Inclusiveness                    Hospitality                   Service                   Mission

  Mary Mother of the Church

Catholic Parish Ivanhoe

News 2021

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.
A very short personal message from Fr. Bill  (22nd December 2021)


Parish Redevelopment Project – Christmas 2021 Update
Extract from Pat Kelly, Project Manager, 23 December 2021 

Our Parish Redevelopment Project has a long history. From the initial considerations in 2007 through to the present day we have been struggling with the issue of how to prepare the Parish for the future. Our current facilities are inappropriate and the support that a large parishioner base provided to three churches, three schools, three presbyteries and a convent has diminished. After long consultation we set out to redevelop the Mary Immaculate site and to rationalise, that is, sell assets we could no longer afford. The property sales are funding the redevelopment of our physical assets as a base for the future of our Parish community.  See full report and photos HERE

Incarnation, Encounter and Synod
The Synod and a synodal culture have immense potential to heal and renew the wounded post-pandemic Church
Limited extract from Nuala Kenny OC, MD, Canada, Subscription journal, La Croix International, 23 December 2021
We enter the holy season of Christmas in the darkness and fear of the raging Omicron variant of the coronavirus.    This is not relieved by the false news of Christmas as a sentimental, happy family festival or the false joy of Santa Claus, expensive gifts and lavish light displays.       Christmas is a time of dread for many because it doesn't meet the hyped expectations. The inequities between the wealthy and those living in poverty and marginalization are magnified and cause guilt and anger because parents cannot fulfill their children's dreams.       Our time is far from happy, merry or joyful. We need the good news of the Incarnation more than ever.      The Church entered the COVID-19 pandemic weak and wounded from public revelations of longstanding abuse of power and harm through clergy sexual abuse of children and young people.       It was also marred by racism, colonialism and participation in economic and political structures of power, privilege and oppression of the poor and marginalized. This has been compounded by tragedy fatigue and burn-out.      In this darkness we are like the Wise Men following a star and seeking the light of truth and meaning.           "Called to make people's hopes flourish".       Such a light was provided to us on October 10 when Pope Francis opened preparations for the next assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will take place in 2023.       The purpose of this preparatory phase is not to produce formal documents by bishops and "experts".        "Rather, it is intended to inspire people to dream about the Church we are called to be, to make people's hopes flourish, to stimulate trust, to bind up wounds, to weave new and deeper relationships, to learn from one another, to build bridges, to enlighten minds, warm hearts, and restore strength to our hands for our common mission," as the Synod's vademecum (or handbook) says.       The Synod and a synodal culture have immense potential to heal and renew the wounded post-pandemic Church if we can trust in the Holy Spirit and actively participate. This new process has been met with anticipation, but also with disinterest.       Focusing on communion, participation and mission, Pope Francis desires this Synod to be an experience of encounter, listening and discernment.        He reminds us that in Jesus' own encounters he walks with people and listens to the questions and concerns deep in their hearts. And Jesus shows us that God is not found in neat and orderly places, distant from reality, but walks ever at our side on the rocky roads and in the dark places of life....(more).   Image: Incarnation, Encounter, Synod.a Croix Int, 20211223
Recognising that we all need pastoral care
Extract from CathNes, The eRecord, 22 December 2021
Pastoral support for parish priests in the Perth Archdiocese is now available thanks to the launch of a new clergy professional pastoral supervision program.        An essential ingredient in maintaining wellbeing, the new program ensures that the clergy have access to support and strategies to effectively mitigate the many stresses of being spiritually responsible for their local Catholic community.             “At the heart of our ministry as deacons, priests and bishops is our commitment to be servants to our brothers and sisters in the faith, and in an increasingly complex world it is not always easy to live this vocation fully,” Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB said.        Pastoral supervision is designed to help us acknowledge and build on what is working and assist us to make changes where necessary and this has certainly been my own experience over the last few years.”          Although the new program is a direct response to recommendations made by the child abuse royal commission, it also extends a valuable service to the clergy: supervision is common practice for professionals who are entrusted with the physical, mental and emotional care of people, especially for the vulnerable.....(more)       Photo: Centrecare Inc Director Tony Pietropiccolo, Archbishop Timothy Costello, Clergy Professional Pastoral Supervision Program, eRecord Max Hoh, CathNews 20211222
Sisters of the Good Shepherd safeguarding audit published
Extract from Media Release,   Australian Catholic Safeguarding Ltd (ACSL), 17 December 2021
Australian Catholic Safeguarding Ltd (ACSL) has today published the safeguarding audit report of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd (Australia and New Zealand). The report indicates that the Sisters of the Good Shepherd have fully implemented or are substantially progressed in the implementation of all 63 (100%) Indicators of the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards relevant to their operations.              The audit reports Church entities’ progress in implementing the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards, a national framework for the protection and safety of children in Catholic organisations.               This is the final safeguarding audit report of Australian Catholic entities completed by ACSL for 2021 and demonstrates the strong commitment of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd to ensuring a safe Church for everyone.         ACSL’s Manager of Audit and Review, Dr David Treanor, said that safeguarding audits conducted by ACSL form part of the Catholic Church’s ongoing response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.         “Through our audit program we help Church entities identify any risks in their safeguarding practices and then provide practical recommendations to improve child safety within the organisation.”          “We undertake a detailed review of the policies and documentation and combine this with interviews with key personnel about safeguarding practices within the organisation.”        “We congratulate the Sisters for their work in committing to the Standards. They have demonstrated the cultural change that helps to create child safe organisations and are committed to continuous improvements in their safeguarding practices.”         Dr Treanor said that the development of ACSL’s new audit and review framework is also progressing, in line with ACSL’s own commitment to continuous improvement. “Future audits will be very much risk-based and proportionate to the Church entities’ engagement in ministry and the safeguarding of children and adults at risk. This is in line with ACSL’s own commitment to continuous improvement and something we look forward to sharing more about in 2022,” .......Final Audit Reort HERE     Related reports  HERE
Vatican urged to recognise Anglican ordinations
Extract from CathNews, Crux, 17 December 2021
A group of Catholic and Anglican theologians has publicly called on the Vatican to review and overturn a papal document from 1896 that declared Anglican ordinations “absolutely null and utterly void”.          “Where we once walked apart, we now walk together in friendship and love,” wrote members of the Malines Conversations Group after tracing the history of ecumenical agreements between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion and, especially, reviewing examples of collaboration and gestures of recognition.      The judgment made by Pope Leo XIII in his apostolic letter Apostolicae Curae in 1896 “does not accord with the reality into which the Spirit has led us now,” said members of the group, which is an informal Catholic-Anglican dialogue that began in 2013.      Members of the group, who are not appointed to represent their churches but keep their respective ecumenical offices informed of their studies and discussions, presented a 27-page document on Wednesday at Rome’s Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas.     Bishop Brian Farrell, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said that while his Vatican office does not sponsor the group’s dialogue, “we are very happy” that the question of Anglican orders is “being examined in the wholly different ecumenical context of today, when so much has been achieved in Anglican-Catholic relations”.....(more)
 Vinnies makes ‘first foray’ into social housing
Extract from CatheNews, The Advocate,  16 December 2021, 16 December 2021
A partnership between the St Vincent de Paul Society, Centacare Evolve Housing and the Tasmanian Government will see a new housing development built in the state’s northwest. Source: The Advocate.             Smithton is likely to be the home of a new housing development from the middle of 2023.         If approved by the local council, the development would be built by the mid-2023 and will help reduce the amount of people on the waiting list for government housing.         Housing Minister Michael Ferguson visited the site yesterday, alongside representatives from St Vincent de Paul Society and Centacare Evolve Housing, to announce 28 new homes, which will be offered to people aged over 55.       St Vincent de Paul Society state president Mark Gaetani said the homes will mainly house singles and couples, and will only be available for people on the waiting list for social housing.        Mr Gaetain said it was the society’s “first foray into social and affordable housing”.       Mr Ferguson explained the benefits of the state Government working with community organisations.       He said the Government would provide $135,000 per unit and with land donated by the Church and Vinnies, “the Government’s grant support it can just go so very far”.....(more).   Photo: St Vincent de Paul Society Representatives, Smithton site, Vinnies Tasmania, CathNews 20211216
Francis’ year: keeping pace with the Pope
Limited extract from Christopher Lamb, Subscription journal, The Tablet, 16 December 2021
From the start of his papacy, the ‘outsider Pope’ has made clear the direction in which he would like to take the Church. This year has seen Francis, who is 85 on 17 December, put his foot on the accelerator.              At the beginning of 2021, I wrote that as Pope Francis was seeking to press ahead with his reforms, he was showing no sign of slowing down. This year, Francis has not simply kept up the pace of change – he has moved into top gear. The Pope seems determined not to waste what he sees as a critical, epoch-shifting, kairos moment to reshape the Church for the twenty-first century.         The last 12 months have been a whirlwind of activity, with Francis opening the most ambitious Catholic renewal process in six decades; making a historic visit to Iraq; giving the green light for an unprecedented corruption trial in the Vatican; and continuing to offer bold leadership on the migrants’ crisis, climate change and social justice. There are no signs that the Pope intends to stand down......(Source).
When synodality confronts hierarchy
Extract from John Warhurst, Eureka Street, 14 December 2021
What an extraordinary coincidence of synodal events the Church in Australia is currently undertaking. The intersessional period between the two Assemblies of the Fifth Plenary Council is underway and the First Assembly Proposals from Small Groups and Individual Members has just been published. At the same time, we are called to participate in the consultation process with the entire Church for the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on Synodality. Australian Catholics have been invited to link the two occasions by responding to the First Assembly Proposals through the Synod of Bishops consultation process.         Synodality is at the heart of both events. Archbishop Timothy Costelloe’s presidential message accompanying the First Assembly Proposals document included the reflection that: ‘It has been a journey of listening, dialogue and discernment which has provided the opportunity for all of us to explore the practice of ‘synodality’ and learn by doing’. Not only was synodality embraced by the Assembly, but a specific agenda question (No. 13) asked: ‘How might the People of God, lay and ordained, women and men, approach governance in the spirit of synodality and co-responsibility for more effective proclamation of the Gospel?’          The Individual Reflection Guide issued by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) for the Synod of Bishops consultation states that ‘Pope Francis is calling the Church to practice synodality, that is listening to-and hearing-one another in all facets of Church life.’ We are invited to participate in the consultation process to reflect on the three dimensions of a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission.         However, synodality confronts the traditional practice of hierarchy within the church. When the ACBC responded last December to The Light from the Southern Cross report, which promoted synodality and co-responsible governance, it re-stated its position that hierarchy was embedded in the church’s approach to governance. This immediately set up a potential tension between episcopal authority and participation in governance by the People of God.         The official reflection guide further explores this tension, while flatly asserting that ‘A synodal church is a participatory and co-responsible church’. The exploration poses some questions which are both philosophical and practical. The headings are Authority and Participation; Discerning and Deciding. The questions are more thoughtful and probing than the PC Agenda Questions.........(more).       Photo: John Warhurst
The synodal process 2021-2023
Pope Francis launches the most important global Catholic project since Vatican II
Limited extracts from Massimo Faggioli, 24 May 2021, Signs of the Times, subscription Journal La Croix International, linked here 14 December 2021
In the ninth year of his pontificate, Pope Francis has launched an ambitious three-year worldwide "synodal process".      It will culminate in October 2023 in Rome with the XVI ordinary general assembly of the Synod of Bishops.        At that point, Francis will be almost 87 years old. By that age, all of his predecessors on the Chair of Peter had either died (with the exception of Leo XIII) or had resigned (such as Benedict XVI and Celestine V).       And if, God forbid, the Jesuit pope should not make it to 2023, this "synodal process" will have already begun. It's his insurance policy against the possibility that his pontificate will be promptly archived as a quick break before another pope returns to the status quo.       Even if there should be a conclave between now and the 2023 Synod assembly, the synodal process will be an integral part of the next conclave's agenda in a way not totally different from the papal election of June 1963.        The deceased pope, John XXIII, had already launched the first session of the Second Vatican Council in the autumn of 1962. His newly elected successor, Paul VI, continued the Council and brought the ship into port in December 1965.     It was no coincidence that Francis and his highly regarded Synod secretary general, Cardinal Mario Grech of Malta, announced the synodal process just before Pentecost, the event when the Holy Spirit manifests itself through multiple languages and reveals unity in diversity.        An ambitious project with various risks.       But this global synodal process is not only ambitious, it is also risky because of its different phases – local, national/continental, and central – that will highlight the radical differences in the ecclesial and existential conditions of local Churches...........This new global synodal process also has to merge with ongoing national synodal paths that are already unfolding (Germany and Australia) or in the planning stages (Ireland and Italy).        Currently in the Catholic Church there are vastly different ideas about synodality, even among its advocates.        Is the aim to create a more pastoral and less clerical Church or is it to push for doctrinal developments on certain critical issues (such as the role of women in the Church, teaching on sexuality, etc.)?....(more).   Photo:  The synodal-process-2021-2023-La Croix Int 20210521
Catholic leaders should not fear ‘doing a new thing’
The disregard shown to the hopes of lay people at the first general assembly of the Catholic Church’s Fifth Plenary Council should not be repeated.
Extract from By Catholics For Renewal, Pearls & Irritations, John Menadue Website, 12 December 2021
After three years of intense preparations, the Catholic Church’s Fifth Plenary Council of Australia is now well under way. The first general assembly, conducted online across five time zones on October 3-10, has concluded and Catholics are rightly asking: What did it achieve? Is God doing a “new thing” for the Church in Australia? What were the Australian bishops intending the council to achieve?             In 2016, Archbishop of Brisbane Mark Coleridge said a council would have to address the fallout from the royal commission into child sexual abuse and the drastic decline in Mass attendance and sacramental participation. More generally, he said, it would have to bring on a “change of culture” and make “bold decisions about the future of the Catholic Church in Australia”       In 2016, Bishop Vincent Long of the Parramatta diocese said the council would have to address the underlying causes of the Church’s existential crisis, triggered by what he called a “systematic betrayal of the Gospel” by the bishops in the sexual abuse catastrophe.      At the outset, the bishops committed to an inclusive national consultation with the whole Catholic community “in its breadth and diversity”. The community responded through 17,500 individual and group submissions, indicating clearly their priorities for culture change and bold decisions for the future.       A lengthy process followed which distilled the content of the submissions into discernment papers, an “instrumentum laboris” and finally an agenda. Catholics for Renewal regarded the agenda as not fit for purpose because it failed to fully embody the priorities of the Australian faithful. Plenary Council member Professor John Warhurst said the 17,500 submissions had not been adequately respected and represented in the council agenda.....(more)
Bishop discusses the anger and division that plagues the Church
Extract from Brian Fraga, Catholic Outlook, Parramatta Diocese, La Croix International,  8 December 2021
Bishop William Wack CSC of Pensacola-Tallahassee, has just released a pastoral letter aimed at re-energizing Catholics in his Florida diocese.       Christendom has come and gone, says Bishop William Wack of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida.       “We’ve reached the end of Christendom,” said Wack, who told NCR in a recent interview that the church’s goal should not be to restore a supposed golden age of Christianity or rebuild a political culture where the Christian faith reigns supreme.       “Our faith is not built on this state-sponsored or state-supported Christianity. It’s built on a person: Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow,” said Wack, explaining in the interview his vision of the Christian faith and modern society that he wrote about in his first pastoral letter.              Released Nov. 4, Wack’s 18-page letter, entitled “Sharing the Gift,” focuses on evangelization. Echoing Pope Francis, Wack urges Catholics in his northern Florida diocese to become “missionary disciples” by living their faith and seizing opportunities to share it with their neighbours.      In “Sharing the Gift,” Wack, a Holy Cross priest who became the bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee in August 2017, cites Gaudium et Spes and Lumen Gentium from the Second Vatican Council.       Wack also acknowledges the “great deal of anger, division, anxiety and hopelessness” in modern times.                 In such circumstances, Wack says the temptation is to retreat and “circle the wagons” to defend the Christian faith from outside forces, or to use the Gospel solely to address hot button social issues. Such approaches, Wack says, miss the essence of the Christian faith.        Wack discussed his pastoral letter in an interview in early November, before the U.S. bishops’ assembly in Baltimore, where the bishops approved a document on “eucharistic consistency” after months of controversy over efforts by some prelates to address pro-choice Catholic politicians like President Joe Biden......(more)       Image: Bishop William Wack CSC, Bishop Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida, Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Vimeo
Plenary Council: First Assembly Proposals From Small Groups And Individual Members, December 2021
Extract from Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, President of the Plenary Council, 9 December 2021  
.......The celebration of the Plenary Council began with the commencement of the First Assembly on Sunday October 3rd 2021 in St Mary’s Cathedral, Perth. Over the following week, nearly 280 members from across Australia gathered online with observers and theological advisors, in plenary sessions and in small groups.            This was an inspiring, challenging and sometimes unsettling week for many of us. Above all, it was a Spirit-filled week of discernment and reflection as we explored together possible ways of re-casting ourselves, re-positioning ourselves, the Church in Australia, for our mission of becoming more fully a clear, unambiguous, and effective sign and instrument of communion with God and of unity among all people.        I am very pleased to present the fruits of that discernment to Members and to the Catholic community. This draws together the proposals that emerged from the small groups that met each day, along with formal proposals submitted by individual Members. As much as possible, what follows retains the original voice of those who spoke, without attempts to produce a harmonised or homogenous account.         Plenary Council Members will have an opportunity to engage with these proposals at ‘coffee conversations’ during December. I encourage the wider Catholic community to consider these proposals as a significant indication of our local context when participating in the local consultation currently underway for the 2023 Synod ‘For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission’, which has the fundamental question: How is the ‘journeying together’ to announce the Gospel happening today in your particular Church? What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our ‘journeying together’?                      (visit       Further reflection on these proposals is already underway, to identify thematic focuses for propositions that might be developed for consideration by the Second Assembly in July 2022. This work will be coordinated by the Council’s Drafting Committee, drawing on a range of theologians and other contributors.         As initial drafts of propositions become available, they will be shared with Members, Advisors and other Church and Agency leaders for ongoing discernment and feedback. In this way, the writing process will be informed and guided by the ongoing prayer, conversation and discernment of the Members and the wider people of God in Australia..... (Full document with Proposals HERE)
Let the Holy Spirit surprise you, Bishop Chow (Hong Kong Bishop Elect) says
Extract from Catholic Outlook (source, Hong Kong Sunday Examiner) 9 December 2021
When Pope Francis, a Jesuit, was elected pope in 2013, the Church witnessed a new vitality and hope. What can we expect from Bishop Stephen Chow Sau-yan, also a Jesuit? The answer was quick: “I am not Francis!” Bishop Chow sat over a cup of coffee to chat with the diocesan newspapers—the Sunday Examiner and the Kung Kao Po, a couple of weeks before his episcopal ordination and installation as the ninth bishop of Hong Kong.         Bishop Chow acknowledged the common factor that he shares with the pope: “As Jesuits, one of our General Chapters gave great importance to spiritual conversation and discernment in communion—communion not just among the Jesuits, but we have to discern with non-Jesuits in mission and our lay-partners in mission. I think that is an important way for a bishop. And I don’t believe in running the diocese like a corporation with big strategic plans. We have to listen to different sectors, especially laypeople. They have a voice to represent. And this is what the pope means by Synodality. Francis is very much a Jesuit!”          When queried about what changes he expected in his life as a bishop, he laughed: “I am not a bishop yet, so I don’t know!” With the pope’s call for synodality in the life of the Church, Bishop Chow hopes we will listen to one another and discern together for the mission. “If you are serious about Vatican II, people of God as the body of Christ, you cannot walk away from the call for synodality. Francis is pushing us to live the Vatican II,” he observed.        The bishop further explained that “any changes could cause some amount of confusion and disturbances to the status quo. But if you do not go through those disturbances, how do you grow? Even in growing up [of a person], there is pain. When a person enters puberty, there are a lot of changes. Does anyone want to stop puberty so that you do not change? So also with the Church, we need to grow and therefore, those uncertainties are not always a bad thing.”       He said, “We should always ask: what do you want to see in the future—a divided Church and divided world, or do we want everyone to be winners? The big problem the world faces today is that we are stuck in ideologies. Ideologies kill because the very definition of ideology is ‘I am right, and you are wrong.’ There is no dialogue. We need to learn to discern together. Discernment is a gift of the Holy Spirit. But today, not many people believe in the Holy Spirit! We are often over-dependent on ourselves; our convictions. They are not bad, but we need to open ourselves to be different and to be surprised by the Holy Spirit.”.....(more)
Pope thanks New Ways Ministry for work with LGBT Catholics
In two newly revealed letters Francis encourages American group previously under fire from the Vatican's doctrinal office and a number of US bishops
By Brian Fraga, National Catholic Reporter, La Croix International, 8 December 2021
In two letters to New Ways Ministry this year, Pope Francis commended the organization for its outreach to the LGBTQ community and referred to one of its co-founders, Loretto Sr. Jeannine Gramick, as "a valiant woman" who had suffered much for her ministry.        Written in Spanish on official Vatican stationary, Francis' letters mention that the pope is aware that New Ways Ministry's "history has not been an easy one," but that loving one's neighbor is still the second commandment, tied "necessarily" to the first commandment to love God.       "Thank you for your neighborly work," Francis wrote in a June 17 letter addressed to Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, which is based in Mount. Rainier, Maryland.       "Despite what some church leaders might say or think of us, it appears that Pope Francis is happy that we're reaching out and helping to bring LGBTQ people into the church, and helping those who are here to stay," DeBernardo told NCR.      DeBernardo said he decided to publicly disclose the correspondence between New Ways Ministry and the pope in response to the Vatican's General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops removing a New Ways Ministry webinar video from a resources website for the 2021-2023 synod on synodality.      Reports in conservative Catholic media outlets indicated that the secretariat removed the video on Dec. 7 after learning that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had censured New Ways Ministry in 2010 for its support of civil marriage for same-sex couples. A spokesman for the secretariat has not returned requests for comment from NCR......(more)
Victorians urged to engage in healing process
Extract from CathNews, Melbourne Catholic, 6 December 2021
The chair of Yoo-rrook Justice Commission has called on Victorians to join with First Nations peoples to engage in the process of truth-telling, justice and healing.        Professor Eleanor Bourke delivered the annual Knox Public Lecture in Melbourne last month, hosted by Catholic Theological College in Melbourne. Professor Bourke has held numerous executive positions in community, state, and federal government agencies. She was co-chair of Reconciliation Victoria for three years and a board member for the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council for 12 years.        “Today’s oration is a chance for us to ask ourselves what is the Victorian story and what do we want the future to be? To move forward, you need to know that footprints imprinted on this land are of ancient things, not just dinosaurs, but of our ancient ancestors. We are now at a moment where that wisdom can assist survival in parts of this land,” Professor Bourke said.        “The wellbeing of First Peoples is fundamentally underpinned by our lived connection with culture, country and pride in our heritage, the oldest living continuous country on earth”’ she said.        “There are moments in history where the confluence of past and present events opens to a better future. The past is catching up and our people are lighting the way.       “I believe that moment has arrived for Australia, and we, the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission are seizing a moment here in Victoria.”       The commission was jointly announced by the Victorian Government and the First People’s Assembly of Victoria, an independent and democratically elected body to represent Traditional Owners and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Victoria, in May.       Professor Bourke is one of five commissioners who will lead this work over the coming years. An interim report is due by June 20, 2022, with the final report, including recommendations, due on June 30, 2024.....(more)    Photo: Professor Eleanor Bourke (Melbourne Catholic)
Pope speaks out against populist politics
Extract from Christopher Lamb, The Tablet, 2 December 2021
Pope Francis has warned that democracy is on the decline as people become tempted by the “siren songs” of authoritarianism and the easy but unrealistic solutions offered by populist politicians.              The 84-year-old Argentine Pope was speaking in Athens, the birthplace of democracy, during a two day trip to Greece where he made an appeal for a “good politics” that serves the common good.         We cannot avoid noting with concern how today, and not only in Europe, we are witnessing a retreat from democracy,” Francis said during a speech in Greece’s presidential palace.        Democracy requires participation and involvement on the part of all; consequently, it demands hard work and patience. It is complex, whereas authoritarianism is peremptory and populism’s easy answers appear attractive. In some societies, concerned for security and dulled by consumerism, weariness and malcontent can lead to a sort of scepticism about democracy.”     The Pope explained this was fuelled by excessive bureaucracy, the fear of a loss of identity and the “distance” people felt between themselves and the government.        But the answer to these problems, Francis said, must not be an “obsessive quest for popularity or a “flurry of unrealistic promises”, but ensuring greater participation of the weakest in society and a focus on the “art of the common good.” .....(More).   
New Parish Secretary Appointed
Friday 3 December 2021

It is a joy to announce the appointment of Rosa Botoulas as our new Parish Secretary. Rosa will take up the appointment on 4th January 2022.

Rosa is enthusiastic about returning to working within a parish community having previously worked as the parish secretary of St. Fidelis, Moreland for 11 years and at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for 2 years. Rosa will not only bring great experience to our parish office but a commitment to parish life and the values and mission of our parish.

2022 will be an exciting time for our parish as we work towards the completion of our new parish centre at Mary Immaculate. To have Rosa ‘on board’ as we move, mid year, into a new office and all that transition will mean, will be a great blessing as we work together to fulfil the dream and vision that has been at the forefront of this parish for nearly two decades. 


Parish Redevelopment
Friday 3 December 2021

View from Upper Heidelberg Rd.
Ground floor entrance to parish office.

First floor structural steel going up
for offices and presbytery
Pope tells Catholics to celebrate, welcome diversity
Extract from CathNews, CNS, 3 December 2021
The Church is a mosaic of different rites and cultures and must show the world the beauty of welcoming all people as brothers and sisters, Pope Francis told the Catholics of Cyprus.       Beginning his December 2-4 visit to the island with a meeting with bishops, priests and religious rather than with government officials, the Pope highlighted the religious value of welcoming and diversity in a nation struggling with migration.      Cyprus has a large Orthodox majority, but also centuries-old communities of Maronite and Latin-rite Catholics.       On the flight from Rome to Larnaca, a city on the sea about 30 miles from Nicosia, Pope Francis told reporters, “It will be a beautiful trip, but we will touch some wounds.”       One of those wounds — the fact that for more than 40 years the island has been divided between the mostly Greek Cypriot south and the mostly Turkish Cypriot north — explained why the Pope landed in Larnaca. The Nicosia airport is now mainly the headquarters of the United Nations peacekeeping force that patrols the “green line” between the north and south.      Meeting with the bishops, priests, religious and seminarians in the Maronite Cathedral, Pope Francis said: “The Church, as catholic, universal, is an open space in which all are welcomed and gathered together by God’s mercy and invitation to love. Walls do not and should not exist in the Catholic Church. For the Church is a common home, a place of relationships and of coexistence in diversity.”....(more)
 Plenary ‘reformers’ are really demolitionists
Extracts from Professor Greg Craven, Catholic Weekly, 2 December 2021
Even Beelzebub must feel sorry for the Catholic Church in Australia. Beset externally by enemies in the media, politics and what passes for the intelligentsia, it now has its own self-righteous fifth column.
    These worthies like to describe themselves as “reformers”, but they want to reform the Church the way woodworm reforms a house. They really are demolitionists, hoping to clear away the existing Church, and replace it with one in their own image.       On 18 November, the demolitionists had their electronic clan-gathering, grandly titled a “Convocation” around “The Future of Catholicism in Australia”.     It drew attendees from all the groups composing the Australian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform, including various gaggles of “concerned” Catholics, “inclusive” Catholics, and WWITCH, a curiously named Catholic women’s group.         The website is very proud that 1500 people participated. To put this in context, the last census revealed 5,210,000 Catholics, so that is a whopping 0.03 per cent. Or for further comparison, outside COVID, 3,000 people visit St. Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney each day. A quarter of a million attended Pope Benedict’s World Youth Day Mass at Randwick in 2008.           “Their immediate aim seems to be to hijack the Plenary with a view to first embarrassing the Australian Bishops, and then the universal Church.”        So why would one worry about this micro-swarm of gnats? Mainly because, in the wake of the appalling scandal over Church child abuse, some Bishops are briskly walking scared.        Counter-intuitively, dedicated demolitionists are appointed to prominent Church bodies, and are influential in the current Plenary Council.       This is ironic, because the main agenda of the demolitionists is to demote the Bishops. The chief episcopal crime has been a critical failure in “governance”.        Governance has been a constant theme of the demolitionists since luminaries on the Truth Justice and Healing Council joined with the Royal Commission that it was supposed to be monitoring to identify bad governance as one of the prime causes of child abuse.      This had enormous tactical advantages, as the Bishops are the governors of the Church. Therefore, the horrors of child abuse were their fault. It often seemed worse to be a Bishop than a child-abusing priest, cleric or layman.     The influence of the Bishops consequently should be greatly diminished in favour of responsible laypeople. Guess who?        Make no mistake about it: this is not a People’s Revolution. Rather, in the tradition of the French Revolution, the high bourgeoisie want to displace a perceived episcopal aristocracy..........The watchword of demolitionists is “synodality”, which actually means collective and discerning decision-making – within the bounds of doctrine and canon law – but has been appropriated by demolitionists as a sort of self-guided democracy.....(more).   Photo: Emeritus Professor Greg Craven, Vice Chancellor Australian Catholic Unoiverity, Photo Giovanni Portelli, Catholic Weekly 202112             

Without change Church’s mission is at risk, Plenary reformers say
Extract from Adam Wesselinoff, Catholic Weekly, 2 December 2021
The Catholic Church’s clerical leadership, norms of governance, language and tradition have been raised as areas of potential reform at a significant post-Plenary convocation.             The third convocation of the “Future of Catholicism in Australia” series, held on 18 November, was organised by the Australasian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (ACCCR) to reflect on the first session of the Plenary Council.        Nine speakers offered assessments ranging in tone from constructive proposals and expressions of hope, to out-and-out opprobrium about the “institutional church”.           The discussion across the evening focused predominantly on participants’ frustrations that the first Plenary session did not facilitate thorough and concrete proposals for church governance reform which they see as necessary.        This reform was viewed as necessary by participants because the Church’s traditional structures were seen as an impediment to its mission.        Former Royal Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald said that during his tenure at the child abuse Royal Commission “it became clearer to me that perhaps the church, the institutional church, was now at a serious point of actually failing or impeding the ability of people to come to God”.      He described the Plenary process as a struggle against fear, “the great disenabler in life”, which he attributed to a “bloc” of conservatives acting “from an ideological position, who wish to resist change”.      The Plenary risked becoming a squandered opportunity and the Church a “laggard” if reform was not grasped, Fitzgerald added.       A similar view was put by Francis Sullivan, Chair of Catholic Social Services Australia and former CEO of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council.        “We were supposed to be a deep listening Church. This Plenary Council is not about the Bishops, it’s about us,” Sullivan said.        The Catholic Church’s clerical leadership, norms of governance, language and tradition have been raised as areas of potential reform at a significant post-Plenary convocation. ..........(more).     Photo: Francis Sullivan, Chair Catholic Social Services Australia, Catholic Weekly 20211202

A crucial choice: how the Church selects its bishops
Limited Extracts from Isabelle de Gaulmyn,CathNews NZ, Subscription Journal La Croix International, 2 December 2021
Hard times for bishops!      For those who are used to the generally compliant tones that have characterized the Catholic faithful’s relationship to the hierarchy up till now, it must be said that this is changing.        Bishops in France are now being directly and harshly criticized by “ordinary Catholics” following the publication of the Sauvé Report, which brought to light serious failures in the way Church leaders in the country have handled sex abuse cases.       Increasingly, Catholics are openly challenging the legitimacy of their bishops. The lay faithful no longer tolerate the excesses of solitary power.         They also want to have a say and, in particular, they want to be a part of the process that decides who becomes a bishop.       Because the entire paradox is there. In the Church, the bishop is all-powerful.       It’s ludicrous to think the pope can appoint all the world’s bishops.        No matter how brutal it is to call this into question, it is merely a backlash against a system of governance where power is concentrated in the hands of one man who holds all the keys to a diocese.        If a bishop makes a mistake or if he is not up to the task, it is the entire Catholic community that has to pay the consequences.       And the local Church is permanently penalized.        In view of the importance of the position, choosing the wrong man can end up being disastrous.          The appointment of bishops is undoubtedly one of the Church’s most archaic procedures. It’s ludicrous to think that the pope can individually appoint them all.        If we take into account that there are more than 5,000 bishops in the world, we can see that even a pope who never sleeps could never accomplish this task..........Bishops are actually chosen by the papal nuncio — the pope’s ambassador in a country — or by influential cardinals or bishops in Rome. Or by a combination of the above.         The process of selecting the candidates remains confidential, even ultra-confidential since it is protected by the famous “pontifical secret”.....(more).     Photo: Isabelle de Gaulmyn La Croix Int, CathNews NZ 20211202

Catholic Social Services Victoria: Stop kicking the kids down the road
Extract from  CSSV, Catholic Outlook, Diocese of Parramatta, 25 November 2021"

"A society is fruitful when it is able to generate processes of inclusion and integration, of caring and trying to create opportunities and alternatives that can offer new possibilities to the young, to build a future through community, education and employment” — Pope Francis, World Youth Day 2019, speaking at Las Garzas de Pacora Juvenile Detention Centre

The Communique from the November Meeting of the Australian States and Territories’ Attorneys-General (MAG) in relation to the issue of children in custody was underwhelming. While it is good to see that the MAG has continued to speak about the serious problem of keeping children of a very young age in prison, it is now three years since its previous proposal to study the issue.  Despite much public concern and hundreds of local and international organisations and experts, including the UN, advocating to ‘raise the age’ to at least 14, the MAG’s announcement has kicked the issue, and therefore the kids, down the road by announcing it will support ‘development of a proposal to increase the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 12’.        This ‘announcing an announcement’ is not the commitment we need that will give children the best chance at a bright future and keep our communities safe over the short and long term.  To be clear: this is not a national commitment to raise the age to 12, but rather a minimal mention of ‘developing a proposal’, surrounded by a contingent of caveats and exemptions.         “Catholic Social Services Victoria (CSSV) takes criminal justice and child welfare seriously.  Raising the age two years from 10 to only 12 defies all expert and international advice.  As last reported numbers stand, it would actually impact less than 10% of the 500+ children under the age of 14 in custody across the country, a mere token.” says Josh Lourensz, Executive Director of CSSV.        “It falls short of the bare minimum age standard of 14 that legal (the Law Council), medical (AMA) and indigenous experts declare necessary and urgent.  The ACT alone has taken substantial action in line with expert advice, committed to raising the age to 14 and has addressed MAG’s ultra-cautious concerns in a clear roadmap for releasing under-14s from custody......(more).    Image: De an Sun Unsplash. Catholic Outlook, Parramatta, 25 November 2021   

Archdiocese of Brisbane launches first online parish
Extract from CathNews, 26 November 2021
Brisbane Archdiocese has launched an online parish to engage the thousands of Catholics who practise their faith through a digital format, with Fr Peter Brannelly appointed the first online parish priest.               Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge said the innovation was sparked by the continued interest in online Masses even though COVID-19 restrictions have eased to enable churches to welcome back parishioners.          The online parish will be led by Fr Peter Brannelly, who will be a regular on the Archdiocese’s social media platforms engaging viewers across southeast Queensland and beyond.        The online parish begins this Sunday when the new liturgical year starts with the Advent season leading into Christmas celebrations.      Many Catholic dioceses and parishes provide a livestream of Masses but the Archdiocese wanted to go a step further and create an online parish that can be a central meeting point in the same way a physical parish brings together its community. The Archdiocese is not aware of any other formal online parish community in other parts of the world.      “We’ve always thought of a Catholic parish as something that has a geographic base around a church and perhaps a school but the last two years have made us think about life differently,” Archbishop Coleridge said.     “COVID-19 has changed many elements of our lives and we know that some of our parishioners began to watch Masses by livestream early last year and that’s continued.     “They are still watching and may not be able to make it to a physical parish so we decided that we would come to them by forming a dedicated online parish community with a priest who will engage with them regularly.”.......(more). Photo:Online_Parish-Brisbane_Archdiocese_CathNews 20211126
Plenary Council, Synod of Bishops 'interweaving'
Extract from Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Plenary Post, 25 November 2021
Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge has said the way in which the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia and the Synod of Bishops process are interacting is a great sign of how the local and universal Church can work together.      "Here in Brisbane and right across Australia we are very, very much in synodal mode at the moment," he said in a video late last month.      "At this time there is a great interweaving of the Plenary Council and the Synod (of Bishops) process. In other words, the local and the universal working together and enriching each other."      Archbishop Coleridge said the Plenary Council has been considering the mission of the Church in Australia, while the Synod is seeking to engage the Church globally. In his video, he says the Synod process could be seen as an invitation to each person to tell Pope Francis what they think about the Church worldwide.      "This is really a call to enter into a new way of being the Church, and on this journey of the worldwide Synod, the process itself is in many ways the product," he said.......(More).          Click HERE to watch Archbishop Coleridge's video.
Local consultation extended for Synod of Bishops
Extract from Plenary Post, 25 November 2021
The local consultation phase for the 2023 Synod of Bishops has been extended in Australia by more than two months, following the Vatican’s decision to allow more time for dioceses to hear from their people.          The Holy See announced in late October that the original request for national syntheses of diocesan consultations to be sent to Rome by April 2022 had been changed, with them now due by August 15, 2022.         At the recent plenary meeting of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, a new timeline was outlined and accepted as the national approach.       It extends the original timeline for local consultation, with the submission of local responses to the Synod of Bishops’ questions pushed back from December 12, 2021 to February 27, 2022.......(More)
Astoundingly candid bishop says Catholic Church is a shattered remains of its former self
Germany's Heiner Wilmer, who is widely considered a "Francis bishop", says the pope wants to "turn the Church on its head"          German Bishop Heiner Wilmer, who is reportedly close to Pope Francis, has claimed that the Catholic Church has "utterly gambled away" people's trust in the institution by the way it has mishandled the clergy sex abuse crisis.
Limited extract from Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, Austria, Subscription journal La Croix International, 24 November 2021
"Protecting the institution and the perpetrators was always the most important factor for the Church. (Protecting) the victims, on the other hand, simply did not occur," said the 60-year-old Bishop Wilmer, head of the northern German Diocese of Hildesheim.         He made his remarks to some 200 representatives of religious, social and political groups who were gathered for an annual diocesan-sponsored reception in Hannover.       The bishop was filling in for Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who had to cancel his participation after he tested positive for the coronavirus.       Wilmer, whose address was titled "SOS -- It is no less a matter of saving our souls", warned that the Catholic Church would no longer be able to play a dominant role in society.      Church must re-discover its Biblical roots        "The Church as an institution will shrink and will be far more modest. It will just be one voice among many offering to explain the sense of life on earth," he said.       "While it will be smaller, it will be ecumenical. Our faith will cover a smaller area but will grow in depth and in its Biblical roots," he predicted.       Heiner Wilmer was completing his third year as the worldwide superior general of the Dehonians (Priests of the Sacred Heart) in 2018 when the pope picked him to be bishop of Hildesheim.        And many in Germany say the former head of the Dehonians is truly "a Francis bishop".      He concentrated on three key questions during his address in Hannover: How much say do bishops still have today? What are people looking for? And are the Churches still of any use today?....(more).   Photo: Bishop Heiner Wilmer Moritz Frankenberg dpa MaxPPP La Croix Int 20211124

Pope challenges Church's pastors with "Beatitudes for Bishops"
Francis outlines the traits he's looking for in bishops with a prayer card distributed at the start of the plenary assembly of the Italian Episcopal Conference
Limited Extract from By Loup Besmond de Senneville, Vatican City, Subscription journal La Croix International, 24 November 2021  
If a picture is worth a thousand words, Pope Francis may have found a prayer that's worth at least a thousand speeches.       It's called "Beatitudes for Bishops" and the pope gave a copy of it to each member of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) on Monday at the beginning of their weeklong plenary assembly in Rome.        The small prayer card bears an image of Jesus carrying "the lost sheep" on his shoulders and extols the Church's shepherds to be humble servants of the People of God.       "Blessed is the bishop who makes poverty and sharing his lifestyle," says one of the beatitudes.      Another praises the bishop "who is not afraid to wet his face with tears, so that in them may be reflected the sorrow of the people" and "the work of priests".        "Blessed is the bishop who considers his ministry a service and not a power," says another.       "Blessed is the bishop who does not shut himself up in government buildings, who does not become a bureaucrat more attentive to statistics than to faces" and the one "who has a heart for the misery of the world".       "Blessed is the bishop who is not afraid to go against the grain for the Gospel," says yet another.      "Blessed is the bishop who works for peace, who walks along the path of reconciliation, who plants the seed of communion in the hearts of priests, who accompanies a divided society along the path of reconciliation," says another in this list of beatitudes tailor-made for the Church's leaders........(more)

Unmute yourself and consider the outrageous
Extract from CathNews NZ, 18 November 2021
New Zealand’s Catholic bishops have opened the diocesan phase of the 2021-2023 synodal journey.         We should “unmute ourselves”, and everyone should share their dreams for the Church says Auckland’s bishop, Patrick Dunn.          We should also consider “outrageous” issues in walking the synodal journey, Dunn said as he opened the synod in his Auckland.   As Auckland remained in level 3 lockdown, Dunn led the liturgy opening on Zoom, Facebook live and YouTube.       Auckland’s synodal journey will involve people being invited next month to gather in small groups, he said.    “I realise that this couldn’t be a more inconvenient time for us in Auckland diocese. We’re in lockdown. It’s coming up for Christmas and the summer break . . . It might have to be on Zoom or online, please God, it might be able to be in person.     “But we’re asking people to share what is in your hearts and to listen to what others have to say.”        Dunn suggests questions to ponder could include: What is our dream for the Church? How do we think the Church could or should change? How would we like the Church to be?        “One really big question, it’s a little bit of an outrageous one, is: does the current parish structure suit our purposes, especially in an urban setting.       "Parishes have been very resilient through history, but are we perhaps being called to think of a different model or different models in a large city like Auckland city itself?”      Dunn also wants people to consider how effective we are as a Church in caring for the poor.       “Even with the present vaccination programme in New Zealand, one of the points being highlighted in the past couple of weeks has been groups who feel on the fringes of society.    “They feel that they don’t belong to mainstream New Zealand society. That mainstream New Zealand society doesn’t care about them. Are we caring for them?” Dunn asked.      It’s important even as people share their thoughts and dreams during the synodal journey, that they also listen to others, especially those who may be overlooked in our society.      Wellington’s Cardinal John Dew stressed the call to serve in his homily at the synod’s opening at St Teresa’s Pro-Cathedral.       2015 Dew said he was struck by two specific lines in Pope Francis’s speech at the Synod on the Family.    "The first was ‘the only authority we have is the authority of service.’     “I have repeated it many, many times, and I will never forget him saying those words,” he said.      “The second was, ‘it is precisely this path of synodality which God expects of the Church of the third millennium’.”       “It’s hard to be succinct and to put into a homily what ‘synodality’ is, but, in a nutshell, it is about all members of the Church, all of us, walking the path of life together, truly listening to and being of service to one another,” he said.      Second Vatican Council’s vision, Dew said.      “Let’s make it an adventure: walking together with faith; listening to each other (as Francis put it, ‘How good is the hearing of your heart?’); engaging in a process of healing guided by the Holy Spirit, and supporting one another, looking for new paths and new ways of speaking.”....(more).
Boost for parishes on journey to sustainability
Extract from CathNews, 18 November 2021
With the Vatican's Laudato Si’ Action Platform moving into the commitment phase, Catholic Earthcare has launched a new initiative to assist parishes on their journey towards sustainability.      To escalate the implementation of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis established the Laudato Si’ Action Platform with its seven stated goals.       The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s 2021 social justice statement "Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor", reinforces the Pope’s call to care for creation. The bishops have enrolled in the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, and invite parishes and Catholic organisations to join them in committing to the Laudato Si’ goals.      Catholic Earthcare Australia has made it easy for parishes to take up the bishops’ invitation, through its new Earthcare Parishes program. By registering with Catholic Earthcare, parishes will be able to take an “Earthcare Parish Audit” and then plan concrete actions using the Earthcare Action Planner, with suggestions under all seven Laudato Si Goals for inspiration.....(more).  Photo: St Mary’s Echuca parishioners with the the audit, Catholic Earthcare, CathNews 20211118
Religious discrimination laws coming to the boil
Extracts from Frank Brennan, Eureka Street, 17 November 2021
It’s four years since the Australian Parliament amended the Marriage Act 1961 to provide that marriage means ‘the union of two people to the exclusion of all others’. The legislation followed the plebiscite on same sex marriage. To address the concerns of some religious groups, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull set up an expert panel chaired by long time Liberal Party minister Philip Ruddock to report on whether Australian law adequately protected the human right to freedom of religion. Having served on that committee, I made some public observations two years ago about our recommendations:    ‘The Ruddock committee conceded that in theory there is a major lacuna in the array of anti-discrimination legislation. If you legislate to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, age, race, or disability, why not on the basis of religion? .....…We recommended both a tweaked tightening of the exemptions for religious bodies in the Sex Discrimination Act and the introduction of a Religious Discrimination Act. The delay in release of the report and the shambolic handling of its publication highlighted the political problem with our recommendations. The Turnbull wing of the Liberal Party favoured the tweaked tightening of the Sex Discrimination Act provisions but not the introduction of a Religious Discrimination Act. The Morrison wing of the Liberal Party were troubled by the former but attracted to the latter.’       The issue is now back on the boil both in Canberra and in Melbourne. The tweaking of exemptions for religious bodies is not just a Commonwealth concern.  It is also a state issue. This week the Victorian Parliament is considering the Equal Opportunity (Religious Exceptions) Amendment Bill 2021. And the Morrison Government is secretly cobbling together a Religious Discrimination Bill.......The tweaking proposed by the Victorian government has upset the Victorian Catholic Bishops and the leaders of several minority faiths who have published an open letter complaining that ‘the Bill erroneously disconnects religious belief from conduct that is consistent with this belief.’     The November 16 letter from the religious leaders has no signatories from the Uniting Church, and only one Anglican bishop. The signatories speak of parents’ expectation that a ‘school’s environment faithfully represents the religious ethos in every respect including the conduct of all teachers and staff’. The Victorian bill would allow ‘reasonable and proportionate’ religious discrimination in the employment of staff when ‘conformity with the doctrines, beliefs or principles of the religion’ is ‘an inherent requirement of the position’. The religious leaders are left wondering what’s reasonable, what’s proportionate, and what’s inherent. Would the Victorian law allow the evangelical school to give preference employing the evangelical gardener?...(more)
Seats at the table: Incorporating diverse identities in a global church
Extracts from Michael Furtado, Eureka Street,  11 November 2021
From my earliest years the primary lens through which I developed an appreciation of diverse identities was through my Catholic parish, St Thomas’, Calcutta. Situated in plush Middleton Row and centred upon a property allocated to Archbishop Carew by Governor Vansittart in 1827, the parish premises included a handsome Palladian church and convent school – Loreto House – both of them positioned within this once almost exclusively European enclave and within close proximity to my Jesuit school, St Xavier’s College.        This complex of institutions and buildings was intended to educate Catholic members of the European colonial establishment, who lived in the nearby Georgian villas and mansions of South Calcutta and Fort William. By the time of my birth a steady exodus of such people had begun. To the UK and Canada they went and also to Australasia and Southern Africa, where neo-colonial resistance to modernity had taken on a new lease of life through various race-restrictive immigration policies and, notably, apartheid.        Within Calcutta the nature of the clergy and laity had begun to change. The last European Jesuit archbishop was succeeded by an Anglo-Indian, Trevor Picachy, who later received the red hat. Our own parish clergy, once exclusively Anglo-Irish, followed by Anglophile Belgians, all of them Jesuits and accounting for India having the largest Jesuit province on the globe, began to register the leadership of Anglo-Indians. A measure of how closely this clerical cohort reflected the painfully slow pace of a newly emerging Indian Catholicism is that at one stage our Parish Priest was the brother of the Cardinal and the Mother Superior of the Loreto Order was the sister of the Vicar General.      As with church administration, so also was the congregation. Westernised Anglo-Indians began to take the place of Europeans. While the front pews, with names affixed to them, were technically reserved for the handful of colonials still ‘staying on’, our parish with a nearby club called The Grail, remained the centrepiece of a neo-colonial construction of Catholicism in this vast diocese. The children of Anglo-Indians soon exceeded the European component at both schools and the Latin Mass was sung with gusto by this hybridised cohort, who colonised the Grail Club with cultural and musical tastes drawn from Europe. Just imagine the revolutionary impact upon this stultifying and highly resistant cultural corner of Catholicism by Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity!       In time, the mass of Anglo-Indians, who regarded an indigenised India as a threat to their Western cultural identity, emigrated to the UK and Canada where, unlike Australia and New Zealand at that time, no racial tests applied to sifting applications for emigration primarily based upon appearance and a propensity to portray Western values, whatever these were meant to be. Quaint Aunt Vera had herself photographed in sunlight alongside her shaded White husband to beat this colour-bar........Meantime, the side aisles, reserved for ‘Native Indians’ and servants and others of subordinate identity in the neo-colonial pecking order, were thrown open to all, and the clergy as well as the faithful began to be drawn in greater numbers from the Indo-Portuguese Goan community to which my parents belonged. Thus displacement and replacement forcibly refurbished a church community that would have died had it not addressed and responded to the inclusive inculturating influences unleashed by Vatican II. ...(more).   Photo: Indian Catholic Church Eureka Street, 11 Nov 2021
Are Catholics ready for synodality? Or is it too radical?
"Keep us from becoming a 'museum Church', beautiful but mute, with much past and little future." — Pope Francis (October 9, 2021)
Limited extract from By Justin Stanwix*, Australia, Subscription Journal LA Cropix International, 9 October 2021
Are we Catholics really ready for such a radical and transformative change that synodality unavoidably requires?          Or rather, is this question challenging but quite premature?     What has been launched is a journey -- over two years -- with the Synod of Bishops lap not to occur until 2023.        The notion that we risk becoming museum pieces is confronting. As the impacts of the secularization of society continues we have had to accept the realities of reduced congregations, a decline invocations, parish amalgamation and churches closed.       An ageing population raises potent questions about the future of many parishes and ensures doom for some. Every statistical collection shows fewer and fewer people call themselves Catholic.       Next door to our church we have a fossil museum. I quicken my step as I pass it before the mummifier catches me.       It took 60 years for the changes that Pope Pius X proposed in 1901 for active participation by the faithful in the liturgy to be enunciated by Vatican II (1962-65)       Then another 60 years later the Synod of Bishops' assembly on synodality has been launched by Pope Francis for 2023. The mustard seed sown by Lumen gentium has risen boldly above the ground.      The People of God were commandingly described in that Vatican II document.       The Church was recognized as comprised of a pilgrim people, a sojourning people, on the road towards the "new heavens and the new earth" (Revelation 21:1). All the People of God participate "in the one priesthood of Christ" (LG 9).            But to be fair, Francis identified the need for change in 2014 when he recounted the story of a cardinal telling the Synod assembly of 2001 "what they should discuss and what they should not".             "That won't happen now," the pope assured readers of the Argentine La Nationafter his election.        Seven years later we are being asked to really listen, actively, with the ear of the heart.             Are we ready to consider a new form of governance and abandon a monarchical model of Church, shed some control over our ecclesial lives, to move beyond criticizing clericalism to actually abandoning it, to forgo attachment to feudal values and treat people equally -- listening to them and engaging with them?      Laity will likewise have to abandon lay clericalism......(more)        *Justin Stanwix is a deacon at St Mary Star of the Sea Parish, Milton in the Diocese of Wollongong (Australia)
Involve other churches in synodal process, says Vatican
Extract from Christopher Lamb, The Tablet, 9 November 2021
The Vatican is calling on bishops across the world to involve Christian leaders from other churches in the synod process in a move that could turn it into the most significant ecumenical event of recent times.      A joint letter from two Rome-based cardinals recommends leaders of Christian communities take part in the bishops’ synodal discussions and help them draft the official reports. It also suggests that delegates from other churches are sent to take part in the diocesan synods taking place across the world; that they address synod assemblies, send in written reflections and organise “listening sessions”.        The 2021-2023 synod process launched by Pope Francis last month is the most ambitious Catholic renewal project in 60 years. It includes a listening and consultation process across the 1.3 billion-member Church.         Each diocese has been asked to hold a synod with bishops in each country and region synthesising the results and submitting them to Rome. A synod assembly of bishops will then take place in the Vatican in 2023. The instruction from the Vatican says ecumenical representatives should be involved at every stage of the process, which will involve all denominations in a Catholic renewal process in a way that is without modern precedent.        “One of the gifts Catholics can receive from the other Christians is precisely their experience and understanding of synodality,” explain Cardinals Mario Grech and Kurt Koch in the letter.        “The synodal shaping of the Catholic Church at all levels has significant ecumenical implications as it makes it a more credible dialogue partner.”            Cardinal Grech, who is Secretary-General of the Synod of Bishops, and Cardinal Koch, who is President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, sent their letter to all bishops with responsibility for ecumenism and to the synods of the eastern Catholic Churches. It was, they explained, “designed to some practical suggestions to ensure the ecumenical dimension of the synodal journey.”        The synod handbook emphasises that ecumenism has a “special place in the synodal journey” adding that consultations should include “all the baptised”, regardless of denomination.       In their letter the cardinals point out that “listening should concern the totality of those who are honoured by the name of Christian,” pointing out that “all the baptised participate to some degree in the sensus fidei.” The sensus fidei is the notion that the Church as a people, united with the bishops, carries the living tradition of Christianity's essential teaching....(more)
Extension of synod process welcomed
Extract from by Sarah Mac Donald, The Tablet, 8 November 2021
The Vatican’s decision to extend the duration of the first phase of the synodal process has been welcomed by the diocesan coordinator of the Diocese of Killala’s listening process.      Fr Brendan Hoban, who has helped oversee the three-year Placing Hope in Faith process, told The Tablet that the move “makes sense”.        Last week, the Vatican announced that the Council of the Synod of Bishops had decided to extend the deadline for the presentation of the summaries of the consultations by Episcopal Conferences until 15 August 2022.         The move followed numerous requests for more time in order to give people a greater opportunity “to have an authentic experience of listening and dialogue”.        Welcoming the decision, Fr Hoban told The Tablet that it would be difficult to deliver a genuine, effective and credible listening process even within the changed timetable.       “We need to be aware of the legacy of failed ‘listening’ exercises in the past and the resulting and enduring distrust that remains,” he warned.         He noted that in Killala diocese, the listening section of the synodal initiative, lasted three years from 2015-2018.        “While it is understandable that the ‘listening to the people’ segment of the present synodal journey hasn’t the luxury of that time-span, any indication that the listening process is being rushed will only serve to convince Catholics that it is not being taken seriously,” the retired Co Mayo parish priest said.        Two key elements of the listening process in Killala were a confidential survey of Catholics the results of which were analysed by an independent research company and a diocesan assembly, comprising 300 delegates from the 22 parishes of the diocese, who voted confidentially to prioritise the top five proposals in ten different categories.         “The time, attention and resources devoted to ensuring an honest and respectful listening process were necessary, indeed essential in convincing those who participated that the process was meant to be and was seen to be taken seriously,” he said.      Fr Hoban stressed that “an open agenda is essential”. He said: “Ruling out matters as not for discussion effectively compromises the integrity of the process and confirms the belief, as before with listening exercises in different dioceses, that nothing has changed or will change and that keeping control of the process was more important than finding out what people think.        “Time and again Pope Francis has warned against what he calls ‘the virus of clericalism’. It would be a pity if the synodal pathway, entered into by so many with such hope and purpose, becomes just another failed victim of an inflexible or manipulative clericalism. The difficult truth is that synodality and clericalism are polar opposites – if you are one, you can’t be the other. You can’t be both.”        Last week, Bishop John Fleming of Killala told the Irish Catholic newspaper that he was willing to bring the views of the people of his diocese to the Vatican on issues such as mandatory celibacy and women priests....(more)

Parish Redevelopment Project – Update

Pat Kelly, Project Manager, 5 November 2021

Our Redevelopment Project has progressed slowly over the last months as the Covid-19 restrictions required the project to be closed for some weeks and placed restrictions on the number of workers on the site. While the completion date has moved, much has been done.           Earthworks and drainage are well advanced and the underground rain water storage tank is installed. The form of the building facing Upper Heidelberg Rd is clearly evident. The steel work of the veranda and office doorway are to the right of the internal brickwork of the Lady Chapel.        The supporting structure for the first floor of the office and presbytery is in place in preparation for the concrete pour. The below floor brickwork for the new entrance to the church, sacristy and toilets is complete.


Work is also proceeding in the church. Much preparatory work around the sanctuary and the entrance is complete. The floor coverings have been removed in preparation for the later installation of carpet.        Our architects FPPV, builders Raysett Constructions, Archdiocesan representatives, Fr Bill and myself meet fortnightly to review progress and address any issues. It is clear that the delay to the project was beyond our control.    With Covid-19 restrictions being removed, Raysett has prepared a revised project program. The project completion is now June 2022. If you would like further project information, please contact me.

TOP photo: View from Upper Heidelberg Rd with the Lady Chapel to the left and the entry to the parish office on the right

LOWER photo: Preparing for Tuesday’s concrete pour of the 1st floor presbytery & office slab

Archbishop Coleridge says ‘vaccinate for common good’
Extract from CathNews, The Catholic Leader, 5 November 2021
With Queensland inching towards a mid-December reopening of its borders, Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge has renewed a call for people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.      “I encourage everyone to be vaccinated, so that together we may move towards a life that is more truly human,” Archbishop Coleridge said.      The Church leader has reinforced the importance of vaccinating, after received his second jab last week, “not so much for my sake but for the sake of others,” Archbishop Coleridge said.       “That’s the real point: vaccines are for the common good. If people decide not to be vaccinated, then there are consequences. So I encourage everyone to be vaccinated, so that together we may move towards a life that is more truly human.”      Queensland has now recorded 77.83 per cent of the population receiving a first dose of a COVID vaccine, with 64.12 per cent double-dosed.     The state’s strategy is to reach 80 per cent full vaccination by December 17, although deputy premier Steven Miles has indicated the state may reopen its borders earlier than planned if vaccination targets are met.      Archbishop Coleridge said the effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines is already evident.             "They may not always prevent infection but they certainly mitigate its effects,” he said. “Some of the vaccines have prompted ethical questions, but these have been addressed by the Pope and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”        The Church in Australia has supported the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, seeing such programs as supportive of individuals’ health, as well as the health of the community.....(more)   Photo: Archbishop Mark Coleridge 2nd COVID-19 vaccination, Catholic Leader, CathNews 20211105
Dioceses plan for Synod of Bishops journey
Extract from CathNews, ACBC Media Blog,  4 November 2021
Representatives of Australian dioceses have gathered online to consider how to support local engagement with the global process leading to the 2023 Synod of Bishops in Rome.           On October 17, dioceses across the world hosted celebrations to launch the journey towards the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.     A week earlier, Pope Francis had officially opened the Synod, which has the theme “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission”.     The Synod process has local, national and international components that will unfold between October 2021 and October 2023.       The gathering of local coordinators last week was designed to help dioceses share their insights and determine how they can best invite the People of God to take part in the consultation.         That included hearing from dioceses that have held local synods or assemblies in recent months while also engaging with the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia and now the global Synod of Bishops.       Last weekend, the Holy See announced the extension of the consultation period for dioceses around the world.      Trudy Dantis, the director of the National Centre for Pastoral Research and national coordinator for the Synod of Bishops process, said the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference will consider at their biannual plenary meeting next week how that change will be incorporated into the national plan.....(more). also see
The risk of becoming just "slightly Catholic"
What Catholic opposition to Joe Biden and Pope Francis may mean for the future of the Church in the United States
Limited Extract from  Massino Faggioli, Signs of the Times, Sunsacription journal La Croix International, 2 November 2021
President Joe Biden's recent meeting at the Vatican with Pope Francis has further unmasked the animosity that the Catholic right and alt-right in the United States harbors toward the current Bishop of Rome.           In fact, that animosity has become even more virulent and graphic. One American bishop (a Catholic bishop!) even called Francis a "serpent", a slur reminiscent of 16th-century anti-Catholic tropes against the papacy and the Jesuits.      The assimilation to animals as a way to disparage the pope is a bizarre reception of Francis' encyclical Laudato si'. But it's the only reception there is in some places. (The bishop in question later deleted the offensive tweet and apologized, but he kept tweeting polemically about the pope's meeting with Biden.)        Many wonder what would have happened, under Francis' predecessors, if Catholic bishops had publicly insulted and showed contempt for the pope -- something that the Code of Canon Law (can.1373) counts among the "crimes against ecclesiastical authorities and the freedom of the Church".       But the phenomenon has become too big to be treated from a canonical point of view alone. This phenomenon is a scandal, but no longer limited to isolated cases.     It has now become a fixture in the relationship between the most influential leaders of the American Catholic right and the current pope.      This animosity of the Catholic right and alt-right began, not with the 2020 election of Biden as president, but more than seven years earlier with the election of Francis as Bishop of Rome.      Disregard for tradition by those who profess to defend it.             It's the rabid reaction against the fact that the trajectory of Catholicism – both in the US and globally – is not following the plans of those who envisioned not just a naturally conservative Catholicism, but conservative in the ways of conservative Catholicism in the United States.....(Source).   Photo: Pope Francis Joe Biden Vatican audience, Vatican Media UPI MaxPPP, La Croix Int 20211102
Plenary Council reveals a diversity that is both enriching and challenging
Extract from Sr Patty Fawkner SGS, Catholic Outlook,  29 October 2021,  
When the Catholic Church in Australia gathered online for the first General Assembly of the Fifth Plenary Council earlier this month, Congregational Leader Patty Fawkner participated as a Council Member.          “Here come the Catholics; here comes everyone.” Whether or not the great Irish writer James Joyce actually said these words, as is often claimed, is a moot point. But it’s too good a line not to use in describing my experience of the first General Assembly of the Plenary Council, which was held from October 3-10.     Such diversity! Diversity of race, role and rite; diversity of age, gender, perspective, spirituality and theology. It was a diversity that enriched and a diversity that challenged in equal measure.      Diversity can unravel into chaos. However, the process used during the Assembly ensured that this was not the case.       Participants constantly called on the Spirit in a process of spiritual conversation.      We silently prayed before we spoke and respectfully listened to the reflections of each member of the small breakout group to which we were assigned.       For me, another aspect that contained the diverse perspectives was the focus on mission. Even if groups were discussing structures, formation, governance, prayer – all was in the service of mission.       Of the 26 participants in my group, 17 were clerics (an Archbishop, Bishops, priests and deacon) and there were nine laity, six of whom were women, including myself as the only Religious woman. Not much variety there, but what we lacked in diversity of role, we made up in diverse perspectives.      At our first meeting, our skilled facilitator asked each of us how we wished to be addressed and each of us asked to be called by our Christian name. This might seem a tiny matter, but to me it was hugely symbolic and encouraging.          The absence of titles – a significant chink in the hierarchical structure – fostered a sense of mutuality and collaboration......(more)Wendy Goonan Diocese of Parramatta Plenary Council Diocese of Parramatta Cath Outlook 20211029
 Biographer finds ‘key’ to understanding Pope’s vision
Austen Ivereigh, the UK-based journalist and papal biographer, addressed Melbourne clergy this week on Pope Francis’ pontificate and the nature of authentic renewal in the life of the Church.
Extract from Austen Ivereigh, CathNews, Melbourne Catholic, 29 October 2021
In the online talk, Mr Ivereigh, who wrote The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope, explained what he thinks is the interpretive key to understand Pope Francis’ vision and the kinds of changes he wants to see in the Church.     This “key” is the Aparecida Document, a 2007 document of the fifth assembly of the Episcopal Council of Latin American Bishops. The then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was chosen to lead the committee that would draft the assembly’s final document, which was seen as a “roadmap” usable for the entire Church.     “It has a very brilliant analysis, I think, of contemporary modernity,” Mr Ivereigh said.     The document laid out a vision in which Christ was the heart of culture. It said that “Christians must start over from Christ, from contemplation of Him who has revealed to us in his mystery, the complete fulfilment of the human vocation and its meaning,” so that in Jesus “culture can again find its centre and depth”.     The question then becomes: If the Church needs to change in response to her own unwitting secularisation, how should the Church change? Is there a path of authentic change, as opposed to superficial and damaging change? It is to this question that Mr Ivereigh dedicated the second half of his talk.     “Structural changes can turn out to be superficial or even damaging if they don’t reflect the deeper cultural change,” he said. “The Church has to change according to the power that the Church has been given, and the power the Church has been given is fundamentally the Holy Spirit.”.....(more).  Photo Austen Ivereigh, Parramatta Diocese, CathNews 20211029
Immigration advocates hope Biden-Francis meeting inspires change to U.S. policy
Extract from John Lavenburg, Crux, 28 October 2021
NEW YORK – When Joe Biden and Pope Francis meet on Friday, some U.S. immigration advocates hope the pontiff can plant seeds for change to U.S. immigration policy.      Biden campaigned on promises of immigration reform through both executive and legislative action, but nine months into his presidency little change has happened. U.S. Catholic bishops and advocates have consistently called for two executive actions –the termination of Title 42 and the Remain in Mexico policy.       Earlier this week Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso made the latest plea against the Remain in Mexico policy telling the Catholic Legal Immigration Network that it “causes needless suffering for those forced to flee who have come to our doorstep in need of protection.” The policy forces asylum-seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border to wait in Mexico until their case is decided.      Biden suspended the policy early in his presidential term. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, recently ordered the Biden administration to reinstate the policy, which the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said it will begin to enforce in November.     Title 42 is a border policy that allows the immediate expulsion of migrants and limits their right to seek asylum on public health grounds. Biden hasn’t wavered on its use despite his promise to terminate it. At the end of September, more than 150 Catholic organizations renewed the call for the policy to end, writing to Biden that it “fails to respect the dignity of migrants and refugees and honor God’s image in every human person.”    The final Fiscal Year 2021 statistics released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection that were last updated on Oct. 25 show a total of 1.04 million expulsions under Title 42...(more)
Pope willing to visit Canada as part of ‘reconciliation process’ with First Nations
Extract from Elise Ann Allen, Snr Correspondent, Crux, 28 October 2021
ROME – On Wednesday the Vatican announced Pope Francis’s intention to visit Canada in a bid to reconcile with indigenous peoples.      In an Oct. 27 communique, the Vatican said, “the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has invited the Holy Father to make an apostolic journey to Canada, also in the context of the long-standing pastoral process of reconciliation with indigenous peoples.”      “His Holiness has indicated his willingness to visit the country on a date to be settled in due course,” the statement said, but offered no further details.      While any papal trip is significant in its own right, a visit to Canada by the leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics would hold monumental symbolic value in light of the Catholic Church’s recent troubles over its past treatment of indigenous peoples.       For years, the Church has faced pressure over its role in Canada’s residential school program for indigenous children, but this pressure turned to outrage over the summer after the remains of 215 children were discovered on the grounds of the Indian Residential School in Kamloops at the end of May.      Founded in 1890, the Kamloops school at one point was Canada’s largest indigenous boarding school and was run by the Catholic Church between 1890 and 1969, when the Canadian government took it over as a day school until its closure in 1978.      At the time when residential schools were still operational in Canada, nearly three-quarters were run by Catholic missionary congregations with the aim of assimilating indigenous children to Canadian culture.      Over the years, these schools gained an infamous reputation as survivors began telling stories of physical and sexual abuse, as well as beatings or other strict corporal punishments when children spoke their native language.     After the discovery at Kamloops, searches were made at other schools, unearthing hundreds more bodies.....(more)   Photo: Kamloops, British Columbia, children's remains former residential school Ontario Adrian Wyld The Canadian Press via AP, Crux 20211028
Plenary Council?    Now a Synod on Synodality?
John Costa, Friday 22 October 2021
After the last 3 years of our active preparation, including one extra COVID year, we of the Australian Catholic Church, including those engaged within our Parish, recently witnessed the 1st Assembly of the 5th Australian Plenary Council.      At the very same time the global Catholic Church has just launched the initial phase of a similar synodal process across the whole Catholic Church, which was planned some time ago but also delayed by COVID.    So what's the connection between these two major initiatives?       In a sense Australia's synodal Plenary Council has pre-empted the recently announced global synodal process, and in so doing has already captured some attention from across the global Catholic Church.      We have discerned the Issue of what God is calling us to make the Church today, which basically also underlies the recently announced global initiative, called the Synod For a synodal Church.      In this week's Newsletter and on this website's 'Reflection of the Week' page following Fr Bill's Homily for this weekend  HERE is Archbishop Peter Comensoli's Letter "To all the faithful of the Archdiocese of Melbourne"  introducing the forthcoming global Synod on Synodality  "XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops: For a synodal Church - communion, participation, and mission"  and showing how all of us once again are invited to contribute to this process ahead.     Given the work already done in our Parish and across our whole Church towards the Plenary Council, together with ongoing discernment following its recent 1st Assembly we are already well placed to contribute further ahead.  A good starting point after reading Archbishop Peter's letter is to review our Parish's input to the Australian Plenary Council, together with various summaries to date of its recent 1st Assembly. These can be found on the Plenary Council page of this website HERE.
Grand Imam Al-Tayeb: ‘Fratelli tutti’ important for Muslims too
Edited Extract from Andrea Tornielli, Catholic Outlook Diocese of Parramatta, Vatican News,  21 October 2021
The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar speaks to Vatican Media about his relationship with Pope Francis: “From the first minute of our meeting I had confirmation that he is a man of peace and humanity. The encyclical is an appeal to create a true fraternity where there is no room for discrimination on the basis of differences of religion, race, gender, or other forms of intolerance.”      “Each one of us has discovered a great spiritual and thoughtful attunement to the crises that afflict contemporary man…”. The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Prof. Ahmad Muhammad Al-Tayeb, during his days in Rome to participate at some important events alongside Pope Francis and other religious leaders, visited the studios of Vatican Radio – Vatican News and spoke about his relationship with Pope Francis, one year after the publication of the Encyclical Fratelli tutti.     The Grand Imam recounted that “after the election of dear brother Pope Francis, Al-Azhar took the initiative to congratulate him, and we received a beautiful response from Pope Francis.” He noted that it was a response that encouraged us to renew the relationship, and so, he decided to visit the Pope in the Vatican in May 2016.     During this visit, he said, “each of us discovered a great spiritual and thoughtful attunement towards the crises that afflict contemporary man, and in a special way towards the poor, orphans, the sick, widows, victims of wars and the homeless.”       “This attunement between the Pope and I,” Al-Tayeb continued, “can offer much to alleviate these crises. From that moment, there was no hesitation. I personally did not hesitate to extend my hand. From the first minute of our meeting, I had confirmation that he is a man of peace and humanity par excellence.”        He further noted that things went well and that in just three years they had had six summits; during the fifth of these summits, they signed the Document on Human Fraternity........Regarding the Encyclical Fratelli tutti published a year ago, Prof. Al-Tayeb noted that it “is definitely of huge importance, especially in this time, for both Muslims and non-Muslims.” He added that the encyclical fits into the framework of their meetings and is inspired by them, noting also that the Pope himself mentions this in the preface. He said...... (it) is, in short, “an appeal to apply the moral principles of religions to create a true fraternity where there is no room for discrimination on the basis of differences of religion, confession, race, gender, or other forms of intolerance.”.....(more).  Photo:Pope Francis Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayyeb ANSA Vatican Catholic Outlook 20211021
Bishops Conference publishes inaugural annual report
Extract from CathNews, ACBC Media Blog, 21 October 2021
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has published its inaugural annual report, outlining the key activities undertaken by the various parts of the Bishops Conference.     The idea of publishing an annual report emerged from a desire to inform the Catholic community and wider society about how the Bishops Conference supports the mission of the Church in Australia. It also responds to the call for greater transparency within Catholic organisations.      The first annual report covers work during 2020.       Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge, in the report’s foreword, said it reveals the breadth of the activities of the Conference.        “If you read this report with the eyes of faith, you will see that the bishops, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, are grappling with a wide range of issues and problems at a time when the Church in this country cannot simply take the future for granted,” he wrote.       Archbishop Coleridge said brief reports after its biannual plenary meeting gave “the smallest tip of the iceberg” of what the Bishops Conference does.       “What you find in these pages shows more of the iceberg, but a great deal still remains below the surface,” he wrote........(more).  Image: ACBC
What the report on abuse in the French Catholic Church says to theology
Extract from Massimo Faggioli, Catholic Outlook Diocese of Parramatta, Concillium, 20 October 2021
The CIASE commission’s report on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in France between 1950 and 2020 has been released on October 5, 2021, and will have effects, at the moment difficult to be predicted, on the ecclesial discourse not only in France, but also at a global level.        The commission’s chairman, Jean-Marc Sauvè, stated during the press conference that “we need to get rid of the idea that sexual violence in the Catholic Church has been completely eradicated and that the problem is behind us: no, the problem remains.” The report also mentions that sexual violence is “significantly” higher in church settings than in other social circles such as schools or summer camps, with the exception of the family, which is the place where the risk of sexual abuse remains the highest. Thus, there is still an urgent problem of prevention and repression of the phenomenon.      But the CIASE report is also a document that raises serious theological questions for theology: they will have to be addressed by a theology that has among its audiences not only the academy, but also the church and the public sphere. This brief article proposes, without any pretense of being exhaustive or definitive, to begin to make a first list of issues.       We need to remember the fact that both the German “Synodal Path” and the Plenary Council in Australia are incomprehensible when considered outside the context, in this last decade, of national inquiries into the abuse crisis. Theology needs to question and interrogate whether or not the link between the institutional and theological models adopted at the universal and local levels for the “Synodal Way 2021-2023” on the one side and the cataclysmic abuse crisis on the other side is appropriate. A key question that the CIASE report raises is whether mechanisms for representing the people of God, including victims, and the abuse crisis have adequate space in this synodal process.....(More)   Photo:Jean-Mark Sauve,president CIASE, AFP or licensors Vatican News, Catholic Outlook 20211020
Follow Pope Francis' call to be a listening church — but from a 45-degree angle
Limited extract of Opinion Piece,  Michael Sean Winters, subscription journal La Croix International, 13 October 2021
To open the synod, Pope Francis delivered a brief address Oct. 9 in the Synod Hall, to give some indication of how he envisioned the synodal process. The Holy Father said:           "The Synod has three key words: communion, participation and mission. Communion and mission are theological terms describing the mystery of the Church, which we do well to keep in mind. The Second Vatican Council clearly taught that communion expresses the very nature of the Church, while pointing out that the Church has received "the mission of proclaiming and establishing among all peoples the kingdom of Christ and of God, and is, on earth, the seed and beginning of that kingdom" (Lumen Gentium, 5).          The pope compared this relationship between communion and mission to the life of the Trinity, with the mystery of its communion of persons ad intra and its mission to create, redeem and sanctify ad extra.          Also significant is the reference to the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium. Earlier this month, I encouraged Catholics to prepare for the synodal process by rereading the four great constitutions of Vatican II and, as luck would have it, Lumen Gentium is the first one I reread.      It remains fascinating in every part, but for purposes of the synod, the most important thread may be the call for the church to be a leaven in the world. And that thread runs through the text:            "From this source the Church, equipped with the gifts of its Founder and faithfully guarding His precepts of charity, humility and self-sacrifice, receives the mission to proclaim and to spread among all peoples the Kingdom of Christ and of God and to be, on earth, the initial budding forth of that kingdom."    And:    "The laity, by their very vocation, seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God. They live in the world, that is, in each and in all of the secular professions and occupations. They live in the ordinary circumstances of family and social life, from which the very web of their existence is woven. They are called there by God that by exercising their proper function and led by the spirit of the Gospel they may work for the sanctification of the world from within as a leaven."   And:    "The faithful, therefore, must learn the deepest meaning and the value of all creation, as well as its role in the harmonious praise of God. They must assist each other to live holier lives even in their daily occupations. In this way the world may be permeated by the spirit of Christ and it may more effectively fulfill its purpose in justice, charity and peace.   And:          "Rising from the dead He sent His life-giving Spirit upon His disciples and through Him has established His Body which is the Church as the universal sacrament of salvation.       You get the idea. We are not supposed to keep Christ locked up inside the church but are supposed to bring him into the highways and byways of life in our time. "Keep us from becoming a 'museum church,' beautiful but mute, with much past and little future," the pope said in his homily at the Mass to officially open the synodal process on Sunday.....(more).  Photo: Pope Francis listens CNS Paul Haring La Croix International, 20211013
Synodality and the still "too clerical" Catholic Church
Interview with prominent Catholic lay leader in the West African nation of Burkina Faso
Limited extract from Kamboissoa Samboé, subscription journal La Croix International, 13 October 2021
Burkina Faso is a majority Muslim country in West Africa with an estimated 60.5% of its population of just over 21.5 million professing the Islamic faith.      But the small Catholic community of just over three-million believers is vibrant.      And prominent lay leaders in the Church here are hopeful that Pope Francis' efforts to implement synodality will help enhance the faith, mission and responsibility of all Catholics.      One of these leaders is Yacinthe Sam, former secretary general of the National Council of the Laity in Burkina Faso.      In this interview with La Croix Africa's Kamboissoa Samboé, he speaks about the preparatory phase of the Synod of Bishops' upcoming assembly on synodality, which the pope officially opened last weekend at the Vatican.     La Croix Africa: As a layperson, what state of mind are you in while preparing for the so-called Synod on synodality?     Yacinthe Sam: I feel confidence and hope.     Confidence, because the progress of the Church today shows us that the mission of evangelization can only succeed if we are part of a dynamic of communion and synodality.      This is what the theme of the synod suggests: "For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission".    Hope because the Synod on synodality represents a call to renewal for the Church and all its members (priests, religious and laity) and consequently the hope for a change of paradigms for a new evangelization.     What issues related to the laity should the Church raise at the Synod assembly?      In my opinion, there are two essential issues: training and collaboration.      On the issue of training, when we consider the context of the Church in Africa, the observation is simple: the laity do not know enough about their identity and even less about their place and role in the Church and in society.      For many lay people, the Church remains a pyramidal Church where everything must come from the hierarchy.      The laity therefore remains a "Sunday Catholic" and does not necessarily feel co-responsible and co-participating in the life of their Church.       There is therefore an important need for training of the laity on their identity and their mission in the Church as well as in society.             As for collaboration, we must note with regret that our Church is still strongly clerical.      The Church is first and foremost the clergy; the laity often seem to be relegated to the background.     There is therefore a need to work towards a greater and frank collaboration between all the faithful of Christ (priests, religious, laity) for the common mission of evangelization.      In this sense, it would not be incongruous, for example, to reflect on a greater involvement of the lay faithful in pastoral work and decision-making within the Church!...(more)  Photo: Yacinthe Sam, Photo Kamboissoa Samboe LCA La Croix Int 20211013
Be wary of the Fashions of the Age – Archbishop Fisher’s message to Plenary Council Members
Extract from  Michael Kenny, Editor in Chief, The Catholic Weekly, 10 October 2021
Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP has urged the Members of the 5th Plenary Council of the Catholic Church in Australia to bring the patrimony of the Church across time and space to their discussions, be wary of the fashions of the age and read the signs of the times through the spectacles of faith and reason, otherwise this Plenary Council and any other is for nought.     Archbishop Fisher was speaking at a Closing Mass for Sydney Members to mark the end of the week-long First Assembly of the Plenary Council at St Mary’s Cathedral on Sunday.     The closing Mass for the First Assembly was held in Brisbane. The Second Assembly will take part, COVID-permitting, in Sydney from 4-9 July 2022.      278 Plenary Council members have participated in the First Assembly largely online, with a small number of dioceses able to bring members together if COVID-19 restrictions allowed.      Small numbers of local bishops, vicars and two lay members were able to attend the Closing Mass in Sydney under public health restrictions.      In his homily at the Mass, Archbishop Fisher emphasised that previous Plenary Councils in Australia, the most recent having taken place in 1937, were conscious that theirs was one in a long procession of church synods, all charged with proclaiming the apostolic faith that first came to this land a century and a half before them.     “They were part of something that stretched not just across time, but also space: the universal Church represented by the presiding papal legate, by the newish Code of Canon Law they were applying locally, and by the fact Rome had to approve the Council’s 655 decrees”, Archbishop Fisher said.       “They invoked the help of the Holy Spirit, declaring their reliance upon Him alone, as they shaped pastoral responses to the issues of the day”.       Archbishop Fisher emphasised that while Plenary Councils are a means to help renew the Church, Members must respond with holy rather than worldly wisdom to the important responsibilities entrusted to them.     “It’s not a parliament making decrees at will, as if everything were ‘on the table’ or ‘up for grabs’. It’s a very pastoral strategy of gathering Church leaders and some others, for prayer and discernment, to increase faith, revitalise morals, promote discipline and plan common pastoral action”....(more)  Photo: Archbishop Fisher St Mary’s Cathedral 10 October Plenary Council  Giovanni Portelli Catholic weekly 20211010
Plenary Members present final reports of First Assembly
Extract from Catholic Outlook, Parramatta Diocese, 9 October 2021
Today was the final day of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia, when 280 people across the country came together online for a week of prayer, discernment, and dialogue. The day began with Mass celebrated by Melbourne Archbishop Peter A Comensoli, at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne.          Mass was followed by the final livestreamed reports from the Members of the Plenary Council on the topics they had been discussing in small groups throughout the week.        An impassioned call for “a prayer for the future of our common home, a Gospel for the home of our future generations” was made during the final reporting back on small group discernment by Plenary Council members today.        The presenters’ comprehensive reports on the 16 agenda questions included proposals and requests for further investigation and research to create a more missionary, Christ-centred Church in Australia.        In presenting her group’s proposals, Catherine McAleer was emotional as she concluded her summary of the question on responding to the call to ecological conversion.    She said the group sought acknowledgement of the “primacy of ecological conversion; personal and communal” and asked for the “explicit adoption” of the Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ Action Plan as the vehicle for that conversion to a Church openly committed to God’s creation.      Shaun De Zylva said his group discussed ways of creating a culture of conversion for renewal and mission through truth-telling, story-telling and proclaiming the Gospel for renewal through personal and communal conversion.      Specific proposals included parishes establishing small groups that meet for an annual synod and that each diocese should have a synod at least once every three years; studying and learning from the synodal journey that resulted in the Uluru Statement of the Heart; encouraging small ecclesial communities (home/family groups) with learnings from the early Church; and establishing forums for open dialogue and discernment especially with those groups who feel excluded in the Church.     Sabrina-Ann Stevens reiterated the need to determine an appropriate process to support the Uluru Statement from the Heart and said her group believed a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution was “important for our nation”.         Her group also recommended that the gifts of First Nations Catholics be fully embraced through the inclusion of Indigenous leaders as partners in decision-making at every level of Church – parishes, dioceses, Catholic education, organisations and agencies.........(more)
Pope opens Synod on Synodality saying it can’t be an ‘elitist’ exercise
Extract from Inés San Martín, Rome Burewau Chief, Crux, 9 October 2021
ROME – Formally opening his much-ballyhooed Synod of Bishops on Synodality Saturday, Pope Francis expressed his desire that it be an experience in which everyone in the church participates rather than a “elitist” exercise.        The pontiff also prayed for the Holy Spirit to guide the discussions, thus preventing the Catholic Church “from becoming a ‘museum’, beautiful but mute, with much past and little future.” Visibly deviating from his prepared remarks, the pope noted that the Synod is neither a parliament nor an opinion poll.       The Synod is an Ecclesial moment, and the protagonist is the Holy Spirit. Without the Spirit, there will not be a Synod,” he said, calling for unity, above all among the bishops.      Francis also invited those present to acknowledge the frustration and impatience felt by many pastoral workers, “members of diocesan and parish consultative bodies and women, who frequently remain on the fringes,” and urged dialogue between priests and laity, saying that he underlined this because sometimes, priests become “elitists” becoming “the patrons of the barracks.”        The pope’s words came Oct. 9, as he was opening the Synod of Bishops titled, “For a Synodal Church: communion, participation and mission.”         In a speech in which he mentioned both opportunities and risks this process may entail, Francis listed three of each.      He began by saying this is an opportunity to move structurally towards a synodal Church, “An open square where all can feel at home and participate.”     The Synod, the pontiff said, offers an opportunity for the Church to become “a listening” one, that sets routine aside and offers a break from routine pastoral concerns: “To listen to the Spirit in adoration and prayer, to listen to our brothers and sisters speak of their hopes and of the crises of faith present in different parts of the world, of the need for a renewed pastoral life and of the signals we are receiving from those on the ground.”       A third opportunity is the Church becoming one of “closeness,” not only in words but presence in society and the world, immersed in modern-day problems, “bandaging wounds and healing broken hearts with the balm of God.”       On the opposite end, Francis said the Synod also has a series of risks: Formalism, intellectualism and complacency............he said, there’s a need to change the “overly vertical, distorted and partial visions of the Church, the priestly ministry, the role of the laity, ecclesial responsibilities, roles of governance and so forth.”...(more)
Australia has helped shape Synod of Bishops
As Pope Francis prepares to launch the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, an Australian lay woman assisting the process says the Church in Australia has been a key supporter of the Synod.
Extract from CathNews, ACBC Media Blog, 8 October 2021
Susan Pascoe has held a number of senior roles in the Church and in government in Australia, including as head of the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.     Earlier this year she was appointed to one of four commissions supporting the work of the Synod, and she has travelled to Rome for the global launch this weekend.      Ms Pascoe said with the Synod’s theme as “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission”, Australia’s Fifth Plenary Council of Australia is seen as something of a model.      “The emphasis on involving as many voices as possible through the Plenary Council submission writing process, the integration of prayer and spirituality as foundational to the listening and discernment phase, and the live streaming of the first assembly all witness to a process of the People of God in Australia journeying together, which is central to synodality,” she said.     In practical ways, key figures in the Plenary Council process have also offered advice to the Synod of Bishops secretariat and its commissions on how the Church in Australia prepared for and is now conducting the Council.     Pope Francis will celebrate Mass on October 10 to formally launch the global process, with dioceses set to have local launches the following weekend. A period of local consultation will take place over several months, which will then be gathered nationally and later discussed within regions of the world.     The Synod of Bishops will culminate in a gathering at the Vatican in October 2023.      Fr Ormond Rush, associate professor of religion and theology at Australian Catholic University, was earlier this year announced as a member of the theology commission.      He is currently in Brisbane serving as an adviser to the Plenary Council’s first general assembly......(More)     Find out more about the Synod of Bishops and the Australian consultations at:         Photo: Synod of Bishops 21-23. ACBC
Plenary Council members will today consider two of 16 questions
Contemplating woundedness, the marginalised
CathNews, ACBC,  Thursday 7 October 2021
Today’s Plenary Council sessions will take on a different feel, as members spend extra time offline, praying with and reflecting on questions about seeing through the eyes of those who have been abused and reaching those on the peripheries.      The agenda for the Plenary Council poses 16 questions across six themes, with members called to “develop concrete proposals to create a more missionary, Christ-centred Church in Australia at this time”.       Fourteen of the 16 questions are being discerned concurrently during the week by 10 small working groups. Today, the members will consider two particular questions:         How might we heal the wounds of abuse, coming to see through the eyes of those who have been abused?              How might the Church in Australia meet the needs of the most vulnerable, go to the peripheries, be missionary in places that may be overlooked or left behind in contemporary Australia? How might we partner with others (Christians, people of other faiths, neighbourhood community groups, government) to do this?          Br Peter Carroll FMS, the provincial leader of the Marist Brothers in Australia and a Plenary Council member, said while the Council “is about mapping out a path for the future, we can’t ignore the tragedies of the past”.      “We must come to terms with our sinfulness and reconcile our future with our past,” he said.      Br Peter said he has urged the Plenary Council membership to consider how a public response will be made to victims and survivors during the Council journey, which runs until July 2022....(more).   Photo: Plenary Council. 
France Abuse report ‘a moment of shame’
Extract from CathNews, 7 October 2021
Pope Francis yesterday said the report estimating that more than 200,000 children were abused in the Church in France over the past 70 years is “a moment of shame”. Source: CNA.       “To the victims, I wish to express my sadness and my pain for the traumas they have endured and my shame, our shame, my shame that for so long the Church has been incapable of putting this at the center of its concerns, assuring them of my prayers,” he said during his weekly general audience at the Vatican.          The Pope’s comments came a day after the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (CIASE) published a nearly 2,500-page final report estimating that 216,000 children were abused by priests, deacons, monks, or nuns in France from 1950 to 2020.        The study also said that “more than a third of sexual assaults within the Catholic Church were committed, not by clergy or monks, but by lay people.”        Before entering the Paul VI Hall for his general audience, Pope Francis took a moment to pray with four French bishops for the victims of sexual abuse.       “I encourage the bishops and religious superiors to continue to do everything possible so that similar tragedies might not be repeated,” Pope Francis said at the general audience.        Cardinal Seán O’Malley, the president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, also issued a statement yesterday, calling the report an “indictment of the failures of leadership in the Church.”.....(more).     Photo: Pope Francis prays CSA with French bishops CSA CNA Vatican Media CathNews 20211007
US CatholicVote peddles extreme right-wing politics in religious drag
Extract from  Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter, 6 Oct 2021
Every once in a while, the algorithmic gods decide to have a little fun. And so last week I received in the mail a "Catholic Opinion Research Survey" from the right-wing group The "survey" exhibits nearly everything that is wrong about the current state of the church in the U.S.      First, it is not really a survey but an elaborate push poll. Push polls are a form of negative advertising that have been condemned by the American Association for Public Opinion Research as "an insidious form of negative campaigning, disguised as a political poll. 'Push polls' are not surveys at all, but rather unethical political telemarketing — telephone calls disguised as research that aim to persuade large numbers of voters and affect election outcomes, rather than measure opinions."       So, for example, when this "survey" from CatholicVote asks, "Why do you think leaders of the national Democrat Party, including Joe Biden, keep omitting God when quoting our nations official documents?", it is not really your opinion that they are after. They are trying to smear the president, who often misspeaks, as anti-God. They also, unintentionally, impugn the patriotism of the Founding Fathers who omitted God from the Constitution.      Interestingly, the group also push polls on an ecclesial issue. "Do you think politicians who promote these radical Left policies that directly violate the moral teachings of the Catholic Church cause confusion and division, and that they should not present themselves for Holy Communion?" Sorry, but in the Catholic Church, we do not decide such complicated matters by taking a poll....(more)   Photo: Survey_dreamstime_Dreamstime Weerapat Wattanapichayakul NCR 20211006
Australian Catholics begin work of communal discernment
The second day of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia covered a broad range of thoughts and topics
Limited extract from La Croix International staff, Australia, subscription journal La Croix International, 5 October 2021
The first "spiritual conversations" of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia covered a broad range of thoughts and topics from clericalism, to the role of women, to new ways of presenting a missionary Church.       The process for communal discernment by the 278 members during the Plenary Council's two assemblies follows the practice of "spiritual conversations".        Ten groups of members are praying with and reflecting on 16 questions across six themes: Conversion, Prayers, Formation, Structures, Governance and Institutions.        During the October 5 plenary of the second day of the Council a representative of each of the 10 groups provided a summary of the previous afternoon's prayer and discussion.        "A common theme emerging from those small group sessions was the importance of listening to and accompanying people, including those on the peripheries and at all levels of the Church," according to a press release from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.       There was also an emphasis on hearing the voices of "churches" – noting the diversity of liturgy and traditions in the Eastern Rites and migrant communities.        One group spoke of the differences between rural and metropolitan parishes and another pointed out that the Council agenda needed to address the issue of "ecumenical and interfaith dialogue and cooperation".     A group exploring Indigenous issues expressed the belief that the Church would be "enlivened" with the full participation of First Nations peoples. There was a call for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to be able to minister to their communities and to each other.       Another group also talked about the need for "imagination" in how to present a missionary Church and suggested drawing on existing expertise on governance and mission, including from Catholic social service and health agencies.       The question of formation was considered across a number of groups and seen as an issue for not just the ordained or Church leaders, but should be "normalised" as a culture within the Church.      One group suggested the experience of married deacons and priests in the Eastern Rites had "much to offer in terms of clerical formation, particularly the role that wives can play in formation".     During a discussion on clericalism, one group asked how to prevent a "bad culture" of clericalism.   Parishes were seen as a place where the laity could be empowered to live out their baptismal calling as missionary disciples, with faith formation being an important part of this.       The group on governance reflected on "How do we as a Church walk side by side, women, men, lay and ordained, priest and bishop towards the road to Christ?". The discussion included why women didn't have a significant role in governance.       While many members expressed hope and excitement about the assembly on the first full day of the first general assembly, others were "anxious" and had a sense of urgency for change, the press release said.....(source) Image:Plenary Council begins communal discernment La Croix International 20211005
5th Australian Plenary Council Begins This Sunday
Friday 1 October 2021 

From October 3 - 10, the Catholic Church in Australia will gather for the first of two Assemblies of the Plenary Council. The wider public will be able to observe the Plenary sessions by tuning in to the daily livestream, beginning with the Opening Mass in Perth on Sunday 3 October (2.00pm Melbourne time).

Visit this website's EVENTS page for full details and access to the Plenary Council daily livestream.

Please keep the Plenary Council in your prayers, particularly over the coming weeks.

BlueCross ‘Starfish Awards’ for our Pastoral Volunteers

Friday 1 October 2021

Elizabeth Craven and Trudy de Luise, who are Parish Pastoral Volunteers at BlueCross Aged Care Facility in Waterdale Rd, were worthy recipients of the facilities’ ‘Starfish Award’ for their commitment in providing pastoral and emotional support to residents.

In addition to being part of our team who assist at our monthly Mass at BlueCross, Trudy and Elizabeth visit residents each week providing pastoral and emotional support.


CCSV Open Letter to Plenary Council members
Edited Extract from CCSV 22 September 2021, published here 29 September 2021
The mission of Catholic Social Services Victoria (CSSV) is to assist the Catholic Church in Victoria to fulfil the gospel imperatives to stand with and serve the poor, disadvantaged and marginalised;     and work for a just, equitable and compassionate society.      CSSV is auspiced by the Archbishop of Melbourne and Bishops of Sale, Sandhurst and Ballarat. CSSV includes 45 member organisations comprising 7000 staff, 17,000 volunteers and serving more than 200,000 people in need in Victoria every year.        CSSV is guided by the example of Jesus and the gospel principles enshrined in Catholic Social Teaching:  The Dignity of the Human Person and Preference for the Poor;  The Common Good;  Solidarity;   Subsidiarity. Catholic social services are deeply embedded both in the Australian community and in the life of  the Church.       CSSV encourages people working within the agencies to embrace the mission of Christ, and (plp)using members experience, contribute to the emerging directions of the Church.  Connection and dialogue with Bishops, clergy, religious and parish members is essential to fulfil the Church’s mission and to be part of the spirit of transformation.         We, and all Church leaders, can look to the person and role of Saint Mary MacKillop for inspiration.       CSSV encourages all agencies to continue engagement in the process of discerning the future of the Church in Australia. This will require a national consultative mechanism to continue the synodal work stimulated by this Plenary Council.....Complete Open Letter HERE
The 5th Australian Plenary Council starts just days away
John Costa, Friday 24 September 2021
After a year's COVID delay and two prior years of preparation including by 100 members of our Parish who collectively submitted a response to the question "What is God calling us to make our Church today", the 5th Australian Plenary Council commences just days away, on Sunday 3 October. Details on our website Plenary page (Events/Plenary)  HERE

Mary Immaculate Redevelopment - Construction Shut Down

Fiday 24 September 2021

Because of the current shutdown of construction sites and the travel ban across the metropolitan and regional border, all work on the Mary Immaculate site has ceased until the restrictions are lifted. Security on building sites when they are unoccupied are always an issue. If any parishioner sees anyone on site or suspicious activity please ring Fr. Bill immediately 0427 879 733.

Victorian churches rocked by earthquake
Extract from CathNews, Melbourne Catholic, 23 September 2021
Mansfield parish priest Fr George Feliciouz was getting ready to celebrate Mass yesterday morning when a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck near the regional town, causing tremors across the state. Source: Melbourne Catholic.         Fr Feliciouz and a parishioner promptly went outside to see what was happening. “We looked at the church and the hall and we could see the roof was rattling,” he said. Thankfully there were no injuries but Fr Feliciouz said that “íf it had lasted any longer we could have had serious damage.”        Over at St Mary’s Parish in Dandenong, Fr Brendan Lane had just started his daily livestream of Mass when the earthquake hit. “Wow, how’s that? We’ve just had an earth tremor here,’ he said to viewers.       If he was worried it didn’t show, as he promptly added: “In the old days God used to speak through theophany, thunder, lightning and tremors and all this. So he must be speaking with us today. I don’t think I’ve said anything wrong yet,” he said with a chuckle.      Deacon George Piech Meat was with Fr Lane during the Mass.     “I thought maybe a truck was passing by because our church is very close to the main road. Then I realised it was an earthquake,” Deacon Piech Meat said. “The cameraman was about to run out. In the end, he did well!”      At St Mary’s, Ascot Vale, the quake, the largest ever recorded in the state, caused two life-size solid marble statues to crash to the ground from a height of almost seven metres.       Fr Justin Ford said the statues were more than 80 years old and were imported from Italy in the 1930s when the church building was officially opened.....(More). Photo: Earthquake statues St Mary’s Ascot Vale  Melbourne Catholic CathNews 20210923
Pray with us and for us: Archbishop Costelloe
Extract from CathNews, ACBC Media Blog, 23 September 2021
Plenary Council president Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB is inviting Catholics across Australia to pray with and pray for Council members during the upcoming first general assembly. The Fifth Plenary Council of Australia will open on Sunday, October 3, with Archbishop Costelloe celebrating the opening Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral in Perth at 2pm AEDT. The Mass will be livestreamed on the Plenary Council website.     Masses during the week will also be broadcast publicly at 9.30am AEDT, with the Mass to close the first general assembly livestreamed from Brisbane at 11am AEDT on October 10. Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge will celebrate that Mass.     Archbishop Costelloe said the Masses being celebrated online allow people across the country to join in common prayer and worship with the Plenary Council as its focus.     “With millions of people living in locations where public Masses can’t be celebrated, this online option will help Council members and the wider faithful unite in liturgy,” he said.     “Where people can gather for Mass, the same prayers, readings and musical suggestions used for the Plenary Council Masses can be downloaded for use in each parish across the country.”     The prayers provided to members for their nourishment, including a range of prayer experiences such as lectio divina and the Examen, are also available for download and use.     In addition to the Masses, opening prayer for each day of the first general assembly will be livestreamed, offering another time of shared encounter for those wishing to join online....(More).
Conversations on Church governance continue
Extract from CathNews, 23 September 2021
“Synodality and co-responsibility” is the theme for Catholic Religious Australia’s second online conversation exploring The Light from the Southern Cross report on Church governance.         To be held on November 1, the event aims to provide an opportunity for reflection and engagement with the report at a significant time in Church history and in light of the Plenary Council.       Australian Catholic University associate professor Fr Orm Rush, moderator for the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese’s synod working party Teresa Brierley and Plenary Council vice-president Bishop Shane Mackinlay will participate in the conversation.       “My hope is that the Plenary Council will show prophetic courage, not only in its reform of the Church’s inner life, but also in the way it addresses the urgent issues facing Australia and the world,” Fr Rush.        The speaker presentations will be followed by a series of interactive group discussions and speaker responses, which will open the way for questions and for group and individual reflection.       The first conversation in the series was held in July, with about 150 people from across Australia logging on for the conversation on “ Mission and Church”.                 CRA national executive director Anne Walker said the conversation series “seeks to be personally formative – a catalyst for change and renewal that leads us towards a transformed Church, changed and revitalised through our hearts, words and actions”.)....(more)   Photo: Teresa Brierley, Fr Orm Rush and Bishop Shane Mackinlay (Supplied), CathNews 20210923
Synodality involves everyone
Pope sees no alternative to synodality as the way forward for the Church
In the run-up to the preparation phase for the next Synod assembly, Pope Francis shares his vision of synodality in a long address to Catholics of the Diocese of Rome
Limited extract from Céline Hoyeau | Vatican City, Subscription journal La Croix International, 21 September 2021
.........Francis noted that synodality comes from the Greek word synodos, which means "to journey together".        One the one hand, this means it involves everyone.       "Everyone is a protagonist," the pope repeated, insisting several times that "no one can be considered a mere extra".      On the other hand, he said this "common journey" implies that "immobility cannot be a good condition for the Church".           He said the Holy Spirit "is the director of this story" and our "movement is the result of docility" to the Spirit.       The pope pointed to the story of Peter and Paul, as recounted in Acts.             The two apostles embody different visions of the Church, he noted, but Acts shows that they were both moved by "an impulse that put them in crisis".       In other words, it forced them to "dare to question, to change their minds, to make mistakes and learn from them, and above all to hope in spite of difficulties".       This is better than being stuck in the past, the pope said, because "if the water does not flow and is stagnant, it is the first to putrefy".       "A polluted Church begins to rot," Francis warned.       "It may be necessary to leave, to change direction, and to overcome beliefs that hold us back and prevent us from moving and walking together," he said.       What must prevail is what is illustrated by the story of Peter meeting the centurion Cornelius, a "pagan".       "Christianity must always be human, humanizing, reconciling differences and distances, transforming them into familiarity and closeness," the pope said.      Synodality is opposed to clericalism.               "One of the evils of the Church, even a perversion, is this clericalism that detaches the priest and the bishop from the people," Francis said.        He lamented that there is still "much resistance to overcoming the image of a Church rigidly distinguished between leaders and subordinates, between those who teach and those who must learn......"No. We are the Church, all together," the pope reiterated.......(source)     Photo: Pope Francis 2018 M MIGLIORATO CPP CIRIC CATHOLIC PRESS PHOTO La Croix 20210921
At the Table of the Lord
Further work is needed to truly implement the deep liturgical renewal mandated by the Second Vatican Council
Limited extract from Thomaas O'Loughlin, UK, Subscription journal La Croix International. 20 September 2021
The great Jesuit philosopher and theologian Bernard Lonergan once described those nostalgic for the pre-1970 liturgy as a group "that is determined to live in a world that no longer exists".        The phrase came back to me recently when I read of another Jesuit, Pope Francis, who spoke about finding "new languages for handing on the gospel".        But this is not an easy task.          The pope – and the fact that it is clear to anyone who looks around at the age-profile on any gathering in the developed world – is clear that we need new language.         Each generation, in a rapidly changing world, is like a new continent. We have to learn the new language – and such learning is always difficult.         I often tell young theological students that learning the language of a new generation is harder than learning all the parts of the Greek verb, but they think I am exaggerating.         Sadly, many like to imagine that they do not need to learn a new language but simply need to shout out louder in the old language. It is an easy mistake: more noise equals more communication.....(more): Image: The table of the Lord, La Croix, 20210920

Strange Sighting in Ivanhoe

Friday 17 September 2021

It’s not a Ballistic Missile!
It’s not a Submarine
It’s Step 1 in our Environmental Plan for our Redevelopment Project
Our 35,000 litre underground tank to supply recycled water to our toilets and gardens


Advisers and chairpersons named for Plenary Council
Extract from CathNews, ACBC Media Blog, 16 September 2021
Some of the country’s leading Catholic thinkers have been engaged to support the members of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia when they gather for the first general assembly early next month.             As happens with international gatherings, including at the Second Vatican Council, participants are able to seek guidance from a group of advisers. Their expertise covers a broad range of disciplines, including theology, philosophy, ethics, ecclesiology, education, liturgy, governance and social justice.         Plenary Council president Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB said while there are experts across many fields within the approximately 280 members, the additional advisers – sometimes known by the Latin term periti – will be there to nourish and deepen the existing knowledge base in a special way.         “The members of the Plenary Council are responsible for discerning concrete proposals in answer to 16 questions for the Church in Australia, so having as much support on call as possible makes sense,” he said.         Archbishop Costelloe said there will be a diversity of skills and experience, as well as ministerial and working contexts, represented among the advisers.      The list of advisers can be found on the Plenary Council website.         The chairpersons to guide the work of the Plenary Council and facilitate members’ conversations when they gather as a full group have also been confirmed.         They are: Jacinta Collins (National Catholic Education Commission); Nichii Mardon, Catholic Education South Australia, Diocese of Port Pirie); Fr Thomas McDonough CP (Passionists); Br Paul O’Keefe FSP Patrician Brothers); Fr David Ranson (Broken Bay Diocese); and Theresa Simon (Maronite Catholic Eparchy of Australia)....(more)
Pope Francis: ‘I have never denied Communion to anyone.’
Extract from Gerard O’Connell, Aneruca the Jesuit Review, 15 September 2021
“I have never denied Communion to anyone,” Pope Francis revealed in answer to one of my questions on the flight back from Bratislava to Rome, Sept. 15.  It was a significant revelation coming at a time when a group of bishops in the United States are pushing to deny Communion to pro-choice politicians, including President Joe Biden. Francis appears to be sending a very different message—and it was not the only one.        He sent a second strong message in answer to my other question about the heated discussion regarding denial of Communion to pro-choice politicians, when he called on bishops to be “pastors,” not politicians. I was struck by this because over the past year, I have heard several Vatican officials ask: “Why can’t the American bishops be pastors not politicians?”        On the plane, Francis elaborated on this when he said, “if we look at the history of the church, we will see that every time the bishops have not dealt with a problem as pastors they have taken sides politically. ” He cited examples where their taking sides politically has cost lives such as in the case of the Dominican Friar, Giacomo Savonarola, in Florence in 1989, and the Huguenots (Protestants) in France in 1472.       “When the church, in order to defend a principle, acts in a non-pastoral way, it takes sides on the political plane, it has always been so,” Francis said.  He asked, “What must a pastor do?” and responded: “Be a pastor. Don’t go condemning. Be a pastor because he is a pastor also for the excommunicated.”  Bishops, he said, should be “pastors with God’s style, which is closeness, compassion and tenderness.”.....(more)    Photo:Pope Francis answers Qs Slovakia CNS Paul Haring, America, Jesuit Review 20210915
The world’s smallest army - just 140 soldiers - considers the ‘unthinkable’
Extracts from Nick Squires, The Age, 14 September 2021
Rome: Resplendent in their striped knickerbockers and clutching murderous-looking halberds, they have faithfully defended popes for more than 500 years.     But the Swiss Guard, the world’s smallest army with just 140 soldiers, is considering the previously unthinkable - opening up to female soldiers.     A bastion of conservatism even by the standards of the Vatican, the Swiss Guard has been a celebrated institution ever since its foundation in 1506. Recruits to the ancient corps must be single, practising Catholics of Swiss nationality, aged between 19 and 30.       They must serve for a minimum of two years, protecting the Pope and standing ramrod straight in sentry boxes outside St Peter’s Basilica.       Now comes a potential revolution - the tiny corps has announced that it is having new barracks built within the walls of the Vatican and that it will be able to accommodate female soldiers...........Adapting the guardsmen’s helmets and breastplates to female soldiers should not be too challenging - these days they are made not of beaten metal but plastic, produced by 3D printers.......(More).   Photo: Vatican Swiss Guards, AP, The Age, 20210914
In Slovakia, Pope Francis calls for freedom in both civil society and Church
Extract from Inés San Martín, Rome Bureau Chief, Crux, 13 September 2021
.......To the Catholic hierarchy: The center of the Church is not the Church.            “Living within the world means being willing to share and to understand people’s problems, hopes and expectations,” he said during a meeting with the bishops, priests and religious men and women in Bratislava’s Cathedral of St. Martin.  “This will help us to escape from our self-absorption, for the center of the Church is not the Church!”       He urged those present to leave behind the “undue concern for ourselves, for our structures, for what society thinks about us,” and instead become immersed in the lives of peoples and try to address their spiritual needs and expectations.         Answering his own question as to what people expected, he said freedom, creativity and dialogue.           Freedom, Francis said, is the key to humanity, as human beings were created free, and as Slovakia learned during the years of Communist rule, whenever freedom is attacked, violated or suppressed, humanity is disfigured and violence, coercion and the elimination of rights follows.        The Church too can fall into this temptation, believing it’s “better to have everything readily defined, laws to be obeyed, security and uniformity, rather than to be responsible Christians and adults who think, consult their conscience and allow themselves to be challenged.”       “A Church that has no room for the adventure of freedom, even in the spiritual life, risks becoming rigid and self-enclosed,” he said.  “Some people may be used to this. But many others – especially the younger generations – are not attracted by a faith that leaves them no interior freedom, by a Church in which all are supposed to think alike and blindly obey.”                Speaking about creativity, Francis argued that faced with the loss of the sense of God and of the joy of faith, it is useless to complain and “hide behind a defensive Catholicism, to judge and blame the world.  We need the creativity of the Gospel.”        Lastly, speaking about dialogue, he said that a Church that forms the faithful in interior freedom and responsibility is able to be creative by tapping into their history and culture, capable of engaging in dialogue with the world:  “Those who confess Christ without being ‘ours,’ with those who are struggling with religion, and even with those who are not believers.”.......(More). 
The Plenary Council: Consulting the faithful
Extract from Bill Uren*, Pearls & Irritations, 12 September 2021
......I am not suggesting that such manifestations of division between clergy and laity should be entertained at the upcoming Australian Plenary Council.  Nor am I even contemplating that some of our bishops may be in schism.  But I am suggesting, in line with Newman’s essay, that the episcopal and clerical members of the Council should be particularly attentive to the voices of the laity when they address the Council’s agenda. This is all the more necessary because, inevitably, in view of the canonical structure of the Council, the laity will be in a very significant minority. An overwhelming majority of clerical members is appointed ex-officio, and in some instances bishops have seen fit to choose further clerics, rather than laity, to fill what vacancies remained.        Indeed, one might submit that a Plenary Council is a cumbersome instrument to ascertain the genuinely representative views of the Catholic Church in Australia.  Many of the canonical strictures regarding the membership, agenda and process of the Council will dampen the original enthusiasm for the Council that provoked over 17,500 submissions. Second thoughts might have suggested an extra-canonical assembly after the German or Irish model as a better way to convoke a more representative, less clerical, meeting. On the other hand, a canonically structured council does have the advantage that its recommendations are more likely to be taken seriously by the Roman authorities.       Whatever the outcomes of the Plenary Council, let us hope that this consultation entered upon by the clergy and the laity will be regarded as a first, rather than a final, step. Pope Francis has already indicated that further consultations of this nature should be conducted in every diocese prior to the Synod on Synodality in 2023.  If the Australian Plenary Council were to prescribe in preparation for this Synod that in each parish a parish council should be instituted, and that in each diocese a diocesan council should be established, and that in both instances the laity should be significantly represented on these councils, that might seem to compensate, at least to some degree, for the disparities of membership that more or less inevitably attend the Plenary Council.......(more).   Image:Unsplash, Pearls & Irritations, 202109122
*Bill Uren SJ AO is a Jesuit Priest, Scholar in Residence at Newman College at the University of Melbourne.
Synods and synodality take center stage
From "How Sept. 11 inadvertently paved the way for the future election of Pope Francis"
Limited extract from Christopher White, United States, Subscription Journal La Croix International, 9 September 2021
............In many respects, the themes of the 2001 synod, which focused on "The Bishop: Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World," foreshadowed many of the same touchstones and tensions of the Francis papacy.         Papal biographer and collaborator Austen Ivereigh told NCR that, historically, a persistent "sticky issue" of synods has been the question "of the authority of the college of bishops itself, and its role in the universal governance of the church" and navigating "the right balance of collegiality versus primacy."          "The 2001 synod was a key moment in surfacing this call to collegiality, because there was a sense the John Paul era was at an end and that centralist governance had become a major obstacle to the church's mission," said Ivereigh.         He pointed to the 2001 consistory — when Pope John Paul II created a number of cardinals, including Bergoglio, from Latin America — as a tipping point.          "Because that consistory was made up of so many Latin American cardinals, there was a sense that the Catholic heartlands — Europe and Latin America — were pushing for collegiality that was being resisted by Rome," said Ivereigh. "Bergoglio saw all this, and took note."         During the 2001 synod, the issue emerged again, with one in five speeches among the synod fathers raising collegiality, according to Ivereigh. By contrast, collegiality was only mentioned twice in the synod's working document and Cardinal Jan Pieter Schotte had it excised from the final report.         "At his first press conference as relator following Egan's return to New York, Bergoglio was asked about collegiality," Ivereigh recalled. "Sitting next to Schotte, he said a proper discussion of this topic 'exceeds the specific limits of this synod' and needed to be dealt with elsewhere and with adequate preparation."        "Looking back, he was clearly signaling that collegiality could only be introduced through a thorough reform of the synod itself, to make it an instrument of collegial governance and ecclesial discernment," he said.          Piqué offered a similar assessment, telling NCR that Bergoglio's experience at the 2001 synod was "essential also for him to understand better the need of real consultation, with discussions, in the church, because he saw that those kinds of meetings were already pre-fabricated."         "It was all already carefully managed by Rome," she added. "The bishops were not really free to discuss any subject and to express their opinions. They knew that if they expressed an opinion that Rome did not like, their future career would be blocked."        And after being elected pope, Francis himself has not minced words about what he learned in the synod process and his belief reform was needed.          "I was the rapporteur of the 2001 synod and there was a cardinal who told us what should be discussed and what should not," he told La Nacion in 2014. "That will not happen now."........(source)Photo: Broken steel from 9-11 Museum World Trade Center Museun THOMAS A  FERRARA UPI MAXPPP La Croix International 20210909
Vatican releases Synod Preparatory Document
It points out some concrete steps on listening without prejudice; speaking out with courage; dialoguing with the Church, with society, and with other Christians
Limited extract from subscriptional Journal La Croix International, 7 September 2021
The General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops has released the Preparatory Document and "vademecum" – or handbook – to indicate the guiding principles that will direct the path of the Synod on Synodality.            The opening of the Synod will take place in Rome on October 9-10, and in the particular Churches on October 17. It will conclude in the Vatican in 2023 with the assembly of bishops from around the world.              The Preparatory Document, released September 7, is intended to facilitate the first phase of listening and consultation of the People of God in the particular Churches, which will take place from October 2021 to April 2022.       "It constitutes a sort of construction site or pilot experience that makes it possible to immediately begin reaping the fruits of the dynamic that progressive synodal conversion introduces into the Christian community," the document reads.       The text begins with a question:.........(Source).  Image: vatican-releases-synod-preparatory-document-14850-30 La Croix International, 20210907
Pope at Angelus: Healing of the heart begins with listening
Extract from Catholic Outlook, Diocese of Parramatta, Vatican News, 7 September 2021
In his reflections before leading the recitation of the Angelus, Pope Francis recalls in Sunday’s Gospel when Jesus restores the hearing and speech of the deaf man. He says we can ask Jesus to touch and heal our own interior deafness, since the healing of the heart begins with being able to listen.        Recalling Sunday’s Gospel reading which presents Jesus who heals a deaf man with a speech impediment, Pope Francis observed the many actions Jesus took in healing him: putting his finger into the man’s ears, touching his tong with saliva and looking up to heaven and then saying to him “Ephphatha”, that is, “Be opened!”. Perhaps, the Pope suggested, it was because the man’s condition of deafness had a special symbolic value and can say something to all of us, since we all have ears, but “very often we are not able to hear”.       Healing Interior Deafness             The Pope described this as an “interior deafness” that we can ask Jesus to heal today. And “the healing of the heart begins with listening”. He pointed out that the deafness of the heart is worse than physical deafness, because we can become impervious to everyone and everything in our haste and busyness, sometimes closing ourselves off to the Lord and our brothers and sisters. By listening and letting ourselves be touched by people’s lives we can learn to live and grow in faith. ....(More)
           (Ed: Pastoral Letter on the Latin Mass)
The application of Traditionis Custodes in the Archdiocese of Melbourne
Extract from Pastoral Letter, Archbishop Peter Comensoli (28 August 2021),  3 September 2021 
Dear clergy and lay faithful of the Archdiocese of Melbourne...............The Church has always attended closely to the form and expression of our public worship, especially in the celebration of that greatest of Sacraments, the Holy Eucharist.   To this end, various forms of the Mass have been promulgated through the centuries, drawing on ancient liturgical sources to give renewed expression for current times and people. These reforms are articulated in the approved text we use for Mass, called the Roman Missal. The Roman Missal sets out how the Mass is celebrated in the Latin Catholic Church (as distinct from the other Catholic Churches, such as the Maronite, Melkite, Syro-Malabar, Chaldean, and Ukrainian Churches).   The Roman Missal we now use was promulgated in 1970. The manner in which the Mass is to be celebrated is set out in the Third Typical Edition of the Roman Missal of 2000. The approved English translation is from 2011.             

Last month, Pope Francis recalled this reality in an Apostolic Letter (Motu Proprio) called Traditionis Custodes (Guardians of Tradition). Following a world-wide consultation of the Bishops of the Church into the celebration of the Mass using the previously promulgated Roman Missal of 1962 (the one in use prior to the reforms called for at Vatican II), Pope Francis has considered it necessary to reiterate that “the liturgical books promulgated by Saint Paul VI and Saint John Paul II, in conformity with the decrees of Vatican Council II, are the unique expression of the lex orandi [the law of prayer] of the Roman Rite.” (TC, Art.1) 

Traditionis Custodes sets out new arrangements for the celebration of Mass using the 1962 Missal, and directs “the diocesan bishop, as moderator, promoter, and guardian of the whole liturgical life of the particular Church entrusted to him, to regulate … the use of the 1962 Roman Missal in his diocese.”  (TC, Art.2) In the Archdiocese of Melbourne, it falls to me, as Archbishop, to apply these directives of Pope Francis for the celebration of the 1962 Mass within the territory of the local Church in Melbourne.....
..........(details in full Pastoral Letter here)
Catholic 101: What is the Creed?
Extract from Brian Strassburger SJ, Catholic Outlook, Diocese of Parramatta,  31 August 2021
“Let us stand and profess our faith.”         Every Sunday at Mass, we stand as a congregation after the homily and recite the words of the Creed. “I believe in one God, the Father almighty…”
  What exactly is the Creed? Where did it come from? What are we saying when we recite it? The truth is, the Creed is a huge topic, and many lines in the Creed were the product of tremendous debate and contention. You could take a whole graduate-level class on the contents of the Creed! This article is not going to unpack everything about the Creed. Not even close.  This article is an introduction.
         What the Creed is NOT.       First things first, let’s dispel some misguided ideas about the Creed.  It is not a single, solitary summary of the entirety of the Catholic faith. In fact, it’s not even single. We use two Creeds regularly in the Catholic Church: the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed. These two Creeds aren’t contradictory, but they include different wording, and the Nicene Creed has more content.      Even the longer of the two, the Nicene Creed, doesn’t include a complete summary of the Catholic faith.  For example, the Eucharist is never mentioned. And while the stanza on Jesus talks about his birth and Passion, it gives no mention to his teaching or miracles. What about Mary and the apostles? Barely mentioned. Yet those are all things that “We believe.” So, we can’t say that the Creed is a complete summary of the Catholic faith.        In fact, we also can’t say that the Creed is exclusively Catholic. A variety of Christian churches use the Creed: Lutherans, Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterians, and more. When we profess belief in the “holy catholic Church” in the Creed, it’s important to note that the word catholic has a lower-case c.[i] It means “universal,” not Roman Catholic. There’s even disagreement over what the word “catholic”/universal means in the context of the Creed, but it does point beyond a local church to belonging to something greater....(More)

Don’t blame the boomers for decline of religion
Extract from CathNews NZ,     2 September 2021
The generation born in the two decades after World War II has long touted itself as the revolutionary religious demographic that grew up dutifully sitting in the pews before rebelling — as they did in music, politics, art and the bedroom — and freeing American culture from its hidebound superstitions.             OK, boomer.       Examining the data from the General Social Survey, it turns out it’s not the baby boomers who were the last vestige of a highly religious, very Christian era of American history.          Instead, Generation X — born between 1965 and the early ’80s — is the last to come of age and even perpetuate an overwhelmingly Christian and largely devout religious landscape in terms of church attendance and beliefs about God.       The GSS has been asking people about their belief in God since 1988, when the oldest members of Gen X were moving into adulthood.       The Silent Generation, the baby boomers and Generation X show up in its findings as just as likely (if not more) to have a certain belief in God in 2018 compared to 1988.      That’s clearly not the case for millennials, who dropped about 10 percentage points in 20 years in reporting their certainty about a supreme being.     It’s still very early to come to any firm conclusions about Generation Z, but there’s ample reason to believe that they are half as likely as Gen X to express a certain belief — leaving millennials as the generation that was the great divide.....(more) Photo: CathNews NZ

Lay Catholic to represent Poland in Rome at Synod opening
Extract from CathNews NZ, CNA, 2 September 2021
In a first-ever appointment of its kind, a lay Catholic will represent the Church in Poland at the official opening of the synodal process next month.         The two-year synodal process is a consultative phase involving Catholic dioceses around the world.      Chosen by the Polish bishops’ conference president Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, Professor Aleksander Bańka is the first lay person to represent the Church in Poland at an inaugural session.        He is one of 10 representatives from Europe at the official opening. The others include the president of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences, two bishops and seven lay people.           The Vatican says immediately after its official opening in Rome next moth, the two-year “synodal path” will begin in dioceses throughout the world.       Continental assemblies will follow the diocesan consultations. The process will culminate in the October 2023 synod of bishops at the Vatican.        The synod theme is “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission,”.....(more).  Photo:   Professor Aleksander Bańka first lay representative of Church Poland at an inaugural session of Rome Synod.

Holiness does not come from following rigid rules, pope says
Extract from Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, 1 September 2021
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Redemption is the work of God, not of human beings, so be careful and do not listen to “fundamentalists” who claim holiness comes through following certain laws, Pope Francis said during his weekly general audience.       The belief that holiness comes by observing particular laws “leads us to a rigid religiosity, a rigidity that eliminates that freedom of the Spirit which Christ’s redemption gives us. Beware of this rigidity that they propose,” he said Sept. 1 to those gathered in the Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican.       God’s saving grace is received through faith in the Gospel message of Christ’s death and resurrection, and God invites people to rejoice in the righteousness received through that faith in Christ, he said.      The pope continued his series of talks on St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians by looking at the apostle’s explanation of justification by faith and of graces flowing from the Spirit, not from works of the law.      However, before beginning his catechesis, the pope spoke off-the-cuff to explain the context and purpose of the weekly audience talks, which are usually in-depth reflections on many aspects of church teaching.       The pope said the teachings in St. Paul’s letter were not anything new or “my own thing.”         “What we are studying is what St. Paul says during a very serious conflict” in Galatia. “They are not things that someone invented. No. It is something that happened at the time and that can repeat itself,” he said, referring to the apostle’s attempts to correct those who were tempted to believe a person is justified through works of the law, not faith in Christ’s redemptive action.       The pope said, “This is simply a catechesis on the Word of God expressed in the letter of St. Paul to the Galatians. It is not something else. Always keep this in mind.”....(more)

New women deacons commission to meet with unclear agenda
by Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter, 31 August 2021
First, the bad news: two officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith have told me, in person, at lunch, that women cannot be ordained deacons because women cannot image Christ.         The good news: At least one no longer works there. I am not sure about the other.             Now, the London Catholic newsweekly The Tablet reports that the new commission for the study of women in the diaconate will meet for one week in Rome, beginning Sept. 13. One may assume the meetings will take place in the CDF's vaulted meeting room. The coming commission constitutes the fourth discussion group in recent history to discuss women deacons there.      Two subcommittees of the CDF's International Theological Commission reviewed the question over 10 years. In 1997, the first subcommittee reportedly found no problem with restoring women to the ordained diaconate. However, the CDF prefect at the time, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, refused to promulgate their report. He named a new subcommittee, which produced a much longer report five years later. That 2002 report concluded that, while male and female deacons did not perform the same tasks and duties, there is a clear distinction between the diaconate and the priesthood. Therefore, they wrote, the question is up to the magisterium to decide....(more).   Photo: sign supporting women deacons Vatican Nov. 6, 2019,CNS Paul Haring, NCR 20210831
Pope Francis' "attitude adjustment program" is gaining traction
Two phrases the pope casually threw out at the beginning of his pontificate now look like seeds that have begun to bear fruit
Limited extract from Robert Mickens,  subscription Journal La Croix International, 27 August 2021
The widespread negative reaction to the latest pronouncement by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) -- that the Church does not have the power to bless same-sex unions -- clearly surprised many people.      Pope Francis was probably among those who were taken back a bit, especially by the fact that more than a few bishops voiced displeasure with the CDF text. After all, he did authorize its publication.        It's fairly normal for theologians to speak out against documents that come from the Vatican's doctrinal office. But it's not so normal when bishops do so -- especially when it means "dissenting" from a clear Church teaching or discipline.       But that is what has happened. A number of bishops stepped forward (and others continue to join them) to say they disagree with the latest CDF statement, which was merely a re-iteration of the Church's official teaching on homosexuality.       And let's be honest. Except for its stinging line that God "cannot and does not bless sin", the authors of this statement seem to have tried -- though ham-handedly -- not to intentionally repeat the offensive language used in previous texts on homosexuality.      Bishops signal desire to "develop" teaching on homosexuality.          In fact, for the first time ever, we have a CDF document actually acknowledging that there can be "positive elements" in homosexual relationships, elements that "are in themselves to be valued and appreciated".        Of course, the authors of this badly argued text basically admit just one line later that they really cannot appreciate this because -- well, you know -- these "positive elements exist within the context of a union not ordered to the Creator's plan".      So, in the end, this latest CDF statement has not changed anything in the Vatican's longstanding, official line on homosexuality. Not a thing.       And yet, there was criticism and outrage -- even from bishops.       This is very significant, because it means that the Church's "official teachers of the faith" believe this teaching needs to be re-evaluated and developed.....(more)
In Ireland, the national synod will be organized by a lay woman
"The synodal pathway is an important and hope-filled development in the life of the Catholic Church in Ireland and I am grateful for the opportunity", says Nicola Brady
Limited Extract from Nicola Brady, subscription Journal La Croix International, 25 August 2021
The Catholic bishops of Ireland are promoting the "synodal pathway" by setting up an organizing committee headed by a woman under whose authority two assistants, including a bishop, will be placed.            After announcing their desire to hold a national synod, the Irish bishops have created an organizing committee responsible for carrying out the various stages leading up to the synod which should take place by 2026.       To chair it, they chose Nicola Brady, a laywoman who is General Secretary of the Irish Council of Churches and co-secretary of the Irish Inter-Church Meeting.       Nicola Brady has expertise in the field of faith-based peace-building on the island of Ireland and at the international level, according to a statement from the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference.        "The synodal pathway is an important and hope-filled development in the life of the Catholic Church in Ireland and I am grateful for the opportunity to help guide and shape this work", Nicola Brady said.        The vice-chairs of the synodal steering committee are Andrew O'Callaghan, a lay partner at the consulting firm PwC, and Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick.       The Irish bishops say they have been helped and greatly encouraged by Cardinal Mario Grech and Sister Nathalie Becquart, respectively secretary general and undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops.        The Irish Catholic Bishops Conference has identified seven areas for "listening to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church in Ireland', one of which is "honoring the contribution of women".         Women often feel undervalued by the Catholic Church. A study found that 74% of Irish Catholic women believed that the Church did not treat them with "a lot of respect", compared to 6% of Protestant women.        Former Irish president Mary McAleese has described the Catholic Church as "a primary global carrier of the virus of misogyny". A 2018 poll found that 55% agreed with McAleese that the Church does not treat women equally....(more).   Photo:  Nicola Brady N Brady Irish Council of Churches La Croix Int 20210925

Parish Redevelopment

A very early (external) look at our new, more accessible, Parish Office-to-be

Friday 27 August 2021

Structural steel being put in place across the entry and ceiling of the new parish office.

Centre of picture shows chapel windows, to the right is the  entry to parish office.


By The Way:

On  next weekend, September 5th, Father's Day,  we traditionally take up a collection for Retired Priests. Please see an 'advance notice' about this on the Mass Details page HERE

Fr Charles Balnaves appointed as Parish Priest of St Kevin’s Templestowe and St Gregory The Great Doncaster.

Edited extract from St Kevin'e Parish, 26 August 2021

Fr Charles  will commence his tenure on Wednesday, 8th September.  He  lived in the parish of St Kevin’s for twenty years.   He worked for BHP for thirty years, was married and has two adult sons.             He was among the early cohorts of men to prepare for ordination as permanent deacons in the Archdiocese, and was among the first group to be ordained deacons in October 2012.               During his time of preparation, and subsequent to ordination as deacon, Deacon Charles served as a very effective Deanery Resource Co-Ordinator for the Yarra Deanery. His first ministerial term as deacon was spent right in his “home” parish of St Kevin’s.             Fr Charles was a very good student during his preparation for the diaconate. He received a number of awards at Catholic Theological College and one year he received the Master’s Prize.             Charles’ wife died in March 2012 after a long illness during which he lovingly cared for her.                Some time later, Charles was encouraged to consider applying to be ordained a priest. He  obviously went on to apply for the priesthood, but he did so after serious and well-rounded spiritual discernment.            He was ordained a Catholic priest in 2015 and after a short time as an assistant priest, was appointed to the leadership of a parish. He has served on the Archbishop’s Council of Priests and, in December 2020, he was appointed to the inaugural Board of CatholicCare Victoria Ltd.     Many of St Kevins parishioners know Fr Charles already and his appointment to St Kevin’s and St Gregory The Great is testimony to the esteem in which he is held.      He will arrive on September 8, 2021 and take up residence at St Gregory the Great Parish.......(source)  Photo: St Kevin's

Call for Australia to take 20,000 Afghan refugees
Extract from CathNews NZ, SkyNews, 26 August 2021
Jesuit Priest and human rights lawyer Father Frank Brennan says Australia should take in 20,000 Afghan refugees rather than the 3,000 being proposed.       “There are lots of people, including our veterans, who know these Afghans. They want us to do more. We can do much better than 3,000,” Brennan told Sky News Australia.             There are particular fears for the safety of women and girls as the Taliban imposes hardline Islamic rule on Afghanistan.       Alex Hawke, the Australian Immigration Minister, defended the number, pointing out that Australia’s total intake of Afghans since 2013 would be up to 14,000.             He said Australia has been welcoming Afghans every year, unlike some other countries.            In 2015, the Abbott government granted 12,000 humanitarian visas to people in Syria on top of Australia’s regular humanitarian program.    However, Brennan pointed out that Australia used to have 18,750 places a year for humanitarian cases. That was reduced by 5,000 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “So, to say that we’ll just take 3,000 in the first place as a floor, not a ceiling, and that’s part of the 13,000. We need to get back to a decent intake.”             Brennan believes three issues need to be addressed related to the Afghanistan refugee situation.        The first issue is the evacuation of people from Afghanistan, given the collapse of the situation there. The Australian government need to “evacuate those who are Australian citizens, those who have visas and those who worked for the Australians.”             Secondly, Brennan asked, what will Australia do for those who will flow across the border, particularly into Pakistan and Iran or seeking refuge elsewhere?      “As Australians, we need to do our bit, and I’m one of those Australians who think our bit sounds more like twenty thousand rather than three thousand,” said Brennan.                The third issue Father Brennan raised was “what the country should do with the 5,000 Afghans on temporary protection visas. Many have been in Australia for 10 years?”       “I think we should move to give permanent residence to those 5,000 so they can start to sponsor their families. Then we can sponsor 20,000 places for those who are stranded in Pakistan or Iran.”...(more)
A closer look at synodality and its promise for a more inclusive church
Extract from Hosffman Ospino, Opinion Piece, National Catholic Reporter, 23 August 2021
My colleague Rafael Luciani is one of the world's leading experts on the topic of synodality, the experience of "walking together" rooted in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council that Pope Francis has called on the Catholic Church to embrace.         Luciani, a native of Venezuela, serves as a theological expert for the regional Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM) and the Confederation of Latin American Religious (CLAR).       He is also one of three Latin American theologians invited as expert advisers for the theological commission of the secretariat for the next Synod of Bishops. Earlier this year, Francis expanded the upcoming synod: It will begin with a diocesan phase this fall, followed by continental meetings next year, and will conclude with a general assembly at the Vatican in 2023.      uciani is professor extraordinarius at Boston College and a full professor at the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Venezuela.          We spoke earlier this month about synodality, why some Catholics seem reluctant or unwilling to consider this way of being church, and what it means that Xavière Missionary Sr. Nathalie Becquart, his former student, will be the first woman serving as a voting member at a Vatican synod.        Following is our interview, which I translated from Spanish and edited for length and clarity.      Ospino: We hear much about synodality these days.      What do you think needs more clarity to understand this topic better?           Luciani: Above all, synodality is a way in which the church is and acts in history. It is not a method of doing things. It is an ecclesial way of proceeding grounded in the ecclesiology of the people of God described in Chapter 2 of Lumen Gentium.........(more).  Photo:  Rafael Luciani NCR screenshot YouTube Boston College School of Theology and Ministry Continuing Education, NCR 20210823
Archbishop Coleridge urges PM to increase Afghan intake
Extract from CathNews, ACBC Media Blog, 20 August 2021
The Australian Government should provide at least 20,000 humanitarian places for Afghans in the wake of the Taliban takeover, Australian Catholic Bishop Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge has said.     In a letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison last night, Archbishop Coleridge noted there has been “an outpouring of concern for the people of Afghanistan” as that country’s government has collapsed and the Taliban seized control.      He said the 3000 places offered above and beyond 8000 places over the past decade “is a substantial commitment, but more is needed”.      Based on estimates from key humanitarian organisations and pledges from other countries, Archbishop Coleridge proposed that at least another 17,000 places be made available.      “Australia has stepped up before in response to significant humanitarian crises, and I urge your government to be generous,” he wrote, adding that Catholic agencies “stand ready to assist your government with resettlement of refugees as an expression of our great concern for the people of Afghanistan”.      Archbishop Coleridge said many Afghans would find themselves vulnerable under Taliban rule, but he made particular mention of those who supported Australia’s defence personnel who served in Afghanistan, some of whom lost their lives, as well as religious minorities and women.    “It would seem our moral duty to stand with those who supported Australian military forces as interpreters or in other capacities, who it seems likely will suffer reprisals and even death for their work,” he wrote.     “We should also offer refuge to other Afghans who are likely to suffer persecution or risk being killed because of their opposition to the Taliban, or because of their beliefs, values and way of life, including members of the Christian community.         “There is a particular risk to women, and Australia's humanitarian response should recognise and support their dignity and human rights.”...(more). Photo: Archbishop Mark Coleridge ACBC CathNews 20210820
Pope Francis has said some interesting things about Vatican II in last several weeks.
Limited extract from from subscription journal La Croix Internmational, first published March 3, Republished 20 August 2021
On January 11, in a letter to the cardinal prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith accompanying his motu proprio allowing women to become lectors and acolytes, the pope described his decision in terms of the "horizon of renewal traced by the Second Vatican Council" and "in line with the Second Vatican Council."         Then came these remarks in his January 29 speech to the national catechetical office of the Italian bishops' conference:      This is the magisterium: the Council is the magisterium of the Church. Either you are with the Church and therefore you follow the Council, and if you do not follow the Council or you interpret it in your own way, as you wish, you are not with the Church. We must be demanding and strict on this point. The Council should not be negotiated in order to have more of these.... No, the Council is as it is. And this problem that we are experiencing, of selectivity with respect to the Council, has been repeated throughout history with other Councils.              As with all other teachings by Francis, these statements speak in a particularly direct way to U.S. Catholicism.       In recent months, some bishops and clerics have tried to advance a theologically defensible conservative interpretation of Vatican II, something to counter the extremist views of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò and a group of like-minded quasi-schismatics, who in addition to rejecting the "Bergolian" magisterium have taken a position that's hard to distinguish from pure and simple rejection of the council's teachings.        Bishop Robert Barron, for example, has spoken of attacks on Vatican II as a "disturbing trend," and Thomas Weinandy, former executive director of the Secretariat for Doctrine and Pastoral Practices of the USCCB, has chastised Viganò for challenging the council's authenticity.       But there's more than theological interpretation to consider......(Source)  . Photo: Pope Francis. La Croix International, 20210820
Catholic agencies help after Haiti quake, storm
Extract from CathNews, Caritas Australia,  20 August 2021  
A tropical storm that hit Haiti three days after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake has complicated efforts to provide help to the Caribbean nation.      Since the earthquake on Saturday, Catholic agencies Catholic Relief Services and Caritas Haiti have been working to provide relief to over 75,000 families affected.      At least 1,941 deaths and more than 6,900 have been injured so far, with expectations for these figures to continue to rise. At least 37,000 homes were destroyed and another 46,000 damaged.     On Tuesday, Tropical Storm Grace hit Haiti.      “We’d feared widespread destruction from the storm, but thankfully the storm weakened over Haiti and the flooding of the city of Cayes was not as severe as we’d anticipated,” said Melville Fernandez, Caritas Australia’s humanitarian emergencies manager.       “Nonetheless, the storm has complicated relief efforts because now some key roads are impassable from flooding-related landslides or damage to bridges. The ongoing gang violence along key routes to the south is also making local travel extremely dangerous for humanitarian workers, which makes responding even tougher.”        There is immediate and urgent need for food, water, shelter, hygiene kits and first aid to be distributed. Donations: Caritas Australia’s Emergency Response Appeal or call 1800 024 413....(more).  Photo: Haiti, Catholic agencies help after quake Caritas Haiti, CathNews 20210820
Unnecessary red tape aimed at silencing charities
Extract from Fr Frank Brennan, CathNews, Eureka Street, 18 August 2021
If the Morrison Government is going to add another layer of red tape to the operation of charities, it needs to provide a coherent, transparent explanation about what it is up to, writes Fr Frank Brennan SJ.          Last Wednesday, the Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Delegated Legislation chaired by the Government’s Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells tabled a report highlighting problems with a proposed new regulation affecting charities.       Australia’s 59,000 registered charities are the backbone of the voluntary sector assisting citizens in all manner of situations, particularly in times of emergency and particularly in situations of ongoing economic deprivation. Think only of Vinnies and the Salvos.     The Morrison Government has a strong commitment to reducing government red tape. But at the same time, it has moved to tighten the supervision of charities.       The proposed new regulation would place a charity at risk of losing its registration if one of its staff or volunteers were to do an act (or omit to do an act) that may be dealt with as a summary offence under an Australian law relating to real property, personal property or causing personal injury or harm to an individual.      Vinnies chief Toby O'Connor gave the example that if a Vinnies member participated in the annual Palm Sunday protest rally against the Government’s refugee and asylum policy and disobeyed a police direction at one of these protests, it could impact on the ongoing registration of Vinnies as a charity....(more).
Technology in place for first Plenary Council assembly
Extract from ACBC, Melbourne Catholic, 16 August 2021
Despite large parts of the country being in lockdown, those planning the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia say all is in readiness to deliver the first assembly in October wholly online. Bishop Shane Mackinlay, the Plenary Council’s vice-president, said the Council journey has adapted to changing circumstances because of COVID-19 – and it is adapting again.         'With most of the country’s population currently in lockdown or having experienced lockdowns in recent weeks, we have plans in place to ensure the first assembly opens on October 3,' he said.        'Just as there was disappointment in needing first to postpone the assembly and then to move to regional hubs, the likelihood that most members will now join the assembly from their home is not what we had planned and hoped for.       'We know, though, that the Holy Spirit can and will work through this assembly, just as the Spirit has led us over the past three-and-a-half years.'        Plenary Council facilitator Lana Turvey-Collins said a huge amount of work had been done to prepare for the Council to be held in hubs, with each member participating on their own device.            'As a result, this shift to most people participating from home is a pivot rather than a major detour from what we were planning,' she said.        'We are receiving exceptional support from technical experts within and beyond the Church to ensure that we can make the virtual assembly one that allows for the prayer, conversation, listening and discernment we’ve hoped for all along.'       Teams working on liturgy, communications and the assembly’s program are also altering existing plans for the new format.      Bishop Mackinlay said the approximately 280 members of the Council gathered online in four groups in recent weeks to continue their formation, including from a technology perspective.     'While there has been greater exposure to videoconferencing in the past 18 months, the Microsoft Teams environment was new to some,' he said....(more)
Excommunicated or not, Call to Action leader served his church, community
Extracts from National Catholic Reporter, 19 August 2021
John Krejci has died in Lincoln, Nebraska.    It really wasn't his intent to die. Just no other options. For 15 years, he had outlasted the cancer that was supposed to take him in a year. All the while, he protested on street corners, testified for or against legislative bills, wrote countless letters, went fishing, rode his bike all over town and played ice hockey. Attitude, he said, was everything.         A daily communicant, John was a person of faith and action who took "Love your neighbor" seriously. Even if the cause he championed was unpopular or ahead of its time or iconoclastic, he persisted. He'd challenge the powers-that-be because he simply expected them to do their best. He thought that if one were reasonable and direct and grounded in love, the challenge was worth the effort.     John grew up in the Omaha Czech community, went to seminary in Missouri and studied in Rome. Marching on March 7, 1965, at the second crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma was his call to a life of activism. John never stopped marching.     He left the priesthood in good standing to pursue graduate work at the University of Notre Dame, studying social work — and capped it off with a doctorate in anthropology and sociology. There, he and former Benedictine nun Jean Gettelfinger met and married.....John also worked among the Omaha and Winnebago tribes, served on the board of Nebraskans for Peace, was active in the local NAACP and supported the United Nations Association's Model UN.         He was a frequent letter writer to newspapers, heads of church and state, and anyone else who he felt wasn't fully informed. He was on the street in vigils against the death penalty or protesting this or that war or liquor sales in communities bordering Indian reservations.....(more).  Photo:  John and Jean Krejci, Jennifer Krejci, NCR 20210819
Mary Assumed into Heaven?
No, just descending from the wall of the church to be restored before ascending to her new position on  the wall of our new Parish Centre
Our new Parish Centre - up it goes
Friday 13 August 2021
Photo 1 (l-r top row) shows our crane-driver-in-training!  Photos 3&4 show the 1st wall: extending from the ground floor office to the 1st floor Presbytery.   Photos 5-6 show the external wall between the Vet’s and the Parish Office & Presbytery
Drinking ‘At the Well’ with three wise women
Extract from CathNews, Catholic Outlook Parramatta Diocese, 13 August 2021
Young women in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains have been inspired to “let God do his thing” among all the challenges of lockdown. Source: Catholic Outlook.       A group of 30 women discussed faith, life and womanhood during the Parramatta Diocese’s of Parramatta’s At the Well online gathering last week.       Participants were able to ask questions about life, faith, careers and vocation to three guest panellists – Joy Adan, Danica D’Souza and Stephanie Musgrave.        One of the questions the panel was asked was how do they managed to balance their faith and living in our modern society.        Ms D’Souza, a certified dietitian, explained said she felt she was living in two different worlds growing up, but that she is blessed to have found a group of Catholic women who can guide her through her struggles.       Ms Adan, a podcaster, content journalist and mother of two, said she is passionate about encouraging women to understand that they are women of God.        The panel were asked how they remained hopeful that their vocation is meant for them despite all the difficulties of lockdown.        Ms Musgrave, head of primary at Santa Sophia Catholic College in Box Hill in Melbourne, said she was meant to be married during this period of lockdown.        “During this time of lockdown, I’ve learnt patience and I’ve learnt to trust in God and the way that God loves me,” she said.         “God’s plans are so much richer than we can ever think of, and I know that’s what will get me through these times. God knows better than what I could ever plan, so I just need to let God do his thing,” she said.....(more).  Image: Three Wise Women CathNews, Parramatta Diocese, 202108113
The challenge of Church leadership
Extract from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, 12 August 2021
Two recent books set out the size of the challenge and the kind of leadership for meeting it envisaged by Pope Francis in his Synodal process.  As its title suggests, Wrestling with the Church Hierarchy takes a critical view of the leadership of the Catholic Church. It comprises annotated articles and talks of John Warhurst, a political scientist and long-standing columnist in Eureka Street. The collection gathers together descriptions of the Australian Catholic Church and its relationship to the State, correspondence, advocacy and personal views.        It begins with the findings of the Royal Commission on Sexual Abuse, which offered a study of an organisation whose operative values differed sharply from its professed mission both in the action of some of its officers and the cover up of their crimes.  It led a group of Canberra Catholics to which Warhurst belonged to advocate for church reform in response to this event, and later to the announcement of the Plenary Council.          Warhurst brings to this work his extensive participation and experience in Catholic agencies concerned with social justice. In his engagement with Catholic leaders about the Plenary Council and its processes he found them generally intent on avoiding engagement. The overall tone of his writing is not polemical but explanatory and persuasive, respectful of persons and positive in proposing necessary reform. He was clearly frustrated by the difficulty of persuading Church leaders to engage in ways that are recognised commonly as good governance.  He sees the defects of Catholic hierarchical leadership as structural, leading to a lack of transparency, accountability, consultation, inclusivity and humility, and a surfeit of clericalism. In that sense the tone of the book is elegiac.        Warhurst’s work is helpful in illustrating in great detail the difficulties of promoting needed change in the face of structural paralysis.  The short book of Anne Benjamin and Charles Burford complements it by presenting an attractive and detailed understanding of leadership in the Church which might free the energy needed for reform.  Leadership in a Synodal Church is informed with familiarity with contemporary theories of leadership. It provides the background for understanding Pope Francis’ concept of a synodal Church.....(more).     Image: Eureka Street 20210812
Encounter with Jesus is more important than all of the commandments
Extract from Pope Francis, America-the Jesuit Review. 11 August 2021
Brothers and sisters, good morning!     “Why the law?” (Gal 3:19). This is the question that we want to deepen today, continuing with St. Paul, to recognize the newness of the Christian life enlivened by the Holy Spirit. But if the Holy Spirit exists, if Jesus exists who redeemed us, why the law?  And this is what we must reflect on today. The Apostle writes:  “If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (Gal 5:18). Instead, Paul’s detractors sustained that the Galatians had to follow the Law to be saved. They were going backward. They were nostalgic for times gone by, of the times before Jesus Christ. The Apostle is not at all in agreement.  These were not the terms he had agreed on with the other Apostles in Jerusalem. He remembers very well Peter’s words when he said: “Why do you make trial of God by putting a yoke upon the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?” (Acts 15:10). The dispositions that had emerged in that ‘first council’ – the first ecumenical council was the one that took place in Jerusalem – and the dispositions that emerged were very clear.  They said: “For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us [the apostles] to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols [that is, idolatry] and from blood and from what is strangled and from unchastity” (Acts 15:28-29). Some of the things touched on worshiping God, and idolatry, and some things regarding the way of understanding life at that time.                             When Paul speaks about the Law, he is normally referring to the Mosaic Law, the law given by Moses, the Ten Commandments. It was in relationship to, it was on the way, it was a preparation, it was related with the Covenant that God had established with his people.  According to various Old Testament texts, the Torah – that is, the Hebrew term used to indicate the Law – is the collection of all those prescriptions and norms the Israelites had to observe by virtue of the Covenant with God.  An effective synthesis of what the Torah can be found in this text of Deuteronomy, that says......(more).   Photo:  Pope Francis general audience 2021 CNS Vatican Media, America the Jes. Rev. 20210811
The bishops must hear the laity for synodal process to succeed
Limited extracts from Frank Callus, The Tablet, 9 August 2021
....Religious practice evolves. It is not the norm for rapid and dramatic change. These times are far from normal, however. One thousand nine hundred and fifty years after the desecration of the Temple in Jerusalem, the Church faces its own significant moment. The pandemic has closed churches, interrupted the ebb and flow of liturgical services and caused profound anguish to people of faith and people of none......The papacy of Pope Francis is the one that spans the pre- and post-Covid-19 eras. In many ways his sense of mission is perfectly in tune with the spirit of the age. He has been shaped by a global pandemic and seeks to shape a global response. Even before the first cases in Wuhan, his papacy has been characterised by a renewed interest in and commitment to the principles of a synodal Church............. It was Pope St Paul VI who developed the concept of a Church that was in dialogue with itself. The establishment of the synod of bishops has become an integral part of the governance of the Catholic Church for the last half century. For the Church, in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council, synodality was a process that engaged the clergy in general and the episcopate in particular........Like the Jews in Jerusalem in the first century, we need to find our new place in a community where the Church will need to be alive to the needs of the local area, where the domestic issues are at the centre of our concern and where pastor and people journey together. The synod is a call to the people of God to consider what they need from the Church and how they are to be Church to the rest of the world.....(full article HERE).     Photo: Bishops, Pope Francis closing Mass Amazonia Synod Robert Harding Alamy, The Tablet 20210809
Vinnies National President to participate in Catholic Church's historic Plenary Council meeting
Extract from St Vincent de Paul Society,  Media Release, 9 August 2021
Speaking just weeks before the first assembly of the historic 5th Plenary Council in Australia, National Council President and Plenary Council Member, Claire Victory, said she hoped the Plenary Council would lead to greater inclusion and an urgent recasting of church leadership and governance at every level of the Church in Australia.        ‘The Plenary Council process is one opportunity for urgently needed cultural and systemic change identified not just by the recent child sex abuse royal commission, but by faithful lay Catholics for decades.       ‘As the largest lay-led Catholic organisation in Australia the St Vincent de Paul Society has a crucial role to play in the restoration of our church’s credibility’, Ms Victory said.         ‘Our mission as church is not to fill buildings, but to reach people where they are, not where the church wants them to be.  This is what Vincentians do when we offer care and support to people who are disadvantaged, voiceless and in need of a hand up.       ‘This calls for a paradigm shift – from an authoritarian, hierarchical, patriarchal model to a communion of communities engaged in dialogue, discernment and decision making around both ecclesial and social concerns.             ‘To transform itself, the Church must strive to be more representative of the entire community it seeks to serve. We want our Church to be known for its commitment to the poor, not as passive recipients of our benevolence but as people central to the Church’s life and mission.         ‘The Society strongly advocates for a Church that condemns clericalism and promotes a more transparent and accountable model where hierarchical structures give way to shared leadership, where wisdom is sought through a process of genuine dialogue and inclusive vision.       ‘We don’t know how successful the Plenary Council process will be in enabling the voice of lay people to be heard or what will come out of this historic opportunity, but we choose to remain optimistic about the potential for the genuine engagement of lay Catholics.                 ‘Do we want the smooth path to completion or are willing to engage in the radical and confronting work of transformation to make room for the new?         ‘As Vincentians, we hope that this Plenary Council (and the significant hard work that follows it) will lead to a Church that has a more deliberate, inclusive and intentional focus on its fundamental mission of following Christ by serving the poor,’ Ms Victory said.....(More). 

Update Parish Redevelopment Project

Friday 6 August 2021

The walls of our new Chapel facing unto Upper Heidelberg Road go up.


Church urges action to care for the earth, the poor
Social Justice Statement, Australia’s bishops commit to a seven-year journey towards seven Laudato Si’ Goals
Extract from CathNews, 6 August 2021
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has made an historic commitment to work towards a more sustainable Church in its annual statement promoting social justice.      In the Social Justice Statement 2021-22 launched online yesterday, Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor, the bishops commit to a seven-year journey towards seven Laudato Si’ Goals.      “We are facing an ecological crisis and Pope Francis wants the whole Church globally to act with a greater sense of urgency,” said Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, chair of the Bishops Commission for Social Justice, Mission and Service.      “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been caring for country from time immemorial. The rest of us need to listen, and to learn how we can walk together to care for the whole of creation – including one another.”       The statement explains that the Laudato Si’ Goals “aim to put Pope Francis’ [2015] encyclical into practice, making communities around the world sustainable in the spirit of the integral ecology of Laudato Si’”.      The statement urges families, schools, parishes, dioceses and organisations to join the bishops in signing up to the Laudato Si’ Action Platform.      The platform, an initiative of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, will gather ideas for action from around the globe to help participants in their journeys.      The Bishops Conference’s Office for Social Justice has been involved in developing the platform.      At the statement’s launch, Bishop Long also announced a new name for that agency – now known as the Office for Justice, Ecology and Peace – affirming “social justice, ecology and peace are inseparable”.......(more).  Photo: SJS_Cry_of_the_earth-ACBC_2021-22 CathNews 20210806
Bishops Conference names deputy general secretary
Extract from CathNews, ACBC, 6 August 2021
Jeremy Stuparich, who for 10 years has been the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s public policy director, has been appointed to a new role as the Conference’s deputy general secretary.      Mr Stuparich will retain his public policy responsibilities while working closely with the general secretary, Fr Stephen Hackett MSC, in the new role.      Archbishop Mark Coleridge, president of the Bishops Conference, said the role was established following an analysis of the responsibilities of the general secretary, which have grown significantly in recent years.       The role will occupy about half of Mr Stuparich’s workload. He will continue to handle the Conference’s government relations and oversight of political and social matters, with the Public Policy Office to receive additional resources to assist with other policy and research work.      Archbishop Coleridge said Mr Stuparich has been a major contributor to the work of the Conference and the Church in Australia for many years.      “Jeremy is among the longest-serving staff members in the Conference and someone the bishops know, trust and respect,” he said.       “Jeremy has seen significant changes in the life and work of the Conference and understands well our current mission and purpose. He will very capably work with Fr Hackett in a range of important areas which will help the Conference to function even more effectively.”        Mr Stuparich said he looks forward to taking on the additional responsibilities as part of the Conference’s senior leadership.      “My new role will be to help support the work done by the bishops commissions and their executive secretaries, to foster the ongoing professional development of Conference personnel and to support the improved governance and operations of the Conference.”...(more)Photo: Jeremy_Stuparich-ACBC_CathNews 20210806
Rebel Irish Bishops defy government’s Covid Communion ban
Extract from Sarah Mac Donald, The Tablet, 5 August 2021
Rebel bishops in Ireland plan to defy the government’s ban on First Holy Communions and Confirmations by recommencing the sacraments in their dioceses later this month.      The move was first announced by Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran, who said he had made the decision after consulting senior priests in his diocese. He said the ceremonies would be held in line with public health regulations for general religious services.      Currently the rules for such ceremonies allow 50 worshippers in smaller buildings and pods of 50 spaced out by four metres in bigger premises.      Writing in the Irish Independent, Bishop Doran says: “The mission of the Church cannot be put on hold indefinitely.”      Following his decision, the bishops of Clogher, Meath, Raphoe and Waterford and Lismore said they would also be recommencing Communions and Confirmations....(more).   Photo: Irish rebel Bishops defy Communion ban George Sweeney Alamy
Crises are signs that church is still alive, pope says
In a video message released by the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network Aug. 3, 2021, Pope Francis offered his prayer intention for the month of August and prayed that the church "may receive from the Holy Spirit the grace and strength to reform herself in the light of the Gospel."
Extract from Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service.
Difficulties and crises within the Catholic Church are not signs of a church in decline but one that is alive and living through challenges, just like men and women today, Pope Francis said.      “Let us remember that the church always has difficulties, always is in crisis, because she’s alive. Living things go through crises. Only the dead don’t have crises,” he said.       In a video message released by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network Aug. 3, the pope offered his prayer intention for the month of August, which is dedicated to the church’s mission of evangelization.      At the start of each month, the network posts a short video of the pope offering his specific prayer intention.      The church’s call to evangelize and not proselytize, he said, is more than just a vocation; it is a part of the Catholic Church’s identity.      “We can only renew the church by discerning God’s will in our daily life and embarking on a transformation guided by the Holy Spirit. Our own reform as persons is that transformation. Allowing the Holy Spirit, the gift of God, in our hearts reminds us what Jesus taught and helps us put it into practice,” the pope said.      Catholics can renew the church only by “discerning God’s will in our daily life” and putting Jesus’ teaching into practice, he added.       “Let us begin reforming the church with a reform of ourselves, without prefabricated ideas, without ideological prejudices, without rigidity, but rather by moving forward based on spiritual experience — an experience of prayer, an experience of charity, an experience of service,” the pope said.      Before reciting his prayer intention, Pope Francis expressed his hope for “an even more missionary option” that “goes out to meet others without proselytism.”       “Let us pray for the church, that she may receive from the Holy Spirit the grace and strength to reform herself in the light of the Gospel,” he said.....(more)   Photo: Pope Francis prayer church recs from Holy Spirit grace and strength to reform in light of Gospel CNS screenshot Vatican Media 20210803
Parish Redevelopment Project
Update from Pat Kelly, Project Manager, Parish Pastoral Council, Friday 30 July 2021
While our project at the Mary Immaculate site is progressing well we are expecting a 20 - 30 day delay in the completion of the project due to weather and Covid restrictions. We now hope for a completion date around the end of March or early April 2022.        Work inside the church and on the new chapel and office area continues and works are planned to commence on the Upper Heidelberg Rd side of the church, which include the new sacristies and toilets.       While we hoped to be in the new Parish Centre by Easter that now seems a little problematic at this stage because even after the completion of the building works there will be much moving to do from both the current presbytery and the Mother of God Church and Parish Office site. We will also have to await our Certificate of Occupancy to be issued by our building surveyor.      The other side of our Redevelopment Project is the realization and realignment of parish property assets, a central part of this long-term project, which has been on the Parish agenda for nigh on fifteen years.      With the assistance of the Archdiocese, agents have been appointed for the eventual sale of both the presbytery and Mother of God Church. Covid lockdowns notwithstanding, the presbytery will soon go to market with a possible auction date in September, while MOG church will not proceed to market until we are more certain of the timing of our move to our new Parish Centre.       The objective of our Redevelopment Project is to provide the facilities for the future where we can meet and support each other as a strong Catholic community. Each day now brings us closer to realising this objective.
Consultation prompts diverse responses
Extract from CathNews, The Southern Cross,  30 July 2021
More than 600 responses have been provided as part of the consultation phase of the Adelaide Diocesan Assembly since a video message was shown at every parish and community in the diocese last month.           In the video, Adelaide Archbishop Patrick O’Regan invited people to participate in the consultation by reflecting on the community and diocesan family, and answering the Diocesan Assembly question, “What do you think are the most important things to be discussed at the Diocesan Assembly?”        The gathering is scheduled to take place at Cabra Dominican College on September 17 and 18.      Diocesan Assembly coordinator Peter Bierer said while the number of responses received via the website and postage-paid postcards was “not insignificant” he was still hoping for more people to share their “thoughts, ideas, feelings and hopes”.       “The responses from this consultation phase, along with the local responses from the Plenary Council listening and dialogue process from a few years ago, will guide the development of the agenda for the Diocesan Assembly,” he said.      “So the more responses we receive from a wider diversity of people, the better the discussions will be at the Assembly.”      Mr Bierer said the responses so far touched on a wide range of topics, from the length of homilies and quality of music in parishes, to global issues such as the priesthood and the sacraments.       He added that some of the responses were things that could be passed on immediately to specific communities and parishes to address. The global issues could be discussed and sent to Rome.       The Diocesan Assembly co-ordinating team has produced a short video with a sample of the responses received to date. The video can be viewed at www.adelaidediocesanassembly......(more).    Image:Adelaide Diocesan Assembly, Adelaide Archdiocese, CathNews 20210730
Let’s go to where the people are: Archbishop Comensoli
Extract from CathNews, The Weekend Australian, 26 July 2021
A mission renewal process in the Melbourne Archdiocese has reinforced a shift in city populations, with the once-dominant inner-city parishes being overtaken by outer suburban churches in the city’s growth areas.       The archdiocese is undertaking a major internal review of how it sells the Gospel in a changing society, with moves to set up a series of missions that will attempt to serve more than one million mainly Melbourne Catholics.        Melbourne Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli is overseeing a process of renewal that includes a reordering of resources and an expectation of considerable changes to the way the Church functions in the future.          He said a key aspect of the mission renewal was making sure that resources were allocated to growth areas without forgetting inner areas; six of the top-10 parishes with the smallest Catholic population are now in the inner city.        “I’m saying let’s go to where the people are,” Archbishop Comensoli said. “Where do you go to plant the seeds? Go plant them where the people are.”         Census data shows that five of the top-10 parishes are in Melbourne’s north and the other five in the west, which coincide with some of Australia’s highest population growth, fuelled by cheaper housing and immigration.        The mission renewal process is being greeted with concern by clergy, many of whom are ageing and facing uncertainty over their futures and how they will spend their final years as priests.....(more)  Photo: Archbishop Peter Comensoli with Fr Fabian Smith and the Samoan Divine Mercy Choir at outer-west parish of St Anthony CathNews 20210726
Church, Network Ten to mark 50-year milestone
Extract from CathNews, 26 July 2021
The longest-running program on Australian commercial television, Mass for You at Home, will celebrate 50 years on our screens when Mass is broadcast into people’s living rooms on August 1. Source: Wollongong Diocese and ACBC.        Mass for You at Home, which originally aired on Channel 0 in Victoria, was a ministry of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne from 1971 until earlier this year.        It is now produced by Wollongong Diocese, in partnership with the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. It airs on Network 10 across Australia and is also available online via 10 Play and the Mass for You at Home website.       Wollongong Bishop Brian Mascord said much has changed in the 50 years since Mass was first broadcast on free-to-air television. The need for the Mass remains, though.       “Fr Michael King’s vision from the early 1970s – to provide spiritual nourishment to the housebound – is still relevant today for people who are sick, infirm, in hospital or aged care, in prison or don’t have internet,” he said.      “We also have a special commitment to the deaf, supported by AUSLAN interpreters.      “To bring a real sense of the sacred to people, inviting them to be part of a scattered yet connected worshipping community, is a privilege and a great responsibility. We take that responsibility seriously and are humbled by the letters, emails and calls we receive from our grateful community.      “The pandemic has also introduced a new audience to Mass for You at Home, via television and online platforms.”.....(More).   Photo. Recording an episode of Mass for You at Home, ACBC, CathNews, 20210726
‘HOME Ground’ keeps the Church in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains open
Extract from Christina Gretton, Catholic Outlook, Archdiocese of Parramatta, 25 July 2021
From the creatives behind the success of The Well streaming platform during the 2020 lockdown, the ministries of the Diocese of Parramatta have ‘dug deep’ again with “HOME Ground” launching this week.              Commencing Monday 26 July 2021 and continuing for four weeks, the ministries of the Diocese of Parramatta invite people to HOME Ground online gatherings featuring an innovative mix of conversation, music, talks and prayer.        Sr Ailsa Mackinnon RSM, Chancellor of Ministries in the Diocese explained, “With the pressure of lockdown and its imminent extension into August, our new Mission Enhancement Team, MET – Parramatta has responded to the times. We want to provide spiritual and emotional support.      “While church buildings are closed, HOME Ground is an additional way we can ‘open our doors’ to our parishioners online,” she said.        James Camden, Head, Mission Engagement in the Diocese added, “HOME Ground seeks to meet people where they are right now. Since ‘lockdown 2.0’ started in June this year, we’ve been inundated with requests from people who are slipping through the cracks.      “These nightly HOME Ground offerings are full of variety and complement the wonderful online ministry and Masses already being led at many parishes across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains,” he said. “There’s something for everyone.”         Gatherings include game nights; social justice round tables; “Worship Wednesdays” featuring Fr Rob Galea and Gen Bryant; the FaithFeed Livestream with follow-up conversation nights; and special check-ins for young people......(more)  Photo: Home Ground Parramatta Archdiocese, 20210725
Who are our Plenary Archdiocesan members?
In the lead-up to Australia’s Fifth Plenary Council, the Catholic Voice sought the views of some of our Archdiocesan members. They discuss their Plenary journey, reflections, expectations.
Extract from Catholic Voice, Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, 6 July, republished here 25 July 2021
John Warhurst          What has your role been?      In terms of the official plenary process my role hasn’t been to do very much yet. I have a set of core beliefs about greater equality for lay people in the church especially women. I am a believer in increased transparency, accountability and co-responsibility in the church. I am an open-minded good listener. I believe the church is at a crisis point and there has to be some bold reforms taken.        What do you expect to come out of the plenary process?      The honest answer is, I don’t know. It’s a process that has been made much more difficult by the fact that we aren’t all meeting together, we are in multimodal hubs and online so in terms of the logistics that’s difficult and we haven’t had our training sessions yet and the agenda hasn’t been published yet. The aspirations have been set very high and I think there has to be something substantial across several areas in terms of the church’s internal operations and the church’s relationship with the wider world.        What do you believe are the perceived expectations from those in the Archdiocese?        Some people are more or less happy with business as usual with some tinkering around the edges, but a whole lot of people are unhappy in terms of the place of women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the church, dealing with the ageing of the church, and it’s a necessity to do something about those.     What do you tell people who believe nothing will change?       I tell them that this is a great opportunity and try to put your scepticism on the backburner for a while to give the process a chance.       How confident are you that the outcomes of the plenary will represent the changing demographic face of the church?          The church is changing around us and in my own parish it is more multi-cultural than ever. The church has to engage with the hopes and aspirations of recent immigrants and the multicultural community. That depends on a willingness and confidence of the multicultural community to speak up for themselves and to engage and also listen to other delegates.        Do you feel you are a voice for a particular group of people in the Archdiocese?         I hope to be a voice for everyone. Having said that there’s no doubt because of my background and age I am a Vatican II Catholic and I hope to speak for the aspirations of Vatican II Catholics who have had a lifetime of hoping for church reform including a voice of the laity................(More  - including from Sally Fitzgerald,  Brigid Cooney).     Photo: Canberra Goulburn Archdiocesan Plenary members L R Monsignor John Woods  Brigid Cooney  Archbishop Prowse  John Warhurst  Sally FitzGerald  Fr Tony Percy VG
Parishes: Leadership and other issues associated with clustering and mergers
Extract from Brendan Daly*,  CathNews NZ 23 July 2021
Today the most common experience of church and Christian community is in a parish. In many dioceses and archdioceses, parishes are being clustered into pastoral areas,2 and often the number of Masses in these pastoral areas is being rationalised and timed so that it is easier for neighbouring priests to celebrate Masses in the other parishes for which they are responsible.      When parishes are clustered, priests sometimes find it difficult with the number of meetings they now have to attend, because there is a parish council and a parish finance committee in each parish.        Also, throughout New Zealand and Australia, parishes are being combined or merged with other parishes. Major questions arise concerning leadership and the role of priests. Church buildings are sometimes being sold for profane use or used as educational facilities, rather than as places of worship.      These changes in parishes raise a number of pastoral and canonical issues concerning leadership, ownership of property, consultation and the procedures required. In fact, suppressions and alterations to parishes elsewhere in the world have been successfully challenged by recourse to the Holy See.       Scripture.........(more)
*Brendan Daly is a priest from the diocese of Christchurch and a Doctor of Canon Law. He taught at Holy Cross College, Dunedin and then at Good Shepherd Theological College, Auckland. In 2002 he became principal at Good Shepherd College and is now a Lecturer at Te Kupenga. Brendan is a judge on the Tribunal of the Catholic Church for New Zealand.
Catholic charities not slowing down during lockdown
Extract from CathNews, The Catholic weekly,  23 July 2021
During the lockdown, Catholic charities are determined to continue reaching out to Sydney’s rough sleepers and other people needing a little help to get by.        Maronites on Mission Australia directory George Nasr says that while the lockdown has forced it to pare back some of its projects, its food services across the city continue in a COVID-safe way – although meal preparations at St Charbel’s Church in Punchbowl stopped last week as it is located in one of the areas of heightened concern.        “There are many people who have a roof over their head, often they live in government housing, and they are just barely getting by,” Mr Nasr said.         Carrie Deane, community manager at St Canice’s Kitchen in Elizabeth Bay, east of the CBD, said that it had closed its indoor and outdoor dining areas and was running a takeaway service offering its usual variety of hot, freshly cooked lunches each day.        Along with shower and toilet facilities, health and legal support, St Canice’s is also offering to keep in touch by phone with any community members feeling isolated during the lockdown.       Brett Macklin, director of housing and homeless at St Vincent de Paul Society NSW, said that it was similarly business as usual at the Matthew Talbot Hostel in Woolloomooloo, except for increased COVID-safe measures including take-away meals being provided for non-residents....(more).  Photo:Maronites Mission Australia volunteers Sydney lockdown, The Catholic Weekly Giovanni Portelli Cathnews 20210723
Nathalie Becquart explains synodality
In lengthy interview in Germany, the first-ever woman undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops says Church decisions must involve listening to as many Catholics as possible
Limited extract from  Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, Subscription Journal, La Croix International, 22 July 2021
Nathalie Becquart, the French religious sister who was named undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops last February, says Church leaders need to include a plurality of opinions in decision-making processes to avoid endorsing one limited view of the world.        The 52-year member of the Xaviere Missionary Sisters is the first-ever woman to be appointed to an executive position in the Synod secretariat.             And when the Synod of Bishops holds it next plenary session in October 2023, she will make history again by being the first woman ever to vote at such a gathering.        Becquart is keenly aware of how greatly symbolic that will be for many Catholics.      But in a 12-page interview published by German Catholic Podcast Himmelklar, she insisted that if the decision-making process is truly synodal, then the vote at the end will be "more or less a formality".      A Church in which everyone has a voice       "To put it quite simply, synodality means walking together along a common path and being an itinerary Church in which all the baptized work together," she said.       The undersecretary said a synodal Church is one in which everyone has a voice. She called it an inclusive Church concerned with relationships.         And she explained that the people in the secretariat in Rome have made efforts to be in contact with as many different Catholics as possible in order to really listen to what they have to say.             They had already arranged meetings with bishops' conferences and Catholic associations on the continental level.       "Pope Francis has made it clear that the coming Synod must result from a process that emanates from the very roots of the Church," she noted......(source).  Photo: Sister Nathalie Becquart in Rome, ALBERTO PIZZOLI AFP, La Croix Int 20210722
Women believers changed the Roman Empire — now we must change the Roman Church
Extracts from Christine Schenk, National Catholic Reporter, 22 July 2021
On the feast day of the "apostle to the apostles," St. Mary of Magdala, I want to reflect on something I suspect this first witness to the Resurrection and foremost leader in the early Jesus movement might find puzzling. Namely, what is the big deal about recognizing women's leadership in today's Catholic faith communities?        We live in a very different cultural context than did Mary of Magdala and other early Christian women, but our own times are no less in need of Christ's healing energy than the ones in which they lived.         The Jesus movement spread rapidly throughout the Roman Empire because of the initiative of female prophets, evangelists, missionaries, heads of house churches and widows, and financial support from Christian businesswomen such as Mary of Magdala and Joanna (Luke 8:1-3) as well as Lydia (Acts 16:11-40), Phoebe (Romans 16:1-2), Olympias, a fourth-century deacon (whose feast day is July 25) and others.       Pope Benedict XVI himself acknowledged as much on Feb. 14, 2007, when he said the "the history of Christianity would have turned out very differently without the contribution of women" and noted the "female presence that was anything but secondary."          Church historians tell us that the domestic networking and evangelizing efforts of women led to the remarkable expansion of early Christianity. Early house churches were led by women of status such as Grapte, a second-century leader of communities of widows and orphans in Rome. Through the house church, early Christians gained access to social networks that brought them into contact with people from diverse social classes.           When a female head of household, perhaps a wealthy widow or freed woman, converted to Christianity, Christian evangelists such as Prisca (Romans 16:3-5) or Paul gained access not only to her domestic household but also to her patronage network. This meant that her slaves, freed persons, children, relatives and patronal clients would convert as well. ...........In their exhaustively researched book A Woman's Place, Carolyn Osiek and Margaret Y. MacDonald demonstrated that within their Christian social networks, these lower-class Christian women had money, high status and freedom of movement, especially throughout the extended household of antiquity.        This is affirmed by a notorious critic of the early church, Celsus, who took a dim view of women's evangelizing activities.....(More).   Photo:Christ's Appearance to Mary Magdalene Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov CNS Wikimedia Commons, NCR 20210622
The challenges of representing Catholic Australia
Extract from John Warhurst, Eureka Street,  20 July 2021
The Plenary Council First Assembly is only two months away, but uncertainty still remains about the role that its 282 members will play. Not just about what work they will do but what conception of the role they will bring or will be imposed upon them by the authorities. Their designation has changed from delegate to member, freeing them somewhat from the expectation that they will be tied to the views of their diocese or other ‘sponsoring’ body. But it has not resolved some perceived role confusion both among the members themselves and within the wider Catholic community. This confusion has important consequences.             My member formation session last month was told, in the context of discussion about the part that connection with the wider Catholic community would play in the assembly, that the Plenary Council Assembly should ideally be a community but not a bubble.  I was struck by this description because it nicely encapsulates the possibilities.  There is a sense in which the membership should bond together to do its “job”, but not to the extent of shutting out the general community. This leaves room for individual members to be a bridge to the broader Catholic community and raises expectations that the Catholic people have a right and duty to communicate with them.                 My impression is that the Plenary Council organisers have always leant towards a narrow vision of the assembly.  Members have been advised that they have no responsibilities beyond official PC duties. The PC authorities have also not tried to take obvious steps towards encouraging connections between members and the community. For instance, they have not provided public contact addresses, such as email addresses, which would enable the community to contact PC members directly.  They have also allowed several members to continue in their role although they have left their dioceses temporarily for travel or study. This breaks the desirable link to community as they are no longer present among “their people”....(more).   Image: Woman in church face mask praying Gabriella Clare Marino Unsplash Eureka Street 20 July 2021

UPDATE 22 July 2021 : See result of the PPC renewal process on the People / Leadership page HERE

Nominees For Parish Pastoral Council

The following have been nominated for the 9 vacancies on the Parish Pastoral Council.

The election will take place after each Mass on the weekend of 7 / 8 August.

Clare Bellio     Wennie van Lint

Eugene Ballao                     Pat Kelly

Isma Chiera      Lucy Dal Pozzo

Robert Erbacher            Maxwell Gratton

Phi Nguyen          Sue Moorhen

Full details of each nominee, with photo, will be distributed next weekend when hopefully we will be back at Mass.


Parishes wanted for refugee Group Mentorship Program
Extract from Catholic Outlook, Diocese of Parramatta, 16 July 2021
CatholicCare Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains is working with the newly formed charity, Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia (CRSA): to assess how parish communities can support refugees in settling into Australia.      Following a successful trial, CRSA are expanding their Group Mentorship Program, which CatholicCare is supporting in our Diocese.         Last year, with Australia’s refugee resettlement program largely paused due to the pandemic, CRSA implemented a pilot program that screened and trained local groups of volunteers to provide practical support to refugees already in Australia, and then worked to pair-up those groups with refugees living in their community and in need of additional support. We called this the ‘Group Mentorship Program’. The idea was to test and demonstrate the viability of some key features of a future community sponsorship program as well as develop the tools that will be required to see such a program run successfully in the future.            The program has been a great success, with so many groups around the country eagerly taking up the opportunity to help trailblaze a new way of supporting refugee newcomers to the benefit of an inspiring group of mentees.       How parishes can be involved in the Group Mentorship Program.....(more)   
[John Costa: Perhaps this might be of interest to our parish?]
Francis reimposes restrictions on Latin Mass, reversing decision of Pope Benedict
Extract from Nicole Winfield, Vatican, The Associated Press, National Catholic Reporter, 16 July 2021
Pope Francis cracked down July 16 on the spread of the old Latin Mass, reversing one of Pope Benedict XVI's signature decisions in a major challenge to traditionalist Catholics who immediately decried it as an attack on the ancient liturgy.         Francis reimposed restrictions on celebrating the Latin Mass that Benedict had relaxed in 2007. Francis said he was doing so because Benedict's reform had become a source of division in the Roman Catholic Church and used as a tool by Catholics opposed to the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 event that led to wide reforms across the global church.      Francis issued a new law requiring individual bishops to approve celebrations of the old Mass, also called the Tridentine Mass, and requiring newly ordained priests to receive explicit permission to celebrate it from their bishops in consultation with the Vatican.          Under the new law, bishops must also determine if the current groups of faithful attached to the old Mass accept Vatican II, which allowed for Mass to be celebrated in the vernacular rather than Latin. These groups can no longer use regular parishes for their Masses; instead, bishops must find an alternate location for them.      In addition, Francis said bishops are no longer allowed to authorize the formation of any new pro-Latin Mass groups in their dioceses.      Francis said he was taking action to promote unity and heal divisions within the church that had grown since Benedict’s 2007 document, Summorum Pontificum, relaxed the restrictions on celebrating the old Mass.....(More).  Photo:Latin Mass, Immaculate Conception Seminary NY CNS Gregory A Shemitz, NCR 20210716

Archivists file new ideas for the digital Church
Extracts from CathNews, The eRecord,  16 July 2021
The Catholic Diocesan Archivists of Australia gathered in Perth recently to explore new ways of serving the Church in the digital age.
The meeting drew about 30 (online and in person) under the theme of "Walking together in Service with our Community".      The Catholic Diocesan Archivists of Australia (CDAA) is a sub-committee of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, established to foster fellowship and professional development among the Catholic diocesan archivists of Australia......Keynote speaker, Director State Records of WA and State Archivist, Damian Shepherd, spoke about the ways which the State Records Office has been working with a range of agencies to support digital transformation of government services.     The Archdiocese of Perth also shared its focus on a new vision and mission statement for the Archives Office, and the new information management strategy, policies, and records management system which are also a key platform of the Archdiocesan Transition Programme.       Archdiocese Archivist and Director Odhran O’Brien said the meeting identified many opportunities and challenges for the Church across Australia as it seeks to adapt to new ways of doing things.     “Our parishes and agencies now create large volumes of digital information which needs to be managed and this is a particular challenge for regional dioceses,” Mr O’Brien said.       “The key message that came out of the meeting was that if we are going to respond to these challenges effectively as a national community then collaboration is more crucial than ever.”....(more)

German church exodus slows during pandemic year
Extract from CathNews, Catholic News Service, 16 July 2021
Fewer Christians left the church in Germany during the coronavirus pandemic year of 2020 than in previous years, two church organisations reported this week.     About 221,000 Catholics quit the church, while 220,000 left the Evangelical Church in Germany, a federation of 20 Lutheran, Reformed and United Protestant regional churches and denominations and known by its German acronym EKD, reported the German Catholic news Agency KNA.        The numbers represent a decline of about 20 per cent from 2019, statistics showed.      The latest figures put the Catholic Church’s membership in 2020 at 22.2 million, accounting for 26.7 per cent of Germany’s population. The EKD membership in 2020 stood at 20.2 million, or 24.3 per cent of the population....(more).    Photo: Mass in Rheinbach, Germany, CNS Julia Steinbrecht, KNA, CathNews 20210716
Pope Francis and women's (church) work
Is the Jesuit pope paving the way towards women deacons or stopping it in its tracks?
Limited extract from Phyllis Zagano, subscription journal, La Croix International, 15 July 2021
Legions of female church workers at every level in parishes and chanceries, at episcopal conferences -- and even at the Vatican -- welcomed and welcome Pope Francis' efforts to eliminate clericalism.        The general perception that "they" (clerics) do not need "us" (women) seems to be fading. Or is it?          The great diversity of the "church workers" on which the Catholic Church depends fall into two main categories: paid and unpaid.        The great majority of paid professional positions are held by clerics. The great majority of volunteer, unpaid positions, whether professional or not, are filled by women.       Of course, there is cross-over, but the exploitation of women in what is loosely referred to as "church work" is a scandal that Francis seems ready to repair. For sure, restoring women to the ordained diaconate may be part of the answer, but it is not the only one.      Let us look at three points: 1) Francis' emphasis on lay involvement in the Church; 2) the problem of clericalism; 3) the possibilities for women deacons......(source).   Photo: Pope Francis and womens Church work, La Croix International, 20210715
Pope has a golden opportunity to substantially re-make the US hierarchy
As many diocesan leaders in America reach retirement age, Francis has a chance to select more bishops who enthusiastically support him and his vision of Church
Limited extract fron Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter, Subscription Journal LA Croix International, 15 July 2021
If personnel is policy, then a vote last month by the U.S. bishops to draft a controversial document on Communion that the Vatican had cautioned against reveals Pope Francis may have considerable work ahead of him in his efforts to get the American Catholic hierarchy to embrace his priorities.        Although the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has taken great efforts to walk back its own mixed messaging and now insists the eventual document will not address whether pro-choice Catholic politicians like President Joe Biden can receive Communion, the vote of 168-55 to move forward appears to indicate that, after eight years of the Francis papacy, the U.S. bishops' conference is still controlled by a majority of bishops out of sync with Rome.      "I thought that they had made more progress than that vote showed," said Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese, a veteran Vatican observer and senior analyst for Religion News Service. "I was expecting the vote to be about 50/50."       While Reese noted that it is hard to know what was motivating each individual bishop, especially given the conflicting messaging about whether the document would address Catholic politicians, he told NCR it was still significant that a supramajority voted to move forward in light of the Vatican's doctrinal office urgingthe bishops to tap the brakes on their plans.       Yet if Francis, who turned 84 in December* and was hospitalized last week for the first major health scare of his papacy, is seeking to pick up the pace of episcopal appointments with bishops more aligned with his agenda, he does have a number of opportunities on the horizon.       To date, three dioceses in the U.S. are currently vacant, another nine bishops have already passed the age of 75, when bishops are required to submit their resignation to the pope, and there are several other dioceses that will soon open......(source).   Photo: Episcopal hierarchy US La Croix International 20210715

Happy Birthday Fred

Friday 9 July 2021


Last Sunday afternoon was a day of celebration for Fred Cullen, as his family and friends gathered in the Heidelberg Town Hall to celebrate Fred’s 100th birthday.


We wish Fred every blessing on this milestone - 100 years of life gifted by God and lived to the full.


A Parish  'COVID 2021-Photo Reflection'  (and a Competition)
John Costa, Friday 9 July 2021
The COVID years of 2020 and 2021 so far have confronted us all with new life and Parish experiences.     This photo captures just one such experience, and with others will always serve as a reminder of what would never have been imagined as little as just one year ago. Our faith teaches us always to be prepared to respond to the world around us, as we must.  But as Gospel readings remind us changes also bring new opportunities, to break out of habits that are merely automatic, and to follow the mission of our faith and lives wherever that may lead us in a changing world.       But now for the Competition part!    Who is the masked person in this photo?   The first neatest correct entry will be awarded free membership of the Parish Liturgy Group!    Submit your entries to the Parish Office at    Alternatively if you have an interesting photo that unmistakably reflects Parish life since COVID, and would like to offer it for possible sharing on the Parish website, forward it to the same address. Good luck with the competition!
Teenagers, sister win major environment case
Extract from CathNews, The Guardian,  9 July 2021
The Federal Court has formally declared the environment minister has a “duty to take reasonable care” that young people won’t be harmed or killed by carbon dioxide emissions if she approves a coalmine expansion.               In the case, brought by eight schoolchildren and an octogenarian nun, Sr Brigid Arthur CSB, Justice Mordecai Bromberg yesterday also ordered the minister pay all costs.        The judge had indicated he would make a declaration during the case in May, when he rejected a request by the children to issue an injunction blocking Whitehaven Coal’s plans to expand its Vickery coalmine project near Boggabri, New South Wales.        Climate campaigners said there should be “no moral, legal or rational way” Environment Minister Sussan Ley could now approve the project.       Justice Bromberg declared that when the minister makes her decision over the coalmine, she has a duty “to take reasonable care” to “avoid causing personal injury or death” to Australian residents under 18 “arising from emissions of carbon dioxide into the Earth’s atmosphere”.       Anj Sharma, a 16-year-old Melbourne student and one of the eight children supported in court by Sister Brigid, said they were delighted that the law of the land now states that the government has a duty to avoid causing harm to young people.      The minister will have 28 days to appeal against the case.        A spokesperson for the minister said the Morrison Government would review the judgment closely and assess all available options.....(more)  Photo:Sr Brigid Arthur, Melbourne Catholic, Fiona Basile, Cathnews 20210709
Pope, recovering well after surgery
Extract from  Nicole Winfield, National Catholic Reporter, The Associated Press, Jul 7, 2021
Rome — Pope Francis’ recovery from intestinal surgery continues to be "regular and satisfactory," the Vatican said July 7, as it revealed that final examinations showed he had a suffered a "severe" narrowing of his colon.     The Vatican spokesman, Matteo Bruni, said the 84-year-old pope was continuing to eat regularly following his Sunday surgery to remove the left side of his colon, and that intravenous therapy had been suspended.      Bruni said final examination of the affected tissue "confirmed a severe diverticular stenosis with signs of sclerosing diverticulitis."        Francis underwent three hours of planned surgery Sunday. He is expected to stay in Rome’s Gemelli Polyclinic, which has a special suite reserved for popes, through the week, assuming no complications, the Vatican has said.      Among those offering get-well wishes was U.S. President Joe Biden, a Catholic who has cited Francis in the past. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a daily briefing Tuesday that the president "wishes him well and a speedy recovery."         Bruni said Francis appreciated all the prayers coming his way.      "Pope Francis is touched by the many messages and the affection received in these days, and expresses his gratitude for the closeness and prayer," he said.       Francis has enjoyed relatively robust health, though he lost the upper part of one lung in his youth due to an infection. He also suffers from sciatica, or nerve pain, that makes him walk with a pronounced limp....(more)
New Qld law forces priests to report child abuse
Extract from CathNews, The Catholic Leader, 7 July 2021
A new Queensland law requires priests to report to police any information about child sexual offences heard during confession.      According to the law, all adults will have a legal duty to report to police sexual offending against children, unless they have a reasonable excuse for not doing so.      The law came into force on Monday. It passed through the state’s Parliament with support from both major parties last September, despite the Church defending the seal of confession.      In a formal submission to a parliamentary inquiry, Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge explained that stripping Catholics of the seal of confession made priests “less a servant of God than an agent of the state”.       The new law arose as a result of recommendations from the royal commission into child sexual abuse. The maximum penalty for failing to report belief of a child sexual offence is three years’ imprisonment.       Queensland joins South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory to have already enacted laws that make it a criminal offence for a priest to withhold abuse disclosures.     A Brisbane Archdiocese letter sent to all parish employees explained the changes “should be noted by all Queenslanders, including those within our parishes and schools and similar institutions”....(more)  Photo: Confession CNS CathNews 7 July 2021
Transgender group get COVID vaccinations at Vatican
Extract from CathNews NZ, 6 July 2021
Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, July 1, confirmed about 50 transgender people were invited to have their COVID vaccinations at the Vatican. Their first shots were on 3 April and their second on 24 April.     The group came from a parish near Rome, where Fr Andrea Conocchia has been ministering to a transgender community for several years.      Last year Francis asked Krajewski to provide food and financial support to members of the transgender community who were struggling without work due to the pandemic.      “Life is life and you must take things as they come,” Francis says. Each situation is unique and must be welcomed, accompanied, studied, discerned and integrated.     “This is what Jesus would do today,” Francis said another time when asked about meeting a transgender man who said it would be a consolation to come and see him with his wife.      This Easter,  the papal almoner invited Conocchia to bring the transgender people under his care to the Vatican to have their COVID vaccinations.         The group reacted with “surprise” and “emotion” to the experience of entering the Vatican for the vaccination, Conocchia says.        Many are undocumented and unable to access Italy’s free health care services, he says.        “They were moved to tears and felt remembered, having experienced once again and in a tangible way the closeness and tenderness of the pope’s charity.”           Vaccine hesitancy and disinformation.      Pope Francis and others in the Vatican are working to encourage vaccinations of all people, especially those most vulnerable to missing out on the life-saving opportunity.....(more).    Photo: Transgender people COVID vaccinated at Vatican CathNews NZ 20210706

Pope Francis' Herculean efforts to clean up Vatican finances
The announced trial of 10 people connected to risky investments, including a cardinal, is just one part of a long series of internal reforms that has provoked fierce opposition
Limited Extract from Loup Besmond de Senneville, Vatican City, Subscription journal, La Croix International,  5 July 2021
The scene is the medieval-looking tower of the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), more notoriously called the "Vatican Bank".   It was here in March 2019 that a request for a 150 million euros loan landed before IOR's board of directors.     The applicant? The Secretariat of State of the Holy See.       Located in the Apostolic Palace and headed by Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, this is the Vatican's equivalent of a combined ministry of the interior and of foreign affairs.       It is here that the Vatican's finances, in particular its real estate investments, are managed.       And it was precisely to cover an investment in a building in London that the Secretariat of State sent the request for a loan to the IOR.      However, according to La Croix's information, officials at the so-called bank immediately balked.        First, because the reason for the request was more than vague: "institutional purposes".         Then, because one of the consequences of the profound financial reforms Pope Francis began in 2014 is that the Vatican Bank no longer grants loans, at least in theory.        In recent years, the operation and structure of the IOR have been considerably cleaned up. For example, nearly 5,000 suspicious accounts were closed there in 2016.         But in the case of the Secretariat of State's request, the board of directors -- under pressure -- made an exception.       It asked for documents justifying the reason for the requested loan.       This was just the beginning of a struggle that would last several months.       The first documents that arrived at the IOR were four photocopied sheets of paper slipped into an envelope. The Vatican bankers were far from satisfied.         They quickly realized that the real estate investment in London was based on a series of holdings stacked on top of each other.        Several trips back and forth followed, during which the IOR-mandated auditors did not succeed in obtaining the necessary documents.       One of them, in charge of compiling the file, was even threatened. This IOR employee resigned a month later.... (source).   Photo: Pope Francis attends IOR board of directors AP La Croix Int 20210705

Parish Redevelopment Project
Friday 1 July 2021

Pat Kelly (Project Manager) and Tim Neill (Architect) inspect form work for the stairwell leading from the new parish office to the church.


Bishop Vincent: ‘My hope for the Plenary Council’
Extract from Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Dom Helder Camera Lecture, Catholic Outlook, 30 June 2021
Plenary Council: Abundance of goodwill or the last throw of the dice?         With a few months to the first session of the long-awaited Plenary Council (PC2020), we are finally headed down the home stretch. The initial phase of listening drew nearly 220,000 people across Australia and 17,500 individual and group submissions. These submissions were distilled into the six national theme papers and then further distilled again into the working document and finally the agenda. Momentum for the Plenary Council ebbed and flowed during this process, which has been disrupted by the pandemic.       By and large, there has been considerable goodwill, enthusiasm and even a sense of hope for the future of the Church in Australia in the post-Royal Commission period. Robert Fitzgerald who – among other prominent roles – is the new Chair of Caritas Australia, once enthused that the Plenary Council is the only game in town. For a country of about five million nominal Catholics, the initial response was quite remarkable. Perhaps, for many of the disenfranchised, it is the last throw of the dice. I wouldn’t put all my eggs in one basket, though.        Some of you might have heard or even attended the first of the three convocation series organised by the Australasian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (ACCCR). There were 3,000 participants, including myself. We heard a powerful and inspiring address by Sr Joan Chittister. Catholicism “must grow up”, she said, “beyond the parochial to the global, beyond one system and one tradition, to a broader way of looking at life and its moral, spiritual, ethical frameworks.”       That is the kind of stretching of the imagination and dreaming of the transformation of the Church that many Catholics are thirsting for. Few Catholics have any appetite left for cosmetic changes, mediocrity or worst, restorationism dressed up as renewal. We have struggled under the weight of the old ecclesial paradigm of clerical order, control and hegemony with a penchant for triumphalism, self-referential pomp and smugness. We yearn for a Church that commits to a God-oriented future of equal discipleship, relational harmony, wholeness and sustainability.       The revitalisation and convergence of many lay reform groups in response to the Plenary Council is no small development for the Church in contemporary Australia. It is a sign of the “growing up” that Joan spoke about. Australian Catholics are growing up beyond the passive, subservient to the co-responsible agents for the transformation of the Church. In Germany, there is a lay body called Central Committee, which plays a key role in their Synodal Assembly, including having one of its members as co-president of the said structure. Perhaps this unique feature is part of the legacy of the Reformation in the German Church.        Is the Church in Australia in pole position for deep reform?....(more).   Photo: Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, Diocese of Parramatta 20210630