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Catholic Parish Ivanhoe

News (2013)

    - A broad and  diverse mix of Local, National and International faith-related News, Information and Opinions.                                     Opinions expressed are those of the Authors and may or may not always represent official Church/Parish positions                            Editorial Policy (Revised 11/2013) 


(Go to News 2014 here)


At this time of year in Australia many people take holidays. Throughout the year this website is maintained 24/7, but now is a time for its volunteer staff also to take a break . Until the end of January there will be minimal updates to the website


Parish Christmas Bulletin may be downloaded here.

Christmas message from Fr Thang
Friday 21 December 2013

Reflection of the Week this week is Fr Thang's Christmas message (here), Image: Flickr, Traqair57

Survey: Extraordinary Synod on the Family
Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Friday 20 December 2013

Archbishop Hart would like to thank all who contributed to the recent survey in preparation for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family. We received over 1,100 contributions.  Each Australian diocese has submitted a synthesis to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. From those, a submission will be made to Rome before the end of January 2014. At some stage after the Extraordinary Synod, which begins on Sunday 5 October 2014, Pope Francis will respond with some form of letter or Apostolic Exhortation.

 Parish 2014 Sacramental Program (First Reconciliation, First Eucharist and Confirmation)
Friday 20 December 2013

Sacramental preparation is an on-going process that starts at birth and continues through life & faith journey.
Sacramental preparation takes place primarily in the home and is supported by the Parish community.  Sacramental experiences happen as part of the liturgy at church – as well as in family, groups, at work, school or recreation. Details of the 2014 sacramental program for children are contained on the "Sacraments" page where an information brochure and enrollment form is available for download (click here).

Even when she struggled, Mary believed  (an Advent commentary)                                                                                                          Extract from Peg Ekerdt, National Catholic Reporter, Wednesday 18 December 2013
She sits on our table as I hasten through Advent. She is a carved image, a pregnant woman, her hand protectively covering her womb. She is a symbolic rendering of the young Mary, mother of Jesus, who is introduced to us in the first chapter of Luke's Gospel. In this Advent season, in the midst of a culture that on a yearly basis usurps this holy season and fills it with more things to do than any "angel singing o'er the plains" ever imagined, what does Luke tell us about Mary that can shape our Advent practice? With certain wisdom, the Scriptures on several Advent days feature Luke's first chapter. We hear Gabriel tell Mary that she will conceive and bear a son. We understand her initial fear and marvel at her acceptance: "Be it done to me according to your word." We travel with Mary to visit her cousin Elizabeth and hear Mary's magnificent praise of the greatness of God, who disperses the arrogant and fills the hungry. In response to Mary's question, "How can this be?", we hear the angel's promise that the Holy Spirit would come to her and the power of God would surround her. All that is familiar, but there is one particular line that I seem to read as if for the first time, and it stirs my imagination: "Then the angel departed from her" (Luke 1:38b). It is a simple sentence that tells us the angel did not stick around. The angel promised that the Spirit would remain, but Mary was left alone. Sinless but human, she would have to determine how to live each day in response to this amazing news (more).

Priest to sue Church for unfair dismissal
Extract from Brian Morton, The Tablet, Wednesday 18 December 2013

A Scottish Catholic priest has been given the green light to sue the Church for unfair dismissal. Fr Patrick Lawson, who ran two parishes in Galston, Ayrshire, has been granted legal aid to take his case to an employment tribunal, after being removed from his post. The removal followed Fr Lawson’s long-time call for action to be taken against a priest he accused of sexual abuse. Cameron Fyfe, the lawyer representing Fr Lawson, said that it was a potentially “historic case”. He confirmed that an application had been lodged on Fr Lawson’s behalf and said that the case could set a precedent. Fr Lawson, who is suffering from cancer, was removed by the Bishop of Galloway, John Cunningham. He is also challenging his removal in canon law (more).

Australia Makes First Response Worldwide to Pope’s Exhortation
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Wednesday 18 December 2013

POPE Francis sends out the message “What are we waiting for?” (EG 120) loud and clear in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, known in English as The Joy of the Gospel. And it is Australia which has quickly made the first comprehensive response world-wide to this teaching of the Pope in a new book. The Francis Effect: Living the Joy of the Gospel has been released online today by Catholic Mission and Catholic Religious Australia. These organisations have brought together twelve prominent Catholic leaders to share their insights from the document, highlighting some of the challenges and the inspiration needed to fully live the joy of the Gospel in their varied Australian ministries (more).

Pope Francis' Vatican reforms may prompt curial pushback
Extract from Analysis, David Gibson, National Catholic Reporter, Tuesday 17 December 2013

In private conversations, Pope Francis often acknowledges that reforming the Vatican will be a difficult task opposed by powerful interests in the church. Developments on Monday showed both the progress he has made and the challenges that remain. Case in point: Cardinal Raymond Burke, an influential American conservative who has worked in the Roman Curia since 2008, lost one key post Monday when he was left off the Vatican body that vets bishops for the pope to appoint. Those appointments are seen as the key to securing Francis' legacy. But in an interview a few days earlier, Burke -- who remains head of the Vatican equivalent of the Supreme Court -- also publicly raised doubts about Francis' plans to make wholesale changes in a papal bureaucracy in keeping with the pontiff's vision of a more open, pastoral church. "The service of the Roman Curia is part of the very nature of the church, and so that has to be respected," Burke told EWTN, a U.S.-based Catholic cable network that spotlights conservative views. "I can't imagine that somehow the Roman Curia is going to take on a completely different figure. It just doesn't make sense," Burke said. The interview was broadcast Thursday as the centerpiece of a program that highlighted concerns about the direction of the church since Francis was elected in March. Francis' own top collaborators, namely a "kitchen cabinet" of eight cardinals he tapped to help him change the Vatican's byzantine and often scandal-ridden ways, have said the old curial system "is over," as one put it, and will be replaced by "something different." (more)

Francis the Radical
Edited extract from Washington Post columnist, E.J.Dionne, The Age, Monday 16 December 2013

For all those assessing the meaning of Pope Francis' rise and its implications for one of the    world's most powerful transnational institutions, the pontiff has already offered a warning. ''If one has the answers to all the questions,'' he said in an August interview with La Civilta Cattolica that has become a kind of manifesto for his papacy, ''that is the proof that God is not with him.''  That delightful rebuke to know-it-alls everywhere provides a clue as to how someone who has held the papal office only since March has already revolutionised - there is no other word - the world's view of the Roman Catholic Church. At a time when religion has come to seem synonymous with dogmatic certainty and, in the eyes of many secular observers, fundamentalism, here is the most visible religious leader in the world asserting that questions, not answers, can inspire a vibrant faith. Francis is orthodox, all right. He has reasserted the church's ''clear'' teaching on abortion and said he could not do otherwise. ''I am a son of the church,'' he explained. But he is an orthodox searcher who wants to share the journey with anyone of goodwill (including non-believers) who takes the quest for truth seriously. ''Who am I to judge?'' he replied when asked his view of those who are gay. For so many, judging is what a pope does for a living. Francis did not change church doctrine with his statement. He merely changed virtually everything about how we see the role of a supreme pontiff (read full article here). Illustration: Jim Pavlidis.

We are at a crossroads for women in the church
Extracts from Joan Chittister, Monday 15 December 2013 (Published by National Catholic Reporter on Wednesday 11 December 2013)

The 20th-century Jesuit philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote: "The only task worthy of our efforts is to construct the future." My concern today is how to construct a new future for women around the world through the global outreach of the church.......In fact, intelligent men as well as intelligent women realize now that feminism is not about femaleness. It's not about female chauvinism either, or feminismo machismo. And it's definitely not about women wanting to act like men. Feminism is about allowing every member of the human race to become a fully functioning human adult, to make choices at every level of society, to participate in the decision-making that affects their lives, to be financially independent, to be safe on the streets, secure in their homes, to have a voice in the courts and constitutional bodies of the world -- to enjoy, in other words, full and equal civil rights. It is about bringing to public visibility and public agency the agendas, the insights, and the wisdom of the other half of the human race. It is about taking their ideas and plans seriously. No! Correction: It is about taking the theology of creation seriously. It is, in other words, about this century's "emancipation proclamation" of women. And since it is 2,000 years after Jesus himself modeled it, it can hardly be argued that we're rushing things. Pope Francis, clearly sensitive to the issue, has himself brought up the notion of launching a study of women, the very thought of which coming out of Rome is at least as earth-shaking as seriously expecting Rome to do something serious about it (more).

Christmas Bulletin
Friday 13 December 2013 (updated Monday 16 Dec) The parish 'Christmas Bulletin' has been completed. Amongst other things it provides a summary of key parish and school events and issues for this year (also including Pope Francis, Ford St Developments) together with an encouraging view to the future. It makes good, easy and reflective reading over the forthcoming Christmas and holiday period, in anticipation of an interesting new year (download here).

High Court leaves same sex marriage door ajar
Extracts from Frank Brennan, Eureka Street, Friday 13 December 2013

The advocates for marriage equality and their allies in the ACT Legislative Assembly have scored one of the great home goals with the High Court of Australia ruling unanimously that 'the whole of the Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013 (ACT) is inconsistent with the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth)' and that 'the whole of the Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013 (ACT) is of no effect'. The advocates for same sex marriage did themselves no favour in terms of public credibility by putting their support behind a dog's breakfast of ACT legislation which even if valid and effective would not have provided marriage equality. The High Court noted that the ACT Act provided 'for the automatic dissolution of the marriage if a party marries another under a law of the Commonwealth, or under a law of another jurisdiction that substantially corresponds to the ACT Act'. How could advocates for 'marriage equality' credibly support a 'marriage' terminable without court order, without agreement, without prior notice to the other party — an arrangement able to be dissolved at the whim of one of the parties walking out the door having found another marriage partner, whether straight or gay? (more)

Pope Francis named Time's Person of the Year
Extracts from Cathnews, Thursday 12 December 2013

Pope Francis has been named Time magazine's Person of the Year. He says the title will make him happy if it helps attract people to the hope of the Gospel, said the Vatican spokesman. The Catholic News Service reports. 'It's a positive sign that one of the most prestigious recognitions in the international press' goes to a person who 'proclaims to the world spiritual, religious and moral values and speaks effectively in favour of peace and greater justice,' said the spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi.....'Rarely has a new player on the world stage captured so much attention so quickly - young and old, faithful and cynical - as has Pope Francis,' Time said on its website. 'With a focus on compassion, the leader of the Catholic Church has become a new voice of conscience.' Blessed John Paul II was named Person of the Year in 1994 and Blessed John XXIII in 1962 (more). Image: cathnews

'Spectacular bungling' of an abuse case, archbishop tells inquiry
Extract from cathnews, Thursday 12 December 2013

The Archbishop of Brisbane Mark Coleridge has described the Church's attempt to deal with a child sex abuse victim as 'spectacular bungling' and 'drastic failure', and flagged his willingness to revisit cases, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. Archbishop Coleridge told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse yesterday that it was wrong that insurers and lawyers had determined how much victims were paid out. His archdiocese had $52 million from which he was prepared to draw for victim payouts. 'In the end, I [as archbishop] decide whether a sum conforms to the criteria of justice and compassion.' In the strongest statements yet by a senior Australian Catholic Church official about the church’s mishandling of sex abuse claims, Archbishop Coleridge said a 'tsunami' of child sexual abuse allegations had caught bishops and other officials 'like rabbits in a headlight.' The failures of the Towards Healing protocol, in use since 1997, meant other ways of dealing with victim complaints needed to be explored 'if we are serious about coming to the aid of victims,' the archbishop told the hearing (more).

Restorative justice beyond the Royal Commission
Extract from Jane Anderson, Eureka Street, Tuesday 10 December 2013

Last week I went to the Royal Commission and had a private session, which means, in short, that I am a victim of sexual abuse. That history spanned nearly three decades. My encounters with one perpetrator prepared me for more harrowing experiences during adolescence, and later in a marriage that turned violent. Those crimes have shaped my life, and telling my tale that spans nearly 50 years was an experience for which I am thankful. I commend the Royal Commission for the way in which it was conducted; with attentiveness, sensitivity and professionalism, and with an ongoing concern for the wellbeing of the interviewee. During the process, it was mentioned that after the Commission had finished its work, there might be the possibility of making this process available to those who might subsequently want to recount stories of sexual abuse. I think that could be a valuable option, but it set me thinking about the whole process of dealing with this crime, the wounds, and the tragedy.....(more)
. Image: Eureka Street

Catholic parishioners try to reconcile faith with child sex abuse
Extract from Catherine Armitage, Sydney Morning Herald, Sunday 8 December 2013

As Catholics around Australia are warned to prepare themselves for shock and shame from now until Christmas, one of Sydney's biggest congregations may be better prepared than most. It is understood hearings starting in Sydney on Monday into the church's controversial Towards Healing protocol for dealing with victims will explore some of the most harrowing stories yet before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. A group of parishioners at St Mary Magdalene church in Rose Bay have been meeting since the commission was announced a year ago to share what parish priest Monsignor Tony Doherty describes as their confusion, horror and disgust. ''The trust people put in priests, Catholic schools and parishes is deeply bruised. Lots of people say that their churches are empty,'' said Monsignor Doherty, who estimates 700 to 800 people attend his Sunday Mass and who marked 50 years as a priest in August. About a year ago, when the NSW government inquiry into the Catholic Church in the Hunter and the royal commission were announced, he realised he could no longer think of child sex abuse in the church as a few isolated cases. He felt ''profound shame'' that something so ''absolutely heinous'' could have happened. The group he offered to give a ''safe space'' to ''put words around their disgust'' attracted just over 30 people at it
s peak........(more)

Nelson Mandela, who led South Africa out of apartheid and became the nation's first black president, has died at the age of 95 (5/12/2013). At the launch of a Children's fund named after him in 1995 he said:

"There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way it treats its children"


 Of course you're invited!
Friday 6 December 2013

There's much to celebrate, remember, mourn, reflect upon and look forward to in the Parish, Country and World as the end of 2013 approaches. All parishioners are warmly invited to our annual E.O.Y. get-together at 5pm on Sunday 8th December, in the courtyard of the Parish Office. It's BYO everything and everyone! No Minutes or Agendas in sight, just a welcoming get-together. Hope to see you there if you can make it. (photo December 2011)


Parish and Parishioner Submissions made to Family Synod
Friday 6 December 2013
(updated 16 December)                                                                                                                                             In an historic new initiative Pope Francis invited Catholics from every diocese in the world, including the Archdiocese of Melbourne, to participate in a worldwide Catholic survey on the many challenges facing the family today. After internal consultations our Parish has made a submission and a number of parishioners have also taken the opportunity to do likewise on a personal basis. Responses are now being collated at a diocesan, national and international level so they can be discussed at a Preparatory meeting in Rome next February for the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops planned for October 2014 in Rome. (Download copy of The Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe response here).

Pope Francis establishes commission on protection of minors
Extract from, Thursday 5 December 2013

(Vatican Radio) At the briefing on Thursday morning, 5 December, at 1 p.m., alongside the Director of the Holy See Press Office, there participated Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, member of the Council of Cardinals, who gave the following Declaration: “Continuing decisively along the lines undertaken by Pope Benedict XVI, and accepting a proposal presented by the Council of Cardinals, the Holy Father has decided to establish a specific Commission for the protection of minors, with the aim of advising Pope Francis on the Holy See’s commitment to the protection of children and in pastoral care for victims of abuse. Specifically, the Commission will.........(more)

Responsibility for response to sexual abuse of children
Extracts from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 5 December 20013

FRANCIS Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council delivered a major speech to more than 100 people at St Patrick’s Cathedral Hall in Ballarat on 20 November, 2013. Read the Commitment Statement from Leaders of the Catholic Church in Australia.  In a wide ranging speech Mr Sullivan called on all Catholics to take some responsibility for how the Church responds to the Royal Commission and the way in which it engages with victims of sexual abuse. “There have been many heinous, despicable crimes committed by people in the Church,” Mr Sullivan said “A large number have been brought to justice. Others have covered up those crimes, put the Church’s interests before those of victims’ and compounded their suffering. “As the community of believers who make up the Church, we were not responsible for past crimes and cover ups, but we are responsible for how we respond and react to them,” he said (more)

Youth festival opens in Melbourne
Extracts from Helena Adelju Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 5 December 20013

The theme of the inaugural Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF), ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me’ (Luke 4:18), was brought to life as more than 3000 young people from around Australia gathered for the opening plenary at Festival Hall in Melbourne this afternoon. The event kicked off the three day celebration of what it means to be young and Catholic. It is the largest national gathering of Catholic young people since Sydney’s World Youth Day in 2008......Archbishop Prowse called young people to reflect on their participation in the ACYF and their individual Catholic vocation in the light of three great questions inspired by St Ignatius of Loyola: What has God done for me? What have I done for God? and What do I want to do for God in my life? (more)

Summary of ACBC plenary meeting

Extract from CathNewS, Thursday 5 December 2013

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has released a summary of its plenary meeting held in the last week of November at Mary MacKillop Place in North Sydney (more).

1,000 Catholic churches in Holland to close by 2025, Pope warned                              Extract from CathNewS, Thursday 5 December 2013
About 1,000 Dutch Catholic churches – around two-thirds of the total in the country –will be shut by 2025, Cardinal Willem Eijk warned Pope Francis at an ad limina visit on Monday,
reports The Tablet (more).

Sweet and sour in Pope's exhortation
Extract from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, Wednesday 4 December 2013

Evangelism and evangelisation are often turn-off words in church conversation. All churches commend the importance of sharing faith with others. But people often identify evangelism with proselytism or spin. And in the Catholic Church evangelisation can be associated with a high rhetoric designed to protect current forms of institutional relationships and practice. That is a pity because evangelisation focuses on what lies outside, something churches need to do if they are to avoid becoming weary and staid. In his first extended document Evangelii Gaudium Pope Francis offers a welcome fresh take on sharing the Gospel as good news. The document offers no revision of Catholic doctrine and moral teaching; its style and major themes have become familiar in recent months. But its conversational style embodies the kind of change that needs to take place if the Church is effectively to commend the Gospel to others. The changes commended by the Pope have mainly to do with the Catholic imagination. They involve seeing the heart of the church to lie in the relationships with those outside it. But if those relationships are to be fruitful the governance and priorities of the Church must also change......(more)

New Vatican secretary of state says change will come to his office
Extract from Joshua J. NcElwee, National Catholic Reporter, Wednesday 4 December 2013
The new archbishop serving in the post traditionally considered one of the most powerful in the Vatican said Wednesday he knows Pope Francis intends to reform his office but not what those reforms might entail. Archbishop Pietro Parolin, who took over as the Vatican's secretary of state Oct. 15, said the pope and the group of eight cardinals advising him on church reform have made clear they are looking at reforms to his office, which has typically controlled both the diplomatic and political functions of the Vatican. "I don't know if it's a different name or if they want to give it a new structure," Parolin told members of the press Wednesday on the sidelines of a book release event a few blocks east of St. Peter's Basilica. "The important thing is for it to become a structure that is at the service of the pope as it has always been, but that it can be enhanced," he said (more).

Hans Küng welcomes papal vision but questions role of CDF prefect, Müller
Extract from Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, The Tablet, Wednesday 4 December 2013 (temporarily on open access)

The controversial Swiss theologian Hans Küng has welcomed the structural reforms advocated by Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium and said they will meet with wide approval “far beyond the Catholic Church”. In a long article entitled “Church Reform at all Levels”, the fierce critic of Francis’ predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, expressed serious concern as to whether the Pope “is still in control of his Guardian of the Faith” – the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller. That Müller, as a loyal supporter of Benedict XVI’s collected works, was made CDF prefect surprised people less than the fact that Pope Francis confirmed him in office “quite so soon”, Küng wrote. Recalling Müller’s conservative stance on Communion for remarried divorcees, Küng said that the present situation in the Church was contradictory. “The Pope wants to practise mercy, the prefect appeals to God’s holiness and justice.” Whenever Pope Francis pushes forward on reform, Müller immediately puts on the brakes, Küng pointed out. Pope Francis has actual people in mind, while Müller concentrated solely on traditional Catholic doctrine, Küng said (more).

Joy of evangelisation
Extract from The Tablet, 28 November 2013 (temporarily on open access)

The plan that Pope Francis wants the Catholic Church to follow has been emerging piece by piece since his election in March, but now he has set it out in detail. He wants a change of the Church’s culture and character, a change of its priorities and a change of its structures. He wants a Church that is neither sleepwalking nor marching in step, but that goes forth into the world, getting the mud of the streets on its shoes, to deliver the message of God’s infinite care for every bit of it. In what is not so much a reversion to the papal “we” of tradition as an exclamation of joy on behalf of the whole Church, he declares: “We love this magnificent planet on which God has put us … ” It is an example of the infectious exuberance through which, by numerous eloquent gestures, he has already touched the hearts of millions all over the world. Technically called an apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium is literally that too: the Pope joyfully exhorting his flock to rethink almost everything it does in pursuit of its one key aim, evangelisation. But in so doing, he redefines this not as a “churchifying” process but as almost the opposite. Old certainties and familiar ways all fall under the lash of his sometimes withering prose. “Rather than experts in dire predictions, dour judges bent on rooting out every threat and deviation, we should appear as joyful messengers of challenging proposals, guardians of the goodness and beauty which shine forth in a life of fidelity to the Gospel.” (more)

Revised Editorial Policy for Parish Website, also applies to print
Parish of Ivanhoe, Friday 28 November 2013                                                                                                                                 At last Wednesday's PLT meeting and following work by a sub-committee a revised website Editorial Policy was agreed.The revised Website Policy retains the principles of the previous policy in promoting Parish events and activities, being a medium for strengthening the sense of a Parish community and affording an opportunity for expression of views within the framework of our Catholic Church/Parish, and also now incorporates the principles more recently adopted in the “Social-Networking Protocol for the Catholic Church in Australia,” A paper produced by Australian Catholic Bishop's Conference (ACBC). The protocol recognises the "great opportunities and challenges brought by social networking and the Internet" and that "we are living through a period of vast cultural transformation". In that context the guidelines highlight both that "this technology should be pursued only to the point to which it allows growth in faith and in communion with others", and at the same time that such modes of communication ‘allow people to express their views in a relatively un-moderated forum that reflect Church teaching and Christ-centred principles." The revised policy now applies to all Parish communications. electronic and printed.

Your views on Family invited and encouraged - now
John Costa, Thursday 27 November 2013

A news item below (Pope calls synod to discuss families, divorce and remarriage, Catholic News, Thursday 8 October) reports that the Vatican has called an Extraordinary Synod of Bishops from around the world for October 5-19 2014 to consider "pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization." Comments on family issues from as many people as possible are invited and encouraged for A preparatory meeting to be held in Rome in February 2014. To make responding quick and easy an online Survey facility has been established (click here) for this purpose by the Melbourne Archdiocese, and various other Dioceses / Archdioceses. Respondents are free to answer as many or as few questions as appropriate, and the final question in particular readily allows free comment on any relevant matter. This is a unique and historical opportunity to offer your thoughts to the Pope on significant Family issues. Online Responses are required by 6 December (hard copy responses are also still welcome).

'Evangelii Gaudium' amounts to Francis' 'I Have a Dream' speech
Extract from Amalysis, John L. Allen Jr. Nationa; Catholic Reporter, Tuesday 26 November 2013

Dreams can be powerful things, especially when articulated by leaders with the realistic capacity to translate them into action. That was the case 50 years ago with Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech, and it also seems to be the ambition of Pope Francis' bold new apostolic exhortation, "The Joy of the Gospel."

In effect, the 224-page document, titled in Latin Evangelii Gaudium and released by the Vatican Tuesday, is a vision statement about the kind of community Francis wants Catholicism to be: more missionary, more merciful, and with the courage to change.

Francis opens with a dream.  "I dream of a 'missionary option,' " Francis writes, "that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the church's customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today's world, rather than for her self-preservation."
(more).   Image: NCR

No copping out of abuse blame
Extract from Frank Brennan, Eureka Street, Sunday 25 November 2013

Australia's quest to uncover the plague of child abuse and put right the failure of government and non-government organisations (including churches) to deal compassionately and justly with victims, and firmly and appropriately with perpetrators, continues. Quite rightly, the Catholic Church remains in the spotlight. In February, retired judge Tony Whitlam QC reported on the 'Father F' Case in Armidale. He highlighted that all the blame did not lie just with the deceased bishop Kennedy. There were systemic failures not just in the Church but also with psychologists, the police and the courts. This month, the Victorian parliamentary committee's report 'Betrayal Of Trust: Inquiry Into The Handling Of Child Abuse By Religious And Other Non-Government Organisations' was published. The Catholic Church hierarchy now seems more prepared to admit institutional and personal failures prior to 1996 when Towards Healing and the Melbourne Response were instituted. They are yet to admit the pervasive, closed clericalist culture which infected the Church until at least 1996. But that will come.......(more)
Image: Eureka Street

Archbishop Denis Hart welcomes Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry report
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Wednesday 13 November 2013

The Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart made the following statement today in response to the release of the report by the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry. "I welcome the release today of the report by the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry." "It is our hope that the Inquiry, and its recommendations, will assist the healing of those who have been abused. We also hope they will enhance the care of victims and their families, and strengthen the preventative measures now in place. "Victims bravely came forward to give their accounts, often at great personal cost. The Inquiry has been an important opportunity for victims to be heard. "The report documents terrible abuse that occurred in the Catholic Church, mainly over a 25-year period from 1960 to1985. It also sets out inexcusable failures in the Church’s response to that abuse. "The Committee’s report is rightly called Betrayal of Trust. I have spoken before about this betrayal and the irreparable damage it has caused. "It is the worst betrayal of trust in my lifetime in the Catholic Church......(more)


 During the period a revised website policy was being developed                             News items were not published.


St John eConference attracts much interest
Friday 18 October 2013

Around 30 people enjoyed and actively participated in another stimulating Broken Bay Institute eConference on Wednesday, on the gospel of St John. From 10:30am to 2:30 pm including lunch in between people were challenged in local discussions after each session to explore this Gospel with new and rich insights provided by outstanding speakers and scholars Fr Frank Moloney and Rev. Professor Dorothy Lee. What most people appreciated was the ability of these speakers to enjoyably and helpfully bring the Gospel alive, in human terms, and to put it into context both of the 21st Century and the time it was written, around 100 AD, in this last and most 'different' of all the Gospels. How much richer an understanding can become when context is made clear and language is deciphered so well, providing a meaning beyond the mere words alone. The themes and "signs" of the Gospel were clearly exposed whilst some  limitations to interpretation were also discussed. The 'big picture' pertaining to the love of God for all, and om particular its significance became very clear. This enjoyable event was arranged by the Liturgy Group and well hosted by the Outreach group. Thanks to those who brought food to share and be so well enjoyed. Mention was made of a possible 2014 eConference on Pope Francis. With all that's starting to happen under the new papacy this eConference would very likely also be of great interest.

Father Bob, dissident prophet
Extract from Film Review, Tim Kroenart, Assistant Editor, Eureka Street, Wednesday 16 October 2013

Pope Francis notwithstanding, Father Bob Maguire is the closest thing the Catholic Church in Australia has to a celebrity. His authentic manner and dedicated work with the homeless in the community surrounding his former parish, Saints Peter and Paul's in South Melbourne, over the course of decades, have earned him many admirers both within and outside the Church. His aptitude at engaging with the media and in recent years his regular Triple J radio show with John Safran, has earned him a deeply committed fanbase, especially among young Australians......The film opens with a monologue in which Bob distills thousands of years of Judeo-Christian tradition into a single, gripping manifesto, explaining in profoundly casual language how Christianity grew from a grassroots movement based in grace and self-sacrifice into an institution concerned with power and wealth, steeped in clericalism, and susceptible to corruption. He recalls the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s as nothing less than a revolution, which sought to even out the Church's power structures and to open up a Church that had become stodgy and self-referential. The revolution, though, has since been stymied (more). [Ed: Fr Bob Maguire briefly served as a Priest in what was then Mary Immaculate Parish in 1972-73. Ref. A Brief History of the Catholic Parish of Ivanho]

Vatican II continues to mark ecclesial life today, archbishop says
Extracts from Mary Solberg, Catholic News Service, National Catholic Reporter, Monday 14 October 2013

Archbishop Piero Marini, a Vatican official, recalls watching bishops day after day pour out of the Vatican hall where they gathered 50 years ago to formulate the constitutions, decrees and declarations that brought historic change to the Catholic church...........He addressed the nearly 200 people gathered in Erie for the annual national meeting of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions........"Fifty years later, I feel a great nostalgia and a desire to understand more fully and to experience anew the spirit of the council," said Marini, who is president of the Pontifical Commission for International Eucharistic Congresses.........The week long conference allowed participants to explore the theological principles of the document and its place in the world today. Issued Dec. 4, 1963, the document ordered an extensive revision of worship so that people would have a clearer sense of their own involvement in the Mass and other rites. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Marini told the audience, was really "a matrix for other reforms" and possible changes yet to come. It is not enough, he said, to look at the written document as a manual for reforming the church's rites."It was an event that continues even today to mark ecclesial life," the archbishop said. "It has marked our ecclesial life so much that very little of the church today would be as it is had the council not met." Marini, who was master of liturgical ceremonies under Blessed John Paul II, told the liturgists that Vatican II did not give the world static documents. In an ever-evolving culture, the Catholic liturgy is incomplete unless it renews communities of faith. "The council is not behind us. It still precedes us," Marini said (more).

Pope entrusts world to Immaculate Heart of Mary
Extracts from Kerri Lenartowick, Catholic News Agency, Catholic News, Monday 14 October 2013

On Sunday Pope Francis entrusted the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and to her maternal care before the image of Our Lady of Fatima, asking Mary’s help to “revive and grow faith.”......Guard our lives in your arms: bless and strengthen every desire for goodness, revive and grow faith, sustain and illuminate hope, arouse and enliven charity, guide all of us on the path of holiness,” Pope Francis asked Mary. He asked the Virgin Mary to teach mankind her “special love” for children and the poor, for the excluded and suffering, and for sinners. “Gather everyone under your protection and deliver everyone to your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus,” the Pope said. During his Sunday homily, Pope Francis reflected on the importance of Mary’s faithfulness even in moments of difficulty. He said she shows the Christian response to God (more).

Francis: 'Women called to service, not servitude'
Extracts from Thomas C Fox, National Catholic Reporter, Sunday 13 October 2013

In his first address entirely focused on the topic of women, Pope Francis on Saturday said "women are called to service, not servitude."........."I suffer -- speaking truthfully! -- when I see in the church or in some ecclesial organizations that the role of service that we all have, and that we must have -- but that the role of service of the woman slips into a role of servitude," Francis said, according to Vatican Radio.......He then added: "Many things can change and have changed in our cultural and social evolution, but the fact remains that it is the woman who conceives, carries in her womb and gives birth to the children of men. And this is not simply a biological matter, but carries a wealth of implications for the woman herself, for her way of being, for her relationships, for the way in which we lend respect to human life and to life in general. Calling a woman to maternity, God entrusted the human being to her in an altogether special manner." Francis then warned that there are two dangers always present when speaking about the topic of women. He called them "two extreme opposites that destroy woman and her vocation." "The first," he said, "is to reduce maternity to a social role, to a task, albeit noble, but which in fact sets the woman aside with her potential and does not value her fully in the building of community. This is both in the civil sphere and in the ecclesial sphere." "The other danger," he said, "[is] in the opposite direction, that of promoting a type of emancipation which, in order to occupy spaces taken away from the masculine, abandons the feminine with the precious traits that characterize it." Francis returned to a theme he has repeatedly emphasized during his pontificate, the theme of mercy, applying it to women and the way they help in an understanding and teaching mercy. "I would like to underline how the woman has a particular sensitivity for the 'things of God', above all in helping us to understand the mercy, tenderness and love that God has for us," he said (more).

Rome debates funeral for Nazi war criminal
Extracts from John L Allen, National Catholic Reporter, Sunday 13 October 2013

Pope Francis clearly has identified mercy as the spiritual cornerstone of his pontificate, and the impression of deep compassion he's given over the last eight months goes a long way toward explaining his appeal. As a pastoral matter, however, it's not always easy to determine what "mercy" implies in concrete cases. In Rome right now, debate over whether a Catholic funeral ought to be held for Erich Priebke, a former Nazi SS officer responsible for the massacre of 335 Italians in 1944, including 57 Jews, illustrates
the point...........Priebke was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1996 by an Italian court for organizing the infamous Ardeatine caves massacre, in which 335 Italians were executed in reprisal for an attack on German troops by antifascist resistance forces. By his own admission, Priebke personally shot two of the prisoners and supervised the deaths of the others. Priebke never expressed public remorse, insisting he was following orders, and after his death, his lawyer released a seven-page testament in which the former SS official essentially denied the Holocaust, claiming that alleged crematoria in Nazi concentration camps were actually large kitchens for feeding inmates. Today's debate boils down to this: Given that Priebke apparently identified himself as a Catholic, though there's little evidence he ever practiced the faith, should a funeral for him be celebrated in a Catholic church?....On Saturday, the Vicariate of Rome under Italian Cardinal Agostino Vallini, which administers the Rome diocese in the name of the pope, issued a statement saying no funeral for Priebke would be held in a Roman church.On background, officials of the vicariate cited canon 1184 of the Code of Canon Law, which states that a funeral may be denied to "manifest sinners who cannot be granted ecclesiastical funerals without public scandal of the faithful." Riccardo Pacifici, head of the Jewish community in Rome, hailed the veto as "a singular decision in history," saying it supports what Francis said about the impossibility of being both Christian and anti-Semitic.On the other side of the argument is Swiss Cardinal Georges Cottier, the former theologian of the papal household under Pope John Paul II, who told reporters Saturday that mercy extends even to "great sinners." (more)

Overcoming despair with hope
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne Communications Office, Friday 11 October 2013

This weekend is Respect Life Sunday. Recently Pope Francis provided the Church with a beautiful example of how to reach out to women facing an unplanned pregnancy. The Pope received a letter from a 35 year old Roman woman named Anna, who shared that she had found out she was pregnant, but the child's father had advised her to get an abortion. When Pope Francis heard of her predicament he picked up the phone and gave her a call - offering a listening ear, hope, encouragement and practical support for when her baby was born (more).

Federal government to challenge ACT same-sex laws
Extract from Catholic News, Friday 11 October 2013

The Federal government will challenge the ACT's same-sex marriage laws in the High Court as soon as they are passed but the ACT government has vowed to fight the challenge, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. Attorney-General George Brandis yesterday described the territory laws as 'a threat' to the 'well-established position' that marriage laws should be nationally consistent and were the domain of the Commonwealth. Senator Brandis informed the ACT government of the legal challenge in a phone call on Wednesday night before confirming the move at a meeting of state and territory attorneys-general on Thursday (more).

Mental Health Week
Thursday 10 October

In 2013, Mental Health Week will run from Sunday 6th to Saturday 12th October. World Mental Health Day is marked every year on the same date: 10th of October. Mental Health Week aims to activate, educate and engage Victorians about mental health through a week of interactive events across the state including an official launch, community festivals, art exhibitions, music, theatre and seminars. Much of the effort of running Mental Health Week comes from dedicated volunteers committed  to promoting mental wellbeing, furthering knowledge about mental health and eliminating the stigma surrounding mental illness. Before his retirement Fr Len Thomas was the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne Mental Health Chaplain and resided in Ivanhoe Parish where he formed part of the Parish Wellbeing Group at the time.
The 2013 events list is available here. Also see "Relationships key to mental illness treatment" by Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street.

Hells Angels & Liturgy Group
Thursday 10 October 2013

An interesting excuse for a member being late at this morning's Liturgy Group meeting was that arrival was (unintentionally) delayed by  Hell's Angels. Traffic on route to the Parish Office this Thursday morning was heavily congested. Speeding police cars, sirens, flashing lights, overhead helicopters coincided with massive police raids on various Melbourne Hells Angels sites, including locally. However Hells Angels or high water didn't stop the Liturgy Group member from eventually attending.
Photo: Andrew Taylor,

Vatican introduces new law on financial transparency
Extract from CathNews, Thursday 10 October 2013

With the adoption of a detailed new law on financial transparency, vigilance and information, the Vatican has almost completely revamped its finance laws in less than three years, the Vatican spokesman said, reports the Catholic News Service (more).

My friend Chopper
Thursday 10 October 2013

An Ivanhoe parishioner volunteer at a Melbourne Youth Training Centre (juvenile prison) some years ago noted many photos and stories on the cell wall of a 'trainee'. They were of his hero and role model Chopper Read. It was not unknown for trainees to idolise and want to emulate the life of some criminal they looked up to. At the time Chopper was considered one of Melbourne's most dangerous criminals. But Read's life changed dramatically since his stand-over days of prison and stabbings. Amongst other good things he subsequently became a true-crime novelist, a father, a husband, a story-teller and raconteur, a sought-after Australian character. Read died on Wednesday and for his friends and family his battle with liver cancer had been nothing short of "courageous". It is not known whether or not the trainee eventually followed the path of his hero, but if so hopefully he also followed it to the next phase.

Vatican urges a slowdown in the rush to reform
Extract from Eric J Lyman, Religion News Service, National Catholic Reporter, Wednesday 9 October 2013   
                                                           Pope Francis has earned headlines worldwide with his reform-minded comments on any number of topics, from the church being "obsessed" with divisive issues like abortion and homosexuality to the role of women in church leadership. But Tuesday, the Vatican warned churches not to get ahead of the pope and take the reform process into their own hands. The diocese of Freiburg in Germany recently broke ranks and said divorced and remarried Catholics could receive Communion if they were "trying to live according to their faith." The Vatican's chief spokesman, Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, warned that the diocese's view was not one the church endorsed, and that the topic would be considered a year from now in an extraordinary session of the Synod of Bishops, which will meet Oct. 5-19, 2014, at the Vatican (more).

Francis writes to gay Catholics
Extract from The Tablet, Wednesday 9 October 2013

Pope Francis responded personally to a letter from a group of gay and lesbian Italian Catholics sent in June, according to the Italian daily La Repubblica. The group, Kairos of Florence, asked for openness and dialogue, noting that closure to discussion "always feeds homophobia". The Kairos group said they also received a letter from the Secretariat of State, saying Pope Francis "really enjoyed" their letter and the way it was written. The Pope reportedly assured the group of his blessing, but Kairos decided to keep the rest of both letters private. The letter was not the first of its kind to be sent to a pope, but one Kairos leaders, Innocent Pontillo, said that on previous occasions "No one had ever even given a nod of response." (more)

Melbourne's new Deacons
Extract from Fr Brendan Lane, Corpus Christi College, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Monday 7 October 2013

Saturday 5 October was a historic day for Corpus Christi College, illustrating its in
ternational flavour.  Three Vietnamese students, Sang Ho, Linh Pham and Minh Tran and a Korean student Michael Kong, were all ordained deacons by Archbishop Denis Hart.  In Rome, Matthew Baldwin was ordained a deacon for the archdiocese of Melbourne and in Thermala Kerala, India, Deacon Siju Mukalekalayil was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Sale with Bishop Prowse in attendance. St Patrick’s Cathedral was full as Sang, Linh, Minh and Michael came forward for their ordination.  The music and singing was provided by the Corpus Christi Schola, a Vietnamese Choir and a Korean Choir.  The readings were in Vietnamese and Korean. Some visiting priests, family and friends had come from Vietnam and Korea and there was a large representation of these local communities, as well as many parishioners from the Melbourne parishes, where the seminarians had served. Archbishop Hart reminded the deacons that they were called to serve, to preach the Gospel and to administer sacraments (more).

Pope calls synod to discuss families, divorce and remarriage
Extracts from Francis C Rocca, Catholic News, Tuesday 8 October 2013

The predicament of divorced and remarried Catholics will be a major topic of discussion when bishops from around the world meet at the Vatican in October 2014. The Vatican announced Oct. 8 that an extraordinary session of the Synod of Bishops will meet Oct. 5-19, 2014, to discuss the "pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization." The pope had told reporters accompanying him on his plane back from Rio de Janeiro in July that the next synod would explore a "somewhat deeper pastoral care of marriage," including the question of the eligibility of divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion. Pope Francis added at the time that church law governing marriage annulments also "has to be reviewed, because ecclesiastical tribunals are not sufficient for this. It is complex, the problem of the pastoral care of marriage." Such problems, he said, exemplified a general need for forgiveness in the church today. "The church is a mother, and she must travel this path of mercy, and find a form of mercy for all," the pope said..........The October 2014 gathering will be an "extraordinary general session" of the synod, which according to the Code of Canon Law is held to "deal with matters which require a speedy solution." It will be composed for the most part of the presidents of national bishops' conferences, the heads of the Eastern Catholic Churches, and the heads of major Vatican offices.......This will be only the third extraordinary synod since Pope Paul VI reinstituted synods in 1965, to hold periodic meetings to advise him on specific subjects (more). [Ed: John L Allen Jnr of the National Catholic Reporter comments that the theme of this Synod is the "first fruit of G-8"]

Vote of Thanks                                                                                                                                                                              Friday 4 October 2013        
25 participants give a hearty vote
of thanks to Sue Kelly for her organisation of our excursion to Phillip Island on Wednesday October 2. The ferocious wind / rain meant we didn’t see seals or koalas but we did see lots of canny gulls cleverly protecting themselves and a close up view of a flock of cape barren geese. Best of all behind the safety of glass, we had the mesmerising sight of the great and majestic southern ocean. En route there were lots of views of white caps on Westernport Bay. Lunch at Phillip Island RSL was excellent and our stop for morning tea at the Australia Garden in Cranbourne was inspiring. Many thanks go to Banyule Council for their encouragement and grant for a Seniors’ activity and for our lovely driver and guide, Andrew. All agreed that it was ‘a great day’. 

Pope Francis: revitalising Vatican II
Extract from analysis by Bruce Duncan, Social Policy Connections, Friday 4 October 2013

Pope Francis has captured widespread attention in a way reminiscent of Pope John XXIII. Both share fresh, warm personalities, and inspire us with an earthy faith alive to contemporary social and cultural issues. But just as Pope John ushered in the great reforming Second Vatican Council, it seems Pope Francis is embarking on a major new process to implement the Council reforms more fully. It is Vatican II, Part II. (read the analysis here)

Catholic Church opts for reform
Extract from Barney Zwartz, Religion Editor,The Age, Thursday 3 October October 2013

The Catholic Church will create independent strategies for handling clergy sex abuse complaints by the end of next year in response to widespread criticisms, it has told the royal commission. In its formal submission, to be released on Thursday, the church says it is happy to contribute to an independent national compensation scheme if that is what the commission investigating child sex abuse in institutions recommends (more).

Catholic Church releases child sexual abuse reform proposals
Extracts from Communications Office, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 3 September 2013

THE leadership of the Catholic Church in Australia has endorsed the development of a reform agenda which could see the most significant overhaul of the Church’s approach to clerical sexual abuse in its more than 200-year history in Australia. Francis Sullivan, CEO of the Truth Justice and Healing Council, said the reforms are now being fully developed and will be presented to Church leaders in the first half of 2014. “These proposals recognise that we must do better when we are dealing with victims of sexual abuse and as we work to make sure our institutions are as safe as possibly for children,” Mr Sullivan said. The Catholic Church reform agenda proposals include........ The reform proposals are outlined in the Truth Justice and Healing Council’s Towards Healing submission to the Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse.......The Truth Justice and Healing Council Towards Healing submission can be read HERE  (more)

Pope and advisory council discuss synod reform on first day
Extracts from CathNews, Thursday 3 October 2013

Pope Francis and his eight cardinal advisers on church governance spent much of their first day together discussing reform of the Synod of Bishops, but the Vatican downplayed expectations that their discussions would lead to major changes in the near future.Their morning session took place from 9am to 12.30pm in a private library in the Apostolic Palace. Pope Francis opened the meeting with a talk on the ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council, in order to establish a "working climate not limited to organizational questions but broadly spiritual and ecclesiological," Father Lombardi said. Among the topics of the pope's reflection were the mission of the church, the relationship between the universal church and local churches, collegiality, the church and poverty, and the role of the laity. Each of the cardinals then offered a summary of the suggestions he had collected in preparation for the meeting, and offered his views on what should be the major areas of the council's work (more).
Photo: CathNews

Hundreds gather for talk on 'Francis Factor' at Georgetown
Extract from Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter, Thursday 3 October 2013

.......New York Times columnist and public television political analyst David Brooks, introduced as the non-Catholic bringing the "outsider" view to the proceedings, voiced some of the most erudite insider insights and raised the lone suggestion of a Francis negative. From the outside, Brooks said, "it looks like less about abortion, less about gay marriage, more about a counterculture, a comprehensive counterculture." He considered Francis' admission of "I am a sinner" the most important line of his recent interview with Jesuit publications. "That's what Christianity represents." Brooks said in recent years, the church "has adopted some of the munitions of the world" to fight back against the forces of the world. In engaging the same forces, Francis "has adopted the powers of Christ. And that's a series of inverse and ironic and paradoxical powers. You confront pride with humility; you confront aggression with renunciation; you confront someone who's materialistic with grace. There's an ironic power in all these forces. So to me, his presence is really introducing a spiritual counterculture that transcends the Catholic church and transcends Christianity." Brooks predicted Francis will be a "charismatic figure" on the level of John Paul II. But he also posed the possibility that the pope's "epistemological modesty," his willingness to admit what he doesn't know, and the fact that "the core message of Francis is the person of Francis" might slide into "mushiness." The church is more than "a feel good institution," Brooks said. "It is a doctrine and a creed." If the church should lose contact with the doctrine that "sometimes makes people outside this room uncomfortable" and focuses instead on "a charming guy who washes people's feet, then you're losing something elemental to the church." (more). Photo. NCR, "The Francis Factor" Tuesday's discussion at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

Pope and G-8 meet
Extracts from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Wednesday 2 October 2013

AS a series of consultations aimed at the reform of the Vatican bureaucracy began, Pope Francis told his group of cardinal advisers that humility and service attract people to the church, not power and pride. "Let us ask the Lord that our work today makes us all more humble, meek, more patience and more trusting in God so that the church may give beautiful witness to the people," he said 1 October during morning Mass in his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae. The strength of the Gospel "is precisely in humility, the humility of a child who lets himself be guided by the love and tenderness of his father," he told the cardinals.........The council's field of potential concern extends far beyond Vatican reform, and Pope Francis has said that its deliberations will include the question of the eligibility of divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion (more).

Pope calls for less "Vatican-centric," more socially conscious church
Extract from Francis X. Rocca, Catholic News Service. Tuesday 1 October 2013

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In his latest wide-ranging interview, Pope Francis said that he aimed to make the Catholic Church less "Vatican-centric" and closer to the "people of God," as well as more socially conscious and open to modern culture. He also revealed that he briefly considered turning down the papacy in the moments following his election last March, and identified the "most urgent problem" the church should address today as youth unemployment and the abandonment of elderly people. The pope's remarks appeared in a 4,500-word interview, published Oct. 1 in the Rome daily La Repubblica, with Eugenio Scalfari, a co-founder and former editor-in-chief of the newspaper. Scalfari, an avowed atheist, publicly addressed the pope in a pair of articles on religious and philosophical topics over the summer, and Pope Francis replied in a letter that La Repubblica published Sept. 11. The journalist reported that the two met in person at the Vatican Sept. 24. Their conversation touched on a range of topics, including economic justice, dialogue between Christians and nonbelievers, and reform of the Vatican bureaucracy (more).

Pope makes advisory panel a permanent Council of Cardinals
Extract from CathNews, Tuesday 1 October 2013

Pope Francis has made his international advisory panel on church governance, which begins meeting in Rome today, a permanent council of cardinals, thereby emphasising the importance and open-endedness of its work, reports the Catholic News Service.The Vatican made the announcement yesterday, a day before Pope Francis was scheduled to meet for the first time with the panel, which has been informally dubbed the 'Group of Eight' or 'G-8'. The new Council of Cardinals will have the 'task of assisting me in the governance of the universal church and drawing up a project for the revision of the apostolic constitution 'Pastor Bonus' on the Roman Curia,' Pope Francis wrote in his decree, dated September 28. Pastor Bonus, published in 1988, was the last major set of changes in the Roman Curia, the Church's central administration at the Vatican (more). Photo: CathNews: Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, co-oordinator of the Council of Cardinals.

Cardinals meeting consultative Pope
Extracts from Brian Lucas, Eureka Street, Monday 30th October 2013

A consultative group of cardinals will meet with Pope Francis on 1 October. There is eagerness among the world's press for access to the meeting and clear expectations of radical shifts in church policy. Fr Thomas Rosica, from Canadian Salt and Light Television, and a splendid collaborator with the Vatican Press Office, hosed them down: 'It would be unwise to make large investments of funds and personnel to cover an event which is first and foremost a series of private meetings between cardinals and the Pope.'.........According to Pope Francis, 'uncertainty is in every true discernment'. Things are not always as they first appear. Wide and generous consultation with those most knowledgeable, usually those most affected, is essential. He rejects the approach of those who suggest that one should not consult too much — decide by yourself. Rather, it is through discussion that one arrives at the best decisions.The story is sometimes told among those involved in corporate governance of the board that was wrestling with a difficult problem. One member suggested bringing in an expert. Another was resistant until he knew what the expert would say. Those in positions of power need to give permission to their advisers to tell the truth. The worst thing you can do when consulting is to listen only to voices that please. The worst thing one can do when asked to give an opinion is to tell others what you think they want to hear. We trust that the cardinals will be able to say what they believe with humility and honesty. The fact that some have already engaged in a wide consultation among their constituencies is a positive sign......His advice to those who exercise power, and so presumably to himself, is to be humble and leave room for doubt. 'If one has all the answers to all the questions — that is proof that God is not with him'.......Francis is opening up a new way of doing business within the Church and appears open to the possibility of a less centralised bureaucracy. He does not like the denunciations for unorthodoxy being sent to Rome and wants these issues handled locally. In a sentence accidentally omitted from the America magazine translation (of a recent Interview with the Pope) he says, 'It is necessary to broaden the opportunities for a stronger presence of women in the Church'.He has defended himself against those within the Catholic Church obsessed with particular moral issues and insisting he speak more about them. (read full article here).
Photo: Brian Lucas  is general secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and these are his personal views.

Fr John Cunningham still supporting Sacred Heart Mission
Friday 27 September 2013
Thanks to all those in the Parish who contributed a donation together with their purchase of a Memorial Booklet in remembrance and acknowledgement of our former Parish Priest, and in support of his favourite charity. A total of $802 was raised. After printing costs a cheque was accordingly sent to and gratefully received by Sacred Heart Mission.

Holy Feast of the AFL Grand Final
Extract from Michael McVeigh, Eureka Street, Thursday 26 September 2013

This weekend, followers of the One True Religion around Australia will gather f
or the AFL Grand Final (with apologies to Rugby League Protestants who will celebrate their special day next weekend). The Feast of the Grand Final has a great deal in common with celebrations in our other religious traditions. Events such as Christmas and Easter, or perhaps saints' feast days, are celebrations of the stories that help fashion the identity of Christians. Telling these stories each year helps us create our own new stories about the values or beliefs we follow. The Grand Final has its own stories that tell us about ourselves, as well as rituals that personalise those stories for each of us (more). Image: Eureka Street

Pope Francis, gender equality and the idea of machismo
Extracts from Analysis, Michelle A. Gonzales, National Catholic Reporter, Thursday 26 September 2013

..........Francis not only rejects an elitist church; he also rejects the reduction of Catholicism to hot-topic moral issues. He does not want to reduce the church to discussions of abortion, gay marriage, contraception and homosexuality. In his comments, he makes a distinction between dogmatic and moral teachings, reminding us that they do not hold the same weight..........By evoking the word machismo, Francis is not only taking a critical stance against social hierarchy; he is also reminding us of his Latin American roots. He is rejecting this patriarchal, essentialist understanding of women that limits their full humanity and the full humanity of men as well, reducing them to gender stereotypes. Francis does not take a dismissive stance toward the chorus of grass-roots, pastoral and academic women who have for decades begged the church to be more open to the notion of women's authority in the church. Rejecting machismo is a rejection of patriarchy and its limited construction of women's voice and authority. Francis calls us into a deeper conversation about the authority of women grounded in a theology of women. This will lead, he seems to imply, to finding an authoritative role for women (more).

Church says mistakes of the past won't be repeated
Extract from Dan Cox, ABC News, Catholic News, Thursday 26 September 2013

The Hunter Valley's Catholic Church has moved to reassure a New South Wales inquiry into child sexual abuse the mistakes of the past will not be repeated. The special commission is investigating claims the church covered up abuse by two paedophile priests, Denis McAlinden and James Fletcher. Documents tendered to the inquiry show the church knew about McAlinden's abuse which spanned 50 years. Representing the Maitland-Newcastle diocese Lachlan Giles has summed up his case, saying church officials should not be "unfairly criticised" for their handling of the allegations. He said they were adhering to the victims' wishes not to involve police. But, he assured the Commissioner that in 2013, and irrespective of what victims want, allegations would be reported to police (more).

Unusual way of 'meeting' a new Pope
Thursday 26 September 2013

Catholic News has found a novel way of introducing a new Pope to everyone - by linking to a cartoon recently published on YouTube (here)!

Marring the Cardinal's image
Extracts from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, Wednesday 25 September 2013

Cardinal George Pell is an inviting subject for an extended essay. He is well-known, expresses strong views succinctly, and has equally strong admirers and detractors. That always guarantees a lively response. David Marr is a splendid essayist, and his Quarterly Essay displays his habitual virtues. It is elegantly written, is structured around a strong and colourfully told story, and brings home powerfully the sufferings of the victims of clerical sexual abuse and the failures of the Catholic Church in meeting them. It is unfair, but that is the nature of this kind of essay........The limitations of Marr's account are the obverse of its virtues. It is not a dispassionate judgment but a prosecution brief. It sifts Pell's motives and words but not those of his critics, and simplifies complexities. The details of the essay are designed to imply character. Churches are empty or full depending on the needs of the plot; Pell does not speak but booms. If a cock crows in a distant farmyard it crows for the Cardinal alone. This makes for engaging reading, but also asks for careful judgment. As a Catholic priest I shall leave judgment on Marr's handling of Church sexual abuse to others more credible. But I am not convinced that the Royal Commission was seen as a cataclysmic defeat by Pell or other bishops, nor consequently that their agenda was quite as single-mindedly about control as Marr suggests (more).
Image: Eureka Street.

Advice for the Pope on reforming the Church
Extracts from Geraldine Doogue, Eureka Street, Monday  23 September 2013

The Church isn't offering many endearing images to its stoic believers of late. But one will stay with me for many years. That wonderful moment in March when Jorge Mario Bergoglio walked out onto the Vatican balcony with his simple but inviting Fratelli e sorelle, buona sera! — Brothers and sisters, good evening! — still sends a thrill up my spine. Along with the rest of the watching crowd in St Peter's Square, I thought he'd seemed rather stunned, almost overwhelmed just prior to this emergence. Then came this incredibly pastoral moment followed by the next, his appeal to all of us to pray for him. You could have heard a pin drop in the packed square as people delightedly complied, an unforgettable moment. In the intervening six months, I've wondered: where will he take believers? His recent analogy with the Church as a busy public hospital dispensing vital services was one of the most eloquent for some time from an ecclesiastical leader. Is he re-imagining our Church, amidst its terrible predicaments? I wonder how much he seeks to draw the lay world inside the structure, to tap its wisdom, its experience of these revolutionary times of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Forgive some tilting at windmills. But I wish he'd invite me to be his temporary consultant, to offer him advice for his next 500 days. The laity has a lot to offer (more).

Cardinals' summit shapes up as potential turning point
Extracts from John L Allen Jr,National Catholic Reporter, Tuesday 23 September 2013

Francis' papacy only just reached the six-month mark, so it's probably premature to be talking about make-or-break moments for his legacy. That said, the Oct. 1-3 maiden summit of eight cardinals from around the world, tapped by the pope to advise him on governance and reform, profiles as a potentially critical turning point. When those eight cardinals, plus a bishop-secretary, sit down with Pope Francis in a meeting room in the Apostolic Palace, the expectation is that some serious sausage will be ground on a variety of fronts:

  • An ongoing cleanup of Vatican finances;
  • Reorganization, and potential downsizing, of the Vatican bureaucracy;
  • Ensuring that the right people end up in the right Roman jobs;
  • Vexed pastoral questions such as annulments and divorced and remarried Catholics.

Dubbed the "G-8," the panel was announced in April and styled as a move toward greater collegiality. The American on the team is Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston, joined by Cardinals Giuseppe Bertello, governor of Vatican City; Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa of Santiago, Chile; Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, India; Reinhard Marx of Munich; Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, Congo; and George Pell of Sydney. Rodríguez is the group's coordinator...........At least some cardinals also seem serious about change. In a recent interview in Germany, Marx said it's important to have a headquarters in Rome that Catholics can be proud of -- not so subtly implying this isn't always the case right now.

Jesuit suggests female cardinals, asks for names
Extracts from Joshua J.McElwee ,National Catholic Reporter, Tuesday 23 September 2013

A noted U.S. Jesuit priest and theologian has taken to Facebook to propose a key change in the structure of the Catholic church: the naming of women to the College of Cardinals, the elite church body responsible for electing the pope. Posting Tuesday on his personal Facebook page, Jesuit Fr. James Keenan asked his friends and associates to propose names of women around the world who should be considered as possible cardinal candidates. "I have been getting lots of likes from all over when I said that I think making a woman a cardinal is a very easy matter, why?" asks Keenan, who holds the founders professorship in theology at Boston College. "Because there are so many good candidates!".....While canon law currently specifies that a cardinal must either be a priest or a bishop, some have also wondered whether the appointment of female cardinals might be a reform Pope Francis is considering. If that were to happen, women among those on Keenan's list are: Linda Hogan, a professor of ecumenics at Trinity College Dublin; Holy Child Jesus Sr. Teresa Okure, a theology professor at the Catholic Institute of West Africa in Nigeria; and Maryanne Loughry, the associate director of the Jesuit Refugee Service in Australia. At least one prominent current cardinal has already suggested the naming of female cardinals could be possible. According to U.S Catholic, New York's Archbishop Timothy Dolan said in an interview last year it was "theoretically" possible for the pope to name female cardinals (more).

An intriguing peep inside the papal mind
Extract from Editorial, The Age, Monday 23 September 2013

The former archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, is proving to be quite a surprise in his new role as Pope Francis. Six months into the job, and already he is rejecting much of the rigid and unfortunate conservatism of his papal predecessors. His approach is pragmatic, and the message is one of inclusiveness. The priority is getting the church's leaders to ''better understand how human beings u
nderstand themselves today'' (more).

Francis stuns the church but will it have a lasting effect?
Edited Extracts from David Gibson, Religion News Service, Catholic News, Monday 23 September 2013

Pope Francis rocked the
Church and surprised the world with a free-ranging interview published last Friday. But amid the widespread praise, and some criticism, there lurks a question: Can Francis make his vision a reality, writes David Gibson. More than detailing a list of reforms or policy change he hopes to make — which may yet happen, after time and extensive deliberations — the pope was sketching out a pastoral vision for the church, and modeling a way for clergy to speak and relate to their flocks. In order to replicate that model, Francis needs enough time to appoint bishops who share his views and who can in turn encourage and promote like-minded priests and seminarians. In many ways, the type of change Francis envisions will take a generation or more. Already, some in this current, more conservative-minded generation of bishops have signaled their unhappiness with the pope. 'I’m a little bit disappointed in Pope Francis that he hasn’t, at least that I’m aware of, said much about unborn children, about abortion,' Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin said this month in an interview that reflected comments made earlier by Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput and others.......The cautionary tale that many progressive Catholics point to is that of Pope John Paul I, the 'smiling Pope' whose election in 1978 seemed to herald a new era of a pastoral papacy – and a church molded in the same spirit. But John Paul I died after just 33 days in office, opening the way to the election of John Paul II, an enormously popular figure yet one who began a sharp tack back toward doctrinal orthodoxy and conservatism (more).

Pope comments taken out of context, says Cardinal Pell
Edited extract from Catholic News, Monday 23 September 2013

The Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, has downplayed the significance of the Pope's call for a less judgmental approach to homosexuality, divorce and abortion, reports The Australian. Cardinal Pell suggested that the pontiff's remarks might have been taken out of context. 'Two paragraphs in Pope Francis's important 12,000-word interview have been the focus of particular attention. He also emphasised the importance of not taking issues out of context,' Cardinal Pell said. (He) said the church's moral teaching on issues such as abortion and homosexual practice 'need to be defended and explained when they are attacked.' But in a statement released on Friday, Cardinal Pell said the church did not need to 'harangue people about them every day (more).

Church dumps rebel priest
Extracts from Barney Zwartz, The Age, Saturday 21 September 2013

Dissident priest Greg Reynolds has been both defrocked and excommunicated over his support for women priests and gays - the first person ever excommunicated in Melbourne, he believes. 'I've come to this position because I've followed my conscience on women's ordination and gay marriage.''. The order comes direct from the Vatican, not at the request of Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart, and apparently follows a secret denunciation in the best traditions of the inquisition, according to Father Reynolds. (more)

That all-important 'F' word!
Friday 20 September 2013

It's not entirely coincidental that a link exists between this weekend's Gospel Readings and the fact that at our Parish Masses this weekend a special, now annual, presentation will be made in order to keep everyone in the Parish up-to-date on the all-important topic of parish Finances. It is important because reality always is, and as in the Gospel readings that will be made clear in these presentations. A sheet summarising parish finances has been prepared by the Finance Committee and may be downloaded from here, but further details will be provided during the presentations this weekend.

My Trip Home to Vietnam – Fr Thanh
Introduced by The Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe, Friday 20 September 2013

This story by Fr Thanh turns out powerfully to be much more than its title and opening paragraph (below) suggest. Whilst joyously celebrating a great event that has attracted Catholic attention from across the world it also shares a harsh reality about some aspects of life in Vietnam today. Given both of these elements in the one story it is also poignant. What follows is just the first paragraph, with a link to the rest of the story. Fr Thanh has just returned from his home trip, which at request he now kindly shares with us all.

"It has been only eight months since my arrival in Melbourne in January 2013, but I had the opportunity to return home for the very first time to attend the episcopal ordination of Father Peter Vien Van Nguyen, who has been appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Vinh by His Holiness Pope Francis." (read Fr Thanh's full story here)

Francis says Church must shake off obsession with gays, abortion
Extract from Catholic News, Friday 20 September 2013

'It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,' the Pope told the Rev Antonio Spadaro, a fellow Jesuit and editor in chief of La Civiltà Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit journal whose content is routinely approved by the Vatican. 'The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. 'We have to find a new balance,' the pope continued, 'otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel (more).

Pope says Church must not obsess about 'small-minded rules' or be a chapel for an elite
Extract from The Tablet, 19 September 2013

First there was the impromptu press conference on the plane, now Pope Francis - who is still proving the 'Pope of firsts' - has given an interview to the press. He took questions from the editor of the Jesuit magazine Civiltà Cattolica, Antonio Spadaro SJ, who interviewed him on behalf of a number of Jesuit publications. Read what he had to say here. Here are a few highlights:
* Francis believes real, effective change in the Church will take time.
* When he took possession of the papal apartment, inside himself he distinctly heard a 'no'.
* The Church is not a small chapel for a small elite, 'We must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity'.
He goes on: 'The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules. 'The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all.' (more)

Asylum Seeker Petition 
Jesuit Social Services, MacKillop Family Services and CatholicCare, Tuesday 17 September 2013

Family Services work in a partnership supporting asylum seekers living in the community. As Catholic organisations we are extremely concerned about the seriously negative effects of extended detention on asylum seekers. In particular children. We have made a public statement which has been endorsed by seventy other Catholic Organisations. We invite parishioners to sign a petition of support. You can do so easily through the website petition at asylum seeker petition (here).


As denominations decline, numbers of unpaid ministers rise
Extract from  G. Jeffrey MacDonald Religion News Service, National Catholic Reporter Wednesday 18 September 2013

The 50 members of All Saints Episcopal Church in Hitchcock, Texas, are looking forward to December, when Mark Marmon will be ordained their priest. One reason for the excitement? They won't have to pay him. A 57-year-old fly fishing guide, Marmon, whose wife is a lawyer, says he doesn't want or need a church salary. He belongs to a growing breed of mainline Protestant clergy who serve congregations in exchange for little or no compensation. "We're the frontline," Marmon said. "If it weren't for us, these churches would just roll up and die." Though small evangelical congregations have long relied on unpaid pastors, mainline churches haven't. They've generally paid full-time or nearly full-time salaries, said Scott Thumma, a Hartford Seminary sociologist of religion. That's changing, however, as churches face declining numbers and look to new ministry models to make ends meet. Thumma sees more mainliners cutting back to halftime or one-quarter-time packages for clergy, who increasingly work second jobs (more).

Who goes to Mass in Australia in the 21st Century?
Edited Extract from analysis by Peter J Wilkinson Published in The Swag, Vol. 23, No.3
(August 2013). Friday 13 Sept 2013                                         Three times in the 21st century, Australia’s bishops have measured the fidelity of the nation’s Catholics to regular Mass attendance. In 2001, 2006 and 2011, coinciding with the Commonwealth Census, the ACBC Pastoral Research Office (PRO) has conducted National Counts of Attendance in every parish of every diocese. The results of the 2011 Count, recently published, reveal a Catholic community with diminished and diminishing fidelity to the Eucharistic celebration. This analysis is based on those counts together with other data and comprises the following Sections; How many go to Mass? Where do Australian Catholics go to Mass? Who attends Mass regularly? and Where to from here?  Full report here courtesy The Swag.

Update on Parish Finance, 2013
Next weekend 21 – 22 September the Finance Committee will present a report on Parish Finances to each of our three church communities. Thank you to all concerned on the Finance Committee for their commitment and attention to the various aspects involved. – Fr Thang

Pope urges dialogue with non-believers in letter
Edited extract from Catholic News, Friday 13th 2013

(In a letter published in the Sept
ember 11 edition of the Rome Daily La Republica) Pope Francis wrote that an 'open and unprejudiced dialogue' between Christians and those of no religious faith is 'rightful and precious' today for at least two reasons. Such a dialogue could open doors for a serious and fertile encounter' between secular culture and Christian culture, which have lost the ability to communicate due largely to modern views of faith as the 'darkness of superstition opposed to the light of reason.' In fact, the pope wrote, the impulse toward communication springs out of the very nature of Christian faith. 'Since it is born of love,' he wrote, quoting his own encyclical Lumen Fidei, 'faith is not intransigent, but grows in respectful coexistence with others. ... Far from making us inflexible, the security of faith sets us on a journey; it enables witness and dialogue with all.' This loving quality of faith offers a path of dialogue with skeptics, despite modern ideas of truth as 'relative and subjective.'.'I would not speak, not even for a believer, of "absolute" truth, in the sense of absolute as disconnected, lacking any relationship,' the Pope wrote. "Truth, according to Christian faith, is the love of God for us in Jesus Christ. Therefore truth is a relationship.' (more). Photo: Cath News

Vatican appointment full of promise
Extract from The Tablet, Friday 13 September 2013

The newly named Secretary of State at the Vatican, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, has begun to indicate how he sees his task. His thinking seems to be identical to the man who appointed him. With the election of Pope Francis, he said in an interview with a Venezuelan journalist in late June, “a new climate of hope took hold, of renewal, of a future that beforehand seemed irreparably blocked. I truly consider this a great miracle …”. He has since put down several markers, including using the term “democracy” in connection with the reform of the way the Church is governed. That does not mean the next conclave to elect a pope will consist of 1.2 billion Catholics. But it does mean reconnecting the centre with the periphery, a “collegial management of the Church in which all opinions can be expressed” with the aim of uniting, not dividing – in which connection he specifically mentioned clerical celibacy. Archbishop Parolin is likely to prove as much a breath of fresh air as his chief, perhaps even more so as the Secretary of State handles matters of day-to-day detail – which is where, as the saying goes, the devil is. There is a great deal of remedial plumbing to be done in the Vatican pipework, sorting out the blockages which arose as the Vatican started to be at odds with itself (more). Photo: The Tablet.

New Archbishop for Canberra and Goulburn
Edited extract from Peter Jean (Canberra Times), The Age, Friday 13 September 2013

A Victorian bishop with interests in indigenous and interfaith issues will be the seventh Catholic Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn, the Vatican announced on Thursday night. Christopher Prowse, the serving bishop of the Victorian diocese of Sale, has been appointed to the Canberra-based post by Pope Francis and will be installed in a ceremony at St Christopher's Cathedral on November 19. The archdiocese has been without a bishop since Mark Coleridge was appointed Archbishop of Brisbane in May 2012 and auxiliary Bishop Patrick Power retired a few weeks later. Bishop Prowse was an auxiliary bishop in Melbourne from 2003 to 2009, when he was appointed to his post in Sale (more).
Photo:The Age

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