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NEWS ARCHIVE FOR SEPTEMBER 2005

   
Guns roar in tribute to Melbourne priest
Three volleys of rifle shots cracked out over peaceful North Carlton yesterday but didn't bring any police or emergency services running, even if some people jumped at the noise.
30 Sep 2005

Christian Brother re-elected ACU Chancellor
Br Julian McDonald CFC AO has been elected Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University for a further five year term, and Mr Ted Exell AM, an official of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, has been elected to the office of Pro-Chancellor for the same period.
30 Sep 2005

Pope calls for cooperation with media
The Vatican announced yesterday that the Pope has chosen, "The Media: A Network for Communication, Communion and Cooperation" as the theme for the 40th World Communications Day to be held next year.
30 Sep 2005

Cardinal role for women
Women should be allowed to become cardinals and to participate in the election of popes, a Catholic theologian has told an Adelaide audience.
30 Sep 2005

Catholic ethicists oppose cell research fasttrack
Catholic bioethicists have weighed in on a debate prompted by comments from Victorian Treasurer John Brumby, who says current laws, which only commit the use of spare IVF embryos for stem cell research, are stalling the development of important areas of research.
30 Sep 2005

Adelaide to host World Day of the Sick
Pope Benedict XVI has chosen Adelaide to host the World Day of the Sick, which will once again bring to Australia hundreds of Catholic bishops and health experts from around the world.
30 Sep 2005

Feature - Spelling out the Catholic essentials
Catholic history is so rich with inspiring texts and persons that Catholics today cannot know them all, much less embrace them all. All of us are forced to make selections, holding fast to what is spiritually nourishing and what feels authentic, and treating the rest as interesting but not crucial. Theologians call this ranking of core beliefs the 'hierarchy of truths'.
30 Sep 2005

Opinion - Adoration remains part of the Eucharist experience
By the 14th century, peoples sense of awe at the great mystery being celebrated, and of their personal feelings of unworthiness to participate in that mystery, meant that the faithful rarely received communion. Eating and drinking the sacred species was replaced with 'spiritual communion', gazing upon the consecrated host. - Elizabeth Harrington
30 Sep 2005

Official crash-tackled at education conference
Seamus O'Grady, Director of Religious Education and Curriculum for the Sydney Catholic Education Office, was knocked to the ground during a demonstration at Sydney University where Federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson was due to speak.
29 Sep 2005

Study suggests religion can damage society
Religious belief can cause damage to a society, contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, according to research published this week in the Journal of Religion and Society.
29 Sep 2005

Clergy say IRA decommissioning methods can serve as model
The methods used in decommissioning the Irish Republican Army's paramilitary arsenal can serve as a model for peacekeepers elsewhere in the world, according to the two clergymen who witnessed the destruction of thousands of guns and hundreds of pounds of explosives.
29 Sep 2005

Pope says civilisations must protect human dignity
In a message to the first Meeting of Civilisations being held in Turkey, Pope Benedict XVI has said that the dignity of the person must be at the heart of every civilisation.
29 Sep 2005

Aussie Synod expert stresses Eucharist values before rules
Australian biblical scholar Fr Frank Moloney, who will attend the Synod of Bishops that begins in Rome on Sunday, has said he would like to see less emphasis on alleged liturgical abuses and more reflection on "what the Eucharist is".
29 Sep 2005

Centacare head points finger on Bakhtiyaris
Following a report indicating the Department of Immigration was wrong in its assessment that the deported Bakhtiyari family were not Afghans, the head of Adelaide's Centacare agency has said that objective scrutiny of the Department would uncover "dishonesty" and "lack of process".
29 Sep 2005

Feature - Sr Miriam's plea for sex education
Running the Kampala hospital in Uganda, Sr Miriam Duggan found herself in the front line of a losing battle against AIDS when in 1987 the first cases were diagnosed. "When I speak to young people I ask them, where do they get their sex education from, and they say from TV, magazines and friends... I think the Church and the school need to play an important role in giving value based sex education to young people."
29 Sep 2005

Opinion - Reading God's New Man
Paul Collins identifies a group of "progressive Catholics" who "still maintain strong cultural identity as Catholics, but who have either ceased to attend Mass or only come to church intermittently". Thus describes my personal engagement with the church. Collins' unswerving passion for the Church - which lends so much grace to his book - reminds me of what I am missing, and how extraordinarily significant it is. - David E. James
29 Sep 2005

Makeover for papal apartment
When he returns to the Vatican today from an 11 week sojourn at his Castel Gandolfo summer residence, Pope Benedict XVI will find his apartment thoroughly renovated.
28 Sep 2005

Vatican UN nuncio says UN Summit shirked nuclear disarmament
The Vatican nuncio at the United Nations has criticised world leaders for avoiding the issues of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation at this month's summit.
28 Sep 2005

Redemptorist says "ghetto" piety sidelining social justice
Fr Bruce Duncan, who coordinates social justice studies at Melbourne's Yarra Theological Union, has said that a renewed stress on older forms of piety is reflecting "a deepening cleavage within the Catholic community over the place of social justice in the ministry of the Church".
28 Sep 2005

Catholic Welfare says relationship centres need coordination
Scores of new family relationship centres across Australia could have a "destructive" impact on broken families if they are underfunded and poorly co-ordinated with existing services, according to warnings issued by a number of counselling representative bodies including Catholic Welfare Australia.
28 Sep 2005

Official sees widespread permission for Tridentine rite masses
An influential Vatican official has said he believes Pope Benedict XVI could soon liberalise Church regulations, allowing all priests to use the banned Tridentine rite.
28 Sep 2005

Synod tipped to stress Sunday Mass obligation
The three and a half week Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist, which begins at the Vatican on Sunday, is expected to review certain liturgical issues, including the importance of Sunday Mass.
28 Sep 2005

Feature - Vatican's interreligious mindset has shifted
A conference this week in Rome marks the 40th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the Second Vatican Council's declaration on interreligious dialogue. Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald is president of the Vatican Council that oversees dialogue. He said one obvious change in the 40 years is reflected in the office's change of name from the Secretariat for Non-Christians to the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
28 Sep 2005

Opinion - The Church must ask the right question about gays
The right question is: "Will the candidate for the priesthood be a potential danger to children or the young?" The other question - is the candidate a homosexual? - is the wrong question. In its long history, rich with saints, scholars and martyrs, the Church has benefited from the devotion of countless holy priests and nuns who must have had a predominantly homosexual temperament. - William Rees-Mogg
28 Sep 2005

Hobart's bishop to come home after 140 years
One of Australia's first Catholic bishops is to be exhumed from his tomb under an English cathedral and reburied in Hobart.
27 Sep 2005

PNG bishops condemn move to let guilty MPs keep posts
The Bishops of Papua New Guinea have said that the community must oppose efforts by MPs to avoid being dismissed for misconduct in office.
27 Sep 2005

Northern Ireland Bishops welcome IRA decommissioning
The Catholic Bishops of Northern Ireland last night issued a statement welcoming the announcement of complete weapons decommissioning by the IRA.
27 Sep 2005

Drift to independent schools to become a flood
A new analysis shows that competition between private schools for a smaller pool of students will intensify in the next five years, with the independent sector on track to equal the market share held by Catholic schools.
27 Sep 2005

Two Australians on auditors list for October Synod
Salesian biblical scholar Fr Frank Moloney, and director of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family in Melbourne, Monsignor Peter Elliott, are on the list of 63 special auditors and experts invited to next month's Eleventh General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican.
27 Sep 2005

Pope affirms estranged theologian Hans Kung
Pope Benedict XVI met the so-called dissident German theologian Fr Hans Kung at the weekend, praising Kung's contribution to a "renewed recognition of humanity's essential moral values through a dialogue of religions and through an encounter with secular reason".
27 Sep 2005

Feature - A hushed St Peter's
A new regulation at St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican requires so-called 'whisper sets'. Tour groups must wear headsets while the guide speaks into a microphone. The result is a joy for the faithful, with the din of explanations gone. St. Peter's is quieter than it has been in years - even when cruise-ship companies disgorge thousands of tourists. These changes are part of Benedict XVI's desire to reclaim the basilica for the faithful and to enhance their experience of prayer and meditation in the church.
27 Sep 2005

Opinion - Piety given priority over intellectual formation
The exclusion of gay candidates is not the only matter at stake in the official scrutiny now beginning of Catholic seminary education in the US. Among the 96 questions, just two address the intellectual potential of future priests. There are no explicit questions about capacity for consultative leadership, concern for social justice. By comparison, there are numerous questions about recitation of the rosary and other exercises of piety. - Peter Steinfels
27 Sep 2005

Sydney City change of heart to put Christ back into Christmas
Christ will be put back into Christmas this year with the City of Sydney Council to spend more than $1.5 million on festive decorations.
26 Sep 2005

NSW priest loses appeal against jail sentence
A former Maitland-Newcastle diocesan priest convicted of sexually assaulting an altar boy in his NSW parish has lost an appeal against his conviction.
26 Sep 2005

Catholic women in Australia tell stories in new anthology
Catholic women from across Australia are sharing their deepest stories of faith and spirituality in a new anthology which is being billed as a "love story between Australian women and the Eternal Lover".
26 Sep 2005

Call for politicians to address marriage education
A conference co-sponsored by the Catholic Society for Marriage Education has been told that recent federal funding for Family Relationship Centres would have been better directed at the prevention, rather than cure, of marital breakup.
26 Sep 2005

US seminary visitation "mired in controversy"
An investigation of all 229 seminaries in the United States begins this week in an effort, according to Vatican officials, to ensure that future priests remain celibate and obediently accept church teaching on all sexual matters.
26 Sep 2005

Anonymous cardinal breaks conclave secrecy
A member of the College of Cardinals has given a detailed description of the conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI, confirming that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected on the fourth ballot, and his main rival was Argentine Jesuit, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
26 Sep 2005

Feature - Sacred in old and new
A Gold Coast parish has gone to great lengths to create a modern feel in its new community worship centre while also showcasing Queensland's natural heritage. "We didn't want anything bulky or dark and the Queensland maple is a nice light wood that reflects a modern liturgy," said Jane Stapleton of the St Mary's, Oxenford liturgy group. "The furniture also had to be able to be moved because [it] is a multi-purpose community building."
26 Sep 2005

Opinion - Vatican documents play to different audiences
Church officials in a globalised world have to be concerned not merely with how something will play in the United States, but also in Beijing, in Tehran, in Kinshasa, and in Kiev. A rector from Bangalore, India said of the document Dominus Iesus: "This document has destroyed our dialogue with Hinduism." Next a rector from St Petersburg, Russia, said: "No, you've got it all wrong. It has saved our dialogue with the Russian Orthodox." - John L. Allen
26 Sep 2005

Pell blessing for Sydney Swans
Cardinal George Pell has given his support to the Sydney Swans AFL football team, which faces the West Coast Eagles in this weekend's Grand Final.
23 Sep 2005

Debate about alcohol follows death of US seminarians
The death of two Chicago seminarians in a car accident last week has raised new concerns about formation programs for potential priests and issues surrounding alcohol use.
23 Sep 2005

Academic explodes Edmund Rice anti-Protestant myth
A Brisbane academic has provided evidence that discredits documentation accepted by the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints, that suggests Edmund Rice founded the Christian Brothers specifically to combat Protestant proselytism of the poor.
23 Sep 2005

New book explores challenges of interfaith marriages
A new book by Dr Abe Ata of the Australian Catholic University offers insights into the struggles of the partners in interfaith marriages, who often overcome immense difficulties to sustain their commitment to each other.
23 Sep 2005

International attention for bishop's justice idea
In the lead-up to Social Justice Sunday this weekend, Canberra-Goulburn auxiliary Bishop Patrick Power's ideas about restorative justice have sparked interest from outside Australia.
23 Sep 2005

Commission head weighs in on English syllabus debate
Dr Brian Croke, executive director of the NSW Catholic Education Commission has defended the high school English curriculum which Cardinal George Pell has said can promote "moral and social disorder".
23 Sep 2005

Feature - Cardinal who sparked intelligent design controversy
Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna recently wrote an article in the New York Times questioning whether aspects of evolutionary thought are compatible with Catholic belief in God. Although the cardinal's article did not use the term "intelligent design", it argued that intelligent design is scientifically provable. It prompted three prominent US scientists to urge Pope Benedict XVI to reaffirm church support for evolution.
23 Sep 2005

Opinion - Mission priority better world, not converts
The main thing is not to convert people to an ideology, or to a church or a religion, but to convert them to what we call the reign of God, the fact that God is present in the world, and we believe, most present in Jesus. Other people have other beliefs, and we need to respect that and learn from that. - Fr Stephen Bevans SVD, Chicago Theological Union (visiting Australia for Catholic Mission Conference - see catholicmission.org.au)
23 Sep 2005

Bishop evaluates initiative to reach 'disenfranchised'
While the Catholic Church and other mainstream Christian denominations in Australia continue to struggle with declining church attendances, a report released last week suggests a NSW Hunter Valley project is meeting some of the spiritual needs of people who have moved away from institutional Church structures.
22 Sep 2005

Priest says Govt can't be selective in listening to Church
It is not good enough for the federal Government to "cherry pick" its church leaders, listening only to those who supported its policies while dismissing their views when they disagreed, according to Jesuit Fr Frank Brennan.
22 Sep 2005

Pope suggests sport can build respectful society
Pope Benedict XVI told yesterday's General Audience that sport represents a discipline which, "if practiced in respect for the rules, becomes an educational instrument and a vehicle for important human and spiritual values".
22 Sep 2005

Catholic Welfare says policy tweaks amount to little
A small number of single parents will be temporarily exempted from the Federal Government's welfare changes in an attempt to address concerns about the severity of the reforms, but changes the Government has agreed to are "only the first steps in a long journey", according to Catholic Welfare Australia Executive Director Frank Quinlan.
22 Sep 2005

Pell urges more study of classic English texts
As part of a broader attack on relativism - the idea that nothing is absolute - Cardinal George Pell told the National Press Club yesterday that injecting postmodernism into the school curriculum threatens to normalise "moral and social disorder".
22 Sep 2005

Bishop says Govt must ensure justice for Hicks
Following the resumption of military commission hearings at Guantanamo Bay, Broome's Bishop Christopher Saunders - who chairs the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council - has called on the Australian Government to secure real justice for Australian citizen David Hicks.
22 Sep 2005

Feature - Singing priest embarks on tour of NZ
Marist Father Chris Skinner has been writing songs since he was 16, as a way of expressing his thoughts. Three years later he started training for the priesthood. In Auckland he worked with at-risk young people in Youth Alive. He says his music allowed him to help them to get in touch with why they had got into trouble. His 12 venue tour started this week.
22 Sep 2005

Opinion - Firing on all cylinders means we're alive
As a seminarian, I was introduced to the writings of Thomas Aquinas. I was 19, young for philosophy, and his abstract language befuddled me. But slowly some of what he was saying began to break through. I'd always been deeply restless, and it worried me. But Aquinas taught me that everyone feels that way. - Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
22 Sep 2005

Lobby says aid increase not enough to beat shame
The Australian Political Ministry Network has welcomed Prime Minister John Howard's announcement to increase foreign aid to $4 billion by 2010, but sais we will still be languishing around 18th place of the 22 OECD donor countries.
21 Sep 2005

Community that prays together stays together
Muslims, Christians and Jews came together in Hobart on Sunday for an interfaith service the just-completed Islamic West Hobart mosque that was organised by Fr Michael Tate on behalf of the Council of Churches.
21 Sep 2005

Psyche tests for 'church vandal'
A homeless man has been ordered to undergo a psychiatric assessment after allegedly smashing three antique statues at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney.
21 Sep 2005

Bishops' IT committee to plot communications future
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has asked Church Resources to convene a Church-wide high level community of stakeholders to plan and execute a strategy that costs up to $150 million per annum.
21 Sep 2005

Vatican denies hiding Croatian accused war criminal
The Vatican spokesman has rejected reports that the Vatican Secretariat of State attempted to help hide a Croatian general accused of war crimes.
21 Sep 2005

Pell calls for stem cell research ban
Cardinal George Pell of Sydney is pushing to wind back stem cell research laws, warning the destruction of embryos for science has created "a class of human life which is statutorily expendable".
21 Sep 2005

Feature - Cartoons and religion
People draw cartoons for lots of reasons. It is partly because they can but also because drawing is the best way to say what they have to say. Picasso said once when asked to explain a painting, 'I would not have needed to draw it if I could have said it.' Like all metaphors, the job of cartoons is to disorient us and maybe reorient us if they are good enough.
21 Sep 2005

Opinion - Loose, polemical use of 'culture of life'
The metaphor, "culture of life versus culture of death," has galvanised people's imaginations and inspired outcries on issues ranging from abortion to third world debt. Yet at times the image has been co-opted into polemic, and the conclusions reached have both obscured the long and nuanced Church tradition and belied the range and complexity of the issues involved.
21 Sep 2005

Correspondent explores Taize ecumenical ambiguities
Following a visit to Taize in France, the National Catholic Reporter's Rome correspondent John Allen has written that some ecumenists in Rome are silent on the ecumenical community founded by the later Brother Roger because Taize "almost pretends that divisions among Christians don't exist".
20 Sep 2005

Tsunami still on Caritas agenda
Caritas officials from those counties most devastated by last year's Tsunami in Southeast Asia are in Rome today and tomorrow for a strategy meeting aimed at strengthening ongoing, multi-million dollar efforts to re-build homes and communities.
20 Sep 2005

Brennan lecture to expand on religion and politics comments
Professor Frank Brennan SJ AO will explore Prime Minister John Howard's comments on "individual" and "Catholic" viewpoints at a public lecture at the Australian Catholic University North Sydney Campus tomorrow evening.
20 Sep 2005

Blessing of Brisbane's Archdiocese's Rush Centre
A new $13 million liturgical and pastoral space was opened earlier this month alongside St Stephen's Cathedral in central Brisbane.
20 Sep 2005

Homeless man charged over destroyed statue
A homeless man accused of smashing a 120-year-old statue at Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral will appear in court today.
20 Sep 2005

Dying John Paul II prayed to 'go to the house of the Father'
Pope John Paul II's last words before his death were "Let me go to the house of the Father," according to the Vatican's official account of his final hours.
20 Sep 2005

Feature - Water, water everywhere, but...
With fast-flowing rivers gushing nearby, you wouldn't think villagers in the highlands of Papua New Guinea would have a water problem, but they do. Marist Brother Kevin Murray, who has spent more than 26 years teaching and working in PNG, gave the problem a lot of thought when he spent time there as an assistant agriculture teacher in a vocational school. His solution was to investigate the workings of water ram pumps, that are driven by fast-running water, not petrol.
20 Sep 2005

Opinion - Real or pretend symbols?
Using electric 'push-button' bulbs in place of votive candles, and oil wicks inside plastic tubes instead of real altar candles, is increasingly common. I can understand why. They always look new and they don't drip wax on the altar cloth. Part of the symbolism of candles, however, is that they burn down, giving us a sense of time passing, of all the baptisms and funerals that have been celebrated whilst the wax has melted. - Elizabeth Harrington
20 Sep 2005

Brazilian bishop promotes door-to-door visits to counter sects
A Brazilian archbishop has told his pastoral workers that "door-to-door missions" are a potentially fruitful means of responding to the activities of the religious sects that are pulling the faithful away from the Church.
19 Sep 2005

Vatican Secretary of State backs UN renewal
Cardinal Angelo Sodano has told the General Assembly of the United Nations that while the UN has managed to "realise a lot of service to humanity", it has "shown signs of wearing".
19 Sep 2005

Consternation in US over gays in seminaries
"Is there evidence of homosexuality in the seminary?", one of 56 questions being asked during apostolic visitations of Catholic seminaries this year, has sparked unprecedented media attention.
19 Sep 2005

Priests urged to be on their guard with cash
Chancellor of the Sydney Archdiocese, Fr John Usher, has warned priests and parish helpers to be more vigilant in managing money kept on the parish site, following a spate of robberies in Anglican churches.
19 Sep 2005

Sydney priests want say in future of theology school
Today's Sydney Morning Herald has reported that priests are seeking involvement in moves to rationalise opportunities for theological education for both seminarians and lay Catholics.
19 Sep 2005

Pope urges Catholics to read the Bible
Pope Benedict XVI told biblical experts that the ancient tradition of "lectio divina", or sacred reading of Scripture, should be promoted as a way to enrich the spiritual life of the church.
19 Sep 2005

Feature - Lessons learned from Ashes defeat
Time has caught up with our team of champions. The captaincy and team selection were too cautious. Without Shane Warne it would have been a massacre, and I (almost) hope he retires. I want to remember him as the greatest spin bowler in the history of the game. More importantly, I would like to see him as successful in helping bring up his children as he has been as a cricketer. Cricket is a great game, but still only a game. - Cardinal George Pell
19 Sep 2005

Opinion - Churches on the front line
Nowhere has been more profoundly affected by this month's violence in Northern Ireland than Ballymena, an inconspicuous town on the road to the prized tourist attraction the Giant's Causeway. Fr Symonds is one of Ballymena's great mediators. Born in England, he felt called in 1988 to serve in Northern Ireland: "It was a calling as strong as the calling to the priesthood." He works closely with clergy from the other churches and believes the awful recent events have brought them closer together.
19 Sep 2005

Priest says Catholics live in fear after Protestant riots
After successive nights of extensive rioting by Protestant mobs in Belfast and other parts of Northern Ireland, Catholics are living in fear, said Fr Aidan Troy of Holy Cross Parish in Belfast.
16 Sep 2005

Catholic Health supports scheme to protect aged care residents
Catholic Health Australia bas backed a government scheme announced yesterday that will strengthen protection for residents of aged care homes who have paid accommodation bonds.
16 Sep 2005

Church win on access to hospital chaplains
There has been a breakthrough in patient privacy laws, with the NSW Health Department now enabling hospitals to give access to information to chaplains.
16 Sep 2005

Brigidine fund offering relief from education costs
Low-income Victorian and South Australian families seeking a Catholic education have access to relief from the burden of school fees, following the launch of the Brigidine Association Relief Fund.
16 Sep 2005

Churches warn Govt about job welfare changes
Church-based employment organisations including Catholic Welfare Australia have warned senior federal ministers the planned shake-up of the welfare system is so harsh it will be hard to find work for the increased number of people looking for jobs.
16 Sep 2005

Turkish Govt invite for Pope
The government of Turkey has invited Pope Benedict XVI to visit the country in 2006, apparently ruling out a hoped-for papal visit this year.
16 Sep 2005

Feature - No justice in schools for crime
"Every time I visit a prison," reflects Bishop Pat Power in this year's Social Justice Sunday statement, "I am struck by the wives and girlfriends lined up to visit their partners 'inside'." Bishop Power draws attention to the fact that in prison populations are rising, and that prisons are not "the answer" to crime, but little more than schools for crime.
16 Sep 2005

Opinion - The view from below
Whereas self-esteem and confidence are low, pride is the last resort of the homeless and must be preserved. In answer to sporadic calls for help the system attempts its interventions in lives damaged beyond the hope of complete repair. My struggle is to help the small number who want to "turn their lives around". It is no picnic. - Fred Jansohn, Charles O'Neill House, Surry Hills, Sydney
16 Sep 2005

Vatican post for Che mate fails to impress Cuban archbishop
The Archbishop of Havana has expressed his disapproval of the appointment of Cuba's new Ambassador to the Holy See, who is the son of one of the intellectuals closest to Castro during the revolution and a close friend of Ernesto Che Guevara.
15 Sep 2005

Both Vatican and Human Rights Watch troubled by Rwanda priest charges
Both the Holy See and Human Rights Watch have expressed strong misgivings following the arrest of Belgian missionary priest Fr Guy Theunis on war-crimes charges in Rwanda.
15 Sep 2005

Pax Christi tells Downer to fight poverty and stop arms race
The Catholic peace organisation Pax Christi has written to Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer, requesting his delegation at the September Millennium Plus Five (M+5) Summit to urge members to adopt worthwhile strategies that will assist in the alleviation of world poverty.
15 Sep 2005

Social Justice Statement says affluenza is 'wasting us away'
The 2005 Social Justice Statement, launched yesterday, decries the nation's culture of waste and busyness, warning that Australians are victims of "the disease of affluence".
15 Sep 2005

Edmund Rice Centre accuses Govt of 'people smuggler tactics'
There are fresh allegations from Sydney's Edmund Rice Centre that the Immigration Department has issued false travel documents in an effort to get rid of long-term detainees.
15 Sep 2005

Pope blesses statue of Opus Dei founder
Pope Benedict XVI yesterday blessed a statue of the founder of Opus Dei, saying he hopes it will serve as inspiration for those who passed by to "do one's daily work in the spirit of Christ."
15 Sep 2005

Feature - Catholic message on AIDS is clear
Although apartheid is history, other problems occupy the Church. 28% of South Africans have been affected by HIV/AIDS, and 13% of all the people in the world living with HIV are in South Africa. "HIV/AIDS has reached desperate proportions and therefore calls for desperate measures and that is nothing less than abstinence and fidelity," says South Africa's Cardinal Wilfred Napier during his Australian visit this month.
15 Sep 2005

Opinion - Breaking the mould
The 2005 Social Justice Statement tracks the build/buy/use/discard consumerist cycle. I couldn't help but notice that this is the antithesis of that movement of the Eucharist where, instead of building, buying, using and discarding, we take, we bless, we break and give the Body of Christ. 'Do you wish to honour the body of Christ? Do not ignore him when he is naked'. - Sr Patty Fawkner SGS at yesterday's Statement Launch
15 Sep 2005

British Catholic group protests after Indonesian police cleared of killings
The Catholic Institute for International Relations has denounced a ruling by an Indonesian Human Rights Court last week that acquitted two senior police officers accused of serious human rights violations.
14 Sep 2005

Indian priest killed during ethnic clash
A priest was killed in India's eastern Jharkhand state on Monday, when tried to stop a violent clash between local groups.
14 Sep 2005

Higher calling for rural counselling pioneer
Following 17 years of service to the local community as Founding Director of Centacare Bathurst (NSW), Sr Mary Comer will today be farewelled by colleagues before she leaves to take up her new post as Congregational Leader of the Sisters of St Joseph Perthville (Black Josephites).
14 Sep 2005

Pope accepts the resignation of Canberra's Archbishop Carroll
Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Archbishop Francis Carroll of Canberra and Goulburn, who has also been President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.
14 Sep 2005

Social Justice Statement to be launched today
Jesus, Light for the World - Living the Gospel Today - this year's Catholic Social Justice Sunday Statement, based on Gospel accounts of Jesus' ministry - will be launched in Sydney this morning.
14 Sep 2005

Pope says violence cannot solve world's conflicts
Violence cannot solve the world's conflicts, and it harms people and limits the future of humanity, Pope Benedict XVI said in a message to participants of an interreligious peace meeting.
14 Sep 2005

Feature - Fighting the good fight, Brennans make it a double act
Fr Frank Brennan SJ, the man once tagged "a meddling priest" by Paul Keating was yesterday awarded an honorary doctorate of laws at the University of NSW, with his father - the former Chief Justice of the High Court - due to receive the same honour next Friday. Fr Frank, 51, said his greatest source of pride was working on Aboriginal rights.
14 Sep 2005

Opinion - Suicide's victims are safe in God's hands
Suicide is an illness, not a sin. It is death through emotional cancer, emotional heart attack, emotional stroke. That's why it's apt to say that someone is "a victim of suicide". It is a desperate, if misguided, attempt to end unendurable pain at any cost, akin to throwing oneself through a window and falling to one's death because one's clothing is on fire. - Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
14 Sep 2005

Postulator optimistic about Romero beatification
Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, postulator for the cause for beatification of the late Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, has told the National Catholic Reporter's Rome correspondent John Allen that he believes he will have good news "within a month".
13 Sep 2005

Broken Bay official's research responds to principals shortage
Dr Helen Cannon, Sydney's Broken Bay Diocese Schools Office Human Resource Director, has said that a new paradigm of principalship is required to attract people to the role and sustain those already in the role.
13 Sep 2005

Papal envoy arrives in Katrina stricken area
Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, the president of the 'Cor Unum' Pontifical Society, continues his tour of visit to people suffering from the effects of Hurricane Katrina in the USA.
13 Sep 2005

Irish Church leaders respond to renewed violence in Belfast
Catholic Archbishop of Armagh, Sean Brady, has expressed his distress at news of fresh rioting in Northern Ireland, and urged community leaders to play their part in restoring calm.
13 Sep 2005

Bishop warns babies set to become 'consumer products'
Babies could become consumer products within 10 years, due to the mentality being promoted by the contraceptive and IVF industries, according to Sydney's auxiliary Bishop Anthony Fisher.
13 Sep 2005

Pope urges leaders to live up to UN plan
Pope Benedict XVI has appealed to world leaders to fulfill the commitments of the Millennium Development Goals and to put an end to poverty and hunger.
13 Sep 2005

Feature - Protecting Church assets through bankruptcy
The decision of three US dioceses to seek protection from creditors through the federal bankruptcy courts was always a gamble. The key to the strategy was the hope that no court would make all diocesan holdings part of the pot of available assets that could be sold to pay off creditors.
13 Sep 2005

Opinion - Workplace witness
My former boss has been a wonderful inspiration to me in the workplace. Phil managed to lead the organisation through tough times. In a workplace where traditionally it was acceptable to drink heavily and engage in negative and sexist humour, he not only resisted the 'old school' but rather fostered an environment that encouraged change. - Teresa Pirola
13 Sep 2005

New Catholic Diocesan Centre opened in Hobart
Cardinal George Pell of Sydney has blessed Hobart's new Catholic Diocesan Centre, which houses the Church's administration, as well as the Catholic Development Fund, Centacare Tasmania, the Catholic Education Office, the Apprenticeship Specialist and Willson Training Centre.
12 Sep 2005

Pope appoints Australian Jesuit to dialogue position
Pope Benedict XVI has nominated Fr Daniel Madigan to the position of consultor to the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
12 Sep 2005

Church body open to national industrial relations system
Following Thursday's release of its main discussion paper on the Federal Government's proposed industrial relations changes, the director of the Australian Catholic Commission for Employment Relations, John Ryan, said the Commission remains open to a national industrial relations system.
12 Sep 2005

Vatican charity chief heads to Louisiana
The Vatican's top charity coordinator departed for the USA on Saturday to personally express the Holy Father's support for victims, and to bring "concrete help to the populations stricken by Hurricane Katrina".
12 Sep 2005

China rejects Vatican invitation to four bishops
China has turned down a Vatican invitation to four Chinese bishops to go to Rome to attend next month's Synod of Bishops, saying the Vatican lacked respect in issuing the invitation without consultation.
12 Sep 2005

Pope remembers September 11 at Sunday Angelus
Pope Benedict XVI yesterday recalled the horrific events of September 11 2001, asking God to inspire "men and women of goodwill to renounce hatred and to build a world of justice, solidarity and peace".
12 Sep 2005

Feature - Vatican rumour mill in high gear ahead of curia changes
Speculation about wholesale curial changes has been fueled by the fact that seven cardinal heads of major Vatican departments are past age 75. But another tantalising rumour making the rounds is that Pope Benedict, never a fan of big church bureaucracy, wants to streamline the Vatican's departments, which have mushroomed in number over the last 35 years.
12 Sep 2005

Opinion - Loss of freedoms coincide with war against terror
In any war the first casualty is truth. The second casualty is our civil freedom. We have reached a point where in public debate any Church voice is effectively sidelined or brusquely discredited. A pervasive sense of powerlessness can overwhelm any one of us, as we strive to retain our own dignity and purpose amidst these factors outside our control or influence. - Bishop James Foley, Bishop of Cairns
12 Sep 2005

Spotlight on print excellence
The Australasian Catholic Press Association last night awarded its prestigious Bishop Phillip Kennedy Memorial Prize to Adelaide's Southern Cross (newspaper) and Broome's Kimberley Catholic Profile (magazine).
9 Sep 2005

Bishops chide intolerant kiwis
New Zealand's Catholic Bishops have said that events of the past year, including attacks on Jewish cemeteries, explode the myth that New Zealanders are universally fair and tolerant.
9 Sep 2005

Belgian priest arrested on Rwanda genocide charges
Authorities in Rwanda have arrested a Belgian missonary on charges related to the genocide massacres of 1994.
9 Sep 2005

Ethicist defends therapeutic cloning ban
The director of the Plunkett Centre for Ethics at the Australian Catholic University has spoken out against calls from scientists for a lifting of the ban on therapeutic cloning.
9 Sep 2005

Pope names four mainland Chinese bishops to October synod
In what could be a promising move for Vatican-China relations, Pope Benedict XVI has named four mainland Chinese bishops as members of the October Synod of Bishops.
9 Sep 2005

Church body slams IR policy proposals
The Howard Government's proposed workplace relations changes have drawn strong criticism from the Australian Catholic Commission for Employment Relations in its major briefing paper, which was released yesterday.
9 Sep 2005

Feature - After the deluge
On 15 August, exactly two weeks before Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, my colleagues and I gathered together in an auditorium on the Xavier University campus in the city, to listen to our president describe the university's master plan for the next 30 years. - Nicole Pepinster Greene
9 Sep 2005

Opinion - Funerals for unbaptised children
Once infant baptism became the norm in the fourth century, some theologians claimed unbaptised infants went to hell. Limbo was a way through the problem. The Order of Christian Funerals makes it clear they receive God's love and mercy. - Elizabeth Harrington
9 Sep 2005

Married Uniting Church pastor ordained to Catholic priesthood
Fr Bob Harwood's wife and three children were on hand to support him for his ordination to the priesthood last week by Brisbane's Archbishop John Bathersby.
8 Sep 2005

Russian patriarch reaffirms demands on Vatican
Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II has reaffirmed his criticism of the Catholic Church in a meeting with the new Russian ambassador to the Holy See.
8 Sep 2005

Church in Kenya seeking fast-track for Cardinal Otunga sainthood
The Catholic Church in Kenya plans to ask the Vatican to speed up the start of the process of canonisation for Cardinal Maurice Otunga, who died in 2003.
8 Sep 2005

Bishop commends Catechism Compendium's 'dialogue format'
Bishop Kevin Manning of the Western Sydney Diocese of Parramatta has praised the 'imaginary dialogue between master and disciple' that is a key to the structure of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is soon to be released in English.
8 Sep 2005

Catholics across US opening doors to Katrina victims
Catholic organisations as far away as San Francisco and Chicago are opening their doors to victims of Hurricane Katrina as relief agencies begin coping with the masses of people left homeless along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
8 Sep 2005

Pope Turkey trip looking likely for November
A top Vatican official said he expects Pope Benedict to travel to Istanbul, Turkey, in late November for a meeting with Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.
8 Sep 2005

Feature - The Catholic Community in Australia
Arriving with little fanfare, this concise book is one of the definitive books about Catholicism in Australia. Written by Robert Dixon, Director of the Pastoral Projects Office of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, it is an update of the original 1996 publication. It includes an overview of Australian Catholic beliefs, organiation and statistics. It would make a useful resource for World Youth Day 2008 organisers.
8 Sep 2005

Opinion - Shifting lines of flight
For a long time, until quite recently in fact, I thought of Catholicism as associated with oppression. But things have changed for me. The resentment I directed at Catholicism seems misplaced, and the Church itself now seems to occupy a different social place in the secular world from the one I remember as a child. Is this because I have changed, or because the Church itself has changed? - John O'Carroll
8 Sep 2005

Caritas supporters show solidarity in making poverty history
Three primary school students, representing three aid and development organisations, took part recently in a handover of 25,000 Make Poverty History postcards and emails signed by the Australian public and addressed to the Australian Government.
7 Sep 2005

Jakarta Cardinal calls on police to protect churches from attacks
Cardinal Julius Darmaatmadja, Archbishop of Jakarta, yesterday visited Indonesian Police Chief General Sutanto, to demand that the security forces protect every faith group in case of new attacks by religious extremists.
7 Sep 2005

Report clears Canberra's Calvary Health Care
Speaking after the release of a ACT Government report that dismissed fraud charges at Calvary Health Care, Catholic Health Australia CEO Francis Sullivan said: "We are delighted, yet not surprised".
7 Sep 2005

Diocese marks Child Protection Week with Child Protection unit opening
The NSW Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle last night opened and blessed its new Child Protection and Professional Conduct Unit, which aims to ensure safe environment for children in the care of staff and volunteers from Catholic parishes, schools and other agencies.
7 Sep 2005

Pope to declare five new saints
Pope Benedict XVI is to declare five holy men and women saints next month, in addition to 17 others who will soon be beatified.
7 Sep 2005

Australian Catholic leader offers prayers for Katrina victims
The head of Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Francis Carroll, yesterday sent a message of prayerful solidarity to his counterparts in the USA, following Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent devastation in New Orleans and surrounding areas.
7 Sep 2005

Feature - One of the valiant women
Most of Berna Foster's life was spent in Melbourne's Holy Name parish at East Preston, where she lived from the early years of her marriage. Berna went to the parish priest with her idea to start a women's group. The Catholic Women's League, as the new group came to be called, became indispensable, doing the everyday things that keep a parish alive. - Fr Edmund Campion
7 Sep 2005

Opinion - 'Conversation' more special than 'dialogue'
I am a member of Catalyst for Renewal and 'conversation' is the word we spontaneously used when we searched for a way of making a contribution towards renewal within the Catholic Church. At our first meeting, the word 'conversation' was used in its ordinary sense. Now it designates something special. - Fr Michael Whelan SM
7 Sep 2005

Wiggles urge followers to 'bring Good Stuff to Vinnies'
World renowned children's entertainers The Wiggles this week launched a TV, radio and press campaign to encourage Australians to bring their "good stuff" to "help Vinnies' good works".
6 Sep 2005

250 'Good Sam' nuns in Sydney to elect 21st century leader
Sr Sonia Wagner, current leader of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan has said that a convention in Sydney this month will set new directions for the Australian-founded congregation, ahead of the group's 150th anniversary in 2007.
6 Sep 2005

Notre Dame Perth Medical School opened
Federal Minister for Health Tony Abbott, last week officially opened the University of Notre Dame Australia's Fremantle School of Medicine, which is Australia's first private medical school.
6 Sep 2005

India marks Blessed Mother Teresa's death anniversary
Followers lit candles and sang prayers at the Mother's House in Kolkata, with hundreds visiting her tomb and attending Mass in her honour, on yesterday's eighth anniversary of her death.
6 Sep 2005

Katrina's toll on diocesan infrastructure
Bishops in the USA have said that dioceses in the Gulf Coast have faced unparalleled devastation from Hurricane Katrina and will need massive reconstruction, costing hundreds of millions of dollars, once the clean up is done.
6 Sep 2005

Pope says ecumenism obligatory for all Christians
Pope Benedict XVI has told an ecumenical assembly organised by the Franciscans in Assisi that Christian unity "must be the objective of all those who profess faith in the Church".
6 Sep 2005

Feature - Living the moment
Having heard that Fr John was a keen windsurfer, I thought it would be interesting to ask him about how he felt his weekly 'saltwater fix' influenced and helped him with his priestly ministry. I am compelled to ask a question very far removed from watersports: As a Passionist priest, your vocation centres around what seems to be a very sombre topic - the final suffering and persecution of Jesus.
6 Sep 2005

Opinion - Diabolic union between religion and politics
Westerners are deceiving themselves when they define these people as "Islamic". Certainly, this movement claims its Islamic quality, but what defines them is the desire to take power, in the name of God. Marxist ideology was the same thing but without God, as was nationalism: they were all forms of ideology where the aim becomes power. - Fr Samir Khalil Samir SJ, St Joseph University, Beiruit
6 Sep 2005

Pell hope to entice Pope to Melbourne
The Pope may be persuaded to come to Melbourne during his Australian visit to the Catholic World Youth Day celebrations in 2008, Cardinal George Pell said yesterday.
5 Sep 2005

South African cardinal "shocked" by Zimbabwe rubble
Archbishop of Durban, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, who is visiting Autralia, told a Caritas media conference on Friday that he was shocked by the sight of rubble when he recently visited Zimbabwe.
5 Sep 2005

Abbott defends churchgoing politicians
Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott has told ABC TV's Insiders that politicians who go to church on Sundays should not be branded extremists.
5 Sep 2005

Pell 'agnostic' on intelligent design
Cardinal George Pell has said that while the theory of evolution is compatible with the church's teaching, it is sometimes taught "in an anti-God way" and he'd "be happy for [science teachers] to talk about design or intelligent design".
5 Sep 2005

Church pressure wins Govt change of heart on unemployed
Federal cabinet will consider softening the harsh rules on the unemployed at the heart of its welfare crackdown after lobbying from church-based groups including Catholic Welfare Australia.
5 Sep 2005

Pope sends Katrina aid
Pope Benedict XVI has asked the Vatican's central charity organisation, Cor Unum, to coordinate Church aid for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
5 Sep 2005

Feature - The Holy Spirit is working in everyone
The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston has responded to a request from the American Red Cross. On Wednesday, St Peter Claver's shelter was at capacity, as more than 230 refugees had already found their way to the Houston parish. Parish Priest Fr Rawlin Enette said: "We mobilised very quickly. They called and said they wanted to come in and I said, 'Bring the folks!'" "I'm so grateful. I was telling my daughter you see the Holy Spirit working in everyone," said Maxine Rixner of St Monica's Parish, New Orleans.
5 Sep 2005

Opinion - No contradiction between intelligent design and evolution
This concept does not deny the possibility, or even the reality, of evolution by natural selection. But it argues that key elements of living organisms are so intricate that they are beyond the capacity of evolution to generate. Evolution and intelligent design are not two alternative scientific explanations of the development of life on Earth, to be taught side by side in a science class, as is presently being argued in the American legal system. They are two different perspectives one scientific, the other religious. - Tim Thwaites
5 Sep 2005

Church opposes Star Wars crucifixion depiction
An artwork that shows Star Wars characters nailed to crosses has sparked controversy before its public debut at a Melbourne gallery in two weeks.
2 Sep 2005

Argentina identifies French nun slain in Dirty War
Forensic experts have identified the skeletal remains of one of two French nuns whose disappearances in 1977 came to symbolise the brutality of Argentina's military dictatorship.
2 Sep 2005

Bishop urges Govt to tread softly on IR
Bishop Patrick Dougherty of Bathurst (NSW) has warned the Federal Government not to include material in the upcoming industrial relations legislation that will not be in the best interests of Australian workers.
2 Sep 2005

Homeless support mission against Brisbane Council van ban
Rosies Youth Mission chaplain, Fr Pat MacAnally, has said homeless people are adamant they will not leave areas such as King George Square if the vans, which mostly offer a hot drink and fellowship, are moved to outlying areas, as proposed by Brisbane City Council.
2 Sep 2005

Pope meets controversial author
Pope Benedict XVI has held a private, unannounced meeting with an Italian journalist and author whose controversial comments on Islam have enraged some Muslim groups.
2 Sep 2005

Church reaches out to hurricane victims
Catholic Church facilities across the USA are responding to emergency and long-term needs of Hurricane Katrina refugees, by providing shelters, food, medicine and schooling.
2 Sep 2005

Feature - Death penalty for the earth
Franciscan environmentalist Sr Marya Grathwohl visited Australia recently with anti-death penalty campaigner Sr Helen Prejean. Marya was appointed principal of a school on an Indian reservation. "Those kids introduced me to another world view. One day I asked them to list living and non-living things. In the living column they had listed clouds, streams and rocks."
2 Sep 2005

Opinion - Blocked-up in our hearts
To feel shocked and abnormal at the chaos of our own loneliness and complexity is to not yet have been properly introduced to ourselves. The natural temptation is to try to get out of loneliness by plunging ourselves into busyness. We see our emptiness aas a sign that there isn't any God. But when we break down, it's not the real God we despair of, but only God as we imagined him. - Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
2 Sep 2005

Baghdad nuncio says stampede also a tragedy for Catholics
News of the carnage that killed more than 1000 Iraqis fleeing a Shi'ite mosque has caused "a sense of shock" for the Catholics of Baghdad, who are spiritually united with the families of victims and all those who suffer.
32 Sep 2005

Vinnies repeats poverty condemnation
In the light of Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released in August, the St Vincent de Paul Society's national operations manager John Falzon has said said it's a "national scandal" that Australians are being prevented from moving out of poverty.
32 Sep 2005

Call for Catholic agencies to strengthen collaboration
Catholic Welfare Australia CEO Frank Quinlan yesterday urged all Catholic Health and Welfare organisations to work together more closely to engage and assist Australia's poor.
32 Sep 2005

WYD push to bring back Sydney 2000 Olympic volunteers
Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Fisher says organisers of World Youth Day 2008 will be calling on the men and women who formed an army of volunteers for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games to help make World Youth Day in Sydney 2008 a success.
32 Sep 2005

Gay seminarian ban imminent
The Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education will soon publish a document clarifying the Church's policy on the admittance to priesthood training of men with homosexual orientations.
32 Sep 2005

Pope urges faithful to have more children
Pope Benedict XVI has said that the gift of children is a blessing from God, expressing the hope for the rejuveneation of societies that are "lacking in energy and hope because of a declining birth rate".
32 Sep 2005

Feature - The rise and fall of a dream of church reform
Of all the histories of Vatican Council II, just one has dominated the field until now, in Italy and throughout the world. An Italian publisher has produced a critical profile of the Bologna laboratory that produced the widely read collective effort of scholars from all over the world - Sandro Magister
32 Sep 2005

Opinion - Waiting on the Holy Father
September has long been a special month for me, marking as it does, my birthday and baptism and also my ordination as Bishop. This year the month has an added meaning. I have recently submitted my resignation as Archbishop because 9 September is my 75th birthday. - Archbishop Francis Carroll, Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn
32 Sep 2005