Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources
 

NEWS ARCHIVE FOR FEBRUARY 2004

   
Feature - Straight talk at Marist Justice Festival
The opinions of other people challenged me, just as I am sure that some things I said confronted some others! There is sadly mutual ignorance between the peoples of the Islamic world and the West. I still feel angry about these issues (perhaps even more so!) but I also now feel empowered to do something positive about it. - Dan Frisby
27 Feb 2004

Opinion - The asylum seeker imagination test
I was startled to receive a letter from Immigration Minister Senator Amanda Vanstone: "I ask you to imagine how you would feel if one of the [Nauru asylum seeker hunger] strikers was a loved one of yours. Persuading them to end their dangerous course of action would have to be the first priority." I replied: "I am heartened... should we not design policies which take as their starting point your imagination test?" - Australian Jesuit Provincial Fr Mark Raper, Australian Catholic University 2004 Lenten Lecture 25/2/04
27 Feb 2004

GG puts Jesus back in the picture
Governor-General Michael Jeffery said this week that he believes Jesus Christ is the greatest leader who ever lived.
27 Feb 2004

Anglican olive branch follows Tutu slur on Catholic condom stance
The Anglican church in South Africa has sought to make peace with the Catholic Church after its former head Archbishop Desmond Tutu used an international AIDS conference in Dublin to speak out against Catholic disapproval of condoms as a way of preventing the spread of AIDS.
27 Feb 2004

Church Latin revival on the horizon
A new document on the use of Latin in the Church, and the teaching of Latin in seminaries, is expected sometime this year.
27 Feb 2004

Papal condolences for Moroccan quake victims
John Paul II sent a message of condolence to the relatives and loved ones of the victims of Tuesday's earthquake that killed more than 550 people in northern Morocco.
27 Feb 2004

Jesuit head affirms power of the grassroots
Local communities and power bases are ultimately stronger than national politics and the forces of globalisation, according to Australian Jesuit Provincial Mark Raper.
27 Feb 2004

US Bishops' mixed assessment of The Passion
The US Bishops' Office for Film & Broadcasting has faulted Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ for its "in-your-face rawness that is much too intense for children", but dismissed charges that the movie blames the Jews collectively for the death of Jesus.
27 Feb 2004

Feature - More to the bigot than meets the eye
Rev Ian Paisley was deeply touched recently when a well-known Catholic family asked him to pray with them when their father was dying. "They were devout Catholics yet they wanted me with them and I was very heartened by that. Obviously they did not think that I was this big bigot," he says.
26 Feb 2004

Opinion - Symbols and sacraments: Their human foundation
Appreciation of church rituals called 'sacraments' must start with something basic, something rooted in human experience - the meaning and function of symbols. Symbols can have so many associated meanings that it may be easier to experience them than to explain them. - Brian Gleeson CP, Yarra Theological Union, Melbourne
26 Feb 2004

National Catholic Family Gathering launched in Wagga
The Living the Dream National Catholic Family Gathering, to be held in Sydney in April is gathering momentum, with more than 200 people attending a Mass to launch the event in the Wagga Wagga diocese.
26 Feb 2004

Catholic-Muslim group discusses religion in politics
Meeting in Rome this week, a joint commission of Catholic and Muslim scholars has focused on the danger of avoiding the partisan political exploitation of religious faith.
26 Feb 2004

Caritas SOS warns 8.1 million Haitians face food shortage
The head of Caritas Haiti has joined other non government organisations in the country in sending an alert to the international community about the humanitarian crisis that is accompanying Haiti's political upheaval.
26 Feb 2004

Catholic Health urges "savings vehicle" to finance aged care
In response to yesterday's announcement on superannuation by Federal Treasurer Peter Costello, Catholic Health Austraia (CHA) called for a dedicated savings vehicle to meet the costs of health and aged care in old age.
26 Feb 2004

Pope says Lenten penance must include 'interior attitude'
Presiding over Ash Wednesday services in St Peter's Basilica, Pope John Paul II reminded the faithful that external gestures of penance are worthwhile only if they "express an interior attitude".
26 Feb 2004

Pell defends violence of The Passion
Sydney's Cardinal George Pell has said that Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ is "very confronting, very violent", but that the violence, and Jesus' reaction to it, is the very point of the film and the Passion narratives themselves.
26 Feb 2004

Feature - Where does the Ash Wednesday ash tradition come from?
Though not a holy day of obligation, many people would not think of letting Ash Wednesday go by without a trip to church to be marked with an ashen cross on their foreheads.
25 Feb 2004

Opinion - Self-denial 'more relevant than ever'
Traditionally, Lent has been particularly associated with the discipline of self-denial so that our mind and heart may be better focussed on God. Although the practices of fasting and abstinence may seem a little old-fashioned, I would argue that in these days of instant gratification these disciplines are more relevant than ever. - Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart
25 Feb 2004

Tax forces NZ churches to use low-alcohol wine
The Church in New Zealand has been forced to switch to using low alcohol wine for the Eucharist following the imposition of a binge drinker's tax.
25 Feb 2004

Cardinal Kasper reports on meeting with Russian Patriarch
Cardinal Walter Kasper, head of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, reports that he told Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei that the Vatican is intent upon maintaining relations with the Orthodox churches.
25 Feb 2004

Uganda massacre death toll passes 250
Comboni missionary Fr Sebhat Ayele has said that toll of the weekend's Lord's Resistance Army massacre has risen from 220 to 257.
25 Feb 2004

US bishops welcome Iraq religious freedom assurance
The US Bishops have applauded moves by US head of mission in Iraq Ambassador Paul Bremer to recognise "the importance of ensuring that religious liberty is fully respected in the new Iraq".
25 Feb 2004

Pope says Lent provides opportunity for self-examination
Pope John Paul II has said the 40 days of Lent, which commence today, provide a chance for for Christians to examine their lives and their relationships truthfully and sincerely.
25 Feb 2004

Archbishop's letter warns on reality TV drugs link
Archbishop Philip Wilson has written to all young people in Catholic schools in his Adelaide Archdiocese to warn them of the harsh reality of drug and alcohol abuse that is often glamourised by so-called reality TV programs.
25 Feb 2004

Feature - Always the calm one, and a tower of strength
It's near tea time at one of the community residential units run by the Daughters of Charity at Marillac House and I'm in the living room with Anna Dunlevie and a young physically and intellectually disabled man called Pete. Anna began working at the house 15 years ago, thinking she'd "give it a go for 12 months". Now she can't see herself leaving.
24 Feb 2004

Opinion - Environment - the human rights issue of the future
To the idealistic young people who care about the fate of the earth, John Paul II is not someone to whom they would instinctively turn. Yet the environment is a deeply moral issue, on a par with the question of right and wrong, not least because by the end of the present century the environmental crisis may well supersede man's inhumanity to man as the principal cause of human suffering.
24 Feb 2004

British Catholics told to love their taxes
The Catholic Church of England and Wales yesterday launched a passionate defence of taxes, arguing that instead of an unfair penalty, taxation should be seen as a way all people can play a moral part in public life.
24 Feb 2004

Two Michelangelo works identified in Sistine Chapel
Two decorative works in the Sistine Chapel have been identified for the first time as the work of Michelangelo.
24 Feb 2004

Bandits hold up Mother Teresa successor
Sister Nirmala, who succeeded Mother Teresa as superior-general of the Missionaries of Charity, was robbed on Saturday by bandits during a tour of rural areas in eastern India.
24 Feb 2004

Commission welcomes UN recommendation on East Timor
The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of Brisbane has welcomed the recommendation by UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, that the Security Council approve an extension of the mandate for the UN's peacekeeping mission in East Timor.
24 Feb 2004

Early release likely for would-be papal assassin
Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish gunman who shot Pope John Paul II in 1981, may be released early from a Turkish prison after a court set a precedent.
24 Feb 2004

Lenten appeal to use resources out of love, not fear
At today's launch of Caritas Australia's annual Project Compassion appeal, Australian Jesuit head Fr Mark Raper will question how governments and individuals decide on spending priorities.
24 Feb 2004

Feature - Roman Curia officials lack Pope's staying power
While the head of the church has remained the same, his key aides have come and gone with great regularity. Of the 21 Vatican officials who headed major departments when the pope was elected, 16 have died and the remaining five retired long ago. Most Vatican congregations and councils have seen three or four changes of administration under this pope.
23 Feb 2004

Opinion - The President and the Pope
Pope John Paul II and US President George Bush have a great deal of convergence in social policy but significant divergence in foreign policy. But some analysts argue that Bush's approach to social policy is a distinctly Protestant one, and would not find much resonance with the Vatican. - Andrea Kirk, Phillips Foundation Journalism Fellow
23 Feb 2004

French cardinal critical of genre of "Jesus films"
Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger of Paris has expressed serious misgivings about Mel Gibson's film The Passion, because he says the filmgoer is subject to the "director's interpretation of events".
23 Feb 2004

Pope to stay at Vatican on Ash Wednesday
Pope John Paul II will preside at the celebration of the Word and the blessing and imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday in St Peter's Basilica.
23 Feb 2004

Vatican rebuff for Sydney's "premature" 2007 World Youth Day bid
The head of the Pontifical Council for the Laity's Youth Section has acted to suppress talk of which country is to host the 2007 World Youth Day by calling the public announcement of bids "inappropriate".
23 Feb 2004

Archbishop backs family focus of drug rehabilitation
Melbourne's Archbishop Denis Hart has thrown his weight behind a Catholic organisation that believes strengthening the family unit is the best way to fix the problem of drug abuse.
23 Feb 2004

Labor rejects PM's resolve to back Catholics on male teachers
Labor community relations spokesman Lindsay Tanner has declared that an ALP Government would not change sex discrimination laws to allow schools to recruit more male teachers.
23 Feb 2004

Commission escalates push for low paid workers
The Church's employment relations body stepped up its lobbying for a fair federal minimum wage in a new submission to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission's Safety Net Review.
23 Feb 2004

Feature - An imaginary dinner party with Virginia Woolf and Pope Benedict XV
Our guests arrived around the same time, Virginia tall and elegant, though dressed carelessly, and Benedict small with one shoulder higher than the other. But once they were seated they were able to converse eye to eye with ease, and neither was afraid to engage the other. In fact each seemed curious to understand the other.
20 Feb 2004

Opinion - Let's fall in love with our faith
We've subjected faith, religion and Church to a scorching exorcism and have not yet moved on, to restore to them again their angels, their proper light, their beauty. We need to re-romanticise faith, religion and Church and give people something beautiful with which to fall in love. - Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
20 Feb 2004

UK Catholic educators reject teaching atheism in RE class
The Catholic Education Service in England and Wales has criticised plans for students to be taught atheism, humanism and other non-religious beliefs in religious education classes in state schools.
20 Feb 2004

NZ Minister responds to Caritas child labour survey shock
NZ Labour Minister Margaret Wilson says moves are underway to ensure children and young people are aware of their rights and legal protections at work following a Caritas survey that revealed child exploitation in the country.
20 Feb 2004

Indian Church leaders welcome court support for tribal converts
Church leaders in India have commended the Supreme Court for upholding the constitutional privileges of tribals who change their religion, although a lawyer cautions the welcome may be premature.
20 Feb 2004

Pope to canonise mother who said no to abortion
The Vatican has announced the May canonisation of an Italian woman who chose to give birth to her fourth child rather than have an abortion that might have saved her life.
20 Feb 2004

Vatican report urges work with experts on sex abuse
A 220 page Vatican report has recommended that the Catholic Church should work more closely with scientific experts to identify potential perpetrators.
20 Feb 2004

Brothers seek 'spiritual accountability' in youth programs
The Christian Brothers have acted on survey findings that spiritual hunger evident in young people is not being met by the order's youth formation initiatives.
20 Feb 2004

Feature - Faith takes edge off desperation in Congo destruction
Lulu now works for Caritas Australia, drafting reports and conducting monitoring visits in Africa and the Pacific region. It was on one of these visits that she found herself back in Congo last year, more than a decade after she fled. "I couldn't believe what I saw," she says. "I was crying. They had destroyed the schools, the hospitals."
19 Feb 2004

Opinion - Poverty just as bad as terrorism
We point the finger at "failed states" which don't work properly and allow terrorism to flourish. However we may be getting our definitions and priorities wrong. States fail when they are incapable of lifting people out of poverty, or when they pay insufficient heed to the importance of ensuring that wealth is adequately distributed so that the whole of the population can flourish. - Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, to UK Treasury Summit on Globalisation 16/2/04
19 Feb 2004

Gibson says The Passion is not about blame for Crucifixion
Blaming Jews for the death of Jesus is not the point of The Passion of the Christ, according to director Mel Gibson.
19 Feb 2004

US bishop convicted in fatal hit-run accident
Former head of the Phoenix Diocese in Arizona, Bishop Thomas O'Brien, was found guilty on Tuesday of leaving the scene of a fatal accident, making what is believed to be the first case in which a US bishop has received a criminal conviction.
19 Feb 2004

German Cardinal explains why non-Catholics can't receive Communion
Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne has said that intercommunion will be a sign that Christian unity has been achieved, and there's no place for believing that in the mean time, the practice itself might foster unity between churches.
19 Feb 2004

Bishops receive draft of fine-tuned English in Mass prayers
Bishops in English-speaking countries have been sent copies of a draft of a new translation of the main prayers used at Mass.
19 Feb 2004

Bishop Grech welcomes new Govt policy on Iranian asylum seekers
Bishop Joseph Grech has welcomed reports that the Federal Government is no longer forcing failed Iranian asylum seekers to return home to possible persecution.
19 Feb 2004

Bishop calls politicians' party loyalty 'corrupt'
Bunbury's Bishop Gerard Holohan has said political parties "violate 'the rules of justice' when members of parliament are forced to follow 'the party line', instead of other courses of action they believe to be in the best interests of their electors".
19 Feb 2004

Feature - Bringing back Catholics who never quite left
Bernie Karlic left the Church 40 years ago because she felt judged not forgiven every time she went to confession. It was the mass at the fourth session that turned Bernie Karlic's heart around. A series of courses titled Catholics Returning Home represents one of 12 models for evangelisation recommended by the US Bishops.
18 Feb 2004

Opinion - Live life lustily, not lustfully
Lust is appropriately included in Gregory the Great's list of capital or deadly sins. But the first sin against healthy sex (or chastity) is not lust but prudery because sex for most people and sexuality for everybody, figure centrally in a healthy, balanced and creative life. - Fr Alban McCoy, University of Cambridge Catholic chaplain
18 Feb 2004

Haitian Bishops fear looming Civil War
Haiti's bishops fear a civil war might follow the "complete confusion" that grips this Caribbean nation, says a member of the Church hierarchy.
18 Feb 2004

Pope again encourages use of Internet for evangelisation
While expressing Pope John Paul II alarm at the ephemeral nature of youth culture, Pope John Paul II has stressed the opportunity the Internet provides for the evangelisation of young people.
18 Feb 2004

Tensions surround cardinal's trip to Moscow
Cardinal Walter Kasper left Rome on Monday for a four day visit to Moscow, despite doubts about a meeting with Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II.
18 Feb 2004

New CEO for National Catholic Education Commission
The Bishops' Committee for Education yesterday announced the appointment of Joan Warhurst, one of Australia's leading educators, as CEO of the National Catholic Education Commission.
18 Feb 2004

Catholic Health says churches 'squeezed out of' aged care
According to a report in The Australian today, Catholic Health Australia (CHA) has accused the Federal Government of "squeezing church and charitable groups out of aged care" in favour of commercial operators driven by profit.
18 Feb 2004

Leaked report says 11,000 children abused by US clergy
CNN reported at the weekend the contents of a draft report revealing that around 4450 US clergy allegedly abused 11,000 minors between 1950 and 2002.
18 Feb 2004

Feature - Lay missionaries in Kiribati
Peter (68) and Wilma (65) retired and wanted to stay active and to be doing something useful in a situation that values their experience. They see another culture in a way that a tourist never could, which in turn allows them to see their own culture in a new light. They meet many people that we would never meet in the course of their "normal" life.
17 Feb 2004

Opinion - Genetic engineering has ethical possibilities
In proclaiming the dignity and the rights of each human person, Christian ethics should understand the complexities. On-going research suggests that certain ordinary body cells may be induced to have the same properties of embryonic stem cells. If this technique succeeds, the ethical argument concerning the use of human embryonic cells would no longer exist.
17 Feb 2004

Death of South Africa's Archbishop Denis Hurley
South African human rights champion Archbishop Denis Hurley died on Friday at the age of 88, ending a life marked by an outstanding contribution to the struggle against apartheid, for his concern for the poor
17 Feb 2004

Vatican urges countries to observe Landmines Convention
The Holy See has stressed the importance of adherence to the Ottawa Convention which 141 countries signed five years ago, and the mobilisation of resources to care for landmine victims.
17 Feb 2004

Catholic Health says insurance must remain affordable
Catholic Health Australia has reacted to news that young people are opting out of private health insurance, with a call for more incentives to attract young people to purchase health insurance.
17 Feb 2004

Catholic Welfare meets to identify 'cycles of disadvantage'
Catholic Welfare Australia has determined that any changes to social policy in Australia must focus on assisting individuals and families to break through the 'cycles of disadvantage' which currently stand in the way of poor Australians living a better quality of life.
17 Feb 2004

Archbishop welcomes SA poker machine reduction
Adelaide's Archbishop Philip Wilson has praised the South Australian Government for its initiative to eliminate 3000 poker machines from the state's hotels and clubs.
17 Feb 2004

Chaplain says Redfern riot demands judicial enquiry
Longtime chaplain of Sydney's Aboriginal Catholic Community Fr Frank Fletcher has backed Senator Aden Ridgeway's call for a "proper judicial investigation" into Sunday night's riot involving the Aboriginal community at Redfern in Sydney.
17 Feb 2004

Feature - US laity seeks more clout in church practices
For many Catholics, "if you ask, 'Is the pope infallible?' they answer yes. If you ask if they follow his teachings, they say no." The disconnect has become increasingly evident during John Paul's long tenure and likely will continue no matter who succeeds him as pope, according to sociologists who study the attitudes and practices of Catholic laity.
16 Feb 2004

Opinion - Education Minister recalls longing for values in Catholic education
As an Adelaide public schoolboy, Brendan Nelson longed for the values taught only in a Catholic school. The teenager - who went on to become Federal Education Minister - pleaded with his father to remove him from Modbury High School and enrol him in St Ignatius College at Athelstone. "It's not that I was unhappy at Modbury but when you've been at a Catholic school . . . it leaves a significant imprint on you and I missed it."
16 Feb 2004

Refresher course to promote informed discussion on The Passion
Priests in South Australia will undertake a refresher course on the gospels to deal with possible parishioner concerns over Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of the Christ.
16 Feb 2004

Ex-nun blows whistle on 1960s Queensland abuse
A former nun has spoken to a Brisbane Sunday newspaper about a priest whom she claims systematically abused boys at a north Queensland school between 1963 and 1964.
16 Feb 2004

Vatican official condemns cloning as "two evils in one"
The vice president of the Pontifical Academy for Life has regretted the news of the cloning of a human embryo by South Korean scientists, suggesting that "supposed therapeutic cloning is doubly illicit".
16 Feb 2004

Pope in Valentine's Day call for chaste courtship
In a St Valentine's Day message to the young people of France, Pope John Paul II said the Church continues to stress that love should develop gradually through a period of chaste courtship.
16 Feb 2004

Teachers' union launches assault on private schools
Catholic education offices are carefully monitoring an Australian Education Union advertising campaign that accuses the Federal Government of overfunding wealthy private schools at the expense of state schools.
16 Feb 2004

Howard in pre-election warning to church leaders
In a pre-emptive strike during an election year in which social issues are expected to dominate, Prime Minister John Howard is warning church leaders not to favour political parties.
16 Feb 2004

Feature - Martyr for marriage
Tomorrow's St Valentine's Day is undoubtedly one of the better known feast days. One of three saints with the name was martyred for defying third century Roman warmonger Emperor Claudius II who outlawed marriage for young men after deciding that single men made better soldiers than married men.
13 Feb 2004

Opinion - Truth and compassion must go together
When I was dean at a theological college, I received one day a phone call from one of the local parish priests, who said: "God, your students are a pain. They take a couple of courses, come back, and terrorise the parish! Nothing's ever right for them. I don't doubt they're right most of the time, but it's their arrogance that's destructive. Don't you teach them any compassion?" - Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
13 Feb 2004

Arizona bishop defends actions at hit and run trial
Testifying on the witness stand at his hit-and-run trial, retired Bishop Thomas O'Brien of Phoenix explained that, even after he heard police were looking for him, he did not think he had really hit and killed a pedestrian.
13 Feb 2004

Cardinal warns law of force means international anarchy
Cardinal Renato Martino, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, has warned that when the law of force prevails over international law, all are "plunged into a condition of anarchy and profound illegality".
13 Feb 2004

Pope seeks common ground with Iran
Pope John Paul II met yesterday with Iran's foreign minister Kamal Kharrazi, expressing confidence in a "spirit of collaboration" between the Holy See and the Islamic regime.
13 Feb 2004

Catholic Health supports fair go for hostel residents
Pressure is mounting on the Federal Government from a number of aged care operators including Catholic Health Australia to introduce nursing home bonds.
13 Feb 2004

Top teacher says bureaucracy killing schools' charism
A Christian Brother who last month received an Order of Australia Medal for his services to education has said the Catholic education system is in danger of losing the diversity that has made the schools such valued assets in their local communities.
13 Feb 2004

Vinnies says job plan puts dollars before disabled
The St Vincent de Paul Society has spoken out about its concern over a Federal Government trial initiative that rewards Job Network Providers with up to $6000 for every Disability Support Pension (DSP) recipient placed in a position.
13 Feb 2004

Feature - Child's Bible sparks hope in Africa
The Child's Bible produced by Aid to the Church in Need is a hit in Africa, where everywhere the schools lack basic teaching materials. In Angola the schools have been bombed and abandoned, and almost 60% of all Angolans are illiterate. Children who have known nothing but suffering and misery, children who will one day have to take responsibility for the fate of the African continent.
12 Feb 2004

Opinion - Eating and praying together at table
Eating together as a family, let alone grace before meals, is increasingly a counter-cultural act. Yet seeing meals as an occasion for prayer together not only mark our links with one another as a household, but witness to the deeper reality that we are bonded together beyond our human relationships, in Christ.
12 Feb 2004

Queensland Catholic MP hit by abortion campaign
A Labor MP in Queensland who publicly identifies himself as a Catholic has accused a "concerted campaign by pro-abortionists" of trying to defeat him in the Queensland election last Saturday.
12 Feb 2004

US priests question Vatican anti-gay rhetoric
A group of priests in the Rochester Diocese in upstate New York has written an open letter in the hope that church officials will refrain from using pejorative terms such as "deviant" in documents concerning homosexuality.
12 Feb 2004

Two key appointments to Roman Curia
Pope John Paul II has appointed a Slovenian prefect of the Congregation for Religious and a Croatian secretary general of the Synod of Bishops.
12 Feb 2004

Cardinal says French headscarf ban 'unenforceable'
The French Government's ban on religious symbols in state schools has been denounced as "unenforceable" by Cardinal Bernard Panafieu, the Archbishop of Marseilles.
12 Feb 2004

Papal envoy highlights "new paradigm" challenge for bioethics
Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers President Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán has warned that a "new paradigm" is being imposed on debate on bioethics.
12 Feb 2004

Network's call for Govt transparency on Free Trade Agreement
While Catholic observers have been waiting for more information on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to allow them to assess last weekend's deal between Australia and the US, the Sisters of Charity Advocacy Network (SCAN) has criticised the "the secrecy of such agreements and the lack of transparency in negotiations".
12 Feb 2004

Feature - Archbishop Eris O'Brien and Australia's 'nationalist' priests
The generation of Canberra-Goulburn Archbishop Eris O'Brien (who died in 1973) shared an intense love of Australia. From seminary days they read Australian writers and collected their works. Many of them tried to emulate their literary contemporaries, and their magazine Manly is a valuable archive of this nationalist strain in the priesthood. - Edmund Campion
11 Feb 2004

Opinion - Lack of media attention to Uganda massacre 'a sin'
If I were to describe in one word what I am seeing in northern Uganda, I would say it was 'hell.' The killing, the devastation [wreaked by the Lord's Resistance Army] is absolute hell. The majority of the people in the hospital had been cut into slices; they were in very serious condition and lacked so much blood. - Comboni Fr Giulio Albanese, Director Rome-based MISNA missionary news agency
11 Feb 2004

Little Company of Mary acquires another hospital
The Little Company of Mary this week announced that it had acquired the Hurstville Community Private Hospital in southern Sydney.
11 Feb 2004

New Zealand Mercy Congegations merging
Four Congregations of the Sisters of Mercy in New Zealand have begun the process of merging, in order to maximise the vitality of the Mercy presence in the country.
11 Feb 2004

Indian Christians targeted by fundamentalists
Protestant and Catholic groups have asked the government to intervene in stopping religious tension and conflict in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
11 Feb 2004

Pope says fixing parishes requires more than plugging holes
Pope John Paul II has cautioned that reforms under way in many parishes facing a priest shortage must go beyond the administrative level and focus on ongoing formation and catechesis.
11 Feb 2004

British Catholic anger at BBC's pogo stick Pope
Catholics in the UK have written to the BBC complaining about a planned cartoon show mocking the pope as a puerile preacher on a pogo stick.
11 Feb 2004

Pell praise for Mel Gibson Jesus flick
Sydney's Cardinal George Pell has endorsed Mel Gibson's film The Passion of The Christ, describing it as a "work of faith".
11 Feb 2004

Feature - 75th anniversary of Lateran Pacts signing
Cambridge University historian John Pollard compares the significance of the Lateran Treaties to the impact of Constantine in the 4th century. Just as Constantine's policy of state support for the church laid the foundation for medieval Christendom, the legal and financial independence bequeathed by the Lateran Treaties were the sine qua non for the modern "imperial papacy." - John Allen
10 Feb 2004

Opinion - What Israel security wall means for Catholic rest home
This nine metre high wall will force us to hire staff from Jerusalem and thus lay off most of our current personnel, and stop taking in elderly people living in West Bank, that is, those who are the poorest. We are worried. - Sr Marie Dominique Croyal, Director of Our Lady of Sorrows Rest Home
10 Feb 2004

NCLS to probe 'I'm spiritual not religious' sentiment
An Australian religious research body is joining a team of international researchers with a proposal to map religiosity and wider spirituality in Australia, United States and the United Kingdom next year.
10 Feb 2004

ACU reports huge growth in theology enrolments
Australian Catholic University and other members of the Forum of Australian Catholic Institutes have experienced a dramatic increase in enrolments in Theology courses.
10 Feb 2004

NZ Catholics likely to help cyclone-devastated Niue
The Catholic Church in New Zealand expects to provide food and help to repair buildings in response to the devastation caused by Cyclone Heta in Niue early last month.
10 Feb 2004

Migrant worker deaths stun British Catholics
As the bishops issued a statement critical of Government policy, London's Chinese Catholic community prayed on Monday for the 19 migrant workers who drowned picking shellfish in Morecambe Bay on Thursday.
10 Feb 2004

Boston Archbishop warns kids against MTV
Archbishop Sean O'Malley has called on young people to resist the "brainwashing" influence of television, which he called a "glass idol" with too prominent a role in society.
10 Feb 2004

Lourdes celebrates World Day of the Sick
The Twelfth World Day of the Sick is being celebrated over three days this week at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in France.
10 Feb 2004

Feature - Little Sisters don't need accountants
The Little Sisters of the Poor deliberately depend on what they call "divine providence". Founder Jeanne Jugan instructed the sisters not to build an endowment, in contrast with the strategy of many other non-profit organisations. Instead, the sisters say, they live from day to day, putting full faith in St Joseph.
9 Feb 2004

Opinion - My kids on the block
Life is very tough if you are a teenager today, particularly if you are a city boy. I asked Michael, one boy, if he was bullied in school. "No." He explained that when he was younger he would often get beaten up, so he decided to work out at the gym and now nobody touched him. - Kristina Cooper
9 Feb 2004

Australian movie priest earns PhD in Cinema Studies
Director of the Australian Catholic Film Office Fr Richard Leonard has become the first priest in Australia to earn a PhD in cinema studies, and one of only a handful of similarly qualified clergy in the world.
9 Feb 2004

Boston archbishop finds expanded ruling on gay marriage 'troubling'
Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley has said the Massachusetts Supreme Court's expanded ruling on gay marriage is "more troubling" than its initial decision.
9 Feb 2004

Cherie Blair attacks US on death penalty in Catholic paper
Cherie Blair, Catholic wife of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, has renewed her attack on the use of the death penalty in the USA in a book review in the London Catholic paper The Tablet.
9 Feb 2004

Former MP's first hand experience of prison system failures
After almost two years behind bars, former Federal MP Andrew Theophanous' comments about young offenders in adult prisons ring true, according to a Jesuit-sponsored agency working with young offenders.
9 Feb 2004

Commission in wake up call on "Golden Parachutes"
Australian big business needs an urgent "reality check" following the latest in an increasing number of large termination and resignation payouts to executives, according to Brisbane's Catholic Justice and Peace Commission.
9 Feb 2004

Pope, Ratzinger shake hands on War against Relativism
Pope John Paul II has urged Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to be more proactive in fostering a courageous proclamation of truth in a world "marked by both a widespread relativism and the tendency to a facile pragmaticism".
9 Feb 2004

Feature - Tribute to Australian Catholic historian Patrick O'Farrell
Professor O'Farrell, who died on Christmas Day, was the author of numerous important books on the history of the Catholic Church in Australia. Fellow historian Edmund Campion said: "To him more than any other individual, we owe the fact that Catholic intellectual life in Australia is noticeably historical, rather than theological, philosophical or Biblical".
6 Feb 2004

Opinion - Community bond forged in Fire
86 year old Bill Hyde came to the aid of his neighbour, not realising that he would not see his own house again. A partnership between government, neighbours, builders, charities, insurers even, ensured the Hydes' house had high priority in the rebuilding. Destroyed, to be sure, but created, too. There is a confidence about Canberrans now. It points to better times. - Michael McKernon
6 Feb 2004

Australia's Harry Windsor begins gap year at English Catholic college
Harry Windsor has been attracting some attention since he left his Royal connections in Sydney to spend his gap year in the UK.
6 Feb 2004

Queensland priest loses appeal
Former Rockhampton priest Michael McArdle has lost a bid to have his six-year jail sentence reduced.
6 Feb 2004

Cardinal calls Super Bowl breast-baring 'sign of the times'
Washington's Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has said the exposure of a pop singer's breast during the halftime entertainment at America's most-watched sporting event reflects the "decline and fall of a culture that made this nation great".
6 Feb 2004

Churches queue for Mel Gibson's Passion
More than 20,000 tickets have been pre-booked by religious groups eager to see Mel Gibson's new film The Passion Of The Christ, which has reportedly been warmly received by Cardinal George Pell.
6 Feb 2004

Ratzinger denies Rome wish to crush local churches
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has said that the Roman Curia does not seek to question the authority or "submerge the charisms" of the local churches, but instead works to enrich unity between the local and the universal Church "because Christ is one".
6 Feb 2004

Fr Chris Riley's youth back on the streets
The founder of the high profile Youth Off The Streets program has said he was forced to close his only Queensland facility after a two year unsuccessful battle for State Government funding to stay open.
6 Feb 2004

Feature - Sacred Sites: Carnarvon Gorge
Nothing is known of the Karingbal Tribe who once visited the Gorge. With the advent of white settlers, the tribes were soon decimated and the conversion of their hunting grounds to sheep and cattle runs soon made it impossible to return to the Gorge to conduct their land fertility ceremonies. However, they left behind them a vast gallery of stencilled rock art on cave walls.
5 Feb 2004

Opinion - Next Pope must be a disciplinarian
Influential cardinal-electors believe that John Paul II has been more successful in articulating a robust, compassionate Catholic orthodoxy than in embedding that vision in the church's practice. Finding a man who can do both is the great "personality" issue the cardinals must resolve. - Papal biographer George Weigel
5 Feb 2004

Pope says correct morality requires clear conscience
Pope John Paul II yesterday highlighted the importance of conscience in the quest to be close to God, insisting that work for social justice accompany acts of prayer and worship.
5 Feb 2004

Gibson snips controversial scene from The Passion
Mel Gibson is cutting a controversial scene from The Passion of the Christ, the New York Times quoted a "close associate" as saying this week.
5 Feb 2004

Ecumenical Commission resolves to get around entrenched positions on Mary
The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) has agreed on a methodology based on Scripture and theological reflection in its attempt to fix a strategy to go behind what it describes as "entrenched positions" on the Virgin Mary.
5 Feb 2004

Nuns blow whistle on organ traffickers
Five missionary nuns in Mozambique say they've been threatened with death since telling authorities about an organ-trafficking scheme that allegedly kidnaps and kills children and youths.
5 Feb 2004

Archbishop acts to ease Vinnies media report stress
Brisbane's Archbishop John Bathersby has moved to assure non-Catholic St Vincent de Paul volunteers that there is no requirement for them to convert to the Catholic faith in order for them to remain in the organisation.
5 Feb 2004

Catholics support NSW Govt schools 'report card'
NSW Catholic schools have welcomed new regulations detailing how they must report their activities to the school community, saying the government and taxpayers are entitled to see how schools measure up.
5 Feb 2004

Feature - Battle of the godly gadgets
A briefcase-sized karaoke player containing 1500 hymns is in contention for a church gadgets prize being awarded at an exhibition in Devon in the UK. Designed for use in churches without organists and in old people's homes, it provides instant church music at the touch of a button.
4 Feb 2004

Opinion - Fasting - our lost rite
Here was a universally recognised expression of Catholicism which was nothing to do with priests or authority. What had been a corporate mark of identity has been marginalised into an individualistic option. - Eamon Duffy, Professor of the History of Christianity in the University of Cambridge
4 Feb 2004

Police support for British cathedral's open door policy
The Catholic Cathedral of St Barnabas in the English city of Nottingham has secured police assistance to train a roster of volunteers to "watch and pray" while the Cathedral doors remain open 24/7.
4 Feb 2004

Pope pays tribute to religious on Feast of Presentation
Pope John Paul II has said that one million members of Catholic religious orders have a vital role to play in modern evangelisation, whether they be working among the poor or praying in monasteries.
4 Feb 2004

US archbishops differ on Communion for Senator Kerry
One archbishop in the United States has said publicly that he would refuse to distribute the Eucharist to pro-abortion Catholic presidential candidate Senator John Kerry, while another says it's up to the politician himself to decide whether to go to Communion.
4 Feb 2004

Vatican official defends different gender roles
The new president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity has said the Church's insistence on the differences between men and women is not discriminatory, but a recognition of the uniqueness of each person.
4 Feb 2004

Vatican statistics claim 1.07 billion Catholics
The new Vatican Year Book has revealed that Catholics make up 17.2% of the world's population, with almost half that figure living in the Americas, which is 63% Catholic.
4 Feb 2004

Traditionalist leader attacks Pope's ecumenical vision
In a document addressed to Pope John Paul II and top church officials, a Lefebvrite bishop has blamed the Vatican's ecumenical efforts for the Church's troubles.
4 Feb 2004

Feature - Missionaries in Thailand observe bird flu response
The measures that have been taken to stop the epidemic are impressive. "There continue to be mass cullings of chickens." But both missionaries say they fear economic repercussions. "Many people raise chickens, which represent an important source of income and livelihood to them."
3 Feb 2004

Opinion - Loyalty triumphs over efficiency in Vatican management
It often startles outsiders, especially business school graduates, to discover that senior managers in the Vatican are frequently appointed with little regard for expertise in their area of responsibility. From an Anglo-Saxon point of view - influenced by the Enlightenment, scientific thinking and capitalist notions of efficiency - such an approach cannot help but seem cavalier. But the role of a superior in the Vatican system is not to make the trains run on time, but to make sure they all head in the same direction. - John L. Allen
3 Feb 2004

Vatican hesitates on Pope's public schedule
Concerns about the Holy Father's health, in particular his ability to travel, have forced Vatican officials to hold off on firm schedule commitments for the first part of this year.
3 Feb 2004

Queensland priest to appeal against jail term
Rockhampton priest Michael McArdle will appeal against his prison term for a string of child sex offences, on the basis that he fully admitted his crimes both before and after sentencing.
3 Feb 2004

Adelaide acts to merge parishes
More than 30 parishes across Adelaide have merged in a shake-up in response to declining priest numbers and lower attendances.
3 Feb 2004

Commission urges vote based on Gospel values
Brisbane archdiocese's Catholic Justice and Peace Commission is urging Catholic voters to use Gospel values in deciding how they will vote in Saturday's Queensland state election.
3 Feb 2004

Bishops invite families to Sydney for April gathering
Sydney's Cardinal George Pell and Port Pirie Bishop Eugene Harley have together invited Catholic families from across Australia to come to Sydney for the second National Catholic Family Gathering.
3 Feb 2004

Bishop cautions judges on anti-terror laws
Sydney Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Fisher told members of Sydney's legal fraternity yesterday that the law is under challenge from "those who would respond to perceived threats to security with suspension of rights".
3 Feb 2004

Feature - Who pays for cheap laptops?
There is almost no public awareness of the human reality behind the electronic devices people use daily. Non-governmental organisations have alerted people to the idea that a "Made in China" label on their clothes may point to suspect working conditions. But who believes this of electronics workers?
2 Feb 2004

Opinion - Looking beyond liberal and conservative labels
Nobody is completely objective and the route towards objectivity is best pursued when everyone precisely tries to name his or her biases rather than assuming that he or she hasn't got any and are in a position to point them out in others. Whenever we label, we further distort our perception of reality. - Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
2 Feb 2004

Archbishop backs Hutton Report censure of BBC
Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham has supported the findings of the Hutton Report highlighting the "defective" nature of editorial practices at the BBC in the light of errors in a news story that the Blair Government exaggerated evidence to boost the case for going to war with Iraq.
2 Feb 2004

Vinnies' ruling on non-Catholics causes tension
A decision by the St Vincent de Paul Society to uphold a requirement that its senior officeholders must be Catholics has one Queensland Conference president threatening legal action.
2 Feb 2004

Perth archbishop says Sunday will always be the Lord's Day
Following Anglican moves to reconsider the scheduling of major worship services on a Sunday, Perth Catholic Archbishop Barry Hickey has asserted that Sunday will always be the Lord's Day.
2 Feb 2004

Catholic Health welcomes Labor's dental care for poor
Catholic Health Australia has welcomed the ALP's commitment to establish a public dental program for low income and disadvantaged people.
2 Feb 2004

PM signals backing of Catholic push for more male teachers
Prime Minister John Howard has indicated that the Federal Government may move to change the Sex Discrimination Act to allow Catholic schools to discriminate in favour of men to correct a gender imbalance among teachers.
2 Feb 2004

Religious freedom wins Pope support for Taiwan
Arguing that proper development requires religious freedom, Pope John Paul II has used an audience with Taiwan's new ambassador to the Holy See to praise the government of the land the People's Republic of China regards as a renegade province.
2 Feb 2004