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NEWS 2018

A broad and  diverse mix of Local, National and International faith-related News, Information and Opinions.      
Opinions expressed are those of the Authors and may or may not always represent official Church/Parish positions
 Editorial Policy (Revised 11/2013) 
(archived 2017 News HERE)
Parish and School communities "collected responses to Question ‘A’" - available for download
Helping to Renew our Church via Inputs to the ‘2020 Plenary Council’
Friday 7 December 2018
A compilation of captured answers from across our Parish and School communities to Question 'A'  "What does our Church look like now" has now been published (below). It's part of the process of "listening to God by listening to one another" and an important  step towards answering the even more important second Question 'B' "What is Christ calling us to make our Church today?", followed by the final question "What do we, as Church, need to do to move from A to B?".       From collected responses to these questions a summary will be submitted to the '2020 Plenary' agenda-setting process, and and also to Archbishop Peter Comensoli of Melbourne Archdiocese by Ash Wednesday 2019.  Responses so been  very helpful and honest, though received later than hoped. Time is running out, so responses to Question 'B' (and 'C' if possible at this stage) are now required by 23 December.  A video progress report will be presented at Masses this weekend.  The collection of  raw responses to Question A at this stage (for later summary after Questions  B&C responses are available)   is available  on the 2020 Plenary Page    HERE.
 Philip Wilson's dead letter day
Everyone, including the victims of abuse and church officials like Wilson, is entitled to be  governed by laws which are clear, sensible and practical
Limited extract from Frank Brennan, subscription journal La Croix International, 7 December 2018
The show trial of Archbishop Philip Wilson has backfired badly causing hurt to many people, most especially victims of child sexual abuse who thought the law was being rightly applied to put an errant Catholic bishop in the frame.      Wilson was charged under a provision of the New South Wales Crimes Act, section 316, which has hardly ever been used. It's a provision which was introduced in 1990.     It was reviewed by the New South Wales Law Reform Commission in 1999 and comprehensively trashed. Some commissioners thought the provision should be abolished. Others thought it should be retained.      But even they said, 'It must be accepted that the present provision is seriously flawed; to be brutal about it, it is in several crucial respects virtually meaningless.     In our view, the essential problem is not that the section's underlying philosophy is mistaken but that it breaches the fundamental rule that the criminal law be unambiguous.'       For all practical purposes, the provision has now been replaced by a much more sensible and workable provision, section 316A, which is designed to deal with failures to report child sexual abuse.         Robert Stone, the magistrate who tried Wilson's case, failed to apply the cumbersome section 316 appropriately.      But it's hard to blame Stone too much as the provision is so badly drafted that even a bench of Supreme Court judges would have trouble making sense of it. And Philip Wilson was always the wrong test case for this....(Source)  
Two US Jesuit provinces release 153 names of accused abusers
Extract from Jim Salter. America - The Jesuit Review, Associated Press 7 December  2018
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Two Roman Catholic Jesuit provinces that cover nearly half the U.S. released the names Friday of more than 150 priests and other ministry leaders who were found to have "credible allegations" of sexual abuse made against them dating to the 1950s.      Jesuits West, which covers 10 western states, said its internal investigation found credible allegations against 111 priests, brothers or priests in training who were connected to it dating back to 1950. No one on the list is involved in public ministry any longer, it said....(more)
Former Adelaide archbishop Philip Wilson's conviction for concealing child sexual abuse quashed
Extract from By Giselle Wakatama, ABC News, 6 September 2018
Former Adelaide archbishop Philip Wilson is set to walk free after his conviction for concealing child sexual abuse was quashed by a judge.       The judge said Father Wilson was an honest and consistent witness and he had reasonable doubts that he had been told about the abuse.    Father Wilson was excused from attending court today in order to avoid a "media scrum" but did appear via video link.      The 68-year-old was the highest-ranking Catholic in the world to be convicted of concealing child sexual abuse and had been serving a minimum sentence of six months in home detention.      Newcastle Local Court convicted Father Wilson in May of concealing abuse committed by paedophile priest Jim Fletcher in the Hunter Valley dating back to the 1970s.    It found that in 1976 victim Peter Creigh confided in Father Wilson that he had been sexually abused, yet Father Wilson failed to report it to police when Fletcher was charged with other child sex offences in 2004.     former archbishop was honest and consistent.     "There were very honest features of his evidence to provide a strong platform for him to be an honest witness," he said.     "[He] did not attempt to blacken the name of Peter Creigh and allege he was a liar.     "He was clearly an intelligent and articulate witness....(more)   Photo: ABC News.
Missionary Sisters of Service celebrate 75 years
Extract from CathNews, Highways and Byways, 7 December 2018
The Missionary Sisters of Service (MSS) commenced a year-long celebration marking the order's 75th anniversary with a pilgrimage across Tasmania to Bruny Island, where the congregation was.        A group of 28 pilgrims from Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, including 13 MSS and 15 friends and colleagues, spent five days travelling through Tasmania last month visiting sites important to the congregation's history.       The pilgrimage commenced at Calvary St Vincent’s Hospital in Launceston, which is the site of the first "foundation house" of the then-Home Missionary Sisters Our Lady.    In the chapel at St Vincent’s, MSS congregational leader Sr Stancea Vichie led a reflection that acknowledged the courage and foresight both of MSS founder Fr John Wallis and the four initial women who joined the order.
      Acorns from the same oak tree that stood in the front yard of the foundation house and is still thriving in the foreground of St Vincent’s today were handed to each of the pilgrims.      “Acorns that fall from the tree are the source of new life,” Sr Stancea said. “New life has been sprouting forth from the ‘acorn’ of the women who came together in 1944 in that home in Frederick Street, a home which was provided through the generosity of the Sisters of Charity.” ....(more).  Photo: CathNews, MSS Fiona Basile
Plenary process a chance to share what is in our hearts
As we prepare for the Plenary Council 2020, we are being encouraged to speak boldly and to share what is in our hearts, writes Fr Noel Connolly SSC
Extract from Fr Noel Connolly, CathNews, Columban eBulletin, 3 December 2018
One of my concerns is that I do not think it is easy to know what is deep in our hearts and it is even more difficult to express it adequately. Also speaking is an art, and it is learnt only with practice.          People who have not been encouraged to speak up for decades, will probably speak clumsily, angrily or shallowly the first time around. It is only over time that we eventually learn what we most deeply want to say.       I was reminded of this a few Sundays ago when we read the story of Jesus curing the blind man as he entered Jericho. Jesus heard the blind man calling out and “ordered him to be brought to him; and when the man came near, he asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’” It was obvious that the blind man wanted, he wanted to see. But, Jesus insists on asking, “What do you want me to do for you?”   It was important to Jesus that the blind man articulate what he wanted. It is important to each of us that we be able to answer the same question.             The Plenary Council 2020 process is a process of prayer, listening, sharing and discernment to know what God is asking of us in Australia today.          It won’t be automatic. Our first answers will probably be shallow, clumsy or angry. It will take time to discover what is most profound in our hearts.   That is why I would encourage people to share and send in their responses often. It is not something that can be done in one listening and dialogue session. What we are trying to develop is a habit of mind, heart and prayer....(more). Photo:  CathNews Unsplash Ashley Batz
Archbishop Peter Comensoli launches "In God's Image"
Edited extract from Melbourne Catholic, Australian Catholic University, 30 November 2018
The Archbishop of Melbourne, Peter A Comensoli DD STL held the launch of his new book In God’s Image: Recognizing the Profoundly Impaired as Persons at Australian Catholic University’s (ACU’s) North Sydney Campus this week. In God’s Image began as Archbishop Comensoli’s doctoral thesis at the University of Edinburgh and has been developed and refined into its current form.......The event was a formal celebration of the publication of the book and its important contribution to Catholic anthropology, especially in defence of persons who experience disability and who can be overlooked and misunderstood.....“In God’s Image has received many generous endorsements from scholars, who have praised its contribution to contemporary Catholic theological discourse on the nature, dignity and destiny of the human being,” Professor Craven said.    “The book demonstrates we have a responsibility to live alongside those with cognitive impairments as friends, in a community, and to be open to learning from them how it is we can be more perfectly human.    “The book will pave the way forward for Christian theologians working on the topic of disability and impairment.” .....(more)  Photo: Melbourne Catholic
Church calls for empowerment of people with disability
Extract from Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Melbourne Catholic, 30 November 2018
Australia’s bishops have urged all Catholics to promote, empower and recognise the gifts of people with disability.        Bishop Don Sproxton, Auxiliary Bishop of Perth and the newly-appointed Bishop Delegate for Disability Issues, said that as the Church prepared for Advent, it was appropriate to observe the International Day of People with Disability, held each year December 3.    This year’s theme is “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality” – inspired by the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.       “The 2030 Agenda, pledging to ‘leave no one behind’, is an ambitious plan of action of the international community towards a peaceful and prosperous world, where dignity of an individual person and equality among all is applied as the fundamental principle,” Bishop Sproxton said.   “It is critical to ensure the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and includes active participation in our Church and faith communities to create enabling environments by, for and with persons with disabilities.”   In his address to people with disability last year, Pope Francis said: “We are all different. There is no one exactly like another. Differences are a richness because I have something and you have something else and by putting the two together we have something more beautiful, something greater.”   Pope Francis added that people must not be afraid of diversity, but see it “as the path to improvement, to be more beautiful and richer”.   Bishop Sproxton said people’s faith calls and challenges them to take action to ensure communities are open and active in promoting opportunities that include people with disability....(More). Photo: Melbourne Catholic
Seems Pope Francis is with the People
Extract from Terry Fewtrel. John Menadue Pearls and Irritations, 29 November 2018
The latest letter from Pope Francis greatly empowers Australia’s Catholics to use their influence and puts heat on the bishops to allow the voices and wisdom of Australian Catholics to be heard seriously.    Pope Francis recentIy wrote to all Catholics. The letter is remarkable for several reasons, partly because it was written at all. Addressed to the People of God, it was a a letter to Catholic laity throughout  the world, sent via the internet. In the past Popes have occasionally written to the Universal Church, but such statements were prefaced by  a long list of hierarchical recipients, starting with Cardinals and Bishops and ending with mere laypeople. This was different. It was a case of ‘cutting out the middlemen’ and going directly to the ordinary Catholic.....(More)
'Unruly' young boy runs on stage to Pope Francis, tries to play with Swiss guard
Edited Extract from ABC News, with Video,  29 November 2018
A young boy has upstaged Pope Francis at the Vatican as he went on stage and rolled around the floor during the weekly general audience.    He also took a keen interest towards the colourful Swiss guard on the platform.     Pope Francis was addressing the packed hall as the boy freely walked up the marble stairs towards him.    The child broke through security and went to pull on the sleeve of a Swiss guard on the podium, just metres from the Pope, it appeared as if he was checking to see if the guard was real.   At one stage the boy was joined by a little girl, presumably his sister, who desperately tried to pull him off the stage.    As the child's mother joined the boy in front of the Pope, a brief discussion took place and the mother explained her son was mute and that he was from the Pope's native Argentina.      He is Argentinian and unruly," a laughing Pope said to his private secretary, Georg Ganswein, who was seated next to him.   "Leave him, leave him to play here," the Pope said as the child rolled around in front of him on the carpet.     As the gathering continued, the child was allowed to stay roaming around the podium.     ''This child cannot speak. He is mute, but he can communicate," Pope Francis said....(More  including Video) Photo ABC News, AP
Tasmanian Government acts to ‘lift veil’ on confession
Extract from CathNews. The Examiner, 29 November 2018
The Tasmanian Liberal Government has introduced a bill to Parliament that will make it mandatory for people in religious ministry to report child abuse or face criminal charges.     The bill will also allow for the use of more pre-recorded testimony in court for victims of child sexual abuse, ensure victims will not have to give evidence twice at a trial, when it is possible, and for their evidence to be taken earlier to avoid the risk of retraumatisation.     Attorney-General Elise Archer said the legislation would “lift the veil of the confessional for the purposes of reporting child sexual abuse.”    “The legislation makes it clear that all members of the community must do everything in their power to protect children and prevent child abuse from occurring,” she said.     “There is no excuse for failure to report the horrific abuse of children, least of all for institutions who have been named in the royal commission as failing to prevent child abuse in the past.”    The extension of mandatory reporting of child abuse to religious ministries has the support of Labor, the Greens and the Anglican Church – but not the Catholic Church.    Hobart Archbishop Julian Porteous last month said it would not lead to uncovering abuse.   “Any perpetrator who was minded to confess would almost certainly do so anonymously, so no mandatory reporting would be possible.”  “By removing the seal, we lose the rare opportunity to point an offender or victim in the direction of the authorities and other assistance,” he said.....(More)
Gay student gets standing ovation after coming out in front of whole Catholic school     Extracts from ABC News, Nadia Daly 28 November 2018
A student at a Catholic boys school got a standing ovation when he came out as gay during a speech at assembly.   Finn Stannard, a Year 12 student at St Ignatius College Riverview, in Sydney, told 7.30 he gave the speech for his "younger self".          "I've been working towards this speech for four years," Mr Stannard said in front of 1,000 students.    "In those four years, I have come to understand who I am and how to not be sorry for being myself.         "Outside home, being gay has not always been easy. I have been the subject of countless rumours and unpleasant jokes.     "Telling friends was difficult and came with a lot of anxiety. My main fear was no longer being accepted or losing my friends and being the subject of derogatory jokes."      Mr Stannard told 7.30 he was overwhelmed to receive a standing ovation from his peers.     "I felt like I was part of that community again," he said.         "I  felt like I had gotten this chance to be the real me and people accepting me for that. That was just the best feeling in the world.        "I wanted to do it for my younger self. I didn't have a role model in school who I could follow to help me understand who I was, how I should behave, how I should be able to be me."         'Mum, I think I might be gay'.       Mr Stannard said the love and support of his family and boyfriend helped give him the courage to make the speech.        His mother was the first person he came out to.          "I said, 'Mum, I think I might be gay'. While she was definitely surprised she was by no means overwhelmed. She gave me the biggest hug and she kissed me and said she loved me," he said.     "That was when I knew I'd be fine in everything that came my way. I always knew I had a supportive family."      His parents were at first worried about his plan to come out in front of the entire student body.    "Not everyone can be kind about a young man taking on his identity and being proud of who he is," Meaghan Stannard said.    "So we were concerned about the feedback he might get from his speech.".......Mr Stannard says everyone at school has been "so supportive".....Next year Mr Stannard will start a teaching degree at university. And he will be following the public debate over the right of religious schools to hire and fire teachers on the basis of their sexual orientation. "People should be hired for the job if they're the best for job. Sexuality has nothing to do with that. It's all about how they can help students learn and get the abilities to be themselves," he said.....(more).   Photo: St Ignatius College Riverview ABC News 20181128

Senate passes modern slavery bill
Extract from Cath News, CBS News, 29 November 2018
Labor has criticised a new regime requiring large companies to report on modern slavery in supply chains because it lacks penalties for non-compliance.         Businesses turning over more than $100 million will have to report what they are doing to stamp out slavery in supply chains.    But companies won’t face any penalties for shirking responsibility or false reporting - a leading criticism of the legislation which passed the Senate yesterday.    “Big business cannot be trusted to police themselves on modern slavery,” Labor frontbencher Don Farrell said. “The experience overseas makes the need for penalties crystal clear.”     Government minister Linda Reynolds said civil penalties would be examined in a review of the scheme due three years after the laws come into place.   “Business feedback shows market scrutiny as well as reputational risk and reward will drive compliance more effectively than punitive penalties,” Senator Reynolds said.   Modern slavery practices include people trafficking, forced labour, debt bondage and forced marriage. More than 40 million people worldwide are believed to be victims of modern slavery, including 4300 Australians.   The draft laws will go to the House of Representatives to approve government changes requiring allowing the minister to send a please explain to companies failing to report.   Under the amendments, the minister also must report annually to parliament about how the regime is working....(more)

Update on Plans for our Parish Centre  Redevelopment Project
Friday 23 November 2018
Draft schematic plans of our redeveloped Parish Centre at Mary Immaculate have been put up in the foyer of each church. These plans are still a work in progress and will be further developed after the Archdiocese gives the Parish approval to move onto the next stage of design development.     Parishioners are encouraged to offer suggestions or ask questions so please feed any input to members of the Parish Pastoral Council or Fr. Bill.
Nun who helped save Jews during Holocaust dies at 110
Extract from CathNews, 23 November 2018
Sr Cecylia Maria Roszac was born Maria Roszak on March 25, 1908 in the town of Kielczewo in west-central Poland. After graduating from trade school at the age of 21, she entered a cloistered convent of Dominican sisters in Krakow.       In 1938, she travelled with a group of her sisters to Vilnius (now in Lithuania, but at the time a part of Poland) where the nuns were hoping to establish another convent. However, the outbreak of World War II prevented them from doing so.     For two years, Vilnius was under Soviet occupation, and then under German occupation after the invasion of the Nazis. During this time, Sr Cecylia and her sisters, led by their superior, Mother Bertranda, hid 17 members of the Jewish resistance in their convent, risking their lives to do so.     According to The World Holocaust Remembrance Centre, the people who found refuge in the convent were members of the Zionist underground movements.         “Despite the enormous difference between the two groups, very close relations were formed between the religious Christian nuns and the left-wing secular Jews. The pioneers found a safe haven behind the convent's walls; they worked with the nuns in the fields and continued their political activity. They called the mother superior of the convent Ima (mother in Hebrew),” the Centre states in a biographical page on Mother Bertranda, who eventually left the convent and became known as Anna Borkowska.        In 1984, the nuns from the Vilnius convent were awarded the honour of “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem, which recognises non-Jews who risked their lives, freedom or positions to help Jews during the Holocaust....(more).  Photo: CathNews, Twitter, Archdiocese of Krakow

ABC school funding analysis 'fraught with problems'
Extracts from CathNews, Catholic Education Commission, 23 November 2018
An ABC News investigation published online yesterday revealed more than a third of private schools received more public funding that similar public schools in 2016.     “Comparing schools with similar socio-economic characteristics using ‘per-student’ funding data is fraught with problems because it ignores variables such as school size and teacher salaries,” NCEC acting executive director Ray Collins said.     “The data on the MySchool website does not represent the funding governments provide to system schools, but the funding that school systems allocate to meet schools’ needs, based on size and student disadvantage. Systems must reallocate funding from their larger schools to their smaller schools to address student need and cover costs.     “The key point here is ‘Do government schools attract more public funding (state and federal combined) than Catholic schools?’ and the answer is ‘Yes, they do’. That has always been the case and remains the case today.”......“Schools have many fixed costs, therefore mathematically the cost of running a smaller school is higher; the cost of the principal, for example, will be double on a per-student basis in Rydalmere because it has half the number of students,” Mr Collins said....(more)

Church backs priest banned from public ministry
Extracts from CathNews, Caulfield Glen Eira Leader, 22 November 2018
Archbishop Peter A, Comensoli has revealed Ormond and Murrumbeena parish priest Fr Paul Newton will continue in his official role as parish priest, but has been ordered “not to undertake any public ministry at this time.”      In a letter to parishioners and parents, Archbishop Comensoli also confirmed the Church was not planning further civil action against Fr Newton.     Fr Newton took administrative leave on June 6, at the request of then-Archbishop Denis Hart, after several parishioners raised allegations with the Commission for Children and Young People.     The nature of the complaints has never been disclosed, but prompted a lengthy independent investigation about alleged professional misconduct by Fr Newton. The investigation was dogged by delays, including the Archbishop’s visit to Rome last month.       In a letter sent to parishioners and parents this week, Archbishop Comensoli said no further civil action would be taken against Fr Newton.     “No further civil action will be taken at this time,” the Archbishop wrote.      He defended the lengthy investigation time and lack of detail publicly revealed.     “I reiterate ... the importance of ensuring the process was fair and respectful, and that all voices, including Fr Paul’s, could be heard and considered.”     “To protect the good name of persons it has not been possible, or appropriate, to share specific details, even if this has had the undesirable effect of disturbing the wider community,” he wrote. “I recognise this has been a difficult and unsettling time for you as a parish community.”     A stand-in priest will conduct public ministry in the Ormond and Murrumbeena parishes, he said.    “[Fr Newton] will continue to live privately and be supported by the Archdiocese through this process.”     It is not suggested Fr Newton has been accused of being a danger to children.....(More)  Photo: Melbourne Catholic
Archbishop of Canterbury says God is not male
Limited extract from staff, subscription Journal, La Croix International. 22 November 2018
United Kingdom. The Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury has dropped a theological bombshell on the heads of many deeply conservative Christians by announcing that God “is not male,” even though this aligns with the church’s official catechism.....(source)
Pope to youth: Ask God what he wants from you
Extract from CathNews, Vatican News, 22 November 2018
The holy Father's message to young people in preparation for WYD, to be held in Panama in January, is centred on the theme: “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word”.     The message, published on the day of the celebration of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary yesterday, concludes a cycle of three Marian messages dedicated to young people along their journey from WYD 2016 to WYD 2019.    For the first time, the Pope has released a video message for WYD “so that it can reach the greatest number of young people; and respond to their desire, expressed during the recent synodal process, to communicate with the Church through forms closer to their own language”, a Vatican statement said.     In the video, Pope Francis addresses all young people of the world — believers and non-believers. It recognises the willingness of young people to serve others and invites them to put this attitude into practice from a Christian perspective: “To be at the service of others does not only mean to be ready for action. It means also to be in conversation with God with an attitude of listening, just like Mary. She listened to what the angel said to her and then she responded,” Pope Francis says.....(more).  Photo. CathNews
Holy See aware of difficulties raised by agreement with China
The Vatican understands that its agreement with Beijing will not change the situation of the Chinese Church overnight
Limited extract from Nicolas Senèze, Rome, subscription journal La Croix International, 22 November 2018
Did Pope Francis misunderstand the situation in China? That is certainly not how it appeared on the plane bringing him back to Rome from Estonia several days after he had signed the agreement between the Holy See and Beijing.     “The first drafts were prepared in my office,” he said. “We discussed the issue. I shared my ideas and the other participants also discussed it before going ahead.”     It was a matter of “two steps forward, one step back, two forward and one back” throughout the dialogue, the pope added, illustrating his detailed knowledge of the file.     Moreover, while clearly backing his collaborators -- particularly his....(source)
Missouri bishop calls for greater lay role in Church, including abuse probes
Extract from Crux,  Catholic News Service, 19 November 2018
Beyond just the abuse crisis, laity need to be involved “at all levels of the church,” McKnight said.       “Why can’t we have well-qualified, nationally known and trusted lay experts named to the special task force announced by the president of the USCCB (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops)?” he asked. “The Second Vatican Council gave us not only the freedom but the obligation to utilize and engage the gifts and talents of the laity in the life and mission of the Church.”      After the substantiated abuse allegation that prompted retired Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick’s resignation in July from the College of Cardinals, “an internal investigation of the McCarrick scandal without the use of competent and qualified lay investigators will hardly be considered transparent and credible,” McKnight said.     “Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta is the most qualified Catholic clergy to lead such an investigation, but without knowing that his collaborators include competent laity, the public may not perceive his eventual report as independent and complete enough to be believed,” he continued.    “History proves that we bishops are not capable of policing ourselves adequately on the issue of clergy sexual abuse. Why not include the laity to assist us with this problem?”     McKnight also took issue with other aspects relating to the scandal.     “At the time of this writing, there has not been one bishop, archbishop or cardinal in either the Holy See or the United States who has come forward on his own to repent publicly of his sins of omission or commission with regard to Archbishop McCarrick’s series of promotions over decades,” he said.    “Please, be men, not cowards, and come clean on your own! There doesn’t have to be a formal and long, drawn out investigation for a bishop to exercise a little compunction and concern for the well-being of the whole church. An independent and transparent investigation is all the more necessary when culpable hierarchs exhibit an incapacity to do the right thing on their own.”....(more)  Photo Crux, Jay Nies The Catholic Missourian, CNS
Change to our Scripture Readings
Friday 16 November 2018
After discussion at our Liturgy Group we have changed the translation of our Sunday Mass scripture readings. Weekday readings will remain unchanged.        We have been using the Jerusalem Bible translation which was published in 1966 and while it has served the Church well since the reforms of the 2nd Vatican Council it is widely recongised that it needs revision. For our Sunday readings we will now use the New Revised Standard Version published in 1989. The NRSV translation uses both recent biblical scholarship and gender sensitive language as well as the more poetic cadences of the original RSV.          Those who follow the readings in their own Missals should continue to do so as comparing different translations is also a interesting and educational exercise.      Readers should always make sure that they are at Mass early enough to check the readings at the lectern before Mass begins.
US Bishops’ meeting ends with no immediate action on abuse crisis
Extract from Christopher White, National Corespondent, Crux, 15 November 2018
BALTIMORE - On what was expected to be a climatic close to the U.S. bishops’ gathering on Wednesday, the much-watched meeting ended without any immediate action on the Church’s response to clerical sexual abuse.    Instead, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the conference, concluded with a vow of “strongest possible actions at the earliest possible moment” in response to the crisis and a pledge of loyalty from the U.S. bishops to Pope Francis.       “I opened the meeting expressing some disappointment. I end it with hope,” said DiNardo, who was left to repackage the agenda news from the Vatican on Sunday that it was requesting a delay in planned voting on new standards for bishops’ accountability until after a summit with presidents of bishops’ conferences from around the world in Rome Feb. 21-24.       DiNardo ended the three-day general assembly by saying they “are on course” to investigate former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, ease the process of reporting abuse or misconduct by bishops, and develop an independent and lay-led means of holding bishops accountable.        “I am sure that, under the leadership of Pope Francis, the conversation that the global Church will have in February will help us eradicate the evil of sexual abuse from our Church,” he said. “It will make our local efforts more global and the global perspective will help us here.”....(more).  Photo: Crux CNS
Theologian: Postponement of sex abuse norms shows Francis-US Church ‘tensions’
In this interview extract Massimo Faggioli says and suggests why  "the Catholic Church could be facing its most serious crisis in 500 years".
Extract from Charles C. Camosy, Crux Contributor, 15 November 2018
Faggioli: As I wrote in Foreign Affairs, this could be the worst crisis since the Reformation, and the Catholic Church could be facing its most serious crisis in 500 years. It is a church in need of institutional reform and facing growing political, theological, and geopolitical rifts that go beyond a simplistic ideological rift between liberals and conservatives. It is the end of a world in which there was a parallelism between Church and State with the church in charge of religion and the state of politics. But it is also a very vital church, a very important point of reference in the global world, with an intellectual tradition that is being rediscovered and re-inculturated, and not at all forgotten.      The good news in the present moment of the abuse crisis is that nobody thinks that this crisis is induced by the media, or a conspiracy. There is a lot to do: the work done on policies and procedures has already a history and a track record. What still needs to happen is a theological reflection on the abuse crisis: what this crisis means for our understanding of the Church, of the sacraments, of the liturgy, of the relations between Church and State.      How should the abuse crisis change the way we teach theology, and in my field, Church history? This kind of reflection has barely started, and this is the task especially for the younger generation of Catholics. There is no systemic change without a theological reflection on the crisis - a reflection that changes the culture of the Church......(more)  Photo: Faggioli Massimo mic Crux
Catholic women to engage in vision for Church
Extract from Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Melbourne Catholic, Tuesday 13 November 2018
Catholic women from throughout Australia will gather in Adelaide early next year to explore how to create a Church that is inclusive, missionary and discerning. Registration is now open for the triennial Council for Australian Catholic Women Colloquium with the themes of the conference being drawn from the Plenary Council 2020 process.     The Stirring the Waters: Catholic Women Responding to the Spirit event, from February 22 to 24, will engage deeply with the vision of the Plenary Council and involve women in creating the Church of the future.....(more)
Seeking a plenary council fit for purpose
Extract from Frank Brennan, Eureka Street, 13 November 2018
The Bishops’ Synod on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment has now concluded in Rome. Like the Synod on the Family, this synod which was focused on youth was more inclusive and democratic than previous synods. Pope Francis has been trying to make the church more ‘synodal’. He has been happy for synod fathers to vote on each paragraph of a document, publishing the voting figures, and taking forward only those paragraphs that gain a 2 out of 3 vote. But like his predecessors, Francis rightly insists that the church is not a democracy. A synod is not a Parliament. And the Roman Church is not trying to emulate the Anglicans.        Francis raised some eyebrows at this last synod when he allowed the male religious lay representatives to vote. His conservative critics are fond of pointing out that a synod is primarily a synod of bishops meeting with the pope and think only clerics should vote. Francis raised other eyebrows, and perhaps these eyebrows were raised a little higher, when he denied any vote to the couple of women religious lay representatives in attendance. Though youth were the focus of the synod, the youth participants had no voting rights. Sydney’s Archbishop Anthony Fisher was a member of the synod. A disproportionate number of the Australian youth in attendance came from the Sydney Archdiocese. Maybe they were better organised.          When interviewed after the synod, Archbishop Fisher said, ‘We had a group of 36 young people present throughout. They were delightful. They were lovely to talk to informally, and they were not backward in coming forward in the general assemblies and the small-group discussions. Most of them were very idealistic. It really added to the whole process, having them around. But at times I felt they hunted in a pack: They would clap and cheer and whoop comments that played to a very particular script.’              We Australian Catholics are now preparing for a Plenary Council. Hopefully there will be a large number of participants at the proposed plenary council who are not bishops. They won’t all be delightful. Some will be young. And they will be wanting to do more than talk informally. When those without a deliberative vote organise to make themselves heard, it will be important for them not to be perceived by those with a deliberative vote to be hunting in a pack.....(more)
NZ Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care will now include churches.
Extract from Jason Walls, New Zealand Herald, 12 November 2018
An inquiry into the historic abuse of children in state care has been expanded to include abuse in the Church.      Speaking at her weekly post-cabinet press conference, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it is important that the Government listened to the submitters who urged the Government to include faith-based institutions in its inquiry.     The inquiry has received a new name, the Royal Commission into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-Based Institutions, to reflect its now widened scope.     The inquiry will be able to begin hearing evidence from January 2019. A final report containing the Royal Commission's findings and recommendations will be submitted to the Governor-General in January 2023.        It has a budget of $78.85 million over four years, including more than $15 million to help participants by providing counselling and related support.     Ardern said she knows some of the survivors and is proud to have played "even the smallest part" in the inquiry.     The duration of the Royal Commission has also been extended to four years to reflect the wider scope, Ardern said.    "Today paves the way for us to confront a dark chapter of our national history by acknowledging what happened to people in state care, and in the care of faith-based institutions, and to learn the lessons for the future," Ardern said.    She said of the 400 submissions received on the draft Terms of Reference, including faith-based institutions in the inquiry was one of the most strongly argued issues.    Cabinet confirmed the four other members of the Inquiry to serve with the chair Sir Anand Satyanand: Ali'imuamua Sandra Alofivae, MNZM; Dr Andrew Erueti; Paul Gibson; and Judge Coral Shaw....(more)
The calm before the storm
Anticipating a reforming pope’s radical plan to curtail the Roman Curia
Limited extract from Robert Mickens, Rome, subscription Journal La Croix International, 9 November 2018
Vatican City. Some are cautiously looking forward to it with hopeful expectations. Others are fearing it with dread and despair. It’s the upcoming reform and restructuring of the Roman Curia.  As Massimo Faggioli recently pointed out, it could be one of the most significant structural changes Pope Francis makes in a determined effort -- contested by some members of the hierarchy -- to bring about a more decentralized and synodal Church.     The Jesuit pope has spent his entire pontificate working on curia reform with the help of an international group of senior advisors called the Council of Cardinals (C9).     When he announced the establishment of this unprecedented body just four weeks after being elected Bishop of Rome, he said its purpose was “to advise him in the government of the universal Church and to study a plan for revising the apostolic constitution” that defines the curia’s purpose and structures.    Most observers made little of the C9’s primary mandate (to advise the pope on governing the worldwide Church) and focused almost exclusively on its second and more specific task at hand -- re-writing the apostolic constitution. They foresaw the project’s completion within a year or so.    Instead, the reform has not yet been concluded despite the fact that Francis has been in office just a few months shy of six years.   During this long period those who eagerly want the reform have expressed frustration with the 81-year-old pope for not acting more swiftly.   But, in actual fact, Francis has been rolling out major changes in the Vatican structures all along. By reducing and merging a number of offices, for example, he has already begun changing the complexion of the curia.   Because of this, once an all-encompassing reform is finally unveiled, it may not seem to be as jolting. But with a pope who has not been afraid to.....(source)  Photo: La Croix International. 
‘See the world through the eyes of God’
Edited Extracts from CathNews, The Catholic Leader,  9 November 2018
When Nobel Peace Prize recipient Mercy Sister Denise Coghlan speaks to schoolgirls she encourages them to be part of a world that is bigger than themselves and gives everybody a fair go.     Living in Cambodia and internationally recognised for her efforts to ban landmines and cluster bombs, Sr Denise is back in her hometown Brisbane, attending a chapter meeting of the Sisters of Mercy, Brisbane congregation.........On this trip (she) has attended a past-students’ reunion at her old school All Hallows’, spoken to girls at St Mary’s College, Ipswich, and attended a fundraising dinner at the school, sharing her story of accompanying the displaced of Cambodia over the past three decades.     “I try to get them to see the world through the eyes of God. And the dream of God is to have a world of justice, a world of mercy and peace,” she said.     In the late 1980s, Sr Denise left Australia to work in the Thai-Cambodian refugee camps, where many Cambodians sought refuge during Pol Pot’s reign of terror.     Moving to Cambodia in 1990, she continued an energetic pursuit of social justice, refugee rights, poverty alleviation, and the banning of landmines and cluster bombs.     Sr Denise played a key role with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines that led to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, and in the same year the group shared the Nobel Peace Prize.     “You could cry for those with missing legs and see what might have been for them,” she said. “The landmine campaign is now almost 21 years old, and we’ve got most of the stockpiles destroyed....(more)  Photo: CathNews The Catholic Leader
Pope says all citizens morally bound to engage in politics
Vatican issues teaser of Pope Francis’ World Peace Day message as US midterms dilute President Trump’s power
Limited extract from staff subscription journal La Croix International (with Catholic News Service) 7 Nov. 2018, republished 9 November 2018
Vatican City. The Vatican has released a teaser of Pope Francis’ message to celebrate World Peace Day on Jan. 1 and the focus will be on “good politics.”    The theme will be “good politics is at the service of peace,” stressing how all cit....(source)
Man admits to dozens of church beak-ins
Extract from CathNews, The Age, 9 November 2018
A man with a vendetta against the Church admitted breaking into dozens of churches and threatening to punch a priest during a four-month crime spree across Victoria.      The man, aged in his fifties, pleaded guilty to 54 charges in the County Court yesterday, over the January to April offending.      When interviewed by police he said he had been sexually abused by priests for three months as a child.     “The burglaries were not about money, but were about retribution for what they do to people,” the man told officers in April.     The thief left his wallet behind during one of the burglaries at Ringwood’s Lady of Perpetual Help Church presbytery in April, which was found by a priest, according to a prosecution summary.    He returned and threatened Fr Anthony Dolan, who heard the front gate rattle, telling him: “I’m going to punch your f---ing lights out”.    The priest begged him “please don’t do that”, before the man jumped the fence and fled.     He also threatened to kill a female cleaner who discovered him at the Parish of Our Lady Church in Balwyn.     The man pleaded guilty to 16 burglaries, 15 aggravated burglaries, one attempted aggravated burglary, an attempted burglary and 19 thefts at Catholic buildings across regional Victoria and Melbourne.     He also pleaded guilty to making threat to inflict serious injury and threat to kill....(more)
Swiss Jews, Christians and Muslims unite for refugees
Switzerland’s religious leaders have for the first time issued a joint statement on refugees, submitting practical proposals to authorities
Limited extract fom Mélinée Le Priol, Subscription journal La Croix International, 8 November 2018
Switzerland. An unprecedented interreligious declaration on refugees published by the Swiss Council of Religions is likely to inspire other European countries.      The United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) has also backed the on Nov. 7 statement.        The 16-page document, which sets out five concrete calls for the protection of refugees, was signed by six Swiss representatives of organizations from the three major monotheistic religions, including the....(source)
Guam archdiocese files for bankruptcy amid abuse claims
Archdiocese of Agana will remain operational as it seeks to overcome settlements totaling more than US$115 million
Limited extract from International staff, subscription journal La Croix International, 8 November 2018
The Catholic Archdiocese of Agana in Guam has filed for bankruptcy several months after Archbishop Anthony Apuron, 73, was suspended from office and barred from returning to the Pacific island after being convicted in a sex abuse trial.      The archdiocese said the filing would help it reach settlements with child sex abuse victims as it faces over 180 claims against priests in the U.S. island territory in Micronesia, the Associated Press reported.....(source) Photo: Guam Cathedral, La Croix International,  Abasaa
Catholic agencies closely monitor giving after clergy sex abuse shock
Extract from Dennis Sadowski, Crux Now, Catholic News Service, 8 November 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Leaders and fundraisers at Catholic organizations are cautiously monitoring the level of donations and gifts as the end-of-the-year giving season approaches, hoping that the clergy sexual abuse scandal won’t negatively affect their bottom line.    While most of the professionals contacted by Catholic News Service said it is too early yet to see what effect, if any, the abuse crisis may have on giving, some are taking steps to reassure donors that money contributed to vital ministries is not going for settlements to abuse victims or payments to attorneys....(more)
New bones found on Vatican property as others go for testing
Extracts from Melboiurne Catholic, Crux Now Thursday 8 November 2018
Two days after bones found on Vatican property last week were sent for DNA testing and comparisons, more remains were uncovered in the same area, and are believed to belong to the same individual.     According to Italian agency ANSA, the new remains, found Tuesday, consist of part of a skull and jawbone. Authorities believe the fragments belong to the same partial-skeleton uncovered last week by workers carrying out restoration on a building attached to the Vatican’s embassy to Italy......For many Italians, the discovery of the bones has reawakened curiosity and speculation over the cold cases of Emanuela Orlandi, whose father worked at the time for the Vatican bank and lived on Vatican property, and Mirella Gregori, who went missing about a month before Orlandi.      Neither of the girls’ bodies were ever found, and in the years since their disappearance, Orlandi in particular has become the source of many varying conspiracy theories.              According to some theories, Orlandi was kidnapped in a bid to put pressure on the Vatican to conceal the financial misdealings of mafia members found to have ties to the Vatican bank, while others, including Rome’s famed exorcist Father Gabriel Amorth, insist that the youth was murdered after being coaxed into a sex ring which had the participation of members of the Vatican police force and diplomats close to the Holy See.     Still others have linked her disappearance to an attempt by international terrorists to force the release of Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish gunman who shot Saint Pope John Paul II in 1981 in an assassination attempt.    None of these theories have ever been proven, and with the discovery of the bones, many are hopeful it will bring closure to the case.....(more)
Pope Francis' struggle to bring forth a synodal Church
Synodality for Francis is not just a form of Church government but a way of being Church
Limited extract from Massimo Faggioli, United States, subscription journal La Croix International, 5 November 2018
The most visible critique of the just concluded Synod of Bishops’ assembly on young people has focused on sections in the final document that call for a strengthening of synodality at all levels of the Church.         It is absolutely surprising how very little so many bishops know about synodality, a method Pope Francis has sought to develop throughout his pontificate and a concept Catholic theologians have been discussing for at least a couple of decades.      In order to understand how the pope’s ecclesiology is currently being received, we should look back at the concept of episcopal collegiality as it was introduced at the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).      It is well known that this was a “new” concept for the Council Fathers, who debated and finally approved by principle most notably in the Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, which was promulgated in November 1964.     Less known is that Catholic theologians had done substantial work in collegiality during the preparation phase of Vatican II. One notable example was the 1961 book edited by Yves Congar and Bernard-Dominique Dupuy, The Episcopate and the Universal Church.     During the actual sessions of Vatican II other theologians and historians published even more books and scholarly articles on the topic.        These were fundamental in convincing the bishops council at both ends of the sp....(Source) Photo: La Croix Int Fabio Frustaci EPA MAXPPP
The world needs your gifts!  (lay ministers needed)
Friday 2 November 2018
We need more members of our parish family to step up and assist in some of our liturgical ministries especially Readers, Special Ministers of Communion, Sacristans and Multimedia Presenters. Training will be arranged prior to going onto new 2019 rosters. If you are interested please put your contact details on the sheet in the church foyer. Please give this your serious consideration!   image: The world needs your Image: ner steve johnson unsplash
Death sentence: Asia Bibi released, under heavy guard
Extracts from Asia Bibi released, under heavy guard, Catholic Weekly, 2 Nov 2018
Asia Bibi has been released from death row and prison in Pakistan and is now under heavy protective guard in a secret location with her family, a long-time Catholic missionary intimately involved with negotiations in Pakistan about her case has reported.    “She’s out of jail in a secret location in Pakistan – she’s not incarcerated, not in jail. The decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan given on 31 October was that she was be released immediately. She is being protected.     “Her security is obviously a matter of huge concern for the Pakistan Government,” Father Robert McCulloch, an Australian Columban missionary told The Catholic Weekly, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Sydney, Australia.     Speaking in a telephone interview from Rome on 1 November, Fr McCulloch, the Columban Procurator General in Rome, told The Weekly the decision to free Asia Bibi had also set a ground-breaking legal precedent for the country.      Asia Bibi, a poor agricultural labourer, was sentenced to death for blasphemy against the Islamic religion in 2010.       “I’m very positive about the situation and we can take a lot of heart from what new Prime Minister Imran Khan said yesterday at 7.15pm Pakistan Time,” said the priest who spent 34 years in the country working in education and healthcare from 1978 to 2011.     In a televised broadcast to the nation, Prime Minister Khan attacked Muslim fundamentalist leaders calling for Asia Bibi to be killed following her successful appeal to the Supreme Court.     He told Pakistanis that Islamic hardliners were “inciting [people] for their own political gain”, and said they are “doing no service to Islam”.       “I think this is very important because – given the Prime Minister’s statements in the recent election campaign – we never knew exactly where he stood on the question of religious freedom in Pakistan,” Fr McCulloch said.......While Asia Bibi is a Christian, the majority imprisoned under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are Muslims whose cases often emerge from professional enmity, jealousy, business rivalry and other factors; human rights organisations have claimed for decades that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are regularly abused to settle vendettas.     Because the charges against her were not made under Sharia law but under a form of Westminster law where precedent is important, the Supreme Court’s decision will now benefit many more people in a similar situation......(more).  Photo: Catholic Weekly CNS Rahat Dar EPA
Anti-abuse push still a ‘work in progress’
Extract from CathNews,Crux, 1 November 2018
Melbourne Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli says the final document from the Synod of Bishops on youth left out a firm apology for the abuse crisis because not all areas of the world understand the severity of the issue.        Certain parts of the Church in the world are [just] coming to understand what it means to take a position of zero tolerance, and the Synod is a reflection of the Church throughout the world,” Archbishop Comensoli told Crux.    “It’s not just Australia, it’s not just the United States, it’s not just Germany, or Chile or where the manifestations of abuse have been most intensely felt,” so the final document had to take this into consideration, he said.    For Archbishop Comensoli, a universal understanding of just how widespread sexual abuse is in the Church and the scarring effect that it has on victims is still a work in progress.   “Particularly for me in my context, zero tolerance is an absolute, and I’ll certainly go back to my own people to talk about this and say that no matter what has been said in terms of the final document, how we operate in the Archdiocese of Melbourne is that any form of abuse – from its very early stages in grooming [victims] through the horrors of physical activity – is not to be tolerated at all.”....(more)  Photo: CathNews, YouTube, Vatican News. 
Iowa diocese covered up priest’s abuse of 50 boys
Extract from Ryan J. Foley, Special to Crux, 1 November 2018
FORT DODGE, Iowa - A Catholic diocese acknowledged Wednesday that it concealed for decades a priest’s admission that he sexually abused dozens of Iowa boys - a silence that may have put other children in danger.    Father Jerome Coyle, now 85, was stripped of his parish assignments in the 1980s but never defrocked. And it was not until this week, after The Associated Press inquired about him, that he was publicly identified by the church as an admitted pedophile, even though the Diocese of Sioux City had been aware of his conduct for 32 years.     The diocese recently helped Coyle move into a retirement home in Fort Dodge, Iowa, without informing administrators at the Catholic school across the street.    In 1986, Coyle reported his “history of sexual attraction to and contact with boys” to Sioux City’s bishop, revealing that he had victimized approximately 50 youngsters over a 20-year period while serving in several Iowa parishes , according to a private letter written in February by the diocese vicar general and obtained by the AP.    The diocese told the AP on Wednesday that it never contacted police or informed the public after Coyle’s admission.    “The diocese admits it could have been handled better,” diocese spokeswoman Susan O’Brien said. But she said the policies in place at the time did not call for notifying police or the public.....(more).
Dublin Archbishop shocked by the lack of understanding in Rome
Church leaders were too slow to open up to victims and survivors, or understand the role they could play in addressing abuse, says Archbishop Diarmuid Martin
Limited extract from International staff, subscription journal La Croix International,29 October 2018
Ireland. Catholic Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin says he is surprised by the lack of understanding in Rome that the basis of the current clergy sex abuse crisis lies within its religious culture....(source)
Closing the synod, Pope Francis highlights “the three fundamental steps on the journey of faith”
Extract from Gerard O’Connell, America, The Jesuit Review, 28 October 2018
There are “three fundamental steps on the journey of faith: to listen, to be a neighbor, to bear witness,” Pope Francis said in his homily at the closing Mass for the synod on young people in St. Peter’s Basilica on Oct. 28.       He delivered his challenging homily about “the journey of faith,” as he concelebrated Mass with the 260 synod fathers from more than 130 countries. Also in attendance at Mass were the 36 young people from all continents who had actively participated in this historic event, and who processed into the basilica in front of the priests, bishops, cardinals and pope. During the Mass the young people read the first two Scripture readings in English and Italian, and later read prayers in Hindi, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese and Chinese.      Commenting on the story from the Gospel of St. Mark about the blind, beggar man, Bartimaeus, who called out to Jesus as he walked on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem, the pope recalled that after Jesus stopped, listened to what he had to say and gave him back his sight, the man became a disciple and walked with him and the other disciples to the holy city.     “We, too, have walked alongside one another; we have been a ‘synod’,” he told them, before offering a roadmap for their future lives......Francis warned that “when faith is concerned purely with doctrinal formulae, it risks speaking only to the head without touching the heart. And when it is concerned with activity alone, it risks turning into mere moralizing and social work.”      The Jesuit pope explained that “faith, instead, is life: it is living in the love of God who has changed our lives.” He told the bishops and young people: “We cannot choose between doctrine and activism. We are called to carry out God’s work in God’s own way: in closeness, by cleaving to him, in communion with one another, alongside our brothers and sisters.” He emphasized that “closeness” is “the secret to communicating the heart of the faith.”      Moreover, he said, “being a neighbor means bringing the newness of God into the lives of our brothers and sisters” and “serves as an antidote to the temptation of easy answers and fast fixes.” Being a neighbor means rejecting “the temptation to wash our hands,” he said; it means “to imitate Jesus and, like him, to dirty our hands.” Francis reminded them, “Jesus became my neighbor: It all starts from there. And when, out of love of him, we, too, become neighbors, we become bringers of new life” and “witnesses of the love that saves.”....(full report HERE  Photo: America, The Jesuit Review,  CNS Paul Haring 20181028
Synod urges ‘rigorous measures’ on abuse but stops short of ‘zero tolerance’
Link to report from John L. Allen Jr. Crux, 27 October 2018)
[Ed: For an accessible and relatively comprehensive overview of the Synod output document read this report HERE]
Synod ends, calling women's inclusion in Catholic leadership a 'duty of justice'
Extract from Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter, 27 October 2018
Vatican City — A worldwide gathering of hundreds of the Catholic Church's prelates ended Oct. 27 with the issuing of some of the global institution's strongest language yet for the inclusion of women in its all-male decision-making structures, calling the matter a "duty of justice" that requires a "courageous cultural conversion."       Although the final document from the Oct. 3-28 Synod of Bishops does not mention women's ordination -- neither to the priesthood nor to the diaconate -- it acknowledges that women have been excluded from decision-making processes even when they "do not specifically require ministerial responsibility."            "The absence of women's voices and points of view impoverishes discussion and the path of the church, subtracting a precious contribution from discernment," it states. "The synod recommends making everyone more aware of the urgency of an inescapable change."       A 60-page text that was the fruit of intense discussions among 267 male prelates and 72 lay auditors at the month-long synod gathering, the document however softens an earlier draft's language regarding the ongoing clergy sexual abuse crisis, retreating from a promise that the Catholic Church would practice "zero tolerance" on the issue.        Where the first draft, presented to the synod participants privately Oct. 23, had five paragraphs devoted to clergy abuse, the final version has three. Instead of the original reference to "zero tolerance," the final version says the synod "reaffirms the firm commitment for the adoption of rigorous measures of prevention" of abuse.      The final text says that revelations of abuse have become a "serious obstacle" to the fulfillment of the church's mission, and admits that many abuse cases have been handled in a manner "lacking responsibility and transparency."       The synod text also retreats on the issue of the church's ministry to gay people, both refraining from repeating the Vatican's earlier first use of the acronym LGBT and replacing the first draft's condemnation of violence based on "sexual orientation" with one against "sexually-based violence."      "The synod reaffirms that God loves every person and so does the church, renewing its commitment against every discrimination and sexually-based violence," states the final document.....(more)  Photo: NVR, CNS, Vatican Media
Letter From Rome - Something is happening on the way to the ‘forum’
With his latest Synod assembly, the pope has taken another step in reforming the Church. But are all the bishops with him?
Limited extract from Robert Mickens, Rome. subscription journal La Croix International, 26 October 2018
Vatican City.  The XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment comes to end this weekend and, no matter what the final document contains, one can already begin to draw up a balance sheet of what has emerged over its 25 days of meetings and events.      The critics of Pope Francis were already skeptical before the Oct. 3-28 gathering at the Vatican even started. And as the sessions unfolded over the course of these past few weeks, they have dismissed much of the deliberations as amounting to little more than a farce.      Some of them have accused the pope — who is the president of the Synod — and his top aides in the Synod’s general secretariat of “rigging” the assembly on youth, just as they denounced Francis and his supporters for “fixing” the procedures and outcome of the other two assemblies (on marriage and the family) that have taken place in his pontificate.     Even Francis loyalists like India’s Cardinal Oswald Gracias, a member of the pope’s C9 council of advisors, have raised questions over the process that’s been followed — or ignored — in this latest Synod assembly.   (We’ll get to that in a moment.)      But, as was argued here last week, the gathering has been “but a single step on a much longer and transformative journey,” marking “yet another necessary juncture on the road towards radically reforming structures of ecclesial governance and effecting a ‘conversion’ of the papacy itself.”      So, what are the early results of this latest episcopal summit in Rome?      'Synodality' still widely misunderstood.      The first thing that must be noted is that Pope Francis still has a steep challenge in clearing up the considerable confusion many Catholics have about the exact nature of the Synod of Bishops and the process of synodality he is trying to make a constitutive part of the Church’s very constitution.     Some of his critics have warned that the pope is trying to turn the Roman Church’s decision-making process into something similar to the way the Anglic...(Source).    Photo: Youth Synod end 20181026 M.Migliorato CPP Ciric.
A Special Moment at the Youth Synod
Extract from Salt & Light, Melbourne Catholic, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne Friday 26 October 2018
During the 2018 Synod of Bishops on Youth, a special moment happened. One of the young auditors, Yadira Vieyra, a research specialist in child development at the University of Chicago, was invited to read part of her small language group's report in the Synod hall.      The invitation came from the group's secretary, Bishop Mark Edwards of Melbourne, Australia. Here's the story in Yadira and and Mark's own words....(more - including 2'30" video)  Photo. Extract, Melbourne Catholic, CAM

Synod of Bishops: ‘Synodality’ is the keyword
Extracts from Melbourne Catholic, Vatican News, Friday 26 October 2018
On Thursday two main issues were discussed at the press briefing for the Synod of Bishops on Young People: Synodality as the way forward and the scandal of sex abuse in the Church.....Archbishop Hector Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte, O.F.M., from Peru said that the Synod was an experience of great cooperation and that the Church’s understanding of synodality has been developed. He said that synodality is a keyword and that in these days it has been a true gift of the Holy Spirit. He said that he Church must work on this and practice it more so that it grows. He said that the bishops are all called to enhance cooperation in the Church. The Archbishop said that the bishops speak in communion with the Pope, in service of the people of God......Cardinal Arlindo Gomes Furtado from Cape Verde said that the experience of the Synod was one of communion. He said that the model is one that impressed him, he intends using it in his diocese. He said that the method of the Synod has helped participants progress in joy and communion and it is a way forward that the Church must pursue.....All those present at the press briefing spoke about the sexual abuse of minors.....Mr Galhardo said that as young people, it is very difficult because they have heard the testimonies of victims, their peers, which are terrible stories. He said that this is not the Church he knows, the Church that he experienced as a young boy or the one he believes in. He said that this is not the Church that he has experienced at the Synod, a Church that is journeying together. He said that young people (his friends) refer to abuse as if this is all the Church is in the world. He went on to say that it is hard to defend the Church in the situation of abuse and that the church of abuse is not the Church of Jesus Christ, ‘that is another church,’ he said....Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti from Italy said abuse has hurt the whole body of Christ; the whole Church has suffered because of what has happened. He said that the Church needs to take responsibility for this which includes cooperating with civil authorities and the judiciary......The Cardinal went on to say that prevention is key and that seminaries need to use all the instruments of the human sciences to assess candidates for priesthood and religious life. It is not enough to report on what has happened, the Church must now adopt all possible means to prevent this. He said that the Italian bishops will be meeting in November for a full day to discuss this issue in depth....(more)
Pope urges faithful to respond to the ‘cry of the poor’
Extracts from  Melbourne Catholic, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Friday 26 October 2018
In his message for the second World Day of the Poor, Pope Francis has called for a new evangelisation that prompts Catholics ‘to make tangible the Church’s response to the cry of the poor’.      In a letter to clergy throughout Australia, Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life chairman Bishop Terence Brady encouraged all Catholic communities to be involved and respond to the theme of day: ‘This poor man cried and the Lord heard him’ (Psalm 34:7).      The World Day of the Poor will be celebrated this year on November 18....(more)
Evangelizing the ‘digital continent’
Limited extract from Gauthier Vaillant, subscription journal La Croix International, 25 October 2018
In the final document of the Synod assembly on young people, the bishops are expected to take a balanced look at new technologies
As expected, and as in any contemporary reflection on the youth, whether in the Church or elsewhere, the issue of new technologies, the Internet and social networks was a major topic of discussion at this year’s Synod assembly on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.     Many of the synod fathers issued enthusiastic declarations and powerful testimonies, such as Bishop David Bartimej Tencer of Reykjavik, Iceland, who explained that he used video-teleconferencing to give catechism classes in his very extensive diocese.....(source). Photo: La Croix International.     [Ed: The article goes on to highlight Archbishops who have conspicuously used digital media, amongst others including Archbishop Peter Comensoli who published his presentation on Twitter and uploaded a photo of the pope paying an impromptu visit to his working group. In numerous other ways Bishop Mark Edwards has made extensive use of digital media including video during the Synod.]
Realising the dream of Vatican II
Extract from from Fr Noel Connolly SSC, St Columban's Mission Society eBulletin, 24 October 2018
Earlier this year I read an excellent book, An Unfinished Council: Vatican II, Pope Francis and the Renewal of Catholicism by Richard Gaillardetz. In it he compares the pillars of the pre-Vatican II church with the new pillars of a Vatican II church. There is not space enough here to discuss them all so let me concentrate on the three more important changes relevant to our Plenary Council.               Before the Council, faith was understood primarily as believing in doctrine, a number of propositions or truths that the hierarchy taught to the laity who obediently believed without contributing anything. At Vatican II the bishops returned to the traditional understanding of faith. God reveals himself to us inviting into a personal relationship. Through faith we come to know not things about God, but God’s own self – in a personal, relational way. Since all Christians personally know God, all have the sense of the faith that Pope Francis keeps reminding us of. All can contribute to the teaching role of the church. Certainly, the official teachers need to listen to the sense of the faithful before teaching. This understanding of a shared sense of the faith also leads to one of the strongest themes of Vatican II, dialogue.             Following on Vatican I, the church became more papal centred. This was something the bishops at the Council wanted to balance. The bishops fought strongly for a say, especially about matters the Curia was deciding without reference to them. They wanted a collegial church. Collegiality was accepted in principle at the Council but has waxed and waned since. It is still developing and maturing in practice. Witness the changes Pope Francis is making to the understanding and practice of the Synod of Bishops. All in the interest of making them more collegial and not just consultative. Collegiality, strictly speaking, refers to bishops, “with and under Peter”. But it is informed by ‘Synodality” which includes the whole people of God. All of us journeying together, serving each other and listening to one another and in that way to the Holy Spirit.       A final pillar of the pre-Vatican II church was an emphasis on a sacral priesthood. Clerics were seen as special, separate from the rest of the people of God, superior in holiness and knowledge, the sole and indispensable channels of God’s grace, gifts and leadership. At Vatican II, the priority is given to baptism, not orders......(more).
What’s it like being the only female cleric at the synod on young people?
Extract from Luke Hansen, S.J. America - The Jesuit Review
A young priest in the Czechoslovak Hussite Church has been pleasantly surprised by the welcome and openness she has experienced at the Synod of Bishops on young people, she told America in an interview. A fraternal delegate, Rev. Martina Viktorie Kopecká, 32, has the distinction of being the only female cleric at the Synod of Bishops, which is taking place from Oct. 3 to 28 in Rome.         Dressed in the liturgical vestments of the Hussite Church—a black robe with an imprinted red chalice and white stole—she delivered an address to the whole synod body on Oct. 11, emphasizing the importance of ecumenical relations, calling the synod a “sign of hope” and affirming the capacity of young people to be bridge builders.        “The true ecumenical movement must be lived and shared together,” she said.        Rev. Kopecká did not go unnoticed. She believes the cardinals and bishops “were surprised, maybe shocked” to see her clerical attire, she told America. “They recognized me as the girl at dinner and now as a priest. It takes some time, but they have accepted me.”         Rev. Kopecká believes the cardinals and bishops “were surprised, maybe shocked” to see her clerical attire.    “After my intervention, a lot of people came to me in the hallways, saying they listened to me and were inspired,” Rev. Kopecká said. “I was surprised that they even listened to me. I am quite young and a woman. I wore a white stole. They are not pushing me away. They accept me as a member of the family.”           The fraternal delegates who represent other Christian churches can make interventions in the synod aula and participate in small group discussions, but they cannot vote. The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople has a delegate, as do ecclesial organizations like the World Lutheran Federation, the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the World Methodist Council.         Rev. Kopecká is representing the World Council of Churches, a fellowship of 350 member churches “seeking unity, common witness and Christian service.” Even at her young age, she has been entrusted with great responsibility at the W.C.C. She serves on their central committee and 20-member executive committee, and she moderates the ECHOS commission on youth in the ecumenical movement.     When a human being meets another human being, it doesn’t matter which denomination we belong to,” she said. “We believe in Christ and can find a way—as Pope Francis says—to work and pray together. We are from different cultures and societies, but we have something in common. Young people, through friendship, are learning how to move toward acceptance and respect.”....“For me, ordination is not a question of gender but human dignity and equal possibilities,” she said. “Women do a lot of work in the church today and should be considered as spiritual leaders and servants of God. They are doing the hardest work, caring for people in miserable situations. They make the face of the church more human.”......In the synod hall, she said, Pope Francis “is always very relaxed, ready to smile. He accepts fun, which is beautiful. When there is a joke, he smiles. He is not rigid in any way. We feel we are at home and can speak openly.    “He is really inspiring for many youth because he is not old,” she said. “He is incredibly young. He has openness, creativity and energy, and he also brings wisdom and experience, but not in the way that he is pushing anybody to anything. He just brings his values.”.    Photo: Martina Viktorie Kopecká Rev at Synod young people, Vatican Media, America The Jesuit Review ......(more) 
From the Vatican II 'Church of the Poor' group to the Synod meet on young people
The way the group applied Cardinal Joseph Cardijn’s see-judge-act to their own lives can provide a model for participants at this year’s Synod
Limited extract from Stefan Gigacz, Australia, subscription journal La Croix International, 22 October 2018
“Twelve bishops gathered with Cardinal Pierre-Marie Gerlier for the first meeting,” reads a contemporary report on the origins of group of bishops at the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) that took as its motto, “Jesus Christ, the Church and the Poor.”
        These prelates “reviewed their lives and their thinking, as well as that of their churches and the Church, on the issues raised for them by the poor and the workers, and more radically by Jesus of Nazareth, the Carpenter,” the report continues.
     Best remembered for the “Pact of the Catacombs” they later adopted, these bishops wanted to ensure that the Council tackled the “anguishing” issues of poverty, the working class and world development.     Convened by Bishop Charles-Marie Himmer of Tournai, Belgium and Bishop George Hakim of Galilee (later Patriarch Maximos V), the group first met on Oct. 26, 1962 at the Belgian College in Rome. Cardinal Pierre-Marie Gerlier of Lyon was the group’s president.   Inspired by Pope John XXIII’s phrase “the Church of the Poor,” members saw themselves operating “as an extension of” John’s 1961 social encyclical, Mater et Magistra (Church as Mother and Teacher of All Nations), following the see-judge-act method pioneered and popularized by Joseph Cardijn.    Since.....(more)  Photo: Second Vatican Council Lothar Wolleh CC BY SA 3 La Croix International 20181022
Compassion and justice after abuse apology
Extracts from Frank Brennan, Eureka Street,  21 October 2018
.....The royal commission is over, but there is still a long way for us to travel so that we might stand together in solidarity committed to justice, truth and healing for all, for the living and for the dead. We are unlikely as a Church or as a society to get this right for quite some years to come.....We are fortunate that our bishops finally agreed to release the reports of our Truth Justice and Healing Council. One of those reports contained personal testimonies by members of the Council. This evening, I would like to quote from just four of those testimonies. I will not quote any bishop. I will not quote any man. Let me just quote from four of the women on the council.      Elizabeth Proust, Deputy Chair of the Council and Chairman of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, said:      'It is clear from the royal commission's findings that the dysfunctional governance of the Church aggravated the harm done by sexual abuse. The need for reform in this area is long overdue and the delay and obfuscation in responding to the royal commission on this topic, and on many others, will only worsen the alienation felt by the people of the Church, and continue to make the Church an irrelevance in our society.'       Maria Harries, who is a professor of social work and the chair of my board at Catholic Social Services Australia, said:    'I still need to be convinced that the structures of the church implicated in their permitting of such abuse and the protection of perpetrators will really reform itself. Change is obligatory, and it is differentially confronting and frightening for various elements of our church. The recognition of the problems we face as a church is a good start to finding solutions.'      Marian Sullivan, a child psychiatrist, said:     'The royal commission has challenged many parts of Australian society and its institutions. The Catholic Church has been scrutinised extensively and critiqued harshly. As a member of the Council I have moved from a disposition of disappointment with the Church to one of satisfaction that the Church represented by the Council has unflinchingly faced the shame of its past behaviour and any inadequacies of redress. Although not widely acknowledged, the cooperation that the Council gave to the royal commission has been exemplary and is proof of our resolve.'     Maree Marsh, a Brigidine Sister and psychologist, said:     'The church cannot undo all of the harm done in the past, but it has the responsibility to do all that is within its power to create an environment in which people will treat other people with respect, dignity and justice. The healing that is necessary involves a long process and will take courage, compassion, openness and patience. Above all it will take faith — faith in one another and faith that God is with us in this journey.'......May the Lord have mercy on us all. May the day come when church officials and victims will be comfortable in each other's presence in our Parliament even if not in our Church. But let's dare to pray that all might belong both in the galleries of our Parliament and in the pews of our Church seeing the light in fullness of days...(the full article here)
Cardinals: L.G.B.T. issues part of youth synod discussion
Extract from Michael J. O’Loughlin, America Then Jesuit Review,  October 20, 2018
With opinion polls consistently showing that young people are accepting of same-sex marriage and other rights for L.G.B.T. people, there were questions how the ongoing synod of bishops focused on young adults might approach the subject. In the early part of the nearly month-long meeting, one U.S. archbishop made headlines when he suggested that there is no such thing as “L.G.B.T. Catholics,” setting off a debate over whether the final document produced by the global meeting should include the phrase.    The issue has not been a primary topic inside the synod hall, but at a press conference in Rome on Saturday, three archbishops responded to questions from journalists by saying the topic has arisen and that the young adult delegates have largely urged church leaders to be more welcoming to L.G.B.T. people and their families.       “We take people where they are, walking with them, moving forward,” Cardinal Blase Cupich said.     “We have to make sure that we don’t put obstacles in the face of God’s grace. We take people where they are, walking with them, moving forward,” Cardinal Blase Cupich said in response to a question. “Sometimes in that journey they stray or they take a step back, but we’re still with them in order to keep that journey going.”       Pope Francis handpicked Cardinal Cupich, who heads the Archdiocese of Chicago, to attend the meeting, which is beginning to wrap up its work in preparing a final document to submit to the pope next week.       Another synod delegate, Cardinal John Ribat of Papua New Guinea, said that the young people present at the synod talk about L.G.B.T. issues “freely,” urging church leaders to address L.G.B.T. people in their preferred way. He said the lay delegates “are really helping us to understand, to really see where they are at, and how they [want] to be heard, recognized and accepted.”       And Australian Archbishop Peter Comensoli suggested that L.G.B.T. Catholics should not be singled out.      “Very simply, aren’t we all sinners? And aren’t we all looking to be found by God? And being found by God, how we might then find our lives in him?” he asked.      Responding to another question later, the archbishop added that it is important for church leaders to respond in a Christian way to members of the L.G.B.T. community.        “When my friends who might be homosexual or lesbian or struggling with their gender, when I speak with them, I speak with them with the friendship of Christ as I ought to, and as a friend I say, how do we progress together toward the foot of the cross?” he said......(more)
A Synod seeking its path
Although there have been many interesting discussions so far, participants are having difficulty in coming up with concrete proposals
Limited extract from Nicolas Senèze, Rome, subscription journal La Croix International, 22 October 2018
Vatican City.   The Synod assembly on young people has already been in session for two and a half weeks. Over the last few days, participants have focused particularly on the third part of the Working Document devoted to pastoral proposals concerning young people.      But reading the reports of the 14 linguistic groups, which were published on Oct. 20, it appears that the Synod is having difficulty in translating its reflections into concrete action.    Certainly, the bishops have latched on to the need for a more incisive presence of the Church in the digital world. Here, they are looking particularly to the skills of young Catholics who have mastered the new technologies almost naturally....(source)
St. Vincent de Paul Society follow-up
Friday 19 October 2018
Further to our presentation at Masses last weekend, and our invitation to parishioners to consider joining Vinnies, a number of parishioners expressed interest in joining and in attending an information session.   This information session will be held on Tuesday 30th October at St Bernadette’s Community Centre at 7.00pm. Any interested parishioners who would like to come along would be most welcome.

50th Wedding Anniversary

Our congratulation, blessings and best wishes to Rhonda and Ernest Clarke who are celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary at Mother of God this Sunday.

Moving our Embassy in Israel
Extract from Parish Newsletter, 19 October 2018
News that our government will consider moving our Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem may seem of little consequence to most people in Ivanhoe but to those of us who have spent time in the Holy Land and have developed friendships with local Palestinian Christians and Muslims it is heartbreaking. What our Palestinian Christian brothers and sisters must be thinking of our nation at the moment doesn’t bear thinking about.        For Government leaders to say that moving our Embassy to Jerusalem would not impact on its commitment to a two-state solution is ludicrous.  The two-state solution and the so called peace process is not working and has been deliberately undermined. The reason for this is that Israel, supported by US policy, constantly undermines Palestinian hopes for autonomy by expanding settlements, forced removal of families from their homes and farms, and entrenching the illegal occupation of Palestine. To move the embassy is to reward this behaviour and signal an end to any genuine bipartisan commitment.      What makes this announcement even more tragic is that it is so obviously linked to the Wentworth by-election and the hope of gaining a few more Jewish votes. But while this may attract the support of the more extreme Zionists many moderate Jews who also long for a peaceful and just two state solution also oppose any foreign embassies moving to Jerusalem before the “final status” of Jerusalem is decided....(more) Image: The Age Jerusalem 20181019 Shutterstock

NSW commits extra $127m to abuse prevention and support
Extract from Cathnews, The Daily Telegraph, 19 October 2018
The New South Wales Government has committed an extra $127 million to help implement key recommendations from the child sexual abuse royal commission.       The new money, which brings the government’s total contribution to the redress scheme up to $570 million, will mostly go towards the prevention of child sexual abuse but will also help improve support for children and adult survivors.      Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the government passed laws on Wednesday allowing survivors to sue institutions where they had been sexually abused as children, closing a legal loophole that had previously prevented them from taking action.    “NSW has continued to lead the way whether it’s in relation to the redress scheme, whether it’s in relation to providing support to survivors,” Ms Berejiklian said yesterday.     “I want to make sure nobody else suffers at the hands of institutions or people who were there to protect the children – not commit those horrific acts which instead have ruined lives and caused so many in the community to have an adverse impact.”    Family and Community Services Minister Pru Goward said the package was about ensuring all NSW organisations “promote a healthy child environment” and that workers are properly monitored.     “We’re also strengthening the ability of parents to know whether or not they are enrolling their child in a child-safe organisation, whether that’s the local ballet school or the local swim club,” she said.      In a statement released yesterday, Catholic Religious Australia welcomed the government's commitment to strengthening and broadening measures to protect children....(more)
Prison Sunday to focus on youth justice
Extract from Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Melbourne Catholic, Friday 19 October 2018
Inspired by the Catholic Church’s Year of Youth in Australia, the focus of Prison Sunday on 11 November will be youth justice and juvenile detention.    Prison Sunday commenced in 2016, during the Year of Mercy, as an initiative of Pope Francis to observe the Jubilee for Prisoners.    ‘We need to nourish the roots of our hope so that they can bear fruit … despite whatever evil we have done. There is no corner of our heart that cannot be touched by God’s love,’ Pope Francis said at the time.        Bishop Terry Brady, Bishops’ Delegate to the Australian Catholic Prisoners Pastoral Care Council (ACPPCC) and chair of the Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life, said youth detention systems in some Australian states and territories were under significant stress, leaving vulnerable young people without the services they need to turn their lives around.      ‘At any time, for example in Victoria, there are around 200 children and young people, aged between 10 and 24 years old, incarcerated in youth justice centres,’ he said.       ‘The Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory last year also highlighted the need for fundamental reform in detention and child protection systems in the Northern Territory.    ‘Prison Sunday provides a time for all Catholics to think about the conditions in our prisons and what we as Catholics – in our schools, parishes and welfare organisations – can do to make a difference.....(more)
Australian appointed to ecumenical commission
Extract from CathNews, ACU,  19 October 2018
An Australian academic has been appointed to an international commission that works to promote ecumenical progress between the Catholic and Anglican faiths.        The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity has formally appointed Australian Catholic University’s Emmanuel Nathan to the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC).       The ARCIC was established in 1967 by Pope Paul VI and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey, with the intention to make ecumenical progress between the Catholic and Anglican churches. Its sponsors are the Anglican Consultative Council and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. 
Synod of Bishops on Young People: Becoming digital missionaries
Extract from Melb Catholic, Vatican News, Thursday 18 October 2018
Today at the Synod briefing the press were told that a repeated theme in conversation in the Synod assembly was how the Church can be part of the digital world. For this, the Church needs ‘digital missionaries’.        Dr Paolo Ruffini, Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Communications, started the briefing by listing a number of issues that had been spoken about in the general congregation of the Synod. He said that migration, both internally and externally in countries, was a hotly debated issue. Young people are, he said, concerned about the stewardship of creation. He said that the assembly heard that young people react negatively to corruption in politics. He also noted that it was said that young people want the Church to be a place of excellence.        Other issues that arose included conscience, truth and mercy, teaching in catholic schools and universities and how drug use and alcoholism often led young people to crime......Bishop Tencer said that one thing that struck him was that this Synod has been a great success because it was well prepared. Information has come from the whole world. he felt that the conversation has been very positive and that this Synod would certainly help the Church move forward.....(more)
Move Vatican II forward, Francis tells Jesuits
Speaking to his brother Jesuits in Lithuania last month, Pope Francis solicited their support in moving forward the work of the Vatican II.
Extract from CathNews, Crux,  18 October 2018
I believe the Lord wants a change in the Church,” he told 28 Jesuits during a private meeting during his trip to the Baltics. “I have said many times that a perversion of the Church today is clericalism … I know that the Lord wants the Council to make headway in the Church.”        “Historians tell us that it takes 100 years for a Council to be applied,” he added. “We are halfway there. So, if you want to help me, do whatever it takes to move the Council forward in the Church.”       The Pope’s remarks were published in full yesterday by the Vatican-vetted Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica.     Among the other topics the Pope addressed were concerns of vocational burnout by Jesuit priests, the need for ongoing ecumenical dialogue, the importance of Jesuit education, and how the sacrament of confession must be marked by mercy.     Lithuanian Archbishop Lionginas Virbalas of Kaunas told Francis that the province had dwindled from over 1,000 members to just over 30 and will soon merge into a larger, singular province with Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Hungary. Consequentially, some of the Jesuits now take on three to four jobs to support the work of the Society.     The Pope encouraged the Jesuits not to neglect their spiritual and physical health, warning, “the evil spirit does lead us to a sort of ‘not-working-enough complex’.”....(more).  Photo: CathNews Crux CNS Paul Haring.
The Synod in Rome - Road to Emmaus
Limited extract from Christopher Lamb, subscription journal The Tablet, 17 October 2018
During his first sit-down interview, at the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis made some remarks about synods which, at the time, were largely overlooked.         “Synodality should be lived at various levels,” he told Antonio Spadaro SJ in August 2013, six months after election.  “Maybe it is time to change the methods of the Synod of Bishops. Because it seems to me that the current method is not dynamic.”            Five years on it is becoming clear that the Synod of Bishops has become one of the primary structures in Francis’ programme of church renewal. When it comes to youth, which the current synod is focusing on, the Catholic Church could be described as the IBM of the religious world.....(source)Photo: Youth Synod delegates arrive for a session The Tablet. Christopher Lamb CNS
Help me do whatever it takes to move Vatican II forward, pope says
Speaking to Jesuits, Francis reiterates the need for prayers to make progress to move the Council forward in the Church
Limited extract from International staff, subscription journal La Croix International, 18 October 2018
Vatican City. What needs to be done today is to accompany the Church in a deep spiritual renewal and to help in implementing the Second Vatican Council, says Pope Francis....(source)
The unintended and horrible consequences of bad good intentions
The only way out of this mess is to admit that Catholicism is not basically about popes and bishops, rules and teachings
Limited Extract from Father Bill Grimm, Japan, subscription journal L Croix International, October 13, 2018
In the early centuries of the church's life, there were three so-called "mortal" sins: adultery, murder and apostasy. All three were sins against the life and unity of the community. They resulted in excommunication, separation from the community, until a penitential restoration of communion.       By the time, many centuries later, when I was learning the catechism, it seemed as if every transgression were mortal, and therefore cause for damnation, unless there were extenuating circumstances.         One of those mortal sins was violation of the church's rule of abstinence from meat on Fridays. In order to make a living, the hot dog vendor in my mostly Catholic neighborhood sold "Friday hot dogs" at a discounted price — buns with condiments, but no sausages in them. That ended in 1966....(more).   Father William Grimm, MM, is the publisher of ucanews.com and is based in Tokyo.

St Vincent de Paul Society

Friday 12 October 2018                                         

A member of the Society will address the parishioners this weekend, Observance Sunday, to thank you for all the assistance you have given during the year and to encourage parishioners to consider joining the society. 

 

Archbishop Peter A Comensoli speaks from Rome
Extract from Melbourne Catholic, Media and Communications Office, 12 October 2018
As the second week of the Synod of Bishops comes to an end, most of the interventions from the delegates have now been presented. Many of them highlighted the social context in which young people are trying to live their faith. Read Archbishop Peter A Comensoli's intervention here.   In the newest ‘Bishop Bites’ video Archbishop Comensoli speaks from Rome with some interesting observations of the Synod, key vocations and what the Bishops should be doing to listen and engage with young people....(more - including video)
Rome synod seeks ways to bring youth back into Church fold
Synod of Bishops shows it is ready to change Church’s approach to draw back young people alienated by exclusionary policies
Limited extract from Arnaud Bevilacqua and Nicolas Senèze, Rome, subscription journal La Croix International, 10 October 2018
After its first week of work, the Synod assembly on Young People in Rome that runs through October still has a long way to go to achieve its aim of rebuilding links between young people and the Church.         Nevertheless, the bishops have already begun to appreciate how the Church's culture has gradually distanced itself from young people.           Concern has began to spread among participants that the final document to be transmitted to Pope Francis will not be effective in reaching out to young people.          "We need to reflect on the way the synod is presenting itself to young people," said Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli.....(more)  Photo: La Croix International . Youth Synod Bishop Mark Edwards and youth,  La Croix Int. M. Migliorato Catholic Press
Catholic comedian Jeremy McLellan on finding God by welcoming the disabled
Extract from Jeremy McLellan, America The Jesuit Review, 9 October 2018
A few months ago I attended Mass in the inner city of Chicago. Before the service, I went to the bathroom. Standing at the sink was a middle-aged man with Down syndrome. When he saw me, he cupped his hands, filled them with water, splashed me several times, let out a giant laugh and ran out of the room.      I should pause to mention that, before this happened, I was feeling particularly holy. I am a new Catholic, which means I am smarter and better than everyone else. I was also in town for the weekend and had gone to the trouble of finding a church, dressing up and praying the rosary before Mass. Practically a saint.    But now, I was soaked. I dried off as best I could and went back to Mass. Later, during the sign of the peace, the man who had splashed me, along with a dozen of his friends with disabilities, ran around the church shaking everyone’s hand. No one was spared. This took about 10 minutes. And yet, as I looked around, no one seemed to think it was weird. This was simply what happened every Sunday. I smiled, felt my shoulders drop and for the first time at the service, felt that I was home.......It is no mystery, then, why close forms of community, particularly the extended family, have collapsed in the West. After all, you do not choose your parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, ancestors or heritage. You can choose whether to have children, but you cannot (yet) choose what they will be like. You can choose a spouse, but you do not get to choose how that person will change. Over time, he or she will become a different person. And so will you. In the end, every marriage is an arranged marriage.    So whether it is the disabled, the unborn, the elderly, the poor, the refugee or anyone else, our attitude is often the same: We did not agree to this. This was not part of the plan. They are burdens. And they are. But we are all burdens. We were once burdens, and we will be burdens again.    And I cannot help but see a connection between this attitude and the decline of religion in the West, between our frantic attempts to protect our lives from intrusion and our refusal, unlike Mary and Joseph, to welcome God, whom we did not choose and who has shown himself to be nothing if not intrusive.....(more).  Photo: America, The Jesuit Review.
Sex abuse a recurring theme in Synod debates
The Synod has also highlighted other issues including migration and globalization
Limited extract from Arnaud Bevilacqua, Rome. subscription journal La Croix International, 9 October 2018
 A call by Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney to make the Church “a safe place for young people” has echoed the thoughts of many participants at the Synod assembly on young people, which is continuing in Rome.      In a lyrically worded and profound intervention on Oct. 5, Archbishop Fisher appealed for forgiveness for the sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church.  Making the Church safe for young people.....(more)
Revisiting the theology of clericalism
Theology tends to ramp up the status and certainty of its models and theories so that what starts off as a theory morphs into unquestionable truth
Limited extract from Eric Hodgens, subscription journal La Croix International, 9 October 2018
Australia. Clericalism is on everyone’s lips. The pope decries it. Australia’s Royal Commission judged it a major factor contributing to child sex abuse by priests. Some bishops have joined the chorus denouncing it, even though other bishops resentfully bite their tongues.      But, as the saying goes, you tell me what you do, and I will tell you what you believe. Follow that line and we find clericalism alive and well.    The factional divide in the Catholic Church is becoming ever more political and militant. It parallels the identity politics which is currently enveloping many of the world’s democracies.    One faction places its focus on the church as institution — with its system, doctrine, law and clerical control. The other stresses the Christian vision, and sees system, doctrine, law and clergy as its servants.    The 50 years since Vatican II have seen the pendulum first move from dominance of the clerical system....(more).
Cardinal Ouellet rebuts Archbishop Vigano who demanded Francis resigns
Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops tells archbishop to repent as Vatican orders probe into McCarrick sex abuse case
Limited extract from International staff, subscription journal a Croix International, 8 October 2018
Vatican City. Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Vatican-based Congregation for Bishops, issued a public three-page letter on Oct. 7 censuring the former Vatican nuncio to the United States Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, for attacking Pope Francis. Archbishop Vigano on Aug. 26 demanded the pope step....(more)

The new 'Two Orders of Christians'
The line dividing clergy from laity has been blurred — having become a canonical distinction says little about what the two have in common and what separates them
Limited extract from Massimo Faggioli, subscription journal La Croix International, 8 October 2018
United States. In 1979, undercover FBI agents videotaped a U.S. congressman accepting a bribe, in which the crooked politician notoriously said, “Money talks in this business, and bullshit walks.”     This prosaic image could be used to describe what is presently happening in the Catholic Church in the United States.     It is here that we find the epicenter of Catholicism’s current crisis, but not because clergy sex abuse has not taken place in other countries.      Rather, it is because the crisis has created a vacuum of authority in the U.S. Church. It is not a vacuum of power, which is still in the usual hands (at least for now), but of authority, which is about trust and credibility.     Nature abhors a vacuum, and this vacuum is being filled by those with an open checkbook and a very clear ideological agenda. Money is talking loud and clear.    Catholics with abundant financial resources and strong connections to the leaders of the U.S. episcopate are trying to fill the vacuum with an agenda that is officially about reform. But, in fact, it is actually corrupting the Church even more, though in a different way.    Recently a self-appointed Catholic watchdog group emerged under the name “Better Church Governance.”        At a meeting on Oct. 3 at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., the group announced “plans to enlist the help of former F.B.I. agents to investigate the cardinals who will vote for the next pope and assess how they handled allegations of sexual abuse and whether they have remained faithful to their own vows.”      In the very same week, another event.....(More).  Photo:  La Croix International.
Pope warns youth against populism, at Synod in Rome
Suggests smartphone culture can erode family ties, urges them to seek counsel from older relatives and not 'close their minds'
Limited Extract from International staff, subscription journal La Croix Internationbal, 8 October 2018
Vatican City.   Pope Francis received a white envelope bearing the concerns of young people at a youth-focused Synod in Rome on Oct. 6, and warned them about the dangers of populist ideologies that exclude others.     He signed arm.....(more). Photo  Edwards Mark Bp Youth Synod La Croix Int M.Migliorato CPP
Mooted Vatican youth body needs more 'joy of Gospel'
The late Cardinal Joseph Cardijn, founder of the Young Christian Workers movement, proposed a 'Roman center' to act as 'the summit of dialogue between Hierarchy and laity'
Limited extract from Stefan Gigacz, Australia,  subscription journal La Croix International, 8 October 2018
Australia. The Synod with the theme Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment has got off to a lively start. Already there have been at least two suggestions for a permanent Vatican commission to deal with issues facing young people, observers have reported.     As I wrote several months ago, this idea dates back at least to 1962 when Joseph Cardijn, founder of the Jeunesse Ouvrière Chrétienne (JOC) or Young Christian Workers (YCW) movement, presented a similar proposal to Pope John XXIII on the eve of Vatican II.     Although the notion did not progress at the Council, perhaps it is an idea whose time has finally come. In this context, it is worth recalling that Cardijn did in fact set out the principles and methods for such a Vatican center in a 1964 paper for “a Roman Center for the Apostolate of Lay People.”     As a member of the Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate for the Council, he was already frustrated by the obsession of many bishops and Roman Curia members with hierarchical control. Tagged as “hierarchology” by the theologian Yves Congar, it was an extreme form of the “clericalism” recently condemned by Pope Francis.    Rejecting this, Cardijn proposed a “Roman center” that would act as “the summit of dialogue between Hierarchy and laity . ....(more)  Photo: Youth Synod Cardign La Croix Int JOC
New Logo for new Parish Name  (Friday 4 October 2018)
With the Archbishop granting our Parish the title and patronage of ‘Mary Mother of the Church’ we have adopted a new parish logo. With a change of name a logo is at least as important to those outside the Parish as to those within. While any logo or image should be allowed to speak for itself here is a short description about its intended symbolism that was used to assist in the development of the logo.         The M is obviously a symbol of Mary our Patron Saint - the left flourish of the M is blue, Mary's traditional colour. The right flourish of the M is green, the colour of Ordinary Time and symbolic of the Church as the People of God. The green symbolizing spring, new growth, change, renewal and development. So we have the left side of the M symbolizing Mary and the right side of the M symbolizing us as Church.         Hovering above in the cleft of the M is the original Parish logo. It was from the Cross that Jesus gave his Mother Mary to the 'beloved disciple' as Mother (that is to each of us - as brothers and sisters of Christ - and to the Body of Christ - as Church).   The Cross also symbolizes the Passion of Christ that binds the faithful together, and in this case while boldly looking forward the Cross is surmounted by a visual reflection of our Parish history - the circle in the centre of the Cross symbolizing the three communities that formed this Parish and speaks of our activity and mission as Church in the heart of the Cross.    The red colour at the heart of the Cross also symbolizing the Passion of Christ.
Synod should promote 'the capacity to dream,' Pope says
Francis appeals to Synod Fathers to come up with a series of 'concrete pastoral proposals'
Limited extract from Nicolas Senèze, Rome, subscription journal La Croix International, 4 October 2018
Vatican City, Pope Francis opened the Synod on the theme 'Young People in Rome with a Mass at St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday Oct. 3.     The ceremony took place almost two years to the day after the pope first announced the Synod and following intense preparations including a broad worldwide consultation process involving many young people. The first discussion followed in the afternoon.         The Synod needs to “broaden our horizons, expand our hearts and transform those frames of mind that today paralyze, separate and alienate us from young people, leaving them exposed to stormy seas, orphans without a faith community that should sustain them, orphans devoid of a ...(more)
Pope opens youth Synod with a warning to bishops
Extract from CathNews, The Tablet, 4 October 2018
Pope Francis opened the Church's youth Synod by urging participants to take their lead from younger generations and to avoid “falling into moralistic or elitist postures”.       The month-long Synod of Bishops gathering started yesterday and will focus on young people, the faith and vocational discernment. But the event takes place under a cloud of Church sexual abuse scandals and its assorted cover-ups by members of the hierarchy. Some had called on the Pope to cancel the event arguing the bishops have forfeited the ability to offer guidance to young people in the light of the crises.         But the 81-year-old Latin American Pontiff, who did not mention abuse during his homily at the Mass to open the Synod, said bishops will have credibility if they approach the event with a disposition of listening and that the youth of today cannot be abandoned to the “pedlars of death” of the contemporary world.          This listening, Francis told the crowd gathered in St Peter’s Square, must be done “sincerely and prayerfully, as free as possible from prejudice and conditioning” and without an attitude of “self-preservation and self-centredness which gives importance to what is secondary yet makes secondary what is important”.            He explained: “This disposition protects us from the temptation of falling into moralistic or elitist postures, and it protects us from the lure of abstract ideologies that never touch the realities of our people.”          Francis urged the Synod fathers, many of whom are in their 60s and 70s, to remember their vocations which, for a lot of them, came to fruition during Vatican II, the 1962-65 gathering of bishops which set the blueprint for the contemporary Church.       The Synod, Francis stressed, must “broaden our horizons,” avoiding a conformist mentality of “it’s always been done like this,” and rekindle a “Gospel ardour and passion which lead[s] to an ardour and passion for Jesus.”      “We know that our young people will be capable of prophesy and vision to the extent that we, who are already adult or elderly, can dream and thus be infectious in sharing those dreams and hopes that we carry in our hearts,” the Pope stressed.....(More)   Photo: CathNews, Vatican Media
At synod, Sydney archbishop apologizes to young people for church failures
Extract from Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service, 4 October 2018
VATICAN CITY -- Australian Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney used his speech at the Synod of Bishops to formally apologize to young people for all the ways the Catholic Church and its members have harmed them or let them down.         In the presence of Pope Francis, he apologized Oct. 4 "for the shameful deeds of some priests, religious and laypeople, perpetrated upon you or other young people just like you, and the terrible damage that has done."         He apologized "for the failure of too many bishops and others to respond appropriately when abuse was identified, and to do all in their power to keep you safe; and for the damage thus done to the church's credibility and to your trust."       Later, at the synod briefing for the press, Paolo Ruffini, prefect of the Dicastery for Communication, said several of the 25 bishops who spoke that morning asked young people to forgive the church and its members.    Some spoke specifically of cases of clerical sexual abuse, he said, while others asked forgiveness for not welcoming migrants -- most of whom are young -- or for trying to "tame" young people rather than recognize their energy and enthusiasm as a gift.    Chiara Giaccardi, an Italian professor of sociology working with the synod, told reporters "at least five or six" of the 25 speeches "emphasized asking forgiveness in a strong way." Most of those, she said, mentioned "the church's lack of living its mandate fully."....(more) Photo: CNS
Synods Aren’t Just for the Bishops - How the Laity Can Help Reform the Church
Extracts from Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal magazine, 1 October 2018
Dietrich Bonhoeffer famously said that God granted American Christianity no Reformation. It’s also true that God granted America no Counter-Reformation. But with the latest phase of the abuse crisis in this country, that might be changing.          The depth and magnitude of this crisis—as well as its distinctive combination of clerical corruption and theological division— make it worse than any crisis since the one that rocked the church five centuries ago.     The current crisis may not lead to a formal division of the Church the way the Reformation did, but it could well lead to a long period of undeclared schism......On the other side of the Atlantic, the Vatican is now dealing with what has become a global crisis, one that is sure to draw much attention at the bishops’ synod on youth, which opens on October 3. The day before meeting with the USCCB delegation, Francis announced an extraordinary meeting of the presidents of all bishops’ conferences at the Vatican, scheduled for late February. Not a consistory of cardinals nor a synod organized by the permanent secretariat of the bishops’ synod, this will be the first meeting of its kind, and it can be understood as Rome’s acknowledgment that the abuse crisis cannot be dealt with adequately unless Rome and local dioceses work together. We don’t yet know what will be on the agenda for this meeting.      But we do know that Rome cannot wait to act. Nor can the church in the United States just wait to see what happens in Rome......So, where to start? Let me offer a few proposals......Synodality is the best ecclesiological model for a church that wants to get out of this mess. Francis’s pontificate has offered opportunities for a synodal church, despite some clear limitations and blind spots, which one can also find in the document on synodality published a few months ago by the International Theological Commission (an English translation was published on September 28.) Institutions of synodality already exist (e.g., the presbyteral council, the college of consultors, chapters of canons, and the diocesan pastoral council), but they have been gutted in the decades since the Second Vatican Council created them.             There are other institutions of synodality that still do not exist and must be created (e.g., national and diocesan committees representing lay Catholics, lay boards for the inquiries conducted for the appointment of bishops). Finally, there are institutions that were not built for synodality, but can provide a space for institutional reform in this extraordinary time, such as Catholic schools and universities. This moment of anti-clerical rage should not blind us to the importance of institutions.....(more).  Photo:  Commonweal, CNS, Paul Haring.
Catholic priests marriage: Bathurst Catholic Diocese of Bathurst Bishop Michael McKenna's view
Extract from Nadine Morton, Western Advertiser, 1 October 2018
Catholic priests marriage: CELIBATE priests may be more “available” than married ones Catholic Diocese of Bathurst’s Bishop Michael McKenna says.     A submission by the National Council of Priests to the Australian Catholic Church Plenary Council conference will argue that priests in remote parts of the country should be allowed to marry, and that priests who left the church to marry should be allowed to return to the priesthood.    There may be no married priests in the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst, but Bishop Michael McKenna says he is willing to seriously consider the issue....(more)  Photo: Western Advertiser, Chris Seabrook 
Francis defends response to clergy abuse
Extract from CathNews, The Tablet,  27 September 2018
The Church has grown in its understanding of the horror of clerical sexual abuse and of the “corruption” of covering it up, Pope Francis said yesterday. Source: The Tablet.    Returning to Rome from his four-day trip to the Baltic nations, Pope Francis was asked about his remarks to young people in Tallinn, Estonia, when he said young people are scandalised when they see the Church fail to condemn abuse clearly.    “The young people are scandalised by the hypocrisy of adults, they are scandalised by wars, they are scandalised by the lack of coherence, they are scandalised by corruption, and corruption is where what you underlined – sexual abuse – comes in,” the Pope responded.     Whatever the statistics say about rates of clerical abuse, the Pope said, “if there is even just one priest who abuses a boy or a girl, it is monstrous, because that man was chosen by God to lead that child to heaven.”    The fact that child abuse occurs in many environments does not in any way lessen the scandal, he said.    But it is not true that the Church has done nothing “to clean up”, Pope Francis told reporters. If one looks at the Pennsylvania grand jury report released in August or other similar studies, he said, it is clear that the majority of cases occurred decades ago “because the Church realised that it had to battle it in a different way”.    To understand what happened in the past, he said, one must remember how abuse was handled then.    "The past should be interpreted using the hermeneutic of the age," Pope Francis said. People's "moral consciousness" develops over time, he said, pointing to the death penalty as an example.    But, he said, "look at the example of Pennsylvania. Look at the proportions and you will see that when the church began to understand, it did all it could."....(more)
Chaput publishes critique of youth synod document
Extract from Ellen Teague, The Tablet, 27 September 2018
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia has published a critique of the working document for the October meeting of the Synod of Bishops on “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment”.    The archbishop says the critique, published in the journal First Things, was prepared by an unnamed but “respected North American theologian”, and is “substantive enough to warrant much wider consideration and discussion as bishop-delegates prepare to engage the synod’s theme”.     The writer of the critique feels that, in its emphasis on listening and dialogue, the synod document suggests that “the Church does not possess the truth but must take its place alongside other voices”, while “those who have held the role of teacher and preacher in the Church must replace their authority with dialogue”. Section 144 contains “much discussion about what young people want; little about how these wants must be transformed by grace in a life that conforms to God’s will for their lives,” the writer says. Most of the document “catalogues the socio-economic and cultural realities of young adults while offering no meaningful reflection on spiritual, existential, or moral concerns.”     The document is described as suggesting “that vocation concerns the individual’s search for private meaning and truth”. An example of this is section 139, which “gives the impression that the Church cannot propose the truth to people and that they must decide for themselves”. The writer laments that the role of the Church seems to be reduced to one of accompaniment.     Other complaints include “a false equivalence between dialogue with LGBT youth and ecumenical dialogue; and an insufficient treatment of the abuse scandal”.    Chaput is due to attend the 3-28 October synod at the Vatican. He says he has received much correspondence about the synod. Nearly all the letters “praise its intent” but raise concerns about “its timing and possible content”......(more)
Ex Governor-General and Labor Leader Baptised after lifetime of atheism!
Extract from CathNews, The Catholic Leader, 19 September 2018
At the age of 85, and after a lifetime as a declared atheist, former Labor leader and Governor-General Bill Hayden has been baptised as a Catholic at St Mary’s Church, Ipswich, west of Brisbane, on September 9.    Mr. Hayden said “There’s been a gnawing pain in my heart and soul about what is the meaning of life. What’s my role in it?”     Now in declining health he said he hoped his new-found faith might encourage others as the Church passes through difficult times. “This took too long, and now I am going to be devoted. From this day forward I’m going to vouch for God.”    Mr Hayden attributed his conversion to the influence of his own mother, who was Catholic, and of the Ursuline Sisters, who taught him at primary school. However, it was a recent hospital visit to see Sister of Mercy Angela Mary Doyle that proved the pivotal moment in Mr Hayden’s faith journey.     “I have always felt embraced and loved by her Christian example,” Mr Hayden said of the 93-year-old who has been a lifelong inspiration of service to him, and who was among the congregation at his baptism.     The morning after visiting Sr. Angela Mary, Mr Hayden said he woke with “the strong sense that I had been in the presence of a holy woman. So after dwelling on these things I found my way back to the core of those beliefs – the Church.” ....(more)
“The Role of the Faithful in a post-Royal Commission Church in Australia”
Extract from Address by Bishop Vincent Long  to the Concerned Catholics of Canberra and Goulburn Forum, Catholic Outlook, Diocese of Parramatta, 11 September 2018
Dear friends.......Thank you for the invitation to speak at this forum and to have the opportunity to listen to the voices of the Concerned Catholics of Canberra and Goulburn in the spirit of genuine synodality.     The events in these last few weeks, including the sensational accusations against Pope Francis himself by the former nuncio to the U.S. has caused great turmoil in the Church. The sexual abuse crisis is inundating the whole Church like a tsunami and it has the potential to cause long-term damage, chaos and even schism. (Mind you, there is already a silent schism in that the majority of Australian Catholics have simply walked away from the practice of the faith.)    It is the biggest crisis since the Reformation and it exposes the ideological conflict that runs deeply through the length and breadth of the universal Church.     The anti-Pope Francis forces who have accelerated their frontal attacks against him in a coordinated and virulent manner. The gloves are clearly off and they have seized this moment of turmoil as an opportunity to undermine his papacy and derail his reform agenda. How time has changed in the Catholic Church!     Only until recently, criticisms against a sitting pope were deemed absolute anathema.       Now the shoe is on the other foot and papal sniping is becoming quite a sport among some Catholic circles. (We are after all in the capital of sniping of a different kind!) They might even agree with Paul Collins’ view on papal power but for different reasons I would suspect.     What is interesting, too, is the number of bishops who have chosen to sympathise with these forces and therefore shown their not so subtle disapproval of the way the Pope is leading the Church. Clearly, Captain Francis will have to weather both the storm and the mutiny onboard. I just hope and pray that he stays the course because nothing less than a deep and comprehensive reform will restore confidence and trust in the Church.     I must hasten to add that in as much as I am pleased with the wind of change blowing from Santa Marta, I do not believe that it will sufficiently carry the deep and comprehensive reform the Church of 21st century needs. Let us be under no illusions about the change we seek which is not only in attitude of the office holders but the very structure and culture of the Church.     After all, Pope Francis might just be a banana slip away from his reform agenda and we might all end up sliding backwards....(More)

Listening church: Pope gives new vision for Synod of Bishops
Extracts from Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, Vatican, National Catholic Reporter, 18 September 2019
Vatican City — The Synod of Bishops increasingly should be a structure for listening to the Catholic faithful, demonstrating a local bishop's concern for the entire church and a means of expressing all the bishops' unity with the pope, Pope Francis said.      Replacing Blessed Paul VI's 1965 document that established the Synod of Bishops and building on changes made to the synods over the past five decades, Francis issued an apostolic constitution, providing a theological explanation of the synod's role in the church and updating rules for how a synod is prepared for, conducted and implemented.          The constitution, "Episcopalis Communio" ["Episcopal Communion"], also states for the first time that voting members of the synod do not necessarily have to be priests. In preparation for the October synod on young people and vocational discernment, the Union of Superiors General, the organization of leaders of men's religious orders from around the world, elected two religious brothers to be members of the synod.    Discussing the normal voting members of the synod, Francis' new rules, which were published only in Italian Sept. 18, said that "according to the theme and circumstances, others who are not honored with episcopal duties can be called to the synod assembly with a role to be determined by the Roman pontiff."         Asked if that meant that women or women religious could be full voting members of the synod, Bishop Fabio Fabene, undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops, said that according to the new rules the men's Union of Superiors General "can elect any male religious, even nonpriests, as the pope had permitted by exemption in the last two synodal assemblies. As for women, they are already present as observers and participate in the synodal assembly and the small groups and have a right to speak."          "At the moment, it is established that the men's union of superiors elects members," but the women's International Union of Superiors General does not. Fabene said, "For now, that it how it is."          But the main changes Francis made to the synod are less visible and more profound........"While in its composition it is configured as an essentially episcopal body, the synod still does not live separated from the rest of the faithful," he wrote. "On the contrary, it is an instrument suitable for giving voice to the whole people of God precisely through the bishops."    Obviously, the pope said, the synod is not a Catholic parliament. "In the church, in fact, the aim of any collegial, consultative or deliberative body is the search for the truth or the good of the church," so prayerful discernment and openness to the Holy Spirit is key at every stage......(More)  Photo: NCR, CNS Paul Haring  

New research shows Australian teens have complex views on religion and spirituality

Extract from Andrew Singleton, Associate Professor of Sociology and Social Research, Deakin University; Anna Halafoff, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Deakin University; Gary D Bouma, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Monash University (and friend of The Conversation); Mary Lou Rasmussen, Professor, School of Sociology, Australian National University, The Conversation,  September 18, 2018

It’s perhaps not surprising that few Australian teens are engaged in formal religion and its practice. But, according to a new national study, many young people are nonetheless interested in spirituality, taking a complex and broad-minded approach to the issue. As researcher Andrew Singleton writes, the findings further challenge the idea that Australia is largely a Christian country, with teenagers at the forefront of overturning old ideas and constructing new ones.           The researchers found that teenagers broadly fit into six groups on matters of spirituality, from those with strong convictions to those questioning and discovering. And what is also striking is that they are remarkably tolerant of others’ views on the matter. As the researchers often heard: “it’s all good”.           The 2016 Census suggested about a third of Australian teens had no religion. But ask a teenager themselves about religion, rather than the parent or guardian filling in the census form, and the picture is slightly different.            According to our new national survey, at least half of teens say they are “religious nones” - those who do not identify with a religion or religious group. Digging deeper, we found a more complicated picture of faith and spirituality among young Australians. Most Gen Z teens have little to do with organised religion in their personal lives, while a significant proportion are interested in different ways of being spiritual.         Migration, diversity, secularisation and a burgeoning spiritual marketplace challenge the notion that we are a “Christian” country. More than any other group, teenagers are at the forefront of this remaking of Australian religion. Their daily experience of secondary school and social media sees them bumping into all kinds of difference. Teens are forming their own strong views about existential matters.          Our national study by scholars from ANU, Deakin and Monash – the AGZ Study – comprises 11 focus groups with students in Years 9 and 10 (ages 15-16) in three states, a nationally representative telephone survey of 1,200 people aged 13-18, and 30 in-depth, follow-up interviews. …(more)  Image: Teenagers, abstract collage, Katrina Frazer

Father Hans Zollner: Post abuse crisis, how can we get back to our Christian roots?
Extract from Jim McDermott, America, The Jesuit Review, 17 September 2018

Hans Zollner, S.J., is a licensed German psychologist and psychotherapist with a doctorate in theology and one of the church’s leading experts in the area of safeguarding minors. He is the president of the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, a member on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and a consultor to the Congregation for the Clergy.          America spoke with Father Zollner in July and followed up recently as the sexual abuse crisis in the United States continues to roil the church. This is the first of three interviews James McDermott, S.J., is conducting about the abuse crisis.          What is your reaction to what we’ve seen in the United States and elsewhere over the last month?      The strongest impression I have is that it has now reached another level. The discussion and the awareness and the intensity, especially in the United States, is very surprising because you have gone through this for many years already. And it brings out the American [social and political] divisions that are visible in the country and in the church.          But why is it so shocking for so many, left and right of the divide? It is because the extent of the cover-up by church leaders in the past and their co-responsibility for it (no matter what their ideological persuasion) are becoming clearer now. And then the question is how people deal today with all these issues.....(More)

Over to you Ivanhoe parishioners & families!
Friday 14 September 2018  Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe (Mary Mother of the Church Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe)
Everyone of course has heard of the Plenary Council 2020/2021 by now.   We know that it was urged by Pope Francis and will be based on "Listening to Christ by listening to one another" (synodality).   We all know therefore that the important issues it addresses will be based on what each Catholic in Australia, guided by the Holy Spirit, collectively thinks about the future of our Church in Australia.   We further know that the opportunity to provide inputs to the Plenary Council already exists on its website (http://plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au).       Like many other Parishes (including neighbouring parishes of the Yarra Deanery),  our parish will shortly also provide informal opportunities in the comfortable context of small groups in our parish community, or online, to listen to each other and say what we think, honestly,openly, and respectfully in a spirit of faith.      Every single person in our Parish interested in the future of our Church is called to listen, and speak, honestly, respectfully, comfortably. Further information will follow soon.
US bishops tell Pope abuse scandal ‘lacerated’ Church
Extract from CathNews, NCR Online, 14 September 2018
The meeting yesterday between Pope Francis and the leaders of the US bishops’ conference on the clergy sexual abuse scandal resulted in a “lengthy, fruitful and good exchange”, the American prelates said.           Conference president Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said in a statement that he and the three others taking part in the encounter told the pontiff how the Church in the US had been “lacerated by the evil of sexual abuse,” and that the Pope “listened very deeply from the heart.”        Cardinal DiNardo met with the Pope alongside Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez, the conference vice president; Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, head of the papal commission on clergy abuse; and Msgr Brian Bransfield, the conference’s general secretary.            The Vatican did not release any information about the encounter, aside from official photos and a brief video of its beginning. The statement from the US bishops came about four hours after its scheduled start at noon-time in Rome.      Cardinal DiNardo first requested the encounter with Francis las month, two days after the August 14 release of a grand jury report in Pennsylvania revealed that more than 300 priests had been accused of committing sexual assault in six dioceses in the state over seven decades.     Release of that report came shortly after Archbishop Theodore McCarrick renounced his place in the College of Cardinals in the wake of revelations that he sexually harassed or abused several young men during his rise to become one of the US Church’s most senior prelates.....(more).  Photo. CathNews CNS Vatican Media 
Thanks for your prayers
Fr Lasbert, Friday 14 September 2018
Thanks to my friends in Ivanhoe Parish for your prayers at our Silver Anniversary Mass last weekend. The celebration was great and simple and the Mass was officiated by the Archbishop of Makassar, Mgr. John Liku Ada,DD.      There were around a thousand people attending. There was no homily, instead each of us the three shared our joys and sorrows of being religious and missionary in our different and respective mission field.      After Mass we all shared a meal together with singing, dancing and some  some presentations. Now I am still in Makassar to help with with psychological assessment of new seminarians who are just beginning their formation year.          In next couple days I will return to Jakarta where I am assigned. [Ed: See more photos here ]
It is time for Archbishop Viganò to meet the press
Gerard O’Connell
Extract from Gerard O'Connor, America, The Jesuit Review, 13 September 2018
News that the Holy See is preparing the “necessary clarifications” to the allegations of cover-up and corruption made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò against Pope Francis and more than 30 past and present senior Vatican officials has been widely welcomed in the church.       As the Vatican prepares its response, many reporters in Rome say Archbishop Viganò also has many questions to answer. Since dropping his bombshell letter, however, he has gone into hiding and acted like an insurgent, making intermittent sniper comments or statements to those journalists and news outlets who share his opposition to Francis. Isn’t it time for him to come out of hiding and meet the press?....(More)
Pope Francis summons the world’s top bishops for sexual abuse prevention summit
Pope Francis has summoned the president of every bishops conference around the world to a summit meeting in the Vatican on the theme of “the protection of minors.”
Extract from America, The Jesuit Review, 12 September 2018
The Feb. 21-24, 2019 meeting is believed to be the first of its kind, and signals a realization at the highest levels of the church that clergy sex abuse is a global problem and not restricted to the Anglo-Saxon world, as many church leaders have long insisted.         Francis called the meeting after consulting the Council of Cardinal Advisors at their meeting in Rome earlier this week. A Vatican statement said the cardinals and the pope discussed at length the subject of abuse in the church.        Paloma Garcia Ovejero, the deputy director of the Holy See Press Office, told journalists in a briefing that the pope has convened the meeting “to talk about the prevention of the abuses of minors and vulnerable adults.”   Francis’ decision comes in the wake of reports and revelations of abuse by priests and religious persons in countries throughout the world, including the United States, Ireland, Australia, Chile, Germany, Belgium, Canada, Italy and also Asia.....(more)  Photo: America, The Jesuit Review, AP Alessandra Tarantino.

Erring Shepherds
Extract from Association of Catholic Priests, Ireland, 10 September 2018
It has pained me greatly to write this article. I deeply love the Catholic Church – which has an unconditionally loving, merciful and triune God at its centre.  I have great respect and love for Pope Francis and have worked closely throughout my life with many dedicated, hard working and deeply spiritual priests.       But something is deeply wrong within the Catholic Church as is revealed in the short history below of clerical and institutional abuse. The Church has lost much of its moral leadership around the world, particularly among younger Catholics in the northern hemisphere.          The problem, as clearly and frequently identified by Pope Francis, is a pervasive and toxic culture of clericalism throughout the Catholic hierarchy. Within clericalism I would include the related problems of the sexual abuse of children by a small minority of clergy, unaccountable power, careerism, imposed celibacy and a major lack of effective involvement of lay men and women at all levels within the Church.      Lay people must be given back effective ownership of their Church, in which they will work, in word and action and partnership with clergy, guided by the Holy Spirit and a deep knowledge of Sacred Scripture and strengthened divine Eucharist – to help bring about on earth God’s Kingdom of unconditional love and mercy for all human kind and all of nature. Let us have a Church of mercy which is “a field hospital after battle” for the wounded, as Pope Francis has said....(more)

Indonesia Ivanhoe greeting and prayer request from Fr Lasbert
7 September 2018
Former Ivanhoe Parish priest-in-residence Fr Lasbert has written from his Indonesian parish to "all my friends in Ivanhoe Parish" saying how much he happily remembers us each week when he reads our  parish news, adding that "It inspires me too, when I make homily for next Sunday". He is now in the 3rd year at his  Parish at Makassar where there are 4,600 parishioners across 14 communities. It keeps him and his confreres very busy because apart from other things "every day we have morning mass in the church/parish and in the evening we have masses in different communities" in turn "according to their need/intentions" adding that they also have have 13 different committees such as the Legion of Mary, youth, lay deacons, social affairs, liturgy group, etc .  Lasbert concludes his message with a prayer request "This coming Saturday of September 8th, I will be celebrating my silver anniversary of religious life together with my 2 other confreres in Makassar. Please pray for us, because the challenge of life is so real. The three of us have great responsibility in our different fields. One is working in Japan as parish priest and district coordinator/superior at the same time and one is the vicar to the Archbishop of Makassar.
Prosecutors to appeal 'inadequate' sentence
Extract from CathNews, Thje Advertiser, 7 September 2018
Prosecutors are set to appeal the sentence handed down to former Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson for failing to report child sexual abuse, arguing the sentence is too lenient.       The New South Wales Director of Public Prosecutions has lodged an “inadequacy appeal” against Archbishop Wilson’s 12-month jail term, which was to be served on home detention. He must serve at least six months of the home detention order.      Archbishop Wilson has lodged his own appeal against his conviction, which will be heard next month.      However, prosecutors will put forward their own case against what they say is an inadequate sentence in the District Court in Newcastle on Wednesday, September 13.    Archbishop Wilson was found guilty in May of failing to report paedophile priest James Fletcher’s historic sex abuse against altar boys in the NSW Hunter Region in the 1970s and 1980s. He was found to have withheld information about the offending from police between 2004 and 2006....(more)
Paris archbishop sets new pastoral priorities to include lay people
Limited extract from subscription jouirnal La Croix International, 6 September 2018
Archbishop Michel Aupetit to redefine status of lay people by appreciating their pastoral role in assuming genuine responsibilities.   It is now nine months since Archbishop Michel Aupetit’s appointment to the Archdiocese of Paris. In a letter to priests and church volunteers this week, he shared the eight pastoral priorities for the diocese during the 2018-19 year.      Archbishop Aupetit officially presented the letter to the press flanked by his newly appointed vicars general....(source)
Archbishop Coleridge: U.S. needs to become “humbler church” in response to abuse crisis
Extract from Emma Winters, America, The Jesuit Review, 5 September 2018
In a conversation about sexual abuse in the United States and Australia, Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia, told America that “until there is a genuine restoration of trust, no apology is going to land.”     We have to accept now,” the archbishop continued, “restoring trust will only come over time if in fact we do the things we say we’re going to do.”        The Catholic Church in Australia was under inquiry by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse from 2013 to 2017, when a final report was issued. Similar to findings of the Pennsylvania grand jury in the United States, the Royal Commission brought to light instances of abuse, as well as cover-ups by bishops and religious superiors.          The dominant mood probably is a sense of bewilderment, really, because this is a crisis the like of which we haven’t faced in our history,” the archbishop said in a video interview with executive editor Tim Reidy.     Archbishop Coleridge noted that there were advantages to having a national scope with the inquiry and response. He said the national approach was vital in preventing a “fragmented and at times contradictory response” to “an area as vital as child protection.” However, the archbishop stressed that the national nature of the response also had “enormous challenges” because with seven distinct jurisdictions “Australia in the singular doesn’t exist.”.....In Archbishop Coleridge’s eyes, there are many more effective ways to protect children from sexual abuse than changing church teaching about the seal or priestly celibacy, another issue the commission recommended the church to revisit. The archbishop stressed the importance of changing the church’s culture and listening to survivors......(MORE)   
600 people gather in Sydney to hear from Pope’s expert on child safety
Extracts from Catholic Outlook, from 3 September 2018
More than 600 people gathered in Sydney over two days to hear from the Pope’s expert on child protection and the prevention of abuse.  Fr Hans Zollner SJ, the recognised authority on safeguarding children, delivered lectures and led workshops at the Creating a Safe Church from Within conference which looked at why abuse occurred in the past, what has been done to fix the issue and what must be done to prevent it occurring again.        In attendance were victims and survivors of abuse, priests, nuns, school principals, teachers, parishioners, volunteers and Church employees.        Fr Hans pointed out that while the Catholic Church “has done a lot” to tackle abuse, there is “a lot to be done”.     “Pope Francis has put this on the agenda of the Catholic Church worldwide. It is a prime issue with which we have to deal with” Fr Hans said.     “A few years ago, not many local Churches [around the world] would talk about or even mention child abuse”. It was seen as a “Western problem, an Anglo-Saxon problem, a European problem”, however, this is an “issue that won’t go away anymore” according to Fr Hans.......Bishop Brian Mascord of the Diocese of Wollongong and Bishop Vincent Long of the Diocese of Parramatta were part of the opening welcome along with local indigenous children presenting a Welcome to Country and prayer and reflection from those affected by child sexual abuse.       Bishop Vincent stressed the Catholic Church needed “deep institutional change” to deal with abuse and that it is now “time to listen with great humility” to the victims and survivors of abuse and that “we owe it to the victims, their families and their loved ones.”       Bishop Brian was appreciative of the victims and survivors who attended and welcomed them to the conference. “Thank you for being here. It’s not easy, [I am] so grateful that you are here.”......German by birth, Fr Hans is a theologian, psychotherapist and psychologist. He has been a member of the Pope’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors since 2014 and is head of the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Fr Hans is also a member of the Society of Jesus, the same religious order that Pope Francis belongs to.  .........The Catholic Church in Australia is in the “top five” leading countries in the world adopting processes to safeguard children and vulnerable people, according to Fr Hans.    Fr Hans said that while this is a “difficult moment” for the Church in Australia dealing with the issue of historical abuse, it is a “necessary one”....Touching on trust, Fr Hans incisively pointed out that the trust that had been built over centuries and generations by the Catholic Church has been destroyed in a few years because of the child sexual abuse failures, even though most of the abuse, seen through the recent inquiries, had occurred during the 1960s and 70s. “Trust has been broken”, Fr Hans said.    He went on to explain how the Church cannot ask people to “trust us now” and that the only way of rebuilding that broken trust is to let victims and survivors see the Church as operating differently. Further, the actions of the Church will build trust and actions must be measureable, palpable and visible.    Fr Hans mentioned that since guidelines and proper screening processes had been put in place over the last two decades, there has been almost no new allegations of abuse reported in the Catholic Church in Australia.....In addition to the physical and psychological damage of abuse, Fr Hans pointed out the deep theological damage, “what we did was destroying the message of the Gospel”.     “One thing you can do is listen” to survivors and victims of abuse, according to Fr Hans, so their process of healing can begin. “We must listen to survivors of abuse”.    Fr Hans spoke about not waiting for the necessary changes in Canon Law or hierarchical governance shifts, but that we all have a responsibility to open the discussion and to act – to change ourselves no matter our role within the Church. This call to action was directed at all present, and not just the Bishops and clergy.....(MORE)  Photo: Catholic Outlook,  Flickr.
What it will take to prove the Church gets it
Extract from John Warhurst, Eureka Street, 1 September 2018
Many Catholics were glued to the screen to hear their leaders respond to the royal commission. The optics were immediately better because Sister Monica Cavanagh rsj, president of Catholic Religious Australia, was sitting beside Archbishop Mark Coleridge, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, and had a significant speaking part by reading their opening joint statement to the media conference.       Archbishop Mark Coleridge and Sister Monica Cavanagh rsj, president of Catholic Religious Australia.         Also welcome was the thanks offered to the media by Coleridge, as he signed off, for the role of journalists in uncovering the national tragedy of child sexual abuse and the unforgivable cover up by the church, as well as for giving voice to the survivors. Too often church leaders have treated the media as their enemy and encouraged Catholics to do likewise.    Survivors have every right to say 'too little too late' to this belated response by the church leaders. Broken trust cannot be rebuilt quickly and in the case of many survivors may not be rebuilt in their lifetimes. The church must show survivors by its pastoral actions that it has learned. That will take many years.    The question of the seal of confession and, to a lesser extent, of voluntary celibacy for priests, is interpreted by the media and the wider public as proof that the church leadership is still resisting rather than embracing the recommendations of the royal commission and that they still don't get it.    That impression can only be allayed if the church's record in a decade's time can be shown to be impeccable in responding to the other 98 per cent of the RC recommendations. But already that 98 per cent has been shown to be a rubbery figure, dependent on counting in-principle support and/or referral to Rome.    The media conference also showed how discussion immediately turns to the universal (international) nature of the church, either through church explanations that some matters must be processed through the Holy See, or through media questions about Pope Francis and international developments. The Australian Catholic Church, to its detriment, is shown not be a national church, like the Anglican Church in Australia, but a branch-office church with all the impediments to freedom of independent action that follow.....(MORE)    Photo: Eureka Street.
The joint response from Catholic Religious Australia and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference can be found HERE
The Truth, Justice and Healing Council reports can be found HERE

Archbishop Names Ivanhoe Parish
Friday 31 August 2018
When the three Parishes in Ivanhoe were amalgamated in 2005 no official title was given to the new Parish. Normal practice is that every Parish, Church, School, Hospital or Catholic Institution receives a Patronal Title: either a Saint or a mystery of our Faith.       Lack of a Patronal Title left us without a common name or Patron Saint for the Parish as a whole. It also left us without a common Patronal Feast Day that all three communities within the Parish could celebrate in common.        With the support of the Parish Pastoral Council the Archbishop has now granted the Parish the title ’Mary Mother of the Church’. In doing so the Archbishop has written to us in these words:
Your request to name the Parish in honour of Our Lady (under the title Mary Mother of the Church) respects the history of the Parish and the future mission now entrusted to you and your parishioners. We can have no greater advocate than Our Lady to accompany the Church and each of us as disciples of her Son. It is important for Parishes to have feast days on which to gather, pray, celebrate and give thanks to God.”      Our new title does not effect in any way the existing titles of our churches or schools which each have their own Patronal Title. The new title only applies to our Parish as a united whole. We now look forward to our first Patronal Feast Day, on the new feast recently proclaimed by Pope Francis, the Feast of Mary Mother of the Church which is celebrated each year on the Monday after Pentecost. Next year that feast falls on 10th June - so prepare for a very big Parish Party!

Conversation on Plenary Council 2020
John Costa, Friday 31 August 2018
At last night's full-house 'Conversation on the Plenary Council 2020' at St Francis Xavier Hall Montmorency sponsored by Diamond Valley and Yarra Deaneries  in partnership with the Archbishop's Office of Evangelisation Fr Noel Connolly SSC began with a clear and thorough context of the Plenary, highlighting that the Plenary concept responds to Pope Francis's strong endeavour to renew and re-energise a Christ-focused Church through a 'synodal' process - "listening to the Holy Spirit by listening to one another".          This open approach characterised the successful 2016 'Family Synod' and impressed ACBC President Archbishop Mark Coleridge who participated.     Listening goes beyond just 'hearing' and depends on everyone in faith honesty and respectfully saying what they think whilst listening thoughtfully, and non-judgmentally to what each other are saying.    Noel highlighted also that the Australian Plenary is not an event for the Australian Church but for all of Australia, as our faith calls for us, as missionaries of all ages, to contribute to Australia by living and exemplifying a life reflecting Christian values, including love, compassion, justice, caring, joyfulness and forgiveness.     With much open discussion amongst the large audience Noel outlined the very accessible Plenary input process. The Plenary Council website makes it easy for anyone right now to respond online to the Question "what do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?", preferably after having discussed this informally in small groups.           Our local Yarra Deanery (neighbouring parishes) is already engaged in making the input process very accessible and has proposed three questions,  A. What does our Church look like now? (Listening to each other), B. What is Christ calling us to make our Church today? (listening to the Holy Spirit), and C. What do we, as Church, need to do to move from A to B? (action Plan). Further Details will follow. For its success the Plenary Agenda-setting process will depend on everyone engaging to renew and re-energise what needs to become permanently a more 'synodal' Church.        Read a Further report on the  conversation from Melbourne Catholic HERE  Photo Melbourne Catholic.
Health and Integrity conference calls for a ‘reformation’ of Australia’s churches following Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
Media Release, Friday 31 August 2018
In a week when the sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults in church institutions has once again been making international headlines, a conference of Christian churches in Melbourne has called on Australia’s churches to embrace thoroughgoing reformation of their structures, governance and culture inthe wake of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.           The three-day ecumenical Health and Integrity in Church and Ministry conference on the task of rebuilding and renewal for the churches after the Royal Commission (27–29 August 2018), was hosted by the University of Divinity and sponsored by three leading Catholic religious institutes and Yarra Theological Union. The conference was attended by church members and leaders, academics, clergy and religious, ministers and church workers, survivors of child sexual abuse and their advocates, and groups advocating church reform.....(full Media Release HERE)
Archbishop Comensoli is inviting young adults to join him on the Melbourne Pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Panama!
Extract from Archdiocesan Office for Youth, Friday 31 August 2018
The mission of the Melbourne World Youth Day Pilgrimage is to facilitate a safe and supported pilgrimage which enables young adults from the Archdiocese of Melbourne to deepen their personal faith, broaden their understanding of the Catholic Church, form enriching relationships with other young Catholics, and respond to God in their life encouraged by the words of Mary which are given as the theme for World Youth Day 2019: ‘I am the servant of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.’       Details on "Youth' page....here  (AOY archive photo)

Archbishop Comensoli meets mother of abuse victim
Extracts from CathNews, ABC News,  31 August 2018

In his first public speech since his installation as Archbishop of Melbourne, Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli has been confronted by the 93-year-old mother of an abuse victim who took her own life in 1994. Source: ABC News.           Eileen Piper asked the Archbishop to look at a photo of her daughter Stephanie Piper lying dead in her coffin.      The Church has long denied Stephanie Piper was abused by Fr Gerard Mulvale in the 1970s, accusing her of fabricating the story due to mental illness. Mulvale was convicted the year after Stephanie’s death of abusing two boys from his youth group.    Mrs Piper’s lawyer, Judy Courtin, asked Archbishop Comensoli to “rectify this wrong”. “Please receive this dossier, read it, meet with Mrs Piper, and take action to bring an end to this horror,” Ms Courtin said.    The Archbishop walked from the stage to Mrs Piper and took the photo in his hand.    “I’d like to be able to meet with you,” Archbishop Comensoli said. “But then I need to consider your own circumstances and the circumstances of what happened to Stephanie, and then I’ll be able to respond further.”....In his speech, Archbishop Comensoli said the Church needed to lose its “corporate” image.....(more)

Where from and where to: The Truth Justice and Healing Council, the Royal Commission and the  Catholic Church in Australia
Final Report April 2018, made public 31 August 2018  Report HERE
Extract from Introduction
The Royal Commission has laid bare the extensive history of  the Church in the
sexual abuse of children in its institutions and of the devastating failure of the Church to put the interests and the protection of children and vulnerable people first.      An almost inevitable conclusion is that too many of those who were in a position to protect children instead looked to the preservation of the reputation of the organisation and thus to the shielding of perpetrators.      The lives of victims and of their families and loved ones have been devastated by the effects of clerical sexual abuse and that must be, and remain, at  the forefront of the Church’s thinking and actions as it tries to come to grips with the tragedy and to deliver justice to those who have been harmed while in its care.      One of the major consequences of the abuse crisis has been the loss of trust in Church leadership and their moral influence.       One of the great challenges for the future will be the restoration of that trust.   There have been some landmarks on the tortuous journey of the Church towards recognition and acceptance of its part in the scourge of institutional child sexual abuse and to deliver compassionate justice  to the victims and survivors of these crimes.    Report HERE
Decision on Church refurbishment for future Catholic Parish Centre in Ivanhoe. 
Friday 24 August 2018
Last Wednesday, at a joint meeting of the Parish Pastoral Council and Finance Committee, it was decided unanimously, to refurbish Mary Immaculate Church and integrate the Church with a new building to form the Catholic Parish Centre for Ivanhoe.   Key components of the new Centre will be an office frontage onto Upper Heidelberg Road; meeting rooms and a hall / gathering space where support for pastoral, community and social activities will continue; a residence for the Parish Priest and off street car parking.   Refurbishment of the church will improve amenity with a heating and cooling system and changes to comply with current environmental and disabled access standards. The architects will now be commissioned to develop the design of our Parish Redevelopment Project.     Image: Abstract painting, Etsy
Migrants and refugees need 'solidarity and mercy'
Edited Extracts from CathNews, ACBC Meda Blog, 24 August 2018
Policies addressing migrants and refugees should always respond with mercy and solidarity, according to visiting Vatican official Fr Fabio Baggio CS .        "Our shared response may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate. This is part of a common action that should be actively promoted by all the local Churches,” Fr Fabio Baggio CS said.     Fr Fabio Baggio CS is the Under-Secretary of the Migrant and Refugee Section, a Vatican office directly guided by Pope Francis.    The missionary priest this week visited Canberra and Melbourne as part of Australia’s week-long celebration of the contribution migrants have made.........“The only reasonable response to the challenges of contemporary migrations is one of solidarity and mercy. These are two very important words that should always be understood when drafting and formulating policies,” he said while urging Church communities to use the 20 Twenty Action Points from the Global Compacts prepared by the Migrant and Refugee Section and approved by Pope Francis.    “They do not exhaust the Church’s teaching on migrants and refugees, but provide useful considerations which Catholic advocates can use, add to and develop in their dialogue with governments towards the Global Compacts 2018.”....Fr Baggio said in the 18 months since Pope Francis set up the Migrant and Refugee Section, established within the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, its major focus has been on collecting worldwide information on migrants, refugees and victims of human trafficking, understanding the causes for migration, identifying pastoral priorities and assist local Churches in developing effective pastoral actions in line with the four verbs.     “The Migrant and Refugee Section reports directly to the Holy Father, but we collaborate with the offices of the Dicastery on many interconnected issues, like the root causes of migration – wars, disasters, climate change, persecution, extreme poverty and lack of possibilities for integral human development,” Fr Baggio said.    “One of the main reasons for people to move is a lack of opportunities and possibilities for integral human development. Every single person is entitled to reach the fulfilment of God’s project of him and her.”...(more)
Francis pursuing ‘revolution of tenderness’
Extract from CathNews, Crux, 24 August 2018
One of the Pope's closest allies and advisers told the World Meeting of Families in Dublin yesterday that Francis is pursuing a “revolution of tenderness”. Source: Crux.    Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras said this tenderness is the “strongest antidote to selfishness and a ‘throw-away’ culture.”     The coordinator of the pope’s “C9” council of cardinal advisers from around the world, spoke to a crowd of several hundred people during day two of the meeting.    Families, Cardinal Rodriguez said, are “the place for tenderness … the first place where we teach and learn how to love, and where the faith is transmitted.”    The call to tenderness, he said, is at the heart of Francis’ “messianic prophetic Samaritan Christianity” as opposed to a Church that’s “narcissistic” or “self-referential.” Francis, Cardinal Rodriguez said, “wants us to put aside the fear of making mistakes,” and be more afraid of “imprisoning us in structures.”    Also speaking on day two was American Jesuit Fr James Martin, who gave a presentation on LGBT issues and the Church. Not a single seat was left empty, and people struggled just to get a look at the priest.    Though attendees seemed to reflect a variety of points of view, from members of the LBGTI community to people who disagree with everything Fr Martin, known for his outreach to the gay community, represents. If nothing else, the turnout seemed to reflect a lively interest in both the speaker and the topic.    Yesterday also saw the first appearance of a US prelate following Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s withdrawal from the World Meeting of Families. Cardinal Joe Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, kicked off his panel yesterday with a reflection on the Pope’s “fresh direction” given to pastoral theology and practice on marriage.....(more)
Immense work ahead to fix abuse damage: CRA
Extract from CathNews, 23 August 2018
Catholic Religious Australia yesterday declared its strong support for Pope Francis’ Letter to the People of God on sexual abuse in the Church.       In a statement, CRA said it shares the Pope’s “determination to keep all safe in our Church, especially the young and the vulnerable”.     CRA President Sr Monica Cavanagh RSJ said the organisation recognised that “now is the time for action”.    “It is shameful that in the past, the response was one of omission and that people have been so deeply damaged that the wounds of the past may never disappear,” Sr Monica said.    “While we cannot apologise enough for the damage done, we know that words are not sufficient. There is immense work ahead and Catholic Religious Australia is committed to working in solidarity with Church communities, agencies and organisations to undertake this work as effectively as possible.    “During the years of the royal commission, we have begun the work of implementing change to create a culture of greater care, accountability and transparency. This may not yet be visible, and much work is yet to take place, but it is a beginning and we are committed to action,” Sr Monica said.    The statement concluded with CRA stating it recognises “a change of culture within our Church is necessary; one that is seen, felt and experienced”.....(More). Photo: CathNews,
Statement from ACBC President Archbishop Mark Coleridge
21 August 2018
The Catholic Bishops of Australia welcome the Letter to the People of God that Pope Francis has written regarding sexual abuse in the Church. We share the Holy Father’s determination to protect young people and vulnerable adults .     What Church leaders in Australia have said in the past is consistent with what the Pope has written now:    “It is essential that we, as a Church, be able to acknowledge and co ndemn, with sorrow and shame, the atrocities perpetrated by consecrated persons, clerics, and all those entrusted with the mission of watching over and caring for those most vulnerable. Let us beg forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others.”    These are important words from Pope Francis, but words are not enough. Now is the time for action on many levels. The Royal Commission has done much good for this country, especially in creating a safe place for survivors to be heard and believed.   We again thank the survivors who have so courageously shared their stories. Next week, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia will publish our response to the Royal Commission’s final report. (statement Here)
Letter to the Faithful from Archbishop Peter A Comensoli
Tuesday 21 August 2018
Extract from Media and Communications Office, CAM, 21 August 2018 
To the Faithful of the Archdiocese of Melbourne,  Dear Friends,    ‘If one member suffers, all suffer together with it.’ (1Cor 12:26) With these words from St Paul, Pope Francis overnight has written a letter to us all, the People of God. In the letter he expresses his own heart concerning the ‘culture of death’ that is clerical sexual abuse and the ecclesial cover-up that often has accompanied it, inflicting deep wounds of disgust, bewilderment, shame, and disheartenment. As the Holy Father says:     These words of Saint Paul forcefully echo in my heart as I acknowledge once more the suffering endured by many minors due to sexual abuse, the abuse of power and the abuse of conscience perpetrated by a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons. Crimes that inflict deep wounds of pain and powerlessness, primarily among the victims, but also in their family members and in the larger community of believers and nonbelievers alike… The pain of the victims and their families is also our pain, and so it is urgent that we once more reaffirm our commitment to ensure the protection of minors and of vulnerable adults.’          I associate myself with these words, and the whole content of Pope’s Francis’ letter:
       No words of apology – while always needed – will ever be enough to right the evil done to those who have been abused, and those who were not listened to and believed. Efforts to repair the harm done – while entirely necessary – cannot overcome the evil perpetrated upon innocent children and vulnerable adults, and the harm experienced by families and communities.     Therefore, and looking ahead, it falls to me, as your Archbishop, to ensure that our local Church in Melbourne is unequivocally committed to attending to the harm done, prioritising the dignity and care of all who are young and vulnerable, rebuilding trust among our people, and creating safe environments in our communities, agencies and organisations. This is the way of Jesus Christ. It must be my way. And I invite you to join with me in making it our common Gospel way......To this end, I want to let you know that I am committed to exercising my responsibilities according to the framework offered by the Child Safe Standards articulated by the Royal Commission. I am also committed to working closely with the Commission for Children and Young People here in Victoria to implement policies and processes within the Archdiocese that comply with best practice. The Archdiocese has signed up to the National Redress Scheme, and we will join with national Church actions in response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission. In the two weeks since taking office as Archbishop, I have initiated a process of appraisal into our current policies, processes and structures to identify what further action can be taken to improve our transparency, compassion and accountability.     I am strongly committed to reporting to the appropriate authorities, and have already exercised that duty here in Melbourne. I am also strongly committed to upholding the seal of confession. I have begun conversations with our public authorities about finding a way in which these two principles can be upheld, for the sake of the safety of all.....(MORE)
Critics say Pope Francis needs to walk the walk after too many words on global Catholic child abuse scandal
Extracts from Joanne McCarthy, Newcastle Herald, 21 August 2018
POPE Francis’ vow to break the Catholic Church’s cover-up culture in a letter to “the people of God” after a damning American child sexual abuse report has been criticised after eight months of silence following release of the Australian child abuse royal commission final report.        Pope Francis condemned “atrocities” committed by priests against 1000 children in Pennsylvania and admitted the church abandoned “the little ones”, in a letter released on Monday after a US grand jury report revealed shocking child sexual abuse over 70 years.        He vowed that “no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated”, but provided no details about how that was to be achieved. The letter followed a similar statement from the Pope in May after a child sexual abuse scandal in Chile.        Australian critics said the recent letters were “just more words” and “hand-wringing” from the Pope whose response to the Australian royal commission final report in December, with recommendations that directly challenge child sexual abuse secrecy provisions within church law, was a two-line statement acknowledging the commission's “accurate efforts”.             “He can change the culture of the church with the stroke of a pen by changing canon law but he won’t,” said lawyer and former trainee priest Kieran Tapsell, whose submission to the royal commission on canon law was reflected in a series of recommendations for Australian bishops to raise with the Vatican.     “The church secrecy laws protect the perpetrators and increase the amount of child sexual abuse and yet when two United Nations committees in 2014 recommended the Pope change canon law to protect children, he rejected them,” Mr Tapsell said.      “How can he get rid of a culture of secrecy when canon law requires secrecy? Until he changes canon law, everything he says is hypocrisy. There’s nothing wrong with the words in his letter. I like what he says, but it’s still more hand-wringing.”....Australian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform convenor Peter Johnstone said the Pope’s letter “amazingly” promised “no reform of the unaccountability and toxicity of the church’s structure and culture” despite “voluminous evidence of cover-ups by bishops throughout the world over many years”.          “He says he is ‘conscious of the effort and work being carried out in various parts of the world’ and acknowledges that the church has ‘delayed in applying these actions and sanctions that are so necessary’,” Mr Johnstone said.     “Yet the Pope, while recognising the ‘filth’, ‘pride’, ‘self-complacency’ among the leaders of the church, fails to identify steps that need to be taken to reform the governance structure and culture that have nurtured this evil.”    Mr Johnstone said the Australian royal commission’s final report recommended action that went “far beyond procedural changes for child safety”.....Former priest, academic and Australian Catholics for Renewal president Peter Wilkinson said the Pope’s latest words, “so long overdue, are good, but more important is the follow-up action”.    “I would hope that when Pope Francis finally takes that action he notes carefully the recommendations of the Australian royal commission,” Dr Wilkinson said.....Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge issued a statement on Tuesday welcoming the Pope’s letter, and acknowledging the royal commission which had “done much good for this country”.       “These are important words from Pope Francis, but words are not enough. Now is the time for action on many levels,” Archbishop Coleridge said....(more)

Pope Francis issues new letter on sex abuse: ‘We showed no care for the little ones
Extracts from Nicole Winfield - Associated Press, America The Jesuit Review, 20 August 2018
Pope Francis issued a letter to Catholics around the world Monday condemning the "crime" of priestly sexual abuse and its cover-up and demanding accountability, in response to new revelations in the United States of decades of misconduct by the Catholic Church.        Francis begged forgiveness for the pain suffered by victims and said lay Catholics must be involved in any effort to root out abuse and cover-up. He blasted the self-referential clerical culture that has been blamed for the crisis, with church leaders more concerned for their reputation than the safety of children.    "With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives," Francis wrote.            "We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them."        The Vatican issued the three-page letter ahead of Francis' trip this weekend to Ireland, a once staunchly Roman Catholic country where the church's credibility has been damaged by years of revelations that priests raped and molested children with impunity and their superiors covered up for them.....In the letter, which was issued in seven languages and addressed to the "People of God," Francis referenced the Pennsylvania report, acknowledged that no effort to beg forgiveness of the victims will be sufficient but vowed "never again."     He said, looking to the future, "no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated."...."Let us beg forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others," he wrote. "An awareness of sin helps us to acknowledge the errors, the crimes and the wounds caused in the past and allows us, in the present, to be more open and committed along a journey of renewed conversion."(MORE). Photo: America The Jesuit Review AP Gregorio Borgia  

Catholic world has eyes on Australia’s Plenary Council, US theologian says
Wrestling with tradition: Richard Gaillardetz believes the work of the Plenary Council 2020 offers hope to the Church across the world
Extract from Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader, 17 August 2018
The entire Catholic world is watching as the Church in Australia moves towards the Plenary Council 2020, according to one of America’s leading theologians.      “I think this is one of the most important things that is going to happen in the Church – universal – in the next four or five years,” Joseph Professor of Catholic Systematic Theology, Boston College, Richard Gaillardetz, said.    Prof Gaillardetz, author of 18 books, is visiting Australia, and is one of the keenest international observers of the plenary process.    “If the plenary council is done well it could have a marvellous revitalising effect, both in the Church in Australia and give some hope to other churches in other parts of the world,” he said.    “I also fear that it could go in the other direction. There will be a great temptation for the bishops to sanitise the whole process – to say ‘well, we’ve made these mistakes in the past, we have to put that behind us and move forward’.    “I think that would be the worst thing they could do.    “If the plenary council can muster the courage to take a genuine act of ecclesial repentance it has a chance of restoring the credibility of the Church.    “I fear that they’ll not have the courage to do that though.”    Attending the Holy Spirit Seminary in Brisbane on August 4, Prof Gaillardetz delivered a day-long lecture and workshop session entitled “Reflections on power and    “His starting point is you’ve got to be mature in order to embrace what discipleship is demanded of us.”....(MORE)   Photo: The Catholic Leader, Mark Bowling    
Youth Festival to tune into what Spirit is saying
Extract from CathNews, ACBC Media Blog, 17 August 2018
More than 5000 young Catholics are expected to converge on Perth next year for the Australian Catholic Youth Festival.         As the largest Catholic youth gathering in Australia, the ACYF promotes and engages the life and voice of young Catholics, equipping them to live out their faith in the world.     The festival, to be held on December 8-10, 2019, will use the scriptural focus of the 2020 Plenary Council by adopting the theme “Listen to what the Spirit is Saying (Rev 2:7)”.     Prayers for and discussion about the Plenary Council will ensure vital consultation with Australia’s youth takes place in this important journey in the life of the Church.     Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB expressed his joy and hope for the festival.    “As God called St Francis of Assisi many hundreds of years ago to ‘go and rebuild the Church’, I pray our young people might hear this same calling,” Archbishop Costelloe said.    “It will be a fantastic experience and an opportunity for our young people to commit themselves to helping the Church become the Church that God wants it to be and the world needs it to be.” ....(MORE) Photo: Cath News, The Record/Jamie O’Brien
Vatican responds to Pennsylvania Grand Jury abuse report
Extracts from Vatican News, 16 August 2018
On Thursday evening, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, issued the following statement regarding the report of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury issued earlier this week in the United States over the sexual abuse of minors.         "Regarding the report made public in Pennsylvania this week, there are two words that can express the feelings faced with these horrible crimes: shame and sorrow. The Holy See treats with great seriousness the work of the Investigating Grand Jury of Pennsylvania and the lengthy Interim Report it has produced.       The Holy See condemns unequivocally the sexual abuse of minors.       The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible. Those acts were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and their faith. The Church must learn hard lessons from its past, and there should be accountability for both abusers and those who permitted abuse to occur.     Most of the discussion in the report concerns abuses before the early 2000s......The Holy See also wants to underscore the need to comply with the civil law, including mandatory child abuse reporting requirements.     The Holy Father understands well how much these crimes can shake the faith and the spirt of believers and reiterates the call to make every effort to create a safe environment for minors and vulnerable adults in the Church and in all of society.      Victims should know that the Pope is on their side. Those who have suffered are his priority, and the Church wants to listen to them to root out this tragic horror that destroys the lives of the innocent."....(more)    Photo: Vatican News, CNS
U.S. bishops say church needs lay Catholics to help address ‘moral catastrophe’
Extract from Chico Harlan, Bureau chief The Washington Post, 16 August 2018
ROME — Calling sexual abuse revelations within the U.S. Catholic Church a “moral catastrophe,” the head of the American bishops’ group called Thursday for wider investigations of a former Washington archbishop and said laypeople should have a greater role in holding clerics accountable.       The announcement, which also urges new steps to resolve complaints against bishops, provides the first sense of how a reeling church seeks to confront serial failures of its hierarchy to report abuse and remove predator priests.      Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, called for an investigation of the “questions surrounding” prelate Theodore McCarrick, a former Washington archbishop, who resigned from the College of Cardinals last month amid allegations that he abused seminarians and minors.        DiNardo said the U.S. bishops would ask the Vatican to conduct the inquiry, along with expert laypeople. Since McCarrick’s resignation, questions have included how the onetime cardinal ascended the ranks of the church despite rumors about his behavior.      DiNardo said the steps were not final and will be presented in more detail to the full group of U.S. bishops at a meeting in November.    “This is a moral catastrophe,” he said. “It is also part of this catastrophe that so many faithful priests who are pursuing holiness and serving with integrity are tainted by this failure.”      His announcement comes two days after the release of a scalding Pennsylvania grand jury report that depicted decades of systemic abuse, in which leaders kept potential criminal behavior “in house” and prioritized avoiding public scandal over protecting children....(more)
We need a missionary rather than a perfect church
Extract from Fr Noel Connolly SSC,  St Columbans Missionary Society, 15 August 2018
As I travel around Australia promoting the Plenary Council I encounter both scepticism and hope. The most frequent question is “will the bishops listen?” At the same time there is a reservoir of hope in people. They love the church and want to be a part of its future. They want to talk and they want to be listened to. My hope is that we can build a church in which lay men and especially women can play their rightful role in the ministry and governance of the church, and where we can learn to trust one another, bishops and all the people of God.             But in recent weeks I have been giving more thought to the question posed for the Council, “What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?” The question refers to Australia not to the church. The Plenary Council is not just for our church but for our country.  Even if we were to come up with a transformed church, if the country does not benefit we will have “failed”. We will have failed because we will have failed to be church.    Pope Francis keeps reminding us to stop being preoccupied with ourselves and to go out into the streets as missionary disciples prepared to get dirty and bruised. There we will find renewal and transformation.   We must remember that the goal of mission is not primarily about the expansion or perfection of the church but the revelation of God’s love and the realisation of God’s liberating plan for the universe. It is a plan for a “Kingdom” larger than the church....(more)
Repentance, sadness, shame: US Bishops respond to PA abuse report
"Remorse," "sadness," "shock,” and "shame": these are some of the reactions of Catholic Bishops of the State of Pennsylvania following the publication of a report on sexual abuse presented by the state’s Attorney General on Tuesday.
Extracts from Fr Bernd Hagenkord, SJ, Vatican News, 15 August 2018
Six of the eight dioceses in Pennsylvania were investigated, while the other two have already been the subject of previous investigations. It was prepared by a jury, officially charged under U.S. procedural law in a non-public procedure and with the help of police investigating possible criminal behavior, and initiated by the State Attorney General.       The report is the most comprehensive ever produced by a U.S. government institution on abuse cases. In addition to the names mentioned, the dossier accuses the Church of following its own "script" in covering abuse cases.     Official reactions to Pennsylvania report on clerical sex abuse.     It took the Jury two years to complete the 900-page report which examines abuses committed by members of the Catholic Church in the state of Pennsylvania over the last 70 years. One thousand victims have been identified, although the overall number is thought to be higher still.     All eight dioceses in Pennsylvania have responded to the report.     Diocese of Pittsburgh     The Bishop of Pittsburgh, David Zubik, wrote in his statement that nowhere was there any desire to "diminish the pain that has arisen". A statement from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia acknowledged, "It is painful for anyone who reads it, especially for survivors of sexual abuse and their families," and continued, "We are deeply sorry for their pain and remain on the way to healing”.....(more)
What can I say to my kids when they ask why we keep faith in this church?
Extracts from Kerry Weber, America - The Jesuit Review, 15 August 2018
I dragged my kids to 8 a.m. Mass this morning for the Feast of the Assumption. It was one of those days where the “obligation” part of the Holy Day felt particularly heavy. There is a small parish within a short walking distance of our home, but we are still adjusting to the logistics of leaving the house with two kids, so my husband, our 3-month-old, our 2-year-old and I managed to roll our stroller quietly to the back pew of the church around the time the first reading started. I pointed out the pictures in the stained glass of Jesus and Mary and Joseph to my son who snacked on Cheerios while my husband juggled my daughter on his shoulder, slowly becoming drenched in drool.            We make the effort, however imperfectly, because I want my son and daughter to know that our faith is important, because I want them to choose to live it themselves one day, because I believe it is good. And my belief in the good at the heart of our faith is why I have tried hard to contribute to the institution, too: to find community in our parish, to spend hours researching local Catholic schools, saving to pay for them, budgeting to make donations to the church, to Catholic charities.          And then I came home from Mass, and while the kids napped beside me, I started reading the grand jury report of sexual abuse in several dioceses of Pennsylvania. I could only get through a few pages before feeling physically ill and being filled with a sense of disgust and anger and betrayal that I know is only a fraction of what the abuse victims and their families must have felt for so long........I have found myself for the first time truly afraid of what it means to ask and to allow my children to be part of the church. Can I trust that they will be safe as altar servers or students or just going to Mass? And what I would say if my children were to one day ask me, why? Why in the face of such systemic horrors committed by the people supposedly leading the church did we stumble down the street to Mass each week?....(MORE)   Photo: America - The Jesuit Review. 
Catholic priests in Pennsylvania have sexually abused hundreds of children since the 1950s: report
Extracts from ABC News, 15 August 2018
More than 1,000 children — and possibly many more — were molested by hundreds of Roman Catholic priests in six Pennsylvania dioceses and senior church officials took steps to cover it up, according to a landmark grand jury report.      The grand jury said it believed the "real number" of abused children might be "in the thousands" since some records were lost and victims were afraid to come forward.     The report said more than 300 clergy committed th    "And all the while, shockingly, church leadership kept records of the abuse and the cover-up," he said.    "These documents, from the dioceses' own 'secret archives,' formed the backbone of this investigation.".....Some current and former clergy named in the report went to court to prevent its release, arguing it violated their constitutional rights to reputation and due process of law.     The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania said the public had a right to see the report, but ruled the names of priests and others who objected to the findings would be blacked out pending a hearing on their claims in September.....(MORE) 

Ampleforth and Downside (English Benedictine Congregation case study) Investigation Report August 2018, UK
Extract from Executive summary with link to full report, 14 August 2018
There are 10 English Benedictine Congregation (EBC) monasteries in England and none in Wales. Some of the abbeys have schools associated with them, including Ampleforth and Downside. Both are regarded as leading Catholic independent schools, each with acknowledged academic and sporting achievement, and both are now co-educational.           The EBC is not pyramidical in structure; it has no recognisable line management oversight. Each abbot or abbess has responsibility for their own community, which is autonomous. Nor does the monastic order fit neatly into the Catholic diocesan structure, meaning that the relationship to a diocesan bishop is usually collaborative rather than hierarchical.              It is difficult to describe the appalling sexual abuse inflicted over decades on children aged as young as seven at Ampleforth School, and 11 at Downside School.            Ten individuals, mostly monks, connected to these two institutions have been convicted or cautioned in relation to offences involving sexual activity with a large number of children, or offences concerning pornography. The true scale of the abuse however is likely to be considerably higher. Some examples of the abuse are set out below......(full report© Crown copyright 2018

Woman appointed to head battle against sexual abuse in Chilean Church
The appointment of Ana Maria Celis Brunet, a lawyer specializing in church law, illustrates Pope Francis’ commitment to ending clericalism
Limited extract from  Anne-Bénédicte Hoffner, Chile, subscription journal La Croix International, 13 August 2018
Chile’s Catholic bishops have appointed Ana Maria Celis Brunet, an experienced lawyer and theologian, to lead the fight against clerical sexual abuse in her new role as president of the National Council of the Chilean Church for the Prevention of Sexual Abuse and Accompaniment of....(source)
Incisive book on fundamentalism paints nuanced picture
Award-winning text shows how extremism can be dangerously attractive and points to its place in specific religious traditions.
Limited extract from Father William J. Grimm MM, Tokyo, Subscription Journal La Croix International, 13 August 2018
It is not surprising that Christian fundamentalists are attracted to the apocalyptic aspects of the Gospels, epistles and of course the Book of Revelation.     They describe the end, and fundamentalists are people whose world appears to be in danger of ending, or may have ended already and is in need of resurrection.     That sense of a world having been lost or threatened is not limited to Christians. Gerald Arbuckle, a Marist priest who is a cultural anthropologist and theologian, shows in his latest book how the threat or reality of loss is a common thread that links the various forms of fundamentalism.    His book, Fundamentalism at Home and Abroad: Analysis and Pastoral Responses, was released by the Liturgical Press in 2017.     Such loss, whether real or imagined, can result from intellectual, theological, economic, political, demographic or ethnic changes to the established situation, and no one is exempt from the tendency.....(source)  Photo:La Croix International
Is nothing sacred!
John Costa, Friday 10 August 2018
No, not when it comes to most burglaries where immediate cash is the target rather than the site. Any place where money is believed to be stored is a target, especially if accessible from an inconspicuous and quiet location.     And so it was for Mary Immaculate Church late last Wednesday or early next morning.      Having failed to gain convenient access through a deliberately damaged stained-glass window, intruders proceeded to force a rear door, subsequently also damaging other doors along their path of destruction. An angle grinder was then used very professionally to  cut neatly through a metal safe.       No doubt deeply disappointed after considerable effort and damage was discovery of no cash where religious items were conveniently stored instead. The burglars then left empty-handed except for their tools of trade.      They clearly did not know that a Church already low in income and in any case where online donations are increasingly common is not a viable target.     However one good outcome of burglaries is they prompt higher levels of surveillance and security, if only to further protect people and property. Across our Parish and in neighbouring homes alike our three churches have been struck by burglars over recent times.       We pray for burglars that they may live healthy lives and find legitimate ways of earning an honest income.     A burglar I once visited in Pentridge to his great surprise after breaking into my home helpfully advised that "when you're on drugs mate you would steal from your own mother".     Warning signs can also be installed, perhaps including an additional sign outside churches "Burglars will be baptised"!

Church Renewal: Listening to each other and the Holy Spirit within Ivanhoe and Neighbouring Parishes (Yarra Deanery)
Friday 10 August 2018
In preparation for the Plenary Council 2020/2021 the process of listening to each other and listening to the Holy Spirit has already begun in small ways within neighbouring parishes, and will shortly grow.       A Yarra Deanery meeting last Wednesday at St Gregory's Doncaster shared information on what has started and will continue within some of our parishes, and importantly on what we are all planning and what can be shared.    The much publicised National  eConference "Synodality in Practice: Listening to the Spirit and Leading Change" broadcast to our Parish and others on Wednesday explained the process ahead and actively engaged local audiences such as ours at Mary Immaculate Hall in stimulating open, respectful and wide-ranging discussion, including on our Church as it is, how is Christ calling us to make our Church today? and how we can collectively shift from where we are to where we should be?     We were very pleased to benefit from inclusion of visitors from other parishes at our enjoyable local eConference gathering. All those attending now have a fuller understanding of 'Synodality' as Pope Francis is strongly encouraging. Everyone else similarly needs a full understanding of 'Synodality' as we move forward together.    As part of the ongoing Plenary process ALL Ivanhoe parishioners and school communities will soon be encouraged to join in this important shared listening and expressing process towards renewal and revitalization of our Church.   Thanks to the Outreach group for warm hospitality (and fine food) on this Wednesday.
Plenary Council process gets a rural perspective
Extract from CathNews, ACBC Media Blog, 9 August 2018
Catholics in the Western Australian diocese of Geraldton have provided a strong rural voice during the preparation phase of the three-year Plenary Council 2020 process. Source: ACBC Media Blog.    The Geraldton Diocesan Conference 2018, drawing on Psalm 118, adopted the theme of “Lamp for the Steps and Light for the Way: Listen to God and each other as we light the way forward.”      Plenary Council facilitator Lana Turvey-Collins, who is criss-crossing the country holding meetings to introduce local people to the listening and dialogue process, said the Geraldton people were warm and welcoming.     “Geraldton communities have so much to offer the Church. The leaders at the conference were full of questions and eager to ensure that the Plenary Council process benefitted from having a ‘strong rural and country’ diocesan voice from all the people of Geraldton,” she said.....(more)
Young Europeans increasingly distant from religion   While there are fewer young people, they are more committed,
Limited extract from Arnaud Bevilacqua and Gauthier Vaillant, 1st published 22 March 2018,  republished in subscription journal La Croix International, 9 August 2018
Statistics from a joint study by the Catholic Institute of Paris and St. Mary’s Catholic University at Twickenham in Greater London on the religious affiliation of young people aged 16-29 in Europe will undoubtedly make an impression on participants at the Pre-Synod now under way in Rome.     In 12 out of the 21 European countries studied, plus Israel, most young people say they have no religion. This figure rises to 91 percent in the Czech Republic.   This decline in religious affiliation, which should not be confused with belief in God, which can be distinguished from belonging to a religion....(source)
Restructuring parishes- A move from necessity to audacity
Limited extract from Gauthier Vaillant, first published 28 May 2018, republished subscription journal La Croix International, 9 August 2018
The Archdiocese of Albi offers an opportunity to reflect on new ways of evangelization.  Located in the Tarn region of southern France, the Archdiocese of Albi has been divided into 503 parishes since the Middle Ages.     Over the Pentecost weekend, however, Archbishop Jean Legrez, completely re-organized them into 21 new parishes.         It is an impressive change. In coming to this decision, the Archdiocese of Albi has followed a general trend among France’s 93 dioceses, two-thirds of which have already made major changes to parish boundaries and structures.   Sometimes, these developments are already longstanding. For example, in 1978, the Diocese of Le Havre, reduced the number of its parishes from 171 to 21.....(source)
What Francis Did Is Just Huge’
Extract from An Interview with Sr. Helen Prejean,  John Gehring, Commonweal,     7 August 2018
John Gehring: Pope Francis made big news last week by revising the Catechism to declare the death penalty inadmissible in all cases. Why is this so significant?
Helen Prejean: Pope John Paul II said that the times when the death penalty could be justified were so rare they would practically be nonexistent. But this did reserve the use of the death penalty in cases of absolute necessities. Pope Francis has now established a foundational principle that no matter the severity of the crime, it’s never legitimate. This is huge. In every death-penalty trial, the district attorney argues that because of the gravity of this particular crime the death penalty is required. So when the pope says it’s never admissible, it pulls the whole rug out from that kind of argument. During my dialogues and correspondence with John Paul II, I always argued we needed a principled stance opposing the death penalty without any exceptions. In St. Louis on his visit to the United States in 1999, John Paul spoke about the dignity of life no matter the crime, but he didn’t go as far as to establish the principle that under no circumstance is it acceptable. What Pope Francis did is just huge.       JG: A number of conservative Catholic commentators are upset about the pope’s decision, arguing that church teaching can’t change. What do you make of this opposition?           HP: Change happens when society grows and evolves, and we have alternative ways of keeping people safe. We’ve also learned from science. The fact that young juveniles’ brains are not yet as fully developed as adults influenced the Supreme Court’s decision to end capital punishment for juveniles. Teaching can change. The church endorsed slavery for a long time and quoted Scripture to do so. Jesus also had to deal with religious legalism. People were so attached to the letter of the law they missed the person and human dignity behind it.....(more).  Photo:  Commonweal, CNS photo/Paul Haring
What canon law is for
Extract from Justin Glyn, Eureka Street 7 August 2018
Canon law, not usually a household term, has come into the public eye of late, especially in the wake of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse.      Second Vatican Council by Lothar WollehOne prominent example has been the question of the 'Pontifical secret', the prohibition of reporting information about a canonical trial which is designed, like the sub iudice rule in common law, to prevent defamation of an innocent accused, and prejudice to a fair trial. (Note, this is not the same as the seal preventing a priest from revealing what he hears in the confessional, although some media reports have appeared to conflate the two.) Given this newfound prominence, it seems a good time to have a look at what canon law is — and what it isn't.      At its simplest, canon law is the law governing the Roman Catholic Church. The word 'canon' (from the Greek for a measuring stick) has been used to refer to Church rules since the first century of the Christian era. While there are a number of sources for it including papal pronouncements, laws passed by bishops and bishops conferences and religious superiors, the principal ones are the Code of Canon Law 1983 (dealing with the Western or Latin Catholic Church) and the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches 1990 (governing the Eastern Churches in communion with Rome).     The thornier question, and one which has quite reasonably provoked a lot of debate, is what canon law is for. The struggle of the Church in the ninth to 11th centuries for religious independence from the mediaeval monarchies led to the Church seeing itself as a legal entity in parallel to those states. This juridic approach to the world was given a fillip by the rediscovery of Roman law, which spurred a growth in legal science.....(more)
Albany bishop says laypeople should investigate misconduct by U.S. bishops
Extract from Michael J O'Loughlin, America, The Jesuit Review,  6 August 2018
Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany, N.Y., said today that laypeople, not bishops, should lead inquiries into allegations of misconduct by U.S. bishops. Bishop Scharfenberger was responding to an idea advanced by Cardinal Donald Wuerl in an interview published on Aug. 6 by The National Catholic Reporter. He suggested that the U.S. bishops might create a commission of bishops to investigate rumors of sexual misconduct by other bishops, passing concerns on to a Vatican office.         “Would we have some sort of a panel, a board, of bishops...where we would take it upon ourselves, or a number of bishops would be deputed, to ask about those rumors?” the Washington archbishop asked. “It seems to me that’s one possibility, that there would be some way for the bishops, and that would mean working through our conference...to be able to address the question of sustained rumors,” Cardinal Wuerl said. He added that U.S. bishops could not wait until their November general meeting to find solutions to address the fall out from allegations against his predecessor, Theodore McCarrick. The former cardinal, who was removed from public ministry and later resigned from the College of Cardinals, is accused of sexual assault and harassment.        Bishop Edward Scharfenberger said, “we have reached a point where bishops alone investigating bishops is not the answer.”             Reacting to Cardinal Wuerl’s interview in a statement, Bishop Edward Scharfenberger said, “we have reached a point where bishops alone investigating bishops is not the answer.”         “To have credibility, a panel would have to be separated from any source of power whose trustworthiness might potentially be compromised,” he said.             Bishop Scharfenberger has been vocal in encouraging victims of sexual harassment and assault by any church official to come forward. He publicly supported a priest in his diocese, the Rev. Desmond Rossi, who accused Archbishop McCarrick of harassing him when he was a seminarian.....(MORE)  Photo: America: The Jesuit Review, CNS Bob Roller
Chilean bishops beg forgiveness over sex abuse scandal
They also promised to involve greater participation of lay people, particularly women, in the decision-making bodies of the Chilean Church
Limited Extract from Mélinée Le Priol, Chile, subscription journal La Croix International, 6 August 2018
Concluding their five day extraordinary assembly, Chile’s 32 Catholic bishops apologized for “failing in their duties” in managing sex abuse cases.
“We have failed in our duties as pastors,” Chile’s 32 bishops admitted in a statement issued on Friday following their five day extraordinary plenary....(source)
An atheist's take on the virtue of forgiveness
It is about recognising that in every human, no matter how low they sink, humanity remains
Extracts from Ben Pobjie, first published in Eureka Street, since republished in various other journals, Published 2 August 2018, linked below.
I am not a fan of Christianity. For many years I have been what some might call a 'militant atheist': the type who is far more likely to catalogue the pitfalls of faith than to highlight the benefits. But more and more I am enamoured of one element of Christianity that I consider its most striking, and most laudable, feature: forgiveness. Forgiveness stands out among religious virtues because it one of the most difficult to put into practice, particularly in the terms that Christ put it: love your enemies; turn the other cheek; forgive those who have wronged you. It's also one of the most unfashionable virtues going around, at least in the public discourse, as it's rare to see either Christians or non-Christians urging forgiveness.           This is understandable. In a world full of pain and suffering inflicted by human beings upon other human beings, extending forgiveness to anyone who is seen to have harmed others is hardly a high priority for most people. Compassion for those who have been wronged is more important than compassion for those doing the wronging.         And we are indeed exhorted regularly to show compassion— for refugees, for the poor, for the disabled, for victims of violence and oppression. This is no bad thing — the more compassion the better, and if we can make caring for our fellow humans the rule, we will create a better world.    Compassion is easy. There is no great challenge in opening your heart to those who are suffering, or to anyone you see as an 'ally'. What is difficult, though, is showing compassion for people who aren't on our side. Forgiving our enemies, or doers of horrendous deeds. Who can forgive a murderer? Who can feel compassion for a brute?        It's hard, but many would say that's no problem, as there's no point in trying it anyway. According to one strand of thought — and an eternally popular one — forgiving wrongdoers is a bad idea and will lead to a worse society. If we forgive, goes this thinking, we excuse, and we fail to send the message that what that person has done is wrong.         Why should we forgive? Because Jesus said so — but I don't believe that, of course. The reason I believe we should forgive is that it makes us better. For me, forgiving doesn't mean letting anyone off the hook: criminals can still be punished, people can still be held accountable for words and deeds that hurt other people. But we can punish and inflict consequences, while still leaving open the possibility of forgiveness....(Cartoon by Chris Johnston - Angry people back-to-back, one pair turn to take each other's hand in forgiveness)....(more). 
The International Catholic Reform Network
Report by  David Timbs, Catholics For Renewal, 5 August 2018
ICRN is an international network of priest and lay reform movements that organizes pastoral dialogue-retreats to model and prepare the church for the future, to enable its members and invited participants to communicate and dialogue with one another honestly, to tell stories, to heal wounds from the struggles of reform, to give courage to all engaged, and to share energy, enthusiasm, ideas; and in some cases, to act.    The most recent meeting in Bratislava from 11-15 June 2018 was attended by David Timbs who compiled this report on its background, outcomes and ongoing work.
Your Prayers
Friday 3 August
The Prayers of the Faithful are the prayers of our parish, and all are welcome to suggest the subject for these prayers at any time.  Suggestions for prayer subjects can be given to any member of the Liturgy Group or to the Parish Office. Remember that all are welcome at any time to come along to Liturgy Group meetings at the Parish Office where these are discussed following the 9.15am Mass on Thursdays at Mary Immaculate Church.   See this week's Prayers Of The Faithful here
Bishops to release formal Royal Commission response this month
Extract from Media and Communications Office, CAM, Melbourne Catholic, Friday 3 August 
Following two days of meetings focused on the Catholic Church’s response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the Australian Catholic Bishops Council has announced it will issue a formal response by the end of August.     The bishops have also agreed to release the four volumes of the final report from the Church’s advisory body during the Royal Commission.    The ACBC statement is as follows: The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has today agreed that it will release its formal response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse by the end of the month.    It will also release the four volumes of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council’s final report.    ‘After two productive days of meetings, the bishops have reached a common position on the Royal Commission’s recommendations relating to the Catholic Church and its various ministries,’ ACBC president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said.     The Bishops Conference and the president of Catholic Religious Australia agreed that the close collaboration between the two bodies during the life of the Royal Commission and in the area of the protection of children and vulnerable people should continue.’     The Catholic Religious Australia Council, which meets later this month, will work with the ACBC to finalise the Catholic Church’s response.....(MORE)
Chilean investigators target 158 persons in child sex abuse inquiry
Prosecutors call for Vatican assistance in investigating nine church officials suspected of pedophile acts
Limited Extract from Constance Vilanova (with AFP), Chile, subscription journal La Croix International,  3 August 2018
The Chilean Catholic Church is in turmoil after prosecutors investigating cases of sexual abuse of children and adults dating back to the 1960s identified links with 158 Catholics, including bishops, priests and laypeople....(source)
US religious orders back women deacons
Extract from CathNews, Crux, 3 August 2018
A new survey has found that the majority of religious order superiors in the United States believe women should be allowed to serve as ordained deacons.        The survey lends support to an issue currently under study at the Vatican amid pressure for women to be given greater roles in the Church.     It found 77 per cent of both male and female superiors in the US believe such ordination is theoretically possible, and 72 per cent think the Church should go ahead and authorise it, according to the study released yesterday by the Centre for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University in Washington.    Only 45 percent, however, believe the Church will actually do it, the study found.     Deacons are ordained ministers, but not priests, though they can perform many of the same functions as priests. They preside at weddings, baptisms and funerals, and they can preach. They cannot celebrate Mass.    Currently, married men can serve as deacons. Women cannot, though some historians say women served as deacons in the early Church.....(more)

Welcome Archbishop Comensoli: Pope Francis’ new shepherd in Melbourne celebrates Installation Mass
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne Media and Communications Office, Thursday 2nd August 2018
Archbishop Peter Andrew Comensoli took his place on Wednesday night in one of the nation’s most influential Catholic pulpits as the ninth Archbishop of Melbourne.     Archbishop Comensoli, 54, is a former banker who has led the Diocese of Broken Bay for the past three and a half years. He was officially inaugurated in a liturgy of installation at St Patrick’s Cathedral rich in the symbolism and magisterial ritual of the Church; a ceremony based on more than 1000 years of tradition, solemnity and celebration.         Concelebrants included Melbourne’s Emeritus Archbishop Denis J Hart and Australian Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge, as well as archbishops and bishops from across Australia and clergy from the Archdiocese of Melbourne.      Archbishop-elect Comensoli then entered the cathedral at the West Door, where the Dean of the Cathedral John Salvano offered him a crucifix to kiss and holy water with which to bless himself and the congregation.             The new archbishop’s arrival represents a generational changing of the guard for the archdiocese, but he assured the faithful that the office’s commitment to Catholic teaching and tradition would continue unchanged.           In the wake of one of the greatest challenges to the Church, it is clear that Archbishop Comensoli shares the same passion for justice as the man he replaces, Emeritus Archbishop Denis Hart. In interviews, Archbishop Comensoli has previously vowed to ‘right the grievous wrongs of the past’ and rebuild trust following the widespread damage caused by the child sex abuse scandal that has plagued the Church in recent decades.....(more)  Photo: Melbourne Catholic.   View live stream of the Mass Here (2'30")

Vatican now opposes death penalty in all cases
Move will not go down well in countries with capital punishment
Extract from Timesofmalta.com, Reuters, Thursday, 2 August 2018
The Roman Catholic Church formally changed its teaching on Thursday to declare the death penalty inadmissible whatever the circumstance, a move likely to be criticised in countries where capital punishment is legal.     The 1.2 billion-member Catholic Church had for centuries allowed the death penalty in extreme cases, but the position began to change under Pope John Paul II, who died in 2005.     The Vatican said the change to its universal catechism, a summary of Church teaching, reflected Pope Francis' total opposition to capital punishment.    According to the new entry in the catechism: "the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person."      The Church was working "with determination" for the abolition of the death penalty worldwide, the new teaching says.     The new provision is likely to run into stiff opposition from conservative Catholics in the United States and other countries where capital punishment is legal and many believers support it. "By the end of last year, 106 countries worldwide had banned the death penalty".     Last year, 53 countries issued death sentences and 23 of them executed at least 993 people, according to Amnesty International, with most executions in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan.     In the United States, 23 people were executed, a slight increase from 2016 but a low number compared to historical trends, Amnesty said, adding that it was the only country in the Americas that carried out executions.    Capital punishment is banned in most of Europe, with Belarus the only European country that carried out executions last year, Amnesty said. By the end of last year, 106 countries worldwide had banned the death penalty....(more)   Image: CAM
Parish Christmas in July?
Friday 27 July
As last week's Gospel and homily reminded us, there are times when for everyone's sake humans need to take a rest. Mid year seems a very appropriate time then to share a relaxing meal with friends and come away feeling refreshed. Wednesday 25 July happens to be the official date for 'Christmas in July' and that's when a good-sized parish group and friends bussed to the Dandenongs in mid-winter to dine together over lunch and share the traditional ambience and music of The Cuckoo restaurant.          There was no snow but no one objected to the sunshine outside!  Thanks to Eileen, Sue and the Outreach group for yet another successful parish event, and to George for photos (More photos on the Events page or Here). 
States working together to break the confessional seal
Extract from CathNews, The Australian, 27 July 2018
The next Council of Attorneys-General will discuss how to ensure mandatory reporting of child sex abuse reported in the context of the confessional.        The move will not surprise the Catholic hierarchy but governments are moving quietly to provide a legislative solution to enable accountability following the recommendations of the sex abuse royal commission.        The Australian revealed yesterday that Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton had backed the right of priests to retain the seal of the confessional in answers to the inquiry that sparked the royal commission.      This was in 2012, when Mr Ashton noted evidence that perhaps only one case had arisen where abuse was not reported to authorities after being divulged in the confessional.       The Australian understands that officials from several governments are working on potential harmonised laws at a state and federal level that would force reporting of offending that was raised in the confessional.      Church law dictates that priests must maintain absolute secrecy about anything that a person confesses, including if a pedophile were to detail his or her offending.       Victoria and NSW are still considering how to respond to the commission recommendation that the seal of the confessional be broken.      It is expected that the Turnbull Government will have to respond with potential changes to the federal Uniform Evidence Act, which provides a protection for the confessional.      Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter said last month that the states already had agreed to harmonise their laws.....(more)    
Bishops to focus on Royal Commission at August meeting
Extract from Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Melbourne Catholic, 26 July 2018
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has convened an additional plenary meeting for 2018 to expedite the Catholic Church’s response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.            The meeting will be held in Melbourne on 2 and 3 August, and will allow the bishops to consider, as a body, the Church’s formal response to the Royal Commission.         ‘The bishops hadn’t received enough advice at their May meeting to prepare our response to the Royal Commission’s final report,’ ACBC president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said.    ‘Additional advice, including from the Truth, Justice and Healing Council, the Implementation Advisory Group, Catholic Professional Standards Limited, local safeguarding experts and canon lawyers has now been received and is informing the bishops’ response.       ‘We have also begun discussions with the Holy See about issues that concern the discipline and doctrine of the universal Church.’   Representatives from Catholic Religious Australia, the Implementation Advisory Group and Catholic Professional Standards Limited will attend the meeting.           Archbishop Coleridge said he hoped the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s formal response to the Royal Commission would be released as soon as possible after the August plenary meeting.            ‘We decided we couldn’t wait until our next scheduled plenary meeting in late November to finalise our response,’ he said.....(More)   [Ed: The ACBC has also now committed to releasing the TJHC report but not yet indicated a date]
Bishop Barron calls for evangelization, apologetics in upcoming youth synod
Young Catholics say they want accompaniment, openness to new ideas
Extracts from Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter, 26 July 2018
The upcoming synod on young people is an opportunity for evangelization, especially to those who have left the Catholic Church or organized religion altogether, said one of the bishop delegates ratified by Pope Francis this week.        "I don't know any issue more pressing now in the life of the church than addressing the problem of the massive attrition of our own people, especially the young," Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron told NCR in an email interview.     "How to re-engage the 'nones,' and to prevent the rise of future 'nones,' should be, in my judgment, priority one in the Catholic Church," Barron said, referring to those who would check "none" on a survey of religious affiliation.     Approximately one third of all Americans ages 18-33 are characterized as religiously disaffiliated, according to a 2015 study from the Pew Research Center.      For that reason, Barron believes the worldwide Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment, to be held Oct. 3-28 at the Vatican, is even more significant than the previous two synods on the family held in 2014 and 2015.......Barron, who is chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, said he will argue for the need for "a new apologetics and for substantial improvement in our catechetical outreach," because he believes young people do not adequately understand church teaching.      But young people themselves and the synod's working document call for accompaniment, not apologetics. In fact, the purpose of the synod is "to accompany all young people, without exception, towards the joy of love," according to Instrumentum Laboris, the synod's working document, which was released in late June.     The synod calls for a "spiritual attitude" of discernment, characterized by "openness to new things, courage to move outwards and resistance to the temptation of reducing what is new to what we already know," the working document says.        Several bishops' conferences also noted that traditional catechesis "does not always enjoy a good reputation among young people, because it reminds many of them of 'a compulsory and unchosen path in their childhood,' " the working document said, quoting a response from an online questionnaire of youth and young adults conducted last year....(more)   Photo: NCR, CNS/Jeffrey Bruno
Concerned Catholics in Canberra want to know where the bishops stand on the Royal Commission’s recommendations
Extract from Media Release, Concerned Catholics Canberra, 25 July 2018
A large group of Catholics in the Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese has called on Australian bishops to release their response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse as a matter of urgency.     Speaking ahead of an extraordinary meeting of Australian bishops next week, Concerned Catholics Chair, Professor John Warhurst said the bishops received a report from the Truth Justice and Healing Council in March this year, but the report remains under wraps.       “We were alerted to this extraordinary meeting via the media and so far, it’s difficult to find anything on the ACBC’s website to suggest a meeting is taking place,” Professor Warhurst said.     “Bishops must be more transparent and up-front about their processes and in their communications with their Catholic community.      “As a movement which has drawn support from 450 Canberra Catholics, we stand with survivors, a number of bishops, Catholic religious orders of men and women nationally, state and federal politicians and with the many individuals who have called on the bishops to release the report.    “The Royal Commission has exposed a crisis in our Church, and many of the recommendations released in December last year go to deeply imbedded cultural and structural issues which must be resolved as a matter of urgency in consultation with lay Catholics.    “Waiting for the outcome of the 2020 Plenary Council is not the answer. We have just had a historic five-year inquiry. It is now over seven months since those recommendations were delivered.     “Canberra’s lay Catholics demand action,” Professor Warhurst said......(see full Media Release HERE)
Rescued Thai soccer team prepare to become Buddhist novices in religious ceremony
Extracts from News.com.au 25 July 2018
The Thai soccer team rescued from a flooded cave earlier this month have had their heads shaved in a traditional Buddhist ceremony.  The young soccer teammates and their coach, 25-year-old Ekkapol Chantawong, took part in a Buddhist ceremony as they prepared to be ordained to become Buddhist novices and monks — a gesture to honour those who took part in their dramatic rescue.          The Wild Boars team attended a similar ritual yesterday, where they circled a Buddhist shrine at a temple in the northern province of Chiang Rai three times and draped a temple 

relic - bone remains of one of Buddha's disciples - with a white cloth.            They thanked the holy spirits for their rescue, and paid tribute to Saman Kunan, the only rescuer who died during the dramatic rescue mission.        Fourteen-year-old Adul Sam-on was the only one in the group of 13 — a dozen boys aged 11 to 16 and their coach — who did not join the ceremony on Tuesday and will not serve as a Buddhist novice because he is a Christian.     Thai Buddhist males are expected to enter the monkhood at some point in their lives to express gratitude.     Sangiemjit Wongsukchan, the mother of 14-year-old Ekarat Wongsukchan, told The Guardian her son will go “back to his normal life” after this.      “We can only do this for nine days because then he will have to go back to study and prepare for exams. Back to his normal life.”.....(More)  Photos: news.com.au  AFP  

Funerals can cause tension between the living and the dead, so whose beliefs matter most?
Extract from Monique Ross, Life Matters, Radio National, ABC, 24 July 2018
Are funerals for the dead, or the living?    It can be a difficult question to answer, especially for families who disagree about the role religion should play in the send-off of a loved one.     Tension over whose beliefs matter the most can blow up into lengthy feuds — and sometimes results in the wishes of the dead being cast aside entirely.     Interfaith minister CiCi Edwards-Jensen recalls meeting a man in palliative care, who had grown up Catholic but later converted to Buddhism.    His family knew he wanted a Buddhist funeral, but when the time came, they organised a Catholic one instead.    "I see on both sides how tearing that was — for him the sadness of not being able to have the funeral that he wished, and the other with the family steeped in their Catholicism, not seeing their son have the last rites, and perhaps them believing that he won't be going to everlasting life," Reverend Edwards-Jensen said.        "It would have been traumatic for them, I should imagine."      Clare Johnson, the director of the Centre for Liturgy at the Australian Catholic University knows an elderly man who worries his funeral wishes won't be considered paramount.     "[He is] a lifelong practicing Catholic and wants to have a Catholic funeral, and it means an enormous amount to him," she said.    "His children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, the faith doesn't mean as much to them.     "He's quite concerned that even though he would like a Catholic funeral with all the bells and smells, literally, he may not be given that."     But in order to fulfil his wishes, the man's children may end up sitting through a funeral that makes them feel awkward or uncomfortable.           "Definitely there is a discontinuity, and it's part of the outcome of the falling practice of religion in Australia," Professor Johnson said......(More)  Photo: ABC, Getty, Julian Kumar.    

Spare a thought for the new archbishop
Where bishops once had the last say, they are now just another voice in public debate
Limited extract from Eric Hodgens, subscription journal La Croix International, 23 July 2018
A bishop’ job is part shepherd, part leader, part ruler, part manager. Pope Francis insists that pastoral care is the primary role.     The Melbourne Catholic Church is getting a new bishop. At 54 he can look forward to 21 years in that post. What is the scenario Archbishop Peter Comensoli is walking into?    It is not a good time to be a bishop.     Over the last 50 years Western culture has dramatically changed. Contemporary culture is secular and pluralist. Authority, once derived from status, now must be won. Where bishops once had the last say, they are now just another voice in public debate.    The Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference (ACBC) has problems. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has diminished episcopal authority in the public forum.    Meanwhile, within the church institution, some bishops take a strong, conservative line on issues like abortion, same-sex marriage and dying with dignity, asserting that their views are “the church’s teaching.”....(source)  Photo: La Croix International, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne.

What’s behind the Latino priest shortage?
Extract from J.D. Long-García, America, The Jesuit Review, 23 July 2018
Gilbert Guzman is 51 and, in a way, he began a new career on June 2. He was ordained to the priesthood that day at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles. While discernment is never easy, he said it was even more complicated as a Latino.       “You might get raised eyebrows if you say you want to be a priest. ‘What’s wrong with you that you don’t want to get married?’” Father Guzman told America. “We need to see ourselves as a gift to the community, not a scourge.”        Father Guzman, a self-described late vocation to the priesthood, said part of the struggle in his discernment was cultural. He was born in San Diego, just north of the U.S.-Mexico border. He describes himself as a Mexican-American and said his cultural background added “all sorts of complex forces” to the discernment process.         “Being Latino, there was a little more pressure to just go back and have a girlfriend and get married,” Father Guzman said. “I feel like that might have something to do with the number of Latino priests—the longing to really participate with family.”       The growing number of U.S. Latinos is not reflected in vocations to the priesthood. The Center of Applied Research for the Apostolate at Georgetown University reports that 20 percent of this year’s class of ordained priests are Hispanic. The number is a fraction of the estimated number of Latinos, who make up 34 percent of the nation’s Catholic population—and more than 50 percent of Catholics under 30.....(more)  Photo: America, The Jesuit Review, (Victor Alemán/Angelus News).
Further Recognition for Fr Len
Friday 20 July 2018
Some time ago Fr Len Thomas was awarded the prestigious Paul Harris 20 year service Medallion for tireless service to Rotary and Mental Health. He has just been presented with a further award to accompany that in recognition of continuing outstanding commitment to the Club and community -  the Rotary Sapphire Pin. Len's tireless work is already well recognised in our Parish where he served as priest-in-residence,  and at the time also as the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne Mental Health Chaplain.  Apart from many other things during 'retirement' Len can occasionally still be  found locally at our informal Parish Men's group gatherings. We congratulate Len for his most recent recognition and thank him for all he continues to do.
National Council of Priests of Australia calls on Pope to intervene in Philip Wilson case
Extracts from ABC News, Friday evening 20 July 2018
The Executive of the National Council of Priests of Australia (NCP) has "wholeheartedly" endorsed the appeals for Archbishop Philip Wilson to resign, and have called on the Pope to intervene.    The NPC says Archbishop Philip Wilson's position has been "compromised" since his conviction.      It follows a call by the PM for the Pope to sack him         He's the most senior Catholic in the world to be convicted of concealing child sex abuse.     It follows comments made by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday that the Pope should "sack" Wilson.....(more)
Religious freedom can be protected with 'tweaks', says Ruddock review member
Frank Brennan says marriage equality requires changes to marriage, discrimination and fair work laws
Extract from Paul Karp, The Guardian, 20 July 2018
The legislation of marriage equality in Australia may only require “slight tweaking” to protect religious freedom, according to Father Frank Brennan, a member of the Ruddock review panel.       In comments to be delivered on Friday, Brennan issues a blunt assessment that he doubts the Coalition will legislate a religious freedom act, as minister Dan Tehan has suggested, and warning that religious schools should not discriminate against LGBTI staff and students.      The speech, seen by Guardian Australia before its delivery to the Castan Centre human rights conference, is the clearest indication yet that only minimalist changes to expand religious freedom have been canvassed by the Ruddock religious review.     Brennan speaks approvingly of adding religion as a category to be protected from discrimination in federal law, mirroring provisions in most states. He notes that change was supported by pro-marriage equality groups such as the Equality Campaign and the Human Rights Law Centre.     Brennan – who says he is constrained by the fact the government has not yet released the Ruddock review – expresses his personal view that “freedom of religion needs to be more than an exception clause found in various state non-discrimination legislation”.     When speaking about the consequences of changes to the Marriage Act to legalise same-sex marriage, Brennan refers four times to the need to “tweak” laws including the Marriage Act, Sex Discrimination Act and the Fair Work Act to respond.      For example he questions whether a church boarding school should “be required to provide married quarters for a boarding master in a same-sex marriage”.      In another instance he suggests an expansion of LGBTI rights by questioning why a religious school should be allowed to discriminate against gay staff and students where “it can be demonstrated that the adherents of the particular religion or creed voted overwhelmingly in support of same-sex marriage”.     But he said legislators “might judge that the protections are already adequate” in these areas....(more)
Turnbull, Shorten urge Pope to sack Archbishop Wilson
[Ed: Reports on this news item have been widely published in major news bulletins around the world]
Extract from CathNews, Newcastle Herald, 20 July 2018
Bill Shorten has backed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s call for the Pope to sack Archbishop Philip Wilson as abuse survivors call for other institutional leaders to be prosecuted for concealing child sexual offences.         The Opposition Leader said he agreed with Mr Turnbull that Archbishop Wilson’s position was “untenable” after the archbishop refused to resign following his decision to appeal his conviction for concealing the child sexual abuse offences of New South Wales priest, Jim Fletcher.        “If he doesn’t have the decency to resign then his superiors in the Church should take action,” Mr Shorten said, less than two weeks after the two leaders expressed surprise and concern that Archbishop Wilson did not resign as soon as he was convicted on May 22, and after other bishops encouraged him to resign.       “The community has spoken. The courts have spoken. Now it’s time for the Church to truly listen,” Mr Shorten said.          His comments came after Mr Turnbull increased pressure on the Church to respond to the impasse yesterday as he prepared to meet with Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher and Melbourne Archbishop-designate Peter A Comensoli.    Mr Turnbull said “the time has come for the Pope to sack” Archbishop Wilson because it was “clear that he should resign”.....(more)   Photo: CathNews, ABC News.
Pope Francis announces he will canonise Nunzio Sulprizio in October
Edited extract from Melbourne Catholic, Vatican News, 20 July 2018
Pope Francis announced on Thursday during an Ordinary Public Consistory that he will canonise an additional person on 14 October along with Blessed Paul VI and Blessed Oscar Romero.   Blessed Nunzio Sulprizio was born in Pescosansonesco (Italy) on 13 April 1817 and died in Naples (Italy) on 5 May 1836. He was beatified by Pope Paul VI on 1 December 1963....It is fitting that Nunzio Sulprizio, who died at the age of 19, be canonised during the Synod whose theme is Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment. Now with the addition of Blessed Nunzio, the canonization will include people from every walk of life: clerical, religious and lay.      Blessed Nunzio was born in Pescosansonesco in Italy in April of 1817. He lost both of his parents while still a child and was brought up by an uncle. His uncle exploited him, not allowing him to go to school, and forcing him to work in his blacksmith shop. Regardless of extreme cold or intense heat, he was forced to carry enormous weights over great distances. He found refuge before the Tabernacle where he would keep Jesus company. After contracting gangrene in one of his legs, he was sent to a hospital for people with incurable diseases in Naples. He suffered tremendously on account of the pain. Yet, he is known to have said such things as:  Jesus suffered so much for us and by his merits we await eternal life;      If we suffer a little bit, we will taste the joy of paradise;     Jesus suffered a lot for me. Why should I not suffer for Him?       I would die in order to convert even one sinner.  Once he got better, he dedicated himself to helping other patients. But his health took a sudden turn for the worse. He died from bone cancer in May of 1836 before he reached his 20th birthday.....(more)
Youth alienated by Catholic Church, says Dublin archbishop
Urges Irish parishes to seek new ways of relating to teenagers ‘disgusted’ by child abuse scandals
Limited extract from staff, subscription journal,  La Croix International. 19 July 2018
Ireland. Catholics should “learn new ways in which they can win new hearts” as young people increasingly feel alienated from the teachings of the church, according to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin.     The Republic of Ireland capital is set to welcome Pope Francis in August as he will attend the World Meeting of Families there but concerns are growing as attendance rates at church services continue to dwindle.     Archbishop Martin sounded a wake-up call, saying Catholicism is becoming “foreign” to young people, especially in Ireland, The Irish Times reports.    “The main body of the membership of Irish Catholicism and its leadership belong to an age and cultural group that is in many ways foreign to the culture of young people,” he said.     “The Irish church needs to waken itself to the urgency of this situation,” he said, adding it “needs a radical overhaul in its outreach” and must “re-learn the ability to speak the language of faith authentically in a world where that language may be alien.”....(source)
CHOSEN 2018
Extract from Raifiel Cyril, Melbourne Catholic, Wednesday 18 July 2018
‘You did not choose me but I chose you and I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last’. (John 15:16).     Over 200 young adults from different parts of Australia made for a cozy bunch at Mannix College, Melbourne. The Jesus Youth Movement understands that new evangelisation is a priority for the Church. In one sense, the mission is simple and clear: To propose once again to young people the entire Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. In this context, Jesus Youth Australia organised a National Youth Conference named ‘CHOSEN’ to help young people encounter Jesus in a life changing way.    12 to 15 July was never meant to be just another ordinary youth gathering. From the first evening Rally on Thursday the 12th the mood was electrifying. Bishop Terry Curtin set it off with his lively inaugural address and MasterPlan gave the eager crowd a delicious dose of their talent.    Masterplan, an International Catholic band, is an initiative within the Jesus Youth Movement in the UAE. The Band had played centre stage at WYD Poland and WYD Spain and have performed in 3 continents! MasterPlan led the Chosen Morning and Evening Rallies, Impact Sessions, Soul Cafe and assisted with liturgical celebrations.....(more)  Photo: Melbourne Catholic.
Melbourne's new archbishop says promoting the Church as an 'institution' allowed 'great evils' to happen
Bishop Peter Comensoli said the abuse crisis was 'paramount' and required a response at every level in the Church
Extract from Christopher lamb, The Tablet, 17 July 2018
The new Archbishop of Melbourne says that seeing the Church as an institution rather than the “people of God” allowed for “great evils” to be committed and has pledged himself to rebuilding trust in light of the clerical sexual abuse scandal.      Archbishop-elect Peter Comensoli, who will take up the leadership of Australia’s largest Catholic diocese on 1 August, said the abuse crisis was “paramount” in everyone’s thinking and required a response at every level in the Church.         Devastating findings by a recent royal commission found that 4,444 people alleged incidents of child sexual abuse against the Church, many of them covered up by bishops who had pursued a strategy of protection of assets against legal claims.      But speaking to The Tablet during a phone interview from Australia, the new leader of Melbourne archdiocese explained that protecting the institution rather than its people was a counter-witness to the Gospel.     “The Church is the pilgrim People of God, it is the Body of Christ, and in manifesting that there are institutional dimensions. In the same way there are institutional dimensions in a family: we have meals at a certain time and we do things at this time. So there is an institutionality to the Church,” the soon-to-be-archbishop explained.     “But when that became paramount and started to usurp the Gospel, and usurp the Church as the people of God, that’s when the great evils were manifested in that context. It led to a loss of following of the Gospel.”........The new Archbishop of Melbourne says that rebuilding trust in the Church requires looking at all governance structures while ensuring that safeguarding procedures are compliant..........The incoming archbishop will also be an important part of the “Plenary Council” - Australia’s national synod-style gathering taking place next year - which is to address questions such as the role of laity, governance, schools, healthcare, welfare agencies and the role of women. When it comes to women’s role in the Church, the bishop says “half of my own leaders” in the diocese are female including his senior adviser, chancellor and financial administrator.      “And they just get on with it at the service of the Gospel,” he said.    "The secular voice can’t be the only one: we are a pluralist country, not a secular country, where more than 60 per cent believe.....(MORE)  Photo: The Tablet. Twitter  
Breaking the seal for the common good
Extract from Peter Johnstone, Eureka Street,  17 July 2018
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has recommended that the Catholic 'seal of confession' should not exempt priests from a proposed offence of 'failure to report'. That offence would apply to any failure to report to police in circumstances where a person knew, suspected, or should have suspected that a person associated with their institution had sexually abused a child.      The proposed law is focused on likely continued offending and is intended to get paedophiles off the streets. The Royal Commission wanted to ensure that, wherever possible, known paedophiles are not at large and free to sexually abuse children.      The response of some Catholic commentators has threatened defiance of any such civil law by confessors, despite the Church's stated commitment to the more effective protection of children. At a time when the issue of religious freedom is receiving publicity, this issue goes to the heart of current state/church relations.     Though few Catholics today use sacramental confession, the seal is a key feature, providing a guaranteed assurance of confidentiality. Strict canon lawyers will argue that canon law forbids a confessor from disclosing confessed material regardless of the content, circumstances and consequences. Canon law can of course be changed.     The question raised is whether a religious confessor (Catholic or other religion) who obtains knowledge of the sexual abuse of a child, or of a child abuser, in a sacramental confession, should be bound by the proposed civil law. The Commission, having thoroughly examined the evidence before it, decided that no religious confessor should be exempted from the mandatory requirement to report.    Any person who sexually abuses a child is a continuing danger to children. The requirement to report is based on substantial evidence of the past failures of institutional personnel to report. The consequence was predators remaining at large and more abuse.    In April 2010 the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith gave permission to bishops to report child sexual abuse by clergy to the civil authorities, but only where there were civil criminal mandatory reporting laws. Up to 2017 such laws existed only in NSW and Victoria. The Royal Commission has recommended that such laws be introduced throughout Australia..."Governments legislate for the common good, for all citizens. They must not be thwarted by customs or laws of particular religions which could threaten the common good."....(more)  Photo: Eureka Street
Let's talk about the Catholic bishops
Extract from John Warhurst, Eureka Street, 16 July 2018
The Catholic bishops are by institutional design the centrepiece of the Australian Catholic community. This means a lot is happening in the name of ordinary Catholics whether they like it or not because the perception of the wider community is that the bishops represent all Catholics.      The future of the Australian church may have been put in the hands of the Plenary Council 2020, but any outcome of this process is half a decade away. Till then it is business as usual.    Prime among the bishops now in the news is the recently convicted Archbishop Wilson of Adelaide, who is being called by the Prime Minister, the South Australian Premier and the new Archbishop of Melbourne to resign his position. The Australian community, represented especially by child abuse survivors and media commentators, interpret his resistance as an indication of the church's failure to learn the lessons of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.     Most bishops are actively resisting new legislation by some state and territory governments to remove the seal of the confessional as it relates to child sexual abuse. Many have also backed calls for new legislative or constitutional protections for religious freedom. The former of these issues has emerged from the Royal Commission while the latter has followed the new same sex marriage legislation. Both take the bishops into new territory.    At the same time the two most senior bishops, Archbishops Coleridge and Fisher, President and Deputy President of the Bishops Conference, are putting considerable energy into the traditional politics of education funding by seeking urgent meetings with the Prime Minister. No issue more defines the identity of the Catholic community in its own eyes and those of fellow Australians than Catholic schools. Education funding is for bishops their core practical business, to be safeguarded above all else.    In this context, Australian Catholics need a framework to help them comprehend the dynamics of church-state relations. While knowledge of individual bishops is helpful, what is more useful is a sense of how they operate and where they stand collectively.....(more)
 Clericalism is killing the Catholic Church — even in Africa
'We need to recognize that at this time in our history, we have failed as pastors'
Limited extract from Donald Zagoré SMA, subscription journal La Croix International,  Ivory Coast, 16 July 2018
We need to face the facts. The significant number of Christians who are leaving the church to join new communities is a sign that Christians are tired of what we Catholics have offered them.        So they are looking for something new that the classical parish pastoral framework is unfortunately no longer able to provide.      In fact, the Catholic Church’s classical parish pastoral program in Ivory Coast is currently trapped in a bureaucratic system that kills the prophetic spirit of pastoral ministry.     This has led to a spiritual vacuum among Catholics. Weighed down with the burden of endless socio-political suffering, they are desperately looking elsewhere for a new experience of God.     As the Psalmist wrote: “It is your face that I seek, Lord.”     Genuinely thirsty for the Holy Spirit, thousands of Christians have ended up deserting the bureaucratic classical parish pastoral framework in order to “descend into deep waters.”    As a result, they are joining the framework offered by many new communities, which seems to quench their spiritual thirst.     We therefore need to recognize that at this time in our history, we have failed as pastors.   As well as its roots in an outdated classical pastoral framework, this failure is also closely linked to a rise in clericalism. What’s more, it is a form of clericalism denuded of prophetic witness.   What more can we hope for from an ecclesial pastoral schema that has turned into a bureaucracy?    But laypeople have refused to allow themselves to be boxed in by the clericalism that we have unwittingly imposed on them.....(source)
Pope appoints presidents-delegate for Synod assembly on youth
All four cardinals come from the 'peripheries' — Myanmar, Iraq, Madagascar and Papua New Guinea
Limited extract from La Croix International staff, 16 July 2018
Pope Francis has appointed presidents-delegate for the October meeting of bishops focused on youth. All four cardinals come from the “peripheries” — Myanmar, Iraq, Madagascar and Papua New Guinea.........The XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which has as its theme “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment” is scheduled from Oct. 3 to 28 in the Vatican.      The presidents-delegate take turns in presiding over the synod assemblies on behalf of the pope.    A president-delegate is responsible for guiding the work of the synod and assigning special tasks to certain members, when necessary, so that the assembly proceeds efficiently.  He also signs the documents of the assembly.    When there are several presidents-delegate, they all sign the final documents of the synod.     The choice of the four cardinals is consistent with the pope's pro-poor pastoral approach. They are cardinals Pope Francis himself has created in recent years, sidelining more economically advance countries....(source)   Photo: La Croix International.
Speech by Kristina Keneally to the Catholic Secondary School Principals Conference Cairns, July 2018
Limited extract from Catholica, July 2018
.........In short, where is God in all of this? I am still a Catholic.  I’m not a devout Catholic – I don’t wear my scapular everyday and pray a decade of the Rosary every night.  I’m not a practicing Catholic.  That is, I don’t attend church every Sunday.  But even if I did, I reject this phrase.  It says that Catholicism is defined by its practices:  Mass attendance, refraining from meat on Friday, regular reception of the sacraments.      The practices are important, but only because they are meant to support or encourage faith.  They are not ends to themselves.  And if the practices become a distraction from faith then they should be discontinued. Today I say I am “openly Catholic” – not unlike how we used to say someone was “openly gay” back when the distinction between closeted and openly gay people was more pronounced. I like the idea of being openly Catholic.       It says one is a visible Catholic in the world, a witness to Christian faith. It says one is open to encounter with people of other faiths, or no faiths at all. Being openly Catholic means trying to be understanding, not judgemental; forgiving, not revengeful; and most of all, welcoming. Pope Francis says, “God is not afraid of new things.”       An openly Catholic person can be open to new things, confident in God’s grace. I should also note that I am not an orthodox Catholic. In good conscience I cannot give my assent to several of the Catholic church’s teachings.      If the practice of Catholics around the world when it comes to matters like artificial contraception or divorce is anything to go by, I’m hardly alone rejection of certain church teachings. Some would say this statement places me outside the Church.  To make that claim misunderstands what it is to be a Catholic.  It also misunderstands the importance of the Catholic Church’s teaching on conscience......(speech here)
Celebrating NAIDOC Week
Extract from Media and Communications Office, Melbourne Catholic Friday 13 July 2018
This week, a group of representatives from the Catholic community gathered in the Cathedral Room in East Melbourne to celebrate NAIDOC week.       The theme this year is Because of Her, We Can’, celebrating the strong roles that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have played in our lives. As leaders, trailblazers, politicians, activists and social change advocates, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have fought and continue to fight for justice, equal rights and access to education, in addition to celebrating Indigenous culture, language and art.  In celebration of this theme, Sherry Balcombe from the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry spoke about the women who have inspired her. 'Women form the backbone of communities across Australia and this is particularly true for Aborginal and Torres Strait Islander ministries,' she said.     'Women are at the forefront of these communities designed to meet the physical and spiritual needs of Australian and Torres Strait Islander Catholics,' said Sherry.      The event was held against a backdrop of photographs of Indigenous women, including Nova Peris and Linda Burney, displayed with descriptions of their careers and accomplishments.   NAIDOC Week 2018 is held nationally from Sunday 8 July to Sunday 15 July....(more)  Image: Macleayargus.com.au
Proclaim Conference explores new ways of contemplating the face of Christ
Extract from Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader, 12 July 2018
This is a spirit moment for the Church, Archbishop Mark Coleridge has told the Proclaim 2018 conference in Brisbane, challenging Catholic delegates to renew and rejuvenate the Church in Australia.      “I am intensely conscious as I sat amongst you that I face the danger of being pale, male and stale,” Archbishop Coleridge said.     “Here at Proclaim what we set ourselves to do is to press the refresh button in the Church right across the nation.”      More than 600 delegates are attending the three-day conference, with the theme “Make Your Home in Me” (John 15:4) with an agenda to explore new ways of contemplating the face of Christ in community and to find new mission pathways.     The goal is to engage parishes and faith communities in a conversation focusing on five key areas – leadership, culture change, young people, belonging and evangelisation.    Drawing on the example of the young Thai soccer team – the Wild Boars – and their coach trapped in a cave for two weeks, Archbishop Coleridge said we were all intensely moved by the story, and overjoyed by their rescue.    “Because it is the truth of the human situation. Those boys are you and me. Others come to their rescue and finally they are set free,” he said.     “In that story we recognise a kind of good news that goes to the heart of the truth of where we are as human beings.     “We, the human race, are trapped. We mightn’t even recognize it, but this is the truth at least as the scripture has it.    “And we can do absolutely nothing down there in the darkness but wait and hope that someone comes.    “God comes to our rescue through Jesus who dies so that we might live.    “This is the good news that we have to proclaim.”    Archbishop Coleridge said the key to the journey began with listening to the Word of God. To proclaim was also to speak and to act, he said.    He said “the young” were the megaphone, and were posing many difficult questions about parish life.    “Are they (young people) saying we need a new paradigm?” Archbishop Coleridge said.   “Do we need a new paradigm of our local communities of faith?    “How can we imagine the parish as something new, something that doesn’t leave everything behind, but isn’t afraid to do it differently?....(more)   Photo: The Catholic Leader, Mark Bowling 
From inmate and homeless to cardinal’s aide
Extract from Paulina Guzik, Crux, 12 July 2018
Rome. Twice a week a black van full of volunteers leaves the Vatican and goes to one of Rome’s train stations to serve dinner to the poor. Behind the wheel? A cardinal dressed in a simple grey shirt.      When the van returns to the Vatican after serving meals to approximately 300 homeless, migrants and others in need, the driver stops, opens a car window and greets the homeless that either sleep under the colonnade at St. Peter’s Square or walk towards a nearby dormitory.    Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the Papal Almoner, knows most of them by name.    Three years ago, Enzo Luciani was one of those sleeping under the colonnade. He had a long beard and as he says, he was “stinky as everyone else before the pope built the showers for us here.”         That was before he met “Don Corrado” - the nickname given Krajewski - and after the years of a real “road to Damascus” moment, Luciani is the right hand man to the cardinal.    Originally from Naples, and having served several prison sentences in the past, Luciani now does everything from cooking for the cardinal and the poor that dine at his apartment every day to helping him out in packing the van with the dinners that are later served to the homeless.   During the June 28 consistory in which Krajewski was given his red hat, Francis said to the new cardinals: “None of us must feel ‘superior’ to anyone. None of us should look down at others from above. The only time we can look at a person in this way is when we are helping them to stand up.”Paulina Guzik spoke to Luciani about his life and work with the papal almoner.....(more)
Lessons in compassion from Thai cave rescue
"A deeper Thai cultural strand ran in the story, the counterpart of the emphasis on the competitive individual in the West and in business everywhere."
Extract from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, 11 July 2018
It was hard not to be moved, encouraged and impressed by the plight and rescue of the boys marooned in the North Thailand cave. People around the world responded to the boys' youth and the danger they faced and by the generosity and skill displayed in their rescue.      I was particularly moved because what I was seeing done for village boys in Thailand was so different from what was appearing in our adult media: bank executives and insurers profiting by imposing misery on their clients; evidence of unethical and extortionate behaviour in so many businesses that it seemed a royal commission into almost any section of corporate behaviour would yield similar results.      In addition to that, the rat run from international agreements and diplomatic conventions and from anything not grounded in crude self-interest, and the snarling, demeaning exchanges characteristic of public life.     All these made it seem that the neoliberal vision of human well being as unregulated competition for wealth, encapsulated in browbreating poor and grieving Indigenous women into taking out unwanted funeral insurance, had captured the minds and hearts of the whole world.     Watched from a distance, the events in Northern Thailand showed that this was not so. They disclosed a mature human response to misfortune and a sophisticated culture. The news that the boys were lost in the cave generated concern and attention throughout Thailand.    These boys were everyone's sons. Volunteers flowed in from all parts of Thailand, offering their labour and their gifts to the people who could rescue them. International volunteers also offered their services, and were welcomed for the skills they brought and incorporated into an international team that worked cooperatively and tirelessly at the risk of their lives. This encapsulated a society working effectively out of compassion.    The Thai coordinators of the rescue also emphasised communal relationships over individual interests....(more)  Photo:  Eureka Street.