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NEWS ARCHIVE FOR JANUARY 2006

   
First-day nerves all round at schools
More than 43,000 Victorian prep schoolers will nervously walk through the school gates for the first time today as almost 540,000 students return to government schools.
31 Jan 2006

Augustinians depart Sandhurst after 128 years
After 128 years, the priests of the Order of Saint Augustine farewelled the Victorian country diocese at the weekend.
31 Jan 2006

Pax Christi report seeks commitment to peace in Colombia
Seeking to deepen its commitment to peace and human rights in Colombia, Pax Christi International organised five visits to the country between 2002 and 2005, which culminated in last week's release of a major report.
31 Jan 2006

New ALP President acknowledges his Catholic faith
Warren Mundine, who has just begun his term as President of the Australian Labor Party, has said that Catholicism has, along with his aboriginality, shaped his life.
31 Jan 2006

Call for speedy annulments shows Pope is "in touch"
The executive officer of the Bishops' Commission for Australian Catholic Women, Therese Vassarotti, has said that Pope Benedict XVI's weekend call for a less bureaucratic annulment process shows his compassion and that he is "in tune with the realities of the human situation".
31 Jan 2006

Pope appeals for leprosy eradication
Pope Benedict XVI marked World Leprosy Day with a message of encouragement for missionaries and church health care workers who assist many of the estimated 500,000 people afflicted with leprosy, also known as Hansen's disease.
31 Jan 2006

Feature - The message in the stones of St Peter's
The "Petrine ministry" is not purely doctrinal and theological, but also architectural and artistic. Their most vivid reflection is seen in the churches, palaces, mosaics, sculptures, and paintings that compose the visage of the Rome of the popes, the most prominent emblem of which is the basilica of St Peter. St Peter's basilica - the one that can be admired today, and which replaced the previous basilica built on the tomb of the apostle by the emperor Constantine - turns 500 years old this year. - Sandro Magister
31 Jan 2006

Opinion - Aim higher than pleasure and utility
Whole generations of young people grow up - and enter professions such as the law - believing that we should act for whatever is most socially useful, or has mass community endorsement, or is convenient, or gives great pleasure. These are not bad people: they really believe that this is what we ought to do. These ideas have been used internationally to justify the most abhorrent acts and policies, the worst negligence towards human beings. Instead, Catholic teaching asserts that social and legal action is to reflect the truth about the human person and to communicate that truth throughout society. - Bishop Julian Porteous, Red Mass Homily, St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney
31 Jan 2006

Tanzanian Catholic bishops want Julius Nyerere canonised
Catholic bishops in Tanzania have started a process for considering sainthood for the country's founding president, the late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere.
30 Jan 2006

Caritas says drought stricken Africa needs urgent attention
Severe droughts continue to cause concern, as failed rains leave millions facing starvation in eastern Africa, according to a statement last week from Caritas Australia.
30 Jan 2006

Churches lead RU406 protest
Churches across Australia mounted a last-ditch battle against the abortion pill RU486 yesterday and said at least 75,000 signatures of protest had been collected for federal politicians.
30 Jan 2006

Church assurance for abuse victims
The Catholic Church has moved to assure victims of sexual abuse their legal fees will continue to be paid following confusion created by a new policy document.
30 Jan 2006

Official says Hamas victory worries Holy Land Christians
The victory of the militant Islamic group Hamas in Palestinian elections has worried the Christian community in the Holy Land, according to a leading Franciscan official.
30 Jan 2006

Pope acknowledges plight of divorcees
Pope Benedict XVI had a message of empathy on Saturday for the divorced and remarried, as he appealed to a Vatican tribunal to issue 'rapid' rulings on annulment requests.
30 Jan 2006

Opinion - New hope for intellectual freedom of Catholic theologians
As the long history of heresy and schism shows, maintaining a healthy tension between authority and theological inquiry has never been easy. The greatest theologians in the church, from Origen through Aquinas to Rahner, have tried to strike this delicate and dangerous balance. All were profoundly loyal to the tradition and could express that faith with utter simplicity. Yet each was willing, indeed, impelled, to bring the most stringent questioning to the tradition. - Luke Timothy Johnson
30 Jan 2006

Feature - Presbytery cat joins JPII in stained glass depiction
Two stained-glass windows of John Paul II and Blessed Mother Teresa have been completed at Yangebup Parish in suburban Perth. Asked about the cat featured in the east window that can be seen rubbing against the Pope's cassock, Fr Bryan Rosling explained, "we had no choice but to include Lionel, the presbytery cat, as he is so pushy and likes to keep an eye on all that is going on. Besides, the Holy Father was well known for his love of animals."
30 Jan 2006

Day of action to fight abortion drug move
Catholic Church organisations are supporting a National Day of Action planned for Sunday (January 29), by Australians Against RU486, to campaign against the RU486 abortion bill now before the Senate and due to be voted on in a matter of days.
27 Jan 2006

Commission advises Catholic employers on new legislation
The Australian Catholic Commission for Employment Relations says the question of whether a Church employer is a constitutional corporation will critical in determining whether the Federal or the State system applies to its workplace.
27 Jan 2006

Vinnies says costs hit poor where it hurts
This week's CPI figures come on top of a sustained growth in cost burdens on some of the poorest groups in Australia, according to research released by the St Vincent de Paul Society.
27 Jan 2006

Church accused over abuse claims
The Catholic Church has been accused of using legal tactics to bamboozle victims of abuse into signing away their rights to sue for compensation.
27 Jan 2006

Honour for nun Kerry Packer couldn't say no to
Sr Mary Bernice Elphick of the Sisters of Charity is prominent on the list of Catholics named in the Australia Day honours announced yesterday.
27 Jan 2006

Encyclical calls for deeper understanding of love
In his first encyclical, Pope Benedict XVI called for a deeper understanding of love as a gift from God to be shared in a self-sacrificial way, both at a personal and social level.
27 Jan 2006

Feature - The Encyclical explained by its author
The image reproduced here is from the mosaics that decorate the pope's private chapel, completed in 1999 by the Slovenian Jesuit Marko Ivan Rupnik. The detail depicts the Good Samaritan. In the preface to the encyclical, Benedict XVI cites him as follows: "God's eros is love that has created man and that bends before him, as the Good Samaritan bent before the wounded man, victim of thieves, who was lying on the side of the road that went from Jerusalem to Jericho." - Sandro Magister
27 Jan 2006

Opinion - Let's stop the values leakage
A nation's values are like a clay jar filled with water. What might start as an apparently insignificant hole will soon widen and the water will be lost. The legalised abortion of the unborn puts a hole in several Australian values, including the equality of the individual and that of helping the weak. Signs that these values are leaking away include the growing gap between rich and poor, and the decline in involvement by the young in social responsibility organisations such as Rotary. How can a society that legalises the killing of some human beings be surprised at an increase in other crimes and violations against the person of the individual? - Bishop Gerard Holohan, Bishop of Bunbury, Western Australia
27 Jan 2006

Nicole dreams of Mary MacKillop Chapel wedding
According to a report in the London Sun yesterday, actor Nicole Kidman is determined to have a traditional Catholic wedding, and has been looking for a suitable venue around Sydney.
25 Jan 2006

Sydney service remembers pro-Tamil MP assassinated "like Romero"
Several local MPs and representatives from humanitarian agencies attended a memorial meeting on Sunday to pay tribute to Joseph Pararajasingham, the Sri Lankan Catholic MP who was slain while attending Mass in his local church in Sri Lanka on Christmas Day.
25 Jan 2006

Trend towards more money, less faith, at private schools
An opinion article in today's Sydney Morning Herald has highlighted the declining influence of religious faith in Australia's church-run schools.
25 Jan 2006

Bishop says Jakarta sought access to Papuan asylum seekers
Melbourne auxiliary Bishop Hilton Deakin has warned that Indonesian authorities are "trying to get to" the 43 West Papuan asylum seekers on Christmas Island.
25 Jan 2006

Pope says media must focus on truth, not profits
Yesterday the Vatican released Pope Benedict's message for this year's World Day of Social Communications, in which he said that the media can and should be used as a tool to foster the dignity of the human person and promote truth and peace.
25 Jan 2006

Melbourne Archbishop says maintain abortion drug ban
Archbishop Denis Hart has called upon legislators to maintain the ban on RU 486, insisting that Australia needs further legislation to assist women with unwanted pregnancies to find better solutions to respond to their real needs.
25 Jan 2006

Feature - Charity steps in to save Bethlehem traders
Reports showed a woeful attendance at the traditional services centring on the Church of the Nativity as Bethlehem experienced its first Christmas behind the wall erected by the Jerusalem authorities to separate the Palestinian territories from the State of Israel. Even members of European consulates stationed in the Holy Land stayed away from the services amid bomb scares, heightened security and extra travel restrictions created by the wall. For Christians in Bethlehem who scrape a living from hand-made cribs, rosaries and other items crafted from local olive wood, a shortage of visitors would normally have spelled disaster.
25 Jan 2006

Opinion - Making the taboo a holy place
In the gospels we see Jesus going into those places that are considered godless and taboo and dispelling old fears and superstitions by taking God's presence into them. But our problem today is that, while we have entered old taboo areas and exposed false fears and superstitions, we haven't, like Jesus, baptised those areas and made them holy. We haven't taken God into them. Instead we have mostly emptied them, de-enchanted them, flattened them out, taken the mystique and soul out of them and left nothing but the biological, the social, the natural. We've cleared away a lot of false fear and superstition, but one wonders how much we've really gained. - Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
25 Jan 2006

Padre Pio enlisted to cheer gloomy Brits
Yesterday, which researchers have billed as the worst day of the year for those afflicted by winter in the northern hemisphere, was declared "Don't Worry Be Happy Day", with St Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) its unofficial patron.
24 Jan 2006

Ethicist argues for ban on corpse exhibition
Fr Michael McCabe, who heads New Zealand's Nathaniel Centre for Bioethics, has said that the Amazine Human Body Exhibition, which opens in Sydney next week, "crosses a moral and ethical line and should be banned".
24 Jan 2006

Vatican asserts copyright on Pope's works
The Holy See has reasserted its legal ownership of the copyright to works by Pope Benedict XVI, prompting a heated exchange with a leading Italian publisher.
24 Jan 2006

Swiss Guard celebrate 500 years of service to Pope
On Sunday in the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI helped to celebrate 500 years of Swiss protection for the Holy See and for his own office as Pope.
24 Jan 2006

Wollongong priest to link mental health with human dignity
At next month's World Day of the Sick, moral theologian Fr Peter Comensoli will highlight issues of human dignity in relation to those afflicted by mental illness.
24 Jan 2006

Bishop urges more action on "Stolen Wages"
In the lead up to Thursday's Australia Day celebration, Bishop Christopher Saunders has said it is a time to acknowledge the contribution of all people who are a part of the Australian community, including indigenous Australians who had their wages withheld.
24 Jan 2006

Feature - Politicians fear Christian lobby
Australians may not be big on church any more but Christian values are still influential, as politicians are well aware. Australia's Christian right movement has potentially the greatest success tapping into wider interests and concerns of secular Australians on family and marriage, and less so on polarising moral issues such as abortion, says Christian Research Association of Australia senior research officer Dr Philip Hughes. "What is not attractive to the majority of Australians is a view of strong religious authority," he says. "Australians, by and large, are not going to listen to arguments which begins, 'The Bible says ...'."
24 Jan 2006

Opinion - The institution's power to crush our spirit
If the truth be told, most of us live under a fair degree of stress. And a major focus of stress is found in our institutions. The various organisational structures and systems we have inherited were shaped by historical forces that were in so many ways different from those we experience today. I am going to put a case that it is entirely possible to live creatively and happily within the Catholic Church, the considerable stress notwithstanding. - Fr Michael Whelan SM
24 Jan 2006

Australian Jesuit missionary attacked in India
An Australian Jesuit missionary based in the northern Indian state of Ranchi was attacked by a gang of three suspected robbers as he walked through a busy road to his office in the morning.
23 Jan 2006

Would-be WA Premier warns she's a Catholic
Western Australia's Police Minister Michelle Roberts, who could challenge clear favourite Alan Carpenter for the job of Premier, has said that she's a Catholic, and that her strong moral views influence her perspective.
23 Jan 2006

Pacific Catholics mourn death of Samoan Cardinal
The Catholic Church in both Samoas is mourning the loss of Cardinal Pio Taofinuu, who died at the age of 81 in the early hours of Friday morning, in Apia.
23 Jan 2006

English-speaking Bishops meet in Auckland
A member from each of eleven Conferences of Catholic Bishops was in New Zealand last week, for one of the twice-yearly meetings of the International Commission for English in the Liturgy (ICEL).
23 Jan 2006

Catholic youth hit Brisbane streets to demonstrate faith
Over 500 Catholic youth were expected to converge on the city of Brisbane on Saturday in a public demonstration of their Catholic faith.
23 Jan 2006

Pope says world needs courageous and caring priests
Priests must be not afraid to bring God's love to all people, but also capable of living mature, holy lives, while respecting the Church's teaching authority, Pope Benedict XVI has told a seminary audience in Rome.
23 Jan 2006

Feature - St Louis Jesuits play again after 21 years
The St Louis Jesuits, liturgical music icons from the 1970s, have released their first album in more than 20 years. "Morning Light" is the seventh recording for the group - Dan Schutte and Jesuit Fathers Bob Dufford, John Foley and Roc O'Connor - who were known for such songs as Blest Be the Lord, Lift Up Your Hearts and Sing a New Song. In the northern spring, they will do four live performances in Washington, St Louis, Chicago and Anaheim. "It's our little reunion tour," Schutte said.
23 Jan 2006

Opinion - Church must keep gays in priesthood issue in perspective
There is a valid concern that the priesthood should not become exclusively or even predominantly the domain of gay men. In the same way that one would not want to see all or most priests coming from a particular ethnic group, or from a particular region of a country. It would be tragic, however, if this attempt by the Vatican to confront the sexual abuse crisis were the occasion for division within the church or prompted any increase in prejudice against gays and lesbians.
23 Jan 2006

'Cool' rosary beads taken off shelves
Retailer Dunnes Stores has taken rosary beads, which were being sold as a fashion accessory, off the shelves in Northern Ireland following complaints from Catholic customers.
20 Jan 2006

ACU rural scholarship honours Archbishop Carroll
The Australian Catholic University's Francis Carroll Scholarship has been founded to mark the Archbishop's retirement and his contribution to Canberra and rural NSW.
20 Jan 2006

Bali Nine accused find faith
Heroin mule Scott Rush feels sorrow and regret for what he has done, and hopes to be spared the death penalty, saying he does not deserve a high sentence.
20 Jan 2006

Whitlam role in ousting East Timor Catholic leader
Former prime minister Gough Whitlam, long condemned for his tacit approval of Indonesia's invasion of East Timor in 1975, is said to have been instrumental in the removal of Church leader Dom Martinho da Costa Lopes.
20 Jan 2006

Struggle over encyclical translation
Pope Benedict XVI's first major pronouncement has been delayed by an unprecedented tussle over the final wording between key Vatican departments and the Pope's German household staff.
20 Jan 2006

Another survey questions effectiveness of RE classes
Traditional religious education classes no longer work and are failing to attract children to the church, says Christian Research Association senior research officer Rev Philip Hughes.
20 Jan 2006

Opinion - Resistance to Benedict XVI
The Neocatechumenal Way has opposed a papal directive issued in December, which struck at one of the movement's cornerstones, the distinctive way that it celebrates the Eucharist, which follows the dictates of its founder Kiko Argüello much more closely than it does the liturgical canons that are universally valid for the Catholic Church. There was no comment from the directors of the Way after the call from the pope. But word was given to the 20,000 communities to continue as before. - Sandro Magister
20 Jan 2006

Feature - Critics warm to Pope Ratzinger
Several months after his election, we have all seen the emergence of a Benedict XVI who has defied the expectations - and fears - of even the most astute observers on both sides of the current Church division. The new pope has shown a much more attractive and gracious persona than his detractors ascribed to him when he was CDF head. In the past several months, the world has slowly begun to warm up to a Joseph Ratzinger who presents an authentic and joyful gentleness. - Robert Mickens, The Tablet Rome correspondent
20 Jan 2006

Pell portrayed as Ratzinger numbers man
The Strewth column in The Australian today reports that the cover story in the current issue of the influential US publication The Atlantic Monthly asserts that Sydney's Cardinal George Pell took to the task of getting the numbers for the election of Joseph Ratzinger as the new Pope "with all the enthusiasm of a back-room political numbers cruncher".
19 Jan 2006

Press scrutiny of NCC finances
Following an article yesterday on internal divisions at the National Civic Council, The Australian newspaper today turns its attention to the organisation's financial deficit.
19 Jan 2006

Wolfensohn to speak at Vatican Conference
James Wolfensohn, the Ausralian former president of the World Bank, will be the keynote speaker at next week's Vatican conference on charity, organized by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.
19 Jan 2006

California bishop slams execution of 76-year-old inmate
The execution of 76-year-old Clarence Ray Allen in California on Tuesday "undermines society's commitment to respect the God-given dignity of every human person" and fails to meet its purported goal of making society safer, according to the head of the San Francisco Archdiocese.
19 Jan 2006

Vatican newspaper says intelligent design not science
Intelligent design is not science and should not be taught as a scientific theory in schools alongside Darwinian evolution, an article in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano has said.
19 Jan 2006

Pope hopes encyclical will explain true love
Pope Benedict said yesterday that his long-awaited first encyclical will be published next week and that he hopes it can show Christians the proper relationship between erotic love and spiritual love.
19 Jan 2006

Feature - Death of foremost Catholic educator
Requiem Mass for Christian Brother Francis Daniel Marzorini will take place tomorrow morning in St Mary's Cathedral Sydney.
Br Dan easily mixed with those from all walks of life be they the nation's leaders or school labourers. "He was a man of great principle who expected high standards at all times," said St Patrick's Goulburn old boy Shane Hobbs. "He had that wonderful ability to develop the school community and head fundraisers for major school facilities and buildings."
19 Jan 2006

Opinion - The Designs of Science
In July 2005 the New York Times published my short essay "Finding Design in Nature". The reaction has been overwhelming, and not overwhelmingly positive. My argument was based neither on theology nor modern science nor "intelligent design theory". In theology, although the mind's ability to grasp the order and design in nature is adopted by, taken up into, and elevated to new heights by the faith of Christianity, that ability precedes faith. In science, the discipline and methods are such that design - more precisely, formal and final causes in natural beings - is purposefully excluded from its reductionist conception of nature. - Cardinal Christoph Schonborn
19 Jan 2006

Bishop condemns plan for wall between USA and Mexico
The Auxiliary Bishop of San Salvador, Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chávez has condemned an US project to build a wall separating the USA from Mexico.
18 Jan 2006

Scottish Catholics seek opt-out on adoption laws
The Catholic church in Scotland is seeking an exemption for Church-run adoption agencies from controversial adoption laws, due to come into force next year, which will allow children to be placed into homes with gay couples.
18 Jan 2006

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins today
Today the worldwide Church will begins a weeklong celebration calling for prayer and increased awareness of the need for Christian unity around the world.
18 Jan 2006

The Australian reports on NCC soul-searching
The National Civic Council is said to be about to jettison its state presidents in a dispute that threatens to undermine the political organisation associated with the Catholic Church.
18 Jan 2006

Dubbo priest stands up for local Muslims
Parish priest Fr Paul Devitt and other religious leaders have reacted with outrage to a vicious attack on the Islamic mosque in the NSW town of Dubbo.
18 Jan 2006

Pope tells rabbi of Church's love for Jews
Pope Benedict XVI talked of the Church's love for the Jewish people when he received the chief rabbi of Rome in audience.
18 Jan 2006

Feature - Internet expands black market for relics
On the pilgrim trail centuries ago, travellers in search of religious relics could find a head of John the Baptist around every bend. Those suspicious skulls have met their equivalent in the Internet age. Online auctions have included a feather from the Holy Spirit and a vial brimming with the breath of Jesus Christ. Veracity aside, the black marketing of religious relics has rendered a much more practical consequence: it's almost impossible for individuals to obtain major relics sanctioned by Rome.
18 Jan 2006

Opinion - Democracy in the Church?
In 1983, the new Code of Canon Law obliged parishes to have a Parish Finance Committees. A NSW country bishop gave a renegade parish priest a deadline. The parish priest enlisted a select group of 'old mate' parishioners. They asked when the first meeting would be. The priest replied: "Oh! I don't want any meetings. I just need a committee." In the ordinary course of events, this incident was not very damaging. But in response to more serious frustrations among members of the church we frequently hear calls for democratisation. - Fr Andrew Murray SM
18 Jan 2006

Sister Lucia's remains to be moved to Fatima
The mortal remains of Sister Lucia, who saw apparitions of Our Lady in 1917, will be moved from the Carmelite convent of Coimbra, where she died, to the Shrine of Fatima.
17 Jan 2006

UK Bishops boost support for family life
The Bishops of England and Wales this week launched a major grassroots initiative to support Catholics in their family life.
17 Jan 2006

New report card for Sydney Catholic schools
Sydney's 148 Catholic schools will be rated on their performance in all areas of education - from student achievement to how well they display religious symbols - in a new system of review for parents.
17 Jan 2006

Wollongong youth demand spiritual formation
Participants in youth forums in Wollongong Diocese have listed spiritual formation as the top priority for ministry to young people in coming years.
17 Jan 2006

Pope seeks end to discrimination against migrants
Pope Benedict XVI has called on Christians to shun all forms of discrimination and welcome the migrants in their midst.
17 Jan 2006

Nuns urge new approaches to human trafficking
A group of religious congregations from around Australia who have prepared a report that calls for a human rights-based, victim-centred approach to human trafficking.
17 Jan 2006

Feature - Nun who nurtured reggae
The sisters had already been working in Kingston, Jamaica, for 12 years when they founded the Alpha Boys' School in 1892. Its purpose was to house and educate "wayward boys", most of them from backgrounds of dire poverty. With instruments donated by a benefactor, a drum and fife corps was set up. Sister Mary Ignatius, a blues fan who loved jazz, ran sound-system dances at the weekends, where she would spin records from her vast collection.
17 Jan 2006

Opinion - Denial, self-absorption insulate us from the poor
Only 5% of Americans believe that poverty and homelessness are important national problems. "There's a fair amount of just focusing on your own stuff and your own life and the crazy rush that you're in," says Rhonda Meister, director of the St Joseph Centre. "I don't know how many people see a linkage between homelessness and poverty... there really hasn't been a sustained focus on helping the general population understand that it isn't just somebody out there who's lazy."
17 Jan 2006

Religious conman in custody
A conman, who apparently stole identities from gravestones, has tricked church and welfare groups in Brisbane into believing he was a Marist brother.
16 Jan 2006

Teen joyriders plough car into Sydney church
Three teenagers joyriding in a stolen sports car ploughed it Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Gladesville, Sydney, on Friday, before running and hiding under a classroom of the parish primary school.
16 Jan 2006

Former top canonist says divorce is not sinful
Divorce is not a sin, and in some circumstances it is even a valid course of action, an outspoken former Vatican official has told an Italian newspaper.
16 Jan 2006

Bishops see US 'at a crossroads in Iraq'
In a 3600-word statement on behalf of the US Bishops, Bishop Thomas Wenski of Florida called for "serious and civil discussions" on what the United States must do to prepare for "a responsible transition" to full Iraqi self-rule.
16 Jan 2006

Cardinal calls ethical diversity new threat to ecumenism
While many of the doctrinal differences that divided Christians for centuries are close to being resolved, different approaches to modern ethical questions are making Christian unity appear as distant as ever, said Cardinal Walter Kasper.
16 Jan 2006

Commentator sees subtle Pope criticism of Iran, China
In his address last week to the diplomatic corps, Benedict XVI left out the names of Iran and China, but Italian journalist Sandro Magister argues that his speech nevertheless contained forceful criticism of the two countries.
16 Jan 2006

Feature - Archive details construction of St Peter's
For every sack of cement that was purchased, for every block of stone quarried and hauled to Rome, architects in charge of building St Peter's Basilica filled out and filed away receipts and penned detailed notations in thick, bound ledgers. Even every artisan and worker hired, every on-the-job accident, lawsuit and progress report on the construction of the world's largest church were recorded and stored away in a little-known climate-controlled collection, which visitors can see by going through a door underneath the massive, marble monument to Pope Alexander VII.
16 Jan 2006

Opinion - Sin makes us more sad than bad
We've always associated sin with badness more than sadness, but we lose something in that equation. French philosopher Leon Bloy once stated: "There is only one real sadness in life, that of not being a saint." To the exact degree that we sin, we begin to lose our capacity for simple joy, delight and freshness, and become bored, angry, jealous, and incapable of appreciating anything or praising anyone. Sin robs us of our innocence by wounding and killing the child inside. - Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
16 Jan 2006

Vatican makeover for Judas Iscariot
Interpretations of Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus with a kiss, are being rethought by Vatican scholars.
13 Jan 2006

Survey says Christians more generous if taught to give
Church leaders who regularly teach their congregations about giving can expect to find more money in their collection plates, according to a new survey from the UK.
13 Jan 2006

Catholic doctors highlight 'dysfunctional' finding on pill
A group of Queensland Catholic doctors believes new research revealing that taking the contraceptive pill could cause sexual dysfunction shows the drug is not everything it is claimed to be.
13 Jan 2006

Life Office hails ban on suicide messaging
Sydney's archdiocesan Life Office has welcomed Federal legislation that came into force last week which make illegal the communication about suicide by email, phone or fax.
13 Jan 2006

Pope says 'no' to gay marriage, abortion pill
Pope Benedict, speaking in the context of this year's Italian general elections, yesterday condemned gay marriage and the use of the so-called "abortion pill".
13 Jan 2006

East Timor Catholics protest sea deal with Australia
The Dioceses of Dili and Baucau and 12 NGO's from East Timor have protested over the agreement signed yesterday over the exploitation of oil and gas from a disputed area of the Timor Sea.
13 Jan 2006

Feature - Straight-talking senator guided by his faith
Barnaby Joyce is disappointed by politicians who profess Christian beliefs when it suits their political agendas. "People I admire in particular are those who will stand up even though it might hurt them, especially on difficult issues such as abortion." He is a member of the senate committee looking into the private member's bill which seeks to lift the restriction on the importation and prescription of the abortion drug RU486, but at this moment his thoughts are with a suspected leak in his roof at home in the remote Queensland country town of St George.
13 Jan 2006

Opinion - Brown Joeys create fertile pastures
In Mount St, North Sydney, last Friday, 42 Josephites celebrated the 50th anniversary of taking their vows. Remarkably, of the 48 who began on 6 January 1956, only one left the order. Five have died. In 2004, fewer than 15 young women joined religious orders in Australia. Three went to the sisters of St Joseph. But it seems unlikely that nuns are a vanishing species. What goes around tends to come around. Past generations have created fertile pastures. - Frank Devine
13 Jan 2006

Vatican reins in Poland's clerical free spirits
The Vatican has issued a document imposing discipline upon priests in Poland, some of whom have irritated members hierarchy by ignoring their authority.
12 Jan 2006

Bishop reveals he was sexually abused by a priest
Retired Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton has said that he was "inappropriately touched" by a priest as a teenager 60 years ago.
12 Jan 2006

Priest weighs in on alcohol placement debate
A Geelong parish priest has welcomed community discussion of alcohol abuse, following a local controversy over the selling of alcohol in a section of a recently refurbished supermarket that is accessible to children.
12 Jan 2006

Vatican media archbishop heading to Sydney
One of the best-known Catholic communications figures in the English-speaking world - US Archbishop John Foley, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications - will visit Sydney next month to launch the Australian Bishops' pastoral letter on the media.
12 Jan 2006

Pope's first encyclical expected in two weeks
The first encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI will be published on Wednesday 25 January, reports the Italian Catholic weekly Famiglia Cristiana.
12 Jan 2006

Bishop says Australia must help islanders
Australia should show "openness and compassion" towards Pacific Islanders facing homelessness due to climate change, said Catholic Earthcare Australia chair Bishop Christopher Toohey, in response to the Federal Government's perceived hard-heartedness.
12 Jan 2006

Feature - Scholar shared life with zest and humanity
Fr Paddy Meagher SJ was buried in Sydney yesterday, after dying of cancer last week at the age of 70. Father Paddy has been a professor of Sacred Scripture at New Delhi's Vidhyajyoti College of Theology. As a priest and a scholar he was very much a part of the Indian scene, for over three decades. He wrote and published profusely. In Delhi he was perhaps best known as a counsellor and helper of the prisoners in the famous Tihar jail.
12 Jan 2006

Opinion - The child as verb
I saw how crippled that kid was, and I can only imagine her life to date and to come, and the tensions and travails of her family, and the battles she will fight and the tears she will shed, and I see and hear the roar of pain and suffering in the world, and I am too old and too honest not to admit how murderous and greedy we can be. I have seen too many men and women and children of such grace and humour and mercy that I know I have seen the Christ ten times a day. - Brian Doyle, editor 'Portland Magazine'
12 Jan 2006

Gluttony deadliest sin for Italians
Most Italians feel more guilty about over-eating than they do about cheating on their partners, according to the findings of a survey that factors other than religious faith are more inclined to influence behaviour.
11 Jan 2006

Accreditation for Notre Dame Sydney law degree
The NSW Legal Practitioners Admission Board has accredited the Law Degree of the University of Notre Dame Australia Sydney.
11 Jan 2006

Germans want more energetic Catholic teaching
The great majority of German Catholics believe it is important that children and young people be given a more active and intense presentation of the faith, according to a poll carried out among some three thousand German Catholics.
11 Jan 2006

Caritas Pakistan earthquake reponse helping to fix broken lives
Three months after the devastating earthquake hit the Central Asian region, Caritas Australia reports significant progress in the relief effort in the mountainous areas of Pakistan to which it is contributing.
11 Jan 2006

Vatican rep urges study of causes of small arms race
The Holy See's Permanent Observer has called on the United Nations to more thoroughly analyse the reasons behind demand for small arms, so as to eradicate their illicit trade.
11 Jan 2006

Pope says bloodshed threatens human dignity
Violence and extreme poverty threaten human life and dignity, Pope Benedict XVI has told diplomats gathered at the Vatican.
11 Jan 2006

Feature - Australia's Catholics becoming more Vietnamese than Irish
A sign in English and Vietnamese outside St John the Evangelist Catholic Church in East Melbourne lists times for Mass (gio le) on weekdays (ngay trong tuan) and weekends (cuoituan). "The Australian people know me as Father Joe; the Vietnamese call me Father Tien," says the 56-year-old priest. There are now about 100 Vietnamese priests in Australia and they are growing in number and proportion
11 Jan 2006

Opinion - Unpopular truths
Young Christians at universities have told me that in tutorial discussions their arguments are often well received, until they concede that they come from Christian authors. The results of a Christchurch survey showed that young women who have an abortion are more likely to suffer from mental disorders. Professor David Fergusson, the leader of the Christchurch team, found it difficult to obtain a publisher for his research, and was warned that he would provoke controversy and animosity. - Cardinal George Pell
11 Jan 2006

Nuns use ringtones to attract vocations
The website of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity in Wisconsin is offering free ringtones featuring a woman singing the words "called to be", which is part of the nuns' "Peace and All Good" theme song.
10 Jan 2006

PNG Bishops pay tribute to former PM Skate
The Catholic Church, with whom late Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir William Skate had clashed on a number of occasions, has offered its condolence to the family of the late leader, who died last week.
10 Jan 2006

Town fighting to preserve memory of nuns
Following the sale of the former St John of God Hospital in Goulburn (NSW), the new management has removed gold lettering from around the facility's iconic statue of St John of God and plans to paint over original signage on an older section of the building.
10 Jan 2006

Vatican report says 800 million children exploited
More than 800 million children around the world are victims of malnutrition, disease, trafficking and other forms of economic and social exploitation, an annual Vatican report said.
10 Jan 2006

Missionary death toll doubles in 2005
27 individuals involved in missionary work, including a bishop, were murdered last year, almost twice as many as in 2004, according to figures released by the Vatican missionary news agency Fides.
10 Jan 2006

Vatican no comment on release of would be papal assassin
The Vatican is accepting the decision of a Turkish court to free Mehmet Ali Agca, the would-be assassin of Pope John Paul II.
10 Jan 2006

Feature - Tearful farewell to farmers' church
93 year old Connie Lane couldn't hold back the tears on Sunday as Fr Eric Bryant led the final prayer at Crossley's St Brigid's Catholic Church, in the Victorian Diocese of Ballarat. She had sat in the pews as a child, watched her children and grandchildren marry there, and danced countless nights away in the historic hall. The church was built by local farmers and opened in 1914 by Bishop Higgins, and Melbourne Archbishop Dr Mannix.
10 Jan 2006

Opinion - Names resounding can say it all
New York's Ground Zero is a huge space. On the fourth anniversary last September, I was there for the ceremony of remembrance at which the names of the dead were read out by the brothers and sisters of the victims. Sometimes voicing a person's name is all that can or should be done. When a name is spoken with love, especially grieving love, slow and restrained as was the case here, the person is made present, is honoured and celebrated. - Fr Andrew Bullen SJ
10 Jan 2006

Caritas commits funds for Darfur emergency response
Caritas Australia has commenced 2006 with a commitment of $A250,000 towards the Darfur Emergency Response Operation.
9 Jan 2006

ACU joins Intelligent Design debate
The Australian Catholic University's Graduate School for Research in Philosophy and Theology has published a journal that suggests the Intelligent Design debate goes "far deeper than it appears".
9 Jan 2006

Melbourne study testing Perth "irrelevant" finding
A survey being conducted by Catholic Education authorities in Victoria will throw further light on the shock results of a Perth study that suggested most students leave Catholic schools believing the Church is largely irrelevant and too restrictive.
9 Jan 2006

Catholic Welfare welcoming Govt plan to save marriage
Married couples thinking of divorce or separation will be encouraged to sit through a series of lectures - including advice on child rearing and seeking help from family members - according to new details of the Federal Government's family relationship centres.
9 Jan 2006

Pope seeks prayers for Israel after Sharon's stroke
Pope Benedict XVI has issued a special call for prayers for Israel, in response to speculation that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon could be near death.
9 Jan 2006

Personalities aid World Day of Sick mental illness focus
Actor Garry McDonald and writer and broadcaster Anne Deveson will join Catholic leaders in marking World Day of the Sick next month in Adelaide.
9 Jan 2006

Feature - Extreme makeover for papal apartment
When he was elected last April, Pope Benedict XVI inherited the papal apartment on the top floor of the Apostolic Palace, but it wasn't until Christmas that the pope could really call it home. The apartment, about 10 rooms in all, has just undergone a three-month renovation. "I really like my new library. For me it's like being surrounded by friends, now that there are books on the shelf," he said.
9 Jan 2006

Opinion - Rich man, poor nun
Maureen Flood died 40 minutes after Kerry Packer. The timing of their deaths was the only thing they had in common, apart from their dyslexia and the fact that people they left behind are still talking about them, and will do so for a long time. He said he had been to "the other side" after his heart stopped in 1990, adding: "Let me tell you, son, there's nothing there." Maureen Flood was a nun who died a pauper. She was convinced something was there.
9 Jan 2006