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NEWS ARCHIVE FOR OCTOBER 2006

   
Digeridoos mix with incense for last Lismore funeral
Paul Morris, an Indigenous high school student, was buried on Saturday at a ceremony incorporating Catholic and Indigenous traditions in the last of four funerals for a group of Lismore young people killed in a tragic car crash.
31 Oct 2006

ACU concludes leadership pilot with NSW schools, dioceses
Nine NSW Catholic schools from four dioceses have successfully completed an 18-month pilot project in leadership for learning and learners developed in partnership with the Australian Catholic University.
31 Oct 2006

Italian priest warns against Halloween
An Italian priest well known for his campaigns against prostitution has warned that Halloween is "the most magic day in the year" for Satanists who use it to perform black masses and encourage witchcraft.
31 Oct 2006

2000 gather in Burma cathedral for peace prayer
The Archbishop of Rangoon has offered a blessing to Burmese political prisoners at an ordination ceremony for five new priests before a large crowd in the nation's capital on Sunday, according to a report from democracy activists.
31 Oct 2006

Abbott trashes Rudd criticism of "un-Christian" coalition
John Howard has never used faith as a sales pitch, Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott said yesterday, challenging assertions by Kevin Rudd that the Coalition Government was "dogwhistling" the Christian vote.
31 Oct 2006

Pell cautiously welcomes school chaplain plan
Describing the Federal Government's plan to fund school chaplains as "nothing completely new", Sydney Cardinal George Pell says that the Australian bishops would consider the proposal "optimistically" but that any vetting would need to based on "public criteria".
31 Oct 2006

Feature - Catholic radio turns words into action
Picture the scene on a hot and blazing October afternoon under the Zambian sun. The rocky dry ground is hot but a young girl has to walk bare-feet for 25 kilometres to the nearest school. In 1999, the Jesuit priests set up a radio station - Radio Chikuni - to address the problems and challenges facing the rural population. The desire to fight illiteracy gave birth to a unique radio education program in which poor children who cannot walk long distances to schools learn through lessons broadcast on Radio Chikuni - Elvis Milambo
31 Oct 2006

Opinion - Churches could hold key to salvation for the Left
Despite the suspicion of many progressives, the churches are better placed than both the environment and trade union movements to tackle the effects of decades of neoliberalism and social conservatism. Traditionally, the churches have attended to and represented the deeper aspects of life, those that transcend the individualism, materialism and selfishness that so characterise modern affluent societies like Australia. It is in this transcendent concern that I believe we can find the roots of a new progressive politics - Clive Hamilton
31 Oct 2006

Vic Mercy College wins residence for Ethiopian student
After raising $5000 to fund lifesaving medical treatment in Australia for an Ethiopian student, a Melbourne Mercy college has succeeded in persuading the Federal Government to grant residence to the student who requires ongoing treatment.
30 Oct 2006

Nigerian nun faces capital murder charge
Four staff members, including a nun, from Caritas University, Nigeria, have been charged with conspiracy to murder a first year science student at the religious congregation-owned institution.
30 Oct 2006

All abortions banned in Nicaragua
Days ahead of Nicaragua's presidential election, the Central American country's legislature has unanimously passed a law banning all abortions including those for rape victims and women who risk death in childbirth.
30 Oct 2006

Catholic Social Services pours cold water on fair pay euphoria
Calculations by an economic research centre appear to back concerns expressed by Catholic Social Services that the Fair Pay Commission approved wage rise would not even compensate for inflation since the last pay rise almost 18 months ago.
30 Oct 2006

Veto fears over Govt's chaplaincy funding scheme
Reacting to the Federal Government's pledge to fund chaplains in every Australian school, NSW Catholic Education Commission head, Brian Croke, says that a government veto over Catholic school staff especially in religious matters "would be unprecedented".
30 Oct 2006

Do whatever it takes to stop sex abuse, Benedict says
Denouncing cases of clerical sex abuse as "egregious crimes", Pope Benedict has told Irish bishops that they must find out the truth, seek justice and do whatever is necessary to prevent abuse from occurring again.
30 Oct 2006

Feature - Seduced by power and glory
When I move to Melbourne in 2003, I am surprised to find how often John Wren's name comes up in conversation. As if there is this ongoing, unanswered question about him. He divides opinion. But don't believe me when I say there are a few things about Wren I'm confident about. I reckon he was a man of vision, confidence and energy, a man willing to take risks and gamble, a man in touch with his sense of self: his class, his suburb, his footy club, his Catholicism - John Harms
30 Oct 2006

Opinion - Juggling God and Caesar
Religious people are as entitled as anyone else to engage in the legal and political processes, agitating their policy preferences in light of their comprehensive worldview. Coercion of conscience even within the confines of the religious community is no longer defensible. Benedict XVI put the position well for Catholics when he said before becoming Pope: "The true law of God is not an external matter. It dwells within us. ... It speaks to us in our conscience" - Fr Frank Brennan
30 Oct 2006

Qld Catholics to join other Christians in rain prayer
Queensland Catholics and other Christian denominations will unite with the state's Premier Peter Beattie next week in a common prayer to break the drought that has the state at crisis point.
27 Oct 2006

El Salvador ex-solder convicted in Jesuit murders arrested in US
A former El Salvador army officer convicted over the 1989 murder of six Jesuit priests and two other people has been arrested in the US and faces deportation after illegally entering the country.
27 Oct 2006

Benedict tells military chaplains they must promote peace
Addressing a congress of military bishops, Pope Benedict said that chaplains must promote Church social teaching that armed forces "are at the exclusive service of the defense, security and freedom of peoples".
27 Oct 2006

Nobel prize Bishop meets Timor rebels and ex-PM
In a bid to end East Timor tensions and violence, former Dili Bishop Carlos Belo, on a ten-day visit to his homeland, has met with rebel leader Alfredo Reinado and also with ousted Prime Minister Mari Alkitiri.
27 Oct 2006

Climate makes "ecological conversion" urgent, Vatican says
Outspoken Holy See envoy Archbishop Celestino Migliore has told the United Nations that "ecological conversion" is necessary to tackle climate issues and that addressing the "environmental consequences of economic activity" is among the world's "highest priorities".
27 Oct 2006

Archbishop Bathersby blasts return to "golden past"
Reacting forcefully to criticism that Queensland has the lowest rate of attracting seminarians, Brisbane Archbishop John Bathersby says he has no desire to return to a "golden past" noted for seminarian numbers but also for "sinfulness."
27 Oct 2006

Feature - Parishioners still shook up as they recall Elvis
In the mid-1950s, Elvis Presley was not yet famous, the US Arkansas town of Helena was a thriving centre and the local parish hall was the best place in town to hold a dance. Elvis performed at the "Catholic Club" several times - until the pastor told him to leave the building. The story goes that Elvis was kicked out of the Club for signing the thigh of a teenage girl after a performance in 1955. "You're a disgrace to manhood and don't come back anymore," a furious Fr Thomas Keller apparently told Elvis - Tara Little
27 Oct 2006

Opinion - Leadership in a post-WYD church
"Leadership" is an important concept - and a word that should not be used lightly. True leaders, as Christ has shown, are never self-obsessed. They delight in the achievements of their flock rather than in the honouring of the shepherd. The church post World Youth Day will need more leaders to be like Christ. We are going to need more priests, religious and lay leaders than ever before, to help keep alive that youthful flame of faith and to direct that energy for the building up of God's kingdom - Bishop Anthony Fisher
27 Oct 2006

Bishops' movie man gets Rome call up
The Director of the Australian Catholic Bishops office for film and television, Fr Richard Leonard, has been posted to Rome as visiting professor at the prestigious Pontifical Gregorian University.
26 Oct 2006

Catholic super fund seeks better retirement returns
The Catholic Superannuation and Retirement Fund has given a $100 million mandate to the MIR Australian Equities Fund for investment in the burgeoning Australian stockmarket.
26 Oct 2006

Brazilian Lula chases Catholic vote in presidential election
Incumbent Brazilian President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva is fighting to retain the support of grassroots Christian communities and social groups for his Workers Party in the presidential election runoff this weekend.
26 Oct 2006

Asian Church challenges Australia to find own way to tell Jesus story
Returning from the Asian Mission Congress in Thailand this week, an Australian observer, Fr Terry Bell, says that efforts to understand Jesus' story from an Asian point of view also challenge Australians to find ways to celebrate faith in their own context.
26 Oct 2006

Bishop condemns "starvation wages"
Parramatta's Bishop Kevin Manning has described the low wages of cleaners as "theft of their labour" and a contradiction of their human dignity, while top executives earn millions of dollars a year.
26 Oct 2006

Pope tells US priests to clean up own chalices
Lay extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist in the US will no longer be permitted to assist priests in the purification of sacred vessels at Mass following a new ruling from the Holy See.
26 Oct 2006

Feature - Volunteer sees hope amid conflict in Uganda
Just over six months into her volunteer placement with the Jesuit Refugee Service, Ruth Townley says the reality of life in Northern Uganda has provided many highs and lows. "Sometimes I think I could be here forever, and other times I'd be on the first plane home if I had the chance," the 26-year-old admits. It's a challenging environment for anyone to work in. For nearly 20 years, Northern Uganda has been engulfed in conflict and the atrocities have been widespread - Michael McVeigh
26 Oct 2006

Opinion - What does it mean to be critical?
Liberals and conservatives both pride themselves on speaking out for the truth, on thinking critically. But too often both are deluded as to what it means to be critical. Generally we think of a critic as someone who debunks what's false, heretical, naive, inflated, or superficial. Partly that's true, but it leaves too much room for us, liberals and conservatives alike, to criticise others according to our own image and likeness. What does it mean to be critical? - Fr Ron Rolheiser
26 Oct 2006

Britain's oldest Jesuit dies at 100
Jesuit Fr John ("Doc") Russell has died four months after he reached his century after earlier achieving the distinction of becoming the oldest British Jesuit ever.
25 Oct 2006

Movement talking evangelisation with Russian Orthodox
The Moscow Patriarchate says "no final agreement" has been reached with the Neocatechumenate Way over the Catholic movement's proposal at a meeting last week to train Russian Orthodox clergy in evangelisation methods.
25 Oct 2006

Politician targets Catholic school over Menzies "tyrant" book
Queensland Liberal Senator George Brandis has attacked a Mt Isa Catholic high school for stocking a book in its library that describes former Australian prime minister Robert Menzies as a "tyrant".
25 Oct 2006

Asia needs a "mango" Church, missionary says
A British-born Divine Word missiologist has told the Asian Mission Congress that the Church in the world's most populous continent needs to overcome its peripheral local adaptation to become a "mango Church" - yellow inside and outside.
25 Oct 2006

Pope challenges leaders on "pitiless" Iraq violence
In a speech marking the end of Ramadan, Pope Benedict has called on Iraqi political and religious leaders to help to rebuild the troubled country and overcome the "pitiless violence to which so many innocents are exposed".
25 Oct 2006

Queensland Catholics "lost!", claims author
In his new book, Lost!, launched this week, Melbourne author Michael Gilchrist lashed out at a culture he says creates "lukewarm" Catholics, singling out Queensland as by far the worst Australian state in attracting students for its seminary.
25 Oct 2006

Feature - Mass jubilee celebration reaffirms value of marriage
Eighty Catholic couples renewed their relationships with each other and their children recently at an annual wedding jubilee celebration in Vietnam. In front of about 1,000 fellow parishioners, the couples reaffirmed their wedding vows and exchanged wedding rings. Organiser Fr Joseph Nguyen says that the jubilees are a matter of pride not only for the married couples but also for the Catholic community. "The Mass sent a message from Catholics to other people that marriage is something valuable and worth maintaining," the priest explained.
25 Oct 2006

Opinion - Faith and reason require humane imaginations
The history of Limbo illuminates troubling aspects of the relationship between faith and reason. Limbo is less a place than a halt on the line of questions that enquiring minds have asked about faith. It now seems incredible that theories which demand that unbaptised babies are consigned to hell, and that God predestines some people to damnation, should ever have seemed consistent with either human or divine goodness. What is missing in this theological use of reason is an imagination grounded in ordinary humanity - Fr Andrew Hamilton
25 Oct 2006

PNG Church gets tough on violence against sorcerers
Papua New Guinea Bishop Henk te Maarssen has warned that Catholics who unjustly accuse, beat, torture or murder people suspected of sorcery will be excluded from the sacraments.
24 Oct 2006

US Court forces Church to provide contraceptive medical cover
A ruling by the New York Court of Appeals says that Catholic and other religious charities must provide contraceptive coverage as part of their workplace medical insurance programs even if they are morally opposed to contraception.
24 Oct 2006

Charismatic Canadian bishop arrives to activate WYD school campaign
Canadian Bishop James Wingle has arrived in Australia for a nationwide tour to launch the Activ8 program to prepare young people for the World Youth Day in 2008.
24 Oct 2006

World remembers Hungarian uprising
In a message marking the 50th anniversary of the 1956 uprising against Soviet domination by the "courageous people" of Hungary, Pope Benedict has joined other world leaders in saluting the memory of the 200 people executed and the 2600 people who died fighting the Red Army.
24 Oct 2006

Men killed outside Dili Church as Timor's PM leaves to see Pope
In the latest violence to hit East Timor, two men were stabbed to death outside a Catholic Church in Dili on Monday as Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta departs for Rome to meet with Pope Benedict.
24 Oct 2006

French clerics warn against return of Latin Mass traditionalists
Thirty-five French clerics have warned in a statement that they are not ready to receive the breakaway group Society of St Pius X over theological differences and the group's link with far-right political movements.
24 Oct 2006

Feature - The impact of sex abuse cases on churches
The plight of Adelaide's Anglicans this week reveals that the churches are still picking up the pieces after more than a decade of damage control over the sexual abuse of children. The flurry of victim claims on the churches peaked in the mid-1990s. But victims' groups were forming earlier than that. Broken Rites Australia opened a telephone hotline for victims in 1993. About 90 per cent of the victims who have contacted the organisation since then have been from a Catholic background and more than half have been males who were abused as children - Jill Rowbotham
24 Oct 2006

Opinion - Has the Church lost its nerve?
Some people believe that the Church has lost its nerve in relation to proclaiming the Gospel and some who would situate this trend with the teachings of Vatican II. Such a judgment is devoid of an historical sense of the Church's relation to culture and it fails to see how Vatican II has inspired a much richer sense of Christian life and mission for the post-colonial world. In today's pluralistic world, the task of communicating the Gospel is much more challenging and complex - Fr Gerard Hall
24 Oct 2006

Satanists promise "shock rituals" in Brisbane
A Brisbane Catholic priest has vowed to combat destructive Satanist "shock rituals" planned for Halloween with the love and understanding of Christ.
23 Oct 2006

Adelaide Passionist gets international role
Well-known Adelaide priest, Fr Denis Travers, was elected Vicar General for the worldwide order of Passionist priests at the order's 45th General Chapter in Rome at the weekend.
23 Oct 2006

Priest admits fondling disgraced US politician
A Maltese-born Miami priest has been banned from all clerical roles after admitting intimate contact with disgraced former US House of Representatives member, Mark Foley.
23 Oct 2006

Chaldean Catholics get their own Bishop
Australian and New Zealand Catholics who follow the Chaldean Rite will have their own Oceania eparchy or diocese and bishop, the Holy See announced on Saturday.
23 Oct 2006

No cloning cures for Catholics, says Bishop Fisher
Catholic hospitals are unlikely to allow cures or treatments derived from cloned embryos, Bishop Anthony Fisher told a Senate Committee hearing on Friday.
23 Oct 2006

Rome steps up interfaith dialogue gestures
As the Holy See releases its first document in Arabic, Cardinal Paul Poupard, head of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, has written to Muslims saying that Christians and Muslims must be an example to the world of authentic dialogue.
23 Oct 2006

Feature - The marrying kind
Fr Bob Maguire, parish priest at Sts Peter and Paul's Church in South Melbourne, is one of Melbourne's most sought after wedding celebrants. Over the past 12 months, he has performed more than 100 weddings in his parish church, sometimes doing up to three a day and there are already bookings for 2008. Despite his popularity, the Church is facing some stiff competition from civil celebrants. During the past 20 years, the number of Australian marriages performed by civil celebrants has risen from 40 to 59 per cent - Bernadette Clohesy
23 Oct 2006

Opinion - The suffering of the Mandaeans is real and deadly
The Sabean Mandaeans are a small religious sect who claim descent from John the Baptist, Christ's cousin. Many are Iraqis and since the fall of Saddam the gates of hell have opened on them. The position of minorities in Iraq is drastic, although most victims are Muslims and no one is safe when gangs rule and the police are complicit or helpless. The 4000 Mandaeans in Australia are good migrants, law abiding and hard working but many have difficulty in obtaining entry into Australia as refugees - Cardinal George Pell
23 Oct 2006

Former "cowboy gigolo" plays John Paul II
Now better known as Angelina Jolie's dad, actor Jon Voight, who first rose to fame for his role as a young gigolo in the 1960s hit movie "Midnight Cowboy", stars as Pope John Paul II in a TV mini-series of the same name now available on DVD.
20 Oct 2006

Catholics must unite as China warms to Christianity: Bishop
Macau Bishop Jose Lai has challenged Chinese Catholics to start a new dialogue between the underground and government-recognised church groups in order to benefit from the country's increasingly tolerant approach to Christianity.
20 Oct 2006

Catholic non-profits must be more business-like, says investment expert
Catholic organisations need to engage more with the business sector in order to learn better organisational methods as well as to improve fundraising and lobbying, an investment industry leader has told a Catholic Social Services conference.
20 Oct 2006

Family planning counsellors to get academic credit
The Broken Bay Institute in Sydney, in partnership with the Australian Council of Natural Family Planning, is today launching a new academic certification for natural family planning practitioners.
20 Oct 2006

Vatican health official backs living wills
Reiterating the Church's opposition to euthanasia, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, who heads the Vatican's program of pastoral assistance to health care workers, has come out in favour of living wills that allow terminal patients to decide in advance how they wish to be treated.
20 Oct 2006

Bishops step up campaign against cloning
Sydney Bishop Anthony Fisher will appear before a Senate hearing on cloning and stem cell research today in a new bid by Australia's Catholic bishops to ensure acceptable ethical limitations on scientific research in these fields.
20 Oct 2006

Feature - Reciprocity issue cuts both ways
Westerners sometimes assume that Europe and North America are always on the side of the angels when it comes to religious freedom, so that the "reciprocity" question dear to Pope Benedict XVI is largely a matter of bringing the Islamic world up to Western standards of tolerance and liberty. In fact, however, the reciprocity question can be complicated in the West too, in a way that certainly doesn't escape the attention of Muslim eyes - John L Allen
20 Oct 2006

Opinion - Stem cell bill takes us down a slippery slope
Today a Senate committee will begin hearings in preparation for the reconsideration of Parliament's unanimous decision in 2002 to ban therapeutic cloning. In 2002, the majority of our politicians supported experimentation on excess IVF embryos but all opposed the deliberate creation of human embryos only for destruction and experimentation. Some scientists now want a relaxation of the universal ban. There is no turning back once we cross the moral contour prohibiting creation of human life only for experimentation and destruction - Fr Frank Brennan
20 Oct 2006

Melbourne parish in battle over "liquor precinct" development
Parish priest Fr Peter Hansen from Craigieburn in northern Melbourne has joined with the local council in opposing a bid by Woolworths for a second packaged liquor licence in a local plaza that could create a "liquor precinct" in an area with a high youth population.
19 Oct 2006

Filipino Catholics eulogise slain Protestant "bishop of poor"
Protestant Bishop Alberto Ramento, who was stabbed to death in the Philippines early this month, was "a fearless and unwavering prophet and teacher" who courageously denounced scandals that have rocked the Philippines government, says a leading Catholic bishop.
19 Oct 2006

Sydney Catholic school in SIEV X controversy
Government ministers are outraged over a case study, currently under consideration by St Aloysius College, Sydney, designed for high school history classes that asks whether the 353 drowned on the SIEV X asylum seeker boat were the result of Government policies.
19 Oct 2006

Catholics duty-bound to vote in line with Church teaching: US bishops
Arguing that "a renewed 'Catholic vote' could become a political force for justice", bishops from the US state of Illinois say that Catholics must exercise their duty to vote in accord with Catholic social principles beginning with human dignity and the right to life.
19 Oct 2006

Agency ignores calls to sever North Korea ties
A South Korean priest who was the first foreigner to cross the North Korean border following Pyongyang's nuclear test last week says that Catholic aid to the North will continue but that development projects for the poor will suffer as a result of political fallout from the test.
19 Oct 2006

Dangerous to portray children as "sexual objects": Centacare
The community should never allow commercial agencies to treat children as commodities and to sexualise them in a search for profit, says a Sydney Centacare manager, responding to concerns over children in advertising.
19 Oct 2006

Feature - Who's counting the collection money?
Every week, churchgoers drop their money into collection plates, trusting it will pay expenses and help the poor. The money typically disappears into the hands of an usher, who bags and deposits it in a safe place before volunteers count it. But who does the counting? Who brings the treasure to the bank? After a priest from Florida, who is believed to be on holiday in Australia, was charged with misappropriating thousands from the weekly offertory, some in the US are questioning what happens after they pass that plate through the pews - Lois Solomon
19 Oct 2006

Opinion - Brute force will not solve North Korean crisis
How might the international community respond to the Korean crisis? It is doubtful that sanctions will have the desired effect. Indeed, they may stiffen the regime's resolve to acquire a full-fledged nuclear capability. Despite periodic setbacks, the "sunshine" policy pursued by South Korea is suggestive of a more promising strategy. The North Korean regime is more likely to be loosened from its grip on power by the slow but persistent attempts to change the nation's economic and psychological landscape, than by the external application of brute force - Professor Joseph Camilleri
19 Oct 2006

Record number of Indian Catholics in bible quiz
The annual Bible Quiz in the Indian state of Kerala continues to boom with an astronomical 338,000 Catholics taking part in this year's event.
18 Oct 2006

Spanish court strips diocese of $40 million inheritance
A Spanish court has ordered an archdiocese in northern Spain to hand over a $A40 million inheritance from two rich, childless widows to two distant relatives including a British stepson of a cousin whom the women had never met.
18 Oct 2006

Govt gives $1.5 million to restore greenstone Cathedral
Catholics in Goulburn, NSW, are drinking top of the shelf whisky after the Federal Government set aside $1.5 million towards a $5 million fundraising campaign to finance the restoration of the world's only greenstone cathedral.
18 Oct 2006

"Boiled lollies" leave sour taste for Indigenous people
Comparing government policy on Indigenous issues to handing out lollies to children, Indigenous leader Graeme Mundine said it's time to move to a new approach emphasising shared responsibility if development targets are to be achieved.
18 Oct 2006

Good Samaritans get Catholic awards
Catholic Social Services have presented Marist Br Geoffrey Kelly with the 2006 Perkins Award for his role in leading the Marist Youth Care service with other awards going to Ballarat Centacare and Mercy Family Services in Queensland.
18 Oct 2006

Counter-terrorism measures need to protect human rights: Holy See
Effective counter-terrorism measures should serve not sacrifice the protection of human rights, the Holy See representative told the United Nations this week.
18 Oct 2006

Feature - Challenges of Christian converts from Islam
Converts from Islam to Christianity pose a challenge for governments to ensure freedom of religion - and their witness is also a challenge to the Church itself. So says Giorgio Paolucci, who has co-authored a book which gathers the testimonies of Italian Muslims who have converted to Christianity. "One of the results of immigration is that Islam is among us," he says. "[Islam] is present in all its complexity, including the issue of religious freedom, an issue that Muslim countries and the relative communities spread around the world have yet to clarify."
18 Oct 2006

Opinion - Science catching up on Catholic sexual ethics
Many earnest young people live together because they are afraid of divorce. But the social sciences have shown that living together is not good preparation for marriage: people are more likely to divorce if they lived together before marriage than if they did not. Instead of giving with abandon, cohabiting couples calculate whether it is in their interest to stay in the relationship or leave it. The cohabiting relationship enshrines a "use and be used" consumer approach to dealing with each other - Jennifer Roback Morse
18 Oct 2006

John Paul II on the money in Poland
Poland's central bank yesterday released two commemorative banknotes bearing the image of John Paul II to mark the 28th anniversary of the late Pope's election.
17 Oct 2006

Indigenous team joins NT Football League
An Indigenous Australian football team representing the Tiwi Islands, where Australian football was introduced by 99-year-old Missionaries of the Sacred Heart brother, John Pye, debuted in the Northern Territory last weekend.
17 Oct 2006

British Christians cross over airline policy
A Catholic former UK Minister has called for a boycott of British Airways after the airline forced a staff member to take unpaid leave for her refusal to remove a necklace displaying a small silver cross.
17 Oct 2006

More strife in Indonesia in aftermath of executions
A Protestant pastor who strongly defended three Catholics executed last month for their part in inter-religious violence was shot dead yesterday as a bomb blast rocked a jittery eastern Indonesian island.
17 Oct 2006

Catholics join campaign to clean up poverty
Cleaners in Australia and New Zealand are rallying for International Anti-Poverty Day today in a bid for better wages supported by the Australian Catholic Social Justice Commission while Catholic agencies are marking the day in a series of talks on poverty.
17 Oct 2006

High Court approves extradition to NZ of religious
St John of God brother Rodger William Moloney and priest Raymond John Garchow have been refused leave to appeal against their extradition to New Zealand to face child sex charges dating from the 1970s.
17 Oct 2006

Feature - Jamie Oliver encourages gluttony
Feasting has long been associated with Catholicism and yet there remains a strong anti-food puritanism in our religion. Eating healthily is now a religious duty. Salvation is a thoroughfare where one eats only happy animals and five portions of organic fruit and vegies a day. It is this puritanism to which celebrity chef Jamie Oliver appeals. His credo seems at first glance to be a sensible program for avoiding the deadly sin of gluttony. But gluttony is not simply about eating the wrong things, nor is being fat necessarily evidence of gluttony - Fr Timothy Gardner
17 Oct 2006

Opinion - Abortion and euthanasia as mercy killings
Many people who seek or provide or support the availability of abortion and/or euthanasia do so really believing they are being compassionate. I would not presume that all "pro-choicers" are merciful in their motivation any more than I would presume all "pro-lifers" were - but I recognise that many are driven by a kind of benevolence and genuinely want to serve others well by doing so. But concepts such as love, mercy and compassion can be over-used or misused and in the process demeaned - Bishop Anthony Fisher
17 Oct 2006

Stay faithful, Nic hints at husband
In Rome at the weekend for the world premiere of her latest movie, Catholic film star Nicole Kidman told reporters that she has "pretty strict ideas about sexual fidelity".
16 Oct 2006

Indian Dalits in mass conversion to Buddhism and Christianity
In a protest against anti-conversion laws introduced by several Indian states, over 9,000 Indigenous Dalits were received into the Buddhist and Catholic faiths in mass ceremonies in the central city of Nagpur over the weekend.
16 Oct 2006

Ned Kelly's bishop's tomb found under Cathedral pews
In what has been described as a once in a lifetime find, the graves of Perth's first two Catholic bishops, including Bishop Matthew Gibney, who administered the last rites to hanged bushranger, Ned Kelly, have been re-discovered by archaeologists - under the pews of Perth's cathedral.
16 Oct 2006

Tasmanian justice system failing: Hobart Bishop
The fact that almost two-thirds of Tasmanian prisoners re-offend after release is a "clear sign of failure", says Hobart Archbishop Adrian Doyle, and more emphasis on rehabilitation is needed to reduce the recidivism rate.
16 Oct 2006

Catastrophic threat to civilisation, expert warns
Climate change threatens to increase terrorism and war and even to cause the collapse of civilisation, a Deakin University health expert told a Catholic conference on climate change in Melbourne on Friday.
16 Oct 2006

Muslim scholars engage Benedict in dialogue
Thirty-eight Muslim scholars from around the world have delivered an unprecedented open letter to Pope Benedict pointing out errors in his Regensburg speech last month but expressing appreciation for the Pontiff's clarifying comments and expression of regret over the misunderstandings of his text.
16 Oct 2006

Feature - Travel is the key to longer life
On 30 September, I got off a plane in Rome and within two days was spending the day with a Jesuit I had never met before, Fr Joseph Carola of the Gregorian University. He's a historian. He wrote the quasi-official rebuttal from Rome about all the mistakes, distortions and myths in Dan Brown's pulp thriller The Da Vinci Code. The journey with Fr Carola began on the rooftop of the Gregorian, with its breathtaking view of the entire cityscape of central Rome. In kairotic time, weeks can seem like months - Paul Sheehan
16 Oct 2006

Opinion - Restoring the Latin rite will enrich Church
A great loss to the Church, from the late 1960s on, has been the treasury of liturgical music. From plainchant to polyphony, the sacred music of Haydn, Mozart, the classical composers right down to Bruckner. Australian civilisation is poorer for its virtual absence from the repertoire in most churches. The return of the old Mass will mean that no one is forced to listen to the faux-folk music of the St Louis Jesuits, to Haas and Hagen or Sr Janet Mead for that matter, ever again - Christopher Pearson
16 Oct 2006

Vinnies lights sparks with refugee children
In the lead up to Refugee Week later this month, the Parramatta Society of St Vincent de Paul is recruiting volunteers for its "Bright Sparks" and "Little Sparks" English and homework programs for refugee children and their families.
13 Oct 2006

Timor bishop in bid to prevent new violence
As East Timor braces for the release of an inquiry report into violence earlier this year that led to the resignation of former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, the Dili Bishop and other Church leaders have called for calm acceptance of the inquiry findings.
13 Oct 2006

Lismore Catholic hospital bows to protesters demanders
Unionists, who last week threatened to protest outside Catholic Masses in Lismore, NSW, have called off their campaign after St Vincent's Hospital assured workers that redundancies would be voluntary and that workers would be paid all entitlements.
13 Oct 2006

Protestant leader Paisley finally meets Irish Catholic Archbishop
Firebrand Irish Protestant leader, Dr Ian Paisley, who famously interrupted a speech by Pope John Paul II to denounce him as the Antichrist, has reversed a lifetime of anti-Catholic polemics for a historic first meeting with Northern Ireland Catholic Archbishop Sean Brady.
13 Oct 2006

Pope joins with Jewish leaders in condemning racism and anti-Semitism
Jewish leaders have supported another call by Pope Benedict for the elimination of the misuse of religion to justify faith and violence during a meeting with an American Jewish group that fights racism and anti-Semitism.
13 Oct 2006

Polish spies in John Paul II assassination attempt
Researchers have uncovered evidence that the Polish secret service was also implicated in a series of assassination attempts that culminated in the shooting of John Pal II in 1981, following an earlier attempt to kill the Pope during a visit to the Polish Marian shrine of Jasna Gora in 1979.
13 Oct 2006

Feature - Priests serve lay people, even into retirement
Poverty, illness and old age do not deter some retired priests in Vietnam from continuing their life of service. Msgr Pierre Nguyen Quang Sach, 83, is absorbed in translating Church documents into Vietnamese from an English-language Catholic website, something he began doing before he retired in 2001. His work involves a lot of effort and money but he lives modestly and refuses to accept any financial assistance. "Lay people do not want to see priests in luxury," he said. "Priests are not lay people's masters, but their servants."
13 Oct 2006

Opinion - Overcoming labels and dualisms
One of the under-discussed challenges faced by Christians today is how dualisms are inflicted on us indiscriminately. For example: we're either liberal or conservative. These labels impede creativity and imagination. They also stuff people into airtight boxes. Frequently we have to remind ourselves that we're on a journey with Christ, and not supporting actors in a made-for-TV movie "The Battle for the Future of the Church" - Gerry McCarthy
13 Oct 2006

"Go to Rio" - for your wedding, Church says
Marking the 75th anniversary of the famous art deco statue of Christ Redeemer overlooking Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian Church is to open a small chapel under the 40 metre statue where couples will be able to marry in one of the world's most romantic settings.
12 Oct 2006

Taize community gathers inter-faith youth in India
An estimated 6000 young people from 36 countries have gathered in Kolkata, India, for an international pilgrimage organised by the ecumenical Taize community.
12 Oct 2006

More young Christian women abducted, raped in Iraq
Young Christian women are among the preferred targets of Iraq's growing abduction problem with many being raped and some committing suicide as a result of the shock, violence and shame they experience.
12 Oct 2006

Holy Land Christian leaders call for "open" Jerusalem
Slamming the impact of walls recently erected by the Israeli government, Catholic and other Christian leaders in Israel and Palestine have called for a renewed effort to reach agreement on a special status for Jerusalem as an "open city" as part of an effort for a definite and just peace.
12 Oct 2006

"Ice" isn't cool, Catholic youth worker warns
Over 73,000 mostly young Australians are already dependent on cheap, widely available "ice" or crystal methamphetamine which is now more widespread than heroin, according to a Sydney Catholic youth worker.
12 Oct 2006

Benedict expected to restore wider availability of Latin Mass
Reports say that Pope Benedict is preparing to issue a new law that will restore wider availability of the 500-year-old Tridentine rite of the Mass in Latin.
12 Oct 2006

Feature - Sisters for life
A new order of nuns specially dedicated to promoting the anti-abortion cause have visited Australia on a week-long tour. Unlike other nuns, members of the Sisters of Life take a special fourth vow to protect human life, in addition to the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Now in their 15th year, the nuns provide shelter and support for vulnerable pregnant women in New York, and conduct "post-abortion healing retreats," to offer spiritual help to women who have had abortions - Paul Gray
12 Oct 2006

Opinion - Property boom keeps family home a remote dream
A young couple with three children want to make a home for themselves in Broome. They are a two-income family and yet they cannot afford even a small block of land. They are typical of the new group in today's Kimberley society being marginalised by the effects of a booming economy and cashed-up competition from hungry speculators. Broome has become a new capital for the rich while the poor, and even those not deemed to be poor but rather comfortable, are pushed to one side.
12 Oct 2006

Canberra asylum seeker memorial in jeopardy
Dozens of Catholic schools participating in the preparation of a Canberra memorial to the 353 people who drowned in the SIEV X asylum seeker boat tragedy in 2001 are still awaiting for word from authorities as to whether their planned three week exhibition can go ahead.
11 Oct 2006

Christians held over new killings in Indonesia
Fourteen Indonesian Christians face new charges of murder following the bludgeoning to death of two Muslim fish sellers in the aftermath of the execution of three Catholics last month for their part in earlier incidents of inter-religious violence.
11 Oct 2006

Death fears over NZ plans to deport Iranian Catholic
An Iranian-born Catholic convert imprisoned in New Zealand after his application for asylum was rejected faces indefinite detention over his refusal to apply for a new passport that would enable authorities to deport him to Iran where the law punishes conversion with death.
11 Oct 2006

Gold Coast fears of ritual killing over Christian conversion
A Bangladeshi-born recent immigrant is under police guard in a Gold Coast hospital in critical condition following the killing of the man's wife in what some sources fear was a ritual killing over plans by the couple's daughter to convert to Christianity.
11 Oct 2006

Disarmament, not armaments: Vatican on North Korea
As a representative of the South Korean Church prepares to leave on a "providential" mission to the North, Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, says the Holy See is in favour "not of armaments, but of disarmament and peace".
11 Oct 2006

Bishops say proposed cloning laws are contempt for life
As Federal Parliament moves to consider new laws to legalise some forms of cloning, Australia's bishops say that open slather on human embryo research is not the way forward.
11 Oct 2006

Feature - Harvesters for mission fields in the face of a typhoon
As Typhoon Xangsane lashed Vietnam's central provinces last week, about 100 children from poor fishing families, women and elderly people were given food and shelter at the Sacred Heart residence in Hue. The sixth typhoon to hit Vietnam this year also destroyed 260,000 houses and 560 fishing boats. The former Sacred Heart general superior said that their recent experience serving the children "presses us to regularly pray and train ourselves to be qualified harvesters for mission fields, where harvesters are few."
11 Oct 2006

Opinion - Church needs new generation of peace activists
Following the end of the Cold War, the campaign for nuclear disarmament lost momentum and it had seemed that Pax Christi and other church peace groups had had their day. But that is clearly not the case with countries like the US, Iran and North Korea giving renewed purpose to the disarmament movement. The Church might examine its conscience and ask itself if there's a place at World Youth Day for 22-year-old Sam Land, who was arrested at a peace protest in Alice Springs at the weekend, and the next generation of Catholic peace activists.
11 Oct 2006

Tomb raiders hit jackpot with archbishop's teeth
A London museum has put on display a priceless pair of false teeth found in the tomb of a rich archbishop who fled the French Revolution while in Rome the Vatican Museum is opening up graves from an ancient necropolis part of which once belonged to slaves of the notorious Roman Emperor Nero.
10 Oct 2006

Vinnies celebrates 10 years of Compeer matchmaking
The St Vincent de Paul Society is renewing a call for volunteers during Mental Health Week this week as it celebrates the 10th anniversary of its Compeer program for matchmaking friends with people living with mental health problems.
10 Oct 2006

Parramatta to offer wireless ABC and e-learning
Parramatta diocese is building a new hi-tech school or "learning community" in Sydney's north-west that plans to offer round the clock computer based "e-learning" in which study materials will be transmitted by mobile phone.
10 Oct 2006

Climate change on our doorstep, says Caritas
Australia must increase its aid to its Asia-Pacific neighbours who face looming economic and social disaster as a result of climate change, says Caritas Australia in comments on a CSIRO report published yesterday.
10 Oct 2006

Cardinal Pell calls for fair trial for David Hicks
Making his first public comments on the accused Australian terrorist David Hicks, who is now awaiting trial at US base Guantanamo Bay, Sydney Cardinal George Pell says that he has "long been disturbed" by the case.
10 Oct 2006

Islam a great religion, says Benedict in corrected Regensburg text
Recognising the "understandable indignation" aroused by his Regensburg lecture last month, Pope Benedict has released a corrected version in which he now explicitly acknowledges his respect for the Koran as the Holy Book of a "great religion".
10 Oct 2006

Feature - A living sacrament
I had noticed them in church a couple of times, a smiling mother pushing her special child in a pram. Timothy is indeed very special. Something prompted me to go and see them. When Timothy's mother welcomed me in to their home she told me the story: "At birth Timothy was diagnosed with cerebral palsy; he also has epilepsy." I was left speechless by the time she had finished the story. I had received one of the most powerful lessons in the theology of the sacraments and in spirituality of my whole life - Fr Frans de Ridder
10 Oct 2006

Opinion - The business of churches is truth, not growth
When politicians like Mr Rudd comment on religion, and religious people like Dr Jensen or Dr Pell comment on political issues, someone always tells them to shut up. Those who offer advice to the churches usually argue that churches are composed of individuals, and, in any statements, should represent the views of their members. They may tell churches to confine their interest to God, and to issues of personal morality. Neither argument is consistent with the way in which churches have understood themselves - Fr Andrew Hamilton
10 Oct 2006

Last post for Melbourne's multicultural pioneer
Melbourne post-war migration pioneer, Fr Con Reis - known as the "Little Digger" - who was also one of Australia's last surviving World War II chaplains, was buried in Melbourne on Friday.
9 Oct 2006

Reprieve for limbo after theologians meet
A Vatican document on the concept of limbo is still incomplete and the International Theological Commission will continue work for another year in an attempt to further refine the Catholic understanding of what happens to unbaptised babies after death.
9 Oct 2006

Indian Bishops warn against call centre morality
With the number of abortions up 50 per cent in India's technology hub, Bangalore, the local Church is mobilising against rising promiscuity among India's 1.3 million call centre workers.
9 Oct 2006

World "sleepwalking" towards nuclear terrorism
Five Christian peace activists have been arrested following a protest at the Pine Gap US spy base near Alice Springs, days after the Vatican called on the United Nations to wake up to the dangers of nuclear terrorism.
9 Oct 2006

Adelaide suffers from "huge dose" of racism: Vicar-General Cappo
There will be an increase in violence and nastiness if good people do not fight a "huge dose" of community racism and prejudice against Asians and Muslims in Adelaide, says Adelaide Vicar-General, Msgr David Cappo.
9 Oct 2006

Benedict challenges Australians on Indigenous reconciliation
No one is exempt from engaging in the process of reconciliation between Indigenous and other Australians and accepting "historical truth" is vital for building a harmonious future, Pope Benedict wrote in a message to an Alice Springs conference at the weekend.
9 Oct 2006

Feature - Youngsters in need get a hand in the kitchen
In a bustling kitchen of a Melbourne inner-city warehouse, 23-year-old Dale Coffey is carefully spooning sweet paprika into a bowl. "Is this enough?" he asks. This cooking class is a simple proposition: take a group of young people in need, teach them basic skills for life and work, and watch them thrive. Sound familiar? No, this is not the work of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. Long before he waltzed into Melbourne, staff and volunteers at Jesuit Social Services were running classes, without fanfare, to help Melbourne's most disadvantaged people.
9 Oct 2006

Opinion - No divide between John Paul II and Benedict on Islam
Throughout the recent controversy over Pope Benedict XVI's Regensburg remarks, attempts have been made to drive a wedge between Benedict and his papal predecessor. John Paul II was a master of the public gesture; but to read from his public gestures of respect for Islamic piety an agreement with Islam's understanding of God, man and moral obligation is to make a grave mistake. John Paul II would have completely agreed with Benedict XVI's critique of a theology that reduces God to pure will - George Weigel
9 Oct 2006

Kiwi Catholics to leapfrog Anglicans
New Zealand Catholics will overtake Anglicans as the country's largest faith community within five years, according to predictions by a local expert in religious history, but some say it is more a case of others' numbers falling than Catholics rising.
6 Oct 2006

Sydney archdiocese to offer Indigenous scholarships
The Sydney Catholic Education Office is to offer scholarships of up to $5000 a year to ensure that more Aboriginal children have the opportunity to attend Catholic high schools.
6 Oct 2006

Lebanon's Maronite bishops reject call for new govt
Lebanon's Maronite bishops have slammed a Hezbollah proposal for a new national unity government, saying the debate should not be motivated by a "hidden objective" to avoid the creation of an international court on political crimes.
6 Oct 2006

Spanish bishop says dialogue not possible with extremists
Two European bishops have drawn a line in the sand over Muslim reaction to Pope Benedict's controversial Regensburg remarks with a Spanish bishop saying it is not possible to dialogue with the "most belligerent strain of extreme Islam".
6 Oct 2006

Hospital staff in Mass protest over job cuts
Staff threatened with retrenchment at St Vincent's Hospital in the northern NSW city of Lismore are planning to picket Sunday Masses in their fight against job cuts of up to 50 positions.
6 Oct 2006

Bridge walk for WYD08 pilgrims
A walk across Sydney's iconic Harbour Bridge will be the highlight of a 10-kilometre pilgrimage to the Randwick Racecourse site for the World Youth Day 2008 overnight vigil and final Mass with Pope Benedict.
6 Oct 2006

Feature - Memories of my visit to the heart
Little knowing how significant Pope John Paul II's 1986 visit to Alice Springs would be, I journeyed there with a number of other bishops for the occasion. Planted forever in our Australian psyche, his visit and speech will remain a significant event in the long struggle of Indigenous people for full recognition. Only in more recent years have I realised that my decision to go to Alice Springs, in my first year as a bishop, proved to be one of the great decisions of my life - Archbishop John Bathersby
6 Oct 2006

Opinion - Report from Guantanamo
I have spent my legal career first prosecuting, then defending criminal cases, and have represented both plaintiffs and defendants in civil lawsuits. During that time, I have come to know both the sacredness and the fragility of the rule of law. Still, nothing prepared me for Guantanamo Bay. Two clients of mine, both young Syrian men, are among those "enemy combatants" imprisoned there. Guantanamo is a menacing environment calculated not to punish or reform, but to frighten - Robert C Weaver Jr
6 Oct 2006

NSW Minister backs Shroud claims
Speaking at the launch of a new book on the Shroud of Turin by Australian author, Brendan Whiting, NSW Minister for Commerce John Della Bosca says that the most likely explanation for the Shroud is that "it is in fact the burial cloth of Jesus Christ".
5 Oct 2006

Patriarchs not "Eastern popes", Orthodox bishop tells Rome
Only a full dialogue on papal primacy will reveal whether Catholic and Orthodox conceptions are compatible, says a Vienna-based Russian Orthodox bishop, adding that in the meantime the Vatican should not impose its ecclesiological model on the Orthodox Church.
5 Oct 2006

Trial continues for Christian activists in Pine Gap case
Four Christian activists facing up to seven years jail under defence laws for trespass at the Pine Gap spy base, near Alice Springs, have argued that they should be acquitted unless the government can prove the US-Australian facility defends Australia against external aggression.
5 Oct 2006

Vatican says Church has role in fighting corruption "evil"
In a document published yesterday, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace highlighted the moral and formative role of the Church in developing democratic and legal safeguards against corruption.
5 Oct 2006

NZ lawyers await ruling on extradition of brothers
With a Federal Court judgment to be handed down today in an appeal against a controversial sex abuse extradition ruling against two brothers, New Zealand's legal commentators say the outcome will be closely watched for what it says about the country's criminal justice system.
5 Oct 2006

Catholics join prayers for Amish school shooting victims
Pennsylvania Bishop Kevin Rhoades has called on Catholics to join in prayers for the child victims of a gunman and for the building of a culture of life and peace.
5 Oct 2006

Feature - Culture warriors have no place in Catholic life
In an article in last month's Quadrant, Tim Pemble-Smith reviews "Crisis, Catharsis and Contemplation," an exhibition of contemporary art held in Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral. He sets the exhibition within the cultural wars that "bedevil the Catholic Church". This is an unhelpful phrase, because it suggests that issues of faith and culture can be arbitrated by the use of power. Argument is about winning, not about truth - Fr Andrew Hamilton
5 Oct 2006

Opinion - Nothing odd about corporal mortification
In our society, it's considered perfectly normal to mortify our bodies so long as the reason is secular and the goal is physical. No one bats an eye at cosmetic plastic surgery, Botox, tattoos, and body piercing. Even physical fitness taken to extremes is looked upon as almost de rigueur. None of these examples are controversial. Titillating perhaps, but not controversial. But if you perform corporal mortification for religious reasons, to achieve some spiritual good, you're an oddball - Brian Pessaro
5 Oct 2006

Limbo under threat from Vatican theologians
Rome reports indicate that the Holy See's International Theological Commission is examining the notion of limbo at a meeting this week and may be on the verge of scrapping it.
4 Oct 2006

Marx, the Bishop, lambastes "capitalist greed"
German Bishop Reinhard Marx has lashed out at executive salary hikes of up to 30 per cent while US bishops have called upon global food giant McDonald's to push for higher wages for low paid farmworkers labouring for its suppliers.
4 Oct 2006

Conference gathers to remember John Paul's Indigenous dream anniversary
Pope Benedict is sending Cardinal Edward Cassidy as Papal Legate to an Alice Springs gathering this week to mark the 20th anniversary of John Paul II's landmark 1986 speech to Indigenous Australians.
4 Oct 2006

Edmund Rice Centre confirms 39 more deportations to danger
The Edmund Rice Centre says its latest investigations into deported asylum seekers have located another 39 people who have been deported to dangerous situations, many of whom were misled by the Government into returning to their homelands.
4 Oct 2006

Indigenous Aussies among first climate change victims
Indigenous communities living on Torres Strait Islands, including the island home of the late land rights campaigner Eddie Mabo, are among the first "official victims of climate change", says Catholic Earthcare executive officer, Col Brown.
4 Oct 2006

Turkish hijackers surrender after demanding to send message to Pope
Passengers including several Asian beauty queens have been freed after two Turkish hijackers earlier seized a plane flying from Albania to Istanbul and diverted it to Italy demanding to send a message to Pope Benedict.
4 Oct 2006

Feature - Greed is good ... but with one exception
Catholic moral theology views morality as akin to the maintenance of ecological balance in the world. Just as we can violate and compromise the environment by polluting our waterways and air with toxic waste, we can do violence to our moral ecology when we sully our relationships with discord, dissension, fear, mistrust and alienation. According to this view, greed becomes injurious to the moral ecology when "wanting more" or "wanting what you don't have" becomes an obsession that poisons relationships with other people - Ian Elmer
4 Oct 2006

Opinion - It's time for a different Christian voice in politics
Christians are as entitled as anybody else to advance their views, so long as their views are tempered by reason, to the secular forum that is Parliament. My concern is that in recent years we've only been hearing one set of Christian views on politics - and that has been an overwhelmingly conservative one. The answer to this does not lie in a greater Christian voice in politics - it lies in a different Christian voice in politics - Kevin Rudd
4 Oct 2006

Lost tribe returns to Israel - after 2700 years
Presumed descendants now living in India of the Bnei Menashe, one of the ten lost tribes mentioned in the Bible, will leave India for Israel soon after 2700 years of absence, Israeli government sources have confirmed.
3 Oct 2006

Hong Kong Cardinal says China persecutes both official and underground churches
Speaking in London, outspoken Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen says that Beijing is afraid of anything not under its control and as a result persecutes both the officially recognised "Patriotic" Church and the unofficial "underground" Church.
3 Oct 2006

Musos to compete for WYD theme song
World Youth Day organisers in Sydney have launched a competition for musicians and songwriters to write a theme song for the event which is now expected to attract up to 750,000 people for the final Mass with Benedict XVI.
3 Oct 2006

Catholic Social Services struggles to help hardcore unemployed
Catholic Social Services and other agencies providing assistance for the long-term unemployed are finding it hard to make ends meet as they struggle to place the most disadvantaged people who often face "multiple barriers" to employment.
3 Oct 2006

Canberra Archbishop praises Rudd's Christian essay
The Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn, Mark Coleridge, who has spoken out on the role of Christianity in politics, has praised a new essay by Shadow Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd which called upon the churches to take a more active role in politics.
3 Oct 2006

Bishops condemn abuse cover up allegations against Pope
British bishops have denounced as "misleading" accusations by a BBC investigative TV program that Pope Benedict played a leading role as a cardinal in a systematic cover up of child sex abuse by Catholic priests.
3 Oct 2006

Feature - What's different about the Milingo ordinations?
Renegade Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo ordained four married priests as bishops in a ceremony on 24 September in Washington DC and 48 hours later the predictable notice of excommunication from the Vatican arrived. If nothing else, Milingo provides an interesting thought exercise for canon lawyers and ecclesiologists: What, if anything, makes his ordinations different from those of the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1988, when Lefebvre consecrated four bishops without the Pope's authority for his breakaway traditionalist Society of St Pius X? - John L Allen
3 Oct 2006

Opinion - Indigenous sentencing laws will increase injustice
Just last week, the coroner's report into the death in custody of Palm Island man Mulrunji called for a major overhaul of how the justice system deals with Indigenous Australians. Yet in the same week, Senate Committee hearings commenced for an inquiry into a bill that will increase the potential for injustice in sentencing decisions affecting this community. Under the proposed changes, judges passing sentence will no longer allowed to take account of "customary practices" and customary law - Frank Quinlan
3 Oct 2006