Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources
 

NEWS ARCHIVE FOR MARCH 2005

   
Feature - Former TV executive uses film on behalf of poor
As a CBS network television producer in the US, Gerry Straub had all the trappings of success - a BMW, nice homes on both coasts and financial security. But a profound conversion experience led the 58-year-old to his present vocation as the president of The San Damiano Foundation, a Burbank-based secular Franciscan ministry putting the power of film at the service of the poor.
31 Mar 2005

Opinion - US Bishops bite the bullet on death penalty
The Catholic stance on social issues just got a little more consistent with the US bishops' Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty. Across the wide range of theological and ideological views that make up the church, no group is completely free of its "cafeteria" approach to church teachings. We all have to figure out ways to deal with details of teaching with which we might not fully agree. Certainly there are loyal Catholics who will cling to the slightest loophole to maintain their conviction that even in the face of repeated papal admonition, the death penalty is justifiable.
31 Mar 2005

Reaction to Canberra priest's statement about Resurrection
Canberra-Goulburn Archbishop Francis Carroll sounded a note of caution after one of his priests said in a Canberra Times feature that he does not believe Christ physically rose from the dead on Easter Sunday.
31 Mar 2005

Melbourne Archbishop urges rethink of Vic hatred law
Archbishop Denis Hart said Victoria's Racial and Religious Tolerance Act, which was brought into focus by recent court action between the Islamic Council of Victoria and the Catch The Fire evangelical Christian group, tends to blur race and religion.
31 Mar 2005

'Halfwit' Zimbabwe archbishop urges popular uprising
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe labelled the influential Archbishop of Bulawayo a "halfwit", after he called for a non-violent mass uprising to end his 25-year rule ahead of today's general election.
31 Mar 2005

Caritas says good networks helping Nias response
Caritas Australia director Jack de Groot has said that the international Caritas organisations' response to the Easter Monday Indonesian earthquake is being made easier by the presence of good Catholic networks.
31 Mar 2005

Nasal feeding tube fixed to Pope
Pope John Paul II is receiving supplementary nutrition through a feeding tube as he continues his "slow and progressive" recovery, the Vatican has announced.
31 Mar 2005

Bishop says Schiavo case may influence Australian laws
Sydney's Bishop Anthony Fisher has said the tragic slow death of Terri Schiavo in Florida after the removal of a feeding tube may be morally akin to active euthanasia.
31 Mar 2005

Feature - Eyewitness account of Sumatra earthquake
On the night of 28 March, 2005, the air seemed fresher that normal, and rain wet the ground of Aceh. We had just finished our daily meeting, and although late at night, most of the staff were again bent over our laptops. At 11.20 pm I had still not finished the report from the day's shelter meeting, when I heard someone screaming "Earthquake.. Earthquake!" We rushed out of the house. The tremors did not stop, but just became more and more crazy. We tried frantically to contact people we know. - Jesuit Refugee Service Information Officer Edi Mulyono SJ
30 Mar 2005

Opinion - Christian moderates drowned out
On Good Friday, some television channels led their news bulletins with pictures from Sydney's Hillsong Church. The north-western suburbs megachurch, which belongs to the Pentecostal Assemblies of God, claims attendances of up to 17,500 people each week. Compare this with the 27% of Australians identifying as Catholics, and more than 750,000 attending Catholic churches each Sunday. Hillsong's media prominence is not just a quirk of newsroom priorities, but a carefully orchestrated dominance of the religious right, which is creating the impression that the only Christian voice is a conservative one. - Muriel Porter, religion columnist and Anglican laywoman
30 Mar 2005

Sydney priest in plea for updated hymns
A parish priest in Sydney's southern suburbs has criticised the choice of hymns for this year's Archdiocese of Sydney Confirmation ceremony at the Sydney SuperDome.
30 Mar 2005

Vatican writer's fair and balanced assessment of Opus Dei
The National Catholic Reporter's Rome correspondent John Allen is about to publish a study of Opus Dei that challenges its common depiction as a secretive and sinister cult within the Catholic Church.
30 Mar 2005

Tasmania's Catholic newspaper reborn as glossy colour mag
A new voice for the Catholic Church in Tasmania was distributed this Easter - a glossy, colour magazine called The Tasmanian Catholic, that replaces the 50 year old monthly newspaper The Standard.
30 Mar 2005

Pope to have mountain named after him
Pope John Paul II will have a 2400 metre mountain in central Italy's Gran Sasso range named for him on 18 May, his 85th birthday.
30 Mar 2005

Salesian in court on 29 child sex charges
A priest facing 29 child sex charges dating back to the 1970s appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court yesterday for the start of his committal hearing.
30 Mar 2005

Caritas responds to Indonesian Earthquake
Caritas Australia is organising to fly medical supplies and medical personnel to the north Sumatra island of Nias, to respond to immediate needs, and to assess additional emergency and longer-term requirements.
30 Mar 2005

Feature - Easter under curfew
This year for the second time running Christians in Iraq celebrated Easter under curfew. In northern Iraq it was a tradition for Catholics to take part in Holy Week services at the various ancient Chaldean and Syrian monasteries. But today most people are too afraid to go anywhere, or let their children go to church. There were less people at services on Holy Thursday and Good Friday.
29 Mar 2005

Opinion - Easter focus is on God, not sin
Why is it that in many churches, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday draw larger congregations than any other feast in the Christian calendar, including Easter Sunday? Are we somehow more at home with sin and death than with life and the Resurrection? Repentance does not mean doing something difficult to please God, as though God is best pleased by our masochism. Jesus, image of the unseen God, is a man of passion. - Gerard W. Hughes SJ
29 Mar 2005

Research body to map new expressions of "church"
NCLS Research - the National Church Life Survey, whose sponsors include the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference - is about to launch the exploratory phase of a new project that hopes to describe fresh expressions of the meaning of 'church' in the lives of Australians.
29 Mar 2005

Student identity scheme has Catholic backing
Br Kelvin Canavan of the Sydney Archdiocese Catholic Education Office has supported the introduction of identity numbers for school students to help monitor their academic progress.
29 Mar 2005

British Cardinal compares abortion to Nazi eugenics
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor of England and Wales has said the UK's policy on abortion is similar to Nazi Germany's eugenics experiments and killings.
29 Mar 2005

Archbishop dismayed by Howard moves to OK embryo stem cell research
Hobart's Archbishop Adrian Doyle has said that it is "disappointing" to hear that the Australian Government's moratorium on embryonic stem cell research is to be discontinued.
29 Mar 2005

Pope's silent Easter Sunday blessing, then no show Monday
Pope John Paul II appeared at his window above St Peter's Square on Sunday, silently blessing thousands of Easter pilgrims, although he was unable to deliver his traditional urbi et orbi address.
29 Mar 2005

Perth archbishop says Easter an "invitation to take God seriously"
Archbishop Barry Hickey said on Sunday that Easter is God's pledge to humanity that the power of the resurrection is available from the risen Lord to all who seek it.
29 Mar 2005

Feature - The weapons of Christ
The 'Arma Christi' - weapons of Christ - was a very popular iconographic theme from the later Middle Ages, to help Christians meditating the Passion of Christ. Miniatures of these objects were attached to rosaries and crucifixes, or drawn as aids to contemplation of the price Jesus paid for our sins.
24 Mar 2005

Opinion - Let us rise above fear this Easter
When I was a young boy, I can remember how I was afraid of the dark, even though my parents would reassure me that I was safe. Actually fear can keep us from injuring ourselves. But if we are controlled or obsessed by it, we can become paralysed. Fear can stop us from living life to the full and engaging with people and experiences. Natural disasters such as the tsunami and, locally, the 1955 Maitland flood (commemorated recently), confront us to realise our helplessness, our smallness in the face of powerful, destructive forces. They highlight our vulnerability and our reliance on others. - Bishop Michael Malone
24 Mar 2005

Catholic Film Office picks "Tom White" as Film of the Year
The jury of the Australian Catholic Film Office has awarded its 2004 Film of the Year to the film Tom White, the Alkinos Tsilimidos film that starred Colin Friels.
24 Mar 2005

PALMS loss leads to more collaboration
Losing all of its government funding has opened the door to forging new partnerships with other Catholic groups and dioceses, according to PALMS.
24 Mar 2005

Bishop foreshadows need to consider ordaining married men
Bishop Brian Heenan of Rockhampton in Queensland is reported to have said that the church will need to consider ordaining married men to overcome a shortage of priests.
24 Mar 2005

Audience cancelled, but Pope blesses crowd from window
Although the Vatican announced the cancellation of Pope John Paul II's general audience scheduled for yesterday, the pilgrims came anyway and were rewarded with a brief appearance by the Holy Father.
24 Mar 2005

Bishop calls Govt detainee release "a small but welcome step"
The Federal Government's decision to release some long term immigration detainees was a small but welcome step towards a more compassionate detention policy, Bishops' Committee for Migrants and Refugees chairman Bishop Joseph Grech said yesterday.
24 Mar 2005

Archbishop's Easter hope for happy ending to our own 'culture of death'
Alluding to the modern "culture of death" that Pope John Paul II has often spoken about, Melbourne's Archbishop Denis Hart has said that "the fact that Easter Day is on the horizon means that we do not give up hope".
24 Mar 2005

Feature - Gethsemane - the place to give up resentment
Real love is not simply a matter of giving ourselves over in service and duty (mostly we have to do this anyway, whether we want to or not). It's a question of giving ourselves over without being resentful. This was one of the struggles of Jesus in Gethsemane. Transformation through prayer is needed to bring us there. - Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
23 Mar 2005

Opinion - 1960s trailblazer who became Bishops' social justice secretary
Dr Michael Costigan, executive secretary of the Bishops' Committee for Justice, Development, Ecology and Peace for the past 17 years, has retired. In 1969, he left the priesthood for full-time journalism. As features and literary editor on the Nation Review he shared an office with cartoonist Michael Leunig, answered to editor Richard Walsh and sub-edited stories from Barry Humphries, Germaine Greer and others. "I consider that period as my second university," he says.
23 Mar 2005

Indonesian Jesuit says foreigners must not leave Aceh
Although the post-tsunami emergency has ended, the coordinator of the Crisis and Reconciliation Service of the Indonesian Catholic Bishops' Conference has said that greater international efforts are still needed for reconstruction and the resettlement of refugees.
23 Mar 2005

Commission welcomes Govt change of heart on refugees
Brisbane's Catholic Justice and Peace Commission is "rejoicing" over an Immigration Department decision to grant permanent protection to two young Afghan men.
23 Mar 2005

Medical journal criticised for mis-stating Church AIDS work
Caritas Internationalis has sent a letter of protest to the editor of the British medical journal The Lancet to correct misinterpretations of the Church's struggle against AIDS printed in its 12 March issue.
23 Mar 2005

Caritas issues last minute Project Compassion reminder
Caritas Autralia national director Jack de Groot has urged Catholics to remember to complete their donations to the Project Compassion lenten appeal as soon as possible after this week's conclusion of Lent.
23 Mar 2005

Catholics lead rise in charity revenue
Australia's Churches generated almost $23 billion in 2004, with the Catholic Church turning over almost two-thirds of that amount, an investigation by BRW magazine has found, estimating the not-for-profit sector is worth $70 billion a year.
23 Mar 2005

Fresh doubts about Pope's health
The media in Italy is reporting that Pope John Paul II "is very weak" and that there is "great concern" for his health at the Vatican, despite Monday's statements Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls that there's no reason for reporters to be on standby.
23 Mar 2005

Feature - The man who saved the Pope
A medical instrument made by a prominent Adelaide surgeon in a shed 16 years ago has been credited with saving Pope John Paul's life. Dr Bill Griggs developed the tools which Italian surgeons used to perform a tracheostomy on the Holy Father last month. "The Pope was having trouble breathing and they needed to do the procedure so, yes, it probably helped save his life," said Dr Griggs, director of trauma services at Royal Adelaide Hospital.
22 Mar 2005

Opinion - Unmeasurable giving
At the time of Tsunami Appeals, a radio reporter asked us: "Do you think the fact that people have given so generously to the Tsunami Appeals will affect other appeals?" The only answer we could give is: "We don't know. While some may have given all they can afford for this year, there are others who are simply giving people and don't measure giving." It was Sir Winston Churchill who once said: "We make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give". - Br Bill Firman, Chairman of Mission, BoysTown
22 Mar 2005

Pope accepts NZ Cardinal's resignation
Cardinal Thomas Williams, who has been Archbishop of Wellington for the past 25 years, has reached the mandatory retirement age of 75, and announced that his resignation has been accepted by Pope John Paul.
22 Mar 2005

Families risk financial security over credit cards
The overuse of credit cards at Christmas is driving low to middle income families to financial ruin, according to Sydney Centacare financial counsellor David Bell, who adds that the problem appears to be getting worse.
22 Mar 2005

Catholic Mission has its most successful year
Catholic Mission had its most successful year ever in 2004, raising more than $8.1 million in net donations from the Australian public, an 18% increase on the previous year.
22 Mar 2005

Catholics back Muslim claims against evangelical Christians
Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart's Vicar for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations has explained its support for the Islamic Council of Victoria's anti-vilification case against Catch the Fire Ministries, before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
22 Mar 2005

Vatican calls for keeping Schiavo alive
The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano has criticised the removal of a feeding tube from a brain-damaged Florida woman, saying nobody can claim the right to decide whether a human being lives or dies.
22 Mar 2005

Cardinal Pell hails stem cell discovery
Cardinal George Pell will refer to the Vatican an Australian scientific breakthrough that could make obsolete the moral and ethical debate surrounding embryonic stem cell research.
22 Mar 2005

Feature - Bethlehem nun's Rosary for peace against wall
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon last week unveiled the final route of the 'security barrier' designed to protect Israelis from Palestinian terrorist attacks. It will separate East Jerusalem from most of the West Bank, and divide Bethlehem. The Sisters working at Bethlehem's Baby Caritas Hospital, and local Christians, have been praying the rosary in front of Israel's security wall every Thursday, to encourage peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and at the same time express their opposition to wall.
21 Mar 2005

Opinion - Pope using media to compensate for his decline
At the Angelus a week ago, Pope John Paul II warmly thanked the media. A few hours later, he used them in an almost imprudent way. Returning by car from the Policlinico Gemelli hospital to the Vatican, he had himself filmed by a camera behind his back, like a Formula One driver returning to the track after a pit stop. The media are the means by which Pope Karol Wojtyla is compensating for his physical decline. Two days before leaving the hospital, he released a video showing himself in liturgical vestments, speaking with Cardinal Polycarp Pengo.
21 Mar 2005

Brazilian papal candidate outlines social justice vision
Cardinal Claudio Hummes of São Paolo, Brazil - one of the Latin American cardinals considered a possible successor to Pope John Paul II - last week revealed his determination to apply the Gospel to questions of economic justice and the "option for the poor".
21 Mar 2005

Cardinal Pell affirms ban on women priests
After a silent protest yesterday outside Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral by the group Ordination of Catholic Women, Cardinal George Pell said that women will not be ordained "in any lifetime".
21 Mar 2005

Christian convert detainees may be allowed to stay
30 of Australia's longest-term immigration detainees are having their cases reviewed and could be freed because they have converted to Christianity since arriving.
21 Mar 2005

Pope tells priests to live what they pray
Pope John Paul II's annual Holy Thursday letter to priests advises them to live the words they proclaim when celebrating the Eucharist.
21 Mar 2005

Palm Sunday pilgrims retrace Jesus' trip to Jerusalem
Thousands of Christian pilgrims, the crowd swelled by foreigners taking advantage of a lull in Israeli-Palestinian violence, waved palms yesterday as they marched from the Mount of Olives into the Jerusalem's Old City to re-enact Jesus' triumphant return.
21 Mar 2005

Feature - Improving life in East Timor
Eight year old Anderita lives with her family in the village of Nefomtasa. During the 1999 violence, Nefomtasa was burnt out by the militia. 100 of the 300 villagers were killed and the remaining villagers hid in caves. That September Caritas Australia began implementing a relief effort to help the people of East Timor. After this initial emergency work it began long-term development work.
18 Mar 2005

Opinion - Trauma need not be disabling
Traumatic events can shatter our basic belief that the world is a safe and secure place. There is no one way to react, as there is a strong subjective component in people's reactions depending on a factors including a person's temperament. People may be able to use their internal resources and strengths to gradually work through their feelings and reactions. - Dr Maria Scoda
18 Mar 2005

Whyalla school teachers at drug party
Four teachers at St John's College in South Australia's Port Pirie Diocese have been apprehended by police after an LSD drug party.
18 Mar 2005

Vox Clara OKs born again ICEL translations body
The Vatican's Vox Clara ad-hoc group of 12 English-speaking bishops, chaired by Cardinal George Pell, has noted "impressive improvements" in the most recent texts submitted by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), in which it now has confidence.
18 Mar 2005

Pope marks anniversary of Gaudium et Spes
Pope John Paul II has issued a message to commemorate the 40th anniversary year of the core Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes - the Church in the Modern World - which was promulgated by Pope Paul VI on 7 December 1965.
18 Mar 2005

Archbishop depicts St Patrick as model for modern missionaries
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference President Archbishop Francis Carroll shared some of St Patrick's "trade secrets" with an ecumenical gathering in Canberra yesterday, suggesting that his strong personal conviction was instrumental in his ability to engage the people.
18 Mar 2005

Archbishop qualifies support for same-sex benefits
Adelaide Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson is calling on the South Australian Government to amend proposed laws awarding same-sex couples equal legal rights to opposite-sex de facto partners.
18 Mar 2005

Pell seeks clemency for death row Australian
Sydney's Cardinal George Pell has joined the fight to save convicted Australian heroin trafficker Nguyen Tuong Van, who has been condemned to death in a Singapore court.
18 Mar 2005

Feature - Prosperity with a purpose
As Catholic Welfare Australia adds its voice to calls for tax reform, warning that job growth shouldn't be achieved 'at the cost of lower wages', a Christian think-tank is arguing that 'under the right conditions, economic growth can serve God's purposes'. Catholic writer and journalist Clifford Longley is principal author of the document 'Prosperity With a Purpose'.
17 Mar 2005

Opinion - St Patrick's key to finding God in the 'thin places'
In converting the Celts, Patrick highlighted the many similarities between their beliefs and those of the Christian faith. The Celts worshipped pagan gods for nearly every natural setting, and Celtic Christians praised God's design and creation of all things natural. Places where people feel most strongly connected with God's presence are referred to as 'thin places'. "For us, then, it is a place where it is possible to touch and be touched by God, as well as the angels, saints and those who have died," said Celtic spirituality expert Sr John Miriam.
17 Mar 2005

Irish Bishops launch campaign to support emigrants
To coincide with St Patrick's Day, the Irish Bishops' Commission for Emigrants has launched its "Supporting Irish Abroad" (SIA) campaign.
17 Mar 2005

Priest accused of kidnapping prostitutes
Fr Cesare Lodeserto, the former head of an Italian foundation caring for asylum seekers, was arrested last weekend over accusations he had mistreated Romanian prostitutes.
17 Mar 2005

Italian bishops urge referendum boycott
Italy's bishops have invited the faithful to abstain from voting in a referendum to change the law on assisted procreation and research with human embryos.
17 Mar 2005

No more updates on Pope's health crisis
The Vatican Press Office has said that it will not issue further medical updates on the Holy Father's health, because his health crisis is over.
17 Mar 2005

Vinnies supports 3000 left homeless in redevelopment
The St Vincent de Paul Society has given its backing to community action opposing NSW Government plans to bulldoze the homes of 3000 people on a local public housing estate in Sydney's south-west.
17 Mar 2005

Adelaide Archbishop backs equal rights for gay couples
The Adelaide Archdiocese has given support for a South Australian Parliamentary Bill giving gay and lesbian couples access to the rights enjoyed by heterosexual couples.
17 Mar 2005

Feature - Room for all God's children
Sr Jeannine Gramick is an unusual rebel - a little nun, 61, in sensible shoes who has taken on the Vatican over its attitude to sexuality. The US nun, now in Australia for screenings of a documentary on her struggle, In Good Conscience, makes no statements either way about the rights or wrongs of a gay lifestyle. She wants the church hierarchy to acknowledge that gay Catholics, historically relegated to the fringes, have a legitimate place within the faith.
16 Mar 2005

Opinion - Keep repeating message to teens about sex
"We're responsible to give a generation the truth," said Pam Stenzel, abstinence promoter and former teen pregnancy counsellor, "Students need to hear this topic discussed from as many voices as they possibly can, over and over and over and over and over and over again." The repetition, she said, will counter a media and secular culture that assumes teenagers and college students have to be sexually active, a culture in denial about the consequences of premarital sexual activity.
16 Mar 2005

Parish priest lends support to threatened Bruderhof Community
The Catholic Church has lent its support to the Bruderhof Community in northern NSW ahead of a meeting tomorrow with Federal Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone.
16 Mar 2005

Harradine out of hospital
70 year old Tasmanian independent Senator Brian Harradine was discharged from hospital yesterday after a minor stroke 10 days ago.
16 Mar 2005

US Catholic women "still face 'stained-glass ceiling'"
Despite the church's "long, wonderful tradition of women in leadership," women still face a "stained-glass ceiling" in church employment, a Chicago archdiocesan official has told a national gathering of leaders in Catholic philanthropy.
16 Mar 2005

Cardinal tells Catholics to reject Labour over abortion
The Catholic Church in England and Wales entered Britain's election campaign yesterday by backing opposition leader Michael Howard's stance on abortion and withdrawing its traditional support for Tony Blair's Labour Party.
16 Mar 2005

CEO looks for further strategies to attract male teachers
The Catholic Education Office (CEO) of the Archdiocese of Sydney is looking at new ways to attract male teachers to primary schools following a lack of demand for its special scholarships.
16 Mar 2005

Catholic employment body urges wage increase
The Australian Catholic Commission for Employment Relations has told Federal Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews that the minimum wage in Australia should be raised by $26.60 per week.
16 Mar 2005

Feature - Neighbours, there for one another
"Even if it is just a hello at the door it is still a connection of some sort, and builds a sense of belonging. Because even if they don't participate in parish life they are still a part of the parish." The Adelaide Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) program grew out of a recognition of the need to harness the goodwill of local communities to form connections between local Catholics.
15 Mar 2005

Opinion - Church has always questioned democracy
It may surprise you to know that the Catholic Church has only in recent decades offered a positive assessment of democracy as we know it today. In the 1991 Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, Pope John Paul II gave qualified support, coining the expression 'authentic democracy'. The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, published last year, said it must include acceptance of certain values. It argued that ethical relativism, which holds in doubt the existence of such shared objective principles, is a poison to authentic democracy. - Bishop Christopher Prowse, Archdiocese of Melbourne
15 Mar 2005

Three hurt in Italian church candle explosion
An electric candle exploded in the hands of a 6-year-old girl during Mass on Sunday, seriously injuring her and renewing fears that a serial bomber who has terrorised northeastern Italy for more than 10 years has struck again.
15 Mar 2005

Vatican denounces violence in Darfur
The Vatican criticised daily brutality in Sudan's Darfur region and said an institution was needed specifically to deal with the plight of internally displaced people.
15 Mar 2005

Study says more use Christian Media than attend church
A nationwide survey from the US indicates that while 56% of adults attend church services in a typical month, a much larger percentage is exposed to religious information and experiences through various forms of media.
15 Mar 2005

Era of 'video-pope' approaches
There is increasing speculation that while Pope John Paul II may be back at the Vatican, his future public appearances may largely be limited to video-links, with observers predicting that the days of thousands of pilgrims being able to see the pope in person may be coming to an end.
15 Mar 2005

Pope stresses need for sacramental confession
True conversion of heart must include confession of sins, said Pope John Paul II in a message written to the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Cardinal James Stafford and made public yesterday.
15 Mar 2005

Catholic Welfare joins tax cuts call
Catholic Welfare Australia yesterday called on the Government to address high effective marginal tax rates for the poor, adding its voice to that of high profile Coalition back-bench MP Malcolm Turnball, who urged across the board tax cuts to counter tax evasion among the wealthy.
15 Mar 2005

Feature - Madrid bombing also changed Spain's church-state relations
Aside from the vanquished Conservatives, the Spanish institution most affected since the arrival of the Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has been the Catholic Church. In the year since "11-M" and the subsequent change in government, Cardinal Antonio Rouco Varela of Madrid has led the church into a battle with Zapatero over his government's plans for radical social reforms.
14 Mar 2005

Opinion - Lay Ministry should be 'formally mandated'
While most lay ministry has been to this point freely offered in an informal manner, there is an increasing need for formally mandated lay ministry, to ensure a solid ecclesiological and canonical basis for ministries that respects the rights and duties of all parties concerned. Such a process would include the writing of a job description, and a formal letter of appointment from the bishop. It would facilitate the incorporation of the growing requirements of civil law. - Fr Kristian Paver, parish priest and judicial vicar, Diocese of Plymouth (UK)
14 Mar 2005

Euro Catholic politician to back Saddam's 'right-hand man'
Rocco Buttiglione, Italy's minister for Europe and a leading member of the Catholic movement Communion and Liberation, has said he is willing to go to Baghdad and give character testimony on behalf of Iraq's former deputy prime minister and foreign minister, Tariq Aziz.
14 Mar 2005

Hong Kong bishop says new leader's faith no guarantee of good leadership
China on Saturday named Hong Kong Chief Secretary Donald Tsang - a devout Catholic - as the city's acting leader, but Catholic leder Bishop Joseph Zen said Tsang should be held responsible for the unjust policies of his predecessor.
14 Mar 2005

Catholic submission for work-family balance inquiry
The Catholic sector is preparing a submission to the Standing Committee on Family and Human Services Inquiry into balancing Work and family.
14 Mar 2005

Vatican bioethicist says patient's tube 'direct euthanasia'
Removing the feeding tube from Terri Schiavo, a brain-damaged Florida woman, or other patients in a similar condition amounts to "direct euthanasia", a "cruel way of killing someone," said the Vatican's top bioethicist.
14 Mar 2005

Pell says distance creates Australian uncertainty about Pope's health
Cardinal George Pell has told Italy's I Media news agency that Sydneysiders are more preoccupied with the Pope's health than the Romans.
14 Mar 2005

Pope returns home from hospital
Pope John Paul II has left his hospital in Rome, where he spent more than two weeks recovering from throat surgery, and has returned to the Vatican.
14 Mar 2005

Feature - A life where science and faith coexist
Nobel Prize-winning physicist Charles Hard Townes was this week named 2005 winner of the Templeton Prize for religion. When he was a professor at Columbia University during the 1950s, a colleague, Willis Lamb, asked him if God ever helps him in the lab. Dr. Townes gave the question some thought. "Well," he recalls telling Lamb. "I think so."
11 Mar 2005

Opinion - The comforting word
My Greek daughter-in-law has very recently been delivered of a stillborn girl. I have never suffered Katerina's specific anguish. Coming from different cultures, Katerina and I approach the world from our own angles and directions. If I had been her then, I know I would not have gone to St Jacob's or to the distant Orthodox church for solace. I would have gone to sit in a wooden pew in the Lutheran chapel. As Katerina needs the visions and the light, what would I do without the comfort and the reassurance of the word? - Writer Gillian Bouras
11 Mar 2005

ACU supports new high school nursing program
NSW Premier Bob Carr has announced an innovative Nursing Studies program that will allow Year 11 and 12 students considering nursing to receive training which may count towards a Bachelor of Nursing degree at the Australian Catholic University.
11 Mar 2005

Continued growth in diocesan seminary numbers
Australian seminaries are reporting a steady increase in numbers in the years since recruitment reached rock-bottom in 1996.
11 Mar 2005

Maronite Patriarch seeks revival of Lebanese sovereignty
On the eve of a heavily anticipated visit to Washington, DC, Maronite Catholic Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir said that Lebanon, has the right to "independence, sovereignty, and freedom".
11 Mar 2005

Pope to come home for Holy Week
Papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro Valls confirmed yesterday that the Holy Father will be discharged from his Rome hospital in time for Holy Week, which begins one week from Sunday.
11 Mar 2005

Vatican official fears nations will ignore UN on cloning
While applauding a UN vote that condemned human cloning, the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life has cautioned that the UN's decision may not be honoured.
11 Mar 2005

Vinnies worried about health insurance threat to poor
The rising cost of private health insurance is widening the gap between the rich and the poor and threatens to make Australia an "unhealthy" nation, according to the St Vincent de Paul Society.
11 Mar 2005

Feature - Caritas program helps indigenous Australians fight diabetes
Shirley is a Gija woman. She lives in the Warmun community in remote East Kimberley with her husband, six children and many grandchildren. Shirley is participating in the Diabetes Management and Care Program launched last April by the Unity of First People of Australia (UFPA) and supported by Caritas Australia. Type II diabetes can result in blindness, nerve disease, chronic kidney failure, heart disease and early death and has been described as a 'silent killer'. One of the key goals of the program is to explain to people that even though they may not 'feel sick' they need to manage their diabetes.
10 Mar 2005

Opinion - Oscar Romero - small man, big spirit
I met Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, of San Salvador, in February 1979 in Puebla, Mexico, a year before he was assassinated. He was short, unassuming and humble, with a kindly and homely appearance, a person who could be your next-door neighbour or parish priest. Fr James Brockman, a biographer, wrote: "He was a country pastor at heart, shy, direct and simple, like a campesino."
10 Mar 2005

US Catholics fight Merton exclusion from adult catechism
Catholics in the US are petitioning the nation's Bishops to reverse a decision to remove legendary Trappist author Thomas Merton from the forthcoming US Catholic Catechism for Adults because Merton is allegedly an unsuitable role model for young adults.
10 Mar 2005

Salesians launch radio station in Solomon Islands
A new Catholic broadcaster - Radio Bosco 89.9 FM - was launched late last month by the Salesians in the Solomon Islands.
10 Mar 2005

Indian Christians demand release of "framed" Jesuit
The Christians of Gujarat have demanded the immediate release of Fr Prasad Gonsalves of the Catholic Ashram in Radhanpur, who was arrested on Monday on allegedly false allegations.
10 Mar 2005

Catholics 'not discouraged' from joining new Graham Crusade
On the eve of a Christian festival in Tasmania with echoes of the landmark 1959 Billy Graham Crusade in Australia, Catholic spokesman Tom Wise said while the church had not sponsored Festival Tasmania it had not discouraged individuals from taking part.
10 Mar 2005

Pope's impromptu blessing from hospital window
To the delight of hundreds of people gathered below, the Holy Father yesterday appeared at the window of his room at Rome's Gemelli Polyclinic today to give an impromptu blessing.
10 Mar 2005

Church welcomes UN cloning ban
The Catholic Church has welcomed the non-binding United Nations vote against therapeutic cloning, especially in view of a local law review that is due to start in weeks.
10 Mar 2005

Feature - Notre Dame University strangles Fremantle's wild side
The university administration is examining ways of reinvigorating this once lively, rackety centre of a thriving port, now prim to the point of elderly spinsterhood. The successful university's physical domination of the precinct is dividing the citizens of this historic port, famous as the site of one of Australia's best preserved groups of colonial buildings.
9 Mar 2005

Opinion - Speaking about the tsunami
The most prudent religious leaders recommended that we first focus on those whose lives were destroyed by the tsunami, and only later muse about God's stake in it. When we respond to human suffering, practical generosity has precedence over theoretical reflection. To speak decently of the tsunami continues to be difficult. When we speak of it, we say more about ourselves than of the event.
9 Mar 2005

C.S. Lewis adaption is Disney's 'The Passion for kids'
Disney is to promote its $100 million adaptation of C S Lewis's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as a "Passion of the Christ for kids" in an attempt to secure worldwide Christian support for the film.
9 Mar 2005

'Pre-Christian' theologian no longer speaking at Catholic college
US Feminist theologian Dr Carol Christ will now speak at a Sydney Uniting Church venue following the Dominican Sisters' acceptance of advice from Bishop Julian Porteous that her use of their Santa Sabina college would be "inappropriate".
9 Mar 2005

Vatican delegate spells out new threats to women's dignity
Professor Mary Ann Glendon, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, spoke to the Economic and Social Council Commission on the Status of Women in the follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women, known as 'Beijing+10'.
9 Mar 2005

Pope a non-starter for Holy Week
The Vatican's Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff announced a schedule of liturgical events for Holy Week that does not include the Pope himself.
9 Mar 2005

Funding setback for lay missionary organisation
The Catholic lay agency PALMS, which prepares and trains volunteers for service overseas, has had its entire funding of some $250,000 cut by AusAID, the Federal Government's overseas development arm.
9 Mar 2005

Feature - Building community in Kensington
Helen's order, the Sisters of Sion, was semi-enclosed. However, entranced by whiffs of liberation and reality from the Vatican Council, she and four others founded a mission here in Melbourne's inner west. They took in young homeless people, drug-addicted jockeys, orphaned children who had seen their siblings murdered. For years they shared their house with the most apparently unattractive and homeless characters. They thought their Christianity had no integrity if they did not share the life of the poor.
8 Mar 2005

Opinion - Too many words at Mass
It is not unusual to hear people complain about TV cricket commentators who don't seem to know when to remain silent and let the picture tell the story. When the current Order of Mass was first introduced, commentators had an important role to play in assisting the active participation of the assembly by explaining what was happening, indicating whether the assembly should stand, sit or kneel, and so on. More than 30 years on, such commentary is no longer necessary. - Education Officer Elizabeth Harrington/Liturgy Lines
8 Mar 2005

Broken Hill wine bar honours priest
A wine bar in the far west NSW mining city of Broken Hill has been named after a the late Fr Pat Murray, who helped start the now famous St Patrick's race meeting as a means of raising funds for local Catholic schools.
8 Mar 2005

Diocese lobbies local member on behalf of detainee
The Diocese of Toowoomba has written to the local MP to urge the Federal Government to release of Australia's longest held detainee, Indian asylum seeker Peter Qasim.
8 Mar 2005

Gibson's Fatima follow-up to The Passion
Mel Gibson's follow-up to his successful The Passion of the Christ movie could be about the three Fatima children who are believed to have seen a vision of the Virgin Mary.
8 Mar 2005

Pope told to use gestures to spare voice
Doctors have told Pope John Paul II to limit to use of his voice in order to promote a more effective recuperation of his larynx function.
8 Mar 2005

Bishop heads community leaders' delegation on Timor boundary
A delegation of community leaders, led by Melbourne auxiliary Bishop Hilton Deakin, presented a letter to a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade representative in Canberra yesterday urging Australia respect East Timor's legal entitlements under international law.
8 Mar 2005

New Nuncio looks forward to mission in Australia
The Holy See's new Apostolic Nuncio to Australia - Archbishop Ambrose De Paoli - has arrived in Canberra, saying he is looking forward to beginning his mission to the Church and the people of Australia.
8 Mar 2005

Feature - Orders looking at new ways to ensure survival
Religious orders, the foundation stone of Australia's Catholic education system and its health and welfare missions, face declining numbers and ageing memberships, and have been forced to scale back their missions. Religious life is not dying out but it is in a state of evolution, says Sr Kristin Johnston, a Josephite and the director of the Australian Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes.
7 Mar 2005

Opinion - Gethsemane struggle tests faith
The manner of spiritual writer Henri Nouwen's mother's death surprised him and left him with painful doubts and questions. She had been a woman of exceptional faith and goodness. He naively expected she would die serenely. But instead she fought doubt and fear, struggling to hold on to her life-long trust in God. "Why?", he asked. Then the answer came to him: all her life, his mother had prayed to be like Jesus and to die like Jesus. - Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
7 Mar 2005

Vision for ethical dialogue between religious and world leaders
Religious leaders have a distinctive role in appealing to the conscience of world leaders, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin told the UN on Thursday.
7 Mar 2005

Commission urges better Qld Govt collaboration with indigenous communities
Brisbane's Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has called on the Queensland Government to work more collaboratively with Indigenous communities.
7 Mar 2005

Archbishop prays for Harradine recovery
Hobart's Archbishop Adrian Doyle said last night that he shares concerns about Senator Harradine, who is in intensive care in the Royal Hobart Hospital after suffering what is believed to be a stroke.
7 Mar 2005

Vulnerable at risk from NSW "End-of-Life Guidelines"
Sydney auxiliary Bishop Anthony Fisher has expressed concern that the new NSW Health Department Guidelines for Decision Making at the End of Life "lack the sort of clear safeguards necessary to protect vulnerable patients".
7 Mar 2005

Borderline disabled stuck in unemployment blackhole
An Adelaide Catholic employment agency has said historic low in unemployment has exposed a growing group of people with borderline disabilities who flounder in the mainstream job network.
7 Mar 2005

Pope's message to Berlusconi on hero Nicola Calipari
A telegram from Pope John Paul II has added to pressure on Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to bow to the will of the people on the country's involvement in Iraq, following the death of special services agent Nicola Calipari, a brother of Pontifical Academy for Life bioethicist Fr Maurizio Calipari.
7 Mar 2005

Feature - Ministry to the violent and their victims
Visiting US 'death row' nun Sr Helen Prejean - who begins a two-day seminar in Melbourne today - says: "I'm urging Churches to have ministries to the perpetrators and ministries to the victims of violence - have ministries to both. Referring to the sorrow of those who have murdered and of those whose loved ones have been killed, she says: "There are spaces of sorrow that only God can touch ... It's just beyond us. We just have to pray for the grace of God to enter those spaces, because we're incapable of doing it ourselves."
4 Mar 2005

Opinion - Religious themes move art beyond decoration
When I am working on a painting that is stimulated by a religious story, I seem to be punctuating my artistic output by regularly returning to religious themes. Over the years, I've come to change my ideas of what actually constitutes art. I wonder if some modern art might be sliding across into the realms of decoration. Art is the work that is done by humans that in even today's abstract appreciation of art must still reveal human existence. - Geoff Todd
4 Mar 2005

World Day of Prayer Women's Fellowship announcement
The Australian Bishops' Commission for Australian Catholic Women has chosen today's World Day of Prayer to officially announce the establishment of Young Catholic Women's Interfaith Fellowship, which will identify and train key individuals to take a leadership role in promoting interfaith relations.
4 Mar 2005

Vatican asks Condoleezza Rice to help stop a sex abuse lawsuit
A US Catholic newspaper has revealed that Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano asked his US counterpart Condoleezza Rice to intervene in a sex abuse law suit, during her visit to the Vatican last month.
4 Mar 2005

Pope hoping to be home for Easter
Papal spokesperson Joaquin Navarro-Valls has spoken to reporters for the first time in days, commenting on the Holy Father's continuing sojourn in Rome's Gemelli hospital, where he underwent a tracheotomy to ease breathing difficulties.
4 Mar 2005

Jesuit defends Abbott impartiality
Fr Michael Kelly, who is on a committee convened by Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott to prepare a national HIV/AIDS draft strategy, has contradicted claims that moral views inspired by the Minister's Catholic faith are unduly influencing the strategy.
4 Mar 2005

Pell says he can't envisage priests marrying
Sydney's Cardinal George Pell has told the Sydney Morning Herald that he "could never see a day when Rome would permit priests to marry", adding that it is only slightly more realistic to think that the Church might admit already married men to the priesthood.
4 Mar 2005

Cardinal says Mass is about nourishing the faithful
Cardinal Francis Arinze, who heads the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, has said that Mass is about nourishing the faith of the people, not the observance of liturgical norms as an end in itself.
4 Mar 2005

Feature - Funded Catholic education impresses Sicilian archbishop
So many second and third generation Australians are fortunate to have the privilege of a Catholic education, says Italian Archbishop Giovanni Marra. They have the possibility of a deeper understanding of their faith and issues of the day than their parents. The visiting Archbishop of Messina says they are certainly more fortunate than their counterparts in Italy where, with no government assistance, many Catholic schools are forced to close because of insufficient funds to pay the teachers.
3 Mar 2005

Opinion - Sr Dorothy's "wild" Christianity
Sr Dorothy Stang, the US nun who was recently killed for her work with Brazil's poor, summons us to a more robust Christianity. Our church has become transfixed with personal sin and with judgment of individuals - the minutiae that would have fascinated the "tamed Jesus" but which was soundly rejected in his "wild holy" state. Stang, on the other hand, took the path away from a tamed Christianity and toward an expression of faith, a lived faith, as big and broad and complex as the world itself. - Tom Roberts
3 Mar 2005

Integrated child protection for Maitland-Newcastle Diocese
Bishop Michael Malone has announced that the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle will establish a diocesan-wide child protection unit that will address the problem that there are many agencies, groups and individuals with different needs and varying resources.
3 Mar 2005

Vatican seminar addresses dignity of prisoners
Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, has stressed that being imprisoned never separates one from God's love and, therefore, from the human dignity that derives from and is rooted in this love.
3 Mar 2005

'Bureaucrats censor Christ' claim over NSW school texts
"Before Christ" (BC) has been removed from literacy test history books and replaced with "Before Common Era" (BCE) in what the NSW Opposition described as political correctness gone mad.
3 Mar 2005

8% rise in health insurance "no surprise" to Catholic Health
Catholic Health Australia's Francis Sullivan has said that yesterday's announcement of an increase in health insurance premiums is the consequence of the Federal Government's election pledge to boost rebates for older Australians, and further rises are likely.
3 Mar 2005

Cardinal urges pope to keep World Youth Day commitment
Germany's Cardinal Coachim Meisner has told Pope John Paul II not to worry if he cannot speak with the young people at the August World Youth Day in Cologne, as his presence is what is most important.
3 Mar 2005

Bishop calls priest crisis a media beat-up
Bishop Kevin Manning of the western Sydney Diocese of Parramatta has hit out at the media's "slanted advice" on the issue of priests marrying, suggesting that having fewer priests now than in the past does not mean there is a shortage.
3 Mar 2005

Feature - Fatma needs help after brutal treatment by militia
A widowed mother of seven who lives in a displacement camp in Sudan, Fatma's husband was kidnapped and killed by militia and their home was burnt to the ground. Fearful that the militia would return she gathered her family and fled the village. One month after moving to a refuggee camp, Fatma was kicked and beaten by militia while gathering wood and grass to create a shelter for her family to protect them during the wet season.
2 Mar 2005

Opinion - If the Pope is unable to speak, can he still be Pope?
As a matter of canon law, the Pope does not have to speak in order to exercise his authority. Without the capacity to speak, the pope would probably not be able to perform the sacraments, but in recent months we have become accustomed to the pope "presiding" rather than "celebrating" the Mass in any event. Yet the legal capacity to give assent to decisions is only one element of the "job description" for a pope. The Holy Father is also supposed to be a voice of conscience for humanity, and it's an open question how well John Paul could perform that role without the power to speak. - Rome Correspondent John L Allen
2 Mar 2005

Rev Tim Costello to speak on 'healing community'
World Vision Australia Chief Executive, Baptist minister Rev Tim Costello, will present Australian Catholic University's 2005 Lenten Lecture, Building a Healing Community, in Melbourne tonight.
2 Mar 2005

Pax Christi call for commitment to nuclear arsenal elimination
The Catholic peace organisation Pax Christi Australia has urged support for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) by writing to Foreign Minister Alexander Downer before he attends the NPT Conference in New York at the beginning of May.
2 Mar 2005

Zimbabwe Archbishop says priests bribed to keep silent human rights
Many clergy in Zimbabwe have been bribed into silence about human rights violations in Zimbabwe by the government of President Robert Mugabe, according to the Archbishop of Bulawayo Pius Ncube.
2 Mar 2005

Pope inspires Ecumenical Indigenous Commission
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission (NATSIEC) has referred to Pope John Paul II's landmark 1986 speech to indigenous Australians as a source of inspiration at a time when setbacks in reconciliation demand "rebirth".
2 Mar 2005

Pope celebrates Mass in hospital room
Five days after a tracheotomy to relieve breathing problems, Pope John Paul II was able to say Mass in his hospital room, meet with aides and continue initial sessions of speech therapy.
2 Mar 2005

Bishops paper revises view on role of migrant chaplains
Migrant chaplains are largely responsible for bringing Australian Catholics together into cohesive parish communities according to a discussion paper published yesterday on the Bishops Conference website.
2 Mar 2005

Feature - Date with destiny for first permanent deacon
Tonight will see the ordination of the first permanent deacon for Brisbane archdiocese. Peter Olsen is one of 16 men, aged from between their 30s and their 60s, who are in the process of formation for the permanent diaconate, which the Second Vatican Council decided to restore as a proper and stable rank of the Church's hierarchy. When ordained, deacons will take their place alongside bishops and priests as members of the ordained ministry in the Church.
29 Mar 2005

Opinion - Who do you think you are?
We were sitting sharing a meal. "I was so embarrassed" he said. "I was standing there," he continued, "and this teacher came along with a whole lot of students. He turned and said to them, "See, this is a homeless person on the street, selling magazines. You don't want to end up like him." I sat there, horrified. "Don't get steamed up", he said. But I am steamed up, and I want to say to that teacher — Who do you think you are? Who do you think he is? - Jan Tully
29 Mar 2005

The "Lord's Day" worst for accidents
Sunday is the most dangerous day in the home for accidents, according to figures released after a survey by a British insurance company.
29 Mar 2005

Pell's key role in Vatican liturgy meeting
Sydney's Cardinal George Pell left for Rome yesterday, where he will speak at a four-day meeting of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments that begins tonight Sydney time.
29 Mar 2005

Chilean cardinal to announce Pope's successor
The name of the successor to Pope John Paul II will be announced by a Chilean cardinal, after John Paul II formally asked 78 year old Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez to step onto the balcony of St Peter's after his death and the election of a new pope, and announce the name of his successor to the world.
29 Mar 2005

Jesuit postcode explanation for Sydney suburban violence
Jesuit Social Services Policy Director Fr Peter Norden yesterday used the conclusions of his organisation's "postcodes" Disadvantage Survey, to shed light on the root causes of four successive nights of youth clashes with police on the streets of Macquarie Fields in Sydney's south-west.
29 Mar 2005

Rights Register launch focuses on child detention
A leading refugee advocate has used yesterday's launch of the Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Commission for Justice, Development and PeaceHuman Rights Register, to caution activists and the Federal Government against using children for political objectives.
29 Mar 2005

New Catholic presence on Pay TV
Australian Catholic Church Television (CCTVA) launches today on the new Aurora Community Television channel as part of the basic Digital packages of pay TV operators Foxtel and Austar.
29 Mar 2005