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Catholic Parish Ivanhoe

Archived old news for 2012


First Eucharist
Parish Office, Friday 16 November 2012

The Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe congratulates the Parish catechist children who celebrate their First Eucharist at Mother of God Church this weekend. We welcome their families, relatives and friends who have come to share this special occasion with them as part of their ongoing faith journeys. We thank all who have prepared the children in the parish and at home.

Saturday Working Bee at the Parish Office & Mary Immaculate Church Saturday 24 November, 8am - 12 Noon:
Working bees are wonderful communal events; the cuppa and chat afterwards alone make it worthwhile. Hoping you can give some time to the Parish in this way. There's lots of weeding, pruning and cutting back to be done! All the wonderful lush growth there’s been over the last six months, so we’ve booked a 4.5 m2 skip and hope you will spare some time to join us, filling it with garden waste. BYO gloves, suitable clothing for the weather, useful gardening / pruning / cleaning equipment. Morning tea will be provided.

Thinking outside the box: apply the same rules to all
Extract from Opinion, Michelle Grattan, Political Editor of The Age, Friday 16 November 2012

A decade ago Father Frank Brennan, a high-profile Jesuit priest who is now professor of law at the Australian Catholic University, had a woman confess to him that she was a murderess. Brennan, with a deep belief in the sanctity of the confessional, would not have dreamed of going to the police, even if the law required it, which it does not. Anyway, Brennan asks, what good would it have done? He didn't know the names of the woman or her alleged victim, nor the time or place of the alleged crime. Brennan has never had anyone confess to child sex abuse. He believes the intense debate about whether priests should have to report what they've heard from confessions is beside the point....(more). Photo: The  Age.

It's essential we think outside the confessional box
Extract from Waleed Aly, The Age, Friday 16 November 2012

........The church can argue all it likes that the confessional seal is "inviolable". But what obligation does the secular state have to canon law? What interest does the state have in ensuring people can receive absolution? The church simply has no answer to this. Hence the spectacle of practising Catholics like Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne jumping on the anti-confessional bandwagon. There's just no politically viable alternative. But here's the problem: the whole issue of the confessional seal is a monstrous red herring (more). Photo: The Age.

Advice to Bishops on Royal Commission
Extract from Geoffrey Robertson, Eureka Street, Thursday 15 November 2012

In two weeks' time the Australian bishops will meet in their biannual meeting. It is obvious the Royal Commission into sexual abuse will be a major topic. I respectfully suggest some matters for their attention. I suggest they invite as many leaders of religious institutes as possible to be present and join in the discussion. Individual bishops have already promised 'full cooperation' with the Commission, but the gathered bishops and religious need to have a serious discussion concerning exactly what 'full' cooperation will mean. It is vital that all agree in detail on this point (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Why the Church should thank the media
Extract from Michael McVeigh Editor Australian Catholics, Eureka Street, Wednedsay 14 November 2012

The Royal Commission into child sexual abuse can only be a good thing for the Catholic Church. It is a chance to account for the betrayal and crimes of priests and other church representatives who committed acts of abuse against the vulnerable, and for the careless, even callous way in which many church officials responded to complaints against their own. This will be a long overdue first step in moving forward. However, while victims have been calling for a Royal Commission for a long time, and while the bishops have welcomed it, the fact that it has taken government intervention for a proper account of the crisis to take place represents in part a failure of the Church's response (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Child abuse inquiry reaches wide
Edited Extract from Michelle Grattan, Richard Willingham and Barney Zwartz, The Age, Tuesday 13 November 2012

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced a sweeping royal commission into child sex abuse that will probe organisations ranging from the Catholic Church and state authorities to the Boy Scouts and sports groups. The inquiry into institutional responses to abuse will not just look at perpetrators. It will also cover those who were ''complicit'' - for example, in alleged offenders being moved around - or who by ''averting their eyes'' committed acts of omission. It will also look at how police have responded to the problem. The inquiry into institutional responses to abuse will not just look at perpetrators. It will also cover those who were 'complicit'. The inquiry into institutional responses to abuse will not just look at perpetrators. It will also cover those who were 'complicit'. Ms Gillard said the allegations that had come to light recently were heartbreaking. ''These are insidious, evil acts to which no child should be subject,'' she said. The victims deserved the ''most thorough of investigations'', she said. The royal commission was not to impede police investigations or compensation claims. Ms Gillard said the inquiry would provide victims with the opportunity to speak out if they chose. ''I understand that for some people it can be healing to get the opportunity to tell their story.''  (more)

Statement from Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
Royal Commission Bishops’ Response, Monday 12 November 2012

The President and Permanent Committee of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, on behalf of the Australian Bishops, support the announcement by the Prime Minister of a Royal Commission into child sex abuse in our community. This is a serious issue not just for the Catholic Church but for the whole community. As Catholic bishops and as individuals we share the feelings of horror and outrage which all decent people feel when they read the reports of sexual abuse and allegations of cover ups. Over the past 20 years, there have been major developments in the way the Church responds to victims, deals with perpetrators and puts in place preventive measures. In addition, there is a much greater general awareness of the issue of paedophilia in the broader community. Sexual abuse of children is not confined to the Catholic Church. Tragically, it occurs in families, churches, community groups, schools and other organisations. We believe a Royal Commission will enable an examination of the issues associated with child abuse nationally, and identify measures for better preventing and responding to child abuse in our society (full statement here). 

Church sexual abuse in the media
Extract from Michael Mullins, Eureka Street, Sunday 11 November 2012

.....When you are being attacked by the media, it is natural to defend your turf, especially if you’re a Church leader and you firmly believe that the good the Church does far outweighs the evil. But in the context of a massive outpouring of public anger and emotion – not to mention an overwhelming body of evidence – it is surely better to approach sexual abuse in an empathetic manner before attempting to put facts on the table. Some kind of catharsis is needed as a precondition for reconciliation (more).

Website Update,
Friday 9 November 2012

A computer problem today has prevented  update of this website. Hopefully it will be resolved soon. Apologies for any inconvenience - John Costa   (Ed: This issue has since been resolved)

Church needs state help to deal with abuse
Extracts from Frank Brennan, Eureka Street, Thursday 1 November 2012

These are not easy times for Catholic priests; and they have never been easy times for those children in our society who have been sexually abused, a disproportionate number of them by Catholic priests. When in Sydney in July 2008, Pope Benedict XVI apologised in these words:........Whatever our religion or none, whatever our love or loathing of the Catholic Church, what is to be done in the name of law and justice? Clearly the Church cannot be left alone to get its house in order. That would be a wrongful invocation of freedom of religion in a pluralist, democratic society (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.
Sistine Chapel turns 500
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 1 November 2012
It was on the day before the Feast Day of All Saints, that Michelangelo's masterpiece (which covers an area of roughly 11,840 feet) was revealed to the public. The striking ceiling depicts many scenes from the Bible, such as Creation and Original sin. 500 years after Pope Julius II, Pope Benedict the XVI prayed vespers yesterday evening in the Sistine Chapel to mark the 500 year anniversary (more).

Vatican II - The end of male monopoly in Theology
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 1 November 2012

This weekend, CathNews continues our special coverage to mark the 50th anniversary of Vatican II. Tomorrow's edition of CathNews Perspectives will include a feature on how the Council ended the male monopoly on theology, how John XXIII's intervention rescued Dei Verbum, a book review on the legacy and other news items (more).

University withdraws theologian's invitation after pressure from financial contributors
Edited Extracts from National Catholic Reporter, Thursday 1 November 2012

The University of San Diego has canceled a visiting fellowship for a British theologian less than two weeks before her scheduled arrival at the university because of pressure from financial contributors, according to a letter from the university's president. Tina Beattie, a professor of Catholic studies at London's private University of Roehampton known for her work in contemporary ethical issues and Catholic understandings of feminism, received notice of the cancellation Oct. 27. She was scheduled to take residence at the university on Tuesday...........Beattie said in an interview with NCR that cancellation of her fellowship was "symptomatic of something very new and very worrying."......."The church is starving itself through its reluctance and its fear to engage in really open and honest discussion about intellectual issues, matters of faith, and also matters of practice and church governance," Porter (Jean Porter, the John A. O'Brien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame) said (more).

Church's coordinated campaign to challenge Halloween
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 1 November 2012

No pumpkins, monsters or skulls, just saints: the Catholic Church has launched its own alternative to Halloween. In Rome, Turin, Genoa, Benevento, Poland and the Philippines, Catholics and Church leaders has organised initiatives so that the night between October 31 and November 1 was a celebration of All Saints night, reports
Vatican Insider (more).

Lesbian answers bishop's call for dialogue on gay marriage
Extracts from  Tracy Sommins, Religion News Service, National Catholic Reporter, Thursday 1 November 2012

What do you do when your spouse of 10 years -- the person you've spent a decade sharing spiritual, intimate and intellectual moments with -- is suddenly lying unconscious on her deathbed? If you're Catholic, you make sure her body is anointed with oil. You kiss her goodbye, even if you have to force the doctors to remove the breathing tube, and you slide the wedding ring gently off her finger and whisper a promise to take care of it forever. That's what Charlene Strong did Dec. 14, 2006, after torrential rains flooded the Seattle home she shared with Kate Fleming, leaving her partner trapped and dying in her basement studio. But first, hospital administrators had to call a relative of Fleming's to get permission for Strong to bid farewell the way the couple would have wanted......On Tuesday, six years after Strong began her campaign, Washingtonians will vote on a referendum to allow same-sex unions, which would avoid the agonizing legal obstacles Strong encountered as her partner died. Roman Catholic Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane has called for an honest discussion about gay marriage and Referendum 74, and Strong was more than happy to take him up on his offer -- especially at a Catholic campus (more).

Lutheran ordinariates possible
The Tablet, Thursday 1 November 2012

The president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Kurt Koch, said that ordinariates could possibly be set up for Catholic-minded Lutherans as they had been for disaffected Anglicans, if they wanted. In an interview with the Rome-based news agency Zenit, the cardinal was asked whether a solution similar to Pope Benedict's 2009 apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus - which paved the way for the establishment of ordinariates for Rome-minded Anglicans - was possible for Evangelical Christians. He responded: "Anglicanorum coetibus was not an initiative of Rome, but came from the Anglican Church ... If similar desires are expressed by the Lutherans, then we will have to reflect on them. However, the initiative is up to the Lutherans." (source)

Vatican to give SSPX more time
Extracts from Catholic News, Wednesday 31 October 2012

The Vatican has announced that it is giving the Society of St Pius X (SSPX) more time to decide whether it will accept its conditions for readmission to full ecclesial communion with Rome, reports The Tablet.....The commission, which is part of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said it was "understandable" that after 30 years of separation the group would need more time to respond to the doctrinal agreement the Pope offered it in. It did not say if there was a time limit (more).

Is the new evangelisation about words or actions?
Extract from Christopher Lamb,The Tablet Blog, Wednesday 29 October 2012

During a press briefing during the synod on the New Evangelisation, Cardinal George Pell said that English-speaking bishops had not been vigorous enough in speaking out on church teaching. He argued that a 'cut-price' Christianity won't produce growth and those Christian communities that had accommodated with the world were 'going out of business.' (more)

Vatican II anniversary: do not leave the Good News in a cemetery of our making
Extract from Fr Peter Day, Guest Contributor, The Tablet Blog, Wednesday 29 October 2012

Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was an old man, but at 77 years decided that things had to change. He loved his Church. He knew it inside out - warts and all. He had been a faithful Catholic from birth. But something was missing.......It was a time, he said, for aggiornamento: for bringing up-to-date, for renewal; a time also to open the windows of the church and allow the fresh air of the Holy Spirit to blow away the cobwebs of rigidity and power and fear. Thus, on 11 October, 1962 the visionary Roncalli solemnly opened the Second Vatican Council. Nothing would be the same. The Church was turned on its head, and nearly half a century later, Catholicism is still reeling and trying to come to terms with the Council's musings and vision.This grappling can at times be heated and unreasonable, as so-called 'conservatives' and 'progressives' engage in an internecine struggle, the latter lamenting the Church's slide back to clericalism and centralism; the former countering with a lament against relativism, and 'warm and fuzzy' uncertainty. Whatever one's take, it tends to be an unedifying struggle.That which is alive, including the Church, can never remain static. It is for us, then, as keepers of history - or His-story - to ensure the Good News is not left buried in a remote cemetery of our making. It is for us, then, to ensure the cold, decaying bones of rigidity and power and fear are not brought back to life (more). Fr Peter Day is a priest based in the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn.

Why Not Women? A bishop makes a case for expanding the diaconate
Extract from Emil A. Wcela*, America the National Catholic Weekly, 1 October 2012

Can women receive sacred orders? Let us consult several authoritative sources....(more)
*(Most Rev. Emil A. Wcela, auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre from 1988 until his retirement in 2007, served as president of the Catholic Biblical Association in 1989-90. He also served on the Pastoral Practices, Liturgy and Doctrine committees and the Translations subcommittee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops)

Yarra Deanery Ordination to the Diaconate                                                                                                                                                               Saturday 27 October 2012
At Mass of the Solemnity of the Anniversary of the Dedication of St Patrick's Cathedral today seven men including Charles Balnaves of St Kevin's Parish Templestowe, part of the Yarra Deanery, were ordained to the Diaconate. It was a formal, powerful but very warm occasion as the congregation burst into spontaneous applause after the Investitures and Presentations of the Book of the Gospel. On behalf of the new Deacons Charles spoke of the significance of this event and congratulated Archbishop Hart for taking the risk in ordaining Deacons amidst the challenges facing the Church, and welcomed this new opportunity to help address some of the challenges. Archbishop Denis Hart responded with warmth and a renewed sense of optimism. Fr Thang con-celebrated the Mass with the Archbishop and very many Bishops and Priests, including Fr Gerry, proud PP of St Kevins Templestowe. Congratulations and best wishes to Charles (Rev. Charles Balnaves) and the other Deacons on their ordination today. Apart from his work at St Kevins Charles will also work at the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry. The renewed Diaconate is another welcome outcome of Vatican II. Dr Francis In of the Korean Catholic Community in Melbourne at St Bernadette's is currently in formation towards the Deaconate and assisted others with Cathedral arrangements today. We also wish him well on this journey.  Further Pictures on the Photos page.

Melbourne University of Divinity appoints its first professors
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Friday 26 October 2012

Melbourne College of Divinity's (MCD) University Council has announced the appointment of 10 professors for Australia’s first University of Specialisation. They are 10 of MCD’s most senior scholars who have been recognised by the university for their outstanding scholarship, teaching excellence, and leadership within and beyond the academy. Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Sherlock said, "The 10 professors have brought great distinction to themselves and to our institution over a long period. Each one has made a mark internationally. They have an impressive record of service to the academy, the churches, and most importantly their students. "Their areas of expertise illustrate the wonderful spectrum of theological research undertaken at MCD University of Divinity, including biblical scholarship, spirituality, church history, doctrine, liturgy, canon law and ethics. "Each of our professors has an outstanding record in engagement with the community and churches in Australia and beyond, developing theologically informed responses to the needs and issues facing twenty-first century society (more).

Bazaar - Korean Catholic Community in Melbourne
Friday 26 October 2012
The Korean Catholic Community invites all parishioners to their Bazaar at St Bernadette’s on Sunday 28th October from 12.30 – 3.00pm. The Bazaar includes unique gifts, homewares, fashion, new and reconditioned items, raffle and an Auction.

Vatican II an unprecedented event, a council like no other
Extract from Cardinal Godfried Daneels, The Tablet, Friday 25 October 2012

.........Young people only vaguely remember the event, if they know it at all. They have rarely, or perhaps never, read the texts. Nevertheless, the Second Vatican Council's documents have shaped the life of the church for the past half century. Sixteen documents, including in particular the four constitutions (on liturgy, on revelation, on the church, and on the church and world), have directed the thinking and action of the ecclesial community. Other decrees, such as those on ecumenism and religious freedom, were the subject of long conciliar discussions and have really inspired new ideas and praxis. Texts on media and education on the other hand are now barely usable. To understand the originality of Vatican II, it is indispensable to look at the council and its documents in terms of the history and culture of that time. Vatican II has certainly shaped part of that history; but the other side is equally true: history and culture shaped Vatican II as well. Even though it is true that Vatican II is fully rooted in our Catholic tradition, it is equally true that it also launched a development and a deepening of that tradition, which here and there shows a discontinuity with past thinking and practices. Haven't many observed (like Karl Rahner, for instance) that the council marked the end of the Constantinian period in church history; and that Vatican II as a council ranks with Nicaea and Trent? (more)

Synod 2012 notebook: Vatican officials on transparency, discipline
(Synod of Bishops on new evangelization, Rome, Oct. 7-28 2012)

Extract from Kohn L Allen Jr, National Catholic Reporter, Thursday 25 October 2012
An old joke about theologians in India, who tend to be influenced by Hindu notions of multiple paths to God, goes like this. You can argue with them about some point until you're blue in the face, and then they'll say: "Yes, yes, everything you say is true ... but so is its opposite!" In some ways, a Synod of Bishops is like that. By the time all the speech-making, small group discussions, messages and propositions are finished, pretty much every imaginable point has been made at least once, as has its opposite. Before drawing the curtain on the Oct. 7-28 Synod of Bishops on new evangelization, there are two largely overlooked contributions from two powerful Vatican officials that merit being recorded -- not because they influenced the synod, but because they offer clues to the thinking in two important agencies of the church's central bureaucracy......(more)

Pope Benedict the XVI appoints 6 new cardinals
From Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 25 October 2012

Pope Benedict XVI surprised the 20,000 pilgrims in St Peter's Square attending the weekly General Audience, by announcing he has nominated six new cardinals from India, Columbia, United States, Lebanon, Nigeria and the Philippines (more).

Cardinal Burke: Vatican II betrayed by breakdown of church discipline

Extracts from  Francis X. Rocca, Catholic News Service, National Catholic Reporter, Thursday 25 October, 2012

Abandonment of internal church discipline over the past half century has undermined the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, said the American cardinal who heads the Vatican's supreme court....."Excitement following the council, linked to the establishment of a new church which teaches freedom and love, has strongly encouraged an attitude of indifference toward church discipline, if not even hostility," he said. "The reforms of ecclesial life which were hoped for by the council fathers were, therefore, in a certain sense, hindered if not betrayed." (more)

Vatican II according to John Paul I

Edited extract from Catholic News, Thursday 25 October 2012

....Luciani (the future Pope John Paul I) in his letter hoped that the future Council would highlight the “Christian optimism” inherent in the teachings of Christ, against the “widespread pessimism” of relativistic culture. He denounced a fundamental ignorance of the “basic elements of the Faith”. The future pope had not expressed much interest for the “technical” issues linked to new collective episcopates’ consultation methods and did not mention issues linked to ecumenism, Gospel and Ecclesiology. He focussed on the need to go back to basics and announce “ the fundamental elements of the Faith”, noticing even back then the advancing crisis in the communication of its contents, a sign of secularisation. In terms of the global interpretation of the Council, Mgr Luciani took a path that fully corresponds to the reform within continuity hermeneutics proposed by Benedict XVI as the best way to interpret the Vatican II. The then-bishop of Vittorio Veneto wrote: “The physiognomy and structure of the Catholic Church have been determined once and for all by the Lord and cannot be touched". If anything, superstructures can. Things that have not been determined by Christ, but were introduced by popes or councils or the faithful, can be changed, or eliminated today or tomorrow. Yesterday they might have introduced a certain number of dioceses, a certain way to lead missions, to educate priests, they might have chosen to follow certain cultural trends.Well, this can be changed and one can say “ the Church that comes out of the Council is still the same as it was yesterday, but renewed”. No one can ever say “ We have a new Church, different from what it was” (more).

Pell sees "a world of opportunities" in Christian-Muslim relations

Edited extract from Gerard O'Connell, Vatican Insider, Thursday 25 October 2012

Well known for his sharp mind and straight talking, Cardinal George Pell, 71, the Archbishop of Sydney, has never been a man to duck the issues or to speak in platitudes.  Invited by Pope Benedict to the synod, this Oxford-educated Australian granted me a wide-ranging interview, October 22, at the Domus Australia, the new pilgrim centre and boutique guest-house he established in Rome, with support from the Australian bishops. In this interview the Cardinal talks about, Christian-Muslim relations, China as “the great new mission field”, Catholics who take communion even if they practice birth control or are divorced and remarried, and the qualities required for a bishop....(more)

Why Christians are obsessed with sex

Extract from Zac Alson, Eureka Street, Wednesday 24 October 2012

The Hon. Michael Kirby recently said that those in the churches expecting gay people to be celibate should 'start thinking about the real moral questions in our society and in our world. They should lift their thoughts from the human genitals to real problems, on which their views may actually be helpful, such as animal welfare, refugees, modern social relationships, the protection of children, the state of the biosphere, global poverty', and so on. I'm sure there are people — both inside the churches and out of them — who have an unhealthy fascination with sexual morality. Likewise, there are undoubtedly people who, in the guise of Christian piety, hold very unchristian attitudes towards men and women who are attracted to members of the same sex. These people are missing the point of ethics, in particular the system of ethics first expounded by Aristotle and subsequently reconciled with the Christian faith by St Thomas Aquinas (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

A feminist reading of the Koran

Edited extract from Ruby Hamad, Eureka Street, Monday 22 October 2012

It's hard to imagine any scenario in which shooting a 14-year-old child is justified. And yet, the Taliban attempts just this by insisting its attack on Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai is ordained by Islam. Yousafzai first attracted the group's ire for her insistence on the right of girls to be educated. At the age of 11, she gained international recognition for her BBC blog, in which she documented Taliban atrocities as they burned girls schools to the ground. Following Yousafzai's shooting earlier this month, the Taliban released a statement claiming, 'We did not attack her for raising voice for education. We targeted her for opposing mujahideen (holy warriors) and their war.' And so, the Taliban continues to paint Islam as an inherently violent religion....(more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Cycling and the Church out in the cold
Extract from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, Sunday 21 October 2012

It was a coincidence that the report on Lance Armstrong and the response of the Catholic Church to sex abuse were prominent news stories over the same weeks. But deeper similarities between the scandals afflicting cycling and the Catholic Church may offer a broader perspective on each. Of course the differences are much more significant than the similarities. In contrast to doping in cycling, sexual abuse creates direct victims, the devastation to whose lives is lasting and massive. The betrayal by ministers of the Church in poisoning in people the faith they are committed to nurture is also uniquely abhorrent. But the causes of widespread abuse in the church and in cycling are similar in structure. They lie in cultures that have undermined rather than supported ethical behaviour, provided occasions for abuse, and promised impunity....(more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free. Image:Chris Johnston

Vatican II Perspectives - Catholic News
Friday 19 October 2012

This weekend, CathNews continues our special coverage to mark the 50th anniversary of Vatican II. Tomorrow's edition of CathNews Perspectives will feature an article on the Council's first turning point, a reflection by Fr Michael Kelly on its fading legacy, and a book review about the Spirit of Vatican II (more).

Scepticism as church abuse inquiry opens
Edited Extract from Barney Zwartz, The Age, Friday 19 October 2012

As public hearings on the state sex-abuse inquiry open today, frustrated victims have renewed calls to replace the parliamentary inquiry with a full royal commission. Victim groups fear the parliamentary committee - much criticised as lacking expertise, time and resources - also lacks urgency. Of the 23 days available on which Parliament is not sitting before the end of November, the committee is sitting only three days and another three afternoons. There is little prospect that the Family and Community Development Committee will report by the due date of April 30, and none that everyone who wants to give evidence will be heard. The committee, overwhelmed by the number of submissions, has decided it will select only some witnesses (more).

No discrimination in religious education: judge
Edited Extract from Jewel Topsfield,The Age, Friday October 19, 2012

A tribunal has ruled that children who opt out of special religious instruction classes in state primary schools are not being discriminated against under the Equal Opportunity Act. Psychologist Sophie Aitken and two other parents argued the Education Department discriminated against children who did not participate in the classes because they were identified as different and separated from their classmates on the basis of their religious belief. They also claimed the fact students could not be taught the normal school curriculum while their peers attended the religion classes was discriminatory. But Judge Timothy Ginnane dismissed their request that he order the Education Department to hold the classes outside school hours, make parents explicitly opt their children into the classes, or provide equivalent instruction for students who did not attend. In his decision in the Victorian Civil and Administration Tribunal, published yesterday, he said the parents had not established the state had discriminated against the eight children, who were aged between 6 and 12. (more)

Celebrating 90 Years of MI School
Wednesday 17 October 2012

MI school, past students, parents and many friends and other parishioners participated in a joyous Mass today in  celebration of the schools 90th Anniversary. An impressive photo presentation spanned the years in a few minutes. Amongst former students  who spoke Merle Gilbo remembered walking to school each day via a construction site which is now the Heidelberg Centre. The Anniversary was recognised by Pope Benedict from whom a framed acknowledgement was received and presented to the school via Fr Thang. Numerous students assisted with Readings, Prayers, Eucharistic gifts and as altar servers, and by providing an impressive choir.

Eastern Youth Ministry Dinner

Edited Extracts from Katherine Galea, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Wednesday 17 October 2012

On Wednesday 10 October youth ministers from the Eastern region (including Ivanhoe Parish) gathered at St Philips in North Blackburn with Monsignor Terry Curtin EV for a meal, and to discuss different facets of Youth Ministry. The Eastern Region was our final stop for the year. Having discussed a variety of topics across all the regions, we have found a consistent need for more resources for youth groups, to aid with recruiting young people and acceptance of Catholic life in wider society. Monsignor Terry Curtin highlighted that, “Part of Youth Ministry is creating the spaces where people are enabled to share faith and aren’t afraid to do so.”...There were many ideas, highlights and challenges discussed as each person was able to talk about their own experiences....The Archdiocesan Office for Youth (AOY) truly values the opportunity it has had to meet and discuss such important topics with all involved in Youth Ministry and to develop new relationships with passionate and strong Parish Youth Leaders.  After a constructive and enjoyable evening, Monsignor Curtin commented, “Do not lose heart, there are great things happening and have been happening already and will continue.” At the AOY, we cannot help but concur and look forward to a bright future (more). Ed: The Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe was represented by Fr Thang (in photo with Msr Curtin and others) and John Costa. The AOY is putting many resources into place to support Youth Ministries.

New Ballarat bishop aims to restore faith in Church
Edited Extracts from Catholic News, Wednesday 17 October 2012

Father Paul Bird has been ordained as the new bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat. He hopes to improve the image of the Catholic Church by showing it has changed the way it handles abuse allegations, reports the ABC....Father Bird joined the Redemptorist Order in 1968 and has since been doing missionary work, involving travel to New Zealand and parts of Asia. Taking the position following revelations of large-scale abuse within the church, the new Ballarat bishop sees it as his role to reassure the community that the church has learnt from the way it mishandled allegations in the past. He says abuse accusations should be handled by the police before the church undertakes its own investigations (more)

Rome asks Legion head to step down

Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 17 October 2012

Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, the papal delegate charged with reforming the scandal-stained Legion of Christ (LC), has removed the conservative order's director-general four years before the end of his 12-year mandate, reports The Tablet. In a letter on October 10 to members of the Legion and their Regnum Christi (RC) lay movement, the cardinal announced that Fr Álvaro Corcuera had agreed to take "a sort of sabbatical year", ostensibly for health reasons. Fr Corcuera, 55, was elected head of the two groups in 2005 after the Vatican blocked their founder, the late Marcial Maciel, from re-election. After his death in 2008 Maciel was found to have abused seminarians and fathered up to six children. Fr Corcuera was considered close to Maciel (more).

Pope Benedict: Ignorance of faith risks creating cafeteria Catholics
Edited Extract from  Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service,  National Catholic Reporter, Wednesday 17 October 2012

Ignorance of the faith puts Christians at risk of following a "do-it-yourself" religion, Pope Benedict XVI said. People need to become more familiar with the creed because it is there that the "Christian moral life is planted and ... one finds its foundation and justification," the pope said Wednesday at his weekly general audience. Before an estimated 20,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square, the pope began a new series of audience talks to accompany the Year of Faith, which marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. He said he hopes the series of instructional talks, which is expected to run until Nov. 24, 2013, will help people "strengthen or rediscover the joy of faith and realize that it isn't something foreign to or separate from everyday life, but is its soul." Pope Benedict said the widespread and dominant nature of today's secularism, individualism and relativism means that even Christians are not completely "immune from these dangers." (more)

Women in the Church
Extract from commentary by George Ripon, Catholica, Tuesday 16 October 2012

What happens when, an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? The old conundrum could well apply today in our Church when the movement for the ordination of women collides with the Vatican response that the Church does not have the power to ordain women to the priesthood. I dug out Matthew and found at Ch 16-V19 Jesus addressing Peter said "and whatever thou shall bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, shall loose an earth shall be loosed in Heaven". Later to all the apostles he said (Ch 18-VI8) "Amen I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound also in Heaven and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven". So to Peter and his successors (Popes) and the successors of the apostles (bishops) He gave the power make laws which would be ratified by God. It goes without saying that these would be laws appropriate to the proper governance of the Church. So as women today aspire to senior roles in the business world the big question must be, why should it not be possible in our Church? (more)

Mary Immaculate Primary School celebrates 90 years
On this 90th anniversary of the opening of Mary Immaculate Primary School, we give thanks for the vision of those who foresaw this need and for the generations of families and parishioners who have worked together ever since to give it life. The school requests the pleasure of the company of parishioners, past parents and pupils to celebrate its 90th Birthday on Wednesday 17th October at 9:15am Mass at Mary Immaculate Church.  After Mass Morning Tea will be served in Mary Immaculate School Hall.  The Annual Celebration of Learning will take place in the classrooms at 11:30am.  Please advise the number attending for catering purposes to Connie, School Secretary: Phone 9497 1827 or email here or:  

Parish hosts local venue for successful Vatican II eConference

Ivanhoe Parish, Friday 12 October 2012

On Wednesday the Broken Bay Institute and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 'streamed' a stimulating interactive eConference to 16 countries and many Australian sites, including Ivanhoe Parish where around 25 people participated throughout the day. Apart from its timeliness on the 50th Anniversary of the opening of Vatican II most of those who participated at our venue in Melbourne considered  the event to be highly inciteful, informative, open, honest and encouraging.  It provided a helpful reminder of key Vatican II outcomes and also highlighted the large "treasure trove" of other Vatican II outputs. It also contributed to an increased likelihood amongst many Ivanhoe participants that benefits of Vatican II will be acknowledged and responded to into the future with renewed vigour and hope. Two participants respectfully disagreed. Along the way it further served as a relevant reminder that in facing the challenges and realities of 21st century life the source of Christianity is and needs to remain as Christ more than just Church. The essential need for co-responsibility between ordained and lay was highlighted, and that the church isn't the hierarchy but the people of God. Our local discussions following key sessions were animated, interesting and productive. We were all privileged to have such high calibre speakers, clearly and articulately offering  thoughtful, valuable and inspirational insights. For further recent commentary on Vatican II see the article immediately below, and then further below from Eureka Street.

Vatican II messages for laypeople to change world
Edited Extract from National Catholic Reporter, Thursday 11 October 2012

At the end of the Mass in St. Peter's Square marking the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II and the start of the Year of Faith, the pope gave out texts of the special messages that Pope Paul VI had composed for seven categories of the faithful; Pope Benedict chose contemporary representatives of those groups to receive the messages Oct. 11. The symbolic gesture was meant not just to recall and commemorate an event from the past, but to "enter more deeply into the spiritual movement, which characterized Vatican II, to make it ours and to develop it according to its true meaning," the pope said in his homily (more).

Cardinal Rejects False and Unsubstantiated Allegations
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne. Thursday 11 October 2012

Cardinal Pell today rejected claims made in relation to him in a submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Organisations by Waller Legal, saying the claims "are irresponsible, untrue and are absolutely rejected." While Cardinal Pell does not usually comment on religious life in Victoria he said he felt that it was necessary to respond to recent reports about a false and seriously misleading allegation contained in the Waller Legal submission to the Inquiry (more).

The Year of Faith: 'Do not be afraid'

Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 11 October 2012

With Pope Benedict XVI proclaiming the beginning of the 'Year of Faith' today from Rome, Archbishop Denis Hart is encouraging Victorian Catholics  this year to hear the voice of Jesus saying: "Do not be afraid; come, follow me." (more)

Catholic Church in Victoria backs mandatory reporting for clergy and reporting to police

Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Wednesday 10 October 2012

TODAY the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, announced that the Catholic Church in Victoria supported extending mandatory reporting under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 to ministers of religion and other religious personnel, and the reporting of child abuse to police. Archbishop Hart was speaking on behalf of the leaders of the Catholic Church in Victoria, following the publication by the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and other Non-Government Organisations of the Catholic Church in Victoria’s submission, Facing the Truth (more). Click here to read the executive summary from 'Facing the Truth.'  

Allegations over abuse investigations: submission
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 10 October 2012

Police have accused the Catholic Church in Victoria of hindering its efforts to investigate child abuse by clergy. The damning assessment of the Catholic Church's conduct is contained in a submission Victoria Police has made to a state parliamentary inquiry into child abuse, reports the ABC. It says the Church appears to have dissuaded victims from reporting child sex abuse, alerted suspects to allegations and either moved or protected offenders who were known or suspected of committing sexual offending against children. Police say one of the Church's own complaint systems, the Melbourne Response, has been detrimental to police investigations into those suspected of sexually abusing children. Police have also criticised the role played by the church's lead investigator Peter O'Callaghan QC. They say his methods have effectively dissuaded victims from going to authorities (more).

'Wolves' threatened Pope, says reporter

Extract from Catholic News, Tuesday 9 October 2012

he Italian journalist behind the Vatileaks scandal has defended the actions of the Pope's butler, saying he was trying to protect Benedict XVI from "wolves" circling him in the Holy See, according to a report in the UK Telegraph published by the Sydney Morning Herald. Gianluigi Nuzzi called on the 85-year-old pontiff to pardon Paolo Gabriele, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Saturday after being found guilty by a Vatican court of stealing confidential papers from the Pope's offices. Mr Nuzzi said a stream of cardinals and bishops approached the butler in the hope that through him they could communicate their unhappiness about the power games and intrigues allegedly taking place at the heart of the Catholic Church (more)

Back-pedalling on Vatican II

Extract from Michael Kelly, Eureka Street, Sunday 7 October 2012

......Mass attendance was four times what it is today, members of pious societies filling the pews at their designated Masses. Clerics in collars and soutanes and, when called on, bishops and 'experts' in particular devotions, fed the faithful with the treasures of these traditions of piety. There was always an 'authority' who could explain the mysteries and put anxious minds and hearts at rest. Authority was a big factor in Church and society. Also, the religion of Catholics was of a piece with the self-perception that had carried generations of them through hard times on the margins of Australian economic, social and cultural life. Most Catholics only had their status as 'sons and daughters of the one true faith' to comfort them. Enter Vatican II and the change to the ground rules of Catholicism: the Church isn't the hierarchy, the priests and religious, but the people of God; the point of being a Catholic isn't best exemplified by the ordained or vowed members of the community, but by the calling of all the baptised (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free. Image: Chris

Parish Liturgy Group found to be enjoyable and rewarding
Friday 5 October 2012

How can a group calling itself a "Liturgy Group" be enjoyable? In any case what is Liturgy? and why is it rewarding? In a nutshell participants say it is enjoyable because it's a valuable opportunity for anyone in the parish to get together periodically or occasionally to openly explore their faith and spiritual beliefs or doubts, in an honest, encouraging respectful and friendly way, based on Gospel Readings for weekends, or special masses and other occasions. Liturgy may be considered as a communal response to the sacred through activities including prayers, music, imagery, ritual and, most importantly, consideration of God's Words through Gospel Readings. The aim of liturgy is basically to help make "The Word" of God more understandable, meaningful and enriching.  It thus forms the basis for establishing a relationship with "the divine", as well as with other participants in the liturgy. It's rewarding because everyone in the Parish Liturgy Group seems to find it personally very helpful in understanding, learning from and being able to share God's words, in a community spirit of openness and seeking truth. Everyone in the Parish is welcome and encouraged to join or visit the Liturgy Group, which meets at the Parish office in Thursdays from 9-10am. Simply come along on an occasional basis if you wish. No need to be an expert or know anything about Liturgy or even understand the meaning of that word. Just come along in the spirit of the Group. Be encouraged!

Vatican II  -  "Event of Grace" eConference in Ivanhoe Parish (and elsewhere)

Friday 5 October 2012 
The 2nd Vatican Council continues to have significant impact on the life of the church at all levels. There are those who are inspired and encouraged by its responses to the changing world, and other who disagree with its departure from earlier more traditional approaches. In recognition of the 50th Anniversary in October of its Opening on 11 October 1962 and celebration of this Year Of Grace The Broken Bay Institute in partnership with the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference presents the 7th National eConference "Vatican II - An event of Grace", on Wednesday 10th October 2012 . It will be broadcast live to venues around Australia and the World, including Ivanhoe Parish. All are invited. There's a distinguished panel of speakers, morning tea and light lunch provided, and its free. Full details on the website's new "Vatican II" page (here) and from the Liturgy Group. Also, Also, This weekend CathNews begins six weeks of special coverage to mark the 50th anniversary of Vatican II. Details are also on the Vatican II page.

Shanghai Religious forced to attend re-education
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 4 October 2012

All priests and nuns in Shanghai diocese have been forced to attend compulsory “study classes,” which observers believe were imposed by authorities in response to Auxiliary Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin’s controversial ordination in July, reports Ucanews. The 45-year-old prelate quit the Catholic Patriotic Association at his ordination on July 7.  Since then, he has been in “retreat” at the Sheshan Seminary with a “certain degree of freedom,” sources say. Government-sanctioned Church authorities said his recognition seriously violated regulations in relation to episcopal ordinations. As a result, according to sources, some 80 diocesan priests and 80 nuns of the Our Lady of Presentation Congregation were divided into three groups to take three-days of classes at the Shanghai Institute of Socialism lasting 12 hours each day. The first classes began on September 10 and the final ones concluded last week (more).

Year Of Faith about to commence
Edited Extracts from US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Friday 5 October 2012

With his Apostolic Letter of October 11, 2011,Porta Fidei. . . , Pope Benedict XVI declared that a "Year of Faith" will begin on October 11, 2012 and conclude on November 24, 2013.  October 11 is also the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. . . (Vatican II) and also the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. During the Year of Faith, Catholics are asked to study and reflect on the documents of Vatican II and the catechism so that they may deepen their knowledge of the faith......The upcoming Year of Faith is a “summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the One Savior of the world” (Porta Fidei 6). In other words, the Year of Faith is an opportunity for Catholics to experience a conversion – to turn back to Jesus and enter into a deeper relationship with him. The “door of faith” is opened at one’s baptism, but during this year Catholics are called to open it again, walk through it and rediscover and renew their relationship with Christ and his Church (more).

Bishops gather to debate Catholic decline

Edited Extracts from Jean-Louis de la Vaissiere, AAP, The Australian, Thursday 4 October 2012

Catholic bishops from around the world are convening for a synod starting on Sunday to debate how to counter rising secularism on the 50th anniversary of the historic but controversial Second Vatican Council. The synod will hear a call from Pope Benedict XVI for a "new evangelisation" drive for the Catholic Church, which is fast losing followers in Europe and feels increasingly discriminated against in many parts of the world. The synod lasts until October 28 and coincides with the announcement on October 11 of a Year of Faith to mark the anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), which changed the face of Catholicism. The now 85-year-old German pontiff, who was an expert at the council known as "Vatican II" and one of its most reformist voices, has made the new evangelisation a centrepiece of his papacy since being elected in 2005. The synod will also look at tensions against Christians in some parts of the world including on the part of radical Islamists, as well as increasing competition from evangelical churches particularly in the developing world. Since being elected Pope, he has called for evangelisation through an increase in prayer communities and a bigger spotlight to be put on women in the context of their families and parishes as crucial protagonists......The Vatican says the efforts are already beginning to bear fruit, for example with the rise of Catholic charismatic groups, the renaissance of pilgrimages and the huge numbers seen at the World Youth Day gatherings. But conservatives see a crisis and blame it on misinterpretation of Vatican II, saying the Council got mixed up with the spirit of the 1960s, pushed priests to abandon the priesthood and marry and promoted incorrect teachings. The Pope has criticised what he sees as slippage in the implementation of Council teachings and believes the reforms have not borne fruit but still considers it the most important event in church history of the last decades. (more).

Pope to appoint 2 new doctors of the Church
Edited Extracts from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Tuesday 2 October 2012

This coming Sunday 7 October, Pope Benedict XVI will appoint two new doctors of the Church: St Hildegard of Bingen from Germany and St Juan de Ávila from Spain. he title of "Doctor of the Church" is bestowed upon a saint whose writings are deemed to be of universal importance to the Church. The Pope must also declare the individual to be of “eminent learning” and “great sanctity.” Other Doctors of the Church include St. Augustine, St. John Chryosostom, St. Francis de Sales, and St. Catherine of Siena. St. John of Avila was a 16th century Spanish priest, mystic, preacher and scholar.... St. Hildegard was a 12th century German nun, writer, composer, philosopher and mystic, as well as an abbess and founder of several monasteries. This month Pope Benedict formally added her to the Church’s roster of saints, extending her liturgical feast throughout the world (more) (video here).

Papal butler says he's innocent of theft, but guilty of betraying pope
Extracts from National Catholic Reporter, Tuesday 2 October 2012

Paolo Gabriele, the papal butler charged with stealing and leaking papal correspondence, said he was innocent of charges of aggravated theft, but "I feel guilty for having betrayed the trust the Holy Father placed in me.".....Being so close to the pope, Gabriele said he became aware of how "easy it is to manipulate the one who holds decision-making power in his hands." Gabriele had told investigators he had acted out of concern for the pope, who he believed was not being fully informed about the corruption and careerism in the Vatican. Under questioning by his lawyer, he said he never showed any of the documents to the pope, but tried -- conversationally -- to bring some concerns to the pope's attention. Gabriele was arrested in May after Vatican police found papal correspondence and other items in his Vatican apartment; many of the documents dealt with allegations of corruption, abuse of power and a lack of financial transparency at the Vatican. The papal valet -- who is 46, married and has three children -- faces up to four years of jail time, which he would serve in an Italian prison (more).

How to find community in a church in schism
Extract from Brendan Walsh, Viewpoint, National Catholic Reporter, Tuesday 2 October 2012.

It seems that the older I get, the more reflective I become. I tend to move slower but think deeper. My wife, Willa, and I both turn 70 this year. Forty-four of those years have been with the Viva Catholic Worker house in Baltimore. We now have a clear understanding of what it means to do the works of mercy and resist the works of war. It seems we have done little to change the world, or the city of Baltimore, or even the neighborhood, but we believe that the world hasn’t changed us either, which is something positive....The house is a place of love in action, which is often “harsh and dreadful,” yet it trumps any other way of living. We have tried to be faithful to Dorothy Day’s understanding of the need “to bring beauty into the midst of ugliness.” Because, she believed, “beauty honors and glorifies God. To see such beauty from the dung heap of a slum.” Our lives have roots in the church -- baptism, Eucharist, schooling, convent and seminary. Sometimes the institutional church reflected beauty and truth, but increasingly the blind power and greed of the hierarchy tarnishes and even buries both. The institutional church is in schism. It’s breaking apart. The issues are not trivial. They include issues of social justice (an overriding complicity of silence with regard to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, rendition, Guantanámo, drone attacks, and the dismantling of social programs that support the common good); gender and economic inequality;
and a deep-rooted mistrust of and disdain for all the male powers at the top. People see the wisdom of H.L. Mencken’s comment that “an archbishop is a Christian ecclesiastic of a rank superior to that attained by Christ.” (more)

Facing the Truth
Friday 28 September 2012

Further to the initial report on this subject published here (Friday 21 September below) the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne has established a website with this name providing information on the Catholic Church of Victoria’s response to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handing of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Non-Government Organisations. The website will be updated throughout the Inquiry. The Inquiry will itself eventually publish all submissions on its website.

Previous PLT Meeting
Parish Office, Friday 27 September 2012

The following notes briefly summarise the last Pastoral Leadership Team Meeting on 20 September. Friday 28 September 2012.
Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the start of Vatican II an interactive E-conference "Vatican I - An Event of Grace" will be streamed to Mary Immaculate Hall on Wednesday, 10th October. A most significant occasion. (details on website and Newsletter). The Religious Education Co-ordinators from the three schools will again meet with the Liturgy Group in preparation for Advent and Christmas. Mother of God and Mary Immaculate Schools will have fairs in November - help from parishioners will be very much appreciated. It is hoped to have a ‘family friendly’ social event in the first part of 2013. The Maintenance and Finance Groups are continuing to assess what needs must be met and determining what is affordable. Details of past PLT meetings are published on the website 'People' Page (here).

Vienna cuts 75 per cent of parishes
Extract from The Tablet, Friday 28 September 2012

The 660 parishes in the Archdiocese of Vienna are to be drastically reduced over the next 10 years to just 150.
The Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, made the announcement to a startled audience of journalists at the annual media reception at the archbishops' palace on 20 September. The main factors behind the restructuring are the declining number of churchgoing Catholics and the shortage of priests. Parishes in the archdiocese will in future be much larger, with three to five priests in charge, one of whom will be responsible to the archbishop. Each of these large parishes will be run jointly by priests and lay Catholics (more).

Obama surges ahead among Catholic voters
Extracts from National Catholic Reporter, Thursday 27 September 2012

President Barack Obama's support among Catholic voters has surged since June, according to a new poll, despite a summer that included the Catholic bishops' religious freedom campaign and the naming of Rep. Paul Ryan, a Catholic, as the GOP's vice-presidential candidate. On June 17, Obama held a slight edge over Mitt Romney among Catholics (49percent to 47 percent), according to the Pew Research Center. Since then, Obama has surged ahead, and now leads 54 percent to 39 percent, according to a Pew poll conducted Sept. 16.......From June 21 to July 4, the U.S. Catholic bishops held a "Fortnight for Freedom," with Masses, prayer groups and presentations in dozens of dioceses nationwide. The campaign was directed in part against an Obama administration mandate that requires some religious institutions, such as colleges and hospitals, to provide cost-free contraception coverage to employees (more).

Compass: Anglicans Going Catholic
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 27 September 2012

Australian Anglicans have been invited to join the Catholic Church under a new Papal initiative called the Ordinariate. So, who’s joining and why? Compass investigates how the Ordinariate will work. Anglicans Going Catholic: Compass, 6.30pm, September 30 on ABC-TV1 (source)

Vatileaks trial will be landmark event for Vatican tribunal
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 27 September 2012

The trial of Paolo Gabriele (pictured) and Claudio Sciarpelletti that opens tomorrow for their alleged part in leaking papal correspondence may lead the Vatican to invoke a never-used cooperation agreement with Italy, reports the Catholic News Service. Giovanni Giacobbe, promoter of justice in Court of Appeal of Vatican City State, explained to reporters yesterday how the Vatican conducts a criminal trial. But he also admitted that such trials are "extremely" rare, and the only thing remotely similar was a trial for drug possession on Vatican property some 10 years ago. If Gabriele and Sciarpelletti are found guilty and are sentenced to jail time, they would serve that time in an Italian prison under the terms of a decades-old Italian-Vatican agreement that has never been used, Giacobbe said. Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish gunman who tried to kill Pope John Paul II in 1981, was handed over to Italian police and found guilty in an Italian court, not a Vatican court (more).

Mary Immaculate Primary School – 90th Birthday:
Mary Immaculate Catholic Primary School requests the pleasure of the company of parishioners, past parents and pupils to celebrate our 90th Birthday on Wednesday 17th October at 9:15am Mass at Mary Immaculate Church. After Mass Morning Tea will be served in Mary Immaculate School Hall. Our Annual Celebration of Learning will take place in the classrooms at 11:30am. Please advise the number attending for catering purposes to Connie, School Secretary: Phone 9497 1827 or email here.

Death threat over tax
Report from The Age, Berlin, Wednesday 26 September 2012

Germany's Catholic Church, which imposes a surcharge on the income taxes of registered believers, has warned those who fail to pay will be denied a Christian burial. The levy, part of German law since the 19th century, increases income taxes by 8 or 9 per cent for the nation's 24 million registered Catholics. But a handful of believers have challenged the system. '''Pay and pray' is a completely wrong signal at the wrong time,'' the reformist movement We Are Church said. The decree from Catholic bishops went into effect on Monday. Last year, 126,000 people terminated their tax liability by telling the government they had stopped being Catholic. The Vatican, run by the Pope, approved the decree (more).

Korean Confirmation Mass
Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Monday 24 September 2012

On Sunday 16 September, Bishop Peter Elliott celebrated Mass of confirmation for the Korean Catholic Community at St Bernadette’s Church, Ivanhoe. In his homily, Bishop Elliott remembered the witness of the Martyrs of Korea.
“But let us not forget all those hidden living martyrs who silently suffer persecution in the North,” he said. “The example of these faithful Catholics, past and present,  should inspire each of you to give your whole life to Jesus Christ.” Bishop Elliott expressed his gratitude to Fr Yoon and the committee for inviting him to confer the sacrament.“I thank the catechists who have prepared these men and women for Confirmation,” he said.   “Your work within the Korean Catholic Community is very important.  Yes, it is quiet work, but it is God’s work for others.” (more). Read Bishop Elliott's homily here.

Facing the Truth

Friday 21 September 2012

The Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, announced on behalf of the leaders of the Catholic Church in Victoria that today they would lodge the Church’s submission, Facing the Truth, to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and other Non-Government Organisations. The Archbishop said that the Church will co-operate fully with the Inquiry, and that “in Facing the Truth we have been open about the horrific abuse that has occurred in Victoria and elsewhere.” “The submission shows how the Church of today is committed to facing up to the truth,” the Archbishop said, “and to not disguising, diminishing or avoiding the actions of those who have betrayed a sacred trust.” “We acknowledge the suffering and trauma endured by children who have been in the Church’s care, and the effect on their families. We renew our apology to them.“In the submission we provide details of the structure and governance of the Church, and of the many layers of authority and responsibility in dioceses, parishes, and religious orders and institutes.” The Archbishop said that the submission shows how the Church has learned from past failures and changed the way it deals with victims and offenders (more). Ed: The church has established a website to track progress on this Inquiry. Click here.

Re-visiting Vatican II as 50th Anniversary approaches
Liturgy Group, Friday 21 October 2012

The 2nd Vatican Council continues to have significant and ever growing impact on discussion and the life of the church at all levels. In recognition of the 50th Anniversary in October of its Opening on 11 October 1962 and      celebration of the Year of Grace The Broken Bay Institute in partnership with the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference presents the 7th National eConference "Vatican II - An event of Grace", on Wednesday 10th October 2012 . There's a distinguished panel of speakers. Ivanhoe Parish will be one of many centres in Australia and around the world hosting a live broadcast of this interactive video-conference from 10.00am to 3.00pm. Details and  Vatican II background are provided on our new "Vatican II" website page.

News from Parish Office,                                                                                                                                                                                          Friday 21 September 2012           
Ruth will be on a week’s leave Monday 1 Oct – Friday 5 Oct. The Parish Office will be attended as normal. A brief newsletter for 6 – 7 Oct will be prepared in advance. Notices, anniversaries and prayer requests are needed no later than 5pm next Wednesday 26 September please so that both newsletters may be printed and collected. Notices received after this time will be placed in the newsletter for 13 – 14 October.  Notices and items can be left in the locked letterbox near front door of the Parish Office at 4 Waverley Ave, Ivanhoe. Contact details: phone 9499 1515, fax 9499 9959; or email: 

Catholics  For Renewal Submission to  Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse                                                                                                     Friday 21 September 2012                                                                                                                                                                                       Catholics for Renewal has lodged a submission with the Victorian Parliament’s Family and Community Development Committee for the Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Non-Government Organisations.  Catholics for Renewal has outlined in its submission serious deficiencies in past and present governance of the Catholic Church which affect the occurrence, handling and reporting of child abuse by religious personnel. It suggests how some of those deficiencies can be addressed. A copy of the executive summary and recommendations can be accessed from the CFR website here.

Church lodges submission to Vic abuse inquiry
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 20 September 2012

The Catholic Church in Victoria will today lodge the Church’s submission, titled Facing the Truth, to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and other Non-Government Organisations, the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, announced in a media release. "We will co-operate fully with the Inquiry, and in Facing the Truth, we have been open about the horrific abuse that has occurred in Victoria and elsewhere," Archbishop Hart said. "Sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has caused deep concern among Catholics and the wider community. It is shameful and shocking that this abuse, with its dramatic impact on those who were abused and their families, was committed by Catholic priests, religious and church workers."In our submission we discuss the Church’s commitment to caring for children, the failures of the Church, and the developments in society’s and the Church’s understanding of the pernicious nature of paedophilia. It includes a detailed chronology from 1961 to today of such developments in the English-speaking world (more).

Synod to examine when divided Christians can preach together

Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 20 September 2012

The potential power, but also the limits, of an ecumenical proclamation of the Gospel and defence of Gospel values is likely to be a key topic during October's world Synod of Bishops on the new evangelisation, reports the Catholic News Service. The ecumenical focus will be particularly sharp on October 10 when - at the personal invitation of Pope Benedict XVI - Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury will deliver a major address to synod members. While popes have long invited other Christians to be "fraternal delegates" and make brief speeches at the synods, Pope Benedict has begun a tradition of inviting important religious leaders to deliver a major address. In 2008, Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and Chief Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen of Haifa, Israel, addressed the Synod of Bishops on the Bible. Another rabbi and two Muslim leaders gave speeches at the 2010 special synod on the Middle East (more).

New monasticism: Envisioning monks without borders

Extract from by Jamie L Manson, Grace on the Margins, National Catholic Reporter, Thursday 20 September, 2012

The dwindling number of vocations to priesthood, religious orders and monastic life make it clear that traditional religious life no longer speaks to newer generations the way it has for centuries. But some young people still long for lives of service, prayer and simplicity that are the hallmarks of monasticism. "Even our elders, our
spiritual mentors know that something new is emerging," says Adam Bucko, co-author of the extended essay "New Monasticism: An Interspiritual Manifesto for Contemplative Life in the 21st Century." The piece is an attempt to put into words what has been stirring in their hearts of many young adults: 20- and 30-somethings who feel called to lives of contemplation and action but who do not necessarily feel drawn to one particular religious tradition or called to the traditional forms of monasticism (more).

Scepticism over historian's claim that Jesus was married

Extracts from Catholic News, Wednesday 19 September 2012

A US professor has caused a sensation in Rome where she spoke about an ancient papyrus fragment that refers to the "wife" of Jesus, but the theory that Christ could have been married is seen with great scepticism in the Vatican and by historians, reports AFP on Yahoo7. Professor Karen King, who teaches at Harvard Divinity School, spoke about the existence of an ancient Coptic Christian scroll from the fourth century measuring 3.8 centimetres by 7.6 centimetres which contains the words: "Jesus said to them, my wife." During a congress on Coptic studies she put forward the theory that some early Christians believed Jesus was married. She added that this "doesn't prove that Jesus was married" but hinted that the question was being raised at the time, even though Christian tradition assumed as a fact that Jesus was not married."From the very beginning, Christians disagreed about whether it was better not to marry, but it was over a century after Jesus' death before they began appealing to Jesus' marital status to support their positions," she added. The professor also cautioned that the authenticity of the document still had to be verified with tests on the ink (more).

Who is the loudest and ugliest religious donkey?
Extract from Irfan Yusuf,Eureka Street,17 September 2012

....Sadly, discussion of religion in Australia too often sounds like donkeys competing to see whose braying is the loudest and ugliest. Evangelical atheists will have us all believe secularism involves keeping all religion out of public life. Self-declared Christian lobbyists will spread misinformed messages about sexual orientation. But perhaps the loudest braying was heard on Saturday when a small group of louts hijacked what should have been a peaceful protest. Why they were offended by a 14 minute D-grade trailer produced by a porn film maker is anyone's guess. But they did have the right to protest within the bounds of the law (more). Eureka Street free sub.

Ivanhoe's packed Churches
John Costa, Friday 14 September 2012

I never expected to be writing such a headline. The catch is that it applies to particular events in the parish calendar, in this case our Primary Schools' 1st Eucharist Masses, which prove to be enriching events for the whole Parish. The last of these for this year will be held at MOG Church at 10:30am Mass next Sunday, and as always everyone is welcome to attend. If last Sunday's 1st Eucharist Mass at Mary Immaculate and the 18 August 1st Eucharist Mass at St Bernadette's are anything to go by then the Parish can anticipate another full church for the children of MOG School and the Parish this weekend. Very evident already has been the highly contagious spirit of faith and enthusiasm shown by the children and reflected by so many supportive reactions from parents and other parishioners. That similar crowds and reactions are also experienced at times such as Easter and Christmas is telling. There is much to learn from the attitudes and behaviour of our young people. Perhaps Fr Thang's exhortation to these young people, parents and all present to come to Mass more regularly might bring further joy and grace to many. 

Can Benedict's Lebanon visit act as a firebeak?
Extract from Catholic news, Thursday 13 September 2012

Even before the deaths of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Libya on Tuesday, Pope Benedict XVI’s trip to Lebanon this weekend shaped up as a high wire act. The pontiff will have to navigate Lebanon’s complex inter-faith mix, against the backdrop of what amounts to civil war in neighbouring Syria, writes John Allen in NCR Online. Now the trip also becomes the first visit of a major Western leader to the Arab world after the attacks in Egypt and Libya, and with the prospect of more violence on the horizon. Big questions loom: Will the pope’s presence inflame extremist Islamic sentiment even further? Or, will the visit act as a firebreak, offering a counter-narrative of Muslim-Christian harmony? (more)

Melbourne Anglican women will not submit
Extract from Barney Zwartz, The Age, Wednesday 12 September 2012

Women who marry in Melbourne Anglican churches are not expected to promise to obey their husbands as part of their marriage vows. Melbourne Archbishop Philip Freier carefully separated Melbourne - and most of the rest of the country - from the different vows for men and women espoused by Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen. Dr Jensen wrote for Fairfax on August 29 - and repeated on ABC's Q&A on Monday night - that women should promise to ''submit'' to men. Dr Freier said last night that the church in Melbourne held that "marriage requires a man and woman to commit themselves for life to mutual love, respect and service" (more).

CathBlog - Cardinal Carlo Martini's radical hopefulness
Extract from David Timms, Catholic News, Tuesday 10 September 2012

Carlo Martini SJ was one of the very few high-profile Catholic leaders who did not indulge in the rhetoric of rupture and discontinuity which has become central to Catholic apologetic  discourse since Benedict XVI was elected. The former Archbishop of Milan, who died earlier this month at the age of 85, refused to entertain the idea that the faith should become the servant of ideology or be wielded as a blunt instrument in some sort of a “Culture Wars” game. Martini was a man of radical hopefulness and enduring trust in the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in the Church. One of his doctoral theses was on the Resurrection. His life was also marked by an intense passion for the biblical story, for the memory embedded in the Judeo-Christian narrative and the hard-won wisdom which emerged in lives of ordinary believers (more).

The Vatican's very own revolution
Extract from Barney Zwartz, Focus, The Age, Tuesday 11 September 2012

The Vatican II council, which began 50 years ago next month, was the most momentous religious event in 450 years. On January 25, 1959, the newly elected Pope John XXIII invited 18 cardinals from the Vatican bureaucracy to attend a service at the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls in Rome. He told them he planned to summon a global church council. The horrified cardinals were speechless, which the Pope mischievously chose to interpret as devout assent. But, in reality, the Vatican bureaucrats, known as the Curia, were aghast. The Pope, 77, had been elected purely as a caretaker, but here he was indulging a novel, unpredictable, dangerous and, above all, they believed, unnecessary notion. In their view it would create ungovernable expectations and might even lead to changes. And if there were to be changes - always undesirable - then the Curia would manage them without any outside intervention, as they had for centuries (more).

Joyous ceremony in St Patrick’s Cathedral
Extract from Christopher Akehurst and Fiona Power, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Monday 12 September 2012. 
                                                                 In an historic Mass on the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saturday 8 September at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Archbishop Denis Hart ordained eight new priests in the Catholic Church. More than 2000 people attended the ordination which saw the largest number of priests ordained at St Patrick’s since 1985. Four men who have completed their studies at Corpus Christi Seminary,  Fr Andrew McCarter, Fr Benneth Osuagwu, Fr Jerome Santamaria and Fr Kevin Williams, were ordained together with former Anglican clergymen and members of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, Fr Neil Fryer, Fr James Grant, Fr Christopher Seton and Fr Ramsay Williams (more, including video-stream of Ordination).

The Hierarchy and the Lowerarchy
Extract from opinion piece by Dr Donald Fausel,Responsible Faith (originally published 5 September 2012), Monday 12 September 2012

In Obedience to Authority and Loyal Dissent I indicated that in my next posting, I would share my viewpoint on how the governing structure of the Church has been dysfunctional and how that affects the People of God.  Briefly, my fundamental belief is that the majority of the problems the Church has experienced both pre and post, Vatican II, are rooted in its ancient and absolute monarchial governance.  As a first step, the very least the hierarchy needs to consider is a bona fide agreement  to acknowledge and operationalize the sensus fidelium’s (the sense or mind of the faithful) lawful right to participate in decisions on faith and morals. This needs to be a sine qua non, otherwise there will be little chance for reform or renewal, accept as the sensus fidelium is defined by the Vatican. In this commentary I will provide background information on the legitimacy of the sensus fidelium;  and of how the hierarchy has consistently ignored the mind of the people; and how an egalitarian dialogue is an essential component for change. I will also provide information on a promising document approved by the Vatican’s International Theological Commission, which supports the role of the faithful; plus statements by high ranking members of the hierarchy who don’t go along with the party line (more).

e-Conference 'Vatican II: An Event of Grace' Wednesday 10 October
Ivanhoe Parish will join other venues in Australia and around the world for an Internet-streamed e-Conference on this significant topic, to be broadcast live from The Broken Bay Institite in NSW on the 50th anniversary of the opening of the first session of Vatican II. The event will be hosted in the Hall behind Mary Immaculate Church from 10:30am to 3:00pm EDT.  "Our perspective in this Year of Grace is to see the Council in the light of the Catholic tradition and questions that have arisen since" says Bishop Michael Putney, who will be joined by Sister Maryanne Confoy RSC, Jill Gowdie and Paul Power in presenting this year's e-Conference. All are warmly invited to attend. A light lunch will be provided. Please let us know if you plan to attend, via email here, or a message to the Parish Office. Further details will be provided later, and over the intervening period some extracts from Vatican II will be published in the Parish including this Website.

Rome does right by resigned priest
Edited extract from James Ewan, National Catholic Reporter, Thursday 6 September 2012

I write this update because something quite unexpected occurred after the article (Surely Rome Can Do Better, 2010) appeared in NCR. The local provincial offered to assist me in obtaining papers from the Vatican that would ratify the marriage I had contracted (on my front lawn, with seven Jesuit priests in attendance, in 2006). I accepted his assistance because he agreed I would not have to complete the onerous five page questionnaire the Vatican had previously sent, asking for detailed information on my sexual history from the past 45 years. With legal help, paid for by the Jesuits, I wrote a letter listing dates of entrance, vows, etc., places of work, the year I resigned (2002). This was supplemented by "support letters" written by four Jesuit friends, for reasons the canon lawyer thought important -- perhaps to affirm that I was an honest person, had been a Jesuit for 45 years, and was, indeed, 70 years of age and happily married. At any rate, after a year's wait, Benedict XVI wrote me a letter, in Latin, saying, in effect, my "irregular marriage" of six years could now be "regularized." On June 15 my wife and I, for the second time, promised to be faithful to each other, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. It took ten minutes, and occurred ten years after I had left the priesthood (more).

Finn found Guilty on one charge of failure to report
Edited Extract from National Catholic Reporter, Thursday 6 September 2012

Kansas City, Mo. The first U.S. Catholic bishop criminally charged in the decades-long clergy sex abuse crisis was found guilty Thursday of one misdemeanor count of failing to report a priest known to be in possession of lewd images of children. Bishop Robert Finn of the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese received Thursday a suspended sentence of two years' probation. The sentence has eight conditions regarding the reporting of inappropriate materials concerning children. Jackson County, Mo., Circuit Court Judge John Torrence presided over the trial (more).

Exempting churches from anti-discrimination laws
Extracts from Frank Brennan, Eureka Street, Thursday 6 September 2012

Church groups in Australia have been engaged in a gruelling campaign to maintain what they regard as justifiable exemptions from the provisions of equal opportunity employment laws. They want to maintain the ethos of their educational institutions and remain true to their teachings on questions such as family relationships.........While there may be strong agreement about the need to maintain a faith community’s right to employ in certain positions only persons who live in conformity with religious teaching, there is plenty of room for disagreement as to how most prudently and charitably to exercise that right (more).  This is an edited extract from Frank Brennan’s speech last night at the Melbourne Law School launching of Carolyn Evans’ book Legal Protection of Religious Freedom in Australia (Federation Press). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Gonski funding model 'a dud', says Cardinal
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 6 September 2012

The Gonski model for school funding seems to be a "dud or at least in need of a blood transfusion", says the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal Pell, in a report by The Catholic Weekly. Although the principles underlying the Gonski Review are excellent, he said, the report recommends an extra expenditure each year of $5 billion. "It is highly unlikely that $5 billion a year more can be found for schools, especially if state governments, which are to provide most of the money, refuse to pay their share or are unable to do so. "The modelling has not worked out well especially for city schools, where many government and non-government schools would attract severely reduced funds to their system, even with all the promised extra money." Cardinal Pell said that "even with fees, Catholic systemic schools generally function at 90 per cent of the total funding of a comparative state school (more).

Vic Catholic teachers join unprotected strike
Extracts from Catholic News, Wednesday 5 September 2012

Striking Victorian Catholic teachers in black union T-shirts streamed into the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne yesterday despite the fact they were not legally protected to take strike action, reports The Age......Catholic and state school workers then marched to Parliament House where they converged chanting as Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews and Ms Bluett addressed the crowd. They joined 15,000 striking public school teachers, principals and education support staff who attended a rally at the Rod Laver Arena yesterday, and voted overwhelmingly to take a next step in their campaign against the Baillieu government's "bad faith negotiations and its attack on working conditions". A proposal to hold another full-day state-wide strike in early October before the rolling stoppages began was defeated at the rally (more).

15th anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa
Extracts from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne Wednesday 5 September 2012

The Church celebrates on September 5 the feast of Mother Teresa, a universal symbol of God's merciful and preferential love for the poor and forgotten......... Mother Teresa once said, "A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, must empty ourselves. The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, the fruit of service is peace." She also said, "give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your own weakness." (more)

Reports of Cardinal Martini's last interview misleading
Edited extract from Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith,, Tuesday 4 September 2012
The cardinal was calling for a religious revival, not for the abolition of unpopular Church teachings. I have just been reading the Cardinal Martini interview in the original Italian. You can find it here. There are various English reports on the web about the substance of the interview, but all of them seem to focus on the headline-grabbing nature of the cardinal’s words, particularly his assertion that the Church is 200 years behind the times. But they miss what to me is the nub of what the cardinal has to say that we need a new St Francis, or a new Don Bosco, or a new Francis de Sales, is to get to the heart of the problem. But – and it is a huge but – we do have such people in the Church already, people who have led us back to basics and who have initiated strong currents of renewal (more).

Translated final interview with Martini
Extract from John L Allen Jr, National Catholic Reporter, Tuesday 4 September 2012

Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini died in Varese, northern Italy, on Aug. 31 at the age of 85. Two weeks earlier, on Aug. 8, Martini gave a final interview to his fellow Jesuit Fr. George Sporschill, with whom Martini had collaborated on a book titled Nocturnal Conversations in Jerusalem, and an Italian friend named Federica Radice Fossati Confalonieri. Radice has told Italian media outlets that Martini read and approved the text of the interview, intending it as a sort of "spiritual testament" to be published after his death. The following is an NCR translation of the interview published in Italian by the newspaper Corriere della Sera.

How do you see the situation of the church?  The church is tired, in the Europe of well-being and in America. Our culture has become old, our churches and our religious houses are big and empty, the bureaucratic apparatus of the church grows, our rites and our dress are pompous. Do these things, however, express what we are today? ... Well-being weighs on us. We find ourselves like the rich young man who went away sad when Jesus called him to be his disciple. I know that we can't let everything go easily. At least, however, we can seek people who are free and closest to their neighbor, like Archbishop Romero and the Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador. Where are the heroes among us who can inspire us? By no means do we have to limit them by the boundaries of the institution.  Who can help the church today? (more)

Italian cardinal excelled in all spheres
Extracts from Obituary for Carlo Maria Martini by Gerald O'Collins, The Age, Tuesday 4 September 2012

Cardinal Carlo Martini, who might have been the current pope had he not drawn attention to his failing health at a crucial moment in 2005, has died in Italy. He was 85.....Martini's life took a new turn in December 1979 when he was appointed Archbishop of Milan, one of the largest and most prominent Catholic dioceses in the world. He constantly supported a wider role for the ministry of women, social justice - especially for immigrants, refugees, and other suffering minorities - more qualified positions in matters of human sexuality and the right to be allowed to die, and more collegiality or shared decision-making at every level in the church. Famously, he reached out to young people through monthly meetings with them in the Milan cathedral. Martini lived and breathed the teaching of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). He was always open to relations with Jews, other Christians, and those of other faiths (more).

Unification Church founder and 'messiah' dies
Extracts from Agence France-Presse, The Age, Tuesday 4 September 2012

Gapyeong, South Korea: Just hours after the death of the Unification Church founder and ''messiah'', the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, at age 92, preparation has begun for what church officials say will be a huge funeral. The Unification Church claims a worldwide following of about 3 million people, although that figure is disputed by experts, who say its popularity peaked in the 1980s and estimate current membership at several hundred thousand at most. Revered by his followers but denounced by critics as a cult-building charlatan, Mr Moon was a divisive figure whose shadowy business and financial dealings saw him jailed in the US.
''He was our father and God's messiah. His body was custom-made by God so we believed he would live until 100,'' (more).

Pope: laity ‘co-responsible’ in Church
Extract from The Tablet, Thursday 30 August 2012

Pope Benedict XVI has called on Catholic lay people to see themselves as "co-responsible" for the Church's life and activity rather than mere "collaborators" or co-operators with the ordained clergy. "This co-responsibility requires a change in mentality concerning, in particular, the role of the laity in the Church," Pope Benedict wrote in a message to the International Forum of Catholic Action (FIAC). The Pope says "a mature and committed laity" should be able to "make its own specific contribution to the ecclesial mission with respect for the ministries and tasks that each one has in the life of the Church and always in cordial communion with the bishops" (more).

Tasmania's gay marriage bill clears first hurdle
Extracts from Dan Harrison, The Age, Friday 31 August 2012

GAY marriage campaigners were celebrating last night after Tasmania's lower house became the first chamber of an Australian parliament to pass a bill to legalise same-sex marriage. The bill, co-sponsored by Labor Premier Lara Giddings and Greens leader Nick McKim, passed by 13 votes to 11. Labor MPs had a free vote on the bill. All but one, Michael Polley, voted with Green MPs in support of the bill. The house's 10 Liberal members were bound by the party's position to vote against the bill. Tasmania was the last Australian state to decriminalise homosexuality. Until 1997, it was a criminal offence punishable by up to 25 years' jail.....A bill to legalise same-sex marriage is before Federal Parliament and a vote is expected before the end of the year. But as things stand, the bill, introduced by Labor backbencher Stephen Jones, looks likely to be defeated by the combined forces of its Labor opponents - including Prime Minister Julia Gillard - and the Coalition (more).

Priest charged with abuse cover-up
Extract from Joanne McCarthy, The Age, Friday 31 August 2012

He was the ''right-hand man'' of a bishop, and a one-time acting bishop himself, but priest Tom Brennan has made history for the wrong reasons as the first Australian Catholic priest charged with concealing the alleged child sex crimes of another. Father Brennan, 74, was arrested and charged yesterday with two counts of misprision of a felony - failing to disclose a serious crime - relating to alleged child sex offences by defrocked priest John Denham against two boys in the late 1970s (more).

Abortion pill to become more readily available
Extract from Dan Harrison, The Age, Friday 31 August 2012

THE abortion pill RU486 will be widely available to Australian women after the Therapeutic Goods Administration approved an application to import the drug by the reproductive health group Marie Stopes International. A ministerial veto over the drug was lifted by the Parliament in 2006 but it has only been available from 187 authorised doctors, who at last count had prescribed the drug to 22,330 women. Yesterday's decision by the administration will mean women will be able to access the drug much more easily than before (more).

Catholic Man Breakfast Series
Extracts from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne Thursday 30 August 2012

More than 90 men got up early on Thursday 23 August  to hear guest speaker Robert Falzon's presentation at the Catholic Man Breakfast hosted by Archbishop Denis Hart. The Catholic Man Breakfast series provides an opportunity to men to gather and be encouraged and inspired in their faith.....A Catholic Man Breakfast Series event involves a cooked breakfast, sharing with other men, and speakers backed by multimedia. It is organised by menALIVE, a national Catholic men’s ministry. (more).

New religion treads the boards of history
Extract from Karl Quinn, The Age, Thursday 30 August 2012

Seventeen years after pentecostal Christian group Revival Centres International bumped out of the Forum Theatre, a new group of evangelical worshippers could be about to move in. Sydney's Hillsong Church has announced plans for a permanent base in Melbourne, but without a venue of its own it is for the time being having to make do with some of the city's most historic theatres. Hillsong, which derives much of its appeal and considerable income from live music, has a tentative booking for the Forum's 540-seat upstairs theatre on October 19. That will be the church's third such gathering, but if the success of its first is repeated, the venue may need to be re-thought. Hillsong conducted its first Melbourne service at the Plaza Ballroom beneath the Regent Theatre on Collins Street, on August 10. The event had been expected to attract about 400 worshippers but drew more than 1000 (more). Photo James Alcock

Need for Vatican transparency
Extract from Editorial, The Tablet, Wednesday 28 August 2012

Countless connections exist between the Catholic Church and ancient Rome, not least its location in the Eternal City and its official language. It remains to be seen whether the Roman principle of natural justice – that some legal notions are self-evident – has also been adopted by the Church. The case of the papal butler, so far, gives cause for grave concern that it has not. Paolo Gabriele, who served Pope Benedict for six years as one of his closest aides, was charged this week with aggravated theft following the leaking of substantial numbers of documents and letters belonging to the Pope. The material was handed over to journalists and formed part of the “VatiLeaks” scandal which caused suspicion as well as deep embarrassment over the revelations of rivalries between cardinals, administrative dysfunction, financial mismanagement and allegations of corruption. Mr Gabriele’s indictment came after he was incarcerated for 50 days without charge, spending the majority of the time in a 12ft by 12 ft cell in the Vatican police barracks and the rest under house arrest in his Vatican City State apartment. He was kept in solitary confinement, although allowed visits from his wife and lawyer, and was permitted to attend Mass. No date for his trial, which will be conducted by three laymen judges, has been set; there is no jury. The principle of natural justice requires that legal procedures should be fair and carried out by an objective decision maker. The person accused has the right to be heard, given the chance to present their defence, and should not judge their own case (more). 

Experts focus on lay boards' emerging role in U.S. Catholic education
Extract from Monica Clark, National Catholic Reporter, Wednesday 28 August 2012

As religious communities in the U.S. and Canada hand over to lay boards the leadership of their Catholic schools, these boards are being called to exercise far more than traditional fiduciary responsibilities. They are now key planners for an educational future that remains faithful to a school's primary mission while adapting to the needs of 21st-century students (more).

St Vincent de Paul Society condemns government inaction on Newstart
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Tuesday 28 August 2012

After almost 20 years of no increase in real terms to the unemployment benefit in Australia the St Vincent de Paul Society has strongly condemned successive governments for their inaction. Chief Executive, Dr John Falzon told a Senate Inquiry this morning that the St Vincent de Paul Society and other charitable organisations had become the de facto providers of social security to people outside the labour market: “It is a matter of deep shame for a wealthy nation like ours that our unemployment benefits have been kept deliberately low as a means of humiliating the very people they were originally designed to assist. “We will always be there for the people who are waging a daily battle from below the poverty line, but the message we are hearing, the message we are obliged to convey today, is that people do not want charity. They want justice. And we support them in this struggle for their rights. “We support helping people into the paid workforce. The time has come, however, to abandon the foolish notion that forcing them into deeper poverty improves their chances of employment. “You don’t build people up by putting them down. You don’t help them get work by forcing them into poverty.” (more)

The upside down world of global capital
Edited Extracts from David James, Eureka Street, Sunday 26 August 2012

The unfairness of the global financial crisis has been hard to miss. Greek pensioners impoverished, American home owners bankrupted, unemployment throughout the developed world soaring. And the worst that seems to happen to bankers and financiers is a loss of their oversized bonuses, and even that has not happened often.How has such injustice been allowed to develop?....Globally, government debt is only about $41 trillion, of which two thirds is held by the US and Japan. Private debt, consisting of financial institution bonds, non-financial corporate bonds, securitised loans and non-securitised loans is estimated at $117 trillion. And then we have $700 trillion of derivatives to worry about....."Money is not like water, that 'flows' around the world, reaching 'equilibrium', or experiencing 'volatility'. It is transactions between people, based on trust. It enables the cooperation that forms the basis of social life. Human beings should be at the centre. Yet that is the opposite of what is happening." (more).  Subscription to Eureka Street is free. Image, Eureka Street.

Pastoral Letter from the Bishops of Victoria
Ivanhoe Parish, Friday 24 August

The Bishops of Victoria together with the Leaders of Catholic Religious Australia and Catholic Religious Victoria have issued a Pastoral letter about the Parliamentary Inquiry into the handling of child abuse by religious and other non-government organisations.  In the letter the Church Leaders state that they respect the parliamentary process and will co-operate fully with the Inquiry.  The letter includes a Prayer for Healing which can be used for individual or group prayer. This Pastoral Letter can be downloaded here, and is contained in the parish newsletter as an insert, and is also available in each church.

Christian Meditation                                                                                                                                                                                      Ivanhoe Parish,Friday 24 August       
A new Christian Meditation group is starting in Ivanhoe. Meditation is not something new in Christianity. Rather it is central to the Christian experience and tradition. Meditation is the prayer of silence and listening. “Be still and know that I am God”, Psalm 46:10"  To learn more about the practice, you are invited to participate in a weekly meeting starting on Tuesday, September 4 at 4.15 p.m. at Mary Immaculate Church Hall, Waverley Ave. All are invited to attend, including students from secondary schools. For further information, ring Kathy Gillespie (0438 530 324).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Parish Finances
Finance Committee, Friday 24 August 2012

To help keep parishioners and other friends informed an "Update on Parish Finance 2012 (August 2012)" has been published on the website Leadership Team page (here).

Old-fashioned nuns say the past is key to the future
Extracts from David Gibson, Religious News Service, NCR, Thursday 23 August 2012

......The Vatican's proposed takeover of the LCWR had been the focus of widespread interest since April, when Rome announced that the group -- which represents about 80 percent of the 56,000 nuns in American religious communities -- was infected with "radical feminism," marred by dissent and in need of a top-down overhaul........But like other tradition-minded Catholics in this ongoing debate, they also don't see the path of the progressives as simply another legitimate option among many. "I still sense the need for them to return to the faithfulness of their original charisms, and the purpose for which they were founded," Riesser said of the LCWR communities. "In their disobedience, to the church, to doctrine, they are departing from that." It is a debate that won't be settled this day, or anytime soon. In a few minutes, the convent bell rings for compline, the final communal prayer of the day, to be followed by the "Grand Silence" of nighttime in the cloister, a period of sleep and individual meditation that ends only with the coming dawn. But like other tradition-minded Catholics in this ongoing debate, they also don't see the path of the progressives as simply another legitimate option among many. "I still sense the need for them to return to the faithfulness of their original charisms, and the purpose for which they were founded," Riesser said of the LCWR communities. "In their disobedience, to the church, to doctrine, they are departing from that." It is a debate that won't be settled this day, or anytime soon (more

Holy alliance between Vatican and Apple
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 23 August 2012

Benedict XVI is one of the most widely read theologians on the planet. Now, the Pope is to overcome the final technological hurdle, providing access to his teachings via tablet and smart phone, thanks to an editorial alliance with the Vatican Publishing House (LEV) and informatics giant Apple, reports Vatican Insider. “This was a deliberate and strategic choice as sooner or later the electronic format would have become necessary; we made it happen by joining forces with Apple, which helped us produce the Holy Father’s illustrated catechesis,” LEV director Fr Giuseppe Costa said. A series of the Pope’s catechetical talks along with illustrations of various art masterpieces have been available for purchase via the i-Tunes store for two months now. The volume “Man in prayer” is already available and there will soon be a series entitled “Prayer in the New Testament” which is already out in print (more).
Archdiocese of Sydney's 'deep concern' over 'shameful' sex abuse
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 22 August 2012

The Archdiocese of Sydney has expressed in a comprehensive written response its “deep concern” over “shameful and shocking” sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, reports The Catholic Weekly. “We acknowledge the pain that victims and their families have experienced and continue to experience. We express our remorse for past failures and extend our sincere regret and sympathy to them,” the document stated. The 4000-word document was issued last week by the Archdiocese of Sydney in response to a series of allegations of mismanagement and cover-ups of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Sydney. In it, the archdiocese also restated its four key principles when dealing with cases of sexual abuse, and denied any cover-ups (more).

Priesthood vocations a dire need, Catholic research agency says
Edited Extract from Jerry Filteau, NCR, Tuesday 21 August 2012.

U.S. priestly ordinations have been steady in recent years, but they need to increase significantly if they are to replace the large number of priests retiring or dying, says a new study by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. CARA, based at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., has tracked U.S. seminary enrollments and priestly ordinations since its formation in 1964. "One of the most stable trends in U.S. church data since the mid-1980s has been the annual numbers of diocesan ordinations" to the priesthood at around 400 a year, CARA said in its summer 2012 quarterly CARA Report, released in mid-August. "This stable inflow each year is not enough, however, to compensate for the number of diocesan priests dying or departing the priesthood annually," it said. In 2010, it said, new ordinations without counting deaths or departures amounted to a net loss of 301 diocesan priests -- a trend that has continued over many years, causing a significant decrease in the priests serving the nation's parishes. "These losses accumulate each year creating a running deficit in the number of diocesan priests," the report said. "Some dioceses deal with this shortfall, in part, by bringing in international priests who have been ordained outside the United States." (more)

Church heads warn on abuse inquiry
Extracts from Barney Zwartz, The Age, Tuesday 21 August 2012

State Catholic leaders have warned parishioners that they will hear disturbing reports about the church's past failure to respond to child sexual abuse by clergy during the parliamentary inquiry into the handling of abuse complaints. In a pastoral letter to be sent to every Catholic church in Victoria this weekend, the leaders say the church needs to learn from these failures, and again apologise to victims of abuse and their families...... 'Let us be very clear. The sexual abuse of a child was, is and always will be a crime, and is contrary to all we believe in.'' The leaders say that the inquiry will be ''a challenging and difficult period'' for victims and the Church. ''You may hear disturbing reports of cases in our past when the Church processes to prevent and respond to abuse failed the children in our care. We need to learn from these failures.'' The letter promises that the Church will co-operate fully with the inquiry. However, last week the Church told The Age it would not give blanket approval to victims who had signed a confidentiality agreement (more).

First Eucharist
Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe, Friday 17 August 2012

We remember and pray for the children of the Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe who are preparing to receive and celebrate their First Eucharist shortly. Firstly at St Bernadette's Church, 6.30pm Mass on Saturday 18 August, then  10.00am Mass at Mary Immaculate on Sunday 9 September (note there is no 9.00am Mass at MI on this particular Sunday), and finally at 10.30am Mass on  Sunday 16 September at Mother of God Church.  After all their preparation and the support of teachers, parents and the parish all are encouraged to share in the 1st Eucharist celebrations of these children and their families, and to remember the feelings we had at our own First Eucharist. Do we remember?

Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe, Friday 17 August 2012

It's almost a year since the Ivanhoe Parish Youth Group closed down after 6 very successful years after the original members simply grew out of it. Younger parishioners at the time apparently felt no sense of wider parish beyond their Primary Schools. Meanwhile the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne has been very active in facilitating a wide range of ongoing activities for older youth & young adults. These are now published on the website 'Youth' page. This provides a good opportunity for us all to let our parish older youth and young adults know about all these interesting, enjoyable, varied and worthwhile events. Image:Flickr

Australia takes the low road on asylum seekers
Extracts from Frank Brennan, Eureka Street, Thursday 16 August 2012

Back from its winter recess, the Australian Parliament has now passed the Migration Legislation Amendment (Regional Processing and Other Measures) Bill 2011 which was first introduced to the Parliament in September last year as a response to the High Court's decision striking down the so-called Malaysia solution............We have reached a fork in the road between decency and deterrence. As a nation we have taken the low road, inviting the newest signatory to the Refugees Convention to emulate our indecent behaviour (full article). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.                                                                                                                                    

Why the Houston report on asylum seekers is un-Christian
Extracts from Andrew Dutney, ABC Religion and Ethics, Thursday 16 Aug 2012

A nation that is so determined to turn strangers away - thereby opposing the God whose care begins with the stranger, the disadvantaged and the unwanted - cannot prosper in any way that matters.The Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) is deeply disappointed at the recommendations of the Houston Panel on Asylum Seekers. And we are dismayed by the enthusiasm with which the Parliament has passed legislation which will see Australia close its doors to asylum seekers arriving by boat. Uniting Justice, the national justice policy and advocacy unit of the UCA issued a public response on the day the Houston Panel reported. Elenie Poulos, Director of Uniting Justice, said: "Australia is a safe, secure and wealthy country and it has been a grave moral failure that we have become so intent on punishing vulnerable people.".... Jesus taught his followers to welcome strangers in need. And even more than welcome them, to recognise Christ himself in those people. "I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me" (Matthew 25:35-36). This bundle of physical, psychological and spiritual neediness is very familiar. It's right there on our big, flat-screen televisions, as we watch people huddled together on dangerous vessels approaching Australian territorial waters. It's me, Christ here says to his followers, and I need your help (more).

Diocese agrees to $15m victims' bill
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 16 August 2012

The diocese of Maitland-Newcastle in NSW has agreed, or is in the process of agreeing, to financial settlements thought to be worth more than $15 million to more than 100 victims of alleged pedophile abuse, reports The Australian. The Hunter Valley diocese has agreed to out-of-court settlements for at least 78 alleged victims, with about 25 claims outstanding. The full number is likely to be much higher as neither the diocese nor the church's Professional Standards Office was able to provide figures for the number of such claims. These financial agreements reflect child abuse alleged to have taken place between the 1960s and 1990s, involving at least 10 alleged perpetrators, including priests and teachers employed by the church (more).

Church challenges female feticide in India
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 16 July 2012

An official in the Indian Catholic Church has endorsed the idea that participants in sex-selective abortions should be charged with murder, according to a report by the Catholic News service published in The Catholic Leader. The backing by secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India Office for Women Holy Spirit Missionary Sister Helen Saldanha comes as momentum builds to end female feticide, a practice that finds families terminating a pregnancy because the child they are expecting is a girl (more).

Sept 11 memorial defends display of steel cross
Extract from Larry Neumeister, Associated Press, USA Today Thursday 16 August 2012

New York: A judge should toss out a lawsuit by a national atheists group seeking to stop the display of a cross-shaped steel beam found among the wreckage of the World Trade Center, lawyers for the operators of the Sept. 11 memorial at ground zero say. The lawyers said in papers filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Monday that the 17-foot-tall beam will be displayed as a historical object because it tells part of the story of the rescue and recovery effort after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, which destroyed the twin towers and killed thousands of people. They said the display of the cross among 1,000 artifacts, photos, oral histories and videos is no different from the showing of hundreds of religious paintings routinely displayed at government-supported art museums. The nonprofit group American Atheists sued the National September 11 Memorial & Museum's operators last year, saying the beam's display would be unconstitutional (more).  Photo By Mark Lennihan, AP this July 2012 photo, World Trade Center construction workers hold hands during a prayer at a ceremony for the September 11 cross in New York.

LCWR meets archbishop but won't compromise on way of life
Extracts from Catholic News, Wednesday 15 August 2012

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious has begun talks with the archbishop tasked with its reform, but says it will not make fundamental changes to its expression of consecrated religious life, reports the Catholic News Agency. During its recent national assembly, the group instructed its board members “to articulate its belief that religious life, as it is lived by the women religious who comprise LCWR, is an authentic expression of this life that must not be compromised,” the conference of sisters said in a statement on Monday. On Saturday, one day after the assembly's close, the national board of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious met for the first time with Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle, who was assigned by the Vatican to address doctrinal concerns within the conference. The leadership conference's national assembly had instructed its board to approach the discussion with Archbishop Sartain “from a stance of mutual respect, careful listening and open dialogue.” (more)

US Poll: Religious groups divided on gun control, but united against guns in churches
Extracts from Lauren Markoe,Religion News Service 15 August 2012

(RNS) After the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo., and a deadly shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., Americans are divided on gun control, and within certain religious groups, attitudes are far from ambivalent. But on the question of guns in churches, there is actual consensus: A strong majority of Americans don’t want them in the pews, according to a new poll released Wednesday (Aug. 15) by the Public Religion Research Institute conducted in partnership with Religion News Service. "Although the issue of gun control tends to divide Americans by party, gender, region and race, there is broad agreement among the public that there are some places where concealed weapons should be off limits," said Daniel Cox, PRRI’s research director. More than three-quarters of respondents (76 percent) said concealed weapons should not be allowed in houses of worship, compared to 20 percent who disagreed.......The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest who called for tighter gun control after the movie theater massacre last month, offered several reasons why U.S. Catholics may be more likely to support it. "Catholics may congregate more in urban centers and may be more exposed to violent crimes than people in other parts of he country,” said Martin, the author of “The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything." (more)   * Ed: Can we imagine this as an Australian headline?

The truth about the Vatican's money
Extract from Paul Collins, Eureka Street, Tuesday 14 April 2012

I've lost track of the number of times people have told me about the 'enormous wealth of the Vatican'. Some are confused: they think the Vatican owns all the  Church's worldwide real estate, lock, stock and barrel. Others think that all that art could be sold for the poor without adverting to the difficulty of selling Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling or the rooms containing the Stanze of Raphael. Most just think the Vatican is corrupt and busy laundering vast sums of Mafia money through the 'Vatican Bank'. The papacy hasn't helped itself with its insistence on an absurd level of secrecy and its earlier involvement with criminals like Sindona and Calvi. Well, now for the first time we actually have some hard facts (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.  

Website Updates                                                                                                                                                                                                     Friday 10 August 2012                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This "Current News (2012)" is very regularly updated. Our vast production team is currently engaged on another project and will get back to this News page as soon as possible. Please note that all other areas of this website have been updated as usual (Prayers of the Faithful, Mass Details, Reflection of the Week, Events, Personal Notices etc). Your patience with the News update part of this voluntary service today is appreciated.

Wake-up call
Extracts from Ethical investment special focus – 1, Peter Selby, The Tablet, Friday 3 August 2012

How should Christians deal with the current economic crisis and the extra burdens imposed on the most vulnerable members of society? An Anglican bishop involved in two major initiatives calls for a fundamental shift in our attitude to debt and money in general. As financial crises dominate the world’s news, we are caught up in a rising tide of economic road rage as those who played no part in the 2008 crisis, the world’s poor, suffer the most. At the same time, attempts to deal with the crisis are placing the constitutional architecture of nation states under increasing strain. As Pope Benedict put it in his 2009 social encyclical Caritas in Veritate: “In our own day, the state finds itself having to address the limitations to its sovereignty imposed by the new context of international trade and finance, which is characterised by increasing mobility both of financial capital and means of production, material and immaterial. This new context has altered the political power of states.” (more)

Why I'm still a Catholic
Extracts from Geraldine Doogue, Eureka Street  Thursday 2 August 2012

Why am I still a Catholic? How should I answer this important question? In truth, sometimes I'm not sure why. Yet I know the Church frames my identity, as basic as that. It's the source of consolation without peer. I can't slough it off: it's too embedded in the way I see the world and myself. I take it for granted in some respects, one of the products of being formed in post-WW2 Australian Catholicism, with its strong Irish inheritance. It has been one of the most rewarding venues of growth and stimulation of any in my life. I believe that if you do hang in there, Christ's great offering from St Matthew's gospel comes true, in ways impossible to imagine: 'I have come to give you life and give it in abundance.' Abundant life: such a precious booty, not available at will. So no, I'm not about to step aside from this easily. But the unfolding headlines of late, together with what I've forced myself to look at square in the face, have tested these verities.....I suspect Vatican II's central idea of a Pilgrim Church definitely influenced my thinking as a young 20-something believer. It raised my expectations. It stretched my idea of faith. But it was a slow-burn, nothing hasty. Only gradually did my Catholic identity shift.....Despite remaining a pretty faithful adherent overall, I've sought out broader Church experiences via groups like Catalyst For Renewal, by the occasional retreat, by good reading including The London Tablet and by participating in Ignatian reading groups, up to the present day (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Priest's foundation helps needy kids with pokie cash
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 2 August 2012

A youth foundation for disadvantaged children founded by a Catholic priest is being funded through two big Melbourne poker machine venues where gamblers lost almost $14 million last financial year, reports The Age. Clocks at Flinders Street Station and The Meeting Place in Elizabeth Street are operated by the Doxa Social Club, which was established to fund the Doxa Youth Foundation. The foundation, formed in 1972 by Father Joe Giacobbe, receives more than $1 million a year from the Doxa Social Club. Father Giacobbe is known as ''the punting priest'' for his love of horse racing (more).

Vinnies faces declining membership

Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 2 August 2012

With a majority of current members above the age of 61, the St Vincent de Paul Society faces the challenge of a decreasing membership over the next 10 years if it does not recruit new members and volunteers in order to have long-term sustainability, said newly re-elected Vinnies NSW State Council president Ray Reynolds, reports The Catholic Weekly. “We are making inroads with young children and young adults through our Mini Vinnies programs in primary schools and secondary schools and university groups, but people in the 25-55 years age group are very scarce in the Society,” he said. “Our challenge then is, ‘How can we revitalise ourselves sufficiently to encourage new members and volunteers in this age group to join the Society?’ He added: “The Society now moves in a much more competitive environment, with thousands of charities operating within Australia (more).

Priests offer spiritual support in Vatican museums
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 2 August 2012

The decision to make priests available inside the Vatican Museums to offer spiritual comfort to visitors has been generally welcomed by tourists in Rome, reports the Catholic News Agency. “I think it’s a good idea because they could answer a lot of questions if anybody is inspired and has questions about their faith,” 25-year-old Molly Sullens from San Diego told CNA as she exited an afternoon tour of the museums. “I think it’s a great idea, too,” said her boyfriend 27-year-old Nick Fandel, also from San Diego, who found the Sistine Chapel particularly “awe inspiring.” “I mean if you want to talk to somebody rather than just see the art, you should definitely have that option.” The new initiative started at the start of this month when two priests will be available for any tourists who wish to chat. “There is nothing institutional or pretentious about the initiative,” said Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, Secretary General of the Governorate of Vatican City State, in the July 26 edition of L’Osservatore Romano newspaper. “The priests will simply be on hand with a table and two chairs at two strategic points on the normal itinerary visitors follow, and anyone who wishes may approach them to exchange a few words or to reflect together,” Bishop Sciacca said (more).

The Catholic church's ritual unites us more than beliefs

Extracts from Viewpoint, National Catholic Reporter, Wednesday 1 October 2012
In his recent book, Toward A True Kinship Of Faiths: How The World's Religions Can Come Together, the Dalai Lama recounts a 1994 visit to Israel during which he asked one of the chief rabbis "what it is that unites Jewish people the world over -- what the kernel of the doctrine is that unites all Jews." He was taken aback by the rabbi's response: "When it comes to doctrine, there is hardly any uniformity. What unites all faithful Jews are the rituals. Come Friday, all Jewish homes, from Siberia to Ethiopia, hold Sabbath in the same manner. We have been doing this for thousands of years, since the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.".....I resist the idea that faith is synonymous with conformity and allows for no variance of opinion. Almost 500 years ago, in a letter to Jean de Carondelet, Catholic priest and theologian Desiderius Erasmus maintained that faith is "more of a way of life than of a profession of articles" and that "the sum and substance" of Christianity consists in "peace and concord." Erasmus was disturbed by those who would use dogma to disrupt harmony among Christians and found good support for his ideas of charitable disagreements and mutual love in his reading of Romans 14-15, where he saw a nonjudgmental, anti-dogma approach to Christianity, one that elevated tolerance in the name of peace, love and concord. (In Romans 14:13, for example, Paul writes: "Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another.")......I find the strength of contemporary Catholicism in its diversity, its vibrancy, its personally lived quality, its recognition of the primacy of the individual's moral conscience (more).

Melbourne to host inaugural Catholic Youth Festival

Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Monday 30 July 2012

Today the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference announced that the Archdiocese of Melbourne will host the first Australian Catholic Youth Festival in December 2013. The Festival will be held in Melbourne from Thursday 5 December to Saturday 7 December and gather up to 4000 young Catholics between 15 and 25 years of age. The Festival will be the largest national gathering of Catholic young people since Pope Benedict XVI visited Australia for World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney. Bishop Anthony Fisher, the Bishops Delegate for Youth, said the concept of a national youth event has been discussed for many years: “The Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life and the Australian Catholic Youth Council has invested a good amount of time reflecting on the purpose and structure of a national youth event. It will be an exciting and vibrant gathering of young people full of music, talks, prayer and exhibitions." “The Festival will provide young people with an opportunity to encounter Christ through the Catholic Church in Australia, and provide Bishops and Church leaders an opportunity to listen to and engage with young people on the issues and concerns in their lives,” he said (more).

Theology of the Body course wraps up
Extracts from Fiona Basile, Kairos Catholic Journal, Friday 27 July 2012

More than 80 people from across Melbourne participated in an 8-week Theology of the Body course hosted by Australian Catholic University in Fitzroy......Theology of the Body is the name given to the extensive body of work conducted by former Pope John Paul II on the true meaning and vision for the human body and sexuality. Each session concluded with a question and answer time facilitated by ACU Chaplain Fr Dominic Murphy OP. On several occasions, Anna Krohn from the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family also assisted with answering questions (more). Photo F.Basile

Politics and the pulpit

Extract from Father Aloysious Mowe SJ, director of Jesuit Refugee Service Australia, Catholic News, Thursday 26 July 2012
"I don’t think politics should be brought into the pulpit," said the gentleman who waited for me at the church door after all the other mass-goers at Sunday’s 8:30 am Mass had departed. "You upset my wife: she wanted to walk out during your homily," writes Fr Aloysius Mowe SJ in an article published by Catholic Religious Australia.
It was the start of International Refugee Week, and I had taken the opportunity to preach about asylum seekers in Australia. The gospel according to Mark was propitious: the Kingdom of God is like the tiniest of seeds sown in the ground, growing slowly and invisibly, but eventually producing the greatest of trees, a place of shelter and welcome. Every member of that Sunday congregation was a seed; every word they uttered in support of asylum seekers was a seed; every gesture of welcome they showed to asylum seekers was a seed. If I had read out at Mass the pastoral letter about marriage issued by the Archdiocese of Sydney on Refugee Sunday, would anyone in the congregation have protested about politics being brought into the pulpit? (more)

Parish youth leaders' retreat

Extracts from Kairos Catholic Journal, Thursday 26 July 2012

YOUTH Group Leaders from over 20 parishes braved the cool seaside breezes of Port Phillip Bay, to gather at Don Bosco Campsite, Safety Beach from 13th- 15th July to ‘Rest, Reflect and Renew.’ The retreat was inspired by the Year of Grace and challenged the Youth Group leaders to encounter Christ afresh. Participants explored God’s grace in a variety of different ways; examining their own spiritual gifts, reflecting on where and how they encounter Christ in their ministries, as well as learning alternative prayer techniques and having time for adoration and reconciliation. The final day of retreat had an outward focus, with participants encouraged to not only take the ‘Year of Grace’ back into the youth groups they lead, but to also incorporate it in their everyday lives (more).

No 'middle ground' possible with LCWR on key issues

Extract from Catholic News,Thursday 26 July 2012

There can be no "middle ground" on matters of faith and morals, the bishop who conducted the Vatican-ordered doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious said in an interview on American public radio, reports the Catholic News Service. Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo, Ohio, one of two US bishops assisting Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle in providing "review, guidance and approval, where necessary, of the work" of LCWR, responded on Wednesday to a call for dialogue by Franciscan Sister Pat Farrell, LCWR president, on the same program a week earlier. "If by dialogue they mean that the doctrines of the church are negotiable and the bishops represent one position and the LCWR presents another position, and somehow we find a middle ground about basic church teaching on faith and morals, then no," he said. "I don't think that is the kind of dialogue that the Holy See would envision. "But if it's a dialogue about how to have the LCWR really educate and help the sisters to appreciate and accept church teaching and to implement it in their discussions and try to hear some of the questions or concerns they have about these issues, then that would be the dialogue," he added (more).

NZ move to legalise same-sex marriage

Extract from Catholic News,Thursday 26 July 2012

A bill to legalise gay marriage in New Zealand sponsored by a Labour MP has been officially put on Parliament's agenda, although it is not clear when it will have its first reading, according to an AAP report in the Sydney Morning Herald. MPs will be given a conscience vote. Both Labour MP Louisa Wall and Green MP Kevin Hague had proposed bills on gay marriage, and in a joint statement last month said opinion polls showed the public supported a law change (more).

Postcodes of piety, especially in this suburb

Extract from Catholic News,Wednesday 25 July 2012

Census data has shone a spotlight on Australia's lesser-known religious enclaves - hot spots of Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and even Mormons - nestled in our city suburbs and regional towns, reports The Australian. The Catholic flavour of Horsley Park in Sydney's west owes much to the fact that 41.8 per cent of residents claim a Maltese or Italian heritage, compared with the national average of 3.9 per cent. The suburb's Our Lady of Victories church, known informally as Sydney's western cathedral, was built with community donations in 1992 but shuns the ultra-modern style adopted by other parishes (more).

Masses to open London Olympics
Edited extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Monday 23 July 2012

In Australian a number of parishes are arranging their own Olympic celebrations, including St Kevins in Lower Templesowe.
The Catholic Church in England and Wales will celebrate special Masses to open the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games, which begin on 27 July. James Parker, Catholic Executive Coordinator for the 2012 Games, said many past Olympians and sports professionals from across the world and the London area are Catholics who “take in the thrill of the games.” “These men and women better than most know the importance of keeping God firmly positioned within their sporting journey,” he said.“They are being invited to join the rest of the Catholic community in giving thanks to God for the many opportunities that the Games present not only to our nation but to the whole world at this time.” A July 28 Mass at Westminster Cathedral will celebrate the start of the 30th Olympic Games. A Mass for the start of the 14th Paralympic Games will take place at St. George’s Cathedral in Southwark on Sept. 8. (more)

Fr Thang, Friday 20 July 2012

The Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe wishes to sincerely congratulate Monsignor Tom Doyle upon the special occasion of his 50th year of Ordination. Monsignor Tom was ordained on 21st July 1962 and celebrated his first Mass at Mother of God, Ivanhoe East. Monsignor Tom was the first vocation to come from Mother of God Parish. 

Greens backtrack over conflict on school funding
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 19 July 2012

The Greens have been forced to back away from a policy to scale back Commonwealth funding for private schools after the Catholic education system urged voters to back Labor in the Melbourne byelection, reports The Age. In a scamble to minimise damage ahead of tomorrow's poll, Greens federal deputy leader Adam Bandt (pictured) has written to parents promising the Greens do not support funding cuts for Catholic education (more).

Cardinal George Pell Responds to Joint Inquiry Announcement

Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 19 July 2012

Cardinal George Pell has welcomed the announcement  made on Tuesday by Bishop Michael Kennedy of Armidale and Bishop Fisher OP of Parramatta that the Hon. Anthony Whitlam QC, retired judge of the Australian Federal Court of Australia, has been appointed to conduct an independent and impartial inquiry into the case of ex-priest F who was stood down by the Bishop of Armidale twenty years ago in 1992 (more).

Australian church is alive and kicking - mostly kicking

Extract from Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter, Thursday 19 July 2012

Ten days in Australia isn't nearly enough, except to find that the church is alive and kicking. Mostly kicking. My first-time-ever trip to Melbourne and Sydney in mid-May was as guest of Garratt Publishing, which publishes Australian editions of my books Women Deacons: Past, Present, Future (with Gary Macy and William T. Ditewig) and Women in Ministry: Emerging Questions about the Diaconate. Garratt sponsored conferences and talks, and introduced me both in person and on various radio programs to an alive and questioning church. The issues in the Australian church are such that I might as well have been in the United States. Except instead of a "Fortnight of Freedom," the Australian bishops are supporting "A Year of Grace" from Pentecost 2012 to Pentecost 2013. In their program, every single brochure, video, Web page and mailing talks about Jesus Christ. It seems the bishops -- or at least the staff of the bishops' conference -- have their "messaging" under control. The visit was full of surprises. Following the example of several U.S. donors who had purchased and sent the book Women Deacons to every U.S. diocesan ordinary and auxiliary, Australia's Catholics for Renewal group sent copies of the book to 42 Australian Catholic bishops and auxiliaries. The cover letter asked for a "broadening of the role of women in ministry." Whether Catholics for Renewal has started a new conversation remains to be seen. There are but a relative handful of deacons in Australia. Would the bishops support adding women to the mix? (more) Photo: Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in October 2010, celebrating the canonization of St. Mary of the Cross MacKillop. (AFP/Drina Thurston)

LCWR nuns break their silence

Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 19 July 2012

The Leadership Conference for Women Religious (LCWR), the association which represents 80% of women religious in the US, has broken its silence and agreed to talk about their placement under the supervision of an external commissioner, reports Vatican Insider. In an interview with National Public Radio, President Pat Farrell, reiterated the association’s official response to the Vatican’s “unfounded” accusations which could potentially be destructive to the continuation of their mission. But she went further, saying: “There are issues about which we think there's a need for a genuine dialogue, and there doesn't seem to be a climate of that in the church right now." Sister Farrell highlighted one fundamental question: is it possible to be part of the Church but be in favour of dialogue and discussion? “Questions there are much less black and white because human realities are much less black and white. That's where we spend our days (more).

SSPX recognises Papal authority

Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 19 July 2012

Hinting at a willingness to continue discussions with the Vatican and recognising the full authority of the pope over the church, the traditionalist Society of St Pius X said it must defend church teaching from error, reports the Catholic News Service. "As for all the novelties of the Second Vatican Council, which remain tainted with errors, and for the reforms derived from it," the statement said, "the society can only continue to uphold the affirmations and teachings of the constant magisterium of the church." (more)

The lighter side of dementia

Extracts from Brian Matthews, Eureka Street, Thursday 19 July 2012

A friend of mine, with whom I drink some strong coffee and grapple with the world's dilemmas every Thursday morning — which explains why, as you no doubt have noticed, many vexing global and local problems are suddenly and mysteriously resolved on that day each week — told me recently about his strange encounter. He was walking along a city footpath, approaching a busy intersection, when he noticed an elderly woman standing at the traffic lights, which were showing green. She looked uncertain and distressed. When, hesitantly, he asked her if she needed help, she replied that she didn't know where she was. It was immediately obvious to my friend that she didn't mean she was simply having trouble with directions — this street or that? left or right? — but that she had no idea where she was or how she'd got there......And just when my friend was thinking to find a quieter place for her while he worked out what to do next, she turned to him, her face alight. With one deft movement she opened her mouth, removed her denture and held it towards him. On the 'gum' was clearly inscribed her name and a phone number (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Truth and reconciliation in Toowoomba

Extract from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, Wednesday 18 July 2012

World events like the civil war in Syria, the financial crisis in Europe and the political deadlock in Australia and the United States make evident the need for symbols of trust and reconciliation. Gestures such as the National Apology to the Stolen Generations in Australia and truth and reconciliation commissions in South Africa have made possible a new approach to old division, even if those possibilities have often been squandered. Religions have traditionally been good at offering symbols of trust and reconciliation. Confessional rites abound in the Christian churches and there are many formal greetings that speak of reconciliation. Churches have had a small role in brokering national and international disputes. For that reason it is a pity that so many recent stories of the Catholic Church have spoken of mistrust rather than of trust, of dividing rather than of reconciling. So it is a pleasure to reflect on the consecration of the new Bishop of Toowoomba, Robert McGuckin. The details of this celebration spoke creatively of trust and opened possibilities of reconciliation (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Mandatory reporting and the seal of the confessional

Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Wednesday 18 July 2012

RESPONDING to calls for the reporting of sex abuse and crimes revealed in the confessional, we publish the following article by Archbishop Costelloe SDB on 29 July 2011 when he was an Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Melbourne.....THERE has been some discussion in the media in recent days concerning the Catholic Church's prohibition on its priests revealing anything they hear in the Confessional. This is often referred to as the "seal of Confession". It binds priests under the penalty of excommunication from the Church never to reveal anything they hear in the Confessional unless given explicit permission by the person concerned. The suggestion has been made that requiring priests to report any admissions of child abuse made in the Confessional to the police will protect children from further abuse (more).

Businessman pastor removed in Philadelphia

Extracts from Catholic News, Wednesday 18 July 2012

A former pastor in Philadelphia has been  removed after being labelled "unsuitable for ministry," due to "a substantiated violation of The Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries," reports Vatican Insider.....Pinero, a pastor of Incarnation of Our Lord Church, was a local face of an Illinois-based enterprise calling itself Teamwork Revolution Power Systems and the Philadelphia Inquirer revealed that back in November 2010 federal agents had served a search warrant on the Incarnation rectory but no criminal or civil action was taken against the pastor. In a statement, a spokesman of the archdiocese allegedly said that “outside secular employment is not permitted for a priest,” except from teaching in Catholic universities or faith related conferences (more).

Sin, spin and sex abuse in the church and military

Extracts from Editorial, Michael Mullins, Eureka Street, Sunday 15 July 2012

Church leaders have a responsibility to protect the reputation of the institution of the Church. They are also custodians of a very high moral duty to protect the most vulnerable in their care, including sexual abuse victims. It is a common criticism that they have previously given priority to looking after the reputation of the institution over the needs of sexual abuse victims, who have suffered further as a result. On the other side, many critics are not obviously concerned about the rights of the Church's 'good people' and positive values represented by the institution.....Last week the Australian Defence Force (ADF) was subject to similar criticism following the release of the damning DLA Piper report into sexual abuse over many years. Just as Catholic Church leaders were accused of harbouring past abusers by not reporting them to the police, media headlines highlighted the DLA Piper report's revelations that 'un-prosecuted rapists' remain in 'senior positions in the armed forces'(more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Jill's thoughts
Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe, Thursday 12 July 2012

From the Mass of Thanksgiving today to celebrate the life of Jill Brophy who died recently, some of Jill's own words, included in her Mass booklet, reflect the strong inspirational impact that she has had and continues to have on her family, extended family and very many friends. The liturgy and hymns for this uplifting service were thoughtfully prepared by Jill, and her own words have been published on the "personal" page of this website (here).

A Parish Charter to celebrate Vatican II ?
Extract from Catholics For Renewal, Friday 13 July 2012

A Parish Charter has been drafted for the consideration of parishes throughout Australia as an initiative to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the commencement of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, and to support the Year of Grace proclaimed by the Australian Bishops. The Charter was drafted by members of Catholics for Ministry and Catholics for Renewal (more). Image: Flickr, cookiemonster

Inquiry guidelines emphasise lessons for the future
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 12 July 2012

Guidelines for the Victorian inquiry on the handling of clergy child abuse show the emphasis will be on lessons for the future rather than righting particular wrongs from the past or providing the vindication victims have said they need, the Age reports. The guidelines, published on a government website yesterday, confirm that the inquiry will look at how the churches and non-government organisations could handle complaints better, rather than compensating victims or convicting abusers (more).

Priest relaunches online protest against 'gay panic'
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 12 July 2012

A Queensland Catholic priest has relaunched an online petition against the state’s notorious ‘gay panic’ laws after hearing of recent remarks by the state’s Attorney-
General saying any change was unnecessary, reports the Gay News Network. Father Paul Kelly of Maryborough Catholic Church made national headlines earlier this year when his campaign on received more than 26,000 signatures as well as the support of the likes of English comedian Stephen Fry and writer Neil Gaiman. “The most uplifting aspect of my campaign was that it united disparate elements of the community – young and old, right and left, gay and straight – in speaking out against a discriminatory, offensive law,” Father Kelly said (more).

Vatican's 'regret' over Shanghai bishop's detention

Extract from Catholic News, 12 July 2012

The Holy See’s spokesman, Fr Federico Lombardi (pictured), has expressed "regret" over the “anomalous” detention of the new Auxiliary Bishop of Shanghai, Mgr Thaddeus Ma Daqin, reports the Vatican Insider. The prelate was ordained just last Saturday, with the blessing of both the Holy See and the government in Beijing. But during the rite, Mgr Ma made an announcement which must not have gone down well with authorities. He announced he was going to leave his position at the Patriotic Association - the official organisation of Chinese Catholics which is recognised by the Chinese government but considered illegitimate by the Vatican – in order to dedicate his time fully to his new role as bishop (more).
Vocation surge for Queensland

Extract from Catholic news, Wednesday 11 July 2012

Increasing vocations to the priesthood in Brisbane archdiocese have been welcomed - but one commentator says "there's a sting in this good news tale", reports The Catholic Leader. Resources are taxed as space and finances run out and a call has gone out to Catholics in the archdiocese and throughout the province of Queensland to support this "exciting influx" of vocations. Three men involved with harvesting this windfall - Holy Spirit Provincial Seminary rector Monsignor Tony Randazzo, Brisbane archdiocese vocations director Fr Morgan Batt and Seminary and Clergy gift manager Lindsay Stokes - have spoken of great opportunities ahead if the challenge can be met (more).

Illicitly ordained Chinese bishop incurs automatic excommunication

Extract from Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, National Catholic Reporter, Tuesday 10 July 2012

Vatican City: Chinese Fr. Joseph Yue Fusheng has been automatically excommunicated for allowing himself to be illicitly ordained a bishop despite repeated warnings from the Vatican. "The Holy See does not recognize him as bishop of the apostolic administration of Harbin, and he lacks the authority to govern the priests and the Catholic community in the province of Heilongjiang," the Vatican said in a written statement Tuesday. It also praised the licit ordination of the new auxiliary bishop of Shanghai, who reportedly was taken away by authorities after his ordination Saturday and whose whereabouts remain unknown. Auxiliary Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin of Shanghai has been restricted by the government after saying he would give up his role in the government-approved Catholic Patriotic Association (more).

South Sudan: A joyous one-year-old country needs our support
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Monday 9 July 2012

ONE year ago, if you visited Juba, the capital of South Sudan, you would have to sleep in a tent or find lodgings with friends. You would also have little choice in what to eat. Yet, just a year after the birth of this nation, you can book yourself into a hotel, take a shower, get a meal and go to sleep, relatively safely. Because security has also improved in Juba. Now you can walk the streets during the day, free to work or wander. It’s still wise to take care and get behind closed doors by about 6 or 7pm. That will change in time, but not just yet (more).

The Eucharist in the Year of Grace,
Friday 6 July 2012. Extract from Archbishop Denis Hart, Digital Kairos,

The Teaching of the Church witnesses to the Eucharist as the fount and summit of  Grace. At the start of the Year of Grace I would like to explore with you the many different ways of understanding the working of God's grace in the Holy Eucharist (more)

 Origin of Universe
Extract from Bridie Smith, The Age, Thursday 5 July 2012

Scientists have taken a giant leap in their understanding of how the universe was formed, with a joint announcement in Geneva and Melbourne last night that a new particle has been discovered. The discovery has significant implications, as physicists say it is consistent with the elusive Higgs boson, or ''God particle''.'This goes beyond the origin of life. This is the origin of the universe.' (more). Image: Higgs Boson particle - The Age.

12 Catholic women under 40 making a difference                                                                                                                                                   Friday 6 July - Extract from Zoe Ryan, National Catholic Reporter
To highlight the work of young women in the church, we asked contributors and readers to nominate Catholic women in the U.S. under the age of 40 whose work has greatly impressed them. Here are 12 women our judges selected that you may not have heard of, but are making a difference in the church by the work they are doing (more). Image: Dreamstime/Toni-Ann Ortiz

Fr Brian Lucas responds to Four Corners report
Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 5 July 2012

Father Brian Lucas, the General Secretary of the Australian Bishops Conference, has rejected media reports that the panel he sat on did not respond to the allegations of abuse against a priest, as was reported on  Four Corners this week."Contrary to some media assertions that we did nothing, we recommended to Bishop Manning (then Bishop of Armidale) that the priest be suspended from all ministry," Fr Lucas said in a media statement released yesterday....."My recollection of the meeting some 20 years ago is that in acknowledging wrongdoing, Fr F did not name any victims.....Fr Lucas added that: "since (the time) I was a young solicitor engaged in representing child victims of abuse in Sydney children's courts, I have been aware of the tragic consequences of physical, sexual and emotional abuse of children," the statement said."It is completely contrary to my values to ever allow a known offender to be in a position of trust with children or to interfere with the processes of justice." (more)

Vatican announces loss of $18 million for 2011
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 5 July 2012

The Holy See announced a loss of $18 million for 2011 – a sharp contrast to a surplus of $14 million the year before, the Catholic News Agency reports. “The most significant items of expenditure were those relative to personnel – who as of 31 December 2011 numbered 2,832 – and to the communications media considered as a whole,” said a Vatican statement dated June 5. “The result was affected by the negative trend of global financial markets, which made it impossible to achieve the goals laid down in the budget.” (more)

Archdiocese of Sydney rejects cover-up claims, Armidale to investigate report
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 4 July 2012

The Archdiocese of Sydney has rejected allegations that its priests have failed to disclose the existence of crimes committed by a former Armidale priest, it said in a statement released yesterday (more).

Calls for royal commission over alleged cover-up of Catholic abuse
Extract from Tom Allard, The Age, Wednesday 4 July 2012

Three of Australia's most senior Catholic clergy failed to tell authorities of evidence they received that a priest had repeatedly sexually abused boys as young as 10 in New South Wales (more).

Crisis of trust in the Vatican
Extract from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, Wednesday 4 July 2012

If all publicity is good publicity, the Catholic Church has certainly prospered over recent years. Clerical abuse and its handling, the new translation of the Roman Missal, the Bishop Bill Morris affair, the reining in of Caritas, the censure in the United States of the group representing religious sisters and of the work of two women theologians, the silencing of prominent Irish priests and the cleaning out of the Irish College in Rome, the public disquiet expressed by clergy in Austria and Ireland, the sacking of the head of the Vatican Bank, the steady leaking of confidential Roman documents, and the conflict between the Obama Administration and the USA Bishops over health care are just some of the recurrent stories.  Most of these stories have raised questions about how central authority is exercised. For many critics the answers are self-evident. Just as the actions of Orcs and other forces of Mordor reflect what Mordor is, so  arrogance and misbehaviour are what you expect from the Catholic Church. They are as much a fact of life there as others would find them in News Limited, the Greens, the Unions or any other organisations they may want to identify as part of the Evil Empire. If you want to address the way people in any organisation behave, however, you must first understand why they act as they do (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Statement from the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference regarding Four Corners’ “Unholy Silence”

From Media release, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Tuesday 3 July 2012,

All Catholics feel shame at the sexual abuse of children by clergy and others. The loss of childhood innocence and the broken lives that flow from this evil have evoked broad community revulsion and a determination that such criminal abuse of the young has to be stopped. Since the advent of Towards Healing in December 1996, the Australian Catholic Church has committed itself publicly to a more victim-centred response when evil of this nature became known. In the years since, the Church’s new intentions have not always been in evidence. There have been many victims of sexual abuse within the Church who knew that criminal or civil proceedings were not possible or desirable. Some victims have found that Towards Healing has been a means by which the truth of their story was vindicated. Apologies and efforts made to express sorrow have helped such victims to find some peace and well-being. The coming Victorian Inquiry, welcomed by the Archbishop of Melbourne, will no doubt examine some of the tragic stories aired on Four Corners. The Catholic Church encourages victims of child sexual abuse to go to the police and it stands ready to meet with victims. For more information about Towards Healing and the Catholic Church’s response, please contact Fr Tim Brennan or Sr Angela Ryan on (02) 9669 6218. (source)

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait  Islander Catholic Council
Ivanhoe Parish, Friday 29 June 2012

Annual celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday is this weekend, the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, and in keeping with this week's readings has as its theme "By the Power of Faith, we shall be Healed". Once again our Parish like many others is pleased to incorporate aboriginal elements in our Liturgy this weekend in acknowledgement and celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, history, respect for the land and for elders, and for shared values.

Govt urged to remember humanity of asylum seekers
Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 28 June 2012

Leading Catholic groups have urged the government to remember that asylum seekers are human beings and deserving of compassion. Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) and the Sisters of St Joseph have both issued statements following the latest capsizing and debate about policy. CRA calls upon Federal Parliament to remember in their discussions that asylum seekers are human beings, said Sr Anne Derwin RSJ the CRA Assembly this week in Adelaide. “What is needed is a long term solution that protects the human rights of all people seeking asylum and treats them with dignity and respect.” “These people must be desperate to attempt long and hazardous boat journeys,” she said. The Josephites have urged humanity over deterrence for asylum seekers (more).

Clergy need to explain message of Catholicism better

Extracts from Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith (Catholic Herald), Catholic News, Thursday 28 June 2012

I had lunch the other day with an influential member of the Anglican communion, who I really ought to see more of. He told me who is going to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury, and more importantly, who is not. Then the conversation moved to matters of general concern, chief of which is why are so few people going to church these days, whether that church be Catholic or Anglican, writes Father Alexander Lucie-Smith in The Catholic Herald. Was it true, for example, that Catholic practice in Ireland was falling sharply? The truth of the matter is that religious practice is everywhere in retreat, even in Ireland, even in Malta, even in Poland. And why is this? Well, it is nothing to do with anti-Christian campaigners like Richard Dawkins (more).

Project Compassion breaks $10 million mark

Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 28 June 2012

Project Compassion 2012 has eclipsed $10 million, breaking its own record and ensuring thousands of families are guaranteed life-changing support, Caritas said in a media statement. Caritas Australia CEO, Jack de Groot, said despite great financial uncertainty, when charities all around the country are struggling, the Catholic community of Australia has taken a true stand in solidarity with the world’s poor. “This really is remarkable. Times have been tough and uncertain for many Australians in the last 12 months and yet our parishes, our schools and Church communities have managed to find a way to support the poorest of the poor,” Mr de Groot said (more).

Rise of other faiths not a 'threat'

Extracts from Catholic News, Wednesday 27 June 2012

The rise in numbers in other faiths such as Islam and Hinduism shouldn’t be seen “as a threat at all”, said Bishop Terry Brady (pictured), auxiliary Bishop of Sydney, reports The Catholic Weekly. Bishop Brady was commenting on 2011 Census figures that show the increase in Catholicism in Australia was greatly exceeded by the growth of Islam, up 39.9 per cent since 2006, and Hinduism, up 188.6 per cent since 2001. “I think we have a wonderful opportunity to work hand-in-hand in Australia with the Islamic people,” he said.  We share so much in common (more).”

Knowing the needs of refugees

Extract from Susan Metcalfe, Eureka Street, Tuesday 26 June 2012

For a brief moment last week, we were spared the usual bluster about asylum seekers from politicians and commentators. But with the gloves now off we learn that the recent deaths at sea were the fault of Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott, Kevin Rudd, Malcolm Fraser, social justice advocates, the moralising left, the right, the Greens, the carbon tax, and apparently me. Trying to shame people with blame in the aftermath of a tragedy can be a self serving exercise and much of what is written
serves only to reinforce tired political agendas. But all of us must accept some responsibility for the debacle that is Australia’s approach to asylum seekers and we
must work together to find solutions (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Religious leaders attack Cardinal Pell over climate change

Extracts from Catholic News, Tuesday 26 June 2012

Religious leaders have taken a swipe at Sydney's Catholic archbishop Cardinal George Pell for his views about the science of climate change, according to an AAP report
in the Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney rabbi Jeffrey Kamins and retiring Canberra bishop Pat Power were in Canberra yesterday to argue Australia needed to tackle
dangerous climate change for future generations. Rabbi Kamins said too many people incorrectly believed religion had an antipathy towards science. "We believe for the most part as religious leaders that it's all about the growth of consciousness and awareness," he told AAP outside parliament house, adding global warming couldn't be ignored....The rabbi and Bishop Power are part of the multi-faith Australian Religious Response to Climate Change which includes Buddhists, Catholics, other Christians, Hindus, Muslims and Jews (more).

SSPX rejects Vatican's latest offer

Extracts from Catholic News, Tuesday 26 June 2012

The SSPX traditionalist Catholic group on Monday slammed as "clearly unacceptable" a Vatican doctrinal document that was supposed to lay the foundation for the group's reconciliation with Rome, reports NCR Online. The move comes after three years of complex negotiations between the Vatican and the Society of St Pius X and was revealed just as Pope Benedict XVI appointed a high-profile American archbishop to a key post to oversee relations with traditionalists (more).

Preliminary Vatican report on fighting clerical abuse ready
Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 21 June 2012

In the next few days the Vatican will publish preliminary reports for preventing and combatting sex abuse against minors perpetrated by clerics, reports the Vatican Insider. Over the past few weeks bishops from across the world have sent their guidelines to the Vatican, in response to the call from the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, William Levada, in May last year. In the letter, the cardinal asked all Episcopal conferences to put together their own set of guidelines for combatting the scourge of paedophilia in their respective areas. The deadline was set for the end of May 2012 (more).

The significance of the Annual Jewish Catholic Friendship Dinner

Extracts from Kairos Catholic Journal, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 21 June 2012

On Sunday 3 June, 2012, members of the Jewish and Catholic communities of Melbourne sat down at table together for the seventh annual Jewish Catholic Friendship Dinner in the Cathedral Room at the Cardinal Knox Centre in East Melbourne.....The most significant fact about the Jewish Catholic Friendship Dinners is so obvious that it may easily be missed: At these dinners, Jews and Catholics sit down at the same tables and eat a meal together. Judging by more than 1900 years of shared history, this is extraordinary behaviour for members of our communities. Going right back to the first century of the Common Era, table fellowship was a major issue in that it divided not only Jews and Gentiles, but even Jewish and Gentile Christians. It must be admitted that one of the functions (whether intended or not) of the food laws of the Torah was to keep Jews and Gentiles distinct and separate. Overcoming that barrier was a difficult problem for the early Church, as evidenced in many of the writings of the New Testament. While the barrier was overcome within the Christian Church by the decision not to continue observance of the Jewish food laws, the barrier between the communities of the Church and the Synagogue remained and in fact intensified as the Church became more Gentile in character and as the observance of halakhah (the laws of the Torah) became more strict under the direction of the early rabbinical teachers. How is it possible today to overcome this division at the level of table fellowship? (more)

Teen critic takes on Vatican over 'war on women'
Extract from Robert McClory, National Catholic Reporter, Thursday 21 June 2012

Erik Baker, the 16-year-old Evanston (Ill.) Township High School student whose essay regarding the liturgical changes on NCR's blog in the fall elicited about 300 responses, has produced a new combative essay. This one, based on considerable research, lambasts the Vatican on a wide range of issues, including contraception, the ordination of women, child abuse and the recent chastisement of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. All these issues are linked, Erik writes, because "the empowerment of women has always been perceived by church authorities as a threat to their power." He recently graduated from high school, will soon turn 17 and is moving on to college at Northwestern University. Here's the full essay. Men Who Hate Women - By Erik Baker.....(more)

Census: Catholics first, Godless second

Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 21 June 2012

People professing to have no religion have moved past Anglicans to become the second-largest grouping after Catholics in the 2011 Census, reports The Age. Almost 4.8 million people said they had no religion, up 29 per cent from 2006, but the number of people not answering the question dropped by 2 per cent. This suggested that more people were claiming a religious identity (including no religion), said Monash University sociology professor Gary Bouma. The total Christian population is 13.2 million, or 61 per cent, down three percentage points. Catholics have dropped half a percentage point to 25.3 or 5.4 million, Anglicans are down 1.6 percentage points to 3.7 million, while the Uniting Church is down to 5 per cent, or 1.1 million people. Minority religions all showed strong growth, particularly Hindus, whose numbers nearly doubled to 276,000, from 0.7% to 1.3%. Buddhists have risen from 2.1 per cent to 2.5 per cent, Muslims from 1.7 per cent to 2.2 per cent.Professor Bouma said Hindu growth was due to migration, and the recent Muslim growth was due to continued migration from south Asia and a high birth rate (more).

Archbishop Coleridge calls for repeal of same-sex law

Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 20 June 2012

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane has appealed to the Liberal National Party to uphold a promise made before the recent Queensland state election to repeal the previous Government's civil partnerships legislation, reports the Catholic Leader. However, the Archbishop at this stage has decided not to have a letter urging resistance to the legislation read out in churches throughout the archdiocese.His comments followed last weekend's distribution in some of Sydney's Catholic, Anglican and Greek Orthodox churches of letters opposing legislation under consideration in Federal Parliament which would legalise same-sex marriage (more).

Atheist blogger decides to turn Catholic
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 20 June 2012

American blogger, Leah Libresco, known for writing about ethics and religion from her perspective as an atheist, announced on Monday that she now believes in God and intends to enter the Catholic Church, reports the Catholic News Agency.“For several years, a lot of my friends have been telling me I had an inconsistent and unsustainable philosophy,” the Washington, DC-based author of the “Unequally Yoked” blog wrote in a post announcing her intention to convert.The 22-year-old Yale graduate says she came to believe “that the Moral Law wasn’t just a Platonic truth, abstract and distant. It turns out I actually believed it was some kind of Person, as well as Truth. And there was one religion that seemed like the most promising way to reach back to that living Truth.” (more)

Pope acknowledges damage of abuse crisis on Church
Extract from The Tablet full text of Papal speech at International Eucharist Congress in Dublin, Monday 18 June 2012

With great affection in the Lord, I greet all of you who have gathered in Dublin for the Fiftieth International Eucharistic Congress, especially Cardinal Brady, Archbishop Martin, the clergy, religious and faithful of Ireland, and all of you who have come from afar to support the Irish Church with your presence and prayers.....(more)

Three short stories about refugees in Australia (this week is Refugee Week)
Extract from Troy Pittaway, Eureka Street, Sunday 17 June 2012

The first story begins in a three-bedroom Department of Housing house. Inside is a family of seven: single mother and six children aged three to 17. The house is in terrible shape, because the father, who abused alcohol and was violent, left without paying any of the DHS payments, dumping the mother with the accumulated debt. DHS will not do any repairs until the payment has been met....(more). Subscription to Eureka Street is Free.  Drawing: Johnstone.

Our Man in Rome,
Extract from The Age Good Weekend, Saturday 16 June 2012

Paul Morris vividly remembers his first encounter with Cardinal George Pell, and not only because they were both wearing swimsuits. It was early one morning at a resort in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where the two men were attending a conference. Morris, professor of religious studies at New Zealand's Victoria University, was relaxing on a sun lounge by the pool when Pell climbed out of the water after doing some laps (more).

SSPX offered personal prelature in Vatican deal
Extracts from Catholic news, Friday 15 June 2012

The Vatican has confirmed that the traditionalist Society of St Pius X is being offered the status of a personal prelature as part of a deal to heal the group’s 24-year rift with the Catholic Church, reports the Catholic News Agency.“Clearly the ball is now in the court of the Society,” Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said yesterday.....A personal prelature is a Church jurisdiction without geographical boundaries designed to carry out particular pastoral initiatives. At present, the only personal prelature in the Church is Opus Dei. (more)

The legacy of hope from Vatican II
Extract from Opinion, Catholic News, Thursday 14 June 2012

We will soon be moving into lengthy celebrations of the Second Vatican Council’s fiftieth anniversary. Diaries are already filling up with conferences, book launches, symposia and the like. It was, after all, a Very Good Thing, or at least so many of us feel. The revisionist waves coming over the sea notwithstanding, it feels like something worth celebrating, writes Gemma Simmonds CJ in Thinking Faith. I have heard it said many times that few groups in the church took the Council’s plea for aggiornamento so much to heart as the women religious. There was, it must be said, plenty of updating to do. But time has a way of sweeping on, and the battles and perspectives of yesterday are no longer those of today. A new generation is asking different questions and religious life is under the microscope once more. The applying of labels like ‘liberal’ and conservative’ in this context is both meaningless and misleading, but there is no denying the tensions that have arisen (more).

Michael Kirby on sexuality and churches
Extract from Eureka Street, Thursday 14 June 2012

In Western countries, gay rights is a hot button issue, with a focus at the moment on gay marriage. US President Barack Obama recently came out in favour of gay marriage, while in Australia leaders on both sides of federal politics are against it. In the Vatican's Notification published last week censuring American nun, Sister Margaret Farley for the views expressed in her book Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics, the Catholic Church has once again affirmed its stance against homosexual acts and gay marriage (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Leading nun calls for women deacons
From The Tablet, Thursday 14 June 2012

The leading voice of women religious in Austria has called for the ordination of women as deacons.
In an interview in the June issue of the Austrian monthly Kirche In, the President of the Association of women religious in Austria, Sr Kunigunde Fürst (a Franciscan Sister of Vöcklabruck), said: "Why should it not be possible to ordain women deacons? Why are they being excluded from performing deacons' services?" She went on to suggest that the Catholic hierarchy were afraid of women's advancement. "Could it be that the hierarchy is afraid that women will get too close to the priesthood and then perhaps even move on to becoming bishops?" she asked. "That is not a good kind of fear," she added. (source)

Tripling of UK intake of women to religious orders
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 13 June 2012

The number of women joining religious orders in England and Wales has almost tripled in the last three years, according to bishops’ conference figures, reports The Catholic Herald. In 2011 there were 17 new women recruits to orders across the country, up from six in 2009. Asked if this marked the beginning of a revival for women religious in Britain Fr Richard Nesbitt, Westminster vocations director, said “something is definitely happening”. The women have entered orders across 10 dioceses, with East Anglia and Arundel and Brighton dioceses seeing the highest numbers of new additions, with three new recruits each (more).

Healing and hope: Eucharistic Congress begins in Dublin
Extracts from Br Mark O'Connor, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Wednesday 13 June 2012

.....The universal church has gathered here in solidarity with a local church that is determined to renew itself around the Christ who gives himself to us in the Eucharist. There are tens of thousands of pilgrims here from a huge variety of countries. All of us want to give our support to a Church that has been so generous and loving to others. Yet it is a church clearly in need of healing and  new hope. So it was fitting that the 50th International Eucharistic Congress opened in Dublin on 10 June  began with an address by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin at a Mass in a sports stadium, the RDS Arena, that squarely faced the issue of a crisis....“But those 50 years have also been marked with a darker side, of sinful and criminal abuse and neglect of those weakest in our society: children, who should have been the object of the greatest care and support and Christ-like love,” he continued. “We recall all those who suffered abuse and who still today bear the mark of that abuse and may well carry it with them for the rest of their lives. In a spirit of repentance, let us remember each of them in the silence of our hearts.”...
Quietly, honestly, courageously and confidently the pilgrim church of Ireland is indeed renewing itself.(more)

Vatican to control new 'Catholic' Internet domain
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 13 June 2012

The Vatican is in line to control the new Internet address extension ".catholic" and decide who is allowed to use it, reports the Catholic News Service. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a nonprofit corporation that coordinates the assignment of Internet domain names and addresses around the world, announced the Vatican's formal application yesterday in London. The corporation is overseeing a huge expansion in the number of Internet extensions beyond the standard .com, .org., .edu and .gov. The extensions formally are known as generic top-level domains. The assignment of country-code top-level domains, like the Vatican's own .va, will not be affected by the change.Msgr Paul Tighe (pictured), secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, said that the Vatican's application to control the top-level domain .catholic "is a recognition of how important the digital space is for the church." Controlling the top-level domain "will be a way to authenticate the Catholic presence online," Msgr Tighe said. The Vatican plans to allow "institutions and communities that have canonical recognition" to use the extension, "so people online - Catholics and non-Catholics - will know a site is authentically Catholic." (more)

Catholic Church open for ex-Anglicans
Extract from Catholic News, Tuesday 12 June 2012

A new church era will begin in Australia on Friday with the establishment of the Catholic Church's Ordinariate for former Anglicans, reports The Australian. One of the first moves will be the ordination of Traditional Anglican Communion Bishop Harry Entwistle, 72, to the Catholic priesthood in St Mary's Cathedral, Perth, on Friday evening by the Catholic Archbishop of Perth, Tim Costelloe. Most of the 70-strong congregation of Bishop Entwistle's St Ninian and St Chad's Church in Perth will follow him into the Ordinariate, making it the first Australian parish to join the new community. Other bishops, priests and parishes are expected to follow, including the Church of the Torres Strait and four priests and a bishop from the TAC group in Japan.

Vatican-criticized nun addresses fellow theologians
Extracts from Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter, Sunday 10 June 2012

St. Louis: Mercy Sr. Margaret Farley addressed for the first time publicly Friday evening the Vatican’s harsh criticism of one of her books, saying it points to “profoundly important” questions facing the Catholic community regarding the roles of truth and power....Ultimately, said Farley on Friday, the critique of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of her book Just Love, indicates different understandings of the role of theologians in the church and how our tradition changes and grows over time. “We clearly have grown in many spheres of knowledge -- about humans, about the way the universe runs,” said Farley. “It seems reasonable … that if we come to know even a little bit more than we knew before, it might be that the conclusions that we had previously drawn need to be developed. Or maybe even let go of. “Because it would be a contradiction to Roman Catholic frameworks for doing moral theology to say that we can’t. That would be to imply that we know everything we can know and there’s nothing more to be done.” (more)

Fr Youn, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne
St Bernadette's Church, Sunday 10 June 2012

At the incardination Mass at St Bernadette's today Vicar General Msgr Greg Bennet said in warmly welcoming Fr Youn to the Archdiocese of Melbourne that the arrangement was of mutual benefit, allowing Fr Youn to learn about a new environment while at the same time allowing the Archdiocese and Fr Youn's congregation to benefit from his unique background and experience. In keeping with the spirit of the Body and Blood of Christ Mass today it was a joyous occasion, marked by strong support from co-celebrants, Including Ivanhoe Parish Priest Fr Thang together with other priests, altar servers, members of the Korean Catholic Community, the Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe and its Pastoral Leadership Team. The magnificent Korean Choir heightened the liturgy, and the energy and spirit of a group of young singer/dancers added further spiritually and through their energy and exuberance. The Mass was partly in English and partly in Korean. Again in keeping with the spirit of the Mass on this particular Sunday those attending shared a meal together afterwards comprising Kim Chi and other fine Korean foods. The coincidental birthday of Fr Len Thomas added further to the luncheon celebration. See further further photos here.

Incardination of Fr Joseph Youn
Ivanhoe Parish, Friday 8 June 2012    

This weekend we happily join with the members of the Korean community as they - and we - congratulate Fr. Joseph Youn on his Incardination* into the Archdioceses of Melbourne. May his ministry be richly blessed. All are invited to this special Mass on Sunday 10th June at 11:00am at St Bernadette's. The photo above shows Fr Youn (with red umbrella) and World Youth Day pilgrims with an aboriginal guide  for a "spiritual walk through Darebin Park" in 2008 as part of a preceding and very successful Days In The The Diocese event in Ivanhoe Parish. (* In an ecclesiastical sense 'Incardination' denotes that a given person is released from the jurisdiction of one bishop and is transferred to that of another)

Choosing the hymns and music for our celebrations - a weekly task:   

We try to do that so that they really enhance the way we pray and so cannot be haphazard, ‘hit and miss.’ What criteria help us to decide?
a. The hymns and music must fit the Mass itself and the season of the year.
b. What do parishioners know and like? The ‘old’ and ‘familiar’ or something new?
c. How do we introduce new hymns? How often should this be? New hymns are chosen to be ‘user friendly’ and we believe the melodies can be picked up after a few times. Let’s always ‘have a go’.

d. If you have ideas, suggestions, talk to any of the music people, particularly Isma Chiera, John Costa or Merle Gilbo who will see what is possible.

The Personal Ordinariate: an historic moment
Edited Extracts from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Friday 8 June 2012

Pope Benedict XVI will officially name Australia’s Personal Ordinariate Our Lady of the Southern Cross, under the patronage of St Augustine of Canterbury, on 15 June. Bishop Peter Elliott, project delegate for the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said the name of the Ordinary, the person who will lead the Ordinariate, would also be announced that day....“The Ordinariate is a national diocese for former Anglicans who will enter full communion with the Catholic Church and yet retain their own heritage and traditions,” Bishop Elliott said. “Many requests had come from groups to Rome in recent years, that is from Anglicans in the Anglo-Catholic tradition, who were deeply distressed at the ordination of women as priests and bishops and also most unhappy about other liberalising trends in the Anglican Communion (more).

SSPX says it doesn't have to accept all of Vatican II
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 7 June 2012

The leader of the traditionalist Society of St Pius X said talks with the Vatican demonstrate that "Rome no longer makes total acceptance" of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council a condition for his group's full reconciliation with the church, reports the Catholic News Service (more).

Franciscan brothers, priests declare support for LCWR
Extract from Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter, Thursday 7 June 2012

In what appears to be the first public message of support sent from orders of men religious to U.S. sisters in the face of a sharp Vatican rebuke last April, seven provinces of Franciscan brothers and priests have published an open letter to the sisters, saying the Vatican’s move against them seems “excessive” (more).

Pollen found in Shroud linked to funerals 2000 years ago
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 6 June 2012

The pollen found in the Turin Shroud corresponds to that of flowers used for funerals in Asia Minor 2000 years ago, according to a university researcher, reports the Vatican Insider. A recent conference held in Valencia on the Holy Shroud highlighted the work of Marzia Boi, a researcher from the University of the Balearic Islands, who is an expert in palynology, which is the science that studies pollen. The fabric of the Holy Shroud is covered in pollen and Boi’s report clearly highlights that the pollen is proof that the shroud, which is kept in Turin, was a winding-sheet and was used according to rituals common in the Middle East over a thousand years ago (more).

Justin Villa celebrates 20 years
Edited extract from Fiona Basile, Cathlic Archdiocese of Melbourne Tuesday 5 June 2012

The residents and staff of Justin Villa—a purpose built home for retired priests—celebrated its 20-year anniversary on Friday 1 June 2012. The anniversary was marked by a special dinner on the Thursday evening attended by some of the original builders, architects and Priest’s Retirement Foundation members, along with Archbishop Denis Hart and numerous priests from around the archdiocese....Clergy Care Team Manager Ruth Dickinson said it was on 1 June in 1992 that Justin Villa’s first resident, Fr William Butler arrived at the Balwyn hostel. “Certainly the Priest’s Retirement Foundation can be applauded for their foresight in establishing a purpose-built home for retired priests, and the Diocese likewise for ensuring the invaluable pastoral presence of the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master.”  Justin Villa is located in Balwyn and is operated by Catholic Homes (more).

Confirmation of our Parish candidates
Friday 1 June 2012  
We congratulate the children in our Parish and Parish schools who are receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation this Sunday 3 June, 2.30pm at St Patrick’s Cathedral.  Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers at this time. We thank all who have prepared the children to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, as well those involved in preparation for the Liturgy at the Cathedral. We thank all who have facilitated, prepared and participated in the choir as representatives of our parish on this significant occasion.

Summary of last Pastoral Leadership Team meeting
Friday 1 June 2012

A brief summary of items reported and discussed at the last Pastoral Leadership Team meeting on 23 May has  been published on the Leadership Team page (under the 'People' menu  button - or here )                          

The Elephant in the Room – Ministry: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Extract from Fr Michael Kelly SJ, Eureka Street, Friday 1 June 2012

Viewed overall, the state of the Church is not too encouraging. In the space of a single generation, the deepening dearth of priests will lead to the collapse of the entire structure of parish administration, and I cannot see sufficient courage or creativity among those who have assumed responsibility for running the Church as an institution to find some real alternatives or at least to systematically prepare the community of believers for a situation in which they will soon have to live their faith without support of many things that the Church has regarded for centuries as essential and matter of course (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

NSW upper house votes to back gay marriage
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 31 may 2012

The NSW upper house has passed a motion calling on the federal government to allow gay marriage, despite a Liberal MP saying that change could lead to polygamy, AAP reports in a story published in The Sydney Morning Herald. Greens MP Cate Faehrmann's private members' motion passed 22 votes to 16 in the Legislative Council, with both major parties allowing a conscience vote (more).

Leaks scandal a 'brutal attack' on Pope, says Vatican
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 30 May 2012

The Pope has voiced regret for the turmoil surrounding the recent publication of leaked documents as the Vatican denounced the theft as a "brutal" personal attack on him, according to the Catholic News Service and Reuters. Speaking at the end of his weekly general audience yesterday, the Pope said much of the media coverage of the leak of private letters and of the arrest of his personal assistant has been exaggerated and "completely gratuitous, and has gone far beyond the facts, offering an image of the Holy See that does not correspond to reality," reports CNS (more).

The Pope's butler did it!
Extract from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, Wednesday 30 May 2012

The affair of the Pope's butler, who has been accused of leaking Papal correspondence, was a violation of papal privacy. It will also have been a tragedy for the butler himself. But I found it diverting. It offered, too, a new perspective on more fraught conversations about the Catholic Church (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Vatican pledges to restore trust, transparency in search for truth
Edited Extract from Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, National Catholic Reporter, Wednesday 30 May 2012

Vatican City: The Vatican said it is committed to restoring a sense of trust and transparency as it seeks the truth behind leaks of letters written by Vatican officials to each other and Pope Benedict XVI. Paolo Gabriele -- the pope's private assistant accused of having a cache of illicitly obtained Vatican documents -- was still under arrest and would face his first round of formal preliminary questioning by Vatican judges "later this week or early next week," Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said Tuesday. The spokesman confirmed that an unspecified number of other individuals also had been questioned by Vatican police recently, a process that could be expected to continue, but no one else had been charged or arrested (more).

Former LCWR leader gives take on Vatican order
Extract from Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter, Tuesday 29 May 2012

Almost two months later, clarity is still elusive. Across the country, women religious are still trying to make sense of the Vatican's latest move -- an April order to the organization representing the large majority of their ranks, telling the group to revise and place itself under the control of an archbishop. For the first time since announcement of the sweeping order, the leadership of that group -- known as the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) -- meets this week to discuss what to do next (more).

Aussies ‘like' Catholic Church
Extract from The Tablet, Monday 28 May 2012

Many Australians are using Facebook to find out about the Church following an advertising campaign run on the social networking site last year. The Catholic Enquiry Centre, Australia, has received 327 inquiries from January to March this year compared with 543 for all of 2011. They also reported that Facebook advertising accounted for 33.6 per cent of responses to the centre (more).

Vietnamese father ordained as Canberra's newest deacon
Extract from Catholic News, Monday 28 May 2012

Vietnamese father of two Xuan Duc Nguyen, known as Don Nguyen, is the Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese’s newest permanent deacon after he was ordained by retiring Auxiliary Bishop Pat Power in St Christopher’s Cathedral, Forrest, reports the diocese in a release. Deacon Nguyen arrived in Australia as a refugee from Saigon, Vietnam in 1981. When he was just nine, his father, brother and sister were killed when Vietnamese communists invaded their home during the attack on South Vietnam in 1968. Raised Catholic by his mother, Deacon Nguyen was “drawn to spiritual life” as a teenager and in 1973 he joined the De La Salle Brothers as a seminarian in Thu Duc, near Saigon city (more).

St John's Parish Heidelberg Mass for parishioners 70 years of age and older.
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Monday 28 May 2012

Archbishop Denis Hart visited St John's Parish Heidelberg on Friday 25 May to be the principal concelebrant with Fr Ted Teal, parish priest, at a Mass for parishioners 70 years of age and older. Fr Giang Tran, the Prefect of Ceremonies, also attended the Mass, because of his association with the parish as assistant priest some years ago. Afterwards, they joined the 80 or so senior parishioners for a light lunch in St Monica's Hall, which is part of St John's Primary School (more).

Don't tell the Cathedral
Extracts from Will Day,The Age, Monday 28 May2012

Beyond the reach of the heavy patriarchal authority of the Catholic hierarchy is a kinder, wiser and more accepting church which needs to step up......A compassionate, renewed, alternative and proud leadership, from within the church, acknowledging and representing its extensive, thirsty constituency would be beautiful to see. We have been misrepresented for way too long (more).

Start afresh from Christ: Archbishop's Pentecost Letter to Youth 2012
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Sunday 27 May 2012

We sometimes make an incredible mess of our lives. Wouldn’t it be good to be able to reboot – to erase all our mistakes – and to have the opportunity of a fresh start? On the computer, making a new start can be as easy as pressing the ‘restart’ button. In our lives, it isn’t always so easy. Especially when we hurt those we love, or do something that seems to us to threaten our future happiness, we need the help of an expert who will stand with us and walk us through the steps to start again (more).

Earthquake study finds Jesus's crucifixion date
Extract from Catholic news, Sunday 27 May 2012

A new study suggests that the Biblical date of Jesus' crucifixion is, in fact, possible to confirm, reports the Huffington Post. The International Geology Review investigated an earthquake that was said to have occurred the same date as Jesus' crucifixion; which was most likely Friday April 3, 33 AD (more).

Combined Baptism and Confirmation
Sunday 27 May 2012

The parish today joyously celebrated the Baptism and then Confirmation of Michelle Gough after much prayerful preparation by her over some time. Surrounded by family, friends and supportive parishioners Michelle took this important step on a very appropriate day, Pentecost. Fr Thang noted that as a further sign of faith Michelle had unhesitatingly replied yes when asked if she still wanted to become a Catholic after a recent visit to Ireland. The community of Ivanhoe Parish congratulates Michelle and offers her and her family continuing best wishes and support.

Meditation For Pentecost
Extract from Daniel O'Leary, The Tablet, Friday 25 May 2012

Pentecost reminds us that the Holy Spirit is a power at work in a continually renewed universe, and is present in the innermost mystery of all things. Grace and science come together to offer a fuller picture of what is true: that God’s  love is embodied in all humanity, and in the evolving world itself. Breakthrough into new vistas is an essential dimension of Pentecost. This Sunday’s Collect implores God  to “fill now once more the hearts of believers”, encouraging us to expand our horizons. Pentecost, for theologian Karl Rahner, is a vital “hour of courageous vision” in the history of the Church, when the Holy Spirit weaves new patterns out of the “interrelatedness of Creation and Incarnation” (more).

About the Year of Grace
Exracts from Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Friday 25 May 2012

A Year of Grace is the Australian bishops' gift to the Church to celebrate and renew our faith and life as Catholics. It will begin at Pentecost 2012 and is an exhortation from the bishops of Australia to "Start afresh from Christ.".....A holy time, given by God, to start afresh from Christ, contemplating his face, and listening to his word, that he may heal our wounds, overcome all our divisions and make us rich in hope, so that we may show forth his face and speak his word to the world in new ways (more).      

Students engage in social justice day
Extract from Fiona Basile, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Friday 25 may 2012

The words ‘Wife, Mother … Security Threat’ are written in large bold letters across the top of the front page of The Age’s Focus section (Friday 16 May 2012, p 11). The introduction paragraph then reads: Ranjini was found to be a genuine refugee before ASIO decided last week she is a security risk for Australia. But the government won’t tell her why, and now she’s facing a life in detention. It’s a sad story that has left many people wondering what has happened, including Ranjini’s husband who addressed more than 150 students and staff from 25 Catholic secondary schools on Monday (more)

Vatican bank board fires president, citing neglect
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 24 May 2012

Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, president of the Vatican bank, was fired yesterday by the bank's board of directors, who censured him for neglecting his duties amid worsening management problems, reports the Catholic News Service. The board of the bank, formally known as the Institute for the Works of Religion, issued an unusually blunt statement through the Vatican Press Office, noting that members had repeatedly expressed concern to Gotti Tedeschi about the bank's "governance," but that the "situation has deteriorated further." (more)

Absentee dads a problem, says Pope

Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 24 May 2012

Dads who are absent from their family make it more difficult for their children to understand God as a loving father, said Pope Benedict XVI, the Catholic News Agency reports. “Perhaps modern man does not perceive the beauty, grandeur and profound consolation contained in the word ‘father’ with which we can turn to God in prayer, because the father figure is often not sufficiently present in today’s world, and is often not a sufficiently positive presence in everyday life,” the Pope said in his weekly general audience address (more).

Vietnam jails three Catholic activists
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 24 May 2012

An official says a court in central Vietnam has sentenced three political activists to up to three and a half years in prison for distributing anti-government leaflets, according to an AP report published by Newsday. Presiding Judge Vi Van Chat said that the three were convicted of "spreading propaganda against the state" at Thursday's half-day trial in Nghe An province. He says they were also ordered to serve up to 18 months under house arrest, adding that the fourth defendant was given a two-year suspended sentence (more).

Is the Roman Catholic Church downsizing into a sect?
Extracts from Jamie L Manson, National Catholic Reporter, Thursday 24 May 2012

Much has been made in recent months about an ad placed in The New York Times urging liberal and nominal Catholics to "quit the church" because it can never be changed from within, and to participate in it is to cooperate with its oppressive system. The ad was paid for by an organization called the Freedom from Religion Foundation. But the more I reflect on both the ad and the behavior of our hierarchy lately, there is part of me that wouldn't be surprised if we learned that the Vatican itself had secretly paid for the advertisement. With its attacks on same-sex marriage, battle against providing adequate health care for women, hostile takeover of LCWR and inquisition into the Girl Scouts, the hierarchy continues to make itself an embarrassing media spectacle in a society that long ago refused to accept the teaching on birth control, believes in women's equality and increasingly supports same-sex marriage (more).

Campus ministers help graduates transition into the 'real world

Extracts from Jamie L Manson, National Catholic Reporter, Thursday 24 May 2012

Graduating college students shouldn't feel like they're being jettisoned into the "real world," as if the life they have been living is some kind of "unreal world," say campus ministers counseling students during this perennial time of transition. "Don't discount the past years as unreal," Jesuit Fr. Jack Treacy tells graduating students at Santa Clara University in California, where he is director of campus ministry. College life is filled with its own difficulties, and students already have experienced family struggles, new relationships and money concerns, Treacy said in a recent interview. College isn't drastically different than life after it, he said. Recent graduates should take pride in what they have already accomplished and appreciate their own gifts and talents (more).

Lalor Youth Group Retreat in Ivanhoe Parish this weekend
Friday 18 May 2012

We warmly welcome the Youth Group of St Luke's Church Lalor to our Parish for a Retreat this Sunday.

Meaning of "The Ascension" in May 2012
Friday 17 May 2012

For this weekend in May 2012 what does "The Ascension" really mean to us in Ivanhoe Parish after centuries of interpretation and all the words and paintings produced to describe it? Weekend Masses together with the website Reflection &  Prayers Of the Faithful offer some challenging and helpful thoughts. An inspirational video clip from Special Olympics Australia also helps, in its own way, to illustrate the meaning of The Ascension.

Embracing new feminism and the culture of life
Extract from Fiona basile, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 17 May 2012

What is feminism? Can a feminist be pro-life? What is a culture of life and love, and how can this be presented to the world? These were some of the questions posed at the Anima conference on Saturday 12 May at the Cardinal Knox Centre, in East Melbourne (more).

Vatican II teachings on Judaism are binding, says official

Edited Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 17 May 2012

The Catholic Church's relationship to Judaism as taught by the Second Vatican Council and the interpretations and developments of that teaching by subsequent popes, "are binding on a Catholic," said the Vatican official responsible for relations with the Jews, reports the Catholic News Service.....Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, and a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, spoke to reporters on Wednesday after delivering a speech on Catholic-Jewish relations in light of Vatican II's declaration "Nostra Aetate" on the church's relations with non-Christian religion (more). Comments from Interfaith "Section four of Nostra Aetate repudiates the centuries-old "deicide" charge against all Jews, stresses the religious bond shared by Jews and Catholics, reaffirms the eternal covenant between God and the People of Israel, and dismisses church interest in trying to baptize Jews". (Ed: This report raises interesting questions on the binding nature of other Vatican II teachings?)

Tony Blair says world without faith would be a disaster

Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 17 May 2012

Tony Blair has told a conference in London that a world without faith would be a disaster, reports the Catholic Herald.....Mr Blair, a former Anglican who became a Catholic in 2007 – less than a year after he stepped down as prime minister – said that faith was vital because it introduced the virtue of humility into societies (more).

Archbishop Coleridge names Church's great challenge

Extracts from Catholic News, Wednesday 16 May 2012

The new Archbishop of Brisbane Mark Coleridge has indicated he is determined to lead in facing "the Church's greatest challenge in these times", reports The Catholic Leader. He left no doubt about that as he preached the homily at the Solemn Mass and Liturgical Reception during his installation as Archbishop of Brisbane in the Cathedral of St Stephen last Friday......."Without hesitation, I have said and I say here now: our greatest challenge is to become a more missionary Church - and this at a time when a certain institutional diminishment can tempt us to circle the wagons in some supposedly self-protective manoeuvre," he said. "But the great mistake we could make now would be to circle the wagons rather than roll them out into new territory in new ways." (more)   

Legionaries knew about priest's child for months
Extracts from Catholic News, Wednesday 16 May 2012

Leaders of the Legionaries of Christ religious order knew that their most famous priest had fathered a child for many months before they acknowledged it this week, a top Vatican official told Reuters, reports Yahoo7....The question left hanging was how long the order's leaders knew about Williams's secret life and why they continued to let him preach, teach and appear on television around the world, particularly in the United States (more).

Marist Youth Evangelisation Conference Tuesday 15 May 2012

Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 17 May 2012

Against the gospel backdrop of the Emmaus story, over 60 Marist school Campus and Youth Ministers, Religious Education Co-ordinators, Directors of Mission and young adults connected with Marist schools gathered at The Hermitage, Mittagong for three days of inspiration, intellectual challenge and sharing of wisdom around the theme of the evangelisation of young people (more).

Diplomat priest built bridges to China

Edited Extracts from Camilla Russell, Eureka Street, Sunday 13 May 2012

As the diplomatic crisis unfolded between the United States and China over the fate of blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng , hard questions about Chinese politics, society and culture surfaced, and the West embarked on its familiar cycle of attempted comprehension on the one hand, and obstinate mystification on the other.........we would do well to recover the openness and curiosity that enabled Ricci (revered leader of the first Jesuit mission in China, established in 1583.  The 400th anniversary of his death was celebrated from Beijing to Rome two years ago) to experience Chinese culture in an accommodating way. It can provide the ennobling tools we need to encounter other societies such as that of China, including its dissidents who sometimes call out for assistance (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.      Image: Dissident & Diplomat - Chris Johnston

Catholics create room for Anglicans
Extract from Barney Zwartz, The Age, Tuesday 15 May, 2012

Several hundred Anglican Australians are expected to convert to Roman Catholicism while keeping many of their Anglican practices next month after an invitation from Pope Benedict XVI. Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart said the Pope would announce the establishment of a ''personal ordinariate for former Anglicans'' in Australia on June 15, with their own bishop and churches. Archbishop Hart, the newly elected chairman of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, said the ordinariate would be a new diocese, called the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross (more).

Celebrating a boundless helper and a 70th Birthday                                                                                                                                               Friday 11 May 2012                                                                                                                                                                                                     Each of the Churches in our Parish owe a great debt of gratitude to those volunteers who support the parish in so many important ways. Often they work in the background, seen only by a few, doing those million and one things that need to be done, sometimes urgently at any time of the day or night, and that helps keep our churches operating so well. These people don't seek thanks or glory, and they're always available and reliable. The easier it looks from the 'outside' the more that probably goes in the background to keep things running as we have become perhaps accustomed to expect week in week out. When one of these persons celebrates a 70th Birthday then this is also a celebration for the whole Parish Community. Installing a large screen and suspending a multimedia projector from the high ceiling at St Bernadette's is just one of many challenges that Vito readily takes in his stride. This week Vito Iapozzuto (photo L) celebrated his 70th birthday, and with gratitude for all he continues to do in so many ways, at St Bernadette's and elsewhere in the parish we offer him, wife Giovanna (a fellow helper - photo R) and family our warmest best wishes - and thanks!

Debate showed that Australians care about faith
Extract comments on Reflecting on Dawkins Vs pell by BY Clare Condon SGS, Catholic News, Friday 11 May 2012

The Q & A live debate between evolutionary biologist, author and militant atheist, Professor Richard Dawkins, and Sydney’s Catholic Archbishop, Cardinal George Pell, attracted an audience of 863,000, its highest since the coverage of the 2010 Federal election; an indication that faith and God are still of great interest and challenge to Australians, writes Clare Condon SGS, in The Good Oil . The next day media headlines included: “Dawkins and Pell battle it out in one hell of a debate" (Sydney Morning Herald), “Adam and Eve? That’s just mythology, says Pell" (The Australian), “Pell, Dawkins wage battle of belief" (The Age), “Heated debate between Cardinal Pell and Professor Dawkins" (CathNews). When I read these headlines, I thought I must have watched and listened to a different program! Heat or battle I did not observe. I thought it was rather tame, with two disconnected arguments (more).

Religious liberty in a secular society

Extracts from Fiona Basile, Kairos Catholic Journal, Thursday 10 May 2012

“Everyone has faith and everyone is a believer,” according to Extraordinary Professor of Law, Prof. Iain Benson, who was in Melbourne this week as a guest of the Ambrose Centre for Religious Liberty. He also said that we should stop using the term ‘secular’ as it only “confuses things”......“The question isn’t whether people believe, but rather, what do they believe in? Not only does everyone believe in something, everyone has faith. Not all faith is religious faith. John Henry Cardinal Newman in the 19th century once made the observation that ‘to act is to assume, and to assume is to have faith’ (more).

Irish College in Rome changes staff after visitation   
                                                                                                                                           Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 10 May 2012                                                                                                                                                        Three of the four senior staff members at the Pontifical Irish College in Rome are stepping down from their posts after a Vatican investigation concluded Ireland’s seminaries are not doing enough to promote Catholic orthodoxy, reports the Catholic News Agency. “In colleges there is a constant changeover, maybe after the Apostolic Visitation it is not a bad idea to bring in new people, new ideas and move forward,” Archbishop Diarmuid  Martin of Dublin told CNA yesterday in Rome. The announcement comes in the wake of the March 2012 publication of a two-year investigation - officially called an apostolic visitation - into the health of the Irish Church. The visitation of Irish seminaries was led by Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York (more).

Vatican Versus American Nuns
Extract from Richard Rohr*, Unpacking Paradoxes, 10 May 2012

We must be honest and admit that there are only two remaining large systems in the world that are totally patriarchal in their style and in their leadership: Communist states and the Roman Catholic Church (more).  *Fr. Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province.

Rite of Enrolment for Confirmation Candidates this weekend
Ivanhoe Parish, Friday 4 May 2012

At Ivanhoe Parish Masses this weekend our Confirmation Candidates will be welcomed to their Rite of Enrolment for Confirmation after weeks of preparation so far. In response to Candidates' commitment Parishioners will be invited to welcome and offer support to the candidates as they further prepare to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation.

Parish reflections on 50th Anniversary of Vatican Council                                                                                                                          Ivanhoe Parish, Friday 4 May 2012                                                                                                                                                                             Fifty years ago the 2nd Vatican Council introduced significant changes into the Catholic Church. Throughout this year and leading up to the Anniversary of the commencement of Vatican 2 on 11 October 1962 Ivanhoe Parish Liturgy Group will publish a number of brief website and Newsletter reports on some significant outcomes. To lead into this theme Australian Salesian priest, Frank Moloney, one of the world's leading biblical scholars reflects via video on the momentous changes brought about by the Council on the way Catholics interpret the Bible, and its place in the life of the Church. View his comments here.      Source: "When Catholics dropped the Bible" Peter Kirkwood, Eureka StreetSubscription to Eureka Street is free.

'Unfriendly churches' to blame for people quitting church
Archbishop Nichols addresses evangelisation conference

Extract from The Tablet, 3 May 2012, 9:00
"........Evangelisation is important in the work of the Bishops' Conference which comes under the title of Home Mission and it is also recognised in the initiative of the Holy Father for us to hold a Year of Faith from next October through to the following November.........I would like to suggest that your work today is essentially about relationships, it is essentially about how people relate together and how those relationships are the vehicle by which faith is shared or indeed lost...........The little bits of sociological research that I've heard suggest these things, that people drift away or leave the church because of hurt or simply because of neglect, that much is pretty straightforward. What is interesting is that those who are asked, who have left, who have gone, comment quite often that: ‘Nobody seemed to notice whether I was there or not.' Also at the same time, people who have been asked say that they are open to a request, they are open to the suggestion that they might want to talk about how this happened. Ninety-five per cent of people say they would welcome an approach which addressed this issue in their lives. The third thing from this little bit that I've read, tells us that returning to the practice of their faith within the community is not that easy. Crossing the Threshold - the title today - is not a single and a simple step." (more).

Irish Deputy PM says Cardinal should resign
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 3 April 2012

Ireland's deputy prime minister said yesterday he thought the head of the Irish Catholic Church should resign after a TV documentary reported the cleric had failed to warn parents their children were being sexually abused by a priest in 1975, according to a Reuters report published on Yahoo7News (more).

LCWR crackdown more complicated than 'Rome vs. America'
Extracts from Analysis, John L Allen Jr, National Catholic Reporter, Thursday 3 May 2012

Rome. At first blush, one compelling frame for the crackdown on the Leadership Conference of Woman Religious would seem to be "Rome vs. America," and in a sense, that's perfectly correct. This is, after all, an overhaul of an American body decreed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican's powerful theological watchdog agency. Yet drilling down, the picture becomes more complicated. At least part of the original momentum for the overhaul actually came from America, not Rome, and meanwhile, not everyone in Rome is quite on the same page....... First of all, observers note a clear contrast within the Vatican between the two departments most directly involved in the current fracas: the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which issued the April 18 doctrinal assessment, and the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, popularly known as the Congregation for Religious, which has primary jurisdiction for supervising bodies such as LCWR (more). Photo: U.S. Cardinal Eilliam J. Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CNS.Paul Harding)

US bishops discuss LCWR reform, visitation with Vatican officials
Extracts from Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Services,National Catholic Reporter, Wednesday 2 May 2012

Vatican City. Recent Vatican investigations of religious women have created opportunities for growth through reflection and for dialogue with their bishops, two U.S. bishops said after discussing the matter with Vatican officials. Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan of Santa Fe, N.M., and Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., told Catholic News Service May 2 that they had discussed the Vatican visitation of U.S. communities of religious women and the more recent order to reform the Leadership Conference of Women Religious earlier the same day with officials from the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life......"the point that was made was that although some people were unhappy with the decision to make corrections" in the LCWR, it would be "an opportunity for dialogue" between the religious and the bishops......."that if this would have happened some years earlier, it might have been better. But, anyway, it's going on now and I think it will be the occasion for some dialogue." (more)

Catholic Religious Australia offers support to LCWR in America
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 3 May 2012

Catholic Religious Australia has offered a letter of support to the LCWR in America, according to a statement released by CRA. "On behalf of the Council of Catholic Religious Australia I write to offer you and all your Sisters in LCWR our support at this time," writes CRA President Sr Anne Derwin. "We appreciate that your Board is yet to meet and discuss the conclusions of the Congregation for Faith and Doctrine of the Faith’s doctrinal assessment and the implementation plan put forward by that Vatican Office (more). Photo: Catholic News - CRA President Sr Anne Derwin

Abuse victims lodge damages claims

Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 3 May 2012

Eleven Victorians abused by a jailed paedophile Christian Brother have lodged joint claims in the Victorian County Court in the first of several looming and large legal actions aimed at forcing the Catholic Church to compensate victims, reports The Age.
The move is the largest legal action of its type in Victoria and, if it succeeds, will put intense pressure on the Christian Brothers to pay victims compensation that could total millions of dollars (more).

Church opposes Stronger Futures draft laws for NT
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 2 May 2012

The Catholic Church has joined with Aboriginal leaders in opposing the Federal Government's draft Stronger Futures laws, reports SBS. "The Yolngu Nations are clearly stating they have had enough of being pressured to agree to things that are negatively impacting their communities," Sydney Archdiocese Aboriginal Catholic Ministry spokesman Graeme Mundine said. The laws, currently before the Senate, continue the former Howard government's Northern Territory intervention introduced in 2007 to address violence and alcohol abuse in Aboriginal communities. The measures are widely opposed by NT Aboriginal communities, who say they were not
properly consulted on the government's plans and that the laws are racist (more).

Wisconsin bishop threatens denial of sacraments for 'rumors and gossip'
Extracts from Marie Rodhe, National Catholic Reporter, Wednesday 2 May 2012

Milwauke. Despite warning signs that they would not win the fight to oust their priests, parishioners in a small Wisconsin town didn't relent. Neither did their bishop, Robert Morlino of Madison. After battling for almost two years, members of St. Mary Parish in Platteville were told by Morlino on April 25 that if they persisted in what he characterized as spreading "rumors and gossip," the Catholics would face some of the church's harshest sanctions: the denial of the sacraments of Communion, confession and burial.....Parish protestors say the new priests have brought in pre-Vatican II practices and offended many in the congregation. Contributions to St. Mary have dropped by more than half and hundreds have left for other parishes or Protestant churches. Morlino's warning to the dissident parishioners came in a letter announcing the closing of the parish school, even though the parish had just raised $1.8 million for capital improvements (more).

Sydney priest sacked after revealing he is married

Extract from Catholic News, Tuesday 1 May 2012

A Sydney Catholic priest who revealed he has been married for a year has been removed from his post by church officials, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. Father Kevin Lee, a priest at Padre Pio parish in Glenmore Park, told Channel Seven last night he married his wife, whom he met in the Philippines, in secret last year.''I've fallen in love and I've got married and it's outside of most people's awareness,'' he said. ''But I'm sure people within the church could have had a suspicion.'' He said his public admission was motivated by the fact that many priests led a double life. ''I think celibacy has to go,'' he said (more).

 Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn - An Anzac reflection
Extract from Fred Cullen*  (Herald Sun 24 April), Friday 27 April 2012

The Anzac spirit is elusive of description, but it has been part of Australian
thought, language and life for almost a century. It was a legend that gripped the imagination and endures forever as part of our history. Sir William Deane - former Governor-General of Australia - summed it up this way: "Though born from the doomed campaign at Gallipoli, the spirit of Anzac is not really about loss at all. "It is about courage and endurance, and duty and love of country, and mateship, and good humour and the survival of a sense of self-worth and decency in the face of dreadful odds." 

For younger generations, and those who lived here for just a short while, it is sometimes difficult to understand why it is with gratitude and reverence that we continue to commemorate Anzac Day (more) .   *Fred Cullen, OAM, a member of Ivanhoe Parish and President of the Ivanhoe RSL welcomed guests and spoke at the parish Anzac remembrance Mass . Photos: ANZAC Day 2012 Remembrance Mass at Ivanhoe Parish; Fred Cullen with previous Parish Priest Fr John Cunningham in 2011 at the Welcome Mass for Fr Thang (just visible in background projection).       

Schools confront the globalisation of superficiality
Extracts from Greg O'Kelly, Eureka Street, Thursday 26 April 2012

We live in an Australia of burgeoning secularism, one where individual choice can be seen as its own justification. Within this context, educators of young people, particularly within the Catholic system, face two challenges in particular: the need to educate for choice, and the need to educate for depth. Confronting today's young people are choices of an extensive nature, far more than confronted their parents — not just choices of websites, or choices of TV stations, or choices of stores in shopping centres, but also choices concerning values and beliefs and lifestyles. A choice enables us to be free, but choice is not its own justification. Education about choice is a real challenge for those charged with forming the young....Unless there is education about discernment, the consideration of what directions and consequences choices will lead us to, students may make disastrous options or at the least become mired in indifferentism (more).     Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

A very public rebuke
Extract from Phyllis Zagano, The Tablet, Friday 27April 2012

The Vatican has confronted women Religious of the United States head-on with the demand that their leadership organisation conform and reform. The row, which has caused deep unease about Vatican intervention, exposes major divides in the Church
By publicly announcing the conclusions of one of its two scrutinies of US women Religious, the Vatican kicked a sleeping tiger. The general public reaction to the “Doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious” is: are they kidding? Editorials, petitions, even a Twitter campaign chide the Vatican’s perceived attack (more).

Pope orders German liturgy change
Extract from The Tablet, Thursday 26 April 2012

Pope Benedict XVI has personally written to the head of the German bishops' conference to change the text of the Mass to say that Christ died "for many" rather than "for all" (more).

Vatican sets up commission to investigate leaks

Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 26 April 2012

82 year old retired Spanish Cardinal Julian Herranz will head a Vatican commission to investigate leaks of confidential information to the media over the last few weeks,  reports Independent Catholic News. The Vatican secretariat said in a statement this week that Pope Benedict XVI had ordered  the creation of a Commission of Cardinals to undertake an authoritative investigation and throw light on “recent leaks of reserved and confidential documents on television, in newspapers and in other communications media” (more).

Illegitimate Chinese bishops 'confuse' faithful

Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 26 April 2012

The Vatican has expressed concern that some bishops in China have "usurped" the Catholic Church's authority and are confusing the faithful, says an Associated Press report published in Newsday. The Vatican warned yesterday that bishops who were consecrated without the pope's blessing yet work among the faithful as if they were legitimate are only making their legal status worse. The admonition came in a statement issued at the end of a Vatican meeting on China. The relationship between Beijing and Rome has been tense since 1951, when China severed ties with the Holy See after the Communist Party took power and set up its own church outside the pope's authority (more).

Irish priest censured by Vatican

Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 26 April 2012

The Passionist congregation in Ireland has confirmed that the Vatican acted last year against prominent media priest Father Brian D’Arcy, reports the Irish Times. Father Pat Duffy, provincial superior of the Passionist congregation in Ireland said in a statement that “last year concerns were expressed to the Passionist Superior General in Rome by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) about some aspects of Father Brian D’Arcy’s writings”. He continued that “since then Father Brian has been co-operating to ensure he can make a contribution to journalism in Ireland. Father Brian remains a priest in good standing.” Father Duffy's statement follows an article in the current issue of The Tablet, which reported that Father D’Arcy, a columnist with a popular Irish tabloid The Sunday World, a regular contributor to BBC Radio 2’s Pause for Thought, as well as to the Irish national broadcaster RTE and a best selling author “has been told he must submit his writings and broadcasts to an approved church censor.” (more)

Pell backs Gillard's Anzac Day values call

Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 25 April 2012

Cardinal George Pell has supported Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s suggestion that the values Anzac Day represents have grown beyond the military roots of the day, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. Speaking after addressing the Dawn Service at Gallipoli yesterday, Ms Gillard said Anzac Day had ''organically grown into what it is'' and had meaning for all Australians, including migrants such as herself. Cardinal Pell, who along with 40 Catholic school teachers is in Turkey retracing the steps of St Paul, said Anzac Day represents for many more people, especially younger people ''the legend of Australia''. He said it stands for ''a devotion to duty and a preparedness to put yourself on the line for what you believe is a good cause'' (more).

LCWR earthquake snaps tensions present since Vatican II
Extract from Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter, Tuesday 24 April 2012

It is almost instinctively that one reaches, when attempting to explain what is going on today in the Catholic church, for metaphors out of the natural world -- storms, earthquakes, seismic shifts -- to get at the magnitude of events. We search for the terms that explain what we're experiencing: phenomena beyond the ordinary disturbances we've learned to weather one season to the next. Just as seismologists or climatologists begin to put together patterns over time, to construct a mega-image of what is happening, so are we. Another piece of the puzzle has just fallen into place for us with the delivery last week from the Vatican of the "Doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious." (more

Celebration for MOG Primary School and the Parish
John Costa, Friday 20 April 2012

Years of planning and hard work culminated joyously today in the Opening and Blessing Ceremony for the impressive new Marian Centre at Mother Of God Primary School. Following the Blessing ceremony by Fr Thang supported by students, Principal Louise McGrath welcomed the Federal Minister for Jagaja Jenny Macklin who praised the school's contribution to quality Primary Schooling and also acknowledged the strong cooperation with adjoining Ivanhoe East Primary School. Students attending were exemplary in behaviour, obviously excited and impressively alert. When the Minister asked students if they knew how much the Federal Government had spent on the school she looked very surprised when a particularly young student enthusiastically raised his hand with the answer. Yes it was $2million. Parent Representative Kathleen Swift responded warmly on behalf of the community. After all the recent openings of parish Primary School building developments this was a celebration for MOG Primary School shared by the whole parish.    

ANZAC Remembrance in Ivanhoe Parish
In anticipation of ANZAC Day on 25th April

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."  - 'The Ode of Remembrance', Laurence Binyon

Ivanhoe Parish Masses this weekend, for the 3rd Sunday of Easter, will begin with a brief ANZAC Reflection following the Entrance Hymn. There will also be a special ANZAC Remembrance Mass at St Bernadette's Church at 8:00am on ANZAC Day, 25 April.

Philippines leads the world in belief of God                                                                                                                                            Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 18 April 2012
The Philippines leads the world in the number of people who believe in God, while the elderly across all countries tend to be the most religious, according to a US study out Wednesday, according to an AFP report on Seven News online. Belief in God tends to be strongest in the United States and Catholic countries and lowest in Scandinavia and former Soviet states, according to the survey carried out by the NORC research group at the University of Chicago (more).

Don't blame church for all gruesome acts: Abbott

Extracts from Catholic News, Wednesday 18 April 2012

Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has embraced the Victorian government's parliamentary inquiry into the handling by churches of child sex abuse allegations, but cautioned against holding the Catholic Church alone responsible for "gruesome acts," reports The Sydney Morning Herald....Mr Abbott said abuse had to be eliminated from all elements of life. "I think it's very important to get to the bottom of this kind of behaviour and to stamp it out," he said...."I think where criminal behaviour has taken place, it should be reported to the police, and prosecution should be launched. I think where institutions have been inadequate, they should be investigated, and they should be improved."...Mr Abbott said child abuse was a "terrible blot on society" but added that it was important not to make it the sole domain and sin of the church (more).

S Sudan catastrophe warning                                                                                                                                                                   Extract from The Tablet, Tuesday 17 April 2012
The aid agency founded by Christian peer Baroness Cox has urged the international community to pressure Sudan to allow humanitarian assistance for Sudanese and South Sudanese people suffering air raids carried out by the Sudanese Government in Khartoum. Military offensives have been carried out by both countries. Baroness Cox was part of a delegation which returned from visiting people displaced from Sudan's Blue Nile State, the Nuba Mountains and Abyei yesterday. In a statement the agency said the air raids have killed and injured countless civilians, and displaced more than half a million from Abyei, Southern Kordofan (Nuba Mountains) and Blue Nile (more).

Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne will cooperate fully with Inquiry
Extract from statement by Archbishop Denis Hart, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Tuesday 17 April 2012

“I welcome today’s announcement by the Premier, Mr Baillieu and the Attorney General, Mr Clark that the Government has decided to proceed with a Parliamentary Inquiry into how religious and other organisations handle allegations of criminal abuse of children within their organisations.” “I am convinced that such an inquiry will clear the air around this painful and distressing issue of sexual abuse in Victoria. “As I have indicated frequently in the past, the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne will cooperate fully with the Parliamentary Inquiry during the course of its investigations. “I reaffirm the Archdiocese’s position that we have nothing to hide from such an independent inquiry, and I am confident that any inquiry into the Archdiocese’s Melbourne Response process will confirm this. “The Melbourne Response has functioned effectively and fairly since 1996. “My clear, and often stated, preference is for allegations of criminal conduct to be investigated by Victoria Police and dealt with in the criminal courts (more).

Baillieu bows to pressure on church sex-abuse probe
Extract from Josh Gordon, The Age, Tuesday 17 April 2012

The Catholic Church and "religious organisations" are to be subjected to a year-long parliamentary inquiry into the handling of criminal abuse of children. Premier Ted Baillieu today said the inquiry will have powers to compel witnesses to give evidence and to elicit documentary and electronic information and will be conducted by the bipartisan Family and Community Development Committee of Parliament. It is to report to Parliament by April 30 next year (more).

Priests, faithful 'want' abuse inquiry
Extract from Jane Lee And Barney Zwartz, The Age, Tuesday 17 April 2012

Most of Melbourne's Catholic clergy and parishioners would support a government inquiry into how the church has dealt with victims of sexual abuse, according to a senior priest. Father Kevin Dillon, of St Mary of the Angels in Geelong, believes about 70 per cent would now favour an inquiry in the wake of recent widespread publicity given to victims' stories (more). Photo: John Woudstra, Father Kevin Dillon of St Mary of the Angels in Geelong.

They that grow old
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne,m Sunday 15 April 2012

When Bob Nichols was born in 1922, Daniel Mannix was Archbishop of Melbourne, bread and milk were delivered by horse and cart, the world was recovering from the Great War and the Depression was only a few years away. Growing up in Moonee Ponds, Bob used to take a dip at the local pool and afterwards watch the 58th Infantry Battalion training at the drill hall next door. He was so keen to join them that he attempted to do so twice. After passing the medical examination in December 1938, 16-year-old Bob was told to come back when he was 18. A month later, he noticed a different officer in charge on duty so bumped up his age and became a reserve in the 58th Infantry Battalion in January 1939 (more).

Philip Adams in schism with the Dawkinsonians
Extracts from Eureka Street, Sunday 15 April 2012

While the second Global Atheist Convention at the weekend was a highlight for some, it disappointed others. Some would be attendees stayed away because they could see that the dominance of comedy and derision would exclude any serious or productive exploration of the issues.....Last Monday's ABC TV Q&A debate between Richard Dawkins and Cardinal George Pell represented a different kind of trivialisation in that it was promoted as a fight rather than comedy. In a sense this is much closer to the contest of ideas that we would hope to see in an exchange between a believer and an unbeliever. But it lacked the mutual respect that any form of dialogue requires....In the shadow of the blockbuster Q&A and Global Atheist Convention was a much more poignant encounter earlier this month between broadcaster Philip Adams and the Jesuit Fr Gerald O'Collins. Adams is the longtime (but arguably fallen) doyen of Australia's atheist movement, while O'Collins is one of the English-speaking world's most published and respected Catholic theologians (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free

Archbishop says suicide report should be given to the Coroner
Extract of Statement to Media by Archbishop Hart, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Friday 13 April 2012
"I was deeply saddened today to read reports in the media of the suicides of at least 40 people linked to sexual abuse and I extend my heart-felt sympathy to the relatives of those who have died. It appears that a confidential police report has been given to the media. I think that Victoria Police should give the report to the Coroner. There needs to be a proper investigation of any suicides. I want to respond to comments in the media today about the Church’s relationship with Victoria Police. I believe that we have a good working relationship with Victoria Police. In establishing the Melbourne Response in 1996, we had extensive discussions with the police which continue at a senior level."  (more)

Belgian bishop for married priests
The Tablet, Friday 13 April 2012

Antwerp Bishop Johan Bonny has said he would like to ordain married men to enrich the pastoral service the Church can offer. Bishop Bonny said he thought most other Belgian bishops would also welcome such a reform. But he added, in an Easter interview with the Brussels daily De Standaard, ordaining women would be more difficult, because that posed theological problems instead of just the juridical issue that married male clergy present. Belgian Catholics would probably accept women's ordination, Bishop Bonny said, but "this is a difficult issue worldwide".  However he said he supported celibacy as a prophetic sign "especially in a consumer society like ours, where sexuality is sometimes trivialised" (source).

Vic police reports reveal abuse victims' suicides
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 12 April 2012

Confidential police reports have detailed the suicides of at least 40 people sexually abused by Catholic clergy in Victoria, reports The Age. They urge a new inquiry into these and many other deaths suspected to be linked to abuse in the church. The reports say it appears the church has known about a shockingly high rate of suicides and premature deaths but has "chosen to remain silent." (more)

Archbishop Coleridge says he is ready to engage
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 11 April 2012

Brisbane archdiocese's new leader Archbishop Mark Coleridge said he is keen to work for the "common good of all people in this great city and far beyond", reports The Catholic Leader. He spoke to the media on various topics, including same-sex civil unions, the issue of women priests and South Brisbane's self-exiled St Mary's community (more).

Bruises all round in Pell-Dawkins street fight
Extracts from Neil Ormerod, Eureka Street, Tuesday 10 April 2012

....In Australia we do things differently. Here we set Dawkins against Cardinal George Pell and put journalist Tony Jones in the moderator's seat. Rather than a gentlemanly debate the event was billed like a street fight, with Jones calling it 'a remarkable match-up', a 'title fight of belief'....The problem of suffering raised the level of debate somewhat, not for Dawkins for whom there is nothing to explain, but certainly for Pell, who admitted that this was a problem that he struggled with. Here there was some genuine religious depth, in his dealing with pastoral concerns for real-life situations....It is hard to know what such TV debates achieve. They are not about a meeting of minds; both sides 'preach to the choir' only each has a different choir in mind. The issues are not conducive to sound bites and quick quips....Trying to get a scientist to understand the difference between physics and metaphysics is not an easy task.... Dawkins was clearly out of his depth....Still, complex questions such as transubstantiation and the resurrection of the body do not survive our media-driven 15-second attention span. The poll at the end of the night overwhelmingly gave the 'debate' to Dawkins, but more thoughtful tweets the next morning simply say 'no-one won, they both lost' (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free

Easter 2012 in Ivanhoe Parish
Monday 9 April 2012

Easter in Ivanhoe parish this year impressively followed the pattern of last year and other parishes with record attendances at the various services throughout Lent, and Holy Week in particular. Further to large attendances many parishioners were also involved with the parish priest in preparing the numerous special liturgies, arrangements, choirs, and with music, multimedia, notices, publications, church set-up and myriad of 'invisible' support activities. Some visiting priests kindly assisted. On the Liturgy page (under 'Mass Details') a photographic glimpse of some of these well supported services at our three churches is displayed.All ages were well represented, and as this sample photo (left) illustrates, the parish well lived up to its value of 'inclusiveness'.

Ritual of last goodbye in Kathmandu
Edited Extracts from Paola Totaro, The Age, Friday 6 April 2012

It is spring and the monkeys of Kathmandu's Pashupatinath Temple have bright-eyed newborns on their backs and the trees are peppered with buds and promise of new growth. This is Nepal's oldest Hindu site and one of the world's most sacred shrines to Shiva. But here on the banks of the Bagmati River it is death that permeates the air. Stone funeral platforms line the riverside, the sound of raw grief lances the silence and pungent smoke swirls with morbid beauty. Every day, scores of bamboo or metal gurneys carrying corpses are carried to the waterside by grieving relatives....But it was also strangely reassuring to see that there are cultures not driven by the fear of death and that saying goodbye with an enormous fire by a sacred temple can be an equally profound and human experience (more). Photo: Penny Bradfield

I shrink therefore I am: in short, a whole new order

Extracts from Catherine Armitage, The Age, Friday 6 April 2012

IF IT'S so hard to change the climate to suit humans, why not alter humans to suit the changing climate, philosophers from Oxford and New York universities are asking. They suggest humans could be modified to be smaller, to dislike eating meat, have fewer children and be more willing to co-operate with social goals. Behavioural changes might not be enough, even if they are widely adopted, and international agreements for market solutions such as emissions trading are proving difficult to achieve, say Matthew Liao, of New York University, and Anders Sandberg and Rebecca Roache, of Oxford University....So human engineering deserves serious consideration (more).

Archbishop Denis Hart's Easter message
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 5 April 2012

...Two thousand years ago God sent Jesus, his Son, to share our human nature.  He lived, taught, suffered and died and, remarkably, he conquered death and rose again. Easter is a passage through suffering and death to life, a glimpse of the final destiny offered to every human being (more)

Easter manifesto
Extract from John Falzon, Eureka Street, Thursday 5 April 2012

... when he saw the multitudes he was moved to compassion for them, because they were distressed and scattered like sheep without a shepherd. Being moved to compassion can sound almost like an act of largesse on the part of a powerful monarch. The Greek of Matthew's Gospel, however, expresses this phrase with an earthy and painful sense of compulsion, a kind of tugging at the guts or churning of the stomach (more).  Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

New stats reveal priesthood and participation crisis is deepening
Extract from 2012 update to the Wilkinson Report, Catholica, Thursday 5 April 2012

The official data for the year to July 2011 indicates that little progress was made in dealing with the parish ministry crisis confronting the Catholic Church in Australia. Rather, the evidence suggests that the crisis has deepened. While it can be said that some areas of ministry have held steady, there are qualifications. The number of priests engaged in parish ministry did not show significant change, but only because the religious institutes assigned more priests to parishes, because more priests were recruited from overseas, and because many retired priests are included in the listings. The uplift in seminarian numbers is also due, not to increased local vocations, but largely to seminarians recruited from overseas.....However, in other areas there was significant slippage (more).

Vatican investigating Irish priest over liberal views
Extract from RTE News*, Ireland, Thursday 5 April 2012

A founder of the Association of Catholic Priests, Fr Tony Flannery, has confirmed that he is being investigated by the Vatican for his liberal views. Today's Irish Catholic newspaper reports that the Vatican intervened directly to stop the Redemptorist author contributing his monthly column in his order's Reality magazine. In July, Fr Flannery supported Taoiseach Enda Kenny's criticisms of the Vatican over its handling of clerical child sexual abuse. Meanwhile, at Holy Thursday Mass in the Vatican, Pope Benedict warned that he will not tolerate his priests disobeying essential teachings (more). * RTÉ.ie is the website of Raidió Teilifís Éireann, Ireland's National Public Service Broadcaster

Italian man leaves $2 billion to the Church
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 5 April 2012

An Italian man whose company manufactured electronic gates has left assets worth 1.7 billion euros ($2.19 billion) to the Catholic Church, said an AFP report in the Herald Sun. The donation in Michelangelo Manini's will includes a majority stake in his company, news reports said. Manini, 50, died on March 17. He also left properties, bank accounts and shareholdings to the diocese of Bologna, which took part in its first board meeting of the company, FAAC, on Monday (more).

War legacy divides Sri Lanka Church
From: The Tablet, Wednesday 4 April 2012

Divisions have deepened in the Sri Lankan Church following the UN Human Rights Council's passing of a resolution calling on Colombo to "credibly investigate" alleged abuse during the final phase of war with Tamil rebels in 2009. President Mahinda Rajapaksa denies the charges, accusing Western countries of interfering with domestic politics. Colombo-based Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, who is Sinhalese, denounced the resolution as "undue meddling in the sovereignty and integrity of Sri Lanka" and "an insult to the intelligence of the people of Sri Lanka". Bishop Rayappu Joseph of Mannah, a northern-based member of the Tamil minority, wrote to the Human Rights Council in early March saying he believed "an independent international body would better address the question of truth, responsibility and reparation for victims" (more).

Strong parish participation anticipated for 2012 Holy Week and Easter services
Friday 30 March 2012

Last year the parish experienced what were arguably record attendances at its various Easter liturgies. This year the level of interest already shown suggests an even stronger participation, particularly as well because in 2012 parish schools have more actively engaged students and families in preparation for the richness of Easter and its powerful liturgies within Ivanhoe Parish. Palm Sunday Masses this weekend mark the start of Holy Week and Easter. All are welcome to join in the various services. The program can be downloaded from "Mass Details".

Archbishop Hart reaffirms the Church's position on a public inquiry
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Friday 30 March 2012

The Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, has issued a statement in response to an article in The Age newspaper (29/03/12) in which Father Tony Kerin, Episcopal Vicar for Justice and Peace, appeared to be supporting demands for a public inquiry into the Church’s handling of sex abuse by clergy. Archbishop Hart pointed out that whether or not an inquiry is called is a matter for the State, not for the Church. He reaffirmed his position as stated in The Age on 15 March 2012 that the Melbourne Archdiocese has nothing to hide from an independent inquiry. "I am confident that any inquiry into the Melbourne Response process would confirm this," writes the Archbishop. "The Melbourne Response has functioned effectively since 1996." The Archbishop states that Father Kerin is not his "advisor on sexual abuse issues" as was reported. "Father Kerin has spoken to me to express his concerns about the article in The Age on 29 March.  Contrary to what was reported, he [Father Kerin] has told me that he has not "called for an inquiry". He has said that what he told The Age is that an inquiry would clear the air", states Archbishop Hart (more).

Priests call for abuse inquiry
Extract from Barney Zwartz, The Age, Thursday 29 March 2012

Senior Melbourne Catholic clergy, including the archbishop's adviser on sexual abuse issues, have broken ranks by backing a call for an independent inquiry into the handling of abuse complaints. The adviser, Father Tony Kerin, said yesterday that he had told Archbishop Denis Hart that an independent review would clear the air and should be held, although the cost to the church would be high.'' This is really a crunch issue for the church. If we are to be a church, we need to minister to the victims and do it much better,'' he said (more).

Bishop: Total re-examination of Catholic faith, culture needed
Extract from Joshua J McEwwee, National Catholic Reporter, Wednesday 29 March 2012

Chicago. The roots of the decades-long clergy sex abuse scandal lie not in any set of rules or practices, but are found deep in the culture of the church itself, retired Australian Bishop Geoffrey Robinson said Wednesday in a wide-ranging talk at the historic Newberry Library in downtown Chicago. The "major fault" of the church in the scandal, Robinson said, is that it "refuses to look at any teaching, law, practice or even attitude of the church itself as in any way contributing" to the crisis. "In studying abuse, we must be free to follow the argument wherever it leads rather than impose in advance the limitation that our study must not demand change in any teaching or law," he continued. "We must admit that there might be elements of the 'Catholic culture' that have contributed either to the abuse or to the poor response to abuse.'" (more)  (NCR photo/Joshua J. McElwee)

Vatican cancels stem cell research conference
Extract from Catholic news, Thursday 29 March 2012

The Vatican has decided to cancel an important stem cell research conference, which had been organised in collaboration with the Pontifical Academy for Life, said the Vatican Insider. The report said that, officially, the international conference has been cancelled for financial reasons - but behind the scenes lurks some people’s grudge for the invitation of scientists in disagreement with the Holy See (more). Photo: Flickr, Patrick Hoesly

Television review - Compass: Catholics Divided
Edited extract from Catholic News, Thursday 29 March 2012

This episode* of Compass examines new fault-lines in the Catholic church in Australia. The new translation of the Roman Mass is the most significant change to Catholic worship in 40 years. It has divided Catholics between those who believe in orthodoxy and those who champion the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. While debate rages over the new Mass, the western NSW Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes has not had its own bishop for three years and is in danger of being dissolved. Against this backdrop, Australia's Bishops travelled to Rome in October to visit the Pope and Vatican officials. While there they celebrated the opening and blessing of a new multi-million dollar pilgrimage centre "Domus Australia". (source)        *Compass: Catholics Divided: 6.30pm ABC-TV1, April 1

Brew Unto Others
Extract from Amanda Greene, Religion News Service, Wilmington N.C. Thursday 29 March 2012

"Cheers," said assistant brewer Christopher McGarvey, taking a sip from his pint of golden ale. Then he continued his lecture on the history of beer in ancient Samaria to a crowd of about 90 on the third floor of this city's Front Street Brewery. McGarvey is a recent seminary graduate, a cantor at St. Basil the Great Orthodox Church and the brains behind the "What Would Jesus Brew" class each Tuesday evening in March. The class is part of a yearlong Heavenly Homebrew Competition of Churches for Charity. It will culminate in church teams brewing individual beers for a fall event benefiting Lower Cape Fear Hospice & Lifecare Center in Wilmington (more).

Church in Australia looks to Asia to cover priest shortage
Extract from Catholic News, Tuesday 27 March 2012

The Church is keen to recruit priests from Asia to help overcome a shortage in regional Australia, rpeorts the ABC. Bishop Greg O'Kelly from the Port Pirie diocese in South Australia says the church also needs to ordain younger people. Bishop O'Kelly says he has been to the Philippines and found strong support for the idea of relocations to Australia. "The Australian church has never supplied enough priests by itself, we've been dependant on Ireland until relatively recent times," he said. "Now that source from European overseas, Ireland, has dried up, we have to look to Asia I believe."  (more)

Update on parish finances
Friday 23 March 2012

The Finance Committee will present a financial update for parishioners at each of our three churches this weekend.

Romero's message resonates with new generation of Catholic
Extract from Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Services, National Catholic Reporter, Thursday 22 March 2012

Washington. Each spring, the doors of the small church near Candler, close to Asheville in North Carolina, are flung open to let in the burgeoning number of congregants. Seats fill fast on or around March 24, said Edith Segovia, a parishioner of St. Joan of Arc Church. Increasingly, she sees younger churchgoers arriving to celebrate the life of a man who died before many of them were born. "They see Monsenor Archbishop Romero as a Christ who walked on this earth," said Segovia, 38, who talks to younger parishioners about Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador, who was killed March 24, 1980. (more) Image: Wikipedia

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 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 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 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 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).

A call for resolute action
Extract from Denis Fitzgerald*, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 16 February 2012

Gambling looms large in Australian culture, with an estimated three-quarters of the population engaging in some form of gambling each year. And gambling issues are never far from the headlines, particularly when there is a political element. Prime Minister Julia Gillard's recent withdrawal from an agreement with Andrew Wilkie MP to introduce specific measures to reduce the harm that results from playing poker machines gained saturation coverage (more).    * Executive Director Catholic Services Victoria,

Contraception debate exposes divide
Extract from Feature, Catholic News, Thursday 16 February 2012

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops is a powerful institution, at least on paper. But the recent debate over contraception coverage has exposed a deep divide between the 271 active bishops and the rank-and-file American Catholics who are supposed to follow their moral authority, reports Reuters. It also has raised questions about why some prominent Catholic institutions ignore the bishops' teachings (more).

UK Muslim baroness leads delegation to Vatican
Extract from Catholic News, Tuesday 14 February 2012

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, a UK Muslim cabinet minister who led a ministerial delegation to the Vatican, said Europe must "become more confident and more comfortable in its Christianity", in an article published in The Telegraph."The point is this: the societies we live in, the cultures we have created, the values we hold and the things we fight for all stem from centuries of discussion, dissent and belief in Christianity," she says (more).

National Apology Day commemorated
Extract from Fiona Basile, Kairos, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Monday 13 February 2012

Four years ago on this day, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd addressed the nation to publicly apologise to the Indigenous people of Australia for the past injustices and wrongs done to them. Today about 200 people gathered at Birrarung Marr to commemorate this momentous occasion thanks to a new initiative of the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Melbourne (ACMM) office (more).

Female vocations overtake males in UK Anglican priesthood
Extract from Catholic News, Monday 13 February 2012

For the first time ever in the United Kingdom, female priests' vocations exceed those of their male colleagues in the Church of England, said a report in the Vatican Insider. It bodes well for a final "yes" vote in next July's Synod that would allow women into the Episcopate, the report adds. "Official figures show that 290 women were ordained in 2010, the most recent year for which figures are available," says British newspaper The Telegraph. "By contrast, just 273 men entered the priesthood." (more)

Dean resigns in solidarity with priest sacked over liturgy change

Extract from Catholic News, Monday 13 February 2012

A senior priest in the US state of Illinois has resigned from his role as head of the local deanery, in protest at the removal of one of his fellow priests for making small changes to prayers in the Mass, reports the Independent Catholic News. Fr Bill Rowe, a 72 year-old priest in Illinois resigned from the parish where he had served for 17 years, after being ordered by his Bishop to read the Eucharistic liturgy exactly as it is written in the Roman Missal, instead of making small modifications, to make the prayers more understandable to his congregation (more).

Australia's story in Indigenous languages
Extract from Brian McCoy, Eureka Street, Sunday 12 February 2012

'Where is the parish priest?' I asked the young girl sitting on the ground with her friends outside the parish house. I had just arrived in a remote Aboriginal community along with a colleague and was not sure where we were staying. I will never forget the look that came upon her face. She seemed stunned as my question registered. I had asked her in her local language. Just a simple question. But that a white person, a visitor, might address her in her own language seemed the last thing she had expected (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.   Image: C.Johnstone

Annette is back
John Costa, Friday 10 February 2012

Annette Giang has returned to Melbourne after volunteering for a year as a Youth Worker for the Archdiocese's NET (National Evangelization Team) in NSW. Before that she was an energetic, competent and enthusiastic Youth Leader in the Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe Young Peoples Group (YPG), now in 'indefinite hibernation' after 6 active and successful years. The Group stopped primarily because as its members aged the Year 6 children in our three Primary Schools showed lower interest than their predecessors in forming the YPG. Our analysis also indicated they felt no sense of "Ivanhoe Parish" but sole connection with their local school/church community. Having completed her ACU Degree Annette has written and told us that she has now been appointed teacher at Salesian College Sunbury. She has also very kindly offered to assist us, if we wish, to bring the YPG "out of hibernation". Do we want this? Our very young people don't appear interested. Are there any older youth (who may not be regularly seen at Mass) who might like to use parish facilities for running their own group in a way that supports them? I believe it's also relevant that the rate at which parish funerals currently exceed the appearance of new youth in our midst makes it possible to estimate the number of years from now in which our currently structured Parish will no longer remain viable, despite anticipated income from parish investments.

US court to rule on confessional privilege
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 9 February 2012

An appeals court in the US will decide whether what is said in confession can be used against a person in a court of law, said a Detroit Free Press report on USA Today. The Michigan Court of Appeals three-judge panel has been asked to decide whether a Baptist pastor violated Michigan's priest-penitent privilege by testifying against a church member in a rape case."This is a very dangerous case because it could have very serious repercussions for religion," the rape suspect's lawyer, Raymond Cassar of Farmington Hills, said Tuesday."If a pastor is allowed to testify against a member of his church about privileged communications, no one will want to confess their sins to their pastors anymore." (more)

Church of England says no to male 'co-bishops'

Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 9 February 2012

The archbishops of Canterbury and York suffered a humiliating defeat yesterday when the Church of England's governing body rejected moves to create male "co-bishops" to work alongside female bishops, said a report from The Times in The Australian. Women bishops will now be given total authority in their dioceses when they begin to be consecrated from 2014, against the wishes of the archbishops, who had wanted traditionalist male bishops to rule alongside them with equal authority (more).

Why Vatican III simply won't happen
Extract from Opinion, George Weigel, ABC Religion and Ethics, Wednesday 8 February 2012

There are many good arguments against quickly convening a Third Vatican Council - a notion beloved of Catholics who occupy the portside cabins on the Barque of Peter. The most obvious argument is that Catholicism has barely begun to digest the teaching of Vatican II on the nature of the Church, the universal call to holiness and the reform of the episcopate, the priesthood, consecrated life and the lay vocation in the world. Until the dramatic change in Catholic self-understanding that Vatican II mandated is fully internalized and implemented - until the Church understands itself as a mission, not as an institution that has a mission (as one among many things it does) - there seems little sense in convening Vatican III (more).

Pope calls for ‘fraternal correction'
Extract fromn The Tablet, Wednesday 8 February 2012

Pope Benedict XVI has urged Catholics to rediscover the ancient practice of "admonishing sinners" this Lent, saying it is a "dimension of Christian charity" because it is shows concern for the spiritual wellbeing of others. "Fraternal correction in view of eternal salvation," the Pope wrote in his Lenten message, which was released yesterday, was "an aspect of the Christian life, which I believe has been quite forgotten". He cautioned against being "Christians who, out of human regard or purely personal convenience, adapt to the prevailing mentality, rather than warning their brothers and sisters against ways of thinking and acting that ... do not follow the path of goodness." (more)

Mother Teresa's intercession sought for China
Extracts from Catholic news, Monday 6 February 2012

Hong Kong's Cardinal-elect John Tong Hon has asked Catholics to pray for the intercession of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta for the restart of China-Vatican dialogue during a Mass yesterday to welcome her relic to the island, reports was suspended between the Vatican and China after China objected to the canonisation of 120 Chinese martyr-saints in 2000, and halted in 2011 after two illicit ordinations, which resulted in the Vatican excommunicating the bishops, he said (more).                             

Vatican rejects 'erroneous' accusation of corruption
Extract from Catholic news, Sunday 5 February 2012.

In an unusually public rebuke of a high-ranking colleague, Vatican officials have dismissed the accusations of "corruption and abuse of power" made in letters by an archbishop who is now apostolic nuncio to the US, reports the Catholic News Service.In a statement released by the Vatican on Saturday, Cardinal-designate Giuseppe Bertello and Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, the current and immediate past presidents of the Governorate of Vatican City State, described as a "cause of great sadness" the recent "unlawful publication" by Italian journalists of two letters addressed to Pope Benedict and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state.The letters, written by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano when he was the governorate's secretary general, or second-highest official, contained assertions based on "erroneous evaluations" or "fears unsupported by proof," the statement said (more).

Bishop Les Tomlinson Appointed Bishop of Sandhurst

Extracts from Catholic Archdiocese of melbourne, Friday 3 February 2012

Pope Benedict XVI announced in Rome today the appointment of Bishop Les Tomlinson D.D., as Bishop of Sandhurst. Bishop Tomlinson is presently the Vicar General for the Archdiocese of Melbourne. He will take up his position as Bishop of Sandhurst on 1 March 2012.The Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst includes central Victoria and the Goulburn Valley and north-eastern Victoria to the Murray River in the north....Bishop Tomlinson's appointment follows the sudden and untimely death of Bishop Joe Grech just over 12 months ago (more).

Pope has final power
Copy of Letter to The Age, Denis Hart, Catholic archbishop of Melbourne, Saturday 4 February 2012

''BISHOP'S sacking reveals the Inquisition's heavy hand remains ready to strike'' (Comment & Debate, 2/2) regarding the removal of Bishop William Morris is unfair and inaccurate. I understand W. J. Carter, QC, is an eminent civil lawyer. Father Ian Waters' canon law reflection is based solely on the Carter report. The Holy See conducted a pastoral process of dialogue with Bishop Morris over 11 years involving senior officials of three offices of the Roman Curia, meetings in Rome and a meeting with Pope Benedict. An archbishop of an overseas diocese appointed by the Holy See to investigate the matter said he discussed the contents of his report with Bishop Morris in Toowoomba. Last October, in Rome, Australian bishops were informed of the efforts made by the Holy See to achieve a mutually acceptable resolution. The Pope has final power throughout the church. Father Waters is misrepresented by the statement that the Pope breached canon law and exceeded his authority. (source)

Inquisition's heavy hand remains ready to strike
Extract from Opinion, Barney Zwartz, The Age, Thursday 2 February 2012

THE treatment of former Toowoomba Catholic bishop Bill Morris, sacked last May by the Pope, shows that the Inquisition is alive and well in the Catholic Church - only the rack is missing (more).

UK Anglican clergy rebel over gay civil unions
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 2 February 2012

The UK Church of England faces a rebellion from clergy over a ban on gay civil ceremonies on its premises, said an AFP report in The Daily Telegraph. Nearly 100 clergy from the London diocese, which has 470 stipendiary priests, signed a letter to The Times newspaper urging that priests be allowed to follow their individual conscience on whether to hold civil partnership ceremonies in their churches. The Church of England said in December it would not permit civil partnership ceremonies on its premises without the express permission of its general assembly (more).

Designer teaches women to dress virtuously
Extract from Feature, Catholic News, Thursday 2 February 2012

A London fashion designer is teaching young women to dress virtuously, after her brother's death made her rethink her life and career, reports the Catholic News Agency.“I want to invest some time and love into the next generation,” said Helena Machin, who also works with high-profile clients as the creative director for a French milliner. Through her “Style Masterclasses,” she is showing women how to be “well-dressed” in every sense of the word. “I want to have them embrace their femininity by modest and attractive dress and in doing so, fulfill their God-given potential,” Machin recently told CNA (more).

Pope says global loss of faith is Church's greatest challenge
Extract from The Tablet, Wednesday 1 February 2012

Pope Benedict XVI has expressed grave concern that Christianity is dying out due to a huge global faith crisis."As we know, in vast parts of the earth faith risks being extinguished like a flame that runs out of fuel," the Pope said on 27 January at a plenary meeting of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). "We are facing a profound crisis of faith and a loss of the religious sense, which constitutes the greatest challenge for the Church today," he warned. "Renewal of the faith must therefore be the priority of the efforts of the entire Church in our days," he said. Pope Benedict also said divisions among Christian denominations could be of little help in healing this faith crisis (more).

Catholics invited to carry faith card
Extracts from Catholic News, Wednesday 1 February 2012

The faithful across the UK are being invited to carry a card showing that they are Catholic, with one million cards to be made available to 24 Catholic dioceses in this new initiative, said a report on the Independent Catholic News. The credit-card-size resource features on one side, a space for the owner to sign, a statement that the carrier is a Catholic and a list of six things that Catholics are called to do....."The faith card for Catholics aims to offer a daily reminder of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. We can't summarise the whole of our faith in bullet points, but we hope that the card simply inspires people to do, read and learn more." (more)

Archbishop Wilson wants MacKillop statue at the Vatican

Extract from Catholic News, Tuesday 23 January 2012

Adelaide's Archbishop Philip Wilson is planning to have a statue of St Mary MacKillop installed in the Vatican - and has already identified the perfect spot outside St Peter's Basilica, said a report by The Advertiser on AdelaideNow. The challenge is now to ensure the spot doesn't get snapped up by someone else. "The one I want is only a small niche," Archbishop Wilson said (more).      

In defence of conscience
Extracts from the Editor's Desk, The Tablet, Saturday 28 January 2012

President Obama has made a serious mistake. He is demanding that Catholic hospitals must make contraceptives available to their staff as part of their health-care packages. The new rules are part of the health-service reforms, which are the greatest achievement of his presidency so far. He appears to have been taken in by the fact that most American Catholics do not have personal moral objections to contraception. He has failed to understand that what they mean by this is that contraception should be a matter for individual consciences. That is not compatible with imposing access to contraception by government regulation). (more)

Long road to the Indigenous referendum
Extracts from John  Warhurst, Eureka Street, Thursday 26 January 2012

The end game in the Government's plan to hold a referendum to recognise Indigenous Australians in the Constitution and to remove racially discriminatory provisions has now begun with the submission last Thursday of the unanimous report by the 22-member expert panel....The reception of the report has shown what a tough game it will be, not just because of the historic difficulty in making constitutional change in Australia by the referendum process, but because of the broader context of race and racism in which the campaign is already being conducted (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Curial horror greeted John XXIII's announcement of ecumenical council
Extracts from Desmond Fisher, Viewpoint, National Catholic Reporter, Wednesday 25 January 2012

This is the first of an occasional series of articles about the Second Vatican Council that will appear this year in NCR leading up to 50th anniversary of the council's opening on Oct. 11, 2012. In October, NCR will publish a special edition devoted solely to the council's 50th anniversary. Read more about it here. Wednesday, the Catholic church should have celebrated -- but didn't -- an important anniversary, the day 53 years ago when Pope John XXIII invited 18 Curia cardinals to accompany him to a ceremony at St. Paul Outside the Walls. It was the feast day of St. Paul, who is believed to have been executed in Rome about 67 A.D. and buried where the basilica named after him now stands....It was also the final day of the Octave for Christian Unity, an objective close to the pope's heart.....What they heard stunned them. The new pope -- he had been elected only three months earlier -- told them he intended to summon an ecumenical council and would they please give him their views about it (more).

Morris affair contains lessons for Church hierarchy
Extracts from Frank Brennan, Eureka Street, Tuesday 24 January 2012

The Toowoomba Diocese has been without a resident bishop now for nine months since Pope Benedict removed Bishop Bill Morris, who refused to submit his resignation when requested by three curial cardinals who formed an adverse view of him. Morris had offered to retire by August last year provided only that the sexual abuse cases in the diocese had been resolved. This timetable was judged inappropriate by the Vatican cardinals who conducted an ongoing inquiry into Morris' fitness for office. They wanted him out, now. Nine months later, no one is able credibly to defend their methods (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Silence is key in meaningful communication: Pope
Extract from Catholic News, Tuesday 24 January 2012

Amid the deluge of information and nonstop chatter in today's media, the Church needs to help people find safe havens of silence, Pope Benedict said in his message for the 2012 celebration of World Communications Day, reports the Catholic News Service. Far from being the enemy of calm and quiet, social media and the Internet can lead people to virtual sanctuaries that offer silent reflection, thoughtful dialogue and true meaning in life, he said (more).

Celibacy will soon be outdated, Irish priest predicts

Extracts from Catholic News, Tuesday 24 January 2012

A prominent Irish missionary priest has claimed that clerical celibacy will soon be a thing of the past, said a report on Irish Central.
Father Shay Cullen has earned three Nobel Peace Prize nominations for his work saving hundreds of children from a life of sexual abuse in the Philippines. For the past 40 years he has worked with the children in the Filipino city of Olongapo....."All of the other Christian churches manage very well. Many Anglicans who were married and had family and children and came over to the Catholics were warmly accepted...."Now we have many married priests in the Catholic Church and it is working, so why not? It is only another step to abolishing this celibate thing and getting on with life." (more)

Online petition against receiving communion in the hand
Extract from Catholic News, Monday 23 January 2012

Two priests from the Diocese of Sale in Victoria have started an online petition calling for Pope Benedict to change current communion practices to eliminate receiving the Eucharist in the hand, reports the US Catholic (more).

Hospital apologises for forced adoptions
Extract from Catholic News, Monday 23 January 2012

Victoria's Royal Women's Hospital has apologised for taking children from mothers, after a report revealed its role in the policy, reports the Herald Sun. At least 5000 single mothers over almost five decades to 1987 were forced to give up babies through the hospital, a study by Australian Catholic University's Shurlee Swain found (more).

Beyond Catholic corporate spin
Extracts from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, Wednesday 18 January 2012

...The visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Great Britain last year prompted an interesting experiment. The Catholic Church asked for lay volunteers to deal with media enquiries and to appear on panels....The volunteers were trained by a panel who prepared them for the questions they would be likely to receive and commended a style of communicating. Austen Ivereigh and Kathleen Griffin, journalists who coordinated the scheme, have now given an account of it in their book, Catholic Voices: Putting the case for the Church in an era of 24-hour news.....When I first read of the Catholic Voices project before the Papal visit I had some reservations. It could be construed as an exercise in corporate spin with its primary focus on persuasion and not on truth......The questions for which the volunteers were prepared include most of the current controversies involving the Catholic Church. Catholic attitudes to the church and politics, homosexuality, contraception, equality, euthanasia, sexual abuse, Catholic schools, abortion, Aids, and relations with Anglicans all receive attention........ This attractive ideal of communication is a standard against which both the project itself and other styles of communication prevalent in churches and in public life can be measured. ...... In conversation within their churches and society Christians are searchers for a truth they are committed to but do not possess fully. Respect for others involved in the conversation and honesty about their own flawed lives and insights are conditions for truth to appear (more).  Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Church to launch global initiative to safeguard vulnerable
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 18 January 2011

Bishops and Religious Superiors from across the world will gather Rome in February for the launch of the Church's global initiative on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults, said a report in the Independent Catholic News. Towards Healing and Renewal is being offered by the Gregorian University in Rome and consists of a major symposium followed by the launch of a multi-institution e-learning centre which will run for the next three years – the Centre for the Protection of Children based in Munich, Germany. Delegates for the symposium will come from 110 Bishops' Conferences and also be Superior Generals of more than 30 Religious Orders, making it a truly international gathering (more).

Bringing love to the end
Extract from Anna Krohn, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Tuesday 17 January 2012

“TOLD that I would die within five years (in 1977) and having become interested in philosophy, I saw no harm in making the latter my principal interest rather than following a career-orientated path," writes Professor Nicholas Tonti-Filippini, with disarming understatement, in the introduction to his timely new book entitled: About Bioethics: philosophical and theological approaches (more).

Catholic priest brings baggage from Anglican past
Extracts from Feature, Catholic News, Tuesday 17 January 2012

Be fruitful and multiply. There is one man in England who has taken this old biblical call too seriously. His name is Ian Hellyer and together with his wife Margaret is raising not one but nine children. He is also more than well acquainted with the Holy Scriptures, being a Roman Catholic pastor, reports Vatican Insider.......Fr Ian belongs to the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walshingam in England and Wales. Ordinariates were established two years ago by the Holy See: they are essentially new organisations and canonical structures that allow Anglican “defectors” who wish to join the Catholic Church, to keep some of their liturgical traditions (more).

New OHS laws could hurt church volunteers
Extracts from Catholic News, Tuesday 17 January 2012

Ordained ministers will be be regarded as "workers" who can be prosecuted for safety breaches in church, instead of "servants of God", for the purposes of new national occupational health and safety laws, reports the Australian. The changes have alarmed religious organisations because they also mean that church volunteers, many of them elderly, can be prosecuted for safety breaches and face $300,000 fines or five years in jail.Under the new laws, which have been introduced in NSW and Queensland and are due to be rolled out in the other states this year, community volunteers are reclassified as "workers" and must be trained in OHS laws (more).

Inner city parishes to draw back Aboriginal Catholics
Extracts from Catholic News, Monday 16 January 2012

After years of declining attendance, services aimed at drawing indigenous Catholics back to Mass are to start in Sydney's inner city suburbs from February 19, reports the Sydney Morning Herald (more).

Parish Office & Services                                                                                                                                                                                  The Office will be attended at different intervals whilst Parish Secretary Ruth Villani is on leave from 9 – 27 January. Brief newsletters containing Mass items have been prepared in advance and will be available in each church and via this website. A number of Parish volunteers are also taking " leave" resulting in fewer Liturgy and Website services, and more ad-hoc support for Services.

Thank you
We sincerely thank Fr Len Thomas who will celebrate Masses at Mother of God on Tuesday 17 January and 31 January at 9.15am whilst I am attending Prison Ministry on these two mornings. We are grateful to priests who support our parish in a variety of ways, as well as giving generously in both time and spirit. - Fr Thang

Thank God for immigrants
Extract from the editor's desk, The Tablet (U.K.), Friday 13 January 2012

A striking contrast exists between the mean-spirited political and media row over immigration which caught fire again this week, and the celebration tomorrow throughout the Catholic Church of the World Day for Migrants and Refugees. The generosity of the latter is summed up by the statement to mark the Day by Bishop Patrick Lynch of Southwark, who leads on immigration issues in the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. He hailed “the strong sense of community and commitment to family life within many of our migrant communities”. Though Bishop Lynch was referring primarily to Catholic immigrants, who contributed to parish life “by their faith and their faithfulness, by their commitment and their witness and by their devotion”, this points to a wider truth. Communities originally from Africa and Asia, whether Catholic, Sikh, Hindu, Muslim or whatever, do put great weight on the importance of family life. The beneficial effect on social cohesion is noticeable....These intangibles tend to be overlooked in the immigration debate, which insists on a cost-benefit analysis ignoring cultural influences, and takes into account only the assumed interests of the host community (more).

The Church’s new princes

Extract from The Tablet, Friday 13 January 2012

In five weeks’ time, Pope Benedict XVI will create 22 new cardinals in the fourth consistory of his pontificate, 18 of whom will be eligible to vote in the next conclave to choose a new Pope. So who are those swelling the elite ranks of the Church? If there were any doubts before last week, it is now clear to many that Pope Benedict XVI wants to keep the papacy firmly in the hands of the Europeans (more).

Results of visitation of women religious quietly submitted

Extracts from National Catholic Reporter, Wednesday 11 January 2012

Three years after its announcement caused a mixture of anxiety, anger and resentment among many sisters, the results of a Vatican-initiated apostolic visitation of U.S. women religious have been quietly submitted to Rome....News of the submission of the report seems to bring to a close a process that was marked by controversy and miscommunication and stoked fears that Vatican officials wanted to crack down on errant religious congregations or impose restrictions on U.S. sisters (more).

Vatican uses Wikipedia to compile cardinals' biographies
Extract from The Guardian, Monday 9 January 2012

Its ancient library holds more than 180,000 manuscripts and 1.6m books, and it describes its Secret Archive, which packs priceless documents on to 85km of shelving, as "one of the most important research centres in the world". The Vatican's reputation as a font of knowledge was further boosted when Joseph Ratzinger, a former academic and prolific writer, was elected as Pope. That is why eyebrows were raised when the Vatican resorted to Wikipedia when it released potted biographies of 22 new cardinals who were appointed on 6 January. The biographies, sent to journalists, were cut and pasted from Wikipedia's Italian language site without attribution, but questions were asked when many of the archbishops in line for promotion were described as Catholic – a statement recalling the frequently asked question: "Is the Pope a Catholic?" (more)

Five observations on the new cardinals
Extract from National Catholic Reporter, Friday 6 January 2012

Naming new cardinals is among the more important acts of any papacy, because the cardinals form the "electoral college" that will pick the next pope. That’s arguably even more significant this time around, given that Benedict XVI will turn 85 in April – and although there’s no sign of any health crisis, at that age it’s natural to begin thinking about what might come next.Here are five quick observations about the 22 new cardinals named today by Benedict XVI, including 18 who are under 80 and
therefore eligible to participate in a future conclave (more). 

Outfoxed by God
Extract from Sally Read, Cover Story, The Tablet, Friday 6 January 2012

For almost all of her 40 years, a Suffolk-born psychiatric nurse-turned published poet and passionate atheist felt little but contempt for Catholicism. But then, in less than a year, after a springtime epiphany she was received into the Church. This is her journey.....(more)

New light on the Reformation
Extract from Editorial, The Tablet, Friday 6 January 2012

The news that the Lutheran and Catholic Churches are to embark on a joint review of their shared history sets an example that others could usefully follow. Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has announced that both Churches have agreed to collaborate in their preparations to mark the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting of the Ninety-Five Theses in 1517......(more)

With Mary's example, bring Jesus into the world
Extract from "The Peace Pulpit", National Catholic Reporter, Thursday 5 January 2012

In this liturgy, we celebrate three separate things, really. First, we celebrate together with the whole human family the turning of a new year. We have the same calendar throughout the world. It's perhaps the one thing that does unite the whole human family. We all have this celebration of the beginning of a new year of human history, but then we also celebrate Mary, the mother of God....(more)


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