Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources
 

NEWS ARCHIVE FOR JULY 2006

   
Gibson ashamed of anti-Semitic outburst
Reports of a drunken outburst following his arrest for driving offences in Los Angeles have again raised questions of anti-Jewish prejudice in Mel Gibson's film The Passion of Christ.
31 Jul 2006

Jesuit calls for rules of engagement for religion in politics
There is a need to set right the parameters for Christian participation in public life if Australia is to forestall Muslim fundamentalist aspirations for an Islamic state, Jesuit Fr Frank Brennan has argued at a Jesuit conference in Melbourne.
31 Jul 2006

Lafayette rejects community claims over spill
Lafayette, an Australian gold mining company operating in Rapu Rapu, Philippines, has hit back at reported allegations it was responsible for a spill of pesticide in the vicinity of the mine.
31 Jul 2006

China blocks Asian Youth Day participants
Participants from four Chinese regions have been barred from attending the Asian Youth Day - Asia's version of the World Youth Day - under way in Hong Kong this week.
31 Jul 2006

Indigenous mural shock at Redfern parish
In a shock to the parish priest, an unauthorised team of black and white painters has painted a huge new mural with Indigenous motifs and a quote from John Paul II on the east wall of St Vincent's Church, in Sydney's inner city Redfern.
31 Jul 2006

Benedict calls for miracle as Qana toll reaches 54
Benedict XVI has called in the name of God for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah as the civilian toll from the Israeli air strike on an apartment block in the biblical town of Qana reached 54, including 37 children.
31 Jul 2006

Feature - Church/US stand-off over the Middle East
This week saw some extraordinary engagement from the Catholic church on the crisis in Lebanon, including the Holy See's participation in last week's 15-nation summit in Rome. One thing that has become clear is a deep, and growing, division of opinion between the church and the Bush administration (in addition to the Israelis) over the wisdom of an immediate cease-fire. Analysts say the current stand-off between the US and the church bears striking parallels to the diplomatic impasse over the US-led Iraq war in 2003 - John Allen
31 Jul 2006

Opinion - Bob Carr and the stem cell debate
When it comes to embryonic stem cell research and its possibilities, former NSW Premier Bob Carr is an uncritical, born-again believer. He says it has "the most remarkable potential of any scientific discovery ever made in human health". As for therapeutic cloning, the notion that it may be a matter of any moral complexity strikes Carr as preposterous. It never seems to have occurred to him that Western philosophy, Christian and otherwise, has devoted vast time and intelligence to the ethical questions surrounding human life - Christopher Pearson
31 Jul 2006

Soviet spy chief "loved Christ": Russian newspaper
"Iron Feliks" Dzerzhinsky, founder of the forerunner of the infamous Soviet KGB, "loved Christ very much" and once wanted to be a priest, a Russian weekly paper has revealed.
28 Jul 2006

Archbishop upbeat about Queensland's faith
"Great things" have happened in south-east Queensland as a result of the Come Holy Spirit Prayer campaign launched by the archdiocese one year ago, says Brisbane Archbishop John Bathersby.
28 Jul 2006

Zimbabwe's anti-terrorism bill threatens freedom, says Justice and Peace director
The passage of three new laws which are awaiting assent from President Robert Mugabe will effectively place Zimbabwe in a state of undeclared martial law, according to a Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace director.
28 Jul 2006

"Boy from Ganmain" takes leave of Canberra
"A dear friend to indigenous people", "gentle pastor", "spirit-filled preacher" were among the many titles bestowed on retiring Archbishop Francis Carroll during his farewell tour this month of the Canberra Goulburn Archiocese.
28 Jul 2006

Think big for WYD: NZ bishop
An Auckland Bishop has issued a pastoral letter urging young Catholics to "think big" in their preparations for Sydney's World Youth Day in order to "reap the fruits" of the event.
28 Jul 2006

Lebanon crisis spiralling out of control: Caritas
Food and medicines are dwindling rapidly in Lebanon and water is in short supply for people displaced by the war, according to Caritas agencies.
28 Jul 2006

Feature - England's Cardinal reflects on Church's future
Under Pope Benedict's leadership there is a renewed resistance to relativism. As the leader of English and Welsh Catholics, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor is aware of the challenges facing Great Britain's 5 million Catholics. "Secularism, particularly in Europe, has found a form of trying to distance religion from life - to privatise religion," the Cardinal said. "Yet the fact is that if people live their faith to their fullness there is no way it can be privatised." - Dan McAloon
28 Jul 2006

Opinion - Poor People's Summit speaks truth to power
As the G8 leaders of the world's richest and most powerful countries gathered in St Petersburg last week, a few hundred activists were meeting in Gao, Mali in West Africa, to hold what they called the "Poor People's Summit." That it should be Mali which hosted the summit was appropriate. The land once so rich it could afford to devalue gold prices is now the poorest place on earth. It would be foolish for G8 leaders to ignore what the Gao summit had to say - Anthony Ham
28 Jul 2006

Irish equivalent of Dead Sea Scrolls unearthed
Fragments of what appear to be a 9th century Book of Psalms uncovered in a South Midlands bog testify to "the incredible richness of [Ireland's] early Christian civilisation," according to the National Museum of Ireland.
27 Jul 2006

Pius XII beatification on track, says Kasper
Cardinal Walter Kasper has defended the role of Pope Pius XII during World War II but a Jewish expert has called for further argument and debate before any eventual beatification.
27 Jul 2006

African bishops disagree over Congo election
Congo bishops have called on the country's faithful to be ready to boycott the first national elections in 40 years over alleged irregularities but their Southern African counterparts disagree saying that failure to hold the elections would jeopardise peace in the entire region.
27 Jul 2006

Bishop highlights asylum seeker and trafficking concerns
Sandhurst Bishop Joseph Grech has called for attention to be paid to the human trafficking issue and to the government's proposed changes to asylum seeker laws in the lead up to this year's Refugee and Migrant Sunday next month.
27 Jul 2006

A-E report confusion in Victoria
Although all 482 Victorian Catholic schools have converted to the new A to E report card system, some parents are having difficulty in accepting their children's results.
27 Jul 2006

Asian and African migrants "abandoned" in Lebanon, Vatican says
22,000 Sudanese and Iraqi refugees as well as thousands of migrant workers are trapped in Lebanon, according to the Vatican agency for pastoral care of migrants.
27 Jul 2006

Feature - A refugee filmmaker's remarkable story
Having fled Vietnam by boat before being accepted as refugees, filmmaker Khoa Do and his family came to Australia with only the clothes on their backs. But Khoa tells the audience at this year's Jesuit Refugee Service Ball, with help, the little opportunity we are given can go a long way. "If a former refugee with no shoes who lives in the rougher parts of Sydney, who works in the arts, can be Young Australian of the Year, then anything is possible," he said.
27 Jul 2006

Opinion - A force for peace in a multi-religious world
Today, in a multicultural and multireligious world, many are tempted to say: "It is better for peace among religions and cultures that one not speak too much about the specifics of Christianity, about Jesus, the Church, the sacraments. Let us be satisfied with the things that can be held more or less in common ..." But it's not true. At this very moment - at a moment of a great abuse in the name of God - we need the God who triumphed upon the cross, who wins not by violence, but by his love. We must bring the witness of this God, of the victory of God precisely through the nonviolence of his cross - Benedict XVI
27 Jul 2006

Spamming fears for Vatican computers
An internet insecurity company claims to have identified at least one computer with a Vatican City internet address that is being used as a spam-sending "zombie."
26 Jul 2006

WTO talks collapse indicative of industrialised nations failure, Indian Jesuit says
A renowned Indian Jesuit and social activist, Fr Cedric Prakash, has slammed the collapse of the six-party talks in Geneva, which included Australia, as an indicator of the refusal of industrialised countries to put agriculture and trade of developing countries on the World Trade Organisation's agenda.
26 Jul 2006

Students taking lead for Middle East peace
A Catholic student group has joined with Jewish, Muslim and Baha'i students in calling for an interfaith "prayer chain for peace" in the Middle East.
26 Jul 2006

Australian mine in Philippines accused over third spill
This story has been removed pending investigation of the validating of allegations made in the original source.
26 Jul 2006

Melbourne Muslim leader challenges Pell to debate
Challenging claims earlier this year by Cardinal George Pell that the Koran is full of "invocations to violence," a Melbourne Muslim leader has said that the Bible is full of lechery and drunkenness and that he would not want his enemies let alone his children to read it.
26 Jul 2006

Irish jury acquits O'Reilly
Australian Catholic activist Ciaron O'Reilly and four Catholic Worker colleagues were acquitted of causing criminal damage to a US navy jet that they had disabled at Shannon Airport in the lead-up to the Iraq war.
26 Jul 2006

Feature - Shine on Syd Barrett and the Saints
Syd Barrett, cofounder of the legendary rock band Pink Floyd, recently passed away at the age of 60. Barrett was a troubled soul; an amalgamation of genius and lunacy. What intrigued me about Barrett was his strange behaviour and the near-mythic stories that emerged about him. It has got me thinking about the saints. Some of their contemporaries assumed that many of these saints were insane. I am not saying that Barrett is a contemporary saint. But his music was his gift to the world, and just perhaps, it was also the way God worked through him - David Nantais
26 Jul 2006

Opinion - Refugees in peril around the world
Forced from their homes by armed conflicts, political unrest and human rights abuses, refugees and asylum seekers throughout the world continue their painful search for safety. Countries that host refugees, primarily those in the developing world, frequently place onerous restrictions on their movement outside camps and limit their right to earn a livelihood. Some of them are obliged to remain in their confined areas for long periods. These refugees are viewed as "warehoused," a condition that effectively strips them of their dignity and their sense of self-reliance.
26 Jul 2006

ACU student nears end of Brisbane-Canberra walk
A theology and social work student from the Australian Catholic University, Amy Banson, is finishing an epic 1500km walk to raise funds for the National Brain Injury Foundation after witnessing a fatal road accident.
25 Jul 2006

Medjugorje review announced
Bosnian bishops have announced the establishment of a commission to review the alleged Marian apparitions at Medjugorje, which are marking their 25th anniversary this year.
25 Jul 2006

EU to continue embryo cell research funding
Despite opposition from several mostly Catholic countries, ministers from EU member states agreed to continue funding for embryonic stem cell research, although funding will be limited to research on cells which are already available.
25 Jul 2006

Catholic college embraces teaching "revolution"
In the technological age, teaching skills and values is more important than teaching content, according to a presenter at a forum hosted by Rosebank College in Sydney.
25 Jul 2006

Media whiz for Catholic Enquiry Centre
Marita Winters, the head of Sydney archdiocese's media office, will become the new director for the Catholic Enquiry Centre.
25 Jul 2006

Lebanese Maronite bishops plea for UN help
Lebanese bishops have pleaded with the United Nations Security Council to call for an immediate ceasefire and for the opening of humanitarian corridors to enable aid to reach war victims.
25 Jul 2006

Feature - Refugees continue to languish in Timor camps
Afonso do Rego lays listlessly on an old, dirty mattress. His father, Julio do Rego, says the nine-month-old has a respiratory infection. In May, Julio do Rego brought his wife and four children to Canossian Centre Balide in Dili, which has become a crowded refuge from the street violence. The street violence has ended, but troubles persist for thousands like the do Rego family taking refuge in Church and NGO-run shelters. Tens of thousands keep languishing in poor conditions and are compelled to depend on handouts.
25 Jul 2006

Opinion - A moral perspective needed on the Middle East conflict
When we look from a distance at events in Israel, Lebanon and Palestine, it is natural to feel great pity and helplessness. It is also easy to be so paralysed by the complex historical and cultural roots of this conflict, and by the fierce debate about who should be held responsible, that we abstain from judgment. But it is important to develop a moral perspective on the conflict that goes beyond marking down praise and blame. We need a response that places human dignity at the centre - Fr Andrew Hamilton
25 Jul 2006

Hong Kong residents cannot bear cross
A three-metre high school crucifix erected on the facade of a Hong Kong Catholic school "looks like a sword pointing at us" according to local residents who have taken feng shui measures to mitigate the effect.
24 Jul 2006

English priest buried - after 17 months
Fr Mark Barnes, an English priest who worked with the poor in northern India for 40 years, has finally been buried after a 17-month standoff between the priest's supporters and the local diocese.
24 Jul 2006

Italian Opus Dei banker savagely murdered
An Italian banker and former Olympic pole-vaulter who had been implicated in Europe's largest corporate scandal was savagely murdered on Friday having apparently been kidnapped coming home from an Opus Dei meeting.
24 Jul 2006

Big Brother-style scandal in Queensland Catholic school
Police are investigating claims that girls as young as 12 at a Queensland Catholic school were involved in "turkey slapping" incidents in which they were pinned down by male students and hit with an exposed penis.
24 Jul 2006

Methodists and Catholics resolve differences
The World Methodist Council has joined the 1999 agreement between the Lutheran and the Catholic churches ending the main theological dispute of the Reformation.
24 Jul 2006

Premiers face stem cell backlash as Hart criticises debate
Victoria Premier Steve Bracks, who supports legalised therapeutic cloning, and NSW Premier Morris Iemma, who is siding with the Federal Government to ban the process, are facing party backlashes while Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart has criticised the failure to consider alternatives to cloning.
24 Jul 2006

Feature - Good old fashion customer service behind Vatican's new switchboard
Even though it receives almost 2,000 calls a day, the Vatican is not about to outsource its small team of switchboard operators to answering machines or the labyrinth of automated phone menus. When callers dial the Vatican switchboard anytime of day or night they will talk to a human being who will tactfully and efficiently handle every call. Invariably a handful of people say they must speak with the Pope, and only the discerning ear and sharp mind of a human can weed out the wacky from the serious inquiries - Carol Glatz
24 Jul 2006

Opinion - Encounters with Muslim youth
In the two years I have worked with the Young Christian Students I have encountered a range of Muslim youth, and have formed many professional relationships and personal friendships. Like all religions and cultures, Islam provides adherents with a "sacred canopy" of stability and shared meaning. But during migration to pluralist Australia the scared canopy is often torn. For migrants from Muslim countries, new institutions, values and practices in the diaspora replace Islamic structures and challenge their traditions and faith - Chantelle Ogilvie
24 Jul 2006

Priest says coffee growers big losers in Timor unrest
A Timorese priest says that coffee growers are the biggest losers as a result of the recent violence, leaving many small growers at the peak of coffee harvest season this month with no other source of income.
21 Jul 2006

Canadian bishops warn Amnesty over abortion
It will be difficult for Catholics to continue working with Amnesty International if it adopts a policy of supporting abortion as a human right, say the Canadian bishops.
21 Jul 2006

Marists launch Asian mission training program
Two Australian Brothers have volunteered to leave for the Philippines to join the inaugural orientation program for a new Marist mission in Asia.
21 Jul 2006

Government funding for Catholic schools rising fast
An Australian Bureau of Statistics report shows that government funding for both independent and Catholic schools is growing at three times the rate of spending on public schools.
21 Jul 2006

Catholics unite with Orthodox for creation catechesis
The Pope has written to Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I to emphasise the ecumenical significance of a shared action in defence of the environment, which he describes as "an open book" in which "the mystery of life is revealed in its pages."
21 Jul 2006

Caritas Lebanon slams milk factory attack
A milk factory and food storage facilities have been targeted in the Israeli offensive, overwhelmed Caritas Lebanon officials say.
21 Jul 2006

Feature - U2 a Christian rock band?
Fr Erich Rutten is an enthusiastic fan of U2 and believes that the Irish band's music is more than "great political rock." "They're a Christian rock band" without calling themselves one, Fr Rutten says. For the priest, the band's spirituality is one of questioning. Some people see that questioning as a lack of faith. But Fr Rutten sees it as a mature faith. "Even in the midst of questioning," he said, "there's that implicit trust and faith that the love of God is beneath it all" - Emilie Lemmons
21 Jul 2006

Opinion - Treasure your priests
A priest is a man of holiness, a teacher and a shepherd for all his people. In walking with people, a priest must be allowed to be a spiritual leader, and in a time of fewer numbers, concentration has to be focussed upon those things which are done for the whole parish. On occasion it will be impossible to meet individual requests for special masses for individual occasions. But if we are to profit spiritually from priests' ministrations they must be given time for prayer, rest, spiritual focus and care - Archbishop Denis Hart
21 Jul 2006

Jesuit retreat centre silences retail giant
A Jesuit retreat centre in Ontario, Canada, has won a 10-year battle with the US retail giant Walmart to ensure that a proposed store will not be seen or heard by retreatants.
20 Jul 2006

Franciscans to establish Bangkok human rights centre
The Australian Franciscans have played a key role in developing a proposal announced today for a Franciscans International office for the Asia-Pacific region in Bangkok.
20 Jul 2006

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor aide resigns over abortion allegations
Austen Ivereigh, Director of Public Affairs for the Diocese of Westminster, has resigned following media reports that a former girlfriend had an abortion 20 years ago before he had returned to the Church.
20 Jul 2006

Low birth rate to slow Catholic school sector growth
The effects of the declining birth rate will start to kick in over the next five years with Catholic sector enrolments tipped to decline marginally by 2010, according to an Independent Schools Council analysis.
20 Jul 2006

Bishop condemns NSW cooperation in body parts trade
Sydney Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Fisher has attacked a business arrangement between the NSW Government and an Australian company to develop and market human tissue products.
20 Jul 2006

Advertise Lebanon evacuation plans, stranded priest tells Govt
An Australian priest stranded in Lebanon has called on the Australian government to advertise their relief efforts on local TV while Lebanon's Catholic Maronite patriarch has told US Vice-President Richard Cheney that the Israeli reaction to Hezbollah attacks is "not proportionate."
20 Jul 2006

Feature - A God who journeys with us
Travelling is a relatively simple and safe activity in most countries today, thanks to the wonders of air travel, good roads, and law and order. In the ancient world, however, travel was far more precarious. A pilgrimage to Jerusalem was often difficult and dangerous, and while Jews desired to visit the Holy City they were sometimes fearful of the journey involved. Psalm 121 is one of the Songs of Ascent that pilgrims sang as they journeyed to Jerusalem - Fr Michael Goonan
20 Jul 2006

Opinion - The Vatican's anti-Israeli lobby
A constant feature of Vatican geopolitics in the Middle East appears in a "declaration" released last week by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the departing secretary of state, who took a more unbalanced position against Israel over the latest crisis. The statement gives Israel almost the entire weight of responsibility for the extension of the conflict into Lebanon. But this is not a surprise, coming from Sodano. The anti-Israeli party that is active in the curia has always had him as one of their leading proponents - Sandro Magister
20 Jul 2006

Polish priests top "export product"
1500 Polish priests are already working abroad as the central European country takes over the traditional roles of Ireland and France as leading priest-sending countries.
19 Jul 2006

Malta holds out against divorce through EU back door
Proposed new European Union laws which are meant to facilitate cross-border divorce proceedings are being studied closely in Malta, the last EU state that does not permit divorce.
19 Jul 2006

Keating propagates faith at De La Salle centenary ball
Former Prime Minister Paul Keating and NSW Police Commissioner Ken Moroney were among the illustrious alumni of a Sydney suburban De La Salle college who turned out for the congregation's centenary ball on Saturday.
19 Jul 2006

Women Commission becomes Office for Participation of Women
As part of a major restructure of Australian Catholic Bishops conference bodies, Kimberley Davies has been named as director of the renamed Office for Participation of Women, formerly the Commission for Australian Catholic Women.
19 Jul 2006

Benedict writes book on Jesus
Pope Benedict is spending his summer vacation in the Italian Alps drafting a book on Jesus that is likely to become the second major theological work of his pontificate.
19 Jul 2006

Second tsunami tests Caritas Australia's new IT systems
New information technology systems adopted by Caritas Australia in the wake of the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami are set to be tested as the aid agency appeals for donations in the wake of Monday's tsunami disaster in Indonesia.
19 Jul 2006

Feature - Corporate social responsibility in Indigenous communities
There are two ways businesses can help in responding to the difficulties that Aboriginal communities face. The first is via the social welfare model where businesses use their relationships with government to influence policies on jobs and public sector services in Indigenous communities. The second is for businesses to become participants in providing equity opportunities for indigenous peoples, either in their ventures or by way of joint ventures with communities. The question of Indigenous ownership in these ventures will be important - Patrick Dodson
19 Jul 2006

Opinion - Teaching children to fear God
In recent days, the "Post-a-Prayer" page at the Australian Daily Prayer website contained a prayer intention that incorporated an instruction on how to beat the love of Jesus in to your child. It advises that "a good spanking should be traumatic and something the child will remember well into adulthood." Although there's a good chance that it was written tongue in cheek, the instruction raises the question of how important it is to regulate precisely how the fear of God is to be taught.
19 Jul 2006

Vatican museum wants Picasso
Picasso may have been an atheistic communist but the Vatican Museums still wants one of his paintings according to the Museums director, Francesco Buranelli.
18 Jul 2006

Notre Dame Sydney chaplain awarded doctorate
Dominican Fr John Neill, the new parish priest at St Benedict's in Sydney's Chippendale and chaplain at Notre Dame Sydney, on Sunday received an honorary doctorate from the University of Notre Dame for his contribution to Australian Catholic education.
18 Jul 2006

New archbishop of Mt Hagen hailed from Brisbane
Pope Benedict has announced the appointment of Brisbane-born Bishop Douglas Young, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Mount Hagen in the Papua New Guinea highlands, as metropolitan archbishop of the same archdiocese.
18 Jul 2006

Malawi Catholic church firebombed
Twenty people were injured in a deliberately set explosion during Mass at a church near the Malawi capital of Lilongwe.
18 Jul 2006

Catholic students work overtime
According to the Executive Director of Brisbane Catholic Education, most Catholic secondary students would spend up to two hours per evening on homework, more than what is recommended by the Queensland Government's new guidelines.
18 Jul 2006

Caritas says Middle East violence illegal and immoral
Calling for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon, Caritas International has said that "indiscriminate bombings and hostage taking are against all moral and humanitarian laws and principles."
18 Jul 2006

Feature - Eating the Amazon
Three hours' drive outside the city of Santarem in Brazil, along dirt trails struck by illegal loggers, you arrive in a vast monoculture inside the Tapajos National Park. Soybean fields laden with the dry brown seedpods stretch in every direction. This is Fr Edilberto Sena's parish. The fiery local priest has emerged as a fierce critic of illegal loggers and agribusinesses pushing further and further into the rainforest. Lately he has started to receive the same kind of threats that preceded the assassination of rainforest campaigner Sr Dorothy Stang - Daniel Howden
18 Jul 2006

Opinion - Renewing the Catholic culture
It is fatal to think of the Church in merely theological terms. This would deny or at least underestimate the significance of the human element. It would also underestimate the true challenge of renewal. The Church is also a human system and as such must face and deal with the needs, possibilities and limits that all human systems face. All significant human systems that function for any length of time, develop a culture that will take time and painstaking effort to change - Fr Michael Whelan
18 Jul 2006

Former Wallabies captain named Qld Education Week patron
Patron of this year's Queensland Catholic Education Week, former Australian Rugby Union captain and state legend, Andrew Slack, says he is grateful for his Catholic schooling and his introduction to rugby at a Brisbane Catholic school.
17 Jul 2006

Canberra Catholic ecumenical pioneer buried
A pioneer of the modern era of the Canberra Church and a prominent "founding father" of the ACT's ecumenical ministry, Msgr John Hoare, was buried on Friday.
17 Jul 2006

Historic Naracoorte convent saved from developers
A retired Sister of Mercy has joined hundreds of Naracoorte locals in a successful campaign to prevent the bulldozing of the historic former La Eurana convent in the small South Australian town.
17 Jul 2006

Philippines President accused of bribing bishops
A Philippines newspaper has alleged that the decision by the Philippines' Catholic Bishops Conference not to support new impeachment proceedings against President Gloria Arroyo was influenced by cash gifts and promises of aid.
17 Jul 2006

Port Pirie woman "lost everything" to expose Catholic teacher sex abuse
A former education support officer at a Port Pirie Catholic College in South Australia says she was forced to resign in order to expose sexual abuse allegations that had not been referred to police.
17 Jul 2006

Benedict condemns Middle East reprisals
Benedict XVI has called for a resumption of dialogue as violence escalates in the Middle East while the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano has condemned the UN's "do nothing policy."
17 Jul 2006

Feature - A microcosm of the global church
"Unprecedented" is really the only word to describe an international gathering of more than 400 Catholic ethicists that took place last week in Padua, Italy, which lived up to its billing as the "first international cross-cultural conference for Catholic theological ethicists." What happened in Padua was something of a microcosm of the global church. It provides an intriguing hint about what the coming "southern moment" in Catholicism will look like - John Allen
17 Jul 2006

Opinion - Faith reaches further than imagination
Recently, at a retreat, a woman approached me for advice. This was her quandary: She felt full of faith and doubt both at the same time. She told me that she was, in her mind, a very orthodox Catholic. Yet, try as she might, she could not believe that Jesus physically rose from the dead. At first glance it might appear that she is losing her faith, at least in that she is seemingly unable to believe in some non-negotiable parts of the creed. That judgment though can be simplistic - Fr Ron Rolheiser
17 Jul 2006

Catholics get hot over melting cow
A blue cow sculpture in the form of a melting ice cream, complete with a stick emerging from its posterior, caused a storm when it was erected in front of St Istvan's Basilica in Budapest.
14 Jul 2006

Convent life drives Kerala nun to suicide
A 34-year-old Clarist Sister is the latest of 15 cases of suicide over the past 12 years among religious sisters in Kerala, India, highlighting underlying problems in convent life for women.
14 Jul 2006

Nigerian priests to head for Queensland
Following a visit to Brisbane by Nigerian Bishop Lucius Ugorji of Umuahia diocese, Brisbane archdiocese will receive two priests and four seminarians each year from Nigeria.
14 Jul 2006

Benedict to focus on heart of peace in 2007
Pope Benedict has announced that the focus for World Peace Day 2007 will be on human dignity which is under threat from aberrant ideologies as well as by scientific and technological distortions.
14 Jul 2006

Low unemployment should pave way for training places: CSSA
Welcoming the latest unemployment figures, Catholic Social Services director Frank Quinlan called on the government to act on its promise to fund more training places for those who remain unemployed.
14 Jul 2006

Catholics divided over stem cells
Salesian moral theologian Fr Norman Ford has weighed in on the stem cell debate among Catholics, insisting that there are pragmatic as well as moral reasons to oppose the cloning of human embryos and the use of embryonic stem cells.
14 Jul 2006

Feature - The sun-soaked rocks of Haiti
In Haiti people are fond of using proverbs, and there's a particular one that aptly describes their situation: "the rock in the water doesn't know the suffering of the rock in the sun." Haitian proverbs have the annoying knack of forcing us to confront things we don't like to admit. In Australia we like to think life deals the same fate for us all - that we are all battlers. But through my work with Jesuit Refugee Service, I see that this is not the reality. Chance can deal a very cruel or kind hand in Haiti - Kent Rosenthal
14 Jul 2006

Opinion - Honesty is possible in political life
Underlying the high drama between John Howard and Peter Costello over an apparent leadership deal in 1994 are some important issues of political morality. Of course, virtually all politicians play games with their colleagues. Political marriages are often marriages of convenience, and political honour is often the honour of thieves. But a real marriage or friendship is not a matter of convenience. Relationships and commitments of this kind - and the serious promises that go with them - are also possible in political life - Peter Coghlan
14 Jul 2006

Aussie Franciscan joins community on Moses' mountain
An Australian friar will join a Franciscan community to be established on the slopes of Mt Nebo, the Jordan mountain from where Moses saw the Promised Land.
13 Jul 2006

Nuncio tells Catholics to "live Christianity"
Visiting Albury to speak with 60 priests and monks from the Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, Papal nuncio, Archbishop Ambrose Battista De Paoli, emphasised the importance of "living Christianity."
13 Jul 2006

Avoid iPod "self-indulgence", warns family group
Households are spending an average of $12 a week more on digital goods than on electricity, gas and visits to doctors and dentists, according to the director of Sydney's Marriage and Family Office.
13 Jul 2006

Catholic school battles developer in Melbourne's west
A Catholic primary school in Caroline Springs on the outskirts of Melbourne has gathered 700 signatures in a campaign to stop a major land developer from selling a block of land to a private college.
13 Jul 2006

Radio a drain but Vatican still in black
Holy See finances were in the black again in 2005 to the tune of $16.5 million in the best result for eight years - despite the heavy cost of Vatican Radio which ate up $40 million last year.
13 Jul 2006

Catholic groups say Mumbai bombings "beastly crimes"
Calling for healing and expressing solidarity with victims, Indian Catholic groups have swiftly condemned the series of train bombings in Mumbai on Tuesday which killed 200 people.
13 Jul 2006

Feature - 500 years of the Vatican Museums
The Vatican Museums are celebrating their 500th anniversary with a range of new public openings. The most recent initiative has been the reopening in June of the Ethnological Missionary Museum, beginning with its Asian section. Special attention is given to the theme of "inculturation" - the different ways in which the Christian message has been reinterpreted and proposed by indigenous cultures. "The Vatican has an important role in promoting a message of respect and tolerance for different cultures and religions," said the Vatican Museums' curator, Msgr Roberto Zagnoli.
13 Jul 2006

Opinion - The promise of stem cell research
Embryonic stem cell research is rich in promise. It has already demonstrated its potential in the study of disease causation, in development of new diagnostic methods and in basic research. As a Catholic, I deeply value human life. Embedded in this value is the belief that everyone should be given the opportunity to live as free from serious illness as medical science can ensure. I do not know whether or when stem cell science will provide the breakthroughs we hope for. But I do know from history that significant discoveries are always followed by practical benefits - Prof Gustav Nossal
13 Jul 2006

Opus Dei volunteers clean up in Fiji
A 22-member team of Opus Dei volunteers from Australia and New Zealand is spending two and a half weeks in a Fiji Catholic school doing maintenance and repair work as part of a clean up campaign.
12 Jul 2006

Moral theologians broaden focus at first international Catholic ethics meeting
Going well beyond the traditional focus on sexual morality, the first international conference on Catholic ethics this week in Padua, Italy, is studying a broad range of moral issues including the environment and "humanly sustainable forms of governance."
12 Jul 2006

Well-known priest asks forgiveness for communist spying
Fr Michal Czajkowski, a Polish priest known for his work on Catholic-Jewish relations and an associate of the late John Paul II has admitted that he spied on dissidents and clerics for 24 years under communism.
12 Jul 2006

High tension for Catholics in Pakistan: Australian Columban
Tensions are high for Catholics in Pakistan, says Fr Robert McCulloch, a Columban missionary who has worked in the South Asian country for more than 25 years.
12 Jul 2006

Pax Christi raps profiteers in Palestinian occupation
The international Catholic peace movement, Pax Christi, has joined a British campaign against major companies whose businesses provide support for Israel's occupation of Palestine.
12 Jul 2006

Newsman makes news as Navarro-Valls resigns
After 22 years at the helm of the Vatican Press Office covering the bulk of John Paul II's pontificate, Spaniard Joaquin Navarro-Valls has resigned and will be succeeded by the present director of Vatican Radio and Television, Fr Federico Lombardi.
12 Jul 2006

Feature - John Paul II a Marxist sympathiser?
A little-known and unpublished work by Fr Karol Wojtyla has touched off debate among experts across the globe about whether the future John Paul II, as a young academic, had developed sympathy for Marxism. "The church is aware that the bourgeois mentality and capitalism as a whole, with its materialist spirit, acutely contradict the Gospel," Wojtyla writes. The text contradicts views promoted by neoliberal thinkers like George Weigel who depict the late pontiff as a lifelong fan of US-style liberal capitalism - Jonathan Luxmoore and Jolanta Babiuch
12 Jul 2006

Opinion - Upping the non-violent ante
In the 1980s, US activist Ken Butigan launched the "Pledge of Resistance" in opposition to Ronald Reagan's war in Nicaragua. We know now that that campaign became a major obstacle to the Pentagon. Recently, Ken and his colleagues have started another similar campaign in protest against the Iraq war. In presenting his proposal, we explained that the Bush administration will tolerate marches and vigils for years to come. These marches and vigils are important but, we suggested, the time has come to up the non-violent ante - Fr John Dear
12 Jul 2006

Scottish trade unionist in miracle claim
Investigations are under way into a report that a premature baby given no hope of survival has recovered after a relic of Venerable Margaret Sinclair, a Scottish factory worker and trade unionist who died in 1925, was placed in the baby's incubator.
11 Jul 2006

School students "nurses for a day" at ACU
Students from 33 NSW schools and colleges last week joined an Australian Catholic University "be a nurse for a day" program designed to give students a real flavour of university studies.
11 Jul 2006

Korean bishops warn against US FTA
In a message for the Church's Farmers' Sunday this week, Korean bishops and farmers have warned against the destruction of the local farming sector as a result of a Free Trade Agreement with the US.
11 Jul 2006

Assassinated American nun honoured
Sr Dorothy Stang, an American nun killed for her advocacy of the rights of Amazonian rural workers and peasants, is to be honoured this week as a "Freedom Hero" in her home state of Ohio.
11 Jul 2006

Filipino bishops refuse to back President impeachment
At its meeting in Manila this week, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines has decided not to back an initiative by several bishops to relaunch the impeachment process against President Gloria Arroyo.
11 Jul 2006

Ramos-Horta wants Vatican embassy for Timor
In a wide-ranging speech at his swearing in as the new Prime Minister of East Timor, Jose Ramos-Horta called for a close "partnership" with the Church and has invited the Holy See to establish a nunciature in the country.
11 Jul 2006

Feature - How Catholicism fell from grace in Ireland
Like most of its continental neighbours, Ireland is undergoing a severe crisis of faith. Religious belief is under siege by secularisation and modernisation. In addition, the recent exposure of a deeply ingrained culture of sexual abuse and cover-up by the clergy has dealt a staggering blow to the church's prestige. What makes Ireland an interesting case study is the speed of the decline and the efforts of the Church - lay people and clergy - to come to grips with the crisis - Tom Hundley
11 Jul 2006

Opinion - Sexual addiction is real
We have long recognised drug addicts, alcoholics, compulsive gamblers, but only recently has public attention begun to focus on compulsive and disordered sexuality. There are many forms of this addiction including multiple affairs, exhibitionism, voyeurism, compulsive masturbation, as well as rape and sexual abuse of children. Sexual addicts are only a minority, but the spread of pornography on the internet, which is marketed aggressively to those who are not searching for it, is feeding these addictions - Cardinal George Pell
11 Jul 2006

Caritas seeks Sydney City to Surf runners
One hundred runners are wanted to run 14km in this year's City to Surf - the same distance that many women in developing countries must walk each day to carry water, says Caritas Australia director, Jack de Groot.
10 Jul 2006

Priest requests prayers for abortion practitioners
A US priest and director of Priests for Life, which operates the world's largest post-abortion counselling program, is calling on Christians to pray for the continued conversion of abortion practitioners.
10 Jul 2006

Grassroots job creation needed, Vatican observer tells UN
World security risks being undermined as the number of unemployed around the world reaches an all time high, says Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Holy See permanent observer to the UN in Geneva.
10 Jul 2006

Bishop Fisher unveils WYD plan
Describing World Youth Day as "an extraordinary gift to the Church in Australia, coordinator Bishop Anthony Fisher has announced the launch of "Activ8", a two year program of preparation for WYD 2008.
10 Jul 2006

Ethicist warns against live organ procedures
A St Paul's Theological College ethicist has expressed concern about moves by an Australian Health Ethics Committee working party to extend transplant preparations to living patients certain to die from cardiac death.
10 Jul 2006

Benedict challenges Spain over family values
Rejecting claims of "obscurantism" by the Church, Pope Benedict has proclaimed "the beauty of family love" against the "anarchic freedom" of gay unions in a one-day visit to Spain for the World Meeting of Families in Valencia.
10 Jul 2006

Feature - Nuns against the slave trade
It began over lunch in a suburban shopping centre. Two middle-aged women with furrowed brows worrying about some girls who were in trouble. To passers-by, the women would have seemed unremarkable. Munching their sandwiches and chatting away, they could have been someone's wife or mother. In fact, they were no such thing. Sisters Pauline Coll and Louise Cleary are devout Catholic nuns. And the focus of their conversation were village girls from South-East Asia who had been sold into sex slavery in Australia - Erin O'Dwyer
10 Jul 2006

Opinion - The challenge for Islam
The experience of Northern Ireland shows that success in the fight against terrorism depends not just on outwitting a small number of active terrorists but in addressing "the sea in which they swim" - the degree of tolerance of terrorist activity. And the poll suggests that most Muslims are sufficiently antagonistic to terrorism to cooperate with the police in combating it, even to the extent of tolerating police monitoring of the messages being preached in mosques. The Catholic population in Northern Ireland never went that far.
10 Jul 2006

Melbourne priest joins Columbans in Peru
Fulfilling a longstanding yearning to work with the poor, a parish priest from Melbourne's north-west, Fr Joe Ruys, will join Columban missionaries as a volunteer in Peru for the next three years.
7 Jul 2006

Interfaith summit condemns abuse of religion
In a statement addressed to G8 leaders who will meet in Moscow next week, the World Summit of Religious Leaders has passed a resolution condemning the abuse of religion and the loss of moral values in the modern world.
7 Jul 2006

End of era as Pallottines quit Kimberley
The last Pallottine priest left in WA's Kimberley has retired, bringing to an end over 100 years of service in the region.
7 Jul 2006

Banks call for crackdown on church "development funds"
The Australian Bankers Association has called upon the federal bank regulator to stop non-profit church development funds from acting as quasi-banks.
7 Jul 2006

Biblical lamentations as Gaza descends into disaster
A local priest has compared life in Gaza with that described in the Lamentations of Jeremiah, as Caritas Jerusalem launches a urgent humanitarian appeal following Israeli bombings of power stations in the Palestinian territory.
7 Jul 2006

Benedict appoints first Australian Jesuit bishop
In a surprise appointment by Benedict XVI, Jesuit Greg O'Kelly, presently headmaster of St Ignatius' College in Adelaide, has been named Auxiliary Bishop for the city of churches.
7 Jul 2006

Feature - The role of deacons in the life of the Church
The Church has never been without the ministry of deacons from the time of the New Testament up to the present. Married or single men can be ordained as deacons for life, as a permanent ministry in the life of the Church. Vatican II restored this permanent ministry and has allowed each bishop to decide when this ministry will be restored in his diocese. One wonders what the Spirit might be saying to the Churches as this ministry is restored in all of the major Churches of the Christian communion - Anthony Gooley.
7 Jul 2006

Opinion - Invest in the marriage, not the wedding
Since the 1970s, getting married has turned into a commercialised circus, and weddings have become more and more expensive. The average cost of weddings in the US is nearly A$40,000. That's a huge chunk of money to spend on one day of celebrations. While I won't pretend to be an expert on marriage, I know that a marriage is not a wedding. And too often we're focused on the wedding rather than the marriage - Dr Christine Whelan
7 Jul 2006

US women Benedictines launch Taize-style ecumenical community
Members of a Benedictine community, which has been accepting Protestant members for several years, have been dispensed of their vows in order to create a fully ecumenical Christian community similar to Taize in France.
6 Jul 2006

French pilgrims retrace steps of Kiwi pioneers
Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyons, France, is leading a group of 30 pilgrims on a tour of New Zealand to retrace the journey of the country's first Catholic bishop, Bishop Jean Baptiste Pompallier, and Mother Suzanne Aubert, founder of the Sisters of Compassion.
6 Jul 2006

Catholic peace activist faces 10 years jail in Ireland
Controversial Catholic peace activist, Ciaron O'Reilly, is on trial this week for helping disable a US warplane en route to Iraq at a civilian hangar in Ireland in the lead-up to the Iraq war.
6 Jul 2006

Tasmanian Catholic schools call for help to lower start age
Moves to standardise school starting ages across the country will cost Tasmanian Catholic schools $60 million in the first year, according to the State Catholic Education director.
6 Jul 2006

Refugee expert elected President of religious leaders
The former international director of Jesuit Refugee Services, Fr Mark Raper, has been elected president of the Australian Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes (ACLRI), the peak organisation for Australia's 8000 men and women religious.
6 Jul 2006

Brennan rubbishes return to paternalism
In a NAIDOC week talk to mark the 20th anniversary of John Paul II's visit to Alice Springs, Jesuit lawyer Frank Brennan will tonight argue that government partnership with a national representative Indigenous body - not paternalism - is the key to realising Indigenous aspirations.
6 Jul 2006

Feature - Vatican demands reciprocity from Muslims
"Enough now with this turning the other cheek! It's our duty to protect ourselves." Thus spoke Bishop Velasio De Paolis, secretary of the Vatican's supreme court, referring to Islamic countries with poor human rights record towards Christian minorities living within their borders. De Paolis is hardly alone in his thinking. The Catholic Church is undergoing a dramatic shift from a decades-old policy to protect Catholics living under Muslim rule - Daniel Pipes
6 Jul 2006

Opinion - The qualities of good teachers
Everyone can remember a teacher who stood out in his or her own life, and yet it is often hard to say what it is exactly which caused such a deep impression. The Sisters of Mercy gave me a scholarship as a 12 year-old girl and I have always been grateful to them. It is important for people of my generation to recall with gratitude the values of those who in times now gone devoted their entire life energies to others - Justice Susan Crennan
6 Jul 2006

Love camp for Vietnam's street kids
A Catholic organisation in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, has organised a "Love Summer camp" for 1500 street children which involves singing and hip-hop dancing.
5 Jul 2006

Aussie love grows
Following a successful debut in London, an Australian couple, Byron and Francine Pirola, are looking to "export" their "Celebrate Love" program for couples based on Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body.
5 Jul 2006

Nun says Baxter detainees in Queensland for psychiatric care
Adelaide's Glenside Psychiatric Hospital is refusing to treat four Baxter detainees resulting in their transfer to Queensland away from their support networks, according to a Catholic sister working with refugees.
5 Jul 2006

Benedict calls for globalisation of solidarity
Emphasising that "the vast problem of poverty and marginalisation is an urgent challenge", Pope Benedict has called on political leaders to weave "a network of understanding and solidarity among peoples."
5 Jul 2006

Rosalie old boys lobby Bathersby to keep school open
Former students of Marist College Rosalie in Paddington, Queensland, have teamed up with local, state and federal politicians in a bid to save the loss-making school from closure.
5 Jul 2006

Study says British Catholicism facing "pastoral catastrophe"
A bracing 260-page report on the state of the Church in Britain has found that mass attendance has slumped by 40 per cent and Catholic marriages by 60 per cent over the last 30 years.
5 Jul 2006

Feature - A love that shines
Mary MacKillop was devoted to educating the poor and helping the needy. But that was how she fulfilled the Lord's second great commandment, to love her neighbour. The impetus for this came from her fidelity to the first and greatest commandment, to love God with all her being. The fervour of Mary MacKillop's love of God inspired her love for others. Her devotion to the will of God never wavered, so she was just as much a saint in her last years of paralysis and inactivity as she was in the prime of her life - Fr Chris Gleeson
5 Jul 2006

Opinion - A call to soften our ecological footprints
The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church says, "Serious ecological problems call for an effective change of mentality, leading to the adoption of new lifestyles. ... There is the need to break with the logic of mere consumption." It would be an understatement to say that most people in the West do not look at things in this way. We find it easier to give money and time to worthy causes than to substantially cut back our consumption - Glen Argan
5 Jul 2006

Sofia's parents thank God for sharing "angel"
Murdered eight-year-old Sofia Rodriguez-Urrutia Shu was buried yesterday in Fremantle, WA, as her parents thanked God "for letting us share one of his angels for eight beautiful years."
4 Jul 2006

Catholic schools benefit from flight to private schooling
More than one in three Australian students will attend a private school - either independent or Catholic - by 2010, a new study from the Independent Schools Council of Australia predicts.
4 Jul 2006

Youth ministers launch online community
A new online youth ministry network was launched yesterday at the first National Symposium on Youth Ministry in Sydney's Broken Bay diocese.
4 Jul 2006

Catholic students not impressed by Big Brother
A group of Catholic students have slammed the Ten Network's failure to axe the controversial Big Brother reality-TV program as a "cop out to youth" and called for a national debate on young people and sex.
4 Jul 2006

Bishop seeking "good news" on gifts of disabled
Bishop Max Davis, Australian bishops' delegate on disability issues, has called for contributions to a book focusing on the gifts of disabled people to be published in December for the International Day for People with Disabilities.
4 Jul 2006

Cardinal Kasper joins landmark interfaith summit
As G8 leaders prepare to meet in Moscow in mid-July, Cardinal Walter Kasper and religious leaders from all major world religions have arrived in the Russian capital for a major interfaith summit in an unprecedented event for the Orthodox world.
4 Jul 2006

Feature - Bible lessons from the mouth of babes
When I heard the plea that more bible school teachers were needed, I called in and added my name to the roster. After I was assigned a class of eleven three-year-olds, I attended the appropriate workshops. I spent a week making elaborate lesson plans and constructing the visual props provided by the leader's book. The night before bible school began, I prayed, "Dear God, thank you for the opportunity to teach these little ones about you. With this prayer, I'm ready." Well, I thought I was ready - Janice Alonso
4 Jul 2006

Opinion - Marriage and divorce
The Urban-Kidman wedding last week provoked a number of complaints querying how Nicole Kidman, who was married to Tom Cruise for nearly ten years, could be married in the Church. Christ himself spoke against divorce, so Church annulments judge whether the Church's requirements for validity were ever present. Catholic annulment rules might be controversial, but they are generally clear. In an imperfect world they are an attempt to cope with the tragedy of marriage breakdown - Cardinal George Pell
4 Jul 2006

US Catholic students clean up Belarus Jewish cemetery
Students from a New York Catholic university took part in an inter-faith trip to restore long-abandoned graves of a Belarus Jewish community massacred by Nazis during World War II.
3 Jul 2006

Churchgoers reward Catholic charities
Churchgoers are more generous to charity than non-believers while the Church is Australia's biggest non-profit organisation with $16.2 billion in income for 2005, according to two recent surveys.
3 Jul 2006

Zen champions Hong Kong democracy
"Universal suffrage will be good for Hong Kong and for China," Cardinal Joseph Zen told 300 Christians praying in Hong Kong on Saturday before a march for democracy which attracted 58,000 people, including former civil service leader, Anson Chan.
3 Jul 2006

Aboriginal women want child protection, says Josephite nun
Maintaining the mother-child bond is an essential part of ensuring protection for aboriginal children, according to Josephite Sr Joan Healy.
3 Jul 2006

Vatican to release Pius XI's secret archives
All documentary records relating to the pontificate of Pope Pius XI, whose pontificate began in the aftermath of World War I and lasted until the eve of World War II in 1939, will be released in September, according to a Holy See announcement.
3 Jul 2006

New welfare-to-work rules spell disaster: Catholic Social Services
The new welfare-to-work rules, which came into effect at the weekend, could have disastrous consequences, according to Catholic Social Services.
3 Jul 2006

Feature - Celebrating 125 years of service
This year, the St Vincent de Paul Society proudly celebrates its 125th anniversary of operation in NSW and ACT. The Society was established in 1881, when the Rocks was anything but the fashionable heritage tourist centre it is today. It was a poor area inhabited by some of the most destitute and impoverished folk in NSW. With the help of the Marist Fathers at St Patrick's, Church Hill, former New Zealand colonial parliamentarian Charles Gordon O'Neill established the conference - John O'Neill
3 Jul 2006

Opinion - Making poverty history: one year on
As Archbishop of Edinburgh, I had the honour of welcoming over 250,000 people to the "Make Poverty History" march a year ago this week. They came from all over Britain and further afield to ask for more and better aid for the world's poorest countries, cancellation of their unpayable debts and trade rules that will help their economies grow. One year on, important gains have been made and lives have been changed. But the journey that started in Edinburgh last year has only just begun - Cardinal Keith O'Brien
3 Jul 2006