Building a healthier Church: where to from here?
An evening of conversation with Bishop Vincent Long, Maria Kirkwood and Francis Sullivan.
Yarra Theological Union, University of Divinity, 12 October 2017
An evening of conversation with Bishop Vincent Long. Maria Kirkwood and Francis Sullivan.
Francis Sullivan - What are the challenges that are coming from the Royal Commission?
Maria Kirkwood - Sharing leadership in a collaborative Church
Bishop Vincent - What sort of Church should we be?
Wuerl: Pope sees ’journeying together’ as essential to life of church
Extract from Mark Zimmermann, Melbourne Catholic, Catholic News Service, 15 September 2017
The process of ‘journeying together’ during the Catholic Church's synods of bishops examining contemporary challenges on marriage and family life offers a map for the church's outreach, Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl said on 12 September. This process reflects not only the pontiff's pastoral approach, but also offers a template for how priests and laypeople can accompany others to help them understand and live the faith, he said. Cardinal Wuerl made the remarks at Georgetown University in an address on ‘Pope Francis: Fresh Perspectives on Synodality’ as part of the university's Dahlgren Chapel Sacred Lecture series. Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl speaks during a 12 September lecture at Georgetown University's Dahlgren Chapel. The cardinal spoke on the topic ‘Pope Francis: Fresh Perspectives on Synodality’ as part of the university's Dahlgren Chapel Sacred Lecture series. He explained that ‘synodality’ refers to coming together or journeying together, which he said is how those gatherings of the world's bishops tackled issues facing married couples and families. The cardinal noted that Pope Francis emphasised the importance of dialogue as those discussions unfolded. ‘We can recall his advices to the bishops ... to speak with openness and clarity, to listen with humility and be open to the Holy Spirit.’ Cardinal Wuerl said that the pope's understanding of synodality, that journeying together, involved not only dialogue with bishops who teach and transmit the faith, but also drew upon insights from married couples and families in dioceses around the world. The proceedings formed the basis for Pope Francis' 2016 apostolic exhortation ‘Amoris Laetitia’ (‘The Joy of Love’)....(more)
How on Saturday, Pope Francis gave us his bottom line on Vatican II
Extracts from John L. Allen Jr., Crux Now, Melbourne Catholic, 13 September 2017
While Pope Francis was in Colombia on Saturday, the Vatican issued a new legal document in his name that transfers the lion's share of the control over translation of texts for use in Catholic worship to local bishops' conferences and away from the Vatican. In effect, it was the clearest signal to date of where Francis stands in debates about what went wrong after Vatican II, especially on the issue of collegiality...........for anyone familiar with the history of Catholicism since the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), something momentous happened on Saturday, and its significance will reverberate long after Francis returns to the Eternal City. (Where, as it turns out, things aren’t quite as ‘eternal’ as they sometimes seem.) While the pontiff was on the road, the Vatican released a new motu proprio from him, meaning a legal document issued under his personal authority, amending canon 838 of the Code of Canon Law. Bypassing the legal fine points, in essence what the changes mean is that from here on out, more control of the process of translating texts for use in Catholic worship into vernacular languages around the world will be vested in local conferences of bishops as opposed to the Vatican, and, specifically, as opposed to the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. In particular, the edict limits the Vatican’s role at the end of the process, when a bishops’ conference submits a proposed translation for approval. No longer will the Congregation for Divine Worship submit an extensive list of required amendments to the text at that stage; instead, it will simply say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’...(more)
Chinese Communist Party expected to tighten its grip on religion after October Congress Meeting
expected to hand President Xi Jinping power until 2022 while clergy
predict this will also intensify crackdowns on religions.
Extract from ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong China La Croix International, ucanews.com reporter, 7 September, 2017
China watchers say one of the outcomes of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party is that the regime will become even more controlling of religious followers. Catholic experts have unanimously predicted that the Chinese government will further tighten restrictions on religions in the name of “rule by law” after the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China held from 18 October. In the past summer, communist authorities have continued to tighten their grip on practicing Christians with at least four regional governments across China issuing notices that restrict children from going to Christian churches or attending religious activities. Chinese clergymen are not optimistic about the development of religious affairs following the congress as the government's religious policy is consistent and new officials appointed will be keen to display their skills in keeping religions hewing to the Party line....(more) Photo La Croix International.
Britain's economic model is 'broken', warns Archbishop of Canterbury
Extract from Lorna Donlon, The Tablet, 6 September 2017
'Our economy is no longer working for everyone. And for some groups of people..it doesn’t seem to be working at all'. Britain's economic model is 'broken', warns Archbishop of Canterbury. Britain’s economic model is “broken” and widespread inequality in the UK is growing, the Archbishop of Canterbury has warned in a report backed by business leaders. This is a watershed moment where there needs to be a “fundamental reform” of the economy, Justin Welby said. “We are failing those who will grow up into a world where the gap between the richest and poorest parts of the country is significant and destabilising.” His comments came in a report by a commission set up by the centre-left Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) that includes senior business, trades union and other public figures alongside the archbishop. The ‘Commission on Economic Justice’ says the “economy is unfit to face the challenges of the 2020s, adding that “for too many people and parts of the country, the ‘economic promise’ of rising living standards has been broken.” A new approach is necessary, the IPPR argues, which is on the scale of the “Attlee reforms of the 1940s and the Thatcher revolution of the 1980s.” For the majority of the population now, the reality is that their earnings are no longer rising, while young people today are set to be poorer than their parents, according to the report. “I am convinced that most people in Britain want the same things from the economy: a system in the service of human flourishing and the common good, where all are valued and all have a stake, regardless of their perceived economic worth and ability,” Archbishop Welby wrote in the Financial Times. The deeper question this raises, is whose economy is it? he added. “Our econo my is no longer working for everyone, if indeed it ever has. And for some groups of people and some parts of the country, it doesn’t seem to be working at all.”....(more) Photo, The Tablet
‘Christian America’ dwindling, including white evangelicals, study shows
Extract from Kimberly Winston, Religion News Service, Crux, 6 September 2017
A new study, “America’s Changing Religious Identity,” shows Americans are also continuing to move away from organized religion altogether, as atheists, agnostics and those who say they do not identify with any particular religion — the group known as the “nones” — hold steady at about one-quarter (24 percent) of the population. The future of religion in America is young, non-Christian and technicolor. Almost every Christian denomination in the U.S. shows signs of growing diversity as white Christians, once the majority in most mainline Protestant and Catholic denominations, give way to younger members, who tend to be of different races, according to a study released Wednesday (Sept. 6) by the Public Religion Research Institute. And American evangelicals - once seemingly immune to the decline experienced by their Catholic and mainline Protestant neighbors - are losing numbers and losing them quickly....(more)
A credibly Christian church would respect gay employees
Extract from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, 29 August 2017
Debates about social issues tend to bring out blanket statements, sweeping claims, dire threats and feverish reporting. They usually carry historical baggage that needs to be unpacked and the contents tested against contemporary reality. This is true also of the coming plebiscite on gay marriage. A threat reportedly made, and later denied, by some church leaders was to dismiss from employment in Catholic organisations people who contract same-sex marriages. Regardless of what was said the threat will be featured in the coming debates. It may be helpful to set it in its broader context. The argument for taking such action is that Catholic organisations must uphold the teaching of the church, and that this implies living in a way consistent with it. Where the public relationships of people working in Catholic organisations are inconsistent with Catholic teaching they call into question the teaching itself.....(more) Image: Eureka Street
From next Monday (28 August) our Parish Office hours will change to allow for a formal lunch break for staff. The office will close each day between 1.00pm and 2.00pm.
Sacrament of reconciliation
Every Saturday 5.00pm - 5.20pm at Mary Immaculate; 5.30pm - 5.50pm at St. Bernadette’s or on weekdays at Mother of God by appointment with the Parish Priest
Big business and government unite against slavery
Extract from CathNews, SMH, 25 August 2017
Mining magnate Andrew Forrest has declared “the beginning of the end of modern slavery” following a landmark meeting between big business and the federal government, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. Mr Forrest said other companies from the Indo-Pacific region, including Walmart, Adidas, Thai Union and JD.com now shared his company's commitment to scrutinise their supply chains to eliminate slavery. Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop addressed the business leaders at the meeting in Perth yesterday. "This is really ground breaking," Mr Forrest said. "This is the beginning of the end of modern slavery. "Business and government working together are the only combined powers which can effectively end modern slavery and it has finally come together in a landmark forum." Mr Forrest, the Australian business co-chairman of the forum, said companies who had attended the inaugural Bali Process Government and Business Forum would meet again next year to review work plans and mark progress. The federal government last week said it would introduce legislation requiring big Australian companies to examine their supply chains and report annually on measures they are taking to combat slavery, including human trafficking, debt bondage and forced labour. Companies with an annual turnover of at least $100 million will be asked to publish "Modern Slavery Statements" and will be held to account on a publicly accessible central repository. Mr Forrest said two-thirds of the estimated 46 million people trapped in slavery were in the Indo-Pacific region. It is estimated almost 4500 people are trapped in some form of slavery in Australia – and millions more are victims around the world....(more).
Pope invokes ‘magisterial authority’ to declare liturgy changes ‘irreversible’
Extract from Inés San Martín, Vatican Respondent, Crux, 24 August 2017
Although acknowledging that more than fifty years after the Second Vatican Council there are still tensions and unfinished business in terms of implementing its vision for the liturgy, Pope Francis in a session with Italian liturgists on Thursday nevertheless invoked his "magisterial authority" to declare, "The liturgical reform is irreversible." Addressing a group of liturgical experts on Thursday, Pope Francis said that after the teaching of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) and a long path of experience, “We can affirm with certainty and magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible.” The declaration came in a speech on Thursday to Italy’s “Center of Liturgical Action,” which sponsors an annual National Liturgical Week. By “liturgical reform,” Pope Francis meant the changes in Catholic rituals and modes of worship which followed from Vatican II, the most immediately visible elements of which included Mass facing the congregation, the use of vernacular languages, and a stronger emphasis on the “full, conscious and active” participation of the people....(more)
Mother of God School Closure
Extract of Letter from Fr Bill, 18 August 2017
Dear Parents, Staff and Parishioners,
I have some sad news for the Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe and our local community today. Mother of God School will close at the end of this year and its students will be warmly welcomed by Mary Immaculate and St Bernadette’s Schools. As you are aware a Working Party established by Catholic Education Melbourne has been investigating the provision of education within the Parish of Ivanhoe. At the heart of all discussions and final recommendations was the imperative of ensuring that the provision of Catholic education in the Parish is both financially viable into the future and the very best education we could provide for our children. Catholic education has been particularly well-catered for in the Ivanhoe Parish, with three schools, however, changing demographics in the area have led to changes in demand. Enrolments at Mother of God have declined since 2010 and we have also seen a drop in enrolments at Mary Immaculate. The demographic trends suggest there will be limited enrolment growth in the Parish over time and all three schools have an excess capacity of places and facilities well above any actual or expected demand generated from within the Parish.... (full letter published in Parish Newsletter or separately available HERE)
Church reform groups support call for Year of the Laity
Extract from Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter, 17 August 2017
U.S. Emboldened by Pope Francis, church reformers are endorsing a call by the Brazilian bishops for a Year of the Laity, expanded to include conferences and observances around the world from November of this year until November 2018. The meetings will focus on why "the people of God need to be treated equally in the church" and "the people taking the Gospel out into the world," Rene Reid, director of Catholic Church Reform International, told NCR. Groups lining up in support of the Year of the Laity include Catholic Church Reform International as well as Call to Action, she said. Participants from those groups will be urging an increased role for the laity in the church. They will promote lay participation in the selection of bishops, an end to mandatory celibacy for clergy and openness to allowing the Eucharist for divorced and remarried Catholics as well as the LGBTQ community. Reid said the impetus for the movement comes from Pope Francis. "He wants the people of God to step up and take a leadership role, and we are," she said....(more)
NSW Tent city to be dismantled - again
Extract from CathNews, 4 August 2017
The NSW state government is planning to dismantle a homeless camp at Martin Place for a second time, and police threaten to throw anyone who resists "in the back of a truck", the Sydney Morning Herald reports. The long-standing camp of 44 tents, which house about 50 people in front of the Reserve Bank, was first dismantled by the City of Sydney council in June but many of its residents have returned. Yesterday, as some of the residents were zipped into their tents to escape the cold, others gathered around a marquee, where volunteers cooked hot food and offered tea and coffee as part of a 24-hour kitchen. It was hours after Social Housing Minister Pru Goward said about the camp: "We will move these people on. I don't care what it takes." NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller told radio station 2GB the "problem" could be fixed "easily" if council workers were sent to confiscate equipment from the camp....(more)
Preparing to be a synodal church in
Extract from Fr Noel Connoly, St Columbans eNews. 18 July 2017. Published originally as an article in The Francis Effect III: Mission of Love and Mercy. Reprinted with permission from the author, the publisher, Catholic Mission & Catholic Religious Australia, and St Columbans eNews. 31 July 2017
The Australian church is about to enter an exciting, challenging and hopefully rewarding three-year process of consultation. Last August Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane announced that the Australian Bishops will convoke a Plenary Council at which “everything is potentially on the radar screen”, and at which a wide representation of the church, lay and clerical, female and male will be present. From now till the Plenary Council there will be a wide consultation of the entire Australian Church so that all voices can be heard. This is going to be a massive and possibly messy task but if we do it well it could change the nature of the church in Australia. To some degree the process of consulting and talking with one another will be more important than the decisions the Plenary Council may make. As Pope Francis is always keen to point out, “time is more important than space” or it is the process, the change of attitudes, the new style of consultation, the different type of church that this generates is as important as the results. What Pope Francis wants is a new synodal church not just an occasional “Synod”....(more) Author photo: St Columbans eNews Note: The Francis Effect III: Mission of Love and Mercy together with Parts II and I are available for purchase online from the publisher HERE
Ordinary Catholics must help with reform
Extract from Kevin Liston*, Eureka Street, 30 July 2017
There are many reform movements active in the Catholic Church. Most seem to focus on changing the structures and systems of the church, on reshaping doctrinal positions and updating teachings. Organisational reform is necessary and long overdue but there is also need for a complementary movement among ordinary Catholics. In recent decades, the sense of ownership that people have over their own lives has undergone a significant shift. Personal authenticity and autonomy are the order of the day. More people feel they each have unique ways of being themselves and seek forms of expression that frequently do not fit traditional moulds. There is a historically unique process of individuation going on. Finding one’s identity and understanding one’s personal experience are core concerns. More often now we understand we have a role in and responsibility for what we are to be. The structures of communities are quite different and more varied and complex. The relevance of community has not disappeared but it has taken a different shape. In modern Australia, community is often taken for granted and accepted as background, evidenced for instance in social media. Parishes are important local realisations of the church but there are many Catholics who do not feel comfortable or at home with present structures and ways of operating. I regard myself as a faithful Catholic, steeped in the tradition, theologically and spiritually literate, seeking a relevant, supportive community of like-minded people. However, I do not find the weekend liturgies in our parish churches to be reflective or expressive of my understanding of Christianity; they just do not speak to my world....(more) Image: Eureka Street 3765 Kevin Liston recently completed a Master of Theological Studies at ACU after a long career working with refugees and migrants.
Statement of Archbishop Hart Ministerial Advisory Panel Report on Voluntary Assisted Dying
Extract from Media Release from Director of Media, Communications and Philanthropy, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, 21 July 2017
The Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart has expressed dismay following the release today of the Ministerial Advisory Panel Report into the legalising of Physician Assisted Suicide in Victoria. Archbishop Hart said “I urge all Victorians to look closely at what is being proposed. I am proud to be a Victorian but this report makes me very concerned for the future of our elderly and most vulnerable citizens. We need to see this report and its recommendations for what they are and so I am taking this opportunity to bring this vital matter to the public’s immediate attention.” Archbishop Hart said “I commend efforts to strengthen and better resource Palliative Care but that is a minimum necessity. While the report recommends what it calls safeguards, the truth is that these safeguards are never going to be enough and that there are no flawless medical procedures. All procedures and interventions can have complications. I have watched supporters of this proposal and they are going out of their way to convince us that assisted suicide is acceptable, seeking to lessen our human, moral and natural distress because of suicide. It seems that on the one hand we are seeking to lessen suicide in our society – an admirable aim – but here we have this report looking to normalise it. When viewed from the perspective of the whole Victorian community these two objectives cannot be reconciled.".....(MORE). Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide information and resources HERE
Kakadu dig rewrites Australia's history
Extract from CathNews, The Guardian, 21 July 2017
An archaeological discovery in the Northern Territory has extended the known length of time Aboriginal people have inhabited the continent to at least 65,000 years, The Guardian reports. The findings on about 11,000 artefacts from Kakadu National Park, published today in the journal Nature, prove Indigenous people have been in Australia for longer than the much-contested estimates of between 47,000 and 60,000 years, the researchers said. Some of the artefacts were potentially as old as 80,000 years. The new research upends decades old estimates about the human colonisation of the continent, their interaction with megafauna, and the dispersal of modern humans from Africa and across south Asia. “People got here much earlier than we thought, which means of course they must also have left Africa much earlier to have travelled on their long journey through Asia and Southeast Asia to Australia,” said the lead author, Chris Clarkson, from the University of Queensland. “It also means the time of overlap with the megafauna, for instance, is much longer than originally thought – maybe as much as 20,000 or 25,000 years. It puts to rest the idea that Aboriginal people wiped out the megafauna very quickly,” Associate Professor Clarkson said. He said the Madjedbebe rock shelter where the artefacts were found – which has been excavated four times since the 1970s – had been controversial in the past but the processes used to date the artefacts meant the team could say “precisely” that the area was occupied 65,000 years ago and “hopefully put the controversy to rest”....(more) Photo: Cathnews, Chris Clarkson/Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation
Report confirms over 500 boys abused at top German Catholic school
Extract from Daniele Palmer, The Tablet, 19 July 2017
A report confirms the physical and sexual abuse of over 500 children at a prestigious choir school in Bavaria, Germany. Commissioned by the diocese of Regensburg, a report has been published that states 547 children at the all-male boarding school in the Bavarian town were abused, either physically or sexually, between the years 1945 and 1992. The report also states that all those involved must take responsibility, explicitly mentioning Georg Ratzinger, brother of the Pope emeritus and choir master at the school, and Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, who was bishop of Regensburg before becoming prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in the Vatican in 2007. Ulrich Weber, the lawyer commissioned by the diocese in 2015, said in a press conference yesterday that for many of the students at the choir school, the period they were there represented “the worst time of their lives, marked by fear, violence and helplessness." The report makes explicit the practices that were in place at the choir school....(more)
Police admit DNA error in cold case murder
Extract from CathNews, 13 July 2017
Police have admitted they used an incorrect DNA sample to rule out a pedophile priest in the brutal killing of Melbourne cold case murder victim Maria James, ABC News reports. A bloodied pillow case, used to establish a DNA profile for the suspected killer of the Thornbury single mother, came from an unrelated crime scene. Local priest Fr Anthony Bongiorno, as well as multiple other suspects in Maria James' 1980 murder, were cleared as a result of DNA testing against that incorrect sample. James' two sons, Mark and Adam James, have now formally applied to the Victorian coroner to set aside the original finding and reopen the 37-year-old case. James was stabbed 68 times in her home behind her Thornbury bookshop....In 2013, it was revealed Fr Bongiorno sexually abused her 11-year-old son Adam, who has cerebral palsy and Tourette syndrome. Now 48, Adam said he told his mum of the abuse and believed she planned to confront the priest. Mark James said he believed police should reinvestigate Fr Bongiorno, who died in 2002, as a key suspect. He also called for an investigation into Fr Thomas O'Keeffe, who once abused Adam James on the same day as Fr Bongiorno....(more) Photo: CathNews
Pope opens new path to sainthood
Extract from CathNews, 12 July 2017
Pope Francis has approved a fourth pathway to possible sainthood – giving one's life in a heroic act of loving service to others, CNS reports. In a new apostolic letter, the Pope approved new norms allowing for candidates to be considered for sainthood because of the heroic way they freely risked their lives and died prematurely because of "an extreme act of charity". The "moto proprio" document, went into effect yesterday, the same day it was published. The title, "Maiorem hac dilectionem", comes from the Gospel according to St John (15:13): "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends."...(more)
Christianity isn’t the answer
Extracts from Fr. Michael Kelly, Pearls and Irritations, John Menadue blog 12 July 2017
....Narcissism is like any addiction: its victims remain unaware of its grip till it’s all but strangled them and then they feel it’s too late to do anything about it. The fatalism of the drunk who explains “I can’t beat it, it’s killing me, I may as well die of it” is the logic of this decline. But there is another way. The path out of narcissism is not the appeal to a code (Christian values) or to extra effort of the will. It’s to be found in experience. It’s to be found in empathy. But how do you learn empathy? Simple: we are given it by falling in love, by failing and accepting we’ve failed, by being grateful for completely unexpected blessings and opportunities, by being forgiven, by experiencing reversals that aren’t the end of the story but a prelude to new opportunities and grace. Sheer, unmerited grace......All the intellectual stuff – more information, codes of conduct and the like – pales into insignificance as ways out of those black holes. It’s experience and finding your heart and soul and living from that every day as you meet stricken humanity in all its need. It’s discovering that you’re loved. And for Christianity’s future in Australia, a focus on that discovery for everyone that to me suggests the way forward....(more)
Müller hits out at Francis, says the way pope dismissed him was unacceptable
Extract from Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, subscription journal La Croix International, 8 July 2017
Cardinal Gerhard Müller has sharply criticized Pope Francis for the “unacceptable” way in which the pontiff recently dismissed him as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF). “On the very last day of my mandate as CDF prefect, the pope informed me within one minute of his decision not to prolong me. He did not give a reason – just as he gave no reason for dismissing three highly competent members of the CDF a few months earlier,” the 69-year-old cardinal told the Bavarian daily. “I cannot accept this way of doing things. As a bishop, one cannot treat people in this way,” he said in the interview, which was published on July 6th. “I have said this before – the Church’s social teaching must also be applied to the way employees are treated here in the Vatican,” he added. Pope Francis told Cardinal Müller in a private meeting at the Vatican on June 30th that his mandate as doctrinal chief would not be renewed. The five-year term officially came to an end on July 2nd......(source) Photo: La Croix International, Dr. Meierhofer/Wikipedia/CCA BY SA 3.0
'Summorum Pontificum': After a rocky ten years the Tridentine Mass has found its place
Extract from Marie Malzac and Malo Tresca, subscroption journal La Croix International, 7 July, linked here 8 July 2017
Benedict XVI reached out to Catholic traditionalists a decade ago by liberalizing the extraordinary form of the Mass with his motu proprio "Summorum Pontificum". As a result, previously rocky relations between the French Church and traditionalists have greatly improved. But some bishops remain cautious....(source)
Fr. Bill on leave from Monday to Friday next week
Friday 7 July 2017Fr Bill will be on leave from Monday to Friday next week (10-14 July). Weekday Masses will be replaced by Communion Services.
Why I am still a Catholic
Extract from John Menadue, Pearls and Irritations, 7 July 2017
Cardinal John Henry Newman once said that there is nothing as ugly as the Catholic Church yet nothing as beautiful. It is hard to see that beauty at this moment. It is a time for sackcloth and ashes. But I will hang on. Below is an edited and updated article of mine that was first published by David Lovell Publishing in 2003.
G K Chesterton said, ‘I cannot explain why I am a Catholic, because now that I am a Catholic, I cannot imagine myself as anything else’. Personally, I now cannot imagine not being a Catholic either, yet I am more conscious and appreciative of my Methodist upbringing than ever before. As a Catholic, I reckon I am a pretty good Methodist, with a healthy skepticism about authority. And the more I see of the failure of Catholic Bishops the more skeptical of ‘authority ‘I become. Cardinal John Henry Newman described his feelings after joining the Catholic Church: ‘I was not conscious of firmer faith … I had no more fervour, but it was like coming into port after a rough sea’ (Apologia). I have found Newman very convincing and encouraging on many issues of concern to me. He also spoke of the pain he felt after ‘coming into port’ — mistrust and misunderstanding. He wasn’t one of the tribe. His critics suggested that if he could change once, he could change again and rejoin the Church of England. To some Catholic bishops he was much too independent and risky. I have always felt an outsider in the Catholic Church. I am not tribal. But being an ‘outsider’ troubles me not at all. Before I speak of the two main reasons why I am still a Catholic-the Eucharist and Authority -, I would like to give a few impressions as a relative newcomer to the Catholic Church. Newcomers have some disadvantages, but newcomers sometimes see things with clarity and freshness. The Polish have a proverb that the guest to the house sees in one hour what the host fails to see in a lifetime....(more)
Flawed Catholic Church a test for the true believers
Extract from Geraldine Doogue, 3 July 2017, Pearls and irritations, John Menadue website, 3 July 2017 linked here 8 July
The other day a visiting Israeli man bluntly asked me during a small dinner: was I religious? Well, yes, I replied, though not quite in the way I once would have answered. But Cardinal George Pell is not to blame for that. Twenty years ago, I probably would have replied more confidently, as a cradle Catholic approaching her middle years, trying to live a good life and hand on the heritage and traditions to children. Because they matter to me. Indeed, they are part of my fabric. My much-loved and late husband was an atheist, a good man of strong values, not overtly antagonistic to faith like some, but steeped in an anthropological sense of religion being “sophisticated crowd control”, he’d quip. So there was a layered approach to Catholic institutional life in our household. Yet simultaneously within me, oddly, a growing sense of gratitude for being rooted in a belief tradition rather than not having one, even if I rejected parts of it. I realised it had bequeathed me a precious identity security plus an ability to ask deeper questions about meaning, even though I concede that it took years to fully develop that....So how does one synthesise all this? With difficulty. It is a work in progress. I will of course incorporate details of the cardinal’s coming court case but will probably not be blindsided by whatever may emerge, on the upside and the downside. Because as a source of ongoing consolation and meaning, of searching alongside others not merely alone, the broader Catholic Church simply has no peer....(more)
Fr. Bill on leave from Monday to Friday next week
Friday 30 June 2017Fr Bill will be on leave from Monday to Friday next week (3-7 July). Weekday Masses will be replaced by Communion Services.
Young Australians don’t say ‘I do’
Extract from CathNews, The Australian, 30 June 2017
There are now scarcely more than half a million married young Australians, continuing a decades-long downward trend that has seen the institution go out of fashion, perhaps never to recover, The Australian reports. Shortly after World War II, more than two-thirds of people aged 25 to 29 were married in that year’s census; this figure dropped to almost one-quarter in 2016. Despite migration and population growth, even the raw numbers went backwards for this age group between 2011 and 2016, from 447,413 to 447,236. Matrimony among those in their early 20s has also reversed in absolute and real terms, with the total number in wedlock falling from 93,186 to 83,497 over the same period, dropping as a share of the total age group from 6.37 per cent to 5.3 per cent. In 1947, more than one-third of people aged 20 to 24 were married. Photo CathNews.
Pope calls on cardinals to 'look at reality' as their mission
Extracts from Nicolas Senèze, Rome, La Croix International, 29 June 2017
At a service for the creation of five new cardinals on Wednesday, Pope Francis called on them “to confront the sins of the world and their consequences for humanity today". He has made an art of linking Gospel texts to current issues.....Thus, despite the pomp of yesterday’s ceremony at St Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis wanted to bring his cardinals back to reality. Jesus, he warned them, “has not called you to become “princes” of the Church, to “sit at his right or at his left". “He calls you to serve like him and with him. To serve the Father and your brothers and sisters,” the pope continued. “He calls you to face the sin of the world and its effects on today’s humanity, as he did himself.” It was a message equally valid for the new cardinals as for the older ones, whom he had characterized a day earlier at a mass celebrating the 25th anniversary of his episcopal ordination as “grandfathers who transmit their dreams to the young people of today"....(more) Photo: La Croix, Vincento Pinto/AFP
CatholicCare farewells Father Joe Caddy
Extracts from Melbourne Catholic, 22 June 2017
Last night over 130 people gathered at the Catholic Leadership Centre in East Melbourne to mark the end of an era as CatholicCare hosted a celebration of Fr Joe Caddy’s contribution over 12 years as CEO. Guests included His Grace, Archbishop Denis Hart; Vicar General Monsignor Greg Bennet; Fathers Gerard Dowling, John McCarthy and Brendan Reed; Joe’s parents John and Pat Caddy; CCAM Board members, including former chairs Frank Swan and Philip Spry-Bailey, and current Chair John Sheldon; Archdiocesan colleagues and Diocese of Sale colleagues along with colleagues from other Dioceses; and CatholicCare staff, donors, volunteers, supporters, friends and community partners. Former CatholicCare Chairman, Frank Swan spoke of recruiting Joe to the CEO role in 2004. ‘Almost immediately after Joe came on board we sensed that the organisation had changed,’ said Frank (Swan, former Catholic Care Chairman) . ‘He had a positive attitude, an outgoing attitude, a questioning attitude - but an attitude that would include people in a journey going forward.’. That journey over the next 12 years would include a strengthening of the relationship with the Archdiocese of Melbourne, forging of a new relationship with the Diocese of Sale, and the development of innovative programs that responded to the emerging needs of the community, among them the response to the Black Saturday bushfires, the launching of Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support Programs, and the development of the Alcohol and other Drug program. ‘All this happened as a result of Joe’s drive and passion for the job and they were fundamental to many of the things that we achieved,’ continued Frank. ‘His knowledge of our clients and their needs - his advocacy ability - were fundamental to the growth of CatholicCare.’ John Sheldon, current Chair of CatholicCare, spoke of Joe’s legacy in leaving behind an organisation ‘which is incredibly strong, has an incredible social conscience and is focussed on helping the people who are the most disadvantaged members of our community.’....Joe responded by humbly deflecting praise for his contribution to ‘… the real work: the work of CatholicCare itself Joe said, ‘The work of CatholicCare is essentially the work of the Church, it’s about people, it’s about communities and about their thriving. It has been a marvellous privilege for me to work in that mission at CatholicCare over the past years.’ While Fr Joe will no longer be CEO of CatholicCare, he will continue to play a part and have close involvement in the ongoing journey of CatholicCare through his role as Episcopal Vicar for Social Services in the Archdiocese. Fr Joe will step down as CEO on 30 June 2017. The CatholicCare Board have commenced the process to recruit a new Chief Executive Officer....(more) Photo, Catholic Care, Kym Wallis
The Turnbull government has pledged more than $5 billion to win over Senate crossbenchers in a desperate move to secure support for what will now be a $23.5bn schools funding reform package, The Australian reports.
The Coalition last night stood on the brink of a significant parliamentary victory but the Gonski 2.0 deal failed to appease the Catholic education sector, which will run a nationwide campaign against the government through to the next election, due in 2019.
The government’s eleventh-hour move to win support from Senate independents led by Nick Xenophon continues to pit the Coalition against the Australian Education Union, which represents more than 185,000 teachers....(more)
Priest or what?
John Costa, Friday 16 June 2017
"When two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them". Matthew's well known Verse 20 text from Chapter 18 of the Bible was clearly evident late last Saturday afternoon when a group of people gathered informally to celebrate the 82nd birthday of Fr Len Thomas. Whilst it was not a parish event it was a spontaneous gathering in our parish of some of Len's friends from near and far. Before his 'retirement' Fr Len was priest-in-residence in our parish whilst also Mental Health chaplain for the Catholic Archdioces of Melbourne. Although this photo may beg the question it nicely summs up Len. He was and remains a priest very much in touch with the human realities of life, joys and frailities alike. A true pastor who acts as Christ called all to behave towards one other, showing loving care, without pretense or judgement, always with great encouragement and in a spirit of faith. An added bonus for a challenging world is a healthy sense of humour, and happy commitment to the Hawthorn football team! In typical Len Thomas style it was an informal gathering of fellow humans united equally in friendship and spirit. People brought refreshments, cakes well worthy of 82 years, and much goodwill spontaneously expressed in brief honest words. Amongst others who brought food and goodwill, Vince and Eugene who cordinated this gathering with usual flair also provided an 'MKR' BBQ. So congratulations and best 82nd year wishes to a far from retired retired-priest. [Ed: this non imprimatur photograph of a willing victim was mischievously fabricated by the author two years ago]
Vatican statistics track church health indicators
Extract from Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, Melbourne Catholic, Friday 16 June 2017
The health of the Catholic Church can be measured in many ways, and the Vatican has a special office just for that purpose. The Central Statistics Office, which operates under the Vatican Secretariat of State, conducts a variety of studies for the Roman Curia throughout the year. But one of the office's biggest projects is compiling the annual, 500-page Statistical Yearbook of the Church. Of course, the yearbook tracks the Catholic population, both by a head count of the baptised in each country and as a percentage of the world's population. The latest report, based on numbers gathered on 31 December, 2015, tallied 1.28 billion Catholics, which is about 17.7 percent of the global population. Ten years earlier, according to the statistics office, the Catholic community numbered just over 1.1 billion, which was 17.3 percent of the population at that time. Worldwide Catholics operate close to 118,000 hospitals, clinics, and homes for the aged, orphanages, counselling centres and rehabilitation facilities. Ten years ago, the number of such facilities was less than 115,000....(more)
Pope and cardinals discuss loosening the strings
Extract from CathNews, CNS, 15 June 2017
Pope Francis and his Council of Cardinals have discussed the possibility of allowing local bishops rather than the Vatican decide on certain matters, including the marriage or priestly ordination of permanent deacons, CNS reports. It is "what the Pope calls a 'healthy decentralisation'," said Greg Burke, director of the Vatican press office. Briefing journalists on the council's June 12-14 meeting, Mr Burke said the Cardinals and Francis looked specifically at the possibility of allowing bishops to determine whether a permanent deacon who is widowed can remarry or whether a permanent deacon who is unmarried or widowed can be ordained to the priesthood without having to "wait for a decision to be made in Rome" as is the current rule. Such decisions regarding permanent deacons now are handled at the Vatican Congregation for Clergy, but could pass to the local bishops' conference, Mr Burke told journalists yesterday. The Council of Cardinals advising the Pope on Church governance also discussed proposals to broaden the participation of lay people and members of religious orders in the selection of new bishops. "It is something that already exists, but they want to do it in a more systematic, more extensive way," Mr Burke said.....(more). Photo: CathNews, CNS?Paul Haring.
Controversial new appointments as Pontifical Academy for Life widens perspectives
Extracts from Daniele Palmer,The Tablet, 14 June 2017
By nominating members not strictly in line with traditional Church teachings, the Academy is creating a more heterogenous membership. The Pontifical Academy for Life, the Vatican organisation devoted to the study of Catholic bioethics, has appointed new members in what seems both an act of continuation with the past, but also a widening of perspectives. After a wait of more than six months, the Holy See published its list of the new nominations to the Pontifical Academy for Life. Apart from significantly reducing the number of members of the Academy - which acts as a Vatican think tank on life issues - from 132 to 45, plus five “honorary” members, it has renewed the membership of many previous members. Amongst those who saw their membership renewed are Anthony Colin Fisher, Archbishop of Sydney and the Dutch Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk; Carl Albert Anderson, Supreme Knight of the influential Knights of Columbus - all known for holding more conservative positions........The nomination which has caused the most controversy, however, is that of the English philosopher and moral theologian, Nigel Biggar. An Anglican priest, Biggar is one of several non-Catholic members elected yesterday (13 June) to the Academy. His views on abortion directly contradict the anti-abortion policies not only those of the Church, but also of the Academy’s past members. In 2011, Biggar stated that it is “not clear that a human foetus is the same kind of thing as an adult or a mature human being, and therefore deserves quite the same treatment.” To this effect, he has supported the legalisation of aborting foetuses up until the 18th week. Some have argued that this points to a change in the Academy’s policy line. However, sources close to the Academy’s president, Archbishop Paglia, have said that the nomination of Biggar is indicative not of a substantive change, but of a widening of perspectives. By nominating Biggar, and other members who are not strictly in line with traditional Church teachings, Paglia is seeking to create a more heterogenous membership and set of views. Another nomination that does not sit well with some conservatives is Maurizio Chiodi, lecturer of moral theology at Milan’s seminary. In the past, Chiodi has criticised important passages of “Humanae vitae”, “Donum vitae”, and “Evangelium vitae” - all documents that make up the fundamental pillars of modern Catholic bioethics. The Milanese theologian has also called for more “discernment” on issues relating to contraception, in vitro fertilisation, the question of “gender”, and sexual orientation in the Catholic theology....(more)
Sacrament of Confirmation last Sunday - thanks
Friday 9 June 2017
Our three school communities of St. Bernadette’s, Mary Immaculate and Mother of God would like to thank all who have supported us in preparing our students for Confirmation. We especially would like to thank Fr Bill for his support and leadership whilst working with staff and students. The Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe Choir once again led the congregation beautifully in song and prayer during the Confirmation Mass at the Cathedral. We also appreciated the support from our 6 altar servers from across our three schools. To the CPI Parishioners thank you for your prayers, support and interest you show to our students in our schools. We also thank our Parish Catechist, Ruth Villani, for her careful preparation of our children who do not attend our parish schools.
Making our parish mission possible: Melbourne clergy conference 2017
Extracts from Media and Communications Office, Melbourne Catholic, Thursday 8 June 2017
‘The parish is not an outdated institution,’ writes Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium, ‘precisely because it possesses great flexibility. It can assume quite different contours depending on the openness and missionary creativity of the pastor and community.’ The Melbourne Clergy Conference explored that flexibility with the theme: The Parish—Our Mission. Held at Peppers The Sands Resort in Torquay, the three-day conference started on Tuesday 6 June. Every church and diocese struggles with its own issues. But the central problem clergy grappled with over the four days was this: How can we move parishes from a routine of maintenance towards embracing the mission of making disciples? And how do we effect that shift? The week’s presenter was Daniel Ang, Director of the Office for Evangelisation in the Catholic Archdiocese of Broken Bay, NSW. What he learnt was the number of people receiving the sacraments in Mass each week shouldn’t be a primary concern. ‘The attendance of Mass doesn’t necessarily mean that someone has a personal relationship with Jesus’ Ang tells Melbourne Catholic. ‘Our call is to make disciples. Unfortunately today we tend to assume that receiving the sacraments will take care of that. But the church teaches that evangelisation, conversion and faith have to come first.’....Throughout the conference, Ang demonstrated an encyclopaedic knowledge of church history. And ultimately a message of hope was held up to the parish, the priests and the church at large. ‘The church has enormous capacity for renewal.’ Each day, clergy have celebrated the Eucharist, presided over by Archbishop Hart, Bishop Mark Edwards, and Bishop Terry Curtain respectively. The conference concludes today with a morning Eucharist, prayer, and a final session on practical steps to nurture renewal and growth in parishes. All to ensure that each—to quote Pope Francis—remained effectively a ‘community of communities, a sanctuary where there the thirsty come to drink in the midst of their journey....(more) Photo: Melbourne Catholic.
The uncertain future of parish life
Extract from T. Howland Sanks* America, The Jesuit Review, 2 June, U.S.
Extracted here 8 June 2017
.....Rethinking Parish Structure: William J. Byron, S. J., reinforces the notion that parish leadership must be shared in his recent book Parish Leadership: Principles and Practices, but he adds that the leadership must integrate Catholic social teaching in the life of the parish for it to be effective. (He also provides an excellent, succinct summary of Catholic social teaching in his second chapter.) For Byron, parish leadership, especially the pastor, must be “servant leadership” rather than the top of a pyramid, as the latter is abnormal and corrupting. A much more comprehensive study of Catholic parishes is Catholic Parishes of the 21st Century by the staff of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), led by Charles E. Zech. Synthesizing data from a number of recent surveys, the authors use the 1989 Notre Dame Study of Catholic Parish Life as a baseline of comparison. Trends that had begun at that time have continued and intensified, but the operative word in both studies is change. Following are the most significant changes in the last 30 years: .....(more). Photo, America the Jesuit Review, CNS photo/Jonathan Francis, Archdiocese of Detroit
*T. Howland Sanks, S.J., is the professor emeritus of theology at the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University.
From Patrina and Sarina Patti: CureMND
We are going to be walking 5km. as part of the ‘Run Melbourne’ event on Sunday 30th July. In doing so, we are also hoping to raise some much-needed funds and awareness for CureMND. You can read more about the charity here: www.curemnd.org.au
If you would like to sponsor us, we would truly appreciate even the smallest of gestures. You can make donations by following the link below. If not, your positive thoughts and well-wishes are much appreciated. Thank you for your support and taking the time to read this article. - parishioners Patrina and Sarina Patti. Link for donations to Pari and Sari Patti: HERE
Friday 2 June
We congratulate parish Confirmation candidates who will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation on Pentecost Sunday 4th June at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Confirmation candidates come from our three parish schools and those who attend other schools. We wish them well on this special occasion as part of their ongoing journeys in faith and spirituality. We thank all who have prepared the children at school and home, and those who have prepared for, coordinated and participated in this liturgy. Image: Diocese of Hawaii
Limbrick to lead Church’s professional standards company
The Board of Catholic Professional Standards Limited (CPS) today announced the appointment of Sheree Limbrick as the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of the Company.
Extract from Media Blog, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, 2 June 2017
Ms Limbrick is the first appointment to CPS, a new independent company established by the Church in November 2016 to develop, audit and report on compliance with professional standards across Catholic entities. Ms Limbrick has a wealth of experience in stakeholder engagement and management, strategic planning and policy development, as well as more than 10 years' experience in executive leadership in social services. Ms Limbrick has most recently worked with CatholicCare Melbourne as Deputy Chief Executive Officer and prior to that as Director of Operations. Previously managing Statewide Programs for Berry Street, a service provider for vulnerable children and families across Victoria, Ms Limbrick established support services for Forgotten Australians....(more) Photo: ACBC
The New Zealand Synod 2017
Catholics For Renewal, 31 May 2017
The Catholic Church of New Zealand is closely in touch with the needs of its people, and as far back as 2007 the NZ Catholic Bishops Conference published its first responsive and caring response to Child Sexual Abuse "A Path to Healing - Te Houhanga Rongo". In keeping with the open thinking of Pope Francis the NZ Bishop's Conference has also arranged to hold a Synod "Go you are sent" in September this year. Synod 2017 will be held in Wellington from 15-17 September. The Synod Participation Booklet and related resources are available HERE. The following edited extract is taken from CathNews NZ
Photo: St Gabriel's Catholic Church Whangaope Harbour NZ 2013, Jacek Drecki, Panoramio Google Maps,
Vale Anthony Foster
Extract from Bishop Vincent Long, Catholic Outlook, 30 May 2017
It is with much sadness that we learned of the sudden death of Anthony Foster in Melbourne over the weekend. Anthony and his wife Chrissie dedicated their lives to seeking justice for victims of child sex abuse. In 2010, when I was still living in Rome, I read the book Hell on the Way to Heaven in which they told the harrowing story of the sexual abuse of their daughters by a Catholic priest. I was deeply moved by their suffering but also inspired by their determination, courage and resilience. Back in Melbourne as an Auxiliary Bishop, I sought them out and eventually met them on a number of occasions. I was kindly received into their home a few times and offered hospitality – a privilege I treasure. Each time we met, the Fosters would share with me their pain and suffering. They would also challenge me to do all I could as a church leader to treat victims and their loved ones with the Christian justice we profess. I was especially touched by Anthony’s empathy – perhaps a virtue he nurtured during his own experience of suffering. At the end of the Royal Commission hearing of the five Metropolitans, the Fosters met with Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP. After he had left the meeting, Anthony became very concerned how deeply affected Archbishop Fisher was. He contacted me and asked if I could check and make sure that the Archbishop was OK. I was only too happy to oblige. I am privileged to have met Anthony and learned much from him. If the Church in Australia is to offer justice and healing for victims and a safer place for children, then it must respect the legacy of people like Anthony Foster. May he rest in peace! Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv. Bishop of Parramatta Image: Catholic Outlook
Living in a culture hostile to religious belief
Extract from Richard Leonard presentation, CathNews, The Record, 26 May 2017
Confronting a culture increasingly hostile to religious belief was the focus of a Perth workshop by Fr Richard Leonard SJ last week. Confronting a culture increasingly hostile to religious belief was the focus of a Perth workshop by Fr Richard Leonard SJ last week, the eRecord reports. Topics addressed included the role of Catholics in society today, the relationship between science and faith, the centrality of religious experience and the importance of our image of God. Fr Leonard expressed that in regards to the faith, Catholics have to put up with so many people in society who "tell us we’re nuts to believe any of it". However, he expressed that between all human persons, there is common ground and a want for the same things, such as kindness, truthfulness, care for the earth, justice, peace and love. “It’s good to start with what unites us,” Fr Leonard said. “Dialogue with atheists and non-believers can be very good for us in a number of ways. It improves our clarity in our thinking, rational argument for the faith, the case for religious influence in public policy and our practising of what we preach.” He emphasised that people are not angry of belief in God but of the religious influence over public policy and legislation. “Some atheists couldn’t care less that we believe in God and want to practice our faith. They’re cranky that we’ve had a major influence over public legislation, and that influences everyone. But when they say we should have no influence, then that’s anti-democratic,” he said. Fr Leonard said that society doesn’t recognise the contributions to the community that the Church provides, recounting the number of institutions with affiliations to the Catholic Church and the people that come to seek assistance...(more)
Outback spirituality will be explored
Extract from CathNews, 12 May 2017
The Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes will hold its Lessons from the Long Paddock online event next month. For many people, experience of Catholic faith and life is challenging. The situation of the Church in Australia today points to a great need to return to the experience of God, to the reality of Christ in the ordinariness of life. Many Catholics and other Christians are aware that they have a spiritual tradition but are unaware of what it actually means for their faith. Most people know what it is they are taught to believe in terms of Catholic teaching and doctrine but few people know what the Church teaches about where the heart of the tradition finds its inspiration. The Diocese of Wilcannia- Forbes is offering an online event called Lessons from the Long Paddock on Tuesday, June 6. This online experience opens the conversation for many people who are curious about what the experience of faith actually feels like in ordinary life. Keynote speakers will be Wilcannia Forbes Bishop Columba Macbeth Green OSPPE and Fr Frank Brennan SJ, who will discuss Australian and Outback Spirituality. Through the lens of the lived experiences of specific characters from the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes, participants will accompany others into a glimpse of some of the themes which lie at the heart of our spiritual tradition. The workshops will be facilitated by Kate Englebrecht, Diocesan Director of Mission....(more) Photo: Cathnews
The Australian Church in 2030, what the research predicts
Edited Extracts from Brian Coyne, Editor Catholica, 8 May 2017
Attracting much comment on Catholica over recent weeks has been Archbishop Mark Coleridge's bleak prediction that "mass, civic Christianity is finished" [HERE]. Today we bring you some of the bleak statistics in a high quality video presentation by the Catholic Church's official sociologist and demographer, Dr Bob Dixon, to back it up. Our lead commentary today consists of the presentation Dr Dixon gave to the St Thomas More Forum in Canberra last Wednesday evening, and a written report on his presentation. This is "must read" information for anyone wondering about what the future for Catholicism is in Australia, and for those who are interested in trying to alter these bleak predictions.
Dr Bob Dixon's address to the St Thomas More Forum, Campbell, ACT
Church demographer outlines a bleak future for the Catholic Church in Australia
Dr Robert (Bob) Dixon has been running the Pastoral Research Office (PRO) for the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference since it was established in 1996 until his recent retirement as Executive Director. He continues to work for the Research Office and the Australian Bishops as a consultant sociologist and demographer. In a ground-breaking address he delivered in Canberra last week to the St Thomas More Forum, he outlined the bleak future for the Church in Australia over the next decade and a bit. He predicts the participation rate of Catholics regularly attending Mass will fall to around 5% of the total number of adult Catholics in the nation before 2030. His research suggests Confession will be a thing of the past for most Catholics. His research also suggests the remaining congregations of religious brothers will disappear completely and there will be few nuns still serving the Church by 2030.....More Image: Dr Bob Dixon, Catholica
Australian bishops gather in the light of the royal commission
Extracts from Andrew Hamilton SJ, Eureka Street, 8 May 2017 (1st published 4 May)
The government and the Catholic Church both face difficulties when commending values. The difficulties will dog events during the next week in which both institutions are on public display — the bringing down of the budget and the meeting of the Australian Catholics Bishops Conference. In each case the difficulty has its roots in defects of governance: a lack of leadership, authority, transparency and inclusiveness. When the government appeals to values with respect to the Australian community or education, its appeal is commonly assumed to mask electoral self-interest and internal party conflict. That underlying its rhetoric is a lack of transparency, inclusiveness and authority is taken for granted. When representatives of the Catholic Church appeal to values in public life, in sexuality and in education, their appeal is often thought to mask hypocrisy — the assertion of high values that it does not practice — and amnesia about its record of betrayal of the principles of good governance in its exercise of authority. The revelations of the royal commission into child abuse hangs over the bishops' meeting. Both the government and the Catholic Church will be tempted to carry on business as usual, postponing any concerted attempt to deal with the issues of governance they face until the election and the handing down of the findings of the royal commission respectively. I believe that to delay would be a mistake, especially in the case of the Catholic Church. Even before the royal commission's report is made public there is enough known about the extent, causes and right responses to sexual abuse in the church, and sufficient work done on protocols and safeguarding children to enable an initial response by the whole Australian church. The question Australians, including many Catholics, ask is whether the bishops and other public representatives of the Catholic Church have the stomach for the changes in governance needed to address the factors that led to child abuse. Delaying action until swamped by the harsh criticism that can be expected from the royal commission will make that action appear too expedient, too little and too late.....(More) Image: Eureka Street
Parish Easter Liturgy online survey says it all - almost
John Costa, Parish Communication, Friday 5 May 2017
Thoughtful People willing to assist the Parish by completing a Survey on Holy Week liturgies have been very helpful in sharing their thoughts in detail. This together with the thoughts of those actually involved in the many preparations for Easter Liturgies collectively considered these at yesterday's weekly Liturgy Group meeting, as always further enabling the Parish to work towards future liturgies that most effectively reflect the true significance of Easter, and our human and spiritual needs in responding. The survey was announced only one week ago so from across our three Parish communities and three school communities there have been only 28 responses. So the survey is to be continued because we believe, and hope, that there are more than 28 people apart from those directly involved in Easter liturgies who are supportive. We say this with some confidence because Easter liturgies this year were very well attended, with higher attendances than last year. We also recognise that not everyone is familiar with online surveys. So for those others who are interested, and online, the survey remains open and may be completed here, but hurry as we need to wrap this up quickly and move on to many other things in our rapidly evolving faith community at Ivanhoe, and within our wider Church.
Chaplaincy Sunday Appeal - This Weekend
The support of parishes and parishioners of the Chaplaincy Sunday Appeal have assisted in providing services in the much needed areas of Chaplaincy. The cost of providing these services increases with the ever increasing need for pastoral services so it is imperative that we conduct this annual Appeal.
Below are statistics showing the pastoral outreach of chaplaincy services and what your donation helps to provide:
Prisons – 2000 residents pastorally supported across 16 Prisons through face to face encounters and group based church services.
Youth Justice – 47 hours per week of face to face and group based pastoral support to young people in the Parkville, Malmsbury and Barwon Grevillia Youth Justice Correctional Facilities.
Healthcare – 126 hours per week of face to face pastoral support of patients across 6 large Public Hospital facilities. In addition financial support provided to many Parish Communities with major state run hospitals within their boundaries.
HIV/AIDS – 500 lunches and other pastoral encounters provided once a week over the year offering welcome and hospitality to some 150+ people living with HIV/AIDS.
Report to the Bishops of Australia on an Open Letter from Catholics of Australia
Extract from Catholics For Renewal, Thursday 4 May, 2017