Inclusiveness                    Hospitality                   Service                   Mission

  Mary Mother of the Church

Catholic Parish Ivanhoe

News 2019

News 2020 HERE
A broad and diverse mix of Local, National and International faith-related News, Information and Opinions.
Views expressed are those of the Authors and may or may not always represent those of the Parish.
Plenary Council
Phase 2- Discernment.  "Let's Listen & Discern"  HERE
"Listen to what the Spirit is Saying"
FINAL REPORT Phase 1 (Listening & Dialogue)
 (this 314 page FINAL REPORT published 28 July 2019  is available HERE)

A Time of Hope…
Christmas message from Most Rev Peter A Comensoli
Extracts from Archbishop of Melbourne, Melbourne Catholic 18 December, republished here 20 December 2019
Hello friends, I love Christmas. It is such a beautiful time of hope. Behind the tinsel, the advertising, the stress and frantic energy of the season, we encounter a profound simplicity in the story of God’s arrival.      We just need to think about Mary and Joseph. They weren’t welcomed into any warm hotel or inn, they weren’t able to put themselves down by the fireplace in someone’s home. They had come from far away and arrived in a place they did not know.     They could be like us after a long journey when nobody welcomes or acknowledges you. You can become quite despondent: no family around you; far from home; and in Mary and Joseph’s case, a child on the way. It can seem like a story of isolation.     And yet, in the midst of a simple stable, a home for working animals, this most precious gift is given to us—a little boy, who against all the odds and in a place of somewhat hopelessness, becomes not merely a symbol of hope but who is hope itself. A hope for us.       He is a real baby, flesh and blood, with all the tears and the smiles of any little baby, and yet he is also the Son of God. Emmanuel. God among us........ This is not just a story that we might tell each year at Christmas time. It is not just something of the past. Jesus lives now. Jesus lives in us, and Jesus lives for us today.     In today’s world of change and uncertainty, we long for God to step gently into our lives, lovingly and tenderly reaching out to each one of us.    So, as we busily prepare our homes for the arrival perhaps of family and friends at Christmas time, I invite you to take the time to prepare your hearts to welcome Him who offers himself to us.     May I wish you a beautiful, joyful and hope-filled Christmas....(more)

How should PC2020 listen to what the sensus fidelium is saying?
Launch of the first summary document "Sensus fidelium" as part of a forthcoming set of papers summarising key terminology and issues relevant to the 2020 Plenary Council
Edited extract from Catholics For Renewal Newsletter, 19 December 2019
Whilst very many words have been written it can't be assumed that everyone has full background knowledge and clear understanding of key terminology, phrases and issues that are fundamental to our faith, effectiveness of our Church, and objectives of the 2020/2021 Plenary Council. For this reason Catholics For Renewal is embarking on a program over the next six months or so to incrementally produce a set of very short but highly focused summary documents to help raise awareness and general understanding of key terminology and issues. The first of these "Sensus fidelium", has just be published  here  and provides a good context for the Plenary Council. These summary papers are not substitutes for lengthier more complex treatises but intended to progressively facilitate understanding and discussion via a readily accessible set of of brief explanations of key terminology and issues, with optional connection to fuller resources....(more)
Pope Francis abolishes 'pontifical secret' in clergy sex abuse cases
Extract from ABC News, Photo from National Catholic Reporter, 18 December 2019
Pope Francis has abolished the "pontifical secret" used in clergy sexual abuse cases, after mounting criticism that the high degree of confidentiality has been used to protect paedophiles, silence victims and keep law enforcement from investigating crimes.       Key points:The Vatican's leading sex crimes investigator called the reform an "epochal decision";     The Pope also raised the church's definition of child pornography from age 14 and under to 18 and under;     Archbishop Luigi Ventura, who is accused of making unwanted sexual advances to young men, resigned.      In a new document, the Pope decreed that information in abuse cases must be protected by church leaders to ensure its "security, integrity and confidentiality."     But he said "pontifical secret" no longer applies to abuse-related accusations, trials and decisions under the Catholic Church's canon law.      The Vatican's leading sex crimes investigator, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, called the reform an "epochal decision" that will facilitate coordination with civil law enforcement and open up lines of communication with victims.    While documentation from the church's in-house legal proceedings will still not become public, Archbishop Scicluna said, the reform now removes any excuse to not cooperate with legitimate legal requests from civil law enforcement authorities.     Prominent abuse advocate Marie Collins said the reform was "excellent news" that abuse survivors and their advocates had been pressing for. "At last a real and positive change," she tweeted.      The Pope also raised from 14 to 18 the cut off age below which the Vatican considers pornographic images to be child pornography.      The new laws were issued on Tuesday (local time), the Pope's 83rd birthday, as he struggles to respond to the global explosion of the abuse scandal, his own missteps and demands for greater transparency and accountability from victims, law enforcement and ordinary Catholics alike.      The new norms are the latest amendment to the Catholic Church's in-house canon law — a parallel legal code that metes out ecclesial justice for crimes against the faith — in this case relating to the sexual abuse of minors or vulnerable people by priests, bishops or cardinals...(more)  Photo: Pope Francis reviews papers at Feb 2019 vatican meeting on protection of minors National Catholic Reporter,  CNS photo Vatican Media 20191217
CSSV Announces New Executive Director
Extract from Melbourne Catholic, Tuesday 10 December 2019, republished here 17 December 2019
The Council of Catholic Social Services Victoria is pleased to announce the appointment of Joshua Lourensz to the position of Executive Director.        Josh was chosen for his demonstrated passion for social justice underpinned by his commitment to Catholic social teaching and ethos. He has strong communication skills and experience at the cutting edge of advocacy for those disadvantaged and on the margins. He will be known to many people working for our members as he has been involved in a number of CSSV activities in recent years.       Josh has most recently been working as National Coordinator of the Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum, a broad alliance of Catholic organisations, schools, parishes and individuals co-convened by Jesuit Social Services and Jesuit Refugee Service Australia.      CAPSA works to both positively influence government policy and hearts and minds, towards a more compassionate response to refugees.       Prior to this he has worked over the past decade for a range of social service organisations in policy, governance and direct service provision roles, with particular concern for homelessness and issues pertaining to people seeking asylum.       He is a member of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, and sits on the Boards of the Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project and the Arena Foundation.      Josh has completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Social Theory and Anthropology and a Diploma of Languages: French.   Josh will commence on 13 January, 2020.....(more)  Photo: Melbourne Catholic, CVSSV Josh Lourensz-1
Advent wishes from Fr Lasbert
Friday 13 December 2019
Thanks John Costa, for sending me weekly news, updates to our parish here consistantly through this website. It is good for me to remember all of you. It is also helpful as one way for inspiration to make my homily.
I hope that all of you are in good health and spirit to wait for Him to come in Christmas.
My best wish and prayer to all of you...
Happy 3rd Advent
Fr. Lasbert Livinus Sinaga CICM

Patronal festival: Sharing joy and faith while learning from one another
John Costa, Friday 13 December 2019

Driving into what car space remained in our unusually crowded Parish Office car park behind Mary Immaculate Church at that time of day and thirty minutes before start of a rare 7:30pm Mass on Monday I instantly sensed that this was bound to be a great night and very special Mass.             Whilst a Patronal Festival followed by Parish end-of year get-together already makes things different,  it was the large and excited gathering of  friendly, energetic, and colourfully dressed singers,  dancers and musicians of all ages in the carpark that made very clear that this Mass, celebrating the feast of of the Immaculate Conception, sung in Arabic by the South Sudanese Catholic Choir was going to be special and joyful. It turned out to be that and uplifting.              It's very healthy from time to time when routine habits and expectations are challenged by something entirely consistent but expressed very differently. Arabic is a naturally musical language, as I might say of  the Italian language also, but even if not directly understood, sung Arabic in this Mass clearly bore the  hallmarks of joy, spirituality, togetherness, faith and hope, especially when performed with vibrancy and passion and accompanied by young African dancing.             The richness, freshness and joy this singing, music and dancing  brought to the Mass belie the often traumatic former lives of so many Sudanese now living with us in Australia as refugees, and in a way highlights the power of faith and hope over tyranny, abuse and slavery.           The Preacher was Rev: George Piech Meat, Deacon and chaplain to the South Sudanese Catholic community.  In speaking of the spirit of Mary Immaculate he also spoke of  Saint Josephine Bakhita who was a Sudanese-Italian Canossian religious sister active in Italy for 45 years, after having been a slave in Sudan. In 2000 she was declared a saint by the Catholic Church.  She is venerated as a modern African saint, and as a statement against the brutal history of slavery. She is the patron saint of Sudan and victims of human traffiicking.                The South Sudanese Catholic  community celebrates Mass every Sunday at 2:30pm at St Anthony's Church Noble Park, with other Mass centres at Holy Eucharist St Albans (3pm on 1st & 2nd Sunday) and St Andrews Werribee (2pm on the 4th Sunday)  and welcome all to what we sampled and enjoyed last Monday night.           Monday's Mass was concelebrated by Fr Bill Edebohls and Fr Len Thomas with Rev. George Piech Meat as Deacon.         In thanking the Sudanese community for their warm and uplifting presence and joyful contribution to this Mass Fr Bill expressed what was clearly written on faces right across the congregation, and that in Australia we benefit so much from what people of other countries and cultures bring despite hardships they have suffered. He  hoped that in return we offer hospitality, opportunity and what else might be  helpful.          It's difficult to capture the full richness of this special shared Mass celebration in a 2 minute video    (HERE)    but it gives an idea of its strong and warm spirit.  Watch on full screen and with sound.   Not shown is the social function afterwards, perhaps the best ever attended end-of-year celebration, which further cemented a new relationship between our communities.

Archbishop Coleridge discusses 'tough year'
Extract from CathNews, The Catholic Leader, 13 December 2019
I don’t know about you, but it’s been a very, very tough year,” Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge said, reflecting on 2019 during a Facebook Live session.      “… We’re preparing for what we call a Plenary Council; we’ve got to make big decisions about the future, and that in itself can create a particular kind of pressure,” he said during a half-hour session in which he talked frankly about challenges facing the Church, the nation and the world, and answered online questions.       “Across the nation we’ve had droughts and fires … a lot of people are doing it very hard at this time in this country.        “If you look around the world it’s not much better – all kinds of political problems, economic problems, there’s all the usual problems and the world in many ways looks in bad shape.”        However, in a world that can feel “dark, empty and chaotic”, Archbishop Coleridge said during the season of Advent the voice that cried out was “the voice of hope”.        “Real hope is at the heart of Christianity,” he said. “Christmas itself is when God becomes one of us (and) is also a feast of hope....(more).     Photo: Catholic Leader, CathNews 20191213
Who will fill the future pews?
Extract from Philippa Martyr, the Catholic Weekly, 13 December 2019
The Catholic Church in Australia is in the middle of a Plenary Council process. So far, it’s produced easily predictable patterns of responses: those who want what they can’t have, versus those who want their patrimony back.       How do you measure how well the Church is doing its job? Ultimately only God can do that.          Measuring the number of people employed by the Church or enrolled in Catholic schools means very little. There are incentives for working for the Church (salary) or attending a Catholic school (good grades).                Measuring the number of people helped by its charities simply measures the number of people out there that need help.       Around 90 per cent of Australian Catholics believe that attending Mass on Sundays – the core worship requirement of every Catholic – gives them nothing in return. That’s why they aren’t there.      Yet if we wanted to measure anything from the outside, the single best indicator of how well the Church is delivering its core business is the Mass attendance rate. Of our approximately 600,000 practising Catholics in Australia, around two-thirds of them are over 60 years of age.      This got me wondering about the declining rate of Mass attendance that we note every five years.      Is this jaded young people voting with their feet? Is this angry adults leaving because of the abuse crisis? Or is there something else going on?       We don’t really know, because no one has been morbid enough to look at Australian death rates for the over-60s and do the math.    That is, until now....(more).  Photo: Anointing the sick Catholic Weekly Giovanni Portelli 20191213
Diocesan Catholic Community Profiles released
Extract from Pastoral Research Online, Issue 46, September 2019, 13 December 2019
The 2016 Social Profiles of the Catholic community in each of the 28 geographical dioceses in Australia have now been released on the NCPR website. A printed copy of the profile has been sent to each of the relevant bishops. The profiles can be viewed online or downloaded for printing  HERE Profiles for individual parishes are expected to be available by early 2020. Below are the top five dioceses for various measures, based on their diocesan rank. All figures refer to Catholics only, where the term ‘Catholic’ refers to all persons who identified themselves as Catholics in the Census. The figures for Catholics in the whole of Australia are included in each table for comparison.....(more)
Vatican calls Greta Thunberg ‘great witness’ of Church’s environmental teaching
Extract from Elise Harris, Senior Correspondenty, Crux, 12 December 2019
Swedish teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg holds up a sign as Pope Francis greets her at the end of his weekly general audience, in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, April 17, 2019.
ROME - On Thursday top Vatican officials hailed Swedish teen Greta Thunberg, recently named TIME Magazine’s “Person of the Year” for her environmental advocacy, as a “great witness” of Church teaching on care for creation and the human person.       Speaking to reporters at the Dec. 12 publication of Pope Francis’s message for the 2020 World Day of Peace, celebrated on Jan. 1 each year, Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Vatican office for Integral Human Development, called Thunberg “a great witness to what the Church teaches on the care of the environment and the care of the person.”
“What is her objective? Skipping school for a future, a future that can’t be guaranteed because there is no care for the environment,” he said, adding that in many cases, there is a complete lack of coherence between the international policies on the environment and what children are told.....(more).  Photo: Greta Thunberg Vatican Media via AP Crux 20191212

Movement for Church renewal keeps growing
Extracts from John Warhurst. Eureka Street, 11 December 2019
The wider community should be aware that the Catholic renewal movement in Australia continues to grow. It has been stimulated by Vatican II teachings and more recently by the inspiration of the vision of Pope Francis. Within Australia the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse's recommendations helped generate special interest in reform of church governance, structures and culture. Then the preparations for the Plenary Council 2020 (PC2020), a national gathering to discuss the future of the Catholic Church in Australia, opened up more possibilities for local and diocesan discussions mandated by church leadership.        Concerned Catholics Canberra Goulburn was created in April 2017, a newcomer to the renewal movement. Our motivation was a desire to press the Australian bishops to implement the royal commission recommendations at the meeting the following month of the Australian Catholics Bishops Conference. We act as a ginger group within church circles and a public lobby group from without.     Driven by a desire for lay co-responsibility and greater leadership, especially for lay women, we run public forums and workshops, make submissions to church leaders and to PC2020 and connect with priests and religious.....Recently Concerned Catholics Canberra Goulburn has been privileged to play a part in two further church renewal developments. On 24 October we provided three speakers at a public meeting to launch Concerned Catholics Wagga Wagga Diocese (CCWWD), under the general heading of Accountable, Inclusive and Transparent: A Better Church for Australia. In a notably more conservative diocese than Canberra-Goulburn, CCWWD is determined to extend the message of renewal to other centres in the diocese, including Albury and Leeton.        More recently, on 7 December I addressed a meeting in Launceston of parish representatives from across Tasmania at which it was agreed to create a new state-wide body, Concerned Catholics Tasmania (CCT).........(more)  Photo: Leelakajonkij Getty Eureka Street 20191211
Brisbane priest helping people from his homeland overcome the trauma still haunting them
Extract from Mark Bowling, Catholic Leader, published 3 July 2019. Republished here 11 December.   
Brisbane priest helping people from his homeland overcome the trauma still haunting them FR Stephen Kumyangi describes South Sudan as “a little hell on earth”.            It’s hard for him to describe his own country that way, but with kidnappings, beatings, rape and murder commonplace under a repressive regime, he knows the dire description fits.               “Every South Sudanese living here or in America or the UK are depressed about the situation – there looks like no solution at all,” the Brisbane priest said.               “We are only praying for divine providence.”             Four years ago, Fr Kumyangi, a priest for 19 years, was invited to leave his diocese in South Sudan’s Western Equatoria State – home to about one million Catholics – to come to Brisbane archdiocese and become chaplain for the St Bakhita Sudanese Catholic community.     It was difficult for him to leave his parish and his people, but there was also a need among the 1500 South Sudanese Catholics in Brisbane, just a sprinkling of the four million displaced South Sudanese who have fled hunger, oppression and war.        There are other communities in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.       Fr Kumyangi’s pastoral role is to unite the community, including youth, help them overcome the trauma that still haunts many, and to reach out and help those still in South Sudan.        After a fragile ceasefire to civil war was reached last year, plans to form a unity government have stalled, and tens of thousands of people remain living away from their homes in forests, in displacement camps, or across the border in refugee camps in Congo and Uganda.        “Many people are just dying in the forests because of hunger,” Fr Kumyangi said.       “Also the government soldiers go after them, in the forests and into the camps.”       Others have trekked to northern Africa, joined the stream of refugees on precarious sea journeys bound for European ports.     An unrecorded number never make it.       “Tears run down my eyes when I saw one of the clips sent to me from Libya,” Fr Kumyangi (pictured) said.      “The Libyan government arrest these people and treat them beyond human dignity.”        Heartbreaking stories are shared among Brisbane’s St Bakhita Sudanese community......(more).  Photo: Photo: Catholic Leader Mark Bowling 20190703       
Synodality and the abuse crisis: The Church is still stuck in Trent
The refusal to consider synodality as a key part of the Church's response to the abuse crisis is a failure of ecclesial imagination, argues Massimo Faggioli  
Limited Extract from Massimo Faggioli, subacription journal La Croix International, 10 December 2019
....If you blinked, you probably missed it. But this past Sunday was the 150th anniversary of the opening of the First Vatican Council.       It was on Dec. 8, 1869 that Pope Pius IX convened the council that would come to be known for its declarations on papal primacy and infallibility. It would be the symbol of an assertive Catholicism that pushed back against liberal modernity.     Catholic missiologist Robert Schreiter has observed that Vatican I paved the way for a "period of certainty" within the Church....(source)
Update on Parish engagement in  the Australian Catholic Plenary Council
Friday 6 December 2019
At the end of parish Masses this weekend there will be a very brief (video) update on Parish engagement in the Australian Catholic 2020 Plenary Council which commences in Octobert 202).
‘Year of milestones’ for child protection organisation
Extract from CathNews, 6 December 2019
Catholic Professional Standards Ltd has published its 2018-19 annual report, marking three years of operation for the organisation.       CPSL was formed in response to the findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. It has been tasked with developing robust safeguarding standards to effectively safeguard children and vulnerable adults who come into contact with the Catholic Church in Australia and auditing the compliance of Church entities in Australia with these safeguarding standards.        In May, CPSL published the first edition of the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards (NCSS).        CPSL chief executive officer Sheree Limbrick said this year had been a “big year of milestones” for the organisation.      “Publishing the NCSS, developing and rolling out a national training and development program for Church personnel to support implementation of the NCSS, and commencing safeguarding audits of Church entities against the NCSS has made this a huge year for us,” Ms Limbrick said.       CPSL has so far published two safeguarding audit reports of Church entities in 2019 – the Presentation Sisters Wagga Wagga and the Ballarat Diocese – and anticipates publishing a further two audit reports before the end of the year.       “As of the end of November 2019, 54 per cent of identified Catholic entities in Australia (141 out of 262) – dioceses, eparchies, religious institutes, ministerial public juridic persons, associations of Christ’s faithful and other Catholic organisations – have formally engaged with CPSL,” Ms Limbrick said.       “When the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) approved the Standards in May this year, they indicated an expectation that all Catholic entities across Australia are expected to implement the standards, in line with community expectations that all institutions across Australia implement the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations....(more).   Photo: Sheree Limbrick CPSL CathNews 20191206
A boy dying of cancer wanted to be buried near Pope Francis. His wish came true.
Extracts from Gerard O’Connell, America the Jesuit Review, 6 December 2019
Pope Francis granted the last wish of an 11-year-old Argentinian boy, called Tomasito, who before dying from cancer asked to be buried near the pope in the Vatican.      In 2015, Francis had Tomasito laid to rest in the Teutonic cemetery in the Vatican, close to the place where St. Peter was executed, next to the famous basilica and less than a 5-minute-walk from Santa Marta, the Vatican guest house where he lives.         This moving story was first reported today by Domenico Agasso, the Vatican correspondent for La Stampa. He wrote that Francis first got to know the boy when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires because the secretary of his auxiliary-bishop was an aunt of the boy. Mr. Agasso said that in 2004 doctors that diagnosed that Tomasito had cancer—a tumor of the kidney—when he was just two years old.        In 2015, Francis had Tomasito laid to rest in the Teutonic cemetery in the Vatican, close to the place where St. Peter was executed.         Cardinal Bergoglio was informed and met the child and young boy on a number of occasions. According to La Stampa, Cardinal Bergoglio was “deeply moved” by the exemplary way he faced his illness as he grew older and by his faith in God. Tomasito bore his sufferings with “great courage” and “prepared for death,” Francis recalled, and with his faith “converted his parents, who then got married in church. He did a miracle.”........Francis told La Stampa that when it was clear that the end was near, Tomasito’s parents asked him if he had a last wish, and he responded, “I wish to be buried near Pope Francis in the Vatican!”      Tomasito died on July 20, 2013, just over four months after Cardinal Bergoglio was elected pope, and his body was subsequently cremated, Bishop Sucunza told La Nacion.        The boy’s ashes were brought in a box to the Vatican and buried in the Teutonic cemetery where normally only people of Germanic and Flemish origin living in Rome are interred.'.....“The only thing that he wanted was to be near me, to be buried in the Vatican,” Pope Francis recalled. He made sure the boy’s wish was granted.....(more).  Photo: Teutonic cemetery Vatican America Jesuit Review 20191206
Pope, council of cardinals discuss greater role for lay men and women
Extracts from Junno Arocho Esteves, Crux Now, Catholic News Service, 4 December 2019
VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis and his international Council of Cardinals reviewed aspects of the draft of the apostolic constitution that would govern the Roman Curia, including a greater role for lay men and women.       The Vatican press office issued a statement Dec. 4 saying the council also discussed the relationship between the Curia - the Church’s central administrative offices - and the bishops’ conferences around the world.      “The activity of the council was aimed at deepening two aspects of importance pertaining to the draft of the new apostolic constitution,” the Vatican said.       It included, “the relations between the Curia and the episcopal conferences and the presence of the lay faithful, men and women, in decision-making roles in the offices of the Curia and in other bodies of the Church, and to study the theological-pastoral basis of these aspects.”       The council members met Dec. 2-4, and Francis was present except when he had a scheduling conflict.....The pope and the Council of Cardinals, the Vatican said, will continue to “read and evaluate” the proposals at their next meeting, which is scheduled for February......(more)
US Married father-of-five approved for ordination
Extract from Esther Marshall, The Tablet, 4 December 2019
A former Pentecostal minister and married father of five has been approved for ordination by the Vatican. Deacon Drake McCalister will become the first married priest to be ordained in Steubenville Diocese, in Ohio.  He will be ordained on December 19.       McCalister served as a Pentecostal pastor for 13 years but resigned his pastorate after he began to be drawn to Catholicism. He was ordained to the diaconate in 2018.            After five years of study and discussions with his wife, the pair decided to join the Catholic Church with their children in 2004.  But it was only in 2010 that McCalister considered ordination. Catholic News Agency reported that he will draw from his family life in homilies and is most excited for “life in the spirit and engagement in the mission”.....(more)
German Catholic women call for change as 'synodal path' gets underway
Extract from by Donald Snyder, National Catholic Reporter, 4 December 2019
There's growing dissatisfaction with the Catholic Church in Germany, as the church there begins a "synodal path" aimed at renewal.      More than 200,000 Catholics left the church in 2018, according to the German Bishops' Conference. This plunge in numbers continues a years long trend.       "The current statistics are worrying," Jesuit Fr. Hans Langendörfer, secretary of the German Bishops Conference, said in a statement. "There is nothing to gloss over about the numbers. They confirm a trend that has shaped the church in recent years."      "If these massive departures continue at this rate, a minority of Germans will be churchgoers in five to 10 years," said Philipp Gessler, a former religion editor at Deutschlandfunk, Germany's national public radio.         For the first time in 1,000 years, the majority of Germans will have no religion at all, he said.       Growing secularization is eroding membership in both Catholic and Protestant churches. Currently, there are approximately 23 million Catholics and 21 million Protestants in Germany, which has a population of 83 million.....(more)
Dublin Diocese begins process of significant change in Sacramental Preparation
Extract from Press Release, Dublin Diocese, 3 December 2019
The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, has said training must begin immediately to prepare volunteers in parishes to support families in preparation for Baptism, Confession, First Communion and Confirmation.      For some time a consultation has been taking place throughout the Archdiocese in an effort to strengthen the bond between family, parish and schools in preparing children for sacraments.         This week, Archbishop Martin wrote to priests and parishes informing them of a proposal by Priests Council endorsing a new approach to the sacraments, centred on  supporting parents in sharing faith with their children and that in time will see parishes will assume responsibility for the preparation and celebration of all four sacraments.              In his letter Archbishop Martin said that “at the heart of the proposal is to stress the primary role of families in sacramental preparation.  It also advocates a renewed relationship with Catholic schools in promoting Catholic ethos and in delivering the Grow in Love programme.”          He said that any change must be achieved in line with the differing circumstances of each parish.       “We must remember too that more and more Catholic children today attend other than Catholic schools. The proposal is not something that will be accomplished overnight; it cannot however be put forever on the long finger.  We must begin now”, said Archbishop Martin. “It will take some time to put in place an effective development of parish capacity to implement this initiative. We need however to begin immediately with the preparation and training of voluntary lay catechists and the development of resource materials.”        This week’s decision by the Priest’s Council is the culmination of a process that began in September 2018.       A sacraments review group was set up to consult widely and make practical recommendations on the future practice around Baptism, First Reconciliation, First Communion and Confirmation.       1800 people responded to an online survey. This reflected the views of parents, parishioners, clergy those in parish ministry, schoolteachers and principals. In addition there were a number of focus groups with young parents who were not regular churchgoers, to hear their voice more clearly.      Three assemblies were subsequently held across the Diocese, where the outcomes of the survey were presented and discussed.....(more)
German synodal reforms launched
Extract from Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, The Tablet, 2 December 2019
The Gospel message has been 'obscured and even terribly damaged' by the clerical sexual abuse of minors.
The two-year German “synodal procedure” for church reform was officially launched on the first Sunday of Advent.        Working together with the lay Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), the bishops will seek a way forward following the devastation caused by the clerical abuse crisis and the ensuing massive exodus from the German Church.      Special synodal candles were lit before Mass in all 27 German cathedrals and the four co-cathedrals. Conference president Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and the vice-president of the ZdK, Karin Kortmann, who are both members of the synodal procedure’s presidium, lit the synodal candle together in Munich Cathedral at the 10am Mass.         In his sermon Marx underlined how important it would be to listen to one another and reach consensus despite differences of opinion. “After the ghastly experience of discovering that clerical sexual abuse occurred in the Church, it is now crucial to examine systemic dangers like bad governance organisations. In order once again to become credible witnesses of joy and hope, we will have to remove certain obstacles."      In their video message after Mass, Cardinal Marx and ZdK president Thomas Sternberg said: “Credibility is an absolute must and we want to regain it through self-critical discussion.”       In the coming two years, the synodal procedure will discuss how to solve those systemic problems in the Church which had fostered abuse and which stood in the way of credibly proclaiming the Gospel message......(more).
WA mandatory reporting extension would include confession
Extract from CathNews, WA Today, 29 November 2019
A controversial bill that would force religious leaders in Western Australia to report child sexual abuse was introduced into the state’s Parliament yesterday. Western Australia's mandatory reporting laws currently require doctors, nurses, midwives, police, teachers and boarding supervisors to report child sexual abuse.        Under the amendment to the law introduced yesterday, religious leaders including priests, ministers, imams, rabbis, pastors and Salvation Army officers will be forced to do the same, even if it breaks the rules of confession.       The McGowan Government said the changes will implement recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.       Following a review of the Act, the bill will also implement 41 recommendations, including keeping indigenous children in their community and connected to their culture.      “One of the bill’s themes is the importance of long-term stability and family connections to children in state care when it is not safe for them to be reunified with their parents,” Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk said yesterday.        “This includes building stronger connections to family, culture and country for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, who make up more than half of the children in out-of-home care in WA.”       Anyone convicted under WA’s mandatory reporting laws faces a maximum fine of $6000 and is likely to be banned from working with children.        Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SBDB spoke against the proposal earlier this year, saying it risked “interfering with the free practice of the Catholic faith” and would be ineffective....(more).  Photo: Confessional St Mary’s Cathedral Perth CathNews The eRecord Josh Low 20191129
Diocesan Finance chiefs count the challenges facing Church
Extract from CathNews, Hobart Archdiocese, 29 November 2019
Diocesan financial administrators from dioceses around Australia gathered in Hobart recently to share their experiences, common issues and common challenges.         Held over three days last month, the biennial conference attracted some 28 diocesan financial administrators to engage with the challenging topic of "Managing Church during a period of decline".         Diocesan financial administrator for the Hobart Archdiocese, Ron Ward, described the conference topic as “a pretty heavy-duty statement” and that people shouldn’t pretend that “all is rosy”.         “We have lots of challenges,” Mr Ward said, “So let’s face up to that reality.”         In his welcome letter to the conference attendees, Hobart Archbishop Julian Porteous commented that all present would be conscious of the signs of decline within the Church.        “This issue is providing all of us in our respective roles within the Church with a variety of challenges, particularly in maintaining levels of service in parishes and parish communities in our respective dioceses,” he said.       “Future planning in all dioceses will need to factor in possible further limits in financial resources. This begs the question: how do we manage with less money but ensure the mission of the Church does not suffer?”...(more)
Promoting women in the Church 'unfinished business'
Extract from CathNews, ABCB Media Blog,  29 November 2019
Published in 1999, Woman and Man: One in Christ Jesus arose from a collaboration between the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, the Australian Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes (now Catholic Religious Australia) and the Australian Catholic University.      To mark the 20th anniversary of Woman and Man: One in Christ Jesus, the Bishops Commission for Evangelisation, Laity and Ministry and the Bishops Commission for Social Justice agreed to revisit the earlier document and assess what progress had been made.       he chairs of those commissions – Archbishop Christopher Prowse and Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv. – wrote the foreword to the new publication, Still Listening to the Spirit: Woman and Man 20 Years On.      “There is unfinished business from the action commitments made by the bishops in 2000. There is also an opportunity to contribute to the communal discernment process of the Plenary Council 2020. This collection of essays engages creatively with both of these elements of the present moment,” the bishops wrote.      Still Listening to the Spirit was launched on November 28 at the Plenary Meeting of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.       The book provides a series of snapshots into the lives of Australian Catholic women in 2019.       “Every essay contributes to creating a range of opportunities in the Church for respectful listening and dialogue concerning the experiences, needs and aspirations of women,” wrote Andrea Dean, director of the Church’s Office for the Participation of Women and one of the book’s editors.      The book’s other editor, Sandie Cornish, said many of the major themes considered in Woman and Man: One in Christ Jesus “remain live and contentious”....(more). 
More support needed for those left behind
Extract from CathNews, Jesuit Social Service, 29 November 2019

The interim report of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System lays bare the failings of the mental health system and shows how reform can reduce suicide rates, says Jesuit Social Services.         “We commend the Victorian Government on its strong leadership in establishing this Australian-first royal commission. Effective mental health services are critical to safe and cohesive communities, and allow people and communities to address the complex and entrenched disadvantage they may face,” said Julie Edwards, chief executive of Jesuit Social Services.        "Today’s report highlights that transformational change is needed to redesign the mental health system to meet the needs and expectations of people living with mental illness and those around them. The Victorian Government has already committed to implement all recommendations in the final report – this will save lives,” Ms Edwards said.          Louise Flynn, Manager of Jesuit Social Services’ Support After Suicide program, which has operated since 2004, gave evidence to the royal commission in September. Dr Flynn described the complex grief and trauma experienced by people after the suicide of a loved one, and how services providing support also serve as suicide prevention services given people bereaved by suicide are at heightened risk of taking their own lives.       “A person bereaved by suicide often has a relentless experience of trying to understand why it happened, how it was that this much-loved person ended their own life. In some situations, families can feel additional distress if they feel let down by the mental health system; that not enough was done. It is a deeply distressing and difficult experience,” Dr Flynn said.

Nationalism: A deadly poison in Western Christianity's veins
It is impossible to understand Roman Catholicism without accepting the fact that the Vatican observes things from an international and supranational perspective
Limited extract from Massimo Faggioli, subscription journal La Croix International, 27 November 2019
Pope Francis called for the abolition of nuclear weapons during his visit to Japan this past Sunday as the Catholic Church celebrated the Feast of Christ the King.    His words were a reminder that there is no way to reconcile Catholicism with nationalism – especially after the lesson learned from two world wars in the 20th century.       But this lesson alone will not resolve the debate over the reemergence of nationalism the world is witnessing today.....(source)  Photo:Vatican La Croix International 20191129
Papal encyclical on nonviolence on the cards
Extract from CathNews New Zealand, CNS,  28 November 2019
Pope Francis says he is considering working on an encyclical letter on nonviolence.      He discussed the possibility with reporters during his return flight to Rome after his week-long trip to Thailand and Japan.       “The plan exists, but the next pope will do it.”     The encyclical is one of many “projects in the drawer” that are “maturing there,” waiting until the time is right, he said.     Asked if he believed there could be such a thing as a “just war”, Francis said: “The hypothesis of legitimate defense remains always”.      Catholic tradition has long held that a nation attacked by an enemy could respond morally to that attack under certain conditions.     These conditions include judgements that the measures taken are proportionate to the damage inflicted and that civilians are not targeted.      At the same time, he noted, in Catholic moral teaching, responding with violence must be “the last resort; the last resort is with weapons.”      Before that step is taken, a nation must try “legitimate defense with diplomacy, with mediation,” he said.      Francis endorses the continuing development of Catholic moral teaching.      “We are making progress in ethics and I like questioning all these things. It means that humanity is moving forward positively and not only negatively.”      Francis went on to praise the United Nations for its peacemaking efforts....(more)
Parishes in trouble; the people have spoken
Extract from CathNews New Zealand, Ballarat Courier, 25 November 2019
In a ‘searing’ editorial in the diocesan newspaper, “Our Diocesan Community”, Jirik compared the challenge facing the diocese akin to the Protestant Reformation of some 500 years back.         The Ballarat Catholic Diocese needs “more Catholics to support their parishes, not just the same parishioners supporting it more,” he wrote.        Jirik told The Courier the diocese had a problem that cannot be solved until it is addressed.      Pointing out that diocesan finances are different from parish finances, he said that not all 116 churches in the diocese might survive.      “People are turning away from the church, there’s no question, but until we admit we’ve got a problem, we can’t address it.”      Among the issues Jirik identified as problematic are:  diminishing finances, rising costs,   lack of planning and prioritisation,     a lack of capability,     a lack of expertise,     duplication of services,       ‘cultural’ attitudes,    and strategically insufficient funds at the diocese level, and insufficient resources to provide for the long-term sustainability of parishes.        Jirik cited the Dunolly parish is a good example of changing demographics.      150 years ago, with a population of 12,000, parishioners donated to build a large church, but now, the population is closer to 900.       The parish has a regular mass attendance of around 17 people.      “We’ve got people holding on, and I’m saying, well, that’s fine, but there’s a cost in all that, or we can do this in a way that’s a bit more structured.”.....(More)  Photo: Business Manager Ballarat Catholic Diocese Diocese Andrew Jirik CathNews NZ Ballarat Courier 20191125

Young Australians highest rates mental illness of any age group
"I think a lot of it is this sense of uncertainty about the future ... a sense that we aren't in full control of our lives."

Extract from ABC News, 21 November 2019

Young Australians are in many ways at the coalface of the country's mental health crisis.

Rates of mental health concerns appear to be getting worse and teenagers are increasingly ending up in the emergency department in mental health crises.          Three quarters of people who have mental illness develop symptoms before the age of 25, and in 2018, suicide accounted for more than a third of deaths among 15-24 year-olds.         The results, then, of the Australia Talks National Survey should come as little surprise.            Of the 54,000 Australians surveyed by the ABC, 44 per cent of 18-24 year-olds rated their mental health as average or poor.          More than a third reported struggling with anxiety, 30 per cent said they frequently or always feel lonely, and one in five reported feeling frequently or always sad.       How often do you feel lonely?      We asked 54,000 people about their lives. See what they told us — and how you compare.      Are we raising a generation of unhappy, non-resilient adolescents?        Or have smartphones destroyed Gen Z?    Perhaps, parents are to blame for ruining childhood. Or maybe it's that looming environmental crisis?        The causes of mental health problems are complex and varied — linked inextricably to our social, economic and physical circumstances.     While some experts say it's not clear what's driving high rates of stress, almost all agree there are gaps in mental health services and support.       We asked five young Australians about what they think is shaping the mental health of young people today.....(more)    Photo: ABC News 20191121

Calling attention to plight of the homeless
Extract from CathNews, Australian Jesuits, 21 November 2019
A newly installed sculpture at a Jesuit-run residential college at the University of Melbourne will be a permanent reminder to students and visitors of the plight of the city’s homeless people. ource: Australian Jesuits.         Newman College Rector Fr Bill Uren says the Timothy Schmalz sculpture, Homeless Jesus, has been placed in the courtyard at the college’s entrance, in front of the chapel, to call people’s attention to those on the margins of society.       “We decided to put it in front of the chapel for a couple of reasons. Firstly, so that everybody coming in and out of the college would see it, and it would remind them of the plight of the homeless in Melbourne and other places,” Fr Uren said.       “Secondly, we have a lot of weddings at our chapel that are often big events. And we thought it would be a timely reminder to people coming to worship at the chapel, not only weddings, but people generally who come of a Sunday to Mass.”      The original Homeless Jesus sculpture was installed in 2013 at the Jesuit-run Regis College at the University of Toronto, after it was rejected by two other churches because of its confronting nature.     Schmalz presented a miniature version of the statue to Pope Francis in 2013, and another cast of the statue was installed on the street leading to St Peter’s Basilica in 2016. There are casts of the sculpture around the world, including one outside Sacred Heart Cathedral in Townsville and at St Catherine of Sienna Church in Melton.      Fr Uren said many of the Newman College students come from privileged backgrounds, and that he hoped the statue might inspire more of the students to undertake outreach activities such as those offered through the college.      “Some of our students do go out with one of the vans — Coats for the Homeless — which the Order of Malta organises,” he said.        “It’s a long term investment, and a challenge to everybody, both students and visitors to the college.”....(more).   Photo: The Homeless Jesus statue at Newman College, Melbourne (Australian Jesuits)
Government must pay back robodebt money: Vinnies
Extract from CathNews, 21 November 2019
The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council has called on the Morrison Government to pay back, in full, money erroneously paid to the flawed robodebt scheme.       The scheme raised thousands of debts in error against people on income support payments who had intermittent, additional income during the year.      National Council chief executive Toby oConnor said the Government’s commitment to completely overhauling its automated approach to alleged debts incurred by people on welfare is a welcome, if well overdue, move.     “The Society also notes the Federal Government’s commitment to freezing existing debt recovery pending the review,” he said.      “The idea that a debt could be raised through an automated system without any evidence was a dangerous move. The notion that this process raises the debt and victims have to prove they don’t owe the money is highly questionable. Yet we’ve seen some of the most vulnerable people forced to repay money they did not owe.”        Mr oConnor said the “legal challenge to the scheme” and “unnecessary levels of stress and anxiety could have been avoided” had the Government conducted a review before the robodebt scheme was rolled out.      “We know through our work with people in local communities that this process has added to the trauma for many people living on inadequate allowances,” Mr oConnor said.    “This is another example of the Government’s heavy-handed approach to people on welfare at a time when the number of people looking for work far outnumber available jobs,” Mr oConnor said.....(more)
German bishops’ general secretary: The church should not fear the ‘synodal way’
Extract from Zita Ballinger Fletcher, America The Jesuit Review, 21 November 2019
In an exclusive interview with America, the general secretary of the German Bishops’ Conference, Hans Langendörfer, S.J., shared his views via email about the German church’s “synodal way,” which is scheduled to begin on the first day of Advent, and addressed controversies surrounding it.     “We are emphasizing through the synodal way the community and bonds of all believers—not the difference between clergy and laity. All of us are baptized and confirmed. All of us stand in the same mission to witness the Gospel,” Father Langendörfer said. “We therefore want to be a listening church that courageously and freely grapples with the issues that are unavoidable if the church wants to reach people further and not dismiss itself from reality.”...(more)
Vatican makes apparent rebuke of US shift on Israeli settlements in unusual communique
Extract from by Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter, 20 November 2019
Vatican City — The Vatican appeared to make a rare public rebuke of a U.S. foreign policy decision Nov. 20, issuing a statement to reiterate its support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict just days after the U.S. gave its blessing to Israeli annexation of Palestinian territory.        While the unsigned "communication from the Holy See" does not refer specifically to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's Nov. 18 decision to no longer consider Israeli settlements in the West Bank a violation of international law, it references "recent decisions that risk undermining further the Israeli-Palestinian peace process."          "The Holy See reiterates its position of a two-state solution for two peoples, as the only way to reach a complete solution to this age-old conflict," the statement continues, before pointedly adding: "The Holy See supports the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security within the borders recognized by the international community."        It is highly unusual for the Vatican to respond to individual decisions of world governments. Holy See diplomats tend to prefer to work quietly, advancing issues of international peace and diplomacy behind the scenes and with little fanfare.          The Nov. 20 statement is even more unusual in that it comes as Pope Francis is not at the Vatican, but making a seven-day trip to Thailand and Japan.         Pompeo's decision reversed four decades of U.S. policy to treat the Israeli settlements as a breach of international law. Palestinians have long demanded the territory for part of a future state, with the backing of the United Nations, many Europeans countries, and other U.S. allies....(more)
NZ Royal Commission - Invited Australian Input
Extract from Catholics For Renewal, 15 November 2019

Two Australian experts were invited to provide testimony to the New Zealand Commission Of Inquiry Into Historical Abuse In State Care And In The Care Of Faith-based Institutions, which began initial Hearings in February 2019. It is NZ’s biggest public inquiry ever, has a budget of NZ$79 million and is expected to run for 4 years. It is examining what happened to children, young people and vulnerable adults in State and faith-based care in Aoteoroa New Zealand between the years 1950-99. It may also listen to survivor experiences before and after these dates.         In relation to State Care the Inquiry is specifically investigating why people were taken into care, what abuse happened and why, and the effects of the abuse. It is specifically focusing on Māori, Pasefika and disabled people because of the disproportionate number of people from these communities in care.          There are four important elements of this inquiry. Following establishment of guidelines, the Commission then moved into an information and evidence gathering phase. Based on the evidence gathered, two reports will be produced with recommendations for addressing future responsibility - one at the end of 2020 and the second in 2023.....(more)

Parish Centre Redevelopment

Project Update, 15 November 2019

Our preliminary architectural drawings for our new Parish Centre were submitted to Banyule City Council on July 18 as a part of our application for a Planning Permit from the Council. This week we were advised that on Friday November 15 the ’Public Notification of a Planning Application’ would be advertised by the Banyule Council Planning Department. This means that public signage will go up on the Mary Immaculate site informing local residents of our planning application.             Under the Council’s planning process the advertising must remain in place for 14 days to allow for objections to be lodged. At the end of the 14 day period the Council will undertake a final assessment of our application. At this stage we have no indication of how long that assessment period may be.


Transition Arrangements Update

A Parish Office Transition Committee (Sue Moorhen, Lucy Dal Pozzo & Carlo Beltrame) has been formed to plan ahead for moving our Parish Office to Mother of God Church once building works begin on the Mary Immaculate site. The brief of the Committee includes:

- Facilitating the smooth transition from our existing Parish Office to our temporary Parish Office;

- To review our administrative systems including our human resources and our IT systems so that we can ensure our Parish administration is both fit for purpose and in tune with our Parish Mission and Values.

We have concluded plans for establishing the office in the MOG foyer meeting room, established an inventory of the current parish office, and are continuing our review of all parish administration.

Brisbane students tell Plenary Council planners what they want for the Church
Extract from Mark Bowling, Catholic Leader, 14 November 2019
A Brisbane student plenary assembly – the first held in Australia – has identified greater inclusion and equality for women, and a need for priests to be more tech-savvy as key issues for the Church today.                “We are facing a crisis and we want to face it together, because the Catholic Church is important for Australia as a whole,” Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge said at the recent assembly, encouraging participating students to enter into a communal discernment about the direction of the Church in Australia. “We have to try and meet the challenge together.”        Seven Brisbane Catholic schools took part in the pilot event held at Brigidine College, Indooroopilly, with the format to be used to shape larger student plenary assemblies early next year, as part of the journey towards the first session of National Plenary Council in October 2020.       The guiding scripture for the pilot plenary assembly was: 1 Timothy 4:12 – “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity”.     “There are some things we are going to have to leave behind. And there are some new things …  things we have never imagined,” Archbishop Coleridge said.      “In your speaking and sharing today, speak from your heart – speak the truth as you see it – because God might have put it there.      “And if God has put it there it’s not just for you, it’s for everybody.     “And that’s why it’s important that you share what’s in your heart.”     Put to the test, students split into groups for an initial session to start considering two questions – “What does ‘inclusive’ look like, sound like and feel like to you?”, and “What does ‘participatory’ look like, sound like and feel like to you?”       They returned a number of key messages jotted on sticky notes. “Make mental health less of a taboo”, “Be respectful of choices that people make (ie abortions)”, and “Openness or support for single parents and teenage mothers”, and “Everyone’s opinion matters” were among the replies.       And “Actively accepting: including people despite their background”, and “Encouraging people to find love within and for themselves, not just love for God and religion” were others.          Deep discussion: Students from Brisbane Catholic high schools engage in small-group discussions on some of the big questions facing the Church today at a plenary council event at Brigidine College, Indooroopilly.    During a second discernment session, the issues facing the Church were further discussed and students identified greater inclusion and equality for women and a need for priests to improve their ICT skills and “use technology to increase young people’s engagement” during the homily.      Greater equality would require different power structures and support from men in the Church.      It was suggested ICT skills form a greater part of seminary training, while priests should refresh their skills every three years....(more) Photo: Catholic Leader  Mark Bowling
High Court to hear Cardinal George Pell's case
Extract from CathNews, The Age, 14 November 2019
Cardinal George Pell will get another bid to overturn his child sexual abuse convictions after the High Court announced it would hear his application to appeal.        Australia’s highest court said yesterday it had referred Cardinal Pell’s application to appeal his convictions to the court’s full bench after March 4.      The decision is a part win for the cardinal: he has not won the right to appeal, but two judges of the High Court ruled the matter should be considered by the full bench.     Cardinal Pell’s lawyers will now need to prepare for a hearing before seven judges. In that hearing, the High Court can reject the cardinal’s leave to appeal, or it can allow the appeal to proceed. If an appeal is permitted, the court would likely hear the appeal arguments on the same day.       Robert Richter, the prominent QC who represented Cardinal Pell at trial, said yesterday: “I hope the appeal comes on quickly.”      Immediately after the High Court’s decision was announced, Cardinal Pell’s lawyers held a meeting with him at the Melbourne Assessment Prison.      Cardinal Pell is now able to apply for bail, although it is understood that he won’t at this stage.      Cardinal Pell, 78, who was once Australia’s most senior Catholic and rose to become the Vatican’s treasurer, is isolated from the general prison population, serving a six-year jail term. He will not be eligible for parole until he has served three years and eight months.      The decision to refer the matter to the full bench of the High Court means the Vatican will likely delay taking any action against Cardinal Pell. It will also delay the release of any findings against him made by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.       Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said Cardinal Pell was exercising his right to appeal to the High Court.     “And the High Court has determined that his conviction warrants its consideration,” he said.      “This will prolong what has been a lengthy and difficult process, but we can only hope that the appeal will be heard as soon as reasonably possible and that the High Court’s judgement will bring clarity and a resolution for all.”....(more).  Photo: Cardinal George Pell (CNS/JamesRoss EPA)
The beginning of the end of our “European” Church?
Extract from Fr Noel Connolly SSC, St Columbans Mission Society, 12 November 2019
It is probably only now that we are starting to realise the significance of electing a Pope from Latin America, part of the Global South. If we needed any further proof, it was the Amazonian Synod.        It was heavily criticised by many European Cardinals, and others. First, they criticised the indigenous headdress, while being unconscious of the origins of their own birettas, soutanes, etc.    They were even more upset with the statue of a pregnant woman that the indigenous peoples gave to the Pope. Despite all the explanations, they regarded it as “pagan” and someone stole it from the Church where it was enshrined, and threw it into the Tiber. Once again, they seemed to be unconscious of how much the Church in its, feasts, worship and devotions had drawn on pre-Christian feasts, and culture. [I try never to use the word “pagan” because it is a completely negative word with no positive content. It ignores the deep religious values inherent in the culture of indigenous peoples.]           While I do not agree with Pope Francis’ critics, I think they had an accurate sixth sense for what was at stake.    The European monopoly of Christianity is being challenged. As early as Evangelii Gaudium, Francis had said, “We cannot demand that peoples of every continent, in expressing their Christian faith, imitate modes of expression which European nations developed at a particular moment of their history, because the faith cannot be constricted to the limits of understanding and expression of any one culture. It is an indisputable fact that no single culture can exhaust the mystery of our redemption in Christ.” [EG 118]               For centuries, we in the West have “owned” the church and the Gospel. We have dictated the terms in which people in the Global South have understood doctrine, lived Christian morals and celebrated the liturgy. Those days are ending.       By 2050, there will be three billion Christians in the world and only one in six of these will be non-Hispanic whites. By 2050, 80% of Catholics will live in or trace their origins to the Global South.     The typical Christian will soon be a poor coloured woman from a shantytown in Kinshasa, Buenos Aries, Manila or some other large city in the majority world. These cities will be important Christian centres and Pope Francis has already appointed many of their bishops as Cardinals.     Australia is an island and we tend to become isolated, superior and preoccupied with “western issues”. However, if we are not to be left behind, we need to.......(more)

St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank

Friday 9 November 2019

Support our local Vinnies by buying an extra grocery item each time you shop and placing it in our Vinnies Food Box in the church foyer. See the box to see preferred items or take one of the leaflets by the box.

New bishop wants to get 'smell of the sheep'
Extract from CathNews, Daily Telegraph,  8 November 2019
Newly installed Broken Bay Bishop Anthony Randazzo wants to have “the smell of the sheep”, a phrase his old mentor – Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis – used to encourage in his priests.            Bishop Randazzo said the phrase did not refer the smell of farm animals but rather get to know the “warmth of a community” symbolised by a sheep’s thick wool and rich lanolin oil.        After 16 months without a designated spiritual shepherd following Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli’s appointment as Archbishop of Melbourne, Bishop Randazzo was installed as Bishop of Broken Bay on Monday.       Bishop Randazzo revealed he has no initial plans to shake the Diocese up with changes.       “That is not the starting point,” he said. Instead he wants to “get around as much as I can” to meet people in the diocese and get an understanding of their needs.      To continue the shepherd analogy, Bishop Randazzo said “you cannot care for them if you don’t know them”.      Having spent two stints in Rome, Bishop Randazzo has personally known the last three popes. He was working in the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in the final year of St John Paul II’s pontificate and the first few years of the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI.       “He still is for me one of the most amazing humans that have walked the Earth,” Bishop Randazzo said of St John Paul II.      He described Pope Benedict as “the most intelligent human being I have ever met” and Pope Francis – who used to stay in the same clergy house as him during his visits to Rome while still a cardinal – as having “a humanity about him that is inspirational”.....(more).  Photo: Bishop Randazzo at Broken bay installation Mass ACBC CathNews 20191108
Success in protecting ozone layer offers lessons for the future
Extract from CathNews, Crux,  8 November 2019
Decades of fruitful international cooperation on protecting the earth’s ozone layer serve as an important lesson for guiding collaboration needed today, Pope Francis said yesterday.
In a written message, the Pope expressed his hope that current agreements, “as well as other praiseworthy initiatives of the global community on care for our common home, can continue on this complex, challenging, but always stimulating path.”        The Pope’s message was addressed to those attending a meeting of state parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The protocol and later revisions aim for phasing out the production of substances known to deplete ozone in the stratosphere, which absorbs a large amount of harmful ultraviolent radiation reaching the earth’s surface.     Entering into force in 1989, it became “the first convention of the United Nations system to gain universal endorsement on the part of the entire family of nations, which today numbers 197 signatory states,” the Pope wrote.     This legally binding instrument has “yielded positive results” as many scientific studies have shown the thinning of the ozone layer is gradually being reduced, he wrote.      Pope Francis said this success effort offers the world lessons that we can learn from....(more)   Photo: CathNews, CNS Agencja Gazeta 
Archbishops light a candle for unity
Extract from CathNews Melbourne Catholic, 7 November 2019
Melbourne Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli joined Anglican Archbishop Philip Freier in lighting a unity candle at a ceremony marking reconciliation and understanding between the two faiths.
In April 1985, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, visited Melbourne. During this visit, Melbourne Archbishop Frank Little and Anglican Archbishop David Penman lit a candle together to be a symbol of unity. For one year this candle remained in a “unity chapel” in St Patrick’s Cathedral, before being transferred to St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, where it still has a home.             Now, over 30 years later, Archbishop Comensoli and Archbishop Freier have lit a new candle together during a Service of Prayer for Reconciliation and Understanding between Anglicans and Catholics on Sunday, using a flame carried from the original “Unity Candle” in St Paul’s.           The service on Sunday was the idea Anglican Vicar of St John’s Camberwell, Fr John Baldock, and Camberwell parish priest Fr Brendan Reed. Together, they planned to hold a service of evening prayer to mark the Annual Day of Prayer for Reconciliation between Anglicans and Catholics, celebrated on November 4.            The service was characterised by some special features. The form of the service was Evening Prayer, based on Evening Prayer for All Saints Day, which is shared in common by both Catholics and Anglicans: psalms, hymns, readings and intercessions. Fr Baldock and Fr Reed shared the presiding role, with members of the two parishes reading the lessons and offering the intercessions, and ending with each archbishop giving a homily....(more)Photo: CathNews, Melbourne Catholic 20191007

Synod participant: Women are already doing the work of deacons in the Amazon
Extracts from Luke Hansen, S.J. America, The Jesuit Review, 7 November 2019
.....In the interview with America on Oct. 24, Deacon Andrade de Lima, one of two permanent deacons who served as auditors at the three-week Amazon synod that concluded on Oct. 27 in Rome, described three major issues that emerged from the synod.       The first relates to ministries, he said, including the participation of women and lay men in ministry, how to respond to the needs of the people concerning the Eucharist, the ordination of married men and how to reach people in the vast Amazonian region.     The second is ecology and care for the earth, especially related to the experiences and concerns of the indigenous communities in the region. The synod is addressing “how the church can support initiatives that have been already taken by the indigenous populations,” he said.      The third relates to the political level. “We have been asking what governments can do to implement legislation” that has been passed but not yet made real, he said, and also to “respect the convention of the United Nations concerning the problem of mining.” The synod is particularly concerned about the need to consult indigenous communities, he said.         The deacon said the most important message he wanted to convey to the synod is that communities in the Amazonian region “want the church to be present” and also “to make their voice present.”          In the synod, the Holy Spirit was most present in the “very beautiful process of listening to the representatives of the communities” in the region, he said, adding that what was heard “must be welcomed and implemented.”         A frequently discussed topic at the synod was the ministry of permanent deacons in the region. Deacon Andrade de Lima, who is married and has two daughters, explained that his prelature only started to ordain permanent deacons in 2010 and he was among the first four ordained.          Concerning the possibility of ordaining women as permanent deacons, the deacon said, “I don’t see any problem because often women are already performing what deacons are doing.”        This diaconal ministry in Tefé involves liturgies of the Word and other liturgical aspects but what is “at the heart of this vocation,” he said, are the “concrete needs” that are expressed by the people.         “The church is often absent in the communities,” he said, but the ministry of deacons can increase the presence by simply being with people and “following the concrete life of the communities,” especially in offering one’s life in social services like that of Caritas, the Catholic relief and development organization.....(more)
How NZ Royal Commission works
Extract from CathNews New Zealand, Thursday, November 7th, 2019
The outgoing chair of the royal commission investigating abuse in state and faith-based care, Sir Anand Satyanand, says the witnesses appearing over the two weeks of public hearings represent the main issues the royal commission was investigating.   “At the end of the two-week period, the public will have a picture of what the Royal Commission has spent its time preparing for and they will have heard from 28 people, some of whom are very well-known New Zealanders.”   Moving forward, the Royal Commission will hold hearings every three months, or so. Those hearings will be in-depth and will look at the issues raised over the next fortnight, like court cases or abuse at specific institutions...(more).  
Exposing the Spirits
What the Amazon Synod Decided & What it Revealed
Extract from Austen Ivereigh, Commonweal, 1 November 2019
The synod on the Amazon will be remembered as the moment that bishops gathered in Rome asked the pope to ordain married men in order better to stand with the wretched and vulnerable in defense of their lives and land.         Whatever Pope Francis does now with that request, it is an important moment for the church, a sign that the pastoral and sacramental demands of the people of God in a particular place need not always be sacrificed on the altar of uniformity.           Perhaps ecclesiologists will say it was the moment that the great unresolved issue of Vatican II—whether the local or the universal should take precedence—finally settled on a proper balance.       But the three-week gathering of close to 300 people (182 of whom could vote on the final document) was about much more. Francis came closest to expressing the shift it represented in his end-of-synod address, when he urged reporters not to focus only on the who-won-what in “minor disciplinary matters” but to “take time to look at the diagnoses, which is the dense part, the part where the synod expressed itself best.”        The Amazon was being stripped, plundered, burned; its native people, guardians of the ecosystem, were desperate for help, looking to the church to stand with them. To come close, the church had to change, to embrace new thinking—especially on what they called ministerialidad, the question of ministries.       Grasping the problem didn’t mean more study but conversion. And conversion began with a shift of perspective—with coming to see the world a bit more as God does....(more)    Photo: Commonweal, CNS Paul Haring
Reflection in the German Church will be done in stages
Four issues of great significance to be debated over the next two years
Limited extract from Claire Lesegretain, La Croix International, 4 November 2019
Germany.     From Dec. 1, German bishops and lay people will begin a two-year dialogue on four themes: power in the Church, celibacy among priests, the place of women and sexual morality.      Faithful to its reputation as an "enfant terrible," the German Church has included the most contentious issues in the agenda it will undertake from Dec. 1, the first Sunday of Advent.  In this case, it has confirmed what it calls a "binding synodal process," which it conceived last year following a critical report on how it had been handling sexual abuse cases.....(more)
Our Eastern Rite Mass at Melkite Catholic Church in Fairfield
John Costa, Friday 1 November 2019
The invitation to celebrate Mass at an Eastern Rite Catholic Church last Sunday was enthusiastically welcomed by over 20 Ivanhoe Parishioners. It follows and was partly inspired by the success of a previously arranged Parish excursion last year to the Islamic museum, and may herald other similar experiences in future.      Fr Bill who is particularly qualified to speak about the various rites of the Catholic Church and their common origin had previously briefed participants on what to expect, and highlighted similarities and differences.          The Catholic Church currently consists of 22 autonomous churches using seven different Rites (or liturgical familes).        St Joseph's Melkite Catholic Church in Fairfield is very beautiful and we all felt privileged to enjoy the Mass experience and shared meal there afterwards.        Whilst the Melkite liturgy is overall close to our own it is ordered differently and expressed differently, reflecting the social cultures from which it originated. In the same way that listening, for example, to the aboriginal 'Our Father' helpfully invites us to see the traditional Our Father in new and fresh ways, the Melkite Liturgy helpfully brought new focus to that of the Roman Catholic Rite.      Liturgy based on identical faith and beliefs should serve people by reflecting the culture in which it grows and is expressed.       Perhaps nothing reflects this idea more clearly than Pope Francis's exhortation in Evangelii Gaudium 118  "We cannot demand that peoples of every continent, in expressing their Christian faith, imitate modes of expression which European nations developed at a particular moment of their history, because the faith cannot be constricted to the limits of understanding and expression of any one culture".            These words were repeated in the context of the recent Amazonian Synod, and have even lead to speculation of a possible new Amazonian Rite.             In a related context, Four years ago Pope Francis also said  "We are not living in an epoch of change as much as a change of epochs."   Perhaps there are important lessons to be learned from all this in developing liturgies that are meaningful, for example to more young Catholics in today's Australia?       So thanks Fr Bill for organizing this great event and thanks in particular to the Priest, Deacons and lay community of St Joseph's Melkite Catholic Church in Fairfield who so warmly welcomed sharing this experience with us.   Photo: St Joseph's Melkite Catholic Church Fairfield.  See related Newsletter article "A Wider View of the Church" by Merle Gilbo.


Reform needed to save democracy: Fr Brennan
Extract from CathNews, 01 November 2019
Jesuit and lawyer Fr Frank Brennan has warned that Western democracy is in a “precarious condition” and proposes three key changes to help strengthen trust in Australia’s system of government. Source: The Australian.      Fr Brennan pointed to the push to impeach President Donald Trump in the US and the Brexit crisis in Britain as two examples of democracy under pressure in nations that had “long served as models or examples for Australia”.        “Since the Great Depression, each generation until now has expected that their living circumstances will improve and will be better than those of their parents. That is no longer the case,” he said. “The dream of owning one’s own home, experiencing full employment, and living a lifelong commitment in marriage is less likely to be realised in future.”     In a submission to a parliamentary inquiry into nationhood, national identity and democracy, Fr Brennan said that there were “social and cultural factors at play in all our societies which we disregard at our peril”.            He identified three key areas for reform to help revive trust in government and ensure that Australia was viewed as more than the world’s “preferred quarry and beach destination”.          These included doing more to advance Indigenous recognition in the Constitution, removing section 44(i) of the Constitution to allow dual citizens to serve in Parliament and strengthening protections for religious freedoms.          A passionate defence is made of religious freedom, with Fr Brennan – a member of the review into the issue led by former Liberal attorney-general Philip Ruddock – saying that the UN Declaration of Human Rights provided for the right to “freedom of thought, conscience and religion”.         “As we have a Sex Discrimination Act which deals with discrimination on the basis of various criteria including sexual orientation, it is desirable that we at least have a religious discrimination act,” he said.     Fr Brennan argued the change was necessary to ensure that Australian society did not “privilege any particular comprehensive world view in the public square”.....(More).  Photo: Cathnews, Facebook
Sister Mary Kathleen Kuenstler PHJC, JCD
January 21, 1949 - October 28, 2019
Extract from death Notice. The Pilot News, US, 31 October 2019
Sister Mary Kathleen Kuenstler (Sister Kate) Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ (PHJC), died on Oct. 28 at the Catherine Kasper Home, Donaldson, Indiana.
Sister was born in St. Louis, Missouri on Jan. 21,1949 and she was adopted by Lawrence Kuenstler and Lorraine (Buerster) Kuenstler who preceded her in death.        Sister Kate's interest in the Poor Handmaid Community began as a farm girl in Illinois at the Holy Cross Parish, where she was introduced to the Poor Handmaids' charism by her teachers. Sister Kate entered the Poor Handmaids Aug. 25,1967 and professed her vows on Aug. 5, 1970.          She received her B.S. in Education from St. Joseph College in East Chicago, Ind., and began her first ministry in education as an elementary teacher for almost ten years at schools in Indiana and Minnesota. Sister Kate went on to receive her M.A. degree in Religious Education and ministered as a Director of Education and a Diocesan Consultant in the Springfield, Illinois diocese and Belleville, Illinois diocese.         Sister Kate pursued Canon Law and in 1992 she received her J.C.L. (Licentiate in Canon Law) and her J.C.D. (Doctorate in Canon Law) from St. Thomas Aquinas Pontifical University, Rome, Italy.        Her career in Canon Law ministry began as a Judge in Marriage Tribunal. Later, she initiated her own private practice as an independent Canon Lawyer specifically focused on being an Advocate for the Laity. Sister Kate's practice covered many states and countries, including Canada and Australia.             "Sister Kate was a tireless defender of the canonical rights of lay people in the Church, especially the rights of parishioners. Her creative advocacy changed Vatican policy from automatically accepting US bishops' decisions to close and sell vibrant churches to one that preserves churches as worship sites instead," said Sister Chris Schenk, CSJ.
What the Synod of Bishops means for Vatican II… and 'Vatican III'
Massimo Faggioli shows how the Synod under Francis is becoming an ecclesial event involving the whole Church
Limited Extract from Massimo Faggioli, subscription journal La Croix International,  30 October 2019
United States: The relationship between Pope Francis and the Synod of Bishops sums up the idea of reform in the current pontificate.       The pope is convinced that Church reform begins with a change of mentality.......(source)  Photo: Pope Francis closure Mass amazon Synod La Croix International  Riccardo De Luca MaxPPP La Croix Int 20191030
Vatican archives will no longer be 'secret'
Pope Francis has decided that the Vatican's secret archives will now be called 'apostolic'
Limited extract from Nicolas Senèze. subscription journal La Croix International, Global Pulse,  30 October 2019
Vatican City. For the time being, only the archives dating back to the pontificate of Pius XI (1922-1939) are open.         Pope Francis has, through a a motu proprio, decided to change the name of the Vatican's secret archives to "Vatican Apostolic Archives."          Made public on Oct. 28 in the Vatican, the pope explained in the motu proprio, a document issued by his own initiative, this change of name by eliminating the term "secret."       The Latin word secretum was then used, said Pope Francis, because these archives, established by Pope Paul V around 1610-1612, "were nothing more than private, separate archives reserved for the pope."....(source).  Image: La Croix International,
Ireland faces shortage of priests
Association of Catholic Priests has warned of termination of basic sacraments in some smaller parishes
Limited extracts from subscription journal La Croix International staff, Global Pulse, 30 October 2019
Ireland.     The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), a voluntary body of Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland, has warned of termination of basic sacraments like marriages and baptisms in some smaller parishes as a result.     The ACP has called for a relaxation of celibacy rules to make way for ordination of married men.    The group, with more than 1,000 men of the cloth from across the Emerald Isle, called for reforms, The Irish Post reported.     Father Tim Hazelwood, ACP spokesman, said, "We're facing a catastrophic situation in the next 10 to 20 years because there are not enough male celibate vocations to keep our parishes alive.....(source)
Technocrats No Longer?
What to Watch For as the U.S. Bishops Travel to Rome
Extract from Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal, 30 October 2019
The bond between Rome and local churches around the world has always been crucial to the Catholic Church’s understanding of itself as universal.       From the time of the Council of Trent especially, the ad limina apostolorum—the periodic visit of world bishops “at the thresholds of the Apostles” in Rome—has been one of the ways the church works to ensure the strength of this bond. In a few days, the ad limina visit of the U.S. bishops will begin, and by the time it wraps up in February, we might have a fresh sense of just what the bond between the Holy See and the American episcopate is made of.          After all, it’s not as if there isn’t controversy attending the bishops’ visit. In the course of Francis’s papacy, the dynamic between the U.S. church and Rome has grown increasingly fraught. The case of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick and the subsequent “manifestos” of former nuncio Carlo Maria Viganò brought relations between American bishops and the papacy to a new low.      That two dozen bishops came out in support of Viganò, without bothering to defend the pope against his unsubstantiated claims, will long remain a stain on the U.S. church.        And given that a significant number of American bishops continue to ignore or actively reject key aspects of Francis’s pastoral priorities—from “Who am I to judge?” to Amoris laetitia to Laudato si’—it’s hard to know whether a meaningful rapprochement will be achieved anytime soon.....(more).  Photo: USCCB 2019 Commonweal CNS Bob Roller 20191030
The Walter Silvester Memorial Lecture 2019
Extract from Archbishop Peter A Comensoli, Melbourne Catholic, CAM, 29 October 2019
......Our times, our era of the Church, is certainly a time of reform, as much as anything else. Ecclesia semper reformanda est, as the saying goes. But it seems to me that in any kind of reform, there is a temptation to start thinking that major change of structures is enough, as if our hearts did not require a good clean out as well.       But how does the Church go about learning well the way of reform? For corporations, reform is couched in economic terms; for civic authorities, in bureaucratic terms.      While the Church has both corporate and civic dimensions to it, it is neither of these in essence. Consequently, the kind of reform that the Church needs to undertake has to be particular to its essentially ecclesial reality. This is because the sources for reform will be found from within, even when the need for reform is recognised from without.      The Church’s inner identity is that of the Pilgrim People of God, the mystical Body of Christ. She is a person – the pronoun matters – who is sacramental in character; her life and renewal is therefore personal in form. Invitation, conversion and encounter are the defining words of ecclesial reform.      As the Lord, through Isaiah, calls to us:    Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. (Isa 1.16-17).      This is the theme of my lecture this evening....(more).  Photo: Melbourne Catholic, Walter Silvester Memorial lecture 20191029
The cry of the poor is the hope of the church, Pope Francis says, closing Amazon Synod
Extract from Gerard O’Connell,  October 27, 2019, America, The Jesuit Review, CNS, 26 October 2019
The cry of the poor is the cry of hope of the church,” Pope Francis declared in an inspiring and challenging homily at Mass in St Peter’s Basilica, on Oct. 27, at the close of the three-week-long Pan-Amazonian synod that may well prove to have been a turning point in the history of the church in the region and perhaps also worldwide.       He repeated the words,       “the cry of the poor is the cry of hope of the church,”       as he commented on the Gospel story of the Pharisee and the tax collector that had just been read.       “How many times, even in the church, have the voices of the poor not been heard and perhaps scoffed at or silenced because they are inconvenient,” he remarked. But, he added,        “in this synod we have had the grace of listening to the voices of the poor and of reflecting on the precariousness of their lives, threatened by predatory models of development.”.....(more) Photo: America. The Jesuit Review, CNS

Synod votes to ordain married men, and to protect Amazon’s indigenous peoples and rainforests
Extract from Gerard O’Connell, Luke Hansen, S.J. America, The Jesuit Review, 26 October 2019
The synod on the Pan-Amazonian region concluded its work on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 26, by approving all 120 paragraphs of its final document (available in Spanish only) with the necessary two-thirds majority vote, including the one proposing the priestly ordination of “suitable and esteemed” married men who are permanent deacons in communities of this vast region.       While that latter proposal attracted much of the media attention and had the most votes against it (128-41), the most important thing to emerge from the synod was the unequivocal commitment by the church in the nine countries of the Amazon region to seek new ways to preach the Gospel and to promote justice and stand in solidarity with its 34 million inhabitants, including some 2.5 million indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation, in defense of their rights to life, land and their cultures, and against all forms of violence and exploitation to which they are subject....(more). 

Diwali greeting from the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne to the Hindu Community in Melbourne
Extract from Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission, Melbourne Catholic, 25 October 2019
Dear friends in the Hindu community in Melbourne,      In 2019 the world commemorates the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi- that exatraordinary figure who contributed so much to the liberation and establishment of modern India. He taught that "the golden way is to be friends with the world and to regard the whole human family as one." For this he became known as the Mahatma, or 'Great Soul'.          The Hindu community acknowledges the essential unity of all humans and indeed of all creation. A well-known hymn in the Rg Veda (10.90) describes One who is both immanent and transcendent, the source of the underlying unity of human, cosmic and divine realities, who is sacrificed for the benefit of all.            the Catholic Church also teaches that one human family has been formed through Jesus Christ, who is "the image of the invisible God. He is before all things, and in him  all things hold together.      Through him, God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, making peace through the blood of his cross." (Letter of Paul to the Colossians).         In this sense of universal solidarity, Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli and the Catholic Church of Melbourne gladly extends greetings to the Hindu community on the occasion of Diwali, the festival of lights.       The Catholic Church seeks to work with the Hindu community for the liberation of all beings from the chains of ignorance and poverty, of strife and misunderstanding....(MORE)  Image: Divali CAM 20191025
.....from Vegas flies in for final hike up 'symbol of all Australia'
Extracts from Tony Wright, Illustration Matt Golding. The Age, Friday 25 October 2019
..........The controversial climb, which has attracted tens of thousands since the 1950s, will be closed permanently from Saturday.         The closure finally meets the long-held wishes of the Indigenous custodians of the area, the Anangu people, who consider the path to the top to be a sacred men’s site that should be off-limits to outsiders.      National parks officials are also concerned that run-off into pools on and around the rock is polluted with E. coli from human excreta. There are no toilet facilities on the rock.....hordes of travellers who have surged to Uluru during the past few weeks, intent on beating the climbing ban.        Planes to Ayers Rock Airport were crammed full on Thursday, like most over recent weeks. Many foreign visitors, particularly those from Japan, have taken to flying in on a morning plane, dashing by bus to climb the rock, then returning to the airport for an afternoon plane out....And yes, he climbed it then, though he was aware that the Indigenous owners asked visitors not to do so, just as they have continued to request ever since.......But it was so hot on Thursday – 40 degrees – that no one at all was permitted to climb after 8am. Thirty seven people have died on Uluru since records began in the 1950s, and most of them have succumbed to physical stress, including heat.....(more).  Illustration: Matt Golding, published in The Age.
Church opening a milestone for Syro-Malabar Catholics
Australia’s newest Catholic church has been consecrated following the transformation of a Holden supplier warehouse into a place of worship for the Syro-Malabar parish of Adelaide North. Source: The Southern Cross.     Edited Extract from CathNews, 25 October 2019
More than 1000 people gathered in St Euphrasia Church in Elizabeth South on Sunday to celebrate its blessing and consecration by Bishop Bosco Puthur, Bishop of the Syro-Malabar Eparchy of St Thomas, Melbourne.      It is only the second dedicated Syro-Malabar church in Australia and the first to be purpose-built.....and has been hailed as a significant achievement for the rapidly growing Eastern Rite Catholic Church which now has three parishes in Adelaide and 60,000 faithful across Australia.      St Euphrasia parish priest Fr Francis Pullukattu said a vision for a Syro-Malabar presence in the north of Adelaide began several years ago with a small group of Catholic immigrants from Kerala, India, who wanted to make a “touchable and lasting impact on our community; protecting our faith, traditions and heritage”.       The community is made up of about 80 families totalling 300 people. Fr Francis said community members had each donated one month’s salary to kick start the $1.25 million project which was funded through a loan from the Archdiocese’s Catholic Development Fund.     With plans to redevelop the outside of the modest warehouse in Wiley Street, parishioners also agreed to a regular contribution from their salary.      “By the grace of God the people are very cooperative,” Fr Francis said. “We don’t put a burden on them, they are happy to do it (contribute).”      The internal fit-out of the church incorporates traditional Syro-Malabar liturgical design and was completed within a year.       Two containers of religious artefacts, including a 350kg baptismal font, were shipped from southern India.       Mass is celebrated in Malayalam, the language of Kerala, and will be more frequent now that the parish has its own church.      The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church is one of the 22 Eastern (oriental) Catholic Churches in full communion with Rome and is the second largest Eastern Catholic Church after the Ukrainian Church.....(more) Photo: CathNews The Southern Cross 20191025     

Synod told not to fear Amazonian rite
Extract from CathNews, NCR Online,  25 October 2019
A proposed Amazonian rite in the Catholic Church is centred on Christ, an indigenous professor told a Synod briefing yesterday. Addressing concerns about the proposed Amazonian rite in the Catholic Church, Delio Siticonatzi Camaiteri, a member of the Ashaninka people and a professor from Peru, said that fears about the proposal are unwarranted because indigenous people seek unity and not division.       “Do we (want to) have our own rites? Yes, we do! But those rites must be incorporated with what is central, which is Jesus Christ. There is nothing else to argue about on this issue! The centre that is uniting us in this Synod is Jesus Christ,” he said.       Throughout the Synod, members discussed the possibility of incorporating local traditions and cultural elements in the liturgy. While there are nearly two dozen different rites in the Catholic Church, those critical of the proposal fear that it would introduce so-called pagan elements into the liturgy.      Speaking to journalists at the briefing, Mr Siticonatzi said that he noticed those present seemed “a bit uncomfortable” and did not “understand what the Amazon truly needs” when it comes to establishing a new rite.     “We have our own world view, our way of looking at the world that surrounds us. And nature brings God closer to us. Our culture brings the face of God closer to us, in our life,” he said.    Nevertheless, he added, there are many who are “doubtful of this reality that we are looking for as indigenous people.”      “Do not harden your hearts! Soften your hearts; that is what Jesus invites us to do,” he said. “We live together. We all believe in one God! At the end of it all, we are going to be united.”....(more). Photo: CathNews, NCR CNS Paul Haring

Radical plan to help poor inspired by Christian martyrs
Extract from Christopher Lamb, The Tablet, 20 October 2019
Forty prelates travelled to the Catacombs of Domitilla to sign the 'Catacombs pact for a Common Home'.         Several dozen bishops attending the Amazon synod have pledged to work for a prophetic Church dedicated to serving the poor during a ceremony on the burial site of some of the early Christian martyrs in Rome.       Early on Sunday morning, 40 prelates, including two cardinals, travelled to the Catacombs of Domitilla, on the outskirts of the Eternal City, to sign the “Catacombs pact for a Common Home”. Significantly, lay people and women were also among the signatories.       The historic declaration is a renewal of the 1965 pact signed in the same place by bishops attending the Second Vatican Council.
     That pact saw a group of bishops pledging to live simply, renounce personal possessions and “names and titles that express prominence and power.” But although the signatories wanted the agreement to be a turning point in Church history it largely disappeared.       The 2019 agreement revives the spirit of the 1965 pact, although its focus is on the Amazon, the synod and building a Church with an “Amazonian face”. There is also less focus on the lifestyle choices of bishops.       Among the 15 pledges in the 2019 agreement include a call to defend the natural world, the rainforest and the indigenous peoples of the Amazon.      It pledges a “preferential option of the poor” and the region’s native peoples along with a rejection of “all types of colonialist mentalities and postures”......(more)Photo: Bishops Amazon sign Catacombs of Domatilla pledge The Tablet 20191020
St Luke’s in Lalor Celebrate Annual Multicultural Day
Tuesday 22 October 2019
Extracts from Fr Luciano Toldo, Lalor Parish, Melbourne Catholic, 20 October 2019
Last Sunday 20th of October the Feast of St Luke was celebrated in a Multicultural Day at Lalor Parish. As a part of the Feast Day, Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli offered Mass, reinforcing in his homily that the Parish belongs to God and that the community are called by God to be a Disciple like St Luke.      The Mass was followed by a procession with a statue of St Luke and a cultural presentation with food and a jumping castle for children to enjoy....(more). Photo: CathNews CAM 20191025  St Lukes Church Lalor.
Vertical Catholic school will go to university
Extract from CathNews, Cairns Post,  18 October 2019
When built, a proposed four-storey vertical Catholic school in the grounds of James Cook University is expected to deliver an Australian-first for the Cairns education sector.    No development application will be required for the secondary college to be built by the Catholic Education Diocese of Cairns (CEDC) as existing approvals had already been granted under the JCU master plan.       Acting director of school effectiveness Dora Luxton said it was an exciting time for the new school project as an on-campus listening forum today heard feedback from stakeholders....(more)
Pope criticises cruelty of world marked by hunger and obesity
Extract from Paige Hanley, CNS, The Tablet, 17 October 2019
Pope Francis said the human person must be valued above personal monetary gain.
Resolving the global crises of world hunger and malnutrition demands a shift away from a distorted approach to food and toward healthier lifestyles and just economic practices, Pope Francis said.       "We are, in fact, witnessing how food is ceasing to be a means of subsistence and turning into an avenue of personal destruction," he said in his message to Qu Dongyu, director general of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, to mark World Food Day earlier this week.       World Food Day marks the date the FAO was founded in 1945 to address the causes of world hunger.            Pope Francis said he hoped the world day theme of 2019, "Our actions are our future: Healthy diets for a #ZeroHunger World", will be a reminder of how many people continue to eat in an unhealthy way.              "It is a cruel, unjust and paradoxical reality that, today, there is food for everyone, and yet not everyone has access to it, and that in some areas of the world food is wasted, discarded and consumed in excess, or destined for other purposes than nutrition," he said.     "To escape from this spiral, we need to promote economic institutions and social initiatives which can give the poor regular access to basic resources," he said, citing his encyclical, Laudato Si'.      The theme also points to "the distorted relationship between food and nutrition", he said. Some 820 million people in the world suffer from hunger, "while almost 700 million are overweight, victims of improper dietary habits"....(more). Photo: The Tablet CNS Khaled Abdullah Reuters 20191917 
Synod appears to be moving toward ordination for married men in Amazon
Extract from Opinion Piece, Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, National Catholic Reporter, 17 Oct, 2019
Vatican City — The synod of bishops meeting in Rome appears to be moving toward recommending the ordination of married men in the Amazon region.      While no one can predict what the bishops will do, one Brazilian bishop recently estimated that two-thirds of the bishops at the synod will support ordaining "viri probati" — a church phrase meaning "married men of proven virtue."        Another participant told Religion News Service that only a couple of the 185 bishops spoke against the idea during the first week of the synod.        The three-week synod, which began Oct. 6, is composed mostly of bishops from the Amazon region but includes laity and religious, both men and women, as nonvoting participants. Among the lay participants are indigenous people from the area.      The first week of the synod involved three days of four-minute speeches by the participants, followed by two days of small group discussions. The second week has two days of speeches, followed by another two days of small group discussions. Rumor has it that the synod will get Friday off while a committee attempts to draft recommendations that reflect the consensus of the synod.                  Next week, the final week, will be decision time, when the bishops will vote on the recommendations they want to make to the pope.....(more)Photo: Amazon Synod opening 7 Oct 2019 NCR AP Andrew Medichini 20191017
Child safety reforms still progressing slowly
Extracts from John Warhurst, Melbourne Catholic, Eureka Street,  Friday 18 October 2019
Twelve months has passed since the national apology to survivors and victims of institutional child abuse. Such national and other official apologies for a variety of social calamities are now so common that it makes this anniversary easier to overlook because it is just one among many milestones. It also contained an important symbolic element. Nevertheless, the significance of what Senator Mathias Cormann described as a 'collective systemic national failure' demands that it not to be forgotten.         The national apology was delivered by the Prime Minister Scott Morrison on 22 October 2018. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten also addressed the guests and the substantial matters were subsequently legislated in the Senate and the House of Representatives on 25 October and 12 November 2018. It followed extensive consultation with an independent survivor-focused reference group and with the wider community between May-July 2018.        The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, created by the Gillard government in 2013, had reported in December 2017 and the National Redress Scheme had begun operation from 1 July 2018. The apology contained an acknowledgement, an apology and a set of aspirations, including building community awareness, strengthening systems to promote children's safety across Australia, and committing to ensuring that 'all our institutions are child-safe'.        These aspirations signal the enormity of the task because they are clearly beyond the scope of the Commonwealth government alone. Eliminating institutional child sexual abuse is a task not just for the Commonwealth government and parliament but also for state and territory governments and thousands of non-government organisations. This enormous task parallels Bob Hawke's ill-fated promise to eliminate child poverty or Kevin Rudd's undeliverable promise to eliminate homelessness............"The institutional child safety issue shows how the consistently focused attention of the public, the political class and big institutions, including the Catholic Church, is difficult to maintain."..........The church itself was already committed to its own program of making its institutions child safe through Catholic Professional Standards Ltd (CPSL), funded by the ACBC and Catholic Religious Australia, which operates as an independent body with its own board at arms-length from the official church. CPSL has the responsibility of holding all Catholic institutions, including schools, welfare agencies and aged care bodies but particularly parishes, dioceses, orders and congregations, to account for maintaining child safe systems.          This task has itself been controversial, and therefore subject to review, at a time when the church is suffering severe financial pressures. The whole church, just one element of the massive non-government and government institutional structure, is striving to make Australia child-safe, in the aspirational words of the Prime Minister, by allocating significant resources.          Over much the same period the Catholic Church has invested considerable time and energy in preparations for the Plenary Council 2020.            This effort is not unrelated to the aspirations of the Prime Minister's national apology as it raises questions about the continuing general awareness, priorities, and disposition of resources of the largest church community in Australia.        The royal commission concluded that child safety, in all its organisational ramifications, raised questions of culture and governance for the church. If the PC2020 doesn't take such issues seriously then it will be one indicator that the momentum around the official national apology has slowed....(more)
Syrian archbishop fears massive exodus of Christians
Extract from CathNews, ACN, 17 October 2019
A Syriac Catholic archbishop has warned that the fresh violence in north east Syria could unleash a renewed and potentially fatal exodus of Christians from the region.          Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo said he feared a massive exodus of Christians in Hassaké – where half of Catholics and Orthodox have left since 2010 – as well as Qamishli, in north-east Syria.        He accused the United States and the international community of inflicting huge damage on the country.            Speaking in an interview with Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, the Emeritus Archbishop of Hassaké-Nisibi highlighted his concerns for the region amid reports of thousands of Daesh (ISIS) fighters and their families on the run following a strike on Chirkin prison in Qamishli.      The archbishop warned that the Daesh fighters could infiltrate Europe via Turkey.     Describing the plight of 5,000 families in his former diocese, Archbishop Hindo said: “In recent days, many had already moved from the border towns to Hassaké.”     The archbishop, who reported the killing of two Christians on October 10, in attacks on Qamishli, added: “Now the conflict has become even more serious and I fear that many will emigrate.”     Stating that before the latest conflict 50 per cent of Catholics and Orthodox had fled Hassaké – with almost as many leaving Qamishli – Archbishop Hindo said: “I fear a similar exodus, if not a greater one.”      Speaking out against the international community’s intervention in Syria over the years, Archbishop Hindo said: “The United States, Italy, France, the United Kingdom and Germany should all offer their own mea culpa....(more)
CRA to mark anniversary of National Apology
Extract from CathNews, CRA, 17 October 2019
Catholic Religious Australia will hold its National Day of Sorrow and Promise on Sunday, commemorating the first anniversary of the National Apology to victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.      The National Apology was delivered by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in October 2018 in Parliament House, Canberra.      Br Peter Carroll FMS, Catholic Religious Australia president, said: “The scars of abuse – sexual abuse and abuse of power – continue to move our Church into greater reflection and action – to learn from past mistakes, to learn from the experiences of survivors and to take concrete action to ensure our Church is a safe place for children and all people.”      The National Apology was symbolic of the deep impact that institutional sexual abuse has had on thousands of lives over many decades in Australia. CRA believes it is a significant date on which to hold a day of remembrance, a National Day of Sorrow and Promise, which is a response from Catholic religious across the country.               On Sunday, Catholic religious women and men will gather with their communities in solidarity, to recognise the pain and damage caused by abuse, in different cities and towns across the nation....(more)
Indigenous woman brings message from her elders to pope as church elder
Extract from Barbara J. Fraser, National Catholic re[porter, Catholic News Service. 15 October 2019
Vatican City — Anitalia Pijachi, an indigenous woman from the Amazonian town of Leticia, Colombia, came to the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon bringing a message from the elders of her people to Pope Francis, an elder of the Catholic Church.       The first Europeans to arrive in the Amazon were "invaders," she said. "They never asked permission of mother nature or of the people who lived there. They imposed the cross and the Bible. That caused a great deal of resentment," and in some cases forced indigenous peoples from their territories.      But when the pope, during his 2018 visit to Peru, asked Amazonian people to tell the church how it should walk with them, "that was a question that asked permission," she told Catholic News Service.     Pijachi, an Ocaina Huitoto woman who is not Catholic, said that when she heard that, she spoke to the elders of her people, who approved of her participation in presynod gatherings as long as the church respected indigenous cultures.     "The elders said that first the Catholic Church and all churches must recognize us as having a right to our own culture and customs, our own spirituality," she added. "They must not impose themselves and change" those beliefs.                For many indigenous peoples, evangelization meant relocation from their territories to church-run communities known as reductions, as well as the loss of their languages and traditions, she said. "The pain is alive and still there."       The culture and spirituality of Amazonian indigenous people remain strong "as long as we have our territory, our rivers, our sacred places, food and our seeds, the elements of our rituals," Pijachi said.       She said she sees the synod as an opportunity to talk with "a great friend, a great elder, (Pope) Francis, who can carry our voice" to places where it otherwise would not be heard.       Environmental destruction by extractive industries such as logging, mining and oil companies has been a recurring theme in the synod.....(more)  Photo: NCR CNS Barbara J Fraser 20191015
Amazon Synod Day 7: Appreciating the charism of the laity, distancing ourselves from clericalism
During the 10th General Congregation which took place on the afternoon of 14 October, the participants in the Special Amazon Synod continued their work. In addition to Pope Francis, there were 177 Synod Fathers present, as well as other auditors, experts and invited guests.
Extract from Vatican News, 14 October 2019
Vatican City.  Rethinking ministry in the Church in the light of the parameters of synodality so that the Church might be more and more formed by the Word of God was defined as one of the challenges of the Church in the Amazon region. Several interventions given this afternoon in the Synod Hall highlighted this.         The Word of God:       The Word of God is an active and merciful presence; it is educative and prophetic, formative and performative. It underpins that challenge of integral ecology and can be a means for social, economic, cultural and political development and a new humanism.         New ministers of the Word, including women, are needed to provide new responses to contemporary challenges. The Church must, therefore, invest in the formation of a well-prepared laity who, in a missionary spirit, will know how to proclaim the Gospel in every part of the Amazon.     Providing an adequate formation for committed laity, it was noted, is also fundamental for promoting indigenous vocations to the religious life and ordained ministries.           The role of the laity and women: It was also said in the Hall that the gifts of the laity need to be better expressed and appreciated in a ministerial Church. Thanks to the laity, the Church is manifesting itself as a Church moving outward, distancing itself from clericalism.       One intervention in particular suggested that the question of the so-called viri probati and the discussion regarding ministries open to women should be treated in an Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops since this theme affects the universal Church.        Others suggested that women could be included in non-ordained ministries, ministries intended as service, so as to guarantee the dignity and equality of women in the entire Pan-Amazonian territory. Such ministries could be, for example, that of presiding over celebrations of the Word, or leading the activity of a social-charitable nature. (more). Photo: Synod Hall during General Congregation Vatican News
French bishops open their doors to laity
Historic move designed to make clergy engage in 'mutual listening… and a taste for a shared mission'
Limited extract from Vincent de Féligonde and Céline Hoyeau, subscription Journal La Croix International, Global Pulse,  14 October 2019
France. For the first time in its history, the Catholic bishops' conference of France will open its plenary...(source).  Photo: French  plenary assembly opening of 2018 French Catholic bishops Lourdes La Croix International Laurent Ferriere Hans Lucas 20191014
Pope calls for dialogue to solve current military crisis in Syria
Dramatic news is emerging once again regarding the fate of people who are forced to abandon their homes
Limited extract from staff, subscription journal La Croix International, Global Pulse, 14 October 2019.
Vatican City....(source).  Photo: La Croix International, Turkish Syria smoke rising from targets inside Syria during Turkish bombardment at Ras al-Ein town as seen from Ceylanpinar in Sanliurfa Turkey, Oct 13 Photo La Croix International EPA ERDEM SAHIN MaxPPP

Letters from the Synod: There are new steps
Extract from Br Mark O'Connor FMS, Catholic Outlook, 11 October 2019
Dear Friends, I am sure some of you might remember that fine Australian film Strictly Ballroom.        In it, there was an epic struggle going on. On the one hand, there were those convinced that there is only one model of ballroom dancing and hence their insistent and non-compromising mantra: “No new steps”.       A young couple in the film, however, challenged this prevailing ideology and showed, in their actual dancing, that “new steps” are indeed possible.        Well, there is a similar ‘dance’, this time a ‘dance’ of the Holy Spirit,  going on in Rome at the moment.      There is, however, one big difference.       Today, in Rome, at the Synod of the Amazon, the young couple is represented by the successor of Peter, who has gathered an impressive, representative and diverse group of lay leaders, religious, theologians and Bishop pastors.        These are people largely actually working in the field hospital of the Amazon.       They are seeking, as the pilgrim people of God, to discern the Spirit and imagine new steps for the good of the people of God.       They don’t necessarily have all the answers but there is a refreshing sense that the Spirit is breaking through.      Certainly, new graces are being offered by these local churches. Graces that can also teach us much in the church in Australia.      These synodal delegates are ironically, the real orthodox conservatives – because they want to conserve and apply the living Gospel to today’s realities!      They understand that: “Traditionalism is the dead faith of the living; whereas Tradition is the living faith of the dead.”       For them, the authentic tradition is dynamic and a river. For as Cardinal John Henry Newman (to be canonised in just a few days) famously pointed out: “To live is to change, and to change often is to become more perfect.”....(more).   Photo: Pope Francis celebrates Mass opening Amazon Synod Catholic Outlook Shutterstock 20191110
Today’s Special Anniversary
Extracts from J. A. Dick, Another Voice, Being a Theologian, 11 October 2019
For observers of Christian history, and especially for Christians in the Catholic tradition, October 11th is an important date.       Fifty-seven years ago today the Second Vatican Council opened in St. Peter’s Basilica In Vatican City. Between 2,000 and 2,500 bishops and thousands of observers, auditors, women religious, laymen, and laywomen gathered at St. Peter’s between 1962 and 1965. Pope John XXIII opened the Catholic Church’s windows for what was called “aggiornamento”: bringing the Catholic Church up to date. At the time, I was in my second year of college in Detroit and one of my professors, with a bit of dry humor, observed “the old pope is opening the windows and the winds of change will shake-up everything.”..........Post-Vatican II, we have our own contemporary theological challenges: How do we speak today about our experiences of the Divine? Who is God for contemporary believers? Two thousand years after he walked the earth, who is Jesus of Nazareth, raised from the dead, whom we proclaim Lord and Christ? And what does it mean to be a human person? And how do we develop and live a system of values that respects that humanity in all its cultural, historic, religious, ethnic, sexual, and gender varieties? And how do Christian believers collaborate to turn back the contemporary tide of racism, xenophobia, and authoritarian political leadership?       These are our contemporary issues. With faith and fortitude, we can meet the challenge.      As Vatican II said (using an inclusive language translation of the Latin text) in its Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World: “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men and women of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs, and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts….”     The windows are op[em.... Happy Birthday Vatican II.........(full article). Photo: Vatican II 11 October J A Dick  Another Voice
‘Most bishops in Amazon support ordination of married men’
Speaking to journalists after a Vatican press briefing yesterday, retired Bishop Erwin Krautler of Xingu said, “I guess that (of) the bishops who are in the Amazon region, two-thirds are in favour of the ‘viri probati’
Extract from CathNews, CNS, 10 October 2019
Speaking to journalists after a Vatican press briefing yesterday, retired Bishop Erwin Krautler of Xingu said, “I guess that (of) the bishops who are in the Amazon region, two-thirds are in favour of the ‘viri probati’.”           Several bishops and other speakers at the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon proposed the ordination of married men, preferably elders in their respective communities, as a solution for remote communities that often go from one month to up to one year without the celebration of the Eucharist.       During the Synod’s morning session on October 8, the Vatican said, several bishops proposed the ordination of married “viri probati” and at least one suggested the Church could “evaluate over time whether this experience is valid or not.”       At the briefing, Bishop Krautler said that when it comes to ordaining married men of proven virtue, “there is no other option.”     “The indigenous people don’t understand celibacy; they say that very openly and I see it,” the bishop said. “When I go to an indigenous village, the first thing they ask is, ‘Where is your wife?’ And I tell them, ‘I don’t have one.’ Then they look at me with pity.”        Bishop Krautler added that there are thousands of indigenous communities in the Amazon that “do not celebrate the Eucharist except perhaps one, two or three times a year.”        “The Eucharist, for us Catholics, is the source and summit of our faith. And these poor people are practically excluded from the context of the Catholic Church,” he said.    Bishops in favour of ordaining married men, he said, “are not against celibacy. We just want these brothers and sisters of ours not to have just a celebration of the word but also the celebration of the Eucharist.”       Several speakers at the Synod also proposed ordaining women deacons....(more)Photo: Bishop Erwin Krautler CNS Paul Haring CathNews
Thousands head to Rome for Newman canonisation
The Prince of Wales will lead the UK delegation. The Queen no longer travels abroad, so he is the highest-ranking royal who could attend
Extract from Liz Dodd, The Tablet, 9 October 2019
Thousands of Catholics from England and Wales are expected to travel to Rome for the canonisation of John Henry Newman this weekend, when he will become the first English saint of modern times.
       As many as 20,000 tickets have been reserved, with a large number of pilgrims attending from the English Oratories, which were founded by Cardinal Newman. They include 50 from the Oxford Oratory, about 40 from Manchester, 20 from Birmingham, and a group from the York Oratory, which is still in formation. The Schola Cantorum of the London Oratory School will sing at the Canonisation Mass on Sunday.             The Archdiocese of Birmingham, where Newman founded the first English Oratory, is sending nine different groups, including about 30 pilgrims from the cathedral, 30 from the Oratory schools, and groups from the Maryvale Institute and Newman University. As well as individual adult pilgrims, the Archdiocese of Westminster said that 25 young adults were travelling from London.           The Prince of Wales will lead the UK delegation – because the Queen no longer travels abroad, he is the highest-ranking royal who could attend – along with HM Ambassador to the Holy See, Sally Axworthy.         Cardinal Vincent Nichols will lead a delegation of 17 English and Welsh bishops, including the Archbishops of Birmingham, Southwark and Cardiff....(more)    Photo:Tim Rooke PA Archive PA Images The Tablet
The good words of John Henry Newman
Extract from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, 9 October 2019
It is fair to say that of English saints the newly canonised John Henry Newman is the most intellectual and active in public life since Thomas More. The number of Catholic educational institutions and professional guilds to be named after each man bears witness to that.         The title of Robert Bolt's searching play about More was Man for All Seasons. The same phrase could also be well referred to Newman, with the difference that for More winter came at the end of his life, whereas for Newman it came in the middle.            He had to negotiate through times of great personal and national change many of the anxieties and polarities that mark our own times. As a result he may bear reflection beyond the world of church today.            Newman crossed boundaries of temperament and culture. He was a deeply private man who engaged fully in public life. He lived his faith in contact with the secularising trends that shaped politics and religious faith. He lost his faith at school after reading contemporary philosophical writing and returned to it through his contact with Evangelical teachers.              In the debates that marked the Anglican Church in the first half of the 19th century he had to deal with liberal ideas about faith and the place of church in society. Through his reading during these debates he came to an understanding that continuity with the Christian tradition was represented most fully in the Catholic Church. When he became a Catholic his path took him from the broad culture and ethos of the Britain in which he was raised into the narrower world of the Church to which he came.             Catholics who celebrate Newman's canonisation may do so for differing reasons. Some will find encouragement in the breadth of his faith and in his insistence on the primacy of conscience. Others will be reassured by his insistence on the authority of scripture and of Church councils in matters of faith and church life. He held together strands of living faith that today are often opposed to one another. He also challenges both groups.                      For him freedom of conscience meant more than making unforced choices about belief. It required work and had its costs. Before his decision to join the Catholic Church he read in the original language the many volumes of the Greek and Latin Fathers of the Church. And his decision cost him friendships, the certainty of preferment in the Anglican Church and his cultural home. His insistence on the authority of tradition, too, placed him in a continuing life of exploration within a community and not in a secure fortress of certainties over it. It made him a player, not a referee....(more).   Image: Eureka Street, John Henry Newman (credit: Catholic Church of England and Wales (Creative Commons)
Cultural questions for getting back on mission
Extract from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, 9 October 2019  
The core of Getting Back on Mission is a submission made to the Australian Plenary Council which will meet in 2020 and 2021. It was composed by Catholics for Renewal, a group of lay Catholics who have for many years pressed the need for reform within the Catholic Church. It is a valuable resource, comprehensive in its discussion of challenges affecting the Catholic Church and detailed in its proposals for meeting them. It also includes statistical information about the current situation of the Australian Church and the scope of plenary councils.         Catholics for Renewal, Getting Back on Mission: Reforming our Church Together. For Catholics who are interested in the Australian Church, its future and the council, it is essential reading. Whether or not they accept the shape of its argument, it offers a comprehensive list of issues and a view of their underlying causes that need to be grappled with. Given its focus on governance, it may also be of interest to a wider audience. Many of the strains and signs of dysfunction it finds in Church governance and internal are similar to those identified in public life in Australia and internationally.       At the heart of Getting Back on Mission is the claim that the Catholic Church has gone off-mission. The strongest evidence for this claim, and a major source of the passion infusing the book, is the extent of child sexual abuse by priests and religious over many years, the appalling suffering of its victims, its cover-up by Catholic Church leaders and the consequent loss of credibility of the Catholic Church.     The book claims that the root of this dysfunction lies in seeing the church as God's mission rather than as an instrument of God's will for the world. When the church is made the main show, its structures are sacralised in law and in institutional relationships, hierarchical boundaries are reinforced, and the good name of the church becomes sacrosanct. This culture breeds a silence in which crime and cover-up can flourish.      The source of healing conversely will be to enshrine in church practices and governance the shared mission of all Catholics to embody the Kingdom of God within the changing conditions of their own times. In that process the consensus of the faithful, lay as well as clerical, will guide the Catholic Church in discerning how to read and respond to the signs of our times. The submission supports this understanding by reference to the Second Vatican Council.       The first section of the book considers God's mission and the Australian context in which that mission must be embodied. In the following sections, each of which is followed by detailed recommendations, it reflects on the proper relationships between laity and clergy, on church governance, on pastoral leadership and parish ministry, and on the process and procedures of the Plenary Council. The recommendations identify areas where change is needed and outline transparent procedures and structures in which laity and clergy have an active part.       The value of the recommendations lies in the thought that underlies them and the concreteness of the proposals made......(more)  Image: Eureka Street
A controversial synod and an unusual consistory
Pope Francis doubles down on reforming the Church and the Vatican
Limited extract from Robert Mickens, Rome, Letter from Rome, Subscription journal La Croix International, 4 October 2019
Vatican City.  There's a lot of commotion in and around the Vatican right now. It consists mostly of the angry rumblings of traditionalist Catholics who don't particularly care for the way Pope Francis is leading the Church. Then there are the retaliatory rebukes of the pope's most eager supporters. This has only increased the volume.    But, if you can believe it, this acrimony – which has long been on ugly display in the realm of social media – might be just a bit of relative calm before a really fierce storm.     And the...(source)Photo: Amazon bishops La Croix International Photoshot Maxppp
The emergence of synodality and the inadequacy of canon law.
Historically the Church has never been regulated exclusively by legal codes, says Massimo Faggioli
Extract from Massimo Faggioli, Pearls & Irritations, John Menadue website, 4 October 2019
Catholic bishops around the world are responding in various ways to the crisis the Church is currently facing. Some have tried to show that the bishops in the United States and Germany are doing so in a similar fashion.   But this is a false equivalence.      On one side of the Atlantic, the US bishops, whose predecessors eagerly embraced the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), have refused to even imagine how synodality can be implemented today at the local and national levels. Internal divisions have effectively paralyzed the national episcopal conference.      On the other side of the pond, the German bishops are doing just the opposite. They are charging ahead, as they did with their national synod of 1971-75, to make sure collegiality and synodality are not just empty slogans.    The tendentious effort to equate two very different ways that two churches are trying to deal with the present ecclesial crisis reveals a bigger issue.      It is the fundamental misunderstanding, pushed especially by legal-minded and self-described “orthodox Catholics”, about the governance system of the Church and the limits of what can and cannot change.     These same Catholics continue to interpret Pope Francis’ efforts to usher in a synodal model for their Church within the strict boundaries of existing canon law.    For sure, the ecclesiastical law is one of the reference points for understanding how to implement synodality. But it is not the only one. And it is certainly not the most important.    Two examples from history highlight how non-monarchical elements have become part of the life of the Church with the approval of the institution and of the papacy.....(more)
Synod to consider ordaining married men
Two of the cardinals leading the Synod of Bishops on the Amazon have made clear that the gathering will consider the idea of ordaining older married men to address the severe lack of priests across the nine-nation region.
Extract from CathNews, NCR Online, Friday 4 October 2019
In a press conference to present the October 6-27 Synod, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri and Cardinal Claudio Hummes focused on the serious implications of Catholics living without frequent access to the sacraments and the call of people in the Amazon that the Synod address the issue.        Cardinal Hummes, the retired archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil, who is serving as the Amazon Synod’s relator general, said that up to 80 per cent of people in the region have “a limited sacramental life.”        “Very few people receive the Eucharist and can have the celebration,” he said. To emphasise the importance of receiving Communion for a Catholic, Cardinal Hummes cited a 2003 encyclical by Pope John Paul II that said the Church “draws her life from the Eucharist.”      Cardinal Baldisseri, who heads the Vatican Synod office, affirmed that the issue would be discussed.      “It will be taken into consideration inside the assembly,” he said, citing the Synod’s working document, known as an instrumentum laboris, that brought up the request from people in the region for a discussion.         “It is in the instrumentum laboris,” Cardinal Baldisseri. said “Therefore, the Synod fathers are free to express themselves, to discuss it.”        The Church has maintained the practice of mandatory celibacy for priests for centuries, pointing to the need for ministers to be completely devoted to their work. It makes exception, however, for priests who belong to Eastern rites or who become Catholic after being ordained in other Christian traditions.         The discussion of a regional allowance for married priests in the Amazon has sparked an uproar among a conservative minority in the Church, including some cardinals....(more)
Pope answers policies that suffocate hope
Extract from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, 30 September 2019
To an outsider it is interesting, and to advertisers and media proprietors a matter of life and death, to note which of the millions of words that are spoken each day attract notice, and to reflect on why they are noticed.       Pope Francis visits with inmates during his visit to the Curran-Fromhold Correction Facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 27 September 2015. (Photo by Todd Heisler-Pool/Getty Images)Recently, for example, many news outlets reported on what had become a fairly routine visit and speech by Pope Francis to the prison officers, visitors and prisoners at a Roman prison. Francis spoke with his customary sharpness of phrase about life prison sentences without parole. The passage is worth quoting at length:   'Take courage, never suffocate the flame of hope ...... To revive this flame is the duty of all. It is up to every society to feed it, to ensure that punishment does not compromise the right to hope, that prospects of reconciliation and reintegration are guaranteed. While remedying the mistakes of the past, we cannot erase hope in the future. Life imprisonment is not the solution to problems, but a problem to be solved. Because if hope is locked up, there is no future for society. Never deprive anyone of the right to start over!'     Perhaps this speech was considered newsworthy because in Australia sentences to a lifetime in prison without parole are becoming less contentious and more used. The passage also bears reflection because the Pope's approach to prisoners and their criminal behaviour is in such strong contrast to strands of Australian culture in which exclusion and the denial of hope are an instinctive response to perceived misbehaviour...(more)  Photo: Correction Facility Philadelphia 27 September 2015 Photo Todd Heisler Pool Getty Images Eureka St.


Website updates during the School holiday period
During this period of school holidays our volunteer website manager will be away. Website updates will be limited around this period.
The Extraordinary Missionary Month - October 2019
Extract from Catholic Mission, 22 September 2019
In response to Pope Francis’ invitation, the Extraordinary Missionary Month is to be an opportunity for reflection, prayer and support for the missionary efforts of individuals, communities and whole Church. These resources are provided for individuals, small groups, parish communities, school communities, and the staffs of Catholic agencies and organisations to help celebrate mission in this unique moment.           Your participation and involvement is welcome and in solidarity with so many people around the world at this time will be a sign of doing something extraordinary for mission.         What is the Extraordinary Missionary Month?....(more).  Image: Catholic Mission
You are all leaders, bishop tells year 12 students
Extract fromCathNews, 24 September 2019
Wollongong Bishop Brian Mascord discussed leadership, inclusivity and owning your choices when he met more than 2000 students to mark their final year at secondary school. Source: Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong.         Bishop Mascord met the year 12 students in a series of gatherings. At the start of each gathering, students were invited to come forward with their school candle and a symbol representing their cohort.      “As each of our schools have brought forward their symbols and expressed the values and charism of their school, you have all conveyed three significant characteristics: faith, hope and love,” Bishop Mascord said. “So what does that say about you? The reality is that all of you are leaders. You are called to express those values in the context of the Gospel. You are called to be people of Christ. We not only follow Jesus, we also witness and make the way of Jesus our own.”     The bishop encouraged students to be proud of their faith-filled education and to go out into the world and use it as the basis for their relationships and lives in their world post-school.      In his talks, Bishop Mascord emphasised the importance of daily and life-long choices. “We do the things we do in social justice, in environmental action, in liturgy … because we are in a relationship with the person of Jesus,” he said. “For many of you, you might not have that relationship, and that is fine. Our purpose is not to convert you; it is to open up the experience so you can choose for yourself.”       Bishop Mascord encouraged students to be careful of judging other’s choices....(more) Photo CathNews,  CEDOW
Canonisation:  Letters to Blessed John Henry Newman show his role as pastor, evangelist
Extracts from The Tablet, Catholic News Service, 20 September 2019
Thousands of documents relating to England's 19th-century convert-cardinal, Blessed John Henry Newman, are being released ahead of his 13 October canonisation, highlighting his role as a pastor and evangelist, said church experts.      Although 32 annotated volumes of the cardinal's letters and diaries have been published over the past five decades, the new material includes letters and correspondence to the future saint.       "Up to now, we've had only half his correspondence, with just fragments of letters he received, so this will greatly improve ... understanding of the complex issues he dealt with," said Paul Shrimpton, an Oxford-based expert on Newman's educational theories.      Father Ignatius Harrison, provost of Birmingham's Oratory of St. Philip Neri, said Cardinal Newman "wasn't just a lofty philosopher -- he was primarily a priest and prophet, who foresaw the difficulties facing Christianity in a secular world."         "He was loved in his lifetime not because everyone had read his academic masterpieces, but because of his pastoral kindness to the poor and sick, as these collections graphically illustrate," Father Harrison said......John Henry Newman was raised in the Church of England, graduated and taught at Oxford University and served as vicar of its St. Mary's Anglican Church, 1828-1843.        Having co-led the 1830s Oxford Movement, which sought to revive the Church of England's pre-Reformation beliefs and rituals, he joined the Catholic Church in 1845 and was named a cardinal by Pope Leo XIII in 1879.       Besides the oratory, Cardinal Newman helped found a Catholic university in Ireland -- University College Dublin -- and was influential in Catholicism's revival in England after three centuries' repression and restriction.      He wrote poetry, hymns and novels, while his major works on church history, ecclesiology, the rights of conscience and role of laypeople are widely believed to have anticipated the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council.....(more) Photo:The Tablet, CNS, courtesy of Catholic Church of England and Wales  John Henry Newman

Catholic religious to join climate rallies
Members of religious institutes will today join school students and other young people, their families and concerned members of communities in youth-led climate rallies across Australia.
Extract from CathNews, Catholic Religious Australia, 20 September 2019
These rallies will be echoing others around the world to demand action to prevent further global warming and climate change.      By joining the rallies, Catholic religious are expressing their alarm for the damage being caused to the earth, as well as their hope for a more sustainable, peaceful and healthy planet. Catholic religious encourage all forms of education on how people are impacting the planet.         The rallies serve to educate and raise awareness to support government and members of the community to take action to bring about a change in the way we care for the earth.      “We need to heed the pleas of Pacific Island leaders at their recent forum and acknowledge the catastrophes facing these countries, which leaves them with great fear for their futures,” said Br Peter Carroll FMS, president of CRA, referring to last month’s Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting.     The crises are not limited to the Pacific Islands. In Australia, unprecedented experiences of bushfires, drought, floods and the disintegration of the Murray Darling river system create impending and dangerous realities.     “Climate change is a defining issue of our time and requires unified, global action,” said Br Peter, “and students are meeting the environmental threats in the most effective way they believe is possible – by taking action when they perceive that governments are failing to do so.      “We applaud the youth demonstrating for climate justice and believe that by working together, as Pope Francis tells us in Laudato si, that ‘humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home’ and that we may prevent further damage to the planet,” said Br Peter.....(more). Photo: CathNews, Climate

Choirboy can be believed - and Pell freed, Cardinal's lawyers say
Extract from Chip Le Grand. The Age, 20 September 2019
For more than four years, the fate of Australia’s most powerful Catholic cleric rested on the word of a former choirboy. For police, for the courts and the church, it all came down to the truthfulness, credibility and believability of a single witness, alone and unsupported in what he alleged against George Pell.      In an application lodged this week for special leave to appeal his case to the High Court, Pell’s legal team shifted ground. It is both a vindication of the choirboy and a last bid by Pell, now serving a six-year prison sentence, to have his child sex convictions quashed.             George Pell’s next court date is likely to be on the second Friday of either November or December.      George Pell’s next court date is likely to be on the second Friday of either November or December.         The Cardinal’s lawyers no longer question the credibility of the man who first told police in 2015 that Pell raped him and sexually assaulted a friend in St Patrick’s Cathedral when they were 13 years old.             They no longer dismiss Pell’s accuser as a fantasist or argue that the County Court jury should have done the same.      Instead, they contend that both sides of this bitterly contested prosecution should co-exist; that Pell’s accuser can be believed and the Cardinal acquitted of all charges and released from jail.      "Can belief in a complainant be used as a basis for eliminating doubt otherwise raised and left by unchallenged exculpatory evidence?" Pell’s senior counsel Bret Walker says, before answering his own rhetorical question. "Believing a complainant ... does not equate to the elimination of reasonable doubt otherwise raised."    The president of the Victorian Bar Council, Matthew Collins, QC, says it is a nuanced argument which, if entertained by the High Court, will confront our assumptions about truth and lies, guilt and innocence.      "In any way you look at it, it’s a challenge to the criminal justice system," Dr Collins tells The Age....(more)
Whose nation? Which communities? The fault lines of the new Christian nationalism
Extract from David Albertson, Jason Blakely, America, The Jesuit Review, 19 September 2019
A new kind of Christian nationalism is gaining momentum in the United States. Around the country,evangelical Protestants are deepening their loyalty to President Donald Trump, who announced last October: “You know what I am? I’m a nationalist, O.K.? I’m a nationalist.... Use that word.”       Yet it is not evangelicals but Catholic intellectuals who are helping to lead efforts to capitalize on the opportunity presented by Mr. Trump’s nationalism. Catholic involvement is especially prominent in two recent initiatives.            The first was a manifesto published by First Things this March advocating a new style of conservatism that would, among other things, “embrace the new nationalism” and “jealously guard” the space opened up by the “Trump phenomenon.” Among the signatories were Patrick Deneen of the University of Notre Dame, C. C. Pecknold of the Catholic University of America and Sohrab Ahmari, an op-ed editor at The New York Post.         The second initiative was the National Conservatism conference, which took place in July and was organized in part by R. R. Reno, the editor in chief of First Things. Catholic thinkers such as Mr. Reno and Mr. Deneen shared the stage with other politically conservative speakers such as Tucker Carlson of Fox News, the University of Pennsylvania law professor Amy Wax and Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, a vocal Trump supporter.          While theorizing about nationalism, the speakers celebrated the Trump insurgency and praised the president’s instincts on immigration.....(more)   Photo: America The Jesuit Review  US Flag and Church Cross
'Seduction' of children did little harm, said Catholic gatekeeper
Extract from Chris Vedelago, Farrah Tomazin and Debbie Cuthbertson, The Age, 18 September 2019
The psychologist who worked with the Catholic church for three decades to screen candidates for the priesthood once characterised child abuse as “seduction” that would do little lasting harm to its victims.           Ronald Conway, the Melbourne Archdiocese’s “consulting psychologist for religious vocations” tested applicants to the Corpus Christi seminary from 1969 to at least 2001, during which time 16 child abusers graduated as priests.       Mr Conway himself was later accused of historical sexual misconduct by former patients of his private practice, though never charged or convicted.       An investigation by The Age has exposed how some of the Catholic church’s worst paedophile priests shared victims, passed on details of vulnerable children, and worked together to conceal their crimes as part of informal networks of abuse. At the centre of a number of these clusters was Corpus Christi, where Mr Conway and psychiatrist Dr Eric Seal were the mental health gatekeepers.     Mr Conway was largely responsible for formulating screening practices that led to many unsuitable candidates entering Corpus Christi training college and eventually becoming priests. One candidate told the royal commission he was classified as ....(more
Launch of "Getting Back on Mission: Reforming our Church together"
John Costa, 20 September 2019
On  Tuesday at University of Melbourne Newman College Francis Sullivan former CEO of the Truth Justice and Healing Commission launched the book Getting Back on Mission; Reforming our Church together.     Published by Garratt Publishing the book is an updated version of the Catholics For Renewal Submission to the 2020 Plenary Council and has already been well reviewed by a number of Leading Catholics in Australia and around the world.             Amongst many comments Francis praised the book as a comprehensive and thorough work of committed lay Catholics driven by their strong faith and Church background to contribute to necessary Church reform via recommendations to the Plenary Council. By virtue of the book's user-friendliness it will also encourage far wider engagement in discussion on necessary Church reforms through this process. He highlighted the importance of synodality and the Church becoming a good listener.             Several attending the launch commented that through her chairing the launch Fiona Lynch highlighted the rarity of women leadership in the Church and through her comments conspicuously demonstrated the importance of balancing perspectives which the Church over the years has largely ignored.             Dr Peter Wilkinson, President of Catholics For renewal said that "Pope Francis has said that now is the time “to be bold and creative in the task of rethinking the goals, structures, style and methods of evangelization”, and that any “proposal of goals without an adequate communal search for the means of achieving them will inevitably prove illusory”.       “The important thing”, he has said, “is to not walk alone, but to rely on each other as brothers and sisters, and especially under the leadership of the bishops, in a wise and realistic pastoral discernment.”.     The book will also be launched in Warsaw next week then later elsewhere in Australia.         Getting Back on Mission: Reforming Our Church Together is Catholics for Renewal’s contribution to that important task of walking together in a communal search.  Photo: Francis Sullivan launching Getting Back on Mission.
Social Services Sunday
Sunday 15 September is acknowledged as Social Services Sunday within the Archdiocese. On this day we are invited to acknowledge and pray for all the Catholic social services agencies across the archdiocese that offer professional and volunteer services and support to those most needy and marginalised in our society.
Pope tackles criticism head-on
Francis' comment about a 'schism' in the Church is courageous … but also unprecedented
Limied Extract from Guillaume Goubert, France,  Editorial, subscription journal La Croix International, 12 September 2019
The sentence will remain in the annals of the life of the Catholic Church. Asked on the plane back from Madagascar about the risk of a rupture between the Holy See and American Catholicism, Pope Francis replied very calmly: "I am not afraid of schisms."          These are unprecedented words from the mouth of a pope, at least publicly.        "Guarantor of the common faith," according to a beautiful expression by the late Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, the pope is supposed to do everything possible to maintain the unity of the Church. It is therefore assumed that this schism is an obsession for him.              However, this pope tells us that he is not afraid of it, as an echo of the famous phrase of John Paul II during the Mass for the inauguration of his pontificate in October 1978: "Non abbiate paura (Be not afraid)!"          Pope Francis' comments can therefore be interpreted as having two meanings, which are not exclusive of each other.       On the one hand, the probability of a short-term schism does not seem to him to be major; on the other hand, he does not want to be dictated by such a risk.         With that one sentence, Pope Francis is in fact trying to de-dramatize the oppositions that manifest themselves against him among part of American Catholicism but also, as he himself points out, "almost everywhere and also in the Curia."        It also implicitly points the way to overcoming these tensions by stating that criticism is legitimate when it is expressed frankly.       "Fair and open criticism is constructive" and "Better: It's loving the Church."        A pope who publicly invites us to have a critical debate with him? There is no precedent for this either.....(source).  Photo: La Croix International EPA/Alessandra Tarantino/POOL/MaxPPP
New laws aim to change culture, not jail priests: Andrews
Extract from CathNews, The Age, 12 September 2019
The Victorian Government says it hopes it does not have to jail priests who fail to report child abuse revealed during the sacrament of confession.        The state’s Parliament passed laws on Tuesday carrying sentences of up to three years for failing to report abuse, but Premier Daniel Andrews said yesterday that he did not know of any convictions under Victoria’s broader mandatory reporting laws, in place for 25 years.        Mr Andrews said the laws, and the new legislation passed on Tuesday, were intended to create a culture in which all abuse or mistreatment of children was reported, regardless of how it came to light.        He said the bill, which passed the upper house on Tuesday night with bipartisan support, was intended to send a message all the way to the top of the Church in Rome.       “The most important thing is to send a message that the law is to be taken seriously, if people don’t obey the law, then the penalties are very significant,” he said.         “The culture is one where people have taken the laws and their responsibilities in terms of mandatory reporting very seriously.”         The changes will bring religious leaders into line with police, teachers, doctors, nurses, school counsellors and youth justice workers who are required to report child abuse to authorities.      “The special treatment for churches has ended and child abuse must be reported,” Child Protection Minister Luke Donnellan said in the wake of Tuesday night’s Parliamentary vote....(more). Photo CathNews, ABC Radio
In US tour, Marie Collins exposes clerical culture behind abuse cover-up
Extract from Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter, 12 September 2019
Washington — The Catholic Church has reached a crossroads. Its leaders can either change, become open and accountable, or maintain the status quo: an institution lacking transparency, wrapped in secrecy and beholden to a clerical culture that is at the heart of the institution's problems.              That bleak assessment was made by Marie Collins, the Irish clerical sexual abuse survivor who was an original member of a papal commission dealing with the sex abuse crisis, and who said she is "hanging on by my fingernails."        The scandal, she said in remarks Sept. 8 opening a five-city U.S. tour, is both systemic and global, and clericalism remains at its core.         "The church is at a crossroads. It can either continue to behave as it has for centuries, protecting itself, or open up and become the church we all want it to be, the church that it should be."        Collins, in a separate interview with NCR following the news conference, expanded on her understanding of clericalism and how it played into her decision to resign, after serving for three years, from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.        During the past 20 years, she said, the church "has been reactive" and "has not changed one single thing unless forced to by survivors and those in the media. ... I don't believe the church has made any changes of its own volition." She made her remarks at the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill at the outset of her tour, titled, "A Crisis of Culture: Seeking Justice to Reclaim the Church."        Comparing the task facing the church to the Herculean labor of cleaning the Augean stables, Collins said she believes significant change can occur only with continuous pressure "by lay people who love the church."       Her time of service on the newly formed papal commission from 2014 to 2017 provided a rare look for a lay woman at the workings of the Roman Curia, the Vatican congregations and offices comprising the highest levels of governance in the church. She came away from that experience, she told NCR, convinced that "it's like a giant boys' boarding school."       She described her time on the commission as a series of frustrations and realizations that some in the Curia were intent on stifling the group's work from the outset.      She said the first meeting at the Vatican turned out to be a harbinger of what was to come. The room where it was held contained a bare table and chairs. "No pens, no pads, not even water," she said. When she asked who was going to take minutes of the meeting, she said the cleric secretary answered there was "no one in the Vatican available to take minutes."....(more)
Pope doesn't want schism – but is not afraid of it
Extract from CathNews, CNS, 11 September 2019
Pope Francis told reporters he hoped and prayed the Catholic Church would not experience a new schism, but human freedom means people always have had and will have the “schism option”.      “I pray that there not be schism, but I am not afraid,” Pope Francis told reporters flying from Africa to Rome with him yesterday.      Schisms have occurred throughout Church history, he said, and one thing they all have in common is having such a focus on an ideology that they begin reading Church doctrine through the lens of that fixation.      A schism is triggered when “an ideology, perhaps a correct one, infiltrates doctrine and it becomes ‘doctrine’ in quotation marks, at least for a time,” he said.      As an example of ideology, the Pope cited those who say, “The Pope is too communist” because of his criticism of unbridled capitalism and its negative impact on the poor. “The social things I say are the same things John Paul II said. The very same. I copy him.”      When ideology takes the place of doctrine, he said, there is the danger of a split in the Christian community.       Pope Francis said small groups of Catholics in the United States are not the only people who criticise him — there are even people in the Roman Curia who do — but he tries to learn from the criticism and to find a way to dialogue with critics who are open.     “Criticism always helps,” Pope Francis said. “When one is criticised, the first thing to do is to reflect, “Is this true, not true, to what extent” is it valid?....(more).  Photo: Pope Francis Mozambique CNS Paul Haring CathNews
Catholic Social Services team up to battle disadvantage.
Extract from Melbourne Catholic, Catholic Social services, 11 September 2019
More than 20 Catholic social service providers from across Australia have joined with researchers from the Australian National University to commission new research into entrenched disadvantage.      Today marks the commencement of research activity for the Identifying Locational Drivers of Entrenched Disadvantage project.      “This project is a significant coming together across the national Catholic social services network,” said Catholic Social Services Australia CEO Ursula Stephens, who launched the project earlier today.      The aim of the research is to identify what drives and entrenches disadvantage in every suburb of Australia. Among its innovations is factoring in population change and projecting trends over the next 10 years.      “A key feature of this research is that it was co-designed by academics and those working at the coalface, meaning it can be applied in practice,” Dr Stephens said.......Australian Catholic Bishop Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge delivered a video message supporting the project, which was played at today’s launch.   “Each day, the Church works with people living on or below the poverty line. We provide accommodation, meals and support when they have nowhere else to turn,” Archbishop Coleridge says in the video.        “Today, we welcome another contribution by our community to tackling the poverty challenge. I commend the 20 CSSA members who have chosen to become financial partners and take part in this research.”......In coming weeks, the project will embark on an extensive consultation process with expert researchers, sector peak bodies and advocates for groups that experience disadvantage.       The first public report of research outcomes is due before the end of this year....(more)

Two cardinals are challenging the working document for next month’s synod of bishops on the pan-Amazonian region.
Extract from CathNews NZ, CNA 9 September 2019
Cardinals Walter Brandmüller and Raymond Burke have both written to fellow members of the College of Cardinals raising concerns about the document.        Some points…seem not only in dissonance with respect to the authentic teaching of the Church, but even contrary to it,” Brandmüller, who is a German prelate wrote.         Parts of the working document are heretical, he says.        Noting what he calls the document’s “nebulous formulations” Brandmüller pointed to topics the synod will focus on.       These include a proposal to create new ecclesial ministries for women and another enabling the priestly ordination of the so-called viri probati – married men of good reputation, who could act as priests in places where there are none.         Brandmüller says these topics’ inclusion raises “strong suspicion that even priestly celibacy will be called into question,”         He also said Cardinal Claudio Hummes’s appointment as the president of the synod means he “will exercise a grave influence in a negative sense,” which presents “a well founded and realistic concern”.           He said Brazilian emeritus bishop Erwin Kräutel (who is a long-time proponent of married priests) and Franz-Josef Overbeck of Germany are of concern.....(more)Photo: CathNews NZ CNA

Laws forcing priests to report child abuse passed in Victorian parliament
Extracts from Noel Towell and Simone Fox Koob, The Age, 11 September 2019
The Victorian government says it hopes it does not have to jail priests who fail to report child abuse revealed in the confession box.
The state's Parliament passed laws on Tuesday carrying sentences of up to three years for failing to report abuse, but Premier Daniel Andrews said on Wednesday morning that he did not know of any convictions under Victoria's broader mandatory reporting laws, in place for 25 years.        The Premier said the laws, and the new legislation passed on Tuesday, were intended to create a culture in which all abuse or mistreatment of children was reported, regardless of how it came to light.         Mr Andrews said the bill, which passed the upper house on Tuesday night with bipartisan support, was intended to send a message all the way to the top of the Catholic Church in Rome.        "The most important thing is to send a message that the law is to be taken seriously, if people don’t obey the law, then the penalties are very significant," the Premier said.......The Catholic Church has insisted priests would be obliged to defy the laws, with Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli previously stating he was prepared to go to jail rather than break the confessional seal.     "For Catholics, confession is a religious encounter of a deeply personal nature. It deserves confidentiality," he said in August.....A spokesman said Archbishop Comensoli would not be responding publicly to the new legislation on Wednesday, and referred The Age to the Archbishop's August remarks......The introduction of the legislation follows a recommendation in the 2017 final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse that clergy and confession no longer be exempt from mandatory reporting....(more)

Ordination Mass, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli's Homily
Extract from Media and Communications Office, 8 September 2019
What makes for a successful Ordained Minister, many ask today? What does a priest or deacon need to succeed? Perhaps we would all hope that our Ordained Ministers come with a certain set of attributes and capacities: a skilled wordsmith of the Gospel; a man of faith, intellect and spiritual depth; someone accomplished in liturgical and pastoral knowhow; an experienced steward of God’s grace. All of these things would indeed be good to have, at least to an adequate extent, in all our bishops, priests and deacons.        The problem with this way of thinking – in terms of success or failure, of achievement or lack thereof – is that it is not the question Jesus asked of those he commissioned to be his ministers. On the night before his Passion, at the Last Supper, the Lord asked instead: have you gone out to bear fruit, fruit that will last? This is the ‘great commission’ given to priests and deacons by the Lord, as he prepared to lay down his life for his friends: to go out with their lives; to be fruitful in their mission; and to be a lasting gift that will continue to nourish.         To go out. For us who are ordained, our lives are not meant to be centred on ‘coming home’, as would appropriately be said of a family man. Ours is not an inward calling, but an outward one. We are commissioned by the Church to be on the move, and to be with others. It is why Jesus couched the commissioning of his first priests in the language of friendship, and not servanthood. You cannot be a gospel friend to others if you are only ever waiting for others to come to you for the sacramental or pastoral services you provide. ...(more). Photo:  Melbourne Catholic, CAM  

Sr. Jacquelyn Bender MSC

Friday 6 September 2019

Many people in the Parish will be saddened by the death of Sister Jacq who died peacefully last Sunday. Her Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Bernadette’s on Monday at 10.30am.

Our love and prayers go out to Sr. Francis, Sr. Carmel and all the MSC Sisters.

May Sr. Jacquelyn rejoice forever in the eternal love and life of the Sacred Heart of her Beloved Lord.


New Director of Mission Appointed for Archdiocese of Melbourne
Friday 6 September 2019
Extract from Media and Communications Office, Melbourne Catholic, 6 September 2019
After an extensive recruitment process, Most Rev Peter A Comensoli, Archbishop of Melbourne, has announced the appointment of Ms Teresa Rhynehart as Director of Mission for the Archdiocese of Melbourne.             Reaching out to over 1.1 million Catholics across broader Melbourne, this senior leadership role is a new position that will spearhead a renewed and coordinated missionary endeavour in the Archdiocese by engaging and growing apostolic life and leadership throughout the faithful of Melbourne.      With recent experience in leading and implementing mission integration through St John of God Healthcare (South East Sub Acute Hospitals), leadership with the St Vincent de Paul Society, and over eight years as both Director and Assistant Director of mission agencies within the Archdiocese, Ms Rhynehart brings both a deeply personal and highly professional commitment to the witness of the Christian life today.       Most Rev Peter A Comensoli said that he was delighted that Ms Rhynehart has accepted the position of Director of Mission. “Teresa is an outstanding candidate and has demonstrated a clear understanding and involvement in setting God’s People on a missionary footing.”         “Our missionary focus is extensive, and works to bring renewed life to our families, our youth, our parish communities and the marginalised amongst many other outreach and engagement areas...(more)
Catholic Church admits liability for paedophile Gerald Ridsdale's crimes
Extract from Melissa Cunningham and Andrew Thomson, The Age, 5:35pm 6 September 2019
The Catholic Church has accepted legal responsibility for the sexual abuse of a nine-year-old boy by notorious paedophile Gerald Ridsdale in a significant case which could open the floodgates for victims seeking compensation.            After denying any knowledge of Ridsdale's offending before the boy was raped in a confessional box at Mortlake in 1982, lawyers for the church on Friday accepted an amended statement of claim from the victim in the Supreme Court – in effect admitting legal liability for his crimes.      A 10-day civil trial scheduled to begin on January 29 next year will now focus primarily on the amount of damages the church will pay the victim. A mediation hearing will be held on October 15.            The victim, identified in court under the pseudonym JBC, is suing Ballarat Bishop Paul Bird for negligence on behalf of deceased former bishops James O’Collins and Ronald Mulkearns.                 In defence documents submitted to the court, Bishop Bird accepted that Bishop Mulkearns breached his duty of care to the victim because he knew about a complaint of Ridsdale sexually abusing a child at Inglewood in northern Victoria in 1975, seven years before JBC was raped.        "We are pleased that the Catholic Church has admitted liability for the sexual abuse of our client by Gerald Ridsdale," JBC's lawyers Judy Courtin Legal said on Friday.         "We believe this is the first time in Victoria that the Catholic Church has admitted that it failed to protect a victim of child sexual abuse and that it is therefore legally liable.........Ridsdale admitted to sexually assaulting 65 children – both boys and girls – throughout Victoria in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, but it is believed the true number of his victims could be in the hundreds.      He has been sentenced five times since 1993 and is in prison at the Hopkins Correctional Centre in Ararat.               JBC is one of several victims mounting legal cases against the Ballarat Archdiocese over Ridsdale's offending.        The total payouts to his victims alone are expected to run into millions of dollars....(more)  Photo: The Age
It's an honour that Americans attack me: Pope
Extracts from CathNews, Crux, 5 September 2019
Pope Francis said he is “honoured” by the fact that a group of conservative Catholics from the United States attack him.       The Pope was speaking aboard a papal flight to Mozambique, the first stop of a three-nation swing through Africa, when he was presented a new book on conservative opposition to the papacy written by a French reporter on the flight.       “For me, it’s an honour that Americans are attacking me,” Francis told La Croix‘s Nicolas Seneze, author of How America Wanted to Change the Pope.........After the Pope’s comments, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni told journalists on the flight that “in an informal context the Pope wanted to say that he always considers criticisms an honour, particularly when it comes from important thinkers and, in this case, of an important nation.”        A long-time Vatican reporter from the French Catholic daily, Seneze told the Pope that he wanted to explain the roots of American opposition to the Argentine, which has the support of several right-wing news outlets. In his book, Seneze names EWTN, founded by the late Mother Angelica, and Canada-based LifeSiteNews.       The criticism against Francis is based on his cautious opening to allowing the divorced and remarried to receive the Sacraments, his emphasis on the environment, his strong condemnation of the death penalty, and his criticism of the capitalist economic order championed by US conservatives.        In his book, Seneze explains the origin of the hostility against Francis in terms of two documents by the Pope: Evangelii Gaudium, his first apostolic exhortation and considered the Magna Carta of his pontificate, and Laudato Si', an encyclical letter on the environment originally intended to ensure adoption of the 2015 Paris Agreement pertaining to climate change.....(more).  Photo: CathNews, CNS Paul Haring
Student summit inspired by Pope’s message
Extract from CathNews, 6 September 2019
Students from Catholic secondary colleges in six dioceses took up Pope Francis’ call to treat God’s creation with respect during a Catholic Earthcare summit in Sydney last week.      The Catholic Earthcare Australia Student Sustainability Summit, held at Santa Sabina College in Strathfield, brought together almost 100 student leaders and changemakers from across the Archdiocese of Sydney and the Dioceses of Parramatta, Broken Bay, Maitland-Newcastle, Bathurst and Wollongong, as well as the independent schools community.     The summit – designed, led and delivered by students, for students – aims to model how individual dioceses can run their own event next year and complements the Catholic Earthcare approach of training the next generation of the Catholic faith....(more)
Out of Darkness,
Extract from Cathy Jenkins, Director of Archbishop's Office of Evangelisation, Melbourne Catholic, 5 September 2019
......... Some of us may feel as though we are living in a dark time in the church at the moment. The extent of the damage wrought upon individuals as a result of institutional abuse at the hands of clergy, religious and lay people working in and for the Catholic Church becomes more and more apparent.   Those of us who have been abused may be carrying the burden of the daily struggle this physical and psychological assault has placed upon us, our friends and our families.   Those who have not been abused may find the maelstrom of stories about abuse that emanate from both the local and the international church overwhelming.   And the stories all follow a shockingly similar narrative: abuse that went unchecked and was covered up by church leaders who had authority and should have known better. We are certainly a hurting church, experiencing the darkness of humiliation.               Those of us who have listened as part of the first phase of the Plenary Council would know how painfully distressing the people of God are finding this period in our history and how frequently the issue of abuse at the hands of clergy and religious emerged from the discussions.   The snapshot and now final report from the Listening and Dialogue phase of the Plenary Council also demonstrate that the people of God are responding to this ‘change of era’ in different ways and holding different views about how to move forward.   The wisdom of the earliest Jewish Christians provides some insights for us about what the work of the Spirit looks like. Those earliest communities were also trying to make sense of Jesus’ message in light of their context, and their thinking was also formed by a deepening understanding of the work of the Spirit........(more)      Photo: Pixabay
Broken Bay launches Safeguarding Month
Extract from CathNews, Broken Bay News,  5 September 2019
This is the fourth year Broken Bay Dicoese has held a Liturgy of Inclusion and Care in Safeguarding Month at Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral in the Sydney suburb of Waitara. The service is held to pray for all those that have been hurt in the Broken Bay community by members of the Church, and to further the Diocese’s commitment to safeguarding young and vulnerable persons.      The liturgy included an image of Jesus with ribbons woven across his face to demonstrate how the Broken Bay community is woven together, a unity in our loving God. Participants from across the Diocese removed the ribbons one by one to reveal Jesus’s face, symbolising that we are born in the likeness and image of Jesus.   Liturgy participants were asked to take a card containing a word and Scripture quote, and a painting from local artists with disabilities from the Boonah Creative Arts Centre. They were also invited to walk a labyrinth path in a nearby room outside the Cathedral to reflect and pray. Participants also received a card with a raised labyrinth they could trace with their finger.       Fr David Ranson, Broken Bay’s Diocesan Administrator, gave a reflection at the liturgy. He spoke of the Diocese’s commitment to safeguarding.          Our commitment … is not simply concerned with the delivery of effective remedy to social need; it is about the restoration of dignity,” Fr Ranson said.        “It is not simply concerned with bandaging broken bodies; it is as much about tending the wounds of the human spirit.....(more).  Photo: Broken Bay Diocese
Bishops launch major Communication statement on social media
Extract from Melbourne Catholic, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, 4 September 2019
Australia’s Catholic bishops will today launch a major statement on digital communications, calling on all levels of society to overcome the hatred, division and exploitation that occurs online.     This year’s Social Justice Statement, Making it Real: Genuine human encounter in our digital world, will be launched in Sydney by Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv, chairman of the Bishops Commission for Social Justice – Mission and Service.       The launch precedes Social Justice Sunday, which the Church in Australia celebrates on September 29.       In the statement, the bishops say governments, businesses and the broader community need to be more proactive in defending the dignity of people. They say everyone must work together to make the digital world a place of genuine human encounter.       The document invites people to reflect on how the internet has changed communication, work, education and business – and how people can contribute towards a more harmonious digital world.        Writing in the statement’s foreword, Bishop Delegate for Social Justice, Bishop Terence Brady, said that while the digital world enabled people to be more connected than ever before, it could also be a place of manipulation, exploitation and violence.      “This calls us to active citizenship because, at their heart, these problems are not technological, but rather moral,” Bishop Brady said.       "We can choose how we behave online, and we can collectively shape the online world, building a more just and loving online neighbourhood.     “It is becoming increasingly clear that digital platforms require wise governance and that international cooperation is required to achieve this. The common good requires intervention, rather than leaving digital platforms to govern themselves.”         The statement notes that Pope Francis has often spoken of the great potential for “genuine human encounter” in the digital space, but he has also warned of elements of the online world that are harmful: information overload, social isolation, marginalisation of the vulnerable, consumerism and “fake news”.....(More)
Lay community key to reforming Catholicism
Extract from Paul Collins, Eureka Street,4 September 2019
One of the most extraordinary recent examples of commitment is the loyalty shown by many post-Vatican II Catholics to the church. Despite their steadfast support for the emphases of that Council, these lay Catholics, supported by many priests, are often seen as a 'nuisance' by senior church leaders whose real focus has been protecting their own positions and clericalist ideology. Their commitment has been further tested by the sexual abuse scandals and the abject failure of many bishops in dealing with them.             Getting Back on Mission. Reforming Our Church Together (Garratt Publishing, 2019)The forthcoming Plenary Council (PC) of 2020/2021 will be a further test of the loyalty of these Catholics. How serious are the bishops when they call on Catholics to 'engage in an open and inclusive experience of listening, dialogue and discernment about the future' of Australian Catholicism? Will they really listen to those who have remained loyal to the teachings of Vatican II?           Catholics for Renewal is one of several groups of Vatican II Catholics. It prepared a detailed submission for the PC and has now published that submission as a book, Getting Back on Mission: Reforming Our Church Together (Garratt Publishing, 2019).           Robert Fitzgerald, one of the Royal Commissioners into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, talks in the book about the causes of abuse and says that 'poor governance, inadequate leadership and an unhealthy culture that preferences secrecy and the church's own interests', as well as 'the absence of females and their participation in leadership roles', all contributed to the bishops' abject failure in deal with sexual abuse. Fitzgerald speaks of the hierarchy's 'fear of the non-ordained, especially women', and an 'arrogant assertion ... of the unique privilege of an ordained class'. In other words, clericalism.         Fitzgerald emphasises especially the importance of 'good church governance'. This goes to the heart of Getting Back on Mission. As the title indicates, for too long the church has been 'off mission' in a self-engrossed, self-righteous, clericalist miasma that has led to massive disaffiliation of Catholics, a catastrophic fall in Mass attendance and sacramental practice. People feel alienated from bishops who, in turn, have retreated into their bunkers. To cap it all, faithful Catholics have had to witness the scandal of sexual abuse and the secretiveness of the bishops in dealing with this crisis.        As I know from personal experience, anyone in the past who called attention to these issues was accused at best of exaggeration and at worst of being a 'Judas'. Getting Back on Mission correctly points out that until the church accepts good governance characterised by accountability, transparency, inclusion and a recognition of the equality of women, it will continue its culture of clericalism and secrecy.        At the heart of the argument are the theological principles of the radical equality of all the baptised and the sensus fidelium, the intuitive sense that the faithful have to discern the belief of the church. That is why soon-to-be-saint John Henry Newman challenges the hierarchy to consult the lay faithful 'in matters of doctrine'.....(more). Photograph: Eureka Street, Garratt Publishing
What does a church open to L.G.B.T. Catholics look like?
Extract from James Martin, S.J. Alerica - The Jesuit Review, 30 August 2019
What would it mean for the institutional church to welcome L.G.B.T. Catholics? What would it mean for church leaders to help L.G.B.T. Catholics feel more at home in their own church? And how can this be accomplished in the context of Gospel values and church teaching? Three recent stories show how: one concerning a priest, one an archbishop and one a parish.        The priest’s story is perhaps the most surprising. The Rev. Bryan Massingale, a highly respected theologian who taught for many years at Marquette University and now serves as professor of theological and social ethics at Fordham University, began a recent lecture with these words: “I come to this conversation as a Black, gay priest and theologian.”        The lecture, entitled “The Challenge of Idolatry for LGBTI Ministry,” delivered at the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics in Chicago, encouraged his fellow L.G.B.T. Catholics to remember that they are “equally redeemed by Christ and radically loved by God.”         Father Massingale’s public statement about his sexuality may seem inconsequential to some in the West. But the number of Catholic priests who are open about their homosexuality (and faithful to their promises of celibacy, of course) in a public way, despite several articles in the last few years, is still infinitesimally small.      The Fordham theologian said that he was moved by being among so many L.G.B.T. Catholics at the conference who had suffered great persecution in their own countries. He told me in an email:          I spoke to them, not just from my head, but also with my heart and from my soul. I wanted to show them how our faith is not only relevant to their struggles for justice, but a strength for the difficult and often dangerous work that they are doing. To do that, I needed to share my faith story, and how I came to accept myself as being created in God’s image as a Black gay man. I said what I said because people are suffering horribly because of who they are and how they love. And I couldn’t ask them to continue being courageous if I wasn’t willing to be courageous, too.        Such openness makes the church more inviting, especially for L.G.B.T. people who wonder if there is a place for them. Examples like Father Massingale’s help them feel welcomed and loved. As he said, “I didn’t do this to ‘come out.’ But to let God’s love for us all to ‘come forth.’”        “I didn't do this to ‘come out.’ But to let God’s love for us all to ‘come forth.’”       A second gesture came in remarks by Wilton Gregory, the recently appointed archbishop of Washington, D.C. Archbishop Gregory is well known for his efforts to welcome L.G.B.T. people in his former archdiocese of Atlanta......(more)   Photo: America. The Jesuit Review CNS photos     
MP criticises Church over confessional seal
Edited Extract from CathNews, The Age, Friday 30 October 2019
A Victorian MP has opened up about the sexual abuse his father suffered at the hands of a Catholic clergyman while taking aim at the Church’s refusal to comply with new mandatory reporting laws.            Paul Edbrooke said he could not help but wonder how different his father’s life would have been if everyone who knew he had been raped by a clergyman as a teenager had been legally required to report the abuse.       “Could my family have avoided the suicide attempts, the trauma and the heartbreak?” the Labor member for Frankston asked in State Parliament yesterday.      Instead, the politician’s father Nick, now 64, received an apology letter from the Church one month ago. Mr Edbrooke read part of the letter during an emotional debate over new laws making it mandatory for priests to report abuse, including when it is revealed to them during confession.      "Every child deserves to be safe, to be loved and cared for. I am so sorry that this is not your experience,” the letter said. “We humbly ask for your forgiveness.”         “My Dad is a survivor, and he said that I could share this letter, if it assists Parliament to know that apologies are worth nothing, unless we follow them up with action,” he said.           Mr Edbrooke then attacked Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli for saying he was prepared to go to jail in defiance of the proposed laws, rather than breaking the seal of confession.      Archbishop Comensoli has previously said priests should be mandatory reporters, but have similar protections to the lawyer/client relationship.      Priests who refuse to report sexual abuse disclosed during confession will face up to three years in jail under the proposed laws introduced by the state government earlier this month.      The Church said it supports mandatory reporting and encourages victims to report abuse to police but will not break the seal of confession – regardless of the legislation.      Archbishop Comensoli has said the draft of the bill is “unworkable” and shows a lack of understanding about the act of confession, particularly the anonymity of penitents....(More)Photo: CathNews  Facebook Paul Edbrooke MP
U.S. Website Platform Fault
Friday 30 August 2019
A fault on our U.S. based website platform prevented us from uploading images today until late this evening. Accordingly the following set of News items for today were abbreviated and include no images.

 Porter releases draft religious discrimination bill
Extract from CathNews, ABC News, 30 August 2019
Attorney-General Christian Porter has released the Morrison Government’s draft religious discrimination legislation following an election pledge to protect religious freedom.            The issue has been thrust into the spotlight with the case of controversial rugby player Israel Folau and Rugby Australia. The organisation sacked the former Wallaby and devout Christian after he quoted a Bible passage on Instagram.        Speaking at Sydney’s Great Synagogue, Mr Porter said there would be parts of the legislation which dealt with conditions employers could put on their staff.        “Someone in Mr Folau’s position might say that the rule under which they were sacked was unreasonable, indirect discrimination,” Mr Porter said. “The employer would need to argue that the rule was reasonable.        “But to do that, they would have to show the commercial damage to their organisation that was suffered by the breach.”       Then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull commissioned former Liberal MP Philip Ruddock to review protections for religious freedoms following the legalising of same-sex marriage. The recommendations from that came out late last year, as Scott Morrison made his election commitment.....(more)
France: The parish is dead, long live the parish!
'If the structure is more important than the mission, we will never get anywhere,' says priest who works on parish renewal
Limited extract from Gauthier Vaillant, 8 April 2019, Global Pulse,  subscription joiurnal La Croix International, 29 August 2019
Comparing the current working of Catholic parishes with the sinking of the Titanic? It takes nerve to make that comparison.        But that's what Father James Mallon did on April 5 while speaking at an event hosted by a parish in the southern suburbs of Paris.      "The parish system as we know it is going to collapse," the priest warned. "The quicker we accept it, the sooner we will be able to develop something new."       With his Roman collar, rolled up sleeves and a biting sense of humor, Father Mallon, a Canadian priest who specializes in "pastoral transformation," did not spare the large audience of 800 people, including 150 priests, who gathered for a two day session with him.     The author of an internationally successful book, "Divine Renovation Guidebook: A step-by-step manual for transforming your parish," Mallon talks about these issues regularly in the English-speaking world.       But this was a first time for France. The event was organized by Alpha, an initiative founded in London to evangelize through a series of talks and discussions in churches, homes, prisons and other setting.       A healthy church is a missionary church.....(more)
US:The reform seminaries need
Two former seminary professors say the current system breeds an ambition for higher office known as "Scarlet Fever"
Limited extract from C. Colt Anderson and Christopher M. Bellitto, 4 April 2019, Commonweal, Subscription Journal La Croix International, Global Pulse, 29 August 2019.
As former seminary professors, we have looked upon the last several months of revelations about clergy sex abuse, cover-ups, and institutional infighting with the same disgust and sadness as our sisters and brothers—but we are not surprised.        Though we honor and support the many good people who work and study in seminaries, we know that seminaries have played a significant role in the church's current crisis.       It is essential to understand how priests and thus, ultimately, bishops are formed, especially the way they are enculturated into clericalism from their first days in seminary. It is the air they breathe there.       Clericalism in seminary formation is explicitly singled out as a problem in the Synod on Youth's final document, approved in late October 2018, and it affects everyone in the church—it is a systemic and widespread problem. While not new in church history, of course, it is a particularly pressing concern during this time of scandal.       Pope Francis has repeatedly targeted clericalism as the great enemy of ordained ministry today. You can easily see the career-climbers he warns about in seminaries.        If you want to learn how to work your way into the clerical caste, watch these men. They are learning Italian, wearing cufflinks and cassocks, and don't at all mind being called "Father," even though they are still in studies......(Source).
First Chinese bishop after China Vatican deal
Extract from Ruth Gledhill, The Tablet, 28 August 2019
The ceremony took place in a 'solemn, harmonious and orderly' atmosphere.
The North Church, a Catholic church that is one of the largest and oldest churches in Beijing.
The first bishop has been ordained in China since the “provisional agreement” with Beijing was signed on 22 September last year.      The agreement, which allows the Pope to nominate bishops who had already been vetted by Beijing, was designed to pave the way for a united Church in China, bring together the Vatican-recognised “underground Church”, whose members were loyal first to Rome, and the “Patriotic Church” that professed loyalty to the state as well as to Rome.       Antonio Yao Shun was consecrated Bishop of Jining/Wulanchab in Inner Mongolia in China on Monday this week, 26 August.       Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican Press Office, told journalists in Rome: “I can confirm that H.E. Mgr. Antonio Yao Shun, who has been consecrated Bishop of Jining/Wulanchabu, Inner Mongolia (China), received the Papal Mandate, as was also stated by the Ordaining Bishop during the ceremony yesterday, 26th August 2019."       Experts on Vatican relations with China urged caution however, saying not too much should be read into the ordination which was already scheduled before the new provisional agreement was signed.....(more)      
The Cardinal George Pell conundrum
Whatever we may think of Pell, we are at a disadvantage in assessing his guilt or innocence and would be best advised to maintain a discreet silence
Limited Extract from Michael Kelly SJ, Australia,  Subscriptioon journal La Croix International, 26 August 2019
The Aug. 21 judgment of the Victorian Court of Appeal on Cardinal George Pell's effort to have his criminal convictions reversed has caused an international storm, much of it grossly uninformed.       Pell's loyal apologists in Australia – few in number but very noisy – have either railed against the conviction or, like the Archbishop of Melbourne Peter Comensoli, just professed disbelief that their friend could be guilty of such crimes.      Internationally, the reaction has been anything from balanced in some quarters to sheer exaggeration, as in the case of John Allen from Rome who, on little or no evidence from Australia, points to a "sizable swathe of Catholic opinion, encompassing both historic friends of Pell and enemies, which regards the charges upon which he was convicted as deeply implausible."     Such views have a lot of reality to come to terms with. And what I find most dismaying is how much denial is evident after the announcement of the Appeal Court decision.      My own view is simple: the longer the delay in providing the decision, the surer I became that Pell's appeal would be dismissed.      If the Court of Appeal were to uphold the appeal and find him innocent — and the first thing the judges agree on after they have heard the appeal is to share who among them upholds and who will dismiss the Appeal — why would they keep him in jail for almost three months if they thought he should be released?.....(more)
How Pope Francis Can Revitalize a Church in Crisis
Extract from Chris Lowney, Pearls & Irritations, John Menadye website, 28 August 2019    
Pope Francis’s foremost priority should be top-to-bottom culture change in the Catholic Church, specifically: fostering a spirit of urgency, bringing new talent to all decision-making tables, and creating openness to radically new ideas.Without this thoroughgoing cultural transformation, a Church now enduring its worst crisis in five centuries will continue to deteriorate.     Pope Francis’s foremost priority should be top-to-bottom culture change in the Catholic Church, specifically: fostering a spirit of urgency, bringing new talent to all decision-making tables, and creating openness to radically new ideas.         Without this thoroughgoing cultural transformation, a Church now enduring its worst crisis in five centuries will continue to deteriorate.     Worst crisis in five centuries? That’s not hyperbole. The grotesque horrors of the sex abuse scandals, in Australia as throughout the Catholic world, are surely the most hurtful wounds that the Church has inflicted (and suffered) in recent decades. But other signs of existential crisis have abounded, in dozens of countries: thousands of ministries have shuttered, young people show little interest in the Church, sacramental participation has waned, and the clergy ranks are shrinking, to name just a few challenges.     None of these challenges and crises will be resolved by “more of the same.” Rather, the 21st century Church must forge an accountable, action-oriented culture, in at least three ways:.......(more)
Where to from here?
Extract from Paul Collins, Pearls & Irritations, John Menadue website, 26 August 2019    
One persistent question that has been asked since the failure of Cardinal George Pell’s appeal last Wednesday has been: Why isn’t the Vatican acting to force him from the College of Cardinals and expel him from the priesthood? They moved with amazing speed in the case of Theodore McCarrick, Cardinal Archbishop of Washington, DC, after he was accused of sexual abuse of minors. Why isn’t the same speedy process happening with Pell?          The first reason is obvious: Pell has every right to approach the High Court of Australia. But, as legal experts have pointed out, the bar for getting a hearing is extremely high. The reality is that special leave to appeal is only granted in those cases where a question of law of public importance arises, or where the interests of the administration of justice require consideration by the High Court. The High Court is not another higher court of appeal.       Clearly the Vatican knows that Pell can approach the High Court, but I suspect it under-estimates just how high the bar is to get a hearing. Vatican decision-makers probably think it is just another higher appeal court. This is implied in the statement of Matteo Bruni from the Vatican Press Office when he says: “As the proceedings continue to develop, the Holy See recalls that the Cardinal has always maintained his innocence throughout the judicial process and that it is his right to appeal to the High Court.” So, understandably, the Vatican is unwilling to act until this final hurdle is cleared. In doing so they would be acting just like the Governor General when he said he’d wait to see if leave were granted before making a decision regarding Pell’s Order of Australia.      The Theodore McCarrick case is different to that of Pell. The McCarrick accusations didn’t begin in the civil courts, but in the ecclesiastical system.....(more).
Year of Jubilee  - Dear Prime Minister
Fr. Bill Edebohls PP (Migrant & Refugee Sunday 25 August 2019), Friday 23 August 2019
We write in solidarity with the National Council of Churches, Australian Catholic Bishops and Catholic Religious Australia, the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce and other Jewish, Muslim and Christian faith leaders who have issued recent statements asking for an act of clemency and a humanitarian solution.                 These statements called on the Federal Government to resolve the plight of the people held in Australia’s immigration camps in Manus Island and Nauru, some of whom are now in Port Moresby or in Australia for medical reasons.                    On behalf of the Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe, I support this call for a ‘Jubilee’ for them; a Biblical principle whereby people who have long been trapped in bleak circumstances are given a special dispensation for a new beginning. Evidence abounds that indefinite detention and ongoing uncertainty destroys people’s mental and physical health. Some of the people remaining in PNG and Nauru have been held there since July 2013. There is a loss of hope of ever being able to rebuild their lives and be reunited with their families. Many have partners and children who are also living in unsafe situations, which compounds their anguish.  This despair has led to an increase in acts of self-harm, as people have lost the strength to go on.                  Some people been brought here for medical treatment, but continue to be held indefinitely in onshore immigration detention facilities or other places of detention. They are also unable to move on with their lives, and they live with the constant fear of being returned to Manus Island, Nauru or back to persecution in their countries of origin.             We affirm our commitment to seeing a fair system for all people seeking asylum in Australia, which includes community-based processing, fair processes of appeal, access to a universal safety net and permanent protection. We ask that this jubilee is the beginning of a renewed approach underpinned by compassion and welcome.        On matters regarding refugees, we take guidance from the following Scriptures:                “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them.  The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born.  Love them as yourself, for you were once foreigners in Egypt.” (Leviticus 19: 33 -34)           “The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives….”  (Luke 4: 18 – 19)              People who exercised their legal right to seek safety in Australia from life-threatening persecution, but were instead sent to Manus Island and Nauru, have been mistreated by Australia and have suffered far too much.                We urgently call on all Members of Parliament and Senators to take a non-partisan approach to end the humanitarian crisis which has been created by indefinite offshore detention. We urge Members and Senators to immediately provide a Jubilee and resettle, in Australia, New Zealand or to a safe, comparable country, all of the people a part of the  “offshore processing” cohort....... Fr. Bill Edebohls PP (Migrant & Refugee Sunday 25 August 2019)
Bishops pay tribute to Tim Fischer
Extract from CathNews, ACBC, 23August 2019
Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge has paid tribute to former ambassador to the Holy See Tim Fischer, who died yesterday, saying he lived as a proud Catholic and a proud Australian.             Mr Fischer, who was educated by the Jesuits at Xavier College in Melbourne, had a long and distinguished career in the New South Wales and Australian parliaments.           At the federal level, he served as leader of the National Party of Australia during the 1990s and deputy prime minister and trade minister under John Howard between 1996 and 1999.          He had earlier served in the Australian Army during the Vietnam War.        Archbishop Coleridge, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, said Mr Fischer was a larger-than-life personality who throughout his career was genuinely dedicated to service.                     “Tim was a man of many interests and with many talents, but those of us who have known him will remember most his warmth, his humanity and his strong conviction to pursue what is right,” he said.         In 2008, the Labor government appointed Mr Fischer ambassador to the Holy See. During his tenure from 2009-12, Australia’s first saint, Mary of the Cross MacKillop, was canonised.       In 2012, he was made a Knight Grand Cross in the Order of Pius IX, one of the Church’s highest honours.          Tim was very proud to be our man at the Vatican at the time and was a remarkable host and ‘ambassador’ for Church and country,” Archbishop Coleridge said.....(more)  Photo:CathNews, CNS Emanuela De Meo  
Witness of truth wins justice in Pell appeal
Extract from Peter Wilkinson, Pearls & Irritations, John Menadue website, 23 August 2019
On Wednesday, 21 August 2019, a majority of the appeal judges who reviewed all the evidence in the trial of Cardinal George Pell for historic child sexual abuse, and in which he was convicted on five charges, have concluded that the key witness, a former choir boy who alleged he was abused by Cardinal Pell, was a witness of truth. On that basis, Pell’s appeal to have his conviction overturned was dismissed.       In a 1931 speech, Mohandas Gandhi stated that “A nation’s greatness can be measured by how it treats its weakest members”. On Wednesday, in Melbourne, Australia, in the Supreme Court of the State of Victoria, those words found new meaning.     In a majority decision, two of the three judges of the Court of Appeal decided that the key witness in the criminal trial of Cardinal George Pell, where a jury had found him guilty of the sexual abuse of that witness in 1996 and 1997 when he was a 13-year old boy in the choir of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne, had spoken the truth. On that basis, the appeal by Cardinal Pell to have his conviction overturned was dismissed.    In his appeal, Cardinal Pell had submitted that the key witness’s account of what had occurred in the cathedral 23 years ago was “a fabrication or a fantasy, that it was implausible” and, that when taken together with the evidence of other witnesses, “was either literally impossible, or so unlikely it’s of no realistic possibility”. The prosecution, on the other hand, maintained that the victim of the abuse was “a witness of truth”.     A witness of truth....(more)
I believe cardinal is innocent: Archbishop Comensoli
Extract from CathNews,  The Age, 23 August 2019
Melbourne Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli believes Cardinal George Pell is innocent and has suggested the cardinal's accuser may have been abused by someone else.       Archbishop Comensoli appeared on 3AW Radio yesterday to stand by Cardinal Pell, a day after Victoria's highest court sent the cardinal back to prison for abusing two 13-year-old boys in the 1990s.       "I believe in what [Pell] said to me on many occasions, that he's innocent, and I continue to be really quite shocked with how things have developed," Archbishop Comensoli said.       He said he believed the surviving victim, known as "J", had been abused by someone, but held doubts that it was by the cardinal.          "Then there's this question of who's actually been the abuser in this case."           On Wednesday, the Court of Appeal disagreed. Five child sexual abuse convictions against Cardinal Pell were upheld after a jury of 12 unanimously found him guilty last year. One of the three judges dissented in Wednesday's judgment.      Cardinal Pell, 78, has always maintained he is innocent and could try a last ditch challenge in the High Court of Australia.....(more)
NZ Royal Commission – small first steps in a marathon journey
Extract from CathNews NZ, 22 August 2019
The Royal Commission into historical abuse in state care and faith-based institutions on Tuesday met representatives of organisations responsible for the care of abused children.     Tuesday’s hearing was “procedural”.       It is the first step in a very long and complex process.     The inquiry has grown since its inception to become the largest in New Zealand’s history.   And it is the broadest of its sort in any comparable country.    It is primarily expected to examine cases of abuse from 1950 to 1999. Some 100,000 children were in care during that period.    But the Commission also has the discretion to investigate cases from before or after that time....(more)
After the appeal: The tragedy of Cardinal George Pell
Our trust in institutions, and in the dedication of highly respected judges, should not be overwhelmed by emotion, conspiracy theories or visceral tribal loyalties
Extract from Patrick Parkinson, ABC Religion and Ethics, Posted Wed 21 Aug 2019,Updated Fri 23 Aug 2019, 10:40am
Posted Wed 21 Aug 2019, 4:58pm, Updated Fri 23 Aug 2019, 10:40am
The decision of a majority of the Victorian Court of Appeal will no doubt be shattering for very many people – not least Cardinal George Pell himself. There are those who believe, quite passionately, that Cardinal Pell should not only have been given the benefit of a reasonable doubt, but that he is entirely innocent of the charges against him. People are likely to experience grief, anger and a sense of helplessness.       Many have become emotionally invested in the outcome of the case – not merely out of respect for a towering figure in the recent history of the Catholic Church in Australia, but because of a fear that in some way the prosecution, conviction and dismissal of the appeal represent an attack on their faith and the Church they love.       Those feelings are understandable. We live in an age when there is a great deal of hostility in some quarters towards the Catholic Church. Former High Court judge Dyson Heydon quoted a German politician in a speech a couple of years ago to the effect that “anti-Catholicism is the anti-semitism of the intellectuals.” We also live in a country with an unprecedented level of scepticism about institutions, and that distrust may extend to the verdicts of judges and juries.       The rigour of the appeal court’s consideration      It is important, therefore, to recognise the care with which the Court of Appeal analysed the evidence. The summary of the judgment records:....(more)
Statement from Archbishop Mark Coleridge, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
Catholic Voice, Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, Wednesday 21 August 2019
The Victorian Court of Appeal has today announced that, in a 2-1 decision, Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his convictions for child sexual abuse offences has been dismissed.
The Catholic Bishops of Australia believe all Australians must be equal under the law and accept today’s judgement accordingly.
Cardinal Pell’s legal team has said it will examine the judgement in order to determine a special leave application to the High Court.
The Bishops realise that this has been and remains a most difficult time for survivors of child sexual abuse and those who support them. We acknowledge the pain that those abused by clergy have experienced through the long process of the trials and appeal of Cardinal Pell. We also acknowledge that this judgement will be distressing to many people.
We remain committed to doing everything we can to bring healing to those who have suffered greatly and to ensuring that Catholic settings are the safest possible places for all people, but especially for children and vulnerable adults....(source)
Archbishop Peter A Comensoli’s Media Statement on Cardinal George Pell
Extract from Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli, Melbourne Catholic, Wednesday 21 August 2019
Today the Victorian Court of Appeal, in a 2:1 majority decision, dismissed Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his conviction for assaulting two choir boys at St Patrick’s Cathedral in late 1996 and early 1997.        I respectfully receive the Court’s decision, and I encourage everyone to do the same.  That there have been two trials, and now today’s decision in the Court of Appeal, the complexity of the search for the truth in this matter has tested many, and may very well continue to do so.      My thoughts and prayers are with the man who brought this matter before the courts.  I humbly acknowledge it has been a challenging time for him, and I stand ready to offer pastoral and spiritual help, should he seek it.       In Christian charity, I will ensure that Cardinal Pell is provided pastoral and spiritual support while he serves the remainder of his sentence, according to the teaching and example of Jesus to visit those in prison.        I also want to acknowledge with gratitude the people who have been involved in this case.  For many, this has been a demanding and distressing experience.       To the faithful of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, I want to acknowledge the deep impact today’s decision will have for you. My prayer is that all of us might reach out to each other in faith, hope and love, as I do for you at this moment....(more)

Fairtrade Fortnight
Edited Extract from CathNews, 7 August, republished 16 August 2019
Many people would be alarmed to learn that with every sip of tea or coffee, or mouthful of chocolate that is not fair trade, there’s a good chance slave children were involved in its production somewhere in its supply line.        Fairtrade Australia runs the Fairtrade Fortnight campaign every August to highlight these ethical issues in the supply chains of many industries - including tea, coffee and chocolate - to show that modern slavery not only persists but thrives in the 21st century.       And to combat modern slavery, it’s the responsibility of companies and consumers alike to ensure a slavery-free supply chain by making sure products bear a Fairtrade certification.          The Archdiocese Office for Justice and Peace (OJP) together with ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious against Trafficking of Humans) held a Fairtrade morning tea as part of Fairtrade Fortnight to raise awareness of the scourge of modern-day slavery. The staff of the Archdiocese, together with the Archbishop, gathered together to enjoy a cup of Fairtrade tea or coffee - all easily accessible -  from most supermarkets – but you may have to hunt for it or ask.        ‘Fairtrade’ is a trademark which guarantees that the product hasn't used modern slavery, as are products bearing the UTZ certification and Rainforest Alliance logos, which similarly ensure a slavery-free supply chain.            Throughout the Archdiocese schools, hospitals, charitable organisations and parishes are joining the Fairtrade campaign trying to eliminate the scourge of modern slavery. If it means paying an extra dollar to make sure that kids are in school, or kids are not being forced into becoming child soldiers, let's do it! Buy only Fairtrade tea, coffee and chocolate.          People in the developing world don't want charity - they want justice. They don't want us sending money. They simply want us to pay a fair price for the goods they produce. As Pope Francis reminds us “every person ought to have the awareness that purchasing a product is always a moral – and not simply an economic – act.”.....(more)      Photo:

Parish Climate Action Group
Friday 16 August 2019
Responding to Pope Francis’ call for immediate action to mitigate global warming and avoid committing “a brutal act of injustice on the poor and future generations”.          If you missed Sir David Attenborough’s ‘Climate Change: The Facts’ on ABC1 last Sunday, it’s worth watching it on ABC iview. It’s an excellent summary of climate change and what we need to be doing to counter it, for the good of humanity. It helps us to understand why Pope Francis and many other leaders have spoken up about the need for us to act.       ARRCC’s (Australian Religious Response to Climate Change) ‘Living the Change’ program  encourages all of us to live more sustainable lifestyles – to reduce our carbon emissions. One of the many ‘tips’ in the program is to eat less meat and increase your intake of plant-based foods. David Attenborough also mentioned the need for us to eat less meat, especially beef and lamb.          ARRCC is holding a ‘Living the Change’ event on September 8, 2.00 - 5.30pm in the city which aims to support people in their attempts to lead more sustainable lifestyles . Its free but RSVP is needed.      Further details on ARRCC’s website HERE. Also remember September 20, global climate action day run by the School Strike for Climate Movement.  ARRCC will be there and will be holding the multi-faith service beforehand.
Cardinal Pell to learn his fate next week
Extract from CathNews, The Age, 16 August 2019
Cardinal George Pell will learn his fate next Wednesday when the Court of Appeal hands down its decision on whether to overturn his child sexual abuse convictions.           Cardinal Pell was last year found guilty of sexually abusing two choirboys in the 1990s when he was Archbishop of Melbourne. His appeal was heard over two days in June.      The Court of Appeal will hand down its judgment on Wednesday from 9.30am. It will be live-streamed from the Supreme Court website.  Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne Ferguson, Justice Chris Maxwell, the president of the Court of Appeal, and Justice Mark Weinberg could overturn the convictions, uphold them, or order a retrial....(more)
No issue matters as much as climate change
Extract from Bruce Duncan, Pearls & Irritations, John Menadue website, 15 August 2019    
What will it take before the Morrison government recognises the great peril from climate change? Is the overwhelming consensus of scientists not enough, as they track the record-breaking heat waves globally? And why are religious leaders not echoing Pope Francis more vigorously about a looming ‘catastrophe’ from global warming?         While the Morrison government dithers, climate specialists are alarmed that the chances to limit global warming are slipping away, with the likely result that we will be left facing truly catastrophic changes to the weather.       The former Liberal leader, John Hewson, in the Fairfax media on 1 August, castigated the Morrison government for ignoring the overwhelming advice from, among many others, experts, fossil fuel miners, the Reserve Bank of Australia, and finance and insurance sectors. ‘I despair at just how long our Australian government can continue to deny the undeniable.’ Yet Australia is the largest exporter of fossil fuels, so damaging to the environment. Britain and Germany are planning to abandon coal in the ‘climate emergency’, while our government simply ignores the ‘urgency of the climate challenge’.        According to official figures, Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions have been rising for the last three years, and we are not on track to meet commitments at the Paris climate conference by 2030 to reduce emissions from 2005 levels to between 26% and 28%. Yet Australia is again experiencing severe drought, and extreme weather is damaging our coastline, facilities, and fisheries. For the month of July, the years 2017, 2018, and 2019 were the hottest on record.          Warnings from defence forces & the mining industry.....(more).
Melbourne Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli has said he would rather go to jail than report admissions of child sexual abuse made in the confessional.
A bill which would make it mandatory for priests to report suspected child abuse to authorities, including abuse revealed in the confessional, was introduced to Victoria’s Parliament yesterday.
Extract from CathNews, ABC News, 15 August 2019
The Church last year formally rejected the notion that clergy should be legally forced to report abuse revealed during confessions.       Interviewed on ABC Radio Melbourne yesterday, Archbishop Comensoli said he did not see the principles of mandatory reporting and the seal of confession as being “mutually exclusive”.      He said he would encourage someone who admitted to abuse to tell police, and tell him again outside the confessional where he could then report it without breaking the seal of confession.      But if the person confessing refused to do that, he said he would not break the Catholic tradition: “Personally, I’ll keep the seal,” he said.      Archbishop Comensoli said most confessions were made anonymously and admissions of abuse were “deeply rare”.     He said the “vastly more important” recommendations from the royal commission such as accreditation, supervision and ongoing training were not talked about.     He said the Archdiocese of Melbourne had “very extensive” policies around child protection and underwent ongoing training and audits.     “So all of those sorts of things, I think, are much more about the protection of children and are better at it on a practical level than this one particular thing. Yet this one particular thing has become nearly the all, and I think that’s a shame.”     Meanwhile, Melbourne priest Fr Kevin Dillon said the Church “needs to recognise the enormous damage that’s been done” to abuse survivors.    Fr Dillion, who has been an outspoken advocate for victims of Church abuse, suggested the laws were an opportunity to revisit the canon surrounding the confessional seal.    But he did not say whether he himself would report abuse if it was confessed to him, instead saying: “I would have to follow my conscience at the time to do what I believe was the right thing to do.”     Priests who break the seal of confession currently face excommunication from the Church.....(more).. Photo: CathNews,ABC News Comensoli P Abb,  ABC News CathNews 20190815
Archbishop says prison preferable to complying with child abuse confession law
Priests would have to break the seal of the confessional and report any admissions of child abuse under proposed news laws
Extract from Lisa Martin Australian Associated Pres. The Guardian. 14 August 2019
Melbourne’s Catholic archbishop insists three years jail is preferable to breaking the seal of confession and reporting child sexual abuse to authorities.       Priests will risk prison if they don’t report child abuse revealed to them during the sacrament of confession, under new laws introduced in Victoria on Wednesday.       The bill, introduced into state parliament would make religious ministers mandatory reporters of abuse suspicions alongside police, teachers, medical practitioners and early childhood workers.     “I don’t think in contemporary and mainstream times, knowing what we know now, that we can do anything other than say the rights of children trump anyone’s religious views,” the attorney general, Jill Hennessy, told reporters.       “Ultimately this is about making sure that we start to right the wrongs of systemic abuse.”        Archbishop Peter Comensoli said he’d ask someone who admitted abuse to tell him outside the box but if they refused he would “keep the seal”.           “I hold the principle of mandatory reporting … and I also hold onto the principle of the seal of confession. My own position is that I don’t see that as mutually exclusive,” he told ABC Radio on Wednesday.          The archbishop’s office later released a statement saying the church welcomed the proposed expansion of mandatory reporting to include religious ministers, but denied the seal of confession was an obstacle to mandatory reporting.        “Confession doesn’t place people above the law. Priests should be mandatory reporters, but in a similar way to protections to the lawyer/client relationship and protection for journalists’ sources.”           Catholic archbishops in the ACT and South Australia have also vowed to defy similar laws.....(more)  Photo: The Guardian, Thomas Cockrem Alamy Stock
Priests will maintain confession secrecy
Edited Extract from CathNews, The Age, 14 August 2019
The Church is set to defy new laws in Victoria that would punish priests with jail time if they refuse to report sexual abuse revealed during confession.         The Victorian Government will today introduce legislation aimed at forcing priests to break the seal of confession to report child abuse.          The Church says that it supports mandatory reporting and encourages victims to report abuse to police, but will not break the seal of confession – regardless of the legislation.           “I uphold the seal of confession but I uphold mandatory reporting as well,” Melbourne Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli said in August last year, when the government first flagged this legal change.      “The principle of the seal of confession is a different question. It has a different reality to it. The practicalities of winding back the seal of confession I think is something that can’t be easily done.”       “There’s been no change in our position,” a spokesman for the Melbourne Archdiocese said yesterday, adding that it would wait to see the legislation before commenting further.         In March this year Pope Francis said no laws could break the seal of confession, in which all priests must keep secret from everyone what they hear in the confessional.      “The sacramental seal is indispensable and no human power has, nor may it claim, jurisdiction over it,” he said.          Priests who refuse to report sexual abuse disclosed during confession will face up to three years in jail under the new laws. The laws will apply to religious and spiritual leaders of all denominations and religions, but will not be retrospective.        Victoria’s move comes a fortnight after Tasmania passed similar legislation. The ACT also recently passed a similar bill, set to take effect from September 1. Under an South Australian law that took effect in October 2018, clergy are legally obliged to report confessions of child sex abuse or face a $10,000 fine.....(more) Photo: confessional CathNews CNS 20190814
The Fascinating Christian Story.
Extract from Opinion Piece, Eric Hodgens, Pearls & Irritations, John Menadue blog, 13 August 2019    
We all have our personal story. And it is just one part of the bigger story of our family, our tribe, our nation – the things that have shaped us. Institutions, too, have a life of their own – and their own story. Where did they come from? What made them as they are? Religions are such. We need storytellers with long memories. And, if we get really serious about understanding all this, we need good historians. Christianity has the story and the historians who, over the last couple of centuries, have become better at their game.                Christianity did not start out as a religion. It began firstly a movement within Judaism. There was the pre-existing story of Israel. Israel’s story had two strands – one establishment, with temple and priesthood; the other prophetic. The prophets were the critics of society. As the establishment got set in its ways, the prophets wanted constant review to keep true to their original purpose. They troubled the establishment.                Jesus was such a prophet. His focus was on the best way to live to keep in tune with God – to make God’s Reign a reality. As he gathered followers, both of himself and his way, the establishment got his movement in its sights and we know how that ended up.           But that was only the beginning of a new story. The movement grew and Jesus became the focus of its story. Then, following the tradition of Israel, they started to write. Paul was the first writer – letters of advice to cells he had set up. Then Mark created a new form of literature – the gospel. His purpose was to bolster his community which was struggling against opposition from outside and disintegration within. Then Matthew and Luke copied that style and wrote their own version of Mark’s story, focussing on the needs of their particular communities. Finally, John wrote his version for his community whose preoccupations you can glean if you read the text closely – if do a critique of the text.              The first thing you need to do in critiquing the text is to discern why the writer composed it. Each writer has his own reason for writing. This, in turn, affects the way he writes. The gospels, for example, are anything but re-plays of what was said and done. Discerning the writers background, biases and purpose clarifies your understanding of the text.....(more).  Photo:  Eric Hodgens. Eric Hodgens is a retired Melbourne priest who “writes a bit”.
Plenary Council rocket science a matter of trust
Extract from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, 5 August, Extracted here (plus 25 comments) 10 August 2019
Politicians vying for office and churches planning plenary councils sing from the same handbooks. As with rocket launches, where the early stage rockets fall away leaving the manned capsule to go into orbit, political parties put great time and energy into the preparation of policies, running focus groups, and attracting good candidates. When the election campaign begins they drop these activities. Candidates cross the nation offering goodies, shooting down rivals and trying to get the party across the line. The election won, the trimmed ship of state sails on unencumbered.        Rocket paper-cut shape on old wood plank with rustic texture background.   This is commonly true also of church synods and councils. In the case of the 2020 Catholic Plenary Council, a facilitation team was empowered to seek submissions, design processes of reflection, encourage individuals and congregations to take part, and analyse the results. At the next stage it has invited interested people to help prepare working papers on the key themes. These papers will inform the agenda of the council and its deliberations.         In both political and church processes, as with launching rockets, the focus of the process is placed on the final goal of winning power or making wise decisions. The preliminary processes are seen and evaluated through this lens. What is valuable at each stage is gathered into the next and the initial processes are then dropped. From the point of view of the executive committees this tightness of focus is both logical and necessary.         From the perspective of rocket riders, lay Catholics or citizens, however, the effectiveness of the process depends on the trust in which government, bishops or management are held. In rocketry, if trust is lacking in the competence or understanding of people working at any level of the project, no one will sign off on or sit in the final stage rocket without revisiting the earlier stages. Similarly, if people do not trust the wisdom, honesty or courage of political leaders or bishops, they will not trust the processes or people managing them unless they are completely transparent.          In current Australian and Catholic public life at the moment that kind of trust appears to be lacking. Disengagement from politics and cynicism about politicians' honesty attend the political environment in many nations. In the Catholic Church, too, the crimes of sexual abuse and its cover up have weakened trust in the governance at a time when it faces challenges from diminished numbers, ageing and institutional arthritis......(more). Image: Eureka Street, whyframesstudio Getty      
Cardinal Pell: ‘Amazon or no Amazon, the Church cannot allow any confusion’
Extract from Ed Condon, Catholic News Agency, 9 August 2019
Cardinal George Pell has written a letter thanking supporters for their prayers and saying he is “disturbed” by the preparations for the forthcoming synod on the Amazon.        The text of the two-page, handwritten letter - images of which were shared with CNA and confirmed by sources close to Pell - has been circulated amongst a group of Pell’s closest supporters in Australia.         In the letter, dated from Melbourne Assessment Prison on August 1, the cardinal also says that he has been sustained in his incarceration by his faith and by the prayers of the faithful, and that he is offering his suffering in prison for the good of the Church.       “The knowledge that my small suffering can be used for good purposes through being joined to Jesus’ suffering gives me purpose and direction,” Pell writes in the letter. “Challenges and problems in Church life should be confronted in a similar spirit of faith.”       Pell goes on to say that “we have reason to be disturbed by the Instrumentum Laboris of the Amazonian Synod,” which was published in June ahead of the October meeting.      That document, which has been the source of considerable discussion and commentary, included discussion on the subject of ordaining so-called viri probati, or “proven men” who are married, to answer a shortage of priestly vocations.      The working document, which calls for “a Church with an indigenous face,” further recommends that the synod identify “an official ministry that can be conferred upon women, taking into account the central role they play in the Amazonian church.”       “This is not the first low-quality document the Synod secretariat has produced,” Pell writes.         The cardinal, apparently in reference to the considerable debate and criticism sparked by the synod’s proposed agenda - which has also included some calls for changes to the matter used to celebrate the Mass - also notes that “Cardinal G. Müller, formerly of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has written an excellent critique.”     “I am no expert on the region,” Pell says, though noting he has travelled to parts of the region, but cautions that “as in the Amazon, a lot of water has yet to run before the Synod.”     “One point is fundamental, the Apostolic Tradition, the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles, taken from the New Testament and taught by Popes and Councils, by the Magisterium, is the only criterion doctrinally for all teaching on doctrine and practice.”       “Amazon or no Amazon, in every land, the Church cannot allow any confusion, much less any contrary teaching, to damage the Apostolic Tradition,” he said....(more)  Photo: CNA, Michel Dodge Getty Images. 
Church remembers atomic bomb attacks
Extract from Melbourne Catholic, Vatican News, 9 August 2019
The Church in Japan is this week commemorating the 74th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with prayers and appeals for a future of peace and nuclear disarmament.           “Together with the faithful of my diocese, I am deeply grateful to those who offer their prayers and activities for peace in the world, on August 6 and 9, on the 74th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” Bishop Alexis Mitsuru Shirahama of Hiroshima told AsiaNews.     “I feel that this is an important moment to pray and work together for peace and denuclearisation, in evoking these memories,” he said, as the Church in Japan is marking its annual “Ten Days for Peace”, August 6-15, in commemoration of the tragedy and its victims.     The US attack on Hiroshima killed an estimated 140,000 people. Another bomb on Nagasaki, three days later, claimed an estimated 70,000 lives before Japan’s surrender ended World War II.    The Ten Days for Peace was the response of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan to Pope John Paul’s appeal at Hiroshima on 25 February, 1981.    On Tuesday, Mayor Kazumi Matsui delivered a peace address, raising concerns about the rise of self-centred politics in the world and urging leaders to steadily work toward achieving a world without atomic weapons.    “Around the world today, we see self-centred nationalism in ascendance, tensions heightened by international exclusivity and rivalry, with nuclear disarmament at a standstill,” Mr Matsui said in his peace address at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.     With some 50,000 people and representatives from about 90 countries in attendance, Hiroshima’s mayor urged the younger generations never to dismiss the atomic bombings and the war as mere events of history but think of them as their own, while calling on the world leaders to come and visit the nuclear bombed cities to learn what happened.....(more) Photo:CathNews CNS Paul Haring
New survey reveals which religions New Zealanders trust most – and least – after Christchurch shootings
Extract from Simon Chapelle, The Conversation, 8 August 2019
In a survey of 1000 New Zealanders, taken a month after the Christchurch mosque shootings of 15 March 2019, we asked respondents how much they trusted people from different religious groups living in New Zealand. We posed the question with reference to Catholics, Protestants, Evangelical Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists or agnostics, and Jews. We emphasised “living in New Zealand” as we were not interested in identifying New Zealanders’ trust in, for example, worldwide Catholicism or Islam.        We are not aware of any previous consideration of trust in different religious groups within New Zealand.       We used a five-point scale for responses – complete trust, lots of trust, some trust, little trust and no trust at all. We converted ordinal data (e.g. first, second, etc) into cardinal data (one, two, etc) by assuming equal intervals between categories to give a mean trust score.       We found that the most trusted religious group in New Zealand is a small non-Christian group: Buddhists. In the most recent 2013 Census 58,000 Buddhists are recorded, out of about 3.9 million people who replied to the religious question. More people feel positively about Buddhists than not - 35% of New Zealanders have complete or lots of trust in Buddhists, while 15% have little or no trust.       The least trusted religious group in New Zealand is a minority Christian group: Evangelicals (15,000 people in the 2013 Census). Fewer people trust Evangelicals than do not - 21% have complete or lots of trust, while 38% have little or no trust.....(more)
A warm welcome helps arriving priests, parishes
Extract from Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader, 6 August 2019
A major Church conference on missionary clergy and religious in Australia has heard of the demographic shifting of the Catholic Church and the need to welcome and nurture international priests.      “The Church is rich, the Church is vibrant because of its diversity,” Fr Aniedi Okure, a Dominican priest and executive director of the Africa, Faith and Justice Network in Washington, told the sixth national conference on missionary clergy and religious in Australia, being held in Brisbane.     Fr Okure spoke on Tuesday of the experience and challenges for clergy born outside the United States, and trying to fit in to that country’s pastoral life.     He is an instructor at Loyola Marymount University’s Cultural Orientation Program for International Ministers and described the process of “give and take” needed to help an “incoming” priest adjust to a new pastoral community in which he is going to serve.    “Orientation is crucial and should be undertaken as soon as the person arrives. It is to prepare the missionary priest to enter appropriately to the new context,” he said.    “Orientation diminishes cultural misunderstandings for both the missionary and the ecclesial communities. In fact, cultural differences can make or break the missionary, it can make or break the community.”    Fr Okure said careful orientation ensured that new priests “were not shy and enclosing themselves”, but rather are able to use their experiences and gifts and talents to contribute to enriching and enhancing their ecclesial community.    His orientation approach was now used by US bishops to generate guidelines and conduct pastoral planning.     While accepting that Australia is not identical to the United States, Fr Okure said there are many lessons to learn from the US about welcoming international priests.....(more)    Photo: Okure Fr Aniedi Okure The Catholic Leader photo 20190706
Break open the word’ on Plenary Council, bishops urged
Extract from Concerned Catholics, Canberra Goulburn, Pearls & Irritations, John Menadue blog,  6 August 2019    
The credibility and success of the most important event in the Australian Catholic Church in many decades, the 2020 Plenary Council, depends on an open and frank airing of the grave issues crippling the Church.           The chairman of Concerned Catholics, Emeritus Professor John Warhurst, said the lack of debate about and exposure of the submissions to the Plenary was unfortunate given the profound questions facing the Church, the steady decline in church attendances and continuing reports of clerical crimes around the world.      He said that while it was welcome that a comprehensive report on all the voices of the participants in last year’s plenary “listening and dialogue” process was released on July 28, it was vital for the transparency and credibility of the Plenary that all submissions were put up on Plenary website.     “An open and transparent airing of what people are seeking would be appropriate in the wake of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the compelling road map for reform recommended by the Commission,” Professor Warhurst said.     “The Church through its bishops needs to lay bare what its people are saying they want and hope for their Church so we can have a vigorous and informed debate.     “The Catholic National Centre for Pastoral Research has produced it final report on the submissions, including details of the number of submissions by country of birth, gender, age of individual submitters and the totals from each diocese. Canberra -Goulburn archdiocese, for instance, produced a total of 360 submissions, 269 of those from individuals and 91 from groups.              “This report, while welcome, should only be the beginning, and should be accompanied by the public release of all submissions, except where privacy has been requested. There were 17,457 submissions involving more than 222,000 participants. These numbers alone should prompt the church leadership to ensure there is a process of open and transparent revelation of all the issues.....(more)
Pope Francis writes new letter encouraging priests during the fallout caused by the abuse crisis
Extract from Gerard O’Connell, America - The Jesuit Review, 4 August 2019
Pope Francis has written a letter to the more than 400,000 Catholic priests worldwide encouraging them during the tribulations from the sexual abuse crisis. The letter is meant to give priests, many of whom feel disheartened because of the horrendous crimes of abuse committed by a small percentage of their fellow priests, hope in these times of tribulation when they are so often blamed or treated with suspicion, distrust, contempt or ridicule.           The letter comes as a surprise. Last year, on Aug. 20, in the wake of the Pennsylvania grand jury report and the former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick scandal, on the eve of his visit to Ireland, he wrote “A Letter to the People of God” in which he condemned outrightly the sexual and other abuses of minors by clergy as well as the failure of church leadership to take action and called for an effort by the entire church to deal with it. This year, he speaks directly to all priests because he is well aware and deeply concerned that in many countries, including the United States, Australia, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Germany and Chile, the morale of priests has suffered greatly because of the abuse scandal....(more)

Helen O’Brien
Friday 2 August 2019
Our onetime Bookkeeper and sister of Ivanhoe-Cluster Priest (1999-2000) Fr. John Rogan, died peacefully at BlueCross last Wednesday. Helen generously assisted as a volunteer in the Parish Office from 1999 - 2017 sharing her bookkeeping skills during the period of the three Ivanhoe Parishes moving to a Cluster and finally a single Parish. Helen’s funeral will be celebrated at Mother of God Church on Tuesday - Rosary at 10.30am and Funeral Mass at 11.00am. Our sympathy to Helen's family and friends.  May she rest in God’s Peace.
Church goes digital with Social Justice Statement
“Making it Real: Genuine human encounter in our digital world” is the theme for the 2019-2020 Social Justice Statement, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge has announced.
Extract from CathNews, The eRecord, 2 August 2019
The Statement – written for Social Justice Sunday on Septembr 29 – will affirm the positive possibilities for encounter and solidarity offered by new digital media, while warning of those elements of our digital world that may be harmful.        Archbishop Coleridge said the Statement would consider the great changes of modern communications technology and its effects on human beings.         “Technology has revolutionised the way we communicate, work and learn, do business and socialise,” Archbishop Coleridge said in a letter posted on the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council website.           “Here in Australia for us as Church, there are so many new opportunities to share the Good News of Christ, to bring communities together and to reach out to people in need.”          For all these advances, however, Archbishop Coleridge noted that there are some serious challenges faced when dealing with modern communications technology....(more)
Key Plenary Council topics emerge from final report of the Listening and Dialogue phase
Extract from Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader, Brisbane,  2 August, 2019    
Celibacy for priests, the role of women, and the inclusion of divorced and remarried Catholics were among “strongly discussed” topics contained in the Plenary Council 2020’s latest report.
The final report of the council’s Listening and Dialogue phase captures the voice of more than 222,000 Australians and provides insights into 17,457 group submissions.         Plenary council president Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe said the 314-page document was the result of the listening process that had produced “an extraordinary treasure of ideas and proposals which represents the heartfelt response of many people”.         “The great challenge ahead of us now is to ‘catch’ the voice of the Holy Spirit within the passionate, hopeful but sometimes contradictory voices of God’s people.”         Among the wide-ranging list of submissions were those calling for ways to improve the sacraments to increase Church attendance and “allow the fullness of a Catholic life to flourish”, and addressing the clerical child sex abuse scandal.            The structure of Church life “drew a great deal of attention” around leadership and governance, the need for greater listening between leadership and the laity, and the need to “modernise Church teachings to bring them in line with Australian society in the 21st century”.          Brisbane leads Plenary submissions           Brisbane archdiocese produced the highest number of individual submissions (1890), and about 44 per cent of individual submissions (5663) were received from those aged more than 50.            Many respondents discussed the need for greater outreach and evangelisation, particularly to young people.        Identified as “critical” was a significant desire for the Church to humble itself in the light of the sexual abuse crisis, and for more to be done to offer healing and restoration to those affected....(more).   Photo: Catholic Leader, Brisbane listening discernment session Cathedral Precinct.

Folau's cousin exits job over Catholicism comments
Extract from CathNews, Sydney Morning Herald, 2 August 2019
Israel Folau’s cousin, Josiah, has been let go from his casual teaching job at a Catholic school in Sydney’s southwest after he described the Church as “the synagogue of Satan”.     Mr Folau worked as a tutor and boarding house supervisor at St Gregory’s College at Campbelltown. He was also an alumnus of the school, who finished eighth in the state in religious studies in the 2016 Higher School Certificate.          A staff member confirmed the decision on Thursday. The school’s decision came after the Herald revealed on July 20 Josiah’s involvement in the 30-member Jesus Christ Church founded by his uncle, Israel Folau’s father, Pastor Eni, in Kenthurst.       The church preaches that any Christian who is not “born again” will go to hell.     Josiah Folau also wrote to a parent who attended one of the church’s services that “any devout Catholic person is not a saved Christian whatsoever”.     “Look at Catholic doctrine, almost 100 per cent of it is false and is filled with lies,” Josiah wrote. “The blasphemous Catholic Mass is a paganistic ritual rooted in heresy, evil and devil worship.     “Roman Catholicism is masked devil worship,” he also said.        The 30-strong congregation of the Truth of Jesus Christ Church, established by Folau’s father Eni in 2013, believes the “everlasting torture and doom” of hell awaits most Christians.....(more) Photo CathNews, 7News, Josiah Folau

First audit report of Church entity against new National Standards published
Extract from  media Release Catholic Professional Standards Limited, 2 AUGUST 2019
Catholic Professional Standards Limited (CPSL) has today published its first audit report of a Church entity that is subject to the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards (NCSS).        The NCSS, based on recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and aligned with the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations, provide the framework for Catholic Church entities to build child-safe cultures and to advance the safety and dignity of children across the Catholic Church in Australia.     The Presentation Sisters of Wagga Wagga (PSWW) is the first church entity to be audited under the NCSS. Comprising 38 sisters in the Wagga and Sydney region and 17 Papua New Guinean National sisters in the Aitape region, the Sisters involved in active and public ministry work with other organisations as skilled counsellors, prison chaplains, advocates, school breakfast program and support volunteers.  As the number of Sisters in active ministry has declined, the congregation has established partnerships with universities, not for profit organisations and schools to continue their mission.  PSWW no longer has governance of any ministries providing services directly to children.          CPSL has made 12 recommendations to PSWW to strengthen its safeguarding practices as a result of the audit fieldwork which was conducted in April 2019.  Recommendations are classified according to priority and urgency for remediation – there are no priority one (critical/urgent) recommendations arising from the audit of PSWW.        Mediainal compliance assessment (completed at the end of June 2019) concluded that PSWW had fully implemented or was well progressed in the implementation of 61 (98%) of 62 indicators relevant to their ministries and operations.          “The PSWW leadership team has been open, transparent and fully engaged throughout this audit,” said CPSL CEO, Sheree Limbrick....(more).
Diaspora and the globalization of the Catholic Church
Massimo Faggioli explains how an essay by Karl Rahner some 65 years ago predicted the state of today's Church and offers a path forward
Limited extract from Massimo Faggioli, subscription Journal La Croix International, 30 July 20-19
The number of Catholics continues to drop in Germany. More than 216,000 of them decided to "leave the Church" last year alone by ceasing to pay the government-mandated church tax.       This is just the latest example of what has become a slow, but steady pattern of defections from the Catholic Church in the Western world. Baptized members already began leaving in the first half of the twentieth century, but they have done so in even greater numbers over the past 60 years.           This does not mean Christianity is disappearing. But, almost everywhere, it shows that the Church is losing its tight control over the faith....(source)
Boys school to go co-ed to help Presentation students
Extract from CathNews, Herald Sun,  1 August 2019
Melbourne Catholic boys school Christian Brothers College St Kilda will become coeducational, throwing a lifeline to Presentation College Windsor students reeling from the announcement their school will close at the end of 2020. Edmund Rice Education Australia confirmed the school will go co-ed for at least two years.       “CBC is privileged to be able to immediately offer girls in senior years a pathway to complete their VCE and VCAL studies after the closure of their College,” a statement said.     “This means that girls currently at PCW in years 10 and 11 2019, will have the opportunity complete their secondary education in a shared venture at CBC.      “CBC St Kilda and Presentation College Windsor have enjoyed many years of strong friendship and partnership in the provision of Catholic education.”          It comes after Presentation College Windsor’s shock announcement on Monday that its doors would be closed by the end of 2020.     The schools already share VCE classes together, along with productions and dance events.      Edmund Rice Education Australia said it was committed to working in partnership with the St Kilda East Parish, to continue to provide high-quality Catholic education for boys and girls.     “Exploration of how this new and exciting partnership might unfold will begin immediately,” the statement read....(more) Photo: CBC  Principal and Students CathNews.  [Ed: None of the boys look too distressed at this news!]
Tasmania’s confession laws ‘impinge on religious freedoms’
Extract from Cathnews, 1 August 2019
Laws compelling priests in Tasmania to report child sexual abuse by breaking the seal of confession impinge on religious freedoms, says Hobart Archbishop Julian Porteous. Source:     Reform to make religious ministers, plus members of the Tasmanian Parliament, mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect became a step closer this week after passing the state’s lower house yesterday.     Lifting the seal of confession was one of more than 400 recommendations made in 2018 by the child abuse royal commission.      “Under this reform, members of religious ministry will not be able to rely on the confessional privilege to refuse to disclose information,” Attorney-General Elise Archer said.     The legislation has the backing of survivor groups, but Archbishop Porteous believes it impinges on long-held Church teachings and the freedom of religion.    “The law as currently drafted requires priests to violate the most solemn and sacred act between the penitent and God,” he said in a statement yesterday.    “With the federal Government undertaking a review into religious freedom, now is not the time to introduce additional Tasmanian legislation....(more)
Archbishop Comensoli 'did not revoke' US sister’s invitation
Extracts from CathNews, The Age, 29 July 2019
Melbourne Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli says he neither invited nor revoked any invitation to US Benedictine Sr Joan Chittister to speak at a national education conference next year.      Tensions emerged last month when it was revealed that Sr Joan – an author, feminist and advocate of Church reform – had been asked to take part in the 2020 National Catholic Education Conference in Melbourne, only to have her invitation rescinded a few weeks later.     “I am very saddened to say that while our organising committee strongly supported the inclusion of Sr Joan as a speaker at the conference, the Archbishop of Melbourne has failed to endorse her inclusion,” John Meneely, the Ballarat Catholic Education Office deputy director, wrote in a June 1 email seen by The Sunday Age. “I am presently seeking [an] explanation for his reasoning.”......The Archdiocese issued a statement on Friday night acknowledging that Archbishop Comensoli was advised in May of “a proposal for Sr Joan Chittister to speak at the National Catholic Education Commission Conference”.    “When the conference was raised with him, Archbishop Comensoli requested that more names aligned to the themes of a national Catholic education conference be considered,” the spokesman said.         “The conference is a national conference with an organising committee drawn from leaders in Catholic education that is engaged in dialogue as part of the planning with a range of stakeholders including Catholic education leaders, Church representatives and bishops....(more)

Melbourne Archbishop in censorship row involving US feminist nun
Extract from Farrah Tomazin, The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 July 2019
Catholic leader Peter Comensoli has been accused of censorship on the eve of his first anniversary as Melbourne Archbishop, after an outspoken nun was disendorsed from speaking at a conference soon after he learnt of plans to include her.       Facing a backlash from rank-and-file Catholics, the Archbishop was this week forced to explain his role in a damaging snub involving Sister Joan Chittister, a US author, feminist and advocate of church reform....(more)

FINAL REPORT for the 2020/2021 Plenary Council Phase 1: Listening & Dialogue

Sunday 28 July 2019

is available HERE

Plenary Council progress - local video
Text below from our parish and the Plenary Council website, 26 July 2019.    UPDATED 28 July 2019
At each of our Parish Masses this weekend there will be a short parish-produced video to update us on the Plenary Council 2020 process of listening and discernment and what lies ahead.   In October 2020, the Catholic Church in Australia will gather for the first Plenary Council to be held since the second Vatican Council. In 2018, the entire People of God in Australia began preparing for this historic moment by listening to God, by listening to one another’s stories of faith.        More than 222,000 people participated in listening and dialogue encounters and contributed 17,457 submissions during the first stage of preparation for the Australian Plenary Council.      The voices of the faithful help all of us to understand something of the historical experience and the current reality of the Catholic Church in Australia. This gathered data also reveals some deeper hopes and questions, and the diverse yearnings, that we are now challenged to consider together. UPDATE: the FINAL REPORT for the Plenary Council Phase 1: Listening & Dialogue is available  HERE
Unconventional Mass brings joy to a unique congregation
Extract from CathNews, SDB, The eRecord, Jamie O'Brien, 26 July 2019
Joy” was the word used by both priests and laypeople when describing a Mass held for the Archdiocese of Perth’s Personal Advocacy Service for people with intellectual disability, their volunteers and families.     The Mass was held to celebrate the service’s 30thanniversary and used an adapted liturgy that facilitated inclusion and engagement within the setting of the Mass.     Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB was the main celebrant, with Morley parish priest Fr Greg Burke OCD, Fr Vincent Glynn and Fr Nino Vinciguerra concelebrating.     “This is a wonderful initiative in the life of our Church,” Archbishop Costelloe said. “My words of thanks and congratulations to everybody who has been part of the journey of Personal Advocacy over the past 30 years and who continue to do so.     “It’s wonderful to be here and to be able to celebrate this Mass for the whole community, the parish community on this special anniversary: the 30th anniversary of the Personal Advocacy Service, a wonderful organisation in our Catholic Church, here in Perth and in WA.”         According to Fr Burke, the purpose of the adapted liturgy, with its interactive nature, is to make the Mass more accessible to people with intellectual disabilities by using gestures and movements to interpret the readings, psalms and Gospel for those who process language a bit differently to others.      “We use a focus object or a picture in our parish Special Religious Education Development groups to evoke stories and feelings of life experiences: it engages with them far more meaningfully rather than just speaking – hence the unconventional nature of the Mass, but one that is designed to communicate the message of the Gospel in a far more effective manner,” Fr Burke said....(more)   Photo: The eRecord, Jamie O'Brien
Church leader calls for amnesty for detainees
Extract from CathNews, Eternity News,  26 July 2019
Darwin Diocese has made a bold call for an amnesty for the roughly 800 detainees on Nauru and Manus Island in a letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and all federal parliamentarians.        “As regards the detainees still on Nauru and Manus Island, why not consider the feasibility of a carefully planned, once and for all amnesty, with cross-party support, for as many of them as possible?” writes Fr Malcolm Fyfe MSC, Vicar General of Darwin Diocese, in the 200-plus letters posted to electoral offices last Friday.       Fr Fyfe wrote the letters to mark the sixth anniversary of the “Stop the Boats” campaign, when then-prime minister Kevin Rudd vowed that no person seeking asylum by boat would ever be resettled in Australia.        He wrote that Australia’s offshore processing regime – designed to deter boat arrivals – is “immoral in the most basic of ways: an evil act is engaged in for the purpose of achieving some good outcome”.       “How far can one go inflicting suffering on one group of people to prevent unrelated others from acting in a certain way?” Fr Fyfe said.       “Why stop at indefinite detention, which is already just a slightly civilised form of torture? Indeed, in my opinion, it has similarities with the use of ‘human shields’ in warfare.”        In his strongly worded letter, Fr Fyfe criticises government ministers for having “blatantly repudiated and debunked the raft of concerns raised by United Nations personnel, the Human Rights Commission, Church leaders, medical and legal experts, children’s welfare organisations and other highly principled members of the public. Our elected leaders simply take cover behind a Jericho Wall of total secrecy regarding Operation Sovereign Borders, the treatment of persons intercepted at sea and those in immigration detention centres generally.”       “Earlier legislation should not be so set in concrete as to justify a stubbornly maintained policy of keeping hundreds of fellow human beings locked away in our Offshore Detention Centres, with scant hope of reprieve in sight.”      Parramatta Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv. also called on the government and political leaders to find a humane solution to the plight of the remaining detainees on Nauru and Manus Island....(more)
US Catholics speak out against death penalty reinstatement
Extract from CathNews, National Catholic Reporter, 26 July 2019
The United States Justice Department announcement that it is reinstating the federal death penalty for the first time in 16 years was unwelcome news for Catholic leaders who have advocated against capital punishment.           “The United States’ death penalty system is tragically flawed. Resuming federal executions – especially by an administration that identifies itself as ‘pro-life’ – is wrongheaded and unconscionable,” said Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, executive director of Catholic Mobilising Network, a group that champions restorative justice and an end to the death penalty.     The execution of five inmates on federal death row will take place from December to January next year.          Attorney General William Barr said in a statement yesterday: “The Justice Department upholds the rule of law – and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system.”    The last federal execution was in 2003.     In 2014, President Barack Obama directed the Bureau of Prisons to conduct a review of federal capital punishment cases and issues surrounding the use of lethal injection drugs. According to the July 25 announcement, that review is complete and the executions can proceed.      There are 62 inmates – 61 men and one woman – on federal death row, according to the Death Penalty Information Centre.    Most of the federal death-row prisoners are at the US Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.    They include Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Charleston, South Carolina, church shooter Dylann Roof....(more)
Lay leadership in the Church: Ozanam Conversation
Extract from Sue-Anne Hess, Melbourne Catholic, ACBC, 25 July 2019
The annual St Vincent De Paul Ozanam Conversation was held last night, welcoming guest speakers Francis Sullivan, former CEO of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council and coordinator of the Catholic Church response to the Royal Commission, and Geraldine Doogue (OA), best known for her extensive journalism and broadcasting career.       With a packed-out event of over 300 attendees, both Francis and Geraldine were invited to share their thoughts around ‘Standing Up: Reclaiming lay leadership in the Catholic sector’. In a conversation that was both challenging and hopeful, Geraldine and Francis spoke about the critical need for authenticity and courage within the lay community. In the face of current struggles and crises, attendees were encouraged to consider some potentially confronting questions of greater purpose, motivation and faith within the wider Church.        In reflecting on his own experiences, Francis reminded listeners that Catholics today cannot shrink away from the Church’s trials, nor can they defer decision-making and responsibility to the institutional Church. Rather, we have the opportunity to embrace the current challenges and to own our inaction of the past. He asked ‘What is it about our culture that we keep on outsourcing our responsibility to grow and to be adult in our faith?’       Similarly, Geraldine invited listeners to ask themselves, ‘Where do I see myself in the spectrum of God’s creation?’ She went on to speak of values such as honor, humility, kindness and generosity. Are we willing, she asks, to find these qualities in unexpected places?       While both speakers shared openly about critique and conflict, the evening was refreshingly optimistic. Many topics were touched upon (such as imbalances of power, the role of women in the church, and the increasing need for relevance), yet there was no hint of blame. Rather, there was a sense of openness to new conversations, and new ways of articulating....(more).   Photo: Sullivan and Doogue Ozanam Melb Catholic 25 July 2019
Defend inclusiveness at Catholic Plenary Council
Extract from John Warhurst, Eureka street,  24 July 2019
Everyone interested in the Australian Catholic Church's Plenary Council 2020 (PC), the first session of which is scheduled for next October in Adelaide, should now take a serious interest in Ignatian discernment. That follows the announcement that the promised Working Groups have been renamed Discernment and Writing Groups. This is more than a mere rebranding exercise but a clear and deliberate indication that prayer and discernment are 'key for the groups, and for the whole process'.          St Peter's Cathedral in North Adelaide. Questioning Catholics should embrace this development, but resist any aspect of the new process which tends to dilute or exclude their voices. As explained by PC Facilitation Team leader, Lana Turvey-Collins, in the latest issue of Plenary Post, discernment in the spirit of Pope Francis in relation to the Plenary Council was a focus of the recent Bishops Retreat led by Jesuit Br Ian Cribb SJ.             Discernment has a general meaning associated with the ability to exercise judgement with skill and wisdom in complex circumstances. It is often used in religious circles, together with consultation, to enable prayerful reflection and discussion in a spirit of collegiality to produce the best outcome.           Spiritual discernment involves calling on the Holy Spirit to give directions on the will of God. It is a gift from God and more than a skill. It asks the Plenary Council question: 'What is God asking of us? In the words of Pope Francis it transcends but does not exclude 'existential, psychological, sociological or moral insights drawn from the human sciences'. The approach includes elements of good process and skill, which can be gained by experience and/or taught through training.     This PC Discernment period follows a Listening period, which generated about 17,500 submissions drawn from more than 220,000 participants from across the Australian church. These submissions led to the choice by the leadership of the six themes on which the Discernment and Writing Groups are to be based. Applications for volunteer chairs and members of these groups have just closed. The chairs of these groups will receive an intensive induction in discernment before taking up these demanding roles.               It is an unwelcome surprise that the submissions themselves will not be made public despite an expectation that they would be. In this electronic age that should have been possible, unless otherwise requested by participants, as is the case with equivalent government consultations....(more)  Photo: Eureka Street,  Moisseyev via Getty