Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources
 

NEWS ARCHIVE FOR FEBRUARY 2006

   
Bishop's apology over $23.6m debt
A bishop in the UK has apologised to Catholics in his diocese after admitting the diocese is more than $A23.6 million in the red.
28 Feb 2006

Award winning architect appointed for Bunbury Cathedral
Bunbury's Bishop Gerard Holohan has announced that Marcus Collins Architects has been appointed to design the new Cathedral to replace the former Cathedral that was demolished after storm damage last year.
28 Feb 2006

Levada urges gay priests to remain in closet
Head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal-designate William Levada has said that a priest who publicly announces he is homosexual makes it difficult for people to see the priest as representing Christ.
28 Feb 2006

Archbishop speaks up for human rights of seafarers
Archbishop Silvano Tomasi CS, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations at Geneva, has called on States to ratify a Maritime Labour Convention that will protect the rights of millions of maritime workers.
28 Feb 2006

Pancakes to be flipped for Project Compassion
Students from Catholic schools and businesses around Australia will be flipping pancakes today to mark the beginning of Project Compassion and Lent.
28 Feb 2006

Pope says Lenten fasting an expression of faith
Lenten practices like fasting should be experienced as an expression of faith, not as a difficult burden, Pope Benedict XVI said.
28 Feb 2006

Feature - Bringing youth back to church
The president of the World Council of Churches, Rev Samuel Kobia, decries the rise of mega-churches as offering cheap grace. From his perspective they are theologically thin and organisationally too business oriented. If the age distribution is examined, the youth are found in the mega-churches and the elderly in the small. Most Protestant congregations in Australia have lost two generations of youth. However, once a congregation has youth it can attract more youth. - Rev Gary Bouma, Monash University
28 Feb 2006

Opinion - Why give up TV for Lent?
"Giving up" things for Lent is not simply an exercise in self-denial. It may be admirable to give up doughnuts for Lent, but forsaking doughnuts to kick-start a diet plan. That wasn't what the Church had in mind when it cited prayer, fasting and almsgiving as ways for Catholics to spiritually prepare themselves during Lent for Easter.
28 Feb 2006

Bush priests wary of Brokeback Mountain
The 'gay cowboy' film Brokeback Mountain has triggered tensions in southern NSW country towns since it started screening last week.
27 Feb 2006

Archbishop hails Church Resources Internet ratings win
Archbishop Barry Hickey, Chairman of the Bishops' Committee for the Media, has congratulated Church Resources on winning the Hitwise award for Australia's most popular religious website for 2005.
27 Feb 2006

Official highlights bleak outlook for Iraq
As killings increased in retribution for the bombing of a Shiite shrine in Iraq, the Rome-based representative of Baghdad's Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate said that "all of Iraq is in danger."
27 Feb 2006

Brisbane Archdiocese welcomes Message Stick
The Pass It On Message Stick was officially welcomed to the Archdiocese of Brisbane at a Eucharist led by Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Oudeman at the Cathedral of St Stephen yesterday.
27 Feb 2006

NZ Cardinal denies conclave lobbying
In a wide-ranging interview with the National Catholic Reporter's John Allen, Wellington's retired Cardinal Thomas Williams has revealed some details about behind the scenes machinations at last April's conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI.
27 Feb 2006

Pope condemns religious violence
Speaking in St Peter's Square yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI has strongly condemned recent violence against churches and mosques in Iraq and Nigeria.
27 Feb 2006

Feature - Financially stretched parents pay school fees with cows
The Council of Catholic School Parents executive director Danielle Cronin said the barter of goods for fees is one of several flexible payment options available. "There is even payment in kind being made to schools. If the school has an outdoor education centre, the family may give them cattle."
27 Feb 2006

Opinion - Parish the right place for adult initiation
Initiating new members into the Church through schools or universities is not in keeping with the vision and understanding of the RCIA. The school or university certainly offers the company of peers for the young person throughout the conversion process, but the parish offers what the school or university cannot: Sunday Eucharist and belonging to an on-going community of witness to the gospel, a faith community of young and old which undertakes lifelong service in Christian love. - Elizabeth Harrington
27 Feb 2006

Debate over pizza mogul's Catholic town
After Florida Governor Jeb Bush joined Domino's Pizza founder Thomas S. Monaghan in turning the first sod this month at the new university town of Ave Maria, the American Civil Lilberties Union (ACLU) complained that a religious group was attempting to exercise governmental power in the town.
24 Feb 2006

Winning design for World Youth Day
A Brisbane Catholic student is among four winners of the Sydney World Youth Day 2008 "Ignite the Flame" logo competition.
24 Feb 2006

Vespers at Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral
Seminarians from the Good Shepherd seminary are to lead the congregation in the celebration of Vespers in St Mary's Cathedral.
24 Feb 2006

Falling salaries to worsen male teacher drought
A 20-year decline in high school teacher salaries is stopping men from entering and staying in the teaching profession, according to a recent book by Australian Catholic University economics lecturer, Dr Anthony Stokes.
24 Feb 2006

Even more teenagers flocking to private schools
Australia's private schools have enjoyed record enrolments with an exodus of 200,000 students from the public education system in the past decade.
24 Feb 2006

Pope calls all cardinals to Rome
Pope Benedict XVI has called all the members of the College of Cardinals to Rome for a meeting on the day before the March consistory at which he will elevate new members.
24 Feb 2006

Feature - Holy Land priest risks life for peace
Catholics in a troubled corner of Israel conquered fears of reprisal by holding a prayer vigil for peace. Fr Maher Aboud, parish priest to the Greek Catholics in Mughar, Lower Galilee, led parishioners in marking the anniversary of attacks against Christians in the town with an hour of prayer for reconciliation. The Mayor had warned Fr Aboud that the prayer vigil could trigger a backlash.
24 Feb 2006

Opinion - Ministry of conversation
The aim of the corporately funded think tank was to bring together people from all walks of life and have them imagine some of the possible ways Australia might develop over the next 20-25 years. I was chatting to another participant, and his face fell when I told him I was a Catholic priest. We conversed, there were differences of opinion, but the conversation was able to proceed (one for the argument against distinctive religious garb...). There was much talk about enduring values, cherished memories, blessed moments. I was reminded of the wisdom of the early Jesuits in their esteem for the ministry of conversation. - Fr Jeremy Clarke SJ
24 Feb 2006

Deacons told to observe TV newsreaders
Broken Bay Diocese Liturgist and lecturer, Fr Clem Hill, told last month's National Conference of Deacons in Adelaide, that priests, deacons and lectors at mass should observe the technique of TV newsreaders.
23 Feb 2006

Protests fail to stop Bloody Mary airing in NZ
Hundreds of complaints, a prayer vigil and an attempted court injunction failed to stop television station C4 showing the controversial "Bloody Mary" episode of the South Park cartoon show.
23 Feb 2006

Judge reasserts primacy of conscience
Following Cardinal George Pell's dismissal of a complaint letter about him to the Vatican at the weekend, one of the signatories to the letter has said that he does not believe that the Cardinal has thought through his controversial rejection of the primacy of conscience.
23 Feb 2006

First National Youth Symposium set for July
Catholic youth ministers from across Australia will gather in Sydney to share their experience and their dreams in the first ever National Symposium on Catholic Youth Ministry.
23 Feb 2006

Pope seeks prayers on Feast of Chair of St Peter
With hundreds of candles lighting a sculpture of the Chair of St Peter behind him, Pope Benedict XVI yesterday encouraged Catholics to grow in their faith and asked for prayers for his ministry as the successor of St Peter.
23 Feb 2006

Pope names 15 new cardinals
In his first set of major appointments, Pope Benedict XVI named 15 new cardinals, including US Archbishop William Levada, head of the Congregation for the Faith, and Hong Kong's controversial Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun.
23 Feb 2006

Feature - In Vietnam, Christianity gains quietly
Last Christmas, Fr Peter Phuc fulfilled a lifelong dream: He went to Rome. With nine other priests he spent three weeks visiting churches and museums. His eyes sparkle with the memory of his first foreign trip, which speaks to the lighter touch exerted by Vietnam's communist rulers on his faith. In 1980, when he was ordained at a closed-door ceremony, priests ran the risk of being labelled subversives and sent to labour camps.
23 Feb 2006

Opinion - Youth spirituality lost for words
The problem is that young people themselves do not appear to fit the "church" mould. In Australia, survey results indicate that 82% of youth have a strong sense of meaning and purpose in life, with many holding some spiritual beliefs. The conflict with the institutional Church will not be resolved until sexual morality and, most importantly, language, have been dealt with. It is incongruous that the real spirituality evident among youth, so clear from this research, has no coherent language for expression. - Paul McQuillan, Archdiocese of Brisbane
23 Feb 2006

Christian Brothers 'pay' environmental costs of conference travel
At the end of their Oceania Assembly in Brisbane last month, the Christian Brothers committed $1000 towards the planting of trees, in compensation for the cost to the environment of fuel and emissions incurred during travel to the event.
22 Feb 2006

Vatican banker Archbishop Marcinkus dead at 84
Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, the American-born prelate whose leadership of the Vatican bank was marred by international scandal, died earlier this week.
22 Feb 2006

Catholic presence felt at WCC assembly in Brazil
Catholic presence at the Ninth General Assembly of the World Council of Churches this month has been a daily and visible dimension of the international gathering.
22 Feb 2006

Catholic Health backs power for Minister to address scandal
Speaking after the revelations of alleged abuse of elderly nursing home residents in Victoria, Catholic Health Australia CEO Francis Sullivan said the Federal Aged Care Minister Santo Santoro needs all necessary support to safeguard residents of Australia's aged care institutions.
22 Feb 2006

Pope says lack of peace shows paralysis of sin
The lack of justice and peace in the world is a sign that despite people's good intentions, sin still paralyzes many of them, Pope Benedict XVI has said.
22 Feb 2006

Pell promises Church 'won't bully on abortion'
Catholic counsellors would not bully or pressure a woman who was seeking proposed taxpayer-funded counselling on abortion, Cardinal Pell said yesterday.
22 Feb 2006

Feature - A Sister of Mercy at the United Nations
Non Governmental Organisations have acquired considerable importance at the UN since the beginning of the 1990s. The process of attaining Economic and Social Counsel status status is a long and difficult one. The paper submission alone weighed in almost two kilograms.
22 Feb 2006

Opinion - Adding new life to old devotions
In the 40 years since the Vatican II, many devotional practices such as Benediction, scapular wearing, and recitation of the rosary, fell into decline. But many of these older devotions continue to linger and actually exhibit new life. Some were modified by the late pope himself, who added new "mysteries" to the rosary and a new station to the way of the cross. - Lawrence S. Cunningham
22 Feb 2006

Sydney bishop outraged at slaying of refugee
Bishop David Cremin, former episcopal vicar for immigration in the Archdiocese of Sydney, has expressed "shock and outrage" over the death in Sydney of Sudanese refugee and father of four, Ruol Deng Atem Agang.
21 Feb 2006

Marist Burnie ex-pupil tells of sex abuse
A Tasmanian court was told yesterday that a priest used boys under his care for his own comfort and sexual gratification.
21 Feb 2006

At least one loss per family in Philippines landslide
The bishop of the diocese stricken by the landslide has said that the population is devastated, with the loss of 1000 hectares of land and countless human lives.
21 Feb 2006

Researchers say numbers not the only measure of church health
NCLS Research - the national body funded by Catholic, Anglican and Uniting Church bodies - has said that focusing on congregation size along is "too limited".
21 Feb 2006

Catholic growth up 1.1%, but less than overall population
The number of Catholics in the world grew in 2004, and the number of priests worldwide also increased, according the new Pontifical Yearbook launched at the weekend.
21 Feb 2006

Pope insists on religious tolerance
In the midst of continuing violence provoked by satirical cartoons of the prophet Mohammed, Pope Benedict XVI criticised those who use the wounded feelings of their faithful to promote violence.
21 Feb 2006

Feature - The revival of indulgences
"When a coin in the coffer clings, a soul from purgatory heavenward springs." Every good Protestant who is old enough to have grandchildren will recognise these words. They are attributed to a 16th century German friar who actually sold indulgences to help finance the construction of St Peter's Basilica in Rome. For many modern Catholics, the practice of granting indulgences to hasten the path through purgatory to heaven is thought to have been ended by Vatican II. Under Benedict XVI there has been a revival.
21 Feb 2006

Opinion - Is chastity till marriage worth the wait?
Jesus had just given a teaching that both confused and upset everyone, the disciples included. He told the people: "Unless you eat my flesh, you will not have life within you!" After he said this, everyone walked away. Jesus then turned to his disciples and asked: "Do you want to walk away too?" Peter answered: "Yes, we would like to, but you have the words of everlasting life." This response, devoid of all enthusiasm, speaks though of real maturity. What gives us life sometimes calls for commitment even when our hearts aren't onside. In essence, Peter is saying this: "We don't get it, but we know that we're better off not getting it with you than getting it with somebody else." - Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
21 Feb 2006

Editor interprets Pope's endorsement of sexual pleasure
The editor of Perth's Record Catholic newspaper told a Sunday newspaper yesterday that Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical Deus Caritas Est (God is Love) challenges the widespread belief that the Church is the "most sexually repressed institution in the world".
20 Feb 2006

Parishioners continue opposition to Notre Dame campus
While the University of Notre Dame has lodged a $17 million development plan for new schools of medicine and nursing on the site of the Sydney's oldest Catholic parish church, disgruntled parishioners are saying that they are being squeezed out.
20 Feb 2006

Pell derides 'dissenter' complaint
Cardinal Pell yesterday dismissed a letter written by a group of prominent Australian Catholics to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as a "real hoot".
20 Feb 2006

Pope tells editors to confront cultural relativism
At a private audience with the editorial staff of the Italian Jesuits' journal Civilta' Cattolica, Pope Benedict XVI said Catholics must find ways to challenge a society that is steadily more hostile to religion and to the standards of moral law.
20 Feb 2006

Catholic Welfare pushes for more abortion counselling
Catholic Welfare Australia executive director, Frank Quinlan, has said more counselling services are needed to help women with unplanned or unwanted pregnancies make decisions about their future and to help women after they had abortions.
20 Feb 2006

Caritas responds to the Philippines mudslide tragedy
Caritas Australia has been quick to act following the Philippines mudslide, which latest reports say has claimed hundreds and possibly thousands of lives.
20 Feb 2006

Feature - A hand up rather than handout
A cultural shift is taking place in Sydney's elite secondary boarding schools. Some schools are just starting, while others have been taking Aboriginal kids for years. Most observers credit the Marist brother Paul Hough, now principal of St Joseph's, Hunters Hill, as a driving force. - Michael Duffy
20 Feb 2006

Opinion - The value of silence
When a plane lands or a funeral ends, the first thing that many people do is to check their mobile phones. If there are no messages they seem visibly crestfallen, as if the world had forgotten them for a time. This is but one manifestation of how we like to stay in touch with others. There is, however, another dimension of human life where we experience the joy of solitude and taste the freedom that comes when we are able to withdraw from the noise and involvement of social interaction to reach the level of the heart. - Fr Michael Casey OCSO
20 Feb 2006

Website pushes strategic placement of holy objects
A website based in the US has argued strongly that Catholics can, and must, sanctify spaces by the strategic positioning rosary beads and other holy objects.
17 Feb 2006

Vatican urged to reopen debate on birth control
Encouraged by Pope Benedict's encyclical on love, a Catholic bishop and a group of Christian intellectuals in France are urging the Vatican to reopen the debate on its ban on artificial birth control.
17 Feb 2006

Priest holds hope for drug mule Rush
The parish priest of convicted Australian Bali 9 drug smuggler Scott Rush believes there is hope of retribution and rehabilitation for the young Brisbane man who was sentenced to life in prison by a Bali court earlier this week.
17 Feb 2006

Pope could replace media spokesman Navarro-Valls
Among the rumours circulating around Rome is the suggestion that Fr Ciro Benedettini, current Vice President of the Vatican Press Office, could take over from the Office's current head, and long-time Papal Press Secretary, Joaquín Navarro-Valls.
17 Feb 2006

Bishops vow to take up media challenge
The Catholic Church in Australia needs to engage with wider society better and be more open to the media, Perth Archbishop Barry Hickey said yesterday.
17 Feb 2006

RU486 decision a bitter pill
Catholic leaders and pro-life groups have voiced their deep disappointment after Parliament passed the bill stripping the Federal Health Minister of his powers to veto the abortion drug RU486.
17 Feb 2006

Feature - Vatican Museums trace origin to marble sculpture
Although they have thousands of objects on display and even more in storage, the Vatican Museums trace their origin to one marble sculpture, purchased 500 years ago. The sculpture of Laocoon, the priest who, according to Greek mythology, tried to convince the people of ancient Troy not to accept the "gift" of the Greeks' hollow horse, was discovered on 14 January 1506, in a vineyard near Rome's Basilica of St. Mary Major.
17 Feb 2006

Opinion - Dealing with media stereotypes
A breakfast radio crew introduced their guest as 'a good little Christian'. In fact the guest was an overseas aid worker employed by a church organisation. The derisory remark made me reflect on how the word 'Christian' has in some quarters - in this instance a radio station with a demographic audience of 15 to 25 year olds - become associated with conservative fundamentalism. - Peter Thomas, Vice President SIGNIS World Catholic Association for Communication, reflecting on the Australian Bishops' Pastoral Letter 'Go Tell Everyone'
17 Feb 2006

Vatican health official toasts Jesuit winemaker
Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, who has been in South Australia for last week's World Day of the Sick, has visited the Jesuits' Sevenhill winery in the Clare Valley in the state's mid-north, to pay tribute to the work of Emeritus Winemaker, Br John May SJ.
16 Feb 2006

Vatican observer urges food security for all
Every person has the right to an adequate standard of food security, says the Holy See's permanent observer to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.
16 Feb 2006

Catechism Compendium translation available 31 March
English translations of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Church - including the Australian version - will be released on 31 March.
16 Feb 2006

Bishops' Pastoral Letter on media set for launch today
The Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Ambrose De Paoli, will today launch a Pastoral Letter on the Church and the Media from the Catholic Bishops of Australia, in which they urge people to "Be not afraid" of the media but to use it with wisdom and faith.
16 Feb 2006

Muslim cartoon controversy prompts SBS reversal on South Park
SBS TV has "deferred" an episode of the cartoon series South Park that caused outrage in church circles in the US and New Zealand.
16 Feb 2006

Pope begins Vatican Curia shake-up
Pope Benedict XVI has maed Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, the president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, apostolic nuncio to Egypt, in what is seen as the first of a large number of changes to the makeup of the Roman Curia..
16 Feb 2006

Feature - Fatima seer's extraordinary life
It was a year ago this week that one of the most famous seers in world history, Sr Lucia de Jesus dos Santo, of Coimbra, Portugal, died in a cloister at age 97, who began her extraordinary life just before the great upheavals of the world wars, and ended it amid a new kind of global consternation.
16 Feb 2006

Opinion - Place of collection money in offertory procession
There is nothing written down about the order in which the gifts should be brought up. Some argue that the bread and wine should come last because they are the main gifts, but others believe that collectors left to lead the procession might rush up without much care. So it may be best to let the gifts lead the way carried by people who do so with dignity. - Elizabeth Harrington
16 Feb 2006

Muslim head girl at NZ Catholic school
The popular appointment of a Muslim student as head girl of St Mary's College, Wellington, has raised eyebrows among some who feel the top spot should be reserved for a Catholic.
15 Feb 2006

Hundreds sing blues after Country Music festival
The St Vincent de Paul Society has said that hundreds of people are left stranded in Tamworth every year after attending the country music festival at the end of January.
15 Feb 2006

Townsville Cathedral set for June completion
Work on the refurbishment of Townsville's landmark Sacred Heart Cathedral is in full swing, with funding from the community expected to bring the cathedral up to contemporary standards in time for the Feast of the Sacred Heart.
15 Feb 2006

Caritas funds election booklet to support Solomons democracy
The Catholic Church in the Solomon Islands has commenced distribution of an election awareness booklet funded by Caritas Australia.
15 Feb 2006

Pope commits to working with World Council of Churches
Pope Benedict XVI has pledged to continue working with the World Council of Churches - the world's biggest church grouping - in promoting Christian unity.
15 Feb 2006

Pell says Australia changing its mind on abortion
As debate over RU486 was about to begin in the House of Representatives, Sydney's Cardinal George Pell said yesterday that public opinion is changing, with 87% support for finding ways to reduce the number of abortions.
15 Feb 2006

Feature - Setting sail for the world's forgotten ports
Cheryl Howatson spent an amazing ten years on board Anastasis, one of three hospital ships owned and run by Mercy Ships, an international Christian charity that provides medical care, relief aid and training to developing nations. 'I've always had a desire to help people and countries that are less fortunate than we are in Australia', she says from her Brisbane home. 'I was also interested in sharing my faith with other people and sharing what I know of God's love with them.'
15 Feb 2006

Opinion - Scapegoats
I don't want to speak about the death penalty, but about what allows executions to take place. I want to look at scapegoats and scapegoating. Traditionally on the Jewish feast of Yom Kippur, two goats were brought into the temple courtyard. The high priest cast lots for them... In popular culture a scapegoat is someone selected to bear blame for a calamity. We know them as patsies or suckers. Often they have been framed. Scapegoating is the act of holding a person, a group of people, or even a thing responsible for a multitude of problems. - Fr Edmond Nixon CSsR
15 Feb 2006

Joan of Arc's ashes to go under microscope
French doctors are to study the ashes of the 15th century maiden-warrior Joan of Arc, who was burned at the stake aged 19, in a quest for new insight into her extraordinary life, a newspaper has reported.
14 Feb 2006

Ecumenical chaplaincy for Melbourne Commonwealth Games
An Anglican priest will lead a team of 45 volunteers providing religious services at Melbourne's Commonwealth Games Village.
14 Feb 2006

Poll punishes Greens after senator mocks Catholics
The Australian reports today that Newspoll showed the Greens' support dropped to a seven-month low after Senator Kerry Nettle appeared in a t-shirt with wording offensive to Catholics.
14 Feb 2006

Ballarat bishop backs claims of former policeman
Bishop Peter Connors of the Victorian Diocese of Ballarat yesterday came out in support of Denis Ryan, the former policeman whose career is believed to have been adversely affected by his investigation of a alleged priest sex abuser.
14 Feb 2006

Pell sets up office for Marriage and Family
The Archdiocese of Sydney has recently opened a new Marriage and Family Office at the Polding Centre in Liverpool St, Sydney.
14 Feb 2006

Benedict preparing to create new cardinals
Pope Benedict is widely expected to create his first batch of cardinals next month, and speculation is rife in the Italian press over who will be the new 'princes' of the Church.
14 Feb 2006

Feature - Valentine was a wise, caring Italian bishop
The man behind the day on which lovers around the world exchange cards and gifts, has been largely forgotten on his own feast day. Such little significance is attached to the memory of St. Valentine that even in the Spanish capital of Madrid in 2005 only a handful of people visited the Church of St Anton, where what is believed to be his skeleton is kept on a side altar in a glass-fronted baroque case.
14 Feb 2006

Opinion - Senators didn't speak for Australian women
In December, I commissioned the fourth stage of a research project on Australians' attitudes to abortion, which was carried out in late January. Part of this survey of 1200 adults dealt with people's attitudes to RU486. These new findings indicate that the women senators who voted to place the decision about RU486 in the hands of an agency partly funded by pharmaceutical companies are very far from representing the concerns of Australians in general and Australian women in particular. - Fr John Fleming, adjunct professor of bioethics at Southern Cross Bioethics Institute, Adelaide
14 Feb 2006

Ruini says he will open sainthood cause for murdered priest
Cardinal Camillo Ruini, papal vicar for Rome, said he intends to open a cause for the sainthood of Fr Andrea Santoro, the Italian missionary murdered in Turkey eight days ago.
13 Feb 2006

Cardinal says pope will opt for 'gentle' fix of liturgical abuses
The Vatican's top liturgy official, Cardinal Francis Arinze, said he expects Pope Benedict XVI to move against liturgical abuse with firm teaching and a gentle manner, recognising that such mistakes often reflect ignorance, not ill will.
13 Feb 2006

Bishop predicts outcry when Timor report circulates
Thousands of East Timorese children were shipped to Indonesia during Jakarta's occupation and the fate of many is unknown, says a report that echoes Australia's experience with the indigenous "stolen generation".
13 Feb 2006

Jesuit's plea to stop gangland bloodshed
Melbourne's underworld was urged not to avenge the murder of underworld identity Mario Condello in Fr Peter Norden's plea from the pulpit at his funeral.
13 Feb 2006

Pope tells Congregation to fix minds on Jesus
Pope Benedict XVI spoke to his former colleagues in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that a focus on faith in Christ is the key to their mission.
13 Feb 2006

Adelaide service focuses on global mental health problems
More than 1000 people flocked to an historic Catholic service in Adelaide's St Francis Xavier's Cathedral on Saturday marking the 14th World Day of the Sick.
13 Feb 2006

Feature - 20 million Chinese Communists at prayer
A surprising article was published in Hong Kong late last year which stated that some religious faith is believed and practiced - in the more or less clandestine way - by fully one-third of the members of the Chinese communist party, or 20 million members out of a total of 60 million. A significant proportion of these are Christians.
13 Feb 2006

Opinion - We can do more to help our mentally sick
Most Australians are more aware of mental health problems today and are more likely to have some daily experience of them, if only through an encounter with homeless people on city streets. Not all homeless people have mental health problems, and not all people with mental health problems are homeless. - Archbishop George Pell
13 Feb 2006

Women explore multi-faith society at ACU National lecture series
Top female academics, theologians and commentators will discuss the implications of living in a multifaith society at a series of public lectures.
10 Feb 2006

Bishop criticises Broome Shire condom plan
Broome Shire Council lacks the moral authority to introduce free condoms around the local township, according to the Bishop of Broome, Christopher Saunders.
10 Feb 2006

Vinnies says complex homeless problem demands new strategies
NSW/ACT President of the St Vincent de Paul Society, John O'Neill, has announced a major shift in the Society's caring for homeless people.
10 Feb 2006

US First Lady meets with Pope
Pope Benedict XVI expressed his hopes that the US first lady's trip to the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, would be peaceful and spoke of his concern about violent protests taking place in many Islamic countries.
10 Feb 2006

Catholic groups decry Senate vote
The Respect Life Office of the Archdiocese of Perth was one of the first Catholic organisations to react to yesterday's Senate vote in favour of the bill to deny the Federal Health Minister a veto on the controversial RU-486 abortion drug.
10 Feb 2006

Cardinal calls mentally ill 'faithful images of God'
Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan told his World Day of the Sick audience in Adelaide yesterday that while the mentally ill patient "escapes classification as a normal person", he or she remains "an image of God" deserves every normal respect.
10 Feb 2006

Feature - Indian-born priest hopes for Cronulla racial harmony
Fr Thomas Kurunthanam could have been excused for harbouring some serious concerns about becoming parish priest at St Aloysius Gonzaga's Church, Cronulla, in Sydney. Three weeks before the 47-year-old was due to take up the appointment, violence erupted in the area with around 5000 people descending on North Cronulla Beach, chanting racist slogans and attacking people of Middle Eastern appearance.
10 Feb 2006

Opinion - Is nothing sacred? Muslims say some things are
The Muslim protests clearly have gone too far, but the furore reminds us that respect for others is the basis for relationship. If we want a dialogue with Muslim societies, we can't disrespect their God. In our own society, blasphemy, like sacrilege, doesn't carry much weight, not because it's unknown but because it's seen as unimportant. Offending the gods hardly matters when you're too busy to notice them. - Margot Peterson
10 Feb 2006

Vatican rep at Winter Olympics
Pope Benedict XVI blessed the Olympic flame during his Angelus prayer in St Peter's Square on Sunday, while a Swiss Guard, sporting a tracksuit and sneakers instead of his usual colourful uniform, held the torch aloft.
9 Feb 2006

Pope's emotional tribute to slain priest
Pope Benedict XVI drew an emotional reaction from the crowd at his regular weekly audience yesterday when he mentioned the Italian priest who was killed in Turkey three days earlier.
9 Feb 2006

Catholic and Evangelical students join Muslims in RU-486 fight
The Australian Catholic Students Association has issued a joint statement together with the Muslim Students Association of Australia and the Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students, urging the nation's political leaders to oppose current reforms before the Commonwealth Parliament of Australia articulated in The Therapeutic Goods Amendment (Repeal of Ministerial Responsibility of RU-486) Bill 2005.
9 Feb 2006

Abbott says attacks are sectaian
Health Minister Tony Abbott has accused his critics in the debate over the availability of the abortion drug RU486 of a "new sectarianism" and undermining ministerial responsibility.
9 Feb 2006

Vatican cardinal visits Adelaide hospital patients
Papal emissary Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan visited patients at Calvary Health Care Adelaide yesterday in the lead up to the 14th World Day of the Sick being held in Adelaide for the first time this week.
9 Feb 2006

Speaker to argue mental health reform requires funds for NGOs
Australian governments must immediately allocate an extra $500 million each year to non-government agencies to reverse the nation's mental health problems, the World Day of the Sick conference will be told in Adelaide this morning.
9 Feb 2006

Feature - Encyclical finds favour in unexpected quarters
Perhaps the most intriguing reaction to Pope Benedict XVI's first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, is the generally positive response of liberal Catholics who were the most apprehensive about the election to the papacy of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, long known as the church's doctrinal watchdog. Paul Collins, for example, called the 71-page document "a welcome change from the often dense and sometimes almost incomprehensible missives of many of his papal predecessors."
9 Feb 2006

Opinion - The saintly sinner
Mary Magdalene's role remains minuscule, until, all of a sudden, after Christ's death, it becomes hugely magnified. Each of the Gospels tells the story a little differently, but, basically, the Magdalene, either alone or with other women, goes to the tomb on the third day to anoint Jesus' body, and it is to her (or them) that an angel or Christ himself announces that he is risen from the dead, and instructs her to go tell this to his disciples. That command gave the Magdalene a completely new standing. - Joan Acocella
9 Feb 2006

Loreto Sisters meeting
For a week beginning today, 88 sisters of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary will gather in Sydney for their Provincial Congregation.
8 Feb 2006

New gate will link Vatican to Rome
A new gate to be opened on Friday will link the Vatican's northern side with Rome.
8 Feb 2006

Appeal lodged against Salesian's child abuse penalty
An appeal has been lodged against the prison sentence given to a Fr Frank Klep, on the gounds that the one-year minimum jail term jail sentence handed out in December is manifestly inadequate.
8 Feb 2006

Catholic peacemaker receives ASIO treatment
Ciaron O'Reilly, who has been associated with the Catholic Worker peace movement for many years, has accused Australia's spy agency of heavy-handed tactics after he was pulled aside and interviewed at Brisbane Airport.
8 Feb 2006

Tassie Catholic school boom is front page news
Record numbers of students are flocking to Tasmania's Catholic education system, with this year's enrolments marking a peak, according to today's lead story in the Hobart Mercury.
8 Feb 2006

Pope says remembering God is key to respect for life
The more people set aside belief in God the creator, the greater the danger that they will lose respect for the value and dignity of human life, Pope Benedict XVI said.
8 Feb 2006

Feature - The life and martyrdom of a priest on mission in Turkey
He had knelt down to pray shortly before celebrating the Mass in the little Catholic Church of Trabzon, in the north of Turkey, on the Black Sea, when a young man shot him in the back twice with a pistol, crying out "Allah is great". This is how Fr Andrea Santoro, 60, of the diocese of Rome, a missionary in Turkey, was killed on Sunday. - Sandro Magister
8 Feb 2006

Opinion - Do children need to understand the liturgy?
Some parishes do just this and have what is called a Children's Liturgy of the Word. Two different principles come into play here. On the one hand, spiritual harm may be done 'if over the years children repeatedly experience in the Church things that are scarcely comprehensible to them'. However, children do not, and do not need to, understand everything going on around them. In fact they are often fascinated by adult conversation and activity that is beyond their comprehension. Growing-up is a gradual process of growing in understanding of the world around them. - Elizabeth Harrington
8 Feb 2006

Ian Paisley compared to St Patrick
A leading Northern Ireland academic and archaeologist, Dr Richard Warner, has said that the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party and the Free Presbyterian church, Dr Ian Paisley, displays many similarities to St Patrick.
7 Feb 2006

Australian on frontrunners list for Jesuits' top job
The Australian Jesuits' Provincial, Fr Mark Raper, is on a US website's select list of four Jesuits described as frontrunners for election as successor to the Society's Superior-General Fr Peter Hans Kolvenbach.
7 Feb 2006

Priest comments after Melbourne gangland murder
East Brunswick priest Fr Victor Farrugia said early today he was saddened by last night's death of former lawyer Mario Condello, who sometimes attended Mass at his church.
7 Feb 2006

Pope's sorrow for assassinated Turkish priest
Pope Benedict XVI expressed his personal condolences for the assassination of an Italian missionary priest, killed in Turkey on Sunday shortly after celebrating Mass.
7 Feb 2006

Bishop Fisher says RU406 won't curb abortions
Making the controversial RU486 pill available in Australia will do nothing to cut the number of abortions, Sydney Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Fisher has told a senate inquiry into the abortion drug RU-486.
7 Feb 2006

NZ Catholic statement spells out limits to free speech
In the wake of protests sparked by the decision of local media outlets to publish cartoons of the prophet Mohammed, New Zealand's Catholic Church has said that democratic freedoms "must observe boundaries of decency, good taste and fairness".
7 Feb 2006

Feature - Pornography's corrosive growth
Long-standing concerns over pornography's corrupting influence are being confirmed by recent studies. In past years restrictions on sexual content in the media were rejected by many secular observers. But the flood of Internet pornography is leading to second thoughts.
7 Feb 2006

Opinion - Boutique-size Catholic higher learning
This dream of a Catholic college has become a reality with western Sydney's Campion College opening its doors for its first student intake in 2006. The college sees its "boutique" size as a virtue. Small classes are designed to keep the teaching and learning personalised. As it reaches capacity in coming years, the intention is to keep the sense of intimacy, with total numbers of full-time students not exceeding 900.
7 Feb 2006

Op shop shock as cash stash found
Stunned staff at a suburban Vinnies outlet in Melbourne have found a large stash of cash in a pile of donated clothing.
6 Feb 2006

Vinnies merging Sydney city homeless services
St Vincent de Paul Society's Sydney Archdiocesan Council President, Les Mico, has announced the joining of its homeless service at Surry Hills, Vincentian Village, with Sydney's best known homeless service, The Mathew Talbot Hostel, Woolloomooloo.
6 Feb 2006

Jesuits to elect new 'black pope' in 2008
The superior general of the Jesuits, Dutch Fr Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, has informed members of the Society that he intends to step down in 2008, the year he will turn 80.
6 Feb 2006

Notre Dame to build medical research institute in Fremantle
The University of Notre Dame Australia will use a $1 million grant from the Federal Government to help build facilities for a world-class medical research institute in Fremantle.
6 Feb 2006

Vatican condemns cartoons of Prophet Mohammad
The Vatican on Saturday condemned the publication of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammad which have outraged the Muslim world, saying freedom of speech does not mean freedom to offend a person's religion.
6 Feb 2006

Pope authorises indulgences for Adelaide Day of Sick
On the occasion of the three-day World Day of the Sick commemoration in Adelaide from Thursday, the faithful can receive special indulgences for caring for people who are ill or suffer from mental illness.
6 Feb 2006

Feature - 22 year old googles a vocation
She streaks her hair, carries a mobile phone and likes going to the pub with her mates, but 22-year-old Anne Marie Gallagher is making an extremely rare career choice. "There was something stirring within me and I thought 'What is this?' That led me to a Google search," she said. Last week, she was celebrating news that the Sisters of St Joseph had accepted her as a novice.
6 Feb 2006

Opinion - Waiting for God
Mostly conversation revolve around the ordinary business of living: "The kids are fine!" "Steve dropped in last week!" But there will exceptions, when your mother will turn to you and say: "I want to tell you about when I first met your father!" This is also true of our prayer lives and our relationship with God. We'll be absorbed with the weather, glance at our wristwatches. If we sit in private prayer every day for half an hour, we'll feel a deep movement of soul five or six times a year? Perhaps. - Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
6 Feb 2006

Pope accepts resignation of US peace bishop
A year late and under some pressure from the Vatican Congregation for Bishops, Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit has submitted his resignation "from the office of auxiliary bishop to Cardinal [Adam] Maida."
3 Feb 2006

Catholic charity launches major TV series
Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) tomorrow begins screening a 26 part international Catholic documentary series on Australian cable TV.
3 Feb 2006

Outrage over taxpayer tribute to JPII
South Australian Democrat MLC Kate Reynolds said she was "furious" $70,000 of taxpayers' money had been spent "commemorating the death of an 85-year-old Polish man in Italy".
3 Feb 2006

Pope to discuss reconciliation with rebels
Pope Benedict XVI will meet with leaders of the Roman Curia this month to work out a strategy for reconciliation with the traditionalist Society of St Pius X (SSPX), founded by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.
3 Feb 2006

Bishop says 'leave no stone unturned' to help divorced Catholics
The Church needs to assist Catholics seeking annulments to get "reunited with the Church", says Bishop Eugene Hurley, chairman of the Australian Bishops' Committee for the Family and for Life.
3 Feb 2006

Catholic GPs ready to quit over RU-486
More than 200 Catholic doctors in Queensland, all members of the Guild of St Luke, are set to resign from the Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners over RU-486.
3 Feb 2006

Feature - The end for the Christian Brothers in Goulburn
An era dating back 108 years came to an end when the last teaching Christian Brother in Goulburn took his last class. Br Carl Sherrin is the last of no fewer than 310 Christian Brothers who taught at what was originally St Patrick's College and, since 2000, Trinity Catholic College.
3 Feb 2006

Opinion - Archbishop Mannix and the war on terror
For Christians, heightened national security associated with the war on terror is a challenge. Loving thy neighbour implies that the stranger therefore becomes someone to love and accept with open arms rather than an object of suspicion. During the Second World War, Italians in Australia were declared 'enemy aliens'. Few Italians in Queensland escaped internment. In Melbourne, on the other hand, very few were interned. This was due to the influence of Archbishop Daniel Mannix, the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne. - Anthony Cappello, University of Victoria
3 Feb 2006

Vatican official claims Inquisition was a mistake but legal
The Vatican is preparing for fresh controversy over the Inquisition after Joseph Di Noia, Under-secretary of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, offered a partial defence of the "Holy Terror" in a UK TV documentary.
2 Feb 2006

'Repeat of Timor' fear for West Papua
The atrocities committed by Indonesia against East Timor will be repeated in West Papua if the international community does not take action, according to Sr Susan Connelly of the Mary MacKillop East Timor Institute.
2 Feb 2006

Vatican correspondent John Allen Jr to visit Sydney
The journalist described by the London Tablet as the most authoritative Vatican writer in the English language, John Allen Jr is to visit Sydney this month.
2 Feb 2006

MP apologises to 'harlot' church leaders
A senior South Australian state MP has apologised for calling Adelaide Archbishop Phillip Wilson and Vicar General Monsignor David Cappo "political harlots and goons".
2 Feb 2006

Bishop says all-male priesthood is "counter-cultural"
Sydney auxiliary Bishop Julian Porteous is quoted in The Australian today asserting that Jesus "did not feel constrained by cultural or religious laws of the day, so the choice of men as disciples was deliberate".
2 Feb 2006

Caritas head says Encyclical obliges charity
Caritas Australia director Jack De Groot that the second half of Pope Benedict XVI's Encyclical Deus Caritas Est makes it clear that charitable activity for Catholics is not an optional extra.
2 Feb 2006

Feature - From public health to university college principal
Bioethicist Loreto Sister Elizabeth Hepburn's new role as principal of Sydney University's Sancta Sophia College has brought her back to her roots. Brought up a Presbyterian, she was completing her degree in psychology and pharmacology at Monash University and began talking to a Catholic priest about her faith. "I think he got fed up with my constant questions and told me 'you either become a Catholic or you don't, I'm sick of this,'" she recalls. "Very soon after, at around the age of 22, I decided to become a Catholic ... that priest was a clever man."
2 Feb 2006

Opinion - Religion a casualty of high tech society
The National Church Life Survey, with its increasingly dismal statistics on the waning health of the Catholic faith, is fast becoming a pessimist's bible. Recently, I consulted the survey figures about belief in God, who, admittedly, for many, has never been an "in your face" person, although we are taught he is everywhere. To find God in an aggressively technological society is becoming more difficult as human intelligence becomes more and more deified - the reason being that society demands that facts be verified. - Bishop Kevin Manning, Diocese of Parramatta
2 Feb 2006

Palestinian Christians take a 'wait and see' approach to Hamas win
Following their initial shock, many Palestinian Christians are taking a "wait and see" approach to the last Wednesday's Hamas election victory, although some young Christians have expressed concern about the future.
32 Feb 2006

Priest's tribute to "Aussie spirit" in Victorian firefighters
The parish priest of Stawell in Victoria's fire-devastated Grampians region has praised the "tremendous spirit and great courage" of firefighters and local communities who fought to overcome the threat posed by last month's bushfires.
32 Feb 2006

Church training young women for leadership
On Friday, 10 young women from across Australia will gather in Canberra to commence training provided by the Young Catholic Women's Fellowship in Interfaith Relations.
32 Feb 2006

Church "drawn into politics" by accepting Govt hospitality
The Australian newspaper today quotes a "senior Catholic MP" who has labelled South Australia's two most senior church officials "political harlots and goons" for accepting state Government sponsorship for a next week's World Day of the Sick in Adelaide, five weeks before the 18 March election.
32 Feb 2006

Life Office criticises advertiser's gag on abortion debate
The Respect Life Office of the Archdiocese of Perth has condemned the decision of the Australia's leading outdoor advertiser, APN Outdoor, to ban the subject of abortion from its billboards while the country is debating the abortion pill RU-486.
32 Feb 2006

Pope says spirituality fundamental to fight against poverty
In his message for Lent released yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI has said that the primary contribution the Church can make to the eradication of the scandal of poverty is not material or technical, but spiritual, through the "proclamation of the truth of Christ".
32 Feb 2006

Feature - Sights set on the Commonwealth Games
In July 2005, Patrick Murphy anchored the Australian 4x100m relay team at the World Championships in Montreal. His swim brought the team up from fifth place to third, and got them a spot on the podium. It's that effort to be just a fraction better each time that drives him. "Everyone looks up to someone who's trying to be their best. Everyone looks up to Thorpe and Hackett and those guys, but you've got to make sacrifices along the way."
32 Feb 2006

Opinion - Merton wisdom waiting to be learned
'The only thing that will save the world from complete moral collapse is a spiritual revolution.' So begins The Ascent to Truth, which is probably the least read of all Thomas Merton's written output. It was the effort of a great mind to resolve the subjectivity-objectivity conflict, which gives irrelevancy to many of our organised spiritual ventures these days, couched as they are in either sentimentality or a dehydrated objectivism - a worst case example being some of our latter day Eucharists that manage to be both! - Danny Kinane, Queensland bush contemplative
32 Feb 2006