Christmas in the Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe:
We wish all parishioners, friends and visitors a very happy and a holy Christmas, as well as a safe and peaceful New Year.
- Fr Thang, Leadership Teams & Parish Office Staff
The programme of Francis’ Papacy: changing the culture of the Roman Curia
Extract from Christopher Lamb, Blog, The Tablet, 22 December 2014
Three days before Christmas in 2005 Pope Benedict XVI addressed the Roman Curia in what was considered to be a key speech of his pontificate. In it he set out what he saw as the correct way to interpret the Second Vatican Council - the 1962-5 gathering that brought forward a series of reforms in the Church - criticising a “hermeneutic of discontinuity or rupture” that sees a split between the pre-conciliar and post-conciliar Church. While how to interpret Vatican II was a recurring theme under Benedict, the reform of the Roman Curia has been high on Francis’ agenda. And his speech today, where he sets out the 15 diseases that can infect those who work at the global church’s central administration, is also likely to be seen as an important document for his papacy. Reforming the curia – or to others “cleaning it up” – was, after all, one of the reasons Francis was elected Pope.....(More)
Thank you from Fr Thang Friday 19 December 2014 I would like to thank parishioners for their best wishes, cards and gifts received recently. Sincere thanks to all parishioners, families and schools in the parish community for their assistance and support during the year.
Congratulations! Friday 19 December 2014
We congratulate Bernadette Milesi who celebrated her 90th birthday last weekend and wish her well on this momentous occasion. We take this opportunity to thank Bernadette sincerely for her commitment and generous contributions to the parish at a variety of levels as well as to Mother of God School community.
Giving a Voice to Families - 2015 Synod on the Family Questionnaire Life, Marriage and Family Office, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 18 December 2015 Following the recent Extraordinary Synod on the family, Pope Francis and the Bishops’ Synod are again seeking input ahead of their October 2015 Synod. In response to feedback during the previous process, a simplified questionnaire has been developed for our local Church (here). The online survey can be found here. A simple guide with the questions is available from the Life, Marriage and Family Office website here
While not essential, people may also wish to read the Relatio Synodi - the final summary of the Extraordinary Synod in October 2014 - before responding. The final part of the Relatio also includes the full set of questions. The on-line survey will be open until midnight on Tuesday 10th February 2015. While using the on-line survey is preferred, hard copy responses can be submitted up to Friday 6th February 2015. To obtain a hard copy contact the Parish Office, Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe. Any questions about the process can be directed to the Life, Marriage & Family Office on 9287 5579.
Pope Francis appoints leading Wollongong welfare worker to Vatican child protection commission
Extract from Diocese of Broken Bay, 18 December 2014
Pope Francis has appointed Kathleen McCormack, the founding director of CatholicCare in the NSW city of Wollongong, to the Vatican's child protection body. Ms McCormack is among eight new members of the commission, led by American cardinal Sean O'Malley, to advise him on safeguarding children from sexual abuse. The appointments were announced overnight in Rome. The 17-member Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, was announced by the Pope in December 2013. It now consists of eight women and nine men, both clerical and lay, with new members coming from Australia, Britain, Colombia, New Zealand, Philippines, South Africa, United States and Zambia. It includes two survivors of child sexual abuse within the Church. Mr Francis Sullivan, CEO of the Catholic Church’s Truth Justice and Healing Council, said Kathleen McCormack will be a passionate and committed representative for people sexually abused in the Church in Australia and around the world. “This appointment is an important recognition of Kathleen’s life work spent in the service of children and other vulnerable people,” he said. “It also recognises the work being undertaken in Australia to address the crisis of child sexual abuse..........(Ms McCormac said) “This Commission is about best practice in the future, not just for the children in our Church, but for the children of our world. It’s about the Church wanting to lead in the safety of children,” Ms McCormack said. “We’ve been through a lot in Australia, and although we have many policies and procedures in place, we still need to do much better. I believe the wisdom we will gain from the Royal Commission in Australia will be invaluable to the Pope’s Commission (more).
Pope promoted US - Cuba deal
Extract from CathNews, 18 December 2014
A personal appeal by Pope Francis played a key role in finalising a deal to open relations between the United States and Cuba for the first time in 53 years, USA Today reports. The Pope wrote a personal letter to President Obama in the nothern autumn — something he'd never done before — and a separate letter to Cuban President Raúl Castro. The letter invited the leaders to "resolve humanitarian questions of common interest, including the situation of certain prisoners," according to a Vatican statement congratulating the two countries Wednesday. The Vatican said it received delegations from both countries in October and helped facilitate a dialogue. That resulted in a major U.S. policy shift toward Cuba, including a prisoner swap between the two countries that freed American Alan Gross on Wednesday (more).
A look back at 2014
Extracts from Archbishop Hart, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Wednesday 17 December 2014
AS I take some time out to reflect on the year that was, I realise that 2014 was a year of highs and lows for the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC). Pope Francis asked us to be missionary disciples. In our work at the Bishops Conference we are called to take part in this new missionary ‘going forth’. Reflecting on the work carried out by the Conference and its staff over the past year, I think of the joy that Pope Francis refers to and which I have seen. Amid busy times with pressing obligations, the Conference and staff have worked with hearts full of faith. The Catholic Church in Australia hosted numerous informative and evangelising events this year including, the Pastoral Research Conference, Proclaim 2014 and the Youth Ministry Convention to highlight a few. On that note, great strides are being made in youth ministry across the country led by the newly established ACBC Office for Youth through the support of the Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life...............Our annual social justice statement focused on sport, an issue that appealed to many. The statement entitled ‘A Crown for Australia: Striving for the best in our sporting nation’ sparked discussion and debate across the country. It was a momentous year for the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council as the organisation published ‘Building Bridges’, a collection of social justice statements from 1988 to 2013. The tradition of annual social justice statements is one of which all Catholics in Australia can be proud. During 2014, the redevelopment of our website came to fruition................The Australian Catholic Bishops have continued to fully cooperate with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. We are working jointly with Catholic Religious Australia through the Truth, Justice and Healing Council to allow the Church to speak with one voice. We are mindful of words to “trust in the Holy Spirit” to guide us in our decision making and to serve our people wisely. We pray that the outcomes of the Royal Commission will be reached with openness, courage and humility. Finally, representing the Australian Catholic Bishops at the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops was both an interesting and challenging experience.The Australian Bishops will continue to pray for families everywhere, in particular reflecting on how we can bring people who are broken closer to Christ and the Church (more).
Church of England names its first woman bishop
Extract from Abigail Frymann Rouch, The Tablet, 17 December 2014
Libby LaneThe first woman bishop in the Church of England was named today.
The CofE announced this morning that Revd Libby Lane is to be installed as the suffragan bishop of Stockport.In 2013 Bishop-elect Lane was elected as a female representative for the north-west region to House of Bishops and since 2010 has been Dean of Women in Ministry for the Diocese. She is a bishop’s Selection Advisor, advising and supporting those considering a vocation to ministry in the Church of England. Bishop-elect Lane has been parish priest of St Peter’s Hale and St Elizabeth’s Ashley, in the Diocese of Chester, since 2007. She was one of the first women to enter the priesthood and was ordained a deacon in 1993 and a priest in 1994. She was ordained with her husband George, who is co-ordinating chaplain at Manchester Airport. In a brief video message on the Diocese of Chester website, she said her prayer was that she would be able to "use the authority vested in me to heal and not to hurt; to build up, not to break down". "I am committed to using this unique moment to build unity and to grow God's kingdom together," she said (more).
Visitation report takes mostly positive tone toward US sisters
Extracts from Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter, 16 December 2014
Vatican City. The final report of a controversial six-year Vatican investigation of tens of thousands of U.S. Catholic sisters takes a roundly positive, even laudatory, tone toward their life and work but also includes several couched but barbed criticisms of them. Using some form of the word "gratitude" eight times over its 12 pages, the report also acknowledges the suspicion many sisters had over the launching of the investigation and says the Vatican is seeking "respectful and fruitful dialogue" with those who refused to collaborate in the process............The Vatican investigation, known formally as an apostolic visitation, was launched by the religious congregation in 2008 with the approval of Pope Benedict XVI. Likely the largest such investigation in church history, it involved inquiry into some 341 female religious institutes in the U.S. that include some 50,000 women (more).
Married priest replaces cleric who fell in love with parishioner
Extract from CathNews, 16 December 2014
An English priest who left active ministry after admitting a relationship with a woman is being replaced by a married priest, reports The Tablet. Parishioners at St Thomas More Catholic Church in Coventry were informed in October that their parish priest, Fr Philip Gay, had decided “after careful consideration and for personal reasons” to step down from his duties in order to consider his future. A fortnight ago, his departure was confirmed in a statement from the Archdiocese of Birmingham that said: “It is with regret that we must now let you know of [Fr Gay’s] decision to leave the priesthood.” According to parishioners, Fr Gay – who celebrated the 25th anniversary of his ordination earlier this year – left after falling in love with a female parishioner. The archdiocese also announced that Fr Gay’s replacement would be Fr Stephen Day, a 53-year-old former Anglican priest who is set to arrive at the presbytery next week, from his current parish of St Anne’s in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, with his wife and three children aged 10, 13 and 16 (more). Photo: CathNews, St Thomas Moore Church, Coventry
Pope's Morning Homily: No Gloomy, Rotting Hearts Allowed. Warns Against Hypocrisy, Being 'Weathervanes'
Extract fom Deborah Castellano Lubov, Zenit, 15 December 2014
Vatican...........According to Vatican Radio, during the Pope's daily Mass in Casa Santa Marta this morning, he said our hearts must be fixed on Christ and open to love and forgiveness, never closed and judgmental. The Pontiff reflected on the day’s Gospel reading, which speaks of the chief priests asking Jesus by what authority he did his works........Reflecting on those with "hearts without consistency," the Pope said, "They negotiated everything," including their interior freedom, faith, country. The one thing they didn't negotiate, he said, was appearances. The most important thing for such people was getting the best and most out of every situation: "They were opportunists. They profited from the situations.” “And yet,” he continued, “some of you might ask me: ‘But Father, these people were observers of the law.'" Responding, Francis admitted, "they were a very observant people, very secure in their habits. Yes, it’s true – but only in appearance." He noted, "They were strong, but on the outside. The heart was very weak, they didn’t know what they believed." Jesus, on the other hand, teaches us that the Christian should have a strong and firm heart, one "built on the rock, that is Christ." With that foundation, such a heart is not negotiable (more).
New Synod questionnaire on family issues issued by Vatican
Extract from and link to Vatican 'Lineamenta' and Questions Aimed at a Response to and an In-Depth Examination of the Relatio Synodi of the III Extraordinary General Assembly, Association Of Catholic Priests, 13 December 2014
Preface. At the conclusion of the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, celebrated in 2014 to treat the topic, The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization, Pope Francis decided to make public the Relatio Synodi, the document which concluded the synod’s work. At the same time, the Holy Father indicated that this document would be the Lineamenta for the XIV Ordinary General Assembly to take place from 4 to 25 October 2015 to treat the topic, The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World. The Relatio Synodi, which is sent as the Lineamenta, concludes in the following words: “These proposed reflections, the fruit of the synodal work that took place in great freedom and with a spirit of reciprocal listening, are intended to raise questions and indicate points of view that will later be developed and clarified through reflection in the local Churches in the intervening year leading to the XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops” (Relatio Synodi, n. 62) The Lineamenta has a series of questions aimed at knowing how the document is received and to generate an in-depth examination of the work initiated during the Extraordinary Assembly. It is a matter of re-thinking “with renewed freshness and enthusiasm, what revelation, transmitted in the Church’s faith, tells us about the beauty, the role and the dignity of the family” (Relatio Synodi, n. 4). From this vantage point, we have “one year to mature, with true spiritual discernment, the proposed ideas and to find concrete solutions to so many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront” (Pope Francis, Concluding Discourse, 18 October 2014). The results of this consultation, together with the Relatio Synodi, will serve as the basis for the Instrumentum laboris of the XIV Ordinary General Assembly of 2015. For this purpose, the episcopal conferences are asked to choose a suitable manner of involving all components of the particular churches and academic institutions, organizations, lay movements and other ecclesial associations (more).
Ivanhoe Playgroup Friday 12 December 2014
The Ivanhoe Playgroup run by Liz Shearer offers a welcoming and supportive environment where parents and children can play, learn and have fun. The playgroup suits children aged between 0- 4 years. The Venue is Mary Immaculate Church Hall, 4 Waverley Ave. Ivanhoe. Session Times are Wednesday 9 - 11am or Thursday 9 - 11am. Full details here
Young Catholic Singles of Melbourne Friday 12 December 2014 Young Catholic Singles of Melbourne 21-35 is a brand new group designed to provide opportunities for young Catholic singles to meet in a friendly, relaxed environment. The group will hold monthly functions open to single Catholics between the ages of 21 and 35. Full details on our Events page here
Truth, Justice Healing Council Activity Report
Extract from CathNews, 12 December 2014
The Truth Justice and Healing Council today released a major report detailing its activities over the past two years, which documents the Council’s engagement with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse. The Council's CEO, Francis Sullivan, said the document "demonstrates how far the Church leadership has come over the past two years. "What has transpired over the past two years has shocked, certainly most Catholics, and gone beyond even the worst expectations of many," he said. “The public hearings have exposed the failings within the Church to understand the extent of the crisis and, certainly in the early years, to put in place a pathway for survivors of abuse to be heard and to access justice. “What we have seen, however, over the past two years, and what is recorded in this report, is the willingness of the Church leadership to tackle the emerging issues head-on, to understand the need for change and for a new approach to the survivors," Francis Sullivan added (more). Ed: The report is available here. Photo: Francis Sullivan
Celibacy may be linked to sexual abuse, Catholic Church concedes
Extract from Julie Power, Sydney Morning Herald, 12 December 2014
Obligatory celibacy may have contributed to sexual abuse in some circumstances, the Australian Catholic Church has conceded in a report recommending that priests be given "psychosexual training". It also says the abuse of priests' powers over others - called "clericalism" - may also have contributed to the way the church responded to claims of abuse, including its tendency to disbelieve or turn a blind eye to allegations of abuse. "Church institutions and their leaders, over many decades, seemed to turn a blind eye, either instinctively or deliberately, to the abuse happening within their diocese or religious order, protecting the institution rather than caring for the child," the report said. The progress report by the Truth, Justice and Healing Council of the Catholic Church is at direct odds with a report by the Catholic Church in the United States that denied any link between child abuse and celibacy. The report recommends that all priests undergo psycho-sexual development to learn how to better control their sexual needs and passions (more).
Pope to create new cardinals in February
Extract from CathNews, 12 December 2014
Pope Francis will create new cardinals on February 14, following a two-day meeting of the world's cardinals that will discuss reform of the Vatican bureaucracy, among other issues, reports the Catholic News Service. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, made the announcement yesterday. The names of the new cardinals are likely to be announced in mid-January, he said. If Pope Francis respects the limit of 120 cardinals under the age of 80 and, therefore, eligible to vote for a Pope, he will have 10 such openings in February. As of December 11, the College of Cardinals had 208 members, 112 of whom were under 80. On the same occasion, Pope Francis may also follow precedent by creating a number of cardinals over the age of 80, churchmen being honoured for their contributions to theology or other service to the Church (more). Photo: CathNews
Rome instructs world's bishops to 'rethink' pastoral approach to family and consult all the faithful
Extract from James Roberts, The Tablet, 10 December 2014
The Vatican has instructed all bishops’ conferences to initiate wide-ranging consultations and discussions on matters arising from October’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family, in preparation for the Ordinary Synod that will take place in October 2015. The Office for the Synod of Bishops that issued the instruction contains 46 questions that will guide an “in-depth examination” of the work begun at October's Extraordinary Synod. The questions are designed, the bishops are told, to help them avoid “a formulation of pastoral care based simply on an application of doctrine”, as this might not “respect the conclusions of the Extraordinary Synodal Assembly” and risked leading to a “reflection far from the path already indicated”. The task now, the instruction says, quoting from the final document of the October Synod, is to “re-think … what revelation, transmitted in the Church's faith, tells us about the beauty, the role and the dignity of the family”. “All levels” of the Church must be involved, the instruction stipulates, including “academic institutions, lay movements and other ecclesial associations”. "Every effort should be made not to begin anew, but to continue on the path undertaken in the Extraordinary Synod as a point of departure,” the instruction states. The pastoral approach already established in October must guide all future deliberations, it says, providing “concrete instances” arising from “specific situations”. The instruction quotes extensively from Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), mentioning specifically the exhortation’s emphasis on mercy and journeying to the peripheries of society. “How can people be helped to understand that no one is beyond the mercy of God and how can this truth be expressed in the Church’s pastoral activity towards families, especially those that are wounded and fragile?” is one of the questions asked, according to a translation reported by Joshua McElwee of the US-based National Catholic Reporter (more). Painting. Christ and the Samaritan Woman, Carl Bloch (1834–90)
Where some see resistance, Francis sees dialogue
Pope says he's not afraid of different points of view
Extract from Staff, Global Pulse, 9 December 2014
Vatican City. In an interview with an Argentine newspaper, Pope Francis said he isn't worried by some of the resistance he's faced since being elected pope 21 months ago. "Resistance is now evident. And that is a good sign for me, getting the resistance out into the open, no stealthy mumbling when there is disagreement. It's healthy to get things out into the open, it's very healthy," he told La Nacion. The pope said a healthy dialogue on important issues was integral to the Church fulfilling its mission. He said he saw resistance as an offering of "different points of view, not something dirty." "It all seems normal to me, if there were no difference of opinions, that wouldn't be normal," he said. The 50-minute interview covered a wide range of topics, including the pope's plan to reform the Roman Curia, which he said will extend beyond next year's projected complete date. He also downplayed reports of divisions among the bishops during the Synod of the Family, held Oct. 5-19 in Rome. ...(more)
For Pope, "The joy of the Church is going out to look for lost sheep"
Extract from Asia News.it, 9 December 2014
Vatican. "The joy of the Church," the pontiff said, "is going out of itself to give life" and "look for lost sheep" because if it "turns inward, closes in on itself, it might be well organised, a perfect organisation, all right, all clean, but it lacks joy, merriment, and peace and so it becomes a discouraged, anxious, and sad Church, a Church that is more spinster than mother". (more)
Secretariat publishes 'Lineamenta' for next Synod on Family
Extract from Vatican Radio, 9 December 2014
(Vatican Radio) In preparation for the General Synod of Bishops on the family, set for October 4th to 25th 2015, the Synod Secretariat on Tuesday announced the publication of its preparatory document, known by its Latin name, the ‘Lineamenta’. Philippa Hitchen reports. While Pope Francis made clear, at the conclusion of last October’s Extraordinary Synod on the family, that the final report, or ‘Relatio’, from the two week encounter would serve as the preliminary document for next October’s Synod, the Secretariat said it has also drawn up a series of questions to accompany that ‘Relatio’. These two parts of the ‘Lineamenta’ have been sent, in the original Italian, to bishops conferences, the Synods of Eastern Catholic Churches, the Union of Religious Superiors and the dicasteries of the Roman Curia. Over the coming days they will be translated into other languages, in order that they can be shared as widely as possible for consultation with all those people and organisations concerned with the pastoral care of families. All the results of such consultation must be returned to the Synod Secretariat by April 15th so that the working guidelines, known as the ‘Instrumentum laboris’, can be published before next summer. The wide-ranging questions ask for reflections on all aspects of the promotion of authentic family values, the training of clergy in family ministry, the way the Church can be more present among those living far away from the Christian faith and the care of families that are wounded and fragile, including those who are divorced and remarried or seeking to care for homosexual members (more).
A busy Saturday (and Sunday) in the life of Ivanhoe Parish
Saturday 22 & Sunday 23 November 2014. Apart from 6:30pm Mass as usual at St Bernadette's, Marriage Preparation Course at Mary Immaculate, and a 'full-on' Working Bee at MI (with all the usual volunteers - but no new volunteers), Mother Of God School enjoyed a very successful "Village Fair" today. Don't take our word for it, look at some taken there today, published on the Mass Details page. The following day, on Sunday 23 November, a group of young parish people outside our parish schools celebrated First Eucharist, as recorded in further photos. On that page there is also an extensive archive of parish photos (and others on the Photos/Multimedia page). These collectively serve to illustrate something of rich spiritual and community life in the Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe.
Bp Peter Comensoli appointed Bishop of Broken Bay
Extract from CathNews, 21 November 2014
Pope Francis has appointed the Most Reverend Peter Comensoli as the third Bishop of Broken Bay. During the past nine months, Bishop Comensoli has served as the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Sydney. The position of Archbishop was vacant from February until last week when Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP was installed. Currently, Bishop Comensoli is a member of the Bishops Commission for Church Ministry and Bishops Commission for Evangelisation. President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Denis Hart, welcomed the new Bishop of Broken Bay: “For the Australian bishops, I congratulate Bishop Peter Comensoli upon his appointment as Bishop of Broken Bay. "After distinguished service in Wollongong, and as Auxiliary Bishop and Administrator in the Archdiocese of Sydney, he brings his great abilities and personal gifts to serve and care for the priests and people of Broken Bay. He will receive a very warm welcome. Ad multos annos.” (more) Photo: Cathnews
Bishops call on community to reflect on violence against women
Extract from CathNews, Friday 21 November 2014
Australian Catholic Bishops have called on the community to focus on the message of Jesus Christ and his relationship with women, ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on Referring to the Woman and Man: One in Christ Jesus Report (1999) on the Participation of Women in the Catholic Church in Australia, the Bishops quote Pope St John Paul II who wrote: “Transcending the established norms of this own culture, Jesus treated women with openness, respect, acceptance, and tenderness.” Violence against women has no place in our society, the Australian Catholic Bishops stressed. “Our belief in the sanctity of human life and the inherent dignity of the human person is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching.” (more)
Vatican sending bishops' conferences documents for 2015 synod
Extracts from Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter, 20 November 2014
Rome, Just over a month since the conclusion of October's keenly watched meeting of Catholic bishops on issues of family life, the Vatican has announced it's already gearing up for the next meeting in 2015. Within weeks, the Vatican said in a statement Thursday, bishops' conferences around the world will be receiving preparatory documents for the 2015 meeting, known as a Synod of Bishops........................Thursday's statement was made following a Vatican meeting Tuesday and Wednesday of the council of prelates who lead the Vatican's office for the Synod of Bishops. The statement said the Vatican office will send a preparatory document for the 2015 synod to the world's bishops conferences "at the beginning of December" in hopes that an initial working document for the next synod can be ready by summer 2015. While the initial preparatory document for the 2014 synod, sent in October 2013, made headlines because it contained a wide-ranging questionnaire that the Vatican synod office said was to be distributed "as widely as possible," Thursday's statement does not indicate if the document for the 2015 synod will also have such a questionnaire. The statement does, however, say that the new preparatory document will "be constituted" of the final document from the 2014 synod along with "a series of points that help in its reception and its deepening." Thursday's announcement from the Vatican marks the beginning of what will likely be a flurry of intense activity for the synod office as it prepares to organize what it expected to be a month long meeting of prelates and lay experts in October 2015. While the 2014 synod saw an estimated 190 prelates take part in the discussion, the 2015 edition is expected to see at least three times that number, as the 2015 synod is open not only to presidents of bishops' conferences but also several members of each conference, who are being elected to attend by their peers. Thursday's statement noted the pope was present at the Vatican synod office meetings, saying he had attended those meetings to "underline the importance that he attributes to the synod, as an expression of episcopal collegiality, and to the family, theme of the two assemblies." The statement also said those at the Vatican meeting "agreed that the period now opening between the two Assemblies, which is unprecedented in the history of the synodal institution, is very important." The year between the synods, the statement said, "should take the path already done as a starting point and take this special opportunity to study issues and promote discussion at the level of Episcopal Conferences, finding the means and the tools necessary to further involve also the different ecclesial bodies in the synodal reflection on the family." (more)
Latin American Catholics shift to evangelical congregations
Extract fromn CathNews, 20 November 2014
Growing numbers of Catholics in Latin America are abandoning the Church in favour of evangelical congregations or non-religious life, according to a new survey, reports The Tablet.The survey by the Pew Research Centre, based in Washington DC, of 30,000 residents of 18 countries and Puerto Rico showed 69 per cent of respondents confirming they were Catholic, even though 84 per cent of people said they had been raised in the Church.The Catholic population has slipped sharply over the past century, when their numbers topped 90 per cent. Evangelicals have attracted Mass-goers often by promoting what those converting would consider more attractive ways of worshipping the Lord, an emphasis on morality and solutions for their earthly afflictions – mostly poverty-related, said Andrew Chesnut, religious studies professor at Virginia Commonwealth University.........If the trend continues, "even Brazil, home to the largest Catholic population on earth, will no longer have a Catholic majority by 2030," said Dr Chesnut, author of a book on Evangelicals in Brazil (more). Photo: Cathnews
Melbourne Archdiocese buys landmark building
Extract from CathNews, Wednesday 19 November 2014
The Archdiocese of Melbourne has paid $36 million for a building near St Patrick's Cathedral as a new home for its administration, reports The Age. The building, known as Industry House in East Melbourne, is a Corinthian-portico-fronted building, built in the 1860s and a city landmark. It has been the residence of the Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce & Industry for 12 years. Archbishop Hart will consolidate the Church's sprawling administration, currently spread amongst a number of private tenancies, into the one building, which is only a few hundred metres from St Patrick's."Of special appeal to the Archdiocese is the central location of the building so close to St Patrick's Cathedral and other nearby Catholic services," a Church spokesman said (more). Photo: Cathnews, VECCI house1911
Pope calls alleged abuse victim in Granada, where group of 10 priests has been suspended
Edited Extract from Abigail Frymann Rouch, The Tablet, 19 November
...........“Good afternoon son, this is Fr Jorge,” the voice on the phone said. “Sorry, you must have made a mistake, I don’t know Fr Jorge,” the man answered. “Well, it’s Pope Francis.” The Pope reportedly continued: “I have read your letter a number of times. I couldn’t be more upset about it and feel huge pain on reading your story. I want to ask forgiveness in the name of all of the Church of Christ. Forgive this terrible sin and terrible crime that you have suffered.” He then told the man “there are already people working to resolve all of this.” The archbishop (Archbishop Francisco Javier Martínez Fernández of Granada in southern Spain) issued a statement on Monday saying he had followed the procedures outlined by the Vatican and investigated the allegations. He suspended the priests as a precautionary measure, passed the findings of his investigation to the Holy See and notified the civil authorities, who are now investigating the case (more).
Vatican lifts marriage ban on Eastern Catholic priests in diaspora
Extract from Independent Catholic News. Tuesday 18 November 2014
Pope Francis has approved a decree, signed by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, lifting the ban on the ordination of married men to the priesthood in Eastern Catholic churches outside their traditional territories, (mostly in the United States, Canada and Australia). The decree was signed on 14 June and published later online in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, the official periodical which documents Vatican rulings. Clergy in the Eastern Catholic churches have traditionally been allowed to marry, but in 1890, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples introduced a marriage ban on Ruthenian priests living in the USA, in response to protests from Latin Rite Bishops at the time, Cardinal Sandri explained. In 1929, the Congregation extended the ban, 'Cum data fuerit' to South America and Australia. Cardinal Sandri's decree notes that soon after the law was promulgated, "an estimated 200,000 Ruthenian faithful became Orthodox." The document also notes that when Pope Benedict XVI issued Anglicanorum Coetibus, allowing for the reception of Anglican communities into the Catholic Church, he explicitly provided for the presence of married Catholic priests.....(more) Photo: ICN, Ruthenian Church of St Michael the Archangel, Pittston, Philadelphia
International Reform Network calls for more Synod Openness.
Extract from Media Release, Catholic Church Reform International, 18 November 2014
Catholic Church Reform International (CCRI), a network of groups and individuals in 65 countries committed to the renewal of the Catholic Church, is calling for more openness from the Synod of Bishops in its discussions on marriage and the family. CCRI has recently written to Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, asking that the Vatican not only permit local Episcopal Conferences to make public the summaries of responses they prepare on Synod questionnaires, but actually encourage them to be more open. Last year, when Cardinal Baldisseri sent a specially prepared Synod questionnaire to bishops across the world urging them to circulate it widely and get grass-roots feedback on the issues it raised, he also instructed that their summaries of the responses be kept secret............As preparations get under way for the Ordinary General Assembly in October 2015, the Catholic faithful are again to be asked to reflect, this time on the contents of the 62-paragraph Relatio Synodi (Synod Report), and to provide feedback. In a sign that Pope Francis understands the need for openness, he instructed that the voting results on each of the Relatio’s paragraph be appended to the document. But CCRI is asking for more. When the grass-roots reflections on the Relatio have been gathered and summarized, CCRI wants every Episcopal Conference to be free, indeed encouraged, to make their summaries public and widely available. Further, prior to the commencement of the new round of reflections, CCRI has also asked Cardinal Baldisseri to allow every Episcopal Conference to publish and disseminate the summaries of responses to the 2013 questionnaire. Those summaries could greatly assist the faithful in every local church to develop and clarify their reflections on the issues which the Synod is about to ask of them.....(more)
Cardinal Burke lists issues Pope should not discuss at next Synod
Extract from Sarah Mac Donald, The Tablet, 18 November 2014
Next year’s follow-up Synod on the Family must take issues such as extra-marital cohabitation and Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics off the agenda, US Cardinal Raymond Burke said. Burke, who has criticised Pope Francis’ handling of last month’s Synod on the Family, told 300 people at a conference in Limerick last Saturday that those issues had been a distraction at the meetings. “Even within the Church there are those who would obscure the truth of the indissolubility of marriage in the name of mercy,” he said, and added: “We are engaged in a very great struggle and it strikes at the very heart of the Church.” Burke, the former Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, whom Pope Francis has recently moved to become Patron of the Order of Malta, criticised the confusion and error which he said became evident to the world during the synod (more).
Pope runs moral template over G20
Extracts from Bruce Duncan, Pearls and Irritations, John Menadue website, 17 November 2014
None of what Pope Francis is saying about the moral criteria for a more just economic system will come as a surprise to those who have been following his earlier criticism of abuses in capitalist and other economies. Indeed, the critique of capitalism by the popes has been consistent since Pope Leo XIII in his 1891 document, On the Condition of the Working Class, and more especially since John XXIII and the Second Vatican Council which finished in 1965.........What is new with Pope Francis is his ability to communicate refreshingly in a friendly and popular way, and articulate clearly a renewed moral perspective on our global economic plight. Even people who are not Catholic or Christian can hear his voice as a call to reason, humanity and sanity at this critical moment in the human story (more).
Francis Has His Hand On The Tiller — And He Will Not Change Doctrine
Extract from the journal of Robert Moynihan, published in The Truth Will Make You Free, 14 October 2014
......I attended a round-table the other evening, on November 11, at the Centro Ecumenica Russia on Borgo Pio, a few steps from the Sant'Anna Gate into Vatican City, at which Cardinal Walter Kasper spoke. Kasper, just back in Rome after a trip to the United States, was joined by Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, one of the leading canon lawyers in the Church, and now President of the Vatican's most important canon law office, the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts (he was also, for many years, the private secretary of the late, and important, Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini of Milan). The two discussed the October Synod on the Family for an hour and a half. About 25 people were present. One essential conclusion of the discussion was this: that the Church will not change her established moral doctrine. Both men said this: that next year, when the Synod reconvenes, there won't be any change in Church doctrine, only an effort to change the application of the doctrine in specific cases. Coccopalmerio put it this way: "We never wished to change doctrine, only to change the application of the doctrine to particular cases. The doctrine cannot change." Kasper concurred. This is important. There are many who are wondering, and whispering, about the chances of a "change in Church doctrine." Yet while they wonder, and whisper, the very protagonists of the alleged move to change Church doctrine, men like Kasper and Coccopalmerio, are saying quite openly that a change in doctrine is not in the cards. It is not going to happen. And this means that those who fear that the barque of Peter is sailing "rudderless," that there is no helmsman at the tiller, that Pope Francis is falling short in carrying out his mission to confirm his brothers in the faith and in assuring the unity of the Church, are wrong....(more)
On Retreat next week
Fr Thang, Friday 14 November 2014
I will be in attendance at the Priests’ Retreat next week during the period of 16 – 21 November and sincerely thank all concerned who will lead and facilitate Communion Services at each of our churches then as part of their ministry to our parish and church communities.
Ireland accredits new envoy to Vatican, three years after Dublin closed its embassy following row over sex abuse probe
Edited Extract from Cath News. UCA News, Friday 14 November 2014
Ms Emma Madigan, who presented her credentials, invited the Pontiff to visit Ireland, adding that while such an invitation would come from Church authorities, the government would do everything "to make the visit a success," Irish foreign ministry spokeswoman Fionnuala Quinlan said. "Ambassador Madigan underlined that Ireland is a strong advocate for the freedom of religion or belief. The persecution of members of religious minorities, including Christians, in several parts of the world is a matter of serious concern to the Irish government," Quinlan added. The embassy shut in November 2011, ostensibly for economic reasons. But the move was interpreted in Vatican diplomatic circles as a snub by Ireland, which accused the Holy See of trying to cover up and interfere in a report on clerical pedophilia (more). Photo: CathNews
Vatican to build showers in St Peter's Square for the homeless
Extract from CathNews, Friday 14 November 2014
The archbishop who distributes charity on behalf of Pope Francis has announced that the public restrooms in St Peter's Square will include showers where the homeless can wash, reports the Catholic News Service. The service will require volunteers and donations of soap, towels and clean underwear, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner said yesterday. "We have to be evangelical, but intelligent, too," he added. Several people living on the streets of Rome or in tents say it is not difficult to find a parish or charity that will give them something to eat, but finding a place to wash is much more difficult. Barbara, a Polish woman who lives in a tent with her teenage son and a companion, said showers in the Vatican's public restrooms "would be good. We'd thank them if it works." (more)
Pope's G20 hospital pass to Abbott
Extracts from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, 13 November 2014
The news that Pope Francis has written a letter to Tony Abbott makes one pause. In the terms now used to describe the exchanges between leaders, was the letter a shirtfront, a head-butt, a big hug, or a yellow card? The letter, of course, was none of these things. It was written to Abbott as chair of the G20 Summit and was directed through him to the national representatives taking part. It is usual for Popes to write such letters: a recent example was one to the Secretary of the UN about the situation in Northern Iraq. They set out the views of the Vatican on significant issues. This letter begins by summarising uncontroversially the G20 Agenda. Any distinctive papal emphases may lie in the adjectives. The meeting aims not only at providing employment, but ‘dignified and stable employment for all’. It demands a ‘fair and adequate’ system of taxation. The focus is not on narrowly economic goals but on the good of human beings. The letter then emphasises that ‘many lives are at stake behind these political and technical discussions’. People suffer from malnutrition, from rising unemployment, especially among the young, from increasing social exclusion leading to crime and terrorism, and from continued assaults on the natural environment. The Pope hopes that the meeting will lead to consensus, and that its results will be be measured, not only by global indices but also by ‘real improvement in the living conditions of poorer families and the reduction of all forms of unacceptable inequality’.........Many of the topics raised in the letter are subjects of controversy in Australia. They include refugees, inequality, climate change, regulation of the financial sector and the need to focus on the needs of the poor. But Pope Francis does not prescribe policies to deal with them. So there is no implied rebuke for Mr Abbott or other members of the G20. But they are challenged to set their discussion within a broader framework that puts people first. And their citizens are invited to judge their leaders and their policies by the extent to which they do put people first (more).
Sydney’s new archbishop vows to clean up Church’s record on abuse
Extract from by Abigail Frymann Rouch, Mark Brolly, The Tablet, 13 November 2014
Dominican bioethicist Anthony Fisher, who was installed as Archbishop of Sydney on Wednesday, vowed to improve the Church’s record on safeguarding and apologised for sexual abuse committed by clergy. Giving the homily during his installation Mass he told a packed St Mary’s Cathedral he spoke of survivors’ “harrowing” experiences, “the shameful deeds of some clergy and serious failures of some leaders to respond” (more).
In the last 50 years a pope has not been criticised so brazenly
Extract from Michael Phelan, The Tablet, 13 November 2014
Pope FrancisUS bloggers and “culture warriors” – even the now-former Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, Cardinal Burke – have publicly laid into Pope Francis in the media, criticising the calling and content of last month’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family. In language similar to that of Bernard Fellay’s, the head of traditionalist Society of St Pius X, who said the Synod had opened “the gates of hell”, Cardinal Burke went further and likened the Church under Pope Francis’s leadership to “a ship without a rudder”. Not surprisingly, rumours of Burke’s sideways move to a more ceremonial post have now materialised – thus allowing him to sail into the sunset. Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, said the concept of having a representative body of the Church voting on doctrinal applications and pastoral solutions “strikes me as being rather Protestant”. [not to be brow-beaten, we could add this and link to James’ story] And Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia was reported as saying that he was “very disturbed” by the reporting of the debate concerning church teachings on gays and remarried Catholics, saying that the media coverage sent a confusing message and that “confusion is of the devil” (more).
Newly installed Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher backs calls from Pope for church to take more inclusive approach.
Extract from Michael Kenny, SBS, 12 November 2014
The 54 year old one time corporate lawyer has been installed as Archbishop during a ceremony at Saint Mary's Cathedral in Sydney. He takes over from Cardinal George Pell who left the position in February to become the Vatican's finance chief in Rome. Archbishop Fisher said he wants to use the role to reach out to those who have felt alienated from the Catholic Church, including gay people and the divorced. "I think the Catholic Church is and should be a church for the whole of humanity," he said. "Our arms are wide open for everyone. So whatever the struggles in their life, whether that's with their sexuality or their marital history or any other issues, I want to say to them: 'Come to the Church. The Church loves you because God loves you’." Archbishop Fisher said he had been moved by recent calls from Pope Francis for the Catholic Church to adopt a greater openness towards gay people and divorced Catholics who have remarried. "I have a consciousness now of the struggles of people with same sex attraction", he said. "Our concern should be there to help them rather than to be adding to their problems and I fully back the view that we should be compassionate to people with a same sex attraction or with other struggles in their life." The new archbishop said he also wanted to use his new role to reach out to younger Catholics and to restore public trust tarnished in the wake of recent paedophile scandals involving Catholic priests. "We have to be very honest with ourselves and with everybody else about what has gone wrong", he said. "We need to own up to that and show that we are genuinely ashamed and contrite and determined that that will never happen again," he added (more). Photo: 20140919001032967615-original
US bishops try to capture some of Pope Francis' media mojo
Extract from David Gibson, Religion News Service, National Catholic Reporter, 12 November 2014
Baltimore. Much of the private discussions at the fall meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have focused on how the American hierarchy can shift its priorities to better track those of Pope Francis, especially on social justice issues such as poverty and immigration. But what they'd really like to do is channel the pontiff's media mojo. "With Pope Francis, we are tending to be identified by what we are for rather than what we are against," said Auxiliary Bishop Christopher Coyne of Indianapolis, who was elected Tuesday to oversee the bishops' communications strategy. In fact, since the moment he was elected pope last year, Francis changed the entire media narrative about the Vatican -- from a source of scandal and dysfunction under Pope Benedict XVI to the launchpad for Catholic reform and renewal based on a message of mercy (more).
Back from Leave 7 November 2014 We warmly welcome Fr Thang back from leave this weekend and hope he is well rested. We also thank the three relieving priests who have celebrated Masses with us so well in his absence - Frs Thinh Nguyen, Ted Teal and Peter Carrucan.
Ford Street Proposal
Friday 7 November 2014
The Parish has received a proposal from Catholic Homes for the development of the Ford Street site within the policy established by the Archdiocese. Consideration of the proposal and the options available to the Parish now need to be addressed. A meeting of the Ford Street committee is to be held at 8.00pm on Tuesday, 11 November at the Parish Office. Contact: Pat Kelly 9499 1485
The "Dedication of the Lateran Basilica"
Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe, Friday 7 November 2014
This is an unusual theme for Mass that capitalises on the Readings for next weekend. In effect it celebrates the glory of this remarkable building, and more importantly what such buildings actually represent. The basilica of Saint John Lateran was built under Pope Melchiade (311-314). It’s the most ancient church in he world. Due to the fact that the pope is also the bishop of Rome, Saint John in Lateran – being seat of the bishop’s residence – is also Rome’s Cathedral.In effect next weekend's Massses highlight the glory of the Basilica, and at the same time that of our own local churches which effectively represent the body of God and should therefore be respected. Very much as part of this is that believers should be conscious of the rich sense in which they themselves are the Temple of the Lord. Photo: St John Lateran Basilica. Lazio_Roma_SGiovanni2_tango7174
Pope named fourth most powerful figure in the world
Extract from CathNews, Friday 7 November 2014
Pope Francis has been named the fourth most powerful person in the world by Forbes magazine in its annual list of the world's most powerful figures, reports news.com.au. Russian President Vladimir Putin has been named the world’s most powerful person for the second year in a row, beating US President Barack Obama for the top spot, with Chinese leader Xi Jinping coming in third place. Francis was fourth, ahead of German Chancellor Angela Merkel (more).
A call for victims of sexual abuse with experience of the Melbourne Response to come forward
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 6 November 2014
Retired Federal Court Judge, the Hon. Donnell Ryan QC, who is conducting an independent review of the Melbourne Response, the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne’s process for managing sexual abuse claims, has called on victims of sexual abuse who have experience of the Melbourne Response to come forward and share their views on the compensation awarded, and how the process could be improved. (The Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, announced in April that he would commission a Review of the process available under the Melbourne Response for compensating victims of sexual abuse by priests, lay persons and religious under the control of the Melbourne Archdiocese. He appointed Mr Ryan to conduct the review in August 2014). ‘The management of sexual abuse claims, particularly the impacts both positive and negative that the existing processes have on victims, is clearly a very important issue. Any recommendations which emerge from the Review will need to ensure that the Melbourne Response takes full account of what is required to recognise and, as far as possible, alleviate the suffering of victims. To that end, I am concerned to hear not only from victims but also from their relatives, counsellors, clinicians, legal advisers and others involved in the process. This can be by written submissions or by private hearing or personal interview with me. Particular care will be taken not to create further trauma for anybody involved in the process, so the means by which submissions are received will be adapted as sensitively as possible to individual circumstances.(more)
New York to merge 112 parishes into 55
Extract from CathNews, Thursday 6 November 2014
In a long-awaited announcement, the Archdiocese of New York has indicated it will merge 112 of its 368 parishes into 55, effectively closing at least 31 churches by next August, reports the Catholic News Service. Twenty-four of the merged parishes will continue to celebrate scheduled Masses and sacraments at two sites. Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York said the painful reorganisation, announced on November 2, is a necessary adjustment to historic parish infrastructure that will strengthen the Church in the Archdiocese. "The parish is the people and the people have to be cared for. What's most important is the faith continues, the Eucharist continues and the sacraments continue," he said......(more) Photo 0611newyorkmergers_19654artthumb
Beware religious and secular 'totalitarianisms:' Bishop Fisher
Extract from CathNews, Thursday 6 November 2014
Australia has to be vigilant in protecting the separation of Church and State from both religious and secular “totalitarianisms,” Sydney’s Archbishop-designate, Anthony Fisher, told community leaders in western Sydney last week. Speaking at a farewell gathering with civic and religious leaders at Parramatta, he said both fundamentalisms were at odds with the “healthy pragmatic co-operation between Church and State” Australia had been used to. Islamic State and other religious extremists had a “faith that has become deaf to the voice of reason; a faith that imposes rather than proposes its doctrines,” Archbishop-designate Fisher said. Such a faith “lacks the moral imagination to co-exist peacefully and to even live as friends with people who are different to ourselves”. An intolerant secularism likewise threatened to “banish all those with whom it does not agree” in some Western countries; “to limit or abolish freedom of religion; and to end collaboration between Church and State in education, healthcare, welfare.”....(more)
Pope Francis has conservatives talking about a schism
Extract from CathNews, Thursday 6 November 2014
Last month’s Synod, which saw Francis and his allies try to translate a more welcoming view of gays and remarried Catholics into Church policy, has prompted some conservative observers to raise the spectre of a schism, reports the RNS. Many conservative Catholics have long viewed Pope Francis with suspicion thanks to his effort to shift the Church’s focus away from a culture war agenda and toward a more welcoming approach and a greater emphasis on serving the poor. But last month’s controversial Vatican summit on the modern family, with the push by Francis and his allies to translate that inclusive view into concrete policies on gays and divorced and remarried Catholics, for example, seems to have marked a tipping point, with some on the right raising the spectre of a schism — a formal split that is viewed as the “nuclear option” for dissenters....(more) Photo: CathNews
Francis codifies pope's ability to effectively fire bishops
Extract from Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter, 5 November 2014
Pope Francis has codified his ability to effectively fire Catholic bishops, saying that in some circumstances, he "can consider it necessary" to ask them to resign their offices.The move, which the Vatican announced Wednesday, seems to be an attempt by Francis to clear up any ambiguity about the pontiff's power to replace prelates around the world. While Francis and his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, have effectively removed bishops in the past, their power to do so was not previously so explicit in the church's laws (more).
Pope calls for 'streamlined' annulments
Extract from Christopher Lamb, The Tablet, 5 November 2014
Pope Francis told attendees a course at the Roman Rota – the Church’s appeal court – that marriage annulments should be streamlined so that people are not left waiting for “justice”. Speaking on Wednesday the Pope said matter had been mentioned at the bishops’ Synod on the Family last month and he had already established a commission to look at the question....(more)
Francis attacks vanity of ‘peacock-like’ bishops and calls them to unite around him in humility
Extract from Abigail Frymann Rouch, The Tablet, 5 November 2014
Pope Francis has criticised bishops who strut around “like peacocks” and live only for their “vanity”. In his General Audience catechesis today the Pope was speaking about the role of bishops and collegiality. He departed from his script to add: “The bishop is not an honorary role, it is a service.” “A worldly mentality speaks of a man who has an ‘ecclesiastical career and has become a bishop’. There should be no place for such a mentality in the Church. The bishop serves; it is not a position of honour, to boast about.” Of the episcopal ministry the Pope said “one does not ask for it, it cannot be bought, one accepts it in obedience, not in an attempt to climb higher but to lower oneself, just as Jesus "humbled himself and became obedient unto to death, even death on a cross" (Phil 2:8). He added: “It is sad when we see a man who seeks this office and does all he can to get it and when he gets it does not serve, instead goes around like a peacock and lives only for his vanity.”. Francis also said that bishops were called “to express one single college, gathered around the Pope, who is the guardian and guarantor of this profound communion that was so dear to Jesus and His apostles themselves”....(more)
"The Bishop is not an honorary role. It is a service!" Full Text of Pope's General Audience Catechesis, Nov. 5th
Extracts from Zenit, Vatican City, 5 November 2014
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning! We heard what the Apostle Paul says to the Bishop, Titus, how many virtues we bishops must have, we all heard, no? And it’s not easy, it’s not easy because we are sinners. But we entrust ourselves to your prayers so that we can at least hope to be closer to the things that the Apostle Paul advises for all Bishops. Do you agree? Will you pray for us?............Therefore, we must understand that it is not about having a position of prestige, an honorific charge. The Bishop is not an honorary role. It is a service! Jesus wanted it this way. There must be no place in the Church for a worldly mentality. A worldly mentality speaks of a man who has an ‘ecclesiastical career and has become a bishop’. There should be no place for such a mentality in the Church. The Episcopate is a service, it is not a position of honor, to boast about. To be Bishops means to have always before our eyes the example of Jesus who, as Good Shepherd, came not to be served but to serve (cf. Mt 20:28; Mk 10:45) and to give His life for his sheep (cf. Jn. 10:11). Holy Bishops – and there are so many in the history of the Church – show us that this ministry is not sought, it is not requested, it cannot be bought but it is received in obedience, not to elevate oneself, but to lower oneself, as Jesus “humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8). It is sad when we see a man who seeks this office and does so many things to get it and when he gets it does not serve, instead goes around like a peacock and lives only for his vanity......(more)
Pope: A Bishop who shows off, is no good
Extract from Rome Reports, 5 November 2014
In his weekly general audience, Pope Francis explained that the Church is based on a hierarchy because Jesus designed it that way. But just as important, he said, the Church also has a maternal side through its Bishops. "A Church cannot be healthy if the faithful, deacons and priests are not united with their Bishop. A Church that's not united with its Bishop, is an ill Church. Jesus wanted this union between the faithful and the Bishop.” He added that Jesus wanted His apostles to be close to Him as one unit and one family. Following that same model, Bishops, he said should stand with the Pope.......(more)
All heads of Vatican departments will be made to retire at 75
Extract from Christopher Lamb, The Tablet, 5 November 2014
A document authorised by Pope Francis has decreed that non-Cardinal heads of Vatican departments and officials automatically lose office when they reach 75. A “rescriptum” on the resignation of bishops and those appointed to positions by the Pope came into effect on Wednesday and takes on board recommendations of the Council of Cardinals, the group advising Francis on the reform of the Roman Curia also known as the “C9”....(more)
Do we have a right to assisted suicide?
Extracts from Frank Brennan, Eureka Street, 4 November 2014
Physician assisted suicide and euthanasia are back in the courts of Canada and the United Kingdom, and back in the parliaments of the United Kingdom and Australia. Last month, the Supreme Court of Canada finished hearing a case in which the applicants claim that a 1993 Supreme Court decision upholding the criminal ban on euthanasia should be overruled. On Friday, the House of Lords will resume debate on Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill............Lord Sumption stated the issues well in the UK Supreme Court: There is no complete solution to the problem of protecting vulnerable people against an over-ready resort to suicide…The real question about all of these possibilities is how much risk to the vulnerable are we prepared to accept in this area in order to facilitate suicide for the invulnerable…There is an important element of social policy and moral value-judgment involved. The relative importance of the right to commit suicide and the right of the vulnerable to be protected from overt or covert pressure to kill themselves is inevitably sensitive to a state’s most fundamental collective moral and social values.". Keeping an eye on developments in Canada and the UK, we Australians need to be clear about the social, philosophical, legal and constitutional issues involved when contemplating our own amendments to the law and practice of assisted suicide.(more) Photo: Eureka Street
Synod's genie may be out of the bottle ...... but it still remains in the ecclesiastical kitchen
Extract from Fr Frank Brennan, Global Pulse, United States, 31 October 2014
The Vatican has now released the official English translation of the relatio synodi, the concluding document from the Synod of Bishops convened by Pope Francis to consider “pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelization.” The earlier relatio post disceptationem was the punchy and slightly provocative discussion paper put together by Pope Francis's small hand-picked group, charged with putting the issues for discussion on the table. That document indicated a novel acceptance of some "constructive elements" of couples living together without marriage, of the need to welcome homosexuals into the life of the Church, and of the possibility of admitting divorced and remarried people to the Eucharist. The Synod fathers agreed that they wanted to "offer a meaningful word of hope" to the Church. To do this, they needed to acknowledge that the genie is out of the bottle and that there is a need for a comprehensive rethink by the Catholic Church on its teaching about marriage, sexuality, and reception of the Eucharist. The relatio synodi is much more than a discussion paper. It is a lengthy committee job cobbling together the many different strands of discussion over the week of the synod. Each of the 62 paragraphs was separately voted on by the 180 bishops in attendance who voted. It does not put the genie back in the bottle, but it does revert to much of the old style Vaticanese, trying to confine the genie to the episcopal kitchen. What’s refreshing is that unlike synod documents published during the last two papacies, this one actually reflects the divisions and differing perspectives. We are even given the voting figures on each paragraph. (more) Photo: Frank Brennan SJ, Global Pulse
Looking to the 2015 Synod
Extract from Gerard O'Connell, America - the National Catholic Review, 3 November 2014
The Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family, which closed on Oct. 19, approved a final report that, with the pope’s endorsement, will soon be sent to the 114 Catholic bishops’ conferences worldwide and to the patriarchates and major archbishops of the Eastern Catholic churches. The sending of that text from the secretariat of the synod to the local churches marks the opening of a most important phase in the new synodal process established by Pope Francis in 2013. The report, which will be accompanied by a questionnaire, is meant to serve as a working document for the discussion that is to take place in the local churches over the next year......(more) Photo: America, the National Catholic Review
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