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NEWS ARCHIVE FOR OCTOBER 2005

   
Spanish martyrs beatified at Vatican ceremony
Seven priests and a nun who were killed during the Spanish Civil War were beatified and recognised as martyrs on Saturday at a ceremony in St Peter's Basilica.
31 Oct 2005

Vatican condemns Iran's anti-Israel comment
The Vatican on Friday condemned the call by Iran's president to "wipe Israel off the map", saying it was "particularly serious and unacceptable", adding an appeal for a halt to renewed violence in the region.
31 Oct 2005

Pope close to the families of beheaded Indonesian girls
Pope Benedict XVI has expressed "deep condolences" to families and the diocesan community of three Christian girls "barbarically killed" in Indonesia on Saturday.
31 Oct 2005

Indian bishop call for peace after Delhi bomb attacks
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) has condemned the serial blast that took place in Delhi on Saturday, killing over 60 people and injuring several others.
31 Oct 2005

Bishop calls for more time to debate anti-terror laws
Bishop Christopher Saunders of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council (ACSJC) is urging the Federal Government to allow more time for the scrutiny of its Anti-Terrorism legislation.
31 Oct 2005

Commission seeks radical change in tax debate
The Catholic Employment Relations Commission has said that only a major change in direction in the current tax debate will reverse the 40 year trend in which the low paid have been the losers in tax reform.
31 Oct 2005

Feature - The liturgies of November
November is traditionally associated in the Catholic Church with remembrance of the dead. Bringing to mind deceased family and friends can be very painful, especially if the bereavement is relatively recent. In our liturgical celebrations, however, we are reminded to 'look both ways', the title and theme of a recent Australian movie. - Elizabeth Harrington
31 Oct 2005

Opinion - Charm of the Eucharist
To celebrate the Eucharist is to turn from the false gods of consumerism and selfishness to the living God. We are exposed to the depth and charm of an infinite love. It supports us in our weakness, and nourishes us with the sustenance we need as pilgrims. Archbishop John Bathersby of Brisbane has initiated spiritual renewal. The Eucharist is the prayer of the Church par excellence. - Fr Anthony Kelly CSsR
31 Oct 2005

TV weatherman to present at Catholic Earthcare Conference
The ABC's NSW weather presenter Mike Bailey is one of many climate and scientific experts speaking at next month's Catholic Earthcare Conference.
28 Oct 2005

Vinnies challenge to governments on housing
The St Vincent de Paul Society has challenged governments at all levels to respond to shock findings of a Victorian Tenants' Union survey that included widespread overcrowding that included families of eight living in housing designed for four.
28 Oct 2005

Cardinal Sodano hopes for end to tensions with China
The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, has expressed his hope that difficulties between the Catholic Church and the Chinese government will soon be overcome.
28 Oct 2005

Pope committed to good relations with Jews
Pope Benedict XVI assured the world's Jews yesterday that he and the Vatican are irrevocably committed to good Catholic-Jewish relations and to never forgetting the Holocaust.
28 Oct 2005

Possible regulation challenge for Development Funds
The finance industry watchdog is preparing to target churches operating quasi-banks - multi-million-dollar enterprises offering loans and deposit services to customers but avoiding the strict regulations imposed on commercial banks.
28 Oct 2005

Centacare Melbourne urges Govt to save Nguyen
An agency of the Catholic Church is urging the Federal Government to maintain pressure on Singapore to give convicted drug trafficker Tuong Van Nguyen a reprieve against his death sentence.
28 Oct 2005

Feature - Priest 'shock jock' honest about ego
Listen to Sydney's 2UE on Sunday nights and you'll hear Fr John Fleming, bioethicist and president of the new Campion College. "The thing is about the media is you have to have an ego to do it; we all need to be very honest about that, otherwise your ego will get out of control," he says. "We want to contracept a woman, we want to sterilise her, we want to abort her, we want to do IVF on her - I don't know why women put up with it. ... If you don't want criticism you keep your mouth shut, but I don't think that is an option for a Christian."
28 Oct 2005

Opinion - Rosa Parks' message cuts through in Australia
Fifty years ago Rosa Parks - who died this week - inspired African Americans, by refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man. In late 2004, a group of Aboriginal footballers from the AFL visited Broome. There they listened to Pat and Mick Dodson talking about the history of struggle for civil and political rights by Aboriginal people in this country. Someone dared to ask: 'How can we make a difference?' Pat told them the story of Rosa Parks. - Fr Brian McCoy SJ, Fellow at the Centre for Health and Society, University of Melbourne
28 Oct 2005

Christmas decorations that could change the world
Caritas Australia has launched its range of Global Gifts, which are unique Christmas tree decorations available as a pack of five, each ornament representing a community in need.
27 Oct 2005

Death of Brother Colin Smith
There have been many tributes to liturgist and composer Br Colin Smith of St Mary's Province, one of Australia's best known Christian Brothers, who died on Sunday aged 77.
27 Oct 2005

Wollongong bishop seeks return of cult members
The Bishop of Wollongong, Bishop Peter Ingham, wants - "for the good of their souls" - to help followers of cult leader William Kamm "back into full communion with the Catholic Church".
27 Oct 2005

Increase in paid maternity leave
Paid maternity leave for teachers in Catholic systemic schools will increase from nine weeks to 14 weeks next year under an in principle agreement between the Catholic Commission for Employment Relations (representing the systemic schools) and the NSW Independent Education Union.
27 Oct 2005

Bishop highlights poverty of vocations in bush
Canberra-Goulburn auxiliary Bishop Pat Power has responded to Cardinal George Pell's assertion that Sydney has "about enough" students for the priesthood, pointing out that there is an acute crisis of vocations in many regional areas, and Tasmania.
27 Oct 2005

Feature - Return of the exorcist
On a recent trip to a village church in Tuscany, Sydney auxiliary Bishop Julian Porteous recognised a modern Italian translation of an ancient rite lying on a bench while he was chatting to the local priest in the sacristy. The Tuscan priest casually observed: "Oh yes, I'm the exorcist for the diocese." Porteous, who is rector of the Seminary of the Good Shepherd, is also an expert on exorcism who has witnessed the traumatic process of casting out devils and recognises a rise in the occult.
27 Oct 2005

Opinion - Feelings give us energy for action
St Augustine said in the Confessions: "Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee". Happiness depends upon harmonious energy. Our lives can become deformed when we try to live in opposition to the movement of energy. Energy is related to our feelings, which incline us in a certain direction, towards certain objects. They may do this with some power. Given a sudden fright, I may literally jump. Feelings can be wonderful servants, destructive masters. - Fr Michael Whelan SM
27 Oct 2005

$A160,103 payoff for Opus Dei row Irish don
An academic investigated for using her lectures to promote Opus Dei beliefs has received a "golden handshake" of almost $A160,103, according to a report in yesterday's Irish Independent.
26 Oct 2005

Volunteers to guard children
Our Lady of Fatima primary school, at Caringbah in south-west Sydney, is one of a number of local schools to act following a spate of attempted child abductions are considering recruiting parents to patrol school gates.
26 Oct 2005

More Catholics on all continents except Europe
The number of Catholics is increasing on all continents except Europe, according to new data issued for World Mission Sunday.
26 Oct 2005

Irish probe finds abuse cover-up in Catholic Church
The Catholic Church in Ireland covered up the sexual abuse of young people by priests over several decades in one diocese, according to a 270 page report that follows an investigation by the state.
26 Oct 2005

Congregation says only priests authorised to anoint sick
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has issued a note reaffirming its determination that only a priest may administer the Sacrament of the Sick.
26 Oct 2005

Pope's first encyclical to appear early December
The first encyclical letter by Pope Benedict XVI will be promulgated on 8 December, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, according to reports in the Italian press.
26 Oct 2005

Feature - Go west, young seminarian!
Although he grew up in Sydney's northern suburbs, Fr Paul Roberts, 43, went into the seminary choosing the western Sydney Diocese of Parramatta due to its population expansion. "I wanted to be part of a vibrant and creative future based around family life." At Corpus Christi Parish, Cranebrook, Fr Paul said he has found the ministry he had been searching for. Baptisms are a frequent occurrence in the life of the parish. He said two of his former fellow seminarians also pursued their priestly studies because they wanted to be in young, growing areas of Church.
26 Oct 2005

Opinion - Prayer and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Prayer has changed for me in the course of living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome over the last eleven years of feeling disconnected from people and life, as well as unproductive and worthless. Becoming suddenly so unwell was such a shock to my system that my initial prayer was one of desperation, 'get me out of here and make me better'. I had been an active student, a keen sportswoman and a leader in my final year of school. After some time, my experience led me to stop trying so hard to connect with a God outside of my world. - Naomi Flanagan
26 Oct 2005

Lecturer reveals what the Bible says about sex
The Bible presents sex as a powerful aspect of life that should be used with care, according to Josephite Sr Michele Connolly, a lecturer in New Testament Studies at the Catholic Institute of Sydney.
25 Oct 2005

Caritas exposes continued pain for PNG disaster victims
Caritas Australia has highlighted a little-publicised disaster that occurred on Australia's doorstep one year ago this week, and is continuing to cause suffering for its victims.
25 Oct 2005

Kasper continues talk of communion for divorced and optional celibacy
German Cardinal Walter Kasper has called for a reconsideration of the question of whether Catholics who are divorced and remarried should continue to be banned from receiving Communion.
25 Oct 2005

Pell named to post-Synod committee
Cardinal George Pell is part of a team of 15 prelates selected for a post-synodal council that is to carry the work of the 2-23 October Synod of Bishops to its conclusion.
25 Oct 2005

Papal intervention for death row drug trafficker
Cardinal George Pell of Sydney will urge Pope Benedict XVI to intervene in a desperate bid to spare Australian drug trafficker Nguyen Tuong Van from the gallows in Singapore.
25 Oct 2005

Feature - Sherril Whittington's high school mentors
It's been many years since she stood in a classroom, but Sherrill's first love of teaching has been played out in many different scenarios, especially United Nations organisations, where she worked with women affected by conflict in countries like East Timor. The Sisters of St Joseph "were the first educated women I knew", and the gospel values of her high school mentors have been translated into action.
25 Oct 2005

Opinion - Processions part of religious celebrations
In Australia we're more likely to have a parade to celebrate a football premiership or our athletes' achievements. But often Italian or Maltese Catholics hold suburban processions in honour of their local saint. We don't yet have many places of pilgrimage. The North Sydney shrine of Blessed Mary MacKillop is the most famous local pilgrimage point. - Cardinal George Pell
25 Oct 2005

New draft translation of Mass prayers auctioned on eBay
The new draft translation of the Order of the Mass, compiled by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), has recently been auctioned off the eBay Internet auction site.
24 Oct 2005

Pastoral Planning Conference underway in Newcastle
Around 50 clergy, religious and lay people arrived in Newcastle at the weekend for a three-day conference exploring "issues, trends and signs of hope in Church life as the Church seeks to become more relevant in people's lives now and into the future". [More]
24 Oct 2005

Catholic Health applauds PM's bid for non-Govt role in mental health
Catholic Health Australia (CHA) has supported last week's interventions by Prime Minister John Howard that called for more collaboration between Government and non-Government organisations, to improve the delivery of mental health services.
24 Oct 2005

Catholic Welfare awards Edmund Rice lobbyist
Catholic Welfare Australia has named Phil Glendenning, of the Edmund Rice Centre for Justice and Community Education in Sydney, the winner of its Perkins Award for Excellence in Service.
24 Oct 2005

Pope Benedict presides at first canonisation
Pope Benedict XVI named five new saints yesterday at a Mass closing the three-week meeting of the world's Catholic bishops that reaffirmed the church's position on celibacy for priests and other central teachings.
24 Oct 2005

Aussie expert says Pope will fix Synod theology gaps
Biblical scholar Fr Frank Moloney, one of the appointed "experts" at this month's Synod, has predicted that Pope Benedict's document will be "profoundly Biblical and patristic", as well as "sensitive to the urgent pastoral questions" raised during the theologically disappointing discussions.
24 Oct 2005

Feature - 160th birthday for Australia's busiest church
Melbourne's oldest Catholic church, St Francis, sits humbly on the corner of Lonsdale and Elizabeth, dwarfed by city office blocks but always with a significant presence. The "people's church" - the busiest in Australia, with 12,000 worshippers every week at its 46 Masses - turned 160 yesterday. It marked the occasion with a Mass composed for the church in 1851 by its then organist, George Rutter.
24 Oct 2005

Opinion - Eucharist our ticket to the 'big picture'
It's quite staggering. In the Eucharist, we have a real presence of Jesus Christ amongst us on an altar. It could a little local church in my Australian Outback diocese, or there in St Peter's Basilica. You know, we're not talking postage stamps here. We're talking widescreen, cinemascope, Imax view of things - big picture material. - Bishop Christopher Toohey, Wilcannia-Forbes (NSW)
24 Oct 2005

Aussies wary about trusting their neighbour
Only a third of Australians have high levels of trust in the residents of their neighbourhood, according to a report from NCLS Research and Edith Cowan University,
21 Oct 2005

ACU study says business ethics recognised but not practised
While company boards seem to be taking ethics more seriously, they are talking about it more often and rolling out mission and vision statements to help them make tough decisions.
21 Oct 2005

Schools failing to pass on values
Public and private schools are spending too much time teaching students to earn a living and too little time exploring beliefs and values that shape lives, a leading education expert says.
21 Oct 2005

Pope to end Year of Eucharist with five canonisations
Pope Benedict XVI will preside at a concelebrated Mass on Sunday with the participants in the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist, which also closes on that day.
21 Oct 2005

Street procession to end Year of Eucharist in Sydney
Catholics from across Sydney will process through the streets of Sydney on Sunday to mark the end of the Year of the Eucharist, the twelve-month period of reflection called by the late Pope John Paul II.
21 Oct 2005

Synod final message rebuffs Latin Mass, priest shortage
In a rejection of the lone appeal in the Synod of Bishops for the pre-Vatican II rite of Mass, the synod's final message, set for approval today, contains no language on the subject.
21 Oct 2005

Feature - Retiring Archbishop's role as spokesman
Somewhat prophetically, Archbishop Francis Carroll did his doctorate in canon law in Rome, and wrote his thesis on the development of bishops' conferences. As president of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference for the past five years, Archbishop Francis Carroll has been the Church's spokesman on just about everything. He also helped to lobby successfully for the release of Vietnamese Cardinal Francois Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan from a communist prison.
21 Oct 2005

Opinion - God can be born in aching emptiness
At the end of World War II, theologian Karl Rahner used the image of being "blocked-up" in a cellar, extending it to the way we feel "blocked-up" in our hearts. "Don't be shocked at the loneliness and desertedness of your inner prison," he said. "Don't run from it." We see emptiness as a sign that there isn't any God. We try to excape loneliness by plunging ourselves into busyness. God is most easily met precisely when our own words sound flat and empty. - Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
21 Oct 2005

Launch of Young Women's Interfaith Fellowship
The Commission for Australian Catholic Women (CACW) and the Australian Catholic University (ACU) have launched their new partnership in promoting interfaith relations with the prayer that "the peace that we long for will take root in our hearts".
20 Oct 2005

Bunbury survey finds support for new cathedral
A survey of hundreds of people in the diocese of Bunbury has revealed most want a new cathedral to be built on the same site as the previous building, and they would prefer a traditional exterior and modern interior.
20 Oct 2005

Cure could speed Newman's path to sainthood
A 'miracle cure' in Boston may help clear the way for the canonisation of John Henry Cardinal Newman, whose cause was promoted in a book launched in Rome on this week.
20 Oct 2005

Pope set to attempt Russian Patriarch relationship fix
Benedict XVI wants to meet with the Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow, according to the Catholic archbishop in the Russian capital.
20 Oct 2005

Synod worried Catholics misunderstand Real Presence
A major concern of the October Synod of Bishops has been that many Catholics do not seem to understand how Christ is truly present in the Eucharist.
20 Oct 2005

Catholic Health calls mental health report a "national disgrace"
Yesterday's release of the report "Not for Service" reveals the desperate underbelly of Australia's mental health system' said Francis Sullivan, CEO of Catholic Health Australia
20 Oct 2005

Feature - 'New' poems by worldly monk Merton
A just-released book compiles the famous Trappist monk's poetry from the mid-1940s to his death. "Like Walt Whitman, he (Merton) contained multitudes," says editor Kathleen Norris. "Here is a guy who spent a good part of his life in a monastery, but his experience of human life is so broad and vast that he writes about many different things in many different voices." Some of the poems are musical and light - about psalms and love and joy - while others are political, giving a stark view of American culture, war, racism and atomic bombs.
20 Oct 2005

Opinion - Mission accomplished
With Jewish-Chrisian relations, our first job was to heal wounds of 2000 years. Not so much in Australia, but young Catholics in Europe, it was just taken for granted they would be anti-Semitic. I felt when I took over that we were putting out fires all the time. Now there's respect and trust, a relationship of mutual esteem. - Cardinal Edward Cassidy, President Emeritus, Commission of the Holy See for Religious Relations with the Jews (attending tonight's Great Synagogue, Sydney, for 40th anniversary of the Vatican declaration Nostra Aetate)
20 Oct 2005

Feature - 25 years on, Romero a saint in waiting
2005 is the 25th anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador, a Gaudium et Spes bishop to his core and patron-saint-in-waiting of our justice and peace movement. It happened when El Salvador was poised on the brink of civil war - a country with grotesque economic exploitation, social deprivation and malnutrition in the countryside, on the coffee estates and cotton and sugar plantations. The whole unjust system - the institutionalised injustice - was kept in place through electoral fraud and wholesale repression. - Julian Filochowski
19 Oct 2005

Opinion - What is a Catholic university?
No factor in isolation, such as 'hiring for mission', or public expressions of fidelity, or closeness to the hierarchy, can be the sole determinant of a University's genuine Catholic identity. If need be, a Catholic University must have the courage to speak uncomfortable truths which do not please public opinion, but are necessary to safeguard the authentic good of society. What these ideas converge upon is an expansive identification of the term 'Catholic' rather than a narrow conceptualisation of a Catholic university as one that fits a single mould. - Australian Catholic University vice-chancellor Professor Peter Sheehan
19 Oct 2005

Broadcaster Doogue links Catholic women with heightened energy
"There's a lot of energy in Catholic women", said respected broadcaster and journalist Geraldine Doogue at last week's launch of a major book celebrating the lives and achievements of Catholic women.
19 Oct 2005

Archbishop tells student exorcists that humility defeats Satan
Archbishop Angelo Comastri, the Pope's vicar general for Vatican City said that priests performing exorcisms must use their power with great humility for it to effectively expel demons.
19 Oct 2005

Catholic Mission accepting donations for Pakistan earthquake victims
Catholic Mission is now accepting donations from the public to help victims of this month's earthquake in Pakistan, which has claimed the lives of over 40,000 people and left millions homeless.
19 Oct 2005

Iraq bishops ready to seek help from Pope
The bishops of Iraq look set to beg the Pope to make one last plea for democracy as the early results of the country's constitution sparked dismay among Christians.
19 Oct 2005

Synod opts for major vocations push, not easing of celibacy
In a draft list of propositions, the Synod of Bishops recommended no relaxation of church rules on priestly celibacy and instead proposed greater vocations efforts as the answer to the shortage of priests.
19 Oct 2005

Queensland religious join IR resistance
The Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes in Queensland has launched a campaign that includes a briefing paper summing up the Howard Government's industrial relations changes as an attempt to put money ahead of humanity.
19 Oct 2005

Cardinal Cassidy's book to mark 40 years of ecumenism
An Interfaith Commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of the Vatican's ecumenism declaration Nostra Aetate, will be held on Thursday at the Great Synagogue in Sydney.
18 Oct 2005

Sydney CEO raises performance targets
Sydney's Catholic Education Office will set performance targets for 63,000 students in a move to raise academic standards across their school network.
18 Oct 2005

Catholic Earthcare declares position on uranium
As Australia's politicians and institutions reconsider their attitude to uranium mining, Catholic Earthcare Australia has reasserted its opposition to the growth of the uranium mining industry.
18 Oct 2005

Synod takes time off to work on combining propositions
Yesterday there was no General Congregation of the Synod on the Eucharist, to enable the various relators and the secretary general to work on the drawing together into one statement, propositions put so far to the 2-23 October event.
18 Oct 2005

Pope commends lifelong friendship with Jesus
Pope Benedict XVI urged children to cultivate a lifelong friendship with Jesus because he would guide them, help them make the right decisions in life and help them become better people.
18 Oct 2005

Too early to judge embryo-friendly stem-cell advance
Stem cells have been harvested from embryos for the first time without killing or hurting them, but Dr Briget Vout of the Sydney Archdiocesan Life Office is reacting cautiously.
18 Oct 2005

Feature - Raphael, the "extra" Synod Father
The reproduction of Raphael's "Disputation on the Sacrament" has been placed in the hall at this month's Synod. At the centre, on an altar surrounded by other fathers who are reasoning and discussing - while they adore - is the consecrated host exposed in a magnificent monstrance. Pope Julius II commissioned him to paint it in 1509. It was the first fresco that the 27-year-old from Urbino painted at the Vatican, and it is also his most richly theological work. US-born Fr Timothy Verdon, who lives in Florence, is a leading expert on sacred art whom Pope Benedict XVI invited to the synod.- Sandro Magister
18 Oct 2005

Opinion - Benediction is an optional extra
Devotion to the reserved sacrament grew as a result of Reformation questioning of certain eucharistic practices. The documents make it clear that Benediction is an optional and secondary devotion. The fact that it is no longer a regular part of the worship life of most parishes should not be seen as an indication of any lack of reverence toward the reserved sacrament. The circumstances which led to the origin and growth of Benediction have changed. We need to find forms of worship that respond to contemporary spirituality, piety and needs. - Elizabeth Harrington
18 Oct 2005

Torch goes in Launceston church heist
An Olympic torch carried by a Tasmanian priest has been stolen in a sacrilegious burglary at a Launceston church.
17 Oct 2005

Journal calls professional boxing 'attempted murder'
An influential Italian Jesuit magazine condemned professional boxing as "a form of legalised attempted murder", asserting that it has left more than 500 boxers dead over the last 100 years.
17 Oct 2005

Cult to continue despite leader's conviction
Followers of a doomsday cult based on the NSW south coast have vowed to "go forward" after their spiritual leader - known as the Little Pebble - was jailed on Friday for sex offences.
17 Oct 2005

Perth Archbishop condemns new talk of death penalty
Archbishop Barry Hickey of Perth has criticised moves to reintroduce the death penalty for serious offenders in Western Australia.
17 Oct 2005

Baghdad bishop hails yesterday's vote as "exercise in democracy"
Bishop Jean Baptiste Sleiman spoke optimistically about yesterday's referendum on the Iraqi Constitution following a solid turnout, and the relative lack of violence.
17 Oct 2005

Synod told of Eucharist as 'pulsating heart' of Timor mission
As one of the auditors at the Synod in Rome, Sr Rita Burley has told the assembled bishops that the people of Bazertete, East Timor, "live the painful consequences of war" sustained by the Eucharist.
17 Oct 2005

Feature - Niche market of religious searchers
Last month, the Clemenger Report on the values and attitudes of Australians was published. US teens see religion very positively, as something that is helpful for life and good for people. But Australian teenagers see religion as something not to enthuse about, and being "too religious" is seen as a danger to be avoided. However it is clear the interest in, and need for, religion among young people has not disappeared, as some optimistically predicted (or hoped) a generation ago. - Cardinal George Pell
17 Oct 2005

Opinion - Faith is the stuff of my life and ministry
I grew up in in the southern Queensland town of Stanthorpe. My family was practical but not pious. We made numerous attempts to establish the family Rosary as a regular part of our prayer but it inevitably broke down. I can remember sitting in the small, cold church in Stanthorpe during winter as a six-year-old and longing for the day when I would be able to go to Communion with the adults. Daily Mass has always been a part of my life from the very beginning and still is. - Archbishop John Bathersby
17 Oct 2005

Dali's gift to exorcist uncovered
An art expert has uncovered a sculpture of Christ on the Cross he claims Salvador Dali made to thank an Italian friar who exorcised him
14 Oct 2005

Pope blesses cornerstone of new Sydney Seminary
In the presence of Cardinal George Pell, Pope Benedict XVI has blessed the cornerstone of the future Redemptoris Mater seminary of the NeoCatechumenal Way in Sydney.
14 Oct 2005

Vatican in deal with Israel to look after Last Supper room
The Vatican is hoping to regain stewardship over the room of the Last Supper in Jerusalem, one of the most sacred sites in Christianity.
14 Oct 2005

Synod bishops seek middle ground solutions
A Vatican analyst has identified an emerging dynamic at the Synod of Bishops in Rome, in which the bishops seem, in effect, to be "trying to meet their critics half-way".
14 Oct 2005

Archbishop warns priests warned not to become pawns
Melbourne's Archbishop Denis Hart has refused to give his support to a charter protecting Melbourne's Catholic teachers from the federal industrial relations changes, despite the church's strong public criticism of the proposed laws.
14 Oct 2005

Church concern about Howard backdown on abortion drug ban
Catholic Health Australia CEO Francis Sullivan has voiced concern following the decision of Prime Minister John Howard to allow a cabinet rethink of Australia's ban on the abortion drug RU486.
14 Oct 2005

Feature - John Howard's new fair pay man
Anglican Ian Harper brings his Christian faith to everything he does, including his job as head of John Howard's new Fair Pay Commission. "It is consistent with my duty as a Christian, being concerned with the circumstances of the less well-off and vulnerable, rather than the top end of town." He says the Bible does not shun material prosperity. "Market capitalisation is, in the end, a servant of humanity in the interests of improving our material lot on this earth."
14 Oct 2005

Opinion - Friction part of life of the Church
We hate tension. But we must try to carry it because life and truth need both sides of the equation. Inside of our churches, we have more than enough things about which to disagree. It has never been different. Even the Bible gives contradictory understandings of many aspects of doctrine such as the Eucharist. Peter and Paul disagreed quite heatedly. But this doesn't necessarily mean that sin and infidelity are the problem. - Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
14 Oct 2005

Archbishop grateful for 'birthday present'
"I'm happy my resignation was accepted - it was a good birthday present," Archbishop Francis Carroll told a local Canberra newspaper in an interview published yesterday. "However it did feel a bit strange to see it in black and white. It suddenly felt more real."
13 Oct 2005

'Preferred partnership' between new nursing school and Sydney hospitals
Sydney's newest university, Notre Dame, and St Vincents & Mater Health Sydney have entered into a formal partnership to offer a joint nursing degree from 2006.
13 Oct 2005

Prefect says Church needs fresh Vatican II translations
The present translations of the documents of the Second Vatican Council are "imprecise", according to Archbishop William Levada, the new prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
13 Oct 2005

Large crowd hears pope meditation on peace in Jerusalem
Speaking to another unusually large crowd at his weekly public audience yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI offered a prayer for peace in Jerusalem.
13 Oct 2005

Cardinal's plea for those who can't receive communion
The Church must be show empathy towards those whose personal situation does not allow them to receive Communion, according to Cardinal Julián Herranz, who is president of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts.
13 Oct 2005

Synod frank talk producing few breakthroughs
The English-speaking world's most quoted Vatican expert has suggested that while there have been many frank statements on heartfelt issues, no identifiable consensus has yet emerged at the Synod of Bishops taking place in Rome.
13 Oct 2005

Feature - The waters of vulnerability at Lourdes
Here I was in Lourdes, and the first time as a pilgrim with my diocese. To bathe or not to bathe. That was the question. Exposing your weakness and admitting your dependence isn't exactly in fashion in this age of the autonomous individual. But in life - as at Lourdes - there comes a time when you need to strip down and plunge into the waters of vulnerability. "It's about becoming a child again," the pilgrimage director told me. "Trusting others to hold you and immerse you." - Austen Ivereigh
13 Oct 2005

Opinion - Why Westerners desert their own faiths for Buddhism
While most western Buddhists in Australia have had Christian upbringings, most of them are long-lapsed in favour of secular materialism before they discover Buddhism. It's not the churches but the shopping malls that are the losers in the Buddhism boom. But there remains the question why, when spiritual urges return, typically with the onset of midlife anguish, people don't simply un-lapse and return to their mother faith. - Dharma teacher Winton Higgins
13 Oct 2005

Vatican astronomer ponders baptism of extra-terrestrials
A pocket-sized book published by the Catholic Truth Society in the UK addresses Catholic attitudes to extra-terrestrial life.
12 Oct 2005

Pakistani bishop challenges Christians to give a day's wages to quake relief
The president of the Pakistani bishops' conference expressed his grief following the country's worst-ever earthquake and urged all Pakistani Christians to contribute one day's wages for relief aid.
12 Oct 2005

Josephites to involve young
The Sisters of St Joseph will involve young people from all walks of life to work in partnership with them - some as Sisters, and others in Josephite lay groups.
12 Oct 2005

Catholic Welfare weighs in on IR debate
The director of Catholic Welfare Australia has told an interchurch welfare symposium that the Catholic Church has always deplored the treatment of employment as nothing more than a form of commercial contract, which he suggested is the basis of the Howard Government's industrial relations reforms.
12 Oct 2005

Papal twist in Parliament work debate
Catholic Social Teaching was invoked by both sides of politics in Federal Parliament yesterday, with Papal quotes flying across the dispatch boxes.
12 Oct 2005

Pell call to preserve celibacy rule
Cardinal George Pell told the Rome Bishops Synod overnight that abandoning celibacy as a condition of priesthood would be a serious error.
12 Oct 2005

Feature - Introducing Brother Alois of Taize
Blood during the evening prayer. Silence descends, as a heady chant vanishes into the air. That's it. The handover of power has taken place. With no conclave, speeches or enthronement. German Alois Loser, 51, has become the prior of Taize, successor to a man of God, community founder Roger Shutz, symbol of reconciliation between divided churches, a spiritual father of our times, a friend of popes and young people. Everything has happened with the most extreme gentleness the absolute opposite of his death.
12 Oct 2005

Opinion - Broadcasters behaving badly
Two journalists in Melbourne are being prosecuted through the Federal Court system for contempt of Court for not revealing their sources of information. But the real decline in ethical behaviour in the media is represented by the "shock jock" phenomenon. A well known presenter was vigorously attacking "dole bludgers", then spoke of single mothers who had children deliberately to draw welfare and social benefits. Ethically he transgressed so many rules and yet he got away with it. - Former ABC current affairs presenter John Highfield
12 Oct 2005

Higher educators to talk about common issues
The Australian Catholic University has invited members of the public to attend a public Catholicity Forum tonight, to hear the Chief Executive Officers at three of Sydney's Catholic tertiary education institutions speak on the issues facing Catholic higher education today.
11 Oct 2005

Court appearance following Newcastle priest bashing
A 50-year-old homeless man was due to appear in court yesterday charged with assaulting a Catholic priest in Newcastle on the weekend.
11 Oct 2005

Irish archbishop says Liturgy of Word can heal
Addressing the Synod of Bishops in Rome on Saturday, Archbishop Sean Brady spoke of how the liturgy of the word and homily had the power to transform attitudes of "anger, vengeance and retaliation into events of reconciliation, forgiveness and healing."
11 Oct 2005

Bali Bishop in Adelaide for terror remembrance
Archbishop Philip Wilson and the Catholic Bishop of Denpasar, Benyamin Bria, yesterday reflected on the Bali terrorist attacks which have affected - and united - their communities.
11 Oct 2005

Caritas launches South Asia Earthquake Appeal
Caritas Australia has annoucned the launch of a humanitarian appeal to help the victims of the Pakistan and South Asian Earthquake.
11 Oct 2005

Govt IR detail fails to ease Commission's concern
The Federal Government's "softened" and more detailed outline of its proposed new system of workplace relations does not appear to address fundamental concerns about fairness and balance, according to the Catholic Church's employment relations body.
11 Oct 2005

Feature - New-look Synod?
John Paul II's 15 synod assemblies never really lived up to the expectations of many bishops. His constant presence at the synod sessions seemed to work as a control element. Many in the Church - including cardinals and bishops - are now watching to see if Pope Benedict XVI is going to help the synod regain its original character. In one way his hands are tied. But the new Pope has already made a few subtle changes that could open up more discussion in the synod hall.
11 Oct 2005

Opinion - Let's mirror the staggering beauty of the Eucharist
Consider the fact that the Author of the Universe took human nature to himself, was born of a Virgin, had (and still has) a human body and a human soul, lived, died and rose again on this tiny planet we call Earth. He did all of this for us and our salvation. And his presence remains with us substantially and really in the Eucharist. - Bishop Christopher Toohey, Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes (NSW), to Synod of Bishops yesterday
11 Oct 2005

Vatican told Brazilian bishop to end hunger strike
It has emerged that the Vatican called upon a Brazilian Catholic bishop to end a hunger strike that he had begun to protest against the diversion of a river.
10 Oct 2005

Premier Bracks invites Pope to Melbourne
Victorian Premier Steve Bracks, Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart and Cardinal George Pell are lobbying the Vatican for a Melbourne stop during the Pope's visit to Australia for the World Youth Day celebrations in 2008.
10 Oct 2005

Harradine seeks to counter Latham blow to young idealists
Former Independent Tasmanian Catholic Senator Brian Harradine has come out of retirement to respond to suggestions from embittered former Labor Leader Mark Latham that there's no point in young people getting involved in politics to work for a better world.
10 Oct 2005

Document to prescribe caution, not ban, on gay seminarians
The forthcoming Vatican document on homosexuals in seminaries will not demand an absolute ban, a senior Vatican official said on Friday, but will insist that seminary officials exercise "prudential judgment" that gay candidates should not be admitted in three cases.
10 Oct 2005

Hobart Archbishop insists on credit for hardworking priests
Archbishop Adrian Doyle of Hobart has told the Synod of Bishops in Rome that recognition of the "strong recognition of the wonderful contribution of our priests" is missing in the Instrumentum Laboris working document of the Synod.
10 Oct 2005

Pope's call for "swift and generous" aid for quake victims
Pope Benedict XVI has appealed to the international community to be "swift and generous" in dispatching aid to people of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan stricken by the weekend's earthquake.
10 Oct 2005

Feature - Demystifying causes of suicide
For the first time, suicide is rated as the top killer in Australian society. In our 'lucky' country, feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, uselessness and desperation lead people to consider that suicide is the only answer? - Sr Anne Howley RSJ
10 Oct 2005

Opinion - Factions at the Synod
Progressives, Moderates, Neocons. On one side, Ratzinger, Ruini, Bergoglio with their proposal for a new 'Papal Revolution'. On the other side, the list of their opponents, with Tettamanzi as the man for all seasons. - Sandro Magister
10 Oct 2005

Actor Mickey Rourke "saved" by his Catholic faith
Hollywood star Mickey Rourke has told a British magazine that his strong commitment to his Catholic faith has saved him from slipping back into his formerly chaotic lifestyle.
7 Oct 2005

ACBC acts to ease GST confusion
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has advised Catholic organisations on how to interpret a circular from the Australian Taxation Office that is encouraging non-profit organisations to de-register from GST.
7 Oct 2005

Newcastle Cathedral focus of nation's grief
Almost 800 people gathered last night inside Sacred Heart Cathedral, and hundreds more spilled out on to the steps and grounds outside, to mourn the loss of three of their own.
7 Oct 2005

Cardinal vote for pro-abortion candidate not sinful
A leading Italian expert on church law said Catholics are not necessarily sinning if they vote for a candidate who supports legal abortion.
7 Oct 2005

Oceania bishops plead case for married clergy
Bishops from Papua New Guinea and Guam have taken part in a spirited debate about the link between the celibacy rule and the priest shortage that often denies the faithful access to the Eucharist.
7 Oct 2005

Opus Dei head argues against giant masses
Speaking yesterday at the Synod of Bishops in Rome, the head of Opus Dei cautioned against the holding of giant masses where many thousands of people worship together and receive communion.
7 Oct 2005

Feature - SMS Bible cre8td for a nu wrl
The world's most famous book is now available in the world's most modern form of communication, SMS or text. So instead of reading in Genesis how: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth", it will now be a case of: "In da Bginnin God cre8d da heavens & da earth". Inspiration for the joint Bible Society/Church Resources project came from the son of a Bible Society employee in Sydney. The Bible Society in Australia has translated all 31,173 verses of the Bible into text. An example: "God luvd da ppl of dis wrld so much dat he gave his only Son, so dat evry1 who has faith in him will have eternal life & neva really die." (John, chapter 3, verse 16).
7 Oct 2005

Opinion - Nasty bias in Synod working document
In reading between the lines of the Instrumentum Laboris, it is interesting to try to discern which lobby groups have contributed to the Synod process. Some interventions have exaggerated adoration and eucharistic devotions in the guise of promoting greater reverence towards the blessed Sacrament. Some views border on caricature. Let me cite just one example of nasty bias: "It is worth considering whether the removal of the tabernacle from the centre of the sanctuary to an obscure, undignified corner or to a separate chapel... has contributed in some way to a decrease of faith in the Real Presence (#41)". - Fr Tom Elich
7 Oct 2005

Shiny new BMW for Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI is the owner of a shiny new BMW X5, compliments of the Bavarian sports-car manufacturer.
6 Oct 2005

Author optimistic about future of hierarchy
Following a succession of bishops reaching retirement age, author Paul Collins has written a commentary in which he predicts that key positions in the Australian hierarchy could be occupied by a number of highly competent "rising stars" among the current bishops.
6 Oct 2005

Cardinal Hamao to speak at major Sydney migration conference
Cardinal Stephen Hamao, the President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People will give a challenging opening address on the pastoral care of people on the move at a major national conference in Sydney.
6 Oct 2005

Kiwi bishop challenges Synod to review communion ban for divorced
Archbishop John Dew of Wellington has told the Synod of Bishops meeting in Rome that the Church should re-think its rule that bars divorced Catholics who remarry from receiving communion.
6 Oct 2005

Bali bishop calls for month of prayer
In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Bali the Catholic Bishop of Denpasar, Benyamin Yosef Bria has issued a pastoral statement condemning terrorist attacks expressing sympathy with the grieving families and solidarity to all the Balinese.
6 Oct 2005

Headmaster explains Bakhtiyari backflip
The headmaster of the Adelaide Jesuit school attended by deported asylum seekers Alamdar and Montazar, yesterday suggested they had turned on their lawyers because of the failed strategy of attempting asylum at the British Consulate in Melbourne.
6 Oct 2005

Feature - Marriage works, says priesthood convert
Fr Bob Harwood concedes he is the happy beneficiary of a loophole in the Catholic Church that allows some married men to be ordained, but does not allow ordained priests to marry. The 45-year-old married father of three, a former Uniting Church minister, was ordained in Queensland last month under rules that allow men married when they were in another faith to become priests. "I nearly did not go ahead with it (ordination) because I could not understand how I had this privilege," the associate pastor said. "Other priests said to go ahead and do it, that they were very happy for me."
6 Oct 2005

Opinion - Response to Bali should be careful policing, not violence
Violence unleashes a whirlwind that easily widens into war. Perpetrators of criminal actions should be pursued and judged by the forces of law, a constructive alternative to destructive war. When your only tool is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail. We need the right tools. Australia should work to strengthen government-to-government cooperation in policing. We should seek to strengthen judicial systems, especially international courts. - Jesuit Provincial Fr Mark Raper, former International Director Jesuit Refugee Service
6 Oct 2005

"Secret" interview with John Paul II published in Italy
The Italian daily La Stampa has published a "secret interview" granted by John Paul II in 1988, in which the late Pontiff addressed a variety of issues, including Communism.
5 Oct 2005

Author tells of Fr Chris Riley's Banda Aceh orphanage
Work is about to start on the construction of a permanent orphanage in the tsunami-ravaged city of Banda Aceh by Salesian Fr Chris Riley's Youth Off The Streets charity, according to the author of a new book.
5 Oct 2005

Caritas partners kidnapped in Darfur
Three staff working for Caritas Australia partner, Sudan Social Development Organisation (SUDO), have been kidnapped in Darfur, Sudan.
5 Oct 2005

Catholic Super joins corporate scrutiny of carbon emissions
The Catholic Superannuation Fund will join a number of other institutional investors in an attempt to coax the biggest companies in Australia and New Zealand to reveal carbon emissions and policies from next year.
5 Oct 2005

Archbishop Carroll extends prayers, sympathy to Bali victims
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference President, Archbishop Francis Carroll yesterday extended his prayers and sympathy to those affected by the weekend's Bali bombings.
5 Oct 2005

Pope talks to Synod about collegiality
Pope Benedict XVI yesterday spoke to the Synod of Bishops about collegiality, understood in terms of bishops helping each other, as a work of mercy, through "fraternal correction".
5 Oct 2005

Feature - Debunking myths about Opus Dei
Throughout his new book on Opus Dei, John Allen is surprisingly sympathetic. The method he follows is to take the case against Opus Dei and sift it. Thus, he takes an article published in the magazine America in 1995 which says the statutes of Opus Dei are secret. Next he interviews the article's author. Then he finds that the statutes are all in a book printed by an Opus Dei affiliated publisher, and there is a translation on the internet too.

5 Oct 2005

Opinion - Synod a test for the new pope
He will be under close observation on many themes. He has already made known the path he intends to take on relations with other Christian churches, the Jews, the Muslims, the atheists. Inside the Church, there is uncertainty about who will be named as the new secretary of state. But one important replacement has already taken everyone by surprise, his successor as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. - Sandro Magister
5 Oct 2005

Brazil bishop on hunger strike over river diversion scheme
A Catholic bishop in Brazil has gone on hunger strike over government plans to partly alter the course of a major river.
4 Oct 2005

Catholic Welfare worries about sting in dole reforms
The Howard Government will further toughen "three strikes and you're out" dole rules by including in the tally mistakes by unemployed people made during the 12 months before the changes are brought in.
4 Oct 2005

Church mentors to stop abortion
The Church is intensifying its opposition to abortion and the morning-after pill by encouraging believers to become mentors for women who are considering a termination.
4 Oct 2005

Priests Council's Synod call for married clergy
The number of Australian Catholic priests needs to increase more than 20-fold by reopening the priesthood to married men and possibly women, according to the National Council of Priests.
4 Oct 2005

Pope opens Synod with Eucharist link to peaceful, just society
At an opening Mass for the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist, Pope Benedict XVI said the Eucharist is the true way to build justice in society and to create peace in human hearts.
4 Oct 2005

Diocese mourning Bali bomb victims
The people of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle are shocked and saddened by the news of Saturday night's bombings in Bali which have impacted heavily on the New South Wales Hunter community.
4 Oct 2005

Feature - Vietnamese changing face of Catholic priesthood
A sign in English and Vietnamese outside St John the Evangelist Catholic Church in East Melbourne lists weekday Mass times (ngay trong tuan) and weekend times (cuoituan). RMIT intercultural studies professor Desmond Cahill says Vietnamese priests in Australia are growing in number and proportion and that "the future will no longer be an [Irish-dominated] church but may become over time dominated by the Vietnamese and the other ethnic communities".
4 Oct 2005

Opinion - Priests pay the price for scandals
A predicted move by the Pope to ban even celibate gay men from joining the priesthood is a tragic over-reaction to the clergy sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church in recent years. Sadly, the Catholic Church's response is just part of a disturbing pattern manifesting itself in all the churches. The clergy, it seems, rather than church hierarchies, are paying the price for the scandal. They have become the scapegoats for the humiliation of the churches. - Dr Muriel Porter, author of Sex, Power and the Clergy
4 Oct 2005