Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources
 

NEWS ARCHIVE FOR JUNE 2007

   
JPII linked to F1 driver's "miraculous survival"
Robert Kubica, whose car was totally destroyed in a 230km per hour crash at the Canadian Grand Prix, may have enjoyed a "miraculous" escape owing to the intervention of John Paul II whose name emblazons the Formula 1 driver's helmet, Polish papers claim.
29 Jun 2007

Priests should promote breastfeeding, WHO official says
Addressing a meeting of Philippines Catholic bishops, World Health Organisation official Dr Shigeru Omi said that priests and ministers could play an effective role in reducing infant mortality by promoting breastfeeding among their congregations.
29 Jun 2007

Dozen Polish bishops linked to secret police
About twelve current Polish bishops had ties to Poland's communist era secret police, a special bishops commission has concluded, but file documents failed to show the scope or intensity of any cooperation by the bishops with security services.
29 Jun 2007

Randwick trainers "emotional" over WYD compensation
Horse trainers at Sydney's Randwick racecourse claim that disruption caused by World Youth Day preparations could "send some people broke if compensation is not worked out in a fair and reasonable manner".
29 Jun 2007

Benedict turns to Paul to promote unity
Announcing a Pauline Year to commemorate the 2000th anniversary of the birth of the Apostle of the Gentiles, Pope Benedict emphasised the ecumenical dimensions of the event, saying that St Paul "spent himself for the unity and harmony of all Christians".
29 Jun 2007

Labor health policy "a good start": Catholic Health
Stating that more detail is needed on how hospital waiting lists would be reduced under sweeping health care reforms proposed by the Opposition, Catholic Health Australia head Francis Sullivan says that Labor's new policy is a "good start but surely not the whole story".
29 Jun 2007

Feature - Don't limit ATSI Sunday to Mass
The first Sunday of July has been mandated by the Australian bishops as National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday. The first thing that must be said is that special intentions such as this are not liturgical events. The possibilities for celebrating this occasion at Mass are somewhat limited. Parishes need therefore to look for other ways to raise awareness of indigenous people and issues and to encourage people to pray about them, such as having an indigenous guest speaker during NAIDOC Week - Elizabeth Harrington
29 Jun 2007

Opinion - Europe leads way in religion-state balance
Many in the West and in Muslim-majority states believe a functioning democracy requires a strict separation between state and religion - the latter regarded as a purely private matter. Functioning democracies, however, have introduced a range of institutional relationships between religion and state. The United States and France, for example, have strongly separated the two. In most long-standing European democracies, however, there is a complex and intertwined rapport between state and religion, with high degrees of legislation related to religion - Mirjam Kunkler and Michael Meyer-Resende
29 Jun 2007

Murdered nun's "martyrdom" inspires "paradigm shift"
The life of an Indian nun who was stabbed to death by a contract killer for her work with landless labourers inspired a "paradigm shift" in her Franciscan Clarist congregation as well as a surge of vocations.
28 Jun 2007

$25 million more for school chaplains
Announcing that the Federal Government will provide funds to almost 1,400 schools to employ chaplains, Prime Minister John Howard said that a further $25 million will be allocated to the scheme.
28 Jun 2007

Let Iraqis kill each other but occupiers out: US bishop
US Chaldean Catholic Bishop Ibrahim B Ibrahim has called for a withdrawal of troops from Iraq saying that local factions are killing each other not because they are Sunni or Shiite but because they are with or against the Americans.
28 Jun 2007

St Paul turns 2000
Pope Benedict is to declare a Year of St Paul in honour of the 2000th anniversary of the apostle's birth, Rome sources say.
28 Jun 2007

Let chimeras live: UK bishops
British bishops say that human-animal hybrid embryos or "chimeras" conceived in the laboratory should be regarded as humans having a right to life while Pope Benedict yesterday backed adult stem cell research as an alternative to embryo tests.
28 Jun 2007

Catholics up and down in census
The Australian Catholic population is up again according to 2006 Census figures with the total reaching 5.1 million but the proportion of Catholics has declined slightly, says the bishops' Pastoral Projects Office.
28 Jun 2007

Feature - The changing soul of the nation
According to the latest census, the biggest church remains the Roman Catholic, up 7 per cent over the decade to 5.13 million, followed by the Anglicans, down 4.7 per cent to 3.72 million. There were slightly more Anglicans than agnostics and atheists (3.7 million), with another 2.2 million not stating whether they had any religion or none. The results did not surprise Gary Bouma, professor of sociology of religion at Monash University. Anglicans and no-religion now meet at 18.7 per cent, but he had expected them to cross over earlier, he said - Dewi Cooke and Barney Zwartz
28 Jun 2007

Opinion - Let's put children first for once
Now that the politicians have flown out of Canberra and back home for the winter, it is time to take a deep breath and ask what can be achieved by John Howard's announcement of a Commonwealth takeover of Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. There can be no quarrel with the desire to act urgently to assist children in need. While there can be no doubting John Howard's commitment to helping these children, we know that he also has an eye on his re-election - Fr Frank Brennan
28 Jun 2007

Indian tea workers struggle for survival
Up to 750 unemployed tea workers in India's West Bengal have died of malnutrition and other causes following mass closures since 2003 of tea estates employing mostly Catholic tribal people.
27 Jun 2007

Pain relief a human right, doctor argues
Unreasonable failure to treat pain is poor medicine, unethical and also an "abrogation of a fundamental right", according to Dr Frank Brennan of Sydney's Calvary Hospital in Kogarah.
27 Jun 2007

Aussie deacons reach century
There are now estimated to be 100 permanent deacons in Australia working in a huge range of ministries, the newly appointed national deacon coordinator, Rev Paul Simmons says.
27 Jun 2007

Back to the future in conclave voting, Pope decides
In a "Motu Proprio" published yesterday, Pope Benedict has overturned changes to the procedure for papal elections introduced by the late John Paul II and restored the traditional method of election that always requires a two-thirds majority.
27 Jun 2007

Sacked Vinnies workers seek arbitration
The NSW Industrial Relations Commission was yesterday hearing the case of two Society of St Vincent de Paul employees who were dismissed in April allegedly after making a complaint against a manager.
27 Jun 2007

NSW stem cell law passes
Despite opposition from the Church and a prayer campaign by Christian MPs, the NSW Upper House yesterday voted to pass a law lifting the ban on stem cell research in the state.
27 Jun 2007

Feature - The battle for the human soul
For scientists who are people of faith, like Kenneth Miller, a biologist at Brown University who is a Roman Catholic, asking about the science of the soul is pointless, in a way, because it is not a subject science can address. Miller said he spoke often at college campuses and elsewhere and was regularly asked, "'What do you say as a scientist about the soul?" His answer, he said, is always the same: "As a scientist, I have nothing to say about the soul. It's not a scientific idea" - Cornelia Dean
27 Jun 2007

Opinion - The challenge for God's sons and daughters
I've never understood why Christians do not take the commandment to "love your enemies" seriously. We Catholics believe in transubstantiation, and never question that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. We eagerly obey the command, "Do this in memory of me." But love our enemies? When I raise this commandment, the general response I get is: "Are you nuts?" When will we believe in the transformation of enemies into friends? - Fr John Dear
27 Jun 2007

Schoolgirl sues British school over "purity ring" ban
British teenager Lydia Playfoot has sued her school for violating her religious freedom after school officials banned a New Testament inscribed ring she wore as a sign of her commitment to chastity before marriage.
26 Jun 2007

Catholic aged care launches HIV aid to PNG
A NSW Port Macquarie parish aged care centre has launched a project to assist a HIV/AIDS program run by Port Moresby diocese as Religious leaders meet in Perth today to explore ways they can be better "neighbours" to their Pacific counterparts.
26 Jun 2007

Trainers still jumpy about WYD
Randwick racecourse trainers will meet Australian Jockey Club officials this week about concerns over the impact on their 720 horses of preparations for the World Youth Day vigil and Mass with Pope Benedict next year.
26 Jun 2007

Monasteries pray for Pope's China letter
Vatican Cardinal Ivan Dias has written to 610 enclosed female monasteries around the world calling for prayers that Pope Benedict's soon to be released letter to Chinese Catholics will be well received and bear fruit.
26 Jun 2007

French cardinal to lead inter-religious dialogue
In a move that raises the profile of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Pope Benedict has named former Vatican diplomat French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran as president of the revived institution.
26 Jun 2007

Tackle Indigenous problems, not symptoms: Caritas
Praising the "renewed vigour" of Government proposals to tackle abuse and neglect in Australia's Indigenous communities, Caritas Australia has warned that money alone will not solve problems and says that political will as well as a long term plan is needed.
26 Jun 2007

Feature - Reinventing charities
Social enterprise is a hot topic in the non-profit sector - among cooperatives, social agencies and charities. Even among those who claim to be social enterprises, however, there's no agreement on a definition. Social entrepreneur Sonia Pouyat of kidsLINK tries to keep it simple. "It's an organisation that adopts an earned-income strategy as a way of achieving its mission," she said. The ultimate bottom line is better social outcomes. "You're driven by mission first. If you're not anchored in mission there's no point in being a social enterprise" - Michael Swan
26 Jun 2007

Opinion - Blair has lost his moral bearings
At the end of four years working for Tony Blair in Downing Street I could not readily answer the question put to me by one of my colleagues: is Blair a man of hidden depths or hidden shallows? On a personal level, he was always civil, controlled - understandably private. He knew that I was a Catholic; I went with him to Mass in the private chapel of Pope John Paul II. Blair had more self-confidence and faith in the rightness of his own judgement than any other politician I have worked for - Stephen Wall
26 Jun 2007

Aussie couple wed underwater
Australian couple, Clint Bently and Tamara Little, who wore a traditional Vietnamese ao dai over her wetsuit, were married on Friday in an underwater Catholic ceremony off Vietnam's coast near the resort city of Nha Trang.
25 Jun 2007

Catholic Ed shines at business excellence awards
The Catholic Education Offices from the Sydney and Broken Bay dioceses were among the winners of prestigious business excellence awards for 2007.
25 Jun 2007

Guy's WYD song to welcome cross and icon
Former Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian will play his gospel "anthem" for World Youth Day 2008 for the first time in public as Sydney welcomes the WYD cross and icon at Darling Harbour next Sunday.
25 Jun 2007

Frankly, you were wrong: Benedict tells Blair
Tony Blair told Pope Benedict that he wants to become a Catholic, Vatican sources say, but the pontiff did not hesitate to criticise the outgoing British PM's policies on Iraq and other issues in what was described as a "frank exchange of views".
25 Jun 2007

Melbourne hero buried
Shooting hero, Brendan Keilar, who was killed while attempting to rescue a woman from her attacker in central Melbourne last week, made the "ultimate sacrifice", mourners heard at the slain lawyer's funeral on Friday.
25 Jun 2007

Avoid "bullyboy" approach: Darwin bishop
Questioning whether Government authorities understand the background of Aboriginal communities, Darwin's Bishop Ted Collins has warned against adopting a "bullyboy" approach and called for consultation with Indigenous people.
25 Jun 2007

Feature - Outcasts in their own land
Walk around the sprawling community of Wadeye and you will be assailed by children, quick to spot a stranger in town. They crowd around curiously and talk to you in broken English but chatter among themselves in Murrinh-patha, the indigenous language of this former Catholic mission. Six other languages are spoken here, all of them endangered, making Wadeye a laboratory for linguists. "Language is our identity and if we forget our identity, we are nothing," says Patrick Nudjulu, sheltering from the sun on the veranda of his house - Barbara McMahon
25 Jun 2007

Opinion - WWII lessons for the War on Terror
Imagine an attack on a civilian population aimed at causing maximum hurt, shock, disruption and terror. 9/11? Resistance in Iraq? No, the Allied bombing of Hamburg in late July of 1943. Among the Dead Cities is a moral evaluation of the Allies' area bombing campaign and an attempt to purify the historical memory of the victors. At a time when torture is seriously being contemplated in the War on Terror, this book has provided us with an ABC of ethics that reminds us that not all is fair in love and war - Dr Richard Umbers
25 Jun 2007

Swan man switches teams
Formerly chief executive of the old South Melbourne Football Club, now the AFL's Sydney Swans, Noel Brady, today has 18 teams of a different kind to manage in his role as a parish priest in Melbourne's West.
22 Jun 2007

Vatican court overturns Kennedy annulment
The ex-wife of former US congressman, Joseph P Kennedy, son of the late Robert F Kennedy, has welcomed the decision of the Vatican Rota appeals tribunal to overturn the annulment of the couple's marriage saying that they had had a strong union that unravelled.
22 Jun 2007

Million-dollar donation for new ACU legal institute
A leading Victorian barrister, Allan Myers, has donated $1 million for the establishment of a national chair of law at ACU National's new Institute of Legal Studies.
22 Jun 2007

Total ban on cluster bombs: Vatican appeal
An international convention on arms limitation should include a total ban on cluster bombs, Vatican representative Archbishop Silvano Tommasi has told a United Nations arms conference.
22 Jun 2007

Changes stigmatise welfare recipients: Catholic Social Services
Radical changes to family assistance payment proposed by Federal Family and Community Services Minister Mal Brough will result in the "effective stigmatisation of welfare recipients", Catholic Social Services Australia chief, Frank Quinlan says.
22 Jun 2007

Bush vetoes US stem cell legislation
A veto of congressional stem cell legislation by President George W Bush "enhances not diminishes" the chances of a life-saving scientific breakthrough, according to US bishops spokesman, Cardinal Justin Rigali.
22 Jun 2007

Feature - "Witch-hunt" to expose gay clergy
Patricia McKeever does not like to be photographed. She does not like people to know where she lives and prefers to communicate with the outside world by letter or email. But, from the security of her home, the 58-year-old former secondary school teacher has co-ordinated a relentless campaign in Scotland to name and shame gay priests. But what Ms McKeever calls her "great work of charity" has not met with universal approval. The Archdiocese of Glasgow has labelled her group as "self-appointed heresy hunters" and accused her of harassment - David Lister
22 Jun 2007

Opinion - Islam compatible with religious freedom?
Can Islam be compatible with religious freedom? I certainly hope so, but doubts are raised by a decision of Malaysia's highest court, given a month ago, preventing 43-year-old Malay woman Lina Joy, a Christian convert, from marrying her Christian boyfriend. The decision was applauded by Muslims in Malaysia. But what do moderate Muslims in Australia think about it? Would it be possible for Muslim leaders in Australia to speak firmly against the denial of religious freedom in countries such as Malaysia? - David Hodgson
22 Jun 2007

Parramatta's Whitby wins smartest educator award
Parramatta diocesan Executive Director of Schools Greg Whitby has been named by the Bulletin magazine as Australia's smartest and most innovative person working in education today.
21 Jun 2007

Stop using Mother Teresa pic, Sisters tell Hillary
US presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton has removed photos of Mother Teresa from her campaign material following a request from Missionaries of Charity sisters and criticism from Catholic groups.
21 Jun 2007

Don't whinge over Church doctrine, NSW MP tells colleagues
As the stem cell cloning bill moves to the NSW upper house, Liberal MP David Clarke defended Cardinal George Pell's intervention in the debate, telling Catholic MPs who supported the legislation that they do not know better than the bishops and Pope.
21 Jun 2007

Theologians back call for CDF "restructuring"
In the wake of a "notification" concerning works by liberation theologian Fr Jon Sobrino, over 100 German theologians have backed a call for an "intelligent restructuring" of the Holy See Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
21 Jun 2007

Accept refugees seeking asylum - Benedict
An employee of a Caritas joint project for Darfur refugees has been killed as Pope Benedict reaffirms that giving "hospitality to refugees is an obligatory gesture of human solidarity".
21 Jun 2007

Payrise for Sydney priests
Following disquiet over spending priorities in the Sydney archdiocese, Cardinal George Pell has announced that priests will receive an 8.7 per cent pay increase - their first raise in three years.
21 Jun 2007

Feature - The flying priest
It's not every day you see a priest tinkering his way around an aeroplane, but that has been a regular sight for the last couple of years at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Thurgoona in southern NSW. A light aircraft has been built by Fr John Fowles who hopes to soon fly it around Australia to raise money for those less fortunate in East Timor. "The 'Fly Away to Heaven' project is an initiative that is inspired by the idea of giving back", the priest says - Allison Jess
21 Jun 2007

Opinion - Letting go of our superficial self
We all want to live a happy life. But what do we think of when we think of our own happiness? If asked, most of us would talk about having loving and supportive relationships with family and friends, and of having fulfilling and stimulating work, whether paid or unpaid. Yet in today's society, dominated by the techniques of marketing and the culture of consumption, we are being persuaded to think of our happiness in a quite different way - as the gratification of our desires - Clive Hamilton
21 Jun 2007

Thou shalt not kill on road: Cardinal Martino
Like the bible, the modern world is full of people on the move, says Vatican Cardinal Renato Martino, explaining a set of "Ten Commandments" for drivers issued by the Holy See office for migrants and itinerant peoples.
20 Jun 2007

Party over for shooting victim
Former Catholic high school student turned party girl, Kara Douglas, is still in critical condition having lost a kidney in Monday's multiple shooting in Melbourne.
20 Jun 2007

Protect street women, punish clients: Vatican
Nations should protect women from the violence and "modern slavery" of prostitution and punish the men who are their clients, the Vatican says in a document on pastoral care for "street women" released yesterday.
20 Jun 2007

Prepare for Islamic rule, Gaza militants warn
An Islamic militant leader has warned that Gaza's Christians must expect that Hamas rule means "real changes" and to be "ready for Islamic rule if they want to live in peace".
20 Jun 2007

NZ whistleblower calls for religious order's closure
A psychologist formerly employed by the Australasian St John of God brothers has called for the order to be closed down, accusing it of being in a state of denial over abuse allegations.
20 Jun 2007

Sydney municipality to twin with Bethlehem
Marrickville Council in Sydney's inner west has ratified a controversial plan to form a sister city relationship with the biblical birthplace of Jesus, Bethlehem, but Jewish groups are concerned over the city's alleged Hamas links.
20 Jun 2007

Feature - The general's Abu Ghraib report
If there was a redeeming aspect to the whole Abu Ghraib affair, it was in the thoroughness and the passion of the Army's initial investigation, led by Major General Antonio Taguba. The General's investigation found "sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees". Taguba is a slight man with a friendly demeanour. His parents were devout Catholics, and their children were taught respect and, Taguba recalls, "above all, integrity in how you lived your life and practiced your religion" - Seymour M Hersh
20 Jun 2007

Opinion - Being fair dinkum about alleviating poverty
Tsunamis, earthquakes, poverty, drought, starvation, corruption. These are the times when aid is usually in the news. Recently, however, the Australian media has posed questions about the real purpose of aid. International development agencies such as Caritas Australia strongly believe that aid is, and should only be, about the alleviation of poverty. There is a danger of headlines such as "Phantom Aid" or stories about "misuse of aid funds" feeding a perception that aid is often wasted - Jamie Isbister
20 Jun 2007

Vancouver Oblates sue their lawyers
After a court found it was not liable in a sexual abuse case, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate order in Canada's British Columbia province are suing the law firm who successfully defended them - and billed them for over $8 million.
19 Jun 2007

Sri Lanka Govt denies Fr Jim Brown body claim
Citing a DNA analysis, Sri Lankan authorities have refuted claims that a corpse discovered allegedly in an army bag was that of disappeared priest Fr Jim Brown.
19 Jun 2007

Stop politicking, nuncio tells Polish clergy
Saying the church "needs priests, not politicians" and "evangelists, not economists", Holy See nuncio to Poland Archbishop Jozef Kowalczyk has called on the clergy to stop preaching politicised homilies and not to turn liturgies into "public rallies".
19 Jun 2007

First woman secretary-general to reform Caritas International
With a "clear mandate" for change, Zimbabwe-born Briton Lesley Anne Knight is taking over the reins as newly elected Secretary General of Catholic relief and development federation, Caritas Internationalis.
19 Jun 2007

Don't privatise religion: Christian thinktank
Sydney Cardinal George Pell and NSW Green MP Lee Rhiannon continued to trade blows yesterday as James Haire from the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture defended the right of religions to involve themselves in politics.
19 Jun 2007

Gaza convent, school looted and burned
A school and convent in a Gaza Catholic compound were ransacked before being torched as fears rise among Christians over their future in the Hamas-ruled territory.
19 Jun 2007

Feature - Cleanliness reveals godliness
When a Vatican-led team of art restorers started scrubbing what was underneath centuries of soot and grime caked on the ceiling and walls of a major shrine in Rome, they made a spectacular discovery. A whole pictorial series of brilliantly coloured, 16th-century frescoes by influential Flemish landscape artist Paul Bril and others had been hidden under the dirt. The Sanctuary of the Scala Santa (Holy Stairs) and its care are entrusted to the Passionists, who led the campaign to win recognition and grants for the restoration of the frescoes - Carol Glatz
19 Jun 2007

Opinion - The Way of the Neocatechumenals is still rocky
Authorised by the Holy See in 2002 "ad experimentum" for a period of five years, the current statutes of the Neocatechumenal Way expire later this month. It will be interesting to see what variations will be contained in the new statutes as compared with the earlier, experimental ones. The Way, founded in Spain in the 1960s, is one of the most vigorously flourishing Catholic movements. But its teachings and liturgical practices are also the object of reservations and criticisms on the part of the Church hierarchy - Sandro Magister
19 Jun 2007

Nun inspires "dead man laughing"
Claiming inspiration from Sr Helen Prejean's book on capital punishment, Dead Man Walking, a Texas death row prisoner has organised a joke contest in which he will read the winning entry as his last words before his execution in just over a week.
18 Jun 2007

Mokbel gang started at Catholic college: Report
Staff at Whitefriars College in Melbourne's east are reported to be shocked over the arrests of four former students who have been charged with drug trafficking allegedly as part of a Tony Mokbel-directed gang.
18 Jun 2007

Storm gathers over benefits stoppages
Commenting on reports that unemployed people are having their benefits withheld for weeks because of Centrelink staff shortages, Catholic Social Services chief Frank Quinlan says that the government should dump its breaching policy if it cannot be implemented fairly without delays.
18 Jun 2007

End Mid-East war: Pope's appeal at Assisi
On a pilgrimage to St Francis of Assisi's birthplace, Pope Benedict has issued a "pressing appeal" for an end to armed conflicts in the Middle East, while in the NT Supreme Court four Pine Gap anti-war protesters have avoided jail after being found guilty under security laws.
18 Jun 2007

New Melbourne bishops ordained
Msgr Peter Elliott and Salesian Fr Timothy Costelloe were ordained on Friday at St Patrick's Cathedral as bishops for Melbourne's southern and northern regions.
18 Jun 2007

Pell slams "stalinist" parliamentary contempt probe
Reacting to a Greens-initiated investigation by the NSW parliamentary privileges committee into his comments on stem cell cloning, Sydney Cardinal George Pell has described the inquiry as a "clumsy attempt" to curb free speech with a "whiff of stalinism".
18 Jun 2007

Feature - Sinead finds meaning in "Theology"
She once tore up a picture of Pope John Paul II and, some years later, was ordained as Mother Bernadette Marie by a breakaway Catholic sect. Opprobrium stuck to Sinead O'Connor like a nylon chasuble. But next month, the singer will have the chattering classes spluttering into their tea again with an appearance on the BBC's Songs of Praise. O'Connor lives in Monkstown, an unprepossessing Dublin suburb. The gaudy statue of Our Lady on the doorstep of the imposing Georgian house gives a clue to the rebel within - Paula McGinley
18 Jun 2007

Opinion - Russia's unholy alliance
The Cold War rhetoric heard in the run-up to the recent G8 summit, as President Vladimir Putin tried to block the planned deployment of US missile defences in Poland and the Czech Republic, may have been intended primarily for domestic Russian consumption. But many East Europeans will see it as confirming a new Russian self-assertiveness and drift to authoritarianism, which is finding echoes at all levels, from the country's trade organisations to its predominant Orthodox Church, and which alarms its neighbours - Jonathan Luxmoore
18 Jun 2007

Rome's Holy Stairs restored
The Holy Stairs that Jesus is said to have ascended for his trial before Pontius Pilate have reopened after a painstaking restoration of neighbouring frescoes - and the removal of pilgrims' chewing gum.
15 Jun 2007

Moscow patriarch, pope may meet next year
Holy See spokesman on ecumenical issues, Cardinal Walter Kasper, says that there is hope that Pope Benedict may meet Moscow Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II in what would be a groundbreaking meeting.
15 Jun 2007

Missing Sri Lankan priest's body identified
A dismembered body discovered in a bag off the coast of Sri Lanka has been identified as that of Catholic priest Fr Jim Brown who disappeared last August during clashes between government troops and Tamil separatist rebels.
15 Jun 2007

Abortion counselling disclosure bill in doubt
A private members' bill that aims to compel pregnancy counselling services to disclose the fact that they will not refer clients for abortion has stalled after lobbying by Catholic agencies, reports say.
15 Jun 2007

Jury members weep over Pine Gap guilty verdict
After five hours deliberation, a "visibly distressed" NT Supreme Court jury has found four protesters guilty of 14 charges over a protest at the involvement of the Pine Gap spy base in the Iraq war.
15 Jun 2007

WA speaker raps Hickey
In a letter to Perth Archbishop Barry Hickey, WA Parliament Speaker Fred Riebeling says he accepts that there was no intention to threaten MPs over their cloning vote but warns that "improper interference" cannot be allowed.
15 Jun 2007

Feature - Liturgy is her passion
Liturgy is the passion of Sr Carmel Pilcher, a "brown Josephite" and liturgical consultant who joined the Maitland-Newcastle diocesan community earlier this year. Sr Pilcher's arrival is timely given that decisions are being made about the most effective ways of ministering, utilising the financial and physical resources available. At times, those decisions, and their consequences, are painful. "Most people hate change," she says. "Most people, however, will accept change if they're formed to know why, and if a process is undertaken which includes formation and communication, major divisions are less likely" - Tracey Edstein
15 Jun 2007

Opinion - Human rights betrayed
The Church teaches that it is never justifiable to kill an innocent human life. Abortion is murder. To selectively justify abortion, even in the cases of rape, is to define the innocent child within the womb as an enemy, a "thing" that must be destroyed. How can we say that killing a child in some cases is "good" and in other cases it is evil? Such a distinction is incomprehensible for people of good will; and it is incompatible to the mission of Amnesty International - Cardinal Renato Martino
15 Jun 2007

Dervishes whirl at Vatican
Mystical whirling dervishes danced at the Vatican's Chancery Palace this week in a Holy See commemoration of the 800th anniversary of the Sufi poet Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi's birth.
14 Jun 2007

Be a new man - like Fidel, Brazilian Dominican advises
In a wide ranging interview, Brazilian Dominican liberation theologian, Frei Betto, has slammed "vaticanisation" of the Church and held up Cuban strongman, Fidel Castro, as a model of the revolutionary "new man".
14 Jun 2007

No national security tip offs, religious leaders say
Backing a refusal by Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders to give national security tip offs to authorities, Melbourne Jesuit Fr Peter Norden says that no minister of religion can betray a confession without doing away with the profession.
14 Jun 2007

Vinnies launches Newcastle flood appeal
Saying that cash is more effective than goods, St Vincent de Paul Society CEO, John Picot, has called for donations to a nationwide appeal by the charity for victims of the Newcastle region floods.
14 Jun 2007

Govt, Opposition battle over Catholic education
Federal Education Minister Julie Bishop says that Catholic and independent schools have reason to be concerned about their funding under a Labor Government but Opposition Education spokesman, Stephen Smith, insists private schools will not miss out.
14 Jun 2007

Vatican, Amnesty in abortion stoush
Amnesty International deputy secretary-general, Kate Gilmore, has accused the Catholic Church of misrepresenting the organisation's position on abortion after Holy See Justice and Peace Cardinal Renato Martino slammed Amnesty for "betraying its mission".
14 Jun 2007

Feature - Women in drought
In the last month or so, rural NSW has been blessed by rain - but not rain that fills bank accounts, fend off bank managers or replace livestock. It's easy to assume when we see those photographs of muddy rain dances with hats hurled high into the air that rain is all it takes, but the impact of this drought is more akin to a hurricane than a willy willy. It has torn deep into the foundations of rural life in a way that will take years to heal - Genevieve Jacobs
14 Jun 2007

Opinion - What Paris did next
In a week in which storms have wrought havoc in NSW and Bangladesh has been devastated by mudslides, one item has dominated the news. The big news has been Paris Hilton. We had, in quick succession, Paris in jail, Paris being excused on medical grounds, Paris on early parole with ankle bracelet, Paris back in jail due to a judge over-ruling a sheriff, and finally, Paris finding God and promising to stop "acting dumb". One wonders what all this has contributed to the sum of human existence - James Massola
14 Jun 2007

Church cautious on S African Virgin vision claims
Seventeen-year-old South African girl Francesca Zackey is claiming to have received visions of Our Lady surrounded by bouquets of roses and pictures of the crucified Christ but church authorities remain cautious.
13 Jun 2007

Nuns drink beer for humanity
Spanish sisters who drank beer for 45 days straight as part of a medical research project are part of a growing trend to study nuns whose unique healthy, celibate lifestyle makes them ideal for such purposes.
13 Jun 2007

Caritas hospital in Gaza forced to close
The Caritas Jerusalem medical centre in Gaza has closed owing to heavy clashes between Palestinian militias with snipers stationed throughout the area.
13 Jun 2007

See, judge, act: Latin American bishops tell pope
Latin American bishops have sent Pope Benedict the draft conclusions of their recent conference at Aparecida Brazil, retaining the traditional but still controversial "see, judge, act" format.
13 Jun 2007

US spy planes search for kidnapped priest
American forces have deployed Orion spy planes in the search for an Italian missionary priest kidnapped in the Philippines.
13 Jun 2007

Enough prayers for rain, bishop says
Paying tribute to Hunter Valley emergency workers following this week's devastating floods, Maitland-Newcastle Bishop Michael Malone has offered his sympathy to those affected by the tragedy, adding wryly that "we can stop praying for rain for a while".
13 Jun 2007

Feature - Europe's Christian comeback
The West is awash with fear of the Islamisation of Europe. The rise of Islam, many warn, could transform the continent into "Eurabia," a term popularised by Harvard historian Niall Ferguson and other pundits. Such grim prophecies may sell books, but they ignore reality. For all we hear about Islam, Europe remains a stronger Christian fortress than people realise. What's more, it is showing little sign of giving ground to Islam or any other faith for that matter - Philip Jenkins
13 Jun 2007

Opinion - Are Australians capable of civilised public debate?
Is it a general human thing or a specifically Australian thing that we have the greatest difficulty engaging in civilised public conversation about the issues that matter most to us? Perhaps it is a bit of both. Whatever the cause or causes, this past week has given us a stark example of our inability to have a civilised public conversation as NSW State Parliament attempts to make a decision concerning the legalisation of therapeutic cloning for stem cell research - Fr Michael Whelan
13 Jun 2007

Dom Paulino masters olives at 97
After 50 years baking bread, Benedictine monk, Dom Paulino Gutierrez, now 97, is still working as Master of the Olives at Western Australia's New Norcia abbey.
12 Jun 2007

From PM to deacon, Blair ponders
As Tony Blair prepares for a last visit to the Vatican as British Prime Minister, speculation is mounting that he will not only announce his conversion to Catholicism but that he may also seek ordination as a deacon.
12 Jun 2007

Vic teachers express need for breastfeeding
The Independent Teachers Union in Victoria is pushing for more family-friendly Catholic schools with special rooms so breastfeeding teachers can express and store milk while at work.
12 Jun 2007

Negotiate over Middle East, Benedict tells Bush
In his first meeting with US President George Bush, Pope Benedict has again called for a "regional and negotiated solution" to conflicts in the Middle East.
12 Jun 2007

Football, mission and education win honours
Former AFL champion Jim Stynes, Pakistan missionary Sr Eileen Daffy and Victorian educationist Susan Pascoe were among Catholics honoured in yesterday's Queen's Birthday list.
12 Jun 2007

Pell sticks to stem cell guns
Criticising politicians who "trumpet their Catholicity" but reject the Church's teaching, Sydney Cardinal George Pell has said that MPs who voted in favour of stem cell laws should "think twice before next receiving communion".
12 Jun 2007

Feature - Death row inmate engages world
For death row inmate David Hammer, each bite of the New York cheesecake was doubly sweet: it was homemade and the plastic fork was his favourite colour, purple. A guard delivered the treat that Sr Camille D'Arienzo baked for him. It was another gesture by the Sister of Mercy toward the man corrections officials once warned her was "the most dangerous prisoner" they had. Over time, she befriended Hammer, counselling him as he came close to execution three times in the past eight years - Verena Dobnik
12 Jun 2007

Opinion - My argument with the pope
For the past two centuries Judeo-Christian dialogue served as the medium of a politics of social conciliation, not religious inquiry into the convictions of the other. Negotiation took the place of debate, and to lay claim upon truth in behalf of one's own religion violated the rules good conduct. In Pope Benedict's Jesus of Nazareth the Judeo-Christian disputation enters a new age. We are able to meet one another in a forthright exercise of reason and criticism - Rabbi Jacob Neusner
12 Jun 2007

Worms tackle environment at Korean "Green Church" festival
Organisers of this year's "Festival for a Green Church" at Seoul's Myeongdong Cathedral distributed earthworms to 20,000 participants as part of a bid to raise environmental awareness among Catholics.
8 Jun 2007

Melbourne school mourns train crash victims
St Simon the Apostle Catholic school at Rowville in Melbourne's south east is mourning the deaths of student siblings, 6-year-old Chantelle Meredith and her 8-year-old sister Danielle in this week's tragic Kerang train crash.
8 Jun 2007

Malawi Catholics sue Australian uranium miner
A coalition of Malawi non-governmental organisations including the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace has obtained a court injunction against an Australian uranium miner and the country's government for alleged breaches of procedures.
8 Jun 2007

Vic cabinet may divide over IVF
Victoria's Labor cabinet may split over Catholic-opposed reforms proposed by the state's Law Reform Commission to allow gay couples to adopt children and to make IVF available to single women and lesbians.
8 Jun 2007

Anglicans, Baptists back Pell
Sydney's Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen has joined Cardinal George Pell in expressing regret over the passage of a NSW lower house conscience vote to lift a ban on "therapeutic" cloning while Baptist Union leader John Taylor also described the bill as "immoral".
8 Jun 2007

WA parliament may reprimand Hickey
The Western Australian parliament's privileges committee is to examine comments by Perth Archbishop Barry Hickey for allegedly threatening Catholic politicians if they vote in favour of stem cell legislation.
8 Jun 2007

Feature - Missioners perform "miracle" in tea estate
Buried in the deep furrows of 85-year-old Panchaman Rai's face are years of hardship as a tea garden worker. But his eyes sparkle as he narrates the changes Catholic missioners brought to his village the past 14 years. "We virtually lived a bonded life, with no health care or education until the early 1990s," says Rai, a descendant of tribal people the British colonists brought from Nepal to India to cultivate tea. The elderly, who is now a Catholic, said he would have died in 1994 but for medical help the missioners gave - Prakash Chand Dubey
8 Jun 2007

Opinion - Jagerstatter's constancy challenges new generation
Last week Pope Benedict declared a number of people blessed. But perhaps a more significant decision was to recognise Franz Jagerstatter as a martyr. The Nazis executed him for refusing to fight in the war. The declaration is significant, because it claims that he died giving testimony to his faith. It blesses the intention of his death as well as the motivation that led him to execution. It recognises his disobedience to the command of the state to wage war as an act of witness - Fr Andrew Hamilton
8 Jun 2007

Conflict erupts over Vic country church
The Koroit Catholic parish in rural western Victoria plans to sell the hundred-year-old St Brigid's church hand-built by Irish pioneers but locals want to turn the heritage property into a historical and cultural centre.
7 Jun 2007

Jury acquits five over "God's Banker" murder
A jury in Rome has acquitted five people charged with murder over the death of banker Robert Calvi, who had close links with the Vatican Bank and was found hanged under a UK bridge in 1982.
7 Jun 2007

Sri Lanka president commits to "zone of peace"
In a meeting with Catholic bishops, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has accepted a proposal to guarantee safety to pilgrims visiting the nation's most famous Marian shrine in the war torn Madhu district.
7 Jun 2007

Extremists turn Baghdad church into mosque: report
As a funeral was held for murdered Mosul priest, Fr Ragheed Ganni, Muslim extremists in Baghdad attacked two churches, killing guards at one and forcibly turning the other into a mosque.
7 Jun 2007

"Deranged" man jumps in popemobile
A man described by Vatican officials as "clearly deranged" raised fears yesterday after managing to vault barriers in St Peter's Square and jumping into Pope Benedict's vehicle before being restrained by security officers.
7 Jun 2007

Coast to coast controversy over stem cell vote
A NSW minister has compared Sydney Cardinal George Pell to controversial Muslim cleric Sheik Al-Din Hilali over his cloning vote intervention while the WA Speaker has described a similar message by Perth Archbishop Barry Hickey as a "contemptuous incursion" into parliamentary deliberations.
7 Jun 2007

Feature - The pope's new book
In Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict, as a follower of Jesus, can be glimpsed. Not an exercise of the Magisterium, this volume speaks of the serene, confident, and prayerful faith of a pastor who has been deeply involved for more than half a century in biblical scholarship and study of the ancient Christian writers. Pope Benedict wrote this book because, as a fellow disciple, he wants us to know and love Jesus of Nazareth as He emerges in the Sacred Scripture - Bishop William E Lori
7 Jun 2007

Opinion - No way to act in a pluralist society
Many people would agree with Cardinal George Pell on the issue of therapeutic cloning. But it is not possible to agree with him about Catholic politicians facing the consequences of voting in favour of the bill before the NSW Parliament. Presumably he is referring to withdrawal of Communion. This seems an extreme, unjustified stance. Catholic politicians are not elected just to represent Catholics. They make decisions for the whole community on contentious issues such as therapeutic cloning and stem cell research - Dr Paul Collins
7 Jun 2007

Essendon school seeks female footballers
Football star producing Essendon school, St Bernard's, will reverse 70 years of tradition next year by admitting senior level girls who may even change the face of an AFL team one day, principal Frank Fitzgerald jokes.
6 Jun 2007

Supermarket chain swept out in Broome
After a policy change by Coles supermarkets said to make it more difficult for people in need to use food vouchers, Broome diocese's Office of Justice, Ecology and Peace says local charities will give their business to rival Woolworths.
6 Jun 2007

Vatican tried to recruit Jewish guards to save them
The Vatican under Pope Pius XII tried to save Jews in many ways during World War II, including enlisting Jewish men as guards for its security forces, Holy See Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone claims.
6 Jun 2007

Bishop turns tables on presidential candidate Giulani
US Bishop Thomas Tobin has rejected a dinner invitation from Catholic presidential hopeful Rudy Giulani, saying the Republican contender's abortion stance was "hypocritical" and that Giulani could have his photo after making a donation to pro-life activities.
6 Jun 2007

Green Nobel laureate challenges church on environment
Kenyan Nobel Peace prize laureate Wangari Maathai says that the Church can play a crucial role in advocacy on environmental issues while parishes can lead the change at the local level by promoting tree planting.
6 Jun 2007

Catholic pols defy stem cell communion threat
Catholic politicians in NSW, including Premier Morris Iemma, say they will vote for controversial stem cell legislation despite a warning by Cardinal George Pell that they risk being barred from communion.
6 Jun 2007

Feature - Lunch with Paul Kelly
Singer-songwriter Paul Kelly may have placed his stamp on many spots in Melbourne; his childhood was spent in Adelaide, where he grew up the sixth of nine children of a devout Catholic couple. He was a shy child who liked school and loved sport, and music was in his blood. Kelly's oldest sister, Anne, became a nun and went on to write hymns while younger sister Mary-Jo plays in Latin bands and teaches music. "Pretty much everyone can bash out a tune when they need to," Kelly says of his siblings - Susan Horsburgh
6 Jun 2007

Opinion - The changing face of Catholic education
It is no longer possible to re-create an obedient, devout, uniform Catholic community. Even if this were a good idea it is not possible. Catholic educators are working in a changing society. Educating teachers for Catholic schools now is about enabling them to know and teach the tradition but in ways in which they learn how to think, interpret, read, make sense of, and take part in the Catholic tradition if they choose. It is surprising how many, once they are really educated in scripture and theology choose to be active in the Church - Dr Graham English
6 Jun 2007

Bertone shows original Third Fatima Secret letter on TV
Appearing on an Italian TV station, Holy See Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, has shown the original copy of Fatima Sister Lucia's letter detailing the so-called Third Secret revealed to her by Our Lady.
5 Jun 2007

Spanish parish defies suspension
The Madrid parish of San Carlos Borromeo has defied an order from Cardinal Rouco Varela to suspend all pastoral activity by holding a Sunday Mass attended by Spain's Defence Minister, Jose Bono.
5 Jun 2007

Oath of fidelity not a problem: Teachers union
NSW Independent Education Union secretary, Dick Shearman, says that a proposal to require Catholic school principals to take an oath of fidelity to adhere to church teachings is not discriminatory and will not impact on employment agreements.
5 Jun 2007

G8 bishops challenge leaders on poverty
Recalling commitments made at the 2005 Gleneagles conference to spend an extra $60 billion on foreign aid, Catholic bishops from G8 countries have called for "bold action on global poverty".
5 Jun 2007

Pope deplores "senseless killing" of Iraqi clerics
Describing the deaths of Mosul priest Fr Ragheed Aziz Ganni and three subdeacons as a "costly sacrifice" for the Gospel, Pope Benedict has lamented the latest attacks on the Iraqi Christian community as "senseless".
5 Jun 2007

Pell slams "open slather" for stem cell research
Attacking an "immoral" NSW parliamentary bill to overturn a ban on stem cell research, Sydney Cardinal George Pell says it would "roll back the few remaining barriers to the regular destruction of early human life".
5 Jun 2007

Feature - Tortured childhood of "priest to the stars"
British Fr Michael Seed is known as "the priest to the stars". Now, in a harrowing book, he reveals his horrific childhood at the hands of his sadistic father, whose cruelty drove his mother to suicide. "The first time I heard my mother had killed herself by jumping in front of a train, was in the school playground. It was the start of my crucifixion," he writes. "Why hadn't they told me at home, where I could have let my grief come out in private?" - Fr Michael Seed
5 Jun 2007

Opinion - Iran through my eyes
Friends were surprised by my choice of personal pilgrimage. I was not going to a Marian shrine or for a scenic trek through Spain, but to Iran - the land of Medes and the Assyrians, of Cyrus the Great - from whence came the Magi. The cradle of civilisation, Iran is also the axis of Europe and Asia. This beautiful and ancient land is the home of the Persians and a centre of Islamic culture. I also knew it was ruled by a confronting religious regime who wouldn't take "I didn't know" as an excuse if I transgressed a law - Julie Kelly
5 Jun 2007

Sofia's ashes to be buried in school chapel
The ashes of murdered school Sofia Rodriguez-Urrutia-Shu will be laid to rest in a new school chapel at her former Catholic primary school in suburban Perth.
4 Jun 2007

War resister Jagerstatter a martyr, Pope rules
As Malta gets its first saint, the catechist priest Dun Gorg Preca, Pope Benedict has approved recognition of martyrdom for beheaded Austrian war resister Franz Jagerstatter who refused to serve in Hitler's army.
4 Jun 2007

Choose new Beijing bishop from existing prelates, Viet cardinal advises
Following a visit to Vietnam by a high level Chinese government delegation, Ho Chi Minh City's Cardinal Pham Minh Man has written to China's authorities suggesting that the new bishop of Beijing could be nominated from among the present government-approved bishops.
4 Jun 2007

Teachers attempt to bar disabled girl over parent stress
Teachers at a Victorian Catholic school served a notice - now withdrawn - under occupational health laws seeking to bar a student with cerebral palsy from attending the school because her parents "interfered" with teachers' duties, a paper reports.
4 Jun 2007

Criminalise clients not sex workers: Perth Catholic paper
Attacking a Western Australian proposal to legalise brothels, the editor of Perth's Catholic paper says that the government should consider a Swedish model that decriminalises sex workers but criminalises their clients.
4 Jun 2007

Pell seeks hi fidelity vows from teachers
Sydney Auxiliary Bishop Julian Porteous has defended Cardinal George Pell's controversial draft pastoral plan for Sydney archdiocese which requires Catholic school principals to make a public "vow of fidelity" to Church teachings, saying "it's not about control".
4 Jun 2007

Feature - Catholic student aiming to be next Tiger Woods
Danny An's passion for golf began while following his father around the local course. Now it's his father who follows him around as the young golf star chases his dreams of being a professional golfer. Mr An now caddies for Danny as he competes in major Australian junior tournaments. "My mum, even my grandmother in Korea, go to church every week and pray for me", says Danny. Admittedly, the De La Salle college student has little time to spare for church and his studies - Bernadette Zebec
4 Jun 2007

Opinion - Anti-religious rants ignore democratic rules
The successful marketing of The God Delusion has unleashed a steady flow of anti-religious rantings from intelligent authors who have thrown respect for the other and careful argument to the wind. Instead of proposing strategies for weeding out religious fundamentalists who pose a threat to the freedom, dignity and rights of others, these authors are proposing a scorched-earth policy of killing off all religion. They find it inconceivable that a religious person can accord reason and science their due place - Fr Frank Brennan
4 Jun 2007

Feature - The plight of Assyrians in the Middle East
The imams in the mosques are directing the persecution of the Assyrian Christians in Iraq. It comes from them, and it also on the other hand, comes from the Kurds. We are getting it from every side, it's not just one element, and we're isolated, with absolutely no assistance. And the thing is, since 2003 when Assyrians started getting hit, we have never retaliated. They burnt more than 30 churches in Iraq. Not once has an Assyrian gone to burn a mosque in retaliation - Rosie Malek-Yonan (interview)
1 Jun 2007

Opinion - Election year strategies for bleeding hearts
It is looking more and more that Labor will win, and that the present unforeseen Coalition government majority in the Senate may be lost too. That will give a Rudd Labor government the potential for winding back bad laws and correcting past injustices. But if Rudd wins, should we expect all good things to come at once? We should not. It will take time and patience to bring the level of public debate back to a decent middle ground of instinctive and unstudied respect for human dignity - Tony Kevin
1 Jun 2007

Pope forgot his passport, papers say
On their recent trip to Brazil, Pope Benedict and Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone did not bring their passports, Brazilian newspapers report, resulting in airline Alitalia being fined for allowing undocumented foreigners travel to Brazil.
1 Jun 2007

Catholic Schwarzenegger to terminate religious "interference"
Describing himself as a "very dedicated Catholic", California Governor Arnold Schhwarzenegger is backing stem cell research initiatives, saying that religion should not interfere with government policy.
1 Jun 2007

Doyle issues "call to action" over worship decline
Explaining a new archdiocesan policy to boost the percentage of baptised students at Tasmanian Catholic schools, Hobart Archbishop Adrian Doyle cites studies showing a low rate of religious literacy among teenagers.
1 Jun 2007

Abortion kills "two Dunblanes a day": Scottish cardinal
As the United Kingdom marks 40 years since the 1967 Abortion Act, Edinburgh Cardinal Keith O'Brien has slammed the "pack of lies" behind the law saying that abortion in Scotland now kills the equivalent of two classrooms of children or two Dunblane massacres a day.
1 Jun 2007

Pell accuses Redfern Catholics over "intimidation, harassment"
With Redfern parish priest Fr Gerry Prindiville taking leave from the troubled inner Sydney parish, Cardinal George Pell has hit out at "sad and shameful attitudes" by parishioners whom he accuses of mounting a "program of intimidation, harassment and disturbance".
1 Jun 2007

Green Bomber militias threaten Zimbabwe Catholics: Ncube
Bulawayo Archbishop Pius Ncube says that Government-backed "Green Bomber" militias are seeking to intimidate voters ahead of Zimbabwe elections next year with Catholics around the country also facing threats.
1 Jun 2007