Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources
 

NEWS ARCHIVE FOR JANUARY 2005

   
Feature - Reconciliation has replaced Confession with new hope
Tonight the boys and girls are making their first Reconciliation. Mums, dads and siblings squeeze into pews to witness this important rite. At home, my daughter Grace has been practising hymns and responses. At school, along with her grade 3 friends, she has made her own special "sorry" candle. Over the past few weeks, the class has been talking about choices, good and bad ones, right and wrong ones.
31 Jan 2005

Opinion - Celibacy a rule that the Catholic Church can and should change
The spiritual gift of priesthood and the spiritual gift of celibacy are not the same. Unlike the issue of women priests, which the Pope has declared to be theologically impossible, the celibacy requirement is a discipline only formally imposed on the clergy in 1139, when a church council declared clerical marriage invalid. What the church has banned, the church can restore. The present plea is justified on the basis that drastic action is needed to restore priestly numbers. Anglican and Protestant churches, which permit their clergy to marry, have not suffered any significant shortage. The acute shortage of Catholic priests could be overcome virtually overnight. - Muriel Porter, lay Anglican, author of doctoral thesis on clergy marriage
31 Jan 2005

John Lennon the shoplifter 'had Catholic tastes'
Beatles legend John Lennon used to steal from a Catholic bookshop in Liverpool for thrills, a former friend has revealed in the weekend press in the UK.
31 Jan 2005

Irish president sorry for Nazi-Ulster hate comparison
Mary McAleese has apologised after she caused a sectarian row when she claimed that Northern Ireland children were taught to hate Catholics in the same way Nazis despised Jews.
31 Jan 2005

Bush bishop backs priestly celibacy debate
Bishop Gerard Hanna of the southern NSW Diocese of Wagga Wagga has supported calls from the National Council of Priests to debate the issue of priests marrying.
31 Jan 2005

Charges laid for Solomons priest's murder
The Solomon Islands warlord Harold Keke and two of his militia allies face court today accused of murdering Fr Augustine Geve, Catholic priest and cabinet minister, in 2002.
31 Jan 2005

Recalcitrant peace dove refuses to leave papal apartment
Pope John Paul II released a dove — a symbol of peace — out of his apartment window yesterday, chuckling with children who watched in delight as it flew back into his room overlooking St Peter's Square.
31 Jan 2005

Basra bishop says Iraq vote signals fresh optimism
The Chaldean Archbishop of the southern Iraqi city of Basra has said that elections "are everything" for his people, and that from this point onwards they "can start hoping again".
31 Jan 2005

Feature - Violence against women continues after the tsunami
More than 60 women's groups in Sri Lanka have formed the Coalition for Assisting Tsunami Affected Women to address threats to the physical and psychological safety of women and children who survived the Boxing Day tsunami. According to the coalition, it is vital that women be protected and empowered in rehabilitation projects.
28 Jan 2005

Opinion - What the mentally disabled can teach us
Mentally handicapped people show me what my handicap is. Their violence reveals my violence. We begin to discover the truth about our inner self and then we also begin to discover the truth about God. The handicapped person who accepts his handicap shows me the difficulty I have in accepting my own weaknesses.
28 Jan 2005

Bishop stands up to Vatican on retirement requirement
Detroit auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton has hinted that he may resist the demand of Church law to submit his resignation, because the Vatican response to resignations is "so arbitrary - some of them they ignore, but if you are the least bit progressive, they accept it immediately."
28 Jan 2005

Cardinal says 'faith in Christ' the focus of ecumenism
If the search for Christian unity is a search to fulfill Christ's will, then ecumenism must focus on becoming more faithful to Christ and his teaching, says the Vatican's Cardinal Walter Kasper.
28 Jan 2005

Iraqi bishop says voting is a moral duty
"Voting is a national and religious duty" for the people of Iraq, the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Mosul has told the Rome-based AsiaNews service.
28 Jan 2005

Pope's Lenten message urges respect for elderly
Pope John Paul II has used the words of Moses to express his theme for Lent 2005, which recognises that science and medicine are lengthening the human lifespan but not necessarily the value that is placed upon older people living in the community.
28 Jan 2005

Sainthood prospect for mother who died refusing abortion
A 41 year old Italian woman who died last week after refusing cancer treatment that would have required her to have an abortion, is being compared with pediatrician Gianna Beretta Molla (pictured), who died in 1962 and was canonised last May.
28 Jan 2005

Alternative priests' council hits back on mandatory celibacy
The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy (ACCC), which represents 300 of Australia's 1650 Catholic priests, has begged to differ from the more established National Council of Priests (NCP), which wrote to Rome urging the October Synod of Bishops to reexamine the celibacy requirement for priests.
28 Jan 2005

Feature - German nun endured North Korea camps
One of the last two German nuns who endured years in communist North Korean camps was buried yesterday after a service attended by deaf-mute people she helped during more than six decades on the peninsula. Her story spans Hitler's Germany, Japanese colonial rule, World War Two, the communist take-over and Russian presence, the Korean War, brief exile and a return to the ruins of the US-backed South half a century ago.
27 Jan 2005

Opinion - Aussie informality no excuse for Eucharist disprespect
A key Australian characteristic is that of informality. While it is wrong to judge hastily that certain types of behaviour are disrespectful, when a casual approach is carried over into liturgical celebrations, it can be seen as indicating a lack of reverence for the awesome mystery the liturgy expresses. Even utilitarian actions carried out during the liturgy should be performed with a grace and a sense of purpose that befits the sacred liturgical action. - Education officer Elizabeth Harrington
27 Jan 2005

Caritas thank you to tsunami appeal donors
Yesterday - a month after the earthquake which devastated South East Asia - Caritas Australia issued a statement thanking the many Australians who donated funds to its relief effort, which raised $9 million in donations.
27 Jan 2005

Vatican delegate to UN reflects on Nazi death camps
Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, has participated in the UN General Assembly commemorating the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi concentration camps by allied troops.
27 Jan 2005

Possible appeal against Sydney priest's lenient sentence
The NSW Government was last night seeking advice on whether to appeal a judge's decision to impose a four-second custodial sentence on a sex offender.
27 Jan 2005

Bishop says devastating bushfires show generosity of human spirit
This month's South Australian bushfires, which claimed the lives of nine people, have caused devastation to the lives, homes and livelihoods of affected communities, but also shown the generosity of the human spirit, according to Bishop Eugene Hurley of the South Australian Diocese of Port Pirie.
27 Jan 2005

Council of Priests argues for married clergy
In an unprecented move, Australia's priests have written to Rome asking that the priesthood be extended to married men and that the Church re-instate priests who left the priesthood to marry.
27 Jan 2005

Archbishop challenges Australians' selective goodwill
Adelaide's Archbishop Philip Wilson issued an Australia Day call for Australians to rethink their hopes and dreams for a nation currently suffering a "schizophrenia of goodwill".
27 Jan 2005

Feature - An earthy Australian voice
Martin Flanagan is a storyteller: writer, journalist, searcher and public speaker, particularly well known to readers of The Age. From a young age all Flanagan dreamed of was becoming a writer. His humanness, and his eye for uncovering that humanness in others is an inviting aspect of his work. Like the article he wrote about Ann Dixon, a Good Samaritan Sister who works at night on the streets.
25 Jan 2005

Opinion - People you meet on the train
Her generous spirit touched me and reminded me of my neighbour who was a vital energetic person until a serious illness but now able to do nothing. She needs constant care but seems to be bringing out new dimensions in the people who surround her. Her husband, who always seemed self absorbed and abrupt, attends to her in a caring, compassionate and patient way. - Geraldine Hawkes, chair Commission for Australian Catholic Women and coordinator St Paul's City Ministry, Adelaide.
25 Jan 2005

Church in Ireland sees greater role for deacons
The Vatican is expected to give the green light within the next few months to the use of deacons, including married men, by the Catholic Church in Ireland.
25 Jan 2005

Hindu militants smash cross, threaten nuns
A group of intruders described as "miscreants" have broken a crucifix and ordered a community of Carmelite nuns to vacate their convent near Mumbai in India.
25 Jan 2005

British cabinet minister forced to give assurance on faith
Faced with criticism that her alleged membership of Opus Dei and her Catholic faith could influcence her professional life, the UK's new education secretary Ruth Kelly has declared her primary allegiance to government policy rather than Church teaching.
25 Jan 2005

Pope urges explotation of media's potential for good
The world's media outlets should use their power to promote peace and understanding and to mobilise aid during natural disasters, as happened following the recent tsunami in Asia, Pope John Paul II said in a message released yesterday.
25 Jan 2005

Pope begs Dutch authorities to rethink mercy killing of babies
Pope John Paul II has urged doctors and authorities in the Netherlands to think again about decisions on euthanasia, following reports that senior Dutch doctors had admitted killing 22 terminally ill newborn babies.
25 Jan 2005

Cardinal says condoms ban due to implied sexual immorality
Pontifical Council for the Family president Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, has said explicitly that the Church does not allow the use of condoms - even to prevent HIV/AIDS infection - because their use "implies sexually immoral conduct."
25 Jan 2005

Feature - Police seek out padre for solace
Deacon Gary Stone of the Australian Catholic Defence Diocese has arrived back at his Brisbane home on Friday after a fortnight tending to the emotional needs of the Australian Federal Police working on tsunami victim identification in Thailand. He is part of a team of chaplains and psychologists trying to help the federal police deal with the worst disaster they are ever likely to see. "All of us need to think about our own identity in life - to whom do we belong and who are we connected with," he said. "How people are affected by this tragedy will depend on their own sense of identity."
24 Jan 2005

Opinion - Democracy serves human dignity
Critics of Cardinal George Pell's speech late last year on the limits of democracy missed his main point. He argued that democracy without religion leads to unquestioned acceptance of abortion, euthanasia and genetic experimentation, and to the claim that opposition to such things is undemocratic. I disagree, however, with his claim that democracy is not a good in itself. Democracy is a good because it uniquely allows for human beings to take responsibility for the shape of their common life and makes them morally accountable for what governments do in their name. - Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ
24 Jan 2005

Daughters of Charity answer call to Cook Islands
Australian Sr Chula Sriwarakul, Irish Sr Sheila Browne and Srs Margaret O'Dywer, Mary Duong and Datie Quinn, all from the US, have arrived in the South Pacific islands to set up a foundation and work in Rarotonga and outlying islands, particularly the island of Mauke.
24 Jan 2005

Notre Dame med school one step closer
Plans for a Catholic university medical school in Sydney have moved closer to reality with last week's appointment of Professor Julie Quinlivan as the Foundation Dean of Health and Head of the School of Medicine at its Sydney Campus.
24 Jan 2005

Released archbishop calls for Iraq poll delay
Following his release after a 24 hour kidnap ordeal early last week, the archbishop of the Syrian Catholic archdiocese of Mosul told Vatican Radio that Iraq is not ready for elections.
24 Jan 2005

Pope calls attention to AIDS in developing world
Pope John Paul said on Friday the Church and its health care workers should pay particular attention to helping AIDS sufferers in the developing world, where adequate health care does not exist.
24 Jan 2005

Caritas distributes Muslim prayer kits for Eid celebration
On Friday - the festival of Eid in which Muslims remember the story of the prophet Ibrahim and his son Ishmael - Caritas workers in Aceh distributed religious kits to enable families affected by the tsunami crisis to mark the occasion.
24 Jan 2005

Sunday night mass 'critical to retaining young adults'
Sunday evening Mass may be the last opportunity the Church has for regular engagement with many young adult Catholics, according to a new report on Mass attendance.
24 Jan 2005

Feature - Merton scholars upset by monk's absence in upcoming catechism
A new US Catechism for adults, currently awaiting Vatican approval, has some scholars up in arms not over the actual text, but over what is missing. Thomas Merton has been dropped and his fans are petitioning for his re-instatement.CNS
21 Jan 2005

Opinion - God does have a Web site. It's called creation!
"You can't call yourself a Catholic until you've wondered why God doesn't send e-mail. After all, God does have a Web site. It's called creation. Creation has links to everything. All God's most personal details are there on the Web site, if you know how to look. The church is supposed to be God's search engine. It is meant to help us find our way around the Web site." – Michael McGirr writing in NCR
21 Jan 2005

Posthumous marriage annulments on rise in Italy
According to a report in The Independent (UK) Roman Catholic Italy is witnessing a boom in demand for posthumous marriage annulments with many unions hitting the rocks as soon as one of the partners is lowered into the ground.
21 Jan 2005

Two guilty for murdering Colombian Archbishop
The two murderers of Colombian Archbishop, Isaias Duarte, were sentenced to a combined total of 71 years gaol for the crime.
21 Jan 2005

Goodall case causing more embarrassment to Church
Fr Terence Norman Goodall, 64, from Penshurst, yesterday admitted two counts of indecent assault in the Sydney District Court. He will be sentenced next week.
21 Jan 2005

Total Catholic aid to Tsunami recovery effort now at $500m
The Vatican Information Service indicated yesterday that Catholic aid agencies around the world have now contributed more than $500m to the Tsunamic relief effort. In Australia, Catholic Mission, has set up what it describes as an "unprecedented solidarity fund".
21 Jan 2005

Australian resources for Year of Eucharist released
The Australian Catholic Bishops yesterday issued a program for the celebration of the Year of the Eucharist, focusing on the importance of celebrating Sunday Mass.
21 Jan 2005

Condom controversy continues
The controversy unleashed yesterday by a spokesman for the Spanish Catholic Bishops' Conference has caused much confusion in headlines around the world. The Spanish Bishops have denied any change. Bishop Prowse in Melbourne defended the Roman position and said there would be no change in Australia.
21 Jan 2005

Feature - On the Why of Indulgences
Archbishop Bruno Forte, a member of the International Theological Commission, explains the meaning of indulgences in the Church, and the reason why Pope John Paul decided that during the Year of the Eucharist a plenary indulgence may be obtained by participating in acts of worship and veneration of the Blessed Sacrament.
20 Jan 2005

Opinion - Author Karen Armstrong on Fundamentalism…
"Fundamentalism often expresses itself violently, but it springs from deep fear. Every single fundamentalist movement that I have studied in this book is inspired by a dread of annihilation. … [It] is an embattled form of faith; fundamentalists believe that they are fighting for their own survival, the survival of the religion, and the survival of civilized society. They feel that their backs are to the wall and that they must fight their way out of the impasse in which they find themselves."
20 Jan 2005

Catholic could lead C of E: Anglican Bishop
The Birmingham Post is quoting the Anglican Bishop of Worcester as saying "There is no reason why a Roman Catholic, advised by Ministers, who can be of any religious persuasion or none, could not be the supreme governor of the Church of England."
20 Jan 2005

Jewish leaders thank PJPII
The International Herald Tribune reported yesterday "the largest delegation of Jewish leaders ever to have an audience at the Vatican thanked Pope John Paul II on Tuesday for his efforts in improving relations between the two faiths, even as a debate rages here over the Roman Catholic Church's policies toward Jewish children after World War II."
20 Jan 2005

Spanish Church acknowledges role of condoms in AIDS fight
A spokesman for Spain's Bishops' Conference, Juan Antonio Martinez Camino, said on Tuesday there was scientific evidence that condoms could combat the propagation of AIDS.
20 Jan 2005

Bakhtiyaris arrive back in Afghanistan
CentreCare Director Dale West has confirmed the Bakhtiyari family is back in Afghanistan according to media reports today. He would not reveal their exact location for fears for their safety.
20 Jan 2005

Historic gathering for Catholic Church in New Zealand
For the first time since the arrival in New Zealand of the first Catholic orders of religious women and men some 170 years ago, a general assembly of those orders will take place at St Catherine's College in Kilbirnie, Wellington over the next four days.
20 Jan 2005

Caritas Australia Tsunami Appeal now at $8m
The Caritas Australia Asia Earthquake Appeal topped $8 million yesterday. National Director Jack de Groot said the Catholic relief agency had been overwhelmed by the deep compassion shown by the Australian community.
20 Jan 2005

Feature - Can the Pope resign?
Can Pope John Paul abdicate for reasons of health? The answer is not simple, as Michael Austin SJ finds in this recent feature article on an often asked question.
19 Jan 2005

Opinion - The vanishing Catholic intellectual
The French, ever proud of their great thinkers, complain they have all but disappeared today. In Church circles it is the same. But are those fine minds out there, simply biding their time, waiting for the right moment?. Alain Woodrow explores the question in
19 Jan 2005

US Bishops to screen cruise ship chaplains
Amidst concern about the employment of former priests by cruise companies as chaplains, the US Catholic Bishops are to screen those who can represent the Church as chaplains in an official capacity.
19 Jan 2005

UN Report pushes rich nations to double aid
If rich nations double development aid over the next decade more than 500 million people will escape abject poverty, 250 million will no longer go to bed hungry and 30 million children will be saved accorded to a UN-sponsored report.
19 Jan 2005

Flak flying between high profile Catholic Editors
There's some flak flying in the decision of the National Catholic Reporter to carry a report on the decision of a Vatican prosecutor to reopen paedophilia investigations against the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado.
19 Jan 2005

Iraqi Archbishop released unharmed and without ransom being paid
The Vatican has welcomed the release of Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Various media have reports claiming Archbishop Casmoussa said his kidnappers didn't realize who he was when they abducted him a day earlier.
19 Jan 2005

Moral issues in 66 year old's pregnancy
Mgr Les Tomlinson, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Melbourne says the decision of a 66 y.o. Rumanian woman to have a child is "troubling". Melbourne Catholic bioethicist, Dr Nick Tonti-Filippini, said the birth gave rise to practical and emotional concerns.
19 Jan 2005

Australian Bishops to revise funeral rite guidelines
A report in the SMH this morning provides background on a National Liturgical Commission submission to the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference for revisions to the Catholic liturgical guidelines for funerals. The report suggests the NLC thinks "the final farewells of Australia's Catholics have become increasingly personalised and irreverent and wants funeral services to return to their significance as acts of worship".
19 Jan 2005

Feature - 'Fr Courage' — cardinal hero of Khartoum
As Archbishop of Khartoum, Gabriel Zubeir Wako is no stranger to suffering. Indeed, the hopes and dreams of this extraordinary personality have frequently been reduced to rubble. And yet, he and the Church he leads have not only survived but have a fervent faith in the future.
18 Jan 2005

Opinion - Trains of Thought
Geraldine Hawkes, Chair of the Commission for Australian Catholic Women, has been writing a series of spiritual reflections inspired by train travel for the National Catholic Reporter in the United States. You can now read the third of Geraldine's reflections inspired by a morning train trip to work in Adelaide which was published last week.
18 Jan 2005

What's the Pope going to do with his new F1 Ferrari?
The Pope was presented with a Formula One Ferrari by the prestige Italian auto manufacturer on Monday. The Vatican Information Service does not report on what he is going to do with it but does report on comments His Holiness made on the importance of sport for modern society.
18 Jan 2005

Dead Aussie McDonald's chief educated by the Marist Brothers
Charlie Bell the young Australian who rose to head hamburger chain McDonald's internationally, and whose illness and death at the age of 44 has generated many headlines in recent days was educated by the Marist Brothers.
18 Jan 2005

Appointment of new Archbishop of Paris expected soon
Catholic World News is reporting the heavily anticipated appointment of a new Archbishop of Paris, to replace Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, is now in the hands of Pope John Paul II.
18 Jan 2005

Catholic Archbishop kidnapped in Iraq
The Vatican has condemned the kidnapping of the Catholic Archbishop of Mosul as a "terrorist act".
18 Jan 2005

World Day for Migrants & Refugees: Pope stresses "integration"
Pope John Paul focused his reflections on Sunday to the World Day for Migrants and Refugees and to the Week of Prayer for Christian unity. He "underlines" the importance of "integration among peoples which calls for a just balance between affirming one's own identity and recognizing that of others"
18 Jan 2005

Culture Cardinal lays down challenge facing a "collapsing" society
Cardinal Paul Poupard: "Given a society that is collapsing, it is urgent to find the spiritual as opposed to spiritualism, tradition as opposed to traditionalism, faith as opposed to fideism, morality as opposed to moralism — in a word, the genuine order as opposed to the established disorder!" He made the comments in an address to a Rome congress honouring the French philosopher Emmanuel Mounier.
18 Jan 2005

Feature - Muslims Identify Christians as Western Enemies
Being a Christian, "of the same religion as the Western soldiers," is enough to be the considered an enemy in Iraq, says Chaldean monk Fr Waheed Gabriele Tooma. "Iraq is a nation that dies every day, and not only because of lack of food and medicines. It dies morally and culturally, deprived of its identity, freedom, and right to live in peace as the other nations of the earth. The path of this nation is dark; it seems to be without a future. Children die no sooner they are born, without a smile."
17 Jan 2005

Opinion - Engulfed by disaster, we reach beyond ourselves
Christians believe that the gift of self-awareness obliges them to strive beyond self, initially towards one another, in an effort to understand God and his universe better. That's much easier said than done. I think the tsunami jolted thousands of us into making an attempt.
17 Jan 2005

Dial-a-prayer upgraded for the wireless age
At Christmas, for the first time, Catholics in Italy could receive video transmissions of Pope John Paul's Midnight Mass and his Christmas Day message on their third-generation cellphones for free.
17 Jan 2005

ACU to host human rights and social justice forum
A public forum, Revitalising Human Rights and Social Justice is being hosted by Australian Catholic University together with the Independent Education Union this Thursday. Chris Sidoti, Director of the International Service for Human Rights in Geneva will present the key-note address.
17 Jan 2005

Priest/scientist says action needed to stave off extinction
Political, economic and religious leaders need to take decisive action if some 11,000 species are not to become extinct in the next 50-100 years according to Dr Seán McDonagh, a missionary priest and expert on the environment.
17 Jan 2005

Hitler plot to kidnap Pius XII revealed
Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler gave one of his generals a direct order to kidnap Pope Pius XII during World War II, but the officer did not obey, Italy's leading Roman Catholic newspaper reported yesterday.
17 Jan 2005

Pope grants plenary indulgences for Year of the Eucharist
Pope John Paul II has granted a plenary indulgence for Catholics who participate in veneration of the Blessed Sacrament during the Year of the Eucharist. He has also granted a plenary indulgence to those who recite Vespers and Night Prayers before the tabernacle.
17 Jan 2005

Australia remembers tsunami victims
Across the nation during yesterday's official day of mourning - timed to exactly three weeks after the earthquake and tsunami began its path of destruction, killing more than 160,000 people - Australians took a moment to pause and remember in their own different ways the lives lost and communities destroyed.
17 Jan 2005

Feature - Hope and resilience from front-line of relief effort
In the course of 24 hours, I packed, reprogrammed my appointments, flew to Canberra to be briefed by Commissioner Mick Keelty (a committed Catholic and former parishioner of St Peter Chanel's, The Gap, in Brisbane), was sworn in to the Australian Federal Police, issued uniforms, got on another plane to Thailand, and arrived in Phuket to witness the death and destruction of the most amazing natural disaster of our lives.
14 Jan 2005

Opinion - The kind of world this is
In an ideal world, we'd be prepared for natural disasters. But what sort of world is it, where such disasters occur in the first place? As a cynical friend of mine put it, "I always feel suspicious of people who claim the hand of God rescued them from some terrible accident. What about all the other accidents where God wasn't there? Does God have a bandwidth shortage, so that he only gets to hear about some problems, but not others?"
14 Jan 2005

Brisbane young adult office closes
After 10 years looking after the spiritual needs of young adult Catholics, the Brisbane Archdiocesan Young Adult Ministry office has closed. After the 2003 Synod, a decision has been made to bring all pastoral ministries for young people together to form a new Youth and Children's Ministry.
14 Jan 2005

Venezuelan Prelate calls for defense of human rights
Troubled Venezuela needs to see a "defense and promotion of the dignity of the person and the totality of his human rights," says Archbishop Baltazar Porras in his opening address at the Venezuelan Bishops' Conference.
14 Jan 2005

Catholics worried sex abuse costs curtail church work
A USA survey of Catholics who regularly attend church shows a growing concern about the church's financial ability to fulfill its mission because of the costs related to the clergy sex abuse crisis. The crisis has also increased the desire for greater church accountability on financial issues.
14 Jan 2005

Vatican conference studies 'folk' religions
The Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue is organizing a forum in Rome this week on the contributions that folk religions make to the cause of peace. This is the first attempt at bringing together religions based on ethnic or tribal cultural traditions as opposed to world religions which cross cultural boundaries.
14 Jan 2005

Increase in numbers for seminaries
Young men are returning to the Catholic priesthood, with leading seminaries reversing a steady decline in numbers to record one of their best intakes for almost a decade.
14 Jan 2005

Australians to remember tsunami victims
Catholics will join the rest of Australia on Sunday in observing a national day of mourning and reflection for the victims of the Boxing Day Asian earthquake and tsunami. Prime Minister John Howard has asked Australians to observe a minute's silence at 11.59am (Australian Eastern Daylight Time), marking the time at which the devastating earthquake which preceded the tsunamis struck.
14 Jan 2005

Feature - 'Fr Courage': cardinal hero of Khartoum
As Archbishop of Khartoum, Gabriel Zubeir Wako is no stranger to suffering. Indeed, like Juba, the hopes and dreams of this extraordinary personality have frequently been reduced to rubble. And yet, he and the Church he leads have not only survived but have a fervent faith in the future. Nor is this idle thinking; this is a man who holds on to his beliefs in the face of assassination attempts, threats of imprisonment, and countless attacks on his people and his Church.
13 Jan 2005

Opinion - Help the survivors
It is inaccurate to call the tsunami an act of God, because God did not intervene to provoke the disaster. We might still ask why He did not create a more perfect world, why God permits so much suffering. We don't know. Evil remains a mystery, but we are called to battle against it, and it is only one part of our story... Our task now is to practise this love we profess and help the survivors.
13 Jan 2005

Fatima visionary views 'The Passion' with Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson met with Sr. Lucia of Fatima at the Convent in Coimbra, Portugal, and screened "The Passion of the Christ" for the Carmelite community there during Lent 2004, reveals the latest issue of the Fatima Bulletin.
13 Jan 2005

Five charged over Jesus artifact forgery
Israeli police have charged five people - including the owner of the so-called "James ossuary" - with 17 counts of antiquities forgery and fraud. The charges, listed in a 27-page indictment in a Jerusalem court, include forgery, receiving fraudulent goods and damaging antiquities.
13 Jan 2005

Zimbabwe paper threatened over interview with Archbishop
The Zimbabwean government's Media and Information Commission has threatened to close down the country's latest newspaper, the Weekly Times, within seven days after its first edition, which carried an interview with Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo (pictured).
13 Jan 2005

More room to reflect on Blessed Mary MacKillop
The 10th anniversary of the beatification of Blessed Mary MacKillop will be marked on Wednesday, 19 January, with the opening and blessing of the new extension to her shrine in the chapel at North Sydney.
13 Jan 2005

Priest says stoic town is fighting on
In Mullaittivu's main street, several churches, including the main one, St Anthony's (pictured), and its fleet of up to 2000 fishing vessels were destroyed. One sixth of the population is missing or dead including 190 of the 600 students from the local Catholic school, but the town is fighting to put its life back together.
13 Jan 2005

Pope invites Eastern Catholics to reach out to Orthodox
John Paul II encouraged Eastern-rite Catholics to promote contacts with Orthodox Churches to help overcome the millennium-long schism. The Pope's words were heard today by 150 participants in the Interpatriarchal Synod of the three Catholic Byzantine ecclesiastical circumscriptions in Italy.
13 Jan 2005

Feature - Caring for the children of the tsunami
Pudji Tursana, a Jesuit Refugee Service worker, would like to see emergency education set up to give the children of Aceh something to engage their minds and give their lives some structure and normality. "Children have their own spirit and energy. Even though they feel so sad, they continue to play, a natural thing for children. But after the first week of doing nothing they feel bored and uncomfortable. We need to help children to feel calm and secure" says Pudji, "to fill something that is empty inside them".
12 Jan 2005

Opinion - 'Seeing the Best of Humanity and the Worst of It'
"There is, today, a common feeling that this time has not considered any of the human limitations of people -- namely human segregations. The people feel that the disaster has not considered wealth nor poverty, caste nor creed, but has treated everyone in the same way. So people are feeling that all of us are equally helpless in a situation like this and that just gives a strong message that we should all unite to rehabilitate, restore and reunite our country."
12 Jan 2005

Bishop calls Palestinian election 'historic'
Bishop William Skylstad, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, called the Palestinian election which was held on 9 January a "historic day" for the Palestinians.
12 Jan 2005

Sudan: peace deal welcomed but fear remains
Missionaries and church organisations have welcome Sunday's peace agreement between the Government of Sudan and the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement with reservations. The peace deal ends more than two decades of conflict which cost the lives of more than two million people.
12 Jan 2005

Vatican prelate reflects on tsunami relief effort
Archbishop Josef Cordes, the president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, will travel to Asia later this month to visit the communities struck by the 26 December tsunami. He plans to pray for the dead and bring a substantial financial contribution to the relief effort.
12 Jan 2005

"Survivor Syndrome": a tsunami aftermath
The Catholic bishops' conference of India warns that the inhabitants of villages devastated by the tsunami have started to report symptoms of "survivor syndrome," such as sleeplessness, angry outbursts, loss of appetite, and difficulty in concentration.
12 Jan 2005

NSW Catholic Education justifies fee rises
A Herald survey of 48 private secondary schools reveals fee rises of up to 20 per cent and an average increase of 8.3 per cent. Not one school surveyed will cut fees and the big increases involve the most expensive independent schools and Catholic institutions run by religious orders.
12 Jan 2005

Pope asks for prayer and support for vocations
Many of the young people Pope John Paul II met and encouraged to follow God's call in the early days of his pontificate are priests, nuns and parents today, he said. After having prayed about their own vocations 20 or 25 years ago, he said, it is time for them to support a new generation in discovering God's plan for their lives.
12 Jan 2005

Feature - Relief worker starts at the bottom
When Jemma Rosen, an Australian university student, decided to spend her summer teaching in a shanty community in Sri Lanka, she didn't comprehend it would also involve washing dozens of babies' bottoms. Like many overseas volunteers who were already in the country, she has been redeployed to work in a refugee camp in the frantic fortnight after the tsunami.
11 Jan 2005

Opinion - Our humanity is at stake
The desperately poor who huddled along the devastated coastlines, the rich vacationers from the West, the Christians and Muslims and Hindus and others who lost families and livelihoods and homes -- all will find ways to cope and deal with the memories and the loss. And we who were spared? Individually we'll pray and give what we can. As a people, we'll ultimately be left to deal with how we responded when there was nothing at stake -- no oil, no territory, no ideological battle -- but our humanity.
11 Jan 2005

The case for Australia's next saint
More than 100 pilgrims gathered yesterday in the small chapel of the congregational order of Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor on the 84th anniversary of the death of one of Australia's saints-in-waiting, Eileen O'Connor.
11 Jan 2005

Vatican shares artifacts with Israel
The Vatican will present the works of Moses Maimonides, one of the most influential figures in modern Jewish thought to Israel for scholarly study. With this gesture, the Vatican hopes to continue to bridge the divide between Jews and Christians worldwide.
11 Jan 2005

Chinese bishop released and seminarians avoid arrest
Chinese authorities have released Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo. However, the police tried to raid an underground seminary in Baoding but seminarians were warned in time and able to get away.
11 Jan 2005

Caritas Australia appeal tops $4 million
The Caritas Australia Asia Earthquake Appeal has topped $4 million, with much more expected to flow in from a weekend collection at Catholic parishes around the nation.
11 Jan 2005

Australian priest vows to keep working in Aceh
High-profile charity worker Father Chris Riley has vowed not to back down on his plans to help children in tsunami-ravaged Aceh, despite a warning from hardline Muslims.
11 Jan 2005

Pope lists four great challenges for humanity
In his annual address to the Vatican diplomatic corps yesterday, Pope John Paul II set out four challenges facing the world's leaders: the defence of life, the conquest of hunger, the pursuit of world peace, and the advance of religious freedom.
11 Jan 2005

Feature - Signs of hope amid the devastation
Against the starkness of such immense devastation, people are starting to get on with some normality. People were rebuilding their homes, cars and motorbikes were again on the streets, people were selling goods at the markets, the recent rains had brought some fresh water. There were signs of life returning to some normality. Such resilience of the people of Meulaboh, even while they grieve all they have lost, gives some hope for their future.
10 Jan 2005

Opinion - Religion and politics
The religious tradition has much to offer to the current debates over such matters as when military intervention is justified and how to deal with humanitarian problems. Be it the human rights perspective contained in recent encyclicals, or the centuries-old ideas contained in the just war ethic, religion has a worthy point of view.
10 Jan 2005

New approach to curb abuse and aid victims
An American non-profit group, It Works, has unveiled a new web site, VictimPower, which will open a confidential channel of communication between abuse victims and authorities. The group has harnessed the power of modern technology in a radical new effort to curb child abuse.
10 Jan 2005

Kenyan slum dwellers donate money to tsunami victims
Parishioners at Christ the King Catholic church in Kibera, Nairobi gave generously to a special collection for survivors of the Indian Ocean seaquake. The sum collected will go to support people in Sri Lanka.
10 Jan 2005

Chinese Bishop Jia, 69, Arrested
Bishop Jia Zhi Guo, who heads the underground Catholic Church for the Diocese of Zheng Ding, was arrested on 5 January. Bishop Jia has been five times in the past year, in a clear pattern of harassment by Chinese government authorities.
10 Jan 2005

Don't convert our children, Muslim group warns
The arrival of an Australian Catholic priest Fr Chris Riley (pictured) in the tsunami-ravaged Indonesian province of Aceh has sparked a warning from a hardline Islamic group not to try to convert Muslim children.
10 Jan 2005

Christians must rediscover baptism and mission, says the Pope
The Pope yesterday invited Christians to commit themselves to a "new re-evangelisation". On the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Christians, too, must rediscover the baptism, sign of one's full commitment to the faith and true participation to Church life, he said.
10 Jan 2005

Caritas Australia sends aid team to devastated Meulaboh
Caritas Australia sent an aid team into the Indonesian city of Meulaboh last Thursday to personally assess the devastation in the area in which much of the population was reported to have been killed by the tsunami. On Friday, urgent funds were directed to the devastated city.
10 Jan 2005

Feature - Disaster aid highlights deficit in permanent aid relief
The rush to provide aid to tsunami-ravaged countries continues apace. Whilst this is great news, it does also highlight the relatively low level of aid developed countries give less well-off nations when there is no emergency. A report from Oxfam published this month reveals that rich countries today give half as much, as a proportion of their incomes, as they did in the 1960s. If current trends continue, Oxfam says, 45 million more children will die by 2015 because the First World is failing to provide the resources needed to overcome poverty.
7 Jan 2005

Opinion - Indifferent, but still religious
The man whom we call "homo indifferens" never ceases to be a "homo religious"; he is just seeking a new and ever-changing religiosity. The analysis of this phenomenon reveals a kaleidoscopic situation where anything and its opposite can occur: on the one hand, those who believe without belonging, and on the other, those who belong without believing in the entire content of the faith and who, above all, do not feel obliged to respect the ethical dimension of the faith. In truth, only God knows what is at the bottom of our hearts, where His Grace works secretly.
7 Jan 2005

Catholics join latest debate on Pope Pius XII
Controversy is once again swirling around the memory of Pope Pius XII, with the publication of a Vatican document dating from 1946, regarding the treatment of Jewish children who were baptized during World War II.
7 Jan 2005

Lest we forget our neighbour, says Moscow Patriarch
Faithful to the old Julian calendar, the Russian Orthodox Church is celebrating Christmas today. In his Christmas message, the patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, Aleksij II (pictured), remembers the Beslan tragedy and calls on the faithful of every religion to work together for peace in the world.
7 Jan 2005

Top 10 films of 2004 according to US Catholic film office
Since 1965 the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office for Film & Broadcasting has compiled a list honoring the top 10 films produced each year. These exceedingly well-made motion pictures are chosen not only for their obvious cinematic excellence, but for the filmmaker's striving to enlighten as well as to entertain. Each passes the test for intelligence, ethical content and inspiration.
7 Jan 2005

German organizers further plans for World Youth Day
The Pontifical Council for the Laity held a preparatory session for World Youth Day organizers from Germany on yesterday, the feast of the Epiphany. The date of the meeting is significant, since the Epiphany commemorates the visit of the Magi to the child Jesus. The relics of the Magi are conserved in the cathedral of Cologne, the host city for World Youth Day 2005.
7 Jan 2005

Heart-wrenching greeting for Aussie Aid Workers
Indonesians are greeting Australian aid workers and defence personnel to the devastated province of Aceh with the phrase "Indonesia menangis", meaning "Indonesia cries". It has become a slogan to the Indonesian people despite their strained relations in the past with the Acehnese.
7 Jan 2005

Inter-faith prayer for tsunami victims in Phuket
Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists, foreigners and Thais have come together in Phuket to pray for the souls of those who died in a calamity that has distressed the whole world. Yesterday, the chants of a thousand monks and the glow of more than 10,000 candles honoured the memory of those who died in the tsunami and to the millions who have donated billions of dollars to help the living pick up their lives.
7 Jan 2005

Feature - No regrets for boy who said: 'I'll give it a go'
Christian Brother Des Wallis sees himself as a brother to all. It's the way he's been leading his life for at least 70 years - the time he has been with the Christian Brothers. Br Wallis, who has lived at Nudgee College in Brisbane for the past 26 years, recently celebrated his 70th anniversary with fellow brothers, family and friends. His aim has always been to "make school time practically useful to the students and happy enough to remember".
6 Jan 2005

Opinion - A new start for a new year
You wouldn't accomplish much in a day if, every morning, you got into your car and drove away—without a destination in mind. Likewise, it isn't productive to just wander down the road of marriage and family life. You're far more likely to get where you want to go when you target goals and adopt strategies to achieve them.
6 Jan 2005

Catholic League president with a 'tough edge'
In November, when Planned Parenthood protested the federal government's decision to allow its employees in 27 Illinois counties to choose a Catholic health plan run by the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, William Donohue (pictured) made his voice heard.
6 Jan 2005

Christians jailed since December set free
All Coptic Christians arrested and jailed in Cairo in December have now been set free. The last 11 left prison yesterday after paying AUD$90 bail. Others were freed in mid- and late December.
6 Jan 2005

For some charities, delivery is half the battle
They have a fleet of sport utility vehicles, each labeled with a large window sticker to note the arrival of Catholic Relief Services in this battered city. But almost two weeks after a wall of water destroyed half of this city, workers from Catholic Relief Services, based in Baltimore, have still not delivered any direct aid here
6 Jan 2005

Hope is found in faith in Tamil Nadu tragedy
Faith springs from the devastation that is Tamil Nadu, India, says John Dayal, president of the All India Catholic Union after a visit to the hard-hit state where he travelled from Nagappatinam to Pondicherry.
6 Jan 2005

Stronger faith builds in the wake of disaster
Hundreds of people packed St Mary's Cathedral in Hobart last night for a special mass - led by two Sri Lankan priests - for victims of the tsunami. Young Launceston Sri-Lankan born Catholic priest Father Milton read the gospel and his colleague Father Dudley Prerera celebrated the mass.
6 Jan 2005

Pope joins Europe's mourning for tsunami victims
Pope John Paul II joined many Europeans in observing 3 minutes of silence in memory of Asian tsunami victims, at the start of his regular weekly public audience on 5 January. The Holy Father then led the 5,000 people assembled in the Vatican's Paul VI auditorium in prayer for the victims and their families.
6 Jan 2005

Feature - Looking to our future
While the Catholic Church remains a force in the world, it is a world which can be hostile to its values. To respond by closing the shutters is too easy a temptation. The Church must still bear witness to the truth, but must do so in dialogue with the world, not without it. Karl Rahner argued nearly 15 years ago that the Church is no longer just an institution of European thought and culture but a world church. That role brings new challenges affecting all it does, from its forms of liturgical expression to its responsibilities to the poor, particularly the developing South.
5 Jan 2005

Opinion - Life in the world is a freely given gift
The extraordinary fact is that belief has survived not because it comforts or explains but because believers cannot deny what has been shown or given to them. They have learned to see the world and life in the world as a freely given gift; they have learned to be open to a calling or invitation from outside their own resources, a calling to accept God's mercy for themselves and make it real for others; they have learned that there is some reality to which they can only relate in amazement and silence.
5 Jan 2005

New Roman Martyrology lists 7000 saints and blesseds
In Rome at the beginning of December, the second edition of the Roman Martyrology was presented. The new Martyrology is an updated list not, as the name might suggest, of martyrs, but of all the saints and blesseds venerated by the Church.
5 Jan 2005

Bakhtiaris 'headed for Afghanistan' according to Centacare head
Dale West, friend of the Bakhtiari family and head of the Centacare Adelaide, claims the Bakhtiari have left the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, and are possibly heading for the Afghan border. The family arrived in Pakistan on Sunday morning, Australian time, but have not been seen since.
5 Jan 2005

US clergy abuse payout exceeds $A128m
A judge has unsealed the details of a record $US100 million ($A128.7 million) settlement with a Southern California diocese over sex abuse allegations against clergy.
5 Jan 2005

2.25 million venerated relics of St. Francis Xavier
During the 6-week exposition of the relics of St Francis Xavier which ended 2 January, more than 2.25 million pilgrims from all over India and surrounding countries came to venerate the remains of the "Apostle of the East."
5 Jan 2005

Bishop denounces Asian adoption profiteers
Bishop Elio Sgreccia, the newly appointed president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, has denounced the "traffic in human lives" that has arisen in southeast Asia after the tsunami there.
5 Jan 2005

Tsunami survivors find consolation in church personnel
On Thailand's southwestern coast, tsunami survivors, traumatized and shocked by the devastation and loss of their loved ones, poured out their grief to church personnel.
5 Jan 2005

Feature - Is God to blame for this?
Satya Kumari saw walls of water sweep his town, leaving behind a trail of wet corpses. That and grief, inconsolable grief. "Death came from the sea," he told reporters. "The waves just kept chasing us. It swept away all our huts. What did we do to deserve this?" It is a pertinent and challenging question for all those who believe in an interventionist higher being, an omnipotent God. What sort of God would sanction such apparently meaningless devastation?
4 Jan 2005

Opinion - The problem of suffering
The problem of suffering and evil is as old as mankind. Christians believe that God is all-loving and that his compassion and love reach out to all, especially to the most helpless and abandoned. As Isaiah the Hebrew prophet reminds us, God's ways are not our ways; nor are his thoughts our thoughts. This is not a cop-out, but an admission that confronted by suffering we are in the realm of mystery.
4 Jan 2005

Seventeen missionaries martyred in 2004
Seventeen missionaries lost their lives while spreading the Gospel in 2004 according to a report from the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Each was aware of the dangers they faced and chose to continue in their apostolates.
4 Jan 2005

Perth Archbishop calls for unity on morals
In his New Year's message, Archbishop Barry Hickey has condemned society's abandonment of traditional values and criticised other churches for not joining Catholics in a stand against issues such as divorce, abortion and embryonic stemcell research.
4 Jan 2005

Bakhtiyaris deported to save face, says Centacare head
According to Dale West, executive director of Centacare Adelaide, the Bakhtiyaris' fate was sealed after the older boys, Alamdar (pictured) and Monty, escaped from Woomera in 2002 and sought asylum with the British consulate in Melbourne. The Government was so embarrassed that it resolved to show no mercy, he said.
4 Jan 2005

Centacare Sydney offers new options for pregnant women
Centacare Sydney has established a program to provide an alternative for pregnant women who may be considering an abortion. The program includes counselling, financial support, housing, health care and education for women, their partners and families.
4 Jan 2005

Australian Church sends prayers and support to tsunami victims
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference President, Archbishop Francis Carroll has expressed his prayerful sympathy to all of those affected by the tsunami disaster across the South East Asian region.
4 Jan 2005

Pope praises human solidarity after tsunami tragedy
During his first two public audiences of 2005, Pope John Paul II reiterated his condolences for the victims of the tsunami that struck the Indian Ocean on 26 December. In both addresses, he praised the world community for its unified response to the tragedy.
4 Jan 2005