Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources
 

NEWS ARCHIVE FOR MARCH 2007

   
Our Lady sheds more tears in Sri Lanka
In the third case reported in a month, another statue of Our Lady is reported to have started shedding tears of blood in Sri Lanka's war torn Mannar district.
30 Mar 2007

Western Sydney breeds "champions"
An Emerton Catholic school in Western Sydney has won a national award for a family-school partnership program and indigenous reading program based on linking Aboriginal culture and literacy.
30 Mar 2007

Indigenous offenders missing school, Cappo claims
The head of South Australia's Social Inclusion Unit, Adelaide Vicar General Msgr David Cappo, is questioning the government over an alleged failure to respond to the fact that many young Aboriginal offenders are only attending school for a few days a year, if at all.
30 Mar 2007

Timor women seized from church and raped, witness testifies
A Timorese woman has testified before an Indonesian-East Timor truth commission in Jakarta that pro-Indonesian forces who stormed a local church in 1999 seized 45 young women who were later beaten and raped by militiamen.
30 Mar 2007

Israel apologises over cancelled Vatican meeting
Israel has apologised over the last minute cancellation of a high-level meeting with the Vatican, which was trumped by an Arab League conference and a visit by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Israel's ambassador says.
30 Mar 2007

Bishops launch transcontinental attacks over gay rights
Italy's bishops have sparked a storm by telling Catholic politicians that they have a moral duty to vote against any proposed legislation recognising unmarried and homosexual couples as Westinster Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor slams his government over new gay rights laws.
30 Mar 2007

Feature - Lenten story: Loans helping ethnic women in Vietnam
Y Re, 24, is from the Central Highlands of Vietnam where she lives with her husband and extended family. She is a member of a credit program supported by Caritas Australia. Like many other ethnic minority women Y Re received a low level of education, leaving school when she was ten years old to work in the fields, helping her family grow enough food to survive. In 2004 Y Re borrowed $83. Like the majority of women in her community, Y Re used her loan to buy pigs to fatten and resell.
30 Mar 2007

Opinion - Hard to follow a muddled policy
Kevin Andrews, the new Minister for Immigration, has sounded muddled in his statements defending the government's decision to send 83 Sri Lankan asylum seekers to Nauru for processing. It is not all his fault. Even when he gets up to speed in the portfolio, there will still be much confusing complexity. The "Pacific solution" is now so morphed as to be incoherent. Unlike his ministerial predecessors, he will continue to look uncomfortable and confused as he defends this useless, expensive and discredited policy from yesteryear - Fr Frank Brennan
30 Mar 2007

Former Loreto student takes home art prize
A former Loreto student, Julia Mendel, has taken out the top award at the 2007 Clancy Prize for religious art for Sydney's secondary schools with a mixed media work comprising photography, sculpture and printmaking.
29 Mar 2007

Caloundra priest named Chancellor of Sunshine Coast Uni
The University of the Sunshine Coast has announced the appointment of Caloundra parish priest, Fr John Dobson, as Chancellor of the university.
29 Mar 2007

Carbon levy to hit poor, Vinnies researcher fears
Introducing a $10 a tonne carbon levy to fight climate change will hit pensioners and other low-income earners and will erode government concessions assisting the poor, a Vinnies researcher says.
29 Mar 2007

Tasmanian priest guilty of abuse, SA accused dies
A Tasmanian Marist priest has been found guilty of sexually assaulting two boys during the 1970s while an 80-year-old retired teacher at an Adelaide Catholic boys school has died before he could face trial on similar charges.
29 Mar 2007

Sobrino right to apply Gospel to injustice, Vatican paper says
The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano says that Spanish Jesuit Jon Sobrino was right to apply the Gospel to concrete situations of social injustice but the liberation theologian risked going astray with his "Jesus of history".
29 Mar 2007

John Paul II mystery miracle nun identified
A French newspaper has identified a 45-year-old nun as the beneficiary of a miracle credited to the intervention of the late John Paul II, whose cause for canonisation will move a step forward with the submission of a dossier on the miracle to the Holy See.
29 Mar 2007

Feature - Love's found in deeds, not words
A few years ago, Fr John Dear and another priest illegally entered a US airbase. Quoting the prophet Isaiah that when the Messiah comes "they will beat their swords into ploughshares", they took out two tiny toy hammers and began hitting the sides of the aeroplane. They were arrested and spent several months in jail. In some ways it reads like a stupid gesture. But before rushing too quickly into judgement we should recall that gestures count, and that we are urged as Christians to put our bodies where our words are - Bishop Greg O'Kelly
29 Mar 2007

Opinion - Human rights are Brigidine values
When Bishop Delaney founded the Brigidines, with just six Irish women in Tullow, in 1807, he did so in response to the wholesale, root and branch devastation inflicted on the people by the Penal Laws. Those laws denied Irish Catholics civil and political, economic, social and cultural rights. A human rights act would have protected the Catholics against these terrible injustices. But that was 200 years ago. Now in 2007, there are millions of human beings, no longer in Ireland but elsewhere, whose human rights are violated every day - Susan Ryan
29 Mar 2007

Ice-cream loving bishop farewelled
At his funeral yesterday, Broken Bay founder Bishop Patrick Murphy was remembered as a hardworking disciple of Jesus - who also loved ice-cream.
28 Mar 2007

Factions pose problems for uni world: Outgoing ACU chief
Soon-to-depart Australian Catholic University vice-chancellor, Peter Sheehan, says that the rise of factions and divisions among universities can create problems in dealing with government.
28 Mar 2007

Catholic and Protestant leaders welcome Irish accord
In a joint statement, Christian church leaders in Northern Ireland, including Cardinal Sean Brady, have welcomed a power-sharing agreement between the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein to restore devolved government in the region.
28 Mar 2007

"Incredulity" at Israel cancellation of Vatican meeting
Days before planned high level talks at the Vatican on legal and fiscal security issues for the church in Israel, Israeli diplomats have unilaterally cancelled the meeting, to the "incredulity" and "pain" of Church observers.
28 Mar 2007

Aussie soldiers accused over Timor church vandalism
A Timor priest has accused Australian troops of destroying property in a raid on a church during a search for fugitive rebel leader Alfredo Reinado.
28 Mar 2007

Release Hicks now: Bishop Saunders
Catholic social justice commission's Bishop Christopher Saunders, has called for David Hicks' immediate release despite his guilty plea yesterday to a charge of providing material support for terrorism.
28 Mar 2007

Feature - Finding the faith
For years researchers and academics have observed that traditional faiths are increasingly irrelevant to young people. "It is true that religion is dying," says Dr Andrew Singleton, who has researched the spirituality of "Gen Y". "Traditional styles of worshipping are losing numbers." However, at the same time, there are signs of a religious renaissance. Some faiths have began to flourish as people become more comfortable with public display of their religious allegiances, such as league stars Willie Tonga, a Christian, and Hazem El Masri, a Muslim - Lia Timson
28 Mar 2007

Opinion - Affirming Christ's pacifists, ecologists and ecumenists
It's a danger to try to identify the Antichrist with any particular individual or movement. There is a very worthy Christian pacifism. But there is a pacifism where people don't support anything sufficiently to struggle for, perhaps to fight for. There's no doubt, too, there can be an ecological enthusiasm that is not religious; it's a very, very low form of religion. And the other one, what is ecumenism? Well a genuine ecumenism recognises the importance of differences and ecumenism among Christians is the central figure of Christ - Cardinal George Pell (interview)
28 Mar 2007

Darling Downs town farewells drowned toddler
A 14-month-old boy from Mount Tyson on Queensland's Darling Downs who drowned in a cattle-watering trough accident two years after his sister died in a similar accident has been farewelled in a tearful service at St Stephen's Church in Pittsworth.
27 Mar 2007

Indonesian militia razed Dili church, Timor Bishop recalls
Testifying at the Indonesia-East Timor Truth Commission, former Dili Bishop Carlos Belo said that Indonesian forces and their militia allies had systematically razed the diocese's compound as well as other churches, killing several clergy and an unknown number of others.
27 Mar 2007

Rome conference energises Aussies
The Australian bishops have chosen a builder, Adam Crouch, and YCW national secretary, Sara Kane, to represent them in Rome this week at an international forum on globalisation and work.
27 Mar 2007

Hell is forever, Pope warns
Hell "exists and is eternal" despite the greatness of God's love and mercy, Pope Benedict said on Sunday, and those who reject Jesus need to know it.
27 Mar 2007

Aussie abortion proponent to address Polish Catholics
Australian bioethecist Peter Singer, a proponent of abortion, euthanasia and infanticide, is to be a guest at a Polish Catholic gathering but organisers say the purpose it to engage him in public discussion, not to provide a platform for his views.
27 Mar 2007

Guantanamo "an aberration", Death Row sister says
On visit to Australia to prepare for an opera based on her book, Dead Man Walking, Sr Helen Prejean says that Guantanamo Bay is an aberration and a corruption of US values and that the release of David Hicks should be a priority.
27 Mar 2007

Feature - Lawyers grapple with blank doctrine
An elderly nun, under questioning by a lawyer, recently said she could not remember anything about his client, a child who had been sexually molested by a priest. Finally, the lawyer asked whether she was familiar with "mental reservation" - a 700-year-old doctrine by which clerics may avoid telling the truth to protect the Church. "She explained in her own way that ... she subscribed to the doctrine," Zalkin said. Mental reservation is not sanctioned in canon law, experts say, but some US lawyers reported encountered it in clergy sex abuse cases - John Spano
27 Mar 2007

Opinion - The need for "crazy" Catholics
Last month I attended the final Mass at a neighbourhood parish. There were wake-like elements: tears, hugs, conversation, laughter, and stories. It had finality: parishioners would never assemble again in this church. Closing wasn't in their thoughts when terms like "packed" and "long lines" often defined the parish. Had someone asked 50 years ago, "Do you think our parish will ever close?" he or she would have been termed "crazy." But we need "crazy" Catholics. We need Catholics who, when the parish is thriving, think about what it would be like if the parish closed - Brian T Olszewski
27 Mar 2007

Easter Bunny banned by US school district
Public schools in Tiverton in the US state of Rhode Island have banned the word "Easter" at all school events and children will now have their photos taken with Peter Rabbit instead of the Easter Bunny.
26 Mar 2007

Benedict ally back in favour at Florida uni
Days after he was sacked as provost of Florida's controversial Ave Maria University, theological ally and former student of Pope Benedict Jesuit Fr Joseph Fessio is returning to the private university as "designated theologian in residence".
26 Mar 2007

Catholic activist accuses Qld police over investigation "farce"
A Brisbane peace activist and Catholic Worker stalwart whose arrest by Queensland police was deemed illegal by a Brisbane magistrate says that a police investigation of the circumstances of his arrest was a "farce from start to finish".
26 Mar 2007

Church negotiating with Govt on NT Catholic schools
With criticism mounting over the number of Indigenous students missing out on high school education, Sydney Cardinal George Pell says the Church is negotiating with the Federal Government to open a school at Wadeye Aboriginal community and could open more.
26 Mar 2007

Christian Brothers amalgamate Oceania provinces
The Christian Brothers have amalgamated their Australian, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand provinces into the new province of Oceania, which includes a new structure to manage the congregation's Australian schools.
26 Mar 2007

Pope warns over Europe "apostasy"
In an indirect criticism of the EU 50th anniversary Berlin Declaration's failure to make reference to Christianity, Pope Benedict has warned that Europe's revival could be threatened if it embraces a "peculiar form of apostasy" and forgets its Christian roots.
26 Mar 2007

Feature - Evil steals beauty of a shattered land
Teksure and Silibaziso Gumbo weep as they tell their story from the safety of a walled church compound in the township of Mbare, in southern Harare, Zimbabwe. Their house was torn down in 2005 when President Robert Mugabe razed slum areas that were opposition strongholds. Mr Mugabe then banned street vendors, destroying Teksure's livelihood. He no longer dares to sell groundnuts because, like his six-year-old daughter, Sarudzai, he has AIDS and cannot run from the police - Martin Fletcher
26 Mar 2007

Opinion - Dangers, toils and snares
In 1789 William Wilberforce started advocating the abolition of slavery. Results were long in coming, but he persevered until in 1807 the Act of the Abolition of the Slave Trade was passed. This, for the British, brought an end to trading in slaves, but slavery as such was only outlawed in 1833 - just about at the time of Wilberforce's death. Yet slavery continued. Today, classical slavery still exists in such places as northern Nigeria, Sudan and Mauritania, and there is a modern form as well: the crime of trafficking in persons - Michael Fitzgerald
26 Mar 2007

"Global warming, stop!", sister orders
Recalling claims that "Jesus spirit" ended a SARS outbreak in 2003, a Filipino sister has called on global warming to stop "in Jesus' name".
23 Mar 2007

Kanimbla Black Hawk trooper farewelled
Trooper Joshua Porter, who died when his Black Hawk helicopter crashed into the sea off Fiji late last year, has finally been farewelled in a Catholic funeral at Toukley on NSW's Central Coast.
23 Mar 2007

Catholic farmers slam Brazil's Lula over ethanol
Two weeks after Brazilian President Lula da Silva signed an "alliance" with the US to promote ethanol-producing crops, Brazil's Catholic Farmers Pastoral has slammed the deal for enriching landowners at the expense of landless peasants.
23 Mar 2007

"Christian explosion" among Chinese intellectuals, expert finds
Christian fellowships are now active in most Chinese universities, resulting in a "Christian explosion" that has "reshaped the religious landscape" in the communist country, a British academic has found.
23 Mar 2007

Politicians can't be bothered with social questions: NSW churches
With NSW moving to parliamentary elections this weekend, the Council of Churches has revealed that only five state politicians bothered to answer a questionnaire on key social issues.
23 Mar 2007

"Ready to face bullets", Zimbabwean archbishop says
Zimbabwe's Archbishop Pius Ncube has said he is "ready to face bullets" in joining an anti-government street protest as Australian Embassy staff intervene to help a beaten activist flee the Mugabe regime.
23 Mar 2007

Feature - The rise and fall of Santo Santoro
When Santo Santoro arrived at a Young Liberals meeting three decades ago, his reputation as a hard worker preceded him. Unlike colleagues including Alexander Downer, Santoro was not a born-to-rule Liberal with a plummy accent and a silver spoon in his mouth. Santoro, whose resignation from federal parliament has bruised the Howard Government, came to Australia from Sicily aged five with his family. As a Sicilian Catholic, he did his secondary schooling at Marist College Rosalie, which catered primarily to working-class boys. It was there that Santoro's prodigious work ethic became apparent - Andrew Fraser
23 Mar 2007

Opinion - Sexploitation a setback for women's rights
I must admit I found it very hard to celebrate International Women's Day this year. I have three daughters and I see how vulnerable they are to messages about sexuality and body image. Many gains have been made by the women's movement. But at some stage, efforts to end women's exploitation were overtaken by the movement for sexual liberalism. What we are witnessing is not liberation but oppression. It is not liberating for young women to be told that their only power is in their sexual currency - Melinda Tankard Reist
23 Mar 2007

Boxing belt for Benedict
Saying that faith "carries us through", flamboyant boxing promoter Don King, who once managed Muhammad Ali, yesterday presented a green and gold boxing belt to Pope Benedict following the pontiff's General Audience in St Peter's Square.
22 Mar 2007

Tas priest on trial over 70s abuse accusations
Two former students from Marist College, Burnie have alleged in Launceston Criminal Court that Gregory Laurence Ferguson, then a teacher at the college, abused them in the early 1970s.
22 Mar 2007

Row erupts over Gold Coast hospital "reflection room"
Christian groups are up in arms over a decision by Queensland's Gold Coast Hospital to turn its Christian chapel into a multifaith "reflection room" but Southport's parish priest, Fr Peter Pillon, is backing the decision.
22 Mar 2007

Jesuit justice centre "unsustainable"
Sydney-based Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre, established in 1989, will close in May after the research institute's board concluded that it would not be sustainable over the long term.
22 Mar 2007

20 years for beheading three Christian girls
A Muslim militant from Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, was yesterday sentenced to twenty years in prison for masterminding the beheading murder of three Christian girls.
22 Mar 2007

No rest for Zen, Pope decides
Pope Benedict has formally rejected the resignation submitted by Hong Kong's Cardinal Joseph Zen after the combative prelate turned 75 and asked him to keep working to improve relations between China and the Holy See.
22 Mar 2007

Feature - Lenten story: Empowering local communities in Peru
Adolpho Ricapa Rodriguez is from Jucul, a village in Peru's Andean mountain ranges. Families in Jucul live a subsistence existence. Farmers have to plant crops on mountainsides, often many hours from the village, requiring them to walk great distances each day to tend them. In 2000, Caritas helped form a village committee. The Caritas staff have worked closely with Adolpho and other village leaders to provide training on new techniques for growing crops and improving the breeding of their cattle and sheep.
22 Mar 2007

Opinion - Parents, rein in your teen children
A teen party with no adult supervision in Sydney's North Shore quickly ran out of control last month. Police were called, children were admitted to hospital and stomachs were pumped. Adolescents have gone wild since Plato's day, but what really seems to have changed is that teens are now going to such parties with parental permission. Principals of the private schools whose students attended the party were left wondering how so many parents could have neglected to supervise where their son or daughter was going that night - Miranda Devine
22 Mar 2007

Nun "discovers" Vietnam leprosariums
A Vietnamese nun has made it her mission to find and visit "undocumented" state-run leprosariums in the country's northern provinces - but there are more still to be "discovered", she says.
21 Mar 2007

NSW Vinnies drops aged care
Following a review of its services, Vinnies NSW has decided to pull out of aged care to focus on care of the most marginalised and is transferring the Society's 19 residential aged care homes to Catholic Healthcare.
21 Mar 2007

Redfern meditation group locked out
In the latest controversy at Sydney's Redfern parish, members of a longstanding Friday meditation group claim to have been locked out of the church over the disappearance of an altar cloth.
21 Mar 2007

Zimbabwe Church accuses S Africa over failure to act
As accusations of a 1980s massacre of 20,000 people by forces loyal to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe are revived, the Catholic Church has accused South Africa of failing to use its economic clout to pressure the authoritarian regime.
21 Mar 2007

Immigration Minister betrays religious principles, refugee lawyer says
Refugee lawyer Julian Burnside has accused Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews, a Catholic, of betraying his religious principles and breaching international law over the sending of 82 Sri Lankan asylum seekers to detention camps in Nauru.
21 Mar 2007

"Loyal opposition" a right: Kung
Controversial Swiss theologian and papal critic, Fr Hans Kung, says that he has a right to be part of what he describes as Pope Benedict's "loyal opposition".
21 Mar 2007

Feature - Catholic centralist unsettling French political certainties
It was supposed to be a race between conservative candidate Nicolas Sarkozy and socialist Segelene Royal. But an uninvited outsider has crashed the party. Now, centrist leader Francois Bayrou has a legitimate shot at moving in to the Elysees Palace. With only five weeks to go before the first round of elections, the 55-year-old Catholic, a father of six children and farmer, has figured out how to position himself as an anti-establishment candidate, hero of the common man and antidote to voters' dissatisfaction with the government and politics - Stefan Simons
21 Mar 2007

Opinion - What to do about Mugabe?
Towering rage is the only legitimate reaction to the latest outrage in the benighted, despoiled, corrupted, starving, bankrupt nation known as Zimbabwe. The cold blooded killing of an opposition activist at a prayer meeting in Highfields, a suburb in Harare, and the shooting of mourners at his wake was merely the latest excess of an evil dictatorship. Human rights lawyers, civil action groups, church leaders, and women's groups have carried on the fight for democracy. Meanwhile, the half-witted talk about such sops as cricket boycotts, and the puffy-chested pursue democracy by landing bombs upon civilians - Peter Roebuck
21 Mar 2007

Four nuns killed in Indian car accident
The Church in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu is in shock after the road accident deaths of four Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary whose car collided with a truck on Friday.
20 Mar 2007

Gaza sick dying for lack of urgent medical access
Ill Palestinians who are being prevented from crossing into Israel for urgent medical treatment are a result of complicated Israeli border procedures, Caritas Jerusalem says.
20 Mar 2007

Enforce abortion counselling rules, Vatican tells German bishops
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has called on Germany's bishops to enforce an earlier ruling that Catholic volunteers should not take part in an abortion counselling program.
20 Mar 2007

Iraq Christians taxed for their religion
As the number of Christians in Iraq continues to dwindle, reports are emerging that those who remain are being forced to pay Ottoman Empire-style poll taxes in order to be guaranteed protection and religious freedom.
20 Mar 2007

First Broken Bay bishop dead at 86
Retired Broken Bay Bishop Patrick Laurence Murphy, who became the first bishop of the newly created diocese in 1986, has died after a long illness.
20 Mar 2007

Labor's plan to fund shared school facilities
Opposition leader Kevin Rudd says that if elected, his new Labor government will finance a $63 million pilot program in which sports, science and library facilities will be shared by government and private schools, including Catholic.
20 Mar 2007

Feature - The Abbott of Worth Abbey
A good thing about visiting the Benedictines is that they are obliged to look after you; it's the rules. Abbot Jamison, or Fr Christopher, seems to enjoy this particular duty. Fr Christopher is an Australian, born in Melbourne in 1951. His family moved to England when he was just an infant. He says his decision to enter religious life was partly influenced by "a very intelligent Catholic community at Oxford". Fr Christopher regards this particular group as part of "a spiritual renewal" that sprang from Vatican II. "It was extraordinary," he says. "We were certainly not looking backwards" - Freddy Gray
20 Mar 2007

Opinion - Too materialistic to accept lifestyle changes?
This whole issue of the environment and the potential threat from the way we live, begs for a radical and generous response from Christians. We need leaders who can point the way and encourage the prophetic ones to break new ground. Are we so identified with the materialistic culture or so intertwined with the market economy that we cannot bear witness to the freedom of detachment? Leaders must help us discern the signs of the times, they must encourage and support prophetic witness - Fr Michael Whelan
20 Mar 2007

London churches go green together
Britain's Westminster Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has called on "followers of Jesus" to play a part in combating climate change, endorsing suggestions made in an ecumenical guidebook for London churches on reducing energy use and introducing recycling.
19 Mar 2007

Coleridge draws fire over book review
The Australian has apologised over a book review by Canberra Archbishop Mark Coleridge that the newspaper said contained similar content to a review by another author published earlier in a British publication.
19 Mar 2007

Race industry fears over WYD "chaos"
Horse trainers fear that up to 800 horses that train at Randwick will be forced to move elsewhere for up to six weeks, creating chaos in the industry in the lead up to the World Youth Day Mass to take place at the Sydney racecourse next year.
19 Mar 2007

Sobrino condemnation to revitalise "Marxist" theology: Boff
Former Franciscan priest, Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff has predicted that the Vatican's "condemnation" of the theology of Spanish Jesuit Jon Sobrino will only serve to revitalise Marxist theology in Latin America.
19 Mar 2007

Emotions break at Aussie diplomat funeral
Funerals have been held for several victims of the Yogjakarta air crash in Indonesia including Australian diplomat, Liz O'Neill, who was buried after an emotional service at a packed St Canice's church in Sydney's eastern suburb on Friday.
19 Mar 2007

Bracks defies Pope on cloning
Defending new cloning laws he is introducing into Victoria's parliament, Catholic premier Steve Bracks has rejected a warning by Pope Benedict that Catholic politicians should refer to their religion above all else in making political decisions.
19 Mar 2007

Feature - Judas goes to rehab
"Compared to some of the people we deal with, Jeffrey Archer is a lightweight." The reference is to Archer's status as a sinner, not a writer. I am talking to Francis J Moloney, a man who wears several impressive hats. He is one of the most respected biblical scholars in the world and heads the Australian Salesians of Don Bosco. He is also the collaborator with Archer in a new book about Judas Iscariot. Does he think the book will be controversial? "I'm expecting trouble from the extreme right and the extreme left," he says - Michael Duffy
19 Mar 2007

Opinion - Answering in good conscience
The Church teaching on conscience gives no consolation to the uninitiated, thinking they can simply do their own thing. But neither does it accord religious authorities the liberty of insisting upon wooden compliance with their instruction or view of the world. It is too simplistic to resolve the tension between conscience, authority and truth to urge: "When in doubt, follow the bishops." The bishops may be right; they often are. But then again, they may be wrong, as the Vatican authorities have been in dealing with the AIDS pandemic - Fr Frank Brennan
19 Mar 2007

Young Tanzanian woman seeks forced marriages ban
Representing the Catholic NGO Maryknoll at a United Nations conference on the status of women, a young Masai woman who recently escaped a forced marriage in Tanzania has called on the international body to work for an end to the practice.
16 Mar 2007

Spanish woman moved from Catholic hospital to die
A bedridden Spanish woman who suffered from muscular dystrophy for more than twenty years has died at her own request after she was transferred from a Catholic to a state hospital where her respirator was switched off.
16 Mar 2007

NSW priest sues state over bushfires
Warragamba priest Fr John Evans is among a group of 42 NSW victims who lost their homes in a Christmas 2001 bushfire who are suing the State Government over an alleged failure to warn residents of the blaze.
16 Mar 2007

Canadian philosopher wins Templeton Prize
A Canadian philosopher, Charles Taylor, who advocates spiritual solutions to violence and warns against identifying Christianity with European civilisation, has won the prestigious Templeton Prize for progress on spiritual issues.
16 Mar 2007

Give priority to "poverty postcodes", agencies say
Welfare agencies are pressing the NSW government to implement recommendations from the recent Vinson report to give funding priority to so-called "poverty code" areas where intergenerational poverty is concentrated.
16 Mar 2007

Christ hides his divinity, Melbourne Jesuit says
Commenting on the Vatican critique of Fr Jon Sobrino's theology, fellow Jesuit Fr Andrew Hamilton, who has worked with the Spanish theologian in El Salvador, says that Christ hides his divinity in such "exigent places".
16 Mar 2007

Feature - St Patrick's new Ireland
Even though St Patrick's Day has not yet arrived, I have already received several cards and messages. Some came the old-fashioned way, delivered by the postman, but most were like my friend Colleen's, the virtual variety, and arrived with a "ping' in my inbox. Colleen's card, animated by leaping leprechauns, proffered a self-styled "auld Irish blessing". Colleen's not Irish, she's an Aussie of Irish descent, interested in and proud of her heritage. But her virtual Ireland doesn't exist any more. It's a new Ireland now - educated, multicultural, aware - Ursula Stephens
16 Mar 2007

Opinion - When it's about women, you've gone too far
Last week, in Ireland, Trocaire, the official overseas aid agency of the Irish Church, began its regular Lenten ad campaign. The interesting thing about the campaign is that it is about more than "charity." It also asks people to contribute to movements that seek justice. It always calls for change in the system that is creating the oppression, contributing to the poverty, or justifying the discrimination. All of them have gotten widespread support. Till this one. This year's campaign on gender equality has touched a few nerves - Sr Joan Chittister
16 Mar 2007

Church should be a "Gypsy among Gypsies", Vatican proposes
Saying that the Church needs to become a "Gypsy among Gypsies", the Vatican this week has launched a campaign to win over Europe's Roma people from non-mainstream Protestant "sects".
15 Mar 2007

Britain becoming Europe's "moral poor man": report
A Cambridge University report commissioned by the European Catholic Caritas agencies has warned that Britain could become Europe's "moral poor man" because of policies that ignore the needs of the poorly paid migrant workers who help keep the nation's inflation rate down.
15 Mar 2007

Fears grow over Sri Lanka violence
Caritas Australia says that tsunami reconstruction projects it funded in Sri Lanka have ground to halt as fears grow that, with more than 200,000 people forced to flee their homes, the country is erupting into open conflict.
15 Mar 2007

Churches dragged into Santoro share controversy
Profits on an undisclosed shareholding of Senator Santo Santoro, were not donated to charity as claimed by the Federal Aged Care Minister but to the Family Council of Australia of which the Catholic Church is a member, reports say.
15 Mar 2007

Mixed reaction to Benedict's exhortation
Strictures in Pope Benedict's back to basics apostolic exhortation would only be observed when the bishop visits, a Melbourne priest has said while others have welcomed Benedict's criticisms of "trashy" modern liturgical music.
15 Mar 2007

No bar for liberation theologian but work "erroneous"
Contrary to earlier reports, the Holy See has not barred Spanish liberation theologian Fr Jon Sobrino from teaching or publishing but has declared that his work contains statements that are "either erroneous or dangerous".
15 Mar 2007

Feature - British PM's new love affair
Tony Blair has forged a special bond with the Rev Ian Paisley, the union and Protestant leader who holds the future of the Northern Ireland peace process in his hands, by discussing their common interest in and commitment to Christianity. A fierce Protestant, Mr Paisley has outraged Catholics by denouncing the Pope as the anti-Christ. Mr Blair is an Anglican who attends mass with his Catholic wife. "Blair is brilliant at seducing Paisley," Irish politics professor Lord Bew said. "This is the most amazing love affair."
15 Mar 2007

Opinion - Why "Scooter" Libby will be remembered
The conviction of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, for lying to FBI agents and to the grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA officer's identity, is one of those moments in legal history that only has significance if taken in context. Libby's conviction won't make the history books because of the resoundingly egregious nature of his offence. It will make the history books because of his links with the US administration's dominant point of view, one that required an attitude of invulnerability, righteousness and the sense of being beyond the reach of law.
15 Mar 2007

Jesus not an alien, Venezuelan bishop insists
Noting that every generation poses questions on Christ's identity, Venezuelan Bishop Mario Moronta insists that Jesus was neither a revolutionary, nor a socialist, nor a hippie, nor an alien.
14 Mar 2007

Can't pick marriages that will last
Saying that some couples already have "mental lines drawn" when they marry and are already prepared to "revisit" their commitment, Sydney priest Fr Chris Ryan says that it is not possible to "pick" the marriages that will endure.
14 Mar 2007

Vatican to broadcast across the H2O
Days after Pope Benedict slammed the "destructive" influence of the internet and other media, the Holy See has announced that the Vatican will launch its own news and entertainment TV network, H2O, by the end of the year.
14 Mar 2007

Timor priest accuses Aussie troops
As fugitive Timorese rebel leader Major Alfredo Reinado calls for mediation by the Church, an East Timor priest has accused Australian troops of terrifying local villagers after a raid by the soldiers left a number of houses in ruins.
14 Mar 2007

Archbishop Hart condemns cloning laws
Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart has condemned an announcement by Victorian Premier Steve Bracks that the state government will introduce a law modelled on a recent federal legislation to allow "therapeutic" cloning of human embryos.
14 Mar 2007

Benedict seeks return to Catholic "classics"
In a major document on the Eucharist released overnight, Pope Benedict has called for a renewed emphasis on the Latin Mass, Gregorian chant and classical church art as well as insisting on the obligatory "witness of virginity" in the Latin Church.
14 Mar 2007

Feature - The Pope's former pharmacist
There are around 15,000 people working in the Vatican city and around 700 residents. From the Pope to an office clerk, they have ordinary needs such as for groceries, health care and banking services. Australian St John of God Brother, Br Fabian Hynes, is one who fulfilled one of those service roles for 52 years as the head of the Vatican Pharmacy. The recently retired brother has filled scripts for six Popes and countless others in the Vatican - Marilyn Rodrigues
14 Mar 2007

Opinion - What do we talk about with God?
We've all had the experience of walking away from prayer feeling comforted and heard, and we've all the experience of walking away feeling more cold and alone than before we began. So, are there prayers that work and prayers that don't? Are there good prayers and not-so-good prayers? Effective words and ineffective words? Prayers that reach God's ears and prayers that fall to the ground unheard? In short, what should we talk about when we talk with God? - Janet Conner
14 Mar 2007

No holy water for German journalist
A German journalist has been fined A$170 after being caught filming three artists who were stealing water from the garden hose at Pope Benedict's Bavarian home to sell on the eBay online auction website.
13 Mar 2007

Zimbabwe prayer meeting crushed
One person was killed and several injured after hundreds of shotgun and teargas armed riot police stopped a Harare prayer meeting that had met under the banner of the "Save Zimbabwe campaign".
13 Mar 2007

Putin to visit Pope today
Although the Moscow Orthodox Patriarchate has played down a visit today to Pope Benedict by Russian President Vladimir Putin as "only a state visit", the Holy See nuncio to Russia has suggested that the meeting indicates "ecumenical progress".
13 Mar 2007

Benedict visit on cards for Vietnam
Vietnam and the Holy See are moving towards establishing diplomatic relations after a Vatican delegation visit this week and an announcement from Rome which has raised hope for a papal visit to the communist country.
13 Mar 2007

NSW Greens angered by Catholic classroom critique
The NSW Greens has accused the state government of double standards on the distribution of political material in schools for failing to stop the Catholic Education Commission from distributing a critique of the Greens' education policy.
13 Mar 2007

Liberation theologian to be silenced
Reports say that the Vatican will silence Spanish-born liberation theologian, Jon Sobrino, who works in El Salvador and who narrowly escaped death in a 1989 massacre that killed six fellow Jesuits, after he allegedly failed to affirm Christ's divinity.
13 Mar 2007

Feature - Evangelise by example, not gimmicks
The decisive question currently facing the American Church in a culture of pluralism is not so much how to evangelise as a fundamentally new way of being Church. Searching for newfangled methods or even eye-catching gimmicks of evangelising before examining this foundational question is putting the cart before the horse. In our current culture, it is only by imitating Christ's respect for diversity and otherness that convinces and converts people, not brilliant systems of ideas and doctrinal propositions - Peter C Phan
13 Mar 2007

Opinion - Self-criticism is a monotheistic tradition
Besieged communities are too often reminded by their elders to sing from the same hymn sheet - on cue and in perfect harmony. But the arrival of the Independent Australia Jewish Voices this month shows there is a growing chorus that is being sung in a different key, and this may force the conductor to apply a new baton. The irony is that these new movements are not anti-tradition, but go to the heart of the three monotheistic faiths. Loyalty to one's tribe, flag, land or elders should never hinder an over-arching loyalty to truth - Joseph Wakim
13 Mar 2007

Bibles for Beijing Olympics
A leader of China's Catholic affairs association is calling on the nation's Government to encourage Christians to donate bibles to hotels in anticipation of the thousands of visitors expected for next year's Beijing Olympics.
12 Mar 2007

Priest spearheads Gold Coast mother-baby reunion effort
A retired Irish priest is said to be working to reunite his niece with her baby after the child was found abandoned in a Surfers Paradise toilet.
12 Mar 2007

Tasmanian Church accused over "laundry slaves"
A Tasmanian child abuse campaigner, Walter Tusyn, has called for the State Government to investigate alleged abuse of hundreds of girls at Church-operated commercial laundries in the years after World War II.
12 Mar 2007

Millions to die of AIDS in PNG
Fifty per cent of all patients in medical and tuberculosis wards in Port Moresby are admitted due to AIDS, the Papua New Guinea National Catholic AIDS Office says, as fears grow that the disease could kill millions in Australia's northern neighbour.
12 Mar 2007

JPII mounts stairway to heaven
The diocese of Rome has completed its examination of the life and virtues of Pope John Paul II in the first step of the process towards canonisation of the late pontiff.
12 Mar 2007

Choose conversion or death, Benedict warns
Repentance is the most effective way to change oneself and society, Pope Benedict said yesterday, in a Lenten warning that true conversion is the only path to conquering evil and death.
12 Mar 2007

Feature - Anatomy of the Yogyakarta disaster
Only the good die young, they say, and this was a plane full of both the good and the young. Liz O'Neill had worked with refugees before joining the Department of Foreign Affairs, where she looked after families and journalists in the ghastly aftermath of the Bali bombing. O'Neill came from a strong Catholic family with an equally strong sense of social justice. "If I were to use one word in regard to Liz, it would be that she had great integrity," says Elizabeth Strutt, a parishioner at St Canice's in Sydney's Kings Cross.
12 Mar 2007

Opinion - How we can all work with Muslims
Muslims won't help their cause if they always claim they are victims and ignore or ridicule the fears, real or exaggerated, of majority Australia. But Melbourne Sheik Mohammed Omran is right in pointing out that we, the majority, have work to do too. The best way to prevent even a tiny minority of young Aussie Muslims becoming radicalised is to treat the Muslim community justly and well, encouraging the education of their children to break down disadvantage, and rejecting job discrimination so they can find work - Cardinal George Pell
12 Mar 2007

Heaven's door closed for Dylan music, Benedict told JPII
When he learned that John Paul II was to appear with famous singer Bob Dylan at a 1997 concert, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was so appalled he unsuccessfully tried to stop the double act from proceeding, Pope Benedict has revealed.
9 Mar 2007

Toowoomba diocese douses concerns over KKK
The Toowoomba diocese's Catholic Social Justice Commission says that people should be more concerned about Aboriginal health and education than with the distribution of a Ku Klux Klan recruitment brochure in the Queensland provincial city.
9 Mar 2007

Sydney Catholic school complaints shut down brothel
The NSW Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal by an inner Sydney brothel against a closure order that followed complaints by the neighbouring Catholic girls school, St Vincent's College.
9 Mar 2007

Baby survives mistaken abortion in Italy
Church authorities in Italy have slammed a doctor involved in a mistaken abortion attempt that left an Italian baby born at 22 weeks fighting for his life after an erroneous diagnosis of a birth defect.
9 Mar 2007

Bishop Manning calls on faithful to embrace "apostolate of influence"
Writing in a pastoral letter on the eve of the NSW state elections, Parramatta Bishop Kevin Manning says that politics cannot be separated from faith and Catholics must embrace what he calls the "apostolate of influence".
9 Mar 2007

Former Jesuit worker among Indonesia crash victims
Former Jesuit Refugee Service worker and King Cross, Sydney's parishioner, Liz O'Neill, is believed to have died in Wednesday's plane crash at Indonesia's Yogyakarta airport, rescuers say.
9 Mar 2007

Feature - Building bridges for 50 years
Celebrating 50 years of married bliss on New Year's Eve 2006, Brian and Nanette D'Arcy have resided for 47 years in the parish of St Bernadette's, Castle Hill, NSW. Stalwarts of the parish, the D'Arcys are engaged Catholics who live their faith in practical ways and carry their warmth and generosity into the community. As a young married couple, the D'Arcys arrived in Castle Hill when it was still a sleepy rural place of bush blocks and "streets full of children playing" - Dan McAloon
9 Mar 2007

Opinion - Waging jihad for peace in Papua
My perception of jihad is mostly shaped by the mass media. I used to think jihad referred to the use of physical force or war. I thought engagement in jihad was restricted to the Muslim community. My view of jihad has now changed. I have been convinced the authentic jihad in Islam is related to peaceful coexistence in society and that jihad is not the monopoly of Muslims. While I do not embrace Islam, I have started exercising this authentic jihad through my involvement in an interfaith peace campaign in Papua - Fr Neles Tebay
9 Mar 2007

Wikipedia canon law "expert" outed as a 24-year-old dropout
A member of online encyclopedia Wikipedia's team of experts, who used Catholicism for Dummies as a source for some of his contributions, has been outed as a 24-year-old college dropout and not a religion professor with a canon law degree.
8 Mar 2007

Catholic students put gender on agenda
In a statement for today's International Women's Day, an Asia-Pacific Catholic student group has called for effective work for gender justice and equality and criticised men as the main perpetrators of gender violence.
8 Mar 2007

ACT Chief Minister invokes priestly alibi
Responding to what he calls the Opposition's campaign of "innuendo and slime", ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope says that he was dining with his wife and a local Catholic priest on the night of the 2003 Canberra firestorm - and not with another woman.
8 Mar 2007

Indian court recognises fetus humanity in "landmark" ruling
In a ruling described by a Mumbai archdiocese representative as a "landmark", the Indian Maharashtra State Commission has recognised an unborn child as a consumer and therefore entitled to insurance coverage.
8 Mar 2007

Christians lack imagination, Vatican media archbishop says
Christians have often "lacked the imagination" to use the media well in making known the good news of Jesus Christ, according to the President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Archbishop John P Foley.
8 Mar 2007

West Bank Wall shocks German bishops
German bishops visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories on a peace mission have been accused of anti-Semitism after one bishop compared West Bank conditions with the Warsaw ghetto.
8 Mar 2007

Feature - Lenten story: Rebuilding a broken people
Dili resident Luisa, whose husband was killed by militiamen during the 1999 East Timor independence vote, was evacuated with her children to a refugee safe haven in Sydney. After returning home in June 2000, Luisa began working as a counsellor supporting survivors of violence, including domestic and sexual violence. Sadly, rape and sexual assault were used as a form of cruelty against women by the Indonesian military in East Timor. "Independence meant we had to rebuild our own country but first we needed to rebuild our broken people," says Luisa.
8 Mar 2007

Opinion - Be wary of the election year
This is a year of elections, Federal towards the end of the year, and this month, the statutory four-yearly election in NSW. This is not fresh news. Federal and State politicians have been hard at work for some time convincing us theirs is the party to follow. The media is consumed with stories about politicians, their wives and sometimes, mercifully, even their policies. We should always be ready to detect the slant or perceived bias. So as Christians, how do we decide our vote? - Margaret Rodgers
8 Mar 2007

Priest lets blind skiers "see"
Describing it as a lesson in trust, American priest Fr Bill Key volunteers to lead legally blind skiers down the slopes of a US mountain resort.
7 Mar 2007

Trappists want to restore Algerian martyrs' monastery
Trappist monks want to re-open a monastery in the Algerian Atlas mountains where seven fellow French monks were killed by Muslim terrorists in 1996.
7 Mar 2007

School back on deck after floods
John Therry Catholic High School in Macarthur, NSW, is open again after a severe storm, which dumped 90mm in less than an hour, left the Wollongong diocese school with only 13 usable classrooms.
7 Mar 2007

Vatican delegation building "diplomatic bridge"
A high level delegation from the Holy See has arrived in Hanoi to begin a week's visit described by the local press as the next important span in the "diplomatic bridge" between Vietnam and the Vatican.
7 Mar 2007

Vatican backs nuclear weapons protest
Days after the US announced that it plans to develop a new hydrogen bomb for submarine-launched ballistic missiles, Glasgow Cardinal Keith O'Brien told a local protest rally that the Scottish bishops' nuclear opposition has Holy See backing.
7 Mar 2007

Paper praises euthanasia protest doctor
Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano has praised an Italian doctor who resigned from the Italian College of Physicians after his colleagues failed to discipline an anaesthetist who unplugged a patient's respirator, ending his life.
7 Mar 2007

Feature - Nun, a part of US civil rights history
Sr Antona Ebo, a Franciscan Sister of Mary, and a number of Catholic sisters were pioneers in the struggle for civil rights in Selma, Alabama back in 1965. It was three days after a peaceful protest march had been brutally attacked by white-supremacist local authorities. The sisters' appearance among the protesters in the following days - and especially African-American Sr Antona - made worldwide headlines. What brought Sr Antona to the Franciscan sisters is a story in itself, one that helps explain how she wound up in Selma - John Feister
7 Mar 2007

Opinion - Long term solutions needed for Sri Lankan refugees
While the Howard government weighs up how it will choose to respond to the boatload of men, including 83 Sri Lankan asylum seekers, now being held on Christmas Island, it is time to remember that these are vulnerable people who have fled from extreme danger. Statements from the Australian government indicate generalised violence against civilians in Sri Lanka. The men have fled from danger and should not be returned to danger. The other option of returning these men to their most immediate prior location, Indonesia, would also be untenable - Georgina Pike
7 Mar 2007

Canberra parish launches live-in WYD community
Canberra Archbishop Mark Coleridge has commissioned a team of six young people from Corpus Christi parish in South Tuggeranong who will live in community with the parish's priests to prepare for next year's World Youth Day in Sydney.
6 Mar 2007

Bishops concerned over Sweden becoming "abortion paradise"
Stockholm's Catholic Archbishop Anders Arborelius has launched an appeal to the government not to make Sweden an "abortion paradise" following a proposal to open the Nordic country's hospitals to women from countries with tighter abortion restrictions.
6 Mar 2007

Japanese denial unbelievable, "comfort woman" says
Adelaide Catholic grandmother, Jan Ruff-O'Herne, who was raped "day and night" by Japanese soldiers during World War II, has described a statement by the Japanese Prime Minister denying the existence of wartime sex slavery as "unbelievable" and an attempt to avoid paying compensation.
6 Mar 2007

Archdiocese builds Adelaide's first six-star green office block
A new building featuring rooftop solar panels and energy-efficient lighting being developed by the Archdiocese of Adelaide to house SA Water and facilities for St Aloysius' College will be South Australia's first six-star green office building.
6 Mar 2007

Women bear brunt of exploitation: Vatican
The Holy See's permanent observer, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, told the United Nations last week that women "bear the brunt of the world's child prostitution, sexual exploitation, abuse, domestic violence, child labour and human trafficking".
6 Mar 2007

Right to attack Rudd on religion: Abbott
Declaring that he admires Kevin Rudd as a "serious Christian", Health Minister Tony Abbott, a Catholic, says that that it is not sectarian to question the Opposition Leader's religious credentials.
6 Mar 2007

Feature - In awe of the Roman Missal
My seminary studies were done at a time of upheaval in the Church. It was a time of great liturgical ferment, as "the new Mass" in English appeared and took hold. But in my work with the Roman Missal Editorial Committee, I have been forced to go back to the Latin. As I discovered more of what the Latin contained, the Roman Missal stirred in me a sense of awe. Not everything in it is a masterpiece, but I now think the Missal is one of the West's greatest cultural artefacts - Archbishop Mark Coleridge
6 Mar 2007

Opinion - Counting the ecological cost of WYD
Each time I look at the World Youth Day website the number of people expected to participate keeps rising. Many of the Australian participants will fly in to Sydney. More than 100,000 international visitors are also expected - nearly all of whom will fly for up to 25 hours. It is obvious from available figures that the "carbon cost" of hosting World Youth Day in Sydney could easily reach half a million to a million tones of CO2 equivalent. So how will WYD08 respond to the environmental challenge? - Stefan Gigacz
6 Mar 2007

Church groups in MySpace funds race
Edmund Rice Camps is one of a growing number of small charities and church groups who have turned to the social networking website, MySpace, as a means of raising their profiles - and funds for their activities.
5 Mar 2007

Women chip at Vatican glass ceiling
Although there are still few women working at the highest levels of the Holy See hierarchy, the percentage of women working in Vatican offices has nearly doubled from 11 to 21 per cent since the beginning of John Paul II's pontificate.
5 Mar 2007

Church opposition to Masonry rock solid: Vatican official
A high ranking Vatican official has restated Church teaching on Masonic associations, saying that Catholics who enrol in such associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive communion.
5 Mar 2007

Pope finds his Nycz
Acting quickly in the wake of the resignation before his installation of Warsaw archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus, Pope Benedict has named Bishop Kazimierz Nycz as his replacement.
5 Mar 2007

Free tourist visas for WYD participants
With less than 500 days left in the countdown to World Youth Day in Sydney, Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile has announced that the Government will grant free three-month visas for all participants.
5 Mar 2007

Distinguish Muslim friends from enemies, says Pell
Distinguishing "Islamists" from the "many wonderful Muslims" he says he has met, Sydney Cardinal George Pell says that most victims of "extreme Muslims" are in fact Muslims.
5 Mar 2007

Feature - The rewards of learning
I was born out of the black dust of Walgett country, in far north-western NSW, with a mostly indigenous population. There wasn't much learning going on at school. Rather, like other kids in Walgett and Dubbo, I learned how to smoke pot, drink, steal cars and wag school. But through a cousin I learned about St Joseph's College, in Sydney's Hunters Hill. With the help of my parish priest I was sponsored and enrolled there. Before going to Joey's I couldn't read or write. I had no idea of the rewards that come from learning - wisdom, knowledge and an opportunity to serve my people - Craig Ashby
5 Mar 2007

Opinion - Balancing Catholic conscience and the magisterium
In the 1970s a number of theologians proceeded to deny that the Scriptures, the Tradition and the hierarchy have any "strong" magisterium in moral matters. We are all well aware of how thoroughly the 1970s-80s style of moral thinking filtered down through many of our societies, even if it was rarely dressed up in the highfalutin language of "ontic evils" and "authenticity." In a slightly more sophisticated form it was taught to a generation of priests and lay theology students. It will take some time to recover a more Catholic sense of the role and content of conscience and the magisterium - Bishop Anthony Fisher
5 Mar 2007

Bishop named among cricket club greats
Port Pirie Bishop Eugene Hurley who once dreamed of wearing the Baggy Green cap as an Australian Test cricketer has been described as one of the South Australian regional centre's best ever cricketers by his former club.
2 Mar 2007

500,000 crosses for WYD
A Mary MacKillop outreach centre workshop has pulled out all stops in an effort to meet a production target of 500,000 mini wooden crosses to be handed out on the route of the World Youth Day cross which will soon begin its journey around Australia.
2 Mar 2007

SA Catholic schools beat drought - and save water
Assisted by Federal Government grants, Catholic colleges in South Australia have managed to drastically reduce their water consumption and cut ongoing costs while making their sports ovals greener than ever.
2 Mar 2007

New Timor Nuncio presents credentials, calls for end to conflict
As he presented his credentials to East Timor's president, the country's new Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, has urged the Church and government to work together to free the people from conflict.
2 Mar 2007

''Big problems'' for Iraqi Christians, Pontifical agency warns
Christians are facing "big problems" in Iraq, the director of the Pontifical Mission for Palestine's Iraq director says, while some Catholic refugees who have fled the war-torn country say they were safer under Saddam.
2 Mar 2007

Antichrist is pacifist, ecologist, Cardinal tells Pope
Addressing a Lenten retreat for the Pope and top Vatican officials, Italian Cardinal Giacomi Biffi has cited a Russian philosopher's "prophetic" warning that "the Antichrist presents himself as a pacifist, ecologist and ecumenist".
2 Mar 2007

Feature - Lenten story: fishing brings new life to farmers
Farid Pathang and his family are from a Bangladeshi village. "Before we received support from Caritas life was very difficult. It was hard to survive," said Farid. Families struggled to grow enough food to eat. They lived a subsistence existence and suffered from malnutrition. When desperate they borrowed from moneylenders at high interest rates. Since Farid and his family joined a Caritas program in 1998 their lives have been turned around - Caritas
2 Mar 2007

Opinion - The altruistic face of lobbying
I've been indirectly involved this week in the sort of effort that reinforces my faith in the contribution that advocacy can make to the betterment of society. This week has seen the parliamentary launch of Dropping off the Edge by Professor Tony Vinson. Such research doesn't come cheap, even if the main researchers gain no personal financial rewards. Some sceptics will find self-interest in any proposals for government remedial action but there is none in these efforts to alleviate social disadvantage in an otherwise rich nation - John Warhurst
2 Mar 2007

Colossal effort by Adelaide priest
An Adelaide priest, Fr Michael Trainor, is at the forefront of efforts to launch archaeological excavations of the ancient city of Colossae located in present day Turkey and home of the New Testament Colossians.
1 Mar 2007

WYD Cross at N Korea border
In a bid to highlight the quest for national reunification of Korea, young South Korean Catholics have brought the World Youth Day cross to the barbed wire barrier separating North and South Korea.
1 Mar 2007

Swiss Catholic group slams computer suppliers
The Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund has criticised conditions in Asian factories supplying computer parts to a number of the world's leading computer companies.
1 Mar 2007

Benedict imposes ashes on Gustavo Gutierrez
Pope Benedict, who as Cardinal Ratzinger guided a critical review of the work of Peruvian Dominican Gustavo Gutierrez, imposed ashes on the famous liberation theologian during an Ash Wednesday liturgy, it has been revealed.
1 Mar 2007

Adelaide "comfort woman" seeks Japan apology
An Adelaide Catholic grandmother, Jan Ruff-O'Herne, who was forced to become a sex slave for Japanese soldiers during World War II, has addressed the US Congress in a new bid to obtain a formal apology from the Japanese government for war atrocities.
1 Mar 2007

Pell to join Muslim poll panel
Sydney's Cardinal George Pell will this weekend join a "deliberative poll" discussion panel that will debate whether Muslims and non-Muslims can successfully live together.
1 Mar 2007

Feature - The journey of a peace priest
I went to a big college in North Carolina and was trying to leave the church, get away as far from doing anything noble. I decided I'm not going to believe in God, I'm going to make as much money as I want, and that made me very unhappy. After this long six-month search, I began to think, "Oh my gosh, of course I believe in God, there's got to be a purpose to life, you've got to give your whole life to serving humanity". We're supposed to be in the front lines working for the highest ideals of justice and peace - Fr John Dear (interview)
1 Mar 2007

Opinion - The world as a phone booth
For Christmas last year, I was given a mobile phone. I'd always resisted buying one for a couple of reasons. The opportunity for instant and constant distance-communication has, no doubt, made our lives more efficient, but it has also made them more demanding and has robbed most of us of the precious few chances we still have to get away from the pressures of life. We are too accessible. Communication technology is making us so accessible to everybody that paradoxically we are becoming accessible to nobody - Fr Ron Rolheiser
1 Mar 2007