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Catholic Parish Ivanhoe

News 2012

(A broad and  diverse mix of Local, National and International faith-related news, information and opinions)

Dying lose access to sacraments (U.K.)                                                                                                                                              Extracts from The Tablet, 27 December 2012                                                                                                                                               Overburdened priests in England and in Ireland are struggling to provide the Sacraments of the Sick (anointing), confession and Communion to those who are ill or on their deathbed. At least three hospital chaplains in Dublin have said that recently patients have died without being able to see a priest. Caroline Mullen, a chaplain at Connolly Memorial Hospital in Dublin, said: "There are many people who die who don't have the Sacrament of the Sick. [The priest] can't be there all the time." The Archdiocese of Dublin has admitted that, due to a lack of clergy and cuts in hospital funding, they have a policy of not replacing chaplains who have retired. Increasingly in England, priests are no longer employed as full-time chaplains to hospitals, with parish priests visiting patients and being on call. Bishop Tom Williams, chairman of the Healthcare Reference Group of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, said that the shortage of priests meant that the role of lay chaplains was becoming increasingly important. He said: "There are fewer priests, that is a fact. He added that priests "must not be killed off with unreachable expectations" (source).  Ed: Australian situation is similar.

Pope names Boston priest to be Vatican's abuse investigator
Extract from Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, National Catholic Reporter, Friday 27 December 2012

Pope Benedict XVI has named a canon lawyer from the Archdiocese of Boston to be the new promoter of justice in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a position that includes monitoring and investigating cases of priests accused of sex abuse. The Vatican announced the appointment Dec. 22 of Fr. Robert W. Oliver, an assistant to the moderator for canonical affairs of the Boston Archdiocese and a visiting professor of canon law at The Catholic University of America in Washington. The 52-year-old priest, who is a member of the Brotherhood of Hope, had served as a judge and promoter of justice in Boston tribunals and as a consultant to the Boston archdiocesan review board, a body that advises Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley in assessing accusations of child sexual abuse by members of the clergy and in determining the suitability of an accused priest for ministry (more).

A New Inquisition: The Vatican targets US nuns
Extract from Jason Berry, National Catholic Reporter, Thursday 26 December 2012

Franciscan Sr. Pat Farrell and three other sisters crossed St. Peter's Square through the fabled white columns, paused for a security check and entered the rust-colored Palace of the Holy Office. It was April 18, 2012, and on entering the palazzo, they were aware of its history, that in this same building nearly 400 years earlier Galileo had been condemned as a heretic by the Roman Inquisition for arguing that the Earth orbits around the sun. Today, the palazzo houses the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office that enforces adherence to church teaching. As president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Farrell and her executive colleagues had an appointment with the prefect, Cardinal William Levada, about the congregation's investigation of their group.... The sisters were accused of undermining church moral teaching by promoting "radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith." To many sisters, the congregation's action is a turn toward the past, causing a climate of fear and a chill wind reaching into their lives (more).

Ivanhoe's Packed Churches for Christmas Masses                                                                Tuesday 25 December 2012  

 Family Masses in particular were packed again this year in Ivanhoe and other parishes. The picture below captures part of just one of these gatherings, celebrated at Mary Immaculate Church by Fr Len Thomas in retirement. The children and choir of MI school brought the liturgy to life through their nativity play, singing, keyboard and guitar. Fr Len reflected on the faith community gathering this evening in response to the birth of Christ as being the ordinary people of the world as they are today and as they were at the birth of Christ. Other photos can be seen on the Mass Details page.


Christmas message from Fr Thang
Friday 21 December 2012
(click here)

Church call to arms to fight gun lobby
Extract from Laurie Goodstein, New York, The Age,  Friday 21 December 2012

Religious leaders across the country this week vowed to mobilise their congregations to push for gun control legislation and support politicians willing to take on the gun lobby. For many, the time has come for action beyond praying and comforting the families of the dead. A group of clergy, representing mainline and evangelical Protestants, Catholics, Jews and Muslims, plan to start their campaign in front of the Washington National Cathedral at an event on Friday. This was timed to mark the moment a week before when a young gunman opened fire in a school in Newtown, Connecticut (more).

Christians should transcend ideology, Pope writes in paper

Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 20 December 2012
In the Vatican's latest move to expand its use of media, an article on the meaning of Christmas by Pope Benedict XVI appeared yesterday in Britain's Financial Times newspaper, emphasising that Christians' "involvement in politics and economics should transcend every form of ideology," reports the Catholic News Service. "While Christmas is undoubtedly a time of great joy, it is also an occasion for deep reflection, even an examination of conscience," the pope wrote. "At the end of a year that has meant economic hardship for many, what can we learn from the humility, the poverty, the simplicity of the crib scene?" Writing in one of the business world's most prominent publications, the Pope stressed Christian duties to "fight poverty," "work for more equitable sharing of the earth's resources" and "oppose greed and exploitation." (more)

Vatican takes first spot in Internet domain name draw
Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 20 December 2012

The Vatican has come out in first place in a long-awaited draw to expand the Internet address system with new domain names that go beyond the usual .com, .org or .net endings, reports Reuters on Yahoo7. ICANN, the corporation that oversees the Internet address system, announced this week the domain name .catholic written in Chinese characters will be the first bid it considers in a drive to expand and reorganize sites on the World Wide Web  (more).

Sydney Uni college expels 21 students over bullying
Extracts from Catholic News, Thursday 20 December 2012

More than 20 students have been thrown out of the prestigious University of Sydney college St John's after their alleged roles in the ''O'' Week ritual that left a female teenage student close to death in hospital, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.....The unprecedented mass expulsion was backed by the college's newly appointed council and signalled a remarkable turnaround in what has arguably been the most tumultuous year in the college's 150-year history (more).

Do we want a church that puts victims through the ordeal Christ went through?
Extract from Angela Sdrinis, Catholica, Wednesday 19 December 2012

Melbourne lawyer Angela Sdrinis in an article published in Thursday's Herald-Sun newspaper (10.07.08) accused the Catholic Church of using legal devices to protect itself from the claims of abuse victims. With permission of Angela Sdrinis we republish her article here as our lead commentary on Catholica this Saturday along with two questions: (i) What sort of Church do we want representing us — one that reflects the compassion and understanding of Jesus Christ to victims, or one that endeavours to put victims through the sort of trauma and injustice that Jesus Christ himself was put through? (ii) Is an apology from the Pope enough, or does His Holiness need to suggest his bishops in Australia start exhibiting the compassion of Jesus Christ towards the victims of clerical sexual and other forms of abuse? (more)

Praise for church cover-up admission
Extract from Barney Zwartz, The Age, Saturday 15 December 2012

For the first time, a Catholic spokesman has acknowledged that the church in Australia covered up sex abuse, according to a reform group of Catholics. The group praised Francis Sullivan, CEO of the yet-to-be-formed Catholic Truth, Justice and Healing Commission, for admitting to the media this week that he was personally scandalised and disillusioned by the church's history of cover-ups. Peter Johnstone, chairman of Catholics for Renewal, said on Friday the church had previously acknowledged that it had mishandled abuse cases, but not cover-ups. He welcomed this week's announcement of the lay-led Catholic council to advise the bishops about sex abuse and co-ordinate the church's response to the forthcoming royal commission. Mr Sullivan, who called himself a committed Catholic, said on Friday he shared the perception cover-ups were widespread in the church. ''Like ordinary Catholics, I feel very disillusioned at how this whole thing has been portrayed, and the scandal involves cover-ups.''.He said he was happy if people were optimistic about the new council...(more).

 Christmas Lunch at Mother of God Church   
Christmas Lunch and drinks will be available after 10.30am Mass on Sunday 16th December at Mother of God Church. All are invited and all are welcome. Please bring a plate of food to share.  Also, the Annual Parish ‘Nibble and Drinks’ in the Office courtyard last Sunday evening turned out to be much more than that. Thanks to all who brought a range of delicious foods and helped to make it a friendly, enjoyable and relaxing night. A tradition to be maintained - Merle Ed: imaginative image for effect rather than actual photo!

Outreach Wishes Everyone a Joyful, Peaceful Christmas
Outreach activities for 2012 concluded last Wednesday with a merry Christmas Lunch at the Yarra Valley Country Club. Thanks for the generous support of our parishioners and friends at all our activities dur
ing the past year. We begin again in the New Year of 2013 on February 6. Come for lunch, cards, scrabble, knitting or just a good time, noon in Mother of God Church foyer. - Sue, Helen and Eileen. Ed: Many thanks to all the Outreach volunteers

First tweet for Pope Benedict XVI
Edited Extracts from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne and elsewhere, Friday 14 December 2012

Pope Benedict XVI is officially on Twitter under @Pontifex and has more than 1 million followers
after his first tweet in Rome overnight. With foresight he has perhaps been the pope with strongest recognition of the importance of communication technology and has consistantly been at the forefront in exploiting it for this purpose. Apart from all else, during World Youth Day in Australia he sent daily SMSs to those wishing to receive them, including some members of Ivanhoe Parish and the Korean Community, together with young pilgrims from around the world. However good communication can be a double edged sword. According to a report on Catholic News (by a social media expert as reported by AAP on ninmsm) the credibility of the Pope's new Twitter account will centre on his willingness to address contentious issues facing the Catholic church.

Power behind the papal throne
Extracts from Robert Mickens, The Tablet, Friday 14 December 2012

The Pope has promoted his personal secretary to archbishop and put him in charge of the Papal Household. Here,
our Rome correspondent profiles Mgr Georg Gänswein and traces his route from Germany to Benedict’s right hand. He’s been called Gorgeous George, il Bel Giorgio and even the Black Forest Adonis. And ever since making his world debut in the spring of 2005 as the 48-year-old personal secretary of the newly elected Pope Benedict XVI, Mgr Georg Gänswein has been one of the most talked about personalities at the Vatican.....There is a widespread conviction among officials in the Roman Curia that the personal secretary has had an unusually strong influence on Pope Benedict’s governance of the Church, especially on his personnel appointments. And the outcome has not always been happy. One particular case worth noting happened in early 2009 when the Pope named the little-known Fr Gerhard Maria Wagner, apparently a friend of Mgr Gänswein, as an auxiliary bishop in Linz, Austria. Shortly after his appointment was announced, however, it was reported that Fr Wagner had written ­articles calling Hurricane Katrina “God’s ­punishment” for the sins of a sexually ­permissive society and condemning the Harry Potter books for “spreading Satanism”........... But perhaps more than influencing Pope Benedict, the personal secretary serves to confirm, reinforce and encourage the pontiff’s already conservative leanings. No one more than he has consistently spent long periods of time in conversation with the Pope. And he likes to let people know that they are very close. Visitors are often somewhat taken aback to hear Mgr Gänswein refer to the Pope and himself as “us” .....(more).

 Catholic council set up to advise on sex abuse
Edited extract from Barney Zwartz, The Age, Thursday 13 December 2012

The Catholic Church has set up a new Truth, Justice and Healing Council to advise its bishops and run its dealings with the forthcoming royal commission on child sex abuse. It will be headed by a retired Supreme Court judge as chairman and a prominent layman as CEO, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference chairman Denis Hart said on Wednesday. Saying the church recognised it needed a sophisticated and co-ordinated response, Archbishop Hart promised a new era of co-operation, transparency and honesty. So did both new appointments, Barry O'Keefe, QC, as chairman and Francis Sullivan as CEO, whose first job will be to lift the commission's membership to 10. Archbishop Hart, the archbishop of Melbourne, said the new commission would also work with victims of clergy sex abuse (more).
  Photo: Justin McManus. Leading roles: Francis Sullivan (left) and Barry O'Keefe, The Age.

Westminster Cathedral Mass for nurse Saldanha
Extract from The Tablet, Thursday 13 December 2012

A Mass is to be held in Westminster Cathedral on Saturday for the repose of the soul of Jacintha Saldanha, the Indian Catholic nurse who was found hanged after receiving a prank call in London. The diocese said today that if the family desired, a requiem or memorial Mass would take place in the Diocese of Westminster either after the inquest or when the body is released by the coroners...(more).

Eleven Anglican sisters to enter UK Catholic Church via Ordinariate
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 13 December 2012
Eleven Anglican Sisters will be received into the UK Catholic Church via the ordinariate, it emerged this week, reports the Catholic Herald. The Sisters, from the Community of St Mary the Virgin in Wantage, Oxfordshire, will be received into the Church by Mgr Keith Newton, leader of the ordinariate in England and Wales, on New Year’s Day. The group, which ranges in age from 45 to 83, includes the mother superior of the community and a Sister who was once a minister in the Church of England. Three are in their 80s. Next year they will stay for six weeks at a Benedictine convent. After that, they do not know where they will live and they have no endowments to keep them afloat financially...(more).

Prophecy believers told to donate to church before world ends
Extract from Catholic News, Wednesday 12 December 2012

Bishop Bernardo Bastres Florence of Punta Arenas, Chile has an interesting suggestion for those convinced that the world will end on December 21, as predicted by the Mayan calendar, reports the Catholic News Agency. The bishop said that those who believe the Mayan prophecy should donate their worldly goods to the Church, according to local newspaper La Prensa Austral. “If there are many who believe the world will end on Dec. 21, as the Church, we have no problem with them naming us as the beneficiaries of their possessions in their wills,” he quipped in an interview on December 9. Doomsday predictions about the end of the world, as documented by the Mayans, have circulated in recent years and grown in popularity. The Mayan Long Count calendar begins in 3,114 B.C., which accounts for time in 394-year periods known as Baktuns. The Mayans allegedly believed that the last, or 13th Baktun, ends on December 21, 2012 (more).

Anglican women clergy now 'part of new normal'
Extracts from Barney Zwartz, The Age, Monday 10 December 2012

Twenty years ago Elizabeth Alfred became the first woman ordained an Anglican priest in Victoria. She was 78, a formidable age to launch a new career, but the next day she celebrated the Eucharist at St James, Dandenong......On Sunday Dr Rayner was back in a packed St Paul's Cathedral, blessing about 100 women clergy who had gathered with friends and supporters for a service of thanksgiving.The service - entirely led by women, from celebrant Bishop Barbara Darling and preacher Canon Colleen O'Reilly to cantor Dr Muriel Porter - demonstrated some of the gifts women can bring to church leadership.The accent was on gratitude: there was no hint of triumphalism, no mention of the long years of political and theological struggle, or of the discomfiture that women's ordination brought many, some of whom left the church. And women have seized their opportunity. Although many of the pioneers have now retired, more than 650, or nearly a quarter, of Australia's active Anglican clergy are women, and 22 of Australia's 23 dioceses have women clergy.....(more)
Photo: Eddie Jim

Child Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church: Gender, Power, and Organizational Culture, by Marie Keenan, Published by Oxford University Press, $62.50
Extract of NCR book review by John C Seitz, Associate Professor of theology, Fordham University

If we want to understand sexual violence, we have to get to know its perpetrators and the worlds in which they were formed. In the particular context in which Marie Keenan is interested -- clerical sexual abuse and its cover-up in the U.S. and Ireland since the middle of the 20th century -- such an adage goes from truism to nonstarter. Pressure not to get to know clerical abusers and the institutional, educational and social worlds of their formation comes from many angles of varying validity.....(more)

Hospitality & Friendship of Ivanhoe Parish
John Costa, Friday 7 December

Whilst Church is supposed to be a supportive community and place where people listen and respond to each other whatever their circumstances or whatever they think, Ivanhoe Parish is certainly such a place. Hospitality and service are two of our Parish values, and will again be exercised this Sunday evening from 5pm at the annual Christmas get-together, which like many other parish events is famous for its friendliness. Those in the parish in a position to offer service to others in many ways throughout the year, often invisibly, usually discover in the process that giving to others is highly rewarding. Dame Elisabeth Murdoch who died this week could not so easily serve others invisibly, but did so humbly and joyously, its extent now evidenced by the multiplicity of obituaries. So to really be a part of this parish and support its values it is hoped that as many as can come will come along to the Courtyard at the Parish Office, from 5-7-m this Sunday 9th December. We're financially poor so please BYO everything, especially your selves, families & friends!   

Our Parish Priest, visiting Br. Long, parish staff, volunteers
and occasional helpers are looking forward to seeing many others there.  This will also be a nice celebration for those able to help out at MOG Church's Working Bee on Saturday the 8th, from 8:30am to noon, and others who were similarly able to help at St Bernadette's and MI recently, and in other ways at many other times. Image: Flickr,Brian Howell

Speaking up for the voiceless
Extracts from The Tablet, Friday 7 December 2012

Until recently, the Catholic Church in England and Wales was open to the criticism that it failed to respond quickly or forthrightly enough to government policies that impacted on the least prosperous and most vulnerable. To fill that need, the Bishops’ Conference encouraged the creation of a national network of Catholic welfare agencies with an overarching organisation, Catholic Social Action Network (CSAN), which could engage in what has become known as “advocacy” – speaking up on behalf of the powerless and voiceless in society.....The idea behind CSAN was the feeling among bishops that this “advocacy” task is best done by laypeople who have direct knowledge of the problems they are speaking about. At first sight this might seem to be contrary to Pope Benedict’s intentions in issuing a motu proprio, in effect an amendment to canon law, to bring Catholic welfare agencies more directly under the control of the bishops. His apostolic letter, Intima Ecclesiae Natura, has been interpreted abroad as an imposition of new restrictions (more). Image Copyright/Media Lab/Creative Commons 2009

Leading theologian argues condoms should be used to combat HIV
Edited Extracts from The Tablet, Thursday 6 December 2012

One of Ireland's top theologians has said many Catholic agencies working in the prevention and treatment of HIV and Aids see condoms as part of a combination strategy to tackle the global pandemic. Fr Enda McDonagh spoke in favour of this approach and joined a number of distinguished Catholics including the late French Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger and Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, who claim that the use of condoms to halt the spread of HIV is licit. Others hold that the Church is opposed to the use of artificial contraception, even for disease prevention....(Fr McDonagh) told The Tablet he was "willing to say what needs to be said without fear" (more).

Call for joint effort on abuse inquiries
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 6 August 2012

The man who led the Catholic church's review of its response to child abuse says the federal and state governments must today agree on full co-operation on the royal commission because the cover-up of abuse is so widespread, reports The Australian. University of Sydney law professor Patrick Parkinson was involved in reviews of the Towards Healing process over a decade, but recently withdrew his support for the church's leadership. Today's COAG meeting will discuss draft terms of reference for the royal commission, due to start work early next year, as well as what co-operation the federal government can expect from the states (more).

Report on Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, 26-30 November
ACBC, Thursday 6 December 2012

A summary of the Plenary session may be downloaded here.

Compass Special - Churches on Trial
Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 6 December 2012

In this Compass special, Geraldine Doogue investigates the child sexual abuse crisis in Australian churches from the groundbreaking 1992 Compass program The Ultimate Betrayal to Julia Gillard's Royal Commission announcement. Churches on Trial: Compass, 8pm Tuesday December 11 on ABC-TV 1 (source)

NCR Editorial: Ordination of women would correct an injustice
Extract from National Catholic Reporter Editorial, Monday 3 December 2012

The call to the priesthood is a gift from God. It is rooted in baptism and is called forth and affirmed by the community because it is authentic and evident in the person as a charism. Catholic women who have discerned a call to the priesthood and have had that call affirmed by the community should be ordained in the Roman Catholic church. Barring women from ordination to the priesthood is an injustice that cannot be allowed to stand (more).

Welcome Keilor & Werribee Youth to Ivanhoe Parish
Friday 30 November 2012

Once again Keilor and Werribee Parish youth will hold a Retreat in our Parish this weekend, the second this year, so we welcome them back and wish them well.

Church deliberations
Friday 30 November 2012
The Australian bishops a
re at the end of their critical full-conference this week. There are many significant issues at stake and the challenge for the bishops participating is enormous. With the start of Advent this weekend it is hoped that the New Year of the Church will usher in a time of genuine openness when the failures of the past will be acknowledged, that measures will be put in place to prevent inappropriate behaviour ever occurring again, and that all members of the Church, and others,  will be more inclusively engaged with. The Bishop's Conference is by its nature a closed forum. Whilst it has hopefully taken into account the many views publicly and no doubt privately expressed to it, it would be helpful if other more inclusive forms of church deliberation could occur as well in the future, for a variety of church issues, as seen for example in the regular Synods of some other Churches.

Bishops will establish council for royal commission
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Friday 30 November 2012

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference will set up a new Council for the Royal Commission the Bishops Conference announced this morning.Australia’s Catholic Bishops see the Royal Commission as an opportunity for the Church’s processes to be scrutinised with greater objectivity. In order to work as effectively as possible with the Royal Commission, the Bishops have established a supervisory group of representatives from the Australian Catholic
Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia. This supervisory group will establish and oversee a new Council for the Royal Commission consisting of 10 people (including bishops, religious and lay people) served by an Executive Officer. In their statement, the Bishops say, “Our hope is that, in its search for truth, the Royal Commission will present recommendations ensuring the best possible standards of child protection in our country.” (more)
Statement from the Bishops on the Royal Commission, Australian Catholic Bishop's Conference, 30 November 2012 (here)

Peak law body fears rush on royal commission
Edited Extract from Catholic News, Thursday 29 November 2012

The peak body representing 69,000 lawyers across the nation has raised alarm bells at the rushed nature of the the royal commission into child sex abuse, saying Julia Gillard should consider taking extra time to properly establish it, reports The Australian. In its submission to Attorney-General Nicola Roxon on the inquiry's terms of reference, the Law Council of Australia says it is concerned about the tight time-frame and that allowing more time would facilitate a greater understanding of what is required from the commission (more).

Introducing Br. Long
Friday 23 November 2012
The Parish is very pleased to welcome into its midst for a while Br Long Pham CSsR who is three years into
his studies towards the priesthood. Whilst Long will be very busy with his studies he may also find time to engage in some pastoral activities within the Parish, so if you see him around please help to make him feel welcome. We wish him well with his studies and look forward to seeing him from time to time across the Parish.

Keeping up a tradition: Whole Parish Gathering – Sunday 9 December    
All parishioners are invited and most welcome to nibbles and drinks in the courtyard of the Parish Office. 5 – 7pm Sunday, 9th December.  BYO everything. especially your selves, your families, your friends

Rejection of women bishops is not terminal
Extract from Andrew McGowan, Eureka Street,Sunday 25 November 2012

There have been two remarkable, historic events in recent weeks in the Anglican Communion's struggle with the question of women's ordination as bishops. Last Saturday the Rev. Ellinah Wamukoya was ordained as bishop of Swaziland in southern Africa.
On the continent where most Anglicans now live, women have taken a major step towards full participation in ecclesial leadership. Although African Church leaders have played on the conservative side of serious intra-Anglican arguments in recent years, women's ordination has rarely been central to these. In this case, African Christianity is paying little regard to theological battlelines drawn by westerners. On the other hand, most eyes in Australia and around the English-speaking world have been on another story, of the Church of England's General Synod stumbling at the threshold of a change supported by all its leading bishops, and by overwhelming majorities of its clergy and lay members (more).
Subscription to Eureka Street is free.

Two major recommendations in Facing the Truth
Edited extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Friday 23 November 2012

The Catholic Church in Victoria supports the extension of the current requirements relating to Mandatory Report
ing under the Children Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic) to ministers of religion and other religious personnel with an exemption for information received during the Sacrament of Confession (more).

Measure of compromise
Extract from the editor's desk, The Tablet, Friday 23 November 2012

The media has depicted the Church of England as being on the verge of collapse because of the rejection of a General Synod Measure permitting the appointment of women as bishops. It was seen as a triumph of obscur­antism over progress, a refusal to recognise the right of women to equal treatment with men. But there is more to it than that. Strong feelings militate against compromise, but a willingness to compromise could have produced a better outcome. It still could, once tempers cool. No one’s interests are served by the Church of England inflicting damage on itself over this issue. Nor is it simply true to say that the Church has turned its back on women bishops. It has turned its back on one way of achieving them, because the proposed route did not go far enough towards safeguarding the rights of the opposing minority....(more)

Talking to children about the Royal Commission
Extract from Kristina Keneally, Eureka Street, Thursday 22 November 2012

Stories of sexual abuse in the Church have circulated for years, and in America and Ireland the systematic horror has been exposed. Perhaps it was naive, but those of us in Australia — Catholic and non-Catholic alike — weren't forced to face the potential scale and magnitude of the problem here. But the voices of victims can't be ignored any longer, and they rightfully demand compassion and justice. Just as horrifying is the likelihood that the Royal Commission into the institutional response to sexual abuse of children will confirm that the Australian Catholic Church is guilty of perpetrating child abuse by hiding criminals from the law. Rather than acting to protect children, the institutional Church may well be found to have simply moved sexual predators round the country to new locations where they could find new victims. If that is what the Royal Commission brings out, it will be an incredible challenge for many Australian Catholics to continue to follow their faith within an organisation that would appear to have so grossly violated some of the most basic teachings of the Gospel....(moreSubscription to Eureka Street is free.  Don't forget to enter the Eureka Street  Christmas raffle and help keep Eureka Street Free.

Call for debate to re-energise church
From The Tablet, Thursday 22 November 2012

A senior and influential figure in the Swiss Church has issued a potentially incendiary appeal for church reform with a string of proposals to empower the laity. The ideas, put forward in a pamphlet by Abbot Martin Werlen of Einsiedeln, include appointing women and young people as cardinals and arranging regular meetings for them with the Pope. He also proposes giving lay people greater say in the choice of bishops, discussion of priestly celibacy and Communion for remarried divorcees. The Benedictine abbot, who is a member of the Swiss Bishops' Conference, says his objective to end the turf wars between conservatives and progressives which he believes are having a deadening effect on the Church. His message has been made all the more significant by being backed by the future president of the Swiss bishops' conference, Bishop Markus Büchel of St Gallen, who takes up the presidency on 1 January (more).

Synod ‘wilfully blind’ to society's call for women bishops
Extract from The Tablet, Wednesday 21 November 2012

The Church of England's decision to vote against proposals to introduce women bishops has made its governing body appear blind to society's priorities, the Archbishop of Canterbury said today. In a speech to General Synod Archbishop Rowan Williams said: "We have - to put it very bluntly - a lot of explaining to do. Whatever the motivations for voting yesterday ... the fact remains that a great deal of this discussion is not intelligible to our wider society. Worse than that, it seems as if we are wilfully blind to some of the trends and priorities of that wider society." (more)

Church to review sexual abuse complaints policy

Extract from Catholic News, Tuesday 20 November 2012

The Catholic Church will review its national sexual abuse complaints policy at next week's meeting of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, reports The Australian. ACBC president Archbisghop Denis Hart (pictured) confirmed both Towards Healing and the church's other complaints process, the Melbourne Response, would be on the agenda at next week's Sydney meeting of the church's peak body. "I am sure the bishops will discuss the two present responses in the light of their inherent value, as well as any criticism, to assess the best way forward for all," Archbishop Hart said. A spokesperson for Cardinal Pell's archdiocese of Sydney said the sexual abuse complaints policy had been reviewed since it was introduced in 1997. "We would expect procedures to be revised again as the commission progresses and of course when final recommendations are made," the spokesperson said. Towards Healing and the Melbourne Response, set up by Cardinal Pell when he was Melbourne archbishop in 1996, have been the subject of trenchant criticism by victims groups and others (more). Photo: Catholic News

Facing The Truth
Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Tuesday 20 November 2012

On this site you will find information around the Catholic Church of Victoria’s response to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Non-Government Organisations. To keep the community informed, we will update this site throughout the Inquiry. The Church renews its apology to victims and families, and promises to continue to take decisive action to bring forth healing, and to guard against future harm. Fr Shane Mackinlay discussed Facing The Truth (here)

US priest dismissed for supporting women's ordination
Extract from Catholic News, Tuesday 20 November 2012

The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has dismissed American priest Roy Bourgeois from the priesthood because of his participation in the invalid ordination of a woman and "a simulated Mass," the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers announced on Monday, reports the Cstholic News Service. The order said in a statement the canonical dismissal came at the start of October. Citing Bourgeois' participation in the invalid ordination in Kentucky in 2008, the Maryknoll statement said, "With patience, the Holy See and the Maryknoll Society have encouraged his reconciliation with the Catholic Church." (more)

Catholics For Renewal submission to sexual abuse enquiry                                                                                                                    Tuesday 20 November 2012                                                                                                                                                                              
Catholics for Renewal was established in April 2011 as a national community-based group of Catholics committed to renewal of the Catholic Church so that it is Christian in all respects, in the pursuit of its mission and in its governance. It seeks to work within the Church to enable Catholics to address matters which concern the good of the Church, seeking renewal of the Church in the likeness of Christ, in keeping with their duty as members of the Church .  It received the support of more than 8,000 Australian Catholics who signed an Open Letter to Pope Benedict XV1 and the Australian Bishops last year, expressing a number of concerns about the Church’s spirituality, governance and practices including: “Our Church has been tainted by injustice and blemished by bad decisions. We still reel from the sexual abuse scandal, where the Church’s initial response was manifestly inadequate and where some authorities, in their attempts to protect the institution, exposed innocent young people to grave harm” (more).

Catholics urged to keep the faith and just 'hang in there'
Extracts from Benjamin Millar, The Age' Monday 19 November 2012

The Catholic Church in Melbourne has responded to one of the most tumultuous weeks in its history by urging parishioners to maintain the faith. Sunday's services, the first since Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced a royal commission on child sexual abuse in the church and other institutions, avoided direct references to the upheaval facing the church. But gospel readings and sermons drew attention to the impending day of judgment, reminding churchgoers of the strength that can be found in faith during testing times. Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart addressed a congregation of about 200 people at St Patrick's Cathedral in East Melbourne.......At St Carthage's in Parkville, the mood was more upbeat yet the message was almost identical. Outspoken priest Father Michael Elligate echoed the archbishop's views on the centrality of faith to Catholic practice.''Just hang in there,'' was his key message, inspired by recently deceased Italian Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini. Father Elligate caused a stir in conservative Catholic circles as one of the signatories to a 2006 complaint letter to the Vatican accusing Cardinal Pell of teaching inaccurate and misleading doctrine (more).

From St Bernadette's to Moscow
Letter from Sue Moorhen, Monday 19 November 2012

Dear friends, Well, I’m here and I managed to get to St Louis, one of the four Catholic churches in Moscow this morning, for mass in English!  It was a lovely little place, with a mostly expat. congregation. There were a couple of items in their bulletin which I thought might interest you:

“St Louis church is not actually owned by the Church, but instead still belongs to the authorities.  The church has been disconnected from the local district heating system because of its status; Fr Slava and the Church have been working on alternatives.  Anyone interested in assisting in the resolution of this problem can contact …(&etc). “  Actually the church wasn’t cold so they may have found some temporary solution, but then, I was wearing a lot of clothes as it was only 1 degree outside!  The other item I found interesting was this....(more). Photo, St Vasily Church, Red Square, Moscow, Sue Moorhen

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).

Changes in the Church - Fr Frank O'Loughlin 

21 May 2008
At Mother of God Church this evening Fr Frank O’Loughlin spoke powerfully about significant changes in the Church. The context was that “It is mostly hard to cope with major changes that occur before we are ready”. His final conclusion was very liberating, in that it provided a positive rather than negative view of these changes. It also provided a reassuring historical context for current changes, an analysis of their importance, and highlighted the inevitability and opportunities of change. He further spoke encouragingly about evidence of new life arising from such change in the spirit of faith. An interpretation and very brief summary of his key points can be found  here.

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