Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources
 

NEWS ARCHIVE FOR AUGUST 2006

   
No "God spot" for nuns, researchers show
There is no specific area of the brain that mediates Christian mystical experiences, researchers say, following a study of 15 Canadian nuns.
31 Aug 2006

Researcher claims fresh evidence of Shroud of Turin's authenticity
A Sydney researcher claims in a new book that the mainstream media is ignoring new scientific evidence which proves that the Shroud of Turin dates from the time of Christ, not the Middle Ages as previous carbon dating suggests.
31 Aug 2006

Trujillo likened to Umpire Hair over abortion comments
A British commentator has compared Pontifical Council for the Family President Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo to cricket umpire Darrell Hair for his announcement that excommunication applied to all parties directly or indirectly involved in the abortion of an 11-year-old Colombian rape victim.
31 Aug 2006

Cardinal Bertone wants to be Secretary of Church not State
Confirming that an overhaul and downsizing of the Vatican Curia is on the cards, incoming Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone says that he prefers to focus on being Secretary "of the Church".
31 Aug 2006

Bishop slams Democrat MP over suicide speech
Melbourne Bishop Christopher Prowse has described a parliamentary speech by South Australian Democrat Sandra Kanck outlining suicide methods as "bizarre and irresponsible".
31 Aug 2006

Catholic Health urged Govt to broaden elderly abuse policy
Compulsory reporting of abuse of the aged should cover psychological as well as physical and sexual abuse, says Catholic Health Australia CEO Francis Sullivan.
31 Aug 2006

Feature - Church's social teachings have much to offer
In 1987 the Australian bishops called for the enhanced commitment of the whole Australian Church in the work of justice, development and peace. In order to extend interest and engagement in this work, the Sydney archdiocese established the Justice and Peace Office to provide it with advice, research and educational activities on matters affecting social issues. Appointed as Justice and Peace promoter last year, Dr Steven Lovell-Jones says that the Church's social teachings "have much to offer in our negotiations with contemporary society" - Damir Govorcin
31 Aug 2006

Opinion - Prenatal testing: a quiet conspiracy of eugenics?
Each year, more and more prenatal technologies become available to pregnant women that allow them to test whether their children will be affected by certain diseases. Approximately 450 conditions can currently be diagnosed in utero by testing fetal cells, often through chorionic villus sampling (early in the pregnancy) or through amniocentesis (later in the pregnancy). Such powerful medical tools raise some serious concerns: are prenatal testing results rapidly becoming the equivalent of death sentences for children in the womb? - Fr Tad Pacholczyk
31 Aug 2006

Vatican exorcist claims Satan possessed Stalin, Hitler
The horror of Nazi and Soviet actions has convinced an Italian exorcist that Stalin as well as Hitler and other Nazis "were all possessed by the devil."
30 Aug 2006

Vatican II pioneer nun dies in US
An American Loretto Sr Mary Luke Tobin who played a leading role in the renewal of religious life and who was one of only three women involved in the drafting of Vatican II council documents has died.
30 Aug 2006

UK Cardinal launches ACU inter-religious dialogue centre
London's Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor will tomorrow officially open the Australian Catholic University's new Asia-Pacific Centre for Inter-religious Dialogue in Melbourne in company with the Honorary President of the Australian Intercultural Society, His Eminence Mehmet Ali Sengul.
30 Aug 2006

John Paul's 1986 Indigenous message still challenges
John Paul II's 1986 statement to Indigenous people at Alice Springs "was more radical than anything he said about land rights," human rights advocate Fr Frank Brennan said, as the Message Stick marking the 20th anniversary of the late Pontiff's visit completes its Queensland journey.
30 Aug 2006

Married priests on agenda for new Eastern Rite bishops association
World Youth Day and the role of married priests will figure prominently on the agenda of a newly formed association of Catholic Bishops of the Eastern Catholic Churches in Australia and New Zealand.
30 Aug 2006

Benedict's meeting with German chancellor resurrects EU controversy
A call by German Vice-Chancellor Angela Merkel during her meeting this week with Pope Benedict for "Christian values" to be placed at the heart of the new European Constitution has sparked protests by Euro-parliamentarians.
30 Aug 2006

Feature - Faith and the city
Christianity has sometimes been accused of an anti-urban bias. Certainly the scriptures get off to a tricky start. Genesis seems deeply gloomy about cities. Cain, symbol of human pride and violence, is portrayed as the founder of the first city Enoch - an alternative to God's Garden. Historically, some Christian approaches to spirituality are marked by a retreat from raucous cityscapes to a peaceful, contemplative "elsewhere" - symbolised by countryside, retreat house or monastery - Prof Philip Sheldrake
30 Aug 2006

Opinion - A 10-point peace plan for the Middle East
The Middle East war which has just taken place before our eyes, with its inhuman procession of bombings, rocket attacks, shelling, and suffering, allowed millions of people to see that violence is useless and that this area will not be pacified by means of war. This is without doubt the single good which emerges from this tragedy, whose high price was paid mainly by the Lebanese people. If from this tragedy can be borne the serious project of seeking a definitive peace, this martyrdom will not have been useless - Fr Samir Khalil Samir
30 Aug 2006

Indian bishop visits Australia for first Mangalorean Mass
Bishop Aloysius Paul D'Souza of Mangalore, India, is visiting Melbourne this week to celebrate the traditional Nativity feast of Konkani-speaking Catholics in honour of Our Lady's birthday.
29 Aug 2006

OK to join Communists, Vietnamese Bishop tells young faithful
A Vietnamese bishop has told a gathering of 60,000 young people that they have the right to join the Communist Party provided their faith is not threatened.
29 Aug 2006

International award for Jesuit Social Services
Melbourne's Jesuit Social Services was yesterday announced as an "honoree" in a New York-based international award for enterprises which integrate high ethical standards with spiritual values.
29 Aug 2006

Lebanon's "hell on earth": Order of Malta
The Australian branch of the historic Order of Malta has launched a $1 million dollar humanitarian appeal for Lebanon following an urgent request from its Lebanese counterpart which has described the post-war situation as "hell on earth."
29 Aug 2006

Californian bishop faces prosecution over failure to report
Bishop Daniel Walsh of Santa Rosa Diocese in California has said that he will accept "whatever punishment is imposed" if he is found guilty of failing to report sexual abuse by a priest of his diocese.
29 Aug 2006

Imagine politics without Christians: Abbott tells critics
Critics should "ponder the loss of Kevin Rudd and Tim Costello, as well as Brian Harradine and George Pell, before seeking to exclude religious believers from our public space," Health Minister Tony Abbott said yesterday in a spirited defence of Christianity's place in politics.
29 Aug 2006

Feature - In tune with the land
Like most musicians, Shellie Morris spends a lot of time on the road. But where others are travelling from club to club, many of Shellie's journeys take her to schools across the Northern Territory, where she's sharing her musical expertise with students in need of a bit of inspiration. A Darwin-based Indigenous song-writer, Shellie has been dubbed the "Janis Joplin of Jingali." She has a rich voice and acoustic style, and her music is about telling the stories and testimonies of Indigenous Australians - Beth Doherty
29 Aug 2006

Opinion - Belief and being in a faithless world
Our society seems to be losing its faith in no faith. Young people in particular would increasingly define themselves as "spiritual" but not "religious". They are interested in faith, and are believers in some sort of God. Many practise a kind of prayer or meditation, which is principally experiential. We should be cautious about describing this as a religious revival, but it would be safe to describe it as a revival of the religious sense, or at least as a revival of an interest in religion - Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor
29 Aug 2006

Disco fever as DJ prepares for ordination
A little kissing is allowed at fundraising dances for Sydney altar servers, says "DJ Father Dan", a Sydney seminarian who is preparing for his ordination as a deacon this weekend.
28 Aug 2006

Celtic footballer convicted for crossing Rangers fans
The Polish goalkeeper for Glasgow Celtic soccer team has been given an official police warning that counts as a criminal conviction for allegedly provocative behaviour by making the sign of the cross during a tense match with rival team Rangers.
28 Aug 2006

New A-E marking system not fair: Vic independent teachers
The Victorian Independent Teachers Union has urged all Catholic schools to reconsider the new A-to-E grading software, reporting some teachers are so unhappy with the new system for schools they are manually readjusting marks.
28 Aug 2006

Pax Christi helps negotiate Ugandan ceasefire
In a major breakthrough for Uganda, a cessation of hostilities was agreed on Saturday between the Government and rebel Lord's Resistance Army following peace talks assisted by the Catholic peace movement Pax Christi.
28 Aug 2006

Chinese bishop released after 10 years in prison
An auxiliary bishop who refused to join China's government-backed Patriotic Association, has been released after 10 years in prison in what may be among the first results of recent secret talks between the Vatican and Beijing.
28 Aug 2006

Church groups hypocritical over welfare-to-work, lobbyist says
A lobbyist has slammed Catholic Social Services and described the St Vincent de Paul Society as "hardline" for boycotting the Government's new welfare-to-work measures, saying it is "hypocritical" to appeal to a higher morality while also relying on government funding for much of their income.
28 Aug 2006

Feature - The Pope and the evolution debate
In the past, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was convinced that evolution was true, and being an intelligent man, he devised a way to make it compatible with theological truth. Today I think his view is different. He grasps the difference between micro- and macro-evolution - development within a species and development from one species to another - and I think he believes people accepted an atheistic worldview in relation to evolution because they accepted the confusion between the two - Dominique Tassot (interview with John Allen).
28 Aug 2006

Opinion - Workplace reform matters to Catholics
Workplace reforms are as much the stuff of Christian ethics as of politics. Catholics in particular with their historic connection and contribution to organised labour should be concerned by these trends. Society is served well by a strong and robust economy, but economies are not covalent with societies. The first serves the second, and not for the benefit of the few but for the benefit of all. Catholics must consider whether the reforms of the Howard Government serve the common good, the interests of all or of the few - Michael Elphick
28 Aug 2006

Redfern parishioners want to reconcile with parish priest
A group of St Vincent's Redfern parishioners has called for reconciliation with the parish priest, Fr Gerry Prindiville, after the NSW Ecclesiastical Regional Tribunal upheld a defamation complaint by parishioner Clare Maguire against a former assistant priest.
25 Aug 2006

No joy for Malaysian Muslim convert to Catholicism
A Malaysian woman known only as "Lina Joy" is in hiding after threats from Islamic extremists who accuse her of apostasy after she renounced her Muslim faith and sought to marry her Christian fiance.
25 Aug 2006

Sri Lankan priest disappears as civilian toll mounts
As fighting intensifies between the Liberation Tigers and Sri Lankan Government forces, a Catholic priest who witnessed an attack by government troops on his parish church has disappeared.
25 Aug 2006

China jails anti-abortion activist
An anti-abortion activist investigating complaints by villagers who claimed they were forced to undergo abortions and sterilisations under China's controversial birth-control rules has been jailed on what his supporters called phony charges.
25 Aug 2006

Toowoomba bishop concerned about regional migrants' rights
In a statement for Refugee and Migrant Sunday this weekend, Toowoomba's Bishop William Morris has called for greater rights and support for Toowoomba's migrant workers arriving in Australia on temporary work visas.
25 Aug 2006

Proponents of therapeutic cloning should cool it: Pell
Several bishops have weighed in on the heated stem cell debate with Cardinal George Pell of Sydney suggesting that proponents of therapeutic cloning "have a glass of water" and "pause for a minute."
25 Aug 2006

Feature - New life for Sydney's Sudanese refugees
The plight of the Sudanese people has touched many hearts, and in a practical way, there are many who are now able to live in relative safety in Australia through an initiative of some Sudanese Catholics assisted by the Sydney archdiocese. To date, more than $270,000 has been raised, enabling over 200 Sudanese to resettle in Sydney. Other initiatives include the appointment of a pastoral care worker; the establishment of a number of support committees and new centres for worship - Marita Winters
25 Aug 2006

Opinion - No sense in a conscience vote
The decision by Prime Minister John Howard to allow a conscience vote on therapeutic cloning has been greeted with enthusiasm by the media, and some politicians, as making good sense. From a political viewpoint, maybe; from the embryo's viewpoint, no sense at all; in terms of an embryo being no more than little bunches of cells, maybe; in terms of the embryo being a human being with ongoing potential, no way - Bishop Kevin Manning.
25 Aug 2006

Orthodox priest builds church for martyred unborn
Moved by the story of the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem killed by Herod during the time of Jesus, an Orthodox priest has launched the building of a church in Siberia to celebrate regular liturgies for aborted babies.
24 Aug 2006

Papers suggest Fidel may be regaining faith
As Fidel Castro continues his recovery from illness, reports have emerged that the longstanding Cuban president has asked two Brazilian liberation theologians to be with him on the day of his death.
24 Aug 2006

Beattie proposes chaplains for hire
In another sign that politicians are increasingly courting the Christian vote, Queensland Premier Peter Beattie has announced that a re-elected state Labor government would provide grants of up to $10,000 a year for schools who wish to hire chaplains.
24 Aug 2006

Mexican bishops turn heat on graphic sex education textbooks
Mexico's Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez has described the contents of Government-prescribed biology textbooks for Mexican schools as "pornographic information."
24 Aug 2006

Catholic groups reject claims of stem cells breakthrough
The US bishops and pro-life groups have been quick to pour cold water on claims published yesterday in Nature magazine that stem cells can be grown successfully from a single cell plucked without harm from a three-day old embryo.
24 Aug 2006

Catholic agencies hit back at Govt over welfare-to-work
Two major Catholic welfare agencies have hit back at Federal Government criticism over the agencies' refusal to participate in its welfare breaching program as the Hillsong Church makes known its own reservations about the new system.
24 Aug 2006

Feature - Good and bad religion
One cannot distinguish between good and bad religion by merely checking the labels. If it happens to be our particular brand, that makes it good. If it wears any other label, that makes it bad. We see this attitude today within Islam. We can also see it in our own Christian faith. But the issue is not that simple. The same religion can produce totally different expressions of faiths. All religions can have both good and bad aspects, we need to discern the good within our own religion and practice it - Msgr Frank Wissel
24 Aug 2006

Opinion - Media sceptics thrive on bias
It is now rare to find media stories about particular politicians on particular topics not to be embellished with gratuitous adjectives such as "devout Catholic." For what it's worth, I find the "Captain Catholic" tag uncomfortable because I'm no less prone to the deadly sins than anyone else. I just take the church and its teaching seriously in a way that was almost universal scarcely a generation back - Tony Abbott
24 Aug 2006

Doctor turns to spiritual healing
A Townsville medical doctor who felt a calling to become a priest from his student days has finally been ordained as a deacon by Bishop Michael Putney in an important step towards the priesthood.
23 Aug 2006

Rwandan refugee family find sanctuary in Sydney
The Sanctuary Movement, a refugee support group founded by Catholic parishes on Sydney's north shore, has raised enough money to reunite a Rwandan refugee who now works at the Australian Catholic University with his surviving wife and children after seven years of separation.
23 Aug 2006

Swags welcome at Newcastle's Backpacker weekends
The Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle is launching a series of weekends which aim to involve "Generation Y" young people in the Church through a "backpacker" approach to spirituality.
23 Aug 2006

Bible scholar restores John Paul's Theology of the Body
An American biblical scholar has published a new translation of John Paul II's famous lectures on the Theology of the Body following a discovery of Polish manuscripts including the original headings and division of the text on which the lectures were based.
23 Aug 2006

Catholic Health welcomes Labor shift on private hospitals
The head of Catholic Health Australia, Francis Sullivan, has welcomed comments from Labor's health spokesperson, Julia Gillard, who last night suggested that a Labor government would pay private hospitals to train doctors and take over elective surgery.
23 Aug 2006

Time for Hicks to go home, says Bishop
It is time for the Government to increase efforts to secure a resolution to the case of Australian Guantanamo prisoner David Hicks, said Bishop Christopher Saunders, the chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council.
23 Aug 2006

Feature - The story behind the documentary "Trafficked"
The idea of "Trafficked", to be screened next week on SBS, grew out of my encounter with the case of "Nikkie", a young Thai girl who was expediently deported in 1995 after she was discovered working in a Sydney brothel. Although three Thai nationals were subsequently sentenced for up to 19 years in jail, there were no arrests in Australia. I was outraged by the case. That year, I travelled to Thailand to try to find Nikkie and understand how a child from a remote part of Thailand could end up in a Sydney brothel - Luigi Acquisto, Director
23 Aug 2006

Opinion - Your children are not yours to own
The children we have are never really ours. They are given to us, in trust, for a short time, and we are asked to be mothers and fathers, mentors, guardians and friends to them, but they are never really our children. They belong to somebody else, God, and to themselves more than they ever belong to us. If we accept this, we will be less inclined to see them as satellites within our own orbits, and more inclined to love, cajole, challenge and correct, even while giving them their freedom - Fr Ron Rolheiser
23 Aug 2006

Mercy's justice tree spreads branches, deepens roots
While passing the baton to a new set of leaders, an Adelaide group of students who launched a senior high school group known as the Young Mercy Justice Tree in 2005 have opted to continue their commitment by linking up with a Mercy International Justice Network project in the Philippines.
22 Aug 2006

Argentinean stargazer for Vatican Observatory
An Argentine-born expert on disk galaxies has been named as the new Director of the Vatican Observatory, which has its headquarters in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, but does its main observing work in the US state of Arizona.
22 Aug 2006

Fate of Bali bombers raises hope for three condemned Indonesian Catholics
With the postponement of the execution of three Bali bombers, a Vatican diplomat says that hopes have risen for a further postponement of the execution of the three Indonesians Catholics convicted for their part in sectarian clashes in Sulawesi in 2000.
22 Aug 2006

Stay in Lebanon: Maronite Archbishop begs his flock
The Catholic Maronite Archbishop of Tyre, whose Archeparchy was hard hit in the recent Lebanon-Israel war, has called on Christians to stay in their villages near the Israeli border as a buffer between Hezbollah and Israel.
22 Aug 2006

Poll shows Australians against cloning, Campion Director says
Fifty-one percent of Australians oppose cloning human embryos as a source of stem cells, according to a survey sent to all federal MPs by Sydney's Campion College Director Rev Dr John Fleming.
22 Aug 2006

Catholic Social Services challenges Labor on commitment to poor
Welcoming the establishment the Labor Party's "Family Watch Task Force," Catholic Social Services Director Frank Quinlan yesterday told the Party that it has a "unique opportunity to renew its traditional commitment to those who are most in need."
22 Aug 2006

Feature - Prayer - a mode of liberation
Prayer responds to a need - to our need to understand and be understood, to speak and be heard, to sing, to believe, to remember, to share, to dream and to worship. Prayer stems from the need to go under in order to emerge again, more serene than before, atoned and purified, more than before. We want to justify good and evil in the present and we need to glorify our ordeal and then weep over it. We cannot hold back too long. At one point we must let go. And we do so in prayer, which then becomes the mode of liberation - Elie Wiesel
22 Aug 2006

Opinion - Forced assimilation will not work on a resilient people
Last year, a senior government minister referred to remote communities as "cultural museums." Her agenda was clear: it was time to stop treating Aboriginal people as being different from other Australians, and it was time to stop funding those communities. This self-justifying approach to the assimilation has not worked here nor elsewhere in the past. Those of us in power generally don't appreciate how resilient and resistant Aboriginal people can be. Nor do we seem to understand that some values are considered by Aboriginal people to hold more life and vitality than many of our own - Fr Brian McCoy
22 Aug 2006

Student peace ambassadors meet at Auschwitz
Endeavouring to promote interreligious dialogue as a tool for building peace, members of the International Movements of Catholic Students have met with students from other major monotheistic faiths at the International Youth Centre in the Polish town of Oswiecim, better known to the world by its German name of Auschwitz.
21 Aug 2006

Anglicans back Catholic boycott of "unjust" welfare-to-work program
Anglicare has joined Catholic Social Services in its refusal to take part in the Government's case management program for "breached" welfare recipients, leaving Centrelink to manage the household budgets of thousands of welfare recipients.
21 Aug 2006

Class action threatened over sex offender Ridsdale
Victims of convicted child sex offender and former priest Gerald Ridsdale are planning to ask the Victorian Government for an exemption from the three year limit for launching legal proceedings in order to mount a class action against the Church.
21 Aug 2006

Abbott lashes "evangelical" stem cell scientists
Controversy continues in the parliamentary stem cell debate with Health Minister Tony Abbott raising fears over the possible creation of human-animal hybrids and lambasting "evangelical scientists" as peddlers of hope over their therapeutic cloning claims.
21 Aug 2006

Overseas priests wanted for Hunter Valley harvest: Bishop Malone
Following an in depth consultation process, Maitland-Newcastle Bishop Michael Malone has announced that he has accepted a Diocesan Pastoral Council recommendation to recruit priests from overseas as part of a broader pastoral strategy.
21 Aug 2006

School wars break out in Victoria
Two Victorian Catholic schools are planning a formal complaint over what they regard as aggressive recruiting of top students by an elite Uniting Church college.
21 Aug 2006

Feature - One woman's calling to a "priestly" vocation
In an indescribable experience six years ago, Teresa Pirola realised that she was called to celibacy. She says shortly after the initial experience she received "an intense conviction that I was meant to take my place within the presbyterate." Teresa is aware that this conviction invites challenge. But the strength of her conviction is such that she accepts that she may never experience the fulfilment of her calling: "I understood this vocation to be a mission to live the question posed by this 'calling' in a spirit of faithfulness to the church ... to embody the question, 'If not ordination, then what?'" - Tracey Edstein
21 Aug 2006

Opinion - Why the Vatican is right in its position on condoms
When it comes to AIDS, it seems politicians and public figures cannot do enough, or at least be seen to be doing enough. Movie stars, rock singers, authors and activists demand that we pump billions of dollars into their cause. The irony is that AIDS is one of the few diseases where personal behaviour rather than medical research could save millions of lives. At its most simple, stop fornicating. There, I've said it - Michael Coren
21 Aug 2006

Three more doctors for NSW Joeys
Leadership, healing and Cistercian monk Thomas Merton provide the focus for the research of three newly graduating doctors from the NSW Sisters of St Joseph, which brings to 10 the number of Josephite doctors in the state.
18 Aug 2006

Indian nun charged with attempted conversion
A corruption-fighting Catholic nun in the eastern Indian state of Bihar is facing charges of forcibly converting a Hindu nurse whom she had earlier assisted.
18 Aug 2006

Bishop condemns honour killing in Italy of Pakistani woman
Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha from Lahore, Pakistan, has condemned the murder of Hina Saleem, whose father last week cut her throat in Brescia, Italy, because she refused an arranged marriage and was living with her Italian boyfriend.
18 Aug 2006

Redfern parish priest appeals for cooperation
Fr Gerry Prindiville, the embattled parish priest at St Vincent's Church in Sydney's Redfern, has made a public appeal to parishioners for cooperation, insisting that Mass "is not the place for criticism of the Church, the Bishops or clergy."
18 Aug 2006

Something stirring in Church's womb, says new Canberra Archbishop
"There is something stirring in the old, seemingly barren womb of Mother Church in this land, and it's all God's work," new Canberra Archbishop Mark Coleridge said yesterday at his installation mass at St Christopher's cathedral.
18 Aug 2006

Catholic Social Services quits Govt's "immoral" program
Catholic Social Services has recommended that its 60 member bodies not participate in the Government's new welfare-to-work program for people whose welfare payments have been cut off, saying the program is contrary Catholic social teaching.
18 Aug 2006

Feature - A year without Br Roger of Taize
"A year of mourning but also a year of grace," is how Br Alois Loeser describes the year since the death of Br Roger Schutz, founder of the ecumenical Taize Community. Br Roger was stabbed to death a year ago this week by an apparently mentally-disturbed woman at an evening prayer service. "He no longer is and, a year later, we still feel the void," said Br Loeser, who succeeded Br Roger. "But at the same time we (are) continuing on the evangelical path that he showed us."
18 Aug 2006

Opinion - Seeing migration through the eyes of faith
When we look at migration through the eyes of faith we see the people of God throughout its history. Whether undertaken willingly or as a result of war, migrations play a part in God's plan. Through the eyes of faith we ask ourselves how should we receive migrants and refugees when they come to our homeland. Jesus himself says to us "I was a stranger and you made me welcome." Indeed it is not hard to see the face of Jesus in those who are homeless or without a homeland - Archbishop Denis Hart
18 Aug 2006

No to witchcraft, yes to Christ: Southern African Bishops
Southern African bishops have warned priests in a pastoral letter published on Friday not to moonlight as witchdoctors and to steer clear of fortune telling, ancestor worshiping and other traditional African practices.
17 Aug 2006

Philippines killings sign of undemocratic society: Bishop
As news spreads of the shooting of the leader of a fishermen's group, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines Vice-President Bishop Antonio Ledesma has described the spate of killings of activist and human rights workers as a sign of an undemocratic society.
17 Aug 2006

More MacKillop favours raise miracle hopes
New reports of favours or possible miracles being attributed to the intervention of Blessed Mary MacKillop have surfaced following the recent media coverage of the case of Sophie Delezio who survived two car accidents despite grave injuries.
17 Aug 2006

Townsville's $200,000-a-day pokie habit worries Centacare
Women now make up 50 per cent of problem gamblers while young men aged between 25 and 34 are emerging as a high risk group for gambling, the head of Townsville's Centacare says, commenting on the latest Queensland gambling statistics for the twin cities of Townsville and Thuringowa.
17 Aug 2006

The road to Middle East peace is spiritual not political, Pope's envoy says
The right road to peace "is spiritual rather than political" and no peace "can last, although there may be agreements, without peace that comes from the heart," the Pope's envoy Cardinal Etchegaray said as he completes his visit to Lebanon.
17 Aug 2006

Caritas calls for pressure as Sri Lankan church bombed, schoolgirls killed
Reacting to the latest atrocities in northern Sri Lanka in which a Catholic church was shelled and 61 schoolgirls were killed in an air raid on a school, Caritas Australia has backed a call by its Sri Lankan counterpart for international pressure to bring government and rebel parties back to the negotiating table.
17 Aug 2006

Feature - God's grace can transform even the worst evil
When he ministered to Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, Divine Word Fr Charles Smith found that his faith, instilled in him by loving parents despite the childhood pain of racial discrimination, enabled him to be Christ's representative even as the inmate verbally assaulted him. "When I first came in (to see him) I thought 'God is the owner of my life,' and I went to him and he threw his faeces on me and called me all types of names. But Fr Smith persevered and the convicted murderer, who was a baptised Catholic, began to repent - Priscilla Greear
17 Aug 2006

Opinion - Finding God in the dark
Whether we like it or not, the cinema is the place where an increasing number of people encounter a world of ethics and spirituality. The problem is that some Christians say that unless a movie explicitly wear its spirituality on its sleeve then it is cannot be counted in the cinematic Christian canon. Such comments do little for contemporary inculturation, betraying the fact that the person making them is unable to read anything into or draw something out of a film which might be consonant with the Christian message - Fr Richard Leonard
17 Aug 2006

Make love and babies, says Kerala Cardinal
A pastoral letter to India's Kerala Catholics from Syro-Malabar Cardinal Mar Varkey Vithayathil calls on Catholic couples to give birth to as many children as possible but critics say the Church is mainly concerned with diminishing numbers.
16 Aug 2006

New future for Forbes retirement village
Wilcannia-Forbes Bishop Christopher Toohey will today take part in an official handover ceremony whereby Catholic Healthcare will become the aged care provider for the Jemalong Retirement Village at Forbes in western NSW.
16 Aug 2006

Darwin celebrates centenary of "Bishop with 150 wives"
The Darwin diocese is celebrating the arrival one hundred years ago this week of the first apostolic administrator and later bishop, Francis Xavier Gsell, known as the "Bishop with 150 wives" for his efforts to save aboriginal girls from involuntary marriages.
16 Aug 2006

Catholic dissidents in Cuba call for calm
A Cuban Catholic dissident leader has called for calm reflection and responsible action in order to foster peace and unity among Cubans both on the island and throughout the world amidst uncertainty about the health of Fidel Castro and calls for change from US politicians and Cuban expatriates.
16 Aug 2006

Fish kill confirmed near Australian mine in Philippines, priest denies sabotage
A local priest has denied allegations of sabotage as local government officials confirmed a recent fish kill near the site of an Australian majority owned mine on the central Philippines island of Rapu-Rapu.
16 Aug 2006

Catholic parliamentarians in firing line again over stem cells
Health Minister, Tony Abbott and other Catholic parliamentarians are back at the centre of political debate as a result of the Prime Minister's announcement of a conscience vote on the cloning of foetal stem cells.
16 Aug 2006

Feature - A Catholic understanding of reconciliation
Early this year a meeting of academics and activists was organised to discuss the state of the reconciliation process between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. The discussion became a debate on the merits and deficits of symbolic and practical reconciliation. It became clear to me that the Catholic understanding of sacramental reconciliation could offer a new vision of what national reconciliation might include and involve. It is, after all, a method that has been tried and tested over hundreds of years - Mary Bryant.
16 Aug 2006

Opinion - A recipe for conflict rather than peace
I have never understood exactly what a "war on terror" involves, apart from increasing fear in every part of society. With all the rhetoric of the past five years, it is obvious that terrorism is now a much greater threat because the divide between "them and us" has grown far greater. The notion that one side can be beaten into submission by the other is a recipe for conflict rather than peace - Bishop Pat Power
16 Aug 2006

Asian youth ministers link up in Hong Kong
Sixty participants at the Asian Youth Ministers Meeting held last week on Cheung Chau Island in Hong Kong pledged to use the internet to maintain links between youth ministers across the region.
15 Aug 2006

Ballarat Bishop accepts criticism in sex abuse case
Following the sentence of former priest Gerard Ridsdale to four more years jail for sexual abuse of 10 boys from 1970 to 1987, Ballarat Bishop Peter Connors has accepted the judge's criticism of the Church and has offered assistance to victims.
15 Aug 2006

"Big people" must reconcile, say displaced Timorese
With 100,000 East Timorese still in camps four months after the end of the recent violence, a Catholic camp coordinator, Br Adriano de Jesus, has said that the country's leaders must set an example in dialogue "because they are the ones who created this problem."
15 Aug 2006

Oceania bishops voice concern on climate change, AIDS
Youth, pastoral care in remote areas, AIDS and climate change were among the key concerns addressed by the Federation of Oceania Bishops Conferences assembly which also elected Wollongong bishop Peter Ingham as Federation President in Fiji last week.
15 Aug 2006

Bishops and church groups welcome Middle East ceasefire
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference President Archbishop Philip Wilson and Caritas Australia director Jack de Groot were among many church figures and groups to welcome the ceasefire that has come into force in Lebanon.
15 Aug 2006

Bishop Grech welcomes defeat of asylum amendment plans
Sandhurst Bishop Joe Grech yesterday welcomed the Government's withdrawal of plans for tougher new asylum laws while the Edmund Rice Centre's Phil Glendenning has called for a "mature" debate on asylum seeker issues, "free from the fear and insecurities associated with terrorism and national security."
15 Aug 2006

Feature - "Believing is beautiful" (interview with Benedict XVI)
I'm not a man who constantly thinks up jokes. But I think it's very important to be able to see the funny side of life and its joyful dimension and not to take everything too tragically. I'd also say it's necessary for my ministry. A writer once said that angels can fly because they don't take themselves too seriously. Maybe we could also fly a bit if we didn't think we were so important - Benedict XVI
15 Aug 2006

Opinion - The Christian spirituality of martyrdom
The subject of martyrdom can be as troubling as it can be inspiring. Within the Church's history, the discussion of martyrdom tended to get lost in the gory details of the horrible and painful deaths that some no doubt suffered. It also seemed to attract a naive and simplistic piety - with overlays of world-hating and body-hating dualism - that did justice to neither its true theological subtleties, nor its psychological, political, cultural and social complexities - Fr Michael Whelan
15 Aug 2006

Preschool teachers ban lunchbox lollies
"Preschools are probably leading the way with healthy-eating strategies in schools," Council of Catholic School Parents Executive Director Danielle Cronin has said, defending controversial checks over children's lunchboxes.
14 Aug 2006

Southern Cross shines at religious press awards
Sydney Anglican paper, the Southern Cross, picked up two major awards for best news item and best feature at the Australian Religious Press Association awards over the weekend.
14 Aug 2006

Killed asylum seeker details sent to DIMA
Relatives have granted permission for the Edmund Rice Centre to send to the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs the names of two Afghani asylum seekers and three children who have been killed since their involuntary return from Nauru.
14 Aug 2006

New controversies in sex abuse cases
A former Victorian detective is seeking an apology over a "forced" resignation for his investigations into a pedophile priest while victims of another convicted pedophile Gerald Ridsdale greeted with disbelief his latest sentence of only four more years jail for 35 additional sexual offences.
14 Aug 2006

Miracle last hour stay of execution for death row Indonesians
The spiritual advisor of three Indonesians condemned to death for their part in Muslim-Christian violence has described the stay of execution following an appeal from Pope Benedict as a "miracle."
14 Aug 2006

Middle East war crimes trials unlikely, says international law expert
As an envoy of Pope Benedict prepares to leave for Lebanon to pray for peace, an international law expert from the Catholic University Louvain in Belgium has said that neither Israel nor Hezbollah are likely to face trial over allegations of war crimes during the four weeks of conflict.
14 Aug 2006

Feature - Twenty-five years of Mother Angelica's Catholic TV
Twenty-five years ago, Mother Mary Angelica had a vision for Eternal Word Television Network, a channel offering nothing but Roman Catholic programming. She had little more than faith, $200 and a garage to use as a studio. Now the Network is available in 127 countries and is capping a celebration of its founding in 1981. Thousands of visitors each year make pilgrimages to Mother Angelica's media empire, snapping picture after picture of control rooms, audio booths and the main studio - Jay Reeves
14 Aug 2006

Opinion - A poor excuse for war
Lebanon is a land of paradise for so many, the land where Jesus turned water into wine. In a twist of irony Israel has turned the waters of Lebanon blood red. So the cycle of death continues. Throughout history, men have sworn revenge for attacks which have ended in bloodshed. Among these men, Gods played a crucial part in these wars. Yet how does one God instruct its people to kill that of another God? It doesn't make sense to the believer today. But as always, an excuse for war was needed - Sheree Joseph
14 Aug 2006

Whyalla schools form holy trinity
Three Catholic schools in the South Australian town of Whyalla will merge in a major restructure to become one school based on two sites.
11 Aug 2006

No standing on school buses, say NSW Catholic parents
It's time that school children had the same protection as coach passengers or any other road user, say Catholic school parents and principals who have joined with other community groups to call for improved safety measures for rural school buses in NSW.
11 Aug 2006

Neither retaliation or provocation can justify slaughter: Australian Maronite nun
Asking "how will I stand on my day of reckoning?", an Australian-born Maronite sister who has chosen to stay in Lebanon in the midst of fighting instead of being evacuated, has condemned the killing of civilians.
11 Aug 2006

Sri Lanka ceasefire in tatters
Civilians have been hit hardest as more than 35,000 people have been displaced in Sri Lanka in the worst violence since the signing of a 2002 "ceasefire" between government and Tamil rebel forces, a Jesuit Refugee Service worker said.
11 Aug 2006

Kiwi paper wins top Catholic news prize
Gavin Abraham from the NZ Catholic has taken out the top news story award at this year's Australasian Catholic Press Association Awards announced in Adelaide overnight while Brian O'Connell from the Marist Messenger took out the best editorial award.
11 Aug 2006

Thousands rally to save death row Catholics in Indonesia
More than 5000 people took to the streets in Indonesia in protest at the planned Saturday execution of three Catholics convicted for their part in Muslim-Christian riots.
11 Aug 2006

Feature - The hunt for red informers
Last month a prominent Polish priest became the latest church figure to confess that he spied for the secret police during the Communist era. Despite the latest revelations about the role of priests under Communist Poland, the Polish Church has been divided in its reactions. Four dioceses have set up commissions to investigate the Communist-era infiltration but most have refused, pleading lack of time and resources. Many Poles believe church leaders are failing to confront reality in their determination to defend the Church's institutional interests - Jonathan Luxmoore
11 Aug 2006

Opinion - The question of suffering still matters
When we understand that suffering and sorrow are essential to an understanding of what it means to be human we begin to see something that only Buddhism and Christianity have appreciated. This is not an accidental part of being human. This is the bleeding heart of it. The reason this needs to be presented as news to so many of us is that in the affluent West it is quite possible to reach the age of 30 and never to have known death. This real inevitability comes as a genuine shock - John Garvey.
11 Aug 2006

ACU students steal limelight
As an Australian Catholic University student from Melbourne, Cassandra Plonsker, prepares to debate how to abolish school gangs at next month's Victorian Youth Parliament, fellow student Jessica Farrell has been named the face of Melbourne's Spring Fashion Week.
10 Aug 2006

New Christmas carols win classical music awards
Jesuit Christopher Willcock and cartoonist Michael Leunig have taken out a major prize at the 2006 Classical Music Awards for their series of nine new Christmas carols.
10 Aug 2006

Off-shore processing failed dead asylum seekers: Edmund Rice
Afghani asylum seekers detained on Nauru were told Afghanistan was safe and that if they did not leave voluntarily they would likely face forced deportation later, Phil Glendenning, director of Edmund Rice Centre said yesterday rejecting a denial of Government responsibility by Immigration Minister, Amanda Vanstone.
10 Aug 2006

Oxfam weighs in on debate over Australian mine in Philippines
Cyanide-laden spill damage from the Australian-owned gold mine Lafayette in the Philippines, the subject of vigorous protests from the local Catholic community, is an example of "shonky" and "irresponsible" miners jeopardising the livelihoods of local communities, an Oxfam advocate said today.
10 Aug 2006

Bertone slams IMF and World Bank "usury"
In a hard-hitting interview with an Italian magazine, the Holy See's incoming secretary of state Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone has described World Bank and International Monetary Fund loans to developing countries as "usury."
10 Aug 2006

Indonesian Catholics to face firing squad on Saturday
Central Sulawesi authorities have informed the families of three Indonesian Catholics convicted for their part in Muslim-Christian violence that raged in the Indonesian province from 1998-2001 that they will face the firing squad on 12 August.
10 Aug 2006

Feature - The making of a Catholic anti-war activist
Anarchism, libertarian socialism and radical theology created the heady ideological cocktail that turned Queensland-born Ciaran O'Reilly towards the Catholic Worker Movement and then with four colleagues to attack a US war plane in Shannon Airport last year. Charged with "criminal damage without lawful consent," he and his colleagues were last month unanimous acquitted by a Dublin jury. Mr O'Reilly says the decision has renewed his "faith and trust in ordinary people."
10 Aug 2006

Opinion - Why the media bags the outcasts
If you read newspapers you could be left with the impression that remote Aboriginal communities in Northern Australia know only violence and abuse. While the situation is far from perfect in many of these places, there is also a lot of good happening. But the problem with newspapers is that they survive because of sales and their most lucrative product - sensationalism - is sometimes keenly manufactured for the benefit of a public who are hungry mainly for the sensational.
10 Aug 2006

Potential MacKillop miracles under study
Bishop David Cremin from Sydney yesterday expressed hope that a second miracle may be attributed to Mary MacKillop before the visit of Pope Benedict to Australia for World Youth Day in July 2008.
9 Aug 2006

Former public servant to head Bishops' Commission for Pastoral Life
Bruce Ryan, a lifetime public servant with experience in policy and program development and in implementation of social policy was this week appointed as the new executive secretary for the Bishops' Commission for Pastoral Life (BCPL).
9 Aug 2006

Time to raise vocations consciousness: Bishop Walker
New guidelines to assist parishes build a "vocations culture" have been released this week to coincide with National Vocations Awareness Week now underway.
9 Aug 2006

Oceania bishops commemorate discovery of "Great Southern Land"
Eighty-two Catholic bishops from Oceania, including Sydney's Cardinal George Pell, are meeting this week in Fiji for their 5th Assembly which also coincides with the 400th anniversary of the 1606 landing on the Vanuatu island of Espiritu Santo by the Spanish explorer Pedro de Quiros.
9 Aug 2006

Bishop's comments at centre of IR tug-of-war
Reacting to a statement by Parramatta Bishop Kevin Manning who said that the Workchoices legislation violates Catholic social teaching on the option for the poor, Prime Minister John Howard said that even a Catholic bishop does not speak for all Catholics.
9 Aug 2006

Catholic Health backs Labor's Medicare Gold refinement
Francis Sullivan, CEO of Catholic Health Australia, yesterday gave his backing to a Labor proposal to revamp its Medicare Gold policy under which the government would assume responsibility for health and aged care needs for all people aged over 75 years old.
9 Aug 2006

Feature - A pizzaman's ambition
Since netting about A$1.3 billion from the 1998 sale of Domino's Pizza, founder Thomas Monaghan has become one of the leading philanthropists to Catholic institutions in the US. In the past eight years, his Ave Maria Foundation has donated A$184 million to promote Catholic education, media and other organisations. His boldest venture by far, however, is Ave Maria University, a four-year liberal arts campus under construction, and a new town called Ave Maria. Monaghan has called the Florida campus and town "God's will" - Susan Hansen
9 Aug 2006

Opinion - A crippling blow to Middle Eastern Christianity
Christians have reason for acute concern over the Middle East conflict because Lebanon has been the last country in the Middle East where Christians play a significant role in society. The Lebanese experiment in multireligious co-existence, a promising alternative to government by the mullahs, has been dealt a crippling blow. The weakening of Lebanon means fading possibilities not only for Middle Eastern Christianity but also for interreligious coexistence. The current crisis calls for the strongest expressions of solidarity for Lebanon.
9 Aug 2006

Satanic verses daubed on Geelong Church
Vandals at the weekend smeared metre high satanic letters in excrement onto the walls of Nazareth Church in Geelong, but the parish priest Fr Greg Trythall says the vandalism was not the work of "serious satanic followers."
8 Aug 2006

New fees tip balance for Wodonga Vinnies
The St Vincent de Paul Society shop in Wodonga fears a bill of up to $5000 a year for disposing of unusable items donated to the store that it is later forced to dump.
8 Aug 2006

Cuban Church rejects foreign intervention
Havana Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino told journalists that the Catholic Church will not accept foreign intervention in the island's affairs and in a pastoral letter, the Cuban bishops have asked the faithful to pray for President Castro.
8 Aug 2006

Wagga seminary rector endorses new college plans
Despite reservations on the part of the Wagga diocese's Catholic Education Office, the rector of Vianney seminary has wished "every success" to a group of Catholic parents who plan to set up a new college to be named after Blessed Mary MacKillop, the new patron of the diocese.
8 Aug 2006

Former priest pleads guilty to 35 more charges
Gerald Francis Ridsdale, a convicted pedophile and former priest already serving a minimum of 15 years for other offences, yesterday pleaded guilty to 35 additional charges relating to boys under his care from 1972 to 1987.
8 Aug 2006

Nine rejected asylum seekers killed: Edmund Rice Centre
Researchers at the Edmund Rice Centre have identified nine asylum seekers forcibly repatriated by the Australian government to Afghanistan who were killed upon their return.
8 Aug 2006

Feature - Bridging faith and science
The Vatican has for more than 100 years funded and staffed world-class observatories, first in Italy and, since the early 1980s, in Arizona. Assigned to the observatories are men who not only hold advanced astronomy and mathematics degrees but who are Jesuit priests. Their scientific findings are formally presented to church officials in Rome once a year. "Our work is to be good scientists as well as good Catholics," says Fr Christopher Corbally, the Vice-Director of the Vatican Observatory Research Group - Kirsten Scharnberg
8 Aug 2006

Opinion - Eating well on the cheap
It's a well-worn truism in the First World that wealthy people tend to be slim, while many of the poor are obese. This is in stark contrast to poorer countries, where body fat can be seen as a sign of prosperity and good health, and is often considered attractive. The reasons for this paradox are complex, but diet - combined with exercise, or lack of it - remains the chief cause. But it does not necessarily need to be difficult to eat well, even if you're on a tight budget - David Sutherland
8 Aug 2006

Priests from China in pilot Sydney study tour
Sydney's Chinese Catholic Community is supporting four Chinese priests from China who plan to pursue their theological studies in Australia as part of a pilot cooperation project.
7 Aug 2006

Parents seek non-religious alternative to school scripture classes
A NSW Federation of Parents and Citizens' Associations survey has found that 59 per cent of 280 parents questioned believe that there should be a secular ethics-based alternative to religious education in schools.
7 Aug 2006

200,000 forms distributed in church life survey
A semi-trailer load of survey forms is being distributed to around 7000 local churches belonging to 22 different denominations in the largest interchurch event of 2006 - the National Church Life Survey.
7 Aug 2006

Sophie's "miracle" not enough for MacKillop sainthood
Announcing tomorrow's feast day celebrations of Blessed Mary MacKillop, the vice-postulator of her cause, Sr Maria Casey, emphasised that although Sydney's schoolgirl's Sophie Delezio recovery from two major accidents seems "miraculous", more is required to authenticate a miracle for canonisation purposes.
7 Aug 2006

Bishop's nephew in latest Philippines political shooting
Jesuit bishop Francisco Claver has lashed out at the Philippines military following last week's brutal shooting of his doctor nephew, Constancio Claver, and the nephew's wife, Alice, in Kalinga province north of Manila.
7 Aug 2006

Aid agencies call on PM to push for Middle East ceasefire
Caritas Australia has joined World Vision and Muslim Aid in an open letter to Prime Minister John Howard calling for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon as it launches a special Middle East Peace Sunday slated for 13 August.
7 Aug 2006

Feature - Planting the seeds for vocations
As an Augustinian friar, Fr Brian Fitzpatrick, the parish priest of Parramatta diocese's Holy Spirit, St Clair, doesn't despair of the perceived shortage of priests. "I happen to think there are a lot of vocations." Fr Brian said. "I've seen three or four since I've been here at St Clair. There are many young fellows here with a real connection with priesthood. I pray about it. I plant a seed. I'm vigilant" - Dan McAloon
7 Aug 2006

Opinion - Torture in the new global Colosseum
The description of a special method of torture that US soldiers inflicted on Iraqi prisoners sounded instantly familiar. As someone who has read many histories of the Christian martyrs, it didn't take long to remember where the brand of punishment had been used before. In the 16th century, the Jesuit priests and brothers martyred in England were treated to the same deprivations. The torture used against my brother Jesuits, which had long been viewed as unnaturally cruel, is now used by my own country. It even had a name - Fr James Martin
7 Aug 2006

No sympathy for Madonna crucifixion
The Italian-American singer Madonna has again offended religious people of all persuasions with her plan for a mock crucifixion of herself during a Rome concert to be held on Sunday near the Vatican.
4 Aug 2006

Cuban Catholics hope for smooth transition
As the ill Fidel Castro hands over power to his long time deputy and brother, Raul Castro, the editor of a Cuban Catholic journal has expressed hopes for cautious reforms, perhaps even with the help of Florida-based exiles.
4 Aug 2006

China's first Catholic non-profit approved but arrests continue
In a significant advance for the Church in China, the ministry of civil affairs has recognised the first Catholic non-profit organisation in Hebei but media reports from the same province indicate that 90 Catholics associated with the unrecognised Church have been arrested.
4 Aug 2006

Catholics told to stand up and be counted for census
People should not be afraid to indicate their religion as Catholic in next Tuesday's Census, according to Sydney archdiocesan chancellor, Fr John Usher, describing the optional religion question as an opportunity to make a "declaration of your faith."
4 Aug 2006

Parliamentarians to debate Christian contribution
More than a dozen federal MPs are this weekend hosting a forum at Parliament House in Canberra to highlight the Christian contribution to the nation's heritage.
4 Aug 2006

Catholic union official compares therapeutic cloning to Nazi experiments
Creating human life for the express purpose of destroying it to obtain stem cells for research amounts to experimentation on human life that is no different to what was done by Nazi doctors last century, says union leader, Joe de Bruyn.
4 Aug 2006

Feature - Professor Ratzinger goes back to school
This year's Ratzinger-Schülerkreis seminar will focus on "Schöpfung und Evolution", creation and evolution. The annual seminar brings together the old theology professor, now Benedict XVI, and his former students to discuss a different topic each year. The first such meeting was held when Joseph Ratzinger was a professor in Regensburg. Once he became archbishop of Munich, his students asked him to continue and he accepted. When in 2005, Ratzinger became pope, his former students thought that their annual tradition would stop, but were proved wrong - Sandro Magister
4 Aug 2006

Opinion - The potential of Catholic blogging
The potential of Catholic blogging is mixed. On the one hand, blogging is a potent tool for expressing responsible public opinion in the Church, without which something would be missing from the life of the Church. On the other hand, no one even slightly familiar with the blogosphere can help being aware that it's the kingdom of the gossips, the ideologues and the cranks - a place in cyberspace where opinion, rumour, ad hominem nastiness and unfettered ego-tripping are par for the course - Russell Shaw
4 Aug 2006

Legal glitches block brothers' extradition to New Zealand
Peculiarities of the extradition rules between New Zealand and Australia intended to make the process easier have prevented two St John of God clergymen on sex abuse charges from being extradited across the Tasman.
3 Aug 2006

Gen Y on a mission, study finds
Generation Y - young people born between 1976 and 1990 - may not be keen on church but they have a strong sense of purpose in life, volunteer frequently, and love their families and friends, according to findings of a national study of spirituality released today.
3 Aug 2006

Lay people to share governance of Christian Brothers schools
The Christian Brothers have established a new governing body involving lay members with responsibility for nearly 40 schools and colleges operated by the congregation.
3 Aug 2006

Ecumenical pioneer Willebrands departs at 96
Known as the "Flying Dutchman" for his frequent trips to promote Christian unity, Cardinal Johannes Willebrands, a key figure at Vatican II, has died on Tuesday in the Netherlands.
3 Aug 2006

Sustained prayers needed for Mid-East: Archbishop Wilson
"Our faith tells us that it is not God's way to oppose violence with stronger violence," Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson said yesterday in a call by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) for "sustained prayers" for peace.
3 Aug 2006

Triple whammy for low income households: CSSA
The combined impact of yesterday's rise in interest rates, higher petrol prices and the effects of the new WorkChoices legislation will seriously affect the ability of many Australians to service their hefty mortgages, Catholic Social Services said yesterday.
3 Aug 2006

Feature - Aged care services in Australia
We can meticulously research and plan the various phases of our lives, from marriage to child birth, education to employment, home ownership to retirement, yet we can completely overlook one of the most important phases: that of older age. We appear to know little about aged care services in Australia - services that can assist us in maximising our health and wellbeing and maintaining our independence - Rebecca Ryan
3 Aug 2006

Opinion - The need for a Catholic voice for peace
In a conversation with John Paul II in July 1993, he said two things to me that are important today as we look for solutions to the senseless killing in the Middle East. His first point surprised me when he said, "In any conflict, it is always the powerful that must give way to the weak if justice is to be achieved." His second point was something I've heard him say before: "The voice of Catholics must be raised in the civic arena once again." Sadly, his calls continue to fall on deaf ears - Raymond Flynn
3 Aug 2006

Catholic Hour pioneer honoured in Kapunda
Retired Catholic media personality Fr John Swann, who was born in Kapunda near the Barossa Valley, was feted on the weekend by his home town after receiving a papal honour for his work in promoting marriage education and the importance of the family.
2 Aug 2006

Teachers need lessons in new web tools: NSW CEO Director
Teachers may feel challenged by new technologies but they must recognise that new web tools - wikis, mash-ups, blogs and podcasts - are not "an optional extra" if they want to meet students' learning needs in the 21st century, according to Greg Whitby, executive director of Parramatta's Catholic Education Office.
2 Aug 2006

Argentine Catholic University in bid to save unborn child
The Catholic University of La Plata has offered to take full responsibility for the baby of a handicapped woman whose parents want her to abort the child, according to reports.
2 Aug 2006

More places needed as 25,000 Americans expected for WYD08
After a visit to the US to promote World Youth Day 2008, Bishop Anthony Fisher says Sydney might need more places to house the expected 25,000 American participants to the event.
2 Aug 2006

Indigenous fresh food subsidies needed, Josephite says
Junk food, which is cheaper than fruit and vegetables in many remote communities, is causing concern among Indigenous women who wants more affordable fresh food for their children, says Josephite Sr Joan Healy.
2 Aug 2006

Unity and hope amid chaos in Lebanon
Lebanese have been forced to forget civil-war era suspicions and tensions in order to help each other in the wake of the chaos following Israel's attacks in Lebanon, according to the head of the Pontifical Mission of the Catholic Near East Relief Mission in Beirut.
2 Aug 2006

Feature - Mel Gibson and the Sedevacantists
Mel Gibson has done himself massive damage, professionally and personally, with his highly-publicised anti-Semitic tirade against a California traffic cop. The actor appears to have confirmed, while drunk, what he was at such pains to deny when his film The Passion of the Christ came out - that he hates Jews. Like his father, Mel Gibson follows an ultra-traditionalist branch of Catholicism that rejects almost all the modern teachings of the Church. Theologians say it's a belief system underpinned by anti-Semitism and it could have fuelled Mel Gibson's outburst - Michael Edwards
2 Aug 2006

Opinion - When life seems out of control
There is a story in the Gospel in which the disciples were in a boat in a storm. This Gospel reminds us that their fate as well as ours does not lie in human hands. For the most part, we can worship God, where we choose, as we choose and without fear or intervention. But certainly this does not mean that life has become a quiet sea, where voyages can sail in perfect peace - Msgr Frank Wissel
2 Aug 2006

Young Christian Workers organise Koranic schools forum in Ghana
Acting on survey findings that foreign-born child beggars were only being educated in informal Koranic schools, a Young Christian Workers team in a Ghana parish has organised a seminar to promote better educational opportunities for the children.
1 Aug 2006

Cambodian Catholics rediscover identity at special synod
The agony of the Pol Pot years which were survived by only 1000 of Cambodia's Catholics has enabled the Church to become a truly Khmer community, Fr Tonlop Sophal Pierre, a local priest, has told a Cambodian synod.
1 Aug 2006

Former diplomat criticises "well-intentioned" human rights advocates
In a paper to be delivered at a Jesuit-sponsored seminar in Melbourne this Wednesday, former Ambassador to Indonesia Richard Woolcott will argue that "well-intentioned advocates of human rights" do not always appreciate diplomatic constraints.
1 Aug 2006

Filipino bishop hammers Australian-owned goldmine
Offering praise for the government's economic development plan, a bishop in North Luzon, Philippines, has said that he remains opposed to large-scale mining projects including a joint Australian and Asian gold-copper project in his region.
1 Aug 2006

American women threatened with excommunication over "ordination"
Twelve American Catholic women, who were to be "ordained" as priests and deacons aboard a boat in a Pittsburgh ceremony yesterday, claim to be returning to the practices of the early Church but the local bishop has told them they are a threat to unity.
1 Aug 2006

Canberra Christian leaders slam Govt over "cowardly" silence on Middle East
In a hard-hitting statement, Canberra Auxiliary Bishop Pat Power and other Christian leaders in the nation's capital have criticised the failure of the leadership of the Government and Opposition to call for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire in the Middle East.
1 Aug 2006

Feature - Old habits hard to break
Catholic nuns are disappearing in the US at a rate much greater than that of priests. A new book by former New York Times religion reporter Kenneth Briggs explains that it was not the Vatican II reforms that drove women away, but the church's effort to quash the reforms once they had already begun. The most visible and one of the most controversial reforms after Vatican II was the removal of the habit - Carolyn Kessel Stewart
1 Aug 2006

Opinion - Keeping our ungoverned instinct in check
For a few Australians, the prospect of life free from shame or guilt would be attractive. I could be too optimistic, as many more might like to be shameless, but I hope not. Shame keeps our baser instincts in check and is part of what distinguishes us from animals. Terrorists who kill innocent civilians are less than human if they have no shame, just as soldiers who kill families in wartime travelling under a white flag should feel ashamed of their actions - Cardinal George Pell
1 Aug 2006