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News 2011

The items below are older new items that have been progressively archived after earlier publication on the current news page. Current News is published separately, on the "News 2012" page (or click here)

 

 

Govt must end child detention: Vinnies
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 22 march 2012

The St Vincent de Paul Society has called upon the Government to honour its 2010 promise to end child detention, saying the unequivocal consequence of keeping children in detention is cruelty, the organisation said in a statement. Chief Executive, Dr John Falzon said he was deeply saddened to learn that around 528 children remain in immigration detention centres or alternative places of detention in Australia."The mandatory detention, especially of children, continues to be a serious abuse of human rights. The continued detention of people who pose no danger to the community is unjustifiable by any moral standard," Dr Falzon said. "I encourage all Australians to sign the global petition against child detention, which will be taken to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva later this year." (more)

Anti-abuse training for Irish priests
Extract from Henry McDonald, Dublin, The Age, Thursday 22 March 2012

Every trainee Catholic priest in Ireland must attend child protection classes, the Vatican has recommended in a major report on how the church handled the republic's clerical abuse scandals. Vatican Radio released the findings of the Holy See's wide investigation into seminaries and dioceses in Ireland. It was ordered by Pope Benedict XVI as Rome sought to tackle the child abuse crisis that has severely undermined its reputation and authority (more).

Lifting lay leaders
Extract from Peter Kirkwood, Eureka Street, Thursday 22 march 2012

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. In the previous interview on Eureka Street TV, the prominent lay Catholic leader Robert Fitzgerald reflected on changes in the role of the laity promised by the Council. The woman featured in this week's interview shares this pet subject area (read further and view interview here). Subscription to Eureka Street is free

Stations of the Cross in pamphlet for London's Tube
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 22 march 2012

An anonymous artist has designed a pamphlet depicting the 14 Stations of the Cross and has arranged them so they sit alongside stations of the Tube line in London, reports The Catholic Herald.... The artist, who wanted to be anonymous, said he had been handing the pamphlets out around London.... In the pamphlet, the pictures are called "just a little idea for those Circle Line passengers who believe that pondering on the enormous mystery of Christ's death [and mysterious enormity of His love] could be a good thing". (more)

Pope appoints accused bishop to Vatican council

Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 22 march 2012

Pope Benedict has appointed a German bishop who had been accused of financial irregularities and hitting children to the Vatican's health care council, said a Catholic News Service report in the National Catholic Reporter. Retired Bishop Walter Mixa of Augsburg was named a member of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry on Wednesday (more).

SSPX response 'insufficient', says Vatican

Extracts from Catholic News, Wednesday 21 march 2012

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with the approval of Pope Benedict, has declared the position of the Society of St Pius X as "insufficient" on certain basic doctrinal principles and criteria for interpreting church teaching, reports the Catholic News Service....In a formal communique...the Vatican said it wanted to "avoid an ecclesial rupture with painful and incalculable consequences," so Bishop Fellay and leaders of the society were asked to further clarify their response to a "doctrinal preamble" the Vatican asked them to study last September (more).

St Patrick's Day in Ivanhoe parish
Saturday 17 march 2012

After the 6.30pm Mass at St Bernadette’s Church on Saturday 17th March, there will be an opportunity in celebration of St Patrick's day to gather and share supper at the Cunningham Centre, 93 Bond St, Ivanhoe. You're welcome bring food and / or Irish refreshments to share with others – coffee and tea provided.

Spain priest drive offers steady job
Edited Extract from The Australian, Friday 16 March 2012

Surging unemployment in Spain, one organisation is still keen to hire - the Catholic church, which promises steady work for modest pay in a new online priest recruitment drive."I do not promise you a great salary. I promise you a permanent job," says one of the priests in a video launched by the Episcopal Conference, the body representing Spain's bishops, on YouTube. "How many promises have they made you that have not been fulfilled?" a voice asks at the start of the clip, in an apparent reference to the frustrations of Spain's five million unemployed - nearly a quarter of the workforce."I do not promise you will live a luxurious life. I promise your wealth will be eternal," says another priest in the video (more)

Church has nothing to hide, says Archbishop Hart

Extract from Catholic News,Wednesday 14 March 2012

The Church in Melbourne has nothing to hide from an independent inquiry into its handling of sexual abuse allegations under the Melbourne Response, Archbishop Denis Hart has told The Age. Archbishop Hart said he was confident any independent inquiry into its Melbourne Response protocol would confirm this. But he declined to welcome an inquiry - saying he could not do so until he saw the terms of reference - or to comment on the handling of complaints before the protocol was introduced in 1996 (more).

British stroke victim wins right to ask for euthanasia
Extract from Alan Cowell, London, NYT, The Age,Wednesday March 14, 2012

A British stroke victim paralysed from the neck down and suffering from locked-in syndrome won the right to seek changes in a law that would enable a doctor to end what he has called an ''intolerable life'' without risking murder charges. Playing into an emotional debate on assisted suicide for those with severe disabilities, the case brought by the stroke victim, Tony Nicklinson, went one step further since he is physically unable to participate in his own suicide and is thus seeking to make it legal for a physician to take his life. Mr Nicklinson, 57, ''does accept that he is now inviting the court to cross the Rubicon'', Justice William Charles said as he allowed the case to proceed on two of three arguments presented to him. The Ministry of Justice had sought to quash all three challenges by arguing that it was for Parliament, not the courts, to decide the issue (more).

Zero tolerance for ritual humiliation
Extract from Michael Mullins, Eureka Street, Sunday 11 March 2012

The Church is recognised as having tolerated abuse of children and young adults, and sometimes regarded it as character building, in connection with corporal punishment and activities such as drinking rituals at university residential colleges. Yesterday’s Sun-Herald led with the story of a first-year female student at the Catholic St John’s College at Sydney University rushed to hospital after being pressured to consume an initiation drink during an Orientation Week ritual. In recent years other colleges at the university have also had to deal with the entrenched culture of ritual humiliation involving alcohol and sex. A student from Wesley College at Sydney University wrote in 2009 "Many young women feel disempowered, or attempt to win male 'respect' by going along with their incessant chanting to 'get your tits out for the boys' – and losing their self-respect". (moreSubscription to Eureka Street is free.

New Look Parish Newsletter - Friday 9 March 2012
Following suggestions from some parishioners the printed weekly Newsletter (also downloadable via this website) has been partly re-structured. The intent is to make it easier to follow Mass Responses, and to provide clearer parish contact information. What do you think of the new format? Comments to Your Views welcome.

Brief Summary of recent Pastoral Leadership Team meeting
Friday 9 March 2012

A summary of some of the matters arising during the PLT meeting on 29 February is published on the Website Leadership Team page (under 'People')

Brisbane priest handed suspended prison sentence
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 8 March 2012

A priest who pleaded guilty to eight counts of making child exploitation material has been sentenced to nine months in prison, to be wholly suspended, reports The Brisbane Times (more).

Greens to reignite euthanasia debate
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 7 March 2012

Australian Greens MP Adam Bandt will use question time in parliament next week to try to reignite the voluntary euthanasia debate, said a report on ninemsn.com.au. Mr Bandt has agreed to ask Prime Minister Julia Gillard about the issue following a poll on the most popular question time topics by activist website OurSay.Org. "The old parties have vacated the political battlefield of ideas, so they shy away from advancing issues like dying with dignity ... despite having popular support to do so," he said. Mr Bandt said he was a longstanding supporter of voluntary euthanasia (more).

Hackers take down Vatican website

Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 7 March 2012

A hacker group called Anonymous has taken down the Vatican's website, saying it was targeting the "corrupt" Church, a day after a high-profile bust of the group's alleged leaders, reports AFP on AdelaideNow. Five alleged computer hackers in Britain, Ireland and the United States were charged this week in high-profile cyberattacks after a leader of the group became an FBI informant. "Anonymous decided today to besiege your site in response to the doctrine, to the liturgies, to the absurd and anachronistic concepts that your for-profit organisation spreads around the world," the hackers said about the attack on the Vatican site. "This attack is not against the Christian religion or the faithful around the world but against the corrupt Roman Apostolic Church," they said on the Italian-language version of the Anonymous website (more).

Constant noise detracts from prayer: Pope

Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 7 March 2012

The constant noise that accompanies modern life is an enemy of God's word being heard in prayer, Pope Benedict said, according to the Catholic News Agency. "Interior and exterior silence are necessary in order to hear that Word," and yet, "our age does not, in fact, favor reflection and contemplation," the Pope said yesterday. On the contrary, "it seems that people are afraid to detach themselves, even for an instant, from the spate of words and images which mark and fill our days." (more)

US college drops priest over support for women's ordination

Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 7 March 2012

American priest Father John Shea's contract at the Jesuit-run Boston College has been terminated because of his insistence that women should be allowed to enter the priesthood, said a report on  ucanews.com. Several students are protesting the decision by the college to not renew the contract of the adjunct professor in its School of Theology and Ministry, who has openly questioned why the Church won't ordain women, reports wbur.org. The Boston College mission statement on its website talks about the Jesuit foundation of the school that makes it unique. It reads: "No other institution so explicitly embodies the fundamental human desire to know." But after Fr Shea, a professor of pastoral care and counseling, asked church leaders for a theological explanation for why women are not being ordained to the priesthood of the Catholic church, he was let go, the report said (more).

Women making a difference: Penny Williams
Edited Extract from Jo Chandler, The Age, Thursday 8 March 2012

Today is International Women's Day. The job description for Australia's first global ambassador for women and girls is formidable: to advocate for gender equality and the social, political and economic empowerment of women and girls, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.In the six months since stepping into the role last September, career diplomat Penny Williams has approached her mission by identifying three priorities — one geographic, two strategic (more)

2012 Harmony Day on 21 March  'Fun With Faith'                                                                                                                                              Thursday 8 March 2012
Manningham Interfaith Network invites you to attend Manningham Harmony Day celebration of the cultural and religious diversity of our community on 21 March.This year the Theme is “Fun With Faith”. The continuing message for Harmony Day in 2012 is ‘Everyone Belongs’. The evening will include Mohammed (aka Mo) who is a Melbourne-based Community Worker, Comedian, and contestant on the Amazing Race Australia. The event also includes faith and cultural performances and local children’s choirs reflecting unity and connecting together, followed by refreshments. Details on  Website "Events" page or download brochure.

New galaxies stun science

Extracts from Bridie Smith, The Age, Thursday 8 March 2012

Finding the most distant example yet of a galaxy cluster was like finding an ancient city, according to the international team of astronomers who located it in one of the most well-studied regions of the sky.The discovery of the cluster, a dense concentration of 30 galaxies 10.5 billion light years from our Milky Way, is outlined in the latest edition of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.Lead author of the paper Lee Spitler, from Swinburne University of Technology, said the find was exciting because it had been overlooked for so long....Observed using the Magellan Telescopes at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile over 40 hours, the galaxy cluster was sighted when the universe was in its relative infancy at only 3 billion years old....Finding the system at such an early stage will possibly tell researchers more about the evolution of the universe and how galaxies are influenced by their environment.''We like to understand how galaxies change because that helps us make a model of how this universe evolved,'' Dr Spitler said (more).

Killing inconvenient infants
Extracts from Opinion, Barney Zwartz, The Age, Wednesday 7 March 2011

Something is seriously wrong when ''logic'' tells two academics it is fine to kill infants if they are inconvenient since infants are not ''persons''.This is the argument advanced by two Melbourne philosophers in the Journal of Medical Ethics. They suggest that it is permissible to kill live infants who might be a burden to their families, in the same way they might have been aborted before birth.....''This was a theoretical and academic article,''' Dr Minerva told The Age. ''I'm not in favour of infanticide. I'm just using logical arguments.'' However, she carefully defined her proposal as ''after-birth abortion'' and not infanticide, leaving it unclear what she does favour (more).                                                                                                                                                                                         

Indigenous jail rate 'shameful'
Extract from Dan Oakes, The Age, Tuesday 6 March 2012

Aboriginal youths are 25 times more likely to be imprisoned than their non-indigenous counterparts, a figure Aboriginal legal activists have called ''shameful''. They are also much more likely to be the subject of child abuse notifications and protection orders.Australian Bureau of Statistics figures also show that adult prisoners are 18 times more likely to be indigenous than non-indigenous, more than double the figure 20 years ago.''I think it's shameful that in a 20-year period those figures have actually increased,'' Shane Duffy, chairman of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service Forum said.Mr Duffy said that while governments often had the best of intentions, they were ignorant of what was needed to fix the massive disparity between the indigenous and non-indigenous prison population.''They still fail to see the need for rehabilitation and diversionary centres for our people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. They still fail to adequately fund alternative dispute resolution processes,'' he said. Detention rates for indigenous juveniles are currently 28 times higher than the rate of non-indigenous juveniles (more).

Catholics facing dark days, says US priest

Extract from Barney Zwartz, The Age, Tuesday 6 March 2012

Catholicism is in one of the darkest periods of its history - and the worst ever in the United States - according to a visiting priest who has just finished an international 10-part television series about the church. Media expert Robert Barron says the sexual abuse crisis has ''undermined the church in almost every aspect of its life'', but because ''the wrong people are telling the story'' (the secular media) only the negative side emerges.''There's always been a shadow side over the church: the Crusades, the Inquisition, the witch burnings. But that doesn't undermine the beauty and integrity of the church,'' he said yesterday.Father Barron is in Melbourne as a Catholic evangelist, speaking to young people, churches and theological faculties, as part of a 13-day national tour (more).

 Parish hosts local World Day of Prayer today
Friday 2 February 2012, 10:00am

World Day of Prayer is a worldwide movement of Christians (originally Christian women) of all traditions, races and cultures who come together to observe a common day of prayer each year, in a tradition of friendship, understanding and action throughout the year. That day was today and this year the theme 'Let Justice Prevail' inspired the shared prayers, readings and hymns, and ongoing actions, and internationally was the turn of Malaysia to plan.  Next year it will be the turn of France. Within our local area it was the opportunity and privilege for Ivanhoe Parish to host this great event and Merle Gilbo led the  powerful and moving service with shared participation, followed by animated ecumenical morning tea in a wonderfully crowded Parish Office.

Inquiry push over clergy abuse cases
Extracts from Reid Sexton, The Age. Thursday 1 March 2012

A public investigation into how religious organisations in Victoria such as the Catholic Church have handled child abuse allegations is a step closer after a ground-breaking report found it should proceed.The Protecting Victoria's Vulnerable Children Inquiry said a Baillieu government-backed investigation should proceed, with private investigations stretching back decades potentially denying victims justice.''A private system of investigation and compensation, no matter how faithfully conducted … cannot fulfil the responsibility of the state to investigate and prosecute crime,'' it said.''There is a strong public interest in the ascertainment of whether past abuses have been institutionally hidden, whether religious organisations have been active or complicit in that suppression, and in revealing what processes and procedures were employed.'' Supporters of an inquiry say more than 65 people within the Catholic Church in Victoria including brothers and priests have been convicted of abuse since 1993...The vulnerable children report, released this week and overseen by retired Supreme Court Judge Phillip Cummins, said the investigation should have power to compel witnesses and seize evidence (more).

North Korea agrees to nuclear moratorium
Extract from BBC News, Thursday 1 March 2012

North Korea has agreed to suspend uranium enrichment, as well as nuclear and long-range missile tests, following talks with the US. The US State Department said Pyongyang had also agreed to allow UN inspectors to monitor its reactor in Yongbyon to verify compliance with the measures. In return, the US is finalising 240,000 tonnes of food aid for the North.The move comes two months after Kim Jong-un came to power following the death of his father, Kim Jong-il. Correspondents say the move could pave the way for the resumption of six-party disarmament negotiations with Pyongyang, which last broke down in 2009 (more). Photo AFP

Dutch launch mobile euthanasia units
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 1 March 2012

Six specialised teams, each with a doctor, are criss-crossing the Netherlands to carry out euthanasia on patients at home whose own doctors refuse to do so, said a report in The Canberra Times. The plan, by the Right to Die-NL (NVVE), has led to one of the Netherlands' largest lobby groups for doctors questioning whether ''Life-end clinic'' doctors would be able to form a close enough relationship with a patient to assess if their life should be ended. Made up of a specially-trained doctor and nurse who will work part-time for the Life-end clinic initiative, teams will be able to visit patients all over the country (more).

Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Inquiry
Extracts from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Wednesday 29 February 2012

"The wellbeing and safety of all children and families is of fundamental importance to the Church," the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart said yesterday, responding to the tabling in the Victorian Parliament of the Report of the Protecting Victoria's Vulnerable Children Inquiry.....The Archbishop said, "Many sectors of our community will be studying the Report and will form views on its findings and recommendations.“Detailed responses will be provided by the Church as the Report and its recommendations are examined," Archbishop Hart said (more).

Parents slam religious 'segregation'

Extract from Jewel Topsfield and Craig Butt, The Age. Thursday 1 March 2012

Controversial religious instruction classes are three times more likely to be taught at government primary schools in Melbourne's eastern suburbs than in the ethnically diverse west. The Victorian Education Department forces primary schools to run the classes if an accredited religious instructor is available, although parents can choose to opt their children out. However, a survey by lobby group Fairness in Religions in School reveals only 28 per cent of schools in Melbourne's west provide special religious instruction, compared with more than 87 per cent of schools in the eastern suburbs (more).

Archaeologists reveal findings of early Christian artefacts
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 29 February 2012

Archaeologists and authors of a new book published in late February have revealed that they have literally "unearthed" new information which may provide an unprecedented glimpse into Christianity's earliest days, reports The Inquisitr....in a "nearly intact" first-century tomb located below a modern condominium building in Jerusalem, a team of archeologists led by Simcha Jacobovici has found ossuaries - bone boxes for the dead - bearing engravings that could be the earliest evidence of Christian iconography in Jerusalem.The tomb has been dated to before AD 70, so if its engravings are indeed early Christian, they were most likely made by some of Jesus' earliest followers, according to the excavators. One of the limestone ossuaries bears an inscription in Greek that includes a reference to "Divine Jehovah raising someone up" - the earliest archeological evidence of "faith in Jesus' resurrection from the dead." (more) Photo: The Inquisitr

Masses Streamed Live
John Costa, Wednesday 29 February 2012

This Parish has a tradition of being ahead in various ways. Some years ago our Communication Group explored the possibility of "Streaming" Masses or special events so that those who were physically unable to join the parish community could do some from home via their home computer. It is not unlike "Mass at Home" that used to be broadcast via TV. At the time it was made clear to the Parish that it could not do such a thing. Last year the Archdiocese of Melbourne began streaming special Masses from St Patrick's Cathedral. Now the Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay in NSW has started Streaming Masses at 9:30am each Saturday, 9:30am Sundays, and weekdays at 8:30am.  (here)

National apology needed over forced adoptions, says CHA
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 29 February 2012

Catholic Health Australia (CHA) has endorsed a key recommendation of the Senate Inquiry report into past adoption practices that proposes a national apology, the organisation said in a statement. CHA is also calling on state and territory government community services ministers to adopt the Senate's action plan when they meet on March 30. CHA chief executive officer Martin Laverty said he is pleased that many of the recommendations his organisation made to the Inquiry have been embraced because "we think they are concrete steps that can help those affected by past adoption practices move towards healing." Catholic Health Australia last year issued an apology to those "who carry broken hearts as a result of the role that some Catholic organisations played in this widespread, common public policy practice of years past" (more).

Cell breakthrough may boost fertility treatment
Extract from Ryan Flinn, Bloomberg Agencies, The Age, Tuesday 28 February 2012

American scientists say they have found a way to produce human eggs from stem cells, raising hope of an advance in treating infertility in women. The researchers say their discovery has swept away the belief women have a limited stock of eggs, and replaces it with the theory that supply is continuously replenished from precursor cells in ovaries.......The researchers say their discovery has swept away the belief women have a limited stock of eggs, and replaces it with the theory that supply is continuously replenished from precursor cells in ovaries (more).

Pope Benedict becomes 6th oldest pontiff
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 28 February 2012

Pope Benedict today passes his predecessor Pope John Paul II in becoming the sixth oldest pope in the history of the Church, completing 84 years, 10 months, 2 weeks and 1 day, according to Rome Reports.The ranking only looks at the popes elected since the year 1400, because there are no precise records that existed beforehand. The popes that were older than Benedict XVI include Innocent XII and Pius XI, who both died at 85 years old, Clement X was 86, Clement XII lived to 87, and topping the list is Leo XIII, who served as pope until he was 93 (more).

Dysfunction in the Church and the ALP
Extract from Michael Mullins, Eureka Street, Sunday 26 February 2012

As an institution stricken with dysfunction, the ALP shares a bleak outlook with unions, churches and other organisations that are similarly sustained by shared ideals and belief systems, but are struggling. They all find it difficult to sell their values to a wider public and to recruit new generations of members. There seems to be a tension between marketability and remaining faithful to the original charism or inspiration. In the past, these have worked in tandem, as they should. But it could be that the institutions have lost their nerve and no longer know how to be authentic, despite explicit and well-publicised attempts to be 'real' (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free

Canberra, Compassion and Uluru.
John Costa, Friday 24 February 2012

There have been many words and much speculation over the dramatically unfolding leadership storm in Canberra this week. Most of the action is yet to happen, from early next week. Whilst of course not ignoring such a significant issue our website will leave frequent developments and commentary to the general media, perhaps allowing ourselves for now to focus as well on the lenten period ahead, and the the associated human, real life objectives of Project Compassion (read more and watch Caritas video below). Perhaps at the same time the Azaria Chamberlain issue going back to 1980 can be finally laid to rest in Darwin Coroner's Court today?  Update - The Coroner will hand down her findings at a later date.   Image, Flickr, Taipan 2007

Govt can't guarantee school fees won't rise
Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 23 February 2012

The Federal Government says it can't guarantee tuition fees won't rise under a shake-up of school funding, reports The Herald Sun. School Education Minister Peter Garrett yesterday faced his first community forum in Canberra on the Gonski report, and promised payments would be indexed. But he sidestepped some audience questions, including one on whether school fees would rise. He later said he had no control of what individual non-government schools did. "It's an issue that depends on the settings the schools do in relation to fees and whether parents want to continue to pay it," Mr Garrett said. "It's a matter between the parent and the school." (mor

UK Minister rules Cath schools can promote Church teaching on homosexuality
Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 23 February 2012

The British Education Secretary, Michael Gove, has defended the right of Catholic schools to promote Church teaching on homosexuality following a complaint from the country's Trade Union Congress (TUC)....Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, had written to Mr Gove complaining that the distribution of "homophobic material" in some classrooms in Lancashire undermined equality laws. In response, Mr Gove said that the content of a curriculum was not covered by the Equality Act, but added that any berating or harassing of gay pupils would be unlawful....He said: "The education provisions of the Equality Act which prohibit discrimination against individuals based on their protected characteristics (including their sexual orientation) do not extend to the content of the curriculum. Any materials used in sex and relationship education lessons, therefore, will not be subject to the discrimination provisions of the act." (more)

Project Compassion 2012 launched
Edited Extracts from Fiona Basile, Kairos Catholic Journal, Tuesday 21 February 2012

Caritas Australia, with Archbishop Denis Hart, officially launched the 2012 Project Compassion campaign in the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne today. The theme for this year’s Lenten campaign is “If you want peace, work for justice”, words originally spoken by Pope Paul VI....“This year on 1 January, World Day of Peace, Pope Benedict reiterated this sentiment when he said ‘We as Christians cannot turn away from the challenges that we face, that we have to actively engage in transforming our world and spreading the Good News of Jesus’.” (more). Ivanhoe and other parishes will provide further information on project Compassion during Lent. Watch an informative Caritas Project Compassion video here on Timor Leste.

Mexican Catholics' disconnect between faith and practice
Extract from Feature, Catholic , Tuesday 21 February 2012

Mexican President Felipe Calderon recently travelled to the border city of Ciudad Juarez to boast of improvements in public safety and witness the destruction of a cache of illegal guns, grenades and ammunition, which he blamed for contributing to more than 10,000 deaths there since 2008, reports the Catholic News Service. He also received an inadvertent reminder of some of the extreme expressions of faith in Mexico when an army colonel showed him a sample of the assembled arsenal: pistols plated in gold and silver and engraved with images of saints and Our Lady of Guadalupe. Professions of piety are common and diverse in Mexico, where a quasi-religious drug cartel teaches from its own text, the downtrodden venerate pseudo-saints such as Santa Muerte, and Our Lady of Guadalupe and her role in Mexican life and history form part of the national identity - even in a country with an official secular ethos and government (more).

Why atheists still need churches and consolation
Extract from Kylie Northover, The Age, Tuesday 21 February 2012

Atheism needs to take cues from religion in order to evolve, says populist Swiss philosopher and best-selling author Alain de Botton. A firm atheist, de Botton believes the shared community embodied by religions needs to be reclaimed by non-believers. UK-based de Botton is in Melbourne to discuss his new book, Religion For Atheists, in which he proposes atheists can learn from the rituals and even the architecture of religion, and proposes ''temples to atheism''.''I was reported by the British press to be actually setting up a sort of 'cult for reason', but it's just a proposal,'' he said yesterday. ''The argument is that religion has these fantastic spaces, churches and cathedrals - they're big, beautifully made and look great, but if you go in as a non-believer, it's alienating.''De Botton says non-believers should create their own contemplative spaces (more).

Bishop Costelloe appointed Archbishop of Perth

Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Monday 20 February 2012

Pope Benedict XVI announced in Rome today the appointment of Bishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, as Archbishop of Perth, Western Australia succeeding Archbishop Barry Hickey. Bishop Costelloe is presently Auxiliary Bishop of the Northern Region of the Archdiocese of Melbourne and Episcopal Vicar for Tertiary Education in the Archdiocese.   He will take up his position as Archbishop of Perth on 21 March 2012 (more).

DNA is not destiny
Extracts from Nick Miller, The Sunday Age, 19 February 2012

"They f--- you up, your mum and dad./They may not mean to, but they do./They fill you with the faults they had/And add some extra, just for you.'' Philip Larkin's best-known poem sets the scene for one of the most hard-fought, even acrimonious disputes in science. Ten years ago, the human genome crumbled into its component parts. Here, we were told, was the blueprint for humanity. A child is a recipe written at conception, pre-programmed with the genes for cancer, the genes for depression, obesity, politics and sexuality, lives laid out in advance, assembling themselves in stop-motion as we helplessly watch. But New York philosopher Jesse Prinz wants to call a halt to the ''century of the gene''. In a new book, Beyond Human Nature, he gathers the arguments of a growing number of scientists who take the side of nurture against nature, in a backlash against the tyranny of DNA....As hard as it might be for parents to hear, he says, the evidence actually suggests that most of their child's abilities, personality and future success depend on how and where they are raised (more).  Photo:Dan Callister

'VatiLeaks' embarrass the Holy See
Extracts from Elisabetta Povoledo, New York Times, The Sunday Age, 19 February 2012

As the world's Catholics prepare for the addition of 22 members to the College of Cardinals, the Vatican is embroiled in an embarrassing scandal in which leaked documents have exposed the church's inner workings.....The widespread feeling among experts is that the letters were a volley in a battle among officials jousting for power in a papal court whose anointed leader, they say, is more concerned with theological questions than with day-to-day affairs (more).

Lent and Ivanhoe Parish
Friday 17th February 2012

Starting from Ash Wednesday on 22 February the Lenten theme this year is "Towards The light". Through prayerful reading and listening to the Lenten Gospels each week we have an opportunity to cast a new light on our lives and our world. During this time we also have an opportunity to fast and make some personal sacrifice. Fr Thang reminds us that fasting is about more than refraining from food or other pleasures. In Isaiah 58:1-12, the Lord explains that fasting that does not lead to works of charity does us no good. Again this year Project Compassion provides an opportunity to help those in need. Details of special Masses and other parish Lenten events will be progressively available on the website Mass Details & Liturgy pages, and parish Newsletter. Image:CasaBeltran

More iPhones sold per second than babies born
Extract from Rachel Wells, The Age, Friday 17th February 2012

There are now more Apple iPhones sold per second than there are babies born in the world. In the December quarter, Apple sold 37 million of the world's most popular smartphone, at a rate of 4.6 per second.This compares to the current global birth rate of about 4.2 births every second. While the United Nations predicts the birth rate will soon climb to five births a second - as the global population surpasses 7 billion - the rate of smartphones sales is likely to grow even faster (more).

In good company
John Costa, Friday 30 December 2011

At Fr Thang's recent Installation Mass at Ivanhoe Parish an iPad was presented to him by our three Primary Schools in support of his role as Parish Priest. Observant parishioners will have noticed that this device has indeed already been put to excellent use across the Parish. Pope Benedict was similarly presented with an iPad on the recent occasion of the 60th anniversary of his ordination as a Priest, and he has since used it in numerous ways, including launch of a Christmas display and relaunch of the Vatican Website. Before the new Missal has been universally printed it is already readily available as an iPad application (App), and a large array of Catholic Newspapers and publications are available for the iPad and similar Readers. A young visitor from Tasmania (Year 11 student) was recently observed at an Ivanhoe Parish Mass, following the celebration on his iPad. It might not look as impressive as a leather bound and gilded Missal but it's now a lot more accessible. Photo CNS

The moral measure of climate crisis
Extract from National Catholic Reporter Editorial, Wednesday 28th December 2011

Our Catholic institutions have always provided excellent elementary, secondary and college educations. We nurture our children’s spirits with prayer and good catechesis. We hope they will acquire a conscience for social justice while deepening their ecological awareness. Catholics have always had an admirable future focus. We need that focus on the future of our children now more than ever....(more)

In the face of church's change, new liturgy is really 'Whatever'
Extract from Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter, Wednesday 28th December 2011

....Those of us who by virtue of our circumstances (religion writers, for instance, or professional liturgists) know the back story to the changes are more likely than not to bristle at the rather saccharine presentation of reasons for the changes. The reality, of course, is that the changes were as much as anything else about power and maintaining control, rolling back the language that came to reflect the changes in theology and community disposition that occurred as a result of the Vatican Council of the 1960s. Yes, yes, it was to restore some of the majesty and awe, some of the precision of the Latin upon which the prayers are based, to restore anew the sense of mystery and to re-establish the distance between priest and people.....(more)

Move to segregate women leads to violence in Israel
Extract from Menahem Kahana, Israel. The Age, Wednesday 28 December 2011

Fights have broken out between police and several hundred ultra-Orthodox Jews from a town near Jerusalem who are campaigning for men and women to be segregated. Israeli police had stepped up patrols in Beit Shemesh after unrest sparked by discrimination against women imposed by religious Jews. Several demonstrators were taken in for questioning after police and journalists were roughed up and insulted by ultra-Orthodox men (more). Photo AFP

Christian on death row fears poisoning
Extract from Rob Crilly, The Age, Wednesday 28 December 2011

A Pakistani Christian on death row after being convicted of blasphemy has described how she has to cook her own meals for fear of being poisoned. The case of Asia Bibi has been taken up by Pakistan's small band of liberal reformers since it was reported in November last year. It has also exposed the power wielded by extremist clerics and the persecution faced by a tiny Christian minority.In her first interview from behind bars, she described the miserable conditions in prison as she waits for the chance to appeal against her conviction (more).

Vatican opens secret archives
Extract from Nick Squires, The Age, Wednesday 28 December 2011

As the confidential correspondence of popes, princes and potentates, they have been jealously guarded for centuries. Now 100 of the most historically significant documents held by the Vatican's Secret Archives are to go on public display in Rome, the first and probably last time that they will leave the buttressed stone walls of the tiny city state.The priceless documents span more than a millennium, from the 8th century to modern times, and feature a cast of historical characters, ranging from the Knights Templar to Galileo, Martin Luther and Henry VIII (more).

The Good News

Painting: The Nativity, Gerard Van Honthorst, 1622

Extract from Reflection of The Week, Gregory Sunter, Liturgical Commission, Brisbane 2011

"......Rather than the impressive ‘Wise Men’ of the Matthew infancy account, the witnesses to Jesus’ birth in the Luke account are lowly shepherds. Unlike the somewhat romantic notion we may have of shepherds, in Jesus’ time they were regarded as little better than thieves and cut-throats. All they could be trusted to do was tend sheep outside of townships and away from ‘civilised’ society. They held one of the lowest positions in Jewish society. The gospel writer’s choice of these witnesses to the birth of Jesus is a very deliberate one that clearly announces the purpose and direction of Jesus’ mission....."                                                                           

Parish Christmas Greetings
We wish all parishioners, friends and visitors a very happy and a holy Christmas, as well as a safe and peaceful New Year. Best wishes - Fr Thang, Leadership Teams & Parish Office Staff

Personal Messages                                                                                                                                                                                           See personal messages from Fr John Cunninghan, Fr Len Thomas and Fr Thang on the Personal Notices page.

World's women demand a fair say
Extract from Opinion Piece, The Age, Friday 23 December 2011

The images of women turning out for their biggest protest in Egypt's history suggest a profound cultural change has begun since the ousting of Hosni Mubarak. In almost every repressive society, women are a soft target for misogyny, violence and sexual abuse. The culture of repression permeates a society. When men dominate the security apparatus, it often falls to women to say enough is enough. Their vulnerability becomes a moral shield (more).                                                                                        

Sth Korean bishops send condolences to North
Extracts from Catholic news, Wednesday 21 December 2011

Religious leaders in South Korea extended condolences to the North over the death of Kim Jong-il this week, saying that religious exchanges across the border should continue, reports ucanews.com  (more)

Pakistan: Christmas in prison
Extract from Eva-Maria Kolmann, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Wednesday 21 December 2011  

Life in a Pakistani prison is truly a punishment. Torture is the order of the day. Conditions in prison are terrible. There is only one washing facility for a hundred prisoners, and the cells are tiny and overcrowded. Some prisoners die from heat-stroke or from heart failure. In 2010 alone, 72 people in Pakistan died in prison. For Christians it is even far worse. They are already disadvantaged and oppressed in their "normal life", but their situation in prison is even more precarious.But in the prison of Faisalabad, the Christ Child also pays a call at Christmas time. Dominican Father Iftikhar Moon and other members of his order visit the prisoners (more).

Archbishop Denis Hart's 2011 Christmas message
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Wednesday 21 December 2011

...The blessings of Christmas are precious but fragile. A child is born into poverty. Kings worship at his crib, but another king threatens his life. This child becomes the world's greatest teacher, who offers us new hope and the means to be saved. He offers us the possibility of giving to others; our time, our interest, our love, and he promises us a joy beyond what we can imagine....(more)

Ancient document sheds new light on Magi story
Extracts from Catholic news, Wednesday 21 December 2011

Ancient document sheds new light on Magi story....Perhaps the biggest divergence from the traditional Nativity story is that according to The Revelation there were "scores" of Magi (more).

Two faiths, one goal: Lord Sacks at the Vatican
Extract from Dr Edward Kessler, The Tablet, 17 December 2011

"When a civilisation loses its faith, it loses its future. When it recovers its faith, it recovers its future. For the sake of our children, and their children not yet born, we - Jews and Christians, side by side - must renew our faith and its prophetic voice. We must help Europe recover its soul." (more)

The high cost of the now-defunct war in Iraq
Extract from NCR Editorial, National Catholic Reporter, Thursday 15 December 2011

And, like that, the war is over. Over with a somber ceremony in a highly secured location in Baghdad. Over with a simple, two-word "Welcome home" from President Barack Obama in a ceremony at Fort Bragg, N.C. Conspicuously missing were the throngs of cheering, pro-American Iraqis that existed so long ago in the fevered imaginations of former President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and those who manufactured a war out of misrepresented intelligence and fictions about threats and weapons of mass destruction (more).

Marriage rate at new low in America
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 15 December 2011

A record low of barely half of Americans are currently married, according to a Pew Research Centre analysis of Census data, reports the BBC. Just 51% of adult Americans are married, compared with 72% in 1960. The median age of first marriage has also hit a new high, of 26.5 for brides and 28.7 for grooms.Pew said the number of adults co-habitating, single-person households and single parents had meanwhile increased in recent decades (more).

Same-sex couple turn down enrolment offer
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 14 December 2011

A homosexual couple whose daughter was originally rejected by a school in far northwestern NSW has turned down an offer of enrolment, after the acting head of the Wilcannia-Forbes diocese, Bishop Kevin Manning (pic), instructed the school to offer the child a position, reports the ABC and the Australian. Bishop Manning described as "absolutely appalling" the decision by the Sacred Heart Primary School in Broken Hill not to offer the young girl a place, the Australian said (more).

Petition to Pope
Over 8,000 Catholics of goodwill signed a petition to Pope Benedict during this year in anticipation of the Australian Catholic Bishops Ad Limina visit to Rome. Prepared by Catholics for Renewal it basically re-affirmed the faith of signatories, made observations on the the state of the church, respectfully expressed a need for some changes and requested greater consultation on Church matters. The Ad Limina meeting has come and gone but response to the petition so far appears to have been zero.

Traditional Anglican Communion primate resigns
Edited Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 13 December 2011  
                                                                                                                                   Archbishop John Hepworth has resigned as the global head of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), reports the Australian....Arcbishop Hepworth said his decision to resign followed the acceptance by Rome of the Anglicanorum Coetibus, a declaration by the Pope that will allow the TAC to be included as an ordinariate of the Catholic Church (more).

Installing and celebrating a new Parish Priest for Ivanhoe
Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Tuesday 13 December 2011

With permission from Ivanhoe Parish The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne Website has published a report with photos on Fr Thang's recent Installation Mass as originally reported on this website. (more)

Pastoral Leadership Team meeting of 30 November 2011
A brief report on the pastoral Leadership Team meeting of 30 November has just been published on the Leadership Team Page (or see under "People" button).

Black hole discovery is Einstein's worst nightmare
Edited Extracts from Dennis Overbyem, The Age, Thursday 8 December 2011

Scientists have discovered a black hole called Sagittarius A is gobbling up legions of planets and asteroids....Black holes, regions of space where gravity is so intense not even light can escape it, are among the weirdest of the predictions of Albert Einstein's curved-space theory of gravity - general relativity - so weird that Einstein himself did not believe it. He once wrote to a friend there ought to be a law of nature forbidding such a thing....Observations with the Hubble Space Telescope have shown such giant black holes seem to inhabit the centres of all galaxies - the bigger the galaxy, the bigger the black hole. Researchers say the new work could shed light on the role black holes play in the formation and evolution of galaxies....Astronomers say they have taken the measure of the biggest, baddest black holes yet found in the universe, abyssal yawns 10 times the size of our solar system into which billions of suns have vanished.....(more)

Mobile euthanasia teams being considered by Dutch government
Extracts from Simon Caldwell,  The Telegraph (UK), Thursday 8 December 2011

Plans to introduce mobile medical teams that can euthanise people in their own homes are being considered by the Dutch government....The teams of doctors and nurses would be sent out from a clinic following a referral from the patient's doctor....The proposals were disclosed by Edith Schippers, the health minister. In a written answer to questions from Christian Union MPs she said that mobile units "for patients who meet the criteria for euthanasia but whose doctors are unwilling to carry it out" was worthy of consideration."If the patient thinks it desirable, the doctor can refer him or her to a mobile team or clinic," the minister wrote (more).

Query on role of the Queen
Extract from Rowena Mason, London The Age, Thursday 8 December 2011

The Queen's role as head of the Church of England may no longer be ''appropriate'' following changes to the law of succession, a group of British MPs has suggested. Reforms agreed earlier this year by Commonwealth countries would create a potential conflict of interest because they allow a monarch to marry a Catholic, said a parliamentary committee. It said that if a future heir to the throne was raised as a Catholic, there would be an ''obvious difficulty'' in that person becoming head of the Anglican Church (more).

French MPs vote to outlaw prostitution
Edited Extract from AFP, The Australian, Wednesday 7 December 2011

French parliamentarians have voted in favour of outlawing prostitution in the country, setting the stage for the introduction of a bill that would impose fines and jail time for paying for sex.The move comes despite France's long history of liberal attitudes toward sex and with the country gripped by coverage of a prostitution scandal involving former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who has been linked with a pimping ring operating out of luxury hotels in the northern city of Lille.The non-binding resolution on the "abolition of prostitution", drafted by a cross-party commission, was approved in a show of hands vote in the lower house  National Assembly. MPs from the commission were expected to introduce a bill later Tuesday or in the next few days to criminalise paying for sex (more).

Rights of gays to figure in US foreign aid
Extracts from Margaret Tale (Washington), The Age, Thursday 8 December 2011

US President Barack Obama speaks on the economy and an extension of the payroll tax cut at Osawatomie High School December 6, 2011 in Osawatomie, Kansas. US President Barack Obama has directed aid agencies and diplomats to 'promote and protect' the rights of homosexuals. The Obama administration will weigh how countries treat gays and lesbians in making decisions about foreign aid, according to a presidential memorandum released by the White House....''Gay rights are human rights,'' US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Geneva, presenting the US policy in a speech to the UN Human Rights Council (more).

Why I don't preach on abortion
Extract from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, Wednesday 7 December 2011

Preaching is not a highly esteemed activity. When people are accused of preaching they are held to be boring, moralising and bullying. Those qualities presumably were found earlier in sermons preached in church. They may also perhaps be discerned in articles on preaching. But the questions to which preachers are asked to respond usually have more to do with the subject matter of their sermons than of their style. I am often asked, for example, if I preach on abortion and, if not, why not. The questioners sometimes kindly supply me with the answer. If I do not preach on abortion, it is surely because I am afraid of alienating my liberal friends. Such questions and imputed answers are quite helpful. They remind us preachers that preaching is not a solitary sin but one in which other people are complicit. They also make us reflect on which topics we choose and avoid, and on why we do so (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference Plenary Wrap Up                                                                                                                                            An ABCB report on the proceedings of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Plenary Meeting which took place from 22-25 November at Mary MacKillop Place may be downloaded here.

Gay marriage debate has a long way to go
Extract from Frank Brennan, Tuesday 6 December 2011

On the weekend the ALP party conference voted to amend the party platform on same sex marriage. The platform now states: 'Labor will amend the Marriage Act to ensure equal access to marriage under statute for all adult couples irrespective of sex who have a mutual commitment to a shared life.'Churches and religious organisations will retain the freedom to perform marriage ceremonies only for a man and a woman eligible for marriage under the rules of the church or organisation (more).  Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

International Day of People with Disability,
Extract of Letter from Bishop Terence J Brady, Australian Catholic Bishop's Conference, Friday 2 December 2011

...."In the life of our parishes, one of the challenges is to ensure that all people are included in the life of the Church, especially people with disability, their families and friends who support them. The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has developed a new resource kit, for parishes and faith communities, to assist in the promotion of the full participation of people with disability. Its release has been timed to coincide with International Day of People with Disability, which takes place on the 3rd of December each year".... (full letter here). YouTube music Video with captions "One Body in Christ" to celebrate International Day of People with Disability. Produced by the Disability Projects Office, ACBC (here)

Archbishop says Myanmar reform is still 'work in progress'
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 1 December 2011

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Myanmar signalled significant change in the country, said Archbishop Charles Bo of Yangon, but the government still needed to prove that democratic reform was real and lasting, reports ucanews.com.  ....."Through peace alone can the government bring development to the country and improve education. Without proper education to an international standard, we will remain in the dark." (more)

Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Sydney ordains deacons
Extract from The Swag (Magazine of the National Council of Priests), November 2011

2011 has produced the first graduates of the Sydney Neocatechumenal Way Seminary. After Simon Apablaza and Luca Infantino were ordained priests in May, Allan Casquejo, Norvin Dias, Pasquale Pizzoferro and Pierluigi Passoni were ordained deacons on November 24 at St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney (more).

Episcopal trust
Extract from Fr Eric Hodgens. The Swag (Magazine of the National Council of Priests), November 2011
The Australian bishops were in Rome during October for their regular five yearly report............. (more)

Ten years later, controversial New York church still thrives
Extract from Jamie L Manson, National Catholic Reporter, Wednesday 30 November 2011

Ten years after her historic ordination, Mary Ramerman rarely makes it into the papers anymore. Watching her minister as a priest today, it may be hard to believe that she was at the center of a highly publicized, painful battle between the diocese of Rochester, N.Y., and the parish then known as Corpus Christi in the late 1990s. Back then, Corpus Christi was a Roman Catholic parish on the fringe. Led by Fr. Jim Callan, a charismatic priest with a radical commitment to the poor and marginalized, the church was known for taking risks (more).

SSPX rejects Vatican's doctrinal preamble
Extract from Catholic News, Tuesday 29 November 2011

A "doctrinal preamble" presented by the Vatican to the Society of St Pius X needs changes before it can be accepted as the basis for the group's reconciliation, said the group's leader, according to a Catholic News Service report on NCR. The statement by Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior of the society, appeared to hold out hope for further discussions with the Vatican, but it was unclear whether the Vatican would be willing to revisit the text.

Installing and celebrating a new Parish Priest for  Ivanhoe                                                                                                                                       John Costa, Saturday 26 November 2011                                                                                                                                                                          On this wet Saturday night the formal installation of Fr Thang as Ivanhoe Parish Priest was joyously celebrated in a special Mass, at St Bernadette's Church. Principal Celebrant and Homilist was Archbishop Denis Hart. The MC was Vocation Director Fr Binh Le. As part of this liturgy the Mass was enriched with additional symbolism incorporating Reading the Letter of Appointment (Fr Gregory Bourke), Presentation of the Keys to the Church, Presentation to Fr Thang By Archbishop Hart of the Pastoral Leadership Team and Staff, Renewal of Ordination Promises, the new Parish Priest opening and kneeling at the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament (Tabernacle), the new Parish Priest incensing the Baptistery (Baptismal Font), Archbishop Hart seating the new Parish Priest in the Reconciliation Room (Confessional), a visit to and Prayer at the Marian Shrine, the new parish priest incensing the Holy Oils.

Towards the end of the Mass PLT Chairperson Chris Dixon spoke of the way Fr Thang had been so readily welcomed and accepted into the Parish. Introducing a presentation to Thang as a mix of spiritual and technology components he presented the former on behalf of the people of Ivanhoe Parish then introduced St Bernadette's Principal Kathy Lowe to make a presentation of the latter on behalf of the three Parish schools. The Korean Community also then presented a gift to Fr Thang. In congratulating Fr Thang Archbishop Hart spoke of his uncertainty at first that a recently ordained Fr Thang would be willing  to accept the challenge of  Ivanhoe Parish, but like the people of the Parish was later delighted when he did. Archbishop Hart also acknowledged the (much loved) former Parish Priest, Fr John Cunningham as one of the co-celebrants tonight. A modest but beaming Fr Thang thanked the Archbishop, Priests in attendance & Servers, all others who came including relatives, the Parish Choir led by soloist John Caddy, Organist Helen Wentworth, young  Korean violin soloist Paul Moon, Pastoral Leadership Team and Staff, Liturgy Group and many others across the parish who greatly helped. He acknowledged predecessors Frs John Cunningham & Len Thomas. Tonight was also significantly the first such Mass in Ivanhoe Parish, first official use of the new Missal, and start of Advent and the New Church year. Further photos under "Events".

From "Moment of Mystery" to Installation as Parish Priest
Edited Extracts from staff and seminarians of Corpus Christi College,  Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, 16 September 2008

...On a brilliant sunny September morning four men entered St Patrick’s Cathedral at the start of their lives as priests in the service of God and His people in the Archdiocese of Melbourne...Then came the time for which everyone had been waiting. Deacon Jake’s voice echoed in the Cathedral as he said: "Let those to be ordained priests please come forward." As each name was called, Thang, Binh, Dispin and Anh bowed before the Archbishop, who inquired of the seminary rector, Father Tony Ireland, as to their worthiness to receive the gift of the priesthood. Upon hearing the testimony of the rector, Archbishop Hart declared: "We rely on the help of the Lord God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, and we choose these men our brothers, for priesthood in the presbyteral order." Just three years later, on Saturday 26th November 2011, Fr Thang will be officially Installed by Archbishop Hart as Parish Priest of the Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe, at St Bernadette's Church at 6:30pm. Cantor at that Ordination was John Caddy, and he will again sing at Saturday's Installation together with the parish choir. Source. Ordination Photos, Peter Casamento 2008 

John Caddy Award
Friday 25 November 2011

Congratulations to John Caddy OAM who received the “Cross of Honour – Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice” last Sunday 20 November for his service in teaching and music within the Church. This award was awarded to John by the Holy See. The Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe would like to take this opportunity to thank John for his assistance and contributions to our parish liturgical celebrations.

Parish shares in Muslim, Jewish, Christian gathering
Thursday 24 November 2011
As part of this Parish's Eucumenical activities Merle Gilbo tonight attended another gathering of local Muslim, Jewish and Christian representatives. With many things in common and some differences the gathering works via shared discussion towards better mutual understanding and recognition of shared values.

New Roman Missal comes into full use in Australian parishes this Sunday
Extracts from Media Release, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Thursday 24 November 2011

The new English translation of the Roman Missal was officially launched today by the President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Archbishop Philip Wilson during the Bishops’ Plenary meeting in Sydney. Chairman of the Bishops’ Commission for Liturgy, Archbishop Mark Coleridge, spoke of the project of re‐translation which has spanned over ten years and affirmed that the new Roman Missal, while not perfect, is a significant improvement on the texts that have been used since 1973.“We have a richer and stronger text for use in the liturgy and a solid base for developments that lie in the future”, he said....Special presentation copies were presented to Archbishop Philip Wilson as President of Conference and Archbishop Denis Hart who was the episcopal editor for the British English version...The Roman Missal comes into full use in parishes across Australia this coming Sunday, the First Sunday in Advent (more).

Advent: Walking Towards The Light
At first glance, Advent, which start this weekend, may seem simple enough to understand as a period of preparation for the great Feast of the Lord’s Nativity. But the themes that emerge from the liturgical texts of the Roman Liturgy– the antiphons, collects, readings, psalms, prefaces etc.– present a season that is altogether unique and profound. To help us further understand the richness of Advent and its four main themes an excellent and very accessible Broken Bay Institute booklet has been Written by Bishop David Walker DD, with the support of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Commission for Mission and Faith Formation. "Lectio Divina - Praying the Scriptures in Advent Year " may be freely downloaded from the Website Liturgy page (here).

"Welcome" reaffirmed in Parish values
John Costa, Friday 27 October 2011

A 'welcoming' component is firmly entrenched in our Parish values of Inclusiveness, Hospitality, Service and Mission. The Gospel Reading this weekend from Matthew bluntly reminds us, and also our church, to focus on the word of God and God's message of love and service, more than just  the institution of the church itself that is subject to the collective and individual imperfections of its human members. For some time now we have been welcoming Fr Thang Vu as our new Parish Priest. Now in turn our new Parish Priest extols the Parish values to our members and visitors alike, at his "Welcome" page on this website. On the first day of Advent, Saturday 26th November, Archbishop Denis J Hart will formally Install Fr Thang as Parish Priest, at a special Mass to be celebrated for the Parish at St Bernadette's Church at 6:30pm. All are cordially invited (invitation here)                                                           

African dads and kids camp
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 24 November 2011

CatholicCare held an African Dads and Kids Camp from 14-16 October in collaboration with Victoria Police to help refugee families strengthen their family bonds as they adjust to their new lives in Australia. The camp at Queenscliff involved 26 African men and 26 of their children aged six to 14. Most participants were from Sudan and Eritrea and had escaped situations of terrible conflict (more).

Two faces of the Catholic Church
Extract from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, Wednesday 23 November 2011

Last week two events disclosed different faces of the Catholic Church. The first was the funeral for Monsignor John Murphy, who for most of his working life was concerned with immigration. The second was the Vatican appointment of Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett as Apostolic Administrator of the Brisbane Archdiocese. It follows the acceptance of Archbishop John Bathersby's resignation on the grounds of age (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Numbers fall sharply at Australian traditional churches
Extract from Catholic News, Tuesday 22 November 2011

A new study by the Christian Research Association has found that attendance at traditional Uniting churches across Australia has declined by 30 per cent over the past ten years, while numbers at Catholic churches have dropped by 19 per cent, reports the Herald Sun...."We expect that Catholic, Uniting and Anglican churches will keep dropping in numbers as their parishioners become older," Hughes said."The average age of people attending Catholic and Anglican churches is roughly 60, and with these churches failing to pull in younger parishioners, I see the decline in numbers to continue, at least for the next 20 years."However, while most Christian denominations are rapidly losing their congregation, Pentecostal churches across the country are experiencing a dramatic increase in growth, with attendees at Pentecostal services throughout the country increasing by 27 per cent (more).

Australian religious education '19th century'
Extracts from Barney Zwartz, The Age, Monday 21 November 2011

Religion and ethics taught from a secular perspective might well be included in the new national curriculum, according to Professor Barry McGaw, head of the board responsible for the curriculum. Professor McGaw, chairman of the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority, said religion and ethics would be included in a discussion paper early next year for the civics and citizenship course. Macquarie University PhD student Cathy Byrne told a forum hosted by the curriculum board in Sydney last week that the approach to religion and ethics in Australian schools was decades behind other leading developed nations...She said such courses taught the top five or six religions, humanism, nature religion and indigenous spiritualities, and secular ideologies such as atheism. They were particularly valuable in helping children understand their pluralistic world, social inclusion, cohesion, stability and security..(more)

Protests of Virginia parish’s move away from altar girls
Extract from The Washington Post,

Tucked in with announcements about a new electronic donation system and a church dinner at Margarita’s Mexican restaurant was news that Zickel, the mother of two girls, had been dreading: Corpus Christi would no longer train girls to be altar servers (more).

Ivanhoe Parish in Archdiocese follow-up meeting on Parish Structures
Friday 18 November 2011

At a follow-up meeting in the Archdiocese office this week a core group of Parish representatives including Merle Gilbo from our Parish met to plan an ongoing process for sharing information on Parish structures next year.

Deanery meeting
Friday 18 November 2011

A Deanery meeting was held this week to continue the process of collaboration across the Parishes of our Deanery. Being on retreat at the time Fr Thang was unable to attend but Merle Gilbo attended as a regular member of this group.

Wooing the not-so-faithful
Extract from The Tablet, Friday 18 November 2011

...The bishops of England and Wales have also launched an initiative to try to woo back those who have lapsed from weekly worship. One lesson to emerge from its early meetings, as described by Jonathan Tulloch in this week’s Tablet, is the need to “see ourselves as others see us” – to recognise that the non-lapsed, to coin a phrase, are just as much part of the problem as the lapsed. It is a similar point to Archbishop Dolan’s.....(more)

ACT supports gay marriage
Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 17 November 2011

The ACT Legislative Assembly has passed a motion calling on the Commonwealth to amend the laws to allow same-sex marriage, reports the ABC. The Greens motion says the Legislative Assembly supports marriage equality, and calls for changes to the federal Marriage Act. The Tasmanian Parliament passed a similar motion in September (more).

Mix of voodoo and Catholicism to greet Pope in Benin
Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 17 November 2011

Voodoo practitioners are preparing to greet the Pope when he begins his second visit to Africa today, said an AFP report on the AdelaideNow website. Pope Benedict XVI makes his second visit to Africa as pontiff when he arrives in Benin today, and he will meet a situation where Catholic and traditional beliefs exist side-by-side and
often mix....For many Benin residents, there is nothing unusual about mixing Catholic and traditional beliefs, though tensions can occasionally arise. It is believed that most of Benin's nine million citizens are animists of some kind (more).

Priest says footie on Good Friday is 'disrespectful'
Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 17 November 2011

The parish priest of St Mary of the Angels in Geelong, Victoria has criticised a move allowing local football to be played on Good Friday for the first time next year, reports the Geelong Advertiser (more).

Benedictine schools cede power to laity
From The Tablet, Thursday 17 November 2011

Two Benedictine schools have announced they are to reform their governance structures following Lord Carlile's inquiry into child protection failures at St Benedict's school, Ealing, west London. Ampleforth Abbey, North Yorkshire, is planning to appoint a lay majority to govern Ampleforth College and Downside Abbey, in Somerset, has said that the trust that runs the school will be restructured to include a majority of lay people, which will become the school's governing body. Lord Carlile's report recommended that the running of St Benedict's be separated from the monastic community, to which the monks have agreed. (link)

Longing for a new, unbroken church
Extract from Young Voices, Jocelyn A Sideco, National Catholic Reporter, Thursday 17 November 2011

...Our experience of church is mixed to say the least. We want to be a part of a community that is relevant. We want to share our brokenness and hopefulness with those those we break bread with. We want to sing songs that touch us deeply and inspire us to come back. We want our experience of others to be affirmed. We want to be given opportunities to share our knowledge, our advice, our perspectives with those making decisions. But the buildings and structures of older generations can be likened as old wineskins for new wine. Previous organizations, places of worship and models of church cannot endure the necessary adjustments needed to support the fruit of this generation's experience as marked by serious social problems that cause common people to die a martyr's death....(more)

Australian Catholics called to a Year of Grace
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Wednesday 16 November 2011

Archbishop Philip Wilson has called all Catholics in Australia to a Year of Grace to span the time from Pentecost 2012 to Pentecost 2013. Archbishop Wilson's message to all Catholics in Australia can be read here (more).

Fr Thang On Retreat  (from Fr Thang, Friday 11 November 2011)  
I will be on Retreat this coming week Monday 14 – Friday 18 November but will still celebrate Masses on the weekend at each church. Communion Services will be held during the week. I sincerely thank those who lead Communion Services for our parishioners and provide this ministry in our parish.

Melkite Catholic Church to Ordain Married Men to the Priesthood in the US
Edited Extracts from William Ignatuis, Catholic Online, Friday 11 November 2011

The Bishop of the Melkite Eparchy of Newton, Massachusetts announced that the Melkite Greek Catholic Church in the United States would be ordaining married men to the priesthood. These comments raise ...significant questions of what the consequence of such a move might mean for this Church, which is in (full) union with Rome and struggling to maintain sustainable vocations to the priesthood. The Melkite Greek catholic Church is simply reaffirming the ancient practice in Eastern Christianity, Catholic and Orthodox, of choosing married AND celibate men for both the order of deacons and the Priesthood. Those chosen for the Episcopacy remain celibate. The practice had been curtailed in the United States. Bishop Nicholas is announcing his intention, after study and preparation, to make the practice normative in the United States.This is not an act of "dissent" of any sort. Rather, a resumption of an ancient practice.....As to a reaction from the Vatican regarding this announcement from the American Melkite Catholic Church, none has been heard yet (more). Photo: Melkite Eparch Bishop Nicholas Samra (Catholic Online)

20111111
11 a.m. Friday 11 November 2011

Today, at the 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month, many pause for one minute of silence this Remembrance Day, also known as Armistice Day. It is the anniversary of the end of World War 1 93 years ago. It is a day for remembering all those who died in the wars.

DRC priest has civil engineering in his sights
Extracts from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 10 November 2011

Fr Michel Kabeba Musonda is a man at ease both in full vestments for Mass and in the iridescent orange personal protective gear worn on construction sites. He should be, given that he is now looking forward to a future where being a priest and a civil engineer will go hand in hand....“For more than 15 years, the people of the (Democratic Republic of Congo) have been engaged in a devastating civil war,” he said. “The lengthy war has left the country in a mess, requiring an extensive nationwide reconstruction effort....“The Catholic Church, being a large and confident organisation of people in the DRC, is a key player in reconstructing the country, and to this end, needs the services of people worthy of trust and well skilled in various fields.” (more)

Day of the Skull, a mix of Andean and Christian beliefs
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 9 November 2011

Spiritual Bolivians have upset church ministers by taking human skulls of dead strangers from cemeteries to celebrate an annual pagan cult, said a Daily Mail report in the Herald Sun.Residents in the country's capital, La Paz, took human remains for the macabre Day of the Skull celebration, a bizarre mix of Andean prehispanic beliefs and Roman Catholicism.Those who take part in the morbid ritual even dress the skulls up in military hats and adorn them with flowers as part of the ghoulish display (more).

Wanted - Director: Office for the participation of women
Edited Extract from National Office for the Participation of Women, Wednesday 9 November 2011

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) is the permanent assembly of the bishops of Australia, exercising together certain pastoral offices. A vacancy exists in its Secretariat for Church Ministry, based in Canberra, for the position of Director, Office for the Participation of Women. Reporting to the Chairman of the Bishops Commission for Church Ministry the Dorector will lead a small team to provide executive support to the Bishops Commission for Church Ministry, the Australian Catholic Council for Lay Pastoral Ministry and the Council for Australian Catholic Women (more).

Wrongly-detained student to be asked to leave
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 9 November 2011

A Catholic social justice group's campaign over six years to help a wrongly-detained overseas student has been brought to a possible conclusion by the Australian Human Rights Commission, reports the Catholic Weekly.In a lengthy judgment, Human Rights Commissioner Catherine Branson recommended to the Minister for Immigration that because of numerous errors made by immigration officers, the government should facilitate permanent resident status for the student and pay him nearly $600,000 in compensation for his 18 months in detention, disruption to his studies and difficulties with the Immigration Department after he was released from detention (more).

Three strengths of contemporary Catholicism
Extract from Richard McBrien on Oct 24 Essays in Theology, National Catholic Reporter, Wednesday 9 November 2011

Given all the negative and disheartening news we have been hearing about the Catholic Church in recent years, it's good to be reminded of some of the positive things about Catholicism, in addition to its sacramental life and (sometimes) vibrant parish life (more)

Wealth of Islamic culture bound for this space
Edited Extracts from Barney Zwartz, The Age, Monday 7 November 2011

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd first heard about the proposed Islamic Museum of Australia from his counterparts in Turkey and Senegal....''Like the Jewish, Chinese, Italian and Hellenic museums, it will benefit all Australians,'' (Moustafa Fahour) said...''And, given the Islamophobia, our aim is to focus on Islam's positive contribution.'' The museum will give visitors an insight into the Australian Muslim experience...It will also display Islamic art and architecture, explain basic Islamic beliefs and highlight the contribution of Muslims to knowledge over 14 centuries...Designed by a Muslim architect, it takes its inspiration from Australia's red centre, and uses contemporary themes rather than the minarets and domes that Mr Fahour says people expect (more). Photo: Jason South

Benedict the great reformer?
Extracts from Opinion, Dick Gross,The Age National Times, Monday 7 November 2011

I know we godless are supposed to be papal bashers who lampoon the Pope at every turn. And isn't Pope Benedict XVI supposed to be the arch conservative we atheists love to loathe?....But ay there's the rub for the man is changing some fundamental beliefs of his Church.  He is subtly changing the nature of God.  He is taking some of the magic out of heaven and God so that his successors over time can recalibrate heaven and God so that it is far more palatable to the critical thinker (more).

Bad week for Pell and climate change deniers
Extract from Tim Stevens, Eureka Street, Sunday 6 November 2011

The last couple of weeks have not been a good time to be a climate change sceptic. On 20 October the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project (BEST), led by self-described climate change sceptic Professor Richard Muller, reported the conclusions of its independent assessment of land temperature records. Muller's team, which included fellow sceptic Professor Judith Curry, found that the BEST results agreed with those published by other groups such as NASA and the Hadley Centre in the UK which have found that global land temperatures have increased by a remarkable 1 degree Celsius in just 60 years (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Short absence                                                                                                                                                                                                              Fr Thang, Friday 4 November 2011
I will be on a week’s leave from Monday 7 - Friday 11 November and the following week on Retreat from Monday 14 – Friday 18 November. I will still celebrate Masses each weekend. Communion Services will be held on weekdays in each of our churches during these weeks. I sincerely thank those who lead the Communion Services for our parishioners and provide this ministry in our parish. Image: Flickr, Adrian's art

Sharing the journey with agnostics and Qantas
Extracts from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, Wednesday 2 November 2011

Pope Benedict recently gathered people of many religions and none at Assisi. The shape of the event and the  Pope's thoughtful speech attracted much comment (also here). They also raise questions both for church and civil institutions....When referring to the loss of God, the Pope distinguishes atheism from agnosticism. He believes that many agnostics search for truth and for peace, a pilgrimage which challenges both the dogmatism of atheism and the tendency of Christians to regard God as a possession. They call for a purification of Christianity. His invitation of agnostics to the Assisi meeting was intended to show that they and Christians are on a shared journey expressed in their commitment to peace and human dignity...... (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Make more space for asylum seekers, says ACMRO
Edited Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 2 November 2011

The case of victims who died off the coast of Indonesia this week "heightens the need to provide legal pathways and more space within our humanitarian program", The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office said in a statement. "Australia has been content to resettle around 13,500 refugees per a year for over a decade, while this is generous in comparison to many countries; it is simply not enough," said Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office Director, Fr Maurizio Pettenà (more). Picture AFP,  News.com.au

Relaxed rules on ex-priests not imminent, Vatican official says
Extract from John Allen Jr, Vatican, National Catholic Reporter, Wednesday 2 November 2011

Recent reports about a possible relaxation of church rules to allow former priests to play greater roles in parish life represent more of a hypothesis than an imminent development, a senior Vatican official told NCR in late October. Even if those changes do eventually take place, the official cautioned, they would not indicate any broader movement toward a reconsideration of priestly celibacy (more).

SSPX leaders reject Vatican reconciliation offer
Extract from The Tablet, 2 November 2011

Reconciliation between the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) and the Church is unlikely, according to the British head of the ultra-traditionalist group. Fr Paul Morgan, district superior of the society in Britain, said that a recent meeting of the SSPX leadership had rejected the series of principles outlined by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that they must agree to before being reconciled with the Church. (link)

Youth Catechism ‘Youcat' becomes world bestseller
From The Tablet, 2 November 2011

The Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church, "Youcat", has sold 1.3m copies worldwide and 40,000 copies per month are being printed in the US alone, Berhard Meuser of Patmos, the German publisher, told the German Catholic news agency KNA on 28 October. "Youcat" had been published in 12 languages and would be published in a further 18 languages, including Arabic and Japanese, by the end of 2012, he said .(link)

Spreading Buddha: new temple boosts community
Extract from Barney Zwartz, Then Age,Monday October 31, 2011

From worshipping in a small rented house in Richmond, to a run-down primary school, to a large and handsome temple in traditional architecture backed by a pagoda represents significant progress for Melbourne's Vietnamese Buddhist community...And they enjoyed it in full yesterday, though the new temple exists only as a cardboard model, a marble foundation stone and in plans approved by the Darebin council...High-ranking Buddhists came from as far as Taiwan, Vietnam and France, interstate, and across Melbourne for the stone-laying ceremony at the Reservoir site of the Linh Son (Sacred Mountain) Temple (more). Ed: From ABS data the 2006 Year Book indicates Buddhism to be the fastest growing religion in Australia.

Royal nod for daughters, Catholics
Extracts from Michelle Grattan, The Age, Saturday 29 October 2011

First-born daughters will succeed to the throne ahead of their younger brothers and heirs will be able to marry Catholics in sweeping changes that overthrow 300 years of royal tradition...Ms Gillard, ''as a prime minister and a woman'', congratulated Mr Cameron ''for leading this initiative''. Ms Gillard has secured formal approval from the Australian states, which are also affected by changes to the royal arrangements...Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has also backed the reforms, seeing them as a sign of the way the monarchy can modernise (more).

Social justice guidelines for parishes and schools launched
Extract from Fiona Basile, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Friday 27 October 2011

Heads of Catholic Social Justice Agencies, along with students and staff from various secondary and primary schools in the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, attended the launch of Social Justice, Guidelines for Action and Fundraising in Schools and Parishes this morning.The Guidelines are currently being sent to every school and parish within the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne (more).

Religious leaders reject fanaticism
Edited Extract from Catholic News, Friday 27 October 2011

Religious leaders have joined with Pope Benedict to denounce violence perpetrated in the name of their faiths, amid growing religious fanaticism across the world, said an AFP report in the Sydney Morning Herald (more).

Church contraceptive ban not cause of population boom, says UN
Extract from Catholic  News, Wednesday 26 October 2011

The Catholic Church's ban on the use of contraception is not to blame for the population boom that is about to tip the world over the seven billion mark because most Catholics ignore it, said a Reuters report in the West Australian (more).

Bishop Morris responds to bishops' statement
Extract from Catholic News, Tuesday 25 October 2011

Bishop Emeritus of Toowoomba, William Morris has released a statement claiming that he did not resign, in a response to the statement released by the Australian bishops at the end of their ad limina visit, reports Catholic Culture.org. (more)

Bishop of Broome brands Curtin centre a 'chamber of horrors'
Extracts from Catholic News, Tuesday 25 October 2011

The Bishop of Broome, Christopher Saunders, has branded Curtin detention centre a "chamber of horrors" where detainees were ever more depressed, and felt hopeless, the West Australian reports....The Australian Medical Association WA president Dave Mountain said the State would bear the brunt of the detainees' mental health problems. Many detainees would end up living in WA but they would require continuing care.....Last week, Human Rights Commissioner Catherine Branson also condemned Curtin, near Derby, saying detainees had mental trauma from living in poor, remote conditions behind intimidating fences (more).

Cradle scheme a lifesaver for India's unwanted baby girls
Extracts from Matt Wade, Punjab, The Age, Monday  24 October 2011

The abandoned baby was a girl, as usual. Naked except for an old cloth wrap, and about a day old, she was secretly placed in a wicker basket at the Red Cross headquarters in the north Indian city of Amritsar before dawn on Wednesday.....Amritsar's ''cradle scheme'', like many others in India, was set up to provide a safe place to leave an unwanted baby. But the prevalence of girls abandoned in Amritsar underscores north India's dangerous fetish for male babies. This bias has seriously skewed north India's sex ratio. The increasing availability of affordable prenatal ultrasounds over the past two decades in India has allowed the mass termination of unwanted female pregnancies and produced a yawning gender gap....Daughters are considered by many in India to have lower economic, social and religious value than sons (more).

Unwanted girls get new hope
Extracts from Chaya Babu, The Age, Monday 24 October 2011

More than 200 Indian girls whose names translate in Hindi to ''unwanted'' have chosen new names for a fresh start in life. A central Indian district held the renaming ceremony this weekend to give the girls new dignity and to fight widespread gender discrimination that gives India a skewed gender ratio, with far more boys than girls.The 285 girls received certificates with their new names along with small flower bouquets from Satara district officials in Maharashtra state. In shedding names like ''Nakusa'' or ''Nakushi'', which mean unwanted in Hindi, some girls chose to name themselves after Bollywood stars such as Aishwarya or Hindu goddesses such as Savitri. Some just wanted traditional names with happier meanings, such as Vaishali, or ''prosperous, beautiful and good'' (more)

Anglicans reject multi-faith education in schools
Extract from Barney Zwartz, The Age, Monday 24 October 2011

Melbourne Anglicans have rejected a call to introduce a multi-faith general religious education into all Victorian state schools, in a move described as a return to sectarianism (more).

Reuniting church and state
Extract from Gary Bouma, Eureka Street, Sunday 23 October 2011

There is a biblical story in which Jesus responds to a challenge about 'paying taxes', put to him by parties who wanted him to side with one of the political factions of the day, with the dictum 'Give to God the things due to God and to Caesar the things due to Caesar'. His answer caused consternation then, and through most history since then. The passage has been used to legitimate the separation of church and state, and a kind of differentiation of responsibilities that usually, of late, leaves church and religious voices marginalised (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Edited Extract from Ad Limina statement by Archbishop Philip Wilson, ACBC President to Pope Benedict,                                                               From Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Sunday 23 October 2011
Now we ask:  How are we to build upon these two great graces (WYD2008, Mary MacKillop Canonization) in order to build the future of the Church in Australia at a complex and challenging time?  Different voices are heard among us, voices that interpret the past differently – especially the Second Vatican Council – and voices therefore that understand differently how we should move into the future.   In such a situation, the ministry of unity which is ours as Bishops – and supremely yours as Pope – is not always easy.   Often it is the way of the Cross.   In coming to Rome, we recommit ourselves to this way, the way of Peter and Paul, the way of Easter.  We also express our gratitude to you for your faithfulness to the ministry of communion which belongs to Peter.   By your self-sacrificing service, you have strengthened us, your brothers, and for this we give thanks to God.  May the Lord preserve you and give you life! (download full statement)

Even Gaddafi deserves compassion
Extract from Michael Mullins, Eureka Street, Sunday 23 October 2011

President Barack Obama declared that 'justice has been done' when he announced to the world on 1 May that America's most wanted man, Osama bin Laden, had been killed. There's no doubt he was echoing popular sentiment in his own country. That's what politicians do. But it wasn't true. Justice had not been done. Indeed the chance that bin Laden might one day face justice in a court of international law was lost with his assassination by US agents in Abbottabad (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Communication Leaders                                                                                                                                                                                           John Costa, Friday 21 October 2011                                                                                                                                                                           Several years ago the Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe innovatively explored the idea of streaming video (broadcasting via the Internet) on special occasions from one Church to another in the Parish to make better use of scarce resources. Afraid that this might be seen as an opportunity to avoid the obligation to celebrate Sunday Mass in person, which it wasn't, some people in East Melbourne put an end to the experiment at that time. Since then and in more recent times St Patrick's Cathedral has streamed special services from St Patrick's Cathedral, and this week the papal launch of Domus Australia pilgrim centre in Rome (more) was also streamed via the Internet. Broken Bay Institute / Catholic Bishops eConferences are also now successfully established. Streamed video can be viewed on PC s, mobile devices and tablet computers. The Pope is himself an effective user of modern communications. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs who died this month was an innovation leader who tamed many communication applications that people once feared, or were afraid to try.          

Pope believes Australian church doing a good job: Cardinal Pell
Extracts from Catholic News, Friday 21 July 2011.

Sydney's Cardinal George Pell said Pope Benedict's willingness to open the Domus Australia was a reflection of his belief that the Catholic Church in Australia was doing a good job tackling the problems of an increasingly secular Western world, reports the Australian....Cardinal Pell said the Pope had made it clear to him that he believed the church in Australia was battling hard against a rising tide of non-Christian values in modern Western societies....."The last thing he said to me when I was last talking with him was, 'Well, you would say the situation in Australia is not too bad?', and I said, 'Yes, exactly'." (more)  Ed:There is no information available at this stage on a Vatican response to the recent Petition to the Pope by over 8,000 Catholics as presented to the Catholic Bishops of Australia.   

World Mission Day on Sunday 23 October
Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Friday 21 October 2011

October is World Mission Month, and the Catholic community is being urged to support World Mission Day on Sunday 23 October.... “Hear My Voice is our theme for this year’s World Mission Month, where we hear the voices of the world’s Indigenous peoples. We celebrate their contributions with their unique cultures, languages and spiritual traditions, all enriching our universal Catholic faith. Photo: Archdiocese.

Pope tells Australian bishops to repair errors of past clergy
Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Friday 21 October 2011

Benedict XVI met with the bishops of Australia during their “ad limina” visit to Rome. He spoke to them about some of the recent problems confronting the Church in Australia, one of which was cases of sex abuse by clergy members. See video here

Forum on parish structures (Thursday 20 October 2011)                                                                                                                                                 Fr Thang and other Parish representatives attended an Archdiocese Forum today on "Partnered and Clustered Parishes". Many parishes who have embarked on this process, or are about to, attended, and much time was devoted to sharing experiences and discussing models. Key themes to emerge given the growing necessity to utilise diminishing resources more efficiently included the importance of consultation, collaboration, shared leadership, and accommodating individual cultures across a Parish - such as Ivanhoe already does, plus excellent two-way communication. Merle Gilbo presented on behalf of the Parish.

SWAG Editorial (Magazine of the National Council of priests)
Extracts from Fr. Hal Ranger (Co-editor),Spring Edition, October 2011

As I sit down to write this editorial comment, many diverse thoughts and experiences are running through my mind. Muddled as they are I want to share them. My sense is that many of us ordained priests at this time are trying to hold faithfully in balance lots of mixed feelings....I hope this Spring Swag offers some encouragement and light as we embrace, in all its fullness, the Incarnation of God among us in Christ and in ourselves as members of His Body. (more)

Rabbis urge Vatican to suspend talks with SSPX
Extract from Catholic news, Wednesday 19 October 2011

European rabbis have urged the Vatican to suspend unity talks with the Society of St Pius X until the movement pledged to fight what they called anti-Semitism in its ranks, said a Reuters report in the West Australian. (more)

Aust bishops discuss Bp Morris with Vatican officials
Extract from Catholic News, Tuesday 18 October 2011

Australian bishops have had a special meeting with top Vatican officials to discuss the case of Bishop William Morris, who was removed from office by the Pope after years of tension with a variety of Vatican offices, said the National Catholic Reporter....The meeting with the cardinals was "an indication of the seriousness with which the Roman authorities in the dicasteries here want to enter into dialogue with the Australian bishops in looking at these issues," said Archbishop Philip Wilson, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference....While no conclusions have been reached, he said, by continuing the discussions in Rome, a whole new dimension has been added (more).

Rapid decline in number of US religious women
Edited Extract from Catholic News, Tuesday 18 October 2011

The number of sisters in the majority of religious communities of women in the United States has declined fairly rapidly over the past five years, said the National Catholic Reporter. The loss, from 60,642 in 2007 to 46,451 today, was reported by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious during its annual assembly last month.This dramatic drop is the result of the death of women who joined the communities during the heyday of vocations in the 1940s, '50s and '60s, as well as fewer new members over the past 30 years (more).

Lack of women will irreversibly harm the church
Extract from Joan Chittister, National Catholic Reporter, Monday 17 October 2011

...From where I stand, it is clear that the church already lost a good proportion of one generation of women in the last 25 years and is now willing to lose the next one to reassert its maleness. The question rises again with new and demanding urgency for many: Why do we go there? (more)

Pope explains why a 'Year of Faith' is needed
Edited Extracts from Catholic News, Monday 17 October 2011

Pope Benedict says he has called for a "Year of Faith," starting in October 2012, in response to a "profound crisis of faith that has affected many people" and left them searching for answers, reports the Catholic News Service....The Year of Faith will begin on October 11, 2012, the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council (more).

Drugs may let us live to 150
Extract from Deborah Smith, The  Age, Monday 17 October 2011

The first drugs that can slow the ageing process are likely to become available within five to 10 years, raising the prospect of people eventually living to 150 or more, researchers say. Peter Smith, dean of medicine at the University of NSW, said a girl born today in Australia could reasonably expect to live to 100 already, due to advances in medicine, lifestyle and public health. In addition, new drugs to help the body repair itself were in the early stages of development, along with new stem cell therapies.''I think there is real hope we can extend human life by some decades further,'' Professor Smith said (more). Ed: The Parish might at last find a few more volunteers!

New trends in Catholic education
Extracts from Sam Adams, The Tablet, Sunday 15 October 2011

Anyone witnessing the morning rush into school at some of the Catholic comprehensives in England’s northern towns and cities will notice girls in headscarves and boys in skullcaps and turbans among the pupils. According to the latest census of Catholic schools published by the Catholic Education Service of England and Wales (CES) the overall percentage of Catholic pupils in Catholic state schools fell to little more than 70 per cent last year. In Catholic sixth-form colleges the figure was closer to half....Is this welcome, or does it dilute their ethos?......Is there a demographic “tipping point” when a Catholic school with a large majority of non-Catholic pupils is no longer truly Catholic? Those teachers and other educationalists I spoke to seem to believe that there is, but most suggested that the Catholicity of a school is about more than just demographics.... Surely welcoming children from other faiths or no faith and allowing them to walk alongside Catholic children and seeing the Catholic life is more beneficial for us all.”  (more
                

Involvement in Anti-Poverty Week
From Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne,  Friday 14 October 2011

Archbishop Denis Hart is encouraging Catholics to get involved in Anti-Poverty Week which starts on this Sunday 16 October. The Melbourne Archdiocese is providing a number of resources to assist parishes, youth groups and Catholic organisations get involved, including a 2.5 minute video, presented by Fr Joe Caddy,  which can be seen (here) on the Parish Website "Videos" area on the "Photos/Multimedia" page.

Mental Health week Concludes Sunday at "Open Minds Fiesta" in Preston                                                                                                                    In the lead-up to Mental health week a special Mass was recently celebrated at Pius X Church in West Heidelberg as widely reported (see below).  Mental Health Week aims to activate, educate and engage Victorians about mental health and help further de-stigmatise it through a week of interactive events across the state. It concludes Sunday 16th with a traditional "Open Minds Fiesta". This family "festival with a difference" will happen along High Street Preston (between Murray Road and Bruce Street) on Sunday 16 October, from 11am-5pm.

Bishop urges 'fair go' for asylum seekers
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 13 October 2011

Bishop Vincent Long, Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne, has appealed for the Australian spirit of a "fair go to the underdog" to prevail in the issue of asylum seekers, the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne said. Bishop Long delivered a powerful and compelling address this week for the 2011 Rerum Novarum Oration, speaking on the same platform as former PM Malcolm Fraser at Australian Catholic University's Melbourne campus (more). Archdiocese report here. Photo: Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne

Kids key to Malaysia solution shambles
Extract from Frank Brennan Eureka Street, Wednesday 12 October 2011

The Gillard Government's shambled attempt to legislate for offshore processing of asylum seekers arriving by boat will be debated in the House of Representatives today. On Tuesday night, the Parliament was provided with further evidence of how unprincipled and unworkable is the so-called Malaysia solution, especially when it comes to the removal of unaccompanied minors from Australia (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free

Revitalising a 'hollowed-out' Church
Extract from Andrew Hamilton Eureka Street, Wednesday 12 October 2011

Most Australian Catholic Bishops are in Rome this week for their five yearly joint visit to the Vatican. Most popular reflection on the visit has focused on issues internal to the Catholic Church, such as the dismissal of Bishop Bill Morris, the handling of sexual abuse and the introduction of the new translation of the Mass. But the conversations involved in the visit will certainly also cover the broader situation of the Catholic Church in Australia and pastoral strategies appropriate to it (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free

Young people in Brazil reject Catholic faith
From The Tablet, Wednesday 12 October 2012

Young people in the world's most populous Catholic country are leaving the faith in disproportionately high numbers, according to new research by Brazil's Getulio Vargas Foundation. Data taken from 200,000 interviews recorded for the 2010 census showed the proportion of young Brazilians who said they followed no religion was 9 per cent. The latest figures showed the Catholic proportion of the population was 68 per cent - down from nearly 90 per cent 30 years ago.  (The Tablet News)

'Fed up' Copts want Egyptian envoys expelled
Extracts from Barney Zwartz, The Age, Tuesday October 11, 2011

The leader of Australia's 70,000 Coptic Christians yesterday urged Australia to expel the Egyptian ambassador over Sunday's massacre in Cairo, saying the ambassador sought to silence Copts in this country. Bishop Anba Suriel also called for the expulsion of the consuls-general in Melbourne and Sydney. It follows the deaths of at least 24 Copts when the military and police fired on a demonstration of Christians angry at unchecked attacks on churches and, according to witnesses, ran over some with army vehicles (more). 

Jesus Camp, Sunday, October 9
Extract of Film Preview, Scott Ellis, The Age, ABC2 8:30pm Sunday 9 October, Published Friday 7 Oct 2011

That children are our future is a fairly obvious statement but it takes on an ominous edge in this 2006 documentary in which we meet the next generation of evangelical Christians in the US, being trained from a very young age that their religion is under attack and it's up to them to fight back (more).

Pope 'rehabilitated Luther’ during German visit
Extracts from The Tablet, Friday 7 October 2011

The head of the German Church's Ecumenical Commission, Bishop Gerhard Müller, has said he believes the Pope "rehabilitated" the excommunicated reformer, Martin Luther, during his visit to the country last month (more).... "It is undoubtedly a rehabilitation if the Pope, as head of the Catholic Church, recognises the theological, Christ-centred dimension of Luther's theology." (more). Painting: Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1529

Local Church needs 'more space to be ourselves': Indon bishop
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 6 October 2011

The president of Indonesia's bishops conference has urged the Vatican to give the local church "more space to be ourselves," especially in the translation of liturgical texts, reports ucanews.com. "We asked not only for material, but also for spiritual and moral support," Bishop Martinus Dogma Situmorang of Padang diocese said during an ad limina visit to Rome this week. "We feel close to the Vatican, to the universal Church."But, he added, "we do need more space to be ourselves," citing "minor" examples such as the "text of our liturgies."  (more)  [Ed: Australian Bishops have reportedly brought to Rome a Petition to the Pope signed by over five and a half thousand Australian Catholics, urging consideration of the views of ordinary Catholics and wider consultation).

Jobs understood value of communications
Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 6 October 2011

Like Pope Pius XI, who founded Vatican Radio and built the Vatican train station, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs recognised the importance of expanding communication, Civilta Cattolica editor Fr Antonio Spadaro told Vatican Radio, according to a report on the Catholic News Service. Father Antonio Spadaro, the new editor of the influential Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica, told Vatican Radio that Jobs made technology part of the lives of millions and millions of people...."Steve Jobs had something in common with Pius XI and that is that he understood that communication is the greatest value we have at our disposal today and we must make it bear fruit," the Jesuit told the radio Oct. 6 (more). [Ed: Pope Benedict has taken Catholic Communications to new heights using all available modern media - have you received a papal SMS yet like this editor? or a papal tweet? However really good communication is a two way process. When we  locate the papal mobile phone number we'll let you know).

Ministering where life is in danger
Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 6 October 2011

Ministering in a city where crime is pervasive and murders occur at an alarming rate, Columban Father Kevin Mullins knows he's been very fortunate, writes Joseph Kolb for the Catholic News Service. While he has personally escaped the violence, the Australian-born priest has been touched by it through the lives of his parishioners at Corpus Christi Church in the poor neighborhood of Puerto de Anapra in Mexico...In Mexico, the sight of a priest slumped over in a car is not all that unusual....Since Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared war against the cartels in 2006 more than 40,000 people have been killed, including 12 priests (more).

No decision in Vic on holding of abuse inquiry
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 6 October 2011

The Victorian Government has postponed a decision on whether to hold a public inquiry into sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, hoping some key questions can be addressed by another current inquiry into protecting vulnerable children, The Age reports (more).

Some goodness from 'pain and evil': accused priest
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 6 October 2011

A priest at the centre of controversial rape allegations, named in parliament by Independent Senator Nick Xenophon, has since been the target of hate mail - but says some "goodness" has come from all "the pain and evil", reports The Catholic Weekly (more).

That 'other' religion
John Costa, Friday 30 September 2011

A community of people celebrating together is something to be valued, even if each half of that community holds fiercely opposing beliefs and aspirations. Despite those differences the occasion is still there to be enjoyed by all of the congregation. It's a much needed antidote to the gloom and disaster of the world as widely portrayed in the media. Yes, Grand Final time, like Christmas and Easter, and shortly the Melbourne Cup, can also serve to remind us of what it is to be collectively human. Football differences vary widely across our Parish, as our new Parish Priest reaffirms, but whoever wins on Saturday let us celebrate together, whether or not we like the contending teams, or the game itself.

Lawyers want Church to stop using 'Ellis defence'
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 29 September 2011

Lawyers for victims of sexual abuse say the Catholic Church has used a legal technicality to reduce compensation payouts to their clients, reports the ABC. The Church argues its assets are held in a property trust that cannot be held liable for historical cases of abuse, leaving abuse victims with no-one to sue (more).

Pope reshuffles congregation responsibilities
Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 29 September 2011

Pope Benedict has removed some responsibilities from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments so that it can focus on the renewal of liturgy, Vatican Radio reports. The pontiff issued an Apostolic Letter motu proprio on Monday, in which certain kinds of cases arising under Church law, such as a claim that a marriage had been contracted but not consummated - and the existence of a just cause for granting a dispensation - as well as claims regarding the nullity of Holy Orders, have been removed from the Congregation. Such cases will now be examined by a new office established within the Roman Rota (more).

Dispensed priests may play a more active role
Extract from Catholic news. Thursday 29 September 2011

The Vatican has called on diocesan bishops to encourage priests who have left ministry in order to get married to play a more active role in parish life, reports The Catholic Herald (more).

Mass for Mental Health, first for many years in the Archdiocese                                                                                                                                    Fr Len Thomas, Wednesday 28 September 2011

Could we have a mental health Mass, "Don" (not his real name) of West Heidelberg asked his parish priest Fr. Wayne Edwards, two months ago.  On Wednesday September 28, at 2 pm, 11 days before Mental Health Week, Don's wish came true. Sixty carers, and people who have had mental ill-health, prayed, sang, and met at St. Pius X church  with  prayerful good humour. They were led  by Monsignor Tony Ireland Episcopal Vicar for Health and  Aged Care,  Fr. Gerry Dowling  family counsellor  Catholic Social  Services, Fr. Jim Scannell retired  chaplain  Kew Cottages, Fr. Len Thomas retired   psychiatric  chaplain, Fr. Wayne who welcomed all and preached, and Ivanhoe parish priest Fr. Thang Vu.

Don had composed the very telling Prayers of the Faithful, read by  Sr. Frances Baum, MSC.  Ivanhoe parishioner Michael  Kempton read the first reading, Fr. Dowling the Gospel. Community carers and local parishioners brought people from church,  government and private group homes,  as far away as Dandenong. Catholic Social Services advertised throughout  agencies in Melbourne Archdiocese. Don and  Fathers Wayne and Len, spread the word  to local  group homes and clinics.  Parish bulletins and web sites, through the Yarra Deanery,  publicised this   Melbourne Mental Health  Catholic Mass, the first for many years in the Archdiocese.  Photo John Costa. Report and further photos Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne here.                                                                                                               

Catholic Health delivers formal apology for forced adoptions
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 28 September 2011

Catholic Health Australia chief executive Martin Laverty has delivered a formal apology to unwed mothers affected by the practices in the past - having their babies taken from them and placed up for adoption - in an address to a Senate inquiry. The Senate Community Affairs Committee Inquiry into the Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices also heard submissions about how some mothers were tied to their beds or sedated as they delivered and some who were given drugs to stop lactation, report the ABC and AAP (more)

PM's taken Labor down morally derelict path: priest
Extracts from Catholic News, Tuesday 27 September 2011

Father Frank Brennan, SJ, believes Kevin Rudd would never have taken Labor down the path of expelling child asylum seekers to Malaysia, reports The Australian from his piece on Eureka Street. Fr Brennan writes that Julia Gillard has led the Labor Party into moral decline, calling her Malaysia Solution morally derelict and tantamount to
"offshore dumping" (more).

Boats, votes & suffering
Extracts from Michael Short, The Zone, The  Age, Monday 26 September 2011

Andrew MacLeod says as refugees became 'illegal immigrants', Australia lost a little of its heart in the name of political expedience...Australia does not have an asylum seeker problem, Australia has a political leadership problem. Next time you hear a politician say ''stop the boats'', you might want to reply ''stop the bollocks''. As The Age has been pointing out in its editorials for years, the asylum seeker debate is a humanitarian issue, not a political one (more).

Sydney Anglicans a 'threat' to Church
Extract from Barney Zwartz, The Age, Monday 26 September 2011

Sydney'S ''hard-line'' Anglican leaders are a threat to the church in Australia and around the world, according to a new book by leading laywoman Muriel Porter. Dr Porter, a long-term advocate for women in the church, told The Age yesterday Sydney was ''infiltrating'' its ''puritanical, almost sectarian approach'', undermining its traditional support for women in ministry, while Australia's bishops sought to appease Sydney (more).

Why I support gay marriage
Extracts from Kristina Keneally, Eureka Street, 25 September 2011

I didn't hear the word lesbian until I went to university. In my childhood, homosexuality was not discussed: not at home, not at church, not at school. I'm sure there were homosexual people in my classroom or community. Possibly even in my extended family. But they were not 'out'. Even the prevailing culture did not engage with homosexuality: growing up in middle America in the '70s and '80s was still far more Happy Days than Glee......I met my husband at World Youth Day '91. Before we married, I headed back to university for a masters degree in theology and got my first proper job working as the NSW state youth coordinator for the Society of St Vincent de Paul (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Parish Finances
Friday 23 August 2011
During all Parish Masses this weekend there will be a brief presentation on Parish Finances to update parishioners on where we stand now and, importantly, into the future. Is everything fine or are we as poor as the proverbial Church mouse?  Find out on Saturday/Sunday.   Image: Flickr, Brian Kellett

Social Justice Sunday
Friday 23 September 2011

The theme of this year's Australian Catholic Bishops' Statement for Social Justice Sunday is: Building Bridges, Not Walls. Prisons and the justice system. NSW Network of Catholic prison chaplains have provided a Prayer for Prisoners (here)

Concordat of Worms
This day in History, 23 September 1122

The Concordat of Worms was an agreement reached by Pope Calixtus II and Holy Roman Emperor Henry V that put an end to the first phase of the power struggle between Rome and what was becoming the Holy Roman Empire. Under its terms, the king was recognized as having the right to invest bishops "by the lance" but not "by ring and staff," meaning he could grant them secular but not sacred authority. What message about the divine right of kings did the concordat convey? (more). This and other daily gems cam be found on the "Quote Of The Day" page

Ex-nun a cardinal sinner in the mind of the church
Extract from The Age, Friday 22 September 2011

Patricia Fresen prefers being quietly subversive to openly confrontational, but the 70-year-old former Dominican nun is like a purple rag to a bull to the Vatican. She says she is a Catholic woman bishop, properly ordained by a male bishop in the sacrament passed down by laying on hands from the first apostles. The official church says that by that act she ceased to be a Catholic and it has excommunicated her (banned her from the church). Bishop Fresen - now a bishop in the Roman Catholic Womenpriests church - rejects the excommunication. In Australia to speak to progressive Catholic groups, the former South African says apartheid taught her about unjust laws. ''We learnt through people like [Nelson] Mandela and [Archbishop Desmond] Tutu that if you have tried and tried to change unjust laws the only way, in the end, is to break them. An unjust law must not be obeyed but broken.'' (more)

Pope understands how abuse drove faithful from church
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 22 September 2011

Pope Benedict said, ahead of his four-day trip to Germany, that he understands those who have turned their backs on the Catholic Church after the recent sex abuse scandals, said an AFP report in the Herald Sun."I can understand that in the face of such reports, people, especially those close to victims, would say 'this isn't my Church anymore'," the Pope, 84, said. But he asked for patience as the Church grapples with enduring outrage over the scandals that has threatened to cloud his visit to Germany, where his election six years ago had met with an outpouring of joy. The church "is a net of the Lord which catches both good fish and bad", he said ahead of his arrival (more)
                        

Senate gives priest right of reply
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 22 September 2011

The priest named as an alleged rapist by Senator Nick Xenophon has the right to respond to the allegations in the Senate, a Senate Privileges Committee ruled on Thursday, reports The Advertiser. The Senate yesterday tabled a letter from the priest defending the allegations. This came as Senator Xenophon was yesterday visited in Parliament House by the man who made the allegations, Traditional Anglican Communion Archbishop John Hepworth, a former Catholic priest. In the letter first published in The Advertiser on Tuesday, the priest comprehensively denies the allegations. "I am innocent of these allegations which you used parliamentary privilege to name me," the letter states. "You irreparably smeared me and denigrated my reputation." (more)

Tas gay marriage vote disappoints Archbishop
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 21 September 2011

The Archbishop of Hobart, Adrian Doyle, has expressed his disappointment with the vote on the floor of the Tasmanian Parliament, supporting marriage equality for gays and lesbians, the archdiocese said in a statement. A motion backing same-sex marriage was passed by the Tasmanian House of Assembly, the first time an Australian parliament has voted for marriage equality for gays and lesbians, reports The Mercury. The Greens' motion calls on the Federal Government to change the Marriage Act (more). 

Bishops call for prison, justice system reforms
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 21 September 2011

The Australian Catholic Bishops' statement for Social Justice Sunday, on Sept. 25, points out serious shortcomings in Australia's prisons and in the justice systems, said a media release from the bishops. The statement, Building Bridges, Not Walls: Prisons and the Justice System challenges citizens and politicians to search for a more constructive way forward, the bishops said (more). Image: Flickr, Jail

Opinion - Pope "putinising" the Church: Kung

Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 21 September 2011

SPIEGEL: Many in the Catholic Church says that if all the reforms you call for were implemented, you would be making the church more Protestant and abandoning its Catholic nature.  Küng: The Church will undoubtedly become somewhat more Protestant. But we will always preserve our unique nature. Our global way of thinking, our universality, differentiates us from a certain narrowness in the Protestant regional churches. It should remain that way, just as the office (of the pope) should be retained. But if everything is concentrated in the office, we'll end up with a medieval vicar, a prince-bishop and the pope as absolute monarch, who simultaneously embodies the executive, the legislative and the judiciary -- in contradiction to modern democracy and the Gospel (more).

Last of the Parish 1st Eucharist celebrations for 2011 this weekend
Friday 16 September 2011

Children from Mother of God School will celebrate 1st Eucharist at Mass this Sunday, concluding the program for this year and bringing to around 75 the number of our young Parish people who will have received this Sacrament in 2011. The other Sacraments are Baptism, Reconciliation, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders, and Anointing of the sick.  We congratulate all these young people and offer them our continuing support throughout their lives in our community. We thank all those who prepared the liturgy for these occasions and prepared the children at school and home (some 1st Eucharist photos can be seen on the Mass Details page). Image  American Catholic.org

Korean Community Celebration
Friday 16th September 2011

This week we rejoice with the members of our Korean Community, as they celebrate the feast of their patron saints, martyrs of the mid 1800s. May the faith and courage of these women and men be a source of inspiration for the 21st century Christian community.

Mons Cappo resigns from mental health role
Extract from Catholic News, Friday 16 September 2011

Adelaide Archdiocese Vicar General Monsignor David Cappo has resigned as chairman of the new commission overseeing mental health services, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. Monsignor Cappo made the announcement Thurday. He rejected claims this week he failed to act on rape allegations against a priest, and said the controversy could affect the work he was tasked with. "While I emphatically reject any suggestion that I or the Church handled the complaint by John Hepworth with anything other than proper and due diligence, this matter has the potential to distract from the important work of the newly formed Mental Health Commission," Monsignor Cappo said in a statement (more).

Civil union, not marriage, for gay couples: priest
Extract from Catholic News, Friday 16 September 2011

A priest from Mount Isa in Queensland expressed support for civil unions for homosexual couples - but said marriage, in the eyes of the church, would remain solely for heterosexual couples, reports The North West Star. Good Shepherd Catholic Parish priest Father Mick Lowcock saying he supports the right of gay people to have their relationships formally recognised by Australian law. "I've got no problem with people wanting their relationships recognised," he said. "The issue for me is that [same sex relationships] is not what marriage is," he said. "I wonder if we should take up a European system where couples go to the courthouse to get their relationship recognised by the state and then the church if they want to have it blessed." Father Mick said taking the legality out of church marriage ceremonies would benefit the church (more).

Church tried to help: Archbishop
Extract from Mark Metherell, The Age, Thursday 15 September 2011

THE Catholic Archbishop of Adelaide, Philip Wilson, has fiercely defended his handling of male rape allegations against a priest in the face of implicit criticisms from Cardinal George Pell (more).

Irish bishop calls for married priests
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 15 September 2011

The retired Bishop of Derry in Ireland - who led the diocese for 19 years during the Northern Ireland Troubles - has become the first senior Irish Catholic cleric to call for an end to compulsory celibacy for priests, said a Guardian report in the Sydney Morning Herald. The report says that, on Bloody Sunday in 1972, Father Edward Daly faced down the British Army's Parachute Regiment responsible for shooting dead 13 unarmed civilians in Derry, Northern Ireland, waving just a white handkerchief as he protected the wounded from the army's bullets. Now, 39 years later, the retired Bishop of Derry is confronting an even bigger power than the Paras: the Vatican. Dr Daly's intervention in the debate over whether priests should be allowed to marry is highly significant because he is still one of the most respected figures in the Irish Catholic church at a time when faith in the institution has been shattered by scandals involving clergy (more).

Singles Conference
Wednesday 14 September 2011

In Pursuit of Passion - A conference for young adults & singles of all ages. Topics include: living passionately - being single & fulfilled, processing through disappointments, intimacy, relationships & sexuality.  Excellent popular national keynote speaker: Anna Krohn, BTheol (MCD). Interactive, live music and time for fellowship and reflection. Weekend of 24 & 25 Sept 2011. St Clement of Rome, Clifton Centre, Bulleen, VIC.  More information and flyer - email here or tel 0413 398 528.

Victims urge International Court to investigate Vatican leaders
Extract from Catholic news, Tuesday 13 September 2011
Lawyers for clerical sex abuse victims have filed a petition with the International Criminal Court, urging an investigation of high-ranking Church leaders, including Pope Benedict, reports the National Catholic Reporter. The lawyers charge that the widespread sexual abuse by priests in various countries and the handling of those cases by bishops and authorities in the Vatican constitute widespread human rights abuses. The filing was done in cooperation with SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (more).Church

Dismay at Senator's naming of priest
Extract from Catholic news, Tuesday 13 September 2011

Senator Nick Xenophon has ignored pleas from the Archdiocese of Adelaide and used parliamentary privilege to name a priest accused of sexually abusing a fellow seminarian 50 years ago, said a report in the Sydney Morning Herald.The Church said that standing down the priest "could not be supported as a matter of law" - and that it has "from the beginning" urged Traditional Anglican Communion primate Archbishop John Hepworth to go to the police with the allegations, according to a report from the Advertiser in the Herald Sun (more).

Vatican-SSPX agreement likely, report speculates
Extract from Catholic news, Tuesday 13 September 2011

The Vatican is close to an agreement with the Society of St Pius X (SSPX), Catholic Culture reports, quoting an analysis from French newspaper Le Figaro. The French daily predicts that a meeting to be held today between the SSPX leader, Bishop Bernard Fellay, and key Vatican officials will lead to a resolution of the split that began in 1998. The Vatican and SSPX recently concluded a series of talks on theological issues, designed to identity the points on which the SSPX questions the teachings of Vatican II. Catholic Culture said that, according to Le Figaro, the proposed agreement would state that the issues raised by the SSPX are not fundamental doctrines of the Church, and it is possible to question them without challenging the authority of Church teaching (more).

Mental Health week October 9-16                                                                                                                        Monday 12 September 2011                                                                                                                     The parish used to have a strong engagement in mental health issues, but can at least point out significant related events that might interest Ivanhoe folk concerned about such issues. Associated with Mental health Week, all are welcome to Catholic Mass on Wednesday 28th September, at 2 pm, for all concerned about Mental Health - carers, clients, families, friends - at St. Pius  X parish church,419 Waterdale Road, West Heidelberg. All people are most welcome. See further details on the Events page.

Celebration of 1st Eucharist

Friday 9 September 2011                                                                                                                                                                                         Recently Parish children from St Bernadette's school celebrated their 1st Eucharist. This Sunday Parish children from Mary Immaculate School will do likewise, and next Sunday Parish children from Mother of God School will complete the process across the Parish for this year. Do we remember our own 1st Eucharist? We wish all these children well, and a happy celebration of this special occasion with family, friends and all parishioners.

Criticism of abuse response process
Extract from Catholic news, Friday 9 September 2011

Abuse victims have criticised the church response system, claiming it has failed to acknowledge their suffering, in a report on the ABC's 7.30 Report (more)

UK bishops urge return to meat-free Fridays
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 8 September 2011

The English and Welsh Episcopal Conference is inviting Catholics to return to meatless Fridays as a "simple and direct way" to testify the Christian faith to others, reports the Vatican Insider (more)

Post-9/11 world needs religion to be weapon of peace, spokesman says
Extracts from Carol Glatz, Catholic News, Wednesday 7 September 2011

If humanity wants to build peace out of the ruins of Sept. 11, 2001, religion has to play a major role in dialogue, said the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi.The day of the attacks 10 years ago was "a monstrous day," he said during a presentation at Vatican Radio Sept. 6 of a new book on the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy. Dialogue is the key to overcoming hatred and the risk of religious fanaticism, he said."If we want to build peace for humanity, we have to be able to develop a discourse in which the religious dimension becomes an active force for peace," he said....Miguel Diaz, U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, said in a statement that in spite of the grief and losses endured on 9/11, "the human spirit has triumphed in the face of fear, violence and tragedy: the world's nations have united -- including the more than 90 nationalities of people who lost their lives on that day -- to stand together in a show of unity and defiance in confronting those who feed upon and want to spread fear. Nations and peoples have joined together to say, 'Never again.'" (more)

eConference 'technical' trial: Following Jesus - Matthew
John Costa, Tuesday 6 September 2011. Updated 8 September.

Ivanhoe Parish has installed facilities in a hall and now a church as well to allow the broadcasting of live "eConferences" and other special events from time to time. The Hall facility was previously used for the Mary MacKillop canonization  last year, and the church facility was 'technically' trialled today for the live "Following Jesus - Matthew" event hosted by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Broken Bay Institute. The technology proved itself well today so we can look forward to similar events in future.Thanks to excellent presenters and a well structured program this interactive and very accessible event provided modern, highly enriching and deep insights into St Matthew's Gospel. It added greatly to what many people may already understand of St Matthew's writings, which we are presently following at weekly Masses. In a word - Outstanding. Presenters today included Fr Chris Monaghan CP, Rev Dorothy Lee and Fr Nicholas King SJ. Parts of the Conference will be re-screened in November.

Archbishop reaffirms support for Melbourne Response
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Tuesday 6 September 2011

Responding to a call by the Melbourne Victims Collective reported in The Age on 3 September 2011 for the Victorian Government to investigate the handling of complaints of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese, Archbishop Denis Hart forthrightly rejected claims of bullying of vulnerable victims, the perversion of justice and breaches of ethical professional practice.  “We are familiar with these sorts of sweeping allegations from the ‘Collective’, but when asked to provide evidence or details, they fall silent,” he said. (more)

The reluctant Australian citizen
Extract from Fatima Meashan, Eureka Street, Saturday 4 September 2011

I knew something had shifted when I caught myself referring to Australian competitors at the last Commonwealth Games as 'our athletes.'I had been living in Melbourne for nearly six years by then, long eligible to apply for citizenship. When so many people would envy this privilege, why did I not jump at the chance as soon as I could? (more)  Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Support for our retired priests
Extracts from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 1 September

Each year on Father’s Day, Melbourne’s Catholics are invited to remember and support the Archdiocese’s retired and sick priests by contributing to the annual collection for the Priests’ Retirement Foundation.....Priests who are not able to exercise ministry due to criminal convictions or ecclesiastical suspension are not eligible for support from the foundation....The majority of retired priests choose to live privately, either in homes they may own (usually from an inheritance) or in rented houses or units. The rent for these is provided by the Priests’ Retirement Foundation, which was set up to assist with priests’ retirement needs (more). Photo of some retired Priests and Staff of George Maher house.

Catholic Church offers to help find a better solution for asylum seekers    
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 1 September 2011

The Catholic Church yesterday welcomed the decision of the High Court to grant a permanent injunction against the deportation of two asylum seekers to Malaysia. In the wake of the decision, the Catholic Church has offered to work with the Government to find a more appropriate way of dealing with asylum seekers (more).

Vinnies welcomes High Court decision on Malaysian deal
Extracts from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Wednesday 31 August 2011
The St Vincent de Paul Society has joined other social justice advocates in celebrating today’s decision by the High Court of Australia to reject the Malaysian deal....“Right across Australia, the grassroots members of the St Vincent de Paul Society will be warmly welcoming the High Court decision.“We continue to say to the Australian Government: No to offshore processing; No to mandatory detention. This decision offers the nation a wonderful opportunity to re-think our stance on asylum seekers and re-visit our international obligations...“This is a victory for human rights. We now need to turn this into a new direction for the Government; a direction based on dignity and respect for asylum seekers rather than demonisation and repression.” (more)

Call to participate in Anti-Poverty Week
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Wednesday 31 August 2011

Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart has called on Catholic communities to participate in Anti-Poverty Week, 16-22 October. In a letter to schools, parishes and agencies, Archbishop Hart wrote that poverty attacks people’s God-given dignity through inhibiting education and denying people basic privileges.“Our faith compels us to take a stand against poverty in all its manifestations. As Catholics we have a rich social doctrine and moral teaching which binds us to respond to the cry of the poor,” Archbishop Hart said. “Anti-Poverty Week … is a time for us to reflect on the Gospel message of Jesus to clothe the naked, feed the hungry and to visit the sick and imprisoned.” (more)   Photo ©2009-2011 myemptybliss

Salesians 'accused journalist'
Extract from The Age, Wednesday 31 August 2011

Members of the Salesian religious order, under fire for its handling of sexual abuse complaints, tried to discredit a journalist by falsely claiming he had spent time in jail for child sex offences, according to Sydney University law professor Patrick Parkinson. Professor Parkinson, an expert on child protection...(more)

Sex education doesn't work, says Vatican newspaper
Extracts from Catholic news, Wednesday 31 August 2011

Governments that mandate sex education in the schools are fooling themselves about its effectiveness, the Vatican newspaper said, according to a report on the Catholic News Service. Writing on the front page of L'Osservatore Romano on August 30, Lucetta Scaraffia looked specifically at New York City, where students in middle school and high school will be required to attend a semester-long course in sex education. Scaraffia, a professor of contemporary history at Rome's La Sapienza University and a frequent contributor to the Vatican newspaper, said that "to avoid religious controversy, chastity will be cited among birth control methods and teachers will have to speak about sex with some caution" in the New York courses....In Italy, where there is no mandatory sex ed in school, there is a low risk of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease among the young, she said (more).

Re-thinking the theological thought police
Extract from Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter, Wednesday 31 August 2011

What might baldly be called the Vatican Thought Police are after Theological Studies, the 71-year-old journal for professional theologians that has 2,848 subscribers in 90 countries. They’ve made noises about some of the journal’s essays, apparently forcing it to print a rebuttal to one of them. There is a cold wind blowing out of Rome. Has anyone noticed that Catholic theologians are running for the secular hills (more)?

Archbishop says don't kneel for communion
Extract from Catholic News, Tuesday 30 August 2011

The Archbishop of Glasgow, Scotland has told Catholics in his archdiocese not to kneel to receive communion, reports the Catholic News Agency....Ironically, his instruction comes only a year after Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass in Glasgow. At that papal Mass, all those receiving communion from the Pope did so kneeling on a pres-dieu. (more)

Irish abuse report expected to be 'damning'
Extract from Catholic News, Monday 29 August 2011

An investigation into clerical sex abuse in the Catholic diocese of Raphoe, in County Donegal, is about to report its findings, which are expected to be damning, according to a Guardian report in the Sydney Morning Herald (more).

Vatican accused of pressuring US theological journal
Extract from Catholic News, Monday 29 August 2011

The Vatican has pressured a leading  Catholic theological journal to publish a scholarly essay on marriage, unedited and without undergoing normal peer review, reports the National Catholic Reporter.The essay, which appeared in the June issue of the quarterly Theological Studies, published in Milwaukee in the US under the auspices of the Jesuits, upholds the indissolubility of marriage. It was a reply to a September 2004 article in which two theologians argued for a change in church teachings on divorce and remarriage (more).

Parish Youth Group goes into "Indefinite Hibernation"
Report and Comment, John Costa, Friday 26 August

As website photos illustrate, Ivanhoe Parish and its young people have had five busy years of much enjoyed activity as a Catholic Youth Group. It has been well supported by young people, parish organisers and youth leaders, and the Parish Priest and Pastoral Leadership Team. It has also brought much needed new life and energy into the Parish. The Young Peoples' Group was set up to offer greater support for our young people as they leave our Primary Schools, and at the same time to help strengthen the body of the Church within our Parish amidst an otherwise ageing Church population. All that is now quite suddenly coming to a close as younger young people appear progressively less interested in joining the group, and older young people are drawn to other activities. What we are now seeing amongst most of these young people appears to replicate what we are similarly observing in the wider Church. No one is blamed, but the reality needs to be accepted, as do its future implications. Clearly it does not augur well for the Church in its current form. It was decided yesterday that as youth group membership is now suddenly so small after 6 years it is no longer viable and should go into "indefinite hibernation". Do the benefits of World Youth Day last either? Perhaps we might anticipate a much smaller future church, with highly zealous but ageing membership? What will we look like say 25 years from now? The Christian Church has already lasted 2000 years in various forms. Perhaps with the same fundamental beliefs but somewhat different form we might pray for and eventually witness some phoenix arising from the spreading ashes? (YPG Photo 2010 - The YPG Website pages will be shut down shortly)

Talking back to the Church
Extract from Andrew Hamilton,  Eureka Street, Thursday 25 August 2011

Sometimes things come together in unexpected ways. They did so for me last Sunday when a Gospel story, prison, World Youth Day and a petition to the Australian Bishops fell into place (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free

Catholic numbers dropping in Brazil
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 25 August 2011

The Catholic population in Brazil is dropping, with numbers gathered between 2003 and 2009 showing it at the lowest recorded in 140 years of statistical research, reports the Vatican Insider (more).

Vatican summons SSPX head to Rome
Extracts from Catholic News, Wednesday 24 August 2011

The Vatican has summoned the head of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) to Rome to assess the results of a two-year doctrinal dialogue between the schismatic group and the Holy See, said a Religion News Service report on the Huffington Post. Monsignor Bernard Fellay, superior general of the SSPX, will meet on September 14 with top officials who are trying to normalise relations.....In June, Monsignor. Fellay said the church is "full of heresies," and the group ordained its own set of bishops in the United States, Switzerland and Germany without Vatican approval.Talks between the two sides began in 2009 after Pope Benedict XVI lifted the 1988 excommunications of four SSPX bishops.The talks focussed on the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, which the SSPX opposes. Pope Benedict XVI maintains that Vatican II must be interpreted in "continuity" with church tradition (more).

Pope announces WYD theme for Rio
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 24 August 2011

The 2013 World Youth Day theme for Rio de Janeiro is "Go and Make Disciples of All Nations", Pope Benedict has announced, reports the Catholic News Service.The pontiff called his trip to Madrid for World Youth Day "extraordinary days". "It was a very moving church event," he said. "Almost two million young people from every continent joyfully lived the formidable experience of brotherhood, encounters with the Lord, sharing and growing in the faith."I thank God for this precious gift, which gives hope for the future of the church," he said. He described World Youth Day 2011 as a "stupendous manifestation of faith" and a special occasion for young Catholics "to reflect, dialogue, exchange positive experiences and, especially, to pray together, and to renew their commitment to living their lives rooted in Christ, the faithful friend." (more)

Tampa incident took away 'welcome mat'
Edited Extracts from Catholic News, Wednesday 24 August 2011

Tomorrow marks the 10th anniversary of the rescue by the Norwegian cargo ship Tampa of 433 asylum seekers from a sinking vessel in the Indian Ocean, and the refusal of the Howard Gov­ernment to allow them entry into Australia, reports the Catholic Weekly.The key consequence of the crisis was that Australia made a "fundamental shift" in the way refugees were regarded in relation to its society, says Father Aloysious Mowe SJ, director of Jesuit Refugee Service Australia. (He) said that before Tampa, refugees had been seen as part of the general migrant popu­lation coming to Australia."Most of the time, certainly before Malcolm Fraser's government opened Australia's borders to the Vietnamese boat people, ref­ugees were admitted not out of any humanitarian instinct that they were in need of protection, but rather because they added value to Australia, the 'migration gain' in other words," he said."Refugees under this policy were not stigmatised....."The problem with this policy, however, was that often people with the greatest need for protection, those with mental or physical disabilities as a result of conflict, for example, were not taken in by the government because their presence in Australia was not seen as contributing to the good of Australia (more).

First Eucharist at St Bernadette's this Weekend
Friday 19 August 2011
After a great deal of preparation children from St Bernadette's school and their families and teachers will celebrate their First Eucharist at 6:30pm Mass on Saturday. We congratulate the Children and all concerned and wish them the best for their future lives within and outside the Parish.

Scrap asylum seeker deal, says Vinnies
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 18 August 2011

The Government should listen to public sentiment and scrap its Malaysian and Manus Island deals before more refugees suffer needlessly in mandatory detention, the St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia said in a statement.Members of the Society eagerly await a decision by the High Court of Australia on the lawfulness of the Malaysian deal when it is considered on Monday.Chief Executive Dr John Falzon says the Government can choose to act sooner to end the cycle of punishing asylum seekers."It is never too late for Australia to rethink its position on human rights," Dr Falzon said, "It could be done today." (more)

Admitting weak faith helps strengthen it: Archbishop Dolan
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 17 August 2011

The best way to maintain a strong faith is to acknowledge that it is weak, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan told pilgrims gathered for World Youth Day catechesis, reports the Catholic News Service."When we admit our faith is weak, when we admit our faith is shaky, when we admit that our faith isn't what it should be, actually we're exercising it, and we're making it more and more firm," he said."Something tells me that's why we're (at World Youth Day)," he said (more).

Catholicism at high speed
Extracts from Film Review on "Senna", Tim Kroenert, Eureka Street, Wednesday 17 August 2011

....You do not have to be a racing afficionado to enjoy this gripping account. It is a meditation on humanity and mortality as much as it is a great sports documentary. Senna is a fascinating subject, and his story a tragedy of the highest order: his career and his life came to a sudden end on an Italian Grand Prix circuit in 1994, when he was aged just 34. This fate looms throughout the film...Senna's faith is a central tenet of his character. Winning is not a goal but a necessity (because why compete if you do not win?), and he credits his victories to God. And although he feels his failures deeply, through the lessons learnt and progressions made from them he grows closer to God (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

'Boat people and the ethics of presence
Extract from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, Tuesday 16 August 2011   
                                                                                                                           I have argued that people in genuine need make a decisive claim by virtue of being present to us. We must respond to this claim. We may not swap people who are present to us for others, because the claim made by presence is not transferable. In our subsequent response to the needs of refugees more generally, we should take into account relative need and justice...And finally, although we should help asylum seekers living in nations that have not signed the Convention, we may not ethically make side agreements that set aside the claim made directly on us by on-shore asylum seekers (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

"You Me Unity"
Wednesday 17 August 2011

Australia's constitution represents the values that define us as a nation. A lot has changed since the constitution was written in 1901. You Me Unity is the national conversation about updating our constitution to recognise our first peoples and culture for the benefit of all Australians. It is about updating our constitution to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and culture for the benefit of all Australians. What do you think? Visit here, be informed, and have your say. The countdown expires in 43 days.

Will praying for solutions to climate change work?
Edited Extracts from Brian Coyne, Catholica, Tuesday 16 August 2011

Climate change is one of the big concerns that seems to be driving up fear levels in human society and one of the seeming contributors to a rise in fundamentalism. Thanks to the magazine of the Australian National Council of Priests, The Swag, I came across a promotion for a new discussion paper written by Fr Charles Rue. Beautifully produced, and available for download.....by the Columban Fathers, this document puts forward suggestions for discussion on how Catholics might respond to the problems posed by climate change. As his model for a response, Fr Rue suggests we might usefully adopt the YCW methodology of See-Judge-Act.....Fr Rue suggests prayer as one of the responses to the challenges posed by climate change. I do really wonder about this......I do think prayer has another great value in this context. It focuses our mind collectively, it gives us strength and hope that we might find both the scientific and political solutions that may be forced by climate change whether it is human-induced or whether we are in a long natural cycle of global warming that will have devastating consequences for food production, property values and all manner of things (more). image: mamamia.com.au

Irish PM lashes Vatican on child-abuse reparation
Extract from Dara Doyle, Dublin, The Age. Tuesday 16 August 2011

Ireland is squeezing the Catholic Church to hand over cash and real estate towards a €1.4 billion ($A1.9 billion) child-abuse bill amid the bitterest standoff yet seen between the Vatican and the government.In the sharpest language an Irish leader has ever used against the church, Prime Minister Enda Kenny said the Vatican's handling of the scandals has been dominated by ''elitism and narcissism''.''The relationship between the state and the Vatican has never been worse,'' said religious commentator David Quinn. ''I struggle to think of a stronger attack by a western European leader on the church than Enda Kenny's.'' (more)

The Assumption
Edited Extract from Archbishop Denis Hart, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Monday 15 August 2011

Today, the Church throughout the world celebrates the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In his Credo of the People of God, Pope Paul VI expressed our faith in these words "Joined by a close and indissoluble bond to the Mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption, the Blessed Virgin, the Immaculate, was at the end of her earthly life raised body and soul to heavenly glory and likened to her risen Son in anticipation of the future lot of all the just; and we believe that the Blessed Mother of God, the New Eve, Mother of the Church, continues in heaven her maternal role with regard to Christ’s members, cooperating with the birth and growth of divine life in the souls of the redeemed". Pope Paul VI drew a strong connection between our belief in Mary’s Assumption into heaven and our hope of resurrection. He also connected this doctrine with our confidence in Mary’s role as our intercessor in heaven (more).

Archbishop backs Sydney Alliance to fight violence
Extract from Catholic News, Monday 15 August 2011

A coalition of religious, ethnic, health and community groups - whose backers include Cardinal George Pell - will be launched in Sydney next month, aiming to prevent the kind of violence that occured in London this month, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.The Sydney Alliance has been in the planning for about four years but organisers say the rioting that spread across more than 20 cities, including London, Manchester and Liverpool, makes its launch on September 15 especially timely (more).

Duelling fiddles, bless your maker
Edited extracts from World Youth Day Website Madrid, Friday 12 August 2011 
                                                                                                               Imagine this: two brothers with training in classical piano both go into the seminary. While their non-seminarian friends are going out on Friday nights, doing the usual things young men do to end the week, they can't quite do the same. So the two brothers find another suitable form of entertainment: They use their classical music training, applied to other instruments like the violin, guitar and accordion, and take this music to the streets....It's that providence that put Scythian on the main stage at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, closing out the prayer vigil at WYD2008. ....Fedoryka and the other members of Scythian are looking forward to another WYD experience. The band will be playing in Madrid at the Love and Life Pavillion hosted by the Knights of Columbus and the Sisters of Life. It doesn't seem long ago since we celebrated World Youth Day in Sydney, and Ivanhoe Parish hosted young Korean and Corsican Pilgrims during Days in the Diocese. We recall the energy and life it brought into our Parish, and the goodwill it extended. Photos of the occasion can still be seen on this website. (more). WYD starts in Madrid in 16th August and lasts until the 21st.

East Africa: some saved but millions more face tragedy
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 11 August 2011

There is hope for millions of East African families who can still be saved from tragedy if the Australian and international community is willing to avert this human catastrophe.“People can survive and that is happening every day since the world began to engage in this shocking drought,” Caritas Australia Humanitarian Emergency Group Project Coordinator, Richard Forsythe said....“But it just isn’t enough. We’re talking about 12.5 million people. It is difficult to comprehend the magnitude of this
humanitarian disaster....“Millions more are in deep trouble. In their tens of thousands, they are migrating through searing desert heat in a desperate to get food and water.”...“Australia and the world needs to realise just how critical this situation is or an inexplicable number of people will perish.”(more)

Britain's riots and the new financial crisis
Extract from Michael Kelly, Eureka Street, Wednesday 10 August 2011

London is burning. The violence and looting have spread to other English cities. Thieves outnumber police. The situation appears to be beyond control and its growth contagious.Throughout the rest of the world, stock markets are tumbling at a rate not seen since the 2008 global financial crisis.Are these two phenomena related? If so, what might their relationship say about where we are and where we are headed? (more) Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Religious violence on the rise
Extract from AFP, The Australian, Wednesday 10 August 2011

Religious-linked violence and abuse rose around the world between 2006 and 2009, with Christians and Muslims the most common targets, according to a private US study.“Over the three-year period studied, incidents of either government or social harassment were reported against Christians in 130 countries (66 per cent) and against Muslims in 117 countries (59 per cent),” said the Pew Research Centre's Forum on Religion and Public Life study (more).

Census Reflection
John Costa, Tuesday 9 August 2011 (Census day in Australia)

When Ceasar Augustus issued a decree that a Census should be conducted Joseph and Mary travelled all the way to Bethlehem, around 130 Kms from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, by donkey. If the Internet had been around at the time Jesus probably would not have been born there, in a stable. Circumstances and the times affect, and of course should be allowed to affect, how and why things are done in particular ways. Some traditions are worth preserving. Tradition alone is not sufficient reason for prescribing particular behaviour. Whilst fundamental beliefs and values may remain constant over time should not their expression reflect the needs and times of those for whom they are intended?

The ignorance and prejudice of irreligious editors
Extracts from Neil Ormerod,Guest Blog, Religion and Ethics, ABC, Tuesday 9 August 2011

Over the years I have had dozens of letters published in the Sydney Morning Herald, and of all the writing I do it is these letters that attract most "name recognition." I cannot count the number of times people have said to me, "I saw your letter in the Herald...I wrote indicating that Catholics are not creationist in the accepted sense of the word (as rejecting science on the basis of biblical texts), and in fact were quite comfortable with accepting the "overwhelming weight of scientific evidence" for evolution and cosmology....I pointed out that in fact Pope John Paul II had made supportive statements about evolution and that the notion of the Big Bang was originally formulated by a Jesuit physicist Georges Lemaitre; further, his ideas were initially rejected by many of his colleagues because the notion of a Big Bang sounded too religious for them (too much like creation ex nihilo)....My letter was not published in the Saturday edition...(moreNeil Ormerod is Professor of Theology and Director of the Institute of Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at ACU

The Census and Labor's Catholic vote
Extract from Brian Lawrence, Eureka Street, Monday 8 August 2011

The Census will play a central role in the planning of the next Federal election. Past results show that while much of Labor's working class base has abandoned it, a solid base of Catholics remains. But many of these supporters are now standing near the door bemused or angry (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

New Vatican leader 'extremely positive' on women
Extract from National Catholic Reporter, Monday 8 August 2011

Saying he hopes to offer the Vatican a "different picture" of women religious in the United States, Rome's new number two official for religious life says he suspects the choice of an American for that job, and one known to be sympathetic to women religious, may reflect awareness of "just how badly" a controversial Vatican investigation of women's orders has been received (more).
http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/new-vatican-leader-extremely-positive-women (more).

A tribute to Mother Mary of the Cross
This text includes an edited extract from Catholic News, Friday 5th August 2011

The feast day of Saint Mary MacKillop, the first since her canonization on 17 October 2010 will be celebrated next Monday and at Masses this weekend to mark the anniversary of her death. Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson said: "As Australia's first saint, it is fitting the liturgy of the Church in Australia on her feast day should reflect that by having the highest liturgical rank." Ivanhoe Parish Masses this weekend will celebrate the event making use of multimedia. A year ago the Parish  joined in the celebration of her canonization with special liturgies and by watching the live telecast from Rome, projected at MI Hall. The photo shows Fr John Cunningham at the time, and from l-r Sue Kelly, John Costa, then Pastoral Associate Amanda Smith, and Merle Gilbo.  Saint Mary of the Cross is remembered in numerous ways, particularly for her selfless and loving care of those in need, her strong faith,  determination amidst enormous challenge, and inspiration to others. Photo: The Heidelberger, 2010

Jesuits sell historic book to British Library for $14m
Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 4 August 2011

The Jesuits have sold the historic St Cuthbert Gospel - believed the oldest intact book produced in Europe - to the British Library for A$14 million, reports the Catholic News Service. The British Province of the Society of Jesus agreed to sell the late 7th-century Anglo-Saxon manuscript to raise funds to restore a historic church and pay for educational work in London and Glasgow, Scotland....The book, a pocket-size Latin translation of the Gospel of St John, was found inside the coffin of St Cuthbert, bishop of Lindisfarne, when the saint's grave was opened in 1104 (more).

Flat-pack confessionals go up in Madrid for WYD
Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 4 August 2011

Preparations for World Youth Day in Madrid this month include the installation of 200 novelty portable, flat-pack confessional boxes, reports Round Town News....  "Sinners may take the opportunity to confess in as many as 20 languages, from 10am to 10pm between Tuesday 16th and Friday 19th August and from 10am until 12pm on Saturday 20th August. Some 2,000 priests have been drafted in to hear confessions on a rota." (more)

Pastoral Leadership Team Meeting
Wednesday 3 August 2011

A summary of this evening's Pastoral Leadership Team meeting has been published on the Leadership Team page.

Suicide inquiry won't shed light: bishop
Extracts from Kellee Nolan, The Age, 3 August 2011

....Police investigating the case of convicted paedophile Brother Robert Best believe at least 26 victims of sexual abuse at schools in which he taught have committed suicide. One of the investigating officers wants a parliamentary inquiry to investigate the deaths.''If it helps the victims I'd be more than happy for it to go ahead,'' Bishop of Ballarat Peter Connors said.' 'I don't think they'll learn very much more … I'm convinced we've done the best we can in more recent years.' (more).

Morality plays in sport and politics
Extracts from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, Wednesday 3 August 2011

One of the beauties of sport and politics is the morality plays that they enact. They display in minor key all the basic human drives, passions and political moves that we find on the larger public stage. Melbourne (AFL) Football Club's sacking of coach Dean Bailey, and the forced departure of South Australian Premier Mike Rann, are cases in point.The classical morality plays subverted large myths. The public heroes were kings and emperors who fought their way to power and then set out on a plan of conquest that made their names immortal and their kingdoms glorious. The plays presented a human being who was first attracted to wealth, and then used his wealth to gain a position of honour in order to have the glory of conquest. In morality plays, this is shown to be a path of illusion....... Ultimately, too, the glory proved fleeting. It was undermined by the motivation that inspired its pursuit. Because there was no concern for human values, the trust and the cooperation that were needed for large enterprises were lacking.....In Christian morality plays the way of truth was paradoxical. The good king was motivated by a vision of the larger, shared good of human beings as Christ's brothers and sisters. In the pursuit of this vision, the king welcomed poverty, lack of position and humiliation. Through these things a kingdom based in respect and constancy could be built....(more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Vatican cardinal says kneel for communion
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 3 August 2011

The Vatican cardinal in charge of the Mass wants to the faithful to go back to the practice of receiving communion on the tongue while kneeling, reports the Australian (more).

Europe farewells a Catholic hero
Extracts from Associate Professor Tracey Rowland, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne,Tuesday 2 August 2011

Franz Josef Otto Robert Maria Anton Karl Max Heinrich Sixtus Xavier Felix Renatus Ludwig Gaetan Pius Ignatius von Habsburg-Lothringen (usually known as Archduke or Dr Otto von Habsburg) passed away at his home in Bavaria on 4 July, at the age of 98. He was the eldest son of Emperor Karl and Empress Zita von Habsburg-Lothringen and as such would have been the Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, were it not for the treasonous behaviour of various forces at the end of World War I which led to his family’s exile....His father Karl was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2004 and the cause for his mother’s beatification was opened in 2009...In the winter of 1931-32 Adolf Hitler twice invited the young Archduke to luncheon but on both occasions the invitation was declined. Otto had read Mein Kampf and concluded that Hitler was not the kind of person with whom he wanted any association. When the German army invaded Austria in 1938, Hitler named the invasion ‘Operation Otto’ to humiliate the Imperial family and in 1941 Hitler personally declared that the Habsburgs could no longer be regarded as citizens of Austria. The Gestapo were under orders to execute Otto if he was found....In 1988 when Blessed Pope John Paul II addressed the Parliament, the member for Northern Ireland, the Rev. Ian Paisley, stood up and shouted that the Pope was the anti-Christ and unfurled a banner to this effect. Archduke Otto ran to Paisley, pulled down the banner and with the help of a few security guards, escorted Paisley out of the chamber (more).

German website lets users rate priests
Extract from Catholic News, Tuesday 2 August, 2011

A website in Germany now allows web users to rate their priests, for their performance at church services, on projects for youths and the elderly, on their credibility and on how up to date they are, said a Reuters report in the West Australian."Pastoral work should be qualitative," Andreas Hahn, one of the founders said of the original idea behind the  Hirtenbarometer.de or the "shepherds' barometer" site.He said they hoped "to stimulate dialogue to improve pastoral work" - adding also that it could help many parishes that work well but whose performance "doesn't become public". (more).

Homeless Persons’ Week: Vinnies calls for housing justice
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Tuesday 2 August 2011

The St Vincent de Paul Society has marked National Homeless Persons’ Week this year by drawing attention to the people who are locked out of Australian society, including the members of Australia’s First Peoples.“We welcome the Federal Government’s genuine commitment to halve the rate of homelessness and offer supported accommodation to all those who seek it by 2020,” said Chief Executive, Dr John Falzon.“We also acknowledge that we cannot eliminate homelessness as a nation unless we invest in social housing (more).

World Scouts Day award
Monday 1 August 2011

Once upon a time Catholics didn't readily join scouts because many events clashed with Sunday Mass times. That wasn't always the case and some, like Fr Len Thomas as a youth, became scouts and participated actively in jamborees and other scouting events. There were also some Catholic scout groups. On World Scout Day today it was announced that her excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC, the Chief Scout and Governor General of Australia has approved the award of the "Silver Arrowhead" to Ivanhoe parishioner and scouting supporter John Costa "in recognition of your Excellent Service to the movement". John who was never a scout but Chairs the "active and expansive" Group Committee of the 1st Lower Templestowe Scout Group also convenes the Parish Youth Group and is a member of the Pastoral Leadership Team. This award  is offered to adult volunteers "for service over and above what is expected of someone who is simply carrying out their scouting role".The award will be presented by the Chief Commissioner of Scouts Australia.

Ivanhoe now again blessed with a Parish Priest
Friday 29 July 2011

In very good news for the Parish Archbishop Hart yesterday offered Fr Thang by letter the appointment of Parish Priest of the Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe, and Fr Thang has accepted. Until now he has been Parish Administrator. Enclosed with the letter were the oath of fidelity upon assuming office to be exercised by Fr Thang in the name of the Church, and the profession of faith that he will now make. Fr Thang has asked to be kept in our prayers in working collaboratively with the Pastoral Leadership Team as we all journey together into the challenges of the future. Chairperson of the Pastoral Leadership Team Chris Dixon said "this is good news for the Parish, offering a secure way forward for the Parish and for the new Parish Priest. We congratulate Thang on his appointment and promise him our ongoing support and prayers. The next 6 years will be full of challenges and transitions for the Parish". Fr Thang's appointment officially commenced from 12:00pm midnight on Wednesday.

Thousands grant girl's final wish
The Age, Seattle, Friday 29 July 2011

A nine-year-old American girl who aimed to raise $US300 ($A272) to bring clean water to an African village but then died in a car crash before achieving her goal has inspired 10,000 people to donate more than $US400,000 to the cause.Rachel Beckwith set up the appeal in honour of her birthday, asking friends and family to donate to the ''charity: water'' campaign instead of buying her presents.''I found out that millions of people don't live to see their fifth birthday. And why? Because they didn't have access to clean, safe water. So, I'm celebrating my birthday like never before,'' she wrote on a website she set up with her mother before her June 12 birthday. By her birthday, $US220 had been raised (more).

Another step in introducing the New Liturgy
We are doing very well learning the new words. Let us not be be discouraged by any lapses from time to time. This week we will begin to make borrowed use of the laminated sheets that have been provided by the Archdiocese. The multimedia presentations have given us a great start but the sheets will provide ongoing support for participating in the celebration of Masses (please remember to leave sheets in the Church).

Julia Gillard vs Kim Jong-il
Extract from Alan Austin, Eureka Street, Wednesday 27 July 2011

Australia is just like North Korea. Except exactly the opposite.
Australia has the world's most stable economy, the most promising future and the government most lauded by outside observers. Yet a significant proportion of the population hates the current administration with a passion and is scathing of its economic management. Hostile newspapers are backing calls for an early election. Even its most ardent supporters are pessimistic about its re-election chances. North Korea is a mirror image. It has one of the lowest income levels in the world, in negative growth, and has a controlled economy that no-one believes will ever feed and clothe its population. Yet the people of North Korea admire their glorious leader and his visionary ministers. How can this be? (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free. Image: C Johnston AusMedia

Korean Broadcasting service recruits blind news anchor
Extract from The Korea Herald, Tuesday 26 July 2011

State-run broadcaster KBS said it has recruited Lee Chang-hoon, a disabled man with first-degree visual impairment, as a news anchor. Lee was selected from among 10 final candidates on Monday. A total of 523 people applied for the job. The 25-year-old received high scores from all the judges during a news reading test, as he was able to quickly and precisely deliver news while his hands were reading the script from a Braille machine, the broadcaster said. Born in Jinju in South Gyeongsang Province, Lee lost his sight after suffering inflammation of the brain and spinal cord when he was seven months old. He has been living in Seoul by himself since he entered the Hanbit School for the Blind for elementary school courses. Although he majored in social welfare at Graduate School of Soongsil University, he has always been interested in becoming a news anchor (more). Photo: Lee Chang-hoon, The Korea Herald

Welfare of human beings must outweigh policy decisions says Catholic Migration Office
Extract from Catholic News, Tuesday 26 July 2011

The welfare of all migrants is paramount and outweighs any policy which punishes 800 asylum seekers who in desperation turn to people smugglers for help, said Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO) Director Fr Maurizio Pettenà.Following the announcement of the Australian Government’s deal with Malaysia, ACMRO today called on all political parties to strive for a more humanised approach to dealing with clandestine migration (more)

Laws that break the seal of Confession could be counter-productive for child protection
Extracts from Fr Bill Uren, Catholic News, Tuesday 26 July 2011

One can certainly share the sense of frustration and, indeed, quite patent anger and irritation of the Irish Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, in his recent criticisms of the Vatican. In the face of overwhelming evidence of sexual and physical abuse by clergy, religious and Catholic institutions in Ireland, the Vatican seems reluctant to accept its share of responsibility. It also seems unwilling to co-operate without reservations with the Irish government's proposals to prevent such abuse in future....I have no hesitation in stating that priests will guard the sanctity of the seal of Confession with their very lives. They would certainly undergo imprisonment rather than violate it. Even if a penitent confesses that he or she has been involved in a case of rape, murder or serious theft, the priest will do nothing to indicate to anyone that there was a crime confessed or who was the perpetrator (more).

A six-strong spin on religion
Extract from Ben Stubbs, The Age, Sunday 24 July 2011

The world is full of interesting and unusual religious practices, from worshiping cows to eating only fish on Fridays. As I sit shivering in a train station waiting room in downtown Istanbul, a demonstration takes the cake. Six sombre-looking devotees of the Mevlevi arm of Islam are dressed in flowing robes of white, lime, pink and orange. On their heads they wear brown conical felt hats and as the folk music reverberates through the room they spin on the spot in a dizzying act of devotion (more).

Parish Dinner Dance
Saturday 23 July 2011

Perhaps the best way to report on tonight's greatly enjoyed Parish Dinner Dance is by visiting the Photos/Multimedia page here. This photo near the start of the evening, followed a "Q&A" session with Fr Thang conducted by Dinner Dance organiser Paul McEvey. After dispensing with questions on such things as his chosen football team (Bombers of course!) and recent films seen (Harry Potter) Fr Thang replied to varied questions ranging from his early experience as a refugee, to linkages between his Accounting studies and the Priesthood. Fr Thang concluded the session by saying his hope for the future in Ivanhoe, although early to say at this stage, was to work and journey with the people of the Parish of Ivanhoe amidst the likely changes ahead. (Ed: See "Changes in the Church - Fr Frank O'Loughlin" 2008, below).
Congratulations to all who attended for making the night a success, and particularly to organiser Paul, wife Karen and other helpers.

Church won't give up its secrets
Extracts from Matt Johnston, The Australian, Friday 22 July 2011

 he Catholic Church has rejected a call for religious confessions of child abuse to be passed to police, saying priests have "gone to their death" guarding penitence secrets. Independent Senator Nick Xenophon wants mandatory reporting of child abuse after Ireland flagged tougher laws that could require priests to disclose confessions. In Victoria, suspicions of child abuse must be reported by doctors, nurses, teachers and police, but not by religious authorities.The secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference, Father Brian Lucas, said Senator Xenophon's proposal was misinformed...."No Catholic priest would ever betray a penitence." Father Lucas said "priests have gone to their death" rather than give up confessions (more).

Wake-up call for clergymen - Irish Archbishop
Edited Extracts from Henry McDonald in Dublin, Guardian, Thursday 21 July

The archbishop of Dublin has said the Irish prime minister's attack on the Catholic church following a report on child sex abuse in the country should be a wake-up call for clergymen....He said the recent Cloyne report had exposed an attempt by the holy see to frustrate the inquiry into child sex abuse just three years ago and illuminated the "dysfunction" and the elitism still dominant in the Vatican. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin – close to tears in an interview on RTE Television – said the only way all allegations, abuse and cover-ups could be exposed was through invasive audits of each diocese. "I'm very disappointed, annoyed," he said."What do you do when you've got groups, whether in the Vatican or in Ireland, who try to undermine what is being done or simply refuse to understand what has been done?" (more)

Jordan names mosque after Jesus
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 20 July 2011

A mosque in Amman, Jordan has become the first in the Arab world to be named after Jesus, reports the Vatican Insider. According to ANSA reports, the idea for the name came from Jamal Al Sufrati, the mosque's imam. "It occurred to me, the imam stated, that the Arab world is full of mosques that are named after all prophets except Jesus." (more).  Image: Flickr, Minaret on a mosque

Democracy in the Church
Extract from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, Wednesday 20 July 2011

In recent weeks the media have given some coverage to a petition circulating among Australian Catholics. The petition was composed by a lay group called Catholics for Renewal, comprised of Catholics who have been active in parish life. They hope many Catholics will sign the petition, and that the Bishops will communicate its content to Pope Benedict when they meet him later in the year. The petition offers a sombre picture of the state of the Catholic Church. It speaks of a Church that has lost contact with young people. Many older Catholics have also become increasingly disaffected. The Church has been unable to provide ministry to communities, especially in rural areas. The document attributes the malaise in part to defects in governance...(more). Subscription to  Eureka Street is free.

Irish PM says Church-State relations forever changed
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 20 July 2011

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has launched an unprecedented attack on the Catholic Church,  saying the relationship between church and state in Ireland could not be the same again following the Cloyne report, the BBC reports.Mr Kenny told Irish Parliament that the report showed the Vatican was dominated by elitism, dysfunction, disconnection, and narcissism, the BBC added. But Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, in a personal response to the report, told Vatican Radio that the "severity" of criticism toward the Holy See was "curious" - as Irish law itself at the time did not have provisions for mandatory reporting (more).


Broken Hill parishioners' plea for bishop
Extract from Catholic News, Tuesday 19 July 2011

Parishioners in Broken Hill are calling for a bishop to be appointed to properly lead the Wilcannia Forbes Diocese, reports the ABC. Almost 200 people attended a public
meeting Monday night with members of a committee investigating the future of the diocese. While there have been suggestions it should be disbanded because it is without a bishop and has a shortage of priests, Monsignor Robert McGuckin, who chaired the meeting, says overwhelmingly people want to retain the diocese (more). Screenshot from the Catholic Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes

Fewer priests leads to supersizing of US parish life
Edited Extracts from Catholic News, Monday 18 July 2011

More US Catholics are attending Masses at fewer parishes staffed by a rapidly declining corps of priests, according to a new report on The Changing Face of US Catholic Parishes, reports the Catholic News Service....the report documents what it calls the "supersizing" of US Catholic parish life...."Bigger parishes, more Masses and ministries in languages other than English are becoming the norm," said a news release on the report released July 18....the number of Catholic parishes has declined by 1,359 since the year 2000 (more).

Archdiocese of Melbourne Clergy Conference
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Friday 15 July 2011

Priests from across the Archdiocese of Melbourne gathered in Geelong this week for the Archdiocese of Melbourne Clergy Conference 2011.The theme for this year’s Conference was 'Casting Catholic Lines into a Deep, Turbulent, Secularising Sea'. Frs Brendan Byrne SJ, Brendan Reed and Kevin Lenehan were the three keynote speakers.Conference dinner guest speaker was CEO of St Vincent de Paul in the Northern Territory and 2010 Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year Janet Buhagiar (more plus photos).

Abuse guidelines ignored, Irish report finds
Edited Extract from Douglas Dalby, The Age, Friday 15 July 2011

The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland was covering up the sexual abuse of children by priests as recently as 2009, long after it issued guidelines meant to protect children. And the Vatican tacitly encouraged the cover-up by ignoring the guidelines, according to a scathing report by the Irish government (more).

Vatican-approved bishops attend new illicit Chinese ordination
Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 14 July 2011

Eight Vatican-approved bishops attended an ordination in China not approved by the Holy See, of Father Joseph Huang Bingzhang of Shantou city, in southern Guangdong province, reports ucanews.com. Bishop Johan Fang Xingyao of Linyin, president of the government-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA), was the main celebrant.n.....A Shantou priest who attended the ordination said he hoped the new bishop could unite the priests for the good of the local Church. "Forgiveness, tolerance and mutual support are more important," said the priest on condition of anonymity (more). Screenshot from Rome Reports video.

Sister Wives fight for polygamy
Extracts from The  Age, Thursday 14 July 2011

The polygamous family featured on cable television's Sister Wives plans to challenge the bigamy law that makes their lifestyle illegal.Lawyer Jonathan Turley is expected to file the lawsuit challenging the Utah law in Salt Lake City's US District Court on Wednesday.Turley represents Kody Brown and his four wives - Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn. Kody Brown is only legally married to Meri Brown.The Browns belong to Mormon fundamentalist sect the Apostolic United Brethren church, which practices polygamy as part of its faith.The Browns and their 16 kids moved to Nevada in January after Utah authorities launched a bigamy investigation. No charges were ever filed, but on Tuesday, Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman said the investigation is ongoing (more).

Priest preaches against racism in Vic parish
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 13 July 2011

A priest in Wodonga, Victoria, has defended a Congolese refugee who felt snubbed by fellow parishioners, and was almost reduced to tears while speaking about the importance of acceptance at a weekend Mass, reports the Border Mail. Father Dennis Crameri said there was no place for racism after relaying the story to stunned church-goers on Sunday about how Yves Nkoranyi felt par­ishioners were bypassing him for communion, in his role as a special minister, because of the colour of his skin.

Bishops asked to do more listening
Extract from Catholic News, Tuesday 12 July 2011

In an open letter to the Pope and Australian bishops, a Catholic lobby group has asked bishops to do more listening to their flock, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
Sent to parishes across the country, the letter by Catholics for Renewal claims the church "..has alienated too many adults who were born of Catholic parents, attended Catholic schools and lived a sacramental life"."It appears as an institution focussed on centralism, legalism and control," the letter continues (more).

Calls to abandon minimum sentencing requirements for youth
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Tuesday 12 July 2011

CatholicCare CEO Fr Joe Caddy has challenged the State Government to take a whole of Government approach to protecting Victoria’s children.Commenting at the Broadmeadows sitting of the State Government Inquiry into Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children last Thursday, Fr Caddy observed that, “On the one hand the Government is conducting a very worthy inquiry into protecting vulnerable children while on the other, it is attempting to impose minimum sentencing requirements and remove judicial discretion in the sentencing of some of the most vulnerable children in the state” (more)

Clergy Conference next week   
Fr Thang will be attending the Clergy Conference from 11-14 July. Fr Len Thomas will celebrate Masses during this time on Tuesday 12 July and Wednesday 13 July.

Open Letter to Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Bishops of Australia
Edited Extract from Brian Coyne, Catholica, Friday 8 July 2011

'Now is the time for ordinary Catholics to speak out about their concerns for their Church, and for their pastors to listen to them' is a major theme in an Open Letter addressed to Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Bishops of Australia, launched today.Catholics for Renewal, the recently-formed grassroots community group which prepared the Open Letter, points out that under Canon Law all Christ's faithful have a right and duty to voice their concerns for the good of the Church. The Open Letter, which can be viewed here and signed online has been released to coincide with the Australian Bishops' preparation for their Ad Limina visit to Rome, a 5-yearly opportunity to meet with the Pope to give an account of their dioceses and the state of the Church in Australia. By signing the Open Letter, Australian Catholics who are concerned for their Church will be able to let their leaders know in a concrete way how they feel (more).

Same-sex unions - challenge to marriage
Edited Extract from Kairos Catholic Journal Volume 22, Issue 12, Friday 8 July 2011

This month, the Life, Family and Marriage Office is distributing a brochure entitled ‘Marriage and same-sex unions – are they the same?’ to parishes of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne. (In this article) Matthew MacDonald of the Life, Marriage and Family Office discusses (ways to) approach some of the challenging questions around this issue (more).

Continue embryonic stem cell research, says committee
Extracts from Catholic News, Friday 8 July 2011

A review of Australia's human cloning and embryo regulations has found that human cloning for reproduction should remain illegal, but a large majority of the review committee recommends all types of stem cells be allowed in research, reports the Herald Sun....The independent report from the review committee was tabled in the Senate this week (more).

Priest told he is unwelcome at NT detention centre
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 7 July 2011

A priest who raised concerns over the asylum seekers held at a detention centre in the Northern Territory said the Diocese of Cairns has been told he is no longer welcome to visit the centre, reports the Cairns Post.Father Lawrie Bissett, the administrator of the Sacred Heart Mission Parish on Thursday Island, was disgusted by the conditions detainees were kept in after he visited Scherger detention centre at Weipa last month. He raised concerns about an inmate's suicide attempt and the lack of support services inside the centre (more).

CathBlog - The Church is a family, not a corporation
Extract from David Timms blogs, CathNews, Thursday 7 July 2011

There is a secular perception that the Church is acting like a transnational, global Corporation. This has become so obvious that robust defences are being mounted. Archbishop Charles Chaput, Archbishop of Denver and well known in Australia, insists that “the Pope is not CEO and bishops are not his employees…Instead, the Church is closer to a confederation of families than to a modern corporation”. Well, that one could do with a bit more exploration!(more)

Vatican excommunicates Chinese Bishop
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 7 July 2011

The Holy See has excommunicated Father Paul Lei Shiyin of Leshan in China, who was ordained a bishop without papal mandate last week, reports ucanews.com (more).

Detention centres 'factories' for mental illness, says Bishop Hurley
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 6 July 2011

Northern Territory Bishop Eugene Hurley says detention centres are "factories for mental illness" because of the lengthy delays in processing the refugee status of detainees, the ABC reports.The Federal Government must respond to five attempted suicides in the past week at Darwin's Immigration Detention Centre by speeding up the processing of claims, Bishop Hurley says (more).

Father Bob: I don't want to go.
Extract from Adam Carey, The Age, Tuesday 5 July 2011

Victorian of the Year Father Bob Maguire says he is being made to quit his post as parish priest against his will, and that his ejection could unravel his community work. Father Maguire is due to step down as parish priest at South Melbourne's Church of St Peter and St Paul on February 1 next year, as he agreed in a letter to the Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, in 2009. But the celebrity Catholic priest said yesterday that he was ''pressured'' into writing the letter and in fact wants to remain in the job beyond that date, as his position as parish priest is integral to the church's work in the community (more).Photo: Joe Armao.  Ed: Fr Bob Maguire Maguire served as a Priest at Mother of God Parish from 1972-73. Reference - The Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe, A Brief History, June 2010.

No dignity in euthanasia
Extracts from Nicholas Tonti-Filippini, The Age, Tuesday 5 July 2011

...The chronically ill shouldn't feel pressured to relinquish their fragile hold on life....I am chronically ill with a progressive rheumatoid auto-immune disease that  destroyed my kidneys and causes inflammation around the lungs, inner chest walls and heart, ischaemic heart disease and peripheral neuropathy. I have been dependent on dialysis for 20 years and I have undergone 15 angioplasties and the placement of eight stents to recover some blood flow after the failure of coronary bypass surgery.The last such procedure was unsuccessful as the blocked artery could not be accessed. I mention these matters only to establish that I am no stranger to suffering and disability and have experienced the limitations of palliative care (more).

Gay marriage, bishops and the crisis of leadership
Extract from National Catholic Reporter Editorial, Tuesday 5 July 2011

The vote approving same-sex marriage in New York is the latest and most glaring confirmation of some gloomy news for the Catholic church in the United States, and it’s not that gays have achieved the right to marry. Rather, affirmed in the recent vote is the disturbing reality that the Catholic hierarchy has lost most of its credibility with the wider culture on matters of sexuality and personal morality, just as it has lost its authority within the Catholic community on the same issues.There are reasons -- and they have little to do with secularism, relativism or lingering influences of the wild 1960s -- why people are no longer listening to the bishops. While we don’t want to minimize the seriousness of the concern of some over a societal redefinition of marriage, there are reasons we think the bishops’ hyperbolic reaction to laws such as that enacted in New York are not only wrong-headed but counterproductive (more).

Baillieu says euthanasia should be dealt with at a 'national level'
Edited Extract from Julia Medew, The Age, Saturday 2 July 2011

Melbourne lawyer Alan Rosendorff, who has terminal cancer and faces a long, painful death has asked the Premier  to initiate public debate on voluntary euthanasia. Ted Baillieu has rejected (the) dying man's plea for voluntary euthanasia to be put back on the agenda in Victoria, saying it should be dealt with at a national level. Mr Baillieu said although he personally supported voluntary euthanasia, he would not refer the matter to the Victorian Law Reform Commission, as requested by (Mr) Rosendorff (more).


Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Sunday 2011
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council [NATSICC]

On this weekend we celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday. We acknowledge the deeply religious and spiritual traditions of our ancestors with respect. We have chosen the theme Justice and Peace for all for this year’s resources. It is also the beginning of a week of celebrations throughout the nation where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people celebrate their spirituality, identity, culture and survival. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday is the start of National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee or NAIDOC week where we are all welcomed and encouraged to join in the activities and celebrations. 

Parish Website goes mobile!
Ivanhoe Parish and Pope Benedict appear to have another thing in common - they are both at the forefront of human communication. Because of a growth in Website viewers using iPhones and other hand-held devices, users of these devices will now interact with a special version of the website tailored to these devices. Such Users are now regular viewers of the Website News, Mass Times & Prayers of the Faithful pages, amongst others!

A Parish Youth Leader retires
Friday 1 July 2011

Alison Rogers has been one of our Parish Youth Leaders for around two years now and has enjoyed the experience, shared with her University studies and part-time job. She has brought an appropriately youthful approach and has been appreciated by the young people she has worked with. As a lead singer in a music group she has also sung for us at various Youth Masses over those years, and featured in various of our Parish Youth video productions. Last Sunday Alison was farewelled by youth group members as she has now retired from the YPG to focus more on her studies and part-time work. We thank Alison for her work with our youth and wish her well with her studies. Photos of Alison's final YPG event on 26 June can be seen on the youth (YPG) page.

Religious ministry roles broaden as numbers drop
Extracts from Catholic news, Thursday 30 June 2011

While the number of religious sisters, brothers and clerical priests iis decreasing, their ministries and roles have significantly broadened, according to a survey on religious life, said the Catholic Weekly....The assembly's five key­note speakers spoke about religious life from different perspectives....Theologian Sr Jan Gray rsm discussed whether re­ligious life was in the 'end times' or "is that not what religious life has ever been about" (more).

Beijing 'detains Catholic priest'
Extract from The Australian, Friday 1 July 2011

CHINESE police have detained a Vatican-backed Catholic priest and blocked his ordination as a bishop, says a parishioner, in a move likely to raise tensions with the Holy See.The detention of Joseph Lei Shiyin came as China's state-run Catholic church reportedly ordained another bishop without the consent of the Vatican, which says ordinations can go ahead only with its blessing (more).

A new Jesuit foothold in Vietnam
Extract from National Catholic Reporter, Friday 1 July 2011

HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM -- Jesuits, we know, don’t always think like the rest of us. Ignatian spirituality can lead people to think -- and plan -- in unique ways, sometimes looking decades, even centuries, into the future. Such was the case when Jesuits first arrived in Vietnam in the early 17th century. Among them was a missionary named Fr. Alexander de Rhodes who arrived in Hanoi about 1619, and in a mere dozen years mastered the local language, wrote the first Portugese-Latin-Vietnamese dictionary (a move that romanized Vietnamese script), and published the first Vietnamese catechism and Bible (more).

Pope celebrates 60 years as a priest
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Friday 1 July 2011

Pope Benedict XVI has commemorated the 60th anniversary of his priesthood at St Peter's Basilica on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul.  The Pope also received 40 new archbishops named over the past 12 months.

Dutch close to ban on kosher, halal slaughter

Extract from The  Age, Thursday 30 June 2011

THE Dutch Parliament has passed a bill banning the slaughter of livestock without stunning it first, removing an exemption that allowed Jews and Muslims to butcher animals according to their centuries-old dietary rules. If enacted and enforced, religious groups say observant Jews and Muslims would have to import meat, stop eating it altogether, or leave the Netherlands (more).

Our new liturgy
Friday 24 June 2011  

This weekend, we’ll pray the Eucharistic prayer using the new liturgy so we’ll be ready to use it for the whole Mass from now on.  Let’s not be too concerned if, from time to time, we lapse into words we’ve used for so long. That is to be expected!

Ordination of Australia's first Asian-born bishop
Edited Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 23 June 2011

Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv. was ordained in Melbourne last night, saying "Nevertheless, I make bold to venture ahead, trusting in the sustaining power of God and the support of many", the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne said in a statement."I have taken many leaps of faith before, but perhaps none as profoundly life changing as this one," said the new Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne and Titular Bishop of Tala, a former refugee from communist Vietnam. Archbishop Hart welcomed those present saying, "Together with his parents Quang and Mung, his brothers and sisters, and so many friends, we stand in the presence of the Lord who has called Bishop Vincent to be a successor of the Apostles."... Bishop Long was 18 years old when he fled communism in 1980. He travelled in a 17-metre boat with 147 other people. After eight terrifying days, he and all 147 other people made it safely to Malaysia (more). Watch recorded Live Stream of the Episcopal Ordination of Most Rev Vincent Long Van Nguyen from St Patrick's Cathedral here.

Mental illness in family hurts relationship with church: study
Extract fron Catholic News, Thursday 23 June 2011

Mental illness of a family member hurts the family's connection with the religious community, a new study by a US university has found, leading many affected families to leave the church and their faith behind, reports the News Medical website (here).

Gangland ministry calls for compassion and kinship

Extract from Fiona Basile, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Wednesday 22 June 2011
Father Gregory J Boyle SJ, or ‘Fr. G’, as he’s affectionately known by the "homies" in his home-town Los Angeles, is in Melbourne this week spreading his message of compassion and kinship. For the past 23 years, Fr Greg has been ministering to the homies in Los Angeles, the gang capital of the world. There are 1100 gangs encompassing 86,000 members in Los Angeles. His parish has the highest concentration of murderous gang activity in the city (more).

Banal liturgies 'drove Anglicans away': theologian
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 22 June 2011

An ex-Anglican theologian said the new ordinariate expected next year would likely enhance the liturgical culture of the post-conciliar Catholic Church, reports the Record. Dr Tracy Rowland, the author of Ratzinger's Faith: the Theology of Pope Benedict XVI and Benedict XVI: A Guide for the Perplexed, said many commentators have observed an affinity between the Anglo-Catholic approaches to liturgy and the Pope's own liturgical theology."In particular, (Pope Benedict) is very concerned about what he has variously described as 'parish tea party' liturgy, 'pastoral pragmatism', 'emotional primitivism', 'Sacro-pop' and 'utility music',".....(more)

2,000 meet to call for reform in Detroit
Extract from Jerry Filteau, National Catholic Reporter, Tuesday 21 June 2011

As the inaugural convention of the American Catholic Council was drawing to a close June 12, an estimated 2,000 reform-minded Catholics stood en masse to endorse a 10-point Catholic Bill of Rights and Responsibilities that asserts primacy of conscience and the right of every Catholic to have a voice in the way the church is run, as well as an obligation to advance the proclamation of the Gospel to the world and the church’s social teaching. The approval of the document followed two days in which speaker after speaker articulated the participants’ frustration at growing clericalism in the church and what they viewed as sustained efforts by church authorities to slow down or reverse many of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (more).

Parish fully introduces New Mass Liturgy this weekend
Friday 17 June 2011

After weeks of introduction in our Parish the New Mass Liturgy will be fully introduced from this weekend in each of our three Churches. Multimedia will continue to be used to assist in the learning process for now, and in a short while this will be somewhat replaced by printed church copies of "The New Order of Mass" which may be borrowed during Masses.

Towards an adult Church
Extract from Patty Fawkner SGS*, Good Samaritans, June 2011

“I recall that the Church came to birth amidst the unfolding tensions between, paradoxically, the conservative Peter and the liberal, boundary-pushing Paul. Without a liberal component, life petrifies; without a conservative component, the centre doesn’t hold,” writes Patty Fawkner SGS (more).
*Patty Fawkner is an adult educator, writer and facilitator. She is an Australian Good Samaritan Sister who is on the leadership team of her congregation. Though her ministries have been diverse, Patty sees a connecting thread of making the riches of our Catholic tradition accessible to the women and men of our time. She has an abiding interest in questions of justice and spirituality. Her formal tertiary qualifications are in arts, education, theology and spirituality.

Kidnapped boys released from jail
Extracts from Sydney Morning Herald, Friday 17 June 2011

Three boys kidnapped from an Indonesian village by people smugglers and stuck in limbo in a Queensland adult prison have been released on bail pending an age hearing...They were facing five years in jail in a high-security adult prison because of mandatory sentencing laws for convicted people smugglers. But in the Brisbane Magistrates Court today the teens were granted bail (more). (Ed: According to UNHCR Australia is still the only country where detention is mandatory for adults and children seeking asylum for the duration of their processing).

Opinion - The Church must engage with the world
Extracts from Opinion, Catholic News, Thursday 16 June 2011

The central theme of the Vatican II document, Gaudium et Spies, was that the Church should be engaged with the world, it is to be its Joy and its Hope, says Archbishop Barry Hickey in a lecture given last week, and published in the Record.....Those were heady days of change, renewal, innovation and enthusiasm. What happened?  As the Church began to gear up for change, the world suddenly changed radically, unexpectedly, and caused the Church to hesitate a bit as it sought to understand what was going on (more).

Vatican enters first-ever commercial Agreement on stem cells
Extract from Catholic News, Friday 17 June 2011

The Vatican has signed its first ever commercial agreement with an outside company, a contract with US-based bio-pharmaceutical firm NeoStem to advance ethical research into stem cells, reports the Catholic News Agency (more). Image: flickr

Catholic Charismatic Renewal celebrates 40 years in Melbourne     
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 16 June 2011

...Catholic Charismatic Renewal burst on the scene at a retreat held by students and staff of Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit, in the US in 1967. There they experienced the Baptism in the Holy Spirit in a sovereign way. Influenced by the Second Vatican Council seeking renewal in the Church, prepared intellectually by a study of the first few chapters in the Acts of the Apostles and spiritually through prayer, the 30 or so present experienced a powerful transformation which soon found expression in rapidly growing prayer meetings at university campuses and in parishes....(more)

Rescue us from this madness
Extract from David Jay, The Age, Wednesday 15 June 2011

Neither side of politics has the courage to restore decent Australian values to the debate over asylum seekers. When future historians sit down to write our history, they will be puzzled and doubtless dismayed at the increasingly harsh treatment meted out to asylum seekers who fetch up on our shores after enduring hazardous voyages in small boats. Instead of receiving our sympathy and succour, they are thrown behind razor wire for long periods of mind-destroying detention. How did it come to this (more)? Image: Andrew Dyson

Visit to refugee detention centre shocks priest
Extracts from Catholic News, Wednesday 15 June 2011

A priest from the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart said a visit to the Scherger Immigration Detention Centre in Far North Queensland has left him shocked and sick, reports the Catholic Leader.....He said to see the young men crowding into the tent for Mass and hearing their stories of desperation as they waited for processing left him feeling sick and deeply pained (more).

Pope's theory on clergy sex abuse
Selected extracts from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, Wednesday 15 June 2011

One of the intriguing qualities of Pope Benedict XVI is his intellectual style. He consistently uses large theoretical constructs, such as secularism, to reflect on the condition both of Western societies and of the Church. He also regularly attributes the dysfunctional aspects of both Church and society to the embrace of false theory. He has regularly attributed sexual abuse by Catholic clergy to bad moral theory.The strength of this way of viewing the world is that it simplifies complex realities and provides a focus for reflection and conversation with those of a different view. Particularly during his visit to England earlier this year the Pope Benedict has stirred helpful conversation about the place of religion in society. His intellectual style engaged his listeners and offered a different perspective even if it did not persuade them.....Such reflection will inevitably turn to the ways in which the interweaving of these elements has shaped Catholic thinking about God and the church. Moral theories will be part of the weave of this tapestry, but to focus on them alone entails missing much that is salient....This is not to discount the Pope's intellectual style and his insistence on objective moral standards. In an Australian environment where many Christians are among those who see no moral problem in trafficking people to Malaysia to achieve political ends, I find the Pope's insistence on absolute moral values very welcome......But in the case of clerical sexual abuse, his analysis is not pertinent. It is important for the Church that he leads and for the victims of abuse that it be pursued deeper (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Vic amendment allows faith choice to continue
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 15 June 2011

Victoria's Equal Opportunity Amendment Bill passed the upper house on Wednesday, giving leeway to faith-based groups to be discriminating on grounds such as religion, marital status and gender under controversial legislation, 9News reports (more).

Fundamentalist dentist preached to patient
Extracts from Catholic News, Tuesday 14 June 2011

A fundamental Christian dentist who preached to a patient lying in his chair was "likely to repeat his behaviour as he ever was", a lawyer told the Victorian Civil and  Administrative Tribunal, reports the Geelong Advertiser....Dentist Paul Gardner, whom the report said is a confessed "God-botherer", has declined to explain why he began spouting his views during a consultation.....In December 2008, Dr Gardner took his patient's "facial expression and body language" to mean she questioned the Bible and, upon seeing the patient's dragon tattoo, asserted tattoos de-sensitised people for prophecies detailed in scripture (more).

Catherine Merle Gilbo OAM
Monday 13 June 2011

We heartily congratulate Merle Gilbo who has been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honour list for 2011. Her citation reads "For service to science as a biochemist, and to the community". As a former biochemist at CSL she worked with others on the polio vaccine amongst other things, and together with fellow biochemist Dr Normal Coles Merle did significant early work on funnel web venom, that was later taken further  by Dr Struan Sutherland in 1967. If you  want to know anything about Temperature Sensitivity within the Pasteurization Temperature Range of Prekallikrein Activator in Stable Plasma Protein Solution you can also simply ask Merle! Her continuing community contributions are very extensive, and none of all this even hints additionally at Merle's very many invisible as well as visible roles in the Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe. Having recently celebrated her 80th birthday, Merle with eternal optimism, strong faith, boundless energy and an ever fresh view on life and change is an inspiration to us all.

Word has it
Friday 10 June 2011

After years of speculation, debate, drafting, confirmation, controversy, and recent introductory homilies across our Parish the New Mass Liturgy will be progressively introduced into our Masses from this weekend. It will start modestly with the new liturgy up to and including the "Liturgy of the Word", and will then be incrementally extended over the weeks to come, eventually also including new music. In describing the New Liturgy over recent weeks Fr Thang spoke of it as deepening our love and understanding of the Mass. He also encouraged patience during the process of change ahead. Archbishop Mark Coleridge chaired the committee charged with producing the New Roman Missal and shares some (video) thoughts on it here.

Anglican Church seeks converts at a 'sinema' near you
Edited extract from Carolyn Webb, The Age, Wednesday 8 June 2011

The Anglican Church is making a radical bid for new recruits by holding Sunday services in a city cinema. Evangelical Christian churches started the trend to hold services at movie theatres at Chadstone, Northland and Eastland. And now a mainstream church is ''bringing the church to the people'' by offering teenagers and young adults a Sunday morning choice - Hangover 2 or the word of God at Hoyts in Melbourne Central....(Pastor) Guy Mason said 95 per cent of his flock were aged under 35 and saw the traditional church as hidden and disconnected from their culture.The congregation is called City on a Hill, from Jesus in the Book of Matthew 5:14-16: "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house …''.Mr Mason said the cinema was ''a bid to be connected with people who aren't used to going to church''. ''It's not a barrier to people, it says, 'Hey, we want to be where the people are' ".(more)

No girls as altar servers in Extraordinary Mass: Vatican
Extracts from Catholic News, Wednesday 8 June 2011

The Vatican's Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei has clarified that girls are not allowed to serve at the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, reports the Catholic Herald....It made clear that the Instruction on Summorum Pontificum, Universae Ecclesiae, does not permit female altar servers at the older Mass (more).

Australia's youngest bishop ordained in Sydney
Edited Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 8 June 2011

Sydney's new Auxiliary Bishop Peter Comensoli was ordained last night at St Mary's Cathedral and said he is looking forward to "30 years of hard work upfront and centre", reports the Australian. At 47, he is the country's youngest bishop. Bishop Comensoli said the biggest challenge of his new role would be teaching the faith at a time when many were indifferent to religion and "the Lord is often forgotten or even rejected". In his sermon, Sydney's Cardinal George Pell said a bishop's task was to "teach and explain" that Jesus was divine as well as human because "no mere man" could redeem us (more).

How Holocaust seeds were sown by a bitter soldier
Extract from Jack Ewing, Frankfurt, The Age, Wednesday 8 June 2011

In 1919, a superior officer, impressed with a soldier's oratorical skills, asked him to commit his virulently anti-Semitic diatribes to paper. Out of that came the first written record of Adolf Hitler's obsessive hostility towards Jews, an embryonic form of the world view that would later lead to the Holocaust and millions of deaths.The Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Los Angeles has acquired what may be the original document, known as the Gemlich Letter. In July, the centre plans to put it on public view for the first time, at its Museum of Tolerance, making the letter the centrepiece of its Holocaust exhibit. (more)

From asylum seeker to new Catholic bishop
Edited Extracts from Barney Zwartz, The Age, Tuesday 7 June 2011

Vietnamese refugee Vincent Long Van Nguyen, has been appointed Catholic Bishop in the Archdiocese of Melbourne....For eight terrifying days, wedged upright as one of 147 people in a 17-metre boat, Vincent Long Van Nguyen suspected he might not survive...He will be one of four auxiliary bishops in Melbourne, responsible for the migrant-rich west. ''I don't know how people or clergy of the broader community is going to accept me, but I am who I am, and I'd like to give it my best shot and see where it takes me" (more) Photo Justin McManus. Meet Vincent Long on Videos page

Calming the waters: New Vatican official tries different approach
Extracts from National Catholic Reporter, Monday 6 June 2011

He has only been at the Vatican for four months, but Brazilian Archbishop Joao Braz de Aviz is already getting good reviews. As the head of the Vatican office that oversees the world's religious orders, the 64-year-old archbishop inherited an inbox full of tensions and an assignment that in some ways resembled a battleground. In addition to wrapping up a contentious apostolic visitation of women's religious orders in the United States, he faced the challenge of rebuilding trust and channels of communication with the heads of religious orders worldwide.....Archbishop Aviz said he also wanted to help improve relations between bishops and religious orders. Often this is not a matter of resolving doctrinal or disciplinary problems, but of speaking calmly with each other and "knowing how to listen," he said (more).

NSW and Victoria's 'tough on crime' confusion
Extract from Michael Mullins, Eureka Street, Sunday 5 June 2011

.....Jesuit Social Services CEO Julie Edwards has spearheaded an innovative approach to protecting young offenders at risk. She has criticised Victoria's indiscriminate 'one size fits all' approach to sentencing and suggested the state's Attorney General should 'look north of the border as the new Liberal Government looks to reduce Australia's largest jail population by diverting offenders away from the prison system and reducing the rate of re-offending'. Under the current Victorian law, the judiciary has the ability to hand out a harsh sentence if the situation requires. She argues that taking this flexibility away by fixing sentences in law is a backwards step. 'Judges, not politicians, should be setting sentences. When you are unwell you go and see a doctor… [not] your local politician.' (more) Image: Chris Johnston. Subscription to Eureka Street is free

The Church and the general
Extract from The Tablet, Saturday 4 June 2011

One of the questions that Serbs and many others hope will receive an answer at the trial of Ratko Mladic is whether Serbia’s powerful Orthodox Church played a role in shielding the former Bosnian Serb general from international justice. Just after his arrest last week, Mladic, who is wanted for the massacre of about 8,000 men and boys in the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica in 1995, among other things, was quoted as saying that church authorities had sheltered him during his time on the run – years that had become much more difficult since the fall in Belgrade in 2000 of his patron , Slobodan Milosevic (more)

St Bernadette's "Temporary Organist" of 18 years to retire
on Saturday 4 June.
                         John Costa, Friday 3 June 2011

Do we remember what we were doing 18 years ago? Could we imagine ourselves committing to an important Parish activity each week as a volunteer - for the next 18 years? That's a lot of Masses, a great deal or preparatory work, a huge responsibility always to be available, and a demanding need to musically satisfy each congregation for so long. The role also being honorary adds enormously to our privilege in benefiting from it. If we were to consider finances it would amount to a huge saving to the Parish, but money is simply not a factor in this case. This is very much how Parishes so far have worked, because some people have been happy to dedicate themselves without reward, simply because of their faith, and belief in what they are doing.  Nancy Topp is such a person, and this Saturday Mass at St Bernadette's will be her very last as organist - and member of St Bernadette's community. After all those years and from all whose spiritual experience has been enhanced through her music Nancy will retire as organist at Mass on Saturday 4th June. It was a role that was never made official, and for the next stage of her life journey Nancy will move to another Parish where she won't need to play organ, and which is much closer to her home. The whole Parish celebrates and warmly thanks Nancy for her long-standing dedication to St Bernadette's and its family, and acknowledges her graciousness. We wish her an extremely well-earned rest, and a peaceful and happy retirement. St Bernadette's will always remain a part of her extended family, and she will always be welcome to drop by.

We invited Nancy to write a few words about her background and St Bernadette's experience. With characteristic humility and some poignancy she has briefly written what is also an uplifting piece "My Family" (read it here).

45th World Communications Day, 5 June 2011
Pope Benedict's World Communications Day message praises social media for contributing to "a new appreciation of communication itself, which is seen first of all as dialogue, exchange, solidarity and the creation of positive relations." In "Truth, proclamation and Authenticity of life in the Digital Age" he said ".....on the occasion of the 45th World Day of Social Communications, I would like to share some reflections that are motivated by a phenomenon characteristic of our age: the emergence of the internet as a network for communication. It is an ever more commonly held opinion that, just as the Industrial Revolution in its day brought about a profound transformation in society by the modifications it introduced into the cycles of production and the lives of workers, so today the radical changes taking place in communications are guiding significant cultural and social developments. The new technologies are not only changing the way we communicate, but communication itself, so much so that it could be said that we are living through a period of vast cultural transformation. This means of spreading information and knowledge is giving birth to a new way of learning and thinking, with unprecedented opportunities for establishing relationships and building fellowship." However, he also warns of its limitations... (more)

Funeral boom as boomers bail out
Edited Extract from Malcolm Brown, The Age, Friday 3 June 2011

Australia's funeral industry is on the cusp of a boom, with latest forecasts suggesting the greying masses of baby boomers are about to drop off the perch in greater numbers (more).

Belgian abuse victims sue Holy See
Extract from Claire Rosemberg Ghent, Belgium, The Age, Friday 3 June 2011

DOZENS of victims of a child-sex scandal in the Belgian Catholic Church are launching legal action against the Holy See, the first such suit in Europe (more).

Concluding - Parish introduction to The New Liturgy
Friday 27 May 2011 - Updated Wednesday 2 June 2011

At each of our three Churches two weeks ago Fr Thang started introducing the soon to be implemented New Mass Liturgy with Part 1 of a progressive 3-week  Homily - Deepening our Love and Understanding of the Mass. His topic was "Starting with The Human". Part 2 of the introduction last weekend continued with the topic "Liturgy of the Word". The third and final introductory Homily this weekend concludes with "The centre and summit if the entire celebration". We have already quietly experienced excerpts of the Priest's part of the New Liturgy, and will progressively introduce the full new liturgy including the congregation's parts after this weekend.

Public meeting on human trafficking
Extract from Catherine Sheehan, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 2 June 2011

Every minute two children are trafficked for sexual exploitation.  In 2010 approximately 12.3 million adults and children were in forced labor, bonded labor or forced prostitution around the world.  Eighty per cent of human trafficking is for sexual services, 18 per cent for labor and 2 per cent is organ trafficking.  Human trafficking is a $32 billion USD criminal activity and the average cost of a human slave today is $90 USD.These were some of the staggering statistics that participants were confronted with at a public meeting organised by Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH), on 30 May  at the Cardinal Knox Centre in East Melbourne (more).

Italian court releases $31m seized from Vatican bank
Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 2 June 2011

An Italian court has released $31 million it seized from the Vatican bank last year amid an inquiry into allegations of money-laundering, said an AP report in the Australian......Rome prosecutors said yesterday that their decision to release the money was based on the Vatican's swift move to set up a new financial authority aimed at tackling allegations of money-laundering (more).

China to ordain another bishop without Vatican backing

Edited Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 2 June 2011

The government-recognised Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association is preparing to ordain another bishop, with a priest who lacks Vatican backing as the leading candidate, said an AP report in the Washington Post.The report cites ucanews.com saying the Rev Joseph Shen Guo'an is expected to be ordained next Thursday in Wuhan diocese in central China.....(it was reported that)the Wuhan diocese has been without a bishop for many years and that Shen has been in charge in the interim (more).

Channel defence funds to victims, priest urges
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 1 June 2011

The parish priest of St Mary's Basilica in Geelong said money used defending sex offenders should be given instead to compensate victims of the crime, reports the Geelong Advertiser (more).

Youth Group Hangs in
Sunday 29 June

The Parish Youth Group has thrived over the last 5 years, but now suddenly its membership has declined. Many older members are "moving on" and have alternative, probably more exciting, choices, often provided by their schools and new circles of friends. We've also found that the youngest of these youth tend to feel links with their local Parish school, but not the wider Parish. The "church" itself does not seem to be holding many of these folk. However a small core group of long-standing Youth Group members decided at their "dinner-to-share and video night" this evening that they very much want the Group to continue. So a smaller Group will continue. Further details are on this website's now updated "Young People's Group" page. The Group is also now on Facebook.

PM asked to support removal of veto over same-sex legislation
Extract from Catholic News, Friday 27 May 2011

The new ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has met with Prime Minister Julia Gillard to urge her to support controversial territories' legislation - which could pave the way for legalised same-sex unions, reports the Australian (more).

Parish Leadership Team meeting

Wednesday 25 May 2011

This evening's meeting covered many significant issues. On one hand it reviewed high participation levels across the Easter liturgies, a great deal of Parish pastoral work, enthusiastic involvement in Confirmation preparations, more unified liturgies across the Parish because of multimedia facilities in all Churches now, and good voluntary support for recent working bees. On the other hand there was growing concern over Parish Finances amidst very rapidly rising costs. In the wait before the Ford Street initiative comes on-stream the Leadership team is considering various options for raising funds to pay our way and further defer expenditures, and will engage the Parish community in discussion on this. These and other considered issues are outlined in a brief report of the meeting on the website Leadership Team page (under "People"). The meeting also discussed the sudden recent decline in youth group participation after five very active years, despite a small core group of youth wanting the Group to continue (their next event is this Sunday).

Pope evicts 'loose living' monks from Roman monastery
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 25 May 2011

Pope Benedict XVI is evicting a group of monks from a renowned monastery in Rome, where they staged concerts featuring a lap-dancer-turned-nun and opened a hotel with a 24-hour limousine service, reports the Guardian (more).

Expect no good from SlutWalk
Edited extracts from Opinion, Ruby Hamad, The Age Wednesday 25 May 2011

.....But what exactly is a ''slut''? A woman who enjoys sex? A woman who has sex? A woman who has multiple sexual partners? A woman who may be a virgin but shows her cleavage? ''Slut'' is an arbitrary insult, aimed not only at those women unfortunate enough to be so called, but at all women, who fear it may one day be used against them if they don't conform to expectations of how women should dress and behave.The participants of SlutWalk, by seizing on the word, hope to take away its power. In doing so, they compare ''slut'' to words such as ''wog'', ''queer'' and ''nigger''......but........(more)

Times they are a-Changin?
John Costa, Tuesday 24 May 2011

Whilst it's well known that sprightly Mick Jagger is now aged 68 and still performing it somehow comes as a shock to learn that Bob Dylan who is also still performing turns 70 today. His powerful words, music and piercing eyes of the 60s seem to have first exploded onto the world so short a time ago. Contrary to his image at the time he reportedly now discounts the assumed political intent of his early songs, denies any 'anti-war-movement' and describes himself as "simply a song and dance man". Neil Diamond who is also still performing turned 70 this year and Tina Turner likewise is 71. There are many still performing artists from the 60s and even earlier whose impact on lives around the world continues. They have survived as active and successful performers by changing with the times, in a world that has dramatically changed around them. Perhaps we in the Church and Parishes can learn something from all of this as our average age also continues relentlessly to rise? Some priests don't retire until 78. Popes don't retire. It could be a good time to review the 21 May 2008 report below on Fr Frank O'Loughlin's talk in our Parish  "Changes in the Church". Photo: The Age

A little bit of belief can be a godsend for your brain
Extracts from Leesha McKenny, The Age, Monday 23 May 2011

Faith can open your mind, but it can also cause your brain to shrink at a different rate, research suggests.Researchers at Duke University Medical Centre in the US claim to have found a link between religious practices and changes in the brains of older adults.......Changes in the volume of their hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with learning and memory, were tracked using MRI scans over two to eight years. Protestants who did not identify themselves as born-again were found to have less atrophy in the hippocampus than born-again Protestants, Catholics or those with no religious affiliation.....(more)

The New Liturgy
Merle Gilbo, Friday 20 May 2011

You have probably noticed that Fr. Thang has been praying new versions of the Eucharistic prayers. Our priests have much more to learn than we have!  Plenty of help has been available to make the changes for the members of the congregation explicable and fruitful. For example, at the Deanery gathering a few weeks ago, entitled ‘The Eucharist we share’, Fr. Tom Knowles (from St. Francis) led the first session. He called it: ‘Deepening our love and understanding of the Mass’ and he did this so well. This was followed by a ‘nuts and bolts’ session, led by Damien Coleridge of the Office for Evangelization. For the next three weeks, we hope to combine the wisdom and knowledge of those two presentations and ‘walk through’ the changes we will soon experience. Laminated copies of the new texts (to be left in the church) will be available to help us participate fully in the Mass until we become at home with the new words.

Fathers toil longer and feel guilty
Extract from The Age, Friday 20 May 2011

Fathers are working longer hours than ever, according to the latest figures on work-life balance. Data released yesterday by the Australian Institute of Family Studies shows that the workload of the fathers of pre-school children increased by 5.7 hours between 1997 and 2006. ''It's a very marked trend and this is happening when everyone is meant to be doing more at home,'' said the institute's director, Professor Alan Hayes, as he launched the 2011 Australian families report card as part of National Families Week. (more)

'Strong therapeutic system' needed for care of young
Extracts from Catholic News, Friday 20 May 2011

Early intervention and therapeutic care will make the most difference to children in Out-of-Home Care, MacKillop Family Services told the Victorian State Government's Inquiry into Child Protection this week, the organisation said in a media release."The vulnerable young people in our care need to be in a strong therapeutic system with foster carers and residential care workers providing trauma informed care with support from highly trained therapeutic specialists." (more) Image from MacKillop Family Services website

Welcome refugees to a life in peace - bishop
Extract from The Catholic Weekly, Friday 20 May 2011
Asylum seekers are people created in the likeness of God, deserving of dignity and, owing to circumstances beyond their control, seeking a safe and sustainable life, said the Bishop of Wagga Wagga, Bishop Gerard Hanna. “The competing points of view that currently comprise the debate in Australia regarding the treatment of migrants and refugees reflect the emphasis by Government on the issues of border security and responsible control of incoming itinerant people to this country,” the bishop said in his homily at a Multi cultural Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral on May 10.“While acknowledging the difficulties faced by the minister and the department in serving the nation responsibly on this issue, it is becoming clear that there are other options – apart from mandatory detention of asylum seekers – that will support the necessity of government policies geared to the protection of all Australians (more)

Scott Rush still needs prayers, appeals priest
Edited Extracts from Catholic News. Thursday 19 May 2011

The former parish priest of Scott Rush, the Australian who has been spared the death sentence in Indonesia, has urged for prayer and support for him, saying it is needed "now more than ever", reports the Catholic Leader. Father Tim Harris made the appeal after receiving news that Scott's death sentence had been reduced to life imprisonment by the Indonesian Supreme Court. He was arrested at Bali's Denpasar Airport in April 2005 along with eight other Australians, and charged with heroin smuggling."The court decision is the end of one struggle and the beginning of another," Fr Harris said. "Scott's sentence still continues in that cell that has housed him for the past six or so years (more).

Cardinal Pell's climate hot air
Extracts from Tim Stephens, Eureka Street, Thursday 19 May 2011

On Wedneday, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that 'a dire warning about the need to mitigate man-made global warning from a Vatican-appointed panel of scientists has not yet convinced Australia's highest-ranking Catholic', Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell....The report echoes the positions of both John Paul II, who spoke at length about environmental questions, and Benedict XVI, who has expressed similar anxieties and has overseen the Vatican's endeavours to become the first carbon neutral state.The Vatican's views, however, are not shared throughout the Church, and Pell's is the loudest and most persistent voice of dissent. He has not taken aim at the Pope for his views on climate change, but has been exceptionally vigorous in his criticism of climate change and climate scientists (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free

Pope calls on Chinese Catholics to stay with Rome
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 18 May 2011

Pope Benedict has called on Catholics across the world to pray that Chinese bishops refuse to separate from Rome, in spite of "pressure" from communist authorities, said an AFP report on Google News. The pontiff appealed for prayers for the 5.7 million Chinese Catholics caught between staying loyal to the ruling Communist Party in Beijing and an "underground" Church loyal to Rome but not recognised by the authorities."We know that among our brother bishops there are some who suffer and find themselves under pressure in the exercise of their episcopal ministry," Benedict XVI said at the weekly general audience in St Peter's Square (more).

Cardinal unconvinced about man-made climate change
Extract from Catholic News, Tuesday 17 May 2011

Sydney's Cardinal George Pell said the causes of climate change remain "unclear", even as a Vatican-appointed panel of scientists warned about the need to mitigate man-made global warning, reports the Sydney Morning Herald (more).

Dublin archbishop says Catholics not passing on faith to young people
Extracts from Barb Fraze, Catholic News Service, Tuesday 17 May 2011

The archbishop of Dublin said Irish society is not just suffering from the sex abuse scandal but from a failure to pass on the faith to the younger generation, reports the Catholic News Service. "We have to completely, radically change the way we pass on the faith," Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said. "Our parishes are not places where evangelisation and catechesis are taking place."......."Unless we address it, we're not going to have a next generation of young Catholics," he said...."We're suffering from some of the products of being a mass Catholicism in the past. We're still living, in some ways, as if that were the case today," he said (more).

The future of our Parish
Sunday 15 May 2011

Candidates who are being prepared for their Confirmation shortly  by Ruth Villani & Fr Thang were warmly welcomed at 9am Mass today. Fr Thang invited them to look back at the 'old' people in the congregation (including their families) and invited the 'old' people in the pews to look back at the new future of the Church and Parish. On this "Good Shepherd" Sunday he spoke of the way we are cared for and guided by our families, like God guides and invites us to follow his words through the Gospel readings and Eucharist. In the not too distant future these young people will also help guide the Church, Parish and  others based on their faith and beliefs, so let us all, individually and collectively care for and  support these people now.

Catholic bishops 'back the Pope over sacking'
Extract from The Australian, Friday 13 May 2011

After a seven-day meeting in Sydney, Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide yesterday issued a letter to the interim administrator of the Toowoomba diocese, Bishop Brian Finnigan, and its priests and people. On behalf of all the bishops, he affirmed "the unique role" of the Pope as head of the College of Bishops. "It is his task to guard and promote the communion of the church and the integrity of the church's faith," the letter says. "We reaffirm our faith in this mission, which the successor of Peter has received from Christ himself, and we gratefully acknowledge Pope Benedict's faithfulness to the Petrine ministry, even when it involves very difficult decisions." (more)

School religion classes probed
Extract from Jewel Topsfield, The Age, Friday 13 2011

The Christian group that provides religious education and chaplains in Victorian government schools will be investigated after its chief executive told a conference: ''We need to go and make disciples.'' The remarks appear to breach guidelines governing school religious programs, which ban trying to convert students to any one religion (more).

Australian bishops to discuss Morris ouster during ad limina visits
Extract from Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter, Thursday 12 May 2011

The head of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference expressed "our sadness" at the retirement of Bishop William Morris of the Diocese of Toowoomba and said the bishops will continue discussion of the event during their ad limina visits in Rome later this year. Morris was forced to retire after failing to reach agreement with the Vatican over several issues, including use of general confession and absolution and suggesting that the church should discuss alternatives, including ordination of women, to an all-male celibate clergy that is in serious decline (more).


Letter from Australian Catholic Bishops Conference re Bishop Morris
Extract of letter from Australian Catholic Bishops Conference to Bishop Finnigan, Toowoomba, Thursday 12 May 2011

Dear Bishop Brian, On behalf of the Australian Bishops, I write to you – and through you especially to the priests, religious and faithful of the Diocese of Toowoomba – to express our sadness at the retirement of Bishop Bill Morris. The decision came at the end of a complex process which began thirteen years ago and which ended in deadlock. It was then that the Holy Father found it necessary to exercise his Petrine care for the whole Church.This has been difficult and distressing for all concerned, and it is not surprising that the decision has caused varied and intense reactions... (download full letter here).

The Church needs YOU!
Edited Extracts from Fr Binh Lee, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 12 Nay 2011

The World Day of Prayer for Vocations is annually celebrated on the Fourth Sunday of Easter. This year it falls on 15 May..... Pope Benedict XVI has given us the theme for the 48th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, ‘Proposing Vocations in the Local Church’....It is important to keep in mind that the Church, in celebrating the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, while recognising and valuing all vocations – married life, single life, religious life, the permanent diaconate and the priesthood – concentrates its attention on vocations to religious life, the permanent diaconate and the priesthood (more).

Quick Quiz?
We've heard them so often before - but what are our Parish Values?   (remind ourselves of answer here)

Underground churches presents petition to Chinese govt
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 12 May 2011

A total of 17 "underground" churches in China have signed a petition appealing to China's lawmakers to provide legal protection of religious freedom, said Reuters and AFP reports in The West Australian. The petition, delivered on Wednesday by hand to the National People's Congress, was the first of its kind and the boldest statement by the nation's "house churches" to the central government, the Reuters report said (more).


Australia goes backward on rights: Amnesty
Extract from Adam Gartrell, The Age, AAP, Thursday 12 May 2011

Australia has taken many backwards steps on human rights in the past year, according to the latest global stocktake by Amnesty International. Amnesty's annual State of the World's Human Rights report takes particular aim at Australia's continued poor performance on indigenous and asylum seeker rights (more).

40 a day 2 year old quits smoking
Extract from Good News Stories, Tuesday 10 May 2011

A 2-year-old Indonesian boy who attracted international attention for smoking 40 cigarettes a day has quit the habit after a month of therapy, a child-protection agency said Thursday.“He has stopped smoking and doesn’t ask for cigarettes anymore,” said Arist Merdeka Sirait, chairman of the National Commission on Child Protection. Sirait said heavy smoking appeared to have caused brain shrinkage in the boy and could pose health risks for him at a later age. Nearly one-third of Indonesia’s 230 million people and more than 60 per cent of its male population smokes, according to the Demographic Institute at the University of Indonesia (more).

More than 340,000 sign up for WYD
Extract from Catholic News. Monday 9 May 2011

More than 340,000 young people from more than 170 countries have signed up to participate in World Youth Day Madrid, reports the Catholic News Agency.The main objective of the event, World Youth Day 2011's executive director said, is: "so young people experience Madrid as a welcoming city and that their days here be unforgettable" (more).

Church acts to defrock all paedophile priests
Extract from Barney Zwartz, The Age, Monday 9 May 2011

The Catholic archdiocese of Melbourne is defrocking every priest convicted of sexual offences against children. Fourteen Melbourne priests have been convicted in criminal courts of offences against children. Three are dead. Of the others, four have already been defrocked and applications against another five are before the Vatican. Two more cases are being prepared for submission later this year (more).

'Temple police' blamed for Toowoomba Bishop William Morris' downfall
Extract from Kristin Shorten and Brooke Baskin (The Courier Mail, May 3), Monday 9 May 2011

A Gang of right-wing Catholics, dubbed the "Temple police", are being blamed for the downfall of Toowoomba Bishop William Morris.The group, which allegedly travelled around parishes to spy on progressive priests who do not toe the Vatican line, was believed to be involved in the popular priest's ousting, reported The Courier-Mail (more).

Younger men becoming priests, US bishops' statistics say
Extracts from Catholic News, Sunday 8 May 2011

More than half of the ordination class of 2011 in the United States are 25-34 years old, showing a consistent trend of younger men becoming priests, reports Zenit. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops released the statistics for this year's class, reporting a five-year trend of increasing numbers of younger ordinands. Some 333 ordinands were surveyed, out of a total of 480 due to be ordained for dioceses and religious orders this year....The majority of the class has been Catholic since birth, around a third of those being ordained have a relative who is a priest or a religious - and some 21 percent of those being ordained participated in a World Youth Day before entering the seminary (link).

Conversation with a gay priest
Edited Extract from Eureka Street, Sunday 5 May 2011

On the surface, there's nothing unusual about the talk featured in this video — a Catholic priest speaking in a church to a group of Christians. But the shirt worn by the priest gives a clue that it's an extraordinary event: embroidered discreetly on its black fabric in rainbow colours is the word 'Priest'. Since the 1970s the rainbow has been adopted by homosexuals around the globe as a symbol of gay pride and identity. This priest, British-born James Alison, is openly gay, and (in this video) he's speaking here to a group of gay and lesbian Christians at Paddington Uniting Church in Sydney's eastern suburbs (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

"The future of the parish"
Extract from Fr Andrew Haimlton SJ, Australian Catholics, Thursday 5 May 2011

Parishes grew out of the scattered communities of the early Catholic Church, and became places of gathering and celebration for centuries afterwards. Changes in today’s society may mean that the Church needs to find new ways of bringing people together, but is there a continuing role for the local parish? (more) Photo: Australian Catholics

Australian bishops meet for plenary assembly
Edited Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 5 May 2011

The Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference today begins its Spring plenary assembly. "We are going to consider a pastoral plan...to engage the Catholic people of Australia in the renewal programme in light of the call of Blessed of John Paul II for renewal after the beginning of the Third Millennium," said Archbishop of Adelaide and president of the Bishop's Conference, Philip Wilson (more).

Man found crucified in South Korea
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 5 May 2011

South Korean police have found the body of a man with his hands and feet nailed to a wooden cross and a crown of thorns on his head, in an abandoned quarry, said a report in the Age (more).

Archbishop, priests respond to Bishop Morris retirement
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 4 May 2011

Brisbane's Archbishop John Bathersby says the Pope must have had a good reason to sack the bishop of the Diocese of Toowoomba in Queensland, but he's not been privy to the details of the case, reports AAP in the Sydney Morning Herald. Archbishop Bathersby said the removal of Bishop William Morris had saddened him. "Bishop Bill is a person I know very well - a person who has done an enormous amount of work in the church," he told ABC radio. "I feel sad about it all but I'm sure there must be a lot of reason in the decision the Pope has made." (more)

Papal power in Toowoomba
Extract from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street,Wednesday 4 May 2011

The forced retirement of Bishop Bill Morris raises many questions. Some questions concern the facts of the case — why the Bishop's pastoral strategies and his reflections on ways of addressing the shortage of priests in rural dioceses were found to be inconsistent with Catholic values. These questions cannot be usefully discussed because the evidence against him and the evaluation made of it have not been publicly disclosed (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

No anger, just sadness: Bishop Morris
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 3 May 2011

Bishop Toowoomba Bishop William Morris says he's not angry he's been forced into early retirement by the Church, reports the Courier-Mail, expressing instead a sadness for the Church."I'm sad for the local church, but not for myself. I'm not angry but I've been trying to get a process of justice ... if it affects me it affects the wider community." (more)

Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe Trapeze group?
Tuesday 3 May 2011

Volunteers are sought for a possible parish trapeze Group. To find out more or be inspired visit the website Videos page (under Photos/Multimedia) and view the related Vatican video. Potential trapeze artists may send applications to the Parish Office!

Bin Laden death calls for reflection, not rejoicing, says Vatican
Extracts from Catholic News,Monday 2 June 2011

The Vatican said the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden should prompt serious reflection about one's responsibility before God, not rejoicing, the Catholic News Service reports...In several US cities, the news prompted street demonstrations and expressions of jubilation (more).

Bloggers at The Vatican
John Costa, Tuesday 2 May 2011

Eighty four year old Pope Benedict is championing the use of modern communications in the church, and from the start has been very quick to exploit new technologies, far extending earlier Church initiatives such as Vatican radio and TV. The Vatican's TV broadcasts have now been enhanced to High Definition, Video streaming and YouTube presence are growing. The Pope sends SMS messages (I received several during World Youth Day in Australia) and the Vatican Website is very extensive. Twitter and Tweets from the Vatican are growing, and One hundred and fifty Bloggers from around the world have just descended on the Vatican for a two day meeting. They were received by the Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.  Outside of the Vatican there are are growing number of iPhone Church "apps". Via our website you can see something of the Vatican Blogger gathering captured by Romereports.com (here). This Parish under Fr John Cunnigham (and now Fr Thang) and the Leadership Team has also been quick to exploit new technology, followed by the  Archdiocese.

Catholic Parish attendance to be counted over four weekends
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 28 April 2011

The first weekend in May will see the commencement of the 2011 National Count of Attendance, a project which aims to ascertain the practising population of Australia’s Catholics (more). (Note: Volunteer counters are sought for our Parish. Census sheets to be used for this purpose are available in each church. Completed sheets need to be returned to the Parish Office Monday 23rd May).

Preparations for beatification of Pope John Paul II
Edited Extracts from John Thavis, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 28 April 2011

As the countdown continued for the beatification of Pope John Paul II, church and civil authorities put the finishing touches on logistical plans to handle potentially massive crowds at the main events in Rome.Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate the beatification Mass in St Peter's Square 1 May (more).

UK Catholic adoption body cannot reject gay couples
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 28 April 2011

Catholic adoption charity in England is facing closure after losing its appeal against a law forcing them to place children with homosexual couples, reports the Catholic News Agency. Catholic Care, run by the Diocese of Leeds, argued it would have to give up its adoption service if it was not made exempt from the law. However their case has now been rejected by England's Charity Tribunal (more).

Priests standing in Viet election
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 28 April 2011

Three Catholic priests are candidates for election to the Vietnamese national assembly, the "highest organ of state power" under the nation's constitution, said a report on VietCatholic News. The candidacy of the three priests has prompted criticism among Vietnamese Catholics and has stirred up debate on the application of ecclesial disciplines in Vietnam (more).

Your Holiness, it is time for women deacons
Extract From Letter,  Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter, Wednesday 27 April 2011

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
00120 Vatican City State, Europe
Your Holiness: Forgive my presumption in addressing you directly, but the matter I bring is both urgent and pressing. Women are no longer walking away from the church. They are running away. They are running toward churches that make it clear women are made in the image and likeness of God. I am not writing to argue for woman priests. But you told me many years ago in New York women deacons were “under study.” From 1992-2002, the International Theological Commission worked on that question, producing a report essentially repeating what you said: the Magisterium must decide. When you met with the priests of Rome in 2006, you wondered aloud: could the church open more positions of responsibility to women? Were you then signalling the recovery of the tradition of women deacons? (more)

Does religion unite or divide us?
The Question - The Age, Saturday 23 April 2011

At a time when the opposing sides of the world’s deepest conflicts seem more apart than ever, four commentators discuss the possibilities for a meeting of minds (The Teacher John Dickson,The Lawyer Randa Abdel-Fattah, The Author Patrick Holland, The Academic Marion Maddox). (more)

Large numbers participate in Easter Services
Easter Sunday, 24 August 2011

Extraordinarily large numbers of people gathered to celebrate all of the Parish Easter Liturgies this year. Mother of God, St Bernadette's & Mary Immaculate churches experienced what over many years may be record numbers. A combined effort from across the parish working with Fr Thang resulted in rich, meaningful and moving liturgies, enhanced by an excellent combined choir and musicians from across the Parish. Korean co-celebration of the Holy Thursday service was also appreciated. Perhaps as had been predicted before this Easter period a growing sense of search for meaning in a particularly troubled world right now could also be a factor. The overwhelming message to emerge was one of hope and joy, and Fr Thang furthermore urged all across the Parish to continue working together as one. Our multi-tasking resident photographer was sadly able to capture images from only one of our three churches. This photo is from the Easter Vigil service. Some other photos are published on the website Mass Details page. Over this period our website received a record number of visits to the Mass Details page and timetable downloads.

More expected to turn to God this Easter
Extract from AAP, The Age, Wednesday 20 April 2011

A year of floods, bushfires and other natural disasters means more people are likely to turn to religion this Easter, Western Australia's leading church figures say. Anglican Archbishop Roger Herft says Easter often brings large crowds to churches but he predicts even more people will seek guidance from their religion after suffering personal heartache (more). Photo at Ipswich by Dave Hunt AAP

Way of the Cross with Jesus and all suffering, victimised women
Extract from Fatherbob (Fr Bob Maguire), Wednesday 20 April 2011

FIRST STATION:JESUS IS CONDEMNED TO DEATH. We remember and pray for: Faceless women condemned to death for their religious beliefs, their culture, colour or creed. SECOND STATION:JESUS ACCEPTS HIS CROSS. We remember and pray for: Women who carry the cross of terrible atrocities through the misuse of power and abuse...(more)

Sydney to get Australia's youngest Bishop
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 20 April 2011

Pope Benedict has hand-picked a 47-year-old priest from Wollongong in NSW for the role of auxiliary bishop to Sydney's Cardinal George Pell, said the Illawarra Mercury and ACBC media releases (more).

Howard created potential loophole for gay marriage: ACT
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 20 April 2011

A loophole in federal laws passed under former Prime Minister John Howard could allow states and territories to pass laws to allow gay marriage, ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope says in an AAP report in the Sydney Morning Herald (more).

Cardinal says bishops must be the judge of 'authentic theology'
Extract from Catholic News, Tuesday 19 April 2011

The chairman of the US Bishops' Committee on Doctrine has written to the country's bishops outlining a fresh relationship between them and theologians, aimed at preserving authentic Catholic doctrine - in light of interest generated over a recent doctrinal rebuke of a theologian's book, said the National Catholic Reporter (more).

Comment - Trying to understand the hidden exodus
Extract from Catholic News, Tuesday 19 April 2011

The number of people who have left the Catholic church is huge. We all have heard stories about why people leave. Parents share stories about their children. Academics talk about their students. Everyone has a friend who has left, writes Thomas Reese in the National Catholic Reporter. While personal experience can be helpful, social science research forces us to look beyond our circle of acquaintances to see what is going on in the whole church (more).

Meet the Council of Christians and Jews
Edited extracts from Freda Kaufman, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne / Kairos Volume 22, Issue 6. Tuesday 19 April 2011

This year, the Council of Christians and Jews Victoria (CCJ Vic.) proudly celebrates its 25th anniversary. The CCJ Vic. was the first organisation in this state to foster interfaith dialogue; the earliest group to recognise the value and necessity of interfaith friendship, communication and understanding. Since 1985, attendances of 200-300 people have been the norm – surely visible recognition of the need for interaction between Christians and Jews. On the founding panel of presidents were distinguished names such as Archbishop Frank Little, Archbishop David Penman, Rabbi Ronald Lubofsky, Rabbi John Levi, and Rev Dr J. Stewart Murray. The Council aims to: Educate Christians and Jews to appreciate each other’s distinctive beliefs, practices and commonalities; promote the study of and research into historical, political, economic, social, religious and racial causes of conflicts between people of different creeds and colour; and for community benefit to promote education in fundamental ethical teachings common to Christianity and Judaism that relate to respect and understanding between people of different creeds (more).

Anglican clergy hope to be re-ordained as Catholic ministers
Extract from Catholic News, Monday 18 April 2011

Archbishop John Hepworth from the Traditional Anglican Communion says he has been negotiating ways to allow Anglican priests to be accepted by the Catholic Church, which the Vatican is likely to approve later this year, the ABC reports. Archbishop Hepworth says it is expected to be rolled out across parts of the world later this year (more).

Forgotten Aboriginal war heroes
Extract from Eureka Street, Monday 18 April 2011

As Anzac Day draws near, we prepare to celebrate the 102,000 Australian men and women who lost their lives in defence of their country. Anzac Day commemorations tend to neglect the history of the many Indigenous Australians who also died in defence of their land (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Call to teach students the ethos of all religions
Extract from Jewel Topsfield,The Age, Monday 18 April 2011

Catholic priest Father Bob Maguire has called for a review into the way religion is taught in schools.The priest and community worker said he believed religious education should be broader than instruction in one belief system."Children can have religious instruction in parishes, mosques and ashrams". "At school, there ought to be a general religious curriculum to introduce children to the ideas and motivations and rituals - in a word, the ethos - of all the religions," said Father Bob, who is the parish priest in South Melbourne (more). Picture Rebecca Hallas

Philippine President to push for passage of contraception bill
Edited extract from Catholic News, Sunday 17 April 2011

Philippine President Benigno Aquino said he will push for the passage of a reproductive health bill in Congress, to fight poverty, despite risking excommunication from the Church, said a Reuters report in the West Australian. "I remain committed to push the passage of a law for responsible parenthood," Aquino told graduates of the country's premier state university."I know there are those who oppose it. At risk of excommunication, it is my obligation as leader to explain my principles to them, even if their minds are already closed. But, in the end, I must listen to my conscience and do what is right." (more)


80, 90 and now.....    
We warmly congratulate Alf Cattanach who celebrated his 95th birthday recently!  We wish him well on this momentous occasion and thank him for his contribution to the parish. Over recent weeks we thought we had done well by celebrating Merle Gilbo's 80th, then Bill Dowling's 90th birthday, but now yet another significant occasion.

Pope sends video blessing to Australian family gathering
Extract from Catholic News, Friday 15 April 2011

Pope Benedict XVI has sent his prayers in a video message for the Third National Family Gathering, which begins today in Melbourne, urging families to become "protagonists of a new humanity" that embraces a culture of love and life, reports Zenit. "I am pleased to send my warm greetings to all who are gathering at Xavier College in Melbourne for the 3rd National Family Gathering," the Holy Father said (more).

190 priests at New Missal day at Flemington
Extracts from Damian Coleridge, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 14 April 2011

“I hope it goes well,” said someone to me at the beginning of the recent Day for Priests on the revised Mass texts.I replied: “With 190 priests in the room the day is already a success. Whatever happens after this is a bonus.”......At the end of his presentation the Archbishop expressed his “great confidence in you as men of the Church and good pastors”. That was borne out in the spirit of the day. Any criticism and unease were listened to and responded to; thanks were offered in the light of this. A couple of priests did this in the Q&A session with the Archbishop at the end of the day. As one of them suggested: “I came not expecting too much, but I’m grateful for the day; thank you.” (more)

Vatican confirms new bishop ordained in China
Extract from Catholic News. Thursday 14 April 2011

The Vatican has confirmed that Paul Liang Jiansen has been ordained as bishop of the Chinese city of Jiangmen, the first such ordination in China since relations with the Holy See broke down last year, reports the Catholic News Agency (more).

Parenting becoming a 'lost skill', says police commissioner
Edited Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 13 April 2011

CatholicCare Victoria has backed a call from Victoria's police Chief Commissioner Simon Overland for stronger parenting, which the commissioner said has become a "lost skill", reports the Herald Sun. Commissioner Overland said he didn't believe parents set enough boundaries: "Parenting actually means sometimes saying no. Parenting means putting boundaries in place and actually enforcing those boundaries because that's what young people need."CatholicCare Victoria CEO Father Joe Caddy (photo) agreed with the comments, adding that parents lived in a "very complicated world" (more).

Liturgy translation 'surprisingly good'
Extract from Andrew Hamilton,  Eureka Street, Wednesday 13 April 2011

Liturgy has always aroused strong passions. In the 19th century, some London churches served by Anglican priests who wore lace were stoned. So it is not surprising that the introduction of a new translation of the Catholic Mass should be turbulent. It raises many interrelated questions about the process by which the translation has come to exist, about the quality of the new texts, and about how best to respond to it. It is helpful to treat these questions separately (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free

Questions that must be faced
Extract from The Swag, April 2011

If the Holy Spirit guides the Catholic Church how would the need for a change of direction be manifested? The question is raised by growing evidence that the institution of the male celibate priesthood is in crisis in many parts of the Catholic world. Until now, the only response of the Church’s hierarchy is to hold the present line come what may – while praying intensely for an increase in (celibate) vocations. What if they do not come? What would be the meaning of a refusal to grant what the prayers are asking for? One result might be a major realignment of Catholic demographics, with Mass going numbers heading for collapse in the West but increasing in places like Africa. Would that be the will of God? (more)

Editor of priests magazine replies to Cardinal Pell criticism
Edited Extracts from Catholic News, Wednesday 13 April 2011

The editor of the priests' magazine The Swag (Fr Peter Maher) has attacked Cardinal George Pell over his argument in his criticism of theological extremism, reports the Australian.....In his article, Father Hodgens complains that World Youth Day "feeds the personality cult of the Pope to the detriment of the local church and . . . has not reversed the flow of youth from the church"...Fr Maher said Cardinal Pell's article - in which he criticised "theological extremism" -- would heighten interest in the debate, "although it was full of slogans and not well argued" (more).

Some Gaudium and No Spes
Extract from Cardinal George Pell, The Swag, April 2011

Father Eric Hodgens’ piece on the Gaudium et Spes priests gives us plenty of food for thought. It is well written and provocative, as you would expect of a priest who described his own cohort as possessing “the biggest proportion of intelligent, educated and competent leaders”. But it is unbalanced, misguided, selective and sometimes inaccurate.Recently I have been concerned by the theological extremism of some Swag contributions, and am grateful for the opportunity to state the case for the orthodox mainstream. I am not ordering anyone to “withdraw to the fortress and sing the old song”, but my best lines are still from the New Testament with its ancient truths and melodies (more).

Why Christianity should be taught, properly, in our schools
Extract from Barney Zwartz, The Age, 11 April 2011

Christian education in government schools is suddenly controversial, as secularists make it the latest battleground in their efforts to wind back what they see as the malign influence of religion. A case alleging discrimination has been brought to the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission; interfaith groups and a new multi-faith education network of academics want to end the present system; and the Education Department is under pressure over what seems an odd interpretation of the Education Act, arguing that the phrase ''may'' provide special religious instruction actually means ''must'' provide it (more).

Is there a heaven?
Extract from Blog by Dick Gross, The Age, Monday 11 April 2011

The growth of science has changed many things.  In the area of mortality, so much has undermined the ability of humans to believe in the afterlife.  Flight, telescopes, space travel and vision from satellites has repudiated the notion of a heavenly destination for the floating dead.  Heaven is dying. There is no observable heaven in this solar system.  Many of us choose to ignore that evidence and that is fine and dandy, but the evidence is there for us all to behold.  We live in a heaven-free zone (more).

Archbishop Martin renews call to examine culture that allowed sex abuse to happen
Extract from, Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter, April 2011

In the early years of the priest sex abuse crisis, Catholics often expressed their frustration with how bishops handled the scandal by saying “they don’t get it.” Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, Ireland, may be a member of the hierarchy who begins to reverse that perception (more).


The power of Holy Week & the Easter Tridium                                                                                                                                                                                   Whatever is happening in and around our lives, and in particular because of what's happening around us, the Lenten Period, Holy Week and Easter Tridium are of deep significance to us as Christians and Catholics. It's the most important time of the Church Calendar, and a wonderful opportunity to retreat, think, and rebalance. Within our Parish as usual a very deal of work is going on behind the scenes to help make this Easter period very significant in our human and spiritual lives. Liturgy and Music are important components of this. To help each and every one of us more fully experience the power and opportunity of this season our Parish has again comprehensively planned for this period and produced a Holy Week and Easter Tridium brochure, which may be downloaded here. Image,Flickr,eye2eye

Bishop discourages secular elements in funerals
Extract from Catholic News, Friday 8 April 2011

Grieving families will be discouraged from using photo presentations and popular music during funerals in the Diocese of Sale in Victoria, under new guidelines set by its bishop, Christopher Prowse, reports the ABC. "I don't want too many secular aspects to come in because we're there to pray, it's a Catholic Church, we have the Catholic Rites, the Catholic Mass," Bishop Prowse said. "It's just trying to get the balance right and we feel at the moment that the balance is not quite right and we're a bit concerned our Catholic Masses are being loaded on with all sorts of important but not actually essential (elements) to the liturgy itself." (more)

RE must not be an exercise in faith
Extract from The Age Editorial, Friday 8 April 2011

....Some argue that a secular system should not offer any religious content. The Age has long held a different view. The field of religion and ethics merits a place alongside other subjects in building students' knowledge of the world. To understand our politics, culture and traditions, some understanding of religion is essential.....(more)

Renowned theologian, advocate of poor, dies in Brazil
Extracts from Phillip Berryman (2nd April) Catholic National Reporter, Friday 8 April 2011

Renowned theologian and advocate of the poor, Joseph Comblin, died March 27 in Salvador, Brazil of natural causes. He was 88. Comblin, a leading exponent of liberation theology, was once a follower and an adviser to the Brazilian bishop, Dom Hélder Câmara, a defender of human rights and the church’s option for the poor. Hélder Câmara came to be known as the “Red bishop” during the Brazilian dictatorship...."Jesus did not found a religion, he didn’t establish rites, teach doctrines,” he said. Religion comes from human need and is a human creation. “When did religion enter Christianity? . . . When Jesus became an object of worship.” (more)

German Catholic exodus blamed partly on abuse
Extract from Catholic News, Friday 8 April 2011

The number of Catholics leaving the Church rose by 40 percent in 2010 over the previous year, a study by a German newspaper showed, said reports by Reuters in the National Post, and AFP on Google News. "The rise ... is partly due to a loss in trust suffered by the Church, particularly because of the abuse cases," Cologne's vicar general Rev Dominik Schwaderlapp told Die Zeit paper, according to AFP. "This is painful for us because obviously lots of people have chosen to cancel their Church membership as a personal protest and to show their horror at this scandal (more). Image: Flickr

Historical study reveals Pope John XXIII’s ‘pastoral’ idea
Edited Extracts Fiona Basile, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 7 April 2011

...“Three months into his pontificate, Pope John decided to call the Second Vatican Council and, as a result, there is this whole agenda for change in the Church.” With this background in mind, Fr Max Vodola's thesis* looks at how Pope John, who was also an historian, came to shape his vision of the Second Vatican Council. Fr Max asked questions such as: “What did Pope John study in the previous history of the Church that helped him to form ideas about councils and Church reform? Where did he get this language about the Second Vatican Council being a ‘pastoral council’? (more)”   * Fr Max Vodola is an historian, lecturer at Catholic Theological College, and newly appointed parish priest at St Brendan's Flemington and Holy Rosary in Kensington. He completed his Monash University thesis on this topic last October.

Church removes guilty priests
Extract from Barney Zwartz, The Age, Wednesday 6 April 2011

Two Melbourne Catholic priests guilty of sexual abuse have been removed from the priesthood, Melbourne Vicar-General Bishop Les Tomlinson confirmed yesterday.The news was sent to Melbourne priests in the Vicar-General's newsletter, but victims - while welcoming the removals - said they were angry they had not been told (more).

Religious instruction teaches much more than faith
Edited Extracts from Evonne Paddison, The Age, Sunday 3 April 2011

....The recent opposition to Christian programs (Special Religious Instruction SRI, being offered in State schools) does not come from non-Christian faiths; there is great respect and co-operation between the religious instruction providers of all faiths. We occasionally meet, share ideas and support each other in training volunteer instructors.....Christianity is not the only faith group represented. By law, all recognised religions have equal opportunity to present classes. The genius of the Victorian system is that the current spread of religious instruction programs reflects the religious demographics of our society with Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist, Baha'i, Greek Orthodox, Islam and Hindu faith groups all participating.....It has been said that SRI has no value in a secular education system. I argue that all faiths play a valuable part in shaping and forming our understanding of who we are as individuals and as members of the global village (more).

Celebrating a Parish Nonagenarian
Friday 1st April 2011

We recently celebrated Merle Gilbo's 80th birthday, but she might well be regarded as a 'youngster' by Bill Dowling who will shortly celebrate his 90th. The event itself is of great significance, but Bill's story offers even more!  

William James (Bill) Dowling was born in Swan Hill on 5/4/21 to James and Victorina Dowling who ran a wheat farm. He has one brother, George, who is 5 years younger. In 1931 the family moved to a dairy farm in Kerang where Bill helped to milk over 50 cows each morning and night Bill left school in 1935 to become a Telegraph Messenger at Kerang Post Office. He transferred to Melbourne Telegraph in 1938 and lived in Northcote. From 1943 to 1946 Bill served in the Army Signal Corps in New Guinea. Soon after returning from the Army, Bill met and started going out with Kathleen O'Farrell . At this time he also started working in the Customs Department. On 23/10/48 Bill and Kath were married at St Joseph's Church, Northcote and spent their early married life in Coburg. In 1953, they moved into a new house in Reservoir where they raised their 6 children (2 sons and 4 daughters). In 1979 Bill was awarded an M.B.E for Public Service, and retired in 1980 having risen to the position of Collector of Customs. In retirement Bill and Kath were keen golfers and enjoyed the addition to the family of 11 grandchildren. In 1999 Bill and Kath moved to Ivanhoe where they have had 12 happy years. Bill continues to enjoy the company of family and good friends. We congratulate Bill, thank him for his contribution t the Parish,  and wish him a very happy birthday on April 5th!

Another brilliant meeting ?                                                                                                                                                                                   Friday 1st April 2011                                                                                                                                                                                         Meetings sometimes seem to go on forever and still get no where. Where can we find good meeting models ?   Is this conversation between two twin baby boys the ultimate in effective meetings? 

Sympathy on death of Afghan asylum seeker
Edited Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Friday 1 April 2011

The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO) offer sympathy to the family of the Afghan man who died on Monday in immigration detention."Death in immigration detention is particularly tragic because the detainee’s last days are spent in despair, isolation and hopelessness, away from home and family" (ACRO) said. "We will keep this man and his family very much in our prayers....."
The ACMRO today has also renewed its call to end mandatory detention, citing serious mental health concerns about the impact of detention on vulnerable people (more).

Spirit of Life moves through Channel 31
Edited extract from Fiona Basile, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne.

If you’re looking for something faith filled and meaningful to tune into late on a Wednesday evening, or if you need a diversion from commercial television, why not check out (Community Television)Channel 31’s Spirit of Life? Spirit of Life is a multi-denominational Christian program consisting of in-depth interviews with people from all areas of Christian life, from many denominations across the whole range of the Christian community. (Ed: Fr Len Thomas featured in last week's broadcast. Video available from John Costa)

First new Jesuit school in 60 years to open
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 31 Match 2011

A new Jesuit primary school will open in the Sydney suburb of Redfern later this year – the first Jesuit school to be established in Australia in 60 years - for Aboriginal students, reports Province Express. Tentatively named Jarjum College, the school will identify children who have fallen through the cracks and who are not attending school regularly due to various reasons of disadvantage (more). Photo Catholic News

Chaplains offered exit plan as gay training starts
Extract from Adelle M Banks, Teligion News Service,  National Catholic Reporter, Wednesday 30 March 2011

Washington — The Army has started training chaplains on the repeal of the ban on openly gay military members, saying those who are unable to follow the forthcoming policy can seek a voluntary departure.“The Chaplains Corps’ First Amendment freedoms and its duty to care for all will not change,” reads a slide in the PowerPoint presentation, released to Religion News Service Thursday (March 24). “Soldiers will continue to respect and serve with others who may hold different views and beliefs.” (more)

Shepherd: People turned off but God's not dead
Edited extracts from Tori Shepherd, The Advertiser (S.A.), Tuesday March 29, 2011

US researchers ... used a mathematical model to declare that organised religion is dying out in Austria, the Czech Republic, Canada, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Switzerland - and Australia. Their basic argument, unveiled at an American Physical Society meeting in Dallas, is that people who claim no religious affiliation are the fastest-growing religious minority in many countries....In today's secular(ish) society, fewer people would tick the religion that they were born into as a matter of course. They may still believe in God and go to church for weddings and funerals, but not necessarily identify as Christian....The more interesting part of this research, then, is that people choose the path that is more useful for them, and they are no longer finding organised religion as useful as in the past. This will mean fewer defined religious space (more).

An Evening with Bishop Geoffory Robinson
Tuesday 29 March 2011

In this video recorded on the evening of 23 March Geofffrey Robinbson talks about his new book Loves Urgent Longings. Three parts of the book talk respectively about Spirituality, God, Church and Community

WYD organisers preparing 'Spanish fiesta' for expected million
Extracts from Catholic News, Friday 25 March 2011

More than a million Catholic youths are expected to attend World Youth Day in Madrid this August, said a Catholic News Service report in The Catholic Leader.Organisers are promising a 'Spanish fiesta' and grapple with a much-criticised official hymn. More than 290,000 people have registered. In previous World Youth Days, the number of people signed up to participate officially in the full program represented only about 25 percent of the total who came for the main events with the pope (more).

Community supervision better for asylum seekers, says ERC
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 24 March 2011  
                                                                                                                                                  The Edmund Rice Centre has called for a major policy overhaul of Australia's management of asylum-seekers, proposing that the country implements the community supervision method adopted by western nations, the Centre said in a media release."Overseas experience demonstrates that it is effective," said the ERC director, Phil Glendenning. "It's time for a system overhaul to bring us into line with these standards."At some point we have finally got to discover the decency to accept that this way of detaining and punishing people has got to stop (more).

Religious study contested
Extract from Barney Zwartz, The Age, Thursday 24 March 2011

Religious education in state primary schools discriminates against children whose parents opt out, according to a complaint to be laid today at the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.The complaint by three parents claims the Education Department segregates children on religious grounds and discriminates by forcing children to opt out rather than specifically opting in if they want religious education. The department also discriminates by denying those who opt out a proper secular alternative, the complaint says (more)

Vatican reforms seminary philosophy studies
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 24 March 2011

Studies for priests and theologians face a renewed emphasis on metaphysics, according to a newly-published Decree on the Reform of Ecclesiastical Studies of Philosophy from the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education, say reports by the Vatican Information Service and Zenit......It responds "to the new demands of ecclesial life in changing historical-cultural circumstances and this also (perhaps especially) involves the academic world," Cardinal Grocholewski said....(more)

Twelve Steps to healing an abusive Church
Extracts from Neil Ormerod*, Eureka Street, Tuesday 22 March 2011

To all intents and purposes it looked like an email requesting supervision for a research proposal. Nothing unusual in that. I get a steady trickle of these. There was an attached letter which I opened, and immediately knew much more was at stake.The communication was from a student I had had discussions with over ten years ago about a possible research topic. Without warning or further communication he vanished. Now he was about to open the door of his heart to reveal the reasons for his disappearance. It was the sort of story I had heard often before when my wife and I were involved with the issue of clergy sexual abuse. It was a story of seduction, manipulation, violation and psychological damage....Something more than platitudes are needed. The Church is dying on the vine, and tinkering with liturgies and translations is not going to bring it back to life. Its credibility is shot to pieces every time abuse occurs (more). Neil Ormerod is Professor of Theology at Australian Catholic University (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.   Image:CJohnston

Muslims 'widely distrusted'
Extract from Barney Zwartz, The Age, Monday 21 March 2011

Distrust of Muslims and hostility towards homosexuals and pagans remain widespread in Australia, according to a new Australian Human Rights Commission report to be released today (more).

80 Years young
Merle Gilbo knows Ivanhoe very well having lived all her life here. Starting at Mary Immaculate School she eventually became a scientist and worked at Commonwealth Serum Laboratories where she was responsible for a successful team. Since retirement Merle has worked tirelessly for the Parish and is well know to very many people within and outside the Parish, where she also works tirelessly. Much of what Merle does in the Parish is invisible to most people, but without her the Parish and Mary Immaculate in particular would simply not operate as smoothly as they do. Celebrating Merle's birthday (next Wednesday) celebrates even more than reaching 80 years. It acknowledges a huge contribution to and beyond our Parish, to elsewhere in the world, and ecumenically. Importantly also it exemplifies the critical dependence of the Church on lay people prepared to contribute so extensively and continuously to its survival and evolution. We warmly thank Merle, and wish her a very happy birthday! Update: See photos from Saturday afternoon's parish event (19 March) celebrating Merle's 80th birthday (sample on rhs). 

More cash for mental health call
Extract from Melissa Fyfe, The Age,Sunday 20 March, 2011

The federal government's top mental health expert has delivered his first major piece of advice to Prime Minister Julia Gillard: he wants a massive $2.5 billion extra money earmarked in May's budget and a total overhaul in the way mental illness is treated in Australia.  Catholic priest Monsignor David Cappo, who sits on the national advisory committee and ministerial expert group, is also calling for most of the funding for the popular Better Access program - under which nearly one in 20 Australians access Medicare-subsidised treatment for anxiety and depression - to shift to those with more chronic mental illness (more).

A good death
Edited Extract from William Silvester* The Age, Sunday 20 March 2011

........Some years ago, we had a young woman who had advanced cancer in the abdomen. Despite surgery and chemotherapy, she was slowly dying. One day, she was bleeding from the bowel. She said ''enough'', but her husband demanded that the doctors do everything possible. So the full might of our medical armoury was deployed and to what end? This poor woman had various invasive procedures, was given blood transfusions and, in the end, she died in the intensive care unit. Hers was not a good death. She suffered right until the end. Many of us felt terribly conflicted about what she had been put through.....(more *Intensive care specialist Dr William Silvester knows better than most that dying with dignity is as important as living with it.

Japan church, Caritas mobilise emergency response centre
Extract from Catholic News, Friday 18 March 2011

Japanese church officials are setting up an emergency centre to coordinate humanitarian aid operations in Sendai, the area most devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, said a Catholic News Agency report in the National Catholic Reporter (more).

Project Compassion, Week 2 - Bolivia & Vietnam
Edited extracts from Kairos: Vol 22 Issue 4, 20 March 2011, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne Friday 18 March 2011

There are no roads, no phones and no electricity in Bolivia’s Yuquí-Yuracaré Indigenous Community Lands. The 115,000-hectare territory can only be accessed by boat. Only 40 years ago these communities were unknown to Bolivian authorities; today they still practise traditional agriculture, hunting and gathering. Here, Rosa lives with her husband and five children.......Over the past few decades, extensive migration and demand for land and forestry resources have caused conflict in the area. As for many of Bolivia’s Indigenous communities, poverty and social inequality are a daily reality here........In a small village in Vietnam’s Hue province, Bach, 42, lives with his wife and four children. Bach lost his fingers in a mining accident as a boy and his 22-year-old daughter Dao requires constant care as she is deaf and paralysed from an accident as a baby.Like most families in Hue, until recently Bach relied on casual work and agriculture, struggling to make ends meet. “My wife and I take care of our disabled daughter and three other children but we had low living standards because I am disabled too,” he said. “I had no chance to do the jobs that I wished and couldn’t make enough money to support my family.” (more)

EU court to rule on crucifixes in Italian schools
Extract from Catholic News, Friday 18 March 2011

The European Human Rights Court will issue a ruling today on whether crucifixes should be present in Italian public schools, reports the Catholic News Agency. In November 2009 the European court ruled in favor of a mother who claimed the crucifixes "weren't in harmony" with the way she wanted her two daughters to be educated. Today's verdict follows an appeal by Italy against the 2009 decision. Although the crucifix could be "encouraging" for some pupils, the court said, it could be "emotionally disturbing" for pupils of other religions or those who profess no religion. The court said the state has an obligation to refrain from "imposing beliefs, even indirectly, in places where persons are dependent on it or in places where they are particularly vulnerable." Italy launched an appeal in June 2010, noting that the presence of crucifixes in the classroom does not amount to government-sponsored religion (more).

900 UK Anglicans among converts at Easter
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 17 March 2011

About 900 prospective members of the new ordinariate, including 61 former Anglican clergy, prepared for their reception into the Catholic Church in England and Wales over the weekend, said a report by the Catholic News Agency.They were among the more than 4,700 others who gathered for the Rite of Election in cathedrals across England and Wales over the weekend of March 12-13 to prepare to be received into the Church during Holy Week (more).

Mass discontent
Extract from The Age, Wednesday 16 March 2011

The Mass lies at the very heart of Catholic identity and a new Vatican-led translation of it has split the church in Australia....At every service in every Catholic church in Australia, the Mass begins the same way it has done for 40 years. The priest says ''The Lord be with you'', and the people reply ''and also with you''. It has been this way since the great reforming Vatican Council of the 1960s voted to allow the Mass to be spoken in English (and other local languages) rather than just Latin. But from June, the people will reply ''and with your spirit''....This change is part of a new translation of the Latin words of the service that later this year will be compulsory at every Mass in English across the globe. On the surface, this might seem a minor matter, but....(more)

Bishop candidates scrutinised
Extract from Barney Zwartz, The Age, Monday 14 March 2011

A secret Vatican document used to research possible bishops almost certainly breaches Australian anti-discrimination laws and seems designed to ensure that only the most conformist candidates can be promoted. The questionnaire, sent to trusted clergy and a very few laypeople by the Pope's ambassador, asks questions about the candidates' personal qualities, orthodoxy, loyalty to the Pope, commitment to celibacy and opposition to women priests, and even their appearance. It also asks about predisposition to hereditary illness and the family's ''condition'' (more).

Pope book presents Jesus as reconciler, not revolutionary
Extract from Catholic News, Friday 11 March 2011

Pope Benedict has presented Jesus as a reconciler, not a political revolutionary or mere moralist in his new book on Christ. He writes of "the real Jesus" as the son of God who inaugurated a new path of salvation based on the power of love, reports the Catholic News Service (more).

Report on chronic homelessness in Melbourne released
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 10 March 2011

Working to pay the bills is something most people see as an unfortunate necessity of life however for one man who is homeless it is something he dreams of as part of a “normal life situation”. Raj*, 37, is a participant of Sacred Heart Mission’s Journey to Social Inclusion (J2SI) pilot project and is one of the many voices of people experiencing homelessness in a report released this week (more). An electronic version of This is not living: Chronic homelessness in Melbourne is available here.   *Not his real name.   Image: Flickr, Paul Mezzer

Rome’s wider remit
Extract from Patrick Claffey, Focus on Ireland, The Tablet, Thursday 10 March 2011

The Vatican’s visitation of the Church in Ireland comes in the wake of the country’s clerical abuse scandal, but moral theologians at seminaries and houses of formation have been dismayed to find that it is their loyalty to the Magisterium that has been under scrutiny (more).

Bible to Boardroom: Catholics make spiritual values their business
Extracts from Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, Thursday 10 March 2011

The John A. Ryan Institute's director, Michael Naughton, said it's not true that a business built around the logic of gift, which reflects the Christian sense of self-giving, would be at a significant competitive disadvantage against businesses whose primary focus is profit at all costs....And neither is it true that the logic of money is the key to success as the continuing financial malaise has shown, he said. "What we've seen is the logic of commodity and of price didn't do too well recently."....A business based on values that put authentic human development and the common good first may not "always make you more money, but it's also not going to lead you to economic failure either," Naughton said.....A values-based business will still need to be dedicated to competency, efficiency, productivity, thrift and profit in order to succeed, but the priorities don't end there, he said (more).

Earth damaged by human selfishness: Pope
Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 10 March 2011

Pope Benedict said humanity's selfishness is causing the earth to cry out in pain, said a report by the Vatican Information service and AKI....The Pope said "the first step towards a correct relationship with the world around us is the recognition by humans of their status as created beings. Man is not God; he is His image. For this reason he must seek to be more sensitive to the presence of God in his surroundings" (more).

Fence splits Israeli nursery divided by religion
Extracts from The Age. Wednesday 9 March 2011

The Jerusalem city authority has erected a fence in a nursery school playground to separate ultra-orthodox Jewish children from a secular Jewish kindergarten that shares the same building.The wire fence is to be covered with sheeting to block visibility from one part of the playground to the other....The secular kindergarten, Pashosh, opened in September. Ultra-orthodox parents have complained that Pashosh's female staff are immodestly dressed and that they do not want their children mixing with children from a non-religious background (more).

In defence of same-sex unions
Extract from Frank Brennan, Eureka Street. Wednesday 9 March 2011

The messy same-sex marriage debate continues in Australia and in the US. I remain of the view that we should not extend the definition of marriage to include same-sex unions; that we should legislate to recognise same-sex unions; and that we should leave questions about the legal availability of new technologies for the creation of children by same-sex couples for determination at a later date (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Australian Bishops speak in support of Caritas annual fundraiser Project Compassion
Extracts from Australian Catholic Bishop's Conference, Tuesday 8 March 2011

The Australia Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) is calling on all Australians to show their solidarity with the poorest of the poor, as Caritas Australia today launches its annual Lenten appeal, Project Compassion....Funds raised through Project Compassion enable Caritas Australia to champion the human dignity and rights of all people as they map a route out of debilitating poverty....In 2011 the theme of Project Compassion is “Partner with us to make a difference”, a message that runs to the very core of Caritas Australia’s mission as a Catholic agency for grass‐roots development...Last year, the generous support of Australians helped make PC its best yet at $9.3 million....In partnering with Caritas this Project Compassion, Australians have a unique opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to the poorest of the poor and to give selflessly in the name of social justice (ACBC Media Release).


Catholic priesthood crisis
Podcast of ABC Local "Sunday Nights" discussion, Sunday 6 March 2011

This week saw the release of two publications on the Priesthood in the Catholic Church in Australia. One of the reports concentrated on the statistics, the other one surveys and interviews with priests about their view of their vocation. We bring together the authors of the reports, together with one of Australia's most experienced church leaders. Bishop Patrick Power, Auxiliary Bishop of Canberra-Goulburn.Chris McGillion and John O'Carroll are the authors of 'Our Fathers: What Australian Catholic Priests Really Think about their Lives and their Church', to be released at the end of the month by John Garrett publishing. . Peter J. Wilkinson is the author of 'Catholic Parish Ministry In Australia: Facing Disaster'. We are also joined by Bernice Moore of Women and the Australian Church, one of the groups that supported Peter Wilkinson's research. Listen to podcast here

Catholic priest shortfall an 'imminent disaster'
Extract from Barney Zwartz, The Age, Saturday 5 March 2011

.....The report, Catholic Parish Ministry in Australia: Facing Disaster?, is a statistical analysis by former priest Peter Wilkinson, a senior research fellow at the Australian Institute of Multicultural Affairs on behalf of an active lay group, Catholics for Ministry. It shows that from a peak of one priest for every 518 Catholics in 1966, there is now one for every 1895 Catholics. But that ratio counts 1431 retired priests and those not in parish ministry - the real figure is much higher. In New South Wales in 15 years, it could be one priest for as many as 22,000 Catholics, one for every 13,000 in Victoria (more).

A Focus on others as well as ourselves during Lent, Friday 4 March 2011
As we move into Lent we have another opportunity to reflect on our lives, and those of others. Over forthcoming weeks Project Compassion will also give us such an opportunity. During our Parish Masses this weekend  we will show a brief extract from an  Edmund Rice Foundation video "The Other Africa" highlighting significant human problems they and their volunteers are working on there. For those who can stay 9 minutes longer immediately after Mass we will then show a little more from the same uplifting video, highlighting the successful though challenging work of Edmund Rice people in providing support. We thank Bill & Kath Dowling for this video. Their son Peter is a Christian Brother working around the globe to support other Christian Brothers working in Africa and elsewhere. A daughter Bernadette now works for the Edmund Rice Foundation, and another daughter Elizabeth is a Nun teaching at the Australian Catholic University. - John Costa.    Image: Edmund Rice Foundation.       See Also "Lenten Information" and "Letter for Lent from Archbishop Hart"

Third Anniversary of this Website
John Costa, Friday 4th March 2011

Today officially marks the third year of the Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe website (in its present form). It was primarily established to strengthen the sense of a unified parish faith-community, to improve communication across the Parish and to help make the Parish more interactive and participative. However as we all continue on our faith-journeys, rather than just being introspective it has very much endeavoured to provide a broader focus on national and international faith-related news, issues and opinions, as well as purely local issues. As Website data confirms, visits are continuing to grow, and statistically reflect the level of activity within or of interest to our community. There are also regular visitors from elsewhere in Australia and other parts of the world. Associated with the Website there is also a free mailing list for those who wish to be automatically updated on relevant developments, issues and events.  The 24/7 Website and associated mailing list like so many other things in this Parish are run entirely by voluntary effort (additional volunteers are lavishly welcomed).

Retirement of Original YPG Youth Leader
As Tom Stammers enters his fifth year as a parish Youth Leader for the Young Peoples' Group he will retire from the role after this weekend's YPG event and pursue full-time post-graduate studies. We thank him and wish him all the best. His successful engagement over all these years is captured in the various photographs that speak for themselves on the Website Young Peoples' Group page. We are also pleased to welcome Fiona Paros who has just been appointed to replace Annette who left as a Youth Leader late last year. We are still looking for another male Youth Leader to join Dan, Alison & Fiona. - John  Costa

Jews in the clear on death of Christ
Extract from Barney Zwartz, The Age, Friday 4 March 2011

For centuries, the Jews of Europe dreaded the cry of ''Christ killers'', which preceded the rampaging mob murdering, raping and burning their homes, particularly in the pogroms in eastern Europe between the 1700s and World War II. Usually engineered by the government of the day to distract the Christian majority from their own troubles, the pogroms were whipped up from the pulpits of Catholic and Orthodox churches. Now the verdict is official: the Jews bear no collective responsibility for the death of Christ. Pope Benedict XVI yesterday became the first Pope to contradict personally the teaching of Jewish ''blood guilt'', releasing excerpts from a book to be published next week (more).

Mass celebrated improperly leads to loss of faith
Extract from Catholic News, Friday 4 July 2011

A weakening of faith in God, a rise in selfishness and a drop in the number of people going to Mass can be traced to Masses that are not reverent and don't follow church rules, the Catholic News Service reports from Vatican officials."If we err by thinking we are the centre of the liturgy, the Mass will lead to a loss of faith," said US Cardinal Raymond Burke, head of the Vatican's supreme court (more).

Vietnamese pair faced trials on path to Christ
Extract from Catholic News, Friday 4 March 2011

Deacon Quynh Huy Nhat Do (pictured, right) was incardinated to the Diocese of Perth in January and will be ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Perth today, reports The Record. It’s been a very hard journey to the priesthood,” the 35-year-old said, but the humility of Jesus and His constant availability to the poor as well as the thought of those who need him to come and serve them has sustained him (more)

upoko runaka - fitting Maori liturgy
Extract from "Mourners cry as one in healing ritual for a broken city", Karen Kissane, Christchurch, The Age, Wednesday 2 March 2011
The Maori call it upoko runaka, the farewell for the dead. In Christchurch yesterday, they said, it was also much more: a ritual to heal a broken city, and to reconnect its people with the earth that has so hurt them (more).

MPs attack Bible 'madness'
Extract from "Comments", The Age, Michelle Grattan, Wednesday 2 March 2011

Opposition MPs have strongly attacked the ban on Bibles and other holy books being handed out at citizenship ceremonies, with Tony Abbott describing it as outrageous. Tasmanian Liberal senator Guy Barnett told the Coalition party room this was ''political correctness gone mad. There should be freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. ''Previously, local councils and community groups gave people at citizenship ceremonies Bibles, which they could keep. But under rules that the government says came in during the Howard years, people can bring their own Bibles or other holy books but they can't be handed out (more).

The looming disaster of not enough priests
Extract from Catholica commenting on the just released Wilkinson Report, Tuesday 1 March 2011

The Report commissioned by Catholics for Ministry, funded by Women and the Australian Church, and compiled by Peter J Wilkinson and published today is one of the most comprehensive assessments of the looming not just crisis, but disaster, the Catholic Church is facing across the island continent of Australia in delivering the core sacraments and pastoral care to the continually increasing Catholic population of the nation. The harsh reality facing many Catholics alive in Australia right now is that when they die in the next 10, 20 or 30 years time, their families will simply not be able to find a priest to provide them with the last rites (more).

Back to Wodonga
Sunday 27 February 2011

Ivanhoe Parish is a diverse community that is greatly enriched by the mix and qualities of its people. Some are born into this community, some move in, some leave, and others join for some time and then move on. All of these people leave their mark in one way or another and  contribute to parish life and its evolution. In March 1998 Kath and Michael Thomas moved here from Wodonga, and quickly became involved. Kath was very active in Outreach and amongst other things organised many memorable bus-dependent social outings. Just when everyone thought Mass had ended Kath regularly came up to the lectern to invite people to the next exciting event.

For most of those years as well Kath also lead the Funeral Ministry, gently helping people through difficult and deeply personal periods in their lives. After 13 years here Kath and Michael are now returning to Wodonga, close to family members. At a presentation to them both at the end of Mass this morning Kath said that they had had been made to feel very welcome in the Parish right from the start. She also said that one of the most rewarding experiences in the Parish had been the Funeral Ministry. Time after time she felt personally connected and strongly uplifted by the courage, resilience and faith of those going through some of the most difficult moments in their lives. A sense of life grew out of these deaths. Pat Kelly and Fr Thang warmly thanked Kath and Michael for their contribution. There is little doubt they will continue to contribute wherever they go. Jacqui Jones presented flowers. They will be missed, but are really only just a website away!

Death and destruction in Christchurch
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 24 February 2011

Rescue teams from six countries arrived in Christchurch New Zealand yesterday to join in the relentless race to find survivors under the rubble caused by the 6.3 earthquake that literally ‘hit’ the city at lunchtime on Tuesday 22 February.Seven teams are struggling to uncover an estimated 300 people unaccounted for, many of them tourists who were staying the CBD area. Grave fears are held for a class of Japanese students studying at an English language school. So far 75 bodies have been recovered including people who were viewing the city in the now collapsed spire of the iconic Anglican Cathedral (more). Photo: www.columbans.com.au

Priests expect diverse reaction to new missal
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 24 February 2011

The National Council of Priests of Australia said the new missal translation will introduce significant liturgical change and it expects a diverse response. Some members have called for a boycott or moratorium, while others support the new text, said a media release. "We would not like to see the Eucharist be a source of division or an exercise in control and power by a particular ideological position within the Church," the NCP said, and that individual priests will "adapt and adopt styles to suit individual circumstances" while remaining faithful to the key elements of the Eucharistic tradition in the Church (more).

New push for euthanasia in SA
Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 24 February 2011

South Australian Labor backbencher will propose a new Bill that would give doctors a defence against charges of assisting in the suicide of a patient, in a renewed push for voluntary euthanasia laws reform, reports the Advertiser on the AdelaideNow website.Late last year, the Upper House voted down a joint Bill prepared by Greens MLC Mark Parnell and Labor backbencher Steph Key....Supporters say the Bill has a stronger chance of being passed than previous proposals (more).

Nun's husband ordained priest in Germany
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 23 February 2011

A Lutheran convert was ordained as a Catholic priest in Germany this week and is being allowed to remain married to his wife who is already a Carmelite nun, said a Fox News report. Harm Klueting, 61, was ordained by Archbishop Joachim Cardinal Meisner in a private ceremony at the city's seminary on Tuesday, the Cologne archdiocese said. Pope Benedict gave him a special permission to remain married to his wife Edeltraut Klueting, who became a Catholic Carmelite nun in 2004. The couple has two grown children. "It doesn't happen every day," noted Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi (more). Photo from Harm Klueting website

Experience ‘The Reflection’ this Lent
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Tuesday 22 February 2011

What are you doing for Lent this year? If you are looking to enrich your Lenten experience, either as a parish or family group, or in your own home at your own pace, why not join the Australian bishops in their enormously popular online program, The Reflection. Launched last year as an initiative of The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Commission for Mission and Faith Formation, the success of The Reflection 2010 was overwhelming. More than 30,000 people across Australia and around the world logged on each week during Lent to join the bishops in exploring and meditating on the Sunday Gospels using the prayerful method of lectio divina (more).

Germaine Greer's Catholic education
Extracts from Gregory Day, Eureka Street, Tuesday 22 February 2011

For the last three years my 15-year-old goddaughter Louella and I have been sharing novels, music, and having long coast to city phone conversations in which we debate the merits of the post-religious zeitgeist to which she subscribes......If only the church could grow up like I have, I hear her say. We could solve half the problems of the world with that one long overdue coming of age.......The big problem with this, however, and she'd be the very first to admit it, is that five days a week, and sometimes in her dreams and nightmares, she attends a 137 year old Catholic girls school, in which the razor-tongue of Jesus, and the ardent reportage of his four most widely read offsiders, gets every bit as much of a look-in as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Voltaire, or Don Draper......She has been angling, or should I say, sardonically demanding, to be freed from what she perceives as the fossilised superstition and ritualised sexism of this salubrious Irish Catholic institution pretty much since the first day she arrived there (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Fixing the priesthood
Extracts from Michael Kelly, Eureka Street, Sunday 20 February 2011

For several weeks in late January and early February, I spent a lot of time at the bedside of a strapping 19-year-old athlete who was unconscious after a swimming mishap at a resort in Thailand.... A great deal of my time was spent accompanying the boy's family though this agony. Eventually I returned to Australia with his body for the Requiem....After the ceremony, I scarpered. I couldn't take it any more and we still had the burial ahead. But as I fled, an old friend — a senior Federal politician with whom I've crossed swords on occasion — came up and gave me a hug.'Mick, that was just the best: you did a wonderful job for Joe and his family,' said my generous friend. He added: 'You've gone up in my estimation.'Struck dumb, I said thanks and continued my escape. I thought to myself that there is only one profession with lower social esteem these days than a Catholic priest and that is a politician. And here is one telling me I've risen in his estimation! With examiners like him, who needs to sit for the test? (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free

40th Anniversary (and other celebrations)                                                                                                                                                                Sunday 20 February 2011                                                                                                                                                                                     Celebration of 9 am Mass today included two other celebrations, the Baptism of Oscar (and Madeleine at 6:30pm Mass at St Bernadette's last night, also well attended), and the 40th (Ruby) wedding Anniversary of Sue & Pat Kelly. Sue is a member of the Liturgy and Outreach Groups and Pat is an executive of the Pastoral Leadership Team (PLT) and previously served as its chairperson amidst the height of parish discussions and decisions over a number of years relating to the future of the Parish. The theme of the Mass was appropriately "love thou neighbour", starting with family, and then extending to all others. Fr Thang related that to 40 years of marriage, and the baptism of a child. Those present applauded both, and Oscar's behaviour (like Madeleine's last night) was exemplary! Best wishes to Oscar & Madeleine, and congratulations and best wishes to Pat and Sue!  (Ed. At the end of Mass Fr Thang also encouraged people to learn about the new Mass Liturgy at an important Deanery event from 9-12 on Saturday 26th February "The Eucharist We Share". Details in the Newsletter or Events page of this Website. For further Inquiries or bookings email Merle or phone 9497 1691).

Church's revamp of Mass sparks rebellion by priests
Extract from Barney Zwartz, Leesha McKenny, The Age, Saturday 19 February 2010

The Catholic Church faces open defiance over the introduction of its new Mass translation this year, with a dozen priests indicating they will refuse to use it and hundreds of others ''steaming'' over a lack of consultation. The Mass has become the latest battleground in the culture wars between progressive Catholics and traditionalists suspicious of the reforms of the 1960s Vatican Council, of which probably the most important was changing the Mass from Latin to the local language of worshippers (more).

Change the NT intervention, says priest and advocate
Extract from Catholic News, Friday 18 February 2011

Three years after the Australian Government's historic apology to the Stolen Generations, Jesuit Father Frank Brennan says Indigenous people are still being singled out by policies which deny them the opportunity to speak for themselves, reports Province Express.The prominent human rights advocate said in an article on Eureka Street that special measures introduced as part of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) are yet to be repealed, despite calls to do so. He singled out compulsory income management of welfare payments in Indigenous communities. While the government reduced the discriminatory effect of these provisions by extending them to all Territorians, Fr Brennan said serious objections remain (more).

London - Gays get right to church ceremonies
Extract from AP, The Age, Friday 18th February 2011

British gay couples are to be allowed civil partnership ceremonies in churches, erasing some of the last remaining distinctions between gay partnerships and traditional marriages. Although marriage and civil partnership are already similar under British law, civil partnership ceremonies are not allowed to have religious references, are banned from churches, and must take place in a public building overseen by a government registrar. The change, being introduced under equality laws, will give same-sex couples the chance to tie the knot in religious buildings - although the government stressed that churches could opt out if they wished to (more).

Coping with a loved one's dementia
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of melbourne,  Kairos, Volume 22 Issue 2, by Fiona Basile, Thursady 17 February 2011

Marian and Gordon McLeish have been married for 43 years. Thirty-eight of those years have been the happiest and best years of Gordon’s life. However, the past four years have been amongst his toughest (more).    

                                                                                  
Evangelising through mass media
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of melbourne,  Kairos, Volume 22 Issue 2, by Fiona Basile, Thursday 17 February 2011

....“I can go into a church and talk to maybe 300 or 500 people at a Mass. But, on television, for a half-hour program, I can talk to 100,000 households. That’s the wonderful thing with television. You have the ability to get into the living rooms, bedrooms or wherever people are to share my love of Jesus. “I am deeply committed and am very encouraged by the fact that the Holy Father is very concerned about using mass media as a way of getting into people’s lives. There’s real endorsement for using mass media for preaching the Gospel.“I think we’re a little reticent in the Catholic Church about using mass media, but it’s a real key in terms of providing Catholic perspectives on important issues and spreading the Good News of the Gospel.” (more)

Call to reform remand and support young offenders
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 17 February 2011

New research by Jesuit Social Services' shows that the number of young people in remand in Victoria is growing. The organisation called on the government for reform as well as support options outside prison, said a media release. "Of great concern to us is that the majority of these young people in remand have experienced significant disadvantage. Many of them have mental health or drug and alcohol or housing problems, the vast majority have not completed secondary school, and those with an intellectual disability or who are Indigenous are more likely to be remanded," said Chief Executive Officer Julie Edwards on the release of Jesuit Social Services' latest research, Young People on Remand in Victoria: Balancing Individual and Community Interests (more).

Why a Catholic priest converted to Islam
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 17 February 2011

A Catholic priest who converted to Islam has been speaking about his reasons for changing faith. Idris Tawfiq was a guest speaker at the University of Cambridge's annual Experience Islam Week, which aims to raise awareness and foster tolerance. Mr Tawfiq said: "It's not that I went looking for Islam. Islam came looking for me. "I loved my former life and my work, but now I've found a peace that I never knew before." (more)

Church overhauls sex abuse process
Extract from Rafael Epstein and Nick McKenzie, The Age, Wednesday 16 February 2011
Melbourne's Catholic Archdiocese has finally overhauled its sexual abuse inquiry process, more than a year after serious deficiencies were first exposed. The reforms will require the church's private sex abuse investigator, Peter O'Callaghan, QC, to seek permission from police before he notifies priests suspected of abuse that they are the subject of a covert police inquiry. The changes will also increase communication between senior police and the church in an effort to ensure that all abuse cases are handled appropriately (more). (Ed: For further details see Changes to the Melbourne Response process, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, here
).                                      

Egypt: Youth backlash feared over lack of Church support
Extract from Catholic news, Wednesday 16 February 2011

Two priests with strong ties to Egypt have said they fear young Egyptian Catholics will turn away from the Church because it did not back the protests that led to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, reports the Catholic Herald in the UK. Fr Makarios Isaac, an Egyptian-born priest currently based in Kenya, said: "If we lose the youth in the Church, then we are done." The priest said he feared young people will "turn their backs on the Church", and say: "You never stood with us ... you never taught us to stand up for our rights." (more)

Beyond asylum seeker funerals
Extracts from Andrew Hamilton,  Eureka Street, Wednesday 16 February 2011
The two Sydney funerals for the asylum seekers who died trying to reach Christmas Island was heartrending. That some of their relatives were able to gather to mourn them was some small consolation for them. From ancient times to today so many other asylum seekers have died and have lain unburied....Ordinarily the best response to such grief would be one of silent compassion. But even in death asylum seekers open a faultline in Australian culture and society (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Thousands of men and no groping
Extracts from Trish Madigan, Eureka Street, Tuesday 15 February 2011

A striking aspect of the Egyptian revolution which led to the resignation of its president Hosni Mubarak on Friday 11 February was the participation of youth and women.... Women, young and old, were on the frontlines, organising security and braving tear gas and gunfire as they called for Mubarak's unseating. Women volunteers monitored the entrance to the Square, checking identification and searching bags to make sure no one brought in weapons. Women were in the Square when men on camels and horseback charged into the crowd beating them with whips (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is Free.

Billiards / Snooker Table for Youth Group and others in the Parish                                                                                                                         Sunday 13 February 2011
Thanks to an anonymous donor the Waverley Ave Hall now boasts a magnificent billiards/snooker table that until today graced the home of a (now grown up) parish family and brought it much shared enjoyment over many years. It was offered for the two parish youth groups (Senior and Junior Young Peoples' Group "YPG"), and will be equally available to the Men's Group and all others in the Parish. A top will be constructed for the table, making it readily convertible for other occasions into a solid table. To protect the table's surface there will be the usual "rules of engagement" associated with quality billiards tables. The Lord does indeed work in mysterious ways! We gratefully thank the donor and are sure that in its new setting it will continue to bring parish people and friends together in shared good company. (Ed: Many thanks to Vince, Eugene, Michael, John and the donor or transporting the very heavy table. The photo and setting are not from the parish but anticipate the new opportunities that the table will bring. © Flickr, hyqphotos)

Thursday Evening PLT Meeting
John Costa, Friday 11 February 2011

The first Pastoral Leadership Team (PLT)  meeting for 2011 held last night at St Bernadette's Primary School was also the best attended in a long while. Fr Thang was welcomed to his first PLT meeting as was new member Brian Hoban (replacing Greg Lange who very sadly passed away recently). Parish Secretary Ruth Villani was also appreciatively welcomed and will invaluably record Minutes of meetings and ensure follow up. Other members agreed to stay on, as did the existing Executive. Chris Dixon agreed to remain as Chairperson. Fr Youn Marie Joseph also attended with other representatives of the Korean Catholic Community. Reports from our Primary Schools were all upbeat.  Reports from all of the Parish Groups reinforced that Parish activity is very much alive, and one might say thriving. However the finance report brought a sobering reminder of the Parish's precarious financial position. This was tempered with the good news that the Ford Street Development building permit had been approved, paving the way for a future new income stream. Money, however is not (or should not be) at the heart of a good parish. Another significant difference between this and previous PLT meetings was its deliberately greater focus on 'core' Catholic Parish issues, including the new Mass liturgy to be introduced during this year. There has been some adverse comment on elements of the new Liturgy and we will all shortly have the opportunity, and be strongly encouraged, to learn what it will really mean for us all. (Ed: We don't have an actual photo of our large PLT meeting and hope APEC GPG Australia don't mind us borrowing this representation!)

A million expected to gather, says priest in Egypt

Extract from Catholic news, Friday 11 February 2011

One million people are expected to amass today when Muslims gather for Friday prayer, a missionary priest in Egypt told Fides. "Tension is rising and we are awaiting tomorrow's protest ... when it is estimated that there will be a million people in the square," said Fr Luciano Verdoscia, a Comboni missionary who works in Cairo (more).

Theology at the pub
Edited Extract from Fiona Basile, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Friday 11 February 2011

There was no shortage of beer, conversation and learning as the popular Theology @ the Pub series recommenced in Melbourne earlier this week. About 80 young (and young at heart) people attended from around the Archdiocese for the first of this 2011 monthly event.The guest speaker was Father Andrew Keswick from St Francis Xavier Parish, Frankston, who shared his thoughts on ‘To Know Christ Jesus’. Each month [email protected] hosts a guest speaker who speaks on some interesting and important topic from a Catholic perspective. The evening starts at 6.30pm when people arrive at the pub for a drink, a meal and a chat. The talk then begins at 7.30pm and usually goes for 30-40 minutes followed by discussion (further details).

Defend Church teachings without attacking others: Pope
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 10 February 2011

Pope Benedict is urging those who seek to defend Church doctrine to do it without attacking those who disagree, or "giving into disrespect and angry rhetoric", reports the Catholic News Service (more).

Bishops bless, warn on confession app
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 10 February 2011

Catholic Church officials in both the US and the UK have just given their blessing to the iPhone app that seeks to help prepare people for confession, but warn, like Father Brian Lucas of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, that its function is limited, the ABC reports (more).  

Still sorry, still closing the gap
Extract from Shane Green, Focus, The Age, Wednesday 9 February 2011

The apology to the stolen generations in 2008 created a climate for change. As Julia Gillard prepares to report today on the state of Aboriginal Australia, just how much progress has been made? (more)

Gay times, bad times
Extracts from Farrah Tomazin, Focus, The Age, Tuesday 8 February 2011

...but research suggests that despite years of law reform, changing values and millions of dollars spent on pilot programs and initiatives, homophobic abuse against young people is getting worse, particularly in Australian schools. A national study into the experiences of thousands of gay youth paints a startling picture. Based on a survey of 3134 people aged between 14 and 21, the La Trobe University study found that 79 per cent of students attracted to the same sex had been physically assaulted or verbally abused....About one in four of of these cases took place in the home, by parents unable to cope with the fact their child was gay. But the majority of homophobic abuse - 80 per cent - occurred in schools, up from 69 per cent in 1998 when the study first began.....While initiatives like the Safe Schools Coalition have the backing of the government, psychologists and gay groups, not everyone agrees with the concept. When the program was launched last year, Victoria's powerful Christian lobby warned that the program could ''normalise'' homosexuality in schools and ''promote homosexual or lesbian behaviour, rather than allowing children the time to work these things out for  themselves'' (more).

Virtual visit to the Sistine Chapel - and it's free
John Costa,Tuesday 8 February 2011

As this website regularly points out the Vatican is very much at the forefront of using new technology to enrich our faith and spirituality. Ivanhoe Parish actively shares this approach. The Vatican Musei has now made it possible to personally explore the Sistine Chapel, without the crowds, in the comfort of your own place, taking whatever time you choose, and exploring it all in the finest detail. Once transported there via your computer you can can look 360 degrees up, down and around, guided freely by your computer mouse. The screen includes zoom buttons to explore in intimate detail at any part of the chapel, from the magnificent mosaic floor to Michelangelo's ceiling masterpiece. To look up or down move your computer mouse up or down. To view left or right move your computer mouse left or right. To move slowly or quickly move your computer mouse slowly or quickly. Together with suitably reflective music  take the time to immerse yourself in the spiritual experience of a virtual visit to the Sistine chapel - from here (allowing time for the program to download). Perhaps afterwards you might be willing to share your experience on the website Your Views page, under the "People" menu button. Buon Viaggio!

Wise eyes save day
Extract from Tom Reilly, The Age, Friday 4 February 2011

If, as hoped, cyclone Yasi fails to claim a life, Noelene Byrne will have played a large part. A simple decision she took as the storm approached almost certainly saved eight people (more). (Ed: A good example to illustrate the Gospel Reading this weekend from Matthew 5:13-16).

Young people want to know catechism: Pope
Extracts from Catholic News, Friday 4 February 2011

Pope Benedict has urged young people to study a youth catechism written for young adults and teens, called "Youcat", published next month in advance of Madrid's 2011 World Youth Day, reports the Catholic Herald. Writing in the foreword to the book, the Pope said: "Some people tell me that the youth of today are not interested in the catechism, but I do not believe this statement and I am certain that I am right. They are not as superficial as they are accused of being; young people want to know what life really is about." But he said the catechism did not offer "empty praise" or "easy solutions", but "requires a new life on your part". He urged young people "to study the catechism with passion and perseverance! Sacrifice your time for it!"..."You need to know what you believe, you need to know your faith with the same precision with which a computer specialist knows the operating system of a computer...(more)

Any room at the inn?
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Kairos V 22 Issue 1, Friday 4 February 2011

Parishes of the Archdiocese of Melbourne are being asked if there is ‘any room at the inn’ to house and support asylum seekers, following a change in Federal Government policy on detention centres. Announced in October 2010, the policy change will allow people who arrive in Australia without a visa to live in the community, rather than in high-security detention centres. Centacare Melbourne chief executive Fr Joe Caddy said the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference had encouraged the Government to treat asylum seekers in a more humane way and not to keep them in detention unnecessarily.“The Church has argued that long-term detention is harmful and that, once basic health and security clearances have been established, asylum seekers should be permitted to live in the community while the merits of their claim for asylum are assessed,” Fr Caddy said (more + contact details).

Human Sexuality - A conversation starter
Extract from Tom McMahon, Catholica, Thursday 3 February 2011

Not so much a commentary from Tom McMahon today, as a challenge to all of us. Are you up for a really honest discussion on Human Sexuality? Official Roman Church thinking is probably the biggest single thing that drives our children away from listening to anything the Church has to say on any subject. Most of the wiser spiritual leaders long ago ceased speaking about the subject in public. Tom suggests we have a conversation about this, and about human sexuality itself. What would you say to your children? What set of values concerning human sexuality do you think society needs? What legacy of wisdom would you like to see the present generations of elders leaving to posterity? (more)

App to help make a confession
Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 3 February 201

The Developers of the new "Confession: A Roman Catholic App" for Apple's iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch think their product helps people respond to the Pope's call to both proclaim the Gospel through new media and witness to their faith, reports the Catholic News Service."The app is really built for two kinds of people," Kreager explained. "For Catholics who go to confession regularly, it gives the user information. They enter their name, age, their sex, their vocation and their last confession date, and it generates an examination of conscience based on that information." Centered on the Ten Commandments, the examination would be different for a young mother than for a teenage boy, for example. The examinations were provided by two different priests, the app developers said (more).

Joyous Changeover affirms parish values
Sunday 30 January 2011

The concelebrated Masses this weekend that significantly marked the official retirement of our much loved Parish Priest of the last ten years, Fr John Cunningham, and the affirming arrival of Fr Thang Vu as his replacement were at the same time poignant, joyous, encouraging, and an affirmation of our Parish values - Inclusiveness, Hospitality, Service and Mission.

In his shared homily Fr Thang spoke about different meanings of the word 'happiness', then related our lives and in sometimes different ways the lives of people in Vietnam to Matthew's Gospel reading 'How happy are the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven'. Fr John spoke briefly about the wonderful challenge of change, for all of us on our life journeys. Warm words were spoken of Fr John's ten years, and in return Fr John warmly thanked the people of Ivanhoe for what he called the privilege of working with us. He also thanked Fr Len Thomas for all he meant to the Parish and to himself. He felt very optimistic about Fr Thang. Whilst tinged with sadness the weekend was greatly uplifted by the words and demeanour of Fr Thang.

The joy of the changeover was not from the retirement of Fr John but from the hope that has been brought to us all, and that now continues with Fr Thang amidst the natural, but rapid, changes of life around us.  Something of the spirit of the three Parish Masses this weekend may be sensed from some random photographs taken over this weekend.

Pope's guide to social networking
Extract from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, Wednesday 2 February 2011

The internet is not Pope Benedict's natural metier. So his World Day of Social Communications address last week allowed readers to see how an elderly, intelligent man might reflect on the massive changes in social communication. He was characteristically perceptive in his focus on large questions. He recognised the importance of the internet for expanding human communication. He measured its value by the extent to which it enhances and deepens human relationships, and was even-handed in his assessment of the advantages and risks it offers.He urged Christians to take it seriously, and stressed the importance of embodying Gospel values in both the truth that is communicated and in the way in which it is communicated (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is Free.

Jesus and Obama tie as US teen role models
Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 3 February 2011

Jesus Christ and President Barack Obama are equally popular role models among teens in the US, a study has found, according to a report on the Christian Today website. A new Barna Group study on teen role models also found that two out of three teens named someone they know  personally as a person they looked up to, with the favorite role model among teens being a grandparent, sibling, cousin, aunt or uncle as someone they admire most other than their parents....President Obama and Jesus Christ were commonly named as teen role models, each receiving 3 percent of the votes. Teenagers looked up to Obama for his hard work and self-confidence. Jesus resonated among teens because of his concern for others and being an example to follow (more).

New challenges face religious life

Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Wednesday 2 February 2011

According to the most recent published data, the world has 793,709 religious, 8,061 less than the previous year. The number of women entering religious orders is much higher than that of males. Some 739,000 religious are women and only 55,000 of them are men (more).

Schooling in the classroom without walls
Extracts from Catherine Marshall, Eureka Street, Monday 31 January 2011

It’s an unfair exchange, trading beaches and backyard cricket pitches for boxy classrooms and endless arithmetic lessons. After a languorous summer holiday, there are crisp new uniforms to be donned and lunchboxes to be filled, school buses to be caught and timetables to be followed.....But it doesn’t have to be this way. And for a growing number of children, it won’t be......These are the children who are home-schooled, an estimated 26,000 Australians who represent an appealing alternative in a landscape fraught with debate over private versus public education, the virtues of the My School website and the fairness of education funding models (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is Free. Image: CJohnston

Vatican launches 'Courtyard of the Gentiles' initiative
Extract from Catholic news, Friday 28 January 2011

The Vatican has launched a Courtyard of the Gentiles initiative to promote dialogue between believers and non-believers, reports Zenit  As part of the plan, the Pontifical Council for Culture is planning three colloquia and a youth party in Paris. The Courtyard of the Gentiles, proposed by Benedict XVI in an address to the Roman Curia at the end of 2009, is "a new permanent Vatican structure to promote dialogue and encounter" and will be be inaugurated with the three colloquia in Paris on the theme "Religion, Enlightenment, Common Reason." (more)

Catholics need more than ads to come home

Extract from Eric Hodgens, Sydney Morning Herald, Friday 28 January 2011

Cardinal George Pell is thinking about adopting Catholics Come Home - a TV advertising program launched in Chicago in December 2009. Well- produced ads invite Catholics who have given up the church to come  back and try it again.The program's success in several United States dioceses is hard to evaluate. It has raised the awareness of the  church and is liked by active Catholics, but Mass attendance figures have fallen relentlessly (more).

Pope proposes a 'Christian Style' of using internet

Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne Thursday 27 January 2011

ope Benedict XVI has asked Catholics to make their presence felt in social networks. It is part of his message for the World Day of Social Communication, in which he said there is a “Christian style” to using the internet (more).

Confirmation before communion, Liverpool decides
Extract from Catholic News,Thursday 27 January 2011

The Archdiocese of Liverpool in England has announced plans to change the order in which young people receive the sacraments of Christian Initiation, placing Confirmation before First Communion, said a report in Catholic Culture. From September next year, children above the age of eight will be invited to receive Confirmation and First Communion between the feasts of the Ascension and Corpus Christi. They will be encouraged to make their first Confessions later in the year, during Advent, said the report, referring to an announcement in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King Liverpool's Weekly Record webpage. "In recent years in the Archdiocese of Liverpool, most Catholics have been baptised as babies, made their First Communion around age seven, and been confirmed when teenagers," the Archdiocese says in a statement on its website. "These three sacraments make up the process of belonging to the Church (called Christian Initiation). The sacraments weren't always in that order, and adults preparing for initiation have always received them in the original order: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist (Communion)," the statement continues (more).

Church folk feel wrath of lenders
Extract from Dominic Rushe, New York, The Age, Thursday 27 January 2011

The house of God has become the latest victim of the property crunch. Nearly 200 US churches have had their properties seized by lenders since 2008 - compared to eight in the two previous years - with more to come. Religious leaders were just as swept up by the property boom and bust as their parishioners, according to a survey by CoStar Group. During the years of feast, religious leaders took advantage of easy credit to build bigger churches and cater to bigger, richer congregations. Now the years of famine mean smaller, poorer congregations while still facing the bills for the larger houses of worship they built (more).

Concelebrated Masses with Fr John and Fr Thang Vu
Friday 21 January 2011

Over the weekend of 29-30 January Parish Masses will be concelebrated by Fr John and Fr Thang Vu who will this week return from leave and then commence in Ivanhoe Parish as Fr John retires. 

'You just couldn't save everyone'
Extract from Dan Nancarrow, The  Age, Friday 20 January 2011

They rescued 16 Lockyer Valley residents from raging floodwaters, but two humble firefighters can't stop thinking about those they failed to reach (more).  Photo: The Age

Brisbane Archdiocese mobilises aid to Qld flood victims
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 20 January 2011 
                            Among plans that will form the Church's response include to identify accommodation available within the archdiocese to house people in need; assist parishes to rebuild in the most affected areas; provide resource kits on government grants available to individuals; establish a flood counselling phone line with the assistance of Centacare's counsellors and finally to establish a Catholic Emergency Relief Fund to provide more targeted financial assistance to those in greatest need. Similar planning is occurring in other Dioceses throughout Queensland, with all ensuring that they are doing everything they can to assist victims. With the scope for unskilled volunteering now reduced people are also encouraged to continue assisting by donating to either the St Vincent de Paul Society's national appeal or the Archdiocesan Catholic Emergency Relief Fund at www.bne.catholic.net.au/cerf  (more)

Bishop alarmed about safety of asylum seekers

Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 20 January 2011

The Chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council says now is the time for the Government to act on commitments it made when it came to power to improve conditions and speed up processing. “The Federal Government must ease the suffering of asylum seekers in remote facilities waiting for their claims to be assessed,” said Bishop Christopher Saunders. The call comes as hundreds of asylum seekers at the Curtin Detention Centre protest over delays of their claims and the possibility of being deported to danger (more).

Marriage a Work in Progress, but we can't forget ourselves

Extract from Jen Vuk, The  Age, Friday 20 January 2011

We've long believed that marriage means putting the couple before the individual, but what if I told you that not only are an individual's needs central to marriage, meeting those needs is also integral to ensuring its success? (more) Image: Flickr, Gunnar Bangsmoen

'A unique moment' - the Anglican ordinariate
Extract from The Tablet, Thursday 20 January 2011

History will be made today when three former Church of England bishops are ordained into the Catholic priesthood. They will become leaders of the world’s first ordinariate set up to accommodate groups of traditionalists who want to cross the Tiber while retaining their Anglican patrimony (more)

Anglicans row back on major accord with Catholics
Extract from The Tablet, Thursday 20 January 2011

The Church of England has raised serious concerns about an ecumenical document on Mary, almost six years after it was published. The Church of England's Faith and Order Advisory Group (FOAG) issued a briefing paper ahead of February's synod meeting setting out a series of problems it sees with a 2005 report by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (Arcic). In the report, Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ both parties reached landmark agreements on the validity of asking Mary to intercede and on the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption not being contrary to Scripture.

Multimedia at St Bernadette's
Thursday 6 January 2011   (updated Friday 7 January)   
                                                                                                          Vito Iapozzuto and Joe Grasso get something of the feel of Michelangelo painting the Sistine chapel ceiling as they suspend a video projector from far above, whilst working with John Costa on the long awaited multimedia facility for St Bernadette's. Joe also constructed the magnificent multimedia cabinet.This installation has been very much a cooperative effort, and provision of scaffolding by Wennie van Lint is also gratefully acknowledged, together with a pre-loved laptop from St Bernadette's school. None of our Parish Churches were originally designed with multimedia in mind, and St Bernadette's presented its own challenges in this regard, however the outcome is anticipated to be richer liturgies and greater participation in the celebration of Mass, and Sacraments. (Ed: the multimedia installation was completed Friday 7 January and demonstrated to St Bernadette's Mass-goers on Saturday 8 January - see further images on photo page here).

A New Parish Priest

Sunday 19 December 2010
Upon mid January 2011 retirement of Fr John Cunningham as our much loved Parish Priest of ten years we will be fortunate to have Fr Thang Vu as his replacement.

Fr Thang was born in Vietnam in 1973, the second of eight children. After three years in a refugee camp in Thailand he came to Australia, where he was educated at Braybrook Secondary College and Monash University. He commenced formation for the priesthood in 2002.

Being a member of a Eucharistic Youth Movement had a positive influence on his sense of vocation to the priesthood and nourished him during the time of discernment. He is grateful for the love, support, and prayers of family, friends, brother-seminarians and priests.

Following his Ordination to the Priesthood, Fr Thang offered his Mass of Thanksgiving at St Peter Chanel’s in Deer Park on September 7 2008, prior to appointment as assistant Priest at Hoppers Crossing.

In February 2009 Archbishop Hart announced the appointment of a Bushfire Recovery Chaplain, Fr Greg Bourke, parish priest of St Peter Apostle Mission, Hoppers Crossing. Fr Greg relocated to a temporary residence at Yarra Glen and Fr Thang supported by Fr Donald Lorenz attended to pastoral responsibilities at Hoppers Crossing.

While Fr Thang will officially take over on Fr John's retirement in mid January he will initially take brief leave and actually start in Ivanhoe Parish later in January 2011.


We warmly welcome Fr Thang as a replacement for Fr John. After fifty years as a Priest and ten years in Ivanhoe parish he will retire as Parish Priest much loved here and beyond, by people of all ages.


As has been light-heartedly commented already this particular Parish is fortunate in having a new Parish Priest who apart from his priestly background and focus is also qualified in accountancy! (photo taken from Archdiocese Ordination Poster, 2008)

US Bishops won't support repeal of health care bill
Extract from Daniel Burke, Religious News Service, National; Catholic Reporter, Thursday 20 January 2011

The U.S. Catholic bishops will not join efforts to repeal the new health care law, even though they staunchly opposed the bill last year after concluding it permits federally funded abortions. Instead of pushing repeal, the bishops said Tuesday (Jan. 18) they will devote their energy “to correcting serious moral problems in the current law,” according to a letter sent to Capitol Hill from Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Bishop Stephen Blaire, and Archbishop Jose Gomez, who all chair political committees at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (more).

Addicted to disaster porn
Extract from Michael Mullins, Eureka Street, Monday 17 January 2011.  During the past week, we've been treated to wall to wall television coverage of the Brisbane and Queensland floods. Being able to see inside people's waterlogged homes gives us an insight into how they must be feeling. But does it facilitate empathy, a human connection that might help them through the crisis? That has to be considered unlikely, if we are to take to heart some of the lessons of 9/11 (more).  Image C Johnstone. Subscription to Eureka Street is free (here)

The persecution of Christians in China today
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Tuesday 18 January 2011

China has approximately estimated 80-130 million Christians, 13-20 million Catholics and approximately 70- 110 million Protestant members. Bob Fu, the Director of China Aid in the USA, was born in 1960 in Shandong Province, in the South East of China, about 12 hours away by train from Beijing. He completed his undergraduate studies in English Literature in Liaocheng University in the Shandong Province and then graduate studies in International Relations in the People's University of China in Beijing. The Tiananmen Square demonstration in 1989 was a decisive moment in his life (more). 

Ex-Anglican bishops ordained Catholic priests
Extracts from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Monday 17 January 2011

The Holy See has issued a decree of erection for the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham for Anglicans wishing to enter the Catholic Church. Anglican-ordinariateThe decree was issued following the ordination of three ex-Anglican bishops as Catholic priests for the new ordinariate on Saturday 15 January....The Vatican communiqué affirmed that this structure "seeks to balance on the one hand the concern to preserve the worthy Anglican liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions and, on the other hand, the concern that these groups and their clergy will be fully integrated into the Catholic Church." (more)

Queensland  Floods                                                                                                                                                                                          From Fr John, Friday 14 January 2010 (from Parish Newsletter)
Over the last while many people in Queensland have been waiting in hope! Waiting in hope for freedom from floods and the consequence of floods. Hoping against hope that their thoughts and prayers might be heard! We have an opportunity to answer their prayers, to some extent through a parish collection this weekend. As well as the Leaving collection for the flood victims, the Second Collection (Priests collection) will go fully to this appeal (Media Release from Australian Bishops Conference here).

Images: Brisbane Times. 1) Emergency services are continuing the search for bodies in the town of Grantham, in the Lockyer Valley, devastated by the sudden flood on January 10. Photo by Dean Saffron.   2)The Red Frogs church group set up in Fairfield, to rally together volunteers ahead of the massive clean-up on January 13. Photo by Courtney Trenwith. Other Brisbane Times photos here.

The stuff of life and death
Extracts from Brisbane Times, Friday 15 January 2011

Catastrophes shine an unflinching light on the human condition. In Queensland, the floods have simultaneously produced acts of radiance and dark venality....This flood, of biblical proportions, has called forth all the human extremes that adorn and despoil our species (more).

Pope and Queen join relief appeal
Edited extract from Paige Taylor and Nicole Jeffrey, The Australian, Friday 14 January 2010

The Pope and the Queen are among those who have given money for Queensland flood victims. The Victorian, NSW and West Australian governments have each given $1m to the appeal, last Sunday's telethon raised $10m, and international tennis stars including Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal hope to raise $1m in a two-week campaign that will begin with a special event in Melbourne on Sunday. The largest corporate donation so far is from the Commonwealth Bank, which gave $1.35m. Coles and Xstrata have both donated $1m and pledges of $1m each have also come from the federal government, BHP Billiton, Etihad Airways, Origin Energy and Telstra. Other donations have come from champion American cyclist Lance Armstrong and Pope Benedict XVI, who have each given $50,000. Buckingham Palace has confirmed the Queen's private donation but not the amount (more).

Hundreds killed in Brazil floods, mudslides

Extract from Claire de Oliviera, The Age, Thursday 13 January 2010

Devastating mudslides and floods swept away entire neighborhoods in mountains near Rio de Janeiro, killing at least 335 people as rescue workers searched frantically for survivors on Thursday.Villages and homes in the three municipalities north of Rio were flattened by rivers of mud and tumbling rocks spilling from the mountains, GloboNews television said.....At least 473 people were killed in Brazil last year as a result of heavy rains, according to the Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper (more).

Return love for hate, Jesus' baptism teaches us
Extracts from Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, National Catholic Reporter, Thursday 13 January 2011

If we’re ever going to overcome violence in our country and in our world, we must begin to listen much more deeply to what Jesus did in today’s Gospel when he was baptized to fulfill all righteousness, to fulfill the will of God -- a God who is love and he calls us to be people of love....Return love for hate. Return goodness for evil. That’s the way of Jesus as we hear proclaimed at his baptism, then how he lived his life (more).

The hospital, Bishop Olmsted, and the medicine of mercy
Extract from Tom Fox, National Catholic Reporter (Column on Vatican Council II and responses,  4 Jan 2011), Sunday 9 January 2011

The year was 1962, a tumultuous one in the life of our church, and in mine as well. On Oct. 11, Pope John XXIII opened the Second Vatican Council, reading a declaration in which he rejected the thinking of “the prophets of doom who are always forecasting disaster.” Stressing the council would be pastoral, not doctrinal, in nature, he said the church did not need to reformulate dogma, but rather teach Christ’s message in light of the modern world’s ever-changing trends. He then exhorted the assembled bishops to use “the medicine of mercy rather than the weapons of severity” in the documents they would produce. The council set our church on a renewed pastoral path, but opened a fault line visible to this day (more).

Need your help to save a man's life
Extract from Thomas C Fox, National Catholic Reporter, Saturday 8 January 2010

......Dear Mr. President. Jeffrey Paul, #10517-042, has been named the first inmate to face execution in the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana. The order to kill him must come from you and you are far too good a human being to take this young man’s life......The word on the row is that you must execute a white man before the next slated five, who are African-American. This, of course, is morally appalling. "...(more)

From Amanda
Amanda Smith, Pastoral Associate, Friday 7 January 2011 (from Parish Newsletter)

Thank you to everyone for your kindness and support in my time here at Ivanhoe.  My contract finished last week; however I will be around for a while, visiting for some coming events. As you know a lot of Parishes are shrinking as families no longer necessarily follow the pattern of the Catholic faith of their parents - so we don’t have an automatically regenerating local Church. It has been very joyful for me to work with some new parishioners and new Catholics here in Ivanhoe, and I’ll be continuing that work in my new job, reaching out to people who are seeking spiritual meaning in their lives.  I hope that the people of the three church communities in Ivanhoe will continue to reach out to one another, as well as welcoming and sharing their faith with others in the wider community in order that the Parish may strengthen and grow.  Thanks.

Archbishop Denis Hart, Tributes to Bishop Joe Grech
(Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, link to Tributes here)

The new Mass translation: More than just words
Extract from National Catholic Reporter, Wednesday 5 January 2011
...In an attempt to preserve as the correct interpretation of the Latin original "pro multis," the new translation stumbles badly over a key doctrinal assertion regarding the universal nature of Christ’s redemptive sacrifice. Whether introducing this linguistic ambiguity into the heart of the Eucharistic prayer is an unfortunate mistake (clearly contradicted by the Catholic Catechism) or a deliberate attempt to insinuate greater exclusivity into Catholic teaching, it will be with us for a generation or two if the new Missal comes on line in every parish in the English-speaking world this year....(more).

Church needs to answer critics - Eric Hodgens
Extracts from Eric Hodgens, The Age, Wednesday 5 January 2010

Catholic Church authorities recently censored an article posted on the popular website CathNews.com.....As the censorship became public, it became the story. However, the main issue is not the censorship, but rather the view that the pulled article was arguing: that the church's leadership has lost its way but is not willing to discuss or even consider that there may be a point (more).

Happy with the way the Parish is Run ?     Unhappy with the way the Parish is run ?                                                                                              Have your say, do you bit. A Nomination Form for joining the Parish Leadership Team (PLT) may be downloaded from the "Download it" page.  Information on the Leadership Team may be found on the PLT page (under menu item  "People").

God’s Librarians
Extract from Daniel Mendelsohn, The New Yorker, Monday 3 January 2011

One day early in the sixteen-twenties, an archivist working in the library of the Holy See stumbled upon a text of Procopius’s “Historia Arcana” (“The Secret History”), which painted a devastating new portrait of the Emperor Justinian and his inner circle as venal, corrupt, immoral, and un-Christian. The discovery set off a bitter debate about just who Justinian was, and raised questions about the way history is written. The tale of its discovery also exemplifies some of the paradoxical problems that have long haunted the institution in which it was found: the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, the Vatican Apostolic Library—or, as its present-day users call it, the Vat. (more).     (Ed: The Vatican library has been digitised over the last three years and is now accessible to all)

Best Of 2010: The thirty good priests

Extract from Brian Doyle, Eureka Street, 3 January 2010 (1st published in Eureka Street 13 July 2010)

The Thirty:

One time I was sitting on a high hill in Australia,
This was a year when my marriage was teetering,
And a priest strolled out of the nearby monastery
And sat down companionably on the cedar bench
And didn't say anything, for which I was grateful
Beyond words. Parrots rocketed by and a possum
Scrabbled in a pine tree. The brush-tailed possum,
Said the priest finally, while dedicated to its mate,
Devotes a good part of its time to solitary pursuits,
The speculation among scientists being that this is
Healthy for both partners, who come to each other
With fresh information, as it were.....(more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free

Funeral of Bishop Joseph Angelo Grech
Edited Extracts from Catholic Archdiocese of Sandhurst (Bendigo), Monday 3 January 2011

The Most Reverend Joseph Angelo Grech, much loved Bishop of the Sandhurst Diocese died (28/12/2010) at St Vincent’s hospital Melbourne after the recurrence of a blood disorder. He was aged 62....Monsignor Marriott who was at his bedside when he died recalled his great love for young people. Monsignor said “Bishop Joe had a famous saying for young people – ‘God doesn’t make rubbish – there is good in each of us and we have to find it’.  The funeral mass will be on Thursday 6th January commencing at 1.00pm at the Sacred Heart Cathedral (Bendigo).  The Cathedral will be open at 12.00 Midday....George Cardinal Pell will be the chief celebrant at the funeral mass.  Cardinal Pell consecrated Bishop Grech at St Patrick’s Cathedral on 10th February 1999 (more).

NCR's person of the year for 2010
Extracts from Editorial, National Catholic Reporter (USA), 31 December 2010

...In the spring of 2010, as the national debate on health care reform seemed deadlocked, Sr. Carol Keehan, the Daughter of Charity who is president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, led her organization to endorse the legislation and thus helped pass it through Congress. The move put health care coverage within the reach of an additional 32 million Americans....Catholic bishops and conservative commentators were not pleased. The bishops had not endorsed the legislation, and they expected all Catholics to follow their lead. They called the health association’s position “a wound to Catholic unity.” The bishops held a closed-door meeting in June to (discuss) the association (more).

Christmas Family Masses, return of Fr Len for the occasion, Final for Fr John as Parish Priest,

Packed Churches for Christmas, above right at Mother of God (celebrated by 'visiting' priest Fr Len Thomas), left at Mary immaculate (Fr John's final Christmas Family Mass as Parish Priest). Photos from these special celebrations say much  (see Mass Details and Photos page). When Parish Leadership Team representatives spoke briefly but very warmly at the end of recent Masses about our retiring Parish Priest the congregations burst into prolonged applause. In response and in the context of our Parish values (Inclusiveness, Hospitality, Service, Mission) Fr John spoke with enthusiasm about our new incoming Parish Priest Fr Thang Vu, also urging everyone to patiently allow him time to settle in.

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