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Catholic Parish Ivanhoe

News 2016
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)     
Brazil may soon have married priests, says Leonardo Boff
Extract from  Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, National Catholic Reporter, 30 December 2016
Pope Francis may soon fulfill the Brazilian bishops' special request to allow married priests to resume their priestly ministry, liberation theologian Leonardo Boff said in a Dec. 25 interview in the German daily Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger.        "The Brazilian bishops, especially the pope's close friend Cardinal Claudio Hummes, have expressly requested Pope Francis to enable married priests in Brazil to return to their pastoral ministry," Boff said. "I have recently heard that the pope wants to fulfil this request — as an experimental, preliminary phase for the moment confined to Brazil."     With its 140 million Catholics, Brazil needs at least 100,000 priests but it only has 1,800, which is a "catastrophe," Boff said. "No wonder the faithful are going over to the evangelical churches or to the Pentecostals in droves, as they are filling the personnel vacuum. If the many thousands of priests who have married are once again allowed to practice their ministry, that would be a first step to improving the situation but at the same time also an impulse for the church to free itself of the fetters of celibacy.".....(more)   Photo: NCR, Wikimedia Commons/Agência Brasil/Valter Campanato
Christmas Homily - by Parish public request
Separation Wall
Extract, Fr Bill's  Christmas Homily, published 29 December 2016

Two months ago I was in Bethlehem and nothing could prepare me for what I saw. Not the Church of the Nativity or the star that marks the place in the cave where it is believed Jesus was born - I had knelt in that place several times before - but rather what I saw after I left what is one of the most famous churches in the world......(download/read here)
Photo: AP

Christmas message from Fr Lasbert
Kristus Salvator Parish
Jl. K.S. Tubun 128, Slipi Jakarta 11410
Friday 23 December 3:50pm
My Beloved friends of Ivanhoe Parish, 
It is now that we are almost at the end of advent season. The essence of birthing of our Saviour is almost near at hands. We will celebrate the dawn of God's light shining upon us, human beings, who go through a valley of darkness. I hope the baby " Immanuel" will guide us in our journey and make us see the path to happiness. Through his shining light, we may be caught up in his love. 

I am enjoying my new ministries both in our parish and in our seminary formation. And from the very bottom of my heart, I wish you all the very best of Christmas.

With love and Prayer

Fr. Lasbert Sinaga CICM
Phone: +62 81384460260
This intriguing image (RHS) will form part of Fr Bill's Christmas Mass homilies!

Read 'Reflection of the Week' (Here) from the Association of Catholic Priests, Ireland.

During January:
The Liturgy Group and those producing the weekly Mass 'Multimedia Liturgy' will take a much needed break over January.  A limited weekly Newsletter will be produced. There will be no weekly 'website update' mailed to subscribing parishioners (except for any 'breaking news'). The website will include the weekly Newsletters and other limited updates. Visit the website stll!  More volunteers are always welcome (here)!

Wishing all a Happy and Holy Christmas!
Separation Wall
Fr Bill, Friday 23 December 2016
The infamous ‘Separation Wall’ built by the State of Israel on confiscated Palestinian land runs through convents and monasteries,   family olive groves, backyards and farms. Separating people and religious communities from their source of income, their families and friends, their gardens and their churches as well as preventing the free movement of people in their own land. The picture below is an image from Bethlehem where Mary and Joseph are prevented from entering the town because of the wall - a daily experience for many in Bethlehem and throughout the West Bank.          Pope Francis spoke recently in his series of reflections on the works of mercy, focusing on welcoming the stranger and clothing the naked. He spoke against building walls and building barriers between peoples. “Walls are not the   answer - the only way for resolution is through solidarity. While voluntary or forced migration has been part of human history, the call to welcome the stranger is even more necessary than ever given that so many people today are on the move because of economic crises, armed conflict and climate change. Unfortunately, today's context of economic crisis prompts the  emergence of an attitude of closure and not welcome. In some parts of the world walls and barriers are appearing. Never be tempted by the trap of closing in on oneself, never become indifferent to people's needs and never   become  focused only on one's own personal interests. The more a person opens up to others, the more one's life is enriched, the more society opens itself up to the other - peace and people recover their full dignity.”           Jesus come to tear down the walls that separate. This Christmas may we tear down walls both visible and invisible. Walls that separate us from one another: that separate family, neighbour, stranger and God.
What is really important to us? What do we hold dear?'
Extract from Archbishop Hart, Cathnews,  22 December 2016
"Like Mary, the mother of Jesus when she heard the shepherds, we, too, need to stop, ponder, and pray this Christmas. What is really important to us, what do we hold dear?" asks the Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, in his Christmas message.        "Life is always moving. We must never have the illusion that it is standing still.          "A good question to ask is not whether my life is moving but where is it going?      "Is it towards God or away from God?      "If we examined our hearts are we glad for the good things we did this year - for poor people, for hurt people?....(more)
Live Christmas Mass- St Patrick's Cathedral
The Christmas Eve service begins at 8.30pm with carols and readings, and will be followed by the Mass during the Night for Christmas 2016, at 9pm, with Archbishop Denis Hart as chief celebrant.    The stream of the service will be available both live and on demand subsequently.
 Please note - there is no midnight Mass at St Patrick's Cathedral this year.
Pope vows Vatican reform is real despite resistance
Extract from John L. Allen Jr. Editor, Crux, 22 December 2016
Pope Francis on Thursday conceded that his efforts at Vatican reform have attracted opposition -- both “open resistance,” offered in a spirit of constructive dialogue, and “hidden” and “malicious” resistance, which he said “sprouts in distorted minds."    ROME - In his annual speech to the Roman Curia on Thursday, Pope Francis presented a sweeping vision of reform for the Vatican’s central administration, outlining the values he wants that reform to embody and insisting that old bureaucratic patterns such as “promoting to remove” must come to an end.  Pulling no punches, Francis also conceded his efforts at reform have attracted opposition  - both “open resistance,” offered in a spirit of constructive dialogue, and “hidden” and “malicious” resistance, which he said “sprouts in distorted minds and shows itself when the devil inspires bad intentions, often wrapped in sheep’s clothing.”         Yet even resistance for bad motives, he said, “is necessary and merits being heard, listened to and encouraged to express itself.”     Francis denounced an attitude toward reform in the model of Gattopardismo, a reference to a classic Italian novel, the most famous line from which is, “Everything must change so that everything can stay the same.”      The pontiff called for more lay people and more women to be included in the Vatican’s workforce, and also said he wants to see Vatican departments become increasingly “multi-cultural.”     Francis hinted that more Vatican departments will be either consolidated or eliminated before the reform is over, and suggested that additional personnel changes are also in the cards.....(more)   Photo: Crux.
Pope Francis to open formal inquiry into Knights of Malta
Extract from Christopher Lamb, The Tablet, 11 December 2016
In-fighting has left Catholicism's oldest military order in disarray.    Pope Francis has announced an investigation into the Knights of Malta, Catholicism’s oldest and most illustrious military order currently in the midst of an internal crisis after a senior figure was sacked.    Retired papal diplomat Archbishop Silvano Tomasi is to look at the dismissal of Albrecht von Boeselager, the Order’s number three who was dramatically sacked by the Grand Master, Matthew Festing.    Boeselager, a respected member of the Order, was twice ordered to resign by Festing in a row allegedly about the distribution of condoms.....(more).
 'Vatileaks priest' freed from prison by Pope in act of clemency
Extract from Christopher Lamb, The Tablet, 21 December 2016
A priest convicted for leaking sensitive financial documents of the Holy See has been released from jail early by Pope Francis.     Mgr Lucio Vallejo Balda walked free from his Vatican prison cell last night after Francis offered a Christmas-time clemency halfway through the Spanish priest’s 18-month sentence.     Vallejo Balda had been convicted of releasing documents revealing embarrassing details of financial mismanagement and corruption in the Vatican with two journalists who later cited the material in books.    His former colleague, Francesca Chaouqui, was given a 10-month suspended sentence for leaking documents, but served no jail time; she had just given birth at the time of her conviction.     In a statement today the Vatican said that given Vallejo Balda had “served more than half of the sentence” the Pope was releasing him as an “act of clemency”.     The priest, the statement explained, will cut all ties with the Holy See and now falls under the authority of his home diocese, Astorga.    The last Vatican employee sent to jail for leaking was Paolo Gabriele, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s butler, who released private papers from the papal apartments in what was the first “Vatileaks scandal”. He was pardoned by Benedict after nearly three months of serving his sentence and afterwards he remained in the employ of the Holy See by going to work at the Bambino Gesu hospital.....(more)
New Vietnamese law still reflects skepticism about religion, bishop says
Extract from NCR Staff, National Catholic Reporter, 21 December 2016
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.    A Vietnamese bishop has said that a new law on religion fails to meet people's religious needs and reveals the government's doubts about all forms of religion. The bishop spoke Monday at a national meeting between government officials and religious representatives.        "From our views, some negative issues still remain in relationships between the government and religions," Bishop Peter Nguyen Van Kham, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Vietnam, told a meeting held by the government in Ho Chi Minh City Dec. 19.          Fifty-five religious leaders from Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism and other faiths throughout the country met with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and other high-ranking officials at the event.         Ho Chi Minh City Archbishop Paul Bui Van Doc and Xuan Loc Bishop Joseph Dinh Duc Dao, head of the Episcopal Commission for Catholic Education, were also present at the meeting.    Kham, who is bishop of the My Tho diocese, said the new Law on Belief and Religion, which was passed by the National Assembly Nov. 18, "fails to properly care about and satisfy people's needs of religious activities."         Some practical suggestions on how to improve religious freedom made by local religious leaders were not put in the law, he added....(more)  Photo: NCR.
Why Catholics are leaving the faith by age 10 – and what parents can do about it
Extract from Matt Hadro, Crux, Catholic News Agency, 18 December 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Young Catholics are leaving the faith at an early age - sometimes before the age of 10 - and their reasons are deeper than being “bored at Mass,” the author of a recent report claims.    “Those that are leaving for no religion - and a pretty big component of them saying they are atheist or agnostic - it turns out that when you probe a bit more deeply and you allow them to talk in their own words, that they are bringing up things that are related to science and a need for evidence and a need for proof,” said Doctor Mark Gray, a senior research associate at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.    “It’s almost a crisis in faith,” he told CNA. “In the whole concept of faith, this is a generation that is struggling with faith in ways that we haven’t seen in previous generations.”   Gray recently published the results of two national studies by CARA - which conducts social science research about the Church - in the publication Our Sunday Visitor. One of the surveys was of those who were raised Catholic but no longer identified as Catholic, ages 15 to 25. The second survey was of self-identified Catholics age 18 and over.    In exploring why young Catholics were choosing to leave the faith, he noted “an emerging profile” of youth who say they find the faith “incompatible with what they are learning in high school or at the university level.” In a perceived battle between the Catholic Church and science, the Church is losing.....(more)Photo:  Crux, Church_pews_Public_domain_CNA  [Ed: why are Christmas and Easter exceptions?]

Sunday's Advent Gospel - Emmanuel in today's world
From Fr. Bill, 16 December 2016

It appears from today’s Gospel passage that Mary’s child is to be called both Jesus and Emmanuel. Emmanuel is not intended as a different name for Jesus but rather one of the many titles that will be applied to him. The title means God-is-with-us. That one word, Emmanuel, sums up the essence of Jewish and Christian belief. The Jewish people’s faith in God was built on the basis that God travelled with them and through their lives. Christians believe that God took on an even closer sense of being with us through God’s incarnation in the life of Jesus.          Emmanuel; God-is-with-us – that’s what we celebrate through Christmas and that’s what we’ve been preparing for during Advent. We celebrate God-with-us in a particular time and place through our celebration of the birth of Jesus. But we remember it every year because we also use the Christmas celebration to remind ourselves that God continues to be with us. That is what is so remarkable about the Christmas season: that God-is-with-us now, not just in a stable in Palestine so many years ago, but now! Advent is the time to remind ourselves of this incredible truth and prepare ourselves to acknowledge it once again.

Detention of children an obscene blight on Christmas
Extract from Andrew Hamilton SJ, Cathnews, Eureka Street, 16 December 2016
"International Migrants Day on Sunday will call for children to be released from detention. It is appropriate that an event held in the shadow of Christmas should advocate for children. For they lie at the heart of Christmas," writes Andrew Hamilton SJ.   The Christmas story relates the birth of a baby insignificant enough to be born in a paddock. It evokes the tenderness, wonder, and hope that touches us in the birth of a child. It is a story of gift and of love.    The celebration of Christmas is often focused on recreating for little children the sense of wonder and gift, sometimes done awkwardly through the arrival of Santa.      And more movingly in refugee camps where children are wide-eyed in a bamboo church turned universe of stars and angels, made from blue plastic, blue bottle tops, and silver foil from packets of chips; or in barrios where parents go hungry to provide treats for their children.    The insistence in the Gospel stories on the obligation to respect and nurture children is not exclusive to Christians. It is echoed in the attention to children and concern for their growth into responsible adults shared by other religions and cultures. Neglect and wanton cruelty to children and neglect are commonly seen as inexcusable.   This Christmas the children in public view are those held in detention on Nauru and in immigration detention centres, and those involved in carjacking, armed robbery, and affray. The focus on child crime has been contemporaneous with, and perhaps influenced by, drive by shootings and other public violence by adult criminals.      When set against the invitation of Christmas to look children compassionately in the eye, the practice of detaining innocent children cannot but seem repugnant. It is the mark of an indecent society. In detention children lose their natural trust and confidence, their growth stunted by anxious introspection.        Their lives are blighted by their parents' humiliation and mental illness. When they are so punished in order to send messages, their detention can only be described as obscene.....(more)  Photo: Cathnews.
Best wishes to all from Fr Lasbert
Friday 16 December 2016
We were pleased to receive a Christmas time email from Fr Labert who asked to send his best wishes to all in the Parish. At this special time we extend our best wishes to Lasbert and also to Frs Jacob and Paul who served in our Parish this year, and to Fr Thang who served for five years before them (Fr Thang's Mass For You at Home for the first two Sundays of Advent is accessible from the website Home Page)
Service of healing for Melbourne church destroyed by fire
Extract from Cathnews, 16 December 2016
The St James Parish community in Brighton gathered earlier this month for a service of lament for healing and reconciliation as part of the rebuilding of the 123-year-old church which was razed to the ground last year.      The fire has been linked to the crimes of Ronald Pickering, who served as the church's parish priest from 1978 to 1993 before he fled to the United Kingdom, fearing prosecution.     Several people are believed to have killed themselves after being sexually abused by Pickering between 1960 and 1980.    The mother of a 20-year old boy who took his life spoke of her time at the parish.    During the service, Fr Martin Dixon, parish priest of St James and neighbouring St Joan of Arc parish said he was conscious of the past and the actions that had brought the community together.   "Although the actions of one, all of us have suffered to varying degrees, none more so than the victims and their families.   "To every young man who was abused, sexually or otherwise, I am deeply sorry," he said during the service.....(more) Photo Cathnews.
'I let them down': Anglican Archbishop of Perth resigns
Extract from Cathnews,16 December 2016
The Anglican Archbishop of Perth, Roger Herft, has resigned after admitting he let down survivors of sexual abuse, reports the ABC.   Archbishop Herft had been Archbishop of Perth since 2005, but stood aside in October to "focus my attention on the royal commission's ongoing inquiry into the Diocese of Newcastle."    He gave evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in August, and finished his testimony with an apology to the people of Newcastle, where he served as bishop between 1993 and 2005.   "I've become aware that the sacred trust that the people of this region placed upon me, I have let them down," he said. "I let them down badly.   "[I have] let down the survivors in a way that remorse itself is a very poor emotion to express."   Archbishop Herft thanked the royal commission for holding him "personally accountable" during the hearing, which stretched over two weeks.   At the time he described how he had developed a "much more realistic view" of the priesthood in recent years....(more)
Catholic college dedicates sacred space as place for all faiths to pray
Extract from  Michele Jurich, Catholic News Service,Melbourne Catholic, 16 Dec. 2016
 The small space has served over the years as the pastor's office, a reconciliation room and the office of an Episcopal parish-without-walls whose members worship on the St Mary's College of California campus in Moraga. Now it has a new purpose as the Interfaith Sacred Space. It provides a place of prayer for students, faculty and staff members who might have otherwise sought out the rare, vacant classroom for prayer at the Catholic college.    The college's Office of Mission and Ministry shepherded the project with input from students. The cosy space, dedicated this fall, can be entered through the back of St Mary's Chapel or through a door on the arcade facing the front of the campus.       It is simply furnished, with a small chest to hold texts; a basket, which, on a recent visit, held three prayer rugs; and another rug and pillows that soften the space. The lighting is low. A digital clock in the corner displays the times Muslims are called to prayer; the clock is a gift from a faculty family. A small water fountain provides a backdrop. It's a tranquil spot on a bustling campus.    The room is intentionally minimalist, said Karin McClellan, director of the Office of Mission and Ministry, to make it welcoming and appropriate for various faith traditions. While the enrollment at the 153-year-old St Mary's College once might have been close to 100 percent Catholic, today's student body defines itself as more diverse in religious beliefs and practices. At the dedication of the Interfaith Sacred Space, for example, blessings were offered by representatives of seven faith traditions.....(more) Photo: Melbourne Catholic.
Merry Christmas indeed!
Wednesday 14 December 2016
Around 775 person-years of belonging to the Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe and its predecessor parishes of Mary Immaculate, Mother of God and St Bernadette's is enough reason itself to celebrate, but the season of Advent culminating in Christmas day is what brought this very enjoyable Parish end-of-year gathering together. The most recent members of our Parish are our Parish priest Fr Bill and his wife Robyn, who are already settling in very well. Peace and blessing to all as we head into ever changing times in a Parish that has its own rich history of renewal. Thanks as always to the Outreach Group for arranging another successful event.
An uplifting story during Advent
"James loves taking photos"
Monday 12 December 2016
This short video clip may remind many of us how lucky we are simply to be alive. A BBC story about giving some joy to a terminally ill 22 year old suffering enormous pain. It's just 1 minute 44 seconds long. I hope you choose to watch this. Before watching the video make sure the sound icon is enabled.  Video HERE

Catholics and Muslims meet together under inspiration of Mother Mary
Extract from Melbourne Catholic, David Schütz, Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission. 12 December 2016
There was an unusual gathering on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Thursday 8 December) this year at the Catholic Leadership Centre in East Melbourne: the Annual Maryam Meal for Catholics and Muslims.   Mary – or “Maryam” as she is named in the Qur’an – is a point of commonality between Christians and Muslims. Both hold her in high regard for the sake of her son Jesus. Although we believe very different things about her son, and therefore about Mary herself, our scriptures both tell similar stories about her. Both tell the story of the Annunciation by the angel. Both affirm that her pregnancy was from God and not from man. Both affirm that she was a virgin. And both affirm that she was sinless – although Muslims hold that all their prophets (and indeed Mary is sometimes accorded that title) were sinless....(more)
Criticism of Pope Francis rooted in misunderstanding of Vatican II
Extract from  Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter, 12 December 12, 2016
The opposition to Pope Francis is unprecedented. There have been disagreements in the life of the church before: How could there not be? And, in recent times, we have even seen some cardinals voice disappointment or even disagreement with directives coming from Rome. For example, Belgian Cardinal Leo Joseph Suenens was not shy in voicing his concern about the manner in which the first synods of bishops after the Second Vatican Council were conducted. But claiming an apostolic exhortation is not magisterial? Publishing detailed challenges to the pope's teaching? This is uncharted territory.    I believe that the opposition to Francis is rooted in a flawed understanding of the post-conciliar era and, more specifically, where we are in the process of receiving the council. Francis, just last month, in an interview with Italian daily Avvenire, noted that it takes about 100 years to fully receive a council, and he is right. Some people thought that process was completed, and that they had mastered all the riddles of the Catholic faith in the post-conciliar age. They are very upset that their assumptions and some of their conclusions have been challenged.    Last week marked the 51st anniversary of the close of Vatican II. In the past four years, we marked the opening of the council, commemorated the promulgation of key conciliar texts, held conferences to explore the meaning of the documents, and appropriately so, because Vatican II remains the most determinative event in the life of the Catholic church in our living memory.....(more)  Photo: NCR, (CNS photo/Catholic Press Photo)   
New letter by scholars supports Cardinals' Amoris query
Extract from Cathnews, The Catholic Herald 12 December 2016
The row dividing the top levels of the Church over Amoris Laetitia has deepened, with 23 scholars and priests publicly backing the Cardinals who have sent the Pope a “please explain’’ over the issue. The Australian reports.       Signatories to the letter include four Australians.      They expressed concern over Francis’ continuing refusal to answer the four Cardinals, arguing “we think that the Holy Father’s continued silence may open him to the charge of negligence in the exercise of the Petrine duty of confirming his brethren in the faith.’     The 23 warn that the Church is “drifting perilously like a ship without a rudder, and indeed, shows symptoms of incipient disintegration. In such a situation, we believe that all Successors of the Apostles have a grave and pressing duty to speak out clearly and strongly in confirmation of the moral teachings clearly expounded in the magisterial teachings of previous popes’’.     The row intensified last week when the head of the Vatican’s canonical court for marriage, Monsignor Pio Pinto, accused the four Cardinals – an American, two Germans and an Italian - who sent the original questions to the Pope of “a very serious scandal’’ and warned they could lose their cardinals’ hats for speaking out.   Australia’s Cardinal George Pell, in contrast, has backed the right of his brother Cardinals to ask the questions, stating in London last week: “How can you disagree with a question?”       The new letter has been signed by an Australian theology professor working the US, Fr Brian Harrison; University of New England academic Anna Silvas; Melbourne priest Fr Glen Tattersall, and Perth priest David Watt.   In it, they urge other bishops and cardinals to back the four Cardinals.....(more)  Photo: Cathnews,
The challenge the Australian Church has in its outreach to Young People.
Extracts from Enda, Eastwood, Australia, Catholica,  Saturday, December 10, 2016,
In 1999 I submitted a doctoral thesis called Participants in an Unfinished Church. It is from an idea of the American philosopher John Dewey that we are participants in an unfinished universe and not observers of a finished universe.     This idea of Dewey’s excited me when I first came upon it because it seemed to me the only way to go in religious education of the young. Either we include them in something that is unfished and therefore possibly developing and therefore something they have a role in forming, or we will lose them. The figures suggest that we have lost them.     I was onto what I called “the crisis of meaning in the Australian Catholic Church following the changes in the Church and Australian culture since the 1960s, and the effect of this crisis on religious education in Catholic secondary schools”.     I said that there was a gap between the organisational and institutional aspects of the Church. The organisation being the bishops and other hierarchs and organisers; the institution being the ordinary folk who turned up and still call themselves Catholic whether they come to Mass every Sunday or not or whether they keep all the rules or not.........Education is about communication and interpretation and so needs an approach to interpretation that fits the context in which it takes place........This is a bit theoretical I know. My main point is that as far as I can see the model of religious education I grew up in failed my generation. And talk of New Evangelization and /or returning to the past is a waste of time.    A possible way to go if we want to really evangelize people, young and old is to have them feel and know that they are part of the process and that they have a stake in it. ....(more)   Image: 
The way to receive communion
From Fr. Bill, Friday 9 December 2016
Last weekend I spoke about the way we receive Communion from the chalice and the practice of ’intinction’ or dipping the host into the chalice rather than drinking from it. We all need to be aware that Church practice and tradition has always prohibited the practice of dipping the consecrated bread into the chalice and if we wish to receive communion from the chalice then we must take the chalice into our hands and drink from it.     I ask all at Mass to respect the teaching of the Church in this matter and assist our Ministers of Communion who have a responsibility to ensure that everyone who receives the Body of Christ consumes the host before receiving the Blood of Christ. Let us be mindful of the Lord’s command at the Last Supper - “Take and eat - take and drink”.        Copies of last week’s homily are available from the back of the church and there are also guidelines available for our Extraordinary Ministers of Communion to assist them in their ministry which may be collected after Mass this weekend.        As we enter the last two week’s of Advent let us exercise patience, as did Mary and Joseph, as we wait in joyful expectation of the birth of Jesus. Unlike the supermarkets and the secular world around us where Christmas is already here we wait - we wait patiently - in a world with little patience - a world that all too often expects instant answers and instant gratification.
A shepherd clearly steering the flock
Extract from Christopher Lamb, The Tablet (Premium Content), 8 December 2016
A milestone birthday is approaching for Pope Francis. The focus of his pontificate has been that other milestone – the Second Vatican Council – and implementing its key principles.   When Pope Francis celebrates his 80th birthday next Saturday it will be a moment to reflect on his action-packed journey of a papacy, so often defined by his personal charisma and spontaneous gestures.    But his leadership of the Church is far more than just about him: it is a papacy that continues the legacy of the Second Vatican Council, contemporary Catholicism’s defining moment.   That event, which concluded just over 50 years ago, set the Church on a path of reform and unprecedented engagement with the modern world; one where condemnation was replaced with listening and where those who fall short of church teaching are offered the “medicine of mercy”.    It is this path that Francis is continuing on, and it is a direction of travel that ensures he leaves a legacy: it prevents this papacy ending up like a wonderful fireworks display lighting up the sky but after which the Church goes back to business as usual....(link to source) Photo: The Tablet.
Australian Bishops issue invitation to celebrate Year of Youth
Extract from Cathnews, 8 December 2016
Australian Bishops are inviting Catholics across the country to join in celebrating a Year of Youth from the beginning of Advent 2017 to the end of 2018.    The Year of Youth celebrates 10 years since World Youth Day was hosted in Sydney during 2008. It will focus on the theme Open New Horizons for Spreading Joy: Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment. The emphasis is on local discussion and dialogue in parishes, schools, youth groups, and dioceses.    Delivering the invitation yesterday Archbishop Denis Hart, President of the ACBC said: "In 2018, we want to engage with youth in new ways and they with us, helping young people to encounter God in Jesus Christ and his Church. Open your hearts to the life God intends for you and so make a real difference in the world."    On behalf of the ACBC, Archbishop Hart said: "As Bishops we invite you, the youth of Australia, to open your hearts to Christ. You are deeply loved by Jesus and the Church.    "We appreciate your gifts and contributions, and we want to journey with you. Young people have a great capacity to address injustice and create new opportunities for joy and hope. Today, many young people want to serve, and others are willing to take a chance to make the world a better place."   The Year of Youth will be part of a journey of dialogue and discernment as the Church in Australia contributes to the next Synod of Bishops in Rome during 2018 with its focus on "young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment" and as preparations commence to host a Plenary Council in Australia during 2020.....(more)  Photo: Cathnews
Priests burdened by expectations of parishioners
Extract from Cathnews, 8 December 2016
Under pressure, increasing numbers of priests are suffering from depression and anxiety. But support for clergy with mental health problems is patchy and piecemeal, according to The Tablet.    In September a 65-year-old priest in Essex told his bishop he was unable to take on responsibility for another two parishes, after the elderly clergy looking after those communities had either retired or died.   He felt overwhelmed. He was celebrating four Masses every weekend, providing support to local schools, hospitals, and hospices, and there was no other priest in the diocese available to assist him.     The problem is not confined to England and Wales. In Ireland, the dwindling clergy numbers and the resulting malaise is so extreme that, according to the Association of Catholic Priests, suicide has claimed the lives of at least five priests in recent years.    Over the past few decades, Catholic priests have come under enormous psychological strain in Britain and Ireland. The fallout from the scandal of child sex abuse has certainly been a big factor, but the decline in church attendance, the collapse in vocations, and the Church’s fading influence and prestige – the wearying effects of creeping secularisation common to all the Churches across Europe – have added to the sense of being embattled.     Parish priests are often arranging more funerals than baptisms or weddings; churches are closing; dioceses are being restructured; and bishops are spending more time on administration and less on pastoral care. Change management is difficult at the best of times and, sure enough, the cracks are starting to show.....(more)  Photo: Cathnews
Vatican updates guidelines for educating priests
Extract from Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, National Catholic Reporter, 7 December 2016
The Catholic church needs holy, healthy and humble priests and that requires prayers for vocations and the careful selection and training of candidates, said the Congregation for Clergy.   Updating 1985 guidelines for preparing men for the Latin-rite priesthood and ensuring their continuing education, training and support, the Congregation for Clergy Dec. 7 released "The Gift of the Priestly Vocation," a detailed set of guidelines and norms for priestly formation.   The updated document draws heavily on St. John Paul II's 1992 apostolic exhortation on priestly formation, as well as on the teaching of and norms issued by now-retired Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis and by Vatican offices over the past three decades.   It reaffirms an instruction approved by Benedict in 2005, which said, "the church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called 'gay culture.'"   The document insists that through courses in pastoral theology, the example of priests and practical experience, candidates for the priesthood learn that priestly ministry involves — as Pope Francis says — being "shepherds 'with the smell of the sheep,' who live in their midst to bring the mercy of God to them."....(more)  Photo: NCR CNS / Paul Haring
Rome’s dangerous gamble in China
Extract from Benedict Rogers, Catholic Herald, 7 December 2016
Historic talks between Vatican and Beijing could unify the Church in China but critics say a deal with an atheist government would 'betray Christ'    The Holy See and China may be on the brink of a historic deal that could end decades of hostility and stalemate. The agreement would have unprecedented political, doctrinal and pastoral ramifications.    The stakes are so high that Cardinal Joseph Zen has argued that the accord would “betray Christ” and represent a “surrender” to the communist regime. Is the retired Bishop of Hong Kong right?      Intensive talks between the Holy See and the Chinese government have taken place all year, both in Rome and Beijing. Pope Francis had hoped to seal a deal before the end of the Year of Mercy, a deadline that has now passed. But indications are that the completion of the negotiations may not be far away.    Cardinal John Tong, the present Bishop of Hong Kong, revealed in August that Vatican and Chinese officials had reached an initial agreement on the appointment of bishops, but no official details have emerged.....(more) Photo: Catholic Herald. AP,   
Vatican launches website for preventing clerical sex abuse
Extracts from Inés San Martín, Vatican  Correspondent, Crux, 6 December 2016
ROME - A beta version of a new website featuring resources for the prevention of clerical sexual abuse around the world made its debut on Tuesday, launched by the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors created by Pope Francis and led by Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston.     The site includes a template for anti-abuse guidelines each local church was asked to produce back in 2011, under emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.     The site, conceived as a way to share the knowledge and resources the commission has on safeguarding children and caring for survivors, is currently only available in English, but with other major languages following soon.   In the resources section, beyond the guidelines, there’s advice on how to lead days of prayer with survivors of sexual abuse and a description of the educational programs the commission members are doing.   In this same section, there are resources labeled “healing and care” which include suggested principles when meeting survivors and their families, underlining that the priorities should be protection, healing and reconciliation....(more)  Photo: Crux
Catholic schools perform well but Australian scores sliding
Extract from Cathnews, 7 December 2016
The latest international student assessment report shows that Australian Catholic schools are performing well in relation to high-performing countries, but declining results are a cause for concern, the National Catholic Education Commission has said.   The 2015 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) results were released yesterday and show that Australian 15-year-olds continue to enjoy stronger results in maths, science, and reading than their OECD peers, on average.    “In reading and in science, Australian students are performing well above the OECD average, and their scores in maths are also above the international average,” NCEC acting executive director Danielle Cronin said.    “Considering the performance data of Australian students across sectors, we can see that students in Australian Catholic schools are achieving results comparable with some of the world’s most highly regarded education systems.”    Ms Cronin said the report shows Australian Catholic school students perform better than students in South Korea, Norway, New Zealand, Japan, and Great Britain in some or all of the test domains.   She acknowledged that a clear and troubling downward trend in the results of Australian students, including students in Catholic schools, must be analysed more deeply....(more)
New U.S. Cardinals Condemn Polarization Inside the Church    Extracts from Michael O'Loughlin, Jeremy Zipple, America, the National Catholic Review, 5 December 2016
The problem that we have today, not only in society but also in the church, is that we’ve become too polarized,” Cardinal Kevin Farrell, an Irish-born prelate who was bishop of Dallas before taking over a Vatican department on family life earlier this year, told America. “We’ve believed that we’ve become gods on both sides, on the left and on the right, and neither one of them are correct.”     The days-long celebration in Rome was centered on a solemn ceremony inside St. Peter’s Basilica on Saturday morning, Nov. 19, during which Pope Francis elevated 17 men to the rank of cardinal. They will advise the pope, and 13 of them are eligible to vote for his successor.....At issue, they said, are ambiguities in one of the pope’s pastoral letters, “Amoris Laetitia.” The letter is the pope’s summary of a two-year discussion of family issues held by bishops from around the world, including hot-button topics like divorce, homosexuality and a breakdown in societal support for families.        Some bishops have said the document’s emphasis on conscience, reconciliation and discernment opens the door to Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, a view the pope himself seemed to endorse. The four cardinals opposed to such an interpretation sent a letter to the Vatican in September asking for yes or no answers to five questions they had about the document. The pope chose not to respond, leading to threats of a public rebuke from Cardinal Burke....Cardinal Blase Cupich, the archbishop of Chicago who was among those made cardinals at the Nov. 19 consistory, dismissed such concerns and said that those raising them may have to look inward for clarity. He pointed to an interview with Pope Francis published on Nov. 18 by the Italian Catholic newspaper Avvenire, in which the pope spoke about individuals who want the world to be “black and white.”     “But life is full of ambiguity,” Cardinal Cupich said at a press briefing at the Pontifical North American College following the consistory. Cardinal Cupich, who was handpicked by Pope Francis to lead the church in Chicago, also downplayed the notion that there exists widespread opposition to the pope or that Francis should be forced to defend his teaching.....He (Cardinal Joseph Tobin) also said that those opposed to the pope’s reforms are sometimes guided by a strong sense of legalism. “I think some people get it and understand that what he’s talking about is not just a sort of catechism of questions and answers but rather a recognition of the sanctity of conscience, as well as the obligation to form it, in the Catholic population.”...(more)  Photo:  Amerca NCR

End-of-calendar-year Parish Gatherings:  December 4th, 11th & 14th

5.00pm onwards this evening, 4 December, in the Parish Office, Waverley Ave, Ivanhoe.  It was a great opportunity to share and enjoy each other's company across the Parish. All those attending this BYO evening had a thoroughy enjoyable time, and also an opportunity to personally meet and welcome our new Parish Priest Fr Bill and his wife Robyn.   

For those who were unable to celebrate across our Parish this evening (and also for those who did) there are further end-of-year gatherings. Mother of God Community invite all in the Parish to lunch (BYO plate of food to share) after the 10:30 Mass on the 3rd Sunday in Advent, Sunday 11 December.  

As well, a Parish Christmas Lunch on Wednesday 14th December will be held at the Ivanhoe Hotel. $30 per person in advance to Sue 9499 1485, Eileen 9499 7120, or Helen 9499 7793 by next week if possible. Drinks at bar prices. Please bring a gift wrapped K.K ($5 approx)

Sunday 4 December 2016: Campaign for Noah
Noah is 11 and lives in the Mornington Peninsula. He suffers from the crippling disease of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. This vital fundraising campaign will help to provide the desperately needed assistance for a struggling family burdoned heavily by the major expenses associated with caring for their critically sick child.

What an amazing fun afternoon today at Federation Square  as part of this campaign. A big thank you from Noah's family to everyone who came. Friends, family and even strangers came together to support a great cause. A special thank you also to Fr Paul, Fr Joel, Fr BIll, Fr Dom and Fr Isuru for supporting Noah today in this way.

If you would like to support Noah without having to be sheared yourself visit Here , or search for Noah Guest at
Congratulations, Sister Jane Gorey:
On 3rd December, Sr. Jane celebrates 50 years as a Brigidine Sister. Sr Jane was a teacher for many years but it has been in her role as resident carer at the Ryder Cheshire home, here in Ivanhoe, that we of the Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe have come to know her. We pray, with and for you, Jane in thanksgiving for the gifts God has given you and for the ways you have used them in responding to the needs of many people.
TJH Council calls for law to protect the confessional
Extract from Cathnews, 2 December 2016
The Truth, Justice and Healing Council has called for new national laws making it a crime to not report information about child sex abuse — unless it is obtained by a priest ­during the confession. The Australian reports.      In a formal submission to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the TJHC has argued that this exemption would reflect Victorian legislation granting a similar “occasion of privilege” to that protecting commun­ic­ations between lawyers and their clients.    Under questioning at the commission yesterday, TJHC CEO Francis Sullivan said “parliaments will need to make their own decisions and then … priests will, like everybody else, have to obey the law or disobey the law.”      A series of child abuse scandals in recent decades has revealed “a shameful history, a rather confronting history within the Catholic Church of how sexual offenders were handled,” Mr Sullivan said.   This included the cover-up of known child sex offenders, and the moving of paedophile priests ­between parishes or dioceses, ­allowing them to offend again.    “We’re talking about culture. We’re talking about self-preservation. We’re talking about how the powers that be at a given time are more concerned about public scandal and reputation damage … than they were about the specific interests of a child,” he said.    The issue is expected to provoke controversy when the commission holds a three-week hearing into the Church in February, having ­recently flagged it will consider “the protection of the confessional.”....(more)  Image: Cathnews   [Ed: in an earlier submission to the Royal Commission Catholics for Renewal commented that confessional absolution for CSA offences should be conditional upon the offender directly reporting an offence to police, in keeping with existing practice that absolution is dependent on repentance and restitution].
Archbishop Coleridge elected as chair for historic plenary council planning the future of the Church in Australia
Extract from Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader, National News, 1 December 1 2016
BRISBANE Archbishop Mark Coleridge has been elected to chair a special bishops’ commission to plan and run an historic plenary council of the entire Church in Australia.    It is to be held in 2020, only the fifth time in Australia’s history, and 79 years after the previous plenary council meeting.    Archbishop Coleridge was elected during the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference meeting in Sydney last month to chair the six-member special bishops’ commission.    “What the plenary council is all about is planning for the future of the Church in this country at a very complex time,” Archbishop Coleridge said.    He said the plenary council 2020 would have to consider deep questions of culture and the Church.     There would have to be genuine and thorough responses to all that had come to light in the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse.     “We can’t just put up a sign saying business as usual,” he said.     “The Church is not the presence in our society it once was. We need to take a measure of that and make decisions accordingly.     “The culture in which we have to proclaim the Gospel is very different to what it was even 20 or 30 years ago.”     A plenary council, or synod, can discuss and legislate on a wide range of issues, including matters of faith, morals and discipline.    They are a rarity in Australian history.    The last was held in 1937, and before that in 1885, 1895 and 1905 – each exclusively male gatherings, with only bishops, theologians and superiors of male religious orders attending.     “I think the bishops are very conscious that this call to the plenary council has come from God and the whole process will be the work of the Holy Spirit,” Archbishop Coleridge said.     “We have to discern what the Spirit is saying to the Church at this time.     Reaching a new generation: “The culture in which we have to proclaim the Gospel is very different to what it was even 20 or 30 years ago.”....(more).  Photo: CNS Reaching a new generation: “The culture in which we have to proclaim the Gospel is very different to what it was even 20 or 30 years ago.” Photo: CNS  plenary-council
Achbishops condemn Vic government over teens in adult prisons
Extract from Cathnews, 1 December 2016
Melbourne's Catholic and Anglican Archbishops have penned a joint letter to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews condemning the State government's decision to house teenagers in the "harshest of adult prison settings," reports the ABC.      Archbishop Denis Hart and Anglican Archbishop Philip Freier said they had taken the unusual step because they shared a deep concern about the welfare of "the most vulnerable and impressionable children" in the youth justice system.     The Andrews government last week started transferring teenagers from the Melbourne Youth Justice Centre in Parkville to a segregated wing of Barwon prison near Geelong, following riots that left a damage bill of up to $1 million.    But the Archbishops said the maximum security adult prison was designed to contain and manage serious adult offenders, rather than focus on rehabilitating young people.    "While we understand that the government has had to make an emergency response to recent unrest within the system we are gravely concerned that part of that response has resulted in children being transferred into the harshest of adult prison settings," they wrote.....(more)
Newman College appoints honorary Pope Francis Fellow
Edited Extracts from Words: Tiffany Obrien, Melbourne Catholic, Thursday 1 December 2016
On Wednesday 16 November at the Newman College council meeting, Archbishop Denis Hart launched the honorary Pope Francis Fellow position.....The Pope Francis Fellow will promote and disseminate the witness and teaching of Pope Francis by: organising two prominent international Catholic speakers each calendar year to deliver the Helder Camara lecture at Newman College on themes connected to the thought of Pope Francis in the spirit of Dom Helder;  conducting annual symposiums on key documents of Pope Francis such as: Evangelii gaudium (The joy of the Gospel, 2013);  Laudato Si’ (Praise be to you: On care for our common home, 2015), Laudato Si’ (Praise be to you: On care for our common home, 2015; Amoris Laetitia (The joy of love: Post-synodal apostolic exhortation on love in the family, 2016);  developing—at the direction of the Rector of Newman College—seminars and retreats for undergraduate and graduate students at Newman College;  coordinating a two-week study tour in Rome that introduces participants to the mission and witness of Pope Francis within the context of global Catholicism today....(more)
Parish roundup: Detroit's synod participants want spiritual formation for all ages
Extracts from Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter, and  30 November 2016
Editor's note: "The Field Hospital" blog series covers life in U.S. and Canadian Catholic parishes. The title comes from Pope Francis' words: "I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. …".....(more)..... More than half the participants of a Catholic church gathering over the weekend pinpointed a project they would like to see the Archdiocese of Detroit’s Central Services take on: A plan that addresses spiritual formation for all stages of life from childhood to the seniors years.    Close to 400 Catholics assembled downtown to discuss ways the Archdiocese of Detroit can transform the local Catholic church and its parishes. The three-day gathering ended Sunday after area clergy and laity joined for workshops as part of Synod 16, the first time since 1969 that the Archdiocese of Detroit has gathered to embark on transforming the church and addressing changes.    A synod is a religious gathering to discuss ways to follow fundamental religious teaching while also reshaping how parishioners pray, share their faith and address spiritual needs for the future....(more)
Seeing God through the eyes of a wild creature
Extracts from Joe McHugh*, National Catholic Reporter, 29 November 2016
I like to watch nature documentaries on TV. They jump-start my religious imagination with startling images of God's saving side.      I learned to grieve watching a mother leopard mourn the sudden loss of its cub. Seeing a father zebra coax its foal away from its dead mother and back to protection of the herd showed me how hard God begs us to abandon death and isolation in favor of life and community. My prayer life got a makeover when I watched an orphaned white rhino learn to escape disease-carrying insects and scorching sun by taking time to wallow in cooling mud and water, a habit that turns out to be both refreshing and life-saving. Real prayer, I am learning, has a lot to do with wallowing.   "Touching the Wild," a PBS documentary with naturalist Joe Hutto, gave me a new image of God's relentless passion to comfort and challenge us. It documents Hutto's six-year stint with a herd of wild mule deer in Wyoming's mountainous wilderness.......Toward the end of "Touching the Wild," Hutto shows his viewers the well-worn paths mule deer have traveled for hundreds of years, full of confidence that they would once again lead them to food and life. But there comes a time, Hutto insists, that these paths turn into dead ends, and the deer know instinctively that they need abandon past habits and take chance on new paths to possible sustenance. It's a wonderful image of how faith is always on the lookout for more commitment to God's surprises.....(more)  [*Joe McHugh is a spiritual director in St. Paul, Minn.]
Science and Church must work together for all humankind
Extract from Sean Smith, The Tablet,  29 November 2016
Pope Francis told some of the most well respected scientists in the world that it was vital that religion and science work together to help eradicate water and food poverty and help prevent the planet from the ravages of climate change, during the Plenary Session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Monday in the Consistory Hall of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican.   The sessions, which are taking place all this week, brought together leading scientists from a broad spectrum of fields to explore how available - or expected to be available soon - scientific advances affect the sustainable development of human societies and their environments.......“It has now become essential to create, with your cooperation, a normative system that includes inviolable limits and ensures the protection of ecosystems,” said Pope Francis, “before the new forms of power deriving from the techno-economic model causes irreversible harm not only to the environment, but also to our societies, to democracy, to justice and freedom.”...(more) 

Welcome Fr Bill and wife Robyn

Friday 25 November 2016

Our new Parish Priest Fr Bill Edebohls and his wife Robyn effectively moved into our Parish today. In his invited self-introduction published on this website last Friday here and for those without Internet now printed as well in the Parish Newsletter this weekend Fr Bill also speaks of the joys and sorrows associated with moving.                   In his subsequent 'welcome to our website' just published today he speaks as well of our Parish as "God’s small family in Ivanhoe", adding encouragingly that "like any family we need each other."      While thinking at the same time of Fr Paul as he moves as well to a new Parish today we warmly welcome Fr Bill and Robyn and hope they will enjoy sharing our faith community with us. The Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe is Outreach oriented and has a reputation for being friendly and collegial. As suggested in Fr Bill's self-introduction we also look forward to building new relationships and new friendships together, and as we grow together as the family of God in the Parish of Ivanhoe facing the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for us all in our rapidly evolving world and Church.  Advent is an excellent time to start!

Awake! Prepare for Advent
Edited Extract from Melbourne Catholic, Archbishop’s Office for Evangelisation, 25 November 2016
Preparing for Advent (if you find the time!) seems more and more a job these days—something to be 'done', rather than 'experienced', or 'prepared for', especially if you're the one in charge of your parish liturgical preparations! The 'Awake!' Advent calendar provides short but deep reflections for each of the 28 days leading up to Christmas. Sent to you daily, each reflection takes no more than 1-2 minutes to read, but provides a day's worth of contemplation and practice....(more)
Some familiar faces at Advent
On the first two Sundays of Advent, 27 November & 4 December  , you’ll recognize the celebrant and the two readers in a Channel 10 / Foxtel pre-recorded MFYAH (Mass for you at home). Fr. Thang, John Costa, Merle Gilbo.  Watch anytime Here.
Pope Francis, keen on capitalism's reform, to host business elite at Vatican  Extract from Desmond O'Grady, The Age, 25 November 2016
Fortune and Time magazines are holding a meeting in the Vatican about forging a new global social contract.   The so-called Global Forum will bring together those who believe capitalism is the way to beat poverty and a Pope who deplores the damages caused by unbridled capitalism.....(more)
Pope warns of 'epidemic of animosity' Extract from Desmond O'Grady, The Age, 25 November 2016
In an apparent reference to anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim attitudes that have surfaced in the US, Pope Francis warns of an 'epidemic of animosity' against immigrants....(more - including video)
Fuss behind Amoris letter hints at Cardinals' deeper anxiety
Extract from Cathnes, Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Streetm 24 November 2016
"Why does making space for some married and divorced couples to receive communion arouse such anxiety? The fact that it already exists in much pastoral practice suggests the concern is symbolic of a more general anxiety," writes Andrew Hamilton SJ.       In the years after Vatican II many theologians gave public lectures to Melbourne audiences on renewal. Jesuit moral theologian Arnie Hogan encouraged the move from a command and control approach to Christian living, to an approach based on personal responsibility.     Many of his hearers thought he was not renewing but selling out faith. They flocked to his lectures to grill him. One evening someone asked him whether it was a mortal sin to miss Mass on Sundays. (Mortal sins were a ticket to hell, and in Church teaching to miss Mass on Sunday was a mortal sin.)    In response he began to explain the importance of free consent, grave matter, and mature decision etc. His questioner interrupted him, demanding a yes or no answer. Arnie again took the conversation to a broader level, only to be told, "You are evading the question, Father. Is it, or is it not, a mortal sin to miss Mass on Sunday?"      Arnie paused for a moment and said, "Well, for you, it would be!"     I was reminded of this story when reading that four Cardinals had sent a letter to the Pope demanding yes or no answers as to whether his reflection Amoris Laetitia was faithful to Catholic tradition in its treatment of the reception by divorced Catholics of communion. On not receiving a reply they published their letter, and one Cardinal followed it up with murmurs about impeachment.....(more).   Photo: Cathnews
In latest meeting, Synod of Bishops finalizes preparatory doc for 2018
Edited Extract from Elise Harris, Crux, Catholic News Agency, 23 November 2013
Rome. This week Pope Francis presided on the Synod of Bishops in order to prepare the groundwork for the Ordinary Synod on the topic of “Young People, the Faith and the Discernment of Vocation.” The preparatory document and questionnaire written at the meeting will be sent throughout the world in order to prepare for the Synod scheduled on October 2018.      ROME - The Synod of Bishops met in Rome this week to finalize the preparatory document and questionnaire that will form the basis of the discussion for the upcoming gathering to discuss youth, faith and discernment.     The document, which includes a questionnaire, will be sent out to Episcopal Conferences and to Synods of Eastern Catholic Churches “sui iuris” (independent) so that it can be distributed to dioceses and other ecclesial institutions throughout the world in order to prepare for the 2018 Ordinary Synod.    During the meeting, members of the Synod Council split up into small groups divided by continent in order to identify specific questions regarding youth “in different geographical and cultural contexts.”....(more).  Photo, Crux
Detroit synod devotes discussion to archdiocese's mission, challenges
Extracts from Kristen Whitney Daniels, National Catholic Reporter, 22 November 2016
.....On an unseasonably warm November day, 400 members of the Detroit archdiocese's "Synod '16" filed into St. Aloysius Catholic Church to discuss that effort. The majestic three-story church stands in stark contrast to the dilapidated, abandoned and run-down buildings that surround it.........."Like a lot of organizations that subsist in our city, we've had to reorganize structurally, we've had to part with some churches and to adapt to shifting populations, especially in the city, a quickly decreasing population," Kohn said. "That kind of thing has been the groundwork for [Synod '16]."...."What we've done in recent years in terms of pastoral planning with our parishes in terms of fundraising, getting a lot of our parishes on good financial footing, that has all been in earnest and anticipation of redoubling ourselves toward the mission of our church. And Synod '16 is a very special part of that," said Kohn.....According to The Michigan Catholic, the archdiocese's newspaper, these are the propositions that garnered the most support in each category during the synod:....Eyes will be on the archdiocese and the archbishop as they sift through the information gathered during the synod. Many will look to see how the momentum generated by the synod translates into practical results. Official results of Synod '16 won't be released until June 4, 2017, Pentecost Sunday.....(more) Photo: NCR/Kristen Whitney Daniels 
Mary to be the focus of next World Youth Day celebrations, Pope Francis announces
Extract from The Tablet, Catholic News Service, 22 November 2016
Mother of Jesus was always open to the Lord's will and is 'a role model to be imitated'     Mary to be the focus of next World Youth Day celebrations, Pope Francis announces      Pope Francis has chosen a focus on Mary for the next World Youth Day celebrations, which will be held in dioceses in 2017 and 2018 and with an international gathering in Panama in 2019.     The pope has highlighted the way the Mother of Jesus was always open to the Lord's will and has described her "as a role model to be imitated," said the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life in a press release Nov. 22.    The themes "are intended to give a clear Marian tone to the spiritual journey" of the next three World Youth Days as well as to "give a picture of young people on a journey between the past (2017), present (2018) and future (2019), inspired by the three theological virtues of faith, charity and hope."     World Youth Day is celebrated annually on a local level, and every two or three years with an international gathering with the pope. At the end of the World Youth Day celebration in July in Krakow, Poland, Pope Francis announced the next international gathering would be held in Panama in 2019....(more)
Three messages from the new crop of Cardinals
Extract from Cathnews, John Allen, Crux, 22 November 2016
"Pretty much everything a pope does exercises leadership and shapes culture in the Church, whether or not it comes wrapped in a binding magisterial declaration, and the creation of 17 new Cardinals was a case in point," writes John Allen.    Francis delivered a talk on Sunday morning, which was notable for its plea to avoid in-fighting at a time when public crossfires involving bishops seem increasingly common. In reality, however, the most important statement of the day was made well in advance, in the form of his picks for new Princes of the Church.          Here are three take-aways from Sunday's consistory, which is the third of Francis’s papacy.....(more) Photo: Cathnews, Crux
A Lost Tribe: priests at risk: Address of Brendan Hoban to the Irish ACP
Extract from Brendan Hoban, published 17 Nov in Irish Association of Catholic Priests website, linked here 22 November 2016
First, I want to make it clear that what I have to say has to do with the world of diocesan priests. Whether it applies to others – non-diocesan priests, if you’ll pardon that expression – that’s for them to judge.      I speak out of my own experience.     In recent decades the Care of Priests has become a regular item on the agendas of Priests Councils and in the conversations priests have about our future lives.     Paddy Sweeney has an excellent article in a recent edition of The Furrow and I’ve written about it myself. Séamus Ahearne alluded to it in a recent contribution to the website.      Fifty years ago no one talked about the care of priests or priests at risk.     What’s different now from fifty years ago? Well, everything or almost everything.    I was ordained forty three years ago, and I was appointed a curate in Crossmolina parish. My parish priest was Ben McLoughlin, a lovely man, who was around my age now. (I’m 68, he was 70 then).     Every time I visited him, his house-keeper of over 40 years, Mary Forde, carried out a long practised liturgy with its rubrics hallowed from time immemorial: she took out the china cups, cut the crusts off the sandwiches, handed me a cloth napkin, she left the room and returned discreetly every five minutes to ‘heat up the tea’.    I was 25 at the time and I imagined that when I was Ben’s age, my circumstances would be like his.    But my life now as parish priest in Moygownagh couldn’t be more different. And it isn’t just that there’s no live-in housekeeper, no china cups or neatly presented sandwiches but that the safe, secure, confident clerical world that Ben inhabited has imploded completely.....(more)
Pope extends powers for all priests to absolve abortion
Extract from Cathnews, The Catholic Herald, 22 November 2016
Releasing Misericordia et misera, an apostolic letter concluding the Year of Mercy, the Pope wrote that “there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach,” while staunchly reiterating that “abortion is a grave sin.”       In his letter released yesterday, Pope Francis formally gave all priests permanent permission to grant absolution to those who confess to having procured an abortion. While many bishops around the world routinely grant that faculty to all their priests, Pope Francis had made it universal during the Holy Year.      Without formal permission, priests had been required to refer the case to their bishops before granting sacramental absolution to a woman who had an abortion or those directly involved in the procedure.     “I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion,” he wrote.    “The provision I had made in this regard, limited to the duration of the Extraordinary Holy Year, is hereby extended, notwithstanding anything to the contrary. I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life.....(more) Photo: Cathnews.
Fr Paul's final Ivanhoe Parish weekend Masses
Friday 18 November 2016
After serving over a short time as Parish Administrator before our new Parish Priest commences with us on Thursday 24 November Fr Paul Newton will celebrate his final Ivanhoe Parish weekend Masses this coming weekend before leaving the following Friday, 25 November, for his next appointment. Masses this coming weekend will be a good opportunity to collectively farewell and thank Fr Paul.           At his arrival in our Parish Fr Paul announced that during his short period with us he could  not of course do all things, so in addition to normal busy priestly duties across our three church communities he would concentrate particularly on additional worthwhile things he could achieve in that time.         After inviting suggestions on a suitable area of focus for that brief period he chose to devote much time and effort on young people and families through various initiatives, including Emmaus discussions and social activities. Fr Paul contributed his strong sense of faith, zeal and energy to this task and supportively added further local pastoral work to that which he extensively brought with him into the Parish. All of this was well reflected in the thoughtful messages of his powerful and helpful homilies, well humoured also as they were.           We thank Fr. Paul for what he has passionately contributed to our Parish, and hope in return that our collegial parish spirit might have also offered a worthwhile experience for him as well.         Next Friday 25th November Fr Paul moves to Malvern East Parish as Administrator, then in February 2016 takes up his new appointment as Parish Priest of Murrumbeena and Ormond Parishes. Thank you Fr Paul for a dedicated, very energetic and pastorally supportive time with us. Our prayers and best wishes go with you in your new Ministry and with your new Parishes.
Introducing our new Parish Priest
Friday 18 November 2016

We invited our new Parish Priest to be, Fr Bill Edebohls, to introduce himself and his wife Robyn just before they move into our Parish and before he officially commences Ministry here from next Thursday, 24th November.

That will also be the day they shift residence into Ivanhoe so it may be effectively Friday 25 November before our Parish Priest's office is newly occupied. In advance of their arrival we are very pleased to publish Fr Bill's self-introduction here.
Parish Office and grounds Working Bee
Friday 18 November 2018
A great place to meet others in the Parish and schools whilst  keeping the place tidy and hospitable & saving limited Parish funds.
Saturday 19 November
.  Any times between 8am-12pm. BYO garden tools would help. Morning Tea provided. More in Newsletter/Web.

Some familiar faces at Advent
Friday 18 November 2016
Do you ever rise early enough to watch ‘Mass for you at home’ on Channel 10 or Foxtel Aurora channel?  Maybe you record it so that it can be watched later than 6:00am, or online anytime the week after from HERE.     If you do see it on the first two Sundays of Advent (from 27 November) , you’ll recognize the celebrant and the two readers.      The recording was made in early February - not long after we had lived Advent 2015, so it was strange to be going back to Advent so soon again.  However, the colour purple, the general décor and the readings helped us to make the adjustment.    As I thought about this, I looked at the MFYAH (Mass for you at home) website and found a lot of interesting information.  It is worth a look!!   We enjoyed the experience.  Fr. Thang, John Costa, Merle Gilbo
Vatican Family head criticises Archbishop's policy on Amoris
Extract from Cathnews, Catholi News Service,  18 November 2016
In a criticism of Archbishop Charles Chaput, US Cardinal-designate Kevin Farrell said he believes the US Bishops as a whole should have discussed pastoral guidelines for implementing Amoris Laetitia before individual bishops began issuing guidelines.         Implementing Amoris Laetitia "has to be done in communion with our bishops. I think that it would have been wiser to wait for the gathering of the conference of bishops where all the bishops of the United States or all the bishops of a country would sit down and discuss these things."      In September, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, then-president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued a statement on Amoris Laetitia in which he announced that a report had been sent to Rome on the "reception and implementation" of the apostolic exhortation.       The committee that produced the report was headed by Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia, head of the US Bishops' ad hoc committee for implementing Amoris Laetitia.   In July, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia issued its own pastoral guidelines on the exhortation. Since then, other bishops have issued guidelines on the document and pastoral discernment and accompaniment of married couples.     Among other things, the Philadelphia guidelines state that while divorced and civilly remarried couples should be welcome in parishes and accompanied by priests, they may not receive Communion unless they live as brother and sister.       Cardinal-designate Farrell, recently appointed as the prefect of the new Vatican Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life, said: "I don't share the view of what Archbishop Chaput did. I think there are all kinds of different circumstances and situations that we have to look at - each case as it is presented to us."....(more)
Cardinal may make 'correction' if Pope ignores Amoris letter
Extract from Cathnews, 17 November 2016
Cardinal Raymond Burke has said it may be necessary to make a “formal act of correction” if Pope Francis doesn’t answer a letter from four cardinals asking him to clarify aspects of Amoris Laetitia. The Catholic Herald has the story.    In an interview with Edward Pentin of National Catholic Register, Cardinal Burke said that if the Pope were to teach error or heresy, “It is the duty in such cases, and historically it has happened, of cardinals and bishops to make clear that the Pope is teaching error and to ask him to correct it.”     Cardinal Burke is one of four cardinals who have written to the Pope asking for a clarification of Amoris Laetitia. They say that the document could be read as contradicting Church teaching on the moral law and on the question of Communion for the remarried. The Pope has declined to reply to the letter.     Asked what would happen if the Pope remained silent, Cardinal Burke replied: “Then we would have to address that situation. There is, in the tradition of the Church, the practice of correction of the Roman Pontiff. It is something that is clearly quite rare. But if there is no response to these questions, then I would say that it would be a question of taking a formal act of correction of a serious error.”....(more)
Closing of the Holy Doors of Mercy: Parishes’ journey
Based on  extracts from Tiffany Davis,  Communications and Event Manager, Archbishop’s Office for Evangelisation, Thursday 17 November 2016
Following its launch by Pope Francis’ a year ago The Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy has been embraced by parishes across the Archdiocese of Melbourne. At the start of the 11am mass on Sunday 20 November 2016, Archbishop Hart will walk through the holy door of mercy at St Patrick's Cathedral for the last time.......Strewn throughout the year were workshops with local and international speakers providing insights on ‘mercy’ in the context of the world of politics, media, healthcare and the universal Church. British life peer and crossbencher Baroness Sheila Hollins discussed ‘The medicine of mercy’. American writer and social activist Nathan Schneider spoke on ‘Creating a culture of mercy in public life’. Czech author and professor Mgr Tomáš Halík returned to Melbourne to discuss the ‘Healing alienation in our Church and world’. The speakers program concluded with the Archdiocese of Washington’s Dr Susan Timoney’s talk on ‘A spirituality of mercy in parish life’. A series of resources were developed to help parishes unpack the themes of the Jubilee, many of which were used by dioceses around the world, including in the United Kingdom and America.........
(more)[Ed: The Broken Bay Institute and Australian Catholics Bishops Conference hosted a Year of Mercy eConference broadcast to many venues including the Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe. Printed Resources created for the Year of Mercy are still available online online Here and include reflection booklets that can be used beyond the jubilee]
Francis refuses 'trap' by Cardinal Burke and allies over Amoris Laetitia 'errors'
Extracts from Christopher Lamb, The Tablet, 16 November 2016
......So why is the Pope staying silent? Francis believes their questions are a trap and has opted not to engage in a debate which seems on the cardinals' terms and designed to make him restate old rules. He has also definitively endorsed the Argentinian bishops’ position which is that communion can be given to remarried Catholics in some cases - and he is leaving it up to individual bishops in general to make the call.     For the conservatives this is the crux of the problem. It is not so much “confusion” about the document but that the Pope has ruled in favour of personal conscience, discernment and power to the local churches. That is scary for them because it means throwing off the comfort blanket of clean, clear unequivocal papal teaching.      But the truth is that when it comes to marriage and divorce a “one size fits all” solution doesn’t work, and Francis knows it. He also knows that most Catholics agree and that Amoris Laetitia reflects the reality of countless numbers of parishes. And he may be sceptical of the claim that the faithful are “confused” from a group of cardinals not currently engaged in front-line pastoral work....(more)  Photo: The Tablet
Don’t listen to the ‘prophets of doom,’ Pope Francis insists
Extract from Melbourne Catholic By Inés San Martín, Crux Now, Tuesday 15 November 2016
Pope Francis on Sunday called for the faithful not to be driven by end-times curiosities or apocalyptic preachers, urging them to focus on what is truly important: ‘The Lord and our neighbor.’ ‘Those who follow Jesus pay no heed to prophets of doom, the nonsense of horoscopes, or frightening sermons that distract from the truly important things,’ Francis said.    It is important, he continued, to distinguish ‘the word of wisdom that God speaks to us each day’ from the shouting of those who use ‘God’s name to frighten, to nourish division and fear.’ Francis’s words came as he was celebrating Mass at St Peter’s Basilica, in Rome. The celebration was one of the events of the Holy Year of Mercy, and it served as the closing point of the Jubilee for the Socially Excluded, which began on Friday, when the pontiff encountered thousands of homeless people from around Europe....(more)
Year of Mercy ends but life for the homeless goes on
Extract from Cathnews, 15 November 2016
"The Year of Mercy is coming to an end, but we can be certain that homelessness will not go away. We need to confront this issue at its roots," writes Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith in The Catholic Herald.    The Pope made a beautiful and powerful gesture on Sunday by inviting the poor and homeless to one of the last Masses of the Jubilee Year of Mercy in the Vatican.     What made the gesture even more poignant is the realisation that would have struck most of the readers of the story, namely that these people, simply because they are poor and homeless, would often not find a place of honour, or even any place at all, in their parish churches. Many parish churches, even though they may not want to do so, put off those who feel marginalised.    Even if we are committed to welcoming all comers, many never will come: church-going, even in the Catholic world, is tinged with perceived respectability. So the Pope’s gesture contains a powerful message to us all – how can we make sure that the poor and homeless find a welcome with us?...(more)
Cardinals ask Pope to clarify teaching on Communion for divorced
Extract from Cathnews, 15 November 2016
Four semi-retired Cardinals have questioned Pope Francis' teachings on family life, issuing an open letter to him to clarify how he understands Church teaching following the publication of Amoris Laetita, reports NCR Online.    While the Cardinals say they are writing the note in "an act of justice and charity" to allow the Pope to "dispel all ambiguity" about his exhortation, they pit Francis' document against others written by his predecessors John Paul II and Benedict XVI.    Publication of such an open challenge to a Pope from some of his Cardinals is exceedingly rare.   Although 13 Cardinals were reported to have questioned Francis in a letter during the 2015 Synod of Bishops, their letter was only made public after it was leaked to the press. Once it was public, several of the prelates attached to the note publicly distanced themselves from it.   The new letter on Amoris Laetita, which has five yes-or-no questions, was published openly on Monday after it was given to a number of news organisations. The full text was posted by the National Catholic Register.   The four Cardinals say they decided to make their letter public after their original September 19 note to Francis and to Cardinal Gerhard Muller, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, did not receive a response.   The four prelates signing the document are: Carlo Caffarra, former Archbishop of Bologna; Raymond Burke, head of the Order of Malta; Walter Brandmüller, former president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences; and Joachim Meisner, former Archbishop of Cologne.....(more)
Who or what is to blame for Trump?
Limited extract from Anthony Annett, United States, LaCroix International (a subscription journal), 15 November 2016
The finger points in four directions – at the Democrats, at the Republicans, at ideology, and at (American) Christianity.    I thought I would revisit an essay I wrote for Commonweal in July on the rise of Trump. I stand by what I wrote there. Of course, like almost everyone else, I had assumed that Clinton would sail to easy victory. Now that we’ve all been proven wrong, I thought it would be good to assess where we stand. Clearly, the process of collective reflection is only beginning. So let me add my voice by pointing the finger in four directions – at the Democrats, at the Republicans, at ideology, and at (American) Christianity.....First things first: Clinton was undone by a platform based on technocratic liberalism in economic policy combined with expressive individualism in social policy. She opted for a re-run of John Kerry’s sterile and dispassionate 2004 campaign. We all thought that it would be enough to beat someone like Trump. But we were wrong......(link to subscription source) 
Goodbye Obama, hello Trump (how transition occurs)
Extract from The Guardian, 15 November 2016
......When does President Trump take office?      At noon on Friday, 20 January 2017. Until his inauguration, neither Donald Trump, his family or his staff can take possession of the property or offices of the federal government (other than the transition spaces provided by the General Services Administration)....How many posts will Trump have to fill?   There are about 4,000 positions in the executive branch, including the White House, that are filled by appointment. About 1,200 of those positions (not including federal judges) require confirmation by the Senate, including cabinet nominees and agency heads.   It generally takes between six and nine months to fill all the positions requiring Senate approval, and well over a year to fill the mid-level positions not requiring confirmation.  What challenges will Trump face?.....(more)  Photo: The Guardian,
Review: You Want It Darker by Leonard Cohen
Extract from Angelin Yeoh, Star2, 15 November 2016
Singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, who passed away on Nov 10, once wrote a farewell letter to longtime friend and muse Marianne Ilhen, the inspiration behind the song So Long Marianne.     In the letter, 82-year-old Cohen said to Ilhem (who died at age 81 in July): “It said, well Marianne it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart, and I think I will follow you very soon.” The poignant note tells us that back then, Cohen already seemed to be contemplating the inevitably of his own demise when he wrote the letter.     The solemn subject is the haunting theme on his latest album. The nine-track album opens with You Want It Darker. A looming choir welcomes listeners into the song as Cohen’s deep voice sings, “I’m ready, my Lord”. In the languid guitar-driven track Leaving The Table, Cohen waves a white flag to whatever discontentment he has in life....(more)  Photo Star 2  Video: (C) 2016 Sony Music Entertainment, youtube
Authoritarian Seduction
Extracts from J.A.Dick blog, Another Voice, "Authoritarianism is very seductive", 14 November 2016
.....This week I am repeating elements of my earlier reflection, because I find it particularly appropriate this November, and as we look ahead to events in January.     Yes authoritarianism is hardly a new phenomenon. We saw it earlier in repressive political regimes in Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, Franco’s Spain, and the Croatian ustasha movement.      Authoritarianism is very seductive; and, just like drug dealers and their “clients,” authoritarian leaders and authoritarian followers promote authoritarian addiction. It happens when followers stop thinking for themselves and submit to the emotional rhetoric of narcissistic authoritarian leaders.      Authoritarian followers are highly submissive to authoritarian leaders and aggressively insist that everyone should behave as dictated by the authority. They are fearful about a changing world and a changing society which they neither understand nor want to understand. They would rather turn the clock back to some imagined golden era. In fact, no golden era was ever that golden; and, in any case, no one can reverse the calendar. The days, for instance, of white male supremacy in the United States are over and gone. White people will soon become the new minority group.            Authoritarian followers don’t question. They obey happily; and they happily denigrate and dismiss people who disagree with them. People seduced by authoritarianism are attracted to strong leaders, who, in often theatrical style, appeal to their feelings of fear and anxiety. They respond aggressively toward “outsides,” be they gays, Mexicans, Muslims, or political refugees. People unknown and different become the enemy.          Authoritarianism becomes even more sinister, when authoritarian leaders begin to proclaim their message in the name of Christianity, and some Christians begin to proclaim authoritarian leaders as protectors of Christian morality.....(more)

Parish Fiji schools fundraising update:

Earlier this year collections and funds were raised across our schools and Parish for the school children in Fiji affected by Cyclone Winston. Fijian Schools and Principals were very grateful for kindness of contributors & organisers and sincerely thank all concerned at St Bernadette’s School and Parish of Ivanhoe. Sent and received were: 32 rugby balls, 16 each of volley balls, soccer balls and netballs, 8 volley ball nets, as well as bags & pumps.  Messages of thanks included:         

"We have been very affected by Cyclone Winston and are in need of almost everything. Thank you so much for everything. It is something that we really need for the children"

Canberra school holds ceremony to apologise to abuse victims
Extract from Cathnews, 11 November 2016
Marist College in Canberra has held a service apologising to past students who suffered sexual and physical abuse at the hands of staff at the Catholic school. The ABC reports.  The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard that several Brothers at the all-boys school had abused students in the 1970s and 1980s.    Other abuse allegations date back decades further.    Last night the school held a liturgy attended by about 200 people, apologising to students, and holding prayer in hope of healing the damage caused.....(more) Photo: Cathnews,
Vatican congratulates Trump, urges him to work for peace
Extract from Cathnews, The Catholic Herald,  10 November 2016
The Vatican has offered best wishes to Donald Trump after his victory in the US election and called on him to work for peace in the world, reports AP in The Catholic Herald.     In an interview with Vatican Radio, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, urged Mr Trump’s presidency to be “truly fruitful” and said the Vatican “notes with respect for the will expressed by the American people with this exercise in democracy.”     Cardinal Parolin also assured the President-elect of “our prayer that the Lord may enlighten and support him in his service of his country, of course, but also to the well-being and peace in the world.”     He added: “I believe that today we need all work to change the world situation, which is one of serious laceration and severe conflict.”      In response to a question about Mr Trump’s stance on immigration and specifically the Pope’s comment that “He who builds walls is not a Christian,” Cardinal Parolin said it was “too premature to make judgments.”.....(more)  Photo: Vatican Press Office.
Trump in the White House: Building bridges, not walls
Twenty-seven years after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Donald Trump was elected president of the USA.
Extracts from Guillaume Goubert, Editorial, La Croix Inbternational (subscription journal), 10 November 2016
The announcement of Donald Trump’s victory on November 9, 2016 will go down in history. Just as the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 marked another major historical moment.    Beyond the coincidence of dates, however, what do the two events have in common? Perhaps it is something to do with excess. An excess of optimism 27 years ago when the end of the Cold War held out hopes for the opening of an era of sustainable peace. An excess of anxiety now following the election of an unpredictable man as head of state of the greatest world power...........The things that bind us are more important than those that divide. Democracy involves more than a victory of the majority; it also requires attention to the minority. It is preferable to build bridges rather than walls....(more - by subscription
No regrets: Priest who posted video with dead foetus is defiant
Extract from Cathnews, 10 November 2016
A US priest who was condemned for posing with an aborted foetus on an altar in a pro-Trump video says he does not believe he’ll be disciplined by Church authorities and has no regrets, reports the Religion News Service.      “I wasn’t there playing catch with the baby’s body. I wasn’t taunting the baby’s body. I was honouring the baby’s body, which is what we do all the time,” Fr Frank Pavone, head of the New York-based anti-abortion group Priests for Life, said in a phone interview on Tuesday.    “We’re making it (abortion) real to people. And we’re making reparation,” said Fr Pavone, who posted the 44-minute Facebook live video on Sunday.       In the video and the accompanying post, which have been viewed more than 360,000 times, Fr Pavone stands over the small, curled foetus and talks about why voters must support Donald Trump; Fr Pavone is a member of the Republican President-elect's faith advisory team.      The video prompted numerous critiques, many from Catholics who oppose abortion, who said that Fr Pavone was defiling a human life and a sacred place....(more)
NSW court orders priests to give evidence in civil case
Extract from Cathnews, 10 November 2016
The Archbishop of ­Adelaide, Philip Wilson, and the Director of Catholic Mission Australia, Fr Brian Lucas, have been ordered to give evidence in court about their knowledge of child abuse committed by a paedophile priest, according to The Australian.        The NSW Supreme Court has ordered both men to attend a hearing this month and to provide documents relating to discussions with or about the late Denis McAlinden, a priest of the diocese of Maitland-Newcastle who abused dozens of children between the 1950s and 1980s.     Two of McAlinden’s ­alleged victims, who cannot be identified, are suing the Maitland-New­castle diocese and the estate of its former bishop, Leo Clarke, claiming they were ­abused between the mid-1970s to late 1980s.        While the Church has previously admitted that McAlinden was an abuser, the case will centre on when officials were first aware of his crimes.      Fr Lucas, who is overseas, said yesterday: “I have always co-operated with the authorities and I have asked my solicitor to inform the parties that I will be available on my return.”....(more) Photo: Cathnews
White evangelicals, Catholics and Mormons carried Trump
Extract from Lauren Markoe, Religion News Service, 9 November 2016
A strong white evangelical, Catholic and Mormon vote for Donald Trump belied the condemnation many religious leaders had leveled at the tycoon and paved the way for a stunning upset after a long and polarizing campaign.     Preliminary exit polls indicate these religious groups voted for Trump by strong margins — in some cases larger than they had given to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.     Christians who described themselves as evangelical and born-again gave Trump 81 percent of their votes, up 3 percentage points from their support for Romney. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton garnered 16 percent of their votes.     "Donald Trump made the most full-throated and aggressive appeal to evangelical voters ... since Ronald Reagan spoke to the Religious Roundtable in August of 1980," said Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition. "He made these voters of faith a centerpiece of his campaign."     Evangelical support for Trump surged even as prominent evangelicals, including Southern Baptist Russell Moore, railed against Trump's behavior toward immigrants, women and other groups as un-Christian.     Light-of-Truth-friends-2016.jpgNCR's award-winning reporting and commentary are possible because of support from people like you. Give today.     Trump never cast himself as a particularly religious person. And Clinton made her commitment to her Methodist faith known on the campaign trail.....(more)
The disaster that we chose
Extract from Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter, 9 November 2016
Shock. It is the emotional reaction that has accompanied Donald Trump's campaign from its start and it reached its climax last night. The country has administered a severe disaster to itself. The trappings of democracy cannot obscure the moral enormity, nor ameliorate the sense of disgust: This is a dreadful thing that has happened to America, but it did not happen the way an earthquake happens or a tornado happens. This self-inflicted wound was chosen.        It is futile to try and predict what a Trump presidency will look like. The thought of Attorney General Rudy Giuliani sends a shudder down one's spine. I am not a psychologist but I don't need to be: Mr. Trump has advertised his preference for unpredictability.   The man who claimed he knew "more than the generals" about ISIS now looks at the landscape of American politics and media and has received the self-assurance that he knew more than all of them, he knew he would win. This will not diminish his sense of self-importance nor induce a sense of restraint. He will not now suddenly learn the human necessity of declining to cross the bounds of decency.........The president-elect delivered a conciliatory and even gracious speech last night. Do not be fooled. He rode to victory by stoking many of the worst sentiments in human nature and he awakened a beast. The beast will continue to want to be fed and when his advisors tell him not to continue agitating those base sentiments, he will scorn them. It is no secret that he already despises the Republican establishment as much or more than he despised Hillary Clinton......This election was not won or lost on any particular social issue or economic policy. This election was about our national identity. America is not the country many on the left thought it was. Consumer capitalism was never likely to be the friend of civilized democracy: It has raised millions of people whose untamed appetites govern their decisions and obliterate their moral sensibilities. Our democracy now has paid a terrible price for leaving socialization to the markets.......(more) Photo: NCR,   (CNS/Shawn Thew, EPA)
Announcement of 9pm Mass to replace Midnight Mass in cathedral
Extracts from Media and Communications Office, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, 8 November 2016
The Archdiocese of Melbourne has announced it will not celebrate Midnight Mass on Christmas night in St Patrick's Cathedral, instead opting to celebrate the Mass at 9pm.     In a radio interview this morning, Archbishop Denis Hart explained some of the reasons for the decision............Archbishop Hart confirmed that midnight Masses will still be held in the parishes if they wish. The decision refers only to the St Patrick's Cathedral Parish and was made after consultation with key staff involved in organising the liturgy....(more)
Bishop Long: 'I urge Australians to reject these cruel measures'
Extract from Cathnews, 8 November 2016
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Con, Australian Catholic Bishops Delegate for Refugees, has condemned the Federal government's decision to ban those who arrived by boat from ever applying for a visa.     In a statement yesterday, Bishop Long said: “The announcement by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton that the government will introduce proposed legislation banning those who have arrived in Australia by boat from July 2013 onwards from ever being able to apply for a visa to Australia is deeply disappointing.         “Seeking asylum even by boat is not illegal. It is a basic human right. Yet not content with demeaning them, the Australian government now want to introduce laws that will ban them from ever coming here.    “The motives for these measures, in light of the current situation on Manus Island and Nauru, and in light of the bigger challenges facing Australia, are questionable at best and sinister at worst. Domestic advocates and international agencies have been appalled by the conditions under which asylum-seekers live and the effects on their health, spirits, and self-respect.      "To single out and punish further a small number of people who came by boat, even if they are found to meet the refugee definition is deliberately cruel and un-Australian. It betrays the tradition, status, and character of the country that we are proud of – a richly resourced country with a big heart for migrants and refugees.    “I urge all Australians to reject these cruel and unnecessary measures. We must find a more just, humane and effective way in dealing with the complex issues of seeking asylum and refugee protection. Inflicting more pain and harm to a small group of people who have caused us no harm is not worthy of all fair dinkum Australians....(more) Photo, Cathnews,
Australian senate blocks referendum on same-sex marriage
Extract from Rose Gamble, 8 November 2016, The Tablet
 Australia’s Parliament has voted against its Government’s plan to hold a referendum on legalising same-sex marriage.     The Senate voted 33-29 on 7 November against holding the plebiscite that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s conservative government had planned for 11 February 2017.     In a speech to the Senate on Monday before the parliamentary vote, Attorney General George Brandis implored the senators who spoke against the bill to “stop playing politics with gay people’s lives.” “Get out of the way and let us have the plebiscite that would deliver marriage equality in Australia in less than 100 days,” he said.      A public vote would have asked Australians if the Marriage Act should be revised to allow same-sex couples to marry. Mr Turnbull, whose liberal inner-Sydney constituency contains large numbers of people in same-sex relationships, has said he was sure that Australians would vote for change.   Recent polls show that around 70 percent of Australians want to see same-sex marriage legalised, reports the New York Times.     But on 7 November, opposition parties formed an alliance in order to block the bill on the grounds that a public vote would open a divisive campaign between gay-marriage supporters and its opponents. The opposition alliance has said that Parliament should decide the issue without asking the public....(more)
Welcoming our sisters and brothers in Christ
Extract from Cardinal-designate Joseph W. Tobin, Archdiocese of Indianapolis, 7 October 2016
During the past year, we’ve heard a lot about immigration. Since this is a major issue in the upcoming elections at federal, state and even local levels, I want to take this opportunity to state as clearly as possible our Church’s position on this very important matter.    Here is a summary:                                  The Gospel mandate to “welcome the stranger” requires Catholics to care for and stand with newcomers, authorized and unauthorized, including unaccompanied immigrant children, refugees and asylum-seekers, those unnecessarily detained, and victims of human trafficking. Comprehensive reform is urgently necessary to fix a broken immigration system, and should include a broad and fair legalization program with a path to citizenship; a work program with worker protections and just wages; family reunification policies; access to legal protections, which include due process procedures; refuge for those fleeing persecution and violence; and policies to address the root causes of migration. (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” #81).              In my recent columns, I have made the statement that no individual candidate or party platform conforms perfectly to our Church’s views on the major issues being discussed in this election. Immigration is no exception.        That means that when we examine what the candidates and political parties are saying about this issue, we must be especially careful to understand both the moral principles involved and the practical implications of the views being espoused.....(more). Photo, Archdiocese of Indianapolis 
Pope Francis names new cardinal Joseph Tobin to Newark
Extract from Inés San Martín, Vatican Correspondent, Crux, 7 November 2016
ROME- The past month has been a whirlwind for Joseph Tobin: on Oct. 9 Pope Francis surprised the world by including him on the list of the 17 new cardinals he’ll create later in the month. And on Monday, the Vatican announced his new destination: Newark, New Jersey.       “One of my favorite descriptions of the experience of faith is ‘a willingness to be surprised by God’,” Tobin said in a statement on Monday.     “By that standard, the last weeks have been exceptionally ‘faith filled’.”      As of Nov. 19, when the pontiff formally elevates Tobin, 64, to the Church’s most exclusive club in a ceremony held in Rome known as a consistory, the US prelate will become Newark’s first cardinal, in the diocese’s 163-year history.      His fluent Spanish will be useful for leading the city’s 1.2 million Catholics, an estimated half of whom are Hispanic.     Tobin, currently in Indianapolis, will replace Archbishop John J. Myers, who presented his resignation this July, after turning 75. By canon law, it’s mandatory for every bishop to submit their resignation when reaching this age, and then it’s up to the pope to accept it and to appoint a replacement, which can take months or years, depending each case.    Self-defined as a “culture warrior,” Myers led the diocese for 15 years.    The contrast may be striking, as Myers was generally seen as something of a throw-back in terms of his concepts of clerical authority and lifestyle, while Tobin is regarded as more in the mode of Pope Francis in terms of his emphasis on simplicity and informality.....(more) Photo, Crux, Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
US bishops' conference to vote on new leadership
Extracts from Dennis Coday, 7 November, 2016
At their annual fall gathering in Baltimore Nov. 14-16, the U.S. bishops are to elect new leadership of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and observers are watching to see if the winners signal greater or lesser adherence to the agenda of Pope Francis.    The president and vice president are elected to three-year terms. Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., will step down as president at the end of the fall assembly. A simple majority vote elects a president, which traditionally has been the sitting vice president; this year that would be DiNardo. The vice president then is elected from the remaining nine candidates.    Church historian Massimo Faggioli looks at the slate of candidates and sees "a clear split" with "two kinds of bishops."     On the one hand, Faggioli told NCR, there are bishops, "like DiNardo and Chaput … they express a clear cultural-warrior approach. You have on the other side those who clearly represent the church of Francis, like [Bishop Robert] McElroy [of San Diego] and the bishop of Santa Fe."...(more) Photo: NCR, CNS.Bob Roller,
Vatican rejects underground Chinese priest’s ordination as bishop
Extract from Associated Press. Crux, 7 November 2016
VATICAN CITY - The Vatican on Monday denounced the decision of a priest in China’s underground Catholic Church to be ordained bishop without the pope’s approval.    The statement was an apparent move by the Vatican to defuse tensions with China as negotiations proceed on reaching an overall agreement on bishop nominations.    Father Dong Guanhua of Hebei announced his ordination in September and offered to ordain others without the pope’s mandate. The move, however, was immediately condemned by other clergy of the underground church, the Vatican-affiliated AsiaNews missionary news agency reported.    On Monday, the Vatican press office said the Holy See hadn’t authorized any such ordinations and that, if true, they would constitute a “grave” crime in church law.    While saying it had no confirmation of Dong’s decision, the Vatican stressed that any such ordination without papal mandate is illegal even when done for “particular personal beliefs.”    China has an estimated 12 million Catholics, millions of whom worship in independent congregations outside the control of the communist party’s Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Priests who reject party control run the risk of severe punishment.    Starting under Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican sought to unite all Chinese Catholics under its wing, but it has been stymied in particular over the nomination of bishops. It’s a sensitive topic for both: China considers the Holy See’s insistence on nominating bishops an infringement on its sovereignty, while the Vatican insists on the right to name successors to Christ’s original apostles.   Pope Francis has said the two sides have resumed working groups on the issue and that he is “optimistic” for an agreement. But he has said it will take time.....(more)

Institutional child abuse victims to get up to $150k each under new compensation scheme
Extracts from political reporters Dan Conifer and Alexandra Beech, ABC News, Friday p..m.  4 November 2016
The Federal Government has announced a compensation scheme for victims of institutional child sexual abuse.    The Commonwealth will lead the program, while states, territories and institutions, including churches, will be able to opt in.      Victims will be able to access up to $150,000 each.     The cost for just the Commonwealth over the 10-year period was estimated to be between $570 million and $770 million.        Social Services Minister Christian Porter told reporters in Perth that the scheme would run for 10 years with an option to extend.        He said an advisory council would be established to help oversee its delivery.....Mr Porter said the Commonwealth could not compel states to join the scheme, and there had been a mixed response from the states and territories......He said in the case of the territories, the Commonwealth reserved the right to legislate to compel them to join if they did not opt in voluntarily.....The Catholic Church's Truth, Justice and Healing Council CEO, Francis Sullivan, said religious leaders had made it clear they wanted a national scheme run by the Commonwealth.  "This is a great day, this is an important day," he said. "This scheme is affordable for every government and institution."This isn't about money, this is about recognition of those who have suffered."....(more)

Christ's Resurrection offers hope when thinking about death
Edited extract from Cathnews, 3 November 2016
While it's sad to think about our own death, we can never be truly hopeless because of Christ's Resurrection, Pope Francis said on All Souls Day yesterday at a cemetery outside of Rome, according to the Catholic News Agency.     “The commemoration of the dead has a dual meaning,” Francis said. “Sadness mixes with hope, and this is what we all feel today in this celebration. The memory of our loved ones, in front of their remains, and hope.”    “But we also feel that this hope helps, because we too have to make this journey! All of us will make this journey. Sooner or later, but everyone. With pain, some more some less, but all. But with the flower of hope, with that strong thread of hope that is anchored in the hereafter.”....(more)        [Ed: Our Parish will celebrate annual Memorial Mass at Mary Immaculate Church on Sunday 6 November at 9:00am]
Vatican direction on burial about respect for the dead
Extract from Cathnews, Andrew Hamilton SJ, Eureka Street, 3 November 2016
The most interesting questions about the Vatican's pronouncement on burials and cremation centred around why the manner of the disposal of the body after death might matter, says Fr Andrew Hamilton.       It was also interesting to reflect on how what does matter might be embodied in changing cultural contexts.   The starting point of the Vatican Instruction is the conviction that for Christians the best way of treating the body after death is through burial. It represents symbolically the Christian hope that the dead will be raised bodily. Burial, too, shows respect for the body as integral to the person, helps those grieving to recognise the reality of death, involves the community, and gives tangible remembrance to the dead person's life.       From this perspective cremation is permitted but on condition that it is assimilated as far as possible to burial. The ashes should be placed in a cemetery or designated place, and not sprinkled on land or at sea, shared among relatives or kept at home. These practices are seen as trivialising or privatising the disposal of the body, and so jarring with Christian faith in the bodily Resurrection....(more)
Archbishop Hart blesses new Corpus Christi seminary extensions
Extract from Media and Communications Office, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Thursday 3 November
Archbishop Denis Hart today opened and blessed the new extensions at Corpus Christi seminary in Carlton.    The new eight room wing has been added to the seminary in response to additional student demand in recent times. It is the second major extension at Corpus Christi. An earlier extension added six new rooms for seminarians studying for the priesthood.    Prior to the dedication, Archbishop Hart was principal celebrant in the Church of the Sacred Heart adjoining the seminary for the annual Mass for the seminarians. Among others concelebrating were the Bishops of Sale, Ballarat and Sandhurst, along with Melbourne auxiliary bishops Curtin and Edwards......(more)
Melbourne Catholic
3 November 2016
One of the many resources we draw from internationally for this website is the newly revamped Melbourne Catholic website. Here amongst other things you will find constantly changing and updated news of interest. Melbourne Catholic monthly magazine which is full of rich readings can also be purchased from our Parish, either individually or by subscription.
Kasper: Stop bickering and implement Amoris Laetitia paradigm shift
Extract from Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, La Croix International - subscription required), 3 November 2016
Cardinal Walter Kasper says it’s time to end the heated debates surrounding the interpretation of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia and put into practice the real paradigm shift the document has brought about.     The 83-year-old cardinal, a former president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, offers new reflections on the pope’s controversial document on marriage and the family in a major article published this month in the prestigious German theological monthly, Stimmen der Zeit.       In the long piece titled “Break or New Departure?” the cardinal says it was “to be expected” that the contentious debates on marriage and sexuality that marked the two gatherings of the Synod of Bishops in 2014 and 2015 would continue over how to interpret Amoris Laetitia....... (link to source and subscribing page)

Priest urges LGBT people to offer clergy 'the gift of time'
Extract from Cathnews, 3 November 2016
Prominent American Jesuit Fr James Martin SJ has offered a blueprint to ease long-existent tensions between the LGBT community and the US Church, reports NCR Online.       Under his proposal, outlined last weekend, priests and bishops would become more comfortable accompanying gay and lesbian people — and actually using those terms — while LGBT persons would offer clergy "the gift of time" to get to know them.      Those steps were part of a larger remedy of mutual respect, compassion and sensitivity Fr Martin outlined in a lecture at a gathering of New Ways Ministry, in Pikesville, Maryland.    The national Catholic LGBT advocacy group was honouring him with its Bridge Building Award, which, according to its website, recognises people "who by their scholarship, leadership, or witness have promoted discussion, understanding, and reconciliation between the lesbian/gay community and the Catholic Church.....(more)  Photo: Cathnews, National Catholic Reporter

San Diego's next synod to focus on young adults
Extract from Amy Morris-Young, 2 November 2016
San Diego. After the culminating weekend of the San Diego diocese's groundbreaking synod on Amoris Laetitia — focused on marriage and family life — Bishop Robert McElroy is eagerly looking forward to the next one, which will focus on young adults.     "I do believe that is the great pastoral crisis and challenge of the church in the United States at the present time," McElroy told NCR. "If we cannot solve that, then our church is going to be much crippled and diminished."     Patrick Rivera, director of the diocese's yearlong Young Adult Task Force, and a facilitator at the Oct 29-30 synod, couldn't agree more.     "This synod has, without any reservation, put young adult ministry at the forefront of the diocese of San Diego's ministry initiatives through the plans set into action by Bishop McElroy," he said.    McElroy stressed the urgency of the situation.    "What weighs very heavily on my mind is always the young adult community," he said. "Because they're not in the parking lot, they're not just outside the parking lot. And if you look at them, they are so different in perceptions on every level. It just illustrates the challenge we have to bring the Gospel effectively to young adults."....(more). Photo: NCR, San Diego Diocese,

Ecumenical showpieces like Sweden are great, but let’s be realistic
Extract from Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Crux, 2 November 2016
Pope Francis’s visit to Sweden to commemorate the five hundredth anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation was greeted with varied and predictable responses.      Progressives, both Protestant and Catholic, hailed the meeting as a new step towards full re-union while conservatives on both sides of the Wittenberg Door observed the smiles, the ceremonies and the signatures with cynicism and reserve.      Both sides are unrealistic.        Those who believe the reunification of the Catholic and Lutheran churches is just around the corner are too optimistic while those conservatives who mutter, “If they want reunion let them become Catholic…” are too pessimistic.     The ecumenical showpieces that feature a pope and Protestant leaders are just that: showpieces that mark an anniversary here, the closing of theological talks there or the beginning of a new effort to cooperate in the promotion of justice and peace.    While the showpieces make good news stories, there are four foundations of ecumenism that keep us grounded......(more)
On women clergy, Pope Francis fears ‘disease’ of clericalism
Extracts from John L. Allen Jr. Editor Crux, 1 November 2016
During his customary in-flight news conference at the end of his trip to Sweden yesterday, Pope Francis took a question on women priests and not only reiterated, as he has several times in the past, that St. Pope John Paul has already said no, but he appeared to suggest that the Church’s “no” is forever. “If we read carefully the declaration of St. John Paul II, it goes in that direction,” Francis said.    What that response didn’t address, however, is the more interesting question currently percolating about women clergy, which is the matter of whether women can, and should, be ordained as deacons. I say it’s more “interesting” largely because Francis’s answer is less predictable, and therefore the outcome is more up for grabs.    I don’t know how to handicap where the pope will come down on the issue, but I do know where to begin in trying to describe how he’s likely to approach it: What he sees as the “disease” of clericalism, and the danger of clericalism setting the tone for discussions of women in the Church.    Despite the fact that he stands today at the apex of the clerical pecking order, there’s a sense in which Pope Francis is the most anti-clerical pontiff in Catholic history. His jeremiads against clerical power and privilege have become the stuff of legend, and one has the sense when he uses the word “clericalism” that he’s virtually talking about the sin against the Holy Spirit.   When Francis traveled to South Korea in August 2014 and discovered that the faith had arrived there not through priest-missionaries but lay scholars visiting China, and that small Catholic communities flourished for more than a century before the first resident priest arrived, he lit up, and has never stopped extolling Korea ever since as a model for lay leadership and enterprise.      As part of his aversion to a form of ecclesiastical culture that sees clergy as more worthy or noble than everyone else, Francis has voiced deep skepticism about proposals to empower women in the Church that he would regard as effectively clericalizing them.....(more)
A smaller Church of outsiders?
Massimo Faggioli discusses the debate on the future of Catholicism.
Extract from Massimo Faggioli, United States, (requites subscriptiion to) LaCroix International, 1 November 2016
One of the debates running through western Catholicism today concerns the role and position of the Church.      The Catholic Church has always been the ultimate insider of the social, political and cultural system of the Western hemisphere. But today some Catholics are tempted to solve the Church’s internal diversities and its struggle with secularization by leaving behind this “insider” status. These people want a smaller Church, an outsider postured against the political, social and cultural dispensation of the western world.     This is particularly visible in the United States where the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump and the intellectual and political crisis of the religious right is a subset of the crisis of the clerical and intellectual leadership of the institutional Catholic Church......(link to source  more)
Melbourne’s Archbishop honoured with new papal appointment.
Extract from Media and Communications Office, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne and CNS, 30 October 2016
Pope Francis has announced ten Cardinals, seven Archbishops and ten Bishops as the new members of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.      Among them is Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference.    The congregation, which deals with liturgical questions and the celebration of the sacraments, began as two separate offices until they were joined by Blessed Paul VI in 1975.             This significant appointment of Archbishop Hart to the Congregation has attracted acclaim and joy within the Archdiocese of Melbourne. The Archbishop has expressed gratitude for the trust implied in this appointment, while expressing his readiness to assist the work of the Church in whatever way possible.....(more) Photo: Melbourne Catholic.
 Vatican, China Consider Deal on Selection of Bishops After Decades of Division
Extract from Francis X. Rocca And Chun Han Wong, Wall Street Journal, 30 October 2016
VATICAN CITY—Negotiators for the Vatican and Beijing reached a compromise on who selects Catholic bishops in China, said people familiar with the matter, potentially marking a major step toward ending six decades of estrangement.       If Pope Francis and Chinese leaders sign off on the proposed deal, the pope would accept eight bishops ordained by the Chinese government without the Vatican’s permission. But the deal would leave many other issues unresolved, including the role of China’s state-run Catholic institutions.     Negotiators are waiting for the pope’s decision; if he agrees, the final decision will be up to Beijing. It would be a diplomatic breakthrough for the pope, who has eagerly pursued an opening to China that eluded his predecessors, though re-establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the Vatican - which Beijing severed in 1951 - would remain a distant goal.....(more). Photo WSJ, Reuters

National priest and male religious register is up and functioning
Extract from CathNews, 28 October 2016
About 500 priests and male religious are registered on a new national database which lets bishops and leaders of religious congregations check the background of clerics and brothers visiting or moving to their region.     The Australian Catholic Ministry Register (ACMR) will, for the first time, provide-up-to-date online information on whether a priest or male religious has a working-with-children check and has been "licensed" to work in a diocese or congregations.   Fr Tim Brennan msc, an executive officer of the National Professional Standards Office, said the new data base is a huge leap forward in ensuring the many priests and religious who move around the country for many different reasons don’t have a black mark against their name.      “This new register is an internal tool Church leaders can use to better understand the history of clerics and religious entering their diocese. The objective of the ACMR is to implement a secure and auditable web-based system that records the clearance status of priests and male religious.     “It will allow Church authorities to check the references of priests and male religious who are visiting or transferring interstate or from another diocese,” Fr Brennan said.     Francis Sullivan (pictured), CEO of the Truth Justice and Healing Council, said the ACMR reflects a new approach to ensuring priests and brothers are accountable for their past behaviours and history. “As this register grows it will become increasingly difficult for a priest or a brother to try and hide past problems by simply moving to another part of the country,” he said.....(more) Photo: Cathnews

John Paul II Institute in Melbourne to close
Extract from Cathnews, 28 October 2016
In a move that has shocked students and staff, the Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, has announced the closure of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family. It will remain open until the end of 2018 to cater for existing students. The Catholic Weekly reports.
       Archbishop Hart sent a letter on Wednesday to faculty and staff of the institute, notifying them of the decision and citing concerns about low student numbers.        The institute was founded in 2001 to “promote marriage and the family for the good of the whole Church and the wider community, within the context of higher education in Australia and education in theology,” according to its website.    The founding director was then-Fr Anthony Fisher OP, now Archbishop of Sydney.....(more)

Restorers lift the lid on 'Jesus' tomb' in Jerusalem
Extract from Cathnews, 28 October 2016
The tomb in which Jesus’ body is believed to have been laid after his crucifixion has been exposed by conservationists for the first time in centuries. The Guardian has the story.
      A marble slab covering the rock-carved tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem has been lifted as part of a delicate, $4 million restoration of the most sacred monument in Christianity, according to a report in National Geographic.       The restoration workers will now be able to examine the original rock shelf or “burial bed” on which Jesus' body is thought to have rested.    “The marble covering of the tomb has been pulled back and we were surprised by the amount of fill material beneath it,” archaeologist Fredrik Hiebert told National Geographic, which is a partner in the project.   “It will be a long scientific analysis, but we will finally be able to see the original rock surface on which, according to tradition, the body of Christ was laid.”...(more) Photo: Cathnews, 

Walls aren't answer to people fleeing war, climate change
Extract from 27 October 2016
Closing doors to immigrants and refugees is not the answer. In fact, it only helps encourage the crime of human trafficking, Pope Francis said in his weekly audience yesterday, reports the Catholic News Service.   "The only way for resolution is through solidarity," where everyone pitches in because "all together we are a powerful force of support for those who have lost their homeland, family, work, and dignity."    In his talk, the Pope continued his series of reflections on the works of mercy, focusing on welcoming the stranger and clothing the naked.   He said clothing the naked is about caring for those whose dignity has been stripped from them and helping restore and protect that dignity.   So in addition to providing clothing to those in need, be on the lookout for and ready to help victims of human trafficking and those, including children, whose bodies are being bought and sold like some kind of commodity, he said.    While voluntary or forced migration has been part of human history, the call to welcome the stranger is even more necessary than ever given that so many people today are on the move because of economic crises, armed conflict, and climate change, he said.....(more)
Swiss Christian nursing home forced to allow assisted suicide
Extract from CathNews, 27 October 2016
A Swiss court has ruled that a Christian nursing home must either permit assisted suicide on its premises or give up its charitable status. The Catholic Herald reports.    The nursing home, which is run by the Salvation Army, the UK-based Christian charity, lost a legal challenge to new assisted suicide rules.    The regulations, introduced about a year ago, compel charities caring for the sick and elderly to offer assisted suicide when a patient or resident requests it.    The nursing home objected on the grounds that the law violated the core religious beliefs of the Salvation Army and that it represented an affront to freedom of conscience.   But the Federal Court rejected the complaint of the home, which is situated in the canton of Neuchatel, and ruled that individuals have the right to decide how and when they would like to end their lives.   According to a report on Swiss Radio In English, the judges said the only way the home could avoid its legal obligations to permit assisted suicide was to surrender its charitable status.    This would put the home outside of State control but it would also involve the loss of State subsidies.....(more)   Photo: Cathnews
San Diego diocese gets ready for synod on family life
Extract from Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter, 27 October 2016
A "tremendous synergy" has been created by the concerns, insights, hopes and ideas shared by nearly 2,000 participants in parish grassroots listening sessions and follow-up working groups over recent months leading up to this weekend's San Diego diocesan synod on marriage and family life, according to synod coordinator Paulist Fr. John Hurley.    Focus of the gathering will be seeking consensus on ways to best address the pastoral challenges laid forth in Amoris Laetitia ("The Joy of Love"), Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation on marriage and family released April 8.....(more)
Cardinal Pell interviewed by Victorian police in Rome
Extract from Cathnews, 27 October 2016
A spokesperson for Cardinal George Pell has confirmed that he has been voluntarily interviewed by Victoria Police in Rome, the Cardinal said in a statement yesterday.     The statement said: "The Cardinal repeats his previous rejection of all and every allegation of sexual abuse and will continue to co-operate with Victoria Police until the investigation is finalised.    "The Cardinal has no further comment at this time."   The ABC reports: In a statement, Victoria Police confirmed that "three members of Victoria Police travelled to Rome last week where Cardinal George Pell voluntarily participated in an interview regarding allegations of sexual assault.....(more)
Reform groups call on Catholic church 'to stand against violence' toward LGBT people
Extracts from Kristen Whitney Daniels, National Catholic Reporter, 27 October 2016
In a statement regarding LGBT rights in the Catholic church, a group of international Catholic reform groups called for the church "to stand against violence in all its forms — physical, emotional, spiritual and temporal — toward LGBT people."      The statement came from the Network of Reform Movements, a group of international Catholic reform groups that gathered Oct. 17-20 in Chicago to dialogue about the current issues facing the church. The third annual conference was hosted by FutureChurch, the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests and Voice of the Faithful.    Forty-two priests and laypeople from 10 countries were invited to come together to address issues like "women's full equality in the church, clericalism, emerging models of parish life ... [and] LGBT support," said Deborah Rose-Milavec, executive director of FutureChurch and one of the organizers of the conference.     While unable to release united statements on every topic, the group was able to agree on the statement regarding LGBT rights in the Catholic church. On his blog, Redemptorist Fr. Tony Flannery, founder of the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland, called Loretto Sr. Jeannine Gramick of New Ways Ministry integral to achieving the joint statement.....(more)
Final resting place: Vatican releases instruction on burial, cremation
Extract from Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service, 25 October 2016
Professing belief in the resurrection of the dead and affirming that the human body is an essential part of a person's identity, the Catholic church insists that the bodies of the deceased be treated with respect and laid to rest in a consecrated place.    While the Catholic Church continues to prefer burial in the ground, it accepts cremation as an option, but forbids the scattering of ashes and the growing practice of keeping cremated remains at home, said Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.     "Caring for the bodies of the deceased, the church confirms its faith in the resurrection and separates itself from attitudes and rites that see in death the definitive obliteration of the person, a stage in the process of reincarnation or the fusion of one's soul with the universe," the cardinal told reporters Oct. 25.     In 1963, the congregation issued an instruction permitting cremation as long as it was not done as a sign of denial of the basic Christian belief in the resurrection of the dead. The permission was incorporated into the Code of Canon Law in 1983 and the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches in 1990.    However, Müller said, church law had not specified exactly what should be done with "cremains," and several bishops' conferences asked the congregation to provide guidance.     The result, approved by Pope Francis after consultation with other Vatican offices and with bishops' conferences and the Eastern churches' synods of bishops, is "Ad resurgendum cum Christo" ("To Rise with Christ"), an instruction "regarding the burial of the deceased and the conservation of the ashes in the case of cremation."....(more)

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Catholic Mission, World Mission Day Appeal:                                                                                                                           22—23 October 2016                                                                                                                                                ‘Lord, make me an instrument of your peace’ There are Leaving Collections at the end of each Mass for the Annual Catholic Mission World Appeal as advised by the Archdiocese of Melbourne. Contributions provide  support, reach out and give life to those in need  through the work of  the Catholic Church and Australian missionaries.  
Philadelphia Archbishop Chaput welcomes 'smaller church' of holier Catholics
Extracts from David Gibson Religion News Service, 21 October 2016

In a stark prognosis for contemporary Catholicism, a leader of the conservative wing of the U.S. hierarchy has said that "a smaller, lighter church" of fewer but holier believers is preferable to one that promotes inclusion at the expense of traditional orthodoxy.    In a speech delivered Wednesday at the University of Notre Dame, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput also suggested that many prominent Catholics are so weak in their faith that they ought to leave the church........"Obviously we need to do everything we can to bring tepid Catholics back to active life in the church," Chaput told a symposium for bishops and their staff members at the South Bend, Ind., campus......."But we should never be afraid of a smaller, lighter church if her members are also more faithful, more zealous, more missionary and more committed to holiness......"Losing people who are members of the church in name only is an imaginary loss," he continued. "It may in fact be more honest for those who leave and healthier for those who stay. We should be focused on commitment, not numbers or institutional throw-weight."      Chaput's ideas channeled a lively and long-standing debate in church circles -- intensified by Pope Francis' open-arms approach to ministry -- about whether Catholicism should be a smaller and more tradition-minded community or a larger and more inclusive church of imperfect believers at various stages in their spiritual pilgrimages......(more) 

Comfort level with dialogue a U.S. gift to the universal Church
Extracts from John L. Allen Jr. Editor, Crux, 19 October 2016

All three new American cardinals set to be elevated by Pope Francis on Nov. 19 bring strong backgrounds in ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue, but in reality there's little remarkable about that, since the pope could have thrown darts at a dartboard in the US and come up with much the same thing..........In effect, that’s one of the gifts Catholics in the United States can, and do, offer to the universal Church - a comfort level with religious diversity and with dialogue that one can’t always take for granted in other parts of the world, especially in places with one historically dominant religious tradition where other traditions are essentially invisible.    Historically speaking, there has never been an established church in America. Granted, at the beginning Protestants were the overwhelming majority and set the cultural tone, but that too equipped Catholics for dialogue, since avoiding contact with Protestants basically would have meant never leaving the house.    Quite quickly, America began attracting new arrivals from various parts of the world who brought their religious traditions with them, and found in the United States a generally safe haven in which to practice and foster them.     Also because we’ve never had a state church, American religions have had to learn to hustle from the beginning. Public funding and state sponsorship was never going to ensure the survival of a church, or mosque, or synagogue, or temple, which meant they had to be self-reliant and, at least to some extent, missionary-oriented.    As a result, religion in America has always been something of a noisy and competitive affair, so even if one were inclined to ignore the “other,” it’s awfully difficult to do so in reality.    Perhaps at the level of formal, officially sanctioned dialogues, there wasn’t a lot happening in the United States, or, for that matter, anywhere else, prior to the Second Vatican Council in the mid-1960s. On the ground, however, in terms of the stuff of daily life, the demographic and political character of the United States compelled Catholics to be people of dialogue from the start.   As of 2016, there are 198 different Catholic jurisdictions in America - 177 Latin rite archdioceses and dioceses, 17 eparchies, archeparchies and exarchates of the Eastern churches, 1 military archdiocese and 1 personal Ordinariate for former Anglican communities. Frankly, it’s difficult to imagine the leader of any one of those outfits who lacks some personal experience of engaging both Protestants and other faiths, either in structured formal dialogues or in the informal “dialogue of life.”.....(more)   Photo: Crux, CNS.

'The vision of a Synodal Church in the Year of Mercy'
Tuesday 18 October 2016 

During his presentation of the Walter Sylvestyer Memorial Lecture at the ACU on Wednesday night, also attended by some Ivanhoe parishioners, Bishop Eugene Hurley related a brief story he had told at the Family Synod assembly in Rome during his allocated 3 minutes. The presentation was to reflect the theme of the Synod and the context of Mercy.     Fr Eugene, at the time, was talking to a practising Catholic man who told him his brother was in hospital dying.  Hurley said he visited the hospital daily and was not aware of his sick brother, but would look him up and visit.       The man said his brother was probably not listed as a Catholic, because he was very anti-church, and had also set his kids against the Church. So  Hurley should be forewarned.  Next day he visited the dying man, said hello, told him that he was aware of his feelings towards the Church, and told him he could ask him to leave if he wanted to, but could he answer just one question?  The dying man said OK. Fr Eugene asked ‘why are you anti-Church?’       The dying man replied that he was baptized and raised a Catholic,  married in the Catholic church and had his own kids baptized and raised as Catholics.  His best friend was his parish priest. But one day his son committed suicide.  When he went to see his priest friend to arrange a Catholic funeral, the priest told him that his son could not be buried from the church nor have a Catholic funeral.    The dying man said that when he heard this he walked out and never went back.  Hurley then said at the time – foolishly, he admitted – he  was sorry that, because of this,  the man had distanced himself from God.  The dying man replied: “No, I have not distanced myself from God, just the Church”.     Hurley was then struck by the significance of this, and said:  “I am now going to kneel down and ask you if you can find it in your heart to pardon the priest and the Church for the hurt that they have  caused you.”      He did this and waited silently for a response.  After a while, the dying many said, ‘OK, I’m prepared to do that.’  Fr Eugene then gave him absolution and asked if he would like to receive Communion.  The dying man replied “very much".  So Hurley went off to get the Eucharist and came back to find the man’s family in the room.  Knowing the family background he said ‘I’ll come back later when you are alone.’   The dying man replied ‘No, don’t go.  I want to receive Communion with my family present’.  And he did.         The point of the story is that the Jesus message of mercy (Bishop Hurley said, raising one hand) and the actions of the Church ( raising his other hand) must be one and the same (placing one hand on top of the other).  If they aren’t the same, then the Church is not being Christ-like.  By its actions the Church sometimes conspicuously gives out the wrong message.

Cardinals herald church's changing season
Extracts from NCR Editorial Staff, 17 October 2016

Rarely is change in the church proclaimed with any fanfare. The daily Vatican bollettini don't announce policy changes; members of the Curia aren't invited to seminars on "new directions" for the church. Catholics are left to discern newness in other ways, like noticing the first hint of a changing season in the subtle alteration of sunlight.    The light's angle just became a little clearer with Pope Francis' appointment of 17 new cardinals from 11 different countries, including three from the United States. These appointments should dispel any doubt that a new season is upon us, one that expands our views of the peripheries in several ways: in terms of geography, in terms of what sees are considered important, and in terms of how leaders think about and approach building the church in this era of Francis.    This time around, 11 of the cardinals named came from places that never before had a cardinal, including Bangui, Central African Republic; Dhaka, Bangladesh; Mérida, Venezuela; and Tlalnepantla, Mexico.   Francis is walking past some of the old established sees that expect to have a cardinal at the helm. He is going to the peripheries of the church, selecting leaders who understand by experience the pastoral needs of the poor and how the church operates far away from the entrenched palace culture of the Vatican.      In the United States, the change of seasons is apparent with the selections of Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich, Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin, and Bishop Kevin Farrell, last of Dallas and just appointed to head the newly created Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.....(more)  Photo Crux, AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell.
Pope’s new cardinal in Papua New Guinea ticks all the boxes
Extracts from John L Allen Jr, Crux, 17 October 2016

Next month Pope Francis will hold his third consistory, meaning the event in which popes create new cardinals, for a total of 56 new cardinals under this pope in all, and so far it’s actually easier to tell why Francis doesn’t give red hats than why he does.     What’s clear is that Francis does not believe certain historically prestigious or dominant dioceses automatically entitle the archbishop of that place to a cardinal’s red hat. In effect, he’s decoupling the College of Cardinals from the office individuals may hold.    Beyond that, depending on the circumstances, it seems that Francis may award a red hat to honor a specific place, to spotlight a specific cause, or because a specific person simply is his kind of bishop.            In the case of Archbishop John Riat of Papua New Guinea, one of 17 new cardinals to be created by Pope Francis on Nov. 19 and one of 13 electors, meaning cardinals under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote for the next pope, all three appear to be in place.    Ribat, just 59 years old, is a native Papua New Guinean who’s also a member of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, an order founded in France in 1854 which arrived in Papua New Guinea in 1882. The country is almost 96 percent Christian, with 70 percent Protestant and roughly one-quarter Catholic.   First of all, Francis is very much a pope of the peripheries, and by standards both geographic and developmental, it’s hard to get much more peripheral than Papua New Guinea........Second, by elevating Ribat the pope is also giving a plug to a cause near and dear to his heart, which is environmentalism and the fight against global climate change.....(more)  Photo: Crux, Archnbishop John Riat, by Father Peter Malone/Missionaries of the Sacred Heart via AP

Night to remember in Orange County defied narrative of Catholic decline
Extract from John L. Allen Jr. Crux, 15 October 2016

Generally, the narrative about institutional Catholicism in America is that it’s in decline, and it’s easy enough to understand why. Pew research last year, for instance, found that the number of Catholics in America had dropped 3 million since 2007, and the total Catholic share of the population went down from 25 to 20 percent.    Moreover, Catholicism often also appears divided and demoralized, struggling with internal fractures over women, LGBT issues, the leadership of Pope Francis, and any number of other matters.   Without for a second denying that those features of American Catholic life are real, I will simply say this: “Decline” is definitely not the impression about the American church one would have taken away from Christ Cathedral in Orange County, California, on Friday night.    That evening, Bishop Kevin Vann of the Diocese of Orange, in tandem with Catholic Relief Services and Crux, hosted a fundraising dinner to support relief efforts for the August 24 earthquake that struck central Italy, leaving almost 300 people dead and essentially wiping out the small town of Amatrice, birthplace of the fabled amatriciana pasta sauce.   To call the evening “remarkable” would be to traffic in a rather severe understatement.    For one thing, the setting was jaw-dropping. “Christ Cathedral” is the new name for the Crystal Cathedral, the iconic soaring glass church and surrounding structures built under the late Rev. Robert Shuller, one of America’s best known televangelists. It’s the world’s largest glass structure, and the whole compound is, frankly, worth the trip entirely by itself.   The Diocese of Orange acquired the property when the operation went bankrupt as Shuller aged and eventually died in 2015, which means they got it for a steal by the standards of Orange County real estate, although the costs of renovation and deferred maintenance remain daunting.   But walking around the grounds, including the patio outside the remarkable Cultural Center where our dinner was staged, certainly doesn’t give the sense that this is a diocese in a downward spiral.....(more)
Neighbouring Parishes (Yarra Deanery) meeting last Wednesday
Friday 13 September 2016

It was neighbouring Parish St Peter & Paul's turn to host the monthly Deanery meeting last Wednesday. The recent Deanery Presentation at MOG school "Selection of Bishops: Is there a role for lay people" was well reviewed, as was the Deanery sponsorship of St Kevin's Mishika Perera at the recent WYD. Plans were confirmed for Neighbouring Parish Advent event at St Clements Bulleen, 7pm on Wednesday 14th December (a great event, all encouraged to come along, supper afterwards). Better ways of highlighting Deanery 'shared events' were discussed. 

Neighbouring Parish - Invitation from Parish of St Pius X, Heidelberg West:
Friday 14 October 2016

Catholic Parish of  Ivanhoe Parishioners are invited to the Opening of the St Pius X Community Environmental Park, Stage 1 on Sunday 23rd October 11.30am - 2.00pm at 431 Waterdale Rd, Heidelberg West. Come and see first hand the work that has been completed in Stage 1 of our vision: “Building a sacred space for all members of the community to visit and enjoy”. Drinks, coffee, sausages & cupcakes provided
Bishops urge government to bring offshore detainees to Australia
Extract from Cathnews, 14 October 2016

The Australian Bishops have endorsed the "Bring Them Here" campaign to return offshore detainees to Australia from Manus Island and Nauru, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said in a statement yesterday.   The President of the ACBC, Archbishop Denis Hart, said: "The Australian Catholic Bishops deplore the detention of our brothers and sisters on Nauru and Manus Island. While recognising the effort of the Government to find a solution, we say that enough is enough. We call on the Government to bring offshore detainees to Australia while awaiting further decisions on their future.    "We pledge the help of our Catholic communities and institutions to welcome and support these refugees when they arrive, including Catholic health, education and social services."....(more) Image: Cathnews

Addiction & Mercy
Emmaus Dinner Discussion Night,

This friendly, engaging & interactive evening for young adults on Sunday 6 November will start with 5:30pm
pizza and friendly chat then Open Discussion led by Fr Paul Newton from 7:30 - 8:30pm. It's at the Cunningham Centre,  64 Stanley St Ivanhoe. RSVP 4 November at  Flyer here
Divorce a spur to conversion for many Arab Christians
Extract from Cathnews, 14 October 2016

Pope Francis has insisted that his annulment reforms are not a subversion of the Church’s teaching against divorce. But in the Middle East, annulments are divorces both in intent and
Indeed, as no States in the Middle East and North Africa, apart from Turkey and Tunisia, have civil marriage and divorce laws, annulments have become an avenue of de facto divorce for Catholics. Unlike in the West, with its civil marriage and divorce laws, in the Middle East annulments have far-reaching civil consequences.    As certainty cannot be applied to all cases, many Arab Christians wanting to divorce resort to converting to another religion such as Islam or the Greek Orthodox Church. Some Catholics prefer this due to the difficulty of explaining to their children how, despite the marriage being voided, they are not illegitimate.....(more) 

Cardinal's hat for priest twice sentenced to death
Extract from CathNews, 13 October 2016

hen Pope Francis visited Albania in 2014, he was brought to tears by a priest’s description of the two decades of imprisonment, torture, and forced labour he suffered for refusing to renounce his faith. AP/Crux tells his powerful story.     Last Sunday, Francis honoured Fr Ernest Troshani Simoni’s witness by naming him to the College of Cardinals.    Fr Troshani, who turns 88 later this month and uses his Troshani birthplace as one of his names, was one of 17 new cardinals named by Francis who will be formally elevated at a Vatican ceremony on November 19.    He is among four cardinals over the age of 80 who can’t vote in a conclave to elect a new pope, but were named to the Church’s most exclusive club because of their service.      For Albania’s tiny Church, the nomination was a deeply symbolic gesture acknowledging the suffering of Catholic clergy during the reign of Stalinist dictator Enver Hoxha, who banned religion in 1967........Fr Troshani recounted his life story to Francis during the Pope’s one-day visit to Tirana in 2014, a visit meant to highlight the interfaith harmony that exists among the majority Muslim nation of 3.2 million. It was the end of the day and Francis was meeting with priests and seminarians at the Tirana cathedral.     Fr Troshani recalled his arrest, after celebrating Christmas Mass on December 24, 1963, and being placed in isolation. He told of being condemned to death, but the sanction was commuted to 25 years of forced labour.     During his incarceration, he became the spiritual guide to many other prisoners, who then came to his defence when he was again sentenced to death, in 1973, after a revolt. He was spared because of their testimony.    Fr Troshani was freed in 1981, but had to continue preaching clandestinely until the communist regime fell in 1990.......(more)  Photo:AP/Crux/CN 
China targets parents with religion rules in Xinjiang
Extract from Aljazeera, 13 October 2016

Parents and guardians in China's heavily Muslim region of Xinjiang who encourage or force their children into religious activities will be reported to the police, the government said on Wednesday while unveiling new education rules.      Hundreds of people have died in recent years in Xinjiang, the far western home of the Muslim Uighur people, in unrest blamed by Beijing on fighters and separatists, though rights groups say the violence is more a reaction to repressive Chinese policies.    While China officially guarantees freedom of religion, minors are not supposed to participate in religious activity. Authorities have cracked down on underground Muslim religious schools in Xinjiang in recent years.    New education rules, to come into effect on November 1 and carried by the official Xinjiang Daily, say parents or guardians cannot "organise, lure or force minors into attending religious activities".     Neither should they promote hardline beliefs in children, nor force them to dress in specific clothing or other symbols, the newspaper said, echoing the tone of previous rules against beards for men or head coverings for women.....(more)  Photo: Aly Song/Reuters, Aljazeera  

Archbishop of Detroit says special 'Mass of Pardon' for the sins of the diocese

Extract from The Tablet,  Catholic News Service,  12 October 2016

Archbishop Vigneron said the purpose of the Mass was to receive pardon and prepare the Church for evangelisation
Archbishop of Detroit says special 'Mass of Pardon' for the sins of the diocese.    A Mass for the sins and transgressions of the Archdiocese of Detroit was held last week, recalling instances in the Catholic Church's history when it failed to live up to God's calling, namely neglect of the poor, failing to protect children from abuse and failing to combat racism.     In attendance were Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron and Detroit Auxiliary Bishops Michael Byrnes, Arturo Cepeda and Donald Hanchon, who solemnly processed down the nave of the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament while the congregation stood silent calling to mind their own part in the transgressions.   The four men lay prostrate before the altar, humbling themselves before God, and in view of the flock they are called to shepherd.....(more)

Tobin speaks of a church that is sacrament of mercy to the world
Extract from Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter, 12 October 2016

Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin says he was so out of the loop last Sunday that he only learned from his Twitter feed that he had been appointed a cardinal.     But on at least one issue he and the pope who appointed him appear in perfect sync: showing the world the mercy of God is the essential work of the church.      Mercy is one of Pope Francis' core themes. Tobin views the matter as so important that his wish is that the church would become "a sacrament of mercy" in our world.     Tobin, who on Sunday was announced as one of 17 prelates selected by Francis to join the church's elite College of Cardinals, said that mercy is "an essential revelation of the true nature of God."      Speaking in a phone interview Tuesday, the cardinal-designate said the first step in sharing the pope's consistent message of mercy is to reflect on how we have been recipients of mercy in our own lives.      "Then, to ensure that our church is seen as a sacrament of mercy: that's a never-ending conversion of life for us as a church," he said.    Tobin, who like the other 17 appointees will become a cardinal during a special ceremony at the Vatican Nov. 19, also spoke of mercy in the context of his own personal experience as a recovering alcoholic who has been sober for 29 years......(more)
Prominent Jesuit, human rights advocate and law professor appointed CEO of Catholic Social Services Australia.
Extract from Mark Brolly, The Tablet, 11 October 2016

Fr Frank Brennan will be staunch ally to disadvantaged in new role leading 53 Catholic social service providers. Brennan will lead an organisation that represents a national network of 53 Catholic social service providers throughout Australia in areas including assisting women and children escaping family violence, housing and homelessness support, and mental health and disability services. Church agencies that are part of CSSA also work in partnership with and for Indigenous people and offer support and services to asylum seekers and refugees.     His roles have included Professor of Law at Australian Catholic University; Adjunct Professor at the Australian National University College of Law and National Centre for Indigenous Studies; founding director of Uniya, the Australian Jesuit Social Justice Centre; Ambassador for Reconciliation of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation; Chair of the Australian Government's National Human Rights Consultation Committee; and Advocate-in-Residence for CSSA, Catholic Health Australia and the St Vincent de Paul Society.....(more)  Photo: The Tablet,  frank_brennan_jesuit_melbourne_560

Pope Francis rejects rightwingers with US cardinals' appointment
Talk of ‘seismic shift’ in US catholic church with trio who have spoken out for women, immigrants and gun control

Extract from  Stephanie Kirchgaessner, The Guardian, 10 October 2016

Rome: Pope Francis has put his progressive stamp on the American Catholic church with the selection of three new like-minded cardinals – including one who has sparred with the Republican vice-presidential nominee, Mike Pence – in a clear rejection of bishops who have advocated for the church’s exclusion of divorced and LGBT Catholics.      The American choices were among 17 new cardinals named by Francis. He has chosen more from the developing world and only one from Italy, reflecting his desire to decentralise power away from the Vatican in Rome.      In choosing these new cardinals – the “princes of the church” who serve as the pope’s primary advisers – Francis has made it more likely that his successor will be a moderate or progressive. It also partially balances out the influence of the cardinals chosen by his far more conservative predecessors, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.    The choices could create a “seismic shift” in the Catholic hierarchy in the US, according to John Allen, a commentator from Crux, a Catholic news publication. While the selection of Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis, Kevin Farrell of Dallas and Blase Cupich of Chicago could not be considered liberal by conventional political standards, Allen wrote that each was considered to be part of the “centrist, non-cultural warrior wing of the country’s hierarchy”....(more)

Portland archbishop points to 'troublesome' misuses of 'Amoris Laetitia'
Extract from Ed Langlois, Catholic News Service, National Catholic Reporter, 10 October 2016

Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland has written a pastoral letter seeking to correct what he called "troublesome" misuse of Pope Francis' recent apostolic exhortation on marriage and family life.    The pastoral letter, released Friday, is titled "A True and Living Icon: Reading of 'Amoris Laetitia' in Light of Church Teaching." In it, Sample said that Francis' exhortation, issued in April, has rightly been lauded by Catholics and non-Catholics alike for its pastoral approach.      The image of the church as a "field hospital," the archbishop wrote, is a potent reminder of the services provided by priests, deacons and parish staffs, as well as the wounded that they care for.     But the archbishop went on to write that media in particular have drawn false conclusions from "Amoris Laetitia."     "While the exhortation does not contain any change in church teaching regarding marriage and family life, some have used 'Amoris Laetitia' in ways that do not correspond with the church's teaching tradition," Sample wrote.     The archbishop highlighted what he sees as the three most common ways readers have gotten the original exhortation wrong.....(more)

Pope Francis reaches out to the 'corners of the Earth' to appoint 17 new cardinals

Edited Extract from Sean Smith, Crux 9 October 2016

Three Asian countries receive first cardinals and an Albanian sentenced to death by communists is also 'honoured'   [Ed: Appintments also include Chicago's Cupich and Indianapolis' Tobin].    Pope Francis reaches out to the 'corners of the Earth' to appoint 17 new cardinals.         Pope Francis will conclude the Year of Mercy by creating 17 new cardinals, which include three from the US the most from any one country, an Albanian still alive despite being sentenced to death by the former communist regime for his faith, three Asian clergy who become the first cardinals in their respective countries and the head of the Catholic Church on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean.            Announcing the names of the new cardinals today (9 October) after praying the Angelus, Pope Francis said: "Their provenance, from 11 nations, expresses the universality of the Church, who announces and bears witness to the Good News of God’s Mercy in every corner of the earth. The insertion of the new Cardinals in the diocese of Rome, furthermore, manifests the indissoluble bond between the See of Peter and the particular Churches around the world.      “On Sunday 20 November, Solemnity of Christ the King, at the conclusion of the Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy, I will concelebrate Holy Mass with the new Cardinals, with the College of Cardinals, with the Archbishops, Bishops and Presbyters."       The new cardinals – 13 of whom are under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope and four over 80 being honoured for their "clear Christian witness" – will be inducted into the College of Cardinals on 19 November, the eve of the close of the Year of Mercy.....(more)  Photo: Crux.
Next synod on youth after proposal on married priests rejected
Extract from Cathnews, 7 October 2016

The topic of the next synod has been announced as Young People, Faith, and Vocational Discernment, according to a statement released by the Vatican. The Catholic Herald has the story.      But according to one respected Vatican journalist, the synod was nearly dedicated to a different theme - priestly celibacy.     Edward Pentin, Vatican correspondent of the National Catholic Register, reported that Pope Francis was “known to be keen” for the next synod to examine “priestly celibacy and a possible push to allow married priests.”    However, Pentin wrote: “That proposal was understood to have been voted down by the majority of members on the XIV Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops.”      The XIV Ordinary Council is a group of bishops which works with the Pope on choosing the theme of the synod. It includes Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban, Cardinal George Pell, head of Vatican finance reform, and several other well-known prelates.      In choosing the theme, Pope Francis also consulted bishops’ conferences, the Eastern Catholic Churches, and the heads of women’s religious orders.     There had been speculation that the synod would address priestly celibacy. Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, Archbishop Emeritus of São Paulo and a friend of Pope Francis, is known to be interested in reforming the requirement for priests to be celibate, and recently had an audience with the Pope.    The Vatican statement said the choice of synod theme is expressive of “pastoral concern of the Church for the young,” and was “continuous” with the previous Synod on the Family and the Pope’s subsequent document Amoris Laetitia......(more)    Photo: Mishika  Perera, St Kevin's Parish Templestowe. Watch her WYD feedback video here  (6 minutes)
Needs of Archdioceses / Dioceses and attributes of Bishops?                                                                                                     Friday 7 October 2016                                                                                                                                                                       As of 31 March 2016 six dioceses in Australia were without bishops, and given Canon Law requirement that Bishops at the age of 75 submit their resignation to the pope for consideration, several Australian diocesan bishops are likely to be appointed in the not too distant future, including a new archbishop for Melbourne. In consultation with others Catholics for Renewal has created a ‘free form’ survey inviting a wide representation of Catholics in Australia to suggest in their own way what qualities and attributes they would like in a bishop to serve the needs of their Diocese /Archdiocese. What do you think? The survey will provide valuable input to existing Church processes and can be accessed here (
Archbishop tells eConference: Church's real credential is mercy
Edited Extract from Cathnews, 7 October 2016

Archbishop Mark Coleridge, speaking at Australia’s largest Catholic eConference this week, said the time of Christendom is over, and the Church must recognise its real credential is in Mercy. Broken Bay Diocese reports.     Calling for Pope Francis’ Jubilee Year of Mercy to be enacted as a verb, Archbishop Coleridge said the Pope’s vision gives birth to action within the Church and across the global community.    “When I speak about the covenant of God, it is a community of Mercy in a merciless world. Find the hungry one, the thirsty one, the naked one, the sick one, the one who is infinitely strange, and the one who is seemingly imprisoned by the power of death. Look at the Crucified and understand what you see,” he said.      CEO of the Australian Institute of Theological Education, Gerard Goldman, said broadcasting a free annual eConference is a means to explore the rich dialogue of humanity among scholars, clergy, and believers of all faiths on a global stage......(more)                  [Ed: Ivanhoe Parish again facilitated this eConference locally. Archbishop Coleridge also encouragingly added during the conference that "The Church is now is listening mode"]  Photo: cathnews

Pope's advice to his emissary of the streets: 'Sell your desk'
Extract from Cath News, 7 October 2016

After his election, Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Konrad Krajewski as Almoner and told him: “You can sell your desk. You don’t need it. You need to get out of the Vatican. You need to go out and look for the poor.” Religion News Service has the story.....(more)

Pope and Anglican leader say churches share 'certain yet imperfect communion'
Pope Francis and Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, England, at the Church of St. Gregory in Rome Oct. 5.   Extract from Joshua J. McElwee, NCR. 6 October, 2016
Pope and Anglican leader say churches share 'certain yet imperfect communion'
Pope Francis and Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, England, at the Church of Rome. Pope Francis and Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby met twice this week in Rome for symbol-laden encounters, where they jointly commissioned 19 pairs of bishops from their two global faith communities to go back to their home countries sharing joint prayer and mission.      The two also issued a joint statement Wednesday evening, declaring that while there continue to be "serious obstacles" blocking the path to full unity between their two churches that their clergy and faithful should not "undervalue that certain yet imperfect communion that we already share."     "New circumstances have presented new disagreements among us, particularly regarding the ordination of women and more recent questions regarding human sexuality," said Francis and Welby, nodding towards the differences between their churches' teachings on priestly ordination and gay relationships.     "While, like our predecessors, we ourselves do not yet see solutions to the obstacles before us, we are undeterred," stated the two Christian shepherds. "We trust in God's grace and providence, knowing that the Holy Spirit will open new doors and lead us into all truth."    Francis and Welby signed the statement together after celebrating a joint vespers service at Rome's church of San Gregorio Magno al Celio, where 6th-century St. Augustine of Canterbury was prior of a monastery before being sent by Pope Gregory the Great to evangelize England..........In a moving moment towards the end of the prayer service, the two exchanged deeply symbolic gifts: Francis gave Welby a replica of Pope Gregory's crozier, while Welby gave the pontiff his own pectoral cross. The cross, a symbol of reconciliation between peoples, is made of nails taken from the roof of Coventry Cathedral, which was bombed during the Second World War.............(more)  Photo: NCR  (CNS/Paul Haring) 
Communion for remarried feasible case by case in Rome
The Vicar of Rome has published guidelines for the implementation of Amoris Laetitia that provide for access to communion of the divorced and remarried after a process of "internal forum" or confessional discernment.
Extract of Compilation by Global Pulse staff, 5 October 2016

Italy. The Vicar of the Diocese of Rome, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, has published guidelines for the implementation of Amoris Laetitia that provide for access to communion of the divorced and remarried only in "rare and thoroughly pondered cases," Chiesa reports.   Cardinal Vallini announced the 17-page guidelines in a solemn proclamation published on September 19 in the cathedral of St John Lateran.   The first guideline provides for making available "a service of information and advice in view of a verification of the validity of the marriage" using the new and more rapid procedures that the pope has introduced in canonical annulment cases.    Where this was not available, then the paths opened up by Amoris Laetitia could be considered.   The first step to be taken, according to Cardinal Vallini, is "a long 'accompaniment' along the lines of the moral principle of the primacy of the person over the law" followed by a "'responsible personal and pastoral discernment' (AL, 300)."    "Here every priest has a very important and rather delicate task to undertake, avoiding the 'risk of incorrect messages,' of rigidity or of leniency, in order to participate in the formation of a conscience of true conversion and 'in no way desisting from proposing the full ideal of marriage' (AL, 307), according to the criterion of the possible good.   "This pastoral discernment of individual persons is a very delicate aspect and must take into account the 'degree of responsibility' that is not equal in all cases."    "The text of the apostolic exhortation does not go further, but footnote 351 states: 'In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments'," the Vicar of Rome notes.........(more) 
 Historical return to MOG today, 60 years later (report below)
Historical return to MOG today, 60 years later
Sunday 2 October 2016

In the absence on leave of Fr Paul we have been fortunate having two visiting priests celebrating our parish Masses with us this weekend, Fr Noel Mackay at St Bernadette's and Mary Immaculate, and Fr Brendan Lane at Mother of God. For Brendan it was actually a return visit because on 11 November 1956 he was present at the laying of the MOG foundation stone, and today was his first visit back as a priest (photo above). On that day the Church was blessed by then Archbishop Daniel Mannix, and parish photographic records wonderfully record the occasion. The first Mass at MOG was celebrated by Fr Bernard Geoghegan in 1957. We warmly thank both priests for sharing with us this weekend, and 60 years later welcome back Brendan, Now Fr Brendan.
  This and other related material can be found on the Parish History page.
Daylight saving                                                                                                                                                                            Saturday 1 October 2016
Not that anyone needs reminding of course but it starts on Sunday 2 October. Clocks are put forward 1 hour at 2.00am  on Sunday 2 October

Welcome and Thank You                                                                                                                                                                Saturday 1 October 2016                                                
We thank all priests who have to come celebrate `Parish Masses this weekend: Fr Noel Mackay 6.00pm Mass on Saturday  1 October at St Bernadette’s Church, and 9.00am Mass Sunday 2 October at Mary Immaculate Church, and Fr Brendan Lane at 10.30am Mass at Mother of God Church. We are grateful for priests who support and assist our parish by giving generously both in time and spirit.  Sincere thanks to  Bernadette Milesi and Merle Gilbo who lead Communion Services this week whilst I am on leave, as well as those who prepare churches for parish Masses on weekdays & weekends. - Fr Paul
Listening to our young people
Saturday 1 October 2016

At our parish Masses last weekend Mishika shared her experience of World Youth day. As part of this and other neighbouring parishes contribution towards the cost of her attendance Mishika wanted to speak about the impact this experience has had on her life and its potential impact on all of our lives. The 6 minute video shown at Masses can be seen here for those who weren't able to be present last weekend and is recommended to young and old alike.

Vatican meets with women theologians over Church roles
Extract from Cathnews, 30 September 2016

Australian Tracey Rowland was among women theologians and other scholars who met with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith this week to discuss roles women have played and could play in the Church. Catholic News Service r           After the symposium from Monday to Wednesday was over, the congregation issued a brief statement outlining the topics discussed and listing the women who made formal presentations.         Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the doctrinal congregation, opened the meeting, which involved about 50 people, mostly women, and officials and consultants to the congregation, the statement said.      The theme of "the role of women in the Church" was explored first by looking at "the definition of the feminine vocation in Catholic tradition," and proceeded to a discussion about concrete roles women have played and can play within the church.      All of the main papers were presented by women, several of whom are or have been members of the Vatican-related International Theological Commission or the International Biblical Commission. Others serve as consultants to Vatican offices or professors at Catholic universities.      The doctrinal congregation did not provide specifics about the content of the talks. It said, for example, that Barbara Hallensleben, a theologian teaching in Switzerland, looked at the "feminine vocation" starting from the idea of the priesthood of all the baptised and in the sacrament of marriage. Margaret Harper McCarthy, a professor at The Catholic University of America in Washington, gave the formal response.     French biblicist Anne-Marie Pelletier and Mary Healy, a professor of Scripture at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, spoke about the important contributions of women scholars to biblical studies, the statement said.     Other topics included the role of women in the education of priests; women as spiritual directors and retreat directors; canon law provisions regarding women's roles in Church decision-making bodies; and "sexual difference," a theme treated by Spanish anthropologist Blanca Castilla Cortazar and Australian theologian Tracey Rowland, dean of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Melbourne......(more)   Photo: Cathnews

The Church must truly hear the cry of survivors: Bishop Kennedy
Extract from Cathnews, 30 September 2016

"It is crucial that the Church truly hear [the] cry" of survivors of child sexual abuse by clergy, writes Armidale's Bishop Michael Kennedy in a pastoral letter after attending Royal Commission hearings. "I heard of their horror, pain, fear, and hurt. I heard of their betrayal."     I have recently returned from the public hearing of the Royal Commission into the response of Catholic Church authorities to allegations of child sexual abuse by John Joseph Farrell.       The hearing has not formally concluded but has been adjourned. In due course the Royal Commission will publish a report on its findings and recommendations. This statement is my personal reflection following my attendance at the Royal Commission hearing.     It is my hope that by reading this you may come to an understanding of my own depth of sorrow and shame for the failings of our Church and Diocese and that you might be informed of the changes that have been taking place in the Diocese to ensure that our parishes are safe places for all the children and vulnerable in our care............Listening to the victims and survivors along with others from the Diocese, I sat in the Royal Commission hearing room and listened to the statements and evidence given by the survivors.       I was deeply moved by their testimony. It is crucial that the Church truly hear their cry. I listened to two survivors. I heard of their horror, pain, fear, and hurt. I heard of their betrayal, of their inhuman treatment, and of the torment they continue to suffer as a result of the abuse they endured.    I heard of the long lasting effects this abuse has had on their lives. Their courage and integrity shone through in their testimony. They are brave and dignified men whom I hold in high esteem. I thank them for their testimony and assure them that I will never forget.    I listened to a victim’s mother. She spoke powerfully of her family’s struggle to be heard by Church authorities when their son had so bravely spoken up to reveal the abuse.     The treatment they received from the Church was appalling. They, and others who brought the matter into the open, should have been encouraged to do so and should have been listened to.     I and the Church owe them a debt of gratitude for bringing this matter to everybody’s attention for the sake and safety of children. I thank all who came forward and spoke up in 1984. The thanks you now receive comes far too late; you should have been thanked then......(more) Photo: Cathnews, St Mary and St Josephs Catholic Cathedral g

When in Rome: Bishop Long's dinner with Francis
Extract from Cathnews, 29 September 2016

The Bishop of Parramatta, Vincent Long OFM Conv, has discussed the global refugee crisis with Pope Francis over a meal, according to an article in his diocesan paper, reports The Tablet.       Bishop Long said in the article, in Catholic Outlook, that while the Pope praised Italy’s treatment of asylum-seekers, he was critical of the “cold-heartedness” with which some other countries acted towards them.    “I spoke to his Holiness about a few things close to my heart,” he told the paper. “I introduced myself to him as Bishop of Parramatta and a former boat person. I raised the issue of asylum-seekers in Australia and our government’s harsh offshore detention policy.     "The Holy Father commended the way Italy handles the asylum-seeker crisis and grieved over the cold-heartedness with which some other countries act towards them.”    Bishop Long also spoke to the Pope about the opposition both from within the Church and elsewhere in respect of his leadership on issues such as climate change, the person-centred economy, and concern for the marginalised.     “His simple answer and his gesture left a deep impression on me: 'I seek to be authentic.' Pope Francis made me feel completely at home and without fear,” Bishop Long said. “When he asked me if I wanted wine and then poured it into my glass, it was as though the Servant Jesus came to life for me there and then. It was a privileged moment and an unforgettable experience. I thank God for it.”.....(more) Photo: Cathnews 
Amoris Laetitia will inspire new ‘comprehensive plan for marriage and family life’, say US bishops
Extracts from  Catholic Herald UK, Catholic News Service, 28 September 2016

Bishops in the US say they are taking time to understand the Pope's apostolic exhortation on marriage and the family.     Leaders of the US Catholic Church have been proceeding carefully in their efforts to understand and implement the Pope’s exhortation on marriage and family, according to a report issued on September 27.     The report, from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, was in response to a request from the Office of the Synod of Bishops to determine how the papal exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” (“The Joy of Love”) has been received and implemented since its release in April. The report is based on responses from 59 dioceses and 18 national organisations.......A number of dioceses and Catholic groups said they are spreading the word about the document through articles or columns by bishops in diocesan newspapers, websites and social media outreach. Several national organisations have been conducting webinar presentations and some dioceses have provided online toolkits with resource guides and supplementary materials for Catholics and church leaders.      Dioceses also have been providing opportunities to train pastors, priests and deacons on the document and some dioceses have given priests guidance on how “Amoris Laetitia” should be implemented.      Some diocesan responses said the document would be the focus of future deanery meetings but that it had not been urged as a topic for suggested homilies or as themes to be included in seminary education......(more)

If we want good bishops we must first look at our seminaries
"Seminaries need to be replaced with a new way of training our priests"
Extract from Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith, UK Catholic Herald Tuesday 27 September 2016
                                                           That the Catholic Church needs a better way to select Bishops is a sentiment that every Catholic, I think, could agree with. It is the headline of an article by Robert Mickens in the National Catholic Reporter, which is worth reading for the way it summarises the Pope’s recurring harsh words about bad bishops.     The Pope is a Jesuit, and in the Jesuit tradition it is normal for superiors to pronounce regular ‘exhortations’ directed at their underlings to try and knock them into shape.     In recent times words have been followed up by deeds, and several bishops have been sacked, usually for one of two reasons: financial mismanagement or sexual misconduct (sometimes, no doubt, for both). The sacking of bishops does not really solve the problem, as it is an acknowledgement that the bishops in question should never have been appointed in the first place. What one really needs is a better way of finding good bishops.     The present system essentially relies on what Italians call ‘raccomandazione’, or what we call the old boys network or cronyism. Men get made bishops because bishops recommend them for promotion; it is not what you know, but who you know.     This used to be the way of appointing civil servants to public office in Britain until Gladstone’s great reforming ministry introduced competitive examinations. Competitive examinations are, at least in theory, impartial, and an impartial system of appointments would overcome the widely perceived favouritism that disfigures the current system.....(more)  Photo: Catholic Herald UK

Catholic church needs better way to select bishops
Extracts from Robert Mickens, National Catholic Reporter, 26 September 2016

By now it should be clear.     Pope Francis really believes there is a serious lack of quality among priests and bishops in the Catholic church. Otherwise, he would not talk so often about the negative traits of certain men in ordained ministry, as he's done again several times in recent days........"Don't allow yourselves to be tempted by numbers and quantity of vocations, but rather look for the quality of discipleship. … And be careful when a seminarian seeks refuge in rigidity -- because underneath this there's always something bad," he said........"In the delicate task of carrying out the investigation required prior to making episcopal appointments, be careful that the candidates are pastors close to the people," he told them.          "Pastors! We need them! May they be fathers and brothers, may they be gentle, patient and merciful; may they love poverty, interior poverty, as freedom for the Lord, and exterior poverty, as well as simplicity and a modest lifestyle; may they not have the mindset of 'princes'," Francis warned.......The quality and appointment of bishops is something Pope Francis has also discussed at least two or three times with his group of nine cardinal-advisors, known colloquially as the C9. In fact, it was on the agenda at their most recent meeting (Sept. 12-14)......The current system the church uses to seek out and appoint candidates for episcopal service is far too often based on cronyism inherent in an old boys' network, which -- since the mid-1800s -- is almost exclusively anchored in and controlled by officials (other bishops) based in or beholden to Rome......(more)
On Communion debate, Pope Francis opts for decentralization
Extract from John L. Allen Jr. Editor, Crux, 25 September 2016
Whether Pope Francis intended it or not, by saying that the implementation of his document "Amoris Laetitia" depended on the guidelines of local bishops, he has decentralized resolution of the debate over Communion for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.        Towards the end of Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis’s document on the family, the pontiff writes that when priests have to make judgments in concrete cases such as pastoral care of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, they are to do so “according to the teaching of the Church and the guidelines of the bishop.”      One wonders if he knew at the time just what a conflicting welter of responses that injunction would elicit.       Since the document appeared in early April, various bishops and groups of bishops around the world have issued guidelines for its implementation, and surveying the landscape, it’s abundantly clear they’re not all saying the same thing.          Some have stipulated that although divorced and civilly remarried Catholics remain a part of the Church and should be welcomed into its life, the traditional bar on giving them Communion remains fully in force.           Others, with varying degrees of caution, have suggested that Amoris does in fact create the possibility of receiving Communion after a process of discernment in some cases.       Reacting to that spread of reaction, some may object that while bishops are free to decide how to implement a papal decision, they’re not free to interpret it away. Others will conclude that until and unless Francis changes Church law, bishops have every right to apply the current norms as they see fit.      Whatever one makes of the merits of the dispute, one conclusion seems ineluctable: Whether by design or not, what Pope Francis effectively has done is to opt for decentralization on one of the most contentious issues in Catholic life today.....(more) 
Melbourne Catholic video: Fr Paul Newton poses the Question "Is the Church homophobic?"
Tuesday 27 September 2016

Following last Sunday's Emmaus Dinner Discussion night at the Cunningham Centre Fr Paul speaks in this Melbourne Catholic video about the outcome of discussion on this topic following shared pizza and friendly chat among the 25ish/55ish age group participating. The video is one of a regular new series of videos by Melbourne Catholic, currently profiling priests and their diverse work.  You can view the video here

Archbishop Mark Coleridge: Church now in 'Listening Mode'
Friday 23 September 2016

At the Tuesday eConference "Mercy: A way of Being in the World" and commenting on the influence of Pope Francis, Archbishop Mark Coleridge said that the Church "is now in listening mode". Whilst, as he indicated, nothing has changed or will change in relation to our faith beliefs, the way faith is practiced continues to evolve with the world, as it has over the last 2000 years, and in that regard Pope Francis has particularly encouraged listening, with mercy. At Masses across our Parish this weekend we have an opportunity to listen as a young person shares her reaction to World Youth Day, for which 'Mercy' was the main theme. Mishika Perera of St Kevin's Templestowe received financial support from our Deanery (we & neighbouring parishes) towards attending WYD, and in return would like to share her experience across our parishes - via a 6 Minute video before the end of Mass. It's an opportunity this weekend to listen to a young person of faith. Photo: Mishika outside newly renovated St Kevin's Church Templestowe,

Social Justice Sunday 25 September                                                                                                                                        Friday 23 September 2016
This year, the Australian Bishops’ Social Justice Statement is titled: ‘A Place at the Table: Social Justice in an Ageing Society’. The statement celebrates the value and dignity of older people in Australia. It challenges us to recognise their significant contribution to society and emphasises that this contribution should not be valued in mere economic terms. The Statement calls for justice for those who are most vulnerable and warns about a view of older people as burdensome or dispensable. Further details:  Australian Catholic Social Justice Council - website: or call 02 8306 3499

Pope moves the ball on oft-boring work of Vatican reform
Extracts from John L. Allen Jr. Editor, Crux, 21 September 2016

Reform never happens all at once, and, frankly, at the level of details it's often boring as hell. Statutes for a new communications department approved by Pope Francis and released Thursday don't exactly make gripping reading, but they suggest that reform is becoming irreversible.     For Vatican-watchers, one unavoidable aspect of the new statutes is the way it confirms the supremacy of the Secretariat of State, the Vatican’s 800-pound gorilla. No fewer than seven times in the course of the eight-page document, the statutes stipulate that the new department will act only after having obtained a green light from the Secretariat of State.    At the beginning, it seemed that Francis’s intention was to clip the wings of the Secretary of State, transforming it from a “prime minister’s” position into a foreign ministry responsible primarily for international diplomacy.    Having found a figure of trust in Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, however, Francis has progressively reinforced the Secretariat of State’s role as the clearinghouse through which all major decisions must pass, and Thursday’s statutes will likely be seen as another chapter in that reconsolidation.    At the big-picture level, however, here are what probably ought to be the three major take-aways......(more)

Church to create independent company to oversee child protection
Extract from Cathnews, 20 September 2016

The Church has announced it will create an independent company, with directors drawn from the community, to guard national standards relating to child protection, including the education of priests and other clergy, reports The Australian.      The CEO of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council, Francis Sullivan, told The Australian the Church was putting in place better oversight structures such as the new body, Catholic Professional Standards Ltd.     He said the company would oversee the establishment, maintenance, and reporting of national standards. It would also oversee standards for psychological profiling of priests, introduction of foreign priests, and record-keeping.    “It’s a major significant step to demonstrate the Catholic leadership in Australia wants to do something rather than just talk,” Mr Sullivan said.     It demonstrated credibility, transparency, and accountability, following criticisms of the Church over its child abuse scandals and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, he said. “Every case study has been more and more uncomfortable. It’s been confronting and shameful.”     Brisbane's Archbishop Mark Coleridge said the Royal Commission doubtless would have questions about the new company. He hoped that people would be able to see results from the initiative and know that it would not just be a bureaucratic ­gesture.....(more).

eConference: Powerful insights into Mercy in the reality of today's world
Tuesday 20 September 2016

As always, participants were informally polled after today's eConference "Mercy: A way of Being in the World" in MI Hall.  The audience included some from neighbouring parishes.             Reactions were unanimously supportive, grateful and rich in praise, including the following sentiments: "very worthwhile", "has put life and relevance into the word 'Mercy'", "excellent, well structured and complementary presentations". "how can we get this across to others who weren't here?", "gives depth of meaning to words we Catholics commonly throw around without much thought", "puts us all collectively very much into the picture", "moving",  "empowering and adds imperative for shared engagement",  "can we get a summary of key points?".              It really wasn't necessary to conduct a poll because the level of attention to presenters and engagement in local discussion after presentations already indicated much of the above.            It was commonly felt that the great significance of this eConference was its intimate connection with the reality of today's world, and for much of that we have Pope Francis to thank, as well as today's presenters & others who also reflect this in words and actions. Participants included one very engaged and articulate parish youth.             Our question sent live to the panel was the first answered, and humbly added insight into Pope Francis's recent expression of the role of bishops as "Icons of Mercy" (see article underneath). Thanks to the Outreach group once again for all their background work for today, excellent hospitality and kindly donated food. Thanks to the liturgy Group for organising another successful eConference.  Those participating reported that they were very pleased to have come. The next eConference will be in March 2017.
Pope attacks world’s indifference to war
Extract from by Christopher Lamb, The Tablet, 20 September 2016 
                                                                                           Great sickness of our time is inertia, Francis tells gathering in front of the Basilica of St Francis.    Pope attacks world’s indifference to war as he prays for peace in Assisi with religious leaders and refugees. It is the “paganism” of indifference rather than religious conflict that is proving the major obstacle to bringing about world peace, Pope Francis told an interfaith prayer meeting in Assisi today.   Speaking at a gathering in the hilltop town of his namesake St Francis, the Pope said the “great sickness of our time” was inertia where victims of war are silenced by the powerful with the ease of switching a television channel.    The event in Assisi saw Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist and Zoroastrian leaders gather to pray for peace with the church leaders taking part in an ecumenical service while other religious representatives praying in nearby locations....(more)

Pope Francis tells newly-appointed bishops to make their ministry an “icon of mercy"
Address to new bishops focuses on pastoral attention to families and seminarians
Extracts from Diane Montagna, Aleteia, 16 September 2016

VATICAN CITY — “The world is tired of charming liars, and I might say, of ‘trendy’ priests or ‘trendy’ bishops. People can ‘smell’ it — the people of God have God’s nose. People can ‘smell’ it and they move away when they see narcissists, manipulators, defenders of their own causes, and bandits of vain crusades,” Pope Francis told newly-appointed bishops in the Vatican’s Clementine Hall on Friday, as he urged them to make their ministry an “icon of mercy, the only force capable of permanently seducing and attracting man’s heart.”        “One can ignore an indifferent and distant God, but one cannot so easily resist a God who is so close and has even been wounded for love,” the pope said. “Goodness, beauty, truth, and love: this is what we have to offer this beggar world, albeit in half-broken bowls.”      The audience came at the end of a formation course for new bishops organized by the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for the Oriental Churches...........Pope Francis then called the bishops to fulfill their duty to make mercy pastoral for their flocks. “Mercy,” he said, “should form and inform the pastoral structures of our Churches. This does not mean lowering our standards or giving away our pearls. Indeed, the only condition that the pearl of great price places on those who find it is to not be able to claim less than everything; its only claim is to arouse in the hearts of those who find it the need to risk everything to have it.” The pope gave the bishops three recommendations for how to make mercy pastoral, saying their ministry must be accessible, tangible, and capable of encounter......(more)  Photo, Aleteia,
As Year Mercy approaches its end what does it all mean?
Friday 16 September 2016

Another eConference broadcast live to our Parish:
Mercy: A Way of Being in the World. The Year of Mercy is coming to an end. So what was it all about? Christ preached and demonstrated Mercy in so many ways, as have Pope Francis and others. It was also a theme of the recent World Youth Day in Poland. E-Conference  will be broadcast live to Mary Immaculate  Hall Tuesday20 Sept, 10:30am - 2:45pm.  All invited and urged to join in. Light  lunch provided (donations invited).  Reservations  Liturgy and Outreach Groups - Merle Gilbo 9497 1691, John Costa 0409 967 207,  Eileen Mount 9499 7120, Sue Kelly 9499 1485 or Helen Healy 9499 7793; or Parish Office  flyer here
Some celebrations in the Parish
Friday 16 September 2016
See "Mass details" page for some of the recent celebrations in the Parish.
Former bishop destroyed letter relating to abusive priest
Extract from Cathnews, Friday 16 September 2016  
                                                                                                                          A former Bishop of Parramatta has told the Royal Commission he destroyed documents relating to potential legal action against a paedophile priest. Fairfax Media has the story.

Former Bishop of Parramatta Bede Heather yesterday told The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse he destroyed documents because he was traumatised by a police search of his office as part of an earlier investigation into sexual abuse by clergy.              The inquiry heard Bishop Heather advised his lawyers of his actions in a 1996 letter.   "Following the police raid on our offices, shortly afterwards I took the precaution of destroying all papers of mine which could have been to the disadvantage of persons with whom I deal," he wrote in the letter which was partly read out before the Commission.  In evidence, Bishop Heather admitted he destroyed material which might contain information about crimes committed by clergy.   "You've destroyed documents that might say something which could be adverse to an individual?" Commission chairman Peter McClellan asked.....(more)

Cardinals discuss selection process for bishops
Extract from CathNews, 15 September 2016

The Cardinals advising Pope Francis on reforming the Church's central bureaucracy have discussed how bishops are selected, focusing in particular on the role of the Vatican's various global ambassadors, reports NCR Online.     The Vatican spokesman, Gregory Burke, said the nine-member Council of Cardinals looked at the way apostolic nuncios help select new bishops.    "The Cardinals reflected extensively on the spiritual and pastoral profile necessary for a bishop today," Mr Burke said in a statement following their meeting.     "They spoke of the diplomatic service of the Holy See and of the formation and duties of apostolic nuncios, with particular attention to their great responsibility in choosing candidates for the episcopacy."     Apostolic nuncios are normally responsible for recommending to the Pope three possible candidates to become leaders in dioceses that need bishops in the countries of their postings.    The Council of Cardinals is known to have previously discussed the selection of bishops in their meeting last April.    Mr Burke said the Council's discussions at this week's meeting "were dedicated in major part to further considerations about how the various dicasteries of the Curia may better serve the mission of the Church.".....(more) Photo: Cathnews,  
Bishop Selection Survey
Edited extract from SWAG, 15 September 2016

The Spring edition of SWAG, the quarterly (subscription) Magazine of the National Council of Priests of Australia includes an article "Selection of Bishops – a survey of the faithful" by Peter Johnstone, President of Catholics For Renewal. It describes an online survey of the faithful that has been developed by Catholics for Renewal to assist the Church’s Bishop selection process, and points out that they are seeking the support of priests and laity in publicising the survey as widely as possible. It reports that in the period ahead nine new Australian diocesan bishops could be appointed, including a new archbishop of Melbourne    The survey can be accessed online here, and invites comments on the needs of diocese/archdioceses and the qualities & attributes of bishops.
Priest allowed to return to ministry after two months
Extract from Cathnews, 15 September 2016

Paedophile priest John Farrell was allowed to return to public ministry in NSW just two months after being forced on "sick leave" due to complaints he had abused altar boys, reports AAP in The West Australian.   At a 1984 meeting of Church leaders in Armidale, the decision was made to send Farrell, then in his 30s, to the east Tamworth parish in northern NSW despite allegations he had abused a number of boys while an assistant priest at Moree, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard yesterday.    The Bishop of Wagga Wagga, Gerard Hanna, then a priest at east Tamworth, said the then-Bishop of Armidale, Henry Kennedy, had assumed two months was long enough to allow for any of Farrell's victims to come forward.    "He constantly resorted to the phrase, 'no one has come forward, there are no charges. There's no reason why he can't be put back into ministry'," Bishop Hanna said on Wednesday.    The reasons for Farrell's removal from Moree were kept quiet, the Bishop said, and there was no report to the police or public inquiry....(more)
Australian Bishops welcome change of heart on welfare cuts
Extract from Cathnews, 15 September 2016                                                                                                                                      The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has welcomed the Federal parliament’s decision to change its plans to cut the energy supplement to welfare recipients, describing the original         President of the ACBC, Archbishop Denis Hart, said the Bishops are concerned about growing income inequality in Australia and its impacts on poor and disadvantaged communities.        “Cutting payments to the most vulnerable families and individuals in our community, when their payments are already inadequate to meet their living costs, was a very concerning initiative,” Archbishop Hart said in a statement.....(more)

Pope Francis accepts Bishop Hanna’s Resignation
Extract from ACBC Communications, 12 September,

The Holy Father Pope Francis has today, 12 September 2016, accepted the resignation of Bishop Gerard Hanna as the fifth Bishop of Wagga Wagga due to health reasons.         Archbishop Christopher Prowse, Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn, has been appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Wagga Wagga.      On 9 December 1968, Bishop Hanna was ordained a Priest of the Diocese of Armidale. He was appointed Bishop of Wagga Wagga on 5 February 2002 at the age of 60.     Bishop Hanna will turn 75 years old on 22 December this year.    Speaking about his retirement, Bishop Hanna said, ‘It has been a special time ministering to the people of the Diocese of Wagga Wagga. Due to continuous ill health, it is no longer possible for me to continue my ministry across the diocese. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the families, parishes and communities across the diocese for their support, engagement and welcome throughout my time as Bishop of Wagga’.....(more)  Photo: ACBC Media blog

Papal commission steps up work to educate church about abuse
Extract from Carol Glatz Catholic News Service, National Catholic Reporter, 12 September 2016

Vatican City: Members of the pope's commission for child protection, including an abuse survivor, have been speaking with new bishops and major Vatican offices as part of a mandate to develop and educate the church about best practices.    Pope Francis also approved the establishment of a day of prayer for survivors of abuse, but decided it will be up to each nation's bishops' conference to decide when the memorial should be held, according a press release Sept. 12 from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.        Members of the pontifical commission have spoken recently with officials at the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, as well as at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, which trains priests for service in the Vatican's diplomatic corps.         Pontifical commission members, who were in Rome in early September, were also set to address the Congregation for Clergy and to speak at seminars for recently appointed bishops; the training seminars are organized by the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.         Marie Collins, a commission member and survivor of clerical abuse, was scheduled to be one of a number of commission members to address the Sept. 11-18 session of what is commonly referred to as "new bishops school."....(more)
Message from Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv about misrepresentation,
14 September 2016
Note: The following letter concerning information in the report below of 8 September relating to Bishop Long was kindly brought to our attention on 14 September and refers to misrepresentation in that report based on an article in The Australian on 07/09/2016.
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv response to The Australian 07/09/2016
Catholic Outlook, 08/09/2016

As Bishop of Parramatta, I take serious exception to the inaccurate and misleading headline and opening paragraph in The Australian – ‘Catholic bishop calls on church to accept homosexuality’ (07/09/2016 written by Greg Brown).       It appears my lecture has been completely misrepresented. The views and opinions of myself to clarify the lecture were not sought, nor was there any attempt at clarification.          It is disappointing that despite requests to have the inaccurate story amended, no changes have been made by the journalist or the publication.       - Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv        (further details here)
Pope announces prayer day for victims of sex abuse
Extract from CathNews,  13 September 2016
Pope Francis has announced plans for a worldwide day of prayer for the victims of sexual abuse, in line with a proposal from his child protection panel, reports AFP on Yahoo7. Plus the latest from the Royal Commission.    A commission of experts which advises Francis on efforts to combat clerical child sexual abuse, said the initiative had been made by an abuse survivor.    "The commission believes that prayer is one part of the healing process for survivors and the community of believers," a statement said. "Public prayer is also an important way of consciousness raising in the Church."    The move was announced after the latest week-long meeting of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors in Rome.      The announcement comes as the Chair of the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse told a hearing in Sydney that 1659 matters had been passed on to police to consider for further investigation, reports the ABC.     "Because of the volume of references, the resources of the various police forces have been placed under significant pressure," Justice Peter McClellan told the hearing.    "I understand a great many references are awaiting investigation, or the investigations are underway but not complete." Prosecutions have been brought against 71 people......(more)

Pope okays Argentine doc on Communion for divorced and remarried
Extracts from Inés San Martín, Vatican Correspondent, Crux, 12 September 2016

ROME- Ever since Pope Francis released a sweeping document on the family last September, there’s been ongoing discussion regarding what the conclusion actually is for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics who, according to previous Church teaching, were barred from receiving Communion........The bishops of the Buenos Aires region have drafted a set of guidelines meant to help local priests put Francis’s Amoris Laetitia into pastoral practice, particularly chapter eight, which makes reference to “discernment regarding the possible access to the sacraments of some of those who are divorced and in a new union.”..........The guidelines say that some civilly remarried couples who can’t adhere to the Church’s teaching of “living like brothers and sisters,” who have complex circumstances, and who can’t obtain a declaration of nullity for their first marriage, might undertake a “journey of discernment,” and arrive at the recognition that in their particular case, there are limitations that “diminish responsibility and culpability.”........For these exceptional cases, the bishops wrote, “Amoris Laetitia opens up the possibility of access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.”.......Yet, they warn, “it’s necessary to avoid understanding this possibility as an unrestricted access to the sacraments, or as though any situation might justify it.”.....(more)
Diamond and Silver Jubilee of MSC sisters
Sunday 11 September 2016                                                                                                            Today at St Pius X Church West Heidelberg a special Mass joyously concelebrated the Diamond Jubilee of Sr Jacquelyn Bender, Sr Francis Baum and the Silver Jubilee of Sr Carol Terpstra. The MSC Sisters do a very great deal of helping work, invisible to many and out of the limelight, supporting and caring for people across many different areas of need, in cities, remote areas, schools, Tertiary Institutions, justice and peace ministries, hospitals, suburbs, and Media. Being in the limelight is not what they seek or like, but today did so with grace and what they described as acute awareness of their privilege to serve God's call in this way. In this photo kindly provided by Sr Carmel Butler on request Sr Francis is seen cutting the cake, in fact two of three cakes simultaneously, for the convivial social gathering after Mass. Congratulations and very best wishes to Srs Jacquelyn, Francis and Carol from the Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe 

Congratulations to Neighbouring Parish 'St Kevin's' Templestowe
John Costa, Friday 9 September 2016

At the inaugural Mass last weekend of the renovated St Kevin's Parish Church in Templestowe, PLT Chairperson Fiona Wilson said that what is more important than a building is a community. The tremendous spirit, excitement and energy clearly evident at last Saturday's evenings Mass strongly supports that. However the beautiful new Church is itself a very warm and welcoming community place for worship & gathering. It has become a far more intimate and practical Church now - flexible seating closer to and around the altar . Part of the Church's beauty comes from its simplicity and minimalism, also featuring a tranquil garden behind a glass wall.  The painted stations of the cross are magnificent, both powerful and discreet.  The altar centrepiece and symbolically placed baptismal font at the entrance are both beautiful and functional. A particular feature is a flexible and integrated gathering and hospitality space. The development has been a very collaborative exercise across the Parish with everyone having a new sense of 'home ownership'. Congratulations and best wishes to our parish neighbours at St Kevin's.
Marist head apologises to family of boy who committed suicide
Extract from Cath News, 9 September 2016

The head of the Marist Brothers in Australia has apologised to the family of a student who committed suicide and said it was likely the boy was abused by a Marist Brother at a school in Newcastle in the 1970s, reports the ABC.     Brother Peter Carroll yesterday told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse hearing into the Church in the NSW Hunter region: "I want to acknowledge today in public that I accept on behalf of the Marist Brothers that all the evidence points to Andrew [Nash] having been sexually abused and the evidence also points to Andrew having taken his own life."    Brother Peter then slammed remarks by another Church official that the death was a "prank gone wrong" or that other members of the Nash family may have been involved.    "Any suggestion that they were is completely wrong and hurtful to the family," he said. "Such comments immeasurably compounded the family's pain and sense of loss."....(more)

A symbolic solution to the marriage debate
Extract from Brian Lucas, Eureka St, 8 September 2016

Someone once asked what happens when the irresistible force meets the immovable object. One suggestion — an indescribable catastrophe! I wonder if that is where we are heading with the debate about the meaning of marriage?         The rhetoric is sometimes bordering on the irrational. Speaking about the age old definition of marriage is now 'hate speech'. People in same sex relationships feel that their love for each other is seen as worthless. So the arguments go on and on.      Marriage, and more broadly any other close domestic relationship, is a fundamental social institution. Its meaning and worth ought not be determined by a poll where whichever side loses is left disenchanted and the other gloats 'victory'.     Is it possible to devise some legislative words that will do justice to both sides of the debate so that a Bill can be brought to the floor of our democratic process and find genuinely bi-partisan support? If we could achieve this, we do not need a plebiscite with the attendant risk of even further social divisiveness and even bitterness and spite, not to mention the cost.    I offer the following as a conversation starter.....(morePhoto: Eureka Street,
Message from Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv (14 September 2016)
Note: The following letter relating to information in the report underneath was kindly brought to our attention on 14/09/2016 and relates to misrepresentation in that report based on an article in The Australian on 07/09/2016.
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv response to The Australian 07/09/2016
Catholic Outlook, 08/09/2016

As Bishop of Parramatta, I take serious exception to the inaccurate and misleading headline and opening paragraph in The Australian – ‘Catholic bishop calls on church to accept homosexuality’ (07/09/2016 written by Greg Brown).       It appears my lecture has been completely misrepresented. The views and opinions of myself to clarify the lecture were not sought, nor was there any attempt at clarification.          It is disappointing that despite requests to have the inaccurate story amended, no changes have been made by the journalist or the publication.       - Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv      (further details here)
Australian bishop challenges Church on homosexuality  (see item above)
Jesus consistently challenges ingrained stereotyped attitudes, says Vietnamese-born Bishop Vincent Long
Extract from Global Pulse staff compilation, 8 September 2016

Vietnamese-born Australian Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen has said that it is not good enough for the Church to treat gay people with compassion and then define their lifestyle as "intrinsically disordered," The Australian reports.     "We cannot talk about the ­integrity of creation, the universal and inclusive love of God, while at the same time colluding with the forces of oppression in the ill-treatment of racial minorities, women and homosexual persons," said Bishop Long of Parramatta diocese in western Sydney.    "It won't wash with young people, especially when we purport to treat gay people with love and compassion and yet define their sexuality as 'intrinsically disordered.' This is particularly true when the church has not been a shining beacon and a trailblazer in the fight against inequality and ­intolerance."     Bishop Long's views are said to contrast with those of Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher, who was previously bishop of Parramatta.     He said the Gospel showed that it was the holders of tradition who were often guilty of "prejudice, discrimination and oppressive stereotype."    "That is what Jesus consistently does. He has a habit of challenging ingrained stereotyped attitudes, subverting the tyranny of the majority, breaking social ­taboos, pushing the boundaries of love and redefining its meaning," Bishop Long said.
        "He questioned the prevailing assumptions and stereotyped attitudes. He turned the presumed order of moral goodness upside down."....(more) Photo: Global Pulse, Catholic Outlook
Pope Benedict speaks: 'I do not see myself as a failure'
Extract from Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter, 8 September 2016

Retired Pope Benedict XVI has said the work of governing the global Catholic church was not his "strong point" and that he had a weakness of "little resolve" before the difficult decisions he faced.      But in his first substantial comments since his renunciation of the papacy in 2013, to be published in a new book-length interview Friday, the retired pope also says that while there were difficult moments in his reign it was "also a period in which many people found a new life in the faith."      "A weak point of mine was maybe little resolve in governing and making decisions," admits the ex-pontiff in the book, titled Ultime Conversazioni ("Last Conversations"), and excerpted Thursday in Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper.    "In reality I am more a professor, one who reflects and mediates on spiritual questions," Benedict states. "Practical governance is not my strong point and this is certainly a weakness."      "But I do not see myself as a failure," he continues. "For eight years I carried out my work.".....(more)

With Pope’s blessing, activists press fight against human trafficking
Extract from Inés San Martín, Vatican Correspondent, Crux, 7 September 2016

ROME - Every day around the world people are being bought, sold, and smuggled. They’re often beaten, starved, and forced to work as prostitutes or to take jobs as domestic, restaurant, or factory workers with little or no pay.    At the express request of Pope Francis, for the last three years the Vatican has become one of the leading voices in the fight against this illegal industry which today affects over 45 million people, more than the total number of people trafficked during the African slave trade.     The Holy See has organized workshops for political and religious leaders, given its blessing to agreements forged by some of the world’s top supermarket companies to slave-proof their supply chains, and Francis prominently spoke about trafficking when he addressed the United Nations last September during his trip to the United States.....(more)   Photo: Crux, (CNS photo/Lisa Johnston, St. Louis Review.)  
In Amoris Laetitia, Francis' model of conscience empowers Catholics
Extracts from  Michael G. Lawler Todd A. Salzman,  Viewpoint, National Catholic Reporter, 7 Sept. 2016

Some have called Pope Francis' Amoris Laetitia, or "The Joy of Love," his reflection on the two recent Synods of Bishops on the family, a "love letter" to families. We believe that Francis' teaching on conscience in that letter is one of the most important teachings in the apostolic exhortation. As various church bodies announced plans about how to implement Amoris Laetitia, it is instructive to see how they will present Francis' teaching on conscience.        To spread the teaching of Amoris Laetitia though U.S. dioceses and parishes, the U.S. bishops have appointed a working group led by Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput. The work of this group isn't yet public, but Chaput has issued guidelines for implementing Amoris Laetitia in his own archdiocese...........In Evangelii Gaudium and Amoris Laetitia, Francis brings to the fore again the Catholic doctrine on the authority and inviolability of personal conscience, especially as it relates to "irregular situations." Although Francis clearly rejects relativism and affirms objective norms (Evangelii Gaudium, 64), he warns that "realities are more important than ideas." .....(more)   Image: NCR, journalist takes photos of copies of Pope Francis' Amoris Laetitia "The Joy of Love". (CNS/Paul Haring)
Relearning critical obedience and faithful dissent
A deep theological and cultural rift, particularly about the role of Vatican II, exists in the practical ecclesiology of Catholicism today
Extract from Massimo Faggioli, Global Pulse, 6 September 2016

The summer of 2016 has not been a quiet time for Pope Francis. But apparently it has not been a quiet time for some of his brother bishops either. Some ordinaries of dioceses all over the world have given lectures and announced decisions that must be considered with attention not only for what they said, but also for the ecclesial environment in which they were received.                  First, Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane (Australia) announced his intention to celebrate a national synod for Australia in the year 2020. In an interview published in the Catholic Leader the archbishop, who was an active (and tweeting) member of the last assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, talked about the inspiration received by the most important ecclesial event of the last fifty years.          “It was in listening to the pope’s speech on synodality in the Church, on the morning of 17 October that I began to realize, in a clear and powerful way, that the time had arrived for Australia,” he said.      “I hope that the agenda of our Synod will be the result of genuine consultation within the Church, to be held between now and 2020. Anyone who wants to can have a say, as it was for the Synod in Rome,” Archbishop Coleridge emphasized.               Then another Australian prelate, Bishop Vincent Long of Parramatta, took a strong public stance in favor of Francis’ intention to re-position the Church in the modern world.     “If one can detect the direction of Pope Francis’ pontificate, it has something to do with the movement from security to boldness, from inward looking to outward looking, from preoccupation with our status quo, safeguarding our privileges to learning to be vulnerable, learning to convey God’s compassion to those who are on the edges of society and church,” he said during a lecture on August 18 ................(more) 
Photo: Archbishop Mark Coleridge
 Emmaus Dinner Discussion Night: Is the Church homophobic?
Fr Paul Newton, 2 September 2016

A friendly, engaging and interactive evening on Sunday 25th September for those "25ish - 55ish".  Starting 6:30 with Pizza and friendly chat, and then from 7:30pm - 8:30 pm an Open discussion led by Fr Paul Newton. It's at the Cunningham Centre, 64 Stanley Street Ivanhoe. RSVP by Friday 23 September at    Download Flyer here

Not so long ago, reflecting one year later
From Fr Len Thomas, Friday 2 September 2016

From Fr Len Thomas: Early last September,  we celebrated  Requiem Masses for 3 of our Ivanhoe parishioners :  Rosa Rocco - long-term parishioner and dedicated  member of the Italian  Rosary group at St  Bernadette’s,  Jamie Bernhardt - Mass attender at Mary Immac. even though not Catholic, Men’s Group member & Airlie resident; and Gino Villani, a TV actor with Crawford Productions, always with a smile and a joke, and husband of Ruth our secretary. They glued us together in prayer for some weeks as we shared their stories and dedication to our parish communities and beyond. They remind us still of the many people who give meaning to our local  parish communities.  Ed:Welcome Fr Len who will concelebrate 9am Mass at Mary Immaculate Church with Fr Paul on Sunday and say a few words (see Mass Details page).
Live from Rome this weekend: Canonisation of Mother Teresa
Melbourne Catholic, Friday 2 September 2016

Live streaming from Rome, the canonisation ceremony for Blessed Teresa of Kolkota.
The ceremony begins (Melbourne time) at 6.00pm on Sunday 4 September..........(view canonisation live here)
Bishop: Abuse seen as 'moral problem,' not criminal act
Extract from CathNews, 2 September 2016

Child fondling was considered  as a "moral problem" rather than a criminal act when altar boys first came forward with allegations, former Maitland-Newcastle Bishop Michael Malone told the Royal Commission yesterday, reports AAP/Nine News.       A group of boys, who served at St Joseph's at Merewether, told parents and teachers about sickening abuse suffered at the hands of Fr Vincent Ryan in 1975.   But Ryan was allowed to continue serving in the ministry unrestricted for another two decades before being arrested.   Bp Malone said it used to be the case that priests who offended against anybody could go to confession and be "forgiven of his sins."     "What about the touching of the genitals of a child? Was that seen as a moral problem or . . . a criminal act?" Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse chairman Peter McClellan asked yesterday.   "I think in the past it was considered as a moral problem," Bp Malone replied..........(more)
Cardinal to Proclaim: The new evangeliser needs four qualities
Extract from CathNews, 2 September 2016

Courage, confidence, a sense of urgency, and joy: These are the qualities a new evangeliser needs for successful parish renewal,  keynote speaker Cardinal Donald Wuerl told Proclaim 2016 delegates during his opening address in Sydney yesterday.    "Many young people today have these qualities," the Cardinal Archbishop of Washington said.   "Courage could also be described as boldness........ We are not passive bystanders."    Speaking about Pope Francis, parish renewal, and evangelisation, the Cardinal said: "Others have gone before us but the responsibility of parish renewal falls to us. It's our turn now.........Speaking about the challenges for parish renewal, Cardinal Wuerl said: "The secularism experience in my part of the western world is a cultural tsunami. It is against this background, this diminished experience of faith that Pope Francis calls us to the new evangelisation, to go out and don’t stay wrapped up in yourselves. As we go forward, we are going to have a wonderful time of renewal in the Church.....(more)

Plebiscite the only way forward for Turnbull on marriage equality
Extract from Frank Brennan, Eureka Street, 1 September 2016

that the 2016 federal election is done and dusted, we need to consider what is a responsible, informed position to take on the proposed plebiscite on same sex marriage.       I uphold and continue to proclaim the Catholic Church's teaching on sacramental marriage. To quote The Catechism for convenience: 'The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptised persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.'     We are all citizens of a pluralistic democratic society in which the law does not necessarily reflect my Church's teaching on all matters, including the sacrament of marriage. Most civil marriages contracted in Australia are not sacramental marriages celebrated or even recognised by the Catholic Church. Most marriages nowadays are performed by civil celebrants.............(more)

Price of a plebiscite is too high for LGBTI young people
Extract from Neve Mahoney, Eureka Street, 30 August 2016

The same sex marriage plebiscite is a hot button topic. The Greens and Nick Xenophon have decided to vote against a plebiscite. Labor have unofficially officially made the same decision. As a young queer woman, I believe blocking the plebiscite is the right choice for reasons both practical and emotional.     The major arguments are well documented. A plebiscite will be, according to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, 'the nation's most expensive opinion poll' (the estimated cost comes to about $160 million), since the outcome won't be legally binding. And history has shown us that on the rare occasion we've implemented a plebiscite, it can still years to take effect; changing the national anthem after the plebiscite in 1977 took seven years.    Apart from Ireland, in every country where same sex marriage has been legalised, it has been done by parliamentary vote. And importantly, both Australian and Irish LGBTI+ activists have warned of the negative consequences of a public vote to the mental health of LGBTI+ people.       It's that last argument I want to emphasise here, because often when you haven't experienced a certain kind of discrimination, it can remain an abstract concept for you. If you're a cisgender straight person, the Irish vote 'no' poster, like 'Children need a mother and father', may not seem like a big deal. You may even agree with it......(more)

Purifying language vital to renewing 'polluted' churches
Edited Extract from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, 30 August 2016

The crimes of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, and in other institutions, have generated a wide literature. It encompasses the experience of victims, the institutional causes of clerical abuse and the steps needed to do justice to its victims and to ensure it does not happen again.    Jane Dowling's Child Arise! The Courage to Stand. A spiritual handbook for survivors of sexual abuse.  Other writing offers help to victims to deal with their experience. An impressive example of this last category points to a wider challenge to our society. Jane Dowling's Child Arise! The Courage to Stand. A spiritual handbook for survivors of sexual abuse — which last month was named the Australian Christian Book of the Year — is addressed to Christians who have suffered abuse within the Church and whose faith is still central to them. Many, of course, have understandably abandoned it.   Dowling, who herself was a victim of clerical abuse, offers a program of reflections that bring together scriptural themes and the effects of sexual abuse by church representatives. Most striking in her book is the extraordinary labour required to purify the language of a tradition that has become polluted.....(more)

Pope Francis announces new social justice department
Edited Extract from Christopher Lamb in Rome, The Tablet, 30 August 2016

The dicastery will start its work on 1 January 2017
Pope Francis has created a new department focussing on helping migrants and caring for the environment, and has named one of Africa’s most prominent cardinals – who some have tipped as a future Pope – to lead it.     On Wednesday Francis announced a new dicastery for “Promoting Human Development” which will be led by Cardinal Peter Turkson, a 67-year-old Ghanaian who currently runs the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and is close to the Pope.    The cardinal has been a keen proponent of Francis’ encyclical on the environment –  Laudato si’ – while speaking out on a whole range of social issues. This week he condemned governments who fail to provide their people with access to water and earlier this year suggested the Church could review its teaching on what constitutes a Just War.     His new dicastery has been given a wide-ranging brief, from unemployment to the death penalty, and has a green light from the Pope to collaborate with non-Catholic institutions.........(more)

Teaching boys to respect girls
Extract from Peter Hosking*, Eureka Street,  28 August 2016

Hopefully students and families around the country are discussing the media reports about the online behaviours of adolescents, especially those that disrespect girls.     Adolescent boy and girl share headphonesThere is a police investigation into a message chat forum in which students loaded and swapped nude photos of other students. There are serious legal issues with the collection and distribution of such images. Such behaviour is unacceptable. The accounts of the online student behaviour raise issues about power and consent...........It is concerning that some young men presume to exercise power so callously. They make girls public property without their agreement. In objectifying others and treating sex as a commodity, they betray the fundamental aspects of good relationships. Young women are not sexual commodities and young men are not entitled to request and circulate these kinds of intimate images.....(more)        *Fr Peter Hosking SJ has been Rector of St Aloysius' College, Milsons Point, NSW, since 2011. This is an edited version of an article that appears in this week's edition of the college newsletter, The Gonzagan.
\Vatican promotes mercy in social media with #BeMercy
Extract from Melbourne Catholic, Crux now, 30 August 2016
In honour of all ‘workers and volunteers of mercy,’ the Vatican is asking those who volunteer in different service opportunities to share their testimony on social media with the hashtag #BeMercy.    Launched by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, the #BeMercy initiative is meant to coincide with the special 2-4 September Jubilee for Workers and Volunteers of Mercy, and is part of Pope Francis’ wider Holy Year of Mercy.      ‘Charity, love and mercy are different words to express the same reality: God’s love,’explains Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Council for the New Evangelization..........(more)         ED: The Year of Mercy is approaching its end. What was it all about? See notice in the Parish Newsletter and the Events page of this website about an  eConference "Mercy: A way of Being in the World" streamed live to our Parish (and around the  world) on Tuesday 20 September. 10:30am to 2:45p. Light lunch provided. Flyer Here

'Brave Children' run rings around 'Fr Paul & Parents'
Sunday 28 August 2016, Marcellin College indoor stadium

As this triumphal photo might suggest, children from our three Parish Schools ran rings around the 'Fr Paul & Parents' teams during two 20 minute 'tournaments' last Sunday afternoon at Marcellin College Indoor Stadium. Whilst it could also have something to do with being greatly outnumbered by the children a lot of skill was evident in the young teams, and also in the older teams where some parents and Fr Paul showed hints of earlier basketball prowess. But the day was not about beating anyone, it was about encouragement and having fun. What the photo really  shows is  that this was a wonderful event filled with joy and family participation.
 Fr Paul and Parents Vs all brave children of Ivanhoe
Friday 26 August 2013

Marcellin College Indoor Stadium will be the venue for this grand battle - a Free Basketball Match, on Sunday 28th August from 3-4 pm. Spectators & children welcome. No need to RSVP, just turn up and join in the fun. The stadium is entered via Sandra Street Bulleen. Download Flyer here .

Pope Calls on Jesuits to Teach Discernment,
Extract from Cindy Wooden - Catholic News Service, 25 August 2016

When it comes to the Christian life, too many seminaries teach students a rigid list of rules that make it difficult or impossible for them as priests to respond to the real-life situation of those who come to them seeking guidance, Pope Francis said.      "Some priestly formation programs run the risk of educating in the light of overly clear and distinct ideas, and therefore to act within limits and criteria that are rigidly defined a priori, and that set aside concrete situations," the pope said during a meeting with 28 Polish Jesuits in Krakow during World Youth Day.      The Vatican did not publish details of the pope's meeting July 30 with the Jesuits, but—with Pope Francis' explicit approval—a transcript of his remarks to the group was published in late August by Civilta Cattolica, a Jesuit journal reviewed at the Vatican prior to publication.    According to the transcript, the pope asked the Jesuits to begin an outreach to diocesan seminaries and diocesan priests, sharing with them the prayerful and careful art of discernment as taught by St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits......(more)

Francis asks priests to learn that life isn't black and white, but shades of grey
Extract from Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter, 25 August 2016

Pope Francis has asked members of his Jesuit religious order to help young priests recognize that decisions Catholics make in their everyday lives are rarely ethically clear-cut, but rather exist on a spectrum between good and evil.     In a dialogue with Jesuits in Poland during his trip to the country last month, the pontiff asked his confreres to particularly work with seminarians to help them learn "the wisdom of discernment."     "The Church today needs to grow in the ability of spiritual discernment," the pope said in the July 30 meeting with about 30 Jesuits, according to a transcript of the dialogue released for the first time Thursday by the Italian Jesuit magazine Civiltà Cattolica.    "Some priestly formation programs run the risk of educating in the light of overly clear and distinct ideas, and therefore to act within limits and criteria that are rigidly defined ... and that set aside concrete situations," said Francis.....(more)
Outreach welcomes 55ish and above plus everyone else
Wednesday 24 August 2016

Why do people keep coming to Parish Outreach events? Enjoying good films or other activities together is one, making everyone, old or young, feel welcome and equal is another. Delicious home made sandwiches and  cakes at High tea during interval does no harm either, and experience confirms that good social interaction in cosy rooms tends to make people want to linger and chat.  Invariably people share anecdotes that others enjoy and relate to. It's all about  being together in ways that are respectful, encouraging, and part of a broad community.
A Plenary Synod in 2020 for the Australian Catholic Church
Extract from Peter Johnstone, Pearls & Irritations, John Menadue Blog, 24 August 2016

The Australian Catholic Church is planning a national/plenary synod of the Church in Australia. Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane has announced that the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) has decided to conduct a plenary council/synod in 2020. Few Australian Catholics would be aware that synods have been an integral part of church governance since the time of the Apostles. That’s not surprising as no plenary or provincial (roughly State-wide) synods have been held in Australia since the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), despite that Council calling for synods to “flourish with fresh vigour” (Christus Dominus, n.36), and insisting that the laity have an active role in them.       The announcement of a plenary council/synod seems to indicate a commitment by the bishops of Australia to engaging with the people of the Church, and is very welcome. As Peter Wilkinson (an acknowledged expert on the history of synods in Australia) noted in April 2012 in a paper submitted to the ACBC by Catholics for Renewal, many Australian Catholics have felt that their voices have not been heard nor their views properly considered for a long time. In 2012 the ACBC, in response to a carefully considered 28-page proposal for national and diocesan synods from Catholics for Renewal, replied simply that “diocesan synods are a matter for each diocesan bishop and the issue of a national synod is not considered opportune at this time.”........(more)
Cardinal Sarah reiterates ad orientem comments and urges priests to carry out 'liturgical examination of conscience'
Extract from Katherine Backler,The Tablet, 24 August 2016

Cardinal Sarah reiterates ad orientem comments and urges priests to carry out 'liturgical examination of conscience'.   Cardinal Sarah has clarified recent comments he made about celebrating Mass ad orientem, condemning some responses as inaccurate.        The cardinal, who is Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, told clergy yesterday in the Archdiocese of Colombo, Sri Lanka, that the talk he made last month received a lot of attention - "some of it not always very accurate".      But he reiterated some of the points he made at the Sacra Liturgia conference in London in July about the celebration of Mass ad orientem, saying that “in recent decades in some countries the Sacred Liturgy has become too anthropocentric; man not Almighty God has become its focus”. He continued: “When the modern liturgy is celebrated in the vernacular with the priest ‘facing the people’, there is a danger of man, even of the priest himself and his personality, becoming too central.”       In response to the cardinal's comments last month Pope Francis made it clear no changes are planned to the Ordinary or Extraordinary Mass Forms......(more)  Photo  cardinal_sarah

Vatican newspaper: 'Amoris Laetitia' is authoritative church teaching
Extract from Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service, National Catholic Reporter, 23 August 2016
Vatican City. Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation on the family is an example of the "ordinary magisterium" -- papal teaching -- to which Catholics are obliged to give "religious submission of will and intellect," said an article in the Vatican newspaper.      Fr. Salvador Pie-Ninot, a well-known professor of ecclesiology, said that while Pope Francis did not invoke his teaching authority in a "definitive way" in the document, it meets all the criteria for being an example of the "ordinary magisterium" to which all members of the church should respond with "the basic attitude of sincere acceptance and practical implementation.".....(more)

Gold medallist Chloe Esposito speaks on faith, sport and commitment
Edited extracts from Melbourne Catholic and ABC News, 22 August 2016

Chloe Esposito stormed through the closing running-shooting combined contest to win the women's modern pentathlon gold at the Rio Olympics, giving Australia its first medal in the five-discipline event. Just four years ago with good prophetic sense our now Parish Administrator Fr Paul Newton  had the opportunity prior to the London Olympic Games to interview young Catholic sportswoman Chloe Esposito, who was then heading to London to compete in the women’s pentathlon event at the London Olympics. The rest is already history and in this 2012 wide ranging Interview and recent article she talks openly about the challenges, the disappointments, the disciplines, the focus needed to compete in an event as gruelling and demanding as the pentathlon, and faith. Read report and watch Interview here.

Another Innovation for Melbourne Catholic
Friday 19 August 2016

Bringing the immediacy and intimacy of modern communication to good use in our busy lives Melbourne Catholic introduces a new series of brief video interviews which, initially, will profile priests in our Melbourne Archdiocese. For its first episode, Shane Healy (Director of Media and Communications) sits down with Fr Paul Newton, Parish Administrator of The Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe. You can share in this new, near-live,  experience here.
Children's Interactive Mass                                                                                                                                                       Friday 19 August 2016
Thank you to all who came along the Children's Mass at Mother of God Church last Sunday. It was truly a celebration of coming together and our children were wonderful. Thank you to all for welcoming the involvement of children in our Sunday Eucharist. We extend thanks to all readers, altar servers, Margaret De Silva and the choir, helpers at Offertory, as well as parents who helped with Morning Tea and clean up. A shining example of our community spirit. - Fr Paul 
What clergy are hearing from Francis: ‘Presence, mercy and service’
Extracts from John Allen Jnr,  Crux,
19 August 2016
Based on a variety of contacts with clergy from around the Catholic world over the last month, the basic takeaways they seem to be drawing from Pope Francis can be expressed in three words: Presence, mercy and service. That may not be the totality of his agenda, but as a basic orientation, one could probably do worse..........As I met clergy over the last month - from the States, from Europe, from Australia and the U.K., from Africa and Asia and Latin America, and from the Middle East - sooner or later, I’d ask the following question: “What impact is Pope Francis having on you?”      Many priests told me they see Francis as a confirmation of what they were already trying to do, in terms of being pastors close to the experiences of their people, and they rejoice that he’s touching the hearts of the world and appealing to those distant from the faith. For them, this is what Catholicism is supposed to be.          Enthusiasm is often greatest among older priests, those most attached to the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) -a cohort, by the way, that doesn’t use social media as much and often tends to be a bit quieter about their opinions, but that doesn’t make their sense of things any less real.                   For other clergy, especially younger priests and bishops who might tend to self-identify as a “John Paul II” or “Benedict XVI’ man, Francis can be a bit of a shock to the system. (That’s despite the fact that Francis has forcefully rejected attempts to set him in opposition to either of his predecessors.).       Virtually all, however, said that in some form they’re trying to figure out what the pope wants and, as best they can, to deliver it.      Here’s what I heard, over and over again, in terms of what Catholic clergy today believe the pope is pushing them to do.........(more)

Re-imagining Parish Services
Friday 19 August 2016

Catholic Social Services Victoria in conjunction with various parishes in the SE region are sponsoring a 'Parish Expo' on Saturday 27 August with the aim of helping to strengthen parishes. Similar events are being considered for other regions. The expo plans to assist by i) celebrating parishes as communities of service, ii)sharing our work and learning from each other, iii) Calling us to act with justice and iv) reaching for our hopes and dreams. The day will include presentations from some parishes on how they respond to local needs, and an expo by parishes and Catholic social services. Intended for Parishioners keen to make a difference, Pastoral Associates, Parish Council members and Parish Priests the event will be held at Our Lady of the Assumption, 9 Centre Road, Cheltenham from 9:30am for 10:00am - 1.40 pm. Cost to cover lunch is $10. RSVP by Monday 22 August. Bookings and further details in this Flyer.
Australian Bishops early launch of Year of Youth
Friday 19 August 2016

Whilst  formally announced earlier in July, at a recent press conference in Krackow  following World Youth Day 2016 and after WYD feedback a further announcement on the planned Year Of Youth in 2018 was outlined by Archbishop Christopher Prowse, Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn, Australia’s capital city, Bishop Mark Edwards, Australian Catholic Bishops Delegate for Youth, Malcolm Hart, Director of the Australian Catholic Bishops Office for Youth, along with Australian Pilgrims in Krakow (video here). Amidst other discussion, in the changing landscape of youth ministry in Australia the gathering discussed the engagement of a new generation of young Catholics through the Australian Catholic Youth Festival and increased training and formation of those working with young people through the Australian Catholic Youth Ministry Convention. Neighbouring Parishes (Yarra Deanery) will shortly produce and screen at local parishes a brief video of reaction to WYD Krackow following her return by Mishika Perera, youth member of neighbouring St  Kevin's Parish Templestowe.
Rosie the Riveter has a message for Catholic women
Extract from Nicole Sotelo, Young Voices, National Catholic Reporter, 18 August 2016
                                                                With the Vatican's announcement of members for the women deacon commission, media have raised the question again of women's leadership in the church. Much like the "Rosie the Riveters" that the government ushered into the public workforce during World War II, the Vatican has also welcomed Catholic women to serve in limited church roles for the last half century. They work on the front lines of local parishes, some diocesan offices, and a smattering of support roles at the Vatican. In fact, women make up 80 percent of lay church workers in the United States.    Now that the Vatican welcomes women as church workers, why do Catholic officials balk at women's leadership in roles with significant decision-making authority, even when the decisions significantly affect women's lives?......(more)

Pope appoints head of new office for laity, family and life
Edited Extract from Christopher Lamb, The Tablet,  17 August 2016

The dicastery is likely to be a crucial battleground in the implementation of the Pope’s 'family document'. The first leader of Pope Francis’ new laity, family and life department will be an English-speaking pastoral moderate with a concern for migrants.       On Wednesday the Vatican announced that Francis had named the Bishop of Dallas, Kevin Farrell, to lead the new body which is an important part of his reform of the Roman Curia.     The dicastery is likely to be a crucial battleground in the implementation of the Pope’s family document, Amoris Laetitia, which is coming under fire from traditional Catholics for being too woolly on moral issues such as whether the divorced and remarried can receive communion.      Although once a member of the deeply conservative Legionaries of Christ order, the bishop has warned ideological purists at the University of Dallas against “dogmatism, closed mindedness, judgmentalism, [and] suspicion of another’s motives”.     The 68-year-old Farrell was born in Ireland but moved to the United States in 1984 where he served in the Archdiocese of Washington and appointed to Dallas in 2007.....(more) Photo: The Tablet 
Brisbane Archbishop calls for first synod for entire Catholic Church in Australia since 1937
Extract from The Catholic Leader, 17 August 2016

Archbishop Mark Coleridge has unveiled plans to hold an historic plenary council of the entire Catholic Church in Australia. It is to be held in 2020, only the fifth time in Australia’s history, and 79 years after the previous plenary council meeting.            Archbishop Coleridge said bishops had agreed a plenary council or synod was needed because “we are at a time of profound cultural change. Not only in the wider community, but in the Church.”            “I think we have to accept the fact that Christendom is over – by which I mean mass, civic Christianity. It’s over. Now, how do we deal with that fact?” Archbishop Coleridge said.     “We are not the power in the land which we once were.”         The last plenary council of the Church in Australia was held in 1937.     That event, and earlier ones in 1885, 1895 and 1905, were exclusively male gatherings, with only bishops, theologians and superiors of male religious orders attending.  Women, religious or lay people, took no part.              Archbishop Coleridge said women in the Church would play a role in 2020.    A plenary council can discuss and legislate on a wide range of issues, including matters of faith, morals and discipline. It can also address the critical issues of the times.       “This is no time for the Church to be putting up signs that say ‘business as usual’,” Archbishop Coleridge said.       “If we needed any proof, then the Royal Commission has shown that.    “We need to face the facts, and in the light of the facts, which aren’t always friendly, we have to make big decisions about the future.”             Beyond a Church response to the Royal Commission into sexual abuse of children, Archbishop Coleridge said he expected there would be consideration of other issues in the public gaze such as homosexual marriage.       “I would be very surprised if those issues were not an important part of the plenary council’s work,” he said.                   “Everything is potentially on the radar screen, anything that does not infringe on the Church’s faith, teachings or morals.”          The plenary council could also expect to engage with contemporary issues of justice, peace, development and the environment.            Archbishop Coleridge said the idea of a Plenary Council or synod, which means “on the road together”, had been discussed by Australian bishops for the past 10 years.       Agreement to proceed in 2020 gained momentum in the past 12 months......(more)
US Lutherans approve document recognizing agreement with Catholic church
Extract from Emily McFarlan Miller, Religion News Service, National Catholic Reporter, 16 August 2016

Nearly 500 years after Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Castle Church door, the largest Lutheran denomination in the U.S. has approved a declaration recognizing "there are no longer church-dividing issues" on many points with the Roman Catholic church.        The "Declaration on the Way" was approved 931-9 by the 2016 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Churchwide Assembly held last week at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.      ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton called the declaration "historic" in a statement released by the denomination following the Wednesday vote.       "Though we have not yet arrived, we have claimed that we are, in fact, on the way to unity. … This 'Declaration on the Way' helps us to realize more fully our unity in Christ with our Catholic partners, but it also serves to embolden our commitment to unity with all Christians," Eaton said.     The declaration comes as the Lutheran and Catholic churches prepare to kick off a year of celebrations to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation......(more)  PhotoL Martin Luther, founder of Germany’s Protestant (Lutheran) Church, nailed his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany, on Oct. 31, 1517

Childrens' Interactive Mass
The Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe, Friday 12 August 2016
Mother of God Church next Sunday (14 August) will celebrate a 'Children's interactive Mass'.   Mass is meant to be interactive and this initiative is intended to further encourage children in their understanding of and participation in the celebration of Mass. Children already participate actively in the Mass in a variety of ways, through assisting with liturgy, sharing Readings and prayers, bringing up gifts, and in other ways. This special Mass aims to encourage greater connection between children and the Mass. It will be followed by Morning Tea, Games and Prizes. This will be at the usual MOG Sunday Mass time of 10:30 am, at 56 Wilfred Rd, Ivanhoe East, and all children and others are welcome.(See photo of last Sunday MI School 1st Holy Communion here)
CatholicCare Collections after each Mass
Friday 12 August 2016

We Welcome Shane Healy, CatholicCare speaker at 9am Mass on Sunday. Photo 3AW 

Survey reveals how much Australians give to parish collections
Extract from CathNews, The Catholic Weekly, Friday 12 August 2016

Almost half of Mass-going Australian Catholics give $10 or less to weekly parish collections, with the largest single group of givers – around 33 percent – giving between $5 and $10, reports The Catholic Weekly.     The analysis was recently issued by the Pastoral Research Office, an organ of the bishops-secretariat body, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, and was based on a random sample of 2610 Mass attenders across Australia in the 2011 National Church Life Survey.    Some 28 percent gave between $10-20, 15 percent gave $20-40, and four percent reported giving $40 or more (three percent said they did not give any money).     The analysis also found that of people who gave $20 or more, around 29 percent were people who had a parish ministry role, followed by people born outside Australia in another English-speaking country (26 percent).    Older people were much more likely to give more than younger people, the PRO’s July-August report said, with people aged 60 and over making up 21 percent of those who gave $20+ compared with people aged 15-34 who made up 11 percent.....(more) Image: CathNews,

Poland's church faces challenge from papal visit
Extract from Jonathan Luxmoore, National Catholic Reporter, 11 August 2016

When the pope paid his first visit to Poland in late July, it was widely expected he'd rebuke the country's predominant Catholic church for opposing his reforms.     With all sides publicly lauding the event as a resounding success, it's clear his dealings with Poland's bishops were outwardly restrained. Yet the visit has nevertheless raised questions about how the pontiff's vision of the church is being treated in Europe's most Catholic country -- a country still firmly aligned with the conservative teachings of his Polish predecessor, St. John Paul II.     "Poland's bishops have been unsure how to react to new papal statements on subjects like divorce and homosexuality, which are traditionally presented in clear, black-and-white terms by the church here," explained Malgorzata Glabisz-Pniewska, a senior Catholic presenter with Polish Radio. "After his five days in Poland, he still won't have persuaded them to embrace his reformist outlook. But he will have convinced many ordinary people, who were impressed by what they saw and heard. This could make it harder for the bishops to maintain such a severe, uncompromising attitude.".......(more) Photo: Photo NCR, CNS/Paul Harin
Women ready to be deacons but is the Church ready for them?
Extract from CathNews, 11 August 2016

As a deacon’s wife, Cynthia Bowns participated in her husband's classes during his formation. “I’ve always had a sense of ministerial call, but it became more focused [then].” Ms Bowns says women would bring a special sensibility to the role. America has the story.        Cynthia Bowns gazes at a painting of the Last Supper that hangs in the study of her home. It is not Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous depiction of Jesus and the 12 male apostles. Her painting includes several women alongside the 12 men at the table of the first Eucharist.     “I think this is probably a more accurate representation of who was actually there with Jesus,” she says.......(more)  Photo:CathNews CathNews, 
With holy orders,  can't have it both ways
Extract from Christine Schenk, National Catholic Reporter, 11 August 2016

Ok, here's my take on Pope Francis' new commission on the female diaconate:    It's good.     And here are some reasons why      For the first time in history, we have a gender-balanced papal commission. When has that ever happened before?          While Vatican spokesperson Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi said Francis' commission idea was a "spontaneous" response to a question at an international meeting of Catholic sisters, I'm not buying it. First, no nun would ever spring a surprise question on the pope, especially in a public forum. Second, papal questions were solicited from the sisters months ahead of time. Francis had already considered his response very carefully before he replied publicly.........(More)   Image: Image: NCR, (Courtesy of FutureChurch),     First-century female deacon Phoebe (Romans 16:1-2) preaches in an early Christian house church, in artwork by Laura James.

Francis, ISIS, and the crisis of Church and state
Extract from Massimo Faggioli, Global Pulse, 8 August 2016

Events in Europe and the Middle East probably signal the end of a form of Church - State relationship that emerged during the early modern period:   Pope Francis’ refusal to label the terrorist campaign of ISIS as a religious war caused by Islam continues to create controversy. The fact that this debate does continue is a sign of the relevance of the opinion of the bishop of Rome in the global political community, and at the same time also a sign of a weakness in the way our politics deal with non-State actors, such as religions.        And the debate is an important indicator of the present situation in relations between the Church and politics in the Western world. There are indeed many paradoxes evident in what amounts to a name game played between Francis and part of the Western commentariat willing to take the Church (but not themselves) into this theological war........(more) Image: Global Pulse, Sykes-Picot division of the Middle East/Ian Pitchford/Wikimedia 

Facing up to Spiritual Abuse
Extract from Sean Fagan SM Doctrine & Life, March 2001, Reprinted Association of Catholic Priests,  8 August 2016

We need resources to help us understand and address the deep-down damage which so many people have suffered in their emotional and spiritual lives when Church practices and attitudes left them with huge burdens of unhealthy guilt.      One such resource is the article, ‘Sexual Abuse and Spiritual Abuse’ in The Furrow (October 2000). The author, Donal Dorr, is a highly- respected world-class theologian who writes with insight and feeling and with great courage and humility. His writing has the ring of truth. Because of the courageous way in which he speaks of the experience of how he saw spiritual abuse by the Church affecting his life, I am prompted to reflect on my own experience.    Ordained in 1953, I have been teaching moral theology (as well as philosophy, Scripture and some canon law) in the seminary and in the Milltown Institute since 1955. At intervals since 1960 I have taught moral theology and spirituality to international renewal groups of priests, nuns and brothers in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. For the past forty-seven years I have heard confessions and given spiritual direction in twelve countries of widely different languages and culture. What I most remember is that, after two to three hours in the confessional on a Saturday night (with penitents who confessed weekly or monthly), I often came out on the verge of tears, thinking: what in God’s name have we done with people’s consciences? With a mixture of sadness and anger, it was difficult to pray about it...........(more)

1st Holy Communion: Change this Sunday only to Mary Immaculate Mass time
Friday 5 August 2016
As the parish starts this weekend to celebrate 1st Holy Communion for children of our 3 Primary schools Mass time at Mary Immaculate this Sunday only will be 10:00am. For this Sunday only there will be no 9am Mass at MI. First Holy Communion for students from  St Bernadette's school will be on 13 August, and from Mother of God School on Sun 11th September. The Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe congratulates the children who celebrate their First Holy Communion at Mary Immaculate Church this weekend. We welcome families, relatives and friends who have come to share this special occasion as part of their ongoing faith journeys. We thank all who have prepared and taken part in the liturgy, as well as those who have prepared the children both at school and at home.

Welcome to Melbourne Catholic’s live Mass streaming
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Friday 5 July 2016

The 1.00 p.m Mass is streamed live daily from St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne and is then
available as a recording on demand until one hour prior to the next 1.00 p.m Mass. HERE  Image: CAM . The idea of Streaming Masses was raised in the Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe many years ago, but the time then wasn't 'quite right'.

Detention centre chaplain sickened by treatment of youths
Extract from Cath News, 4 August 2016

The chaplain who ministers to youth inside Darwin’s notorious Don Dale detention centre, and has even washed the boys’ feet, said he was “sick to the core” after watching graphic television images of actions by guards, reports The Catholic Leader.     Fr Dan Benedetti has ministered at the Northern Territory detention centre since 2003, and knows the teenagers, including Dylan Voller, whose brutal treatment was documented on ABC TV’s Four Corners program.     “Those images have left me sick to the core, heart-broken, and devastated,” said Fr Benedetti, a priest from the order of the Missionaries of God’s Love.      “For the last three Holy Thursdays I’ve washed those feet, for years we’ve enjoyed singing and praying with those kids, and at our last service they acted out the story of the Good Samaritan.”     From the television images, Fr Benedetti recognised that “just metres from one of the places we had our services were these horrendous cells I didn’t even know existed”.    “This is not human, this is not Christ,” he said.....(more)  Photo: CathNews,
Saying ‘thank you’ to the nicest guy in the Catholic Church
Extract from John L. Allen Jr. Editor, National Catholic Reporter, 1 August 2016

Today marks the beginning of an exciting era for American Catholics, in that as of today, the official Vatican spokesman and, therefore, the most visible figure in the Catholic Church after the pope himself, is veteran American journalist Greg Burke.     A former correspondent for both Time and Fox News, Burke is a bright, committed newsman, and having an American in the spokesman’s role is good news for the Vatican and for everyone who covers the place.    What shouldn’t be lost in the shuffle, however, is that today also marks the end of Father Federico Lombardi’s run as the Vatican spokesman, and everyone who cares about the Church ought to take a moment to ponder just how enormous a sacrifice Lombardi has made over the past decade......(more)  Photo. NCR NCA
Francis institutes commission to study female deacons
Extract from  Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter, 2 August 2016

Vatican City: Pope Francis has created a commission to study the possibility of allowing women to serve as deacons in the Catholic church, following up on a promise made last May in what could be an historic move towards ending the global institution's practice of an all-male clergy.      The pontiff has appointed an equal number of male and female experts as members of the commission, which will be led by Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria, a Jesuit who serves as the second-in-command of the Vatican's doctrinal congregation.     The Vatican said in a release announcing the commission Tuesday that the pope had decided to create the group “after intense prayer and mature reflection” and wanted it particularly to study the history of the female diaconate “in the earliest times of the church.”     The formal name given to the group is "Study Commission on the Women’s Diaconate."​ The commission’s members include experts in patristic theology, ecclesiology, and spirituality......(more)

I will hold judgement on Cardinal Pell until police give verdict, Pope tells journalists
Extract from Christopher Lamb, The Tablet, 1 August 2016

'There is doubt' but Francis says it would be wrong to come out in favour or against at this stage.    I will hold judgment on Cardinal Pell until police give verdict, Pope tells journalists    The Pope is waiting for the Australian justice system to take its course before speaking in the case of Cardinal George Pell, who is being investigated over child sex abuse. Suggesting there were doubts over the allegations against the cardinal, who runs the Vatican finances, the Pope urged the media not to make a premature judgment in the case.    “There is doubt and there is that clear principle of law: ‘in dubio, pro reo’ ,” quoting the Latin phrase which means that a defendant should not be convicted if their are doubts over the accusations. The Pope was speaking to journalists on board a plane flying from Krakow to Rome following a visit to Poland for the World Youth Day gathering.....(more)

Emmaus Dinner Discussion Night: Is the Church out of touch?
Led by Fr Paul Newton - for the "25ish / 55ish" Age Group

A friendly, engaging and interactive evening
Sunday 7th August
6:30pm Shared Meal
7:30pm - 8:30pm Open Discussion
La Porchetta Function Room, 1024 Heidelberg Rd Ivanhoe
Kindly RSVP by 5the August,
Download Flyer HERE
Francis tells Poles: God not in a history book, but peoples' real lives
Extracts from Joshua J McElwee, National Catholic Reporter, 28 July 2016

Czestochowa, Poland. Celebrating the Christianization of this eastern European nation in an outdoor Mass filled with throngs of backpack-carrying pilgrims on Thursday, Pope Francis said God does not live in a history book but is close to us and wants us to get involved in the concrete situations of peoples' lives.         In a homily to hundreds of thousands outside the Jasna Gora monastery, which houses Poland's famous image of the Black Madonna, the pontiff said God is not "powerful and aloof" but "loves to come down to our everyday affairs, to walk with us."        "The Lord does not keep his distance, but is near and real," said Francis. "He is in our midst and he takes care of us, without making decisions in our place and without troubling himself with issues of power."       "The eternal is communicated by spending time with people and in concrete situations," the pope explained..... .............The pontiff is visiting the country through Sunday for the celebration of the 14th World Youth Day, a global event started by his Polish predecessor John Paul II. The visit has been a unique mix of things religious, political, and historical...........(more)
Polish bishops will refuse communion to divorced, remarried
Extract from Cath NewsThe Tablet, 29 July 2016

A senior bishop has said that the Church in Poland will refuse communion to divorced and remarried Catholics, despite the landmark family document from Pope Francis which opened up the possibility, reports The Tablet.....(more) 

Cardinal Pell 'emphatically rejects' allegations of sexual abuse
Extract from CathNews, 28 July 2016

Cardinal George says he "emphatically and unequivocally rejects any allegations of sexual abuse" against him, in response to a story on the ABC's 7.30 program last night that police are investigating child abuse allegations against him.     In a statement to the ABC, Cardinal Pell's office accused the ABC of mounting a smear campaign against him. "Claims that he has sexually abused anyone, in any place, at any time in his life are totally untrue and completely wrong.     "He denies the allegations absolutely, and says that they, and any acceptance of them by the ABC, are nothing more than a scandalous smear campaign which appears to be championed by the ABC. If there was any credibility in any of these claims, they would have been pursued by the Royal Commission by now."    The Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher OP, said in a statement last night: "The allegations aired on the ABC do not correspond with the George Pell I know. He has a record of leadership in the fight against child sexual abuse, and was the first Bishop in the world to implement a process under which such claims would be investigated by an independent commissioner, and where survivors could access financial and other assistance.    "Cardinal Pell deserves the presumption of innocence. Those who believe they have been abused deserve to be heard with respect and compassion. And the community deserves the rule of law be respected. Trial by media benefits no one."   The 7.30 Report last night claimed Victoria Police's Taskforce SANO, which investigates complaints coming out of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, has been examining  allegations by complainants from Ballarat, Torquay, and Melbourne for more than a year.....(more)
Pell abuse saga reeks of incompetent policing
Extract from Frank Brennan, Eureka Street, 28 July 2016

Wednesday night's ABC 7.30 program carried allegations against Cardinal George Pell which, if true, are devastating: life ruining for victims like Damian Dignan and Lyndon Monument; confronting for all citizens committed to the wellbeing of children; and earth shattering for Catholics who still have faith in their church.            With the benefit of hindsight, we can all say it would have been better if onlookers like Les Tyak in the Torquay Surf Club claiming to have credible evidence of unseemly behaviour by an adult like George Pell towards children went to the police promptly, rather than waiting 30 years. As it was put on 7.30, 'One summer day, [Mr Tyak] says he witnessed a strange incident, so strange it later compelled him to go to police.' The incident is alleged to have occurred in the mid-1980s. Mr Tyak went to the police in 2015......(more)    Frank Brennan SJ is professor of law at Australian Catholic University and adjunct professor at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture.

At WYD opening, Krakow cardinal asks pilgrims to spread message of divine mercy
Extract from Jonathan Luxmoore Catholic News Service, National Catholic Reporter, 27 July 2016

Krakow, Poland.  St. John Paul II's former secretary urged young Catholics to share their faith, experiences and hopes and spread a "message of divine mercy" worldwide during World Youth Day.     "We come from every nation under heaven, like those who came in great numbers to Jerusalem on Pentecost Day, but there are incomparably more of us now than 2,000 years ago, because we are accompanied by centuries of preaching the Gospel," Krakow Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz said during the opening Mass Tuesday.    "We bring experience of various cultures, traditions and languages. But what we also bring are testimonies of faith and holiness of our brothers and sisters, followers of the risen Lord, of past generations as well as the current generation," he said.    The cardinal preached to an estimated 200,000 pilgrims from 187 countries in Krakow's Blonia Park, a day before the scheduled arrival of Pope Francis.......(more)  Photo: NCR, (CNS photo/Bob Roller)   
World Youth Day is a catalyst for renewal in youth ministry Australian bishops say
Extract from Media Release, Austraian Catholic Bishop's Conference, CathNews,  26 July 2016

World Youth Day in Sydney changed the landscape of youth ministry nationally, the Australian bishops said
today during a national gathering of Australian pilgrims currently participating atWorld Youth Day (WYD)  events in Krakow, Poland. Today, the Australian Bishops joined more than 3,000 young people at a national Australian gathering during WYD Krakow that included alaunch of the ‘Year of Youth’,building on the legacy of World Youth Day 2008 (WYD08).            The Year of Youth will celebrate the tenth anniversary of World Youth Day, Sydney and highlight how the Australian Church continues to tell the story of WYD08 in its local ministry. Bishop Mark Edwards, Australian Catholic Bishops Delegate for Youth and an MC at the national gathering said, ‘The years of preparation leading up to World Youth Day 2008 (WYD08) and its events have changed the landscape of youth ministry leaving a lasting impression on the Church. Local youth ministries have grown and diversified. The number of youth ministers has increased along with diocesan support structures.....(more)

Thank You,
Fr Paul Newton, Saturday 23 July 2016
Dear friends,  I would first like to sincerely thank you all for the very kind welcome I have received on my arrival in the Parish.  My first impressions are of a warm and committed community of faith. I am very pleased to be here for what will be an all too brief  period but I will appreciate every day. As you know, I’m here to serve you and your families.  So right from the beginning I want to encourage you to contact me if there is any way I can be of assistance. I am most willing to visit and bless your homes, meet the family, perhaps share a meal or just have a cuppa and a chat. If you or someone you know is sick and not travelling too well please get in touch. Never hesitate to  approach me after Mass, to call or email me. Please know that you are in my heartfelt daily prayers. - God bless, Fr Paul.
Parish Strategic Review
Pastoral Leadership Team, 23 July 2016

Two years on It’s just over 2 years since we launched the Strategic Review project – so where are we now? In August last year we published an update which re-stated our determination to see if we can retain the Mary Immaculate Church site as our one Mass Centre while achieving our objectives to: 1, Bring the Parish together;   2. Establish an additional income stream to support our thanksgiving program;    3. Deliver on our mission and values.          To do this we decided to engage architects to help come up with  ideas of how the Mary Immaculate Church and the site at Waverley Ave can be configured to achieve these objectives. It’s true that the changes in Parish Priest and the need to get the approval of the Archdiocese have slowed the process down significantly. However we have now engaged and briefed three firms of architects and look forward to seeing their proposals by the end of August. It must be stressed that the current focus is on the Waverley Avenue site.  No resolutions have been made to change the use or status of Mother  of God or St Bernadette’s Churches at this time -   Thanks, PLT 
Signers of document critiquing 'Amoris Laetitia' revealed
Extracts from Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter, 22 July 2016

Rome. An until now unpublished list of names attached to a critique of Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation on family life shows the signatories to include professors at diocesan seminaries, a member of a pontifical academy, and the head of the church's ecclesiastical structure in Afghanistan.     The signatories had sent a letter to the world's Catholic cardinals asking them to "respond to the dangers to Catholic faith and morals" from Francis' Amoris Laetitia ("The Joy of Love"). The letter, which attracted press coverage earlier in the month as a possible sign of wider disagreement with Amoris Laetitia, was sent to Italian Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, and to 218 individual cardinals and patriarchs.......One signatory said in a short email statement to NCR that he signed the letter because "there are mixed signals emanating from Rome and this Pontiff, and the Catholic faithful need a reassuring clarity and consistency."........"Statements that lend themselves to being interpreted at odds with the church's historical teaching may delight revisionists, but they are not helpful to the integrity of the church's mission or to the faithful," said Paul Blosser, a philosophy professor at the Detroit archdiocese's Sacred Heart Major Seminary..........Joseph Shaw, a member of the philosophy faculty at Oxford University's St. Benet's Hall who was a signer and is acting as the group's spokesman, said they mainly want the pope to clarify that some of the interpretations of his document are incorrect.........Following are the signatories of the letter to the cardinals, as listed in the document........(more)

Francis mandates changes for contemplative women religious, requests revision of constitutions
Extracts from Joshua J. McElwee, 22 July, 2016

Vatican City. Pope Francis has issued a new wide-ranging set of guidelines for how the tens of thousands of Catholic women religious living in contemplative communities around the world should regulate their lifestyles, calling on them to implement changes in 12 diverse areas from prayer life to work habits.      The pontiff has also mandated that each of the global communities of contemplative women religious will need to adapt their various governing constitutions or rules to the new changes and send new versions of their documents to the Vatican for approval.     Francis makes the changes in a new apostolic constitution released Friday titled Vultum Dei Quaerere ("Seek the Face of God.")  The document is addressed only to Catholic women religious in contemplative communities, such as those that live in cloisters or whose lives are marked by a lifestyle devoted mainly to prayer instead of evangelical outreach or work.   While the pontiff uses the new document to issue effusive praise for such women -- especially lauding their ability to serve as an example of stability in a contemporary world often marked by temporary commitments -- he also calls for them to begin to institute changes particularly in their prayer lives..........Addressing his reason for writing to the women with the new norms at this time, Francis states: "In these past decades, we have seen rapid historical changes that call for dialogue. At the same time, the foundational values of contemplative life need to be maintained."      "Through these values -- silence, attentive listening, the call to an interior life, stability -- contemplative life can and must challenge the contemporary mindset," the pope continues.....(more)

 US documents implicate Vatican in alleged cover up
Extract from CathNews, 21 July 2016

A US lawyer has called on Pope Francis to take action after the release of documents allegedly showing a "classic cover up" involving the former archbishop of St Paul-Minneapolis and top Vatican officials, CBS News reports.     Attorney Jeff Anderson told reporters that documents showed that former Archbishop John Nienstedt had a "sexual interest" in convicted former priest Curtis Wehmeyer, as well as other priests.       In an agreement with the Ramsey County Attorney's Office, criminal charges against the archdiocese were dropped.       The documents were made public after current Archbishop Bernard Hebda acknowledged wrongdoing in a letter to the archdiocese.     "Today has been a day of asking for forgiveness for what we have done and what we have failed to do," he wrote.     "We failed to give priority to the safety and wellbeing of the children [Wehmeyer] hurt over his interests and those of the Archdiocese. In particular, we failed to prevent him from sexually abusing children."     Mr Anderson called on the Pope to take action against Archbishop Nienstedt, as well as archdiocesan and Vatican officials.....(more)

The crisis of liberal Catholicism under Francis
Extract from CathNews, The Catholic Herald,  21 July 2016

You might think that progressives would be rejoicing under the current pontificate. Instead, they are fretting about the future, writes Matthew Schmitz in The Catholic Herald.     Even as Pope Francis wins the applause of the world for giving Catholicism a friendlier face, critics have started to grumble. On social media and in opinion columns, they have drawn up a list of grievances. While they approve of his pastoral outreach, they are concerned that he is leaving the Church unprepared to face the challenges of our age. They admire many of the men he has promoted, but fret that he has also empowered bishops who want to lead the Church on a dangerous, radical course – and may well do so once he departs.     No, these critics aren't the conservatives whose complaints have become a familiar feature of the pontificate, but liberal Catholics whose initial enthusiasm is now curdling into concern, even alarm. Three years after his election, The Tablet has decided that Pope Francis' reform program is "rapidly becoming overdue." Robert Mickens, the veteran Vatican correspondent, writes in the National Catholic Reporter that "many reform-minded Catholics have again become quite worried about the future direction of their Church."     Vito Mancuso, a former priest and protégé of the liberal Italian lion Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, shares their fears. "Two diametrically opposed forces are intensifying within the Catholic Church," he warns us in a recent interview in La Repubblica. Opposed to the innovators like himself are those who "want to return to the 'sound tradition,' something especially prevalent among young priests.".....(more)  Photo: CathNews 
Technology brings saints back to life
Extract from CathNews, 21 July 2016

Brazilian scientists are using 3-D printing technology to reconstruct the faces of Catholic saints and other holy people, producing life-size busts of what they actually looked like, hundreds of years after they died, Religion News Service reports.     This month the scientists will present their latest project: The faces of St Rosa of Lima, the patron saint of Peru, who died in 1617; and Sister Ana of Los Angeles Monteagudo, a Dominican nun from Peru, who died in 1686 and was beatified in 1985. Their reconstructed features will be unveiled in Lima and Arequipa on July 21 and 24, respectively.     Cicero Moraes, a computer graphics designer, and Paulo Miamoto, a forensic dentist and anthropologist, use tomography (or CT scans) as well as a process of photogrammetry, in which hundreds of photographs are taken, to digitally map the preserved skulls, taking spatially accurate images and data from all angles.    Archaeologists use photogrammetry to give precise, bird's-eye details to excavations; forensic criminologists — think "CSI" — use it to reconstruct skulls.   Along with a combination of dental and anthropological analysis and historical research, the information is uploaded onto 3-D software that uses algorithms to rebuild the face, applying volume to muscles, tissue and skin tone.....(more) Photo: St Paulina, CathNews,

Huge gap separates Pope Francis from liturgical tradionalists
Catholic traditionalists continue to underestimate the Argentine pontiff
Extracts from Massimo Faggioli, Global Pulse, 18 July 2016

rom the moment Pope Francis was elected on March 13, 2013 it was clear that a huge gap separated him from the so-called Catholic traditionalists – on liturgy, ecclesiology, ecumenism, moral theology and the Church’s social doctrine.     Despite their constant attacks against him, the pope showed a remarkable restraint towards the traditionalists – and not just because this is good Church politics, but because he does not like conflict.     “I don’t chop off heads,” he said a couple of weeks ago in interview with the Argentinian newspaper La Nacion.     “That was never my style. I’ve never liked doing that,” he insisted.
           Indeed, we had become almost accustomed to the idea that Francis and the traditionalists were pretty much traveling on two separate and parallel paths in a “live and let live” sort of silent agreement. But two recent developments indicate something important about the pope and the various forms of Catholic traditionalism.        The first took place on June 29 when the schismatic Priestly Society of St Pius X (SSPX) issued a communiqué that slammed the brakes on any hoped-for reconciliation with Rome.....................    The second development took place on July 5th when Cardinal Robert Sarah (Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, appointed by Francis in November 2014), during a talk in London, invited all priests to start celebrating Mass ad orientem (the characteristic pre-Vatican II style with the priest’s back to the people), starting next Advent..............(more)   Photo: Global Pulse, Aleteia Image

Welcome to our Parish Administrator
Friday 15 July 2016

We warmly welcome Fr Paul Newton as Parish Administrator of the Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe from today. From  a family of four he was the only boy and was ordained to the priesthood in 2002.  Amongst many other engagements Fr Paul maintains a strong interest in youth evangelisation and use of social media. Apart from fulfilling his priestly ministry he has also been an active basketball player. He comes to our Parish from Mt Evelyn Parish. Prior ministries include St Peter Chanel at Deer Park Parish, amongst others he also worked as Parish priest at Sacred Heart Croydon,  Priest in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, and for a while was 'on loan' to Parrammatta diocese. Fr Paul will be with us until 25 November when Fr Bill Edebohls will become our Parish Priest. Meanwhile we look forward to working with Fr Paul in the spirit of collegiality and co-responsibility that for so long has successfully characterised our Parish. Photo: YouTube
Pope Francis pushes for China breakthrough
Extract from CathNews, 15 July 2016

Interviews with some two dozen Catholic officials and clergy in Hong Kong, Italy, and mainland China, as well as sources with ties to the leadership in Beijing, reveal details of an agreement that would fall short of full diplomatic ties but would address key issues at the heart of the bitter divide between the Vatican and Beijing.       A working group with members from both sides was set up in April and is discussing how to resolve a core disagreement over who has the authority to select and ordain bishops in China, several of the sources told Reuters. The group is also trying to settle a dispute over eight bishops who were appointed by Beijing but did not get papal approval - an act of defiance in the eyes of the Vatican.        In what would be a dramatic breakthrough, the Pope is preparing to pardon eight bishops viewed by the Vatican as illegitimate, possibly as early as this summer, paving the way to further detente, say Catholic sources with knowledge of the deliberations.             A signal of Pope Francis' deep desire for rapprochement with China came last year in the form of a behind-the-scenes effort by the Vatican to engineer the first-ever meeting between the head of the Roman Catholic Church and the leader of the Chinese Communist Party. Aides to the Pope tried to arrange a meeting when both Francis and Chinese President Xi Jinping were in New York in late September to address the United Nations General Assembly.       The meeting didn't happen. But the overture didn't go unnoticed in Beijing......(more) 

World Youth Day from July 25, much more than ‘Catholic Woodstock'
Edited Extracts from Christopher White, Crux contributor, 13 July 2016 
                                                                                             World Youth Day begins in Krackow Poland on July 25, 2016. Afterwards we will hear back from a young Neighbouring Parishes (Yarra Deanery) participant.     As this website records, this Parish in conjunction with our Korean community at St Bernadette's participated actively in the Sydney WYD in 2008.  Since Pope John Paul II launched World Youth Day thirty years ago, it’s become not just the Catholic Church’s biggest event, but also the world’s largest gathering of people, period.     Over the years some critics have tried to dismiss this gathering as merely a Catholic Woodstock- or, in modern terms, a South by Southwest or Coachella equivalent. While the comparison is apt in terms of size and enthusiasm, it fails to recognize World Youth Day’s substantive contributions to both Church and civil life these past three decades.     For starters, World Youth Day has been one of the primary motivations for vocations to religious life in recent years. It’s no coincidence that in the very years in which many of the Church’s seminaries were in decline and vocations around the globe were plummeting, World Youth Day was founded.       World Youth Day-by providing an occasion for Catholic identity to be presented in a new and creative way-effectively created a breeding ground for a renewal in religious life..........Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney, Australia-who during his time as an auxiliary bishop was tasked with planning the 2008 World Youth Day in Sydney-recently told me, “Before the lead up to World Youth Day there might have been thirty or forty youth groups in the city. Today there would be at least two hundred flourishing youth groups and ministries in this city and World Youth Day is entirely the cause of that-at least after the Holy Spirit!”       In his closing address of his first World Youth Day, Pope Francis told the young people gathered in Rio, Brazil in 2013 that he wanted them to go out and “make a mess.” It wasn’t a directive to make a literal mess - it was a call to shake things up or, to use another phrase he’s keen on, a call to conversion.      World Youth Day is a time in which young people from around the world enter as one type of person, and they leave changed...............And as Pope Francis pleaded in Rio: “I ask you, instead, to be revolutionaries, to swim against the tide; yes, I am asking you to rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately believes that you are incapable of responsibility, that you are incapable of true love.”      Both are messages that encourage young people to change the world-but a reminder that it begins with personal conversion. For the two million young people that will gather in Krakow in just a few weeks, this World Youth Day may very well serve as that starting point.........(more)  Photo: WYD 2008 Days in the Diocese, Telstra Dome, John Costa.    
Conscience versus constraint in Amoris Laetitia
Two main approaches are emerging in the interpretation of Amoris Laetitia, one constrained, one emphasizing conscience
Extract from Massimo Faggioli, Global Pulse, 13 July 2016

Three months after the publication of Amoris Laetitia ("The Joy of Love"), the reception is underway, and various commentators already are noting the wide differences in the hermeneutics of the post-synodal exhortation. If we want to identify the two main approaches, we can say that one has a rather constrained view of the text and, especially, of the two synodal gatherings.      It focuses on categorizing different kinds of couples, telling them what they can do in the church and what the church can do for them, while generally ignoring the novelty of the exhortation when it comes to enforcement of discipline toward people who are divorced and remarried or homosexual. Favoring this approach are those such as Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, selected by Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, to coordinate an “informal working group” of five bishops assigned the task of “furthering the reception and implementation” of Amoris LaetitiaAmoris LaetitiaAmoris Laetitia across U.S. dioceses.      The other interpretation focuses on the exhortation’s renewed emphasis on conscience as opposed to legalistic approaches to moral theology, and its acknowledgment of the need for theological and pastoral attention to new situations. Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has articulated this position, most recently in an interview with Antonio Spadaro in the semi-official Vatican publication La Civiltà Cattolica: “Amoris Laetitia is the great document of moral theology that we have been waiting for since the time of Vatican II and that develops the choices already made by the Catechism of the Catholic Church and by [John Paul II’s] Veritatis Splendor.”      How will this “interpretation gap” play out in the global Church?......(more) Photo: Global Pulse. See details of a Presentation by Massimo Faggioli at St Carthages on 21 July.
Lombardi's most difficult moment
Dealing with the Church's pedophilia scandal was the most agonizing experience for the retiring Vatican spokesman
Extract from compilation by Global Pulse staff, 13 July2016

Vatican City:   In an interview with Vatican Insider, retiring Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi SJ has described the Church's pedophilia scandal as the most difficult experience of his ten year term           "The moment that was the most difficult and agonizing was the pedophilia scandal," Fr Lombardi told journalist Andrea Tornelli.     "It was the incident of child abuse, very painful, in which I felt involved as a participant in finding the presence of sin and evil in our lives and in the life of the Church.        "I tried to go through it as a way of taking steps towards truth and transparency according to the will of Pope Ratzinger," he said.      Asked whether Pope Francis needed a spin doctor, Fr Lombard replied in the negative.    "The Pope does not even need interpreters," he said. "Certainly the spokesperson must be ready and willing to give advice, to evaluate expressions or to suggest proposals. But always as a discreet service, which is respectful of the Pope, of his personality and his choices.".....(more) Photo: Global Pulse 1468389415

Vatican debunks 'ad orientem' change
There is no "reform of the reform" under way, according to Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi SJ
Compiled by Global Pulse staff, 12 July 2016

Vatican CityL  A Vatican statement has refuted claims that a liturgical "reform of the reform" is under way or that there will be any new directives concerning "ad orientem" mass celebrations, America magazine reports.     The statement issued by the outgoing director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr Federico Lombardi, S.J., said "there are no new liturgical directives starting from next Advent, as someone has improperly deduced from some words of Cardinal Sarah, and it is better to avoid using the expression ‘the reform of the reform,’ referring to the liturgy, given that this has sometimes been the source of misunderstanding."....(more)

Monsignor Tomas Halik joined by Melbourne’s Fr Frank Brennan SJ for an evening of dialogue
Extract from Media and Communications Office, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, 12 July 2016

As part of his visit to Melbourne, prominent Church academic and theologian, Monsignor Tomas Halik, was joined this week by Melbourne Jesuit Father Frank Brennan at Melbourne University’s Newman College for the 2016 Dom Helder Camara Lecture, an event which brings prominent Catholic speakers and identities from all over the world to Melbourne.     Under the title ‘Healing Alienation: A dialogue’, Fr Frank Brennan interviewed Monsignor Halik, particularly about his long connections with his countryman Václav Havel , from 1989 to 1992 the last president of Czechoslovakia, who then served as the first president of the Czech Republic after the Czech–Slovak split. As well, Fr Brennan explored with Monsignor Tomas his lengthy connection with Pope John Paul II.      Monsignor Halik talked about the regular weekly meetings in his native Czechoslovakia in the early 90s, meetings of philosophers and leading academics and thinkers, all attended by President Havel, who listened deeply to the discussions and later implemented many of the strategies and proposals put forward.     Fr Brennan questioned the Monsignor on what he called the auto-immune deficiency in today’s body politic, a complete loss of trust in the political system. Mgr Halik agreed that the climate of society, the moral and psychological climate, has changed immensely in recent times. Aggression and hostilities within society have risen to new and divisive levels, particularly with the polarisation around refugees.     And even though it appears that the West is losing its identity, Monsignor Halik asked pointedly, ‘regarding this perceived threat to our identity, let us ask – what IS our identity?”     A dialogue on recent popes ensued, with the Monsignor anecdotal in relating his experiences and contacts with Pope John Paul II............. Pope Benedict was referred to by Fr Brennan as ‘the pope of the remnant world’, before Monsignor Halik talked about Pope Francis, who, he said, glows with the true message of Christianity openness, mercy, love of the poor, all fruits of Vatican 2.       A cautionary note from the Monsignor, however, who reminded the audience (a balance of bishops, priests and lay people) that even though we seem to be entering a new era, a new inspiration, Pope Francis still needs the support of theologians, just as, in its time, Vatican 2 itself did.....(more)
Cardinal Pell loses control of Vatican assets
Pope Francis has separated the administration of Vatican assets from the task of exercising vigilance
Compiled by Global Pulse staff, Extracted and Edited, 11 July 2016

Vatican City: In a move viewed by some commentators as clipping the wings of Australian Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis has transferred administration of Vatican assets from the Secretariat for the Economy to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), the Vatican Press Office has announced.        "On 4 July 2016, the Holy Father approved a Motu Proprio to implement reform of the organisms engaged in control and vigilance as well as the administration of Holy See assets," a Vatican press statement said.       The new document published aims "to define further the relationship between the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See and the Secretariat for the Economy" on the basis of the principle of "ensuring the clear and unequivocal distinction between control and vigilance, on the one hand, and administration of assets, on the other," the statement added.       This decision makes it possible to overcome the structural conflict of interests within the Secretariat for the Economy, which has one section in charge of overseeing another administrative section of the same dicastery, with one person responsible for both, Vatican Insider says......(more)
Vatican’s old guard may have notched a Pyrrhic victory
Extract from John L. Allen Jr. Editor, Crux,  10 July 2016

There are many ways of analyzing the fault lines in the Vatican, but perhaps the most time-honored (if also often exaggerated) is the tension between an Italian old guard and pretty much everybody else. By conventional political logic, anyway, Saturday saw the Italians notch a fairly big win.     It could turn out, however, to be a Pyrrhic victory - because by taking back control over a range of financial powers, the old guard has also reclaimed the blame the next time something goes wrong.     On Saturday, Pope Francis issued a motu proprio, meaning a legal edict, delineating the division of responsibility between the Vatican’s Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) and the Secretariat of the Economy (SPE). The former is headed by Italian Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, the latter by Australian Cardinal George Pell.    In effect, the motu proprio restores several important functions to APSA that had been given to Pell’s department in 2014. One local news agency bottom-lined the result this way in its headline: “The Italians win!”    To understand what’s going on, we need to take a step back......(more)

Inaugural "Parish Wintertime Lunchtime"
(& Fr Jacob's last week,  Mother of God School Hall), Sunday 10 July 2016

With 90 seats available 90 people greatly enjoyed the inaugural Parish Social club Winter Lunchtime today with exceptional vocal entertainment by Mareesa Ballao. As it turned out and apart from weekend Masses this  was a further opportunity to informally farewell Fr Jacob who leaves the Parish next Friday. Pastoral Leadership Team member Pat Kelly thanked Jacob for his energetic contribution to the Parish and wished him well as Parish Priest at St Andrew’s Church, South Clayton from next Friday. It was a great day and photos speak louder than words, so these may be seen on the Photo/Multimedia page here, either as individual photos or as a full screen slide show. Turn sound ON. Thanks to all who were able to join in and thanks in particular to all the members of the new Social Club, convened by Eugene Ballao.
Fr Jacob's final week with us
Friday 8 July 2016

We wish Fr Jacob all the very best as he moves from the end of next week to his new home and position  as Parish Priest at St Andrew’s Church, South Clayton. We give thanks for the time he has been with us and ask blessings on him and the people of St. Andrews as they work together to be a caring and vibrant community in South Clayton. He will be missed.
Education costs drive atheists to Sydney Catholic schools
Extract from CathNews,The Daily Telegraph, 7 July 2016

Non-religious parents have admitted to baptising their children to get them into Catholic schools in Sydney Catholic Schools spokesman Mark Rix said about 90 percent of Catholic schools in Sydney's eastern suburbs are "full or close to full" and they predicted enrolments to grow from 21,424 to 23,009 by 2021, or about 317 students a year.    Mr Rix warned schools would struggle to absorb the increase unless the Government stumps up more cash for capital works.   He said they were looking for potential sites to build a new school in the east but they were "hopeful" of more funding from the Government to help them achieve this.   A Bondi mother said she got all three of her children baptised for the sole purpose of being able to send them to St Charles Catholic Primary School where they also learned the sacraments.    "We are atheist but I couldn't afford the private schools and I didn't want to put them into the public sector," she said.....(more) Photo: CathNews, Daily Telegraph
'Amoris Laetitia' at three months: Communion question still debated
Extract from Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, 7 July 2016

Three months after the publication of Pope Francis' exhortation on marriage and family, bishops and bishops' conferences around the world are studying practical ways to apply it. Some still disagree on what exactly the pope meant.     In the first week of July, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput's pastoral guidelines for implementing the exhortation's teaching in his archdiocese went into effect; an Italian blog published reflections on the document by Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, former president of the Pontifical Council for the Family; and La Civilta Cattolica, an Italian Jesuit journal, released a long interview with Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna, the theologian the pope chose to present the document to the press.      Francis continually insists that the exhortation, Amoris Laetitia ("The Joy of Love"), is about the importance and beauty of marriage and family life and the church's obligation to support and strengthen it. But much of the debate has focused on access to the sacraments for couples in what the Catholic church traditionally defined as "irregular situations," particularly people who were divorced and civilly remarried without an annulment.....(more)

Jesus' invitation to exercise mercy is clear
Young Voices: Extract from  Jocelyn A. Sideco, National Catholic Reporter, 7 July 2016

This Sunday's Gospel is all too familiar to us. And yet, we must be careful not to confuse familiarity with presumptive knowledge. The parable of the Good Samaritan continues to challenge even the most righteous of the faithful as we come to deepen our own intimate knowledge, experience and trust in Jesus and Jesus' invitation to love.     Besides Jesus' clear invitation to exercise mercy to our neighbors, his new covenant unravels the superficiality of the ancient world's obsession with purity laws specifically and the exercise and enforcement of law in general. His message was so clear that it almost seemed unrealistic. Just take care of others? Really? That's it? But what do we do with this tradition of rules we have created?    Following Jesus and following the rules of the church may not always align.....(more)
Pope Francis appoints Archbishop Cupich to Congregation for Bishop
Extracts fromsTom Roberts, National Catholic Reorter, 7 July 2016

In yet one more sign of his growing confidence in the archbishop of Chicago, Pope Francis appointed Blase Cupich to the Vatican Congregation for Bishops, the office that proposes candidates for the episcopacy.............The turnover of American personnel on the congregation during the past few years is significant for several reasons. First, the congregation is, aside from the pope, perhaps the most important link in the chain of creating bishops. Soon after his election, Francis removed two Americans -- Cardinal Justin Rigali and Cardinal Raymond Burke -- from the congregation. Both men were major players in constituting the American episcopacy during the papacy of Benedict XVI. Rigali also previously served as secretary of the congregation.    Many of the bishops appointed during that era formed the core of "culture warrior" bishops who kept such issues as opposing same-sex marriage, the contraception mandate of the Affordable Care Act, as well as religious liberty foremost on the agenda of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The tone of the conference in recent years has become heavily legalistic both in terms of pastoral approach within the church and in battling in court over civil matters.    Francis has made it clear in his several public speeches to bishops conferences, including his talk to U.S. bishops during his visit to the United States, that he wants a different type of religious leaders. In a September 2015 address at the Washington Cathedral of St. Matthew, he urged bishops to promote "a culture of encounter," to avoid harsh language and to "dialogue fearlessly" with all.......(more)

Fifth annual US Nuns on the Bus tour will focus on mending society's gaps
Published 1 July, Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter, Extracted here 7 July 2016

When the Nuns on th
e Bus get rolling July 11, they'll be headed for the "gaps" in society, the places where the powerless left behind in the U.S. economy can be found.    They'll also visit the politically powerful, gathered at their conventions to anoint the next presidential candidates, in hope of making the case for mending the growing breach between rich and poor.   It's a variation on a persistent theme for Sr. Simone Campbell, the 70-year-old executive director of NETWORK, the Catholic social justice network that launched the annual bus tour in 2012. This year's version, "Mend the Gaps," will focus on promoting policies that bridge divides in the United States, with a special focus on policies that affect women and people of color......(more)    Photo: NCR, NCR file photo/Vinnie Rotondaro.  
Parish renewal groups teach lessons from megachurches
Extract from Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter, 7 July 2016

Eleven years ago, I wrote a book titled Holy Land USA: A Catholic Ride Through America's Evangelical Landscape.      In it, I suggested that Catholic pastors take a look at what was happening with evangelical megachurches. Inspired by the Willow Creek congregation outside Chicago, evangelicals were tapping into the power of good old-fashioned American business marketing, finding out what people wanted in a church and delivering it to them.     Willow Creek, an independent congregation, was established in the 1970s, free from denominational constraints, via a process of intensive surveys of what people in the growing exurbs were seeking in a church. Willow Creek became famous for its non-churchy look, welcoming small communities and contemporary music. A visit there researching the book indicated that Wednesday night gatherings, held in a shopping mall-like food court, were as important to the congregation as Sunday morning worship.     The model has been copied over and over, and the end result are massive evangelical congregations dotting the American landscape. Many are filled with former Catholics.     Catholic pastors are beginning to pay attention thanks in part to a growing number of businesses and nonprofits intended to assist them in a time when many baptized Catholics have stopped going to church.     During the course of the NCR research, I was surprised to find out how many such groups exist, imploring Catholic parish leaders to take seminars in the search for ministerial/organizational success.    The granddaddy of these groups is RENEW International, which does not so much follow the Willow Creek model, but it does share a reliance on small groups intended to galvanize parish life......(more)

Censured priest criticizes doctrinal investigation methods
Extract  from Sarah Mac Donald, National Catholic Reporter, 7 July 2016

The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith's current strategy of censuring priests and religious it believes are out of step with church teaching has been roundly criticized as "ridiculous and self-defeating" by an Irish priest who fell afoul of the Vatican in 2011.    Speaking for the first time publicly about his experience, Redemptorist Fr. Gerry Moloney warned that "imposing sanctions on people does not make them change their views."     He was one of 15 signatories to the recent letter to Pope Francis and the CDF calling for reform of the Vatican's investigation processes and for greater accountability and transparency in its methods which were deemed "medieval," lacking in basic politeness and designed to wear those being investigated down.    The 54-year-old former editor of Reality magazine told NCR there is "something is rotten in the state of the CDF, and while the current people and processes remain in place, nothing will change. Priests, sisters and brothers will continue to be treated as less than human, and will have their lives hurt or broken."    Addressing the general assembly of We Are Church Ireland recently in Dublin, he warned that the CDF process of investigation and censure "only damages the standing of the church and has a chilling effect on healthy debate and discussion."  .....(more)

Realignment: Celebrate mass 'ad orientem,' Sarah says
Extract from CathNews, Catholic Herald 6 July 2016

Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Vatican's liturgy chief, has asked priests to begin celebrating Mass ad orientem, that is, facing east rather than towards the congregation, reports The Catholic Herald. And he wants the change to start this coming Advent.        Cardinal Sarah said priests should view the proposed change as "something good for the Church, something good for our people."      The proposed reform is arguably the biggest liturgical announcement since Benedict XVI's 2007 motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum gave greater freedom for priests to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass.     Speaking at the Sacra Liturgia conference in London this week, the Guinean Cardinal, who is Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, addressed priests who were present, saying: "It is very important that we return as soon as possible to a common orientation, of priests and the faithful turned together in the same direction – eastwards or at least towards the apse – to the Lord who comes".   The Cardinal continued: "I ask you to implement this practice wherever possible."      He said that "prudence" and catechesis would be necessary, but told pastors to have confidence.     "Your own pastoral judgement will determine how and when this is possible, but perhaps beginning this on the first Sunday of Advent this year, when we attend 'the Lord who will come' and 'who will not delay'."   These words were met with prolonged applause in the conference hall......(more)  Photo: CathNews   

Chaput: Remarried divorced couples must live chastely
Extract from CathNews, Crux, 6 July 2016

Under new guidelines for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, people living together outside of marriage, and same-sex couples are eligible for Communion only if they "refrain from sexual intimacy," Crux reports.    Conceding that it may be seen as "hard teaching," Philadelphia's Archbishop Charles Chaput OFM Cap has also decreed that they cannot hold positions of responsibility in a parish or perform liturgical functions.      That latter prohibition, according to a new set of pastoral guidelines issued by Archbishop Chaput implementing Pope Francis' Apostolic ExhortationAmoris Laetitia, is designed to avoid "the unintended appearance of an endorsement of divorce and civil remarriage."      "Undertaking to live as brother and sister is necessary for the divorced and civilly remarried to receive reconciliation in the Sacrament of Penance, which could then open the way to the Eucharist," state the guidelines, which took effect on July 1.      "This is a hard teaching for many, but anything less misleads people about the nature of the Eucharist and the Church," the document says.     Under the guidelines, same-sex couples must live chastely in order to receive Communion, and they cannot hold positions in a parish or perform liturgical ministries or roles.....(more)   

Brazilian archbishop resigns over failure to act on abuse
Extract from Cathnews, Reuters, 7 July 2016

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a Brazilian archbishop for allowing priests accused of sex abuse to work in his diocese, Reuters reports.     The Vatican said Francis had accepted the resignation of Archbishop Aldo di Cillo Pagotto of Paraiba, under Canon 401 §2, which provides for resignation in cases where a bishop "has become less able to fulfil his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office."     Last year, the Church stripped Archbishop Pagotto, 66, of his power to ordain priests while the accusations against him were being investigated.     He had been accused of allowing men into seminaries in his diocese to become priests even though they had been rejected from other places in Brazil because they were suspected child abusers.     In a letter posted on the diocese's website, Archbishop Pagotto said: "I gave shelter to priests and seminarians, in order to offer them new chances in life. Among those were some who were later suspected of committing serious derelictions. I made the mistake of being too trusting."      However Archbishop Pagotto, who headed the Archdiocese of Paraiba for the past 12 years, also blamed retaliation for other actions he had taken. He said he took tough and urgent measures regarding the reorganisation of the administration and recovery of the archdiocese's assets, displeasing many people, the Boston Pilot says.        He said that in addition to internal and external retaliation, there was an effort to destabilise the archdiocese by pressure groups, including those labelled "anonymous priests" who received wide media coverage.....(more)  Photo: Cathnews, Archdiocese of Paraiba    
Sisters of Mercy also being asked to come to Rome for conversation
Extract from Dawn Araujo-Hawkins, National Catholic Reporter, 6 July 2016

The Sisters of Mercy, the largest order of women religious in the United States, are among the communities being asked to come to Rome for further conversation following the apostolic visitation, Global Sisters Report has learned. The community's communications director, Susan Carroll, confirmed the report by email but said there would be no further comment at this point.     The Vatican's congregation for religious life is contacting about 15 U.S. orders of Catholic sisters to clarify "some points" following the controversial six-year investigation of American communities of women religious, the head of the congregation said June 14.     Cardinal João Bráz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, said the conversations involve "listening to what they say in a transparent way, without fear, without judging.".....(more)
Thank you - Collections for ‘Aid for Fiji
Friday 2 July 2016

"I would like to thank everyone that donated to the Fiji fundraiser. I was overwhelmed with the kindness and generosity and cannot thank you enough. I will keep you updated with what is happening over the coming weeks." - Finlay
Thanks to Finlay for speaking at each parish Mass last weekend. Contributions last week raised a total of $879.75 - Fr Jacob

Bridge builder bishop took many leaps of faith
Extracts from CathNews, 1 July 2016

Explaining his episcopal motto, Duc in Altum (Go into the deep), Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen connected it to his own struggle as a refugee, writes Antonio Anup Gonsalves in the National Catholic Register.      On June 16, Bishop Long, a Conventual Franciscan, became the new shepherd of the Parramatta diocese.     "I have taken many leaps of faith before, including the one that launched me literally onto the Pacific Ocean," Bishop Long said at his installation Mass at Parramatta's St. Patrick's Cathedral..       Born in 1961 in Dong Nai, Vietnam, he entered St Paul's Minor Seminary in the Diocese of Xuan Loc, located about 60km north of Saigon, then the capital of South Vietnam.     With the collapse of South Vietnamese forces and the fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong in 1975, he became separated from most of his family, eventually boarding a 15m-long boat with a few family members and 146 other refugees.    The passengers were saved when their boat drifted near an oil rig. The refugees were housed in a refugee camp off the coast of Malaysia.   After a year, he was moved to Australia. There, he faced language differences, cultural shocks, and even a few incidents of bullying.     He later entered the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, a Franciscan order, and was ordained a priest in December 1989.           At his installation Mass, Bishop  Long stressed his commitment to being "a bridge builder."   "We must foster pathways across the political and religious divide to build not only a rich and strong Australia, but also an inclusive and humane society and a responsible world citizen," he said. He urged the faithful to take heed to Pope Francis' counsel to be a Church "where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven, and encouraged to live according to the Gospel."     He voiced his commitment to Church renewal patterned on Christ: "The Church that dies to worldly power, privilege, clericalism, and rises to humility, simplicity, equality, and servanthood — the Church that might be smaller, poorer, and humbler but hopefully more of a light and a sacrament of God's love to the world."     Bishop Long lamented "the flood of secularisation that has washed away much of the Church we've known and loved."          "We have been battered and bruised. We've been reduced in numbers and status," he said. "What is more, we have to admit with the greatest humility that we have not lived up to that fundamental ethos of justice, mercy, and care for those who have been hurt by our own actions and inactions.".....(more) Photo Cathnews, Archdiocese of Melbourne,
Earlier 2016 News and previously archived news Here