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News 2009

Kiwis told to forget God and enjoy life
Extract from Tamara McLean,The Australian, AAP, Friday 11 December 2009

Statistics show Kiwis are giving up on God, and a controversial new campaign hopes to send religion packing even faster. An atheist movement plans to erect billboards on buses that tell New Zealanders: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."The organiser, Simon Fisher, says he's sick of God being a social no-go zone."Religion should not be a taboo subject that no one brings up at dinner parties," he wrote on the website "We should be discussing what we believe and why."He said the aim of the bus ads was to "challenge people to think critically about their beliefs, and especially to think critically about how much control they give over their lives to a supernatural being for which there is no evidence" (more).

Obama team seeks enlightenment on Muslim relations
Extract from Barney Zwartz, The Age, December 10, 2009

THE Obama Administration secretly sent staff to Melbourne this week to ask religious leaders about winning hearts and minds in the Muslim world. The State Department's head of religious freedom, Peter Kovach, White House religion expert Mara Vanderslice and a Gulf states policy planning head arrived at the Parliament of the World's Religions unexpectedly and asked to meet delegates, senior parliament staffer Tim Mannatt confirmed last night (more).

European Court of Human Rights Puts Pro-life Ireland in hot seat

Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne,Thursday 10 December 2009

Irish abortion laws and sovereignty stand in the dock next week when the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) hears a challenge to Ireland's constitutional protection of life.Three petitioners in the case A, B & C v. Ireland allege that they were forced to travel overseas to obtain abortions, undergoing unnecessary expenses and hardship due to the nation's pro-life laws. They claim violations of various rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (more). 

Pope slams "deceitful" liberation theology
Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 10 December 2009

In an address to Brazilian bishops, Pope Benedict said the "visible consequences" of the "deceitful principles" of liberation theology have been "rebellion, division, dissent, offense, anarchy (that) are still being felt." In his address, Pope Benedict recalled the 25th anniversary of the document "Libertatis nuntius" by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which condemned Marxist liberation theology trends, Lifesite News reports.

"Youth Mass for Everyone"

Sunday 6 December 2009

Parish young people helped plan the Liturgy and actively took part in a "Youth Mass for Everyone" this evening. Youth Leader Tom Stammers (shown here with Fr John listening intently) spoke on today's Gospel reading relating it directly to the lives of young and all people. Fellow Youth Leaders Elly McGarvie and Alison Rogers (our New YL) respectively lead the Mass and sang unaccompanied. Judging by the response to Paul's electric guitar Reflection we might perhaps anticipate more such liturgies ahead (more photos on the Mass Times page).

Spotlight on Parish Youth

Saturday 5 December 2009

A very successful Deanery Youth Concert at St Peter & Paul Parish this evening to raise funds for Caritas also demonstrated the extraordinary talents amongst our young people, including from Ivanhoe Parish Paul Kascaminidis, Luva Genna and Stephen Yoannides.There's a brief report and photos on the Young peoples' Group page.

Religions Parliament opens in Melbourne

Edited extracts from Catholic News, Friday 4 December 2009
About 4,000 delegates are gathered for the Parliament of the World's Religions in Melbourne this week. The opening of the meeting was blessed by Zoroastrians, Jains, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Baha'is, Aborigines, Shintos and in song.....Australia has been chosen to host this year's event for its commitment to social and religious diversity...Former US President Jimmy Carter is scheduled to speak via video link.....Other speakers included Dr Sakena Yacoobi, the Afghan woman who founded 80 underground schools for girls, and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a Hindu spiritual leader whose Art of Living Foundation is active in 140 countries, and the Dalai Lama (more).

Spiritual advice
Edited extracts from The Australian, AAP, Friday 4 December 2009

Tony Abbott was late for his meeting and press conference with the Dalai Lama in Sydney yesterday. Fortunately, the new Opposition Leader didn't swear at His Holiness -- a lesson he learned from the 2007 election campaign, when he was late for a debate with then shadow health spokeswoman Nicola Roxon. The Dalai Lama forgave the apologetic Liberal leader with a friendly pat on the knee.The Tibetan spiritual leader said he was very happy to meet Mr Abbott. "I hope, Your Holiness, all who meet me will be equally happy," Mr Abbott replied, laughing...."I did ask for some guidance when it comes to maintaining inner peace," Mr Abbott said."He has decades of experience . . . I've been leader for three days. "I was reassured . . . that provided you approach things in the spirit of truth and compassion you will be given the inner resources to cope with the difficulties of daily life."

Catechism calls for compassion for homosexuals: Vatican
Extract from Catholic News, Friday 4 December, 2009

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi quoted from the Catechism of the Catholic Church to counter recent assertions by Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, the retired president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, that homosexuals don't go to heaven."First of all I would like to point out that the site,, lacks authority and is not a good source for understanding with objectivity the Church's thoughts on complex and delicate issues like evaluating homosexuality," Fr Lombardi is cited saying by the Catholic News Service (more).

Answer the questions: Martin tells Irish clergy
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 3 December 2009

Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has urged bishops and priests mentioned in the Irish government report on abused children to admit their mistakes and resign or stand over their belief that they made no mistakes.
He also challenged them to publicly answer questions raised by the report in parishes of the Dublin Archdiocese where clergy sexually abused children, RTE reports (more). 

Pope notes limits of looking through a telescope
Extracts from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 3 December 2009

Scientific success should not blind humanity to God, Pope Benedict XVI said in a message marking an event for the Year of Astronomy....Pope Benedict XVI suggested that...."the universe continues to raise questions to which simple observation, however, is unable to give a satisfactory answer....."Natural and physical sciences, paying recourse only to their own resources, run the risk of presenting the cosmos as "an unresolved enigma."......But Galileo's lesson, Pope Benedict XVI said, is that matter "has an intelligibility capable of speaking to man's intelligence and of indicating a path that goes beyond a simple phenomenon."(more)

Parish Leadership Team Meeting, Monday 30 November

This evening's PLT meeting focussed more on pastoral than administrative and financial issues. The Bishop's Ivanhoe visit was discussed (feedback from the Bishop is anticipated shortly). The outstanding program of activities by the Outreach Group was discussed, but also the fact that due to work overload their program for 2010 will be reduced unless new volunteers are forthcoming. The same applies to the possibility of another parish  dinner next year, to be further considered if new volunteers can be found. Liturgy and favourable use of multimedia was discussed. No multimedia in St Bernadette's yet due to lack of volunteers to regularly operate a system there.  Youth affairs were discussed, on one hand strong interest in our existing youth members, but apparent lack of response from Year 6 students this year from MOG and MI Schools. On the admin. side there is good progress on concept plan for stage 1 of the Parish Master Plan. Excellent progress with Parish financial modelling, with Pastoral modelling also being pursued. Important discussion also on declining availability of priests and Ivanhoe impacts.

Vatican ban on Bendigo offer to Anglicans

Extract from Barney Zwartz, The Age, Saturday November 28, 2009

The Vatican has ordered a Victorian bishop to withdraw an offer to let Anglicans ordain deacons in a Catholic church tomorrow because four of the seven are women. Bendigo Catholics and Anglicans have both expressed sadness at the decision, which comes a month after Pope Benedict XVI told Anglicans they were welcome to become Catholics and keep their Anglican identity. Sandhurst Bishop Joe Grech offered Bendigo Anglican Bishop Andrew Curnow use of the city's oldest Catholic church for the celebratory service because the Anglican cathedral is closed for repairs (more).

Life in Ivanhoe Parish

Opinion piece, John Costa, Friday 27 November 2009

During his visit to Ivanhoe Parish Bishop LesTomlinson spoke amongst many other things of the importance of young people and Catholic schools. It has been very pleasing that all the members of the Parish Young People's group who show enthusiasm in all that the Group does have so willingly offered to actively participate in the "Youth Mass for Everyone" at the 5:00pm Mass on Sunday 6 Dec. These young people are full of life, honesty and talent and offer the Parish and future society a great deal. It is appropriate both to support them and also listen and respond  to what they are telling us.

Advent in 2009

Sunday 29th November is the first Sunday of Advent, a very significant time in the Church Calendar. Although we may have experienced many Advents in the past the world is changing and it is always worthwhile reflecting on its meaning again, particularly in the context of a changing world with new perspectives. The Weekly Reflection offers helpful thoughts in that regard. A full program of 2009 Advent and Christmas events may be downloaded from the Mass Times page. 

A plea for change (The whale and the butterfly)

Extract from Opinion Piece, Jacques Noyer, Bishop Emeritus of Amiens, France, Columban Magazine, Nov 2009

I am happy to be part of the Church but I ask that it be fully alive. I ask that it be faithful to its mission and that it bring the word of Christ to our contemporaries, that it bear witness to a world renewed by the Spirit (more). 

Reinventing our gathering places
Extracts from Eureka Street, Deborah Singerman, Thursday November 26, 2009

The global financial crisis has strengthened the appeal of community as an antidote to crass individualism and material gain. And I mean flesh-and-blood community, whether relaxing at main street village cafes, fairs or festivals, creating vegetable gardens and attending farmers markets, or going to face-to-face meetings of people previously only communicated with via the internet on local or global campaigns.....Equally design can only achieve so much.... 'It does not matter how attractive and modern the building is if the core funding for the services it can provide is not adequate.'  Social inclusion requires the resources to make a building live and service its users — an argument for more funding to match the revitalisation that modern design can bring (more). (Ed: Is this perhaps relevant to Ivanhoe?)

Atheists cross as religious forum secures taxpayer funding
Extract from Kate Lahey,The Age, Thursday 26 November 2009

Atheists have accused the Brumby Government of discriminating against them by refusing to fund the movement's global conference in Melbourne, but giving $2 million to a religious conference.The Parliament of the World's Religions begins on December 3 at the new Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and has also received $2 million from the Federal Government and $500,000 from the Melbourne City Council.Premier John Brumby launched the event this morning (more).

Cardinal Pell warns of move to silence Christians
Extract from catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Wednesday 25 November 2009

An Australia commission purportedly established to protect human rights seems to be omitting freedom of religion and conscience from its lists, according to Cardinal George Pell.In fact, as explained by the archbishop of Sydney, there's only one question about the outcome of an inquiry the Human Rights Commission has been doing in Australia for more than a year: "How bad it will be?" Cardinal George Pell noted his lack of optimism about the project because right from the start, he said, the commission’s race discrimination commissioner, Tom Calma, was reported as expressing his concern about a "growing fundamentalist religious lobby" in matters such as same-sex relationships, stem-cell research and abortion (more).

Women religious not complying with Vatican study
Extracts from Thomas C. Fox National Catholic Reporter,Tuesday 24 November 2009

The vast majority of U.S. women religious are not complying with a Vatican request to answer questions in a document of inquiry that is part of a three-year study of the congregations. Leaders of congregations, instead, are leaving questions unanswered or sending in letters or copies of their communities' constitutions."There's been almost universal resistance," said one women religious familiar with the responses compiled by the congregation leaders. "We are saying 'enough!' In my 40 years in religious life I have never seen such unanimity."(more)  


Christ is a King who rules with love, says BXVI                                                              

Extracts from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Monday 23 November 2009
Christ is a King who dominates with love, who does not impose himself but rather respects human freedom, Pope Benedict XVI is affirming. The Pontiff affirmed that Christ's royalty is not like that of the great ones of the world, but rather, it is the power to defeat evil and death and to "awaken hope" even in the hardest of hearts.....He continued: "It is the power of love, that knows how to bring good out of evil, soften a hard heart, bring peace to the most bitter conflict, awaken hope in the most impenetrable darkness (more).

Update on Bishop Tomlinson's Ivanhoe Visit

Friday 20 November 2009
His Lordship Bishop Les Tomlinson is currently visiting the Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe and the the three Parish Primary Schools. The Bishop shared an evening meal at 6.00pm Wednesday with the Executive of the Parish Leadership Team at the Parish Office and was briefed on Parish issues. He later interacted informally with parishioners during a free-ranging Open Forum at St Bernadette’s Church (shown in this photo) that evening. During  introductory remarks he spoke encouragingly of common challenges facing many Parishes and the need for Parishes themselves to respond directly whilst also supporting those uncomfortable with necessary changes. He spoke of a growing need for lay support including such people as Secretaries, Pastoral Associates and volunteers. Discussion ranged widely across topics such as discomfort with change, parish schools, church as community, young people, declining church attendances, partnering with other Parishes, growing secularism of society, retirement of priests and the important need for spiritual as well as pastoral growth.

Comment from Fr John -  On Sunday 22 November Bishop Tomlinson will celebrate Mass at 9am at Mary Immaculate Church and at 10.30am at Mother of God Church. On behalf of the parishioners I thank His Lordship for his presence in our parish. It could be an opportunity to have a word with His Lordship. 

Bishop Les Tomlinson to visit Ivanhoe Parish

Friday 6 November 2009

Our Regional Bishop Most Reverend Les Tomlinson will visit our Parish on Wednesday 18th and Thursday 19th November. Bishop Tomlinson will celebrate Mass at two of our churches on Sunday 22nd November. Further details later - Fr John

Bishop Tomlinson was born to Edward and Alice Tomlinson on August 27, 1943 in Mildura, Victoria. He was educated at St Joseph’s College, Mildura. He entered Corpus Christi College (Werribee, Vic) on the 29th February, 1968 and completed his studies for the priesthood at St Paul’s National Seminary (Kensington, NSW). He was ordained to the priesthood at St Joseph’s Church, Red Cliffs, Victoria on the 18th August, 1972. After serving in the parishes of Carlton, Rowville and Ormond as Parish Priest, Bishop Tomlinson was appointed Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral on 7th January, 2003 and Vicar General of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne on the 10th April, 2003. Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Les Tomlinson as Titular Bishop of Siniti and Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne on Tuesday 5 May 2009 and he was consecrated on 17 June 2009. Bishop Tomlinson continues in the role of Vicar General of the Archdiocese with responsibility for the Eastern Region. In the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference he is a member of the Bishops Commission for Health and Community Services.

Euthanasia Bill defeated in SA Parliament
Extract from ABC News, Friday 20 November 2009

A bill to legalise voluntary euthanasia in South Australia has been defeated in State Parliament when a supporter had a late change of heart.A conscience vote was poised to finish at 10-all with the president of the Legislative Council, Bob Sneath, to make the casting vote in its favour.But Liberal MP David Ridgway rose just before the vote to withdraw his support and the bill was defeated 11 votes to nine (more).

A nation moving on
Extracts from Catholic News, Friday 20 November 2009

The path to nationhood for the East Timorese people was never going to be easy. After a few centuries of oppressive colonial rule by Portugal, including Japan's occupation during World War II, the East Timorse suffered Indonesia's brutal 24 year occupation and the killing and starvation of over 100,000 people.....But in the last 12 months, Australian Sister of Mercy, Helen Nolen has seen positive developments and has a strong sense that the people are "about to stride out" (more).

Concerns over effects of "Schoolies Week"
Extract from Catholic News Thursday November 19, 2009

Dr Dan White, executive director of Catholic schools in the Sydney archdiocese, is urging parents to consider encouraging their kids to participate in other ways than "Schoolies Week" to celebrate the end of school."While I acknowledge that the end of school is a rite of passage worth celebrating, the idea of large numbers of students who have only recently turned 18 (or in some cases are still 17) being together in an unfamiliar environment far from home without any support or supervision is worrying," he was quoted as saying by The Catholic Weekly (more).

The True Mission for Catholic Universities - Pope
Extracts from Catholic Online Zenit News Agency, Friday 13th November 2009

University communities cannot be satisfied with merely imparting knowledge; they must also teach students values and profound motivations, says Benedict XVI.The Catholic university is called to act...with fidelity to the Christian message exactly as it is presented by the Church'.The Pope spoke of the role of universities today, taking up the theme of the "educational crisis," about which he has often expressed concern (more).

Federal axe possible for ACT same sex ceremonies legalisation
Extract from Catholic News, Friday 13 November 2009

The ACT legislation granting same sex couples the right to legally binding ceremonies will "almost certainly" be vetoed by the Federal Government, The Canberra Times reported, although this could not be officially confirmed. The newspaper cites a spokesman for Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor saying the Government's position was unchanged and that such provisions "undermined and mimicked" marriage, however he would not say whether the new laws would be disallowed (more). Image: Catholic News

Woman jailed for conning priest
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 12 November 2009

The Victorian County Court judge Howard Mason sentenced confidence trickster Olivia Raymond to four years and eight months in jail for defrauding elderly priest Father Paul Kane of parish funds and his life savings. Ms Raymond, a reported gambling addict, used fake documents and sad stories to trick the 83 year old priest into handing over $400,000 from accounts belonging to St Matthew's Parish in the northern Melbourne suburb of Fawkner, and some $50,000 of his savings for his retirement, said an AAP report in The Age (more).

Facebook, Google, Wikipedia and YouTube for faith
Extract from Catholic news, Thursday 12th November 2009

 Media experts will join European bishops to show how best to communicate the Catholic Church's message using the tools of the 21st century. Representatives from the social network Facebook, the search engine Google, the YouTube video sharing website and the online encyclopedia Wikipedia will explain the importance of "new media" in the lives of young people, the UK's Telegraph reports (more). 

ACT legalises civil ceremonies between same sex couples
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 12 November 2009

The ACT Parliament passed a Greens Bill to legalise civil ceremonies between same sex couples, allowing gay and lesbian couples to create their civil partnerships through a legally binding ceremony (more).

Christianity ended the cold war peacefully
Extracts from Opinion piece,  Adrian Pabst,, Wednesday 11 November 2009

Religion brought down communism and it is religion which will help us resist naked capitalism, too. Without Christianity the cold war would not have ended peacefully. Across the East, churches and religious organisations brought together workers, students and intellectuals. Under totalitarian rule, church services and religious festivals often provided the last bastion of freedom and resistance (more).

Church leaders too literal: Hockey
Extract from The Age, AAP, Monday November 9, 2009

Christianity's declining popularity in the West is a result of many church leaders interpreting the Bible too literally, opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey says.Delivering a speech called In Defence of God to the Sydney Institute on Monday, Mr Hockey said priests applied an "alienating literalism" to their readings of the old and new testaments."By encouraging literalist analysis of the Bible, many churches have inadvertently invited people to question the validity of a faith that seems to be based on questionable facts of outdated prescriptions," he said (more).

Politics without morality damages Australia

Extract from Eureka Street, Andrew Hamilton 6 November 2009
Morality and politics don't mix, The Age, 28 October 2009. In a reflective article in the Fairfax Press, Shaun Carney argued that it is not helpful to expect that politicians will treat the arrival of asylum seekers as a moral issue. Their decisions almost always involve compromise and conflict between professed values and actions. I would like to argue that, whatever of political practice, we should ask politicians to consider the morality of their policies, and that to divorce politics from morality damages Australia (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free (here)

Benedict invites Blair, Berlusconi and friends
Extract from Catholic News, Friday 6 November 2009

Pope Benedict is planning a two day summit of Catholic politicians across the globe at the Vatican to discuss the role of faith witness in their professions, reports say. Former British premier and Catholic convert Tony Blair, German chancellor Angela Merkel, US vice president Joe Biden, former Spanish premier Jose Maria Aznar, and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi are among invitees, the Daily Mail reports. Items to be discussed include the family, right to life, Christian roots, education and bioethics, according to the report. It quoted Vatican sources to say that Pope Benedict was becoming "increasingly concerned" at how Christian values were being eroded because of various world governments introducing legislation against Catholic teaching (more).

L'Osservatore slams Kung "lies and inaccuracies"
Extract from Catholic News, Friday 6 November 2009

A L’Osservatore Romano column by editor Giovanni Maria Vian has criticised the Swiss born Roman Catholic theologian Hans Kung after he accused Pope Benedict of an "unecumenical luring away" of discontented Anglicans. The article in last week’s edition said an article by Kung published in several European newspapers contained "lies and inaccuracies," BeliefNet reports. In his article, published in English by The Guardian newspaper in London, Kung described Benedict’s action as “a dramatic change of course: steering away from the well proven ecumenical strategy of eye level dialogue and honest understanding.""The Roman thirst for power divides Christianity and damages its own Church," Kung wrote. "It is a tragedy." The Vatican revoked Kung’s license to teach Catholic theology in 1979 after he criticised Church teachings on papal infallibility and the virgin birth (more).

The Vatican "thirst for power" divides Christianity and damages Catholicism
Extracts from Hans Kung, The Guardian,Tuesday 27 October 2009

The astonishing efforts to lure away Anglican priests show that Pope Benedict is set on restoring the Roman imperium....This Roman action is a dramatic change of course: steering away from the well-proven ecumenical strategy of eye-level dialogue and honest understanding; steering towards an un-ecumenical luring away of Anglican priests, even dispensing with medieval celibacy law to enable them to come back to Rome under the lordship of the pope..... Can it be that those caught in the Roman dragnet do not see that they will never be more than second-class priests in the Roman church, that other Catholics are not meant to take part in their liturgical celebrations? (more)

St Luke's eConference draws prison inmates, international participants
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 5 November 2009

Prisoners in Sydney's Long Bay and Silverwater prisons joined thousands of people from across Australia and as far away as Rome, Britain, the US and Ireland yesterday to learn more about the Gospel of Luke in an eConference. Bishop David Walker, a member of the Bishops Commission for Mission and Faith Formation, and in whose diocese the forum was hosted, said the eConferences were tapping into a need for top quality adult faith formation in an accessible format (more). 

Today's scientists need awe: Benedict XVI
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Monday 2 November 2009

"Knowledge, in a word, must be understood and pursued in all its liberating breadth," the Bishop of Rome affirmed. "It can certainly be reduced to calculation and experiment, yet if it aspires to be wisdom, capable of directing man in the light of his first beginnings and his final ends, it must be committed to the pursuit of that ultimate truth which, while ever beyond our complete grasp, is nonetheless the key to our authentic happiness and freedom, the measure of our true humanity, and the criterion for a just relationship with the physical world and with our brothers and sisters in the great human family."(more). The painting is of Galileo.

Liturgy needs not 'sacred language' but pastoral language: Bishop Donald Trautman
Edited Extract from Jerry Filteau, National Catholic Reporter,Monday 26 October 2009

(American) Bishop Trautman says major flaws afflict the new Mass translation. There is much good in the new English translation of the Roman Missal, but "there is much more that still needs improvement to make the text grammatical and accessible to the people,""The present text still contains improper syntax, incomplete sentences, archaic and obscure words and idioms, lengthy and incomprehensible sentences and fails to respect the natural rhythm and cadences of the English language," he said. He also criticized Rome's decision to try to create a "sacred language" for worship, so that in the new version of the Nicene Creed, "born of the Virgin Mary" becomes "incarnate of the Virgin Mary" and "one in being with the Father" becomes "consubstantial with the Father."The new translation introduces words "like 'ineffable,' 'consubstantial,' 'incarnate,' 'inviolate,' 'oblation,' 'ignominy,' precursor,' 'suffused' and 'unvanquished,' " he said. "This vocabulary is not readily understandable by the average Catholic." (more)

Focus on Brazil

Monday 26 October 2009

This week we are taking the opportunity of a visit to Brazil by our website production team to briefly feature some aspects of life and religion in that country. Brazil with a geographical area only marginally larger than Australia has a population around 10 times greater, and a Gross Domestic Product per person around a quarter that of Australia. Because of an extremely wide gap between the rich and the poor wealthier people in large cities need to live behind highly secure and guarded walls. Such people are unwise to visit the poor areas, or Favelas. There are reportedly around 55,000 murders in Brazil each year, much of it drug related and often involving even young children.

Economic development and new initiatives to provide meaningful opportunities to many under-priviliged youth in particular are encouragingly now starting to reduce crime rates.  Overall the Brazilian economy is very strong and together with the Australian economy has been highly resilient to the global economic crisis. Brazil is an exciting country. Being host to the 2016 Olympics will hopefully further strengthen Brazil's resolve and means to equitably improve the quality of life for all Brazilians.

Matthew, Mark, Luke & John welcoming visitors to the Cathedral in Brazil's capital city Brasilia

The Cathedral was dedicated in March 1970 and like most of the great buildings of Brasilia was designed by the architect Oscar Niemeyer, currently aged 101 and still designing. Apart from being a Cathedral it is also a tourist  attraction (photos jc 18.10.2009).


6 pm Mass at Brasilia's Dom Bosco Church, Sunday 18th October 2009

Dom Bosco was an Italian saint, and the founder of the Order of Salesians. In 1883, he had a dream, which is believed by many to be a prophecy of the building of the city of Brasilia. It was used by the founders to build the city. In the dream, Dom Bosco saw a city in the new world. This city was a utopian paradise, a capital city of a great nation, and a model for the future. He believed that this great city would rule the nation justly and make sure that all the country's people had enough of everything they needed.  The Cathedral was blessed by Pope John Paul II on his visit to Brazil in 1991. The photo doesn't do justice to the 3 ton chandelier.

Students from across Brazil make special trips to the Capital. This student bus with a clear destination was sighted in Brasilia on Wednesday 21st October. 

No shortage of priests?

Sao Paolo, Friday 23 October 2009

Brazil is a country of churches, and now many channels of various 24/7 TV religions. That doesn't mean that everyone is religious, on the contrary. But it does mean that many who are are highly zealous and attracted to the many evangelistic services that can be found live, or via television from the comfort of your hotel room - or wherever. Televised Catholic services tend to be very conservative traditional type Masses or highly evangelistic. One can equally love or hate such services, but they do attract large attendances. From these televised services can be observed what appears to be an abundance of young, charismatic and highly loquacious priests and ministers, and highly attentive / participatory congregations.

"Future Church" wants married priests for all

Extract from Catholic News, Friday 23 October 2009

FutureChurch executive director, Sr Christine Schenk, says that her organisation welcomes the Vatican's flexibility in allowing married priests for Anglican converts but wants the option extended to Latin rite priests. "Parishes in Europe, the United States and the United Kingdom are closing, while thousands of Catholics in the developing world have virtually no access to Mass and the sacraments because of too few celibate priests," Schenk said in a statement. "According to a 2007 article in the New York Times, 80 percent of all Sunday celebrations in Brazil are led by lay leaders because there are no priests."  (more)

Mother of dead tourist doesn't want attacker jailed

Extract from The Australian, Friday 30 October 2009

THE mother of an Irish tourist who died after after a fight in a Sydney beachside suburb does not want her son's attacker jailed. Gearoid Walsh, 23, was rushed to hospital about 11pm AEDT on Sunday when he stopped breathing following the attack at Coogee. He died last night when his family took him off life support.He had been drinking at hotels in the area before he got into an argument with a man at a takeaway food shop. The man punched him, causing him to stumble and fall, hitting his head on the ground."I'd really like to say that as a mother I really feel for this guy who got into a fight with Gearoid," Mrs Walsh said."I am heartbroken for him because we don't blame him, we don't want him to serve time in prison". (more

Rejected asylum seekers return
Edited Extract,Phil Glendenning, Catholic News, Friday 30 October 2009

Nine Afghans, who were returned home by the Howard Government with promises and compensation, have come back and were granted protection by the Rudd Government, The Australian reports.The controversial "reintegration package" paid asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island $2,000 each, or $10,000 per family, airfares and the promise of counselling and job training to abandon their claim for protection. They were to relinquish any claims for asylum, the report says (more).

Proclaim the Gospel on the ‘Digital Continent': Benedict XVI
Edited Extract from Catholic Online, Friday 30 October 2009

Addressing the full Pontifical Council for Social Communications today, Benedict XVI urged its members to help communicate the teachings of the Church on the “digital continent” of the ever-changing technological landscape. Reflecting on the role of social networking and increasingly real-time electronic communication, Pope Benedict XVI said on Thursday that "modern culture is established, even before its content, in the very fact of the existence of new forms of communication that use new languages; they use new technologies and create new psychological attitudes."Effectively," he continued, the advent of new technology “supposes a challenge for the Church, which is called to announce the Gospel to persons in the third millennium, maintaining its content unaltered but making it understandable.”  (more).

Korean women church leadership well behind wider society.
Request to bishops for 30 percent women quotas on parish councils goes unanswered

Edited Extracts from Thomas C. Fox, National Catholic Reporter Thursday 28 October 2009.

Like many other Asian countries, Korea has been strongly influenced by Confucianism and its values. The social system was hierarchical and women's status was traditionally rather low. However, with improved education of women in modern society, the feminist movement has grown. A growing number of women now stand out in every walk of life. A society that used to be non-favorable toward women has changed greatly.There are still many issues to work on in Korean society. There are many discriminatory practices against women -- preference for a baby boy, inequity in wages between men and women, division of roles in the workplace, unequal promotion opportunities, sexual harassment, domestic violence against women, unequal child-rearing practices. Meanwhile, according to the statistics of the Korean Catholic Church, women comprise 70 percent of all active church faithful. Women are much more actively involved in the church. However, the Korean bishops’ women's committee statistics show that the proportion of women in decision-making positions in parishes and the church is remarkably small. This is because the proportion of women in parish pastoral councils is very small. Moreover, decisions are made mainly by priests and male council members. Women are still subordinate and passive (more).

The great discovery: It's a human issue, not a woman's issue
Extract from Joan Chichester, National Catholic Reporter, Tuesday 27 October 2009

Every science student in the country knows that for every action we can expect an equal and opposite reaction. Which translated means that whatever we try to do, someone else will try to stop it. So here's the question: Given the kind of explanatory data that is coming out of "The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation" on the social condition and challenges facing women at this moment in history, what can we expect now? (more)

Battle looming on human rights as committee backs new act, role for courts
Extract from Michael Pelly, The Australian, Friday 9 October 2009
Battle lines were drawn yesterday for a fierce political debate after the government's hand-picked committee said Australia should adopt a charter of human rights and give the High Court power to declare laws incompatible.The Human Rights Consultation panel, headed by Jesuit priest Frank Brennan, said the "dialogue model" operating in Victoria and the ACT should be the template for any new act or charter. It urged a comprehensive audit of "all federal legislation, policies and practices" to ensure compliance with international human rights obligations. 

Secrecy protects perpetrators of child killers: welfare advocates
Extract from Catholic News, Friday 9 October 2009

Australian Catholic University academic Patricia Hansen and child welfare advocate Frank Ainsworth have come out strongly against protecting the anonymity of children killed by their parents, saying it protects the perpetrators (more).

Communities in Crisis, Asia-Pacific
Extract from Caritas, Friday 9 October 2009
With the spread of Typhoon Ketsana across the Asia Pacific severely affecting the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia; a tsunami in the Pacific devastating communities in Samoa and Tonga; massive flooding in India; landslides in Nepal; and the earthquake in Indonesia centring on Padang in Sumatra, people across our region are in desperate need (more). To assist in relief work in these areas there will be a leaving collection for Caritas at Masses this weekend.

Mental Health Week and Open Mind Fiesta 2009!
Extract form MI Fellowship Website, Friday 9 October 2009
Every year, Mental Illness Fellowship Victoria celebrates Mental Health Week with the annual Open Mind Fiesta, a vibrant community-based festival held along Fairfield's Station Street.The theme this year's Fiesta is Wellbeing and Participation and will prove that people with a mental illness are an important part of every community. Our message for the year is "people with mental illness want to participate... make it happen!" This year the Open Mind Fiesta will be held in Station Street Fairfield on Sunday 11th October 11.00am - 5.00pm at the culmination of a busy week of local events and participation for Mental Health Week (more). Fr Len Thomas is mental Health Chaplain for the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne.

Old meets new in faith lives of two New Mexico women
Extract from Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter, Wednesday 7 October 2009
Though separated in age by at least two generations, and worlds apart in life experience, Nolan and Garcia represent some of the strong impulses within the Catholic community that are shaping its future: the growing role of laity in the church, especially women, despite prohibitions against ordination of women; the conviction reinforced by the Second Vatican Council that Catholics, by virtue of their baptism, have an essential part to play in salvation history; and the rising awareness throughout Christianity of the social dimension of a life of faith (more).

Melbourne host for Parliament of the World’s Religions
Exract, October 2009
First held in Chicago in 1893, the Parliament of the World’s Religions brings together the world’s religious and spiritual communities, their leaders and their followers to a gathering where peace, diversity and sustainability are discussed and explored in the context of interreligious understanding and cooperation.Since 1993, a Parliament of the World’s Religions has convened every five years in a major international city (Chicago 1993, Cape Town 1999, Barcelona 2004). Sponsored by the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, the 2009 Parliament will take place in Melbourne, Australia (more).

Brennan Committee's final submission on possible Bill of Rights
Edited extracts from Catholic News, Friday 2 October 2009

The National Human Rights Consultation Committee handed over its final assessment about a possible bill of rights for Australia to the Federal Government on Wednesday, after perusal of more than 35,000 public submissions.The committee headed by Jesuit priest Father Frank Brennan also held more than 65 public hearings. A recent Amnesty International poll of 1,000 Australians found that more than 80 percent would be in favour of a charter but there is also fierce opposition to the move, The Age said (more).

Eucharist as a Celebration of Everyday Life
Extract from opinion piece, Ron Rolheiser OMI
We sometimes forget that Jesus was born in a barn, not a church, and that the God of the Incarnation is as much about kitchen tables as ecclesial altars. God is as much domestic as monastic. This is important to keep in mind as we try to understand the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the body of Christ, a continuation of the Incarnation, and, like Jesus' birth, is meant to bring the divine into concrete, everyday life (more).

How to be a Hypocrite and Still be OK
Extract from opinion piece Bill Farrelly, Marist Messenger (NZ), Thursday 2 October 2009
I wonder whether Jesus’ audience ever got tired of listening to Him. I wonder whether He ever got tired of preaching? No doubt he got physically and mentally tired, but did He ever tire of the subject? Did He ever wake up of a morning and think to Himself, I’d rather talk about something else today; I don’t feel like talking about God? I guess the answer is no, and yet because He was human, and because he hung around with humans, I reckon He would often have talked about other stuff. I mean, it just stands to reason (more).
Image from Catholic News

Spiritual anorexics?
Extract from Peter Gregory, The Age, Thursday 1 October 2009

YOUNG people engaging in street crime are spiritual anorexics whose behaviour can be changed through structured and regular activities, a leading adolescent psychologist has told a forum on street crime (more).

Priests must promote "community of co-responsibility" cardinal says
Extract from opinion piece, Catholic News Service, Tuesday, 29 September 2009
Priests must guard against becoming limited to sacramental ministry and must help lay Catholics take up their duty to try to solve "the massive problems we are facing," Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles said in a talk at the University of Notre Dame. "As a leader of a faith community of co-responsibility, the ordained priest best serves his people by promoting their royal priesthood at a moment of world crisis," he said (more).

Parishes of Ivanhoe and St Kevins share
Sunday 27 September 2009
Sunday Mass at St Kevins in Templestowe usually enjoys live music but today one of the two musicians was unable to attend at short notice. As they knew about the "multimedia liturgy" prepared each week in the Ivanhoe Parish we were pleased to provide St Kevins with this liturgy for Sunday at their request. The multimedia liturgy fitted in seamlessly and response from those celebrating Mass at St Kevins was enthusiastic. It's good when we can share not only within our Parish but across Parishes. This is already starting to happen even more broadly - for Youth activities across the Deanery. Perhaps in future we can anticipate more opportunities for sharing in various ways?

Father Bob Maguire
Extract from Denis Hart Statement, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne,Friday 25 September 2009

Denis Hart, Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, released the following statement today. “As Archbishop of Melbourne, I have pleasure in announcing that I have agreed with Father Bob Maguire that he continue as Parish Priest of Saints Peter and Paul Parish in South Melbourne until 1 February 2012 when his resignation which I have accepted will take effect (more).

An important question
From Parish Newsletter, Friday 25 September 2009

How can we deal with the situation when the expected priest does not come, or the scheduled priest is unavailable at the last minute? - Let’s think about strategies we can put in place to respond to this situation.

Parish Office
Friday 25 September 2009

The Parish Office will be attended at different intervals from 28 Sept – 2 Oct as our Secretary Ruth will be on leave. Notices such as deaths, anniversaries and prayers for the sick will be noted and where possible included as part of Prayers of the Faithful within Mass the following weekend and can be included in the following newsletter if wished.

Pope Benedict to Visit London: Is the Rebirth of a Christian Europe Underway?
Extract from Deacon Keith Fournie, Catholic Online, Thursday 24 September 2009

May this visit to England hasten the recovery of a dynamically orthodox Christian witness in that Nation; one which opens up the path to the recovery of a genuinely Christian Europe (more).

Where does Evolution leave God?
Extract from the Wall Street Journal, September 2009

We commissioned Karen Armstrong and Richard Dawkins to respond independently to the question "Where does evolution leave God?" Neither knew what the other would say. Karen Armstrong says we need God to grasp the wonder of our existence. Richard Dawkins argues that evolution leaves God with nothing to do. Here are the responses (more).

Reversing the liturgical field
Extract from Richard McBrien, National Catholic Reporter, Monday September 21, 2009

According to a report late last month by Andrea Tornielli in the Italian daily Il Giornale, the prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, met with Pope Benedict XVI on April 4 (the fact that we have a precise date is significant) to present a list of proposed changes to the liturgical norms for the celebration of the Eucharist (more).

Churches confront 1000-year schism
Extract from Christopher Pearson Opinion Piece, The Australian, Saturday 19 September 2009

Are the Catholic and Orthodox branches of Christianity at long last about to settle their differences? According to Catholic Archbishop of Moscow Paolo Pezzi, "it is possible, indeed it has never been so close". In an interview with Corriere della Sera that appeared on Monday, he said the end of the schism "could happen within a few months" (more).

Festival of Dangerous Ideas
Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 17 September 2009

Cardinal George Pell will join British journalist and prominent atheist Christopher Hitchens and outspoken feminist and academic, Germaine Greer as keynote speaker for a "Festival of Dangerous Ideas". His talk on October 14, "Without God We Are Nothing" will draw not only on his own faith and scholarship and from statements of scientific figures such as physicist Stephen Hawking, who admitted he was no closer to knowing whether God existed or not, "only that God was arbitrary", the Archdiocese of Sydney said in a media statement. The first day of the festival, October 13, will feature Hitchens' Opening Address on the topic "Religion Poisons Everything"(more). Photo - Flickr, Mimi-K

Social Justice Sunday statement recognises commitment of youth
Extracts from Catholic news, Wednesday 16 September 2009

The Bishops of Australia have pledged their support for young people's commitment to social justice, reasserting last year's World Youth Day central theme of witnessing through the power of the Holy Spirit. In a statement for this year's Social Justice Sunday, which will be celebrated on September 27, the Bishops have urged youth to acts as "ambassadors" for faith, justice and hope. Bishop Saunders said the challenge for young people was to "persevere in our calling, to remember that as Christians we are a new creation, part of a holy world in which God is not eclipsed or deemed irrelevant by a secularist ideology." ...He said that although the statement was about youth, "it is for all of us". "What will you leave to the next generation?(more).

God after Auschwitz
Extracts from opinion piece, Barney Schwartz, The Age, Wednesday September 16, 2009

Did God die in Auschwitz? Many Jews and Christians never believed in the same way again after the Holocaust in which six million Jews died. But for some, it deepened their faith at a time when their faith in humanity was severely shaken...Suffering is a practical problem, not a theoretical one. And we’re all going to suffer, be it illness, grief, death. As the doctors say, life is a fatal disease. The important question is how we cope with it (more).

Sympathy for (Fr Bob, Archbishop Hart, the Parish community)
Extract from Eureka Street, Andrew Hamilton, Tuesday 15 September 2009

The story of Fr Bob Maguire's retirement can be told in many ways. It has generally been represented as the struggle of a brave battler against a heartless large corporation. Whatever of that, it has a more universal and poignant relevance as the story of the predicament of ageing community workers. These include general practitioners, teachers and religious ministers (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Alternate thoughts for this Year for Priests
Extracts from opinion piece, Richard McBrien, National Catholic Reporter, Monday 14 September 2009

Pope Benedict XVI declared this a Year for Priests, beginning on June 19, the feast of the Sacred Heart, and ending next June with an international gathering of priests in Rome.....Undoubtedly, the pious thing for most priests to do is to get fully into the spirit of this Year for Priests and for lay people to renew their appreciation for the good work that so many priests have done and continue to do in the life of the church.......But there is a more realistic dimension to this Year for Priests, and it is one that never sees the light of day in most of the diocesan papers in the United States and Canada because bishops will not permit any discordant opinions to be expressed (more).

On Reclaiming Christianity from the West
Extract from Eureka Street, Monday September 14, 2009

During an episode of ABCTV's Q&A on 27 August, Mr Abbott claimed, 'I think everyone who has grown up in a western country is profoundly shaped and formed by the New Testament, because this is the core document of our civilisation.' In other words, he linked being Christian with being Western. He went onto make both Jews and Muslims feel somewhat left out of the 'western civilisation equation' when he described the Koran as 'the Old Testament on steroids'. As a South Asian Muslim, I'd like to think many Christian believers would be as incensed by attempts to treat Christianity as a uniquely Western phenomenon as I am when Islam is treated as a uniquely Arab phenomenon. Talking about monolithic and mutually exclusive Christian and Muslim 'civilisations' and 'countries' is nonsense (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Communication with above?
Saturday 12 September 2009

All is revealed on the "Photo Gallery" page of this website

Alive with the Sound of Music - a parish Hall near you
Friday 11th September 2009

The Parish Hall will be alive this weekend with folk from our Maintenance Group, Communication Group and Outreach Group repairing, installing, painting and many other things - making this a more attractive and friendly place for numerous Parish and Youth Group events and activities in future. In anticipation of the football Grand Final a "big screen" will be set up with new sound system, also to be used in many other ways at other times. This is thanks to the funds raised by our Outreach and Wellbeing Groups during their recent Monster Garage Sale at MI Hall. Thanks to minimal (and minimally) paid staff plus generous volunteers the Parish is alive. New volunteers are always welcome.

On stuffing up
Extract from Opinion Piece, Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, Thursday September 10, 2009
An early Christian hymn speaks of Adam's 'happy sin'. Happy, because Jesus came to set it right. A happy sin is a striking idea, but it does resonate with experience. Actions that we later regret are often turning points in our lives. They make us ask what matters in life, and remind us of the gap that exists between our ideals and the messy reality of our lives (more).  Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Learning from suicide
Extracts from Gillian Bouras, Eureka Street, September 10, 2009
In December 1996 my sister Jacqui killed herself. She was 50. Three years later our first cousin Andrew did the same thing. He was 33.We do not want to admit that suicide has always been part of the human condition, but the first known suicide document is an Egyptian New Kingdom papyrus entitled 'Dialogue of a World-Weary Man with his Ba-Soul'. Philosophers have debated the matter interminably, with many considering the act to be a paradox, for it is life's central issue: Wittgenstein considered it to be the pivot on which every ethical system turns, while Camus wrote that suicide 'is prepared within the silence of the heart, as is a great work of art'...Today is World Suicide Prevention Day (more) Image Flickr

Why a Fr Bob Maguire must call it a day - Archbishop Denis Hart
Extracts from the Herald Sun, Wednesday 9 September 2009
You will have heard that I have invited Fr Bob Maguire of Saints Peter and Paul parish in South Melbourne to submit his resignation as parish priest. Asking a priest or any person to consider retirement having reached the age of 75 is a pretty reasonable thing to do. As a matter of fact, Church law requests a parish priest to offer his resignation upon turning 75. It is not just parish priests who must offer resignation at 75, but also bishops in dioceses and at the service of the Pope....I will submit my resignation when I turn 75 in 2016 (more). 

Foreign priests being used to fill clerical void - Maguire
Extract from Catholic News,Wednesday 9 September 2009

South Melbourne's Father Bob Maguire said priests from abroad would probably fill the void left by retiring local priests. "The headquarters has got some kind of pious thought that they're going to be able to get priests from around the world where there's a surplus," he was quoted as saying by The Age. "Now that's beautiful, I love it, we're universalists but at the same time the local culture would say: 'Excuse me, can we have our local culture priority one with a migrant priest that receives education in the local culture because it's not fair to him or the local culture'." (more)

Church asks Fr Bob to retire
Extract from The Age, Monday 7 September 2009

The Catholic Church appears to have left the door ajar for Father Bob Maguire, a tireless advocate for the homeless, to continue working in his inner city Melbourne parish past the retirement age of 75. One of Australia's best-known and best-loved priests, Father Bob Maguire, a champion of the homeless, has been asked by the Catholic Church to retire when he turns 75 on September 14. But Father Bob, who has been running the South Melbourne parish for 36 years, says he will fight to stay on (more). Photo Justin McManus

MOG Church's 1st "Multimedia Mass"
Sunday 6 September 2009

Mother Of God Church is already fortunate to have an outstanding choir but today was the congregations' opportunity to participate further in the Mass now that words of hymns and prayers can be projected onto a screen behind and above the altar. MOG Church wasn't designed for multimedia and incorporation of such a facility here has been a real challenge, however after much effort the end result has been a success as demonstrated by comments after Mass today and noticeably more vocal participation by all those present. Multimedia will be used in many different ways in the Parish to enhance the liturgy and communicate its messages in new, enjoyable and more memorable ways. Mary Immaculate Church has now been using multimedia for some months, and St Bernadette's will be next when volunteers to operate their system can be arranged.  

Exploring new possibilities
Ivanhoe Parish, 5:00pm Sunday 23 August 2009

 This was the first of what might possibly become a more regular pattern of occasional "Experimental Masses" in the Parish at 5:00pm on selected Sundays at each of our three Churches. What is experimental is not so much the Mass itself but its more abbreviated form, "interactive Homily", and getting together briefly afterwards for "refreshments, cuppa and chat".

Squalor problem for elderly unveiled
Extract from Catholic News, Friday 4 September 2009

Severe domestic squalor is twice as common as previously believed, brought to light by the Severe Domestic Squalor Project run by Catholic Community Services, the Daily Telegraph reported. "It is such a widespread problem. I think everyone is aware of someone in their neighbourhood who collects things or has excess goods on their front veranda," said the organisation's senior coordinator Ruth Melville said. The $375,000 Severe Domestic Squalor Project was funded by the NSW State Government after a Sydney University study found one in every 1,000 elderly people live in severe domestic squalor. Ms Melville said ongoing funding for the program was yet to be secured (more).

Loreto order launches book
Extract from Catholic news, Friday 4 September 2009

Author Mary Ryllis Clark's book on the Loreto sisters, Loreto in Australia, chronicling the founding and development of the order in the country, has been launched.
The book follows the tale of the small band of Irish nuns who arrived in Ballarat in 1875, with their charismatic leader Mother Gonzaga Barry. It explores the women's influence on Catholic education in Australia and follows the growth of the order's work, which has now expanded into indigenous and other disadvantaged communities, as well as into tertiary institutions and other positions in public life (more).

Marriage conference confronts myths
Extracts from Catholic News, Friday 4 September 2009
US marriage expert Dr William Doherty, at a national marriage conference last week, explored five modern myths including that marriage without prior cohabitation is foolish and that men aren't interested in relationships (more).   

Why green Catholics are not communists
Extract from Eureka Stree, Neil Ormerod September 04, 2009

As various commentators have indicated one of the significant features of the recent encyclical Caritas in Veritate by Pope Benedict XVI is its explicit mention of environmental themes. The Pope's contributions are not startling or unusual. He emphasises the importance of stewardship over all creation, the grave duty to hand on to future generations something worth having, the dangers of consumerism, the squandering of resources and the deep interconnections between human existence and the rest of creation. 'Benedict has been careful not to prejudge the science of this complex subject ... As someone who has labored ceaselessly for the priority of truth over ideology, Benedict knows that neither international organisations nor public opinion determine the truth about climate change and its causes. That's a question for science, and many reputable scientists dispute aspects of the prevailing tenets of climate change to which some environmentalists seem religiously wedded ... As anyone who has studied his life and thought knows, Joseph Ratzinger has never been intimidated by political correctness.' (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Blake Prize win for "religious" video
Extract from The Australian, Thursday 3 September 2009

A silent, ten minute video of young music fans letting loose in front of rock gods playing on stage has won the main award at this year's Blake Prize for religious art. 32 year old winning Artist Angela Mesiti  said the work was exploring the “extreme experiences” when people become lost in the moment outside sanctioned religious spaces.“I was just interested in these notions of worship and ecstasy and transcendence and where they're actually found in a contemporary setting,” she said. Christopher Allen, The Australian's national art critic, said of the winner: “Ecstasy is cheap.” And of the show overall, he was less than impressed. “The show itself is fairly lacklustre,” he said. “There's very little that has any inspiring sense of the religious or the spiritual.” (more).

Guide proposes prayer before sex
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 3 September 2009
The London based Catholic Truth Society has published a Prayer Book for Spouses complete with a prayer to prepare for sex.
The prayer implores God to place within us love that truly gives, tenderness that truly unites, self offering that tells the truth and does not deceive, forgiveness that truly receives, loving physical union that welcomes, reports The Daily Mail.
According to Southwark Auxiliary Bishop Paul Hendricks, the prayer's inclusion was "brave but good". "I suppose it is a bit idealistic but it is recognising that God is at the heart of the marriage relationship between husband and wife," he said (more).

Faith alone won't help the first Australians to better lives
Extract from Michele Grattan Opinion Piece, The  Age, Friday 28 August 2009

Kevin Rudd says we should put behind us the ''history wars and the culture wars'' that raged in the Howard years. In a speech yesterday, he sought centre ground, arguing it was time to move beyond the polarisation between negative and positive interpretations of our past, between ''straight narrative'' and ''extreme relativism'' (more).

League tables demoralising say parents
Extract from Catholic news,Friday 28 August 2008

Teacher and parent groups rallied at Rosehill Racecourse yesterday to protest government plans to allow the publication of school league tables later this year, the Brisbane Times and Sydney Morning Herald reported....NSW Premier Nathan Rees is planning to move to overturn legislation that will impose $55,000 fines for the publication of league tables, the report said....The NSW Parents and Citizens Federation spokesman, Steve Carpenter, said governments were using children as a "political tool"...."We don't want league tables ... We don't want to devalue and demoralise our young learners by saying this one is a winner and this one is a loser." (more)

Catholic Womens' Canberra Conference
Extracts from ABCB Media release, Tuesday 25 August 2009

Catholic women from across Australia will gather for a landmark conference in Canberra this week to
mark 10 years since the launch of ‘Woman and Man: One in Christ Jesus’, the Report into the
Participation of Women in the Catholic Church in Australia.... “The Church in Australia is richly blessed by talented, gifted women who seek out a voice and place in the life of the Church,”....The dinner speaker will be broadcaster Rebecca Gorman and the conference will also feature sessions highlighting what’s been happening in dioceses in relation to the participation of women and consideration of the question, ‘Where to from here?’ (more).

How Catholic schools are failing the poor
Extracts from Ross Fitzgerald, Eureka Street, August 24, 2009

In a secular country like Australia it is ironic that Catholic schools are mainly funded by the state....Yet the fact remains that most Catholic school provision in English-speaking countries is fully publicly funded....Since the Second World War, a decline in religious vocations, coupled with a dramatic increase in Australia's population, brought pressure on Australian political parties to overturn the ban on state aid to private schools.....Since the mid-1980s funding deregulation has imposed a different set of problems on Catholic schools. Their demographic shows that they have become cheap private schools and that lower socio-economic Catholic enrolments in them have plummeted.....Catholics do not operate comprehensive schools through which their students are exposed to the entire curriculum that is available in a government school......If the Catholic Church fails to engage Labor's 'education revolution'... its commitment to the Gospel of social justice will be in ruins (more).

The Next stage in the  evolution of humanity
Extracts from Opinion Piece, Fr Bob Maguire (Fr Bob's Blog), Friday 21 August 2009

"Until we, humans, are roboticised out of our positions of indispensable responsibility, the buck stops with each of us....Just being alive puts each of us in a position of responsibility....Anything that diminishes that personal power, lessens our free will, puts us and our sphere of influence in harm’s way....We are our brother’s/sister’s keeper. The life of each of us influences the lives of all of us....Maybe this is the next stage in the evolution of humanity – the development of eyes located in the human heart. We need to feelingly see. We need to learn to walk the extra mile in the other person’s shoes (more).

AusAID can now fund abortions abroad
Extract from Catholic News, Friday 21 August 2009

Funds from the AusAID overseas aid program can now be used to fund abortions of foetuses of up to 20 weeks in countries where the procedure is legal, The Age reported.The formal revoking of a ban on AusAID funded abortion services emerged yesterday after Foreign Minister Stephen Smith signed off on new family planning guidelines for dispensing federal funds overseas, the newspaper said.The change has been described by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as opposed to his personal "long standing conservative views", and it has fomented debate within the government. The ban was introduced by the Howard Government in 1996, influenced by Tasmanian independent and Catholic senator Brian Harradine (more).

Aung San Suu Kyi Verdict
Extracts from Opinion Piece, Religion Dispatches, Thursday 20 August 2009

Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has spoken out today, calling her renewed house arrest “totally unfair,” adding to the criticism that this verdict is summoning worldwide.It was a bizarre turn of events that led to an extension of Aung San Suu Kyi’s house arrest. A few months before she was to be released, an American intruder, John Yettaw (who believed he was on a mission from God, and wanted to warn Suu Kyi of danger) swam across Inya Lake in Yangon to visit her. While his motives were certainly irrational, the fact that his arrival was not detected by the military guarding her house invites speculation and irony.....Aung San Suu Kyi’s advocacy of socially engaged Buddhism has lent moral authority to her quest against the military regime. Her message articulates modern political values: liberalism, human rights, nonviolent resistance, and the empowerment of individuals (more).

Renewing the Priesthood
Extracts from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 20 August 2009

At Wednesday's general audience, Pope Benedict XVI looked at the life of St. John Eudes and the importance of ongoing formation of the clergy. Pope Benedict urged the faithful to pray for priests and candidates to the priesthood, saying that their proper formation is crucial for the renewal of the priesthood (more).....The Vatican is aiming to prepare a "brief, forceful and very clear" document on the formation of seminarians as one of the elements to close the Year for Priests (more)

Richness of Diaconate
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Wednesday 19 August 2009

The Congregation for Clergy is affirming the richness of the permanent diaconate, and is urging these ordained ministers to strive for holiness through meditation on God's Word and charitable works.Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, the congregation's prefect, wrote about this topic in an Aug. 10 letter on the feast of St. Lawrence, deacon and martyr......The cardinal urged deacons to a continual, in-depth "intellectual, theological and pastoral formation" to support a "qualified and up-to-date ministry of the Word."....He added, "One could not understand a deacon who did not personally involve himself in charity and solidarity toward the poor, who again today are multiplying in number." (more).

First Eucharist
Sunday 16 August

When all of our children celebrating their First Eucharist have done so over the next few weeks we will publish further photographs of these important Parish events.

At today's celebration shown in this photo Fr John remembered his 1st Eucharist as a time when he was told that to receive this Sacrament one had to be "perfect", which he found impossible. He said that the true spirit of Christ was not like that, as demonstrated so well by Mary MacKillop who loved people even when they were at their worst.

N.I.C.K Foundation Inaugural Event for parents and teenagers a resounding success
Wednesday 5 August 2009

A very large audience of parents and teenagers attended the first event of this newly established foundation dedicated to serve the needs of young people and parents grappling with the complications of life and society. A group of outstanding people helpfully shared their experiences in overcoming adversities and coping with a challenging world. The foundation was inspired by the suicide of a young person in our Parish, and an outpouring of reaction by a very large number of young and older people. Further supportive events are being planning and will be made known. N.I.C.K. Nurturing, Independence, Commitment, Knowledge.

Migrant & Refugee Week 24-30 August 2009
Extract from ACBC, Wednesday 5 August 2009

The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO) has produced a
resources kit with the theme, ‘St Paul, Migrant, Apostle of Migrants and Refugees in
Australia’.This resource is now available from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
website at . The migration phenomenon has grown to take on the dimension of the entire world and the Catholic Church in Australia is the one most impacted. Catholic dioceses, parishes, schools, and organizations are becoming increasinglydiverse. The question is: “how do we welcome all of this diversity in our midst to grow even stronger together?” This kit will help us reflect as a community (more).

Golgotha never like this
Saturday 25 July 2009, 11:00am

Putting up the cross, or rather relocating the cross at Mother of God Church today was no small feat, but thanks to the generous effort of some parishioners and a friend of the parish, together with a generous financial contribution from an anonymous donor in the parish, and the help of modern technology, not forgetting consultation with a Parish Priest and around 764 others (or so it seems) this particular location was chosen. The purpose for this relocation was to allow Mother of God Church to enhance its liturgies in future using multimedia - via a screen located directly above the altar. The next step will be installation of the multimedia equipment, as has occurred at Mary Immaculate Church, and will occur at St Bernadette's. You can see the final result with some other photos of this latter day cross installation on this website Photo Gallery. Some people may not welcome such change but the consensus view from those who have already seen the new location for MOG Cross is that it is actually better than its original location. God does indeed appear to work in mysterious ways!

Papal "circle" to discuss Church mission
Extract from Catholic News, Friday 14 August 2009

Pope Benedict will meet some of his former students in his annual "Ratzinger School Circle", or "Ratzinger Schulerkreis", gathering at Castel Gandolfo at the end of this month.Since 2005, the Pope has kept the tradition of meeting with the "Ratzinger Schulerkreis," with discussions in previous years focusing on issues such as evolution and Islam. This year the group will focus on the "Mission of the Church," a topic that is central in the reflections of Ratzinger the theologian, the news agency said (more). Photo: Castel Gandolfo

Update: Ruling on Perth right to die case
Extract from The Age, 6:33 pm, AAP,  Friday 14 July 2009

Perth quadriplegic Christian Rossiter says he could be talked out of a plan to starve himself to death by having his feeding tube removed, despite a court giving him the right to die. Prior to the Western Australia Supreme Court ruling today, Mr Rossiter described his life as "a living hell". The Brightwater Care Group, which cares for Mr Rossiter in Perth's northern suburbs, sought advice on whether it could legally comply with his requests to stop feeding and hydrating him through a tube to his stomach. Chief Justice Wayne Martin told the court it would be unlawful for the group to continue feeding Mr Rossiter against his wishes if he had been informed of the consequences of ceasing nutrition and fluids (more).

Assisted suicide preferred over starvation, says Perth quadriplegic
Extracts from Catholic News, Friday 14 August 2009

Quadriplegic Perth man Christian Rossiter has asked The Brightwater Care Group, which cares for him, to stop feeding him through a tube, but would rather travel to Switzerland for assisted death. Mr Rossiter, 49, is seeking to end his life. The Brightwater Care Group has lodged an application in the West Australian Supreme Court to see if it could legally keep feeding Mr Rossiter despite his requests, according to an AAP report in The Australian....."Reports that I wish to have my feeding stopped immediately to bring about my death are not correct," he said...."Where there is the chance that I can go to Switzerland to take advantage of that country's civilising legislation I want to pursue this (more).

Iraq's Christian community at risk of disappearing - Vatican official       
Extract from John Thavis, Catholic News Service, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne,Thursday 13 August 2009

A leading Vatican official called for greater protection of Iraq's beleaguered Christian minority, saying the disappearance of Christianity from the country would be an enormous religious and cultural loss for everyone (more).

Church painfully slow to learn lessons of abuse
Extract from Editorial, The Age, Wednesday 12 August, 2009

Catholic leaders have been loath to tackle institutional complicity. FOR an institution in which confession is a sacrament, the Catholic Church struggles to openly acknowledge its responsibilities for the sins of its priests. At times, it has given the clear impression that it wishes sexual abuse victims would shut up and go away. A year ago, the World Youth Day organiser, Bishop Anthony Fisher epitomised that attitude when he accused those calling for a papal apology of ''dwelling crankily on old wounds'' (more).

New 'Green' partnership for Catholic Schools
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne,Tuesday 11 August 2009

A partnership between the Catholic Education Office Melbourne (CEOM) and Sustainability Victoria (SV) aimed at promoting ecological projects in Catholic schools was launched today (more).

Parish "Monster Garage Sale" a great success
Sunday 9th August 2009

An opportunity to socialise, have fun, discover and purchase interesting items and some great bargains, have wonderful Devonshire tea and scones, a sausage sizzle, all contributed to a highly successful Parish garage sale this weekend. The beneficiaries of this fund-raising event will include many people across the Parish from young to old. Thanks to all those who came along in support, thanks to those hard-working volunteers from Outreach, Wellbeing and the Young Peoples Group, and many other helpers and contributors of items for sale, and instigator Pat Jones.The sum of $3,000 was raised and will be put to very good immediate use. The photo shows one of many helpers. Further images from this event can be seen on the "Photo gallery" page of this website.

Mary MacKillop update
Saturday 8th August 2009

The good news was announced at Saturday's  Mary MacKillop Mass at St Patrick's Cathedral that a major step towards her canonisation had now been taken with confirmation of her 2nd miracle.

Centenary spotlight on Australia's first saint
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Friday 7 August

Victoria will celebrate the centenary of the death of Blessed Mary MacKillop with a Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Saturday 8 August. Archbishop Denis Hart will be the principal celebrant for the Mass, together with other Victorian bishops and priests.Mary MacKillop was born a short distance from the Cathedral, in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. Together with Father Julian Tenison Woods she founded the religious order, the Sisters of St Joseph (the ‘Josephites’), and was instrumental in establishing Catholic education in Australia.She was beatified and named Blessed by Pope John Paul II in 1995. The second miracle attributed to her intercession required for her canonisation as Australia’s first saint is currently being investigated by the Vatican (more). (not bad for someone who was once excommunicated! Ed.)

Caritas social and environmental justice campaign
Extract from Catholic News, Friday 7 August 009

Caritas Australia is launching a campaign to further social and environmental justice from the base of their "Be More" website, where people can create profiles and set themselves challenges to meet. It is kicking off a "Be More Weekend", from August 7 to 9 inspired by South American Archbishop Oscar Romero's call "not to have more, but to be more." It is a weekend away not from a place but from the business as usual approach," said Caritas CEO Jack De Groot. "It is a time to reflect what things would be like if we were true stewards of creation, if we lived in solidarity with the poor and if we always attempted to be more in our daily lives"(more).

Court orders suicide ruling
Extract from The  Age, Afua Hirsch, London Saturday August 1, 2009
Britain's highest court has issued a historic judgment that could remove the fear of prosecution from people who travel overseas to support relatives seeking an assisted suicide (more).

Government rejects change on gay marriage
Extracts from The Age, Saturday August 1, 2009
The Rudd government is refusing to budge on gay marriage or civil unions but a senior minister believes the momentum for change is "unstoppable"..... Instead Labor agreed to a compromise removing the explicit definition of marriage being between a man and a woman from its national platform...And across the country Labor will continue towards a nationally-consistent framework for the registration of same-sex unions, as occurs in Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT (more).

Disunity in the Year of the Priest
Extracts from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street,  July 30, 2009

Like many other organisations, the Vatican gives names to years. This year has been the Year of St Paul; next year is the Year of the Priest. It coincides with the 150th anniversary of the death of John Vianney, a simple French parish priest who spent much of his life in post-Revolutionary France hearing confessions. Like many other organisations, the Vatican gives names to years. This year has been the Year of St Paul; next year is the Year of the Priest. It coincides with the 150th anniversary of the death of John Vianney, a simple French parish priest who spent much of his life in post-Revolutionary France hearing confessions...... Of course the image of the clergy gathered around the bishop of the area never fully reflects the reality of any church. Catholics who belong to the Ukrainian or Maronite communities, for example, may well have their own bishop in the same city. Clergy in many religious congregations, too, have a more complex relationship with the local bishop. In the Anglican communion, the clergy and congregations that do not accept women's ordination may be placed with a bishop who works across the territory of many local bishops (more). Subscription to Eureka Street is free. (See reader comments on the Year For Priests on the "Your Views" page).

N.I.C.K. Foundation to be launched 5th August:
The N.I.C.K. Foundation (Nurturing, Independence, Commitment and Knowledge) is a new initiative which is being established to assist parents and their teenage children. Its first forum is being held at 7:00am on Wednesday 5th August at Camberwell Girls Grammar School and will be an evening of shared stories and advice from different perspectives. Further details including guest speakers in Parish Newsletter.

Centacare Collection 2009      
The Annual Appeal for Centacare Catholic Family Services will take place at all Masses this weekend. Centacare has supported and cared for families of the Melbourne Archdiocese for over 70 years, and is grateful for the support of our Catholic communities.

Brennan says Rights Charter won't curtail religious freedom
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday July 30, 2009
Human rights campaigner Fr Frank Brennan has rejected the former Treasurer Peter Costello's assertions that the national human rights charter would in effect curtail religious conscience or practice. "As a Catholic priest who abhors trendy laws aimed at curtailing religious conscience or peaceful religious practice, I beg to differ," Fr Brennan wrote in a letter to the Sydney Morning Herald, in response to an opinion piece by Mr Costello on Wednesday. Fr Brennan suggests the "misunderstanting" that has arisen in Victoria, surrounding its human rights charter, could be due to a number of reasons (more). 

Food Crisis
Edited Extract from Caritas report, Thursday 30 July 2009
Caritas Australia has launched a report examining food shortages around the world.  The report advocates a clear focus on the right to food. The current financial crisis will continue to compound the number of people living in dire poverty.  World hunger is projected to reach a historic high this year with 1020 million people going hungry every day, according to estimates published by FAO in June. The report looks at the complex and interrelated environmental, social and economic factors of the food crisis and what can be done (more).

National Deacons Conference to focus on “Word, Worship, Service”
Extract from National Committee of Deacons (via ACBC), Thursday 27 July 2009
“Word, Worship, Service” will be the focus when more than 50 deacons and their
wives gather at Pennant Hills, in the Diocese of Broken Bay, next month for a
National Deacons’ Conference....“The ministry of the deacon goes back to the earliest Church communities and we read in the Acts of the Apostles how the Apostles chose seven men as deacons to
help them in their ministry of service,” he said. “The need arose because a certain
group of people in the community were being neglected. Today, deacons are called
to continue these ministries of service, to meet people where they are, and
especially on the margins.” The role of the permanent deacon was revitalised at the Second Vatican Council and has begun to grow more strongly in recent decade (more). 

Anointed and Sent
Extract from ACBC Media Release, Sunday 23 July 2009
Anointed and Sent: An Australian Vision for Catholic Youth Ministry has been hailed as “essential reading for those entering youth ministry” during its launch at the annual gathering of Lay Movements, held on the anniversary of Pope Benedict’s arrival in Sydney for World Youth Day. It will be distributed to parishes and secondary schools around Australia (more).

Marginalisation of Ted Kennedy
Extract from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, Thursday 23 July 2009

Idealism often leads people who belong to idealistic groups to live and work among the marginalised. In time they often feel marginalised and are seen as marginalised within the organisations to which they belong. They are said to 'go native'.
This is often seen as an event to be avoided and as a problem to be solved. Wiser counsel suggests it is a fact to be accepted. If you live at the margins, you will be marginalised, if you work at the boundaries you will be seen to be outside the main game, if you dwell beyond the frontiers you will lose your citizenship. That is what happens. The real question is: how do you handle this fact of life?  (more).  Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

School suicides prompts call for funding for youth mental health
Extracts from Catholic News, Wednesday July 22, 2009

The Victorian Government has sent extra counsellors to Geelong's Western Heights secondary college, after four current or former students committed suicide in six months.
An adolescent psychologist says the Federal Government needs to invest more in youth mental health, including programs to teach parents how to spot depression, ABC reported.
Karen Rae, one of the grieving mothers, said her 14 year old daughter, Chanelle, would still be alive if she did not use the internet on Friday night - because of internet bullying (more). 

St Bernadette's Korean "multimedia homily" from afar
Sunday 19 July 2009

Fr Youn Marie Joseph, Priest-in-residence of the Catholic Korean Community at St Bernadette's Church recently became ill while travelling in South Korea and required surgery. Extraordinarily that didn't stop him last Sunday as usual from presenting his homily at St Bernadette's, from his sick bed in a South Korean hospital, via the Korean Community multimedia facility. Not speaking Korean this writer is unable to report on the substance of his commentary on last Sunday's Gospel reading, however from observing the highly attentive response from the Korean Mass community at St Bernadette's the homily clearly commanded full attention from those for who it was intended. Fr Marie-Joseph looked understandably tired but his talk gained energy as it progressed. Judging by the reaction  his homily clearly hit the spot for the Korean community, and also effectively demonstrated the power of modern communications. We wish Fr Marie Joseph a speedy recovery.

From Korea to West Ivanhoe
Sunday 19 July 2009

According to Wilkipedia the history of Catholicism in Korea began in 1784. For almost 15 years, the Church in Korea survived without any formal missionary priests until the clergy from China and then France arrived for the ministry. During the 19th century, the Catholic Church suffered persecution by the government, chiefly for refusal to carry out ancestral worship. There are now over 5.1 million Catholics in South Korea - over 10% the population.  In the above picture Fr Marie Joseph (with red umbrella) is shown participating in the WYD Days in the Diocese event at Darebin Park in 2008. Fr Youn Marie-Joseph's name commemorates one of the early Korean Christian martyrs, Laurent-Marie-Joseph. He was one of 79 Korean martyrs beatified in 1925 and among the one hundred and three martyrs canonised by Pope John Paul II in Seoul in 1984.

Church weighs in to mining and farming battle
Extract from Catholic News, Friday 17 July 2009
Catholic, Anglican and Uniting Church leaders have issued a joint statement underscoring their solidarity with farmers against mining in southern Queensland's Darling Downs.
The churches' representatives acknowledge the contribution of mining and the generation of electricity throughout the region, but they said it is a "social justice" issue that is troubling many of their parishioners, Queensland Country Life reported (more).

Harry's spell converts Pontiff
Extract from The Australian, Thursday 16 July 2009
ONCE condemned by the Pope for undermining the soul of Christianity, Harry Potter has been forgiven.......In 2003, two years before he was elected, Joseph Ratzinger, then a cardinal and head of Vatican doctrine, said J.K. Rowling's stories of the boy wizard threatened to corrupt an understanding of Christian faith among the impressionable young. The Pope now appears to have fallen under the Potter spell. The latest in the film franchise, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, has won praise from the Vatican's newspaper. L'Osservatore Romano said while the Potter saga lacked "a reference to the transcendent", the latest film drew "a clear line of demarcation between good and evil, making clear that good is right, and that in some cases this involves hard work and sacrifices" (more).

Pastoral Letter on "threat to religious freedom"
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Wednesday 15 July 2009
The Catholic bishops of Victoria have made a submission to the Victorian parliamentary inquiry being conducted into the exemptions available in the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act and have issued a pastoral letter on the threat to religious freedoms (more).

Jesuit Social Services founder leaves
Extracts from Catholic News, Wednesday 15 July 2009
Jesuit Social Services founder, Fr Peter Norden is leaving the religious order and contemplating his future as a priest, burnt out from decades of overwork and heavyweight social work, a news report said. Fr Norden, who was ordained in 1981, said that in his last year as a part time parish priest at St Ignatius, Richmond, Victoria, he did 70 weddings, 200 baptisms and 50 funerals. He also travelled interstate 30 times as policy director for Jesuit Social Services, The Age report said. Fr Norden said he was still motivated by a call to service of the community, but felt less attached to the institutional church. He said he was still thinking about whether he would remain a priest, the report said (more).

Broadband for Catholic Schools & Agencies
Extracts from Catholic News, Wednesday 15 July 2009
More than 90 percent of Catholic schools in the country have committed to linking up through a new $146 million national broadband network, to be rolled out by Telstra over the next two years.....Catholic Network Australia Ltd, a subsidiary company of Catholic Resources Ltd, will manage the network....... which will enable Catholic Education Offices to share and exchange resources across Australia....The CNA is hoped to reduce overall costs for Catholic networks and agencies, push the Catholic schools into the forefront of providing IT services and education, and foster online learning communities.....(more). See also Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne report (here).

"How God changes your Brain"

Edited extract from Brian Coyne, Catholica, 12 July 2009

On 10 March 2009 we published a report on a study on this subject by two neuroscientists. In this commentary and reference to recent reviews on their report Brian Coyne considers this subject further.

Many would seem to wonder these days if Catholicism is worth saving. I think it is but the real question to my mind is "what, precisely, are you trying to save?" Are you trying to "save" some set of rules, or the culture and the physical institution — all the parishes, schools and works of charity around the world — or is it something more fundamental than that? My own attitude is that it is something more fundamental than trying to save the equivalent of some football club whose 'rules of play' have gone out of fashion (more). 

No place to call home

Extract from The Australian, Stephen Lunn, 9 July 2009
TIME is of the essence. For homeless Australians, the 105,000 on the Australian Bureau of Statistics count and likely thousands more sleeping rough, living in boarding houses, emergency accommodation or bumming a room from friends or relatives, those five words couldn't be more profound......"Time has moved on when it comes to homelessness in Australia. It's not like the 1950s and 60s any more where the homeless tended to be older single men on skid row," Mackenzie says. "Overall the report (Counting the Homeless) shows the number of homeless remains just over 100,000 (between 2001 and 2006 when the latest ABS figures were compiled), however for families there has been a 17 per cent increase and for single people a 10 per cent increase (more). 

Pope calls for "moral market" authority
Extract from Barney Zwartz, The Age, Thursday July 9, 2009.
POPE Benedict XVI has proposed a new world political authority "with real teeth", possibly in place of the United Nations, to enforce an ethical financial order and end the global financial crisis. Calling for more aid, a bigger role for trade unions and an economic system aimed at the common good as well as profit, the Pope said only a moral market could end the crisis and solve world poverty. The proposals were in his long-awaited encyclical, the second-highest level of papal teaching, released in Rome yesterday morning Australian time, before the G8 leaders gathered in Italy today to discuss the global crisis. (more).

Kevin Rudd audience with Pope Benedict

Extracts from Lenore Taylor, Vatican City,The Australian, Thursday 9 July 2009
KEVIN Rudd presented Pope Benedict with a leather-bound copy of the Australian parliament's motion of apology to the Stolen Generations during a 20-minute audience at the Vatican tonight.During the meeting in the ornately decorated library of the Papal apartments, the Prime Minister also gave the pontiff six bottles of De Bortoli Noble No 1 dessert wine in a small wooden crate....The Pope gave Mr Rudd a signed copy of his recent Encyclical on truth and charity and a pen that replicates the design of one of the bronze alter columns in St Peter's Basilica. Before the meeting, Mr Rudd had said the Pope's encyclical that urged world leaders to give more consideration to ethics and values as they responded to the economic crisis was a welcome contribution "which all political leaders should take seriously and examine".Mr Rudd raised with the Pope the campaign by the Australian Sisters of St Joseph to have their founder Mother Mary MacKillop canonised, to become Australia's first saint (more). Photo The Australian


New Website for Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

It is called The Catholic Church in Australia 


Slumdog Millionaire scores a home
Extract from The Age. Thursday 9 July 2009
SLUMDOG Millionaire child star Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail and his mother have moved into their new home, leaving behind a corrugated metal slum shanty for four solid walls, doors that lock and an indoor toilet. "I was shocked when I saw this house," Azhar, 11, said, before turning on one of his favourite Hindi songs and dancing around the living room. "I want to thank Danny Boyle for giving us this flat." Boyle, the director of the Oscar-winning hit, and producer Christian Colson will transfer the $62,000 one-bedroom apartment to Azhar's name when he turns 18, provided he finishes school (more). Photo Reuters


Growth in Parish Young Peoples' Group

Thursday 9 July 2009

In its third year now the Parish Young Peoples Group is continuing to grow and cover a wider range of ages, from Years 9 and 10 down to Year 6. Invitations to join will shortly be sent to those in the Parish who recently made their Confirmation. We are now looking for two additional Youth Workers, one male one female, and would love to here from interested persons.  Today the YPG enjoyed its first school holiday event - at the "Dark Zone" - followed by an enjoyable (though low budget) restaurant meal.


Year of the Priest - some initial reflections

Wednesday 8 July

Pope Benedict has appropriately declared the Year of the Priest. It's a timely opportunity to reflect on the critical and challenging issue of the nature and role of priesthood in today's world. The following edited Extracts from an email published by Brian Coyne, Editor and Publisher of Catholica offer some food for thought.

......I don't think you need to be a futurologist to suggest, whichever way you look at it, priesthood as we've known it is dead — or a museum artefact for a remnant. The challenge for the rest of us, if we still place some value on the role of spiritual leaders, is how do we re-invent the role for the future in ways that are both economically viable and which do truly respond to the needs of the community? .....(more)

The Vatican and U.S. women religious
Extracts from Essays in Theology by Richard O'Brien,National Catholic Reporter, Monday July 6 2009
I did not intend to comment on the Vatican's decision late last year to conduct a visitation of religious communities of women in the United States because I expected such a study, to be done under the auspices of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, to come up more or less empty-handed as did the Vatican's earlier study of U.S. seminaries and theologates...... I experienced a change-of-mind about the study of women religious in the United States, however, when I learned earlier this year that the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has initiated a doctrinal investigation of the Leadership of Conference of Women Reli-gious, referred to as the LCWR, the largest of its kind in North America........ I know of no religious community, of women or of men, that interpreted the changes brought about by Vatican II as a "rupture" from the tradition of the church. Nor did the cardinal name any. We are dealing here with a classic case of setting up a "straw man" (or, in this instance, a "straw woman") and then easily knocking it over (more).

Anne has gone but her music remains

Monday 6  July 2009

It's difficult suddenly losing a musician and singer who have lead at Mass for the last two years. Thanks to the new multimedia facility and  special digital sound recordings made of Anne Pulju just before she left MaryImmaculate Church, her musical backing for various prayers and hymns at least enable us now to continue to benefit from her significant liturgical input at Mass. For the time being we at least now have a 'virtual musician'. A sample of her recordings can also be heard on the Music page of this website. The next Parish Church to get multimedia will be Mother of God.

Farewell Anne & Tony, and thanks!

Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe, Sunday 5 July 2009

Over two years ago Anne Pulju and her husband Tony arrived in the Parish after searching over a while for a Parish they felt comfortable with. Fortunately for us that Parish was ours, and ever since Anne has been complementing Sunday Mass at Mary Immaculate with her wonderful music and singing. In keeping with change in the Church and throughout all of Society Anne, her husband Tony and two children are now moving to Washington DC to take up new appointments. It will be our loss. Today Anne was warmly thanked at her last Mass in the Parish by Liturgy Group Convenor Merle Gilbo and presented with a small gift as a remembrance of her time and significant contribution in Ivanhoe. Whilst it will be our Loss Anne kindly recorded some hymns and prayers in the Church last week so her music will live on in Ivanhoe at least (more photos on 'Photo" page). 


Falls Creek priority over Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe

Friday 3 July 2009

This website has been regularly updated throughout its nearly 1.5 year life and not a single weekend has passed without a Website Update - excepting for this weekend. The whole of our website production team - Designer, Editor-In-Chief, Executive Editor, Editor, Reporter, Photographer, Production Assistant, Administrative Support Officer, Youth Representative, Outreach Representative, Liturgy Representative, Parish Leadership Team Representative, Technical Support Officer, Overseas Correspondent, Gossip Correspondent and VLO (Vatican Liaison Officer) are giving the snow at Falls Creek a higher priority this weekend and hope you don't mind? Hopefully they will return refreshed for continuing this onerous if not well paid job.

Michael Jackson dead at 50.

Friday 3 July 2009
Michael Jackson's death today has been greeted with a mixture of shock, sadness and disbelief, as fans jumped online to confirm the news and express their grief.Many fan sites and social networking sites had buckled and some even ground to a halt as discussion about Jackson's heart attack, and ultimate death, took hold. On the website of iconic music magazine Rolling Stone, many fans equated the King of Pop's passing to that of other music greats such as Elvis Presley and John Lennon.

In other sad news Catholic News reports on the death of Former Charlie's Angel Farrah Fawcett who died of cancer at age 62. She received the last rites from a Catholic priest.

A voice of reason in a maelstrom of condemnations
Extracted from opinion piece, Joan Chittister National Catholic Reporter, 2 July 2009
Well, we're in trouble now. U.S. bishops, not all of them but clearly a vocal few, have brought the church to the point of serious confusion. By denouncing Notre Dame for inviting President Obama to give the university's 2009 commencement address and, in the course of that ceremony, to receive the honorary degree awarded to eight U.S. presidents before him, the bishops are surely in an awkward position. To say the least. The problem is that on July 10, Pope Benedict XVI will receive President Obama at the Vatican itself. That kind of reception is, of course, no small honor for anyone and surely a symbol of dialogue and listening at the highest level of VaticanVatican, too, as they did Notre Dame? And if not, what is that saying? (more).

U.S. Nuns facing Vatican Scrutiny
Extract from Laurie Goodstein, New York times. 1 July 2009
The Vatican is quietly conducting two sweeping investigations of American nuns, a development that has startled and dismayed nuns who fear they are the targets of a doctrinal inquisition. Nuns were the often-unsung workers who helped build the Roman Catholic Church in this country, planning schools and hospitals and keeping parishes humming. But for the last three decades, their numbers have been declining — to 60,000 today from 180,000 in 1965. While some nuns say they are grateful that the Vatican is finally paying attention to their dwindling communities, many fear that the real motivation is to reel in American nuns who have reinterpreted their calling for the modern world (more). 


Homosexual group wants Geelong priest apology
Edited Extracts from Catholic News, Friday 26 June 2009
A homosexual rights group wants the St Mary of the Angels' parish priest and the Australian Family Association to apologise for criticising a ratepayer funded night for gay youths in Geelong. Anti Violence Project of Victoria's executive director Greg Adkins said both organisations had made "ignorant and offensive" remarks in opposition to the event, the Australian Star reported......"Their comments reveal either a lack of understanding of the needs of young people or wilful and homophobic ignorance,"Adkins said.The Catholic parish priest Father Kevin Dillon said it was akin to using ratepayers' money for reverse discrimination he reports....Fr Dillon has since changed his opinion, the report adds, following a meeting with local councillors. He understands that the night is part of "a program to help vulnerable kids," which "casts it in a different light." (more)

Multimedia in the Parish
Wednesday 24 June 2009

The Parish Communication Group has completed its comprehensive analysis of cost-effective ways to extend multimedia to all Churches in our Parish and also for use by the Young Peoples' Group, Outreach, Wellbeing and other Parish groups to enhance community life within the Parish. The report has been submitted to the Parish Leadership Team Executive.

Pope calls for "frank" recognition of Church's weaknesses
Edited Extracts from Catholic News, Friday June 19, 2009

In a letter to priests around the world to launch the Year for Priests, Pope Benedict deplored priests who were unfaithful to their vows and called for a "frank and complete acknowledgment" of the Catholic Church's weaknesses........ In the face of scandal, "what is most helpful to the Church is not only a frank and complete acknowledgment of the weaknesses of her ministers, but also a joyful and renewed realisation of the greatness of God's gift of the priesthood," the pope said in his letter for the Year for Priests. Pope Benedict said he hoped priests would use the year and its special events to deepen their commitment to their own renewal "for the sake of a more forceful and incisive witness to the Gospel in today's world."  (more)

Bishop Christopher Prowse Appointed Eighth Bishop of Sale
Extract from ACBC, Thursday 18 June 2009

The news was announced by the Vatican today. He succeeds Bishop Jeremiah Coffey who retired eighteen months ago. Bishop Prowse, 55, was born in Melbourne. He is a former Vicar General of Melbourne and was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne in 2003. On receiving news of his appointment, Bishop Prowse commented: “Pope Benedict XVI has given me an enormous responsibility to teach, govern and sanctify the good people of the Sale Diocese. In thanksgiving, I hope to offer my life as a servant of the Gospel of Jesus, alive in the Catholic Church.”

Resignation of Bishop Toohey

Resignation of the the Bishop of Wilcannia Forbes Christopher Toohey at the age of 57 has been accepted by the Pope after less than 8 years as Bishop. According to "TheTablet" the bishop resigned under canon law which refers to “ill health or some other grave cause”. He is well known for his pioneering advocacy on environmental issues and helped set up Catholic Earthcare Australia. Bishop Toohey has been serving at the Holy Family Parish Church in Parkes. According to the Sydney Morning Hearld the Balmain-born clergyman, who was the subject of a recent Compass documentary, holds views on climate change that are at odds with some other views within his Australian Church. The bishop's resignation has been met with sadness within the diocese, which stretches from Queensland south to the Murray River. His impressive and  literally 'down-to-earth' style can be seen in this YouTube clip. Photo SMH Peter Morris

Youth Mass recognises Fr John's anniversary

Sunday 14 June 2009

What better way to recognise Fr John's significant contribution to the Parish, in particular his belief in young people and his commitment to serving their needs, than through a Youth Mass. Merely b

eing present at this Mass effectively provided such recognition and young people played a significant role in this very well attended 5:00pm Mass. Fr John welcomed everyone and reflected on the the fact that the future of the Church very much lay in the hands of young people today.

This was subsequently demonstrated extraordinarily well that evening through the Mass Leadership of Youth Leader Elly McGarvie, and  talk on the Gospel Reading by Youth Leader Tom Stammers that greatly impressed eveyone - in cluding Fr John. With appropriate minimalism towards the end of Mass Pat Kelly referred to Fr John's 50th anniversary as a priest and warmly thanked him on behalf of the Parish, repeating comments at an earlier Mass. Fr John's brother Felix from Ireland also spoke briefly and insightfully.  During the Mass as well the significant contribution to the Parish by Elizabeth Craven was acknowledged and best wishes offered for her move.  Some photos from this event can be found on the website "Mass Times" page.

Thank You Fr John and other 50 year Anniversary Priests

Fr. John, the people of the Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe thank you for your vision and your inspiration, your encouragement and your example, your love and your care.
We pray that you will be blessed with fullness of life and peace.  14th June 1959 - 14th June 2009

We also congratulate the many priests in our Archdiocese who are 2009 Jubilarians including Joseph Browne, Gerard Fitzgerald and Bernard Maxwell who were ordained overseas in June 1959.

Refugee Week celebrations – 'Freedom from Fear'
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 25 June 2009

Centacare Catholic Family Services’ Burmese and African Refugee Support Groups have just celebrated Refugee Week with cultural shows, dancing and a traditional lunch. Refugee Week aims to acknowledge the remarkable journeys of some of our newest Australians, to celebrate a sense of belonging and to promote understanding in the broader community (more). 

Catholic Submission to The National Human Rights Consultation 2009
Extact from ACBCB, Wednesday 24 June 2009

......Discussion framed in terms of “human rights” is used nowadays to identify, protect and promote the dignity of the human person and the universal demand for justice.  Classifications of human rights have become the category upon which moral rights and legal rights are based and against which they are evaluated.  In the words of the Preamble to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR) “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world” (more). 

North Korean Leader Kim Jong Il's Health

Extract from Times Online, Leo lewis in Tokyo, Friday 19 June 2009

Speculation over the declining health of Kim Jong Il, the Dear Leader of North Korea, has intensified after reports that Pyongyang may be on an emergency quest to buy high-tech medical equipment from abroad..........Mr Kim’s health is closely linked to his country’s destiny. The visibly ailing despot runs his country via an inherited personality cult that has emphasised the vigour, strength and youthfulness of the Dear Leader (more). 

Website for Teens in Families affected by Mental Illness

SANE Australia, Tuesday 16 June 2009

SANE Australia launched a new website – – to support the half a million Australian teenagers affected by mental illness in their family. Executive Director of SANE Australia Barbara Hocking says, "This is often the untold story of mental illness – the impact on teenagers who have a brother, sister or parent with a mental illness such as depression, schizophrenia, bipolar or an anxiety disorder (more). 

Ryan Report: crimes of the 'human' Church
Edited Extracts from Eureka Street Opinion Piece, Julian Butler June 15, 2009

The drama that surrounded the death of Richard Pratt showed the manner in which the desire for simplicity can distort reality. It seemed beyond the capacity of the media, and of many public figures, to acknowledge that Pratt, although a man of extraordinary generosity, also committed immoral acts that defrauded many people.  The inability to see that a single person is capable of committing both good and bad confines us to a morality painted without any shade of grey. This can only hurt our society. Just as individuals are capable of both good and bad, so are institutions. Take the Irish Commission to Report into Child Abuse, known as the Ryan Report. The report details abuse in Catholic educational institutions in Ireland from as early as 1914 through to 2000. Most of incidents reported occurred between 1936 and the 1970......

.....The Pope was reported to be 'very distressed' by the report after meeting on 6 June with the Archbishops of Armagh and Dublin. The Vatican has, however, made no statement beyond official spokesman, Fr Federico Lombardi, commenting merely that this was 'a matter for the local church' (more - Subscription to Eureka Street
is free).

Buildings & Community: Fr John

Friday 12 June 2009

 Each time I enter any of our three Church buildings I stand for a few minutes and acknowledge and thank those who have gone before us. They built the buildings – churches, school, hall, and presbyteries. Under God’s guiding Spirit they built faith communities. They did this in a world so different from ours!

We in our time are challenged to face the issues in our world. We are challenged to build with the guidance of God’s Spirit communities of faith and hope that will give life and hope to our community, and especially to our young – to offer hope to our society and our world.

I consider myself to be so fortunate that I am part of this community where so many people are giving so much to build our future.

 Milestone for the Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe
Outcomes of the PLT meeting on Tuesday 9 June 2009

At the Parish Leadership Team meeting tonight and after a long period of deliberation, consultation, discussion and exhaustive analysis the decision was unanimously made to proceed with Stage one of the Parish Master Plan, that is the development of ten independent units and community building on the current Tennis Court site at St Bernadette’s.

Commenting on this Landmark decision PLT Chair Pat Kelly said “This unanimous decision tonight is a milestone in advancing towards the future Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe. The financial benefit derived from this project will enable us to draw our community closer together and provide greater confidence as we progress to the future against the challenges ahead. Most importantly it will nourish and help ensure the continuing development of Christian Faith for people of all ages in the new Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe”.

Other significant outcomes tonight (here).

 Vote on Stage 1 of the future of the Parish

Friday 5 June 2009

After very many years of discussion and consultation followed by a more detailed financial analysis the Parish Leadership Team will vote at their meeting on June 9th on implementation of Phase 1 of the Plan as presented at the most recent general Parish meeting. As has been made clear agreement on Phase 1 would not constitute agreement on subsequent phases. These would follow similar exhaustive Parish consultations and further analysis, based also on circumstances at the time.

 Schools should teach virtue, values and character: Nichols

Extract from Catholic News, Friday 5 June 2009

Children should be taught Christian values, according to the new Archbishop of Westminster, who has called for religion to be allowed to flourish in schools. Archbishop Nichols warned that treating students as "consumers" and neglecting their "innate spirituality" would damage society, the UK Telegraph reports. He stressed that schools play a key role in developing virtues and a sense of civic responsibility (more). 

 Swine Flu and Masses

Considering the current human swine flue outbreak and a letter from Archbishop Hart to all priests in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, for the time being at Masses in Ivanhoe shared cups will not be offered at Communion and other steps will be taken along the lines outlined in the letter.

 "Priests told to return to basics on sin" - report
Extract from The Age,Tom Kington, Rome, Source - Guardian, June 5, 2009
Confessing in the Catholic Church has long provided material for Hollywood screenwriters, with a dark wooden booth, a priest's stern silhouette glimpsed through a screen and the uttered phrase: "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned." But, according to the Vatican, real life confessions are in danger of turning into cosy counselling sessions, which is why priests are to be issued with a handbook instructing them to give their flocks a sharp reminder of what sin is all about. An official at the Vatican office on clergy told Vatican Radio the declining number of churchgoers who went to confession were confusing it with "a psychiatrist's couch" (more).

 Obama aims for 'new beginning'

Extract from Jason Koutsoukis, Middle East Correspondent, Cairo, The Age, Friday 5 June 2009

US President Barack Obama last night called for a new beginning in relations between the United States and the Muslim world in a speech that pledged to wipe away years of distrust and misunderstanding. He asked Muslims to invest their trust in the US as a benevolent nation, and to recognise their mutual interests of shared peace, the recognition of Israel, a sovereign Palestinian state, the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, universal respect for human rights, and economic co-operation and development (more). 

50 Golden Years.
Friday 22 May 2009

The 14th June marks the 50th anniversary of Fr. John’s ordination to the priesthood. Typically, he has said that he does not want any special event or celebration but the people of Ivanhoe do want to acknowledge the occasion in a suitable way (more).

It is written: Borrrow and ye shall prosper

Extract from Kenneth Davidson, The Age, Thursday 21 may 2009

The principle is as old as the New Testament parable of the talents. Christ tells the story of the three servants each given by their master talents to invest during his absence. The two servants who invested the money wisely to increase the master's wealth were thanked and rewarded. The third servant hid the money to ensure it was not lost. He was abused for his caution (more). 

Pope Encourages young to Evangelise through the Internet

Edited Extract from Deacon Keith Fournier, Catholic Online, Thursday 21 May 2009

World Communications Day will be celebrated on 24 May. There is no question that the Internet and the tools of the digital age present an extraordinary opportunity to the Church in this new missionary moment, the Third Christian Millennium. As in every age, the Church does not reject new technologies or new advances. Instead she seeks to ensure that they are placed at the service of the truth (more).

Ida provides unique link with our past

Edited Extract from The Age, Thursday 21 May 2009

Ida, a recently discovered 47 million-year-old primate fossil  is being hailed by scientists as a virtual road-map for our understanding of early evolution. Scientists believe Ida comes from the time when the primate lineage, which diversified into monkeys, apes and ultimately humans, split from a separate group that went on to become lemurs and other less well-known species. She is one of the most immaculately preserved primate fossils ever found and her secrets promise to provide the missing link between apes, monkeys and us (more).  Photo Reuters.

Multimedia in our Parish

Thursday 30 April 2009

As part of making the Liturgy more accessible to people of ALL ages some parishioners sampled first use of a new multimedia capability at last Sunday's Mass at Mary Immaculate Church with a special ANZAC reflection. Arrangements are under way for these facilities to be available at all of our three Churches. However what is needed for this to succeed is to have some people with an interest in the Mass willing to help operate the new facilities at our main weekend Masses. People interested in pursuing this are welcome to enquire here.

Dialogue with Archbishop of Canterbury
Edited extract from Janes McEvoy, Eureka Street, Thursday 4 June 2009
Falling into a good conversation is one of life's great joys. When a chance meeting conspires with an inviting atmosphere, we can find ourselves caught up in the back-and-forth of conversation. In retrospect we may acknowledge that we have gained insight from the encounter as well as a deeper love for the other person (more). 
The Susan Boyle Fairytale?
Edited Extract from Opinion Piece, Nicci Gerrard, The Age, Wednesday 3 June 2009
When Susan Boyle first took part in Britain's Got Talent, she became an international sensation overnight. Tens of millions of people have watched her on YouTube. There are thousands of articles, tens of thousands of blogs about her. There's a Susan Boyle fan site. You can buy a Susan Boyle T-shirt - but this story is one of sadness and shame, her sadness our shame (more). Photo AP 
 Story and meaning of Pentecost
Edited extract from David Katski,  Sharefaith, Pentecost painting Alexander Sadoyan

Perhaps the oldest feast in the Church, the story of Pentecost dates back to the fir
st century. The feast originated from the Jewish Feast of Weeks, which occurs 50 days after the Passover. According to Jewish tradition, the Ten Commandments were given to Moses 50 days after the first Passover, which freed the Hebrews from their bondage in Egypt. As the Hebrews settled into Canaan, the feast became a time to honor the Lord for blessing the fruits of their labors. At the time of Jesus, the festival focused on rabbinical law and traditions.

The purest meaning of Pentecost today is that of a time of renewal for Christian believers. Through studying the story of Pentecost, many seek and pray for spiritual gifts for the church during this time of holy celebration. There is a renewed focus on evangelism, empowerment from the Holy Spirit, deeper intimacy with God, and fellowship. For Christians, the celebration of Pentecost imparts faith, hope, a sharing of community, and an awareness of a purpose much greater than themselves (more). 
Aborigines need tough love:Pell
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 28 May 2009
There is every room for compassion but no room for sentiment and "tough love" is the key to improving the lives of Aboriginal Australians, Sydney Cardinal George Pell said on the first day of his visit to the Northern Territory (more).
No more compensation:Irish congregations
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 28 May 2009
Eighteen Irish congregations that signed a controversial deal with the Government in 2002 to compensate victims of abuse said they would not renegotiate the terms of the agreement despite pressure from the government and the church hierarchy. The move by the congregations comes despite increasing public pressure and a call this morning by the Catholic primate Cardinal Seán Brady that the deal should be revisited (more).

Theologians and Economists work together on global financial crisis
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 28 May 2009
A group of theologians and economists based at Australian Catholic University (ACU National) have been awarded a grant of $US 30,000 for a transdisciplinary enquiry into the current economic and financial crisis  (more).
The Pope vs Holocaust deniers
Extract from Eureka Street, Monday 25 may 2009
This month the Pope visited the Middle East. His 'pilgrimage of peace' was prompted, in part, by the controversy surrounding his revoking of the excommunication of a Bishop who has publicly denied the Holocaust (more). 
Annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Sunday 24 May 2009
This occurs from Ascension (this Sunday) to Pentecost (next Sunday) and includes a number of opportunities for shared celebration and prayer. For details of this week's activities and some photographs of its start at an Ascension Mass see Mass Times page.

Cheers, Protests at Notre Dame
Extract From Michael D Shear, The Washington Post, Monday 18 May 2009

Amid a scattering of angry protests over his support for abortion rights, President Obama addressed the issue head-on Sunday at the Catholic University of Notre Dame, calling for "open hearts, open minds, fair-minded words" in the pursuit of "common ground" (more).

Learning "World English" in Korea
Extract from The Korea Herald, Friday 15 May 2009

....Korean learners and educators prefer American English, including its accent and idiomatic expressions. The evidence: Korean textbooks on the subject are mostly if not entirely based on American English.......The idea behind World English is the use of English as a lingua franca. English, after all, is widely used outside of United States, Canada, Britain, Australia and other English-speaking countries......(more)  

Korean media bias against foreign teachers?
Extract from The Korea Herald, Friday 15 May 2009

........We recently read that 12 percent of native speaker English teachers in Ulsan were "expelled" from their jobs. The report said that the teachers were let go because they had "methods ... inappropriate for teaching students in English." It is certainly the district's or the school's prerogative to hire or fire whomever they please, and there are no doubt some that deserve to go. However, the information and the way it was reported reveal two big problems frequently seen in media coverage of teachers. It is consistent with a trend to portray foreign English teachers in an unfairly negative way, and it begs the question why Korean teachers' methods are, as a whole, not under similar scrutiny (more).

Outreach & Wellbeing Group busy

Friday 15 May 2009
Throughout the year the Outreach and Wellbeing group do much to bring people from across our whole parish (all three Churches) together. In addition and in the background they do many more things to support those with personal, social or emotional needs. The "Outreach" area of this website is very frequently visited. To share in the celebration of their many and varied activities, photos of a recent Outreach social luncheon in early May have been published on this website's "Photo Gallery".

Pope sings Ode to Peace in Nazareth
Extract from Albion Land, The Age, Thursday 15 May 2009
In a poignant moment, the rarely spontaneous pope rose to his feet on Thursday and held hands with religious leaders at a meeting at Nazareth's Basilica of the Annunciation as a rabbi sang a peace song that he composed for the pontiff. "Lord grant us peace," a smiling Benedict mouthed in English, as Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein soulfully sang Shalom, Salam, Lord grant us peace at the end of an inter-faith meeting of Christians, Jews and Muslims of the Galilee (more).

"Slumdog Millionaire" star no place to live
Extract from The Age, Friday 15 May 2009

The 10-year-old child star of Slumdog Millionaire was awakened Thursday by a policeman wielding a bamboo stick and ordered out of his home. Minutes later it was bulldozed along with dozens of other shanties in the Mumbai slum he calls home."I was frightened," said Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, who lost his pet kittens in the chaos."Where is my chicken?" he asked forlornly, picking through the shamble of broken wood and twisted metal sheeting in search of the family hen (more) .Photo AP

Pope Urges Muslims and Christians to ‘Repair Damage’
Extract from International herald tribune, Thursday 14 May 2009

Since arriving in Israel on Monday as “a pilgrim of peace,” the pope has sought to promote dialogue between Christians, Jews and Muslims. But he has also stepped into the tangled thicket of Mideast politics. In Bethlehem on Wednesday, he visited the Aida Palestinian refugee camp and stood just yards from the barrier separating Israelis and Palestinians and expressed solidarity with “all the homeless Palestinians who long to be able to return to their birthplace, or live permanently in a homeland of their own.” This afternoon the pope is expected to have a private meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose hawkish Likud government has been in power for six weeks, and who has not endorsed the creation of a Palestinian state (more). Photo Doron Horovitz/GPO, via European Pressphoto Agency

Teachers also bullied: Another ACU study
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 14 May 2009

The first national online survey into staff bullying in Australian schools conducted by ACU National and the University of New England has shown that a staggering 99.6 percent of participants have experienced bullying in the workplace (more).

A plus for Budget education initiatives       
Extract from Stephen Elder, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne,Thursday 14 May 2009
The Director of Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Stephen Elder, has praised aspects of the Federal Budget for Catholic schools. Important initiatives that had been previously announced, include the Building the Education Revolution (BER) program; National Partnerships for low SES literacy and numeracy and teacher quality; and the Trade Training Centres in Schools program.

Hope in hand, Pope arrives in Middle East
Extract from Rachel Donadio, International Herald Tribune, Photo Ahmed Jadalah Reuters, Friday 8 May 2009

When Benedict XVI flew to the region Friday, landing in Jordan before travelling on next week to Israel and the Palestinian territories, it was much more about him personally. A man whose four-year papacy has been marked by missteps that angered and offended Jews and Muslims will deliver 32 speeches at some of the holiest sites in the world to Muslims, Jews and Christians. Each word will be scrutinized, particularly by listeners with little affection for him. Already, Islamic groups in Jordan are protesting (more).
Priests tap into Paramatta
Extract from Catholic News, Friday 8 May 2009

Fr David Delargy, and brothers Fr Eugene and Fr Martin O'Hagan, who have sold more than a million copies of their self titled debut album, are here on a concert tour, The Catholic Weekly reports. Irish singing trio The Priests drew a record crowd of young people to a Parramatta pub this week for a session of Theology on Tap (more).
McKillop Canonisation "soon"
Extract from Catholic news, Friday 8 May 2009
Mary McKillop may be canonised within 18 months with her second miracle expected to be approved by the Vatican within a few weeks....The Sister of St Joseph said the second miracle attributed to Mary MacKillop's intercession was the 1995 cure of a woman suffering from an invasive and inoperable cancer (more).

No Vilification Laws: Brennan
Extract from Catholic News, Friday 8 May 2009

National human rights charter consultancy head, Jesuit Fr Frank Brennan, will today move to dispel concerns by some church leaders that the charter could entail the introduction of federal religious vilification laws(more).

"Macho" songs in Church?
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 7 May 2009

Men prefer to sing "proper macho songs" in church and feel uncomfortable with hugging, holding hands or sitting in circles discussing their feelings, a British survey has found. Nearly 60 percent of men who surveyed said they enjoyed singing at church, the UK Daily Telegraph reports. A majority of men, 60 percent, said they do not like flowers and embroidered banners in church with 52 percent saying they do not like dancing in church.

New Melbourne Auxiliary Appointed
Extract from ACBC, Tuesday 5 May 2009

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Monsignor Les Tomlinson as Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne. The appointment was announced in Rome at 12pm today (more).
Celebrating the Sundays of May
Parish Liturgy Group, Thursday 30 April 2009

The Liturgy Group meeting today recognised the significance of several events during this month, events that point very strongly to one of our Parish values - Service.

In keeping with that, this Sunday, Good Shepherd Sunday, calls us to think about leadership. This Sunday also, very relevantly, is Vocations Sunday in the Archdiocese. As the month continues, we journey with the young people as they prepare to take a further step in their faith journey. We look forward, to the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost and pray that we will be open to ways to respond to our call to build a Christian community here in Ivanhoe.

100 Rabbis Prepare to Welcome Benedict XVI to Holy Land
Extract from Catholic Online, 1 May 2009, from Zenit News Agency.
Jerusalem - From May 8 to 15 the Pope will visit the Holy Land, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories. More than a hundred rabbis of various denominations will sign a message welcoming Benedict XVI to the Holy Land and encouraging dialogue between Jews and Christians. 

Rolling good times over
Extract from Australian Catholic Social Justice Council Pastoral Letter, Feast of St Joseph the Worker, Friday 1 May 2009
While the community struggles with the news that the rolling good times are over, we might remember the workers and families who have been struggling for years on the fringes of the labour market. These are Australia’s working poor – workers who rely on low wages topped up with government payments, have little or no bargaining power and are susceptible to unemployment. They are the most vulnerable among those our politicians call ‘battlers’ or ‘working families’. Download letter.

Visiting priest blames flu, earthquake on abortion law
Extract from Graham Downie, Religious Reporter, The Canberra Times, Thursday 30 April 2009
Swine flu and Mexico's recent earthquake had been the judgment of God for that country's abortion laws, a visiting US priest told members of Canberra's St Christopher's Parish onTuesday (more).

Historic apology to Josephites
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 29 April 2009
Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson has made a public apology to the Sisters of St Joseph over the wrongful excommunication of Mary MacKillop in 1871. He stressed the apology was a follow up to the regret expressed by the dying Bishop Sheil when he revoked his excommunication of Mary in 1872, The Southern Cross reports (more). 

US Study finds high retention rate among Catholics, points out concerns for disaffected youth
Extract from US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Monday 27 April 2009
A Pew Forum poll on Americans and their religious affiliation finds Catholics have one of the highest retention rates, 68 percent, among Christian churches when it comes to carrying the Catholic faith into adulthood. It also found that a determining factor in whether or not one remains Catholic as an adult is whether or not the individual attended Mass as a child and teenager (more)

Howell has hope for St Mary's
Extract from Catholic News,Wednesday 22 April 2009
New St Mary's South Brisbane administrator, Fr Ken Howell, says that he has received a lot of support and hopes for a large congregation. "I'm very much into seeing that parish is sustained as a parish," Fr Howell, who picked up the keys to the church on Monday, told the Courier-Mail. "There's been a great number of people who have worshipped there in recent times and I have no reason to believe that's not going to be the case into the future. I think the numbers will be surprising in a positive way, not just a handful of people." Fr Howell acknowledged his new role would be challenging but urged the community not to abandon St Mary's....Fr Howell said he wished former administrator Fr Peter Kennedy well.  

Pope denounces racism
Extract from Catholic News, Tuesday April 21, 2009
Pope Benedict has hailed this week's United Nations anti-racism conference, which is being boycotted by the US, Australia and some European nations, and urged countries to join forces to eliminate intolerance. The conference beginning today in Geneva is an important initiative, the pope said, because "even today, despite the lessons of history, such deplorable phenomena take place." Some countries are boycotting the meeting to protest language in the meeting's final document that they say could single out Israel for criticism and restrict free speech, PR Inside reports (more). 

Vatican to build Europe's biggest solar plant
Extract from Catholic News, Tuesday April 21, 2009
In a project slated to cost $A1 billion, the Vatican is planning to build Europe's biggest solar plant on a 300 hectare site north of Rome. Bloomberg reports the Holy See plans to build the plant on the same site where Guglielmo Marconi set up the Vatican broadcasting service in 1931. Advised by German solar panel maker Solarworld AG, the Holy See is running counter to many governments that say harnessing sunlight on a grand scale is too costly to help curb global warming, especially in the deepest recession since World War II (more). 

 Gallipoli Diggers and the 'forgotten' holocaust
Extract from Eureka Street, Nick Toscano, Monday April 20, 2009

Anzac Day is a day history has immortalised. We know 25 April 1915 was when the 'digger' — one of Australia's most identifiable and beloved icons — dug the first trench into the rocky canyon at Gallipoli that would soon be his grave. Albeit a military disaster, many recognise the battle as a defining moment, one that forged a nation. That same day, the same place and the same battle also mark a nation's destruction. The battle at Gallipoli was the first stage in an effort to systematically exterminate the Armenian race (more).

Holy week the most important week of the year: Pope

Extract from ACBC, Thursday 9 April 2009

The Pope explained how Jesus "did not wish to use the fact of His being God, His glorious dignity and His power, as an instrument of triumph and a sign of distance." Out of love for us, "He wished to 'empty Himself' and become our brother. For love, He shared our condition, the condition of all men and women."...(more)


Parish Master Plan Easter Update: Pat Kelly begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Extract of letter from PLT Chair Pat Kelly, Thursday 9 April 2009

The implementation of the Master Plan will be considered at the April meeting of the PLT.  In preparation for the meeting the Executive has developed a number of policy positions and undertaken the following actions....(more).


Pope: Young people, be the hope of the Church as John Paul II taught

Extract from Catholic Online, Thursday 2 April 2009

Benedict XVI, on the anniversary of John Paul II’s death, calls the young to carry forward in the mission of the Church as the source and sign of Christian Hope.


Young people must be the “hope” of the Church and avoid the danger, so much present in our society, that “Christian hope” might be “reduced to ideology, group slogan, an outer cover.” Giving young people Jesus as the true basis for hope was John Paul II”s deepest concern, something that continues to motivate Benedict XVI in his quest to confront today’s “educational emergency.” (more)


Discovering St Paul - the man, the Mission and his Message for today

Thursday 2 April 2009

Subject to your interest and other practicalities the Parish might have the opportunity of directly participating in an interactive broadcast "Year of St Paul e-Conference" on Tuesday 30 June, from 10:30am to 4:15 pm. It will be presented by an eminent panel of experts but will be very accessible and is designed for "anyone and everyone" interested in learning more about St Paul and his significant mission and message for today in this Year of St Paul. A Programme is downloadable from here. To help us gauge Parish interest you are invited to express your possible interest in attending ( It's free.


Innovative  parish June "e-conference" on the year of St Paul

Extract from ACBC, Tuesday 24 March 2009

The Catholic Church in Australia is to embark on its first ever national e-conference this year, with Parishes and Church groups encouraged to gather on Tuesday, June 30 to take part in the innovative conference on St Paul, “Paul – The Man, the Mission and Message for Today: igniting his purpose and passion”.


It will be hosted by television identity Mike Bailey and will feature sessions from world renowned Scripture scholars, Brendan Byrne SJ, Michele Connolly RSJ and film, media and communication scholar, Richard Leonard SJ.


These sessions will be web-cast live to video-equipped Parishes and other sites across the nation, and will be interspersed with opportunities for local gatherings to discuss the sessions with the guidance of a trained facilitator. There will be no cost for participating (more).


Iowa Church consolidation

Extract from CathNews USA, Tuesday 24 march 2009

As crowds poured out of the new Jesus Christ Prince of Peace Church in Clinton, Iowa, which combines parishioners from five consolidated parishes, many expressed happiness and even joy at their new environment…….

….The new church combines 5 parishes that were consolidated in the 90's, but worshipped in separate buildings until now. Though some parishioners say they miss their old church, they agree being under one roof has its advantages (more).


Greedy Easter Story

Extract from Eureka Street, Andrew Hamilton, Thursday 9 April 2009

This Easter is a time of mistrust. It is hard to escape the prevailing economic gloom, the impression that our future has been handed over to those who have proved themselves venal and untrustworthy in managing our past, and the signs that the world our children will inherit is being despoiled so that we can live on undisturbed...(more). Note that subscription to Eureka Street is free. 


Catholic Mission congratulates Australian Government on signing UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Wednesday 8 April 2009

“The signing of the Declaration is significant. The Australian Government is to be applauded for supporting the rights of indigenous peoples. This action will encourage the dissenting nations - the USA, New Zealand and Canada, to think again,” said Peter Gates, Acting Director of Catholic Mission. In response to Indigenous communities’ calls for long-term commitment, partnership and recognition of their rights, Catholic Mission urged the Government to sign the Declaration last December and welcomes this significant step forward (more).


Australians are mostly believers: Survey
Extract from Catholic News, Tuesday April 07, 2009

Eighty seven percent of respondents know that Easter concerns the resurrection of Jesus while four percent confused Easter and Christmas, a survey by the Centre for Public Christianity shows. More than four in ten non "born again" Australians believe Jesus rose from the dead while one in ten doesn't believe he even existed, The Age reports.
These are two of the surprising results from an independent survey of 2,500 Australians, according to noted author and church historian John Dickson, co-director of the Centre for Public Christianity in Sydney, The Age says (more).

Hitchcock's Easter drama
Extract from Scott Stephens, Eureka Street April 06, 2009

Although it might seem a little strange to invoke Hitchcock at Easter, we can see a similar horror at work in the trial of Jesus. The Gospel narratives depict Jesus as paraded, like some freak at a carnival, before Pilate and then Herod, both of whom taunt and goad him to accept their supposed power and thus to join in their insanity (more). 


Church and State reunited

Extract from Amanda O'Brien, The Australia, 4 April 2009 

Six months after being elected, a god-squad of devout Liberals preaching morality and Christian values in a parliament better known for misconduct and lewd behaviour is shaping as a new force in West Australian politics.While their views are not unique - other state politicians such as Liberal David Clarke, Christian Democrats Fred Nile and Gordon Moyes in NSW, and Family First's Robert Brokenshire and Dennis Hood in South Australia, have pushed similar themes for years - the new MPs in Western Australia potentially pack a bigger punch. They're in government, not Opposition, and they have the numbers... (more).


Not just chocolate eggs,

Extract from Father Bob Maguire website, Friday 3 April 2009,

"A friend of mine, known to disciples of the ABC and SBS (radio and TV), John Safran, sent this email today: “I’m in Jew Town (its real name) in Cochin, India. Cochin is where various Jewish communities or Jewmunities, have flowed in and out over the ages”. John signs off: “Happy Pesach” (Passover).....


So, here we are, in the deep south of Australia, reading, at 9.30am, an email sent barely 30 minutes ago, about Jews, Hindus and Muslims gathered, for better or worse, in the middle of one of our world’s most ancient civilisation, India."... (more).


Vic. Government called to act urgently to protect vulnerable people and young children

Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Friday 3 April 2009

“The Victorian Government must act decisively to better protect vulnerable young people in out of home care,” said Denis Fitzgerald, Executive Director, Catholic Social Services Victoria. “The system of care for young people in Victoria is at breaking point. It does not respect the dignity and needs of those who need our care. It does not reflect the solidarity and concern that we all want to express for the most vulnerable members of our society.” (more)


"Catholics come Home" president to speak at National Catholic Media Conference"

Extract from ACBC, Wednesday 1 April 2009

The architect of one of the world’s most successful outreach programs to non-practicing Catholics, Mr Tom Peterson, of the US-based Catholics Come Home, will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming National Catholic Media Congress in Sydney. Mr Peterson, the President and founder of Catholics Come Home, will share his insights into how the Church can use television and the Internet to reach out to people in a contemporary way and invite them to return home to the practice of their faith (more).


Darwin Attacked by Texas educators

Extract from Stephanie Simon,  The Wall Street Journal, Monday 23 march 2009

The Texas Board of Education will vote this week on a new science curriculum designed to challenge the guiding principle of evolution, a step that could influence what is taught in biology classes across the nation.


The proposed curriculum change would prompt teachers to raise doubts that all life on Earth is descended from common ancestry. Texas is such a huge textbook market that many publishers write to the state's standards, then market those books nationwide (more).


"South Brisbane and All That"

Extract from Caboolture Parish Newsletter article, Fr Wrex Woolnough (14/15 February 2009)

"One of the worrying things I can see coming out of all the hoo-haa surrounding The South Brisband saga is that it will all be put down to a runaway parish doing weird things which is stomped on and all will be well again. That would be tragic, not just for the injustice it would allow to take place at the moment, but also because of the implications for the future. For there isn't just one or two, but FOUR key players in the mess as it unfolds (more).


Courage and cowardice

Extract from Editorial, The Tablet, Saturday 28 March 2009

The image of the Catholic Church as an unchanging monolith seems to be crumbling before our eyes. The conventional wisdom - that it is bad for the laity to see their pastors as fallible human beings disagreeing among themselves - has given way under various pressures, including palpable mistakes made by the Vatican on various issues. This is not a view confined to the Vatican's critics, for Pope Benedict himself has admitted to the mishandling of the lifting of the excommunication of the bishops of the Society of St Pius X (more).


St Marys, Bishop Robinson and the value of dialogue

Extracts from Frank Brennan, Eureka Street, Friday 27 March 2009

On Monday I passed St Mary's Church South Brisbane, en route to a national human rights consultation at the local Convention Centre. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags were flying outside the church as were proclamations of Aboriginal treaty and the protest chant, 'We shall not be moved'……


…. The mainstream media has now canonised Kennedy and demonised Bathersby. The former may be justified, but the latter is not. Bathersby and Kennedy are both very pastoral, down to earth, no nonsense men. And yet it has come to this....(more)


Palliative care delays inevitable

Extract from a series of personal opinions published in The Age, Friday 27 March 2009

A significant proportion of deaths under palliative care are actually a form of extended euthanasia involving the escalating use of increasing levels of painkillers that are fatal above a certain dose (more).


Rebel priest in Qld to quit after Easter

Extract from The Age, Friday 27 March 3009

Brisbane's rebel catholic priest will hand over the keys to his church - but not before leading mass over Easter. Father Peter Kennedy has agreed to hold his final mass at St Mary's church on April 19 after a mediation breakthrough on Thursday (more).


Parish Dinner Dance

Saturday 22 March 2009

The Heritage listed Heidelberg Town Hall with its outstanding Art Deco features was built in 1937 and in its lifetime has  has hosted many great events. The Parish Gala Dinner Dance this evening was no exception.


One of those attending remembered attending "old time dancing" here during his military leave in the 1940s! This evening featured Andy McGarvie's fine band and other great  local talent including solo performances from Robert Barbaro, (vocalist) Elizabeth Kofoed (harpist), and from our Ivanhoe Korean community (choir and backing) Park So-Hyun, Lee Jae-Hyuk, Oh Kyung-Ae, Hong Ji-Hyun and Ha Ji-Sun.


The event celebrated the coming together of three Ivanhoe Catholic Churches into one Parish, and was organised by the Outreach Group, and Pam Benton in particular. Did it succeed in carrying on the tradition of great events and performances at this venue? Let this picture of two fit and light-footed young dancers, and others published in the website Picture Gallery tell their own story! (photos: Joe Chiera and John Costa)


New message to Youth from Pope Benedict

Includes extracts from Papal letter published on Vatican Website, Friday 20 March '09

On Sunday 5th April, Palm Sunday (the start of holy Week), the 24th  Diocesan level World Youth Day will be celebrated in many places in anticipation of WYD2011 in Madrid. Pope Benedict has published a new letter to youth from which the following has been extracted.


".....Youth is a special time of hope because it looks to the future with a whole range of expectations. When we are young we cherish ideals, dreams and plans. Youth is the time when decisive choices concerning the rest of our lives come to fruition. Perhaps this is why it is the time of life when fundamental questions assert themselves strongly: Why am I here on earth? What is the meaning of life? What will my life be like? And again: How can I attain happiness? Why is there suffering, illness and death? What lies beyond death? These are questions that become insistent when we are faced with obstacles that sometimes seem insurmountable: difficulties with studies, unemployment, family arguments, crises in friendships or in building good loving relationships, illness or disability, lack of adequate resources as a result of the present widespread economic and social crisis. We then ask ourselves: where can I obtain and how can I keep alive the flame of hope burning in my heart? ....." .


African response to Pope's condom remark

Extract from The Age, Nick Pisa and Martine Nouaille, Yaounde, Thursday March 19, 2009

The Pope provoked a furious response from AIDS campaigners on the first day of his visit to Africa after he said that distributing condoms only aggravated the problems caused by the syndrome (more).


Pope says Church can help Africa

Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, John Thavis, Catholic News Service, Wednesday 18 March 2009
Making his first trip to Africa, Pope Benedict XVI said the Catholic Church can help bring answers to the continent's chronic problems, including poverty, AIDS and tribalism (more). 


Cantor at MOG

Wednesday 18 March 2009

The beautiful and uplifting singing heard coming from Mother of God Church on Monday 23rd February of this year was performed by a Jewish Cantor. In the picture note also the subtle lighting. This is probably another first for MOG and comes with a story - that unfolds with more photos from the occasion. These can be seen on the Website Photo Gallery (photo Joe Chiera)


Pope admits mistake on Bishop

Extract from Paola Totard, Europe Correspondent The Age, Friday 13 March 2009

POPE Benedict XVI has written a letter apologising for the Vatican's handling of the decision to lift the excommunication of Holocaust denier Bishop Williamson but says he has been hurt by the "vehemence and hostility" of world reaction.


Jesuits Lenten podcasts "Finding God in crisis and change"

Friday 13 March 2009

For the first time this year's Jesuit Lenten Series presentations can be heard directly via the Internet as podcasts of interviews. This year's theme is Reversals: Finding God in times of crisis and change.


The Victorian bushfires and floods in Queensland have reminded us how vulnerable our communities are to disaster. The rebuilding of lives for those affected is only just beginning. But many others are also facing uncertainty in their lives, either through economic hardship as the result of financial crisis, or personal issues such as relationship breakdown and life-changing illness. Two talks in the form of interviews are available at present with five planned (more).


Master Plan Parish meeting - brief summary

Held at Mary Immaculate Church, Thursday 12 March 2009 (8 - 9 pm)

See report on Leadership Team page.


Brains "wired up for God"?

Extract from Leigh Dayton, The Australian, Tuesday 10 March 2009

The brain of every human being, from believers to atheists, has been revealed to contain at least three "god spots", all linked to religious beliefs and thoughts (more).


15 y.o. Parish visitor from Montreal speaks at Mass

Sunday 8 March 2009

A fifteen year old speaks at Mass about her experience in Australia and the Parish and her Jewish faith. Read more on the Mass Times page (more).


Dialogue heals division - Philip Freier

Extract from The Age, Thursday 19 March 2009

Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne Dr Philip Freier says there is much that we can learn from visiting national leaders (more). 


Rebel priest moves to overturn removal by Archbishop

Extract from The Australian, Thursday March 19, 2009, AAP

Rebel priest Peter Kennedy has launched legal action against the Catholic Church in Brisbane. Legal documents lodged in the Queensland Supreme Court today show Father Kennedy is seeking an injunction on his removal as administrator of St Mary's church in South Brisbane until the matter can be heard in court (more).  


Doubts cast on Dead Sea Scrolls

Extract from The Australian, James Hider, Jerusalem. Thursday March 19, 2009

For more than 60 years, scholars have believed that the Dead Sea Scrolls were the work of an ascetic Jewish sect called the Essenes, who lived in the 1st century and recorded their religious observances on parchments. But a theory challenging the broadly accepted history is sending shockwaves through the archeological community.  Rachel Elior, a professor of Jewish philosophy at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, claims in a forthcoming study that not only were the 930 scrolls written by Jewish priests living in Jerusalem, but also that the Essenes as a sect did not exist (more).


Population explosion 'heralds disaster' - Professor Short

Extract from Tony Wright, The Age, Friday 6 March 2009

The world is overpopulating itself to a catastrophic future of terrorism and climatic disaster, according to a Melbourne University professor of reproductive biology.

Professor Roger Short will tell an international conference in Sydney today that for the first time in history, human activity is outstripping the natural world's ability to cope. The reason, he says, is exploding and uncontrolled population growth (more).


Draft Parish Facilities Master Plan

Sunday 21 December 2008

At Masses this weekend Parish Leadership Team executives introduced the Draft Parish Facilities Master Plan and provided copies of a summary.


In introducing the Draft, PLT Chairperson Pat Kelly and fellow exec Geoff Crawford said that whatever the eventual outcome there is simply no option to do nothing. The draft plan has been discussed with the Archdiocese which responded encouragingly. The Heidellberg  Council has so far responded similarly. 


A Parish consultative process will follow in the new year. The summary  document may be downloaded here. The separate cover page (in colour) includes an architects visual impression of part of the development. This larger electronic file (takes a little longer to download) may be downloaded here or the Leadership Team page. (Update 27 February 2009 - The full Master Plan is now available for download from the website "Documents & Forms" page (very large file size - 17 Mbytes).


Members of the PLT have full copies of the draft and would be pleased to show them to anyone and to discuss viewpoints. 


Public comments to the Parish Leadership Team (PLT) are invited  and welcomed at any time via the "Your Views" section of the website, or if you prefer privately to the PLT, or both.


Evolution and faith complementary - Cardinal Levada

Extract from Catholic News, Thursday March 05, 2009

Speaking outside a Vatican conference on Charles Darwin's Origin of Species, CDF head, Cardinal William Levada, has said there is a "wide spectrum of room" for belief in both the scientific basis for evolution and faith in God the creator.


Newsday reports some of the world's top biologists, paleontologists and molecular geneticists joined theologians and philosophers for the five day seminar at the Pontifical Gregorian University marking the 150th anniversary of Darwin's "The Origin of Species."   "We believe that however creation has come about and evolved, ultimately God is the creator of all things," he said on the sidelines of the conference (more).


In a world lacking hope, look to Jesus, Pope tells youth

Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of melbourne, Thursday 5 March 2009

Pope Benedict XVI has made public his message for the 24th World Youth Day, which will be celebrated at the diocesan level this year. In his message, the Pope calls on young people to seek out true hope, a firm and reliable hope rooted in a personal encounter with Jesus.

The theme for the 2009 World Youth Day, to be held on Palm Sunday, 5 April, is: "We have set our hope on the living God." The Pope begins his message by mentioning his “deep gratitude” for the spiritual enthusiasm of World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney (more).

Art and the Piss Christ Umbrella

Extract from Jessica Frawley, Eureka

Paintings that once would have once sparked controversy now adorn biscuit tins, umbrellas, notebooks and a range of other merchandise. We have killed the controversy and challenges faced in the past by branding it to death (read more).


This article comes from "Eureka Street", a Jesuit publication that has always styled itself a publication on public affairs, the arts and theology. Subscription is free (here).


Darwin's Disciples

Extract fom Marny Swartz, The Age, Monday 2 March 2009

On the Origin of Species was published 150 years ago. Barney Zwartz examines the social legacy of Charles Darwin's seminal work and asks, must faith and science always collide? (more)


Future Parish leaders?

Opinion piece, John Costa, Friday 27 January 2007

This photograph celebrates both the joy and vast potential of our children and young people, as well as the success of the Parish Playgroup, thanks to the voluntary effort of parents and friends. A set of Playgroup photos has been added to the website page "Photo Gallery".


It also provides an opportunity to reflect on some recent ABS research on attitudes of young people and others to the Church published in their recent report  "A Picture of the Nation" which shows from census data that:

  • Since the 1971 census the number of people declaring "no denomination" has nearly trebled from 6.7% to 18.7%
  • The decline is largely because of young people who are more likely to state "no religion" on their census forms
  • An affiliation with Christianity has dropped since 1911, when 96 % of people called themselves Christian compared to 64% in 2006
  • The proportion of Catholics has grown over the same period - up from 22% to 26%
  • The Catholic growth is due in part to an increase in migrants from Catholic-based countries
  • The Catholic growth compares to a decline in Anglicanism from 38% to 19%

Perhaps there is greater scope, as WYD helped demonstrate, to express our faith in ways that are meaningful and helpful to those who will hopefully lead the church into the future!


US Bishops give Internet Lenten Tools

Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 26 February 2009

The US Bishops Conference is offering website resources to help people live the Lenten season (more) . 


Polish priests want to marry

Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 25 February 2009

Most Polish priests favour an end to celibacy and twelve percent say they are already in a relationship with a woman, a survey has found.

The research has dealt a blow to the country's reputation as a champion of traditional Catholic values, the UK Telegraph reports. A survey of over 800 priests carried out by Professor Josef Baniak, a sociologist specialising in religious affairs, found that 53 percent would like to have a wife, while 12 percent admitted that they were involved in a relationship. A further 30 percent said that they had had a sexual relationship with a woman (more).

Parishes urged to celebrate inspirational women.

Extract from ACBC, 23 February 2009

Parishes around Australia will have the opportunity to reflect on the inspirational role of the women in their midst and to pray for women both here and overseas with the help of a parish kit prepared for the celebration of International Women’s Day on Sunday, March 8 (more).


The "true history of religion" on Radio National

Extract from Eureka Street, Paul Collins February 25, 2009
The public response to the axing
of The Religion Report and other specialist programs late last year by ABC Radio National management was astonishing. Thousands of people came out to support the programs, particularly The Religion Report (more).


Defiant priest plans Mass after sacking

Extract from Cosima Marriner, The Age,Friday 20 February 2009

The first Australian priest to be sacked from his parish for being "not in communion" with Rome has defied the Catholic hierarchy by promising to conduct Mass as usual this weekend (more).

Responses to Draft Master Plan due Friday 20th March 2009

Whilst there have been as many varied responses to the plan now as ever before there at least appears this time to be a sense that the Parish needs to move on and implement some changes whilst at the same time detail the feasibility of other proposed changes. There also appears to be recognition that much good hard work has gone into the plan and that this work will be continuing.


Recognising that some people had been away on holidays, the PLT agreed to again promote the Plan and seek further comments until Friday 20th March.


For those who may not wish to write but prefer to express views personally, one further public meeting will be held to accept further feedback from parishioners.


Following all of these interactions, the Parish Leadership Team will make recommendations and decide on a course of action which will probably be implemented in stages over time.


Church has irrevocably rejected anti-Semitism

Extract from Catholic News, Friday 13 February 2009

Meeting with Jewish leaders yesterday, Pope Benedict re-affirmed the Catholic Church is "profoundly and irrevocably committed to reject all anti-Semitism." Associated Press reports the Vatican scheduled the pope's audience with about 60 American Jewish leaders Thursday after Benedict lifted the excommunication of SSPX Bishop Richard Williamson. Issuing his strongest condemnation of Holocaust denial yet, Benedict affirmed the Catholic Church was "profoundly and irrevocably committed to reject all anti-Semitism."...."The hatred and contempt for men, women and children that was manifested in the Shoah was a crime against God and against humanity," Benedict said, using the Hebrew term for the Holocaust. "This should be clear to everyone, especially to those standing in the tradition of the Holy Scriptures." (more).


Furnished with kindness of strangers

Includes extracts from Jewel Topsfield, The Age. Friday 20 February 2009

Together with the horror and tragedy of recent bush fires there are many continuing uplifting stories of goodness, community support, generosity, sacrifice and hope. Within the Parish alone several people know people directly involved in the bushfires, and our volunteer relief workers have shared some of their experiences, including even the simple cases of:

  •  A family who had lost everything beaming with delight and gratitude at being provided with simple rations of food  and clothing, simply knowing that people cared.
  • A young boy from such a family being elated with having been given what he really wanted - a skate board.

Read here about another family who were given a home thanks to a coordinated community effort.

Call for Safe Surrender havens

Extract from Catholic News, Friday 20 November 2009

Sydney CatholicCare director of children and youth services Maureen Eagles says that "safe surrender" havens for mothers to be could help avoid tragedies such as the discovery of the body of a new born baby boy at a Sydney tip.The Catholic Weekly reports the discovery of the body of a newborn baby at a garbage tip in south western Sydney has prompted calls for the State Government to consider the introduction of "safe surrender" legislation (more).


PM Calls on Parishes to Pass on Messages of Support

Extract from ACBC,Wednesday 18 February 2009

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has called on parish communities to pass on their prayers and condolences this weekend to those affected by the disastrous Victorian bushfires. 

The Prime Minister’s office has made available to parishes a template for a Bushfire Message Book which can be placed at Church services across the nation this Sunday (more).


Failing to understand the nature of an understanding God

Extract from Barny Zwartz, The Age, Thursday 12 February 2009

Controversial Christian leader Danny Nalliah says the Victorian bushfires are a punishment for decriminalising abortion. Danny Nalliah is wildly wrong. He is wrong as a theologian, a thinker and a pastor, and has shocked and appalled both the mainstream community and the vast majority of his fellow Christians. They feel he has brought the name of Christ into disrepute. At a time like this, the role of religion is not explanation; it is consolation. It is to seek to offer comfort and hope, a way of going on (more).


Church delegation seeks assurance on ABC religious broadcasting

From ABCB website, Wednesday 12 February 2009

On Friday 6 February representatives of the Uniting Church, the National Council of Churches in Australia, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and the Anglican General Synod, met with Mark Scott, the Managing Director of the ABC, to discuss religious broadcasts on the ABC.


Benedict XVI Bushfire condolences

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Amongst many other world and relisious leaders Pope Benedict XVI has sent a message to the Governor-General, Ms Quentin Bryce, expressing his sadness at the tragic consequences of the Victorian bushfire disaster.


Churches look to buses

Extract from The Age, Mark Sweeney, Friday 6 February 2009

In the beginning, there was the atheist bus campaign.....Now they are planning to get their own back. A trinity of Christian groups has created its own series of advertisements to run across London buses. The original advertisements from the British Humanist Association insisted: "There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." The new campaign is organised by the Christian Party, the Trinitarian Bible Society and the Russian Orthodox Church.....The bus advertisement proclaims "There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life."....Their pro-God campaigns will run on 175 buses for two weeks from Monday (more)

Marketeers lose their Religion

Extract from The Age, Joseph Stiglitz, Friday 6 February 2009

The belief that markets are self-correcting has been junked by Davos devotees....The spirit was captured by one speaker who suggested that we had gone from "boom and bust" to "boom and Armageddon".... Equally striking was the loss of faith in markets. In a widely attended brainstorming session at which participants were asked what single failure accounted for the crisis, there was a resounding answer: the belief that markets are self-correcting... Joseph Stiglitz is a professor of economics at Columbia University. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for economics in 2001 (more).

Cardinal Pell on the Financial Crisis

Extract from ABC Radio National, Thursday 5 February 2009

Fixing the financial crisis is not just about greater transparency, stronger unions and more effective regulation of the marketplace, it must also involve rebuilding our radically eroded social and moral capital. That was the message yesterday that earned the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, a standing ovation at the annual national conference of the Australian Workers Union on Queensland's Gold Coast (more).


Vatican clarifies position on lifted bans and Holocaust

Extract form ACBC, Thursday 5 February 2009

Benedict XVI did not know Bishop Richard Williamson's position as a denier of the Holocaust when he lifted the prelate's excommunication in order to facilitate dialogue with the Lefebvrites, affirmed the Vatican. A statement issued yesterday by the Vatican Secretariat of State addressed the recent decree by which "the excommunication of four prelates of the Fraternity of St. Pius X were lifted." It also looked at the "reductionist declarations on the Shoah from Bishop Williamson of that same fraternity."  (more)


Dissident Anglicans poised to join Catholics?

Extract from Barney Zwartz, The Age, Friday 30 January 2009

Nearly half a million dissident Anglicans are on the verge of rejoining the Catholic Church in a move their leader suggests may be the beginning of a flood to Rome of millions of Anglicans worldwide who oppose gay and female clergy. Vatican officials are believed to have recommended to Pope Benedict XVI that he accept the Traditional Anglican Communion under a special category, and an announcement is expected in April (more). Comment: Might this also lead to some Catholics wanting to join the Anglicans?

Atheists cry foul on ads

Extract from The Age, Barney Zwartz, Thursday 29 January 2009

The Atheist Foundation of Australia has lodged complaints of religious discrimination in Melbourne and Hobart after being refused permission to put atheist advertising on buses (more).


Pope encourages Church Life and Vatican presence on Internet        

Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Friday 19 December 2008

Pope Benedict XVI says he wants the life of the Church, and particularly of the Holy See, to be present in audio, text and video on the Internet (more).



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