Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources
 

NEWS ARCHIVE FOR MAY 2007

   
Pope prays for Madeleine
On the brink of tears, the Catholic parents of disappeared British four-year-old Madeleine McCann yesterday met Pope Benedict who blessed a photo of their daughter.
31 May 2007

"Little Pebble" guilty of abuse, jury finds
NSW south coast "prophet", William Kamm, known as the "Little Pebble" to his followers, has been found guilty of sex offences against a girl aged 14 and 15 at the time of the acts.
31 May 2007

Hobart plans to boost Catholic student numbers
Hobart Archbishop Adrian Doyle has confirmed plans for a new Catholic high school in the Tasmanian capital that would introduce a new policy requiring that at least 75 per cent of students be baptised Catholics.
31 May 2007

Finish with forty years war, Jerusalem Christian leaders say
Describing the "daily hardships and humiliations" of Palestinians as "unacceptable", Jerusalem's Christian leaders have called on Israel to end its occupation of territories and for the recognition of a Palestinian state.
31 May 2007

Welfare groups seek equity in climate change response
Three national welfare agencies including Catholic Social Services Australia have called on Prime Minister John Howard to make the impact of climate change on disadvantaged people an integral part of the Government's response to an emissions trading report due today.
31 May 2007

Malaysian court refuses to recognise convert
In a split decision, the Malaysian Federal Court has ruled that recognising the conversion of a former Muslim known as Lina Joy, who was baptised a Catholic in 1998, is beyond its jurisdiction and remains the province of the Shariah courts.
31 May 2007

Feature - Learning from students on the Thai-Burma border
Last year I was invited to teach a group of Karen refugee students living in a camp on the Thai-Burma border, in a place called "Mae Sot". I have had the opportunity before to teach immigrant students at St Thomas University in Miami. I grew to love these students, especially as I listened to their stories and hopes. However, I have never taught students living in a refugee camp before - students with only rudimentary facilities, who did not know English well, and who bore enormous human suffering - Dr Terry A Veling
31 May 2007

Opinion - Real conflicts of interest in Rein affair
The reason Therese Rein must sell the Australian arm of her business is that all her Australian revenue depends on the Australian taxpayer. If Rein lost her Australian contracts to a competitor or because a Labor government restructured Job Network (JN), about half the estimated $90 million net worth of the business would be lost. But as outlined in a report by Catholic Social Services last November, there are systemic problems associated with JN, the privatised job placement system, which calls for a wide-ranging public inquiry - Kenneth Davidson
31 May 2007

Online "confession" OK, Brisbane priest says
Websites that allow people to confess their shame may help people get comfort from sharing their problems with others but the practice should not be abused, Brisbane priest Fr James Spence says.
30 May 2007

Ballarat Catholic school in shooting threat scare
Victorian police have confirmed that a student at Ballarat's Loreto College made a threat on the internet to carry out a Virginia Tech-style shooting but her mother says that the school overreacted to the girl's "venting a bit of anger".
30 May 2007

Judge rejects house arrest for protesters
The Northern Territory Supreme Court has rejected an application by Federal prosecutors for house arrest to be imposed on bailed Christian protesters who face seven years jail on charges of breaking into the US spy facility at Pine Gap.
30 May 2007

Leunig gets ACU doctorate
The Australian Catholic University has awarded an honorary doctorate to well-known and often controversial newspaper cartoonist, Michael Leunig.
30 May 2007

Women sick of pills, NFP group claims
As Brazil's government announces a program to subsidise contraceptive pills, an Australian Natural Family Planning group says that a growing number of women are sick of taking hormones that "play havoc with their body".
30 May 2007

Schools pick up Govt chaplaincy offer
More than 1,500 Australian schools have applied for funding under the Federal Government's $90 million chaplaincy program with three quarters of applications coming from state schools, Education Minister Julie Bishop says.
30 May 2007

Feature - Resistance to Pius XII's beatification processes
Certain Jewish circles stubbornly reject the arguments presented by Catholic, Protestant and Jewish environments that contradict their biased theses about Pius XII and the Church's political role during WWII. Unfortunately, some Jews feel aversion to the Catholic Church and Christianity in general. We must explain that the cause for Pius XII is not the only one; prejudices against the Church appeared earlier and were connected with the processes of beautification of Pius IX, Edith Stein, Cardinal Clemens August von Galen and Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac - Fr Peter Gumpel (interview)
30 May 2007

Opinion - Moral clarity of Christian discipleship
Perhaps more than anything else, moral issues are what divide us. Sincere people, who can agree on almost everything else, often find themselves painfully divided over issues such as abortion, gay marriage, just war, capital punishment, immigration, and economic justice. One of the reasons for this is because, purely at the level of justice, each of these is very complex. Only if we move the argument into the realm of Christian discipleship, the ambiguity disappears. But inside of secular society, laws aren't always made on the basis of Christian discipleship - Fr Ron Rolheiser
30 May 2007

Geelong couple offer hope to burns victim
After meeting a woman from Vietnam's central highlands who was crippled by self-inflicted burns to 60 per cent of her body, a Geelong Catholic couple arranged for her to be brought to Australia for a series of operations at the St John of God Hospital.
29 May 2007

Faith ads draw rapid response
A national advertising campaign in major newspapers asking readers if they know what Catholics believe has attracted a quick response, Catholic Enquiry Centre director Marita Winters says.
29 May 2007

Plant rubber please, Indonesian Govt asks church
As part of a drive to make Indonesia a major rubber producer, the provincial government of Borneo's Kalimantan province is offering rubber saplings to Catholic parishes to help them to become financially self-sufficient.
29 May 2007

Curtains for Jesuit justice centre
Calling for the Uniya spirit to live on, former director Good Samaritan Sr Patty Fawkner says that the legacy of the Sydney-based Jesuit research and advocacy centre, which closes this week, must not be allowed to die.
29 May 2007

Good to make a profit, Benedict agrees
Catholic social teaching recognises profit as the "primary indicator" of the good functioning of a business, Pope Benedict told a meeting of young Italian entrepreneurs this week, adding that human life must always be the "final aim" of the economy.
29 May 2007

Pacific Solution no help to poor, Caritas director says
Commenting on claims that up to a third of Australia's official overseas assistance did not go directly to fighting poverty, Caritas CEO Jack de Groot says that the public would not regard programs such as the Pacific Solution as alleviating poverty.
29 May 2007

Feature - When language is used to murder
Our beautiful but murderous English is swallowing the world in great gulps, threatening to install the uniformity of "might is right". When I talk about Timor-Leste I sometimes meet people who find it hard to comprehend that we at Mary MacKillop East Timor are helping children to learn in their own languages, particularly the main one, Tetum. People say, "But wouldn't you be teaching English?" It is the classic colonisers' pitch so well known to our indigenous friends here: "They are OK insofar as they resemble us" - Sr Susan Connelly
29 May 2007

Opinion - Abortion decision threatens Amnesty's voice
The candle burning within a cage of barbed wire has over the past 46 years become one of the world's most recognisable and potent symbols. The logo for Amnesty International is a succinct evocation of the organisation's charter for the impartial protection of human rights. So effectively has Amnesty been in selling its message that the average layperson wouldn't have much trouble citing its related concerns, such as the death penalty, torture and the treatment of refugees. But abortion? - Larissa Dubecki
29 May 2007

Vatican goes solar
The Vatican's Paul VI Centre is to get a green makeover with the installation of a giant rooftop garden of solar panels that will power all of the building's heating, cooling and lighting needs year-round.
28 May 2007

British Lib Dems call for end to Catholic monarch ban
Describing 17th and 18th century laws banning the British monarch and his or her spouse from being a Catholic as "unacceptable" today, a Liberal Democrat party spokesperson has called for the laws to be repealed.
28 May 2007

Dioceses band together to launch Catholic IT biz
Catholic education offices from eleven dioceses in NSW, Queensland and the Northern Territory have joined together to launch a new not-for-profit information and communication technology service company.
28 May 2007

Bishops to respond to Amnesty abortion policy
With Amnesty International groups active at 500 Catholic schools, Melbourne Vicar-General Monsignor Les Tomlinson says that the Australian bishops will soon provide a unified response to a new Amnesty policy supporting the decriminalisation of abortion.
28 May 2007

Mercies, Joeys issue challenge on Indigenous progress
Questioning what has been achieved since the 1967 referendum relating to Indigenous Australians, leaders of the Mercy and Josephite congregations have challenged Australia to ensure that Aboriginal people have "a standard of living commensurate with citizenship in a developed country".
28 May 2007

Benedict u-turns on inter-religious dialogue
A year after Pope Benedict merged it into the Vatican Council for Culture, Holy See Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone has announced that the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue will be restored in its own right.
28 May 2007

Feature - With Jesus on side
It has been a long time coming, but more than two decades since God had a hand in a World Cup triumph, soccer is returning the favour. With heart on sleeve and slogan on chest, Kaka's post-match celebration in Athens last week thrust his faith into the spotlight. "I belong to Jesus," the statement said. Liverpool fans shuddered, undone by an ineligible deity. As arguably the best player on earth, Kaka's high-profile commitment to his religion is good news for church leaders - Rick Broadbent
28 May 2007

Opinion - Giant stride slows to shuffle
As a kid, I had seen an Aboriginal woman begging milk to feed her child at the back door of a boarding school kitchen where my mother worked. I found the woman cowering in the college woodheap like a beaten dog. I saw the good brothers drive her away. Later working in Canberra, I shared houses with and learned to love an Aboriginal woman from Darwin and, through her, met a young friend from the same city. Both had been stolen from their mothers as children and, please, don't tell me otherwise - Terry Sweetman
28 May 2007

Atheist donates $27 million to NY archdiocese
A retired financier who is not religious has given a gift of over $27 million to charitable works of the archdiocese of New York because "without the Roman Catholic church there would be no Western civilisation".
25 May 2007

Nuncio marks Mercy anniversary in Wodonga
On a three-day visit to Wodonga in north-east Victoria as part of the 150th anniversary in Australia of the Mercy Sisters, Vatican nuncio Archbishop Ambrose De Paoli has praised the nuns' work in the region.
25 May 2007

Indian police reopen nun murder investigation
Fifteen years after the 1992 death of Kerala nun Sr Abhaya at her convent, Indian detectives have relaunched investigations after a magistrate ruled that laboratory reports on the case had been tampered with.
25 May 2007

ACU a leader in "golden age" employment
The Australian Catholic University is one of a number of major employers that have woken up to the potential of older workers, according to a Swinburne University academic.
25 May 2007

Catholic Super calls for carbon pricing
Warning that climate change is the biggest long-term threat to superannuation, Catholic Super chief Tim Hughes has called for a price to be placed on carbon in order to mitigate some of the risk.
25 May 2007

1967 Aboriginal referendum hopes dashed
After the 1967 Federal referendum that recognised Australia's Aborigines as citizens, indigenous people "expected good things to follow, but they didn't", a Brisbane Murri leader says.
25 May 2007

Feature - The gifts of Pentecost
As a teen, I thought the clergy were supposed to do everything. We laity were just called to pray, pay, and obey. Oh yes, and keep the commandments, of course. The original 10 seemed overwhelming enough. Then I discovered the Sermon on the Mount and nearly passed out. This is why many inactive Catholics are so resentful of their upbringing in the Church. For them, religion means frustration, failure, and guilt. Somehow they, and I, missed the good news about Pentecost - Marcellino D'Ambrosio
25 May 2007

Opinion - Violence against women dishonours all
The stoning of 17-year-old Dua Khalil Aswad by the men of an Iraqi village for fraternising with a boy from another religion is not a woman's issue. It is a human issue. It is simply the rawest indicator of the mindset that underlies any society that privileges men over women in a socially structured way. It dishonours governments that call themselves honourable. It dishonours the men who can stand by while women are stoned. It dishonours the religions that dare to justify such stonings in the name of God - Sr Joan Chittister
25 May 2007

Monks to franchise Infidel jam
Polish Benedictine monks are seeking 100 franchise holders for their range of offbeat food products including Infidel jam - named because lemons don't grow in Catholic Poland - and Monk's Dripping.
24 May 2007

Madeleine's parents seek miracle
Nearly three weeks after her disappearance, the Catholic parents of kidnapped British four-year-old Madeleine McCann have visited Fatima to pray for her miracle return.
24 May 2007

Ramos-Horta pledges support for Church
Saying the Catholic Church stands for human education and East Timorese culture, new President Jose Ramos-Horta pledged to work closely with "our Pope in Rome and our two bishops".
24 May 2007

Syria main problem in Lebanon, cardinal insists
As the Lebanese army battled Islamic militants in a Palestinian refugee camp leaving 60 dead, Maronite Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir of Beirut said that Syrian influence in Lebanon is still the main obstacle to peace.
24 May 2007

National strategy needed to fight child poverty
With child poverty in Australia now at a level of 14.9 per cent, Australia needs a national anti-poverty strategy, Vinnies CEO says.
24 May 2007

Colonisers "trampled" on indigenous rights, Pope admits
Clarifying a comment that indigenous peoples in the Americas were "silently longing" for Christ when Europeans arrived, Pope Benedict yesterday recognised that the human rights of native peoples were often "trampled" upon by colonisers.
24 May 2007

Feature - Praying in marriage
Some people regard praying as if it were medication - useful only when they have a headache. Some treat it like surgery - only as a last resort. If you are one of them, maybe it is time to change your attitude towards praying. Praying should be treated similar to drinking and eating, as a daily necessity and done at regular intervals. For a married couple with religious conviction, prayer plays a very important role in sustaining their marital commitment. They must pray personally and learn to pray together regularly - Fr Henry Siew
24 May 2007

Opinion - Bracks is passing his fairness test
Victorian Steve Bracks' fight against poverty - the money he's devoting to it and the creative, non-ideological thinking he's bringing to it - is one of the under-reported stories of the 2007 state budget. Budget 2007 contains the latest and biggest instalment of Labor's "A Fairer Victoria" strategy: another $1.4 billion, including an unprecedented $510 million for public and social housing. In this the Bracks cabinet has been heavily influenced by the postcode research by Jesuit Social Services and Catholic Social Services - Paul Austin
24 May 2007

Feature - A saint for the 21st century
I met Archbishop Oscar Romero a few days after he took office as Archbishop in 1977. I had not attended his installation because I did not feel honest about being there, since he was not the archbishop that I, like many others, had hoped for. The first time we met was purely by chance but it left me with an unforgettable memory. I was impressed by his humility, a trait that always distinguished him. He died three years later a saint, a prophet and a true Christian - Monseņor Ricardo Urios
23 May 2007

Opinion - Where is "new Pentecost"?
Ever since Pope John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council, Catholics have been expecting a "new Pentecost." So where is it? Today, we are too often like the apostles before Pentecost. They hid away in the upper room - and we often surround ourselves with like-minded people, and enjoy our faith out of view of the nastiness that bothers us in the world. But then the Holy Spirit came and gave them to courage to step out. More of us must learn to speak out in the world's modern language.
23 May 2007

Sinead mulls Gregorian chant
Irish singer Sinead O'Connor who once tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II on live television has drawn inspiration from the Psalms for her latest album, Theology - and says she may do Gregorian chant next.
23 May 2007

Priest elected province governor in Philippines
Welcoming the election of Fr Eddie Panlilio as governor of the Pampanga province near Manila, Philippines Bishops Conference head, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo describes the priest's electoral victory as an "exception" to the rule against clerical political involvement.
23 May 2007

"Five minutes to midnight" for Amazon, bishop warns
German-born Bishop Erwin Krautler of Xingu in Brazil's Amazon basin has warned that unchecked forest clearing threatens to turn the region into "a huge sugar cane field" for ethanol production.
23 May 2007

Mugabe "thugs" accused over threatening letter
In a letter addressed to a Catholic congregation, unnamed leaders from Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe's ruling party have warned supporters of Archbishop Pius Ncube and of the opposition party to "prepare to pack your belongings".
23 May 2007

Vatican, Israel talk finance - at last
After a series of delays, the Holy See and Israel have resumed high-level negotiations aimed at resolving a series of disputes over property, taxes and the legal status of the Church in Israel.
23 May 2007

Catholic super fund top performer
With a net return of over 17 per cent reported for the current financial year, the 32,000-member Catholic Superannuation Fund is Australia's top performing fund according to an industry ratings service.
23 May 2007

Feature - We are worthwhile
When I was chaplain to the Sisters and residents of Nazareth House at North Turramurra, a retirement home in Sydney, the notion about being worthwhile grew in my heart. Most of the people were quite contented but some were not because they thought they could no longer do anything worthwhile. In the past they had cared for their children or had some trade or profession. Now they could no longer do these things. The idea that towards the end of our lives we are not worthwhile became abhorrent to me - Keith Gorman
22 May 2007

Opinion - How to reconnect with "disaffected" Catholics
The "disaffected seekers" do not see that they spiritually gain much more through a closer association with the institutional Church. There are still considerable barriers at both an intellectual and emotional level. They see that the institution of the Church is more focussed on protecting the past than seeking the truth and trusting the Spirit. A new and open honesty is needed which recognises that the public face of the Church has to change if we are to reconnect with the many disaffected - John Buggy
22 May 2007

Darwin mayor faces music over Vinnies fridge
Darwin Lord Mayor Peter Adamson is on trial this week over alleged misuse of council funds to buy a $900 fridge that he claimed to have donated to Vinnies but for which the Society said it had no record.
22 May 2007

No China ties unless Vatican appoints bishops
In an interview on a visit to Japan, former Holy See foreign minister Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo has reiterated that the Vatican and China will only be able to establish diplomatic ties if China allows the pope to appoint bishops in the country.
22 May 2007

Delegates preparing for Asia-Pacific interfaith dialogue
Sydney Cardinal George Pell and Broken Bay ecumenism commissioner, Sr Patricia Madigan, will again be part of an Australian Government sponsored international interfaith dialogue to be held in Waitangi, New Zealand next week.
22 May 2007

Union welcomes Vinnies' guarantees
The Australian Services Union has welcomed a commitment by St Vincent de Paul Society not to adopt a corporate structure for the charity that could have led to coverage under WorkChoices laws.
22 May 2007

High ransom demanded for kidnapped Iraqi priest
Chaldean Bishop Shlemon Warduni says that kidnappers are demanding a "very, very high ransom" for an Iraqi priest, Fr Nawzat P Hanna, who was abducted on Saturday.
22 May 2007

Gender grounded in biology, Vatican says
Holy See representative Archbishop Silvano Tomasi has applauded the new World Health Organisation director Dr Margaret Chan's health vision for women but is calling upon the international body to recognise that gender is biological.
22 May 2007

Feature - The trouble with secular preachers
A scene from The Root of All Evil?, a two-part ABC series on religion shows Richard Dawkins accusing the evangelical pastor the Reverend Ted Haggard of running worship sessions in the way the Nazis ran their rallies. To the scientist Dawkins, a room full of people waving their hands and singing "Praise Jesus" is evil because it is irrational. But what Dawkins failed to acknowledge in his encounter with Haggard is that the Nazi program of eugenics and extermination was not dictated by an unseen god - Rachael Kohn
21 May 2007

Opinion - The self-obsessed messiah: Blair's legacy
Tony Blair is still in office; but the carefully orchestrated transition to his post-Downing Street incarnation has begun. When his longed-for departure actually does at last take place, even his most severe critics (wishing to be seen as fair or balanced) will be saying that in spite of everything he was a superlative parliamentary performer, or in spite of everything there was Northern Ireland. Actually, Northern Ireland typifies something else much more powerfully: his inspired capacity for taking the credit for what others have achieved - William Oddie
21 May 2007

Cardinal confirms plans to revive Latin Mass
Addressing a conference of Latin American bishops in Brazil last week, Vatican Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos has confirmed that Pope Benedict plans to loosen restrictions on the celebration of the old Latin Mass.
21 May 2007

Laverton school will not remove students
Three siblings from the St Martin de Porres parish school at Laverton in Melbourne's west who had been enrolled by the parish priest in a local state school will not be turned away, priest Fr Ian Ranson said over the weekend.
21 May 2007

Abortion healing program goes global
With the World Health Organisation estimating the annual number of abortions worldwide at 30-50 million, a US-initiated post-abortion support program with branches in Australia, Project Rachel, is extending its operations around the globe.
21 May 2007

Bishops back new evangelisation initiative
As census figures show that the tide may be turning on church attendance, Australia's bishops are backing a new outreach initiative based on a growing recognition that religious decline is an important national issue.
21 May 2007

Vinnies refutes "corporatisation" claims
The NSW St Vincent de Paul Society has emphatically rejected allegations by the Australian Services Union that the charity is becoming "corporatised".
21 May 2007

Stop "tragic violence": Benedict's appeal to Palestinians, Israelis
Pope Benedict has called on Palestinian factions to end clashes in Gaza and on Israel to end its armed intervention which is "provoking the bloody deterioration of the situation".
21 May 2007

Prison nun arrested on marijuana smuggling charges
Police in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu have arrested a prison ministry nun on charges of smuggling marijuana to a prisoner suffering from AIDS.
18 May 2007

Sofia trial video in doubt
A police video interview with Dante Wyndham Arthurs, who is soon to face charges of raping and strangling eight-year-old Perth Catholic schoolgirl Sofia Rodriguez-Urrutia, could be thrown out of court owing to alleged questionable police tactics.
18 May 2007

Parish priest sends students to another school
Parents of three Melbourne children, including one who has a learning disability, are claiming discrimination after their parish priest informed them their children would be finishing up at the parish school and that he had enrolled them in another school.
18 May 2007

Sydney draft pastoral plan "seriously flawed": ACU lecturer
Citing weaknesses in its christological and ecclesiological foundations, controversial ACU religious education lecturer Fr Daniel Donovan, says that a draft pastoral plan for the Sydney archdiocese is "seriously flawed" and has "shades of Opus Dei".
18 May 2007

British PM to become a Catholic, family priest hints
The British press is abuzz with speculation that outgoing Prime Minister Tony Blair is about to join his wife Cherie as a Catholic after a British priest who says weekly Mass for the family made the prediction at a recent event.
18 May 2007

Feature - Of monks and madmen
There has been a lot written about "Into Great Silence", a film which shows the life of monks in the Carthusian monastery of Le Grande Chartreuse. It wasn't long after my wife and I saw this movie that the murders at Virginia Tech happened. All I can think about are the human extremes here: monks who spend their time in solitary silence before God, listening deeply; and someone weeping in his own howling, desperate isolation, one that turns to evil rage and the destruction of other lives.
18 May 2007

Opinion - Seeing is believing in Bethlehem
I spent my annual leave in this place, which from old is dear to many of us around the world: the "little town" whose name evokes magic associations in each of us from the early days of our childhood. The welcome in Bethlehem I received was nothing like what Mary and Joseph had to go through 2000 years earlier. There is plenty of room in all inns these days! There were hardly any visitors around and no one to buy the local's beautiful and mostly hand-crafted goods.
18 May 2007

Batesman's Bay men retire to their shed
Twenty Batesman's Bay men - including retired railway gangers, professors and bankers - have got their own "Men's Shed" thanks to local parish priest Fr Tom Thornton who donated a piece of land to the community initiative.
17 May 2007

Tassie schoolboy Jackass prank traumatises staff
Four Year 8 students at Hobart's Sacred Heart College have been suspended after dressing in balaclavas and crying "hold-up" to frightened school office staff in a prank apparently inspired by the controversial Jackass TV series.
17 May 2007

Brazilian rancher guilty of killing landless rights nun
A jury in the Brazilian frontier state of Para has found a wealthy rancher guilty of ordering the killing of American-born landless people's champion, Sr Dorothy Stang.
17 May 2007

Pedophile may get parole after one year's prison
A Tasmanian Supreme Court Justice has sentenced former Marist priest Gregory Ferguson to two years prison with eligibility for parole after 12 months even though the man's crimes were "relatively serious".
17 May 2007

LA archdiocese sells chancery to fund settlements
Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony has announced that the archdiocese will sell its chancery building along with 50 other properties to raise funds towards a potential $1.2 billion that may be needed to settle hundreds of sex abuse cases.
17 May 2007

Don't criticise abandoned child's mother: Centacare chief
Criticisms of the mother of a newborn child left outside a Melbourne hospital this week could push her "towards the edge", Centacare's Fr Joe Caddy has warned, saying that the mother needs to be invited in so as she can accept her responsibilities.
17 May 2007

Feature - Remembering the gifts of Aboriginal leaders
There are times when I wonder if I have become immune to the deaths, violence and suffering of Aboriginal people. And then, often quite unexpectedly, something lifts me up to a new place of insight and range of emotions. This describes something of my experience when reading a compelling book published late last year about Aboriginal leader and activist, Rob Riley. The book captures well that particular slice of Australian history where Aboriginal leaders emerged in the 1970s and 80s with great energy and purpose - Fr Brian McCoy
17 May 2007

Opinion - A pray for Rev Jerry Falwell
The Rev Jerry Falwell - founder of the US Moral Majority and the leader of the religious right in the '80s - died on Tuesday after he was discovered unconscious in his office. Now that the evangelist has finally met his maker, we pray for his sake that God is an amiable old white guy with a long grey beard, and is not, say, a big purple Teletubby. We also pray for Falwell that God is not a feminist, an environmentalist, a pagan, a secularist, or a supporter of an "alternative lifestyle" - John D Spalding
17 May 2007

Vietnam church trumpets its faith
A Vietnamese artisan has made the nation's biggest bronze trumpet for his Catholic parish in the northern village of Xuan Tien - a 5.5 metre long musical instrument that weighs 350 kilograms.
16 May 2007

"Stork's Cradle" baby hatch receives child on first day
A father has left his three year old son at the newly opened "Stork's Cradle" baby hatch at a Japanese Catholic hospital in Kumamoto that was designed for parents to safely abandon new born infants they are unable to care for.
16 May 2007

Murray River town welcomes Filipino nuns
The Albury suburb of Lavington in southern NSW is now home to three Filipino sisters who have arrived to work with the most needy people in the community including the aged, the sick and the unemployed.
16 May 2007

Communion wine back on NZ prison menu
The New Zealand Government Corrections Department has reversed a prison ban on communion wine following pressure from the Catholic Church and politicians outraged over "political correctness gone mad".
16 May 2007

Church needs "young heart"
A Catholic student leader, Devett O'Brien says that the Church should have a "young heart" because Jesus lived and died young while Australia's bishops respond by forming the Australian Catholic Youth Council to be chaired by Sandhurst Bishop Joseph Grech.
16 May 2007

Pakistan legislators mull death for converts from Islam
In a move condemned by Pakistan's Catholic bishops, the south Asian country's National Assembly is considering an apostasy bill proposed by a pro-Taliban coalition of religious parties that imposes death on Muslim men who convert from Islam.
16 May 2007

Feature - Putting faith in ethical investments
Investors are increasingly looking for ways to link their money to ethical principles. In a recent report on this trend, the Financial Times newspaper cites data that puts the amount held in faith-based funds - normally invested in by churches - at around $17 billion. Among the best-known names in this area are the Ave Maria mutual funds, which have $525 million invested in them. Monies in these funds are not invested in companies that violate the moral principles of the Catholic Church - Fr John Flynn
16 May 2007

Opinion - Students caught in middle of ideological battle over schools
Over the past 20 years the private school sector has more than doubled in size. Independent schools are sprouting like mushrooms in growth centres all over Australia. In NSW, more than 400 independent schools now enrol 165,000 students and employ 17,000 staff. So why, when Prime Minister John Howard launches a savage assault on the competence and performance of schools, does he not include the private system? The debate is being fought on serious ideological grounds, with the nation's students, teachers and parents caught in the middle - Bruce McDougall
16 May 2007

Truckie - and Paris - vow to live like nuns
Former Philadelphia truck driver Sr Mary Annette Gailey, who has just made her final vows, says that the solitude of the road helped her discover her new path, while Paris Hilton has reportedly vowed to "live like a nun" in a bid to stay out of jail.
15 May 2007

US leads Australia in WYD registrations
World Youth Day registrations from the US are outpacing those from Australia, organisers say, with 27,000 Americans on the books compared to 20,000 Australians in a total of more than 80,000 people who have put their names down for the Sydney event.
15 May 2007

No fourth Fatima secret
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone has denied that the Church is suppressing an apocalyptic vision of the end of the world some claim the Virgin Mary to have revealed at Fatima 90 years ago.
15 May 2007

Pope says pick a saint
The Holy See has adopted new rules that allow national bishops' conferences to propose saints from under-represented countries for inclusion on the Church's universal calendar - but competition is stiff for the few remaining available dates.
15 May 2007

Suspend Pius XII sainthood process, Jewish lobbyists plea
An American lobby group against anti-Semitism, the Anti-Defamation League, is calling for the suspension of the canonisation process for World War II Pope Pius XII until the Vatican archives for the late pope's pontificate are finally opened.
15 May 2007

Benedict slams Marxism, capitalism
With an invitation to China reported to be waiting for him as he left Brazil, Pope Benedict has attacked Marxism as well as unbridled capitalism for problems in Latin America while defending the Church's role during the European colonisation of the region.
15 May 2007

Feature - Addiction and spirituality
The popular media informs us on a regular basis of the rise in the incidence of drug use. A few years ago the focus was on heroin. Today, "ice" has the media's attention. Alcohol abuse is also frequently newsworthy. The campaign to stop smoking connects the habit with extreme decay, gangrenous limbs and rotting teeth and gums. The images we have of someone who is addicted tend towards caricatures of mad, painful helplessness and moral chaos. The reality of addiction is much more subtle and pervasive - Janine Wilson
15 May 2007

Opinion - Benedict's capitalism critique - it's in the family
Benedict XVI's stinging criticism of both Marxism and capitalism may have caught some off-guard used to thinking of him as a consummate conservative, but it shouldn't surprise anyone who knows Joseph Ratzinger's history. In 1988, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger published a collection of essays which argued that capitalism is little better than national socialism or communism, in that all three propose false idols. It's worth noting that to some extent, scepticism about capitalism is built into Ratzinger's DNA - John L Allen
15 May 2007

Aussie idol to sing WYD theme song
Former Australian Idol star Guy Sebastian's "Receive the Power" will be the official theme song for World Youth Day in Sydney because it "hits the mark" on every level, according to WYD coordinator, Bishop Anthony Fisher.
14 May 2007

Fatima pilgrims pray for missing girl
Visiting Fatima for the 90th anniversary of the 1917 apparitions of the Virgin Mary to three Portuguese children, half a million pilgrims prayed for the safe return of British toddler Madeleine McCann who disappeared at a coastal resort early this month.
14 May 2007

First state-appointed China bishop dies
Bishop Dong Guangqing, the first Chinese government appointed Catholic bishop, has died in the central city of Wuhan at the age of 90.
14 May 2007

Green pope says save Amazon
Addressing 40,000 young people in Brazil, Pope Benedict has called for "greater commitment" to fighting environmental devastation in the Amazon basin that threatens indigenous peoples in the region.
14 May 2007

Hickey backs Benedict on abortion doctors
Endorsing comments by Pope Benedict, a spokesman for Perth Archbishop Barry Hickey has said that any Catholic doctor performing an abortion is excluded from communion.
14 May 2007

Latin America "continent of hope", Benedict believes
Concluding his tour of Brazil, Pope Benedict has described South America as a "continent of hope" while denouncing drug dealers and warning against drug use and sexual infidelity.
14 May 2007

Feature - Unlikely bureaucrat
Cardinal Claudio Hummes seems too young for someone who will be 73 in August. But he is unlikely to be collecting a pension cheque for a long while. Last October Benedict XVI offered the then-Archbishop of Sao Paulo a new and entirely different job by calling him to the Vatican to head up the Congregation for the Clergy. Returning to his former archdiocese this week with Pope Benedict for the opening of the Latin American bishops' conference must be a poignant reminder of the change his life has undergone - Robert Mickens
14 May 2007

Opinion - It wouldn't be cricket to tour
Zimbabwe has a population of 12 million and used to be the second most prosperous country in the continent after South Africa. Today economic life has collapsed as President Mugabe becomes increasingly corrupt and despotic. As a master promoter of division and distortion, Mugabe tries to "racialise" his predicament, so that his opponents are portrayed as Western puppets doing the work of hostile whites. For a long time, he managed to divide the Christian churches and their leadership, but those days are almost over - Cardinal George Pell
14 May 2007

Iraqi Christians want protection from Al-Qaeda
The leaders of Iraq's Catholic communities, Assyrian Church Patriarch Mar Dinka IV and Babylon Patriarch Emmanuel Delly say that Christians are facing persecution from Al-Qaeda insurgents and accuse Iraq's government of failing to protect them.
11 May 2007

Give young people WYD opportunities, nuncio says
As Brazil's bishops announce a bid to host World Youth Day in 2011, Holy See nuncio Archbishop Ambrose De Paoli has challenged the Australian church to give opportunities to young people to share the impact that the experience has had on them.
11 May 2007

Life office slams human "sub-class" Vic cloning law
Sydney Life Office officer, Dr Brigid McKenna, says that a new Victorian law legalising cloning of stem cells is "gravely unjust" and will create a "laboratory sub-class" of human beings.
11 May 2007

Amnesty in call for decriminalisation of abortion
As part of a campaign to stop violence against women, Amnesty International's board is calling for abortion to be decriminalised globally but US bishops say that the new policy will compromise its previously excellent human rights record.
11 May 2007

Caritas welcomes budget aid increase
Catholic reactions to Tuesday's Budget continue with Caritas Australia welcoming an increase in overseas aid programs but local charity Vinnies says that the budget fails to address the needs of "rent-poor" Australians.
11 May 2007

Bishops back Zimbabwe cricket boycott
Development agency Caritas yesterday joined the nation's Catholic bishops in a call to Cricket Australia to cancel this year's tour of Zimbabwe.
11 May 2007

Feature - Ramos-Horta to bear Timor's "wooden cross"
Jose Ramos-Horta, who yesterday appeared headed for a landslide victory in East Timor's presidential election, is a Nobel laureate who rose to prominence promoting his nation's right to independence during 24 years in exile. A Catholic, Ramos-Horta is one of 11 children, born in the capital, Dili, to Portuguese-East Timorese parents. A charismatic speaker, Ramos-Horta told reporters recently: "If I win the election, I will bear a wooden cross almost as heavy as Christ's. If I lose, I will win my freedom".
11 May 2007

Opinion - How Religious are tackling change
Today Religious may seem to be a dying breed. Certainly, there are only half the numbers of thirty years ago, and the average age is high. Changing conditions in the Western world and within the Church have forced all Catholic Religious to consider who we really are, and what kind of actions and institutions will truly reflect our identity. They cannot shape their institutions alone; it will involve a transfer of responsibility. In making this transfer, they will want to honour the original inspiration - Fr Mark Raper
11 May 2007

Legislator wants no Poles dancing in miniskirts
A Catholic member of Poland's Parliament, Artur Zawisza, is proposing a ban on miniskirts as part of a campaign against "enticement to sex".
10 May 2007

Former Czech leader calls on Vietnam to release dissident priest
The Czech Republic's first post-communist president, Vaclav Havel, has backed a call by other former communist-era dissidents for the release of Fr Nguyen Van Ly, the pro-democracy priest sentenced to eight years prison in Vietnam for disseminating "anti-government propaganda".
10 May 2007

LA church to provide sanctuary for illegal immigrants
Our Lady Queen of Angels Church in Los Angeles has joined a Hollywood Lutheran Church in announcing that they will offer sanctuary to undocumented immigrants under threat of deportation.
10 May 2007

Pius XII "heroic", cardinals conclude
Cardinals from the Holy See's Congregation for the Saints have voted to recognise the "heroic virtues" of Pius XII, opening the way for Pope Benedict to declare the controversial World War II pope "venerable".
10 May 2007

Budget focus on disadvantaged education welcomed
National Catholic Education Commission chair, Msgr Tom Doyle, has welcomed Treasurer Peter Costello's budget focus on the needs of the most disadvantaged students and commended the doubling of English language tuition assistance.
10 May 2007

Benedict backs excommunication for pro-abortion pollies
Speaking to reporters on his way to Brazil, Pope Benedict has backed Mexican bishops who have threatened excommunication for parliamentarians who voted to legalise abortion in Mexico City.
10 May 2007

Feature - Why American Latinos are converting to Islam
As a girl in Catholic school, Khadijah Rivera dreamed of becoming a nun despite the fact she feared Jesus. She was frightened by her church's bloodied statue of Christ nailed to the cross and was plagued with fear when receiving communion. Years later, as an adult, she says she has now gotten over these fears and learned to love Jesus more. The reason for her change of heart? Rivera converted to Islam. According to Rivera, who founded a Muslim support group, Latino Muslims are on the rise - Anthony Chiorazzi
10 May 2007

Opinion - The unmet need of Latin America
The Brazil and Latin America that Benedict XVI is visiting have undergone great political, religious and economic changes in this generation, which have had the accumulative effect of weakening the church's once unquestioned dominance. Brazil is still the world's biggest Catholic country, but it is also experiencing the rapid growth of both Pentecostalism and secularism. In this dynamic context, the challenge faced by the Church is to ensure that it remains a vital part of the Brazilian social and political scene - Rodrigo de Almeida
10 May 2007

Melbourne schoolgirl wins $250,000 in TV talent quest
A Melbourne Mt Lilydale Mercy College student, Bonnie Anderson has won $250,000 on a Channel 7 talent show - despite being reduced to tears by unforgiving judge Red Symons.
9 May 2007

Herod's broken sarcophagus and tomb located
Archaeologists from Jerusalem's Hebrew University say that they have finally located the long-missing tomb and the deliberately destroyed sarcophagus of King Herod the Great, who is blamed by tradition for the massacre of the Holy Innocents.
9 May 2007

Ex-bishop barred from seeking Paraguay presidency, nation's leader claims
Paraguay's outgoing President Nicanor Duarte says that the landlocked South American nation's constitution bars the election of retired Bishop Fernando Lugo from seeking the presidency.
9 May 2007

WA Catholic schools moving Year 7 to high school
In a change that brings WA Catholic schools into line with those in other states, the state's Catholic Education Office is to begin moving Year 7 classes to secondary schools despite a study that found no benefit in the transfer.
9 May 2007

Catholics, Protestants share power in N Ireland
Protestant firebrand Dr Ian Paisley is Northern Ireland's new First Minister with former militant Catholic Martin McGuinness his deputy as self-rule is finally restored in the long-troubled region.
9 May 2007

Budget fiddles while public hospitals burn, Catholic Health warns
The lack of new funding for public hospitals in this year's Federal Budget is "astounding", says Catholic Health head Francis Sullivan, while Catholic Social Services director Frank Quinlan describes the budget as shortsighted.
9 May 2007

Feature - Flying with Pope Benedict
During Pope Benedict XVI's trip to Brazil, I'll once again be travelling on the papal plane. I'm often asked about the experience of travelling with the pope. First of all there is no "papal plane" in the sense of a jet owned by the Vatican and used exclusively for papal travel. Instead, a regular commercial jet owned by Alitalia, the national air carrier of Italy, is set aside on the day of the pope's departure. There's also no special room on the plane for the pope, no Air Force One-esque office with a couch - John L Allen
9 May 2007

Opinion - Our crisis of limits
One issue we will face in our lives, sooner or later, if we are serious and honest about spirituality, is the issue of limits. The story of The Fall reminds us of limits: Adam and Eve seeking out the "tree of knowledge" that will allow them to defy their limits. Underpinning this story is a gentle but persistent call from reality, spoken in different ways: "Be who and what you are, do not try to be what you are not. Live within your limits, find your happiness and peace within your limits!" - Fr Michael Whelan
9 May 2007

Lisbon convent gives up earthquake secrets
Portuguese archaeologists digging in the cloisters of a 17th century Franciscan convent have found thousands of fire-scorched human bones indicating the "hellish time" that resulted from the great Lisbon earthquake of 1755.
8 May 2007

ACU in swag of honorary doctorates
Former federal minister Fred Chaney, theologian Fr John Thornhill, aged care advocate Susanne Macri as well as former NSW public servant Gerald Gleeson make up a swagful of Australian Catholic University honorary doctorate recipients this week.
8 May 2007

Archbishop backs Spanish Falange
Archbishop Fernando Sebastian Aguilar of Pamplona has stirred up a storm with comments that two far right Spanish political parties, the Falange and Spanish Alternative, are "worth a vote" because they "want to be faithful" to Church teachings.
8 May 2007

Former Sandhurst priest to face rape charges
A former Sandhurst priest, Fr Adelrick D'Cruz is reported to be facing 13 sexual offence charges including three counts of rape and ten counts of unlawful indecent assault on a girl.
8 May 2007

Sobrino case sparks call for CDF reform
On the eve of Pope Benedict's departure for Brazil, supporters of liberation theologian Fr Jon Sobrino have published a letter of solidarity for the disciplined Spanish Jesuit and issued a call for reform of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
8 May 2007

Budget should be statement of values: Vinnies chief
Tonight's federal budget should be a statement of values for Australia, according to St Vincent de Paul Society chief Dr John Falzon, who says the budget should also alleviate housing stress and ensure that climate change costs are shared equitably.
8 May 2007

Feature - As Pope visits Brazil, rival theology persists
In the early 1980s, when Pope John Paul II wanted to clamp down on liberation theology, he turned to a trusted aide: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Now Cardinal Ratzinger is Pope Benedict, and when he arrives here tomorrow for his first pastoral visit to Latin America he may be surprised at what he finds. Liberation theology, which he once called "a fundamental threat to the faith of the church," persists as an active, even defiant force in Latin America, home to nearly half the world's one billion Catholics - Larry Rohter
8 May 2007

Opinion - Does God cause accidents?
There was a terrible road accident on the Great Western Highway in the Blue Mountains, less than 600 metres across the short valley that separates us from the highway. All of us, at some stage of our lives, become caught up in accidents like this. A continuing question that intrigues me about life is the one of just how "accidental" are these situations that erupt so suddenly and disrupt our plans so irrevocably when we happen to be the victim? - Brian Coyne
8 May 2007

Row over women cancels Muslim-Christian clergy soccer match
An argument over the participation of women in a football match between Muslim and Christian clergy in Norway has led to the cancellation of the "friendly" encounter.
7 May 2007

Vatican court convicts ex-employee for cocaine use
In a first for a Vatican tribunal, a former administrative worker at the Holy See has been convicted and given a suspended jail sentence for cocaine use.
7 May 2007

Janitor jailed over Scottish church murder
A British man has been jailed for the rape and murder of a Polish student at a Glasgow Catholic Church whose parish priest also admitted to a sexual relationship with the victim.
7 May 2007

Filipino "Braveheart" honoured
A Couples for Christ lay movement leader, Roger Francisco, who was one of seven men kidnapped and beheaded by Abu Sayyaf militants in the Southern Philippines, has been honoured as a Filipino "Braveheart".
7 May 2007

Benedict meets ex-Iranian President
In a bid to renew "serene dialogue" between cultures and to promote peace in the Middle East, Pope Benedict has met with Iran's former President Seyyed Mohammad Khatami.
7 May 2007

Zimbabwe bishops on "dangerous path", Mugabe warns
Reacting belatedly to an Easter letter by Zimbabwe's Catholic bishops, President Robert Mugabe has warned that the bishops have chosen a "dangerous path" but Archbishop Pius Ncube says that it is time for Mugabe and his "corrupt" regime to go.
7 May 2007

Feature - Striking the right chord
Last month, playwright Tommy Murphy's adaptation of Melbourne-born actor Tim Conigrave's memoir Holding the Man was short-listed for the NSW Premier's Literary Award. If there's anyone left in Sydney's theatre community who hasn't heard of Murphy after Holding the Man's third season opens this week at the Opera House, there won't be for long. "I really believe in the theatre," the 27-year-old says. The seventh of eight children in a Catholic family, Murphy grew up in Queanbeyan. It's a background that predisposed him to the communal creativity of theatre - Kelsey Munro
7 May 2007

Opinion - Mary: a guide for our own faith journey
May is the month when Catholics generally show special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. This concentration on her helps us better understand her participation in the mystery of the Incarnation, for no one exemplifies better a total commitment to Christ. We Catholics have every reason to turn to Mary, to seek from her support and encouragement in living our own faith. If we ponder her life we will see how her response to God is truly a guide for our own journey of faith - Bishop Kevin Manning
7 May 2007

Mexican Robin Hood works miracles
Peasant farmers in Mexico are crediting a Mexican Robin Hood, who was hanged in 1909 and has become known as the patron saint of narcotics traffickers, for their bumper crop prices.
4 May 2007

Kokoda Track KOs Jesuit
Well known Jesuit social commentator Fr Frank Brennan is seriously ill in a Sydney hospital after accompanying a group of high school students to Papua New Guinea for a Kokoda Track trek.
4 May 2007

Kiwi Caritas backs spanking compromise
Caritas New Zealand has come out in support of a "third way" amendment to a controversial parliamentary bill on physical punishment of children that seeks to outlaw most cases of spanking.
4 May 2007

Benedict identifies environment as key challenge
Speaking to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, Pope Benedict has identified the environment as well as respect for human dignity and recognition of spiritual values as three major challenges for humanity today.
4 May 2007

St Vincent's expert warms to Govt ice plan
Head of emergency at Sydney's St Vincent's Hospital, Dr Gordian Fuldem, has praised a $150 million Federal Government plan to combat the "ice" crystal methamphetamine epidemic.
4 May 2007

Leaders in "landmark" Aussie interfaith meet
Christians, Muslims and Jews have come together for a "landmark" Middle East peace congress organised by Australia's bishops - but controversial Sheik Taj el-Din al Hilaly was not invited.
4 May 2007

Feature - Nun brought nuclear issue closer to home
In the 1980s, I bought my first house, a fibre cottage situated on the Woronora River in Sydney's Sutherland Shire. The Woronora River is better known for the site of the Lucas Heights Nuclear Reactor than its delicious rock oysters, leaping mullet and Como lilies. My memories of life on the Woronora are still remarkably vivid. Just as vivid is my recollection of a meeting I attended at the village in 1980. Speaking at this meeting was Sr Rosalie Bertell, a visiting American nun with impeccable academic credentials in several scientific fields - Col Brown
4 May 2007

Opinion - What would an Australian Islam look like?
In Federal Parliament last year, Senator John Faulkner argued there was once a minority religion in Australia that threatened the fabric of our society, whose members bred faster than the rest of "us" and whose poor and uneducated were taught weird beliefs in their own schools. They were called Catholics. Today, they seem to be everywhere, having taken over the joint. Many of the things thrown at Australian Muslims in the past five years - bundled together as "un-Australian" - are features of other religions in our multicultural society - Peter Manning
4 May 2007

Indonesian church goes organic
Nuns, priests and a seminarian have joined a group of Catholic farmers in southern Java, Indonesia, to promote organic food crops and assist the farmers to commercialise their products.
3 May 2007

Japanese hospital tests baby hatch
A Catholic-linked hospital in Kumamoto, south-western Japan, is testing the country's first baby hatch where mothers can anonymously drop off newborn babies.
3 May 2007

ACU awarded major AusAID training contract
The Australian Catholic University has won a $423,000 contract from the Australian Government's AusAID program to train educational leaders from South East Asia and East Timor.
3 May 2007

Mercy media house wins prestigious awards
Mercy Sisters owned media agency Fraynework has taken out a series of prizes at a leading international interactive media awards competition.
3 May 2007

Pope prepares for Brazil
Pope Benedict has asked for prayers for his upcoming trip to Brazil beginning next week with a battle over abortion expected to figure on the pontiff's agenda.
3 May 2007

Church leaders challege G8 on Africa
British Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor and an international group of bishops have challenged Group of Eight leaders to redouble their aid efforts for Africa.
3 May 2007

Feature - Philosopher's gold
A few years ago, I mentioned to an older friend that I was thinking of pursuing philosophy as a "career". "That's interesting", he said, "but don't you want to be able to support a family?" His impression was that there was no money in philosophy. But things are beginning to change. You'll notice that the latest movie, Romulus My Father, is the work of ACU moral philosopher Raymond Gaita. But perhaps most surprising is the award of the Templeton Prize, worth A$1.8 million, to Charles Taylor, an eminent Canadian philosopher and public intellectual - Michael McGann
3 May 2007

Opinion - Sri Lanka's seesaw of war and cricket
Last weekend, Sri Lankans huddled together around TV sets to cheer their team battling unsuccessfully for the Cricket World Cup. But nationwide panic following Tamil Tiger attacks on Colombo shattered the momentary euphoria of togetherness even amid defeat. This seesaw of war and cricket, the island's only current claim to news headlines, cannot match the legendary fame of Serendip, the home of serendipitous people. What set the island's Sinhalese and Tamil communities against each other? - Hector Welgampola
3 May 2007

Spider bite kills missionary nun in Kenya
An Irish medical missionary Sr Elsie Furlong has died from the bite of a hunting spider last week while working in northern Kenya near the Sudanese border.
2 May 2007

Resist abortion laws, Mexican bishops tell doctors
Responding to a new Mexico City law legalising abortions in the Mexican capital, the country's bishops have called on doctors to refuse to perform abortions.
2 May 2007

No charges over WA "Weeping Madonna" donations
Western Australian police say that they will not pursue a criminal investigation of donations collected by a Rockingham woman to view an alleged Weeping Madonna statue at her home.
2 May 2007

Police investigate Griffith child prostitution claims
Griffith police are investigating allegations of child prostitution in the southern NSW town that have been reported by a local paper and backed by Youth off The Streets founder, Fr Chris Riley.
2 May 2007

Sydney airport can't handle all WYD visitors, Pell says
With up to 120,000 overseas pilgrims expected for World Youth Day next year, there will be "just too many to come into Sydney", Cardinal George Pell said yesterday, adding that many pilgrims will need to fly into other east coast ports.
2 May 2007

Euro Parliament accuses church over gay "hatred"
The European Parliament has passed a resolution criticising politicians and religious leaders for "discriminatory comments" on homosexuals and allegedly "fermenting hatred and violence".
2 May 2007

Feature - With a little help from St Jude
Helping to lift Africa out of poverty appeals to the idealist in many of us. But for Gemma Sisia, a teacher from regional Australia, it's real life. She is changing the lives of hundreds of school children in east Africa through her School of St Jude in northern Tanzania. A devout Catholic, Sisia named the school after the patron saint of hopeless causes, whom she now sees as a real person helping her and the school when they desperately need funding or good luck - Adele O'Hare
2 May 2007

Opinion - If parents talk to each other ...
Recently, a friend came to me and showed me an invitation her son had received to attend his 14-year-old friend's birthday party. At the bottom of the invite was written "BYO alcohol". My friend was in a quandary. She did not want to condone under-age drinking but she did not want to appear to be too strict in front of parents who encourage these activities. Many parents are stating they are now experiencing the peer group pressure they once felt as teenagers - Pauline Connelly
2 May 2007

Cathedral bells "sensored"
The famous bells of St Stephen's Vienna are being fitted with sensors to determine the secrets of their chimes - as well as their projected life spans.
1 May 2007

Pregnancy counselling hotline launches
Catholic Social Services chief Frank Quinlan has welcomed today's launch of the Federal Government's Pregnancy Telephone Counselling Helpline.
1 May 2007

Black and brown Joeys move closer
Forty Sisters of St Joseph from both "black" and "brown" branches moved towards closer ties and greater collaboration during a meeting described as "historic" last week in Hobart.
1 May 2007

Climate change sceptics melt under spotlight, Columban priest reports
Australian Columban ecologist Fr Charles Rue, who was one of 80 invitees to a Vatican climate change conference, says that sceptics shot themselves in the foot during the event with "their litany of objections" and the "absurdity" of their positions.
1 May 2007

Bullet in post for Italian bishops head
Genoa Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco, who has been leading the Italian Church's campaign against same sex marriages, has received a bullet in the mail together with his photo with a swastika cut into the paper.
1 May 2007

Two new bishops for Australia's biggest diocese
Pope Benedict yesterday appointed Melbourne priests, Salesian Fr Timothy Costelloe and Msgr Peter Elliott as bishops for Australia's biggest diocese.
1 May 2007

Feature - Limbo: In or out?
The Vatican's International Theological Commission last month released its long-awaited document, The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptised. The document has sparked a lot of controversy but Commission member Sr Sara Butler says that contrary to media reports, the statement makes no blanket declaration on limbo. "It only attempts to justify, in view of what was previously the common teaching, that it is reasonable to hope that these infants may be the object of God's special providence," she said - Sr Sara Butler (interviewed by Andrew Rabel)
1 May 2007

Opinion - Putting work in its place
Over the past two decades there has been a massive encroachment of work into family time. An increasing number are juggling the demands of work with their family commitments. Perhaps it is time to put work in its proper perspective. Can we reawaken the biblical notion of the Sabbath? It is a time of liberation from the necessity of work, for rest and giving thanks to God. Not limited to Sunday, it is about taking time to find stability in family life, for worship and for recreation - Bishop Christopher Saunders
1 May 2007