Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources
 

NEWS ARCHIVE FOR JANUARY 2007

   
Papal lace-makers now producing G-strings
Catholics in a Polish lace-making village that produces altar cloths and robes for priests - including the Pope - are in uproar after declining demand for their products led women to develop hot selling new product lines including sexy G-strings for international markets.
31 Jan 2007

Vietnam Catholics upbeat over PM meeting with Benedict
Hanoi Cardinal Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet says that last weekend's meeting between Pope Benedict and the Vietnam Prime Minister is a positive sign while a Government official hails warming relations between the two states as "a model for other countries to follow".
31 Jan 2007

British Church to defy ruling on gay adoptions
Scottish Church officials say that they are prepared to break the law but will not close down Catholic adoption agencies after a Blair government refusal to exempt them from complying with proposed new rules allowing gay adoption.
31 Jan 2007

US call to prosecute Australian ex-priest
Two American men are calling for the prosecution of a former Victorian priest, Paul Ryan, who is already serving a prison sentence in Australia for indecent assault, over offences alleged to have occurred while he was serving at a US parish.
31 Jan 2007

Vic ex-premier claims Santamaria promoted "dark sectarianism"
Former Victorian premier John Cain, whose father's government was destroyed by the 1950s Labor split, has criticised Tony Abbott for painting a benign picture of BA Santamaria and his mentor, then Melbourne Archbishop Daniel Mannix, who he says promoted a "dark sectarianism".
31 Jan 2007

Vatican official identifies main weaknesses of Catholic world
Opening a seminar on the social doctrine of the Church, a Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace official has identified three main weaknesses of the Catholic world, including loss of identity, lack of understanding on bioethical issues and failure to promote Catholic social doctrine.
31 Jan 2007

Feature - Chalk and talk make special moments
My wife and I last year spent a month of our long-service leave in Ghana as volunteer teachers. The school in which we worked, we were informed in advance, was poor. This we found to be an understatement; it was very, very poor. We walked most of the 3km to school each morning and would arrive dripping wet from the humidity, knowing that's the way it would be for the rest of the day. But such discomforts were quickly forgotten as students ran enthusiastically to meet us, vying to carry our bags to school - Len Minty
31 Jan 2007

Opinion - Spurious notion of rights will harm children
If I were gay and wanted to give a child a home, my first thought would not be to head off to a Catholic adoption agency. Any more than if I were a man, I would take my medical problems to a well-women clinic. Not unless I was looking for confrontation; not unless I was more concerned about making a statement than achieving my goal. But then gesture politics is at the heart of the escalating row in Britain over whether or not Catholic adoption agencies should be exempt from anti-discrimination legislation - Dani Garavelli
31 Jan 2007

Indian priest dies day after granddaughter's wedding
An Indian priest who was ordained at 70 with special Holy See permission following his wife's death, and whose eldest son was also a priest, has died one day after blessing the marriage of his granddaughter.
30 Jan 2007

KGB smear campaign against Pius XII exposed
The Vatican's Secretary of State has presented a spirited defence of Pope Pius XII's role during World War II in protecting Jews as a former KGB spy reveals a deliberate super-secret Soviet plan to smear the Pope as an anti-Semitic Nazi sympathiser.
30 Jan 2007

Bishops welcome new HR chief
The revamped bishops' Office for Employment Relations has a new director, Ms Susan O'Connor, who took up her post yesterday, according to an Australian Catholic Bishops Conference announcement.
30 Jan 2007

Controversial US Jesuit politician dead at 86
An American Jesuit priest, Robert Drinan, who represented the US state of Massachusetts as a Congressman for ten years before bowing to a Holy See directive prohibiting priests from political office has died aged 86.
30 Jan 2007

Abbott claims DLP heritage for Liberal Party
Health Minister Tony Abbott will today tell a Melbourne book launch that with eight Catholics now in Federal Cabinet, BA Santamaria's DLP is still alive inside the Liberal Party though he concedes that Labor's Catholic-influenced "shoppies' union" would get a "fair hearing" under Kevin Rudd.
30 Jan 2007

Benedict clamps down on "erroneous" annulments
Pope Benedict has warned against "a distorted interpretation" of canonical norms that may have led to a massive rise in the number of annulment cases being considered by church courts.
30 Jan 2007

Feature - Junk TV and the Church
It's not often that junk television influences world politics, but it happened this month in the case of the British program, "Celebrity Big Brother." During the course of the show one of the participants, Indian film star Shilpa Shetty, was repeatedly insulted by other members of the program. Instead of the episode just remaining another example of trashy television, Shetty's tormentors were accused of blatant racism. Concerns over television and its contents are not new and the Church has long warned about the media - Fr John Flynn
30 Jan 2007

Opinion - Remembering a hanging
Forty years ago this week Ronald Ryan had a noose put around his neck at the former Pentridge Prison in Victoria. With the authority of the state government, he was killed. Ryan was the last man hanged in Australia, and many believe he will always retain that infamous privilege. Reasoned argument suggests that it is hard for a civilised society to support the taking of the life in order to uphold the value of human life. Such argument in Australia will not prevent other countries continuing the practice - some, such as China and Singapore, continue to practice it with great enthusiasm - Fr Peter Norden
30 Jan 2007

Pope's translator announces Requiem for Latin
"Latin is dying in the Church" as neither bishops or young priests are studying the language, says the papal translator who prepared the Latin version of Benedict's encyclical Deus Caritas Est.
29 Jan 2007

Some Catholic schools cheaper than public system: Parents groups
Community and parent groups in Victoria are claiming that some Catholic schools are cheaper than the state system while a survey shows that public and Catholic schools in South Australia are the most expensive in the nation.
29 Jan 2007

Voting Labor will not help feed poor: Abbott
Health Minister Tony Abbott, a prominent Catholic, has accused Labor leader Kevin Rudd of trying to "commandeer God for political purposes", telling a Melbourne conference that Jesus did not say "that the best way to feed the hungry ... was to vote Labor".
29 Jan 2007

Mining companies modern "Trojans", says Filipino bishop
Denouncing mining companies working in the Philippines as modern-day Trojan horses, Filipino Bishop Zacarias Jimenez has endorsed a major Columban-commissioned report which accuses the country of being "among the worst countries in the world" for various mining practices.
29 Jan 2007

Benedict appeals again to end Mid-East violence
Reacting to deadly clashes between supporters and opponents of Lebanon's government and between Hamas and Fatah forces in Gaza, Pope Benedict has renewed his appeal for an end to violence in the region while emphasising the need for "new ways of rationality".
29 Jan 2007

Catholic social justice advocates prominent in honours list
The Adelaide archdiocese's Vicar-General Msgr David Cappo, Melbourne Jesuit Fr Peter Norden and several Vinnies workers, including Loreto Sister Toni Matha, were among the prominent Catholics cited in this year's Australia Day Honours.
29 Jan 2007

Feature - Sydney man hopes death will spark euthanasia debate
Euthanasia is not legal in Switzerland, as it is in the Netherlands and Belgium. But a 1942 Swiss law allows a person to help another to commit suicide, provided he or she does so for altruistic reasons. Swiss right-to-die campaigners used the law to establish Dignitas. The group helped John Elliott from Sydney's Rose Bay to die on Thursday at a clinic in Zurich. His specialist Sam Milliken at St Vincent's Hospital says that while he respects his patient's views on euthanasia, "I do not support his action" in going to Zurich - James Button
29 Jan 2007

Opinion - Has the climate changed at the Vatican?
Although the evidence has been firming up during the past 10 years, there has been very little said about climate change from Catholic leaders. It is true that the late Pope John Paul II said some very fine things about the need for us all to undergo an "ecological conversion" and Australian and American bishops have also written strong words about the subject. But if we look to Rome, we find next to nothing about global warming specifically, save for half a paragraph in the 2004 Catholic Compendium of Social Teaching - Mark Dowd
29 Jan 2007

Skiing Pope secretly skipped Vatican
Often feeling pent up in his papal apartment, John Paul II secretly skipped town for over 100 skiing trips in the Italian mountains but - dressed in jacket, beret and sunglasses - was rarely recognised, according to new revelations by his former secretary.
25 Jan 2007

Pakistan to loosen blasphemy laws
A senior Pakistani government official has indicated that the country's harsh blasphemy laws, which Christians and rights groups say are used by Muslims to oppress minorities, will be modified after the forthcoming national elections.
25 Jan 2007

Greens attack family centre contracts to Catholic agencies
Catholic Social Services has welcomed news that Centacare agencies will be involved in ten new Family Relationship Centres but Greens Senator Rachel Siewert says she is "concerned" at the Government's award of 25 contracts to "faith-based organisations".
25 Jan 2007

Fiji archbishop attacks Aust over "colonial" coup critique
Saying that Australia's democracy took centuries to overcome racism and civil war, Suva Archbishop Petero Mataca says that criticism by Fiji's neighbours of the recent coup is "condescending and a throwback to colonial times".
25 Jan 2007

Drop all charges against Hicks: bishop says
Welcoming news that charges against Guantanamo prisoner David Hicks may be downgraded, Australian Catholic Social Justice Council chief, Bishop Christopher Saunders says that respect for natural justice should lead prosecutors to drop all charges against him.
25 Jan 2007

Benedict targets sex, violence - and toy guns
Pope Benedict has slammed violent or sexually explicit video games and films targetting young children, a day after he offered support to an Italian project which aims to take toy guns out of children's hands.
25 Jan 2007

Feature - Nun's the word
Vocations to female contemplative orders in Italy are booming, according to the Italian bishops' conference. The Vatican's Cardinal Franc Rode believes convents offer what is lacking in much of modern, secular society. In a general sense, he said, it "shows what young generations are looking for today: a space for silence, where they can enter into this silence, recollect, and therefore find - themselves, and find God." Today's young religious sisters give a variety of reasons for joining a contemplative order - Edward Pentin
25 Jan 2007

Opinion - Praying to Saint Buddha
In the Middle Ages, the Christian calendar began to mention a Saint "Josaphat" or "Iodasaph." Historians now acknowledge that these references in Latin documents are garbled forms of "Bodhisattva" - that is, Gautama the Buddha. The story of how the Buddha became a Catholic saint is, for interreligious dialogue, a curious but felicitous one. I wonder if my mother - a church-fearing, twice-a-day churchgoer raised to believe that no one except Catholics can be saved - had an intuitive inkling of all this when she was praying to the Buddha while visiting Vietnam a few years ago - Fr Peter C Pham
25 Jan 2007

Church archive helps identify Mona Lisa and her grave
An Italian historian claims to have definitively identified the grave of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa on the basis of information contained in a 16th century "Book of the Dead" newly discovered in a Florence church archive.
24 Jan 2007

Marists launch WYD "Pilgrimage of the Heart"
Marist brothers are "dreaming" of a Marist International Festival on the theme "Pilgrimage of the Heart" that the community plans to hold in Sydney in the lead up to World Youth Day.
24 Jan 2007

Cardinal warns British govt over gay adoptions
The British Church's adoption services may be forced to close down if new gay rights laws required Catholic agencies to provide services that contradict Church teaching, Westminster Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor told the British Government.
24 Jan 2007

Vietnam PM in first Vatican visit
Days after the Holy See launched a new bid to reconcile a longstanding dispute with China's government, Nguyen Tan Dung will tomorrow make the first visit by a Vietnamese Prime Minister to the Vatican.
24 Jan 2007

Payment cuts to pregnant woman not on: Catholic welfare chief
Withdrawing welfare payments was not the way to help people into jobs, Catholic Social Services director, Francis Quinlan, said after reports emerged of a four-months pregnant unemployed woman whose welfare payments were cut off for eight weeks for breaching Centrelink requirements.
24 Jan 2007

Terminally ill have right to refuse treatment: Cardinal Martini
Former Milan Cardinal Carlo Martini has weighed in on the Italian euthanasia debate in favour of a right to refuse treatment following the case of a man who was denied a Church funeral because he had asked to be removed from a life-saving respirator.
24 Jan 2007

Feature - Who was spying on Karol Wojtyla?
In 1949, the future Pope was a misspelled name in the reports sent to the secret police by a turncoat priest in the Krakow curia. But they would get to know him very well over the next forty years, until the death of the regime, while his life was bugged, filmed, followed, and analysed "24/7". "Zagielowski", who wrote a report in which "Wojdyla" was pointed out as someone to keep an eye on, was recruited in 1948 and would be active until his death in 1967 - Gigi Riva
24 Jan 2007

Opinion - Debating euthanasia, gay unions in the Pope's backyard
Because Italian Cardinal Camillo Ruini is in charge of "the pope's backyard," his actions carry an emblematic weight that few others can rival. His comments at this week's meeting of the Permanent Council of the Italian Bishops' Conference are thus worth noting. The Permanent Council meets three times a year, and Ruini's major address has become a routine staple of front-page coverage in the Italian press. Ruini's message this time boils down to a resounding "no" on several hotly contested moral issues, most notably euthanasia - John L Allen
24 Jan 2007

Vatican soccer "dream team" on the move
A Vatican soccer dream team to be selected from the best players in a 16 team soccer league made up of seminarians, clergy and lay men studying in Rome to debut next month may play against top Italian football clubs.
23 Jan 2007

Popular French campaigning priest dies
France's equivalent of Mother Teresa, a priest known as Abbe Pierre who was a member of the French Resistance during World War II and who became famous for his campaign against homelessness, will be buried with national honours after his death yesterday at 94.
23 Jan 2007

WA govt hands over $2.5 million for Bunbury cathedral
Western Australian Minister for the South West, Mark McGowan, yesterday presented a cheque for $2.5 million to Bunbury Bishop Gerard Holohan for the rebuilding of the city's tornado-devastated Cathedral precinct.
23 Jan 2007

Former Christian brother pleads guilty to abuse
A former Christian brother yesterday pleaded guilty to five counts of abuse involving three boys at a Perth Catholic college more than 20 years ago, while denying charges involving a fourth boy.
23 Jan 2007

Chinese Church welcomes Vatican moves on reconciliation
Leaders of the Chinese government-recognised and unofficial Catholic communities have welcomed initiatives announced by the Holy See over the weekend including the formation of a permanent Vatican commission on China.
23 Jan 2007

JPII to be credited with three miracles
Pope John Paul II's former secretary has revealed that the late pontiff seriously contemplated resigning because of ill health as news emerges that that three miracles credited to his intercession are on the verge of being accredited.
23 Jan 2007

Feature - The case for public schools
In my view, our private schools are examples of state-sponsored segregation and state-sponsored separatism. We are seeing in these private schools the increasing segregation by race, ethnicity, class, and religion. It was interesting that after the London bombings a year or so ago, when the media talked about "home-grown" terrorists, Australians started asking, "Why is the government funding Muslim schools?" You can't distinguish on the basis of a Muslim school versus a Catholic school versus a Greek Orthodox school - Angelo Gavrielatos (interview)
23 Jan 2007

Opinion - PM's silent signal on Australia Day
John Howard's Australia Day message to Catch the Fire Ministries is a perfect example of sub-text at work. Howard's recorded video message will be tame, I am sure, when played to the group on Australia Day. But Howard also knows that Catch the Fire is a controversial group known for its crusades against Islam and Victoria's anti-religious vilification law. Howard is not primarily associating himself with the Christian religion by participating in its meeting. Rather, he is associating himself with the cause of hostility towards the Islamic religion - Paul Gray
23 Jan 2007

Vatican city tops world crime stats
Newly released figures show that the Vatican's justice department dealt with 827 civil and criminal cases during 2006, resulting in the tiny papal state having the world's worst per capita crime statistics, a German magazine says.
22 Jan 2007

ACU honours Vatican education expert
The Australian Catholic University has announced plans to present Vatican Secretary of Catholic Education, Archbishop J Michael Miller, with an honorary doctorate in recognition of his services in the field.
22 Jan 2007

Women marrying Muslims advised to draw up contract
Because of the role of women in Islam, a German Catholic diocese is advising Catholic women who marry Muslims to draw up a new kind of pre-nuptial legal agreement, specifying among other things that marriage is permanent.
22 Jan 2007

Catholic groups mobilise for world forum
Christian lay leaders cannot work separately from mainstream justice lobby groups, says a Bangladeshi Catholic youth leader, explaining why so many Catholics are involved in the massive World Social Forum gathering of civil groups being held this week in Nairobi, Kenya.
22 Jan 2007

Sydney adopts Olympic traffic standards for WYD
The NSW Government has announced the appointment of a transport expert, Roy Wakelin-King, as coordinator of the World Youth Day Authority, which will have traffic management powers similar to those at the 2000 Olympics.
22 Jan 2007

Benedict to write to China seeking "normal" diplomatic relations
Following a high level meeting on China, the Vatican has called for dialogue to restore ties with Beijing severed 60 years ago, announcing that Pope Benedict is to write a special letter to Chinese Catholics.
22 Jan 2007

Feature - Vatican's new politics with China
The news from China in recent weeks confirms a rift between the official Church created by the authorities in opposition to Rome, and the one that is united with the Pope and not officially recognised by the state. But the same news shows the divisions and developments even within the official Church. Bishops of the official Church are tending to withdraw increasingly from the submission to the communist regime. The Pope and Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen are encouraging them: "Enough with the compromises" - Sandro Magister
22 Jan 2007

Opinion - Green lore now treated as gospel
In Europe, the Christian stories of the Fall and Apocalypse no longer have the impact they once did. Environmentalism now fulfils for many people the widespread longing for simple, all-encompassing narratives. Environmentalism offers an alternative account of the natural world to the religious and an alternative anti-capitalist account of the political world to the Marxist. It embraces a myth of the Fall: the loss of harmony between man and nature caused by our materialistic society. Now it has found a persuasive Apocalypse myth: global warming - John Kay
22 Jan 2007

Kenyan AIDS widows say no to wife inheritance
Mildred Akinyi, a HIV positive widow from western Kenya, and other members of her St Monica's Widows Group, have stunned members of their local community, by refusing to be "inherited" under traditional cultural practices.
19 Jan 2007

Time we can have a Catholic monarch, says new Ireland Anglican primate
Australia could one day have a Catholic king or queen if Irish Anglican primate, Bishop Alan Harper, who says it's time to "move on" from a 1701 law forbidding a Catholic British monarch, has his way.
19 Jan 2007

Gold Coast parish farewells murdered mum
Murdered teenage mum, Rachael Myring, who was killed by a client at the real estate office where she worked, was buried yesterday after a moving funeral at Mary Immaculate church at Ashmore on Queensland's Gold Coast.
19 Jan 2007

Vinnies launches drought appeal for NSW farmers
With drought now affecting 93 per cent of NSW, the St Vincent de Paul Society has launched an urgent appeal for drought victims who face stress and "are also feeling the knock-on effects of the drought."
19 Jan 2007

Toowoomba diocese welcomes Tamworth refugee about face
Toowoomba diocese social justice coordinator, Dr Mark Copland, has welcomed an about-face by Tamworth Regional Council over an earlier decision to refuse to relocate Sudanese refugee families to the north-western NSW centre.
19 Jan 2007

Vatican holding "private" top level meeting on China
Top officials from Holy See agencies are meeting today with leaders of the Catholic Church in China to discuss challenges for the Church in the world's most populous country, including unity of the official and unrecognised churches.
19 Jan 2007

Feature - Oldest Chinese priest is like fine wine
Before the ferry anchored, a Trappist monk with a long, white beard was already waving from the pier. Fr Nicholaus Kao Se-tsean then greeted each person as the visitors landed. An hour-long journey by boat had brought them from downtown Hong Kong to an abbey on Lantau Island. They came to "celebrate the miracle of the longevity of Father Kao," said Dom Anastasius Li, the abbot and main celebrant at Fr Kao's 110th birthday Mass. "The older the wine, the finer it will be," and the wine in a 110-year-old wineskin is fine indeed, the abbot told the 150 guests.
19 Jan 2007

Opinion - The value of Catholic hospitals
Over the last few weeks Catholic hospitals have been the target of disgruntled doctors and misguided politicians. The upshot has been yet another round of "anti-Catholic" bashing and the projection of an erroneous perception that Catholic health is a harsh, insensitive service devoid of compassion and decency. It is encouraging to note that Queensland Treasurer Anna Bligh publicly praised the work of Catholic hospitals amidst this recent furore. She clearly knows the economic and social benefits Catholic hospitals bring to her state - Francis Sullivan
19 Jan 2007

Benedict lures soccer legend Beckenbauer back to Church
Former German World Cup winning captain, Franz Beckenbauer, has returned to the Catholic faith after a meeting with Pope Benedict that he describes as the "most important experience of his life".
18 Jan 2007

Sydney parish battles DIMA over deportation
The Catholic Social Justice Group of Manly parish on Sydney's North Shore is campaigning on behalf of a Muslim Pakistani who has lived in Australia for 19 years but who faces deportation after a visa mix-up.
18 Jan 2007

See you in hell, Venezuela's Chavez tells Archbishop
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has accused Archbishop Roberto Luckert of lying following criticisms of his leadership style, saying that he would meet the Bishops Conference vice-president in hell because "he is not going to heaven".
18 Jan 2007

IVF attack a "beat-up": Bishop Fisher
Most hospitals in Australia do not offer IVF services, says Sydney Bishop Anthony Fisher, and criticisms of Catholic hospitals for not doing so are a bit of a "beat-up".
18 Jan 2007

Benedict calls on Jews, Christians to cooperate for peace
Speaking at his Wednesday general audience, Pope Benedict called for Christians and Jews to respect and appreciate each other and to cooperate for justice and peace in the world.
18 Jan 2007

Jerusalem Christian leaders offer to mediate for Palestinians
Warning that warring Palestinian factions could trigger a civil war, Christian church leaders in Jerusalem are urging an end to the violence and offering to play a mediating role between Hamas and Fatah.
18 Jan 2007

Feature - From labourer to people's priest
The fortunes of war brought Francis Tran to Australia in 1987, a refugee from Vietnam with no friends or family in Australia and no English, setting him on the usual route of such newcomers: four months in a migrant hostel followed by hard labour at the bottom of the social scale. Francis Tran, however, made a further journey from labourer to the priesthood and he is now parish priest of Milton on the NSW South Coast. After ten years, the three churches in his parish are now noticeably crowded - Brian Davies
18 Jan 2007

Opinion - A better generation, a better man
Except on occasion of grave illness, my father never missed Sunday Mass in his entire life. One wife, one family, one profession, one religious faith, one house, his sons at the same school as him: a life as unfashionable in its limits and commitments as anything could be today. And yet a life within those self-imposed limits and commitments of vast, imaginative richness. My father, who died last week at the age of 86, came from the World War II generation, as good a group as we've ever known - Greg Sheridan
18 Jan 2007

Benedict's secretary inspires Versace "priest chic"
The Pope's always-elegant personal secretary, Msgr "Gorgeous Georg" Gaenswein, is the inspiration behind the clerical black jackets and priestly white shirts in Donatella Versace's latest men's fashion show, the Italian designer says.
17 Jan 2007

Roses to mark Granville disaster 30th anniversary
Parramatta diocesan priest Fr Les Campion will tomorrow bless 83 roses - one for each person killed in Sydney's Granville rail disaster 30 years ago - to be thrown in a ceremony from the local railway bridge onto the tracks.
17 Jan 2007

Excommunication for non-voters: Nigerian bishop decrees
A Nigerian bishop has issued a pastoral letter warning his flock that it is their "sacred duty" to vote in the upcoming national elections and those failing to register will not be allowed to receive holy communion.
17 Jan 2007

Sex no pizza, Scottish clerics say
Scottish church leaders have condemned a local program handing out over 1,000 free condoms per week to children under the age of 16, saying that it makes sex as easy as having a pizza.
17 Jan 2007

Latest Iraqi executions "cruel justice"
The official Vatican newspaper has described as "cruel justice" the hangings in Baghdad of Saddam's henchmen, Barzan Ibrahim and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, as the Vatican reiterates its opposition to the death penalty.
17 Jan 2007

Iraq breaking apart, local bishop says
An Iraqi bishop has warned that Iraq is moving towards a terrible division with the US doing nothing to stop it as a spokesman for the American bishops calls on his government to end troop deployment in the country "at the earliest opportunity".
17 Jan 2007

Feature - The Polish church's secret past
An outspoken Polish critic of the communist regime, Fr Tadeusz Isakowicz-Zaleski, was attacked twice in 1985 by communist agents. Twenty years on, Fr Zaleski has finally been allowed to view the secret files compiled about him by the state. "The shock was worse than the original attacks," he says. The yellowing pages reveal categorically that he was on the black list of the state security services and was constantly being watched - by fellow priests, other brothers in the order, friends and acquaintances - Jan Puhl
17 Jan 2007

Opinion - Pay the ecological tab for your airfare
The advent of relatively cheap, safe air travel has literally shrunk the globe. The result is that fantastic journeys, once reserved for the very rich and the very brave, are now commonplace. Air travel may be the fastest way to reach our destinations, but it's also the most carbon intensive. How do we protect the planet that we're destroying in our attempt to experience it? An interesting solution is something called carbon offsetting - Suzanne Elston
17 Jan 2007

JP2 audio cards in sales hit
A new Italian magazine has a hit on its hands with the runaway success of electronic audio cards bearing the image and voice of Pope John II while a dealer is auctioning on eBay a car that the late Pontiff rode during a 1979 US trip.
16 Jan 2007

Sudan church grows despite persecution
Against overwhelming odds, the Catholic Church in northern Sudan is continuing to grow, a local bishop says, with the Sudanese capital now boasting 121 priests ministering to 900,000 Christians.
16 Jan 2007

Catholic social worker latest left-wing Latin American leader
With a plan to rewrite Ecuador's constitution, former Catholic social worker Rafael Correa was yesterday sworn in as the country's new president, the latest in Latin America's line of left-wing political leaders.
16 Jan 2007

Euthanasia book ban ineffective: Qld priest
Sunshine Coast priest, Fr John Dobson, says that an attempted Federal Government ban on a controversial book offering tips on self-help euthanasia is not likely to stop those who want to commit suicide.
16 Jan 2007

Couples say "we don't" to church weddings
The number of state registry weddings is rising and church weddings are declining in parallel with the rate of religious participation, a Melbourne Christian think tank researcher says.
16 Jan 2007

Critics misguided about Centacare: welfare leader
Suggestions that Centacare should be excluded from involvement in providing pregnancy counselling are misguided and could ironically lead to an "anti-choice" outcome, Catholic Social Services Chairman Fr Joe Caddy says.
16 Jan 2007

Feature - Is the Church relevant in our lives?
According to a new study commissioned by the Australian bishops, Catholics disconnected from Mass attendance and other parish life believe the Church is out of touch with the world today and is not relevant to their own lives. I am sure if we conduct a similar study of our own "disconnected Catholics" in the US, the reasons given will not differ much from their Australian counterparts. Today the average man is under tremendous pressures to cope with all the problems he is forced to encounter. Where does the Church stand in their lives? - Dr Chris Anthony
16 Jan 2007

Opinion - God is the new Marx in Latin America
In May, Benedict XVI will travel to Brazil to attend the Fifth General Conference of Latin American and Caribbean Bishops. In doing so, he will be visiting a continent in which Christianity is in a state of flux. It is a continent in which politicians are increasingly anxious to associate themselves with Christianity, even when identifying the Church as a major obstacle to their agendas. Added to this complication are liberation theology's dissolution into irrelevance and the rise of Protestant sects throughout the region - Samuel Gregg
16 Jan 2007

British school bans cross on health and safety grounds
A school in South East England has banned a 13-year-old Catholic girl from wearing a crucifix necklace in class because it breaches health and safety rules, according to teachers.
15 Jan 2007

Bendigo Catholics rail over Cathedral renovations
Bendigo Catholics are up in arms over rumoured proposals to move the altar from the sanctuary and remove the altar rails at the regional Victorian city's Sacred Heart Cathedral but a spokesperson says that renovation plans are still at the consultation stage.
15 Jan 2007

Green light for abuse lawsuit against Holy See
Although dismissing claims that the Vatican was negligent in failing to protect children entrusted to clergy, a US judge has allowed plaintiffs in a sex abuse action to pursue a claim that Holy See officials should have warned the public about priests suspected of abusing children.
15 Jan 2007

Don't cry for Saddam: Pell
Saddam Hussein was in the "front rank of evildoers", Sydney Archbishop George Pell said in his newspaper column yesterday, adding that although the Church opposes capital punishment he did not weep for the executed Iraqi dictator.
15 Jan 2007

Truth hurts, Polish bishops admit
"The Church is not afraid of the truth, even if that is a difficult, shameful truth, and it sometimes hurts," Poland's bishops said, announcing the establishment of a special commission to investigate links of all the country's bishops with the former communist regime.
15 Jan 2007

Pope calls for legal migration and family reunion measures
Lamenting the "painful" condition of many migrants, refugees and exiles, Pope Benedict calls for recognition of the difficulties of migrant families and concrete measures to favour their legal immigration and to keep families united.
15 Jan 2007

Feature - Designer sale brings financial blessing to Vatican shoppers
Crowds are flocking to the Vatican, not to get a papal blessing or see the Sistine Chapel, but to snap up bargains at the winter sale at the Holy See's department store. As Rome's post-Christmas sale season gets under way, the Vatican store is offering some of the biggest savings in town on televisions, jewellery, designer handbags and clothing. But it is also the most exclusive event - it helps to know a cardinal to get in.
15 Jan 2007

Opinion - Don't alienate your non-religious allies
Many religious and irreligious want the same things when it comes to improving the conditions of life for their fellow human beings. Religious conviction does not make a person morally superior. It doesn't even make a person moral. What does, funnily enough, is acting morally. All people concerned about the state of the nation should contribute to public debate and serve as examples in the community. It serves no one and progresses nothing to alienate your allies by denigrating their moral integrity - Emily Maguire
15 Jan 2007

Dakar rally "bloody, irresponsible"
Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano has renewed its attack on the Dakar motor rally following the death of a participant, condemning the race as a bloody, violent, irresponsible and cynical imposition of questionable Western tastes on the developing world.
12 Jan 2007

France no longer Catholic, survey reveals
According to a recent survey, only 51 per cent of French people now identify themselves as Catholic, down from 80 per cent a decade ago, with the number of professed atheists rising to 31 per cent.
12 Jan 2007

WYD adopts solidarity pricing scheme
World Youth Day 2008 participants from the poorest countries will pay the lowest registration fees while participants from industrialised nations such as Australia will pay the most in a solidarity pricing scheme adopted for the world event.
12 Jan 2007

OK to cover cross, says Geraldton bishop
Covering a crucifix on the walls of a hospital ward does not reflect a drift to secularism or political correctness, says Bishop Justin Bianchini from Geraldton, WA, defending the practice of a local Catholic hospital to occasionally remove religious images at the request of non-Catholic patients.
12 Jan 2007

Sale Bishop appeals to Vatican "supreme court"
Following the rejection of his second appeal to the Holy See Congregation for the Clergy against the reinstatement of a controversial priest, Sale Bishop Jeremiah Coffey has launched a new appeal to the Vatican's highest court, the Signatura.
12 Jan 2007

Doctors succumb to anti-Catholic "googly": Catholic Health chief
Catholic Health Australia CEO, Francis Sullivan, says that the Australian Medical Association had been "sold a googly" running an "anti-Catholic line" after its president said doctors want state governments to stop contracting to Catholic hospitals that refuse to provide IVF, abortion and sterilisation.
12 Jan 2007

Feature - No truce yet in liturgy wars
Debates over what "Catholic identity" entails in the domain of liturgical speech and practice will be with us for some time to come. Last week brought a classic case in point with an address by American Bishop Donald Trautman, chair of the US bishops' Committee on the Liturgy and a longtime champion of liturgical reform. Trautman challenged a recent Vatican ruling that the Latin phrase pro multis in the formula for the consecration of the Precious Blood should be rendered as "for many" rather than the current English phrase "for all" - John L Allen
12 Jan 2007

Opinion - Churches fight the good fight
At a time when many world political leaders have lost their moral authority, it is religious leaders who are fighting the good fight. Only religious leaders seem willing to come to the defence of our society's most disadvantaged and to condemn political brutality and social decay. As a young person, I find more wisdom and relevance in the words of church leaders than in the signposts of popular culture or in the deeds of political leaders - James Norman
12 Jan 2007

Italian peace group publishes homeless "Michelin guide"
"Where to eat", "Where to sleep" and "Where to wash" in Rome are among the section headings of a new guidebook for the homeless published by the St Egidio Community in Rome and which has been dubbed the "Michelin Guide for the Poor".
11 Jan 2007

Church exodus levelling off in Austria, Ireland
The number of people formally leaving the Austrian Church in the wake of a series of sex scandals dropped by 18 per cent in 2006 compared to the previous year while church attendances in Ireland have also levelled off after a similar series of scandals.
11 Jan 2007

Indian bishops commit to accountability and participation
Concluding their annual plenary which focused on the vocation and role of the laity, Indian bishops have committed the Church to urgently establishing participatory structures for lay people and a system of accountability for bishops and priests.
11 Jan 2007

Centacare defends pregnancy counselling role
Centacare has defended its role in the Government's new pregnancy counselling service, saying the agency would be involved in developing a manual for counsellors and is "well suited" to the task.
11 Jan 2007

Benedict outdraws John Paul II again in 2006
Pope Benedict continues to attract large crowds to all his talks with figures for attendance at Vatican public events up again in 2006 over 2005 figures - the last year with John Paul II as Pope.
11 Jan 2007

Bishop slams US attack on Somalia
A US air attack on a Somali village suspected to be sheltering al-Qaeda terrorists "risks throwing fuel on an already explosive situation" and is unlikely to boost support for the country's fragile transition government, a bishop responsible for Somali Catholics says.
11 Jan 2007

Feature - Collaborations may be widespread in Eastern Europe
The Vatican secretary of state said the Polish church under the former communist regime was the "victim of abuse, forced to live in moments of uncertainty, even compromise." Poland was apparently not alone in this. Records released in recent years allege involvement by scores of priests - including two bishops in the Czech Republic and even the now retired primate of Hungary, who voted in the conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI in 2005. Nor was the Catholic Church alone, as Orthodox and Protestant clergy have also been suspected of collaborating.
11 Jan 2007

Opinion - What women want from pregnancy counselling
The Government's decision to fund pregnancy counselling with input from Catholic agencies is controversial but preoccupation with the issue overlooks a larger question. Over four years the Government will spend $15.5 million on the pregnancy advice hotline and an additional $35 million on a Medicare rebate for pregnancy-related counselling. At a time when there are critical deficiencies in other health services, many are asking whether there is any evidence of a sudden demand for pregnancy counselling or a sudden rise in the number of abortions - Elisabeth Wynhausen
11 Jan 2007

700 "waiting" for Andy at Griffith funeral
Members of murdered Griffith teenager Andrew Farrugia's band played their newly composed tribute to their colleague, "Waiting for you", in front of a crowd of over 700 mourners at Sacred Heart Church yesterday.
10 Jan 2007

Police seek man over Melbourne priest bashing
Police have released a computer-generated image of a man they are seeking over an attack on Melbourne priest Fr Michael Shadbolt who was beaten in his Doveton presbytery last week after he disturbed a burglar.
10 Jan 2007

Russian Catholics warn against rush to judgment as Polish bishops meet
A representative of the Russian bishops conference has warned against "hasty conclusions and accusations" as Polish bishops meet to discuss the fall out from the resignation of Warsaw Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus over spying allegations.
10 Jan 2007

More missionaries dying in own country
Twenty four missionaries were killed during 2006, according to Catholic Mission director, Fr Terry Bell, with most being non-Western missionaries working in their own countries.
10 Jan 2007

Philippines deports Irish Columban missionary
Irish Columban Fr Frank Nally who was working with former British government minister Clare Short on a report on the impact of foreign mining companies in the Philippines was detained and deported upon his arrival at Manila airport on Sunday.
10 Jan 2007

Expect more clashes over IVF: health expert
Tensions between Catholic-operated health services and IVF fertility clinics are likely to increase, says a leading reproductive health expert, but Catholic Health Australia has played down the threat to IVF services from Catholic health sector growth.
10 Jan 2007

Feature - Lede us not into confusion
Journalists often use the spelling "lede" to distinguish the first sentence of a story from other connotations of "lead." The 2006 Lede Us Not Into Confusion Prize goes to Malcolm Moore of London's Daily Telegraph who, in a November dispatch from Rome, managed to pack an awful lot of confusion into a single sentence: "The Pope has shocked theologians and opened a chink in the theory of papal infallibility by saying that people should feel free to disagree with what he has written in his latest book, a meditation on Jesus Christ." The Pope said that? - George Weigel
10 Jan 2007

Opinion - A "surge" in troop numbers?
News reports suggest that US President George W Bush's "new direction" in Iraq will be more of the same. A "surge" in the number of troops appears to be in the works. The President's refusal to admit error or failure will now lead to more error and more failure. The ostensible reason for sending more troops is to control the sectarian violence engulfing Baghdad. Except for the most fervid advocates of this war, few observers think that additional troops will either increase the safety of Americans already there or provide the basis for long-term stability.
10 Jan 2007

Dante's Hell is hard rock and heavy metal: Pope's choirmaster
A new musical version of Dante's medieval masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, produced by the St John Lateran Cathedral choirmaster, Monsignor Marco Frisina, features symphonic music in heaven, Gregorian chant in purgatory - and hard
rock and heavy metal in hell.
9 Jan 2007

Canberra Catholic hospital under new attack over IVF
The Canberra Fertility Centre (CFC) which offers IVF treatment and which has been based at the John James Hospital, has attacked the hospital's new owners, Little Company of Mary Health Care, for allegedly withdrawing services that the clinic describes as essential.
9 Jan 2007

Congregation for Clergy decree on Sale priest published
A Holy See Congregation for the Clergy decree calling for "implementation without further delay" of an earlier 2004 decree invalidating the removal by Bishop Jeremiah Coffey of controversial priest, Fr John Speekman, from his Morwell parish has now been published on a local website.
9 Jan 2007

Wielgus misled Pope by failure to disclose communist-era links: reports
Ex-Warsaw Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus in effect misled the pope by his failure to disclose the true nature of his links with the former Polish communist regime, Italian media reports say, as news breaks of the resignation of another high level church official in the late Pope John Paul II's home diocese of Cracow.
9 Jan 2007

Catholic commentators welcome stem cell breakthrough
Italian researcher Paolo De Coppi's groundbreaking research paper on amniotic stem cells was rejected by four scientific journals over seven years before its publication this week in Nature Biotechnology but Catholic commentators have welcomed the discovery as making available a new source of ethically acceptable stem cells.
9 Jan 2007

Time to end scandal of hunger, Benedict says
Giving his annual new year address to the Vatican diplomatic community, Pope Benedict yesterday condemned a worsening "scandal of famine" which he said is "unacceptable in a world which has the means and knowledge to tackle it".
9 Jan 2007

Feature - A Franciscan voice against human trafficking
Almost no country is immune to the scourge of human trafficking, despite the many international laws and United Nations standards condemning it. Just ask the Franciscan men and women who live with and serve the poor in many of the countries where it thrives. In their ministries they encounter its victims - women, girls, men, boys - who, typically, have left their country of origin, lured by promises of employment, new opportunities and a stable life - Judy Ball
9 Jan 2007

Opinion - Holiness and happiness
We long for happiness more than for anything else in life. Acknowledging this, we are led to the assumption that everyone knows what happiness is. And yet the truth is that this question is somewhat elusive. Books have been written about attaining happiness, plans have been laid out, step-by-step programs have been offered and secrets have been divulged for attaining this goal. And yet, in the fact of all this, why do we have so many unhappy people in our midst? - Fr Richard Scheiner
9 Jan 2007

Cowra family in last minute immigration reprieve
A family of Taiwanese origin whose children attend the local Catholic school in Cowra, central NSW, have won a last minute review of an Immigration Department decision ordering the family to leave the country because their small organic farm is not profitable enough.
8 Jan 2007

Sri Lankan bombing killed Christian civilians, bishop says
A Sri Lankan bishop says that there was only one rebel soldier who was on leave among 16 Christian civilians killed and 35 wounded in an attack last week on a Sri Lankan village by four airforce bombers.
8 Jan 2007

Catholics largest group in new US Congress
Catholics form the largest religious group among the newly inaugurated US Congress with 29 per cent of members of the Senate and House of Representatives, which also includes its first Muslim congressman, according to media analyses.
8 Jan 2007

Toowoomba bishop in call for ordination dialogue
Telling a Brisbane newspaper that he was grieved that he could not ordain women or married men to the priesthood, Toowoomba Bishop William Morris has expressed hope for a change in Church policy through "dialogue".
8 Jan 2007

Abbott returns fire over pregnancy counselling
Health Minister Tony Abbott has defended his decision to award a contract to operate a 24-hour pregnancy counselling hotline to Centacare following protests that a Catholic agency would not be able to offer objective advice.
8 Jan 2007

New Warsaw Archbishop resigns over collaboration allegations
Pope Benedict has accepted the resignation of Warsaw Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus hours before his official installation after the Polish prelate admitted that he had "damaged the Church" over his links with the former communist regime.
8 Jan 2007

Feature - A disturbing influence
Bob Santamaria maintained that "penetration" or "permeation" of outside bodies was a legitimate pressure-group tactic for him and his Catholic followers, akin to Fabian socialist influence on the British Labour Party. Opponents saw it as a takeover tactic. A burning question at the time of the Labor Split of the mid-1950s was whether the Movement he led was trying to take over the Australian Labor Party. Santamaria's letters to his intimates provide some evidence towards that conclusion.
8 Jan 2007

Opinion - Saddam's execution demeans all
The appalling images and stories from Saddam Hussein's execution chamber in Baghdad was irrefutable proof that execution dehumanises not just its victims but its perpetrators. The Catholic Church opposed the execution of Saddam Hussein on principle. The Church says that while capital punishment was once justified to preserve the common good, that is no longer true. This is not yet a powerful enough argument to swing opinion in the US, even among Catholics, whose pro-life inclinations are somewhat selectively applied.
8 Jan 2007

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 (6/10/06)
5 Jan 2007

Opinion - Labor on right track to win back religious vote
It is true that some of the Howard Government's policies have appealed to some believers in Australia. They include the Coalition's support for faith-based schools and the Government's social conservatism on some moral issues. In view of this, it makes sense for Labor to contest this ground, especially since there are a number of Christians prominent in the ranks of the party's federal leadership. Recently Rudd attempted to capture this issue for Labor. Rudd and his Christian Labor colleagues are on the correct track but the task is not easy - Gerard Henderson (7/11/06)
5 Jan 2007

Royal Family member to wed at Vatican
In a first since the Reformation, Lord Nicholas Windsor, son of the Duke and Duchess of Kent of Wimbledon tennis fame, will this Saturday marry a British born Croatian noble, Donna Paolo Doimi de Frankopan, at a church behind St Peter's, Rome.
5 Jan 2007

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.
5 Jan 2007

Readmission of married priests under discussion
A Vatican meeting presided over by Pope Benedict yesterday discussed the possible readmission of "priests who at present meet the conditions foreseen by the Church", while reaffirming "the value" of celibacy.
5 Jan 2007

Bethlehem faces darkest hour, mayor says
The birthplace of Jesus is facing one of the darkest chapters in its history, the Bethlehem mayor has said in a Christmas address, regretting the impact of the separation wall constructed by the Israeli government on the Palestinian town.
5 Jan 2007

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.
5 Jan 2007

Free to disagree with me on Jesus: Benedict
Pope Benedict, who has completed writing the first volume of a life of Jesus, says that the soon to be published volume outlines his own "interpretation of the figure of Jesus" and "therefore, everyone is free to contradict me".
5 Jan 2007

Feature - John Paul II a Marxist sympathiser?
A little-known and unpublished work by Fr Karol Wojtyla has touched off debate among experts across the globe about whether the future John Paul II, as a young academic, had developed sympathy for Marxism. "The church is aware that the bourgeois mentality and capitalism as a whole, with its materialist spirit, acutely contradict the Gospel," Wojtyla writes. The text contradicts views promoted by neoliberal thinkers like George Weigel who depict the late pontiff as a lifelong fan of US-style liberal capitalism - Jonathan Luxmoore and Jolanta Babiuch (12/7/06)
4 Jan 2007

Opinion - Stem cell decision is a question of morality, not science
In the stem cell debate it is easy to be dazzled by scientific claims and possibilities. But these can never be the determiner of the debate. Using embryonic stem cells for medical research is not a scientific question, but a moral one. Science is good at telling us how to do things. It can tell us how to achieve certain ends and provide the means to do so. However, the decision as to whether those ends are good ends or whether the means to achieve them are ethical is not a scientific question - Prof Neil Ormerod (14/9/06)
4 Jan 2007

Snowy mountains church spooks locals
The reappearance of a historical church in the Old Adaminaby township drowned by the rising waters of Lake Eucumbene in 1957 has spooked locals just over a month after fire destroyed the town's St Mary's church which replaced it.
4 Jan 2007

Benedict appoints first Australian Jesuit bishop
In a surprise appointment by Benedict XVI, Jesuit Greg O'Kelly, presently headmaster of St Ignatius' College in Adelaide, has been named Auxiliary Bishop for the city of churches.
4 Jan 2007

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.
4 Jan 2007

Indonesian Catholics executed this morning
After their last request for the sacrament of reconciliation was refused, three Catholics who had been convicted of anti-Muslim violence were executed early today near Palu, the capital of Sulawesi province in Indonesia.
4 Jan 2007

Taize's Br Roger in communion with Catholic Church
Contrary to reports that Br Roger Schutz had converted to Catholicism, the Taize founder, who received Communion from then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger at John Paul II's funeral, found his own Christian identity reconciling his Protestant origins with the mystery of the Catholic faith, his successor says.
4 Jan 2007

Benedict "deeply sorry" for Muslim outrage but violence continues
Pope Benedict told pilgrims yesterday that he is "deeply sorry" for the reaction to his quoted remarks of a medieval ruler who criticised Islam but violence continues with the killing of an Italian nun in Somalia and the firebombing of several churches in the Middle East.
4 Jan 2007

Feature - Sexy evangelists
"We got some other girls together and we went out to our first strip club." It may sound like the beginnings of a wild bachelorlette party but it the first step three women from California took toward creating JC's Girls, an outreach to the adult entertainment industry. Being mistaken for porn stars is actually part of their strategy. The girls play up their sex appeal on their website and in their personal appearances because it adds to their credibility in an industry obsessed with physical beauty - Michael Allen (13/6/06)
3 Jan 2007

Opinion - Stopping the clergy haemorrhage
Catholics know that they are in dire straights with today's shortage of clergy. What most do not realise is that this is just the lead up to a haemorrhage, which will occur during the next 20 years. But raiding poor countries for priests isn't the answer. They need their priests themselves. A possible solution can be found in the examples of Saints Peter and Paul who renegotiated some of the most sacred Jewish laws in order to expand their mission - Fr Eric Hodgens (12/4/06)
3 Jan 2007

Jesuit priest guiding Nic's "spiritual homecoming"
A close religious confidant to Nicole Kidman, Jesuit Fr Paul Coleman, says the actor has returned to the Church on the eve of her marriage to country singer Keith Urban.
3 Jan 2007

Christchurch Bishop condemns Easter Sunday jelly wrestling
The Catholic Bishop of Christchurch hopes people will celebrate Easter the traditional way, and not attend a semi-nude jelly-wrestling event.
3 Jan 2007

Opus Dei priest says it's OK to see Da Vinci Code
The director of Sydney's Archdiocesan Adult Education Centre has told the ABC that while the film The Da Vinci Code is riddled with historical errors, he is pleased that it has created unprecedented interest in Opus Dei.
3 Jan 2007

New full-time ministry for Catholic Women
Bishop David Walker of the Sydney Diocese of Broken Bay has recently announced that he is creating a new full-time ministry for celibate, ecclesial women.
3 Jan 2007

Former Catholic elected first Anglican female primate
Katharine Jefferts Schori, a liberal bishop from Nevada who was raised a Catholic, was elected on Sunday as the first woman leader of the 2.3 million-member US Episcopal Church.
3 Jan 2007

Cardinal Arinze discourages "liturgies to order"
Signs are growing that Benedict XVI intends to bring the liturgy back to a more traditional form after a top Vatican official protested the use of "do-it-yourself" services.
3 Jan 2007

Feature - Indian-born priest hopes for Cronulla racial harmony
Fr Thomas Kurunthanam could have been excused for harbouring some serious concerns about becoming parish priest at St Aloysius Gonzaga's Church, Cronulla, in Sydney. Three weeks before the 47-year-old was due to take up the appointment, violence erupted in the area with around 5000 people descending on North Cronulla Beach, chanting racist slogans and attacking people of Middle Eastern appearance.
2 Jan 2007

Opinion - Resistance to Benedict XVI
The Neocatechumenal Way has opposed a papal directive issued in December, which struck at one of the movement's cornerstones, the distinctive way that it celebrates the Eucharist, which follows the dictates of its founder Kiko ArgŁello much more closely than it does the liturgical canons that are universally valid for the Catholic Church. There was no comment from the directors of the Way after the call from the pope. But word was given to the 20,000 communities to continue as before - Sandro Magister
2 Jan 2007

Mystery of missing nuns deepens
The riddle surrounding the remains of two missing Sisters of Mercy nuns has resurfaced as earthworks around Auckland's historic St Patrick's Cathedral draw closer to an old, unmarked cemetery.
2 Jan 2007

Perth priest claims miracle
Fr Finbarr Walsh of the Perth parish of Rockingham says that a 50-year-old father of three is displaying stigmata on his hands and feet.
2 Jan 2007

Editor interprets Pope's endorsement of sexual pleasure
The editor of Perth's Record Catholic newspaper told a Sunday newspaper yesterday that Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical Deus Caritas Est (God is Love) challenges the widespread belief that the Church is the "most sexually repressed institution in the world".
2 Jan 2007

Padre Pio enlisted to cheer gloomy Brits
Yesterday, which researchers have billed as the worst day of the year for those afflicted by winter in the northern hemisphere, was declared "Don't Worry Be Happy Day", with St Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) its unofficial patron.
2 Jan 2007

Former top canonist says divorce is not sinful
Divorce is not a sin, and in some circumstances it is even a valid course of action, an outspoken former Vatican official has told an Italian newspaper.
2 Jan 2007

Pope drops a traditional papal title
Pope Benedict XVI has renounced one of the traditional titles of the Roman Pontiff by dropping the title "Patriarch of the West."
2 Jan 2007