Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources
 

NEWS ARCHIVE FOR JULY 2007

   
Rudd up there but heaven can wait for Howard
Kevin Rudd has a better chance of reaching heaven than incumbent PM John Howard, according to a public opinion poll which also found ex-Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett the holiest of all.
31 Jul 2007

Couple killed in suspected drag race incident
A Catholic couple from St Mary's in Sydney's west, who had recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, were killed instantly when their car was struck by two other cars which police suspect were involved in a drag race.
31 Jul 2007

Amnesty refuses to budge on abortion
Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan says that the international human rights organisation will not revoke its new policy supporting abortion for women subject to sexual violence because the policy was adopted after long consultations with members.
31 Jul 2007

Cathedral security upgrades amid skater payback fears
Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral has been forced to upgrade security after skateboarders threatened to cause further trouble following an outburst from cathedral Dean Rev Geoff Baron who yesterday apologised for his "outrageous behaviour".
31 Jul 2007

No Latin Mass for Martini
Retired Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini has criticised Pope Benedict's decision to allow greater use of the Latin Mass, saying it is important to have a common language for prayer.
31 Jul 2007

Pope calls for disarmament, backs nuke energy
In a message marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Pope Benedict pleaded for nuclear disarmament but backed the increased peaceful use of nuclear energy to promote development for the world's poor.
31 Jul 2007

Feature - Did Hitler try to kidnap Pius XII?
What would have happened if Pius XII had excommunicated Hitler, a baptised Catholic? Would German Catholics have stopped the entire genocide machine in its tracks, or would open enmity have simply caused the Nazis to turn their murderous impulses on the Vatican or on Catholics in general, while doing nothing for Jews? That's where American journalist Dan Kurzman, the first serious investigation of Hitler's little-known plan to kidnap Pius in order to keep him quiet about the Final Solution, brings a new twist to the story - Brian Bethune
31 Jul 2007

Opinion - Carbon indulgence will not absolve environmental sins
A fundamental principle of morality is that good does not cancel evil. Yet this is what advocates of carbon credits seek to do. They think if a person pollutes the environment, this evil is cancelled by paying for activities that benefit the environment. But this is what Vatican City has done. The world's smallest state has announced that it is to become the first "carbon neutral" green country, the first sovereign state to be environmentally correct. But it has not done so by minimising pollution - Fred E Foldvary
31 Jul 2007

New Da Vinci Last Supper Code
An Italian information technologist believes that superimposing Leonardo Da Vinci's famous Last Supper with its mirror image reveals a figure who looks like a Templar knight and another holding a baby.
30 Jul 2007

Slow down, bereaved father begs
The father of a three-year-old girl, Jessica De Andrade, killed by a garbage truck has appealed to motorists to slow down during an emotional funeral service at Leichhardt, in Sydney's inner west.
30 Jul 2007

Condoms not on for WYD
The Church will not cooperate if the NSW government wishes to promote "safe sex" messages among World Youth Day pilgrims citing an "extraordinary low level of indiscretion" at previous WYD events.
30 Jul 2007

Life no bed of roses: Haneef lawyer
There are similarities between Christianity and Islam, according to Peter Russo, lawyer for cleared terrorism suspect, Mohammed Haneef, describing his client's understanding of jihad as "a life struggle" meaning "life isn't a bed of roses".
30 Jul 2007

Priest succumbs to skateboarder taunts
The Melbourne archdiocese has apologised for offensive and racist remarks by the Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral who swore at youths who taunted him after he attempted to stop them skateboarding in front of the cathedral.
30 Jul 2007

Islam a threat to Europe's identity: Pope's secretary
Pope Benedict's personal secretary, Msgr Georg Gaenswein, says that attempts to spread Islam in the West are undeniable and that the Catholic Church sees the "threat to Europe's identity" and is not afraid to say to say so.
30 Jul 2007

Feature - Thai Christian history recorded in native language
Thailand's Catholic Book Fair 2007 has celebrated the publication of the first full-length Thai-language book on the history of Christianity in the predominantly Buddhist kingdom. A History of Christian Proclamation in Siam and Laos is a translation of a book in French by Fr Robert Costet. Organiser Fr Wircach Narinrak told the attendees that the book launch was a celebration because more than 400 years of "Christian proclamation in Thailand" finally was recorded in the book.
30 Jul 2007

Opinion - No comfort for battlers under WorkChoices
The St Vincent de Paul Society is an honourable charity that is unafraid to confront the Federal Government on welfare policy. It stands close to the marginalised and poor and speaks up for their interests. But even this venerable organisation has caught the WorkChoices bug characterised by Rambo-like staff relations. With WorkChoices a major factor in the Federal Government's unpopularity, the St Vincent de Paul case highlights what average workers stand to lose - Adele Horin
30 Jul 2007

Ex-altar boy convicted over poor box thefts
A former altar boy has been convicted of stealing from a New York church's poor box after being caught on surveillance videos.
27 Jul 2007

Brisbane's Mater Hospital in diabetes breakthrough
A breakthrough by a Brisbane Mater Hospital medical team may mean that a simple blood test could be used to predict whether young children are likely to develop a widespread form of diabetes in later life.
27 Jul 2007

Canberra college ex-principal under fire over failure to act
A former principal of Canberra's Daramalan College has been accused of failing to act after three teachers warned him over the practice of a teacher who took boys home for weekend visits.
27 Jul 2007

Bishop believes Corby may be innocent
Bathurst Bishop Patrick Dougherty has expressed concern over the continued imprisonment of convicted drug trafficker Schapelle Corby whom he believes may be "entirely innocent and very unjustly suffering".
27 Jul 2007

China steps back on pope invitation
China's government will not stop appointing bishops but is willing to have a "dialogue" with the Vatican, according to an editorial in an official state newspaper, while a Patriotic Church spokesperson says that conditions need to be fulfilled before the pope can visit China.
27 Jul 2007

Carbon-conscious Religious aim to reduce eco-footprint
Catholic Religious Australia is aiming to reduce carbon emissions by negotiating a bulk purchase of hybrid motor vehicles as well as by installing solar panels on church facilities.
27 Jul 2007

Feature - A new teaching approach for the "knowledge age"
"The system we've had in place now for 150 years is about the mass production of schooling, the 'industrial age' of schooling", says Greg Whitby, executive director of schools, Parramatta diocese. "Schools were established to help give workers to the factories and we mass-produced education, mass-produced the curriculum, put in place timetables to control the production those sorts of things." He says while that may have suited an industrial age, today's "knowledge age" requires a very different approach to curriculum - Brian Davies
27 Jul 2007

Opinion - Holistic spirituality for a postmodern world
One of the most significant developments of our time is the separation of spirituality from religion. You hear young people say, "I'm spiritual but not religious." Once people have that genuine hunger for spirituality, they discover that hunger for meaning, for inner peace and freedom is not being satisfied by the church. The church must look at the needs of society but also at the needs of individuals and not separate the two. When you do this, you have a holistic spirituality that addresses young people's needs - Albert Nolan (interviewed by Tom Fox)
27 Jul 2007

Hunt on for Latin Mass relics
Pope Benedict's decree on the revival of the Latin Mass has sparked a hunt for pre-Vatican II chasubles, birettas, burses and other now rare items required for celebration of the Tridentine rite.
26 Jul 2007

Catholic Super tops ratings
Several funds managed by Catholic Super have been rated number one in their category by a major industry ratings firm.
26 Jul 2007

Indigenous communities beat diabetes
A program in Derby, WA, organised by indigenous development group Unity of First Peoples Australia has had a dramatic impact in reducing diabetes among Aboriginal communities, according to a Caritas Australia commissioned evaluation.
26 Jul 2007

Christian lobby pits Howard versus Rudd
The Australian Christian Lobby is planning a debate between Prime Minister John Howard and challenger Kevin Rudd to be webcast live next month as the battle for the nation's Christian constituency hots up with a looming Federal election.
26 Jul 2007

Vacation pope answers questions - from 400 priests
On holiday in the Italian Alps, Pope Benedict took time out to answer questions from 400 priests of the local dioceses on issues ranging from post-Vatican II confusion over Church teaching, to the need to care for the environment.
26 Jul 2007

Vinnies dismissals "harsh and unfair"
The NSW Industrial Relations Commission has ordered the Society of St Vincent de Paul to reinstate two dismissed former employees after finding that the Society was harsh, acted unreasonably and failed to follow procedure.
26 Jul 2007

Feature - Sisters offer Cambodia's "beer girls" beauty lessons
Some young Church workers regularly visit a string of bars and clubs in a tourist town on Cambodia's southern coast. The workers, like the many foreign tourists who stream to the unspoiled local beaches, are attracted to the many "beer girls" - young women working in the 20 or so small clubs in Sihanoukville, southwest of Phnom Penh. "We regularly visit the girls who sell beer at the clubs and encourage them to attend our education program," says Kakda, a member of the Volunteers of the Good Shepherd Sisters.
26 Jul 2007

Opinion - Ecumenical roads no longer lead to Rome
The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith recently clarified the relationship between the Catholic Church and other churches. Its document provoked mixed responses. Vatican officials insisted it said nothing new; many others, including Catholics, found it offensive. Both responses were understandable. But taken together they pointed to a lack of attention in preparing such documents. Although the document affirms the text of Vatican II, its context is different - Fr Andrew Hamilton
26 Jul 2007

Scott no rush to "go home"
Condemned Bali Nine member, Scott Rush, who is challenging his death sentence for drug smuggling, has stopped attending the prison chapel in frustration with people who tell him that "if you die, you will be going home".
25 Jul 2007

Perth priest on trial over beach shack abuse
At his trial in Perth yesterday, Fr Richard Doyle denied abusing a seven-year-old girl at a beach shack more than 20 years ago.
25 Jul 2007

Christians, activists in Ncube support block
An interdenominational prayer service for besieged Archbishop Pius Ncube will be held in Bulawayo today while human rights groups and southern Africa bishops have described adultery allegations against the prelate as a tactical distraction from Zimbabwe's pressing problems.
25 Jul 2007

Honduran cardinal "imperialist clown": Venezuela's Chavez
Responding to a warning from Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga that "he thinks he's a God", Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has described the Honduran prelate as an "imperialist clown".
25 Jul 2007

Vic bishops attack abortion move
Victoria's diocesan bishops have issued a statement characterising a move to decriminalise abortion in the state as a "backward step" saying that political leaders should be looking for ways to reduce one of the world's highest abortion rates.
25 Jul 2007

Welcome to China: Patriotic Church to Pope
Vice-Chairman of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, Liu Bainian, says that he hopes to see the pope celebrating Mass in Beijing one day and has sent a greeting to the pontiff praying for "the grace to welcome him here among us".
25 Jul 2007

Feature - The trouble with the abortion debate
Hands up all those who know the laws in relation to abortion in the state where they live? If you do put your hand up I would think that you are in a distinct minority. Abortion is a topic that it is usually accompanied by hysterical outpourings, red herrings - such as that if you disagree with abortion on demand you must be a devout Catholic - and a complete lack of logic due to the absence of a basic platform on which to build the debate - Mick McGlone
25 Jul 2007

Opinion - Society needs the Christian message
My country Ireland is moving towards a secularised society which still turns to a cultural religious ethos to hold together and build the most effective consensus possible around a network of values which society needs. Belief is a complex matter. Because of its nature it is difficult to quantify. Belief is not identical with Church affiliation. There are non-practising Catholics who are genuine believers and there are also many who practice but who may not really believe. Measuring the level of faith in society is not just a question of numbers - Archbishop Diarmuid Martin
25 Jul 2007

Rose for Queanbeyan sisters
Sisters of the Good Samaritan will have a rose named in their honour in recognition of their 128 years of service to the Queanbeyan community.
24 Jul 2007

Canberra bishop condemns "reprehensible" abuse, reassures parents
Reassuring parents that Canberra Catholic schools have a proud 40-year history despite recent "extremely serious" abuse allegations, auxiliary Bishop Pat Power has called for the schools to be judged on the basis of their positive contribution to the lives of thousands of students.
24 Jul 2007

Love in the air for WYD
In a message marking the one year countdown to World Youth Day in Sydney, Pope Benedict invoked the Holy Spirit as the "spirit of love" and called on young people to integrate the "love of Christ" into their lives.
24 Jul 2007

Australia's "Judaeo-Christian" heritage under test
A Department of Immigration and Citizenship spokesperson has confirmed that applicants for Australian citizenship should expect to be tested on the nation's modern religious heritage derived from the Old Testament and a "Judaeo-Christian" background.
24 Jul 2007

Orthodox archbishop slams pope's "medieval fables"
In a strongly worded response to Pope Benedict's recent re-assertion of the primacy of the Catholic Church, Australian Greek Orthodox leader Archbishop Stylianos has accused the pontiff of becoming an "ardent herald of the medieval fables of the papacy".
24 Jul 2007

End war's "senseless slaughter": Benedict
On holiday in Italy's Cadore mountains, a major theatre of World War I fighting, Pope Benedict called for an end to "senseless slaughter", recalling the condemnation by his predecessor Pope Benedict XV of the Great War.
24 Jul 2007

Feature - The new, lay face of missionary
For many Catholics, the word missionary brings to mind a centuries-old image of a priest planting a cross in a foreign land and teaching, baptising and celebrating Mass for its people. Or it may conjure up the slightly more modern image of women religious running a school in Africa or Latin America. One of the last images to come to mind, however, is that of a young family living and working with the poor. As the number of priests and religious in ministry declines, the number of lay people doing mission work increases - Vincent Gragnani
24 Jul 2007

Opinion - Reporting faith with integrity
When it comes to the importance of integrity in reporting religion, I have to make one vital caveat. My role is not propaganda on behalf of any community. Indeed, to do that would be at the cost of integrity. My job is to tell the news as honestly and fairly as possible. But there is one important reason why that may not always seem to be happening, and that is the nature of what news is. It is unfortunate but true that most news is bad news - Barney Zwartz
24 Jul 2007

26 Polish pilgrims killed
At least 26 Polish pilgrims visiting a Marian shrine in France were killed over the weekend when their bus skidded and fell down a ravine.
23 Jul 2007

Melbourne parents choosing independent schools
Catholic school enrolments in Melbourne fell by over 3,500 between 2001 and 2006 while enrolments in independent schools rose by just over 3,400 in a city-wide trend.
23 Jul 2007

Abuse allegations surface at second Canberra college
Marist College Canberra headmaster Richard Sidorko yesterday moved to reassure parents that all possible measures are in place to prevent abuse after reports emerged that several former students are planning legal action over abuse claims dating back to the 1970s and 80s.
23 Jul 2007

Women to get more top Vatican posts
As part of a Vatican plan to tackle secularisation, Pope Benedict will appoint more women to high level posts at the Holy See, Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone says.
23 Jul 2007

El Salvador denies Romero assassination responsibility, seeks his beatification
The El Salvador government says that it will seek the beatification of murdered Archbishop Oscar Romero but denies any responsibility for his death saying that his killer has already been tried.
23 Jul 2007

New Beijing bishop "very good", Vatican says
The Vatican has still not received any official confirmation from the Chinese government concerning the appointment of Bishop Joseph Li Shan as new bishop of Beijing but Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone indicates that the cleric is a "well-suited" candidate.
23 Jul 2007

Feature - Priest who cares for China's lepers
In China, thousands of lepers and their families are being cared for, and are finding hope and love, through the work of a remarkable man. He is Fr Luis Ruiz, a Jesuit priest, who treks about the Chinese mainland finding colonies of lepers eking out an existence without the most basic necessities. Leprosy can now be healed, but the people in the care of Fr Luis have long been devastated by the disease and ostracised by society as effectively as any leper Christ was likely to come across - Greg Manning
23 Jul 2007

Opinion - Why the pope needs a MySpace page
At a time when traditional organisations are in decline - from protest movements to trade unions to, yes, the Church - inquisitively-minded teenagers are fashioning new identities online. But MySpace and other such sites are very much about individual identity. It is my space rather than a shared space; my values, as defined by me, rather than traditional values passed down from on high. Can the Church - hierarchical, traditional, the OneTrueSpace rather than a MySpace - make an impact in this virtual world of pick'n'mix values? - Brendan O'Neill
23 Jul 2007

Find sheds light on Christianised Vikings
One of the biggest Viking treasures ever found has been discovered in an English farm, which the British Museum says will shed light on early beliefs of the newly Christianised Vikings.
20 Jul 2007

ACU engages kids from homeless families
ACU is launching a report today which calls for more "engagement" with children and young people who are accompanying their parents during periods of homelessness.
20 Jul 2007

"Fake" Philippines congregation warning
A bishop in the Philippines has warned that a "fake" 23-year-old Religious congregation based in his diocese has been recruiting seminarians and "unscrupulously" soliciting funds from as far afield as the US and Canada.
20 Jul 2007

Mugabe gloats over critic's scandal
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is reportedly enjoying the fallout from a smear campaign he is suspected of launching against Archbishop Pius Ncube, one of his most outspoken critics, saying that he would pray for the cleric.
20 Jul 2007

Benedict expresses joy over kidnapped priest's release
Benedict XVI has expressed "great joy" at the news that an Italian missionary priest kidnapped for more than a month by Muslim separatists in the Phillipines has been released following negotiations with the country's police.
20 Jul 2007

Chittister calls for renewed "humility" to save Western culture
In a wide-ranging speech delivered at a lecture commemorating the Good Samaritan Sisters' 150th anniversary, visiting US Benedictine Sr Joan Chittister has slammed the "narcissism" of the West and called for a "commitment to a renewed sense of humility".
20 Jul 2007

Feature - God's ambassadors
Over the past century - despite the march of secularism - the Vatican's role in world affairs has expanded. In 1890 a famous English Catholic, Cardinal Manning, said the Holy See's diplomatic activities were "a mere pageant", a medieval relic. He would be amazed to find that in 2007 papal diplomacy is more active than ever. The Holy See now has full diplomatic relations with 176 states. The pope's "diplomatic service" is a reminder of his unique and ambiguous status as both a religious and temporal leader.
20 Jul 2007

Opinion - More babies: key to curbing Christian decline in Holy Land
Together with emigration, the low Christian birth rate paints a bleak future for the Christian presence in the Holy Land. Christians living here certainly need and deserve help. The material needs are many and the external circumstances not easy. However if we really want to stop the decline of the Christian communities it is absolutely necessary for them to help themselves. It is much easier to give money or to build a new home or a new school, than to convince local families to be generous and have large families - Alejandro Bertelsen
20 Jul 2007

Cambodian Catholics bearing witness despite hurdles
Lay Catholics, Church workers and leaders of Battambang prefecture in Cambodia have met to share experiences and encourage each other in their mission of bearing witness to the Good News, despite receiving insults from other Christians.
19 Jul 2007

Young Christians helping WYD pilgrims get piece of action
The Young Christian Students and Workers movements are launching a new preparation resource for Australian pilgrims to next year's World Youth Day which aims to link faith and action.
19 Jul 2007

Offensive bits in Latin Mass could be dropped, Bertone says
Answering concerns from Jewish groups over a prayer for the conversion of the Jews in the Latin Mass, the Holy See Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone says that the "problem can be resolved".
19 Jul 2007

US laity remains faithful despite scandals
A media report suggests that despite the US Church's sex abuse scandals which rippled across the country from Boston to Los Angeles, the laity remains faithful when it comes to church collections and attendance.
19 Jul 2007

Chinese Catholics name new Beijing bishop
State-sanctioned Catholic clergy in Beijing has named a new bishop for their diocese - the first appointment since the pope sent a well-received letter to Catholics of China urging them to unite under his authority.
19 Jul 2007

Pope prays for victims as crash death toll hits 200
Pope Benedict has offered his prayers for the victims of the plane crash in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and his condolences to their relatives and loved ones as the death toll from the disaster reaches 200.
19 Jul 2007

Feature - Iraq - land of martyrs
Blind fanaticism is reaching unprecedented heights in Baghdad, and for the Christians who live here and throughout Iraq it is turning into a nightmare. Persecution against Christians is being unleashed in many cities and neighbourhoods where Christians and Muslims coexisted peacefully, if somewhat coldly, some years ago. In fact, the patriarch of the Chaldean Church in Iraq, Archbishop Emmanuel III Delly, called it "open persecution, as in the early centuries of the Church" - Fady Noun
19 Jul 2007

Opinion - Vietnamese clerics finally showing backbone
Vietnam's state-sanctioned Catholic chiefs, not known for their political courage, have bluntly told the country's president that remarks he made on US television over the trial of an anti-communist priest, Fr Nguyen Van Ly, "do not correspond with the truth." The rare rebuke by the country's priests comes at a time when Vietnam and the Vatican, which do not have diplomatic ties, have been working to improve relations. Now everybody is waiting to see what will happen - Patrick Tan
19 Jul 2007

Scholars in panic mode over Vatican Library closure
Professors, researchers and students from around the world have been working desperately against the clock as the Vatican Library closes for a three-year renovation period this week.
18 Jul 2007

Korean bishop cracks down on controversial Marian shrine
A Korean bishop has warned Catholics in his diocese not to join activities at a controversial Marian shrine founded by a woman who claims to have experienced the Eucharist changing into a lump of bloody flesh in her mouth on several occasions.
18 Jul 2007

Priest backs horse trainers' fears over Randwick
An unlikely ally of Sydney's racing community has surfaced in the controversy over the use of the Randwick racecourse for World Youth Day's vigil and papal Mass next year.
18 Jul 2007

Academics to probe teacher bullying
Academics from the University of New England and Australian Catholic University, who previously found 97.5 per cent of Catholic schoolteachers had experienced bullying in the workplace, are expanding their research in a nationwide survey to help curb the problem.
18 Jul 2007

Vatican denies pope celebrates Latin Mass privately
The Vatican says that Pope Benedict concelebrates his daily morning Mass in Italian using the current edition of the Roman Missal, denying claims that he is using the Tridentine rite.
18 Jul 2007

Ncube says adultery claims "politically motivated"
Zimbabwe's Archbishop Pius Ncube, an outspoken critic of President Robert Mugabe, has been accused of an adulterous affair with a former secretary but his lawyers say the claims are politically motivated.
18 Jul 2007

Feature - The pope's "hermeneutic of continuity"
In both the recent "motu proprio" on the Latin Mass and the document regarding the one true church there is an authoritative and orthodox development of Vatican Council II. The Holy Father does not use the hermeneutic of rupture, of opposition between pre- and post-conciliar realities. For the pope and for us, what applies instead is the hermeneutic of continuity. There should be an end to considering the second millennium of the Church's life as an unfortunate parenthesis that the Vatican Council, or rather its spirit, removed at a single stroke - Archbishop Angelo Amato (interview)
18 Jul 2007

Opinion - A favourable moment in the Holy Land
By all accounts this is a particularly favourable moment in the Holy Land. The factors that combine to make it so are many and varied, yet the meaning of their confluence is universally recognised. Among other things, Shimon Peres has just been sworn in as Israeli President, and though this is an almost entirely ceremonial post, the new President's explicit commitment to advance the Palestinian people's freedom - and peace between Israel and the future Palestinian State - looks certain to be a major influence on the public conversation in Israel - Fr David-Maria A Jaeger
18 Jul 2007

Big crowd expected at Zemanek church farewell
A giant screen has been erected outside St Mary's Catholic Church in North Sydney with more than 1,000 mourners expected to fill the church today to farewell radio shock jock Stan Zemanek.
17 Jul 2007

Prayers continue for kidnapped priest in Philippines
Prayers for the release of Italian missionary Fr Giancarlo Bossi in the Philippines continue for almost 40 days since armed militants kidnapped him in June.
17 Jul 2007

Nun seeks reprieve for Georgia's Dead Man Walking
Sr Helen Prejean who gained international fame in the book and film Dead Man Walking has launched a last-ditch appeal to spare the life of a black man in Georgia condemned to die tomorrow.
17 Jul 2007

Open hearts to WYD pilgrims, Fisher urges Sydney
As the World Youth Day Cross makes its way across greater western Sydney, organiser Bishop Anthony Fisher has urged Sydneysiders to "open their hearts and their homes" to pilgrims through the youth event's HomeStay program.
17 Jul 2007

Accept pluralism: Latin American bishop
Commenting at the conclusion of a four-day Latin American Bishops Conference meeting in Cuba, Archbishop Baltazar Porras Cardoza of Venezuela says that accepting "different viewpoints" is a great challenge for the church today.
17 Jul 2007

Aussie victims less likely to sue, Church officials say
As the State's court approves Los Angeles archdiocese's record $760 million payout to sex abuse victims, Australian church officials say that the American experience is less likely to be repeated in Australia.
17 Jul 2007

Feature - Dyeing naturally in Korea
While natural dyeing is an ancient art that predates written records, it was replaced with the development of synthetic dyes in the mid-19th century. Though natural dyeing was traditionally considered a Korean cultural asset, it was beginning to vanish by the 20th century. However, in the last few years, this art form has made a rapid comeback in Korea. There are various reasons given for this revival. One is the "going green" movement and another is the "well-being" concept - Fr Noel O'Neill
17 Jul 2007

Opinion - The sham of easy annulments
A decade ago, the US Church tried to annul my marriage. My former husband, Joseph Kennedy II, wanted to remarry and stay in the good graces of the church. To do so, he needed the ruling. I appealed to the Vatican and finally, this May, I learned that Rome agreed with me. The Vatican reversed the 10-year-old decision of the Boston archdiocese. I am grateful for the Vatican's intervention, and yet the news is bittersweet - Sheila Rauch Kennedy
17 Jul 2007

Papal dungeons reopen for tourists
After a ten-year restoration period, the former papal dungeons in Castel Sant'Angelo are reopening to tourists.
16 Jul 2007

Nun abortion claim by Kenyan politician
A doctor who is also a member of Kenya's parliament has claimed that he helped several nuns and "mistresses of priests" to obtain abortions although he later retracted most of his allegations.
16 Jul 2007

Elite schools to poach Catholic talent fear
Catholic colleges in Melbourne fear that the opening of new select-entry state high schools could lead to an unprecedented brain drain, drastically reducing class diversity.
16 Jul 2007

Brisbane college under fire over rapist talk
A convicted rapist addressed students at Brisbane's Padua College recently although the college says it was not aware of the speaker's history at the time of his visit to the school.
16 Jul 2007

Not sectarian to criticise pro-abortion politicians: US bishop
On a visit to Australia, American Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver says that it is not sectarian to criticise pro-abortion policies and politicians.
16 Jul 2007

Welfare quarantine useless: Vinnies
Federal Government and Opposition proposals to quarantine welfare payments to "at risk" parents are simplistic and will not prevent truancy or child neglect, the Society of St Vincent de Paul says.
16 Jul 2007

Feature - Who is not my neighbour and why?
The Parable of the Good Samaritan must be one of the most reflected upon and written about Gospel passages. Yet in our church's liturgical cycle, we hear it just once in every three years at Sunday Eucharist. This is the year. This story of Jesus can be viewed through the lens of an act of kindness, compassion and generosity. Yet, I believe also that this story calls for a very deep inner conversion of attitude and cultural bias. We can unwittingly place all sorts of limitations on our relationships - Sr Clare Condon
16 Jul 2007

Opinion - Battle over the Catholic identity
In the forty-plus years since the close of Vatican Council II, two schools of thought have circled one another in Catholicism about how to interpret what the council meant. For lack of a better vocabulary, what we might call the "change" school sees Vatican II as a significant innovation in Catholic life. The "continuity" school instead stresses a smooth continuum between Vatican II and previous councils. In early July, the continuity school notched up two big wins. These moves cannot be seen in isolation - John L Allen
16 Jul 2007

Priest reconciles feuding Saints
Melbourne Catholic priest Fr Michael Sierakowski is believed to have mediated a peace deal between feuding St Kilda AFL club stalwarts, sacked coach Grant Thomas and president Rod Butterss.
13 Jul 2007

Vatican to tackle homelessness
The Australian bishops have nominated Gethsemane Community founder and leader Sr Myree Harris as their representative at a groundbreaking Vatican conference that will study homelessness.
13 Jul 2007

US abuse crisis past peak
For the second year running, the number of clergy sex abuse claims received by US bishops has declined, indicating that what has been described as the worst scandal to strike American Catholicism may be past its peak.
13 Jul 2007

Latin American bishops seek "evangelical force"
As Latin American bishops gather in Cuba, Pope Benedict has signalled his approval of their earlier Aparecida declaration which calls for an "evangelical force" in the church to combat declining membership, the rise of individualism, as well as poverty and corruption.
13 Jul 2007

Vatican signs up for a carbon offset forest
The Holy See has accepted an offer from a climate solutions company to plant a forest in Hungary which will offset the Vatican's carbon dioxide emissions and make it the "first entirely carbon neutral sovereign state".
13 Jul 2007

Abbott playing the man, not policy: PolMin
The Catholic lobby PolMin says that it invited Federal Ministers Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey to explain how WorkChoices was consistent with Catholic social teaching but Mr Abbott preferred to publicly attack people who spoke out against those laws.
13 Jul 2007

Feature - Korea's pioneer hears pains of people with disabilities
For many parishioners attending Mass last Sunday at Pon-dong Church in Seoul, Korea, the celebrant's silence was not the only unusual feature. For one thing, a screen was set up on which the Order of Mass would be projected for churchgoers to read. Then as the celebration was about to start, a layman faced the 1,700 parishioners and used sign language to communicate with them. The Mass that followed was the first celebrated by Fr Benedict Park Min-seo, Asia's first deaf priest, according to Seoul archdiocese.
13 Jul 2007

Opinion - Learning from past lessons
In the remote parts of the Territory, where there's not much access to the media, rumour and half-truths can spread like wildfire. Undoubtedly child sexual abuse in Indigenous communities needs to be urgently addressed. The big question, though, is: will the government's plan work? There is some precedent for marshalling such resources and people. The Solomon Islands in 2003, for instance, saw a large deployment of Australian troops. The lesson we have learnt is that community involvement is tricky but crucial if we want to see positive long term change - Jack de Groot
13 Jul 2007

Children promote peace coffee
Organised by a Catholic children's movement, twenty Sri Lankan boys - Buddhists, Catholics, Hindus and Muslims - held a coffee day for a Buddhist feast as a way of promoting multi-religious dialogue in the war-torn island nation.
12 Jul 2007

More accusations against Canberra suicide teacher
A Canberra Catholic co-ed school, Daramalan College, has issued a statement inviting students who may have been assaulted by a former teacher, Paul John Lyons, who committed suicide seven years ago, to come forward.
12 Jul 2007

Scottish cardinal accuses UK of "state-sponsored sectarianism"
Edinburgh Cardinal Keith O'Brien says that a refusal by new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to repeal the Act of Settlement that prevents a Catholic from becoming monarch amounts to "state-sponsored sectarianism".
12 Jul 2007

Babylon clay tablet confirms Jeremiah
In a find hailed as a breakthrough for biblical archaeology, an Austrian scholar has discovered that a cuneiform clay tablet from the time of Nebuchadnezzar found on the site of biblical Babylon names a government official who is identified in the Old Testament Book of Jeremiah.
12 Jul 2007

Abbott lashes Catholic "fellow travellers"
In an address to university students, Federal Minister Tony Abbott has slammed "progressive" Catholics who he alleges are campaigning for the Labor Party and questioned whether criticism of WorkChoices by Parramatta Bishop Kevin Manning was based on moral or political grounds.
12 Jul 2007

Don't overreact, Cardinal tells Protestants
Responding to a backlash from Orthodox and Protestant groups over a Vatican critique of their communities, Holy See spokesperson on Christian unity, Cardinal Walter Kasper said that there was no "objective reason" to feel harshly treated.
12 Jul 2007

Feature - From inquisitor to pastoral leader
When I was in Rome in February this year there was a fair amount of scepticism as to whether Pope Benedict would come to Sydney for World Youth Day in 2008. Besides the attitude of the Randwick trainers, there was a deeper reason as to why the Romans thought Benedict might not come: he doesn't see himself as "bishop of the world". He would be deeply aware that it is precisely the kind of "ecclesiastical ruler of the world" syndrome that most annoys the Eastern Orthodox because they see it - correctly in my view - as heretical - Dr Paul Collins
12 Jul 2007

Opinion - Pope not even-handed
Benedict XVI's recent decision to encourage wider use of the Tridentine Mass is the latest move in his long campaign to undo liberal reforms in church practices popular with Catholics since the 1960s. It shows the pope has not been even-handed in his dealings with the many branches of the Catholic church. While setting out to thwart the progressive side of the church, the papacy remained inexplicably lenient toward the schismatic Lefebvrists despite the scorn they continued to heap in the direction of the Vatican itself - Professor Frank K Flinn
12 Jul 2007

US sister act hits 90
In 1917, as US soldiers prepared to depart for the World War I Western Front in France, Claude Feldner, now 108, was making her first profession as a Wisconsin Sister of St Agnes at Fond du Lac - 90 years later she is still going strong.
11 Jul 2007

74-year-old Adelaide priest bound, robbed
Police are hunting thieves who forced an Adelaide parish priest, Fr Michael Doherty, to open the safe at his church in suburban Virginia north of the city last Sunday, taking items including a chalice before fleeing in the priest's car.
11 Jul 2007

Can't lease Randwick for WYD, trainers tell club
Saying the decision to hold Mass at Randwick racecourse for World Youth Day was made with "reckless disregard" for the course, a trainers spokesperson says there is a strong case that the Australian Jockey Club has no legal power to lease out the course.
11 Jul 2007

Priest uncovers Nazi killing fields in Ukraine
French priest Fr Patrick Desbois whose grandfather survived a Nazi death camp has found a new mission documenting the killing of Jews in Ukraine during World War II.
11 Jul 2007

Catholic voters turn to Rudd
An online poll has found that 65 per cent of Catholics and 47 per cent of Anglicans say that they will vote for Labor at the next election but a majority of Pentecostal Christians will vote for the Coalition.
11 Jul 2007

Failure to recognise primacy "wounds" Protestants, CDF reiterates
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has issued a new document restating the Church's papal primacy doctrine and questioning whether "wounded" Protestant communities that fail to recognise the doctrine can legitimately be called "churches".
11 Jul 2007

Feature - Martyrdom and Iraq's Christian future
In early June, I received a forwarded e-mail from a correspondent who's done several tours in Iraq. He, in turn, had just heard from an Iraqi fellow-Catholic of the death of Fr Raheed Ganni and three deacon-companions. I call them "saints" with confidence, for there is no doubt that Fr Ganni and his deacons are martyrs, killed "in hatred of the faith". We may, rightly, rejoice at the triumph of the martyrs. But we must also ask, now what? A precipitous American withdrawal from Iraq would be the worst possible option - George Weigel
11 Jul 2007

Opinion - Is Labor heading for third split?
Gough Whitlam celebrates his 91st birthday today at Melbourne's historic Italianate mansion, Raheen, now owned by billionaire Richard Pratt. However - and this is the weird bit - Raheen also happened to be occupied by the late Archbishop Daniel Mannix for much of last century. There is an irony in Gough's decision to have his birthday bash in the house that was used to orchestrate the annihilation of his party. The events in the 1950s are directly applicable to what is going on with Kevin Rudd, the parliamentary Labor Party and the unions - Simon Benson
11 Jul 2007

Melbourne school opens gates to Hell
All hell has broken loose in newspaper headlines around the world over a Melbourne schoolboy, Max Hell, whose name, his father says, may cause him to be bullied and harassed at his Catholic school.
10 Jul 2007

Little Pebble loses appeal
William Kamm, known as the Little Pebble to his followers, has lost his appeal against conviction for sexual offences against a 15-year-old girl.
10 Jul 2007

Randwick no place for pope, opines Cup winner Cummings
Racing legend Bart Cummings, a Catholic, says that Randwick racecourse is not the place for the pope but the real problem in the conflict over the World Youth Day venue is not the Church but the state government.
10 Jul 2007

Take a break, write an encyclical, Pope suggests
Preparing to leave for his annual holiday, Pope Benedict described the vacation as a "gift of God" advising everyone to take a break to "fortify their physical and spiritual energies" and get back in touch with nature - or even write an encyclical.
10 Jul 2007

Revise anti-terror law, bishops tell Philippines Govt
Warning that a new anti-terrorism law could result in "gross injustice", Philippines Catholic bishops have called on the government to revise the law saying that the definition of terrorist activities is too broad and that concessions to the nation's military are "practically unlimited".
10 Jul 2007

Traditionalists happy, others doubtful over Latin Mass revival
Excommunicated Society of St Pius X Bishop Bernard Fellay has thanked Pope Benedict for allowing greater use of the Tridentine Mass even though doctrinal differences still remain while Jewish groups and other Catholics continue to express doubts over the new papal directives.
10 Jul 2007

Feature - We are God's blessed ones
Cosmologists today tell us that the universe has no single centre. Its centre is everywhere, every place, every planet, every city, every species, and every person. But we already know this. Deep down, whether we admit it or not, we each nurse the secret of being special. Imprinted in the core of our being is the sense that we are not just an accidental, anonymous chips of dust, almost invisible on the evolutionary conveyer-belt, destined to flicker for an instant and then disappear forever. We know we are more - Fr Ron Rolheiser
10 Jul 2007

Opinion - Laboratory full of babies
The response of Christians to reproductive technology is rarely wholly negative in practice. Confronted with friends' IVF children, it is impossible not to be aware that human life is a real good. The Church's reservations about reproductive technology are prophetic but the children of that technology are being baptised in our churches and are growing up as our friends. How we are to love the children even as we recoil from the technology that produced them is a question we had all better get used to - Liza Mundy
10 Jul 2007

Royal wedding for desperate housewife
Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria has married her Belgian-born NBA basketballer boyfriend Tony Parker in a weekend Catholic ceremony at the historic Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois - the parish church for French royalty.
9 Jul 2007

Venezuelan bishops "perverts", Chavez claims
After Venezuela's bishops criticised plans to rewrite the country's constitution, President Hugo Chavez described them as "either ignorant, perverse or perverts" who are defending "the interests of the oligarchy".
9 Jul 2007

Newcastle priest reaches end of song line
Described as a "passionate" priest by Maitland-Newcastle Bishop Michael Malone, the late Fr Tony Stace followed a "song line" from Port Arthur to Cape York during a sabbatical pilgrimage and had his portrait displayed in a Centenary exhibition on the lawns of Parliament House in 2001.
9 Jul 2007

Bishop comments a bit rough, Minister complains
Responding to criticism by Australia's bishops, Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough says they have "missed the point" if they characterise Federal Government plans as "racist or discriminatory" but bishops' president Archbishop Philip Wilson conceded he did not "have the answers".
9 Jul 2007

Catholic bodies slam "unfair" wage increase
Declaring the $10.26-a-week minimum wage increase as "grossly unfair", St Vincent de Paul Society says it will give its workers a $30-a-week increase while Australia's Catholic employment body says that the evidence does not support the Fair Pay Commission's findings.
9 Jul 2007

Open hearts to Latin Mass, Benedict says
Saying that he had witnessed how "arbitrary deformations of the liturgy" following Vatican II caused "deep pain" for people, Pope Benedict on Saturday issued his long awaited motu proprio easing restrictions on the celebration of the Tridentine Mass.
9 Jul 2007

Feature - Return of the prodigal parishioners
St Brigid's in Marrickville is held up as an example of a vibrant parish in Sydney's inner west. Run by the Passionists, its creed is that at the heart of parish life is community, a sense of family. The noticeboard is full of social-religious activities that go beyond Sunday Mass attendance: singles and senior groups, school holiday entertainment, spaghetti and trivia nights. The parish priest, Tom McDonough, says most non-practising Catholics are open to returning to church if it's done kindly and compassionately and if their experiences with church are positive - Linda Morris
9 Jul 2007

Opinion - New phase in Chinese Church history
Pope Benedict's recent pastoral letter to Catholics in China is undoubtedly the most important and historical document ever written by Rome to the Chinese Church. The key words are: reconciliation, unity and dialogue. Nowhere in this letter does the pope call for confrontation. Marked by reconciliation and unity inside the Church and dialogue with civil authorities on the basis of equality and mutual respect, it initiates a new phase in Chinese Catholic Church history - Fr Jeroom Heyndrickx
9 Jul 2007

Kimberley nuns get Durack paintings
The family of noted artist Elizabeth Durack have donated a historic collection of her works to St John of God sisters in Western Australia's Kimberley region.
6 Jul 2007

Regional focus to new family relationship services
Catholic agencies have won contracts to provide services for couples before and during marriage as well as for separating couples at ten new regional centres around Australia.
6 Jul 2007

Bishops launch technology consultation
The Bishops' National Information and Communications Technology Committee has called for submissions from church groups as part of a "whole-of-church" process to create a "21st century environment for the Church community and its services".
6 Jul 2007

Argentinian priest on trial over dictatorship murders
Accused of involvement in seven murders and 41 cases of kidnapping and torture during Argentina's dictatorship period, former military chaplain Fr Christian Von Wernich is facing a trial expected to last for two months.
6 Jul 2007

Faith groups issue environmental challenge
An interfaith ecology network is calling on believers to show leadership in tackling climate change by becoming early adopters of environmental technologies and developing partnerships between faith communities in Australia and countries mostly likely to be affected by sea level rise.
6 Jul 2007

Work with Aborigines, bishops say
Recognising the urgency of addressing problems in Australia's Indigenous communities but rejecting a "law and order approach", Australia's bishops say that a long-term partnership approach is needed that respects Aboriginal culture and identity.
6 Jul 2007

Feature - Benedict, the peacemaker
Early in Pope Benedict's pontificate, neoconservative Europeans like Michele Pera and Americans like George Weigel touted Benedict's alleged toughness on Islam. It was a case of bringing the culture wars into the church. But Benedict did not share their enthusiasm for finding new enemies. Nearly a year after he quoted a Byzantine emperor on the evils of Islam, one hears much less talk of the pope's alleged hard line. The shift of attention is a tribute to his unexpected success in taking on the roles of diplomat and peacemaker - Fr Drew Christiansen
6 Jul 2007

Opinion - The church's search for an environmental stand
Catholic environmentalism these days seems to be an instinct in search of a cause. One can find impressive traces of awareness, from John Paul II's 1990 call for "ecological conversion," to grassroots initiatives. Yet so far no single defining moment has come along to crank up Catholic activism in a way that changes the social and political equation. If there's such a turning point taking shape, it may well be in the Amazon rainforest. If Catholicism can't make a stand in the Amazon, there may not be much hope for it anywhere else - John L Allen
6 Jul 2007

Community service trumps salary millions for Melbourne priest
Service to the community provides greater happiness than money, says parish priest Fr Mick Kalka from Bundoora in Melbourne's north, and no one could possibly need the $30 million plus salary of an investment banker.
5 Jul 2007

KKK "pure evil": Townsville bishop
Saying he had not heard of a local link to the Ku Klux Klan, Townsville Bishop Michael Putney has described the US-founded group's record as "pure evil" and said he hoped local people would not be so foolish as to get involved.
5 Jul 2007

Catholic Religious open up to new groups
Responding to the growing number of new groups in the Church which are not religious institutes but have members living consecrated lives, Catholic Religious Australia will offer associate membership to those which have already achieved some form of canonical status.
5 Jul 2007

No amnesty in NZ for outspoken US nun
Christchurch Bishop Barry Jones says that he cannot allow US Benedictine nun Sr Joan Chittister, who will also visit Australia this month, to speak in his diocese over concerns about her stance on women's ordination and life issues.
5 Jul 2007

Globalise human rights, Vatican says
The globalisation of the economy and communications should be matched by the globalisation of human rights, Holy See representative Archbishop Silvano Tomasi has told the United Nations Human Rights Council.
5 Jul 2007

Pope set to come, trainers to sue over WYD
Calling it a time of "deep spiritual renewal", Pope Benedict yesterday confirmed that he will attend World Youth Day in Sydney next July but trainers at Randwick racecourse are set to take legal action to stop the event being held there.
5 Jul 2007

Feature - Full sail for lifesaving program
A Canberra surveyor, who last year launched a program to provide sails for fishing communities in the South Pacific, has taken his life-saving initiative even further afield. Mr Peter Gately has visited Mauritius and the Seychelles Islands to give sailing demonstrations and lectures. He was inspired to initiate the Sails Ocean Sails (SOS) program after a number of visits to Pacific islands working as a volunteer. "The program has arisen due to the problem of fishermen drifting for days or weeks or months without food or water after their small outboard motors fail," he said.
5 Jul 2007

Opinion - Benedict's Herculean task in China
If Benedict XVI's letter to China is like any of the 12 Labours of Hercules, it's most like the fifth one: the cleaning of King Augeas' stables. It was perhaps the most difficult challenge Hercules faced. The stables had never been cleaned even though they held an enormous number of cattle that had added for years to a mythically gigantic mess. Realising he could never do the job in the conventional way, Hercules diverted a river that swept through channels he dug into the stables. Pope Benedict has a similar challenge - and much the same answer.
5 Jul 2007

Polish Solidarity priest wants Gibson to direct
A former top chaplain to Poland's Solidarity trade union movement, Fr Henryk Jankowski, wants Mel Gibson to direct a movie of the controversial cleric's life.
4 Jul 2007

25,000 rural workers live like slaves, Brazil church estimates
After Brazilian authorities raided a sugar plantation where more than 1,000 workers laboured in horrendous conditions, Brazil's Catholic Land Pastoral said that there are currently some 25,000 workers living in slave-like conditions in the nation.
4 Jul 2007

Vic priest slams "continued detention"
Proposed new state laws, which provide for Supreme Court approved "continued detention" of convicted prisoners who have completed their jail sentences, reverse 200 years of "fundamental" legal practice, says justice campaigner Jesuit Fr Peter Norden.
4 Jul 2007

China bishops, leaders positive on papal letter
Bishops and priests from both the "underground" and "official" sections of the Church in China have expressed their satisfaction with Pope Benedict's letter with one government-backed bishop saying the documents provides guidelines to "move forward".
4 Jul 2007

Port Pirie Bishop Hurley moves to Darwin
Bishop Eugene Hurley of Port Pirie was yesterday named as the first non-religious bishop of Darwin after Pope Benedict accepted the resignation of outgoing Bishop Ted Collins who yesterday celebrated 21 years as a bishop.
4 Jul 2007

Vatican approves new Aussie Missal Instruction
The Holy See has approved a new General Instruction of the Roman Missal for Australia that "finetunes" liturgical practices according to Bishops' Commission for Liturgy chair, Archbishop Mark Coleridge.
4 Jul 2007

Feature - See-Judge-Act is for truth seekers
Latin American bishops met with Pope Benedict in Aparecida, Brazil last month to prepare their next assembly in Cuba. They insisted on preparing a three-part report in line with the "See-Judge-Act" method that they have followed since their famous 1968 Medellin conference in Colombia. This was apparently a cause of controversy at Aparecida with some critics seeing the method as relativistic. Yet the Latin American bishops in 1968 and in 2007 were doing nothing more than following a course that Pope John XXIII had outlined for them in his 1961 encyclical, Mater et Magistra - Stefan Gigacz
4 Jul 2007

Opinion - The rise of misandry in relationships
According to a recent US study, men in prime time television are viewed far more often than women as sources of marital discontent, as inadequate parents, and as "corrupt" and "stupid". By a factor of over 11 to 1, wives are portrayed more often than husbands as "justifiably dissatisfied with" their spouses and by 17 to 1 that men are more often portrayed as "corrupt". With the rise of feminism, the idea that father knows best went out of fashion. Gender equality in relationships is the goal, yet somehow we've tipped the balance past the point of equanimity - Christine B Whelan
4 Jul 2007

10,000 widows dry their tears
More than thirty years after the death of her husband, 81-year-old Indonesian widow Angela Maria Rena Karim now has over 10,000 members in her St Monica's Union of Catholic Widows and has become known as the "dryer of tears".
3 Jul 2007

Catholic healthcare providers merge
Perth-based St John of God Health Care is merging health services with Sydney-based Hospitaller Order of St John of God in a move that will create a trans-Tasman network of 14 hospitals employing 8,000 staff.
3 Jul 2007

Australia can do more, Sudanese bishop says
On his first visit to Australia, Sudanese Bishop Joseph Abangite Gasi expressed his gratitude for humanitarian support to refugees but also told Australians that "you can do more".
3 Jul 2007

SA develops Catholic childcare
In a "groundbreaking" initiative, South Australia's Catholic Education network is launching its first purpose built childcare centre to open in 2009 in suburban Adelaide.
3 Jul 2007

Fiji prelate calls for "people's covenant"
A "moral vision" that will inspire people and respect differences in a society free from corruption and racial discrimination should form the basis of a "people's covenant" for a new democratic Fiji, according to Suva Archbishop Petero Mataca.
3 Jul 2007

Benedict's letter "different": Chinese church leader
The Chinese government has "taken note" of the pope's letter to China's Catholics and is willing to continue dialogue with the Vatican, a spokesperson said yesterday, while a prominent government-aligned lay leader says that "this letter is different from earlier papal letters".
3 Jul 2007

Feature - See the real PNG
"Are there still cannibals in New Guinea?" I get asked this question quite often when people find out my wife is from PNG and I worked there as a lay missionary for a number of years. What I find humorous about questions like this is that many so-called educated people think they know everything by watching life through a TV screen. I was one of those know-it-alls, but my experiences in another country, culture and family have exposed me to the reality. PNG certainly doesn't deserve the negative publicity it gets - Eddie Leszczynski
3 Jul 2007

Opinion - The annulment that never was
In 1991, Joseph P Kennedy II, eldest son of Robert F Kennedy, divorced his wife Sheila Rauch and applied for an annulment of their marriage. Despite Rauch's strenuous objections, Boston archdiocese confirmed the annulment in 1996. Now, 10 years later, news reports make it appear that the Vatican has vindicated Rauch by reversing its earlier decision and restoring the marriage. After all this time, is the contentious non-couple once again husband and wife because the Vatican simply changed its mind? Can annulments be reversed capriciously? - Woodeene Koenig-Bricker
3 Jul 2007

Movie rewards for Bendigo college students
Students achieving "exceptional results" at Catholic College Bendigo's La Valla campus are receiving awards including movie tickets but the Sandhurst diocese education office says the system could breach student marketing guidelines.
2 Jul 2007

OK to invade and remove Mugabe, Ncube tells Brits
Saying that he is prepared to lead the overthrow of President Robert Mugabe but that the people are not ready, Bulawayo Archbishop Pius Ncube has told reporters that Britain would be justified in invading Zimbabwe.
2 Jul 2007

Hickey a nuclear convert
Reversing a long held view, Perth Archbishop Barry Hickey says he is now convinced that nuclear power can be safe but green groups are not impressed.
2 Jul 2007

WorkChoices unbalanced, Catholic employment body says
Saying that WorkChoices legislation fails to provide "proper balance" between employer and employee rights, Australian Catholic Council for Employment Relations chair Brian Lawrence has called for further changes to the law to protect the financial security of families.
2 Jul 2007

WYD Cross arrives amid Randwick turmoil
The Prime Minister and NSW Premier have joined hundreds of young Australians in welcoming to Australia the arrival of the World Youth Day Cross and Icon yesterday amid continued conflict over the Randwick venue for the youth event's final Mass next year.
2 Jul 2007

Benedict reaches out to China
While acknowledging their sufferings under communist rule, Pope Benedict in his long awaited letter to Catholics in China has revoked a series of directives that allowed Rome-affiliated bishops and priests to operate secretly, saying they are no longer necessary.
2 Jul 2007

Feature - Man of wisdom for all ages
The plaster Francis of Assisi statues you sometimes see in gardens, with adoring bunnies at his feet and sparrows on his arms, don't tell the full story. Before he became the saintly friend of the animals, Francis was a colourful roustabout known for serenading young women on the streets late at night. He loved to party and apparently even enjoyed a spot of vandalism. Then Francis gave up everything and started begging door to door. He called himself "God's fool" and reluctantly attracted a handful of disciples, who eventually became the Franciscan order - Bryan Patterson
2 Jul 2007

Opinion - Racing club in need of salvation
As revelations go, the one about the Australian Jockey Club's financial woes almost overshadowed the impending arrival of Pope Benedict XVI. The time has arrived for race players to pray, for racing is in need of divine intervention. The monetary bombshell arrived late Tuesday. The AJC's newly installed chairman, Ross Smyth-Kirk, announced the AJC needed $6 million immediately to keep Randwick open. Forgive this dork for being a sceptic but were the headline-making financial woes a mask for the looming debacle of the Papal visit? - Craig Young
2 Jul 2007