canadian Court decision worry
Police in NZ say three St John of God brothers who are accused of sex abuse have indicated they will oppose extradition from Australia to face the charges. In Canada a court decision is causing worry that many Church social welfare services will need to close or be curtailed.
16 Jan 2004

Catholic aid convoy arrives in Bam. Donations still needed
Irish Aid agency, Trocaire, is reported in The Belfast Herald saying that a seven-truck convoy of relief from Catholic aid agencies has now arrived in Bam. Donations can still be made to Caritas Australia through their secure website or by telephoning 1800 024 413.
16 Jan 2004

Seal of Confession: Terry O'Gorman backs Bishop
Prominent Australian civil liberties advocate, Terry O'Gorman, has backed the comments of Bishop Brian Heenan regarding the wisdom behind the seal of the confessional.
16 Jan 2004

Feature - "Perhaps a moment of calm would be a good thing" … Cardinal Danneels
The Cardinal who has caused a stir around the world in recent days with his comments on condoms, gave a long interview to 30 Days magazine which was published in their December issue now on line. The interview gives an insight into the mind of this Cardinal. Like PJPII he seems a complex man not easy to categorise into any particular box. He argues: "perhaps a moment of calm in the Church would be a good thing, to give us a breather".
15 Jan 2004

Opinion - Fr Tom Doyle puts the US Audit under scrutiny
Now that the initial euphoria over the release of the US Bishops Audit has begun to die down, the more rigorous analyses and comment have begun to surface. This one, in NCR, has been written by Fr Tom Doyle, the Dominican who was one of the authors of a 1985 report that helped bring this whole sorry business into the open. Some of Doyle's criticisms might be answered when the further reports of the US Bishops are released later in February.
15 Jan 2004

Condoms: A correction to yesterday's report and further developments
The front page summary of our news story yesterday requires slight correction. The correction, along with further news stories on this subject will be found in our detailed report today. (Click the headlines each day to go to our more detailed reports and links to the original stories.)
15 Jan 2004

Vatican outrage at priest in "Big Brother" TV program
A senior Vatican official has criticised a priest who's been lined up as a contestant on Italy's latest Big Brother show.
15 Jan 2004

Further clarification of "democracy" comments by Pope
The text of Pope John Paul's comments last Saturday to the Congregation for the Clergy have been published and the Prefect of the Congregation, Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, has expanded further in a separate media briefing.
15 Jan 2004

Schiavo Case: Court rules - no guardian
The distressing case of Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged woman at the centre of a right-to-life debate in Florida is in the news again. The Chief Judge has rejected the Governor's request that an independent guardian continue to work on behalf of Mrs Schiavo.
15 Jan 2004

Cost of health care not "rocket science" – Catholic Health CEO
The CEO of Catholic Health Australia, Francis Sullivan, has slammed both the government and the opposition saying the costs of health care in Australia are not "rocket science". He has called for a "realistic debate" on the future of health care policy in this country "which educates people about the real costs of quality care".
15 Jan 2004

Christ, a model we must contemplate and imitate
In his General Audience yesterday, Pope John Paul resumed his catechesis on the liturgy of the Vespers. He said: Christ "is a model for us which we must contemplate and imitate, the 'program' which we must carry out, the example we must follow without hesitation, while conforming ourselves to His will."
15 Jan 2004

Feature - Defender of the outcast
A network of 'barefoot lawyers' pioneered by a remarkable Indian Jesuit, Fr Stanny Jebamalai, has brought dignity and freedom to India's downtrodden tribal people. An extended version of this article can be found on the changemakers.net website.
14 Jan 2004

Opinion - A Man for All Seasons - A Person for All Ages
Politicians today could learn a lot from St Thomas More argues Gerard Wegemer, professor of Literature at the University of Dallas and founding director of the Center for Thomas More Studies (see website review below). In this interview with Zenit published on Monday, Wegemer explains in what ways politicians and people today could learn from More.
14 Jan 2004

Pope comments on "a classic of Marian spirituality"
In a comment released by VIS yesterday, Pope John Paul says his motto, 'Totus tuus,' is inspired by the doctrine of St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Monfort. These two words express total abandonment to Jesus through Mary."
14 Jan 2004

Compulsory HIV/AIDS tests for matrimony and holy orders?
In India Roman Catholic bishops have asked the federal government to make HIV and Aids tests compulsory before granting marriage licenses to help prevent the spread of the deadly disease. A Roman Catholic seminary in Montreal will become the third in Canada to require HIV tests for aspiring priests.
14 Jan 2004

Centacare calls for extension of Regional Visa scheme to asylum seekers
Dale West, director of Catholic welfare agency Centacare says many refugees on temporary protection visas are skilled workers, and should be offered placements under the Government's new regional migration scheme.
14 Jan 2004

UK Church to pay $782,000 to former altar boy abused by priest
The Catholic Church in England and Wales is to pay record damages of $782,000 (£330,000) to a former altar boy who was sexually abused by a priest who later fled to Australia. Four more claims against the same priest are still to be heard by the courts but if successful they could leave the church facing a final compensation bill of $4.7m (£2m) because of this one priest.
14 Jan 2004

Condoms: "principle of double-effect might apply" … Melbourne V-G
Mgr Les Tomlinson, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, says in The Age this morning the principle of double effect might apply for the use of condoms in the case of AIDS or for a women with an irregular menstrual cycle … "as long as the intention was not to prevent conception it might be acceptable".
14 Jan 2004

The Passion: "This could be a career killer!" says Mel Gibson
In an interview to be aired on the EWTN global Catholic television network on 24th January, Mel Gibson claims that his new film, The Passion, could spell the end of his career as a film-maker. He claims though: "I don't care!"
14 Jan 2004

Feature - Asylum seekers: Driven to despair
The Australian carries an edited extract this morning from Beyond the Razor Wire by Sandy Thorne. These are the words of the unnamed Afghani at the centre of her story: "I can see part of a gum tree just visible to me through the razor wire. The soaring crows are mocking me ... or are they sad for me? So close to my dream of being an Australian ... but it's not going to happen so I want my blood to pour into the red Australian soil so I can be part of this free country, forever. I am so sad, so sad ... "
13 Jan 2004

Opinion - Religious education is not indoctrination
Melbourne Catholic teacher, Ann Rennie (Siena College, Camberwell) has taken on 3RRR broadcaster and columnist, Tony Wilson, in today's Age newspaper with a spirited defence of what the religious education teacher is seeking to impart to their students. She argues: "This is positive curriculum; enhancing the students' capacity to ask the hard questions. It is learning to distinguish fact from fantasy, to apply reason, but also to look beyond the merely reasonable and to see that the palette of belief and imagination can open up new horizons. We can open up our hearts or shut them down. That is not indoctrination. It is hope."
13 Jan 2004

Pope's "state of the world" address to Vatican diplomats
Pope John Paul yesterday delivered his annual "state of the world" address to members of the Vatican diplomatic corps. He urged all countries "to forswear terrorism and violence".
13 Jan 2004

Catholic influence in EU under scrutiny
The independent online newsletter, EU Observer, charges "the increased role of the Catholic Church in an enlarged Europe is leading to calls for more light to be shone on its influence over policy making."
13 Jan 2004

Trial of US Bishop in fatal hit-and-run accident starts
Jury selection commenced yesterday for the hit-and-run trial of Bishop Thomas O'Brien in Arizona. If convicted of the felony, NBC is reporting that O'Brien could be sentenced to anything from probation to nearly four years in prison.
13 Jan 2004

Abuse: US Diocese names 15 priests; Vatican disciplines 2 others
In separate reports, one California Diocese has named 15 priests who have been guilty of abuse and the Vatican has disciplined two others.
13 Jan 2004

Bishop Brian Heenan defends seal of the confessional
The Bishop of Rockhampton, Brian Heenan, has defended the seal of the confessional in a news report this morning amidst claims from a child protection advocacy group for the Church to change policy.
13 Jan 2004

Cardinal: use of condoms can limit AIDS
In a radio broadcast on Sunday, Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Belgium, said that someone who was HIV positive might need to use a condom to protect life. Our detailed coverage of the news (click headline above) also carries a number of other "sixth commandment" stories in the news this morning.
13 Jan 2004

Feature - How did the theologians of the early centuries understand Christ?
In the current issue of Priests & People, Thomas Weinandy, the warden of Greyfriars in Oxford, who teaches theology in the university, describes three principles worked out by the early Church and applies them to some contemporary questions.
12 Jan 2004

Opinion - The Word from Rome
In recent times John L Allen would seem to have carved for himself an enviable position as a source for providing the world with an insight into what is happening in the Vatican. Even down here in Australia we now regularly see him appearing as the quoted source in newspaper articles and for background comments on television and radio. His first column for 2004 in the National Catholic Reporter helps demonstrate why. His analysis about Vatican thinking on religious diversity is particularly revealing.
12 Jan 2004

Forthcoming film on the Pope draws ire of his biographer
The writer of the original biography on which a new telemovie of the life of the Pope is based has sharply criticised the producers saying the film "invents too much and doesn't present the man as he really was."
12 Jan 2004

Bush sings praises of Catholic education
At a reception for 200 Catholic educators in the East Room of the White House last Friday afternoon, President Bush delivered a 20 minute speech praising Catholic education.
12 Jan 2004

U.S. Bishop bars pro-abortion politicians from communion
Catholic politicians who vote to support abortion or euthanasia may no longer receive Communion in the La Crosse Diocese of Wisconsin until they publicly renounce their positions on those issues, says Bishop Raymond Burke.
12 Jan 2004

"Terrorism cannot be conquered with hate…": Pope
In his meeting with the new Indonesian Ambassador to the Vatican, PJPII said: "Political mobilization is necessary against the causes of injustice and desperation that lead people to chose the path of terrorism". He said, "this threat cannot be conquered with hate or merely repressive responses".
12 Jan 2004

Cardinal's cousin, former nun, takes gay stance
The main religious news story in Australia this morning concerns an open letter to Cardinal Pell from his second cousin, Monica Hingston, critical of the Church's position on gays.
12 Jan 2004

Pope's comments to priests drawing mixed headlines
The Pope's comments to the Congregation for the Clergy on Saturday are generating mixed headlines in the media today. Some are interpreting them as criticism of democracy in Church governance others as a need to find balance in Church governance.
12 Jan 2004

Feature - Permanent Deacons set for higher profile in Australian Church
The Catholic Leader carries a feature article in its current web edition on the National Deacons' Conference held in Sydney in December. It was attended by about 40 participants, mostly permanent deacons and men in formation for the diaconate. Many of them were accompanied by their wives. Fr Bill O'Shea reports on what the conference discussed and what this will mean for the Church in Australia.
9 Jan 2004

Opinion - Are there such a thing as "intrinsically evil" acts?
Our own CathNews discussion board is often a place for fascinating, and well-argued, discussions on moral issues. Over the years it has been operating it has attracted a coterie of intelligent writers and thinkers from around the world. James, a UK seminarian currently studying in Rome and regular contributor to the discussions here, sparked a fascinating string yesterday on the question posed in the headline above. His take-off point was the well publicised case of the person who advertised on the internet, "Wanted by a cannibal: someone to eat", and got a taker.
9 Jan 2004

Gang of 6-13 y-olds cause $100,000 damage to Catholic school
A gang of children as young as six who caused more than $100,000 damage to a NSW Catholic school during a vandalism spree told police they had acted out of boredom.
9 Jan 2004

World to fall short of UN child health targets
Fewer than one-in-five developing countries are on track to meet UN targets for sharply reducing child and maternal mortality by 2015, the World Health Organisation and the World Bank warn.
9 Jan 2004

Franciscan's send letter to Kofi Annan on Human Rights
Franciscans International and seven other non-governmental organisations have called on UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to take immediate steps to appoint a new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. They say the post's five-month vacancy since the killing of Sergio Vieira de Mello in Iraq last summer is undermining human rights efforts around the world.
9 Jan 2004

U.S. priests protest to hierarchy on Church language against gays
In an "Open Letter to the Hierarchy of the Church", 23 Chicago priests are protesting at "the increase in the use of violent and abusive language" directed at gays and lesbians by the Vatican, bishops conferences and some bishops.
9 Jan 2004

Pope urges continuing dialogue between faith and reason
In a comment yesterday when he was awarded an academic laurel from his former university in Poland, the Pope gave some insight into his deep feelings on the conflict between faith and reason and how it might be overcome.
9 Jan 2004

Pope sends message of hope to mentally handicapped
Pope John Paul has written a moving message to participants at an international symposium on the "Dignity and Rights of the Mentally Handicapped".
9 Jan 2004

Feature - Boston Archbishop is BeliefNet's "most inspiring person of 2003"
BeliefNet, the huge, multi-faith religious website, has named Archbishop Sean O'Malley as it's most inspiring person of 2003. Read their accolade and an interview with this "humble Franciscan friar who is healing the Catholic Church and abuse victims in Boston".
8 Jan 2004

Opinion - "The Catholic church is the infallible arbiter of the moral order!"
The Religion Report on ABC Radio National yesterday carried a provocative, lengthy interview with one of the leading ultra-conservative Catholic voices in America, Dr E. Michael Jones, editor of Culture Wars (formerly Fidelity magazine). The interview was part of a program examining homosexuality and the churches. You can listen to the program or read the transcript.
8 Jan 2004

Philanthropist wanted: to buy historic church
The saga of the sale of the East Trentham Sacred Heart Church in rural Victoria recently attracted national television coverage. Now the local residents have begun emailing news agencies in a desperate search to find a philanthropist who might buy the building from the Archdiocese of Melbourne.
8 Jan 2004

Surprise retirement of Anglican Primate of Australia
For the benefit of overseas readers of CathNews the biggest religious story in Australia today has been the surprise announcement of the early retirement of the Anglican Primate of Australia, Archbishop Peter Carnley.
8 Jan 2004

Catholic teachers' pay rise welcomed
About 12,800 teachers and principals in the NSW Catholic education system will receive an interim 5.5% increase in pay in a decision by the state Industrial Relations Commission.
8 Jan 2004

Two priests now nominated for Australian of the Year
Last week it was youth worker, Fr Chris Riley, who was nominated by readers of the national daily, The Australian, for Australian of the Year. Today, readers have nominated another Catholic priest, Fr Frank Brennan.
8 Jan 2004

Sydney's bid to host WYD 2007 gets boost
NSW Opposition Leader, John Brogden, has offered Liberal-National Party support to the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, for Sydney's bid to stage World Youth Day in 2007.
8 Jan 2004

New document on liturgy to appear soon, with "rigid" rules removed
In an email received early this morning, CWN is reporting on the imminent release of "a long-awaited new document on the Eucharist, delayed by high-level disagreements within the Vatican. The document will not contain any striking innovations..."
8 Jan 2004

Feature - A balanced assessment of the Papacy of PJPII
The December issue of Catholic World Report, now online, carries a special report anticipating the next conclave. Included in it is one of the most balanced, concise assessments of the long papacy of Pope John Paul II written by historian, James Hitchcock.
7 Jan 2004

Opinion - A Baptist perspective on Tolkien
With the third instalment of Lord of the Rings smashing box office records there have been many background stories on Tolkien. This one, written by Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary will be valuable to teachers trying to explain some of the background in Tolkien's writing. "Millions of viewers will enjoy The Return of the King without ever understanding the great story beyond the story. To see and to understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to experience eucatastrophe - life out of death. To miss it, on the other hand, is not just tragic - it is nothing less than the catastrophe of all catastrophes."
7 Jan 2004

Quest for Patron Saint of the Internet continues
St Isidore is still the front ranked favourite according to this holiday story in the Toronto Star but other runners include James Alberione, St Clare of Assisi, and the Archangel Gabriel.
7 Jan 2004

Click and ye shall be saved
A major new survey on internet use in the United States, more than a third of all Americans who are connected to the web (in total 126 million people as of August 2003) have used it to access religious and spiritual information.
7 Jan 2004

Catholic Mission remembers murdered missionaries
Fortunately there were no Australians among the 29 Missionaries murdered in 2003. Catholic Mission Australia is drawing attention to the fact that there are 450 missionaries from Australia working in 49 countries.
7 Jan 2004

Fr Joe Parkinson clarifies his media comment
Fr Joe Parkinson has written to CathNews and The West Australian critical of the reporting of his comments published on Monday.
7 Jan 2004

Protect stateless asylum seekers by policy not legal action - PolMin
The Australian Political Ministry Network has called on the Federal Parliament to protect stateless asylum seekers by simple amendments to the Migration Act rather than having the asylum seekers have to rely on court action.
7 Jan 2004

Audit finds most US dioceses now comply with protocols
The international media is filled with reports this morning on the release of the US Bishops' first report on the sex abuse protocols. Our detailed report takes you to the report itself and some of the international feedback.
7 Jan 2004

Feature - Religion, the Eternal Growth Industry
David Yount has an interesting article in the Washington Post providing useful stats on the importance people place on God in their lives. 8 out of 10 Americans affirm "prayer is important in their lives" but in contrast around 50% of Europeans say God does not matter to them at all.
6 Jan 2004

Opinion - Short Story: some holiday humour…
It is still holiday time for many so here's something humorous and light that follows on from yesterday's news story about Howard Dean recruiting Jesus to the Democrat presidential election campaign. It's a short story by one Nathan McIntyre. Enjoy more like this: "Today's America should not cater to the bleeding-heart politics of men like Howard Dean and Jesus. Frankly, the policies advocated by Christ have not only been Un-American, but, dare I say, Un-Christian. Jesus has refused to condemn homosexuals, abortion doctors, Muslims, feminists, atheists, communists, convicted murderers, or even the ACLU."
6 Jan 2004

Vatican paper surveys 40 years of papal travel
In its January 4 edition, the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano reflected on the trip by Pope Paul VI, which took place exactly 40 years earlier. The front-page story noted that although the trip was a short one -- lasting just 3 days -- it carried "great historic importance."
6 Jan 2004

Catholic schools fees to rise
Almost 150 Catholic schools run by the Sydney archdiocese will be hit with a 9 per cent fee rise, while Parramatta diocesan school fees will rise by 5.5 per cent.
6 Jan 2004

Cardinal Law's testimony heads to stage
A new play, "Sin: A Cardinal Deposed", based on the court depositions of Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston is set to open on March 1.
6 Jan 2004

U.S. Bishops to provide scandal report today
USA Today reports the U.S. Catholic bishops will release the first of three major reports promised after the child sexual abuse scandal erupted two years ago. It's expected to account, diocese by diocese, for the church's reform efforts.
6 Jan 2004

Death of eminent Australian Catholic historian, Patrick O'Farrell
CathNews is indebted to Dr John Carmody for drawing our attention to the death of Emeritus Professor Patrick O'Farrell on Christmas Day. Professor O'Farrell is worthy of special distinction in this news service because of his contribution to the writing of Australian Catholic history. We publish in full the obituary prepared by Dr Carmody for the Irish Times newspaper.
6 Jan 2004

The Cardinal's reflections on 2003
All up Cardinal Pell saw 2003 as "another good year" for Australia with mixed blessings for the Church: "Probably 2003 saw more public criticism of the Catholic Church than any year since Federation. Ironically more young men started studying for the priesthood in Sydney in early 2003 than in any year for 20 or 30 years."
6 Jan 2004

Feature - In the shadows of Greeneland
"A hundred years after Graham Greene's birth, the Catholic novelist's qualities still influence literary fiction. His restless faith inspired drama and characters playing for the highest possible stakes" writes Mark Lawson in The Tablet. "It is difficult now for most Catholic readers – let alone secular ones – to comprehend how central Catholicism was to the English novel written by authors born just before the First World War..."
5 Jan 2004

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 2004

Scottish Catholics to reclaim Christmas next year
The Catholic Church in Scotland will mount a national campaign urging the country's local councils to remember the Christian message in their festive celebrations for 2004.
5 Jan 2004

Vietnam criticised for restrictions on religion
In its review of the year 2003, Freedom House, a US-based human and religious rights organization, made strong accusations against the government in Hanoi. It cited a series of persecutions carried out by local authorities toward Hmong Christians.
5 Jan 2004

"Jesus is a democrat" says Howard Dean in his push to be US President
The UK Telegraph carries an interesting story on the importance of the "religious vote" in the forthcoming US presidential elections. It claims Howard Dean, one of the Democrat hopefuls has "all but recruited Jesus Christ as a liberal Democrat".
5 Jan 2004

Italian Catholics launch web tv channel aimed at youth
The new year has seen the launch of a new initiative by a number of Catholic groups of a web tv channel aimed at youth. www.papaboys.tv.
5 Jan 2004

Voice of the Faithful forms affiliate in Tasmania
The Hobart Mercury reports this morning that the high profile and controversial lay organisation in the United States, Voice of the Faithful - which was formed in the wake of the Boston abuse scandals - has formed an affiliate in Tasmania.
5 Jan 2004

Catholic ethicist argues against pre-nuptial property agreements
Fr Joe Parkinson, head of the Catholic Church's L.J. Goody Bioethics Centre, argues a legal contract that takes effect when a marriage ends is contrary to the Christian understanding of marriage.
5 Jan 2004

Feature - A voice of comfort sings out to quell despair
If one was to casually meet tattooed and burly jazz musician, Aaron Neville, 62, in the street one would hardly think of things Catholic or spiritual as the first thought. This uplifting story by Douglas Brinkley, published a few days ago in the New York Times, introduces you to a Grammy Award nominee whose music does really help quell despair in the human heart.
2 Jan 2004

Opinion - When God goes to war
"We can be certain of one thing in 2004. Unless there is some unimaginable breakthrough, we will see more religiously inspired terrorism. It often seems that we might be better off without religion. A cursory consideration of the crusades and persecutions of Christian history shows that religious violence is not confined to the Islamic world. If the different faiths really are committed to peace and goodwill, why do they inspire such hatred, and why are their scriptures so aggressive?" asks Karen Armstrong.
2 Jan 2004

5.9% decline in Mass attendance in Chicago last year
The Archdiocese of Chicago reports a 5.9% decline in Mass attendance last year. Fewer people in the pews translated into less money for parishes while increasing pension and insurance obligations created a deficit in the Archdiocese of Chicago's Pastoral Center budget.
2 Jan 2004

Islam not as tolerant as us: Cardinal
Too many Islamic countries treat their Christian minorities as second-class citizens, barring church building, while Western states let their Muslims build mosques freely, the former foreign minister of the Vatican, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran says in a widely reported article.
2 Jan 2004

Celibacy has largely "broken down" - Dominican Leader
Priestly celibacy in the Roman Catholic church has largely broken down in many parts of the world, Father Timothy Radcliffe, former master general of the Dominican Order, said on the BBC radio program, Analysis, on Sunday night.
2 Jan 2004

Murder of Apostolic Nuncio - another Archbishop told to "get out"
The shocking murder of the Apostolic Nuncio to Burundi has been followed up by a call for Archbishop Simon Ntamwana of Burundi to find somewhere else to live. The call has been made by National Liberation Forces after the Archbishop had accused them of being responsible for the murder of Monsignor Michael Courtney.
2 Jan 2004

Caritas seeks urgent funds for Iran
Caritas Australia has launched an urgent appeal for funds for the victims of the earthquake in Iran. If you can help you can donate on-line at www.caritas.org.au/ or by phoning 1800 024 413.
2 Jan 2004

Pope calls for new world order
Pope John Paul II rang in the New Year on Thursday with a renewed call for peace in the Middle East and Africa and the creation of a new world order based on respect for the dignity of man and equality among nations.
2 Jan 2004