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Catholic Parish Ivanhoe
 

NEWS 2018

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) 
(archived 2017 News HERE)
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Launch of parish process to seek your views on issues for 'Plenary Council 2020' to address.
While our parish has kept us all informed on our involvement the '2020 Plenary' for some time now, and while it is already possible to individually provide input to the Plenary Council agenda preparation process via the Plenary Council website (HERE) our Parish will officially launch our own local process on 20 October for involving all of us as a community in providing inputs.      That process asks every one of us to either run or join a small group of, say, up to 6 persons, based on the principle of "listening to God by Listening to one other". To really help renew and re-energise the Australian Catholic Church the Parish process is simply to gather your open, honest, and respectful responses to the following 3 questions:


A). "What does our Church look like now"   (listening to each other)
B). "What is Christ asking us to make our Church today?"   (listening to the Holy Spirit), and
C). "What do we, as Church, need to do to move from A to B?"   (Listening must lead us to response and action)


Any one can run a group. Participants may be regular Catholics, those of diminished faith, or lapsed Catholics. The views of family youth are especially encouraged. Members of these small groups are called to speak openly, honestly and respectfully, and to listen respectfully and non-judgementally to one another. Further details and resources are provided on our Parish Plenary 2020 website HERE

If you are not already on our Parish mailing list and wish to be kept updated you can request to be included through this  eMail  address

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St Vincent de Paul Society

Friday 12 October 2018                                         

A member of the Society will address the parishioners this weekend, Observance Sunday, to thank you for all the assistance you have given during the year and to encourage parishioners to consider joining the society. 

 

Archbishop Peter A Comensoli speaks from Rome
Extract from Melbourne Catholic, Media and Communications Office, 12 October 2018
As the second week of the Synod of Bishops comes to an end, most of the interventions from the delegates have now been presented. Many of them highlighted the social context in which young people are trying to live their faith. Read Archbishop Peter A Comensoli's intervention here.   In the newest ‘Bishop Bites’ video Archbishop Comensoli speaks from Rome with some interesting observations of the Synod, key vocations and what the Bishops should be doing to listen and engage with young people....(more - including video)
Rome synod seeks ways to bring youth back into Church fold
Synod of Bishops shows it is ready to change Church’s approach to draw back young people alienated by exclusionary policies
Limited extract from Arnaud Bevilacqua and Nicolas Senèze, Rome, subscription journal La Croix International, 10 October 2018
After its first week of work, the Synod assembly on Young People in Rome that runs through October still has a long way to go to achieve its aim of rebuilding links between young people and the Church.         Nevertheless, the bishops have already begun to appreciate how the Church's culture has gradually distanced itself from young people.           Concern has began to spread among participants that the final document to be transmitted to Pope Francis will not be effective in reaching out to young people.          "We need to reflect on the way the synod is presenting itself to young people," said Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli.....(more)  Photo: La Croix International . Youth Synod Bishop Mark Edwards and youth,  La Croix Int. M. Migliorato Catholic Press
Catholic comedian Jeremy McLellan on finding God by welcoming the disabled
Extract from Jeremy McLellan, America The Jesuit Review, 9 October 2018
A few months ago I attended Mass in the inner city of Chicago. Before the service, I went to the bathroom. Standing at the sink was a middle-aged man with Down syndrome. When he saw me, he cupped his hands, filled them with water, splashed me several times, let out a giant laugh and ran out of the room.      I should pause to mention that, before this happened, I was feeling particularly holy. I am a new Catholic, which means I am smarter and better than everyone else. I was also in town for the weekend and had gone to the trouble of finding a church, dressing up and praying the rosary before Mass. Practically a saint.    But now, I was soaked. I dried off as best I could and went back to Mass. Later, during the sign of the peace, the man who had splashed me, along with a dozen of his friends with disabilities, ran around the church shaking everyone’s hand. No one was spared. This took about 10 minutes. And yet, as I looked around, no one seemed to think it was weird. This was simply what happened every Sunday. I smiled, felt my shoulders drop and for the first time at the service, felt that I was home.......It is no mystery, then, why close forms of community, particularly the extended family, have collapsed in the West. After all, you do not choose your parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, ancestors or heritage. You can choose whether to have children, but you cannot (yet) choose what they will be like. You can choose a spouse, but you do not get to choose how that person will change. Over time, he or she will become a different person. And so will you. In the end, every marriage is an arranged marriage.    So whether it is the disabled, the unborn, the elderly, the poor, the refugee or anyone else, our attitude is often the same: We did not agree to this. This was not part of the plan. They are burdens. And they are. But we are all burdens. We were once burdens, and we will be burdens again.    And I cannot help but see a connection between this attitude and the decline of religion in the West, between our frantic attempts to protect our lives from intrusion and our refusal, unlike Mary and Joseph, to welcome God, whom we did not choose and who has shown himself to be nothing if not intrusive.....(more).  Photo: America, The Jesuit Review.
Sex abuse a recurring theme in Synod debates
The Synod has also highlighted other issues including migration and globalization
Limited extract from Arnaud Bevilacqua, Rome. subscription journal La Croix International, 9 October 2018
 A call by Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney to make the Church “a safe place for young people” has echoed the thoughts of many participants at the Synod assembly on young people, which is continuing in Rome.      In a lyrically worded and profound intervention on Oct. 5, Archbishop Fisher appealed for forgiveness for the sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church.  Making the Church safe for young people.....(more)
Revisiting the theology of clericalism
Theology tends to ramp up the status and certainty of its models and theories so that what starts off as a theory morphs into unquestionable truth
Limited extract from Eric Hodgens, subscription journal La Croix International, 9 October 2018
Australia. Clericalism is on everyone’s lips. The pope decries it. Australia’s Royal Commission judged it a major factor contributing to child sex abuse by priests. Some bishops have joined the chorus denouncing it, even though other bishops resentfully bite their tongues.      But, as the saying goes, you tell me what you do, and I will tell you what you believe. Follow that line and we find clericalism alive and well.    The factional divide in the Catholic Church is becoming ever more political and militant. It parallels the identity politics which is currently enveloping many of the world’s democracies.    One faction places its focus on the church as institution — with its system, doctrine, law and clerical control. The other stresses the Christian vision, and sees system, doctrine, law and clergy as its servants.    The 50 years since Vatican II have seen the pendulum first move from dominance of the clerical system....(more).
Cardinal Ouellet rebuts Archbishop Vigano who demanded Francis resigns
Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops tells archbishop to repent as Vatican orders probe into McCarrick sex abuse case
Limited extract from International staff, subscription journal a Croix International, 8 October 2018
Vatican City. Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Vatican-based Congregation for Bishops, issued a public three-page letter on Oct. 7 censuring the former Vatican nuncio to the United States Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, for attacking Pope Francis. Archbishop Vigano on Aug. 26 demanded the pope step....(more)

The new 'Two Orders of Christians'
The line dividing clergy from laity has been blurred — having become a canonical distinction says little about what the two have in common and what separates them
Limited extract from Massimo Faggioli, subscription journal La Croix International, 8 October 2018
United States. In 1979, undercover FBI agents videotaped a U.S. congressman accepting a bribe, in which the crooked politician notoriously said, “Money talks in this business, and bullshit walks.”     This prosaic image could be used to describe what is presently happening in the Catholic Church in the United States.     It is here that we find the epicenter of Catholicism’s current crisis, but not because clergy sex abuse has not taken place in other countries.      Rather, it is because the crisis has created a vacuum of authority in the U.S. Church. It is not a vacuum of power, which is still in the usual hands (at least for now), but of authority, which is about trust and credibility.     Nature abhors a vacuum, and this vacuum is being filled by those with an open checkbook and a very clear ideological agenda. Money is talking loud and clear.    Catholics with abundant financial resources and strong connections to the leaders of the U.S. episcopate are trying to fill the vacuum with an agenda that is officially about reform. But, in fact, it is actually corrupting the Church even more, though in a different way.    Recently a self-appointed Catholic watchdog group emerged under the name “Better Church Governance.”        At a meeting on Oct. 3 at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., the group announced “plans to enlist the help of former F.B.I. agents to investigate the cardinals who will vote for the next pope and assess how they handled allegations of sexual abuse and whether they have remained faithful to their own vows.”      In the very same week, another event.....(More).  Photo:  La Croix International.
Pope warns youth against populism, at Synod in Rome
Suggests smartphone culture can erode family ties, urges them to seek counsel from older relatives and not 'close their minds'
Limited Extract from International staff, subscription journal La Croix Internationbal, 8 October 2018
Vatican City.   Pope Francis received a white envelope bearing the concerns of young people at a youth-focused Synod in Rome on Oct. 6, and warned them about the dangers of populist ideologies that exclude others.     He signed arm.....(more). Photo  Edwards Mark Bp Youth Synod La Croix Int M.Migliorato CPP
Mooted Vatican youth body needs more 'joy of Gospel'
The late Cardinal Joseph Cardijn, founder of the Young Christian Workers movement, proposed a 'Roman center' to act as 'the summit of dialogue between Hierarchy and laity'
Limited extract from Stefan Gigacz, Australia,  subscription journal La Croix International, 8 October 2018
Australia. The Synod with the theme Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment has got off to a lively start. Already there have been at least two suggestions for a permanent Vatican commission to deal with issues facing young people, observers have reported.     As I wrote several months ago, this idea dates back at least to 1962 when Joseph Cardijn, founder of the Jeunesse Ouvrière Chrétienne (JOC) or Young Christian Workers (YCW) movement, presented a similar proposal to Pope John XXIII on the eve of Vatican II.     Although the notion did not progress at the Council, perhaps it is an idea whose time has finally come. In this context, it is worth recalling that Cardijn did in fact set out the principles and methods for such a Vatican center in a 1964 paper for “a Roman Center for the Apostolate of Lay People.”     As a member of the Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate for the Council, he was already frustrated by the obsession of many bishops and Roman Curia members with hierarchical control. Tagged as “hierarchology” by the theologian Yves Congar, it was an extreme form of the “clericalism” recently condemned by Pope Francis.    Rejecting this, Cardijn proposed a “Roman center” that would act as “the summit of dialogue between Hierarchy and laity . ....(more)  Photo: Youth Synod Cardign La Croix Int JOC
New Logo for new Parish Name  (Friday 4 October 2018)
With the Archbishop granting our Parish the title and patronage of ‘Mary Mother of the Church’ we have adopted a new parish logo. With a change of name a logo is at least as important to those outside the Parish as to those within. While any logo or image should be allowed to speak for itself here is a short description about its intended symbolism that was used to assist in the development of the logo.         The M is obviously a symbol of Mary our Patron Saint - the left flourish of the M is blue, Mary's traditional colour. The right flourish of the M is green, the colour of Ordinary Time and symbolic of the Church as the People of God. The green symbolizing spring, new growth, change, renewal and development. So we have the left side of the M symbolizing Mary and the right side of the M symbolizing us as Church.         Hovering above in the cleft of the M is the original Parish logo. It was from the Cross that Jesus gave his Mother Mary to the 'beloved disciple' as Mother (that is to each of us - as brothers and sisters of Christ - and to the Body of Christ - as Church).   The Cross also symbolizes the Passion of Christ that binds the faithful together, and in this case while boldly looking forward the Cross is surmounted by a visual reflection of our Parish history - the circle in the centre of the Cross symbolizing the three communities that formed this Parish and speaks of our activity and mission as Church in the heart of the Cross.    The red colour at the heart of the Cross also symbolizing the Passion of Christ.
Synod should promote 'the capacity to dream,' Pope says
Francis appeals to Synod Fathers to come up with a series of 'concrete pastoral proposals'
Limited extract from Nicolas Senèze, Rome, subscription journal La Croix International, 4 October 2018
Vatican City, Pope Francis opened the Synod on the theme 'Young People in Rome with a Mass at St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday Oct. 3.     The ceremony took place almost two years to the day after the pope first announced the Synod and following intense preparations including a broad worldwide consultation process involving many young people. The first discussion followed in the afternoon.         The Synod needs to “broaden our horizons, expand our hearts and transform those frames of mind that today paralyze, separate and alienate us from young people, leaving them exposed to stormy seas, orphans without a faith community that should sustain them, orphans devoid of a ...(more)
Pope opens youth Synod with a warning to bishops
Extract from CathNews, The Tablet, 4 October 2018
Pope Francis opened the Church's youth Synod by urging participants to take their lead from younger generations and to avoid “falling into moralistic or elitist postures”.       The month-long Synod of Bishops gathering started yesterday and will focus on young people, the faith and vocational discernment. But the event takes place under a cloud of Church sexual abuse scandals and its assorted cover-ups by members of the hierarchy. Some had called on the Pope to cancel the event arguing the bishops have forfeited the ability to offer guidance to young people in the light of the crises.         But the 81-year-old Latin American Pontiff, who did not mention abuse during his homily at the Mass to open the Synod, said bishops will have credibility if they approach the event with a disposition of listening and that the youth of today cannot be abandoned to the “pedlars of death” of the contemporary world.          This listening, Francis told the crowd gathered in St Peter’s Square, must be done “sincerely and prayerfully, as free as possible from prejudice and conditioning” and without an attitude of “self-preservation and self-centredness which gives importance to what is secondary yet makes secondary what is important”.            He explained: “This disposition protects us from the temptation of falling into moralistic or elitist postures, and it protects us from the lure of abstract ideologies that never touch the realities of our people.”          Francis urged the Synod fathers, many of whom are in their 60s and 70s, to remember their vocations which, for a lot of them, came to fruition during Vatican II, the 1962-65 gathering of bishops which set the blueprint for the contemporary Church.       The Synod, Francis stressed, must “broaden our horizons,” avoiding a conformist mentality of “it’s always been done like this,” and rekindle a “Gospel ardour and passion which lead[s] to an ardour and passion for Jesus.”      “We know that our young people will be capable of prophesy and vision to the extent that we, who are already adult or elderly, can dream and thus be infectious in sharing those dreams and hopes that we carry in our hearts,” the Pope stressed.....(More)   Photo: CathNews, Vatican Media
At synod, Sydney archbishop apologizes to young people for church failures
Extract from Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service, 4 October 2018
VATICAN CITY -- Australian Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney used his speech at the Synod of Bishops to formally apologize to young people for all the ways the Catholic Church and its members have harmed them or let them down.         In the presence of Pope Francis, he apologized Oct. 4 "for the shameful deeds of some priests, religious and laypeople, perpetrated upon you or other young people just like you, and the terrible damage that has done."         He apologized "for the failure of too many bishops and others to respond appropriately when abuse was identified, and to do all in their power to keep you safe; and for the damage thus done to the church's credibility and to your trust."       Later, at the synod briefing for the press, Paolo Ruffini, prefect of the Dicastery for Communication, said several of the 25 bishops who spoke that morning asked young people to forgive the church and its members.    Some spoke specifically of cases of clerical sexual abuse, he said, while others asked forgiveness for not welcoming migrants -- most of whom are young -- or for trying to "tame" young people rather than recognize their energy and enthusiasm as a gift.    Chiara Giaccardi, an Italian professor of sociology working with the synod, told reporters "at least five or six" of the 25 speeches "emphasized asking forgiveness in a strong way." Most of those, she said, mentioned "the church's lack of living its mandate fully."....(more) Photo: CNS
Synods Aren’t Just for the Bishops - How the Laity Can Help Reform the Church
Extracts from Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal magazine, 1 October 2018
Dietrich Bonhoeffer famously said that God granted American Christianity no Reformation. It’s also true that God granted America no Counter-Reformation. But with the latest phase of the abuse crisis in this country, that might be changing.          The depth and magnitude of this crisis—as well as its distinctive combination of clerical corruption and theological division— make it worse than any crisis since the one that rocked the church five centuries ago.     The current crisis may not lead to a formal division of the Church the way the Reformation did, but it could well lead to a long period of undeclared schism......On the other side of the Atlantic, the Vatican is now dealing with what has become a global crisis, one that is sure to draw much attention at the bishops’ synod on youth, which opens on October 3. The day before meeting with the USCCB delegation, Francis announced an extraordinary meeting of the presidents of all bishops’ conferences at the Vatican, scheduled for late February. Not a consistory of cardinals nor a synod organized by the permanent secretariat of the bishops’ synod, this will be the first meeting of its kind, and it can be understood as Rome’s acknowledgment that the abuse crisis cannot be dealt with adequately unless Rome and local dioceses work together. We don’t yet know what will be on the agenda for this meeting.      But we do know that Rome cannot wait to act. Nor can the church in the United States just wait to see what happens in Rome......So, where to start? Let me offer a few proposals......Synodality is the best ecclesiological model for a church that wants to get out of this mess. Francis’s pontificate has offered opportunities for a synodal church, despite some clear limitations and blind spots, which one can also find in the document on synodality published a few months ago by the International Theological Commission (an English translation was published on September 28.) Institutions of synodality already exist (e.g., the presbyteral council, the college of consultors, chapters of canons, and the diocesan pastoral council), but they have been gutted in the decades since the Second Vatican Council created them.             There are other institutions of synodality that still do not exist and must be created (e.g., national and diocesan committees representing lay Catholics, lay boards for the inquiries conducted for the appointment of bishops). Finally, there are institutions that were not built for synodality, but can provide a space for institutional reform in this extraordinary time, such as Catholic schools and universities. This moment of anti-clerical rage should not blind us to the importance of institutions.....(more).  Photo:  Commonweal, CNS, Paul Haring.
Catholic priests marriage: Bathurst Catholic Diocese of Bathurst Bishop Michael McKenna's view
Extract from Nadine Morton, Western Advertiser, 1 October 2018
Catholic priests marriage: CELIBATE priests may be more “available” than married ones Catholic Diocese of Bathurst’s Bishop Michael McKenna says.     A submission by the National Council of Priests to the Australian Catholic Church Plenary Council conference will argue that priests in remote parts of the country should be allowed to marry, and that priests who left the church to marry should be allowed to return to the priesthood.    There may be no married priests in the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst, but Bishop Michael McKenna says he is willing to seriously consider the issue....(more)  Photo: Western Advertiser, Chris Seabrook 
Francis defends response to clergy abuse
Extract from CathNews, The Tablet,  27 September 2018
The Church has grown in its understanding of the horror of clerical sexual abuse and of the “corruption” of covering it up, Pope Francis said yesterday. Source: The Tablet.    Returning to Rome from his four-day trip to the Baltic nations, Pope Francis was asked about his remarks to young people in Tallinn, Estonia, when he said young people are scandalised when they see the Church fail to condemn abuse clearly.    “The young people are scandalised by the hypocrisy of adults, they are scandalised by wars, they are scandalised by the lack of coherence, they are scandalised by corruption, and corruption is where what you underlined – sexual abuse – comes in,” the Pope responded.     Whatever the statistics say about rates of clerical abuse, the Pope said, “if there is even just one priest who abuses a boy or a girl, it is monstrous, because that man was chosen by God to lead that child to heaven.”    The fact that child abuse occurs in many environments does not in any way lessen the scandal, he said.    But it is not true that the Church has done nothing “to clean up”, Pope Francis told reporters. If one looks at the Pennsylvania grand jury report released in August or other similar studies, he said, it is clear that the majority of cases occurred decades ago “because the Church realised that it had to battle it in a different way”.    To understand what happened in the past, he said, one must remember how abuse was handled then.    "The past should be interpreted using the hermeneutic of the age," Pope Francis said. People's "moral consciousness" develops over time, he said, pointing to the death penalty as an example.    But, he said, "look at the example of Pennsylvania. Look at the proportions and you will see that when the church began to understand, it did all it could."....(more)
Chaput publishes critique of youth synod document
Extract from Ellen Teague, The Tablet, 27 September 2018
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia has published a critique of the working document for the October meeting of the Synod of Bishops on “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment”.    The archbishop says the critique, published in the journal First Things, was prepared by an unnamed but “respected North American theologian”, and is “substantive enough to warrant much wider consideration and discussion as bishop-delegates prepare to engage the synod’s theme”.     The writer of the critique feels that, in its emphasis on listening and dialogue, the synod document suggests that “the Church does not possess the truth but must take its place alongside other voices”, while “those who have held the role of teacher and preacher in the Church must replace their authority with dialogue”. Section 144 contains “much discussion about what young people want; little about how these wants must be transformed by grace in a life that conforms to God’s will for their lives,” the writer says. Most of the document “catalogues the socio-economic and cultural realities of young adults while offering no meaningful reflection on spiritual, existential, or moral concerns.”     The document is described as suggesting “that vocation concerns the individual’s search for private meaning and truth”. An example of this is section 139, which “gives the impression that the Church cannot propose the truth to people and that they must decide for themselves”. The writer laments that the role of the Church seems to be reduced to one of accompaniment.     Other complaints include “a false equivalence between dialogue with LGBT youth and ecumenical dialogue; and an insufficient treatment of the abuse scandal”.    Chaput is due to attend the 3-28 October synod at the Vatican. He says he has received much correspondence about the synod. Nearly all the letters “praise its intent” but raise concerns about “its timing and possible content”......(more)
Ex Governor-General and Labor Leader Baptised after lifetime of atheism!
Extract from CathNews, The Catholic Leader, 19 September 2018
At the age of 85, and after a lifetime as a declared atheist, former Labor leader and Governor-General Bill Hayden has been baptised as a Catholic at St Mary’s Church, Ipswich, west of Brisbane, on September 9.    Mr. Hayden said “There’s been a gnawing pain in my heart and soul about what is the meaning of life. What’s my role in it?”     Now in declining health he said he hoped his new-found faith might encourage others as the Church passes through difficult times. “This took too long, and now I am going to be devoted. From this day forward I’m going to vouch for God.”    Mr Hayden attributed his conversion to the influence of his own mother, who was Catholic, and of the Ursuline Sisters, who taught him at primary school. However, it was a recent hospital visit to see Sister of Mercy Angela Mary Doyle that proved the pivotal moment in Mr Hayden’s faith journey.     “I have always felt embraced and loved by her Christian example,” Mr Hayden said of the 93-year-old who has been a lifelong inspiration of service to him, and who was among the congregation at his baptism.     The morning after visiting Sr. Angela Mary, Mr Hayden said he woke with “the strong sense that I had been in the presence of a holy woman. So after dwelling on these things I found my way back to the core of those beliefs – the Church.” ....(more)
“The Role of the Faithful in a post-Royal Commission Church in Australia”
Extract from Address by Bishop Vincent Long  to the Concerned Catholics of Canberra and Goulburn Forum, Catholic Outlook, Diocese of Parramatta, 11 September 2018
Dear friends.......Thank you for the invitation to speak at this forum and to have the opportunity to listen to the voices of the Concerned Catholics of Canberra and Goulburn in the spirit of genuine synodality.     The events in these last few weeks, including the sensational accusations against Pope Francis himself by the former nuncio to the U.S. has caused great turmoil in the Church. The sexual abuse crisis is inundating the whole Church like a tsunami and it has the potential to cause long-term damage, chaos and even schism. (Mind you, there is already a silent schism in that the majority of Australian Catholics have simply walked away from the practice of the faith.)    It is the biggest crisis since the Reformation and it exposes the ideological conflict that runs deeply through the length and breadth of the universal Church.     The anti-Pope Francis forces who have accelerated their frontal attacks against him in a coordinated and virulent manner. The gloves are clearly off and they have seized this moment of turmoil as an opportunity to undermine his papacy and derail his reform agenda. How time has changed in the Catholic Church!     Only until recently, criticisms against a sitting pope were deemed absolute anathema.       Now the shoe is on the other foot and papal sniping is becoming quite a sport among some Catholic circles. (We are after all in the capital of sniping of a different kind!) They might even agree with Paul Collins’ view on papal power but for different reasons I would suspect.     What is interesting, too, is the number of bishops who have chosen to sympathise with these forces and therefore shown their not so subtle disapproval of the way the Pope is leading the Church. Clearly, Captain Francis will have to weather both the storm and the mutiny onboard. I just hope and pray that he stays the course because nothing less than a deep and comprehensive reform will restore confidence and trust in the Church.     I must hasten to add that in as much as I am pleased with the wind of change blowing from Santa Marta, I do not believe that it will sufficiently carry the deep and comprehensive reform the Church of 21st century needs. Let us be under no illusions about the change we seek which is not only in attitude of the office holders but the very structure and culture of the Church.     After all, Pope Francis might just be a banana slip away from his reform agenda and we might all end up sliding backwards....(More)

Listening church: Pope gives new vision for Synod of Bishops
Extracts from Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, Vatican, National Catholic Reporter, 18 September 2019
Vatican City — The Synod of Bishops increasingly should be a structure for listening to the Catholic faithful, demonstrating a local bishop's concern for the entire church and a means of expressing all the bishops' unity with the pope, Pope Francis said.      Replacing Blessed Paul VI's 1965 document that established the Synod of Bishops and building on changes made to the synods over the past five decades, Francis issued an apostolic constitution, providing a theological explanation of the synod's role in the church and updating rules for how a synod is prepared for, conducted and implemented.          The constitution, "Episcopalis Communio" ["Episcopal Communion"], also states for the first time that voting members of the synod do not necessarily have to be priests. In preparation for the October synod on young people and vocational discernment, the Union of Superiors General, the organization of leaders of men's religious orders from around the world, elected two religious brothers to be members of the synod.    Discussing the normal voting members of the synod, Francis' new rules, which were published only in Italian Sept. 18, said that "according to the theme and circumstances, others who are not honored with episcopal duties can be called to the synod assembly with a role to be determined by the Roman pontiff."         Asked if that meant that women or women religious could be full voting members of the synod, Bishop Fabio Fabene, undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops, said that according to the new rules the men's Union of Superiors General "can elect any male religious, even nonpriests, as the pope had permitted by exemption in the last two synodal assemblies. As for women, they are already present as observers and participate in the synodal assembly and the small groups and have a right to speak."          "At the moment, it is established that the men's union of superiors elects members," but the women's International Union of Superiors General does not. Fabene said, "For now, that it how it is."          But the main changes Francis made to the synod are less visible and more profound........"While in its composition it is configured as an essentially episcopal body, the synod still does not live separated from the rest of the faithful," he wrote. "On the contrary, it is an instrument suitable for giving voice to the whole people of God precisely through the bishops."    Obviously, the pope said, the synod is not a Catholic parliament. "In the church, in fact, the aim of any collegial, consultative or deliberative body is the search for the truth or the good of the church," so prayerful discernment and openness to the Holy Spirit is key at every stage......(More)  Photo: NCR, CNS Paul Haring  

New research shows Australian teens have complex views on religion and spirituality

Extract from Andrew Singleton, Associate Professor of Sociology and Social Research, Deakin University; Anna Halafoff, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Deakin University; Gary D Bouma, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Monash University (and friend of The Conversation); Mary Lou Rasmussen, Professor, School of Sociology, Australian National University, The Conversation,  September 18, 2018

It’s perhaps not surprising that few Australian teens are engaged in formal religion and its practice. But, according to a new national study, many young people are nonetheless interested in spirituality, taking a complex and broad-minded approach to the issue. As researcher Andrew Singleton writes, the findings further challenge the idea that Australia is largely a Christian country, with teenagers at the forefront of overturning old ideas and constructing new ones.           The researchers found that teenagers broadly fit into six groups on matters of spirituality, from those with strong convictions to those questioning and discovering. And what is also striking is that they are remarkably tolerant of others’ views on the matter. As the researchers often heard: “it’s all good”.           The 2016 Census suggested about a third of Australian teens had no religion. But ask a teenager themselves about religion, rather than the parent or guardian filling in the census form, and the picture is slightly different.            According to our new national survey, at least half of teens say they are “religious nones” - those who do not identify with a religion or religious group. Digging deeper, we found a more complicated picture of faith and spirituality among young Australians. Most Gen Z teens have little to do with organised religion in their personal lives, while a significant proportion are interested in different ways of being spiritual.         Migration, diversity, secularisation and a burgeoning spiritual marketplace challenge the notion that we are a “Christian” country. More than any other group, teenagers are at the forefront of this remaking of Australian religion. Their daily experience of secondary school and social media sees them bumping into all kinds of difference. Teens are forming their own strong views about existential matters.          Our national study by scholars from ANU, Deakin and Monash – the AGZ Study – comprises 11 focus groups with students in Years 9 and 10 (ages 15-16) in three states, a nationally representative telephone survey of 1,200 people aged 13-18, and 30 in-depth, follow-up interviews. …(more)  Image: Teenagers, abstract collage, Katrina Frazer

Father Hans Zollner: Post abuse crisis, how can we get back to our Christian roots?
Extract from Jim McDermott, America, The Jesuit Review, 17 September 2018

Hans Zollner, S.J., is a licensed German psychologist and psychotherapist with a doctorate in theology and one of the church’s leading experts in the area of safeguarding minors. He is the president of the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, a member on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and a consultor to the Congregation for the Clergy.          America spoke with Father Zollner in July and followed up recently as the sexual abuse crisis in the United States continues to roil the church. This is the first of three interviews James McDermott, S.J., is conducting about the abuse crisis.          What is your reaction to what we’ve seen in the United States and elsewhere over the last month?      The strongest impression I have is that it has now reached another level. The discussion and the awareness and the intensity, especially in the United States, is very surprising because you have gone through this for many years already. And it brings out the American [social and political] divisions that are visible in the country and in the church.          But why is it so shocking for so many, left and right of the divide? It is because the extent of the cover-up by church leaders in the past and their co-responsibility for it (no matter what their ideological persuasion) are becoming clearer now. And then the question is how people deal today with all these issues.....(More)

Over to you Ivanhoe parishioners & families!
Friday 14 September 2018  Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe (Mary Mother of the Church Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe)
Everyone of course has heard of the Plenary Council 2020/2021 by now.   We know that it was urged by Pope Francis and will be based on "Listening to Christ by listening to one another" (synodality).   We all know therefore that the important issues it addresses will be based on what each Catholic in Australia, guided by the Holy Spirit, collectively thinks about the future of our Church in Australia.   We further know that the opportunity to provide inputs to the Plenary Council already exists on its website (http://plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au).       Like many other Parishes (including neighbouring parishes of the Yarra Deanery),  our parish will shortly also provide informal opportunities in the comfortable context of small groups in our parish community, or online, to listen to each other and say what we think, honestly,openly, and respectfully in a spirit of faith.      Every single person in our Parish interested in the future of our Church is called to listen, and speak, honestly, respectfully, comfortably. Further information will follow soon.
US bishops tell Pope abuse scandal ‘lacerated’ Church
Extract from CathNews, NCR Online, 14 September 2018
The meeting yesterday between Pope Francis and the leaders of the US bishops’ conference on the clergy sexual abuse scandal resulted in a “lengthy, fruitful and good exchange”, the American prelates said.           Conference president Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said in a statement that he and the three others taking part in the encounter told the pontiff how the Church in the US had been “lacerated by the evil of sexual abuse,” and that the Pope “listened very deeply from the heart.”        Cardinal DiNardo met with the Pope alongside Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez, the conference vice president; Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, head of the papal commission on clergy abuse; and Msgr Brian Bransfield, the conference’s general secretary.            The Vatican did not release any information about the encounter, aside from official photos and a brief video of its beginning. The statement from the US bishops came about four hours after its scheduled start at noon-time in Rome.      Cardinal DiNardo first requested the encounter with Francis las month, two days after the August 14 release of a grand jury report in Pennsylvania revealed that more than 300 priests had been accused of committing sexual assault in six dioceses in the state over seven decades.     Release of that report came shortly after Archbishop Theodore McCarrick renounced his place in the College of Cardinals in the wake of revelations that he sexually harassed or abused several young men during his rise to become one of the US Church’s most senior prelates.....(more).  Photo. CathNews CNS Vatican Media 
Thanks for your prayers
Fr Lasbert, Friday 14 September 2018
Thanks to my friends in Ivanhoe Parish for your prayers at our Silver Anniversary Mass last weekend. The celebration was great and simple and the Mass was officiated by the Archbishop of Makassar, Mgr. John Liku Ada,DD.      There were around a thousand people attending. There was no homily, instead each of us the three shared our joys and sorrows of being religious and missionary in our different and respective mission field.      After Mass we all shared a meal together with singing, dancing and some  some presentations. Now I am still in Makassar to help with with psychological assessment of new seminarians who are just beginning their formation year.          In next couple days I will return to Jakarta where I am assigned. [Ed: See more photos here ]
It is time for Archbishop Viganò to meet the press
Gerard O’Connell
Extract from Gerard O'Connor, America, The Jesuit Review, 13 September 2018
News that the Holy See is preparing the “necessary clarifications” to the allegations of cover-up and corruption made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò against Pope Francis and more than 30 past and present senior Vatican officials has been widely welcomed in the church.       As the Vatican prepares its response, many reporters in Rome say Archbishop Viganò also has many questions to answer. Since dropping his bombshell letter, however, he has gone into hiding and acted like an insurgent, making intermittent sniper comments or statements to those journalists and news outlets who share his opposition to Francis. Isn’t it time for him to come out of hiding and meet the press?....(More)
Pope Francis summons the world’s top bishops for sexual abuse prevention summit
Pope Francis has summoned the president of every bishops conference around the world to a summit meeting in the Vatican on the theme of “the protection of minors.”
Extract from America, The Jesuit Review, 12 September 2018
The Feb. 21-24, 2019 meeting is believed to be the first of its kind, and signals a realization at the highest levels of the church that clergy sex abuse is a global problem and not restricted to the Anglo-Saxon world, as many church leaders have long insisted.         Francis called the meeting after consulting the Council of Cardinal Advisors at their meeting in Rome earlier this week. A Vatican statement said the cardinals and the pope discussed at length the subject of abuse in the church.        Paloma Garcia Ovejero, the deputy director of the Holy See Press Office, told journalists in a briefing that the pope has convened the meeting “to talk about the prevention of the abuses of minors and vulnerable adults.”   Francis’ decision comes in the wake of reports and revelations of abuse by priests and religious persons in countries throughout the world, including the United States, Ireland, Australia, Chile, Germany, Belgium, Canada, Italy and also Asia.....(more)  Photo: America, The Jesuit Review, AP Alessandra Tarantino.

Erring Shepherds
Extract from Association of Catholic Priests, Ireland, 10 September 2018
It has pained me greatly to write this article. I deeply love the Catholic Church – which has an unconditionally loving, merciful and triune God at its centre.  I have great respect and love for Pope Francis and have worked closely throughout my life with many dedicated, hard working and deeply spiritual priests.       But something is deeply wrong within the Catholic Church as is revealed in the short history below of clerical and institutional abuse. The Church has lost much of its moral leadership around the world, particularly among younger Catholics in the northern hemisphere.          The problem, as clearly and frequently identified by Pope Francis, is a pervasive and toxic culture of clericalism throughout the Catholic hierarchy. Within clericalism I would include the related problems of the sexual abuse of children by a small minority of clergy, unaccountable power, careerism, imposed celibacy and a major lack of effective involvement of lay men and women at all levels within the Church.      Lay people must be given back effective ownership of their Church, in which they will work, in word and action and partnership with clergy, guided by the Holy Spirit and a deep knowledge of Sacred Scripture and strengthened divine Eucharist – to help bring about on earth God’s Kingdom of unconditional love and mercy for all human kind and all of nature. Let us have a Church of mercy which is “a field hospital after battle” for the wounded, as Pope Francis has said....(more)

Indonesia Ivanhoe greeting and prayer request from Fr Lasbert
7 September 2018
Former Ivanhoe Parish priest-in-residence Fr Lasbert has written from his Indonesian parish to "all my friends in Ivanhoe Parish" saying how much he happily remembers us each week when he reads our  parish news, adding that "It inspires me too, when I make homily for next Sunday". He is now in the 3rd year at his  Parish at Makassar where there are 4,600 parishioners across 14 communities. It keeps him and his confreres very busy because apart from other things "every day we have morning mass in the church/parish and in the evening we have masses in different communities" in turn "according to their need/intentions" adding that they also have have 13 different committees such as the Legion of Mary, youth, lay deacons, social affairs, liturgy group, etc .  Lasbert concludes his message with a prayer request "This coming Saturday of September 8th, I will be celebrating my silver anniversary of religious life together with my 2 other confreres in Makassar. Please pray for us, because the challenge of life is so real. The three of us have great responsibility in our different fields. One is working in Japan as parish priest and district coordinator/superior at the same time and one is the vicar to the Archbishop of Makassar.
Prosecutors to appeal 'inadequate' sentence
Extract from CathNews, Thje Advertiser, 7 September 2018
Prosecutors are set to appeal the sentence handed down to former Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson for failing to report child sexual abuse, arguing the sentence is too lenient.       The New South Wales Director of Public Prosecutions has lodged an “inadequacy appeal” against Archbishop Wilson’s 12-month jail term, which was to be served on home detention. He must serve at least six months of the home detention order.      Archbishop Wilson has lodged his own appeal against his conviction, which will be heard next month.      However, prosecutors will put forward their own case against what they say is an inadequate sentence in the District Court in Newcastle on Wednesday, September 13.    Archbishop Wilson was found guilty in May of failing to report paedophile priest James Fletcher’s historic sex abuse against altar boys in the NSW Hunter Region in the 1970s and 1980s. He was found to have withheld information about the offending from police between 2004 and 2006....(more)
Paris archbishop sets new pastoral priorities to include lay people
Limited extract from subscription jouirnal La Croix International, 6 September 2018
Archbishop Michel Aupetit to redefine status of lay people by appreciating their pastoral role in assuming genuine responsibilities.   It is now nine months since Archbishop Michel Aupetit’s appointment to the Archdiocese of Paris. In a letter to priests and church volunteers this week, he shared the eight pastoral priorities for the diocese during the 2018-19 year.      Archbishop Aupetit officially presented the letter to the press flanked by his newly appointed vicars general....(source)
Archbishop Coleridge: U.S. needs to become “humbler church” in response to abuse crisis
Extract from Emma Winters, America, The Jesuit Review, 5 September 2018
In a conversation about sexual abuse in the United States and Australia, Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia, told America that “until there is a genuine restoration of trust, no apology is going to land.”     We have to accept now,” the archbishop continued, “restoring trust will only come over time if in fact we do the things we say we’re going to do.”        The Catholic Church in Australia was under inquiry by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse from 2013 to 2017, when a final report was issued. Similar to findings of the Pennsylvania grand jury in the United States, the Royal Commission brought to light instances of abuse, as well as cover-ups by bishops and religious superiors.          The dominant mood probably is a sense of bewilderment, really, because this is a crisis the like of which we haven’t faced in our history,” the archbishop said in a video interview with executive editor Tim Reidy.     Archbishop Coleridge noted that there were advantages to having a national scope with the inquiry and response. He said the national approach was vital in preventing a “fragmented and at times contradictory response” to “an area as vital as child protection.” However, the archbishop stressed that the national nature of the response also had “enormous challenges” because with seven distinct jurisdictions “Australia in the singular doesn’t exist.”.....In Archbishop Coleridge’s eyes, there are many more effective ways to protect children from sexual abuse than changing church teaching about the seal or priestly celibacy, another issue the commission recommended the church to revisit. The archbishop stressed the importance of changing the church’s culture and listening to survivors......(MORE)   
600 people gather in Sydney to hear from Pope’s expert on child safety
Extracts from Catholic Outlook, from 3 September 2018
More than 600 people gathered in Sydney over two days to hear from the Pope’s expert on child protection and the prevention of abuse.  Fr Hans Zollner SJ, the recognised authority on safeguarding children, delivered lectures and led workshops at the Creating a Safe Church from Within conference which looked at why abuse occurred in the past, what has been done to fix the issue and what must be done to prevent it occurring again.        In attendance were victims and survivors of abuse, priests, nuns, school principals, teachers, parishioners, volunteers and Church employees.        Fr Hans pointed out that while the Catholic Church “has done a lot” to tackle abuse, there is “a lot to be done”.     “Pope Francis has put this on the agenda of the Catholic Church worldwide. It is a prime issue with which we have to deal with” Fr Hans said.     “A few years ago, not many local Churches [around the world] would talk about or even mention child abuse”. It was seen as a “Western problem, an Anglo-Saxon problem, a European problem”, however, this is an “issue that won’t go away anymore” according to Fr Hans.......Bishop Brian Mascord of the Diocese of Wollongong and Bishop Vincent Long of the Diocese of Parramatta were part of the opening welcome along with local indigenous children presenting a Welcome to Country and prayer and reflection from those affected by child sexual abuse.       Bishop Vincent stressed the Catholic Church needed “deep institutional change” to deal with abuse and that it is now “time to listen with great humility” to the victims and survivors of abuse and that “we owe it to the victims, their families and their loved ones.”       Bishop Brian was appreciative of the victims and survivors who attended and welcomed them to the conference. “Thank you for being here. It’s not easy, [I am] so grateful that you are here.”......German by birth, Fr Hans is a theologian, psychotherapist and psychologist. He has been a member of the Pope’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors since 2014 and is head of the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Fr Hans is also a member of the Society of Jesus, the same religious order that Pope Francis belongs to.  .........The Catholic Church in Australia is in the “top five” leading countries in the world adopting processes to safeguard children and vulnerable people, according to Fr Hans.    Fr Hans said that while this is a “difficult moment” for the Church in Australia dealing with the issue of historical abuse, it is a “necessary one”....Touching on trust, Fr Hans incisively pointed out that the trust that had been built over centuries and generations by the Catholic Church has been destroyed in a few years because of the child sexual abuse failures, even though most of the abuse, seen through the recent inquiries, had occurred during the 1960s and 70s. “Trust has been broken”, Fr Hans said.    He went on to explain how the Church cannot ask people to “trust us now” and that the only way of rebuilding that broken trust is to let victims and survivors see the Church as operating differently. Further, the actions of the Church will build trust and actions must be measureable, palpable and visible.    Fr Hans mentioned that since guidelines and proper screening processes had been put in place over the last two decades, there has been almost no new allegations of abuse reported in the Catholic Church in Australia.....In addition to the physical and psychological damage of abuse, Fr Hans pointed out the deep theological damage, “what we did was destroying the message of the Gospel”.     “One thing you can do is listen” to survivors and victims of abuse, according to Fr Hans, so their process of healing can begin. “We must listen to survivors of abuse”.    Fr Hans spoke about not waiting for the necessary changes in Canon Law or hierarchical governance shifts, but that we all have a responsibility to open the discussion and to act – to change ourselves no matter our role within the Church. This call to action was directed at all present, and not just the Bishops and clergy.....(MORE)  Photo: Catholic Outlook,  Flickr.
What it will take to prove the Church gets it
Extract from John Warhurst, Eureka Street, 1 September 2018
Many Catholics were glued to the screen to hear their leaders respond to the royal commission. The optics were immediately better because Sister Monica Cavanagh rsj, president of Catholic Religious Australia, was sitting beside Archbishop Mark Coleridge, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, and had a significant speaking part by reading their opening joint statement to the media conference.       Archbishop Mark Coleridge and Sister Monica Cavanagh rsj, president of Catholic Religious Australia.         Also welcome was the thanks offered to the media by Coleridge, as he signed off, for the role of journalists in uncovering the national tragedy of child sexual abuse and the unforgivable cover up by the church, as well as for giving voice to the survivors. Too often church leaders have treated the media as their enemy and encouraged Catholics to do likewise.    Survivors have every right to say 'too little too late' to this belated response by the church leaders. Broken trust cannot be rebuilt quickly and in the case of many survivors may not be rebuilt in their lifetimes. The church must show survivors by its pastoral actions that it has learned. That will take many years.    The question of the seal of confession and, to a lesser extent, of voluntary celibacy for priests, is interpreted by the media and the wider public as proof that the church leadership is still resisting rather than embracing the recommendations of the royal commission and that they still don't get it.    That impression can only be allayed if the church's record in a decade's time can be shown to be impeccable in responding to the other 98 per cent of the RC recommendations. But already that 98 per cent has been shown to be a rubbery figure, dependent on counting in-principle support and/or referral to Rome.    The media conference also showed how discussion immediately turns to the universal (international) nature of the church, either through church explanations that some matters must be processed through the Holy See, or through media questions about Pope Francis and international developments. The Australian Catholic Church, to its detriment, is shown not be a national church, like the Anglican Church in Australia, but a branch-office church with all the impediments to freedom of independent action that follow.....(MORE)    Photo: Eureka Street.
The joint response from Catholic Religious Australia and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference can be found HERE
The Truth, Justice and Healing Council reports can be found HERE

Archbishop Names Ivanhoe Parish
Friday 31 August 2018
When the three Parishes in Ivanhoe were amalgamated in 2005 no official title was given to the new Parish. Normal practice is that every Parish, Church, School, Hospital or Catholic Institution receives a Patronal Title: either a Saint or a mystery of our Faith.       Lack of a Patronal Title left us without a common name or Patron Saint for the Parish as a whole. It also left us without a common Patronal Feast Day that all three communities within the Parish could celebrate in common.        With the support of the Parish Pastoral Council the Archbishop has now granted the Parish the title ’Mary Mother of the Church’. In doing so the Archbishop has written to us in these words:
Your request to name the Parish in honour of Our Lady (under the title Mary Mother of the Church) respects the history of the Parish and the future mission now entrusted to you and your parishioners. We can have no greater advocate than Our Lady to accompany the Church and each of us as disciples of her Son. It is important for Parishes to have feast days on which to gather, pray, celebrate and give thanks to God.”      Our new title does not effect in any way the existing titles of our churches or schools which each have their own Patronal Title. The new title only applies to our Parish as a united whole. We now look forward to our first Patronal Feast Day, on the new feast recently proclaimed by Pope Francis, the Feast of Mary Mother of the Church which is celebrated each year on the Monday after Pentecost. Next year that feast falls on 10th June - so prepare for a very big Parish Party!

Conversation on Plenary Council 2020
John Costa, Friday 31 August 2018
At last night's full-house 'Conversation on the Plenary Council 2020' at St Francis Xavier Hall Montmorency sponsored by Diamond Valley and Yarra Deaneries  in partnership with the Archbishop's Office of Evangelisation Fr Noel Connolly SSC began with a clear and thorough context of the Plenary, highlighting that the Plenary concept responds to Pope Francis's strong endeavour to renew and re-energise a Christ-focused Church through a 'synodal' process - "listening to the Holy Spirit by listening to one another".          This open approach characterised the successful 2016 'Family Synod' and impressed ACBC President Archbishop Mark Coleridge who participated.     Listening goes beyond just 'hearing' and depends on everyone in faith honesty and respectfully saying what they think whilst listening thoughtfully, and non-judgmentally to what each other are saying.    Noel highlighted also that the Australian Plenary is not an event for the Australian Church but for all of Australia, as our faith calls for us, as missionaries of all ages, to contribute to Australia by living and exemplifying a life reflecting Christian values, including love, compassion, justice, caring, joyfulness and forgiveness.     With much open discussion amongst the large audience Noel outlined the very accessible Plenary input process. The Plenary Council website makes it easy for anyone right now to respond online to the Question "what do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?", preferably after having discussed this informally in small groups.           Our local Yarra Deanery (neighbouring parishes) is already engaged in making the input process very accessible and has proposed three questions,  A. What does our Church look like now? (Listening to each other), B. What is Christ calling us to make our Church today? (listening to the Holy Spirit), and C. What do we, as Church, need to do to move from A to B? (action Plan). Further Details will follow. For its success the Plenary Agenda-setting process will depend on everyone engaging to renew and re-energise what needs to become permanently a more 'synodal' Church.        Read a Further report on the  conversation from Melbourne Catholic HERE  Photo Melbourne Catholic.
Health and Integrity conference calls for a ‘reformation’ of Australia’s churches following Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
Media Release, Friday 31 August 2018
In a week when the sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults in church institutions has once again been making international headlines, a conference of Christian churches in Melbourne has called on Australia’s churches to embrace thoroughgoing reformation of their structures, governance and culture inthe wake of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.           The three-day ecumenical Health and Integrity in Church and Ministry conference on the task of rebuilding and renewal for the churches after the Royal Commission (27–29 August 2018), was hosted by the University of Divinity and sponsored by three leading Catholic religious institutes and Yarra Theological Union. The conference was attended by church members and leaders, academics, clergy and religious, ministers and church workers, survivors of child sexual abuse and their advocates, and groups advocating church reform.....(full Media Release HERE)
Archbishop Comensoli is inviting young adults to join him on the Melbourne Pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Panama!
Extract from Archdiocesan Office for Youth, Friday 31 August 2018
The mission of the Melbourne World Youth Day Pilgrimage is to facilitate a safe and supported pilgrimage which enables young adults from the Archdiocese of Melbourne to deepen their personal faith, broaden their understanding of the Catholic Church, form enriching relationships with other young Catholics, and respond to God in their life encouraged by the words of Mary which are given as the theme for World Youth Day 2019: ‘I am the servant of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.’       Details on "Youth' page....here  (AOY archive photo)

Archbishop Comensoli meets mother of abuse victim
Extracts from CathNews, ABC News,  31 August 2018

In his first public speech since his installation as Archbishop of Melbourne, Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli has been confronted by the 93-year-old mother of an abuse victim who took her own life in 1994. Source: ABC News.           Eileen Piper asked the Archbishop to look at a photo of her daughter Stephanie Piper lying dead in her coffin.      The Church has long denied Stephanie Piper was abused by Fr Gerard Mulvale in the 1970s, accusing her of fabricating the story due to mental illness. Mulvale was convicted the year after Stephanie’s death of abusing two boys from his youth group.    Mrs Piper’s lawyer, Judy Courtin, asked Archbishop Comensoli to “rectify this wrong”. “Please receive this dossier, read it, meet with Mrs Piper, and take action to bring an end to this horror,” Ms Courtin said.    The Archbishop walked from the stage to Mrs Piper and took the photo in his hand.    “I’d like to be able to meet with you,” Archbishop Comensoli said. “But then I need to consider your own circumstances and the circumstances of what happened to Stephanie, and then I’ll be able to respond further.”....In his speech, Archbishop Comensoli said the Church needed to lose its “corporate” image.....(more)

Where from and where to: The Truth Justice and Healing Council, the Royal Commission and the  Catholic Church in Australia
Final Report April 2018, made public 31 August 2018  Report HERE
Extract from Introduction
The Royal Commission has laid bare the extensive history of  the Church in the
sexual abuse of children in its institutions and of the devastating failure of the Church to put the interests and the protection of children and vulnerable people first.      An almost inevitable conclusion is that too many of those who were in a position to protect children instead looked to the preservation of the reputation of the organisation and thus to the shielding of perpetrators.      The lives of victims and of their families and loved ones have been devastated by the effects of clerical sexual abuse and that must be, and remain, at  the forefront of the Church’s thinking and actions as it tries to come to grips with the tragedy and to deliver justice to those who have been harmed while in its care.      One of the major consequences of the abuse crisis has been the loss of trust in Church leadership and their moral influence.       One of the great challenges for the future will be the restoration of that trust.   There have been some landmarks on the tortuous journey of the Church towards recognition and acceptance of its part in the scourge of institutional child sexual abuse and to deliver compassionate justice  to the victims and survivors of these crimes.    Report HERE
Decision on Church refurbishment for future Catholic Parish Centre in Ivanhoe. 
Friday 24 August 2018
Last Wednesday, at a joint meeting of the Parish Pastoral Council and Finance Committee, it was decided unanimously, to refurbish Mary Immaculate Church and integrate the Church with a new building to form the Catholic Parish Centre for Ivanhoe.   Key components of the new Centre will be an office frontage onto Upper Heidelberg Road; meeting rooms and a hall / gathering space where support for pastoral, community and social activities will continue; a residence for the Parish Priest and off street car parking.   Refurbishment of the church will improve amenity with a heating and cooling system and changes to comply with current environmental and disabled access standards. The architects will now be commissioned to develop the design of our Parish Redevelopment Project.     Image: Abstract painting, Etsy
Migrants and refugees need 'solidarity and mercy'
Edited Extracts from CathNews, ACBC Meda Blog, 24 August 2018
Policies addressing migrants and refugees should always respond with mercy and solidarity, according to visiting Vatican official Fr Fabio Baggio CS .        "Our shared response may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate. This is part of a common action that should be actively promoted by all the local Churches,” Fr Fabio Baggio CS said.     Fr Fabio Baggio CS is the Under-Secretary of the Migrant and Refugee Section, a Vatican office directly guided by Pope Francis.    The missionary priest this week visited Canberra and Melbourne as part of Australia’s week-long celebration of the contribution migrants have made.........“The only reasonable response to the challenges of contemporary migrations is one of solidarity and mercy. These are two very important words that should always be understood when drafting and formulating policies,” he said while urging Church communities to use the 20 Twenty Action Points from the Global Compacts prepared by the Migrant and Refugee Section and approved by Pope Francis.    “They do not exhaust the Church’s teaching on migrants and refugees, but provide useful considerations which Catholic advocates can use, add to and develop in their dialogue with governments towards the Global Compacts 2018.”....Fr Baggio said in the 18 months since Pope Francis set up the Migrant and Refugee Section, established within the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, its major focus has been on collecting worldwide information on migrants, refugees and victims of human trafficking, understanding the causes for migration, identifying pastoral priorities and assist local Churches in developing effective pastoral actions in line with the four verbs.     “The Migrant and Refugee Section reports directly to the Holy Father, but we collaborate with the offices of the Dicastery on many interconnected issues, like the root causes of migration – wars, disasters, climate change, persecution, extreme poverty and lack of possibilities for integral human development,” Fr Baggio said.    “One of the main reasons for people to move is a lack of opportunities and possibilities for integral human development. Every single person is entitled to reach the fulfilment of God’s project of him and her.”...(more)
Francis pursuing ‘revolution of tenderness’
Extract from CathNews, Crux, 24 August 2018
One of the Pope's closest allies and advisers told the World Meeting of Families in Dublin yesterday that Francis is pursuing a “revolution of tenderness”. Source: Crux.    Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras said this tenderness is the “strongest antidote to selfishness and a ‘throw-away’ culture.”     The coordinator of the pope’s “C9” council of cardinal advisers from around the world, spoke to a crowd of several hundred people during day two of the meeting.    Families, Cardinal Rodriguez said, are “the place for tenderness … the first place where we teach and learn how to love, and where the faith is transmitted.”    The call to tenderness, he said, is at the heart of Francis’ “messianic prophetic Samaritan Christianity” as opposed to a Church that’s “narcissistic” or “self-referential.” Francis, Cardinal Rodriguez said, “wants us to put aside the fear of making mistakes,” and be more afraid of “imprisoning us in structures.”    Also speaking on day two was American Jesuit Fr James Martin, who gave a presentation on LGBT issues and the Church. Not a single seat was left empty, and people struggled just to get a look at the priest.    Though attendees seemed to reflect a variety of points of view, from members of the LBGTI community to people who disagree with everything Fr Martin, known for his outreach to the gay community, represents. If nothing else, the turnout seemed to reflect a lively interest in both the speaker and the topic.    Yesterday also saw the first appearance of a US prelate following Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s withdrawal from the World Meeting of Families. Cardinal Joe Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, kicked off his panel yesterday with a reflection on the Pope’s “fresh direction” given to pastoral theology and practice on marriage.....(more)
Immense work ahead to fix abuse damage: CRA
Extract from CathNews, 23 August 2018
Catholic Religious Australia yesterday declared its strong support for Pope Francis’ Letter to the People of God on sexual abuse in the Church.       In a statement, CRA said it shares the Pope’s “determination to keep all safe in our Church, especially the young and the vulnerable”.     CRA President Sr Monica Cavanagh RSJ said the organisation recognised that “now is the time for action”.    “It is shameful that in the past, the response was one of omission and that people have been so deeply damaged that the wounds of the past may never disappear,” Sr Monica said.    “While we cannot apologise enough for the damage done, we know that words are not sufficient. There is immense work ahead and Catholic Religious Australia is committed to working in solidarity with Church communities, agencies and organisations to undertake this work as effectively as possible.    “During the years of the royal commission, we have begun the work of implementing change to create a culture of greater care, accountability and transparency. This may not yet be visible, and much work is yet to take place, but it is a beginning and we are committed to action,” Sr Monica said.    The statement concluded with CRA stating it recognises “a change of culture within our Church is necessary; one that is seen, felt and experienced”.....(More). Photo: CathNews,
Statement from ACBC President Archbishop Mark Coleridge
21 August 2018
The Catholic Bishops of Australia welcome the Letter to the People of God that Pope Francis has written regarding sexual abuse in the Church. We share the Holy Father’s determination to protect young people and vulnerable adults .     What Church leaders in Australia have said in the past is consistent with what the Pope has written now:    “It is essential that we, as a Church, be able to acknowledge and co ndemn, with sorrow and shame, the atrocities perpetrated by consecrated persons, clerics, and all those entrusted with the mission of watching over and caring for those most vulnerable. Let us beg forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others.”    These are important words from Pope Francis, but words are not enough. Now is the time for action on many levels. The Royal Commission has done much good for this country, especially in creating a safe place for survivors to be heard and believed.   We again thank the survivors who have so courageously shared their stories. Next week, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia will publish our response to the Royal Commission’s final report. (statement Here)
Letter to the Faithful from Archbishop Peter A Comensoli
Tuesday 21 August 2018
Extract from Media and Communications Office, CAM, 21 August 2018 
To the Faithful of the Archdiocese of Melbourne,  Dear Friends,    ‘If one member suffers, all suffer together with it.’ (1Cor 12:26) With these words from St Paul, Pope Francis overnight has written a letter to us all, the People of God. In the letter he expresses his own heart concerning the ‘culture of death’ that is clerical sexual abuse and the ecclesial cover-up that often has accompanied it, inflicting deep wounds of disgust, bewilderment, shame, and disheartenment. As the Holy Father says:     These words of Saint Paul forcefully echo in my heart as I acknowledge once more the suffering endured by many minors due to sexual abuse, the abuse of power and the abuse of conscience perpetrated by a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons. Crimes that inflict deep wounds of pain and powerlessness, primarily among the victims, but also in their family members and in the larger community of believers and nonbelievers alike… The pain of the victims and their families is also our pain, and so it is urgent that we once more reaffirm our commitment to ensure the protection of minors and of vulnerable adults.’          I associate myself with these words, and the whole content of Pope’s Francis’ letter:
       No words of apology – while always needed – will ever be enough to right the evil done to those who have been abused, and those who were not listened to and believed. Efforts to repair the harm done – while entirely necessary – cannot overcome the evil perpetrated upon innocent children and vulnerable adults, and the harm experienced by families and communities.     Therefore, and looking ahead, it falls to me, as your Archbishop, to ensure that our local Church in Melbourne is unequivocally committed to attending to the harm done, prioritising the dignity and care of all who are young and vulnerable, rebuilding trust among our people, and creating safe environments in our communities, agencies and organisations. This is the way of Jesus Christ. It must be my way. And I invite you to join with me in making it our common Gospel way......To this end, I want to let you know that I am committed to exercising my responsibilities according to the framework offered by the Child Safe Standards articulated by the Royal Commission. I am also committed to working closely with the Commission for Children and Young People here in Victoria to implement policies and processes within the Archdiocese that comply with best practice. The Archdiocese has signed up to the National Redress Scheme, and we will join with national Church actions in response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission. In the two weeks since taking office as Archbishop, I have initiated a process of appraisal into our current policies, processes and structures to identify what further action can be taken to improve our transparency, compassion and accountability.     I am strongly committed to reporting to the appropriate authorities, and have already exercised that duty here in Melbourne. I am also strongly committed to upholding the seal of confession. I have begun conversations with our public authorities about finding a way in which these two principles can be upheld, for the sake of the safety of all.....(MORE)
Critics say Pope Francis needs to walk the walk after too many words on global Catholic child abuse scandal
Extracts from Joanne McCarthy, Newcastle Herald, 21 August 2018
POPE Francis’ vow to break the Catholic Church’s cover-up culture in a letter to “the people of God” after a damning American child sexual abuse report has been criticised after eight months of silence following release of the Australian child abuse royal commission final report.        Pope Francis condemned “atrocities” committed by priests against 1000 children in Pennsylvania and admitted the church abandoned “the little ones”, in a letter released on Monday after a US grand jury report revealed shocking child sexual abuse over 70 years.        He vowed that “no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated”, but provided no details about how that was to be achieved. The letter followed a similar statement from the Pope in May after a child sexual abuse scandal in Chile.        Australian critics said the recent letters were “just more words” and “hand-wringing” from the Pope whose response to the Australian royal commission final report in December, with recommendations that directly challenge child sexual abuse secrecy provisions within church law, was a two-line statement acknowledging the commission's “accurate efforts”.             “He can change the culture of the church with the stroke of a pen by changing canon law but he won’t,” said lawyer and former trainee priest Kieran Tapsell, whose submission to the royal commission on canon law was reflected in a series of recommendations for Australian bishops to raise with the Vatican.     “The church secrecy laws protect the perpetrators and increase the amount of child sexual abuse and yet when two United Nations committees in 2014 recommended the Pope change canon law to protect children, he rejected them,” Mr Tapsell said.      “How can he get rid of a culture of secrecy when canon law requires secrecy? Until he changes canon law, everything he says is hypocrisy. There’s nothing wrong with the words in his letter. I like what he says, but it’s still more hand-wringing.”....Australian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform convenor Peter Johnstone said the Pope’s letter “amazingly” promised “no reform of the unaccountability and toxicity of the church’s structure and culture” despite “voluminous evidence of cover-ups by bishops throughout the world over many years”.          “He says he is ‘conscious of the effort and work being carried out in various parts of the world’ and acknowledges that the church has ‘delayed in applying these actions and sanctions that are so necessary’,” Mr Johnstone said.     “Yet the Pope, while recognising the ‘filth’, ‘pride’, ‘self-complacency’ among the leaders of the church, fails to identify steps that need to be taken to reform the governance structure and culture that have nurtured this evil.”    Mr Johnstone said the Australian royal commission’s final report recommended action that went “far beyond procedural changes for child safety”.....Former priest, academic and Australian Catholics for Renewal president Peter Wilkinson said the Pope’s latest words, “so long overdue, are good, but more important is the follow-up action”.    “I would hope that when Pope Francis finally takes that action he notes carefully the recommendations of the Australian royal commission,” Dr Wilkinson said.....Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge issued a statement on Tuesday welcoming the Pope’s letter, and acknowledging the royal commission which had “done much good for this country”.       “These are important words from Pope Francis, but words are not enough. Now is the time for action on many levels,” Archbishop Coleridge said....(more)

Pope Francis issues new letter on sex abuse: ‘We showed no care for the little ones
Extracts from Nicole Winfield - Associated Press, America The Jesuit Review, 20 August 2018
Pope Francis issued a letter to Catholics around the world Monday condemning the "crime" of priestly sexual abuse and its cover-up and demanding accountability, in response to new revelations in the United States of decades of misconduct by the Catholic Church.        Francis begged forgiveness for the pain suffered by victims and said lay Catholics must be involved in any effort to root out abuse and cover-up. He blasted the self-referential clerical culture that has been blamed for the crisis, with church leaders more concerned for their reputation than the safety of children.    "With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives," Francis wrote.            "We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them."        The Vatican issued the three-page letter ahead of Francis' trip this weekend to Ireland, a once staunchly Roman Catholic country where the church's credibility has been damaged by years of revelations that priests raped and molested children with impunity and their superiors covered up for them.....In the letter, which was issued in seven languages and addressed to the "People of God," Francis referenced the Pennsylvania report, acknowledged that no effort to beg forgiveness of the victims will be sufficient but vowed "never again."     He said, looking to the future, "no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated."...."Let us beg forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others," he wrote. "An awareness of sin helps us to acknowledge the errors, the crimes and the wounds caused in the past and allows us, in the present, to be more open and committed along a journey of renewed conversion."(MORE). Photo: America The Jesuit Review AP Gregorio Borgia  

Catholic world has eyes on Australia’s Plenary Council, US theologian says
Wrestling with tradition: Richard Gaillardetz believes the work of the Plenary Council 2020 offers hope to the Church across the world
Extract from Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader, 17 August 2018
The entire Catholic world is watching as the Church in Australia moves towards the Plenary Council 2020, according to one of America’s leading theologians.      “I think this is one of the most important things that is going to happen in the Church – universal – in the next four or five years,” Joseph Professor of Catholic Systematic Theology, Boston College, Richard Gaillardetz, said.    Prof Gaillardetz, author of 18 books, is visiting Australia, and is one of the keenest international observers of the plenary process.    “If the plenary council is done well it could have a marvellous revitalising effect, both in the Church in Australia and give some hope to other churches in other parts of the world,” he said.    “I also fear that it could go in the other direction. There will be a great temptation for the bishops to sanitise the whole process – to say ‘well, we’ve made these mistakes in the past, we have to put that behind us and move forward’.    “I think that would be the worst thing they could do.    “If the plenary council can muster the courage to take a genuine act of ecclesial repentance it has a chance of restoring the credibility of the Church.    “I fear that they’ll not have the courage to do that though.”    Attending the Holy Spirit Seminary in Brisbane on August 4, Prof Gaillardetz delivered a day-long lecture and workshop session entitled “Reflections on power and    “His starting point is you’ve got to be mature in order to embrace what discipleship is demanded of us.”....(MORE)   Photo: The Catholic Leader, Mark Bowling    
Youth Festival to tune into what Spirit is saying
Extract from CathNews, ACBC Media Blog, 17 August 2018
More than 5000 young Catholics are expected to converge on Perth next year for the Australian Catholic Youth Festival.         As the largest Catholic youth gathering in Australia, the ACYF promotes and engages the life and voice of young Catholics, equipping them to live out their faith in the world.     The festival, to be held on December 8-10, 2019, will use the scriptural focus of the 2020 Plenary Council by adopting the theme “Listen to what the Spirit is Saying (Rev 2:7)”.     Prayers for and discussion about the Plenary Council will ensure vital consultation with Australia’s youth takes place in this important journey in the life of the Church.     Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB expressed his joy and hope for the festival.    “As God called St Francis of Assisi many hundreds of years ago to ‘go and rebuild the Church’, I pray our young people might hear this same calling,” Archbishop Costelloe said.    “It will be a fantastic experience and an opportunity for our young people to commit themselves to helping the Church become the Church that God wants it to be and the world needs it to be.” ....(MORE) Photo: Cath News, The Record/Jamie O’Brien
Vatican responds to Pennsylvania Grand Jury abuse report
Extracts from Vatican News, 16 August 2018
On Thursday evening, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, issued the following statement regarding the report of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury issued earlier this week in the United States over the sexual abuse of minors.         "Regarding the report made public in Pennsylvania this week, there are two words that can express the feelings faced with these horrible crimes: shame and sorrow. The Holy See treats with great seriousness the work of the Investigating Grand Jury of Pennsylvania and the lengthy Interim Report it has produced.       The Holy See condemns unequivocally the sexual abuse of minors.       The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible. Those acts were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and their faith. The Church must learn hard lessons from its past, and there should be accountability for both abusers and those who permitted abuse to occur.     Most of the discussion in the report concerns abuses before the early 2000s......The Holy See also wants to underscore the need to comply with the civil law, including mandatory child abuse reporting requirements.     The Holy Father understands well how much these crimes can shake the faith and the spirt of believers and reiterates the call to make every effort to create a safe environment for minors and vulnerable adults in the Church and in all of society.      Victims should know that the Pope is on their side. Those who have suffered are his priority, and the Church wants to listen to them to root out this tragic horror that destroys the lives of the innocent."....(more)    Photo: Vatican News, CNS
U.S. bishops say church needs lay Catholics to help address ‘moral catastrophe’
Extract from Chico Harlan, Bureau chief The Washington Post, 16 August 2018
ROME — Calling sexual abuse revelations within the U.S. Catholic Church a “moral catastrophe,” the head of the American bishops’ group called Thursday for wider investigations of a former Washington archbishop and said laypeople should have a greater role in holding clerics accountable.       The announcement, which also urges new steps to resolve complaints against bishops, provides the first sense of how a reeling church seeks to confront serial failures of its hierarchy to report abuse and remove predator priests.      Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, called for an investigation of the “questions surrounding” prelate Theodore McCarrick, a former Washington archbishop, who resigned from the College of Cardinals last month amid allegations that he abused seminarians and minors.        DiNardo said the U.S. bishops would ask the Vatican to conduct the inquiry, along with expert laypeople. Since McCarrick’s resignation, questions have included how the onetime cardinal ascended the ranks of the church despite rumors about his behavior.      DiNardo said the steps were not final and will be presented in more detail to the full group of U.S. bishops at a meeting in November.    “This is a moral catastrophe,” he said. “It is also part of this catastrophe that so many faithful priests who are pursuing holiness and serving with integrity are tainted by this failure.”      His announcement comes two days after the release of a scalding Pennsylvania grand jury report that depicted decades of systemic abuse, in which leaders kept potential criminal behavior “in house” and prioritized avoiding public scandal over protecting children....(more)
We need a missionary rather than a perfect church
Extract from Fr Noel Connolly SSC,  St Columbans Missionary Society, 15 August 2018
As I travel around Australia promoting the Plenary Council I encounter both scepticism and hope. The most frequent question is “will the bishops listen?” At the same time there is a reservoir of hope in people. They love the church and want to be a part of its future. They want to talk and they want to be listened to. My hope is that we can build a church in which lay men and especially women can play their rightful role in the ministry and governance of the church, and where we can learn to trust one another, bishops and all the people of God.             But in recent weeks I have been giving more thought to the question posed for the Council, “What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?” The question refers to Australia not to the church. The Plenary Council is not just for our church but for our country.  Even if we were to come up with a transformed church, if the country does not benefit we will have “failed”. We will have failed because we will have failed to be church.    Pope Francis keeps reminding us to stop being preoccupied with ourselves and to go out into the streets as missionary disciples prepared to get dirty and bruised. There we will find renewal and transformation.   We must remember that the goal of mission is not primarily about the expansion or perfection of the church but the revelation of God’s love and the realisation of God’s liberating plan for the universe. It is a plan for a “Kingdom” larger than the church....(more)
Repentance, sadness, shame: US Bishops respond to PA abuse report
"Remorse," "sadness," "shock,” and "shame": these are some of the reactions of Catholic Bishops of the State of Pennsylvania following the publication of a report on sexual abuse presented by the state’s Attorney General on Tuesday.
Extracts from Fr Bernd Hagenkord, SJ, Vatican News, 15 August 2018
Six of the eight dioceses in Pennsylvania were investigated, while the other two have already been the subject of previous investigations. It was prepared by a jury, officially charged under U.S. procedural law in a non-public procedure and with the help of police investigating possible criminal behavior, and initiated by the State Attorney General.       The report is the most comprehensive ever produced by a U.S. government institution on abuse cases. In addition to the names mentioned, the dossier accuses the Church of following its own "script" in covering abuse cases.     Official reactions to Pennsylvania report on clerical sex abuse.     It took the Jury two years to complete the 900-page report which examines abuses committed by members of the Catholic Church in the state of Pennsylvania over the last 70 years. One thousand victims have been identified, although the overall number is thought to be higher still.     All eight dioceses in Pennsylvania have responded to the report.     Diocese of Pittsburgh     The Bishop of Pittsburgh, David Zubik, wrote in his statement that nowhere was there any desire to "diminish the pain that has arisen". A statement from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia acknowledged, "It is painful for anyone who reads it, especially for survivors of sexual abuse and their families," and continued, "We are deeply sorry for their pain and remain on the way to healing”.....(more)
What can I say to my kids when they ask why we keep faith in this church?
Extracts from Kerry Weber, America - The Jesuit Review, 15 August 2018
I dragged my kids to 8 a.m. Mass this morning for the Feast of the Assumption. It was one of those days where the “obligation” part of the Holy Day felt particularly heavy. There is a small parish within a short walking distance of our home, but we are still adjusting to the logistics of leaving the house with two kids, so my husband, our 3-month-old, our 2-year-old and I managed to roll our stroller quietly to the back pew of the church around the time the first reading started. I pointed out the pictures in the stained glass of Jesus and Mary and Joseph to my son who snacked on Cheerios while my husband juggled my daughter on his shoulder, slowly becoming drenched in drool.            We make the effort, however imperfectly, because I want my son and daughter to know that our faith is important, because I want them to choose to live it themselves one day, because I believe it is good. And my belief in the good at the heart of our faith is why I have tried hard to contribute to the institution, too: to find community in our parish, to spend hours researching local Catholic schools, saving to pay for them, budgeting to make donations to the church, to Catholic charities.          And then I came home from Mass, and while the kids napped beside me, I started reading the grand jury report of sexual abuse in several dioceses of Pennsylvania. I could only get through a few pages before feeling physically ill and being filled with a sense of disgust and anger and betrayal that I know is only a fraction of what the abuse victims and their families must have felt for so long........I have found myself for the first time truly afraid of what it means to ask and to allow my children to be part of the church. Can I trust that they will be safe as altar servers or students or just going to Mass? And what I would say if my children were to one day ask me, why? Why in the face of such systemic horrors committed by the people supposedly leading the church did we stumble down the street to Mass each week?....(MORE)   Photo: America - The Jesuit Review. 
Catholic priests in Pennsylvania have sexually abused hundreds of children since the 1950s: report
Extracts from ABC News, 15 August 2018
More than 1,000 children — and possibly many more — were molested by hundreds of Roman Catholic priests in six Pennsylvania dioceses and senior church officials took steps to cover it up, according to a landmark grand jury report.      The grand jury said it believed the "real number" of abused children might be "in the thousands" since some records were lost and victims were afraid to come forward.     The report said more than 300 clergy committed th    "And all the while, shockingly, church leadership kept records of the abuse and the cover-up," he said.    "These documents, from the dioceses' own 'secret archives,' formed the backbone of this investigation.".....Some current and former clergy named in the report went to court to prevent its release, arguing it violated their constitutional rights to reputation and due process of law.     The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania said the public had a right to see the report, but ruled the names of priests and others who objected to the findings would be blacked out pending a hearing on their claims in September.....(MORE) 

Ampleforth and Downside (English Benedictine Congregation case study) Investigation Report August 2018, UK
Extract from Executive summary with link to full report, 14 August 2018
There are 10 English Benedictine Congregation (EBC) monasteries in England and none in Wales. Some of the abbeys have schools associated with them, including Ampleforth and Downside. Both are regarded as leading Catholic independent schools, each with acknowledged academic and sporting achievement, and both are now co-educational.           The EBC is not pyramidical in structure; it has no recognisable line management oversight. Each abbot or abbess has responsibility for their own community, which is autonomous. Nor does the monastic order fit neatly into the Catholic diocesan structure, meaning that the relationship to a diocesan bishop is usually collaborative rather than hierarchical.              It is difficult to describe the appalling sexual abuse inflicted over decades on children aged as young as seven at Ampleforth School, and 11 at Downside School.            Ten individuals, mostly monks, connected to these two institutions have been convicted or cautioned in relation to offences involving sexual activity with a large number of children, or offences concerning pornography. The true scale of the abuse however is likely to be considerably higher. Some examples of the abuse are set out below......(full report© Crown copyright 2018

Woman appointed to head battle against sexual abuse in Chilean Church
The appointment of Ana Maria Celis Brunet, a lawyer specializing in church law, illustrates Pope Francis’ commitment to ending clericalism
Limited extract from  Anne-Bénédicte Hoffner, Chile, subscription journal La Croix International, 13 August 2018
Chile’s Catholic bishops have appointed Ana Maria Celis Brunet, an experienced lawyer and theologian, to lead the fight against clerical sexual abuse in her new role as president of the National Council of the Chilean Church for the Prevention of Sexual Abuse and Accompaniment of....(source)
Incisive book on fundamentalism paints nuanced picture
Award-winning text shows how extremism can be dangerously attractive and points to its place in specific religious traditions.
Limited extract from Father William J. Grimm MM, Tokyo, Subscription Journal La Croix International, 13 August 2018
It is not surprising that Christian fundamentalists are attracted to the apocalyptic aspects of the Gospels, epistles and of course the Book of Revelation.     They describe the end, and fundamentalists are people whose world appears to be in danger of ending, or may have ended already and is in need of resurrection.     That sense of a world having been lost or threatened is not limited to Christians. Gerald Arbuckle, a Marist priest who is a cultural anthropologist and theologian, shows in his latest book how the threat or reality of loss is a common thread that links the various forms of fundamentalism.    His book, Fundamentalism at Home and Abroad: Analysis and Pastoral Responses, was released by the Liturgical Press in 2017.     Such loss, whether real or imagined, can result from intellectual, theological, economic, political, demographic or ethnic changes to the established situation, and no one is exempt from the tendency.....(source)  Photo:La Croix International
Is nothing sacred!
John Costa, Friday 10 August 2018
No, not when it comes to most burglaries where immediate cash is the target rather than the site. Any place where money is believed to be stored is a target, especially if accessible from an inconspicuous and quiet location.     And so it was for Mary Immaculate Church late last Wednesday or early next morning.      Having failed to gain convenient access through a deliberately damaged stained-glass window, intruders proceeded to force a rear door, subsequently also damaging other doors along their path of destruction. An angle grinder was then used very professionally to  cut neatly through a metal safe.       No doubt deeply disappointed after considerable effort and damage was discovery of no cash where religious items were conveniently stored instead. The burglars then left empty-handed except for their tools of trade.      They clearly did not know that a Church already low in income and in any case where online donations are increasingly common is not a viable target.     However one good outcome of burglaries is they prompt higher levels of surveillance and security, if only to further protect people and property. Across our Parish and in neighbouring homes alike our three churches have been struck by burglars over recent times.       We pray for burglars that they may live healthy lives and find legitimate ways of earning an honest income.     A burglar I once visited in Pentridge to his great surprise after breaking into my home helpfully advised that "when you're on drugs mate you would steal from your own mother".     Warning signs can also be installed, perhaps including an additional sign outside churches "Burglars will be baptised"!

Church Renewal: Listening to each other and the Holy Spirit within Ivanhoe and Neighbouring Parishes (Yarra Deanery)
Friday 10 August 2018
In preparation for the Plenary Council 2020/2021 the process of listening to each other and listening to the Holy Spirit has already begun in small ways within neighbouring parishes, and will shortly grow.       A Yarra Deanery meeting last Wednesday at St Gregory's Doncaster shared information on what has started and will continue within some of our parishes, and importantly on what we are all planning and what can be shared.    The much publicised National  eConference "Synodality in Practice: Listening to the Spirit and Leading Change" broadcast to our Parish and others on Wednesday explained the process ahead and actively engaged local audiences such as ours at Mary Immaculate Hall in stimulating open, respectful and wide-ranging discussion, including on our Church as it is, how is Christ calling us to make our Church today? and how we can collectively shift from where we are to where we should be?     We were very pleased to benefit from inclusion of visitors from other parishes at our enjoyable local eConference gathering. All those attending now have a fuller understanding of 'Synodality' as Pope Francis is strongly encouraging. Everyone else similarly needs a full understanding of 'Synodality' as we move forward together.    As part of the ongoing Plenary process ALL Ivanhoe parishioners and school communities will soon be encouraged to join in this important shared listening and expressing process towards renewal and revitalization of our Church.   Thanks to the Outreach group for warm hospitality (and fine food) on this Wednesday.
Plenary Council process gets a rural perspective
Extract from CathNews, ACBC Media Blog, 9 August 2018
Catholics in the Western Australian diocese of Geraldton have provided a strong rural voice during the preparation phase of the three-year Plenary Council 2020 process. Source: ACBC Media Blog.    The Geraldton Diocesan Conference 2018, drawing on Psalm 118, adopted the theme of “Lamp for the Steps and Light for the Way: Listen to God and each other as we light the way forward.”      Plenary Council facilitator Lana Turvey-Collins, who is criss-crossing the country holding meetings to introduce local people to the listening and dialogue process, said the Geraldton people were warm and welcoming.     “Geraldton communities have so much to offer the Church. The leaders at the conference were full of questions and eager to ensure that the Plenary Council process benefitted from having a ‘strong rural and country’ diocesan voice from all the people of Geraldton,” she said.....(more)
Young Europeans increasingly distant from religion   While there are fewer young people, they are more committed,
Limited extract from Arnaud Bevilacqua and Gauthier Vaillant, 1st published 22 March 2018,  republished in subscription journal La Croix International, 9 August 2018
Statistics from a joint study by the Catholic Institute of Paris and St. Mary’s Catholic University at Twickenham in Greater London on the religious affiliation of young people aged 16-29 in Europe will undoubtedly make an impression on participants at the Pre-Synod now under way in Rome.     In 12 out of the 21 European countries studied, plus Israel, most young people say they have no religion. This figure rises to 91 percent in the Czech Republic.   This decline in religious affiliation, which should not be confused with belief in God, which can be distinguished from belonging to a religion....(source)
Restructuring parishes- A move from necessity to audacity
Limited extract from Gauthier Vaillant, first published 28 May 2018, republished subscription journal La Croix International, 9 August 2018
The Archdiocese of Albi offers an opportunity to reflect on new ways of evangelization.  Located in the Tarn region of southern France, the Archdiocese of Albi has been divided into 503 parishes since the Middle Ages.     Over the Pentecost weekend, however, Archbishop Jean Legrez, completely re-organized them into 21 new parishes.         It is an impressive change. In coming to this decision, the Archdiocese of Albi has followed a general trend among France’s 93 dioceses, two-thirds of which have already made major changes to parish boundaries and structures.   Sometimes, these developments are already longstanding. For example, in 1978, the Diocese of Le Havre, reduced the number of its parishes from 171 to 21.....(source)
What Francis Did Is Just Huge’
Extract from An Interview with Sr. Helen Prejean,  John Gehring, Commonweal,     7 August 2018
John Gehring: Pope Francis made big news last week by revising the Catechism to declare the death penalty inadmissible in all cases. Why is this so significant?
Helen Prejean: Pope John Paul II said that the times when the death penalty could be justified were so rare they would practically be nonexistent. But this did reserve the use of the death penalty in cases of absolute necessities. Pope Francis has now established a foundational principle that no matter the severity of the crime, it’s never legitimate. This is huge. In every death-penalty trial, the district attorney argues that because of the gravity of this particular crime the death penalty is required. So when the pope says it’s never admissible, it pulls the whole rug out from that kind of argument. During my dialogues and correspondence with John Paul II, I always argued we needed a principled stance opposing the death penalty without any exceptions. In St. Louis on his visit to the United States in 1999, John Paul spoke about the dignity of life no matter the crime, but he didn’t go as far as to establish the principle that under no circumstance is it acceptable. What Pope Francis did is just huge.       JG: A number of conservative Catholic commentators are upset about the pope’s decision, arguing that church teaching can’t change. What do you make of this opposition?           HP: Change happens when society grows and evolves, and we have alternative ways of keeping people safe. We’ve also learned from science. The fact that young juveniles’ brains are not yet as fully developed as adults influenced the Supreme Court’s decision to end capital punishment for juveniles. Teaching can change. The church endorsed slavery for a long time and quoted Scripture to do so. Jesus also had to deal with religious legalism. People were so attached to the letter of the law they missed the person and human dignity behind it.....(more).  Photo:  Commonweal, CNS photo/Paul Haring
What canon law is for
Extract from Justin Glyn, Eureka Street 7 August 2018
Canon law, not usually a household term, has come into the public eye of late, especially in the wake of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse.      Second Vatican Council by Lothar WollehOne prominent example has been the question of the 'Pontifical secret', the prohibition of reporting information about a canonical trial which is designed, like the sub iudice rule in common law, to prevent defamation of an innocent accused, and prejudice to a fair trial. (Note, this is not the same as the seal preventing a priest from revealing what he hears in the confessional, although some media reports have appeared to conflate the two.) Given this newfound prominence, it seems a good time to have a look at what canon law is — and what it isn't.      At its simplest, canon law is the law governing the Roman Catholic Church. The word 'canon' (from the Greek for a measuring stick) has been used to refer to Church rules since the first century of the Christian era. While there are a number of sources for it including papal pronouncements, laws passed by bishops and bishops conferences and religious superiors, the principal ones are the Code of Canon Law 1983 (dealing with the Western or Latin Catholic Church) and the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches 1990 (governing the Eastern Churches in communion with Rome).     The thornier question, and one which has quite reasonably provoked a lot of debate, is what canon law is for. The struggle of the Church in the ninth to 11th centuries for religious independence from the mediaeval monarchies led to the Church seeing itself as a legal entity in parallel to those states. This juridic approach to the world was given a fillip by the rediscovery of Roman law, which spurred a growth in legal science.....(more)
Albany bishop says laypeople should investigate misconduct by U.S. bishops
Extract from Michael J O'Loughlin, America, The Jesuit Review,  6 August 2018
Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany, N.Y., said today that laypeople, not bishops, should lead inquiries into allegations of misconduct by U.S. bishops. Bishop Scharfenberger was responding to an idea advanced by Cardinal Donald Wuerl in an interview published on Aug. 6 by The National Catholic Reporter. He suggested that the U.S. bishops might create a commission of bishops to investigate rumors of sexual misconduct by other bishops, passing concerns on to a Vatican office.         “Would we have some sort of a panel, a board, of bishops...where we would take it upon ourselves, or a number of bishops would be deputed, to ask about those rumors?” the Washington archbishop asked. “It seems to me that’s one possibility, that there would be some way for the bishops, and that would mean working through our conference...to be able to address the question of sustained rumors,” Cardinal Wuerl said. He added that U.S. bishops could not wait until their November general meeting to find solutions to address the fall out from allegations against his predecessor, Theodore McCarrick. The former cardinal, who was removed from public ministry and later resigned from the College of Cardinals, is accused of sexual assault and harassment.        Bishop Edward Scharfenberger said, “we have reached a point where bishops alone investigating bishops is not the answer.”             Reacting to Cardinal Wuerl’s interview in a statement, Bishop Edward Scharfenberger said, “we have reached a point where bishops alone investigating bishops is not the answer.”         “To have credibility, a panel would have to be separated from any source of power whose trustworthiness might potentially be compromised,” he said.             Bishop Scharfenberger has been vocal in encouraging victims of sexual harassment and assault by any church official to come forward. He publicly supported a priest in his diocese, the Rev. Desmond Rossi, who accused Archbishop McCarrick of harassing him when he was a seminarian.....(MORE)  Photo: America: The Jesuit Review, CNS Bob Roller
Chilean bishops beg forgiveness over sex abuse scandal
They also promised to involve greater participation of lay people, particularly women, in the decision-making bodies of the Chilean Church
Limited Extract from Mélinée Le Priol, Chile, subscription journal La Croix International, 6 August 2018
Concluding their five day extraordinary assembly, Chile’s 32 Catholic bishops apologized for “failing in their duties” in managing sex abuse cases.
“We have failed in our duties as pastors,” Chile’s 32 bishops admitted in a statement issued on Friday following their five day extraordinary plenary....(source)
An atheist's take on the virtue of forgiveness
It is about recognising that in every human, no matter how low they sink, humanity remains
Extracts from Ben Pobjie, first published in Eureka Street, since republished in various other journals, Published 2 August 2018, linked below.
I am not a fan of Christianity. For many years I have been what some might call a 'militant atheist': the type who is far more likely to catalogue the pitfalls of faith than to highlight the benefits. But more and more I am enamoured of one element of Christianity that I consider its most striking, and most laudable, feature: forgiveness. Forgiveness stands out among religious virtues because it one of the most difficult to put into practice, particularly in the terms that Christ put it: love your enemies; turn the other cheek; forgive those who have wronged you. It's also one of the most unfashionable virtues going around, at least in the public discourse, as it's rare to see either Christians or non-Christians urging forgiveness.           This is understandable. In a world full of pain and suffering inflicted by human beings upon other human beings, extending forgiveness to anyone who is seen to have harmed others is hardly a high priority for most people. Compassion for those who have been wronged is more important than compassion for those doing the wronging.         And we are indeed exhorted regularly to show compassion— for refugees, for the poor, for the disabled, for victims of violence and oppression. This is no bad thing — the more compassion the better, and if we can make caring for our fellow humans the rule, we will create a better world.    Compassion is easy. There is no great challenge in opening your heart to those who are suffering, or to anyone you see as an 'ally'. What is difficult, though, is showing compassion for people who aren't on our side. Forgiving our enemies, or doers of horrendous deeds. Who can forgive a murderer? Who can feel compassion for a brute?        It's hard, but many would say that's no problem, as there's no point in trying it anyway. According to one strand of thought — and an eternally popular one — forgiving wrongdoers is a bad idea and will lead to a worse society. If we forgive, goes this thinking, we excuse, and we fail to send the message that what that person has done is wrong.         Why should we forgive? Because Jesus said so — but I don't believe that, of course. The reason I believe we should forgive is that it makes us better. For me, forgiving doesn't mean letting anyone off the hook: criminals can still be punished, people can still be held accountable for words and deeds that hurt other people. But we can punish and inflict consequences, while still leaving open the possibility of forgiveness....(Cartoon by Chris Johnston - Angry people back-to-back, one pair turn to take each other's hand in forgiveness)....(more). 
The International Catholic Reform Network
Report by  David Timbs, Catholics For Renewal, 5 August 2018
ICRN is an international network of priest and lay reform movements that organizes pastoral dialogue-retreats to model and prepare the church for the future, to enable its members and invited participants to communicate and dialogue with one another honestly, to tell stories, to heal wounds from the struggles of reform, to give courage to all engaged, and to share energy, enthusiasm, ideas; and in some cases, to act.    The most recent meeting in Bratislava from 11-15 June 2018 was attended by David Timbs who compiled this report on its background, outcomes and ongoing work.
Your Prayers
Friday 3 August
The Prayers of the Faithful are the prayers of our parish, and all are welcome to suggest the subject for these prayers at any time.  Suggestions for prayer subjects can be given to any member of the Liturgy Group or to the Parish Office. Remember that all are welcome at any time to come along to Liturgy Group meetings at the Parish Office where these are discussed following the 9.15am Mass on Thursdays at Mary Immaculate Church.   See this week's Prayers Of The Faithful here
Bishops to release formal Royal Commission response this month
Extract from Media and Communications Office, CAM, Melbourne Catholic, Friday 3 August 
Following two days of meetings focused on the Catholic Church’s response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the Australian Catholic Bishops Council has announced it will issue a formal response by the end of August.     The bishops have also agreed to release the four volumes of the final report from the Church’s advisory body during the Royal Commission.    The ACBC statement is as follows: The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has today agreed that it will release its formal response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse by the end of the month.    It will also release the four volumes of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council’s final report.    ‘After two productive days of meetings, the bishops have reached a common position on the Royal Commission’s recommendations relating to the Catholic Church and its various ministries,’ ACBC president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said.     The Bishops Conference and the president of Catholic Religious Australia agreed that the close collaboration between the two bodies during the life of the Royal Commission and in the area of the protection of children and vulnerable people should continue.’     The Catholic Religious Australia Council, which meets later this month, will work with the ACBC to finalise the Catholic Church’s response.....(MORE)
Chilean investigators target 158 persons in child sex abuse inquiry
Prosecutors call for Vatican assistance in investigating nine church officials suspected of pedophile acts
Limited Extract from Constance Vilanova (with AFP), Chile, subscription journal La Croix International,  3 August 2018
The Chilean Catholic Church is in turmoil after prosecutors investigating cases of sexual abuse of children and adults dating back to the 1960s identified links with 158 Catholics, including bishops, priests and laypeople....(source)
US religious orders back women deacons
Extract from CathNews, Crux, 3 August 2018
A new survey has found that the majority of religious order superiors in the United States believe women should be allowed to serve as ordained deacons.        The survey lends support to an issue currently under study at the Vatican amid pressure for women to be given greater roles in the Church.     It found 77 per cent of both male and female superiors in the US believe such ordination is theoretically possible, and 72 per cent think the Church should go ahead and authorise it, according to the study released yesterday by the Centre for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University in Washington.    Only 45 percent, however, believe the Church will actually do it, the study found.     Deacons are ordained ministers, but not priests, though they can perform many of the same functions as priests. They preside at weddings, baptisms and funerals, and they can preach. They cannot celebrate Mass.    Currently, married men can serve as deacons. Women cannot, though some historians say women served as deacons in the early Church.....(more)

Welcome Archbishop Comensoli: Pope Francis’ new shepherd in Melbourne celebrates Installation Mass
Extract from Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne Media and Communications Office, Thursday 2nd August 2018
Archbishop Peter Andrew Comensoli took his place on Wednesday night in one of the nation’s most influential Catholic pulpits as the ninth Archbishop of Melbourne.     Archbishop Comensoli, 54, is a former banker who has led the Diocese of Broken Bay for the past three and a half years. He was officially inaugurated in a liturgy of installation at St Patrick’s Cathedral rich in the symbolism and magisterial ritual of the Church; a ceremony based on more than 1000 years of tradition, solemnity and celebration.         Concelebrants included Melbourne’s Emeritus Archbishop Denis J Hart and Australian Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge, as well as archbishops and bishops from across Australia and clergy from the Archdiocese of Melbourne.      Archbishop-elect Comensoli then entered the cathedral at the West Door, where the Dean of the Cathedral John Salvano offered him a crucifix to kiss and holy water with which to bless himself and the congregation.             The new archbishop’s arrival represents a generational changing of the guard for the archdiocese, but he assured the faithful that the office’s commitment to Catholic teaching and tradition would continue unchanged.           In the wake of one of the greatest challenges to the Church, it is clear that Archbishop Comensoli shares the same passion for justice as the man he replaces, Emeritus Archbishop Denis Hart. In interviews, Archbishop Comensoli has previously vowed to ‘right the grievous wrongs of the past’ and rebuild trust following the widespread damage caused by the child sex abuse scandal that has plagued the Church in recent decades.....(more)  Photo: Melbourne Catholic.   View live stream of the Mass Here (2'30")

Vatican now opposes death penalty in all cases
Move will not go down well in countries with capital punishment
Extract from Timesofmalta.com, Reuters, Thursday, 2 August 2018
The Roman Catholic Church formally changed its teaching on Thursday to declare the death penalty inadmissible whatever the circumstance, a move likely to be criticised in countries where capital punishment is legal.     The 1.2 billion-member Catholic Church had for centuries allowed the death penalty in extreme cases, but the position began to change under Pope John Paul II, who died in 2005.     The Vatican said the change to its universal catechism, a summary of Church teaching, reflected Pope Francis' total opposition to capital punishment.    According to the new entry in the catechism: "the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person."      The Church was working "with determination" for the abolition of the death penalty worldwide, the new teaching says.     The new provision is likely to run into stiff opposition from conservative Catholics in the United States and other countries where capital punishment is legal and many believers support it. "By the end of last year, 106 countries worldwide had banned the death penalty".     Last year, 53 countries issued death sentences and 23 of them executed at least 993 people, according to Amnesty International, with most executions in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan.     In the United States, 23 people were executed, a slight increase from 2016 but a low number compared to historical trends, Amnesty said, adding that it was the only country in the Americas that carried out executions.    Capital punishment is banned in most of Europe, with Belarus the only European country that carried out executions last year, Amnesty said. By the end of last year, 106 countries worldwide had banned the death penalty....(more)   Image: CAM
Parish Christmas in July?
Friday 27 July
As last week's Gospel and homily reminded us, there are times when for everyone's sake humans need to take a rest. Mid year seems a very appropriate time then to share a relaxing meal with friends and come away feeling refreshed. Wednesday 25 July happens to be the official date for 'Christmas in July' and that's when a good-sized parish group and friends bussed to the Dandenongs in mid-winter to dine together over lunch and share the traditional ambience and music of The Cuckoo restaurant.          There was no snow but no one objected to the sunshine outside!  Thanks to Eileen, Sue and the Outreach group for yet another successful parish event, and to George for photos (More photos on the Events page or Here). 
States working together to break the confessional seal
Extract from CathNews, The Australian, 27 July 2018
The next Council of Attorneys-General will discuss how to ensure mandatory reporting of child sex abuse reported in the context of the confessional.        The move will not surprise the Catholic hierarchy but governments are moving quietly to provide a legislative solution to enable accountability following the recommendations of the sex abuse royal commission.        The Australian revealed yesterday that Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton had backed the right of priests to retain the seal of the confessional in answers to the inquiry that sparked the royal commission.      This was in 2012, when Mr Ashton noted evidence that perhaps only one case had arisen where abuse was not reported to authorities after being divulged in the confessional.       The Australian understands that officials from several governments are working on potential harmonised laws at a state and federal level that would force reporting of offending that was raised in the confessional.      Church law dictates that priests must maintain absolute secrecy about anything that a person confesses, including if a pedophile were to detail his or her offending.       Victoria and NSW are still considering how to respond to the commission recommendation that the seal of the confessional be broken.      It is expected that the Turnbull Government will have to respond with potential changes to the federal Uniform Evidence Act, which provides a protection for the confessional.      Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter said last month that the states already had agreed to harmonise their laws.....(more)    
Bishops to focus on Royal Commission at August meeting
Extract from Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Melbourne Catholic, 26 July 2018
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has convened an additional plenary meeting for 2018 to expedite the Catholic Church’s response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.            The meeting will be held in Melbourne on 2 and 3 August, and will allow the bishops to consider, as a body, the Church’s formal response to the Royal Commission.         ‘The bishops hadn’t received enough advice at their May meeting to prepare our response to the Royal Commission’s final report,’ ACBC president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said.    ‘Additional advice, including from the Truth, Justice and Healing Council, the Implementation Advisory Group, Catholic Professional Standards Limited, local safeguarding experts and canon lawyers has now been received and is informing the bishops’ response.       ‘We have also begun discussions with the Holy See about issues that concern the discipline and doctrine of the universal Church.’   Representatives from Catholic Religious Australia, the Implementation Advisory Group and Catholic Professional Standards Limited will attend the meeting.           Archbishop Coleridge said he hoped the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s formal response to the Royal Commission would be released as soon as possible after the August plenary meeting.            ‘We decided we couldn’t wait until our next scheduled plenary meeting in late November to finalise our response,’ he said.....(More)   [Ed: The ACBC has also now committed to releasing the TJHC report but not yet indicated a date]
Bishop Barron calls for evangelization, apologetics in upcoming youth synod
Young Catholics say they want accompaniment, openness to new ideas
Extracts from Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter, 26 July 2018
The upcoming synod on young people is an opportunity for evangelization, especially to those who have left the Catholic Church or organized religion altogether, said one of the bishop delegates ratified by Pope Francis this week.        "I don't know any issue more pressing now in the life of the church than addressing the problem of the massive attrition of our own people, especially the young," Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron told NCR in an email interview.     "How to re-engage the 'nones,' and to prevent the rise of future 'nones,' should be, in my judgment, priority one in the Catholic Church," Barron said, referring to those who would check "none" on a survey of religious affiliation.     Approximately one third of all Americans ages 18-33 are characterized as religiously disaffiliated, according to a 2015 study from the Pew Research Center.      For that reason, Barron believes the worldwide Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment, to be held Oct. 3-28 at the Vatican, is even more significant than the previous two synods on the family held in 2014 and 2015.......Barron, who is chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, said he will argue for the need for "a new apologetics and for substantial improvement in our catechetical outreach," because he believes young people do not adequately understand church teaching.      But young people themselves and the synod's working document call for accompaniment, not apologetics. In fact, the purpose of the synod is "to accompany all young people, without exception, towards the joy of love," according to Instrumentum Laboris, the synod's working document, which was released in late June.     The synod calls for a "spiritual attitude" of discernment, characterized by "openness to new things, courage to move outwards and resistance to the temptation of reducing what is new to what we already know," the working document says.        Several bishops' conferences also noted that traditional catechesis "does not always enjoy a good reputation among young people, because it reminds many of them of 'a compulsory and unchosen path in their childhood,' " the working document said, quoting a response from an online questionnaire of youth and young adults conducted last year....(more)   Photo: NCR, CNS/Jeffrey Bruno
Concerned Catholics in Canberra want to know where the bishops stand on the Royal Commission’s recommendations
Extract from Media Release, Concerned Catholics Canberra, 25 July 2018
A large group of Catholics in the Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese has called on Australian bishops to release their response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse as a matter of urgency.     Speaking ahead of an extraordinary meeting of Australian bishops next week, Concerned Catholics Chair, Professor John Warhurst said the bishops received a report from the Truth Justice and Healing Council in March this year, but the report remains under wraps.       “We were alerted to this extraordinary meeting via the media and so far, it’s difficult to find anything on the ACBC’s website to suggest a meeting is taking place,” Professor Warhurst said.     “Bishops must be more transparent and up-front about their processes and in their communications with their Catholic community.      “As a movement which has drawn support from 450 Canberra Catholics, we stand with survivors, a number of bishops, Catholic religious orders of men and women nationally, state and federal politicians and with the many individuals who have called on the bishops to release the report.    “The Royal Commission has exposed a crisis in our Church, and many of the recommendations released in December last year go to deeply imbedded cultural and structural issues which must be resolved as a matter of urgency in consultation with lay Catholics.    “Waiting for the outcome of the 2020 Plenary Council is not the answer. We have just had a historic five-year inquiry. It is now over seven months since those recommendations were delivered.     “Canberra’s lay Catholics demand action,” Professor Warhurst said......(see full Media Release HERE)
Rescued Thai soccer team prepare to become Buddhist novices in religious ceremony
Extracts from News.com.au 25 July 2018
The Thai soccer team rescued from a flooded cave earlier this month have had their heads shaved in a traditional Buddhist ceremony.  The young soccer teammates and their coach, 25-year-old Ekkapol Chantawong, took part in a Buddhist ceremony as they prepared to be ordained to become Buddhist novices and monks — a gesture to honour those who took part in their dramatic rescue.          The Wild Boars team attended a similar ritual yesterday, where they circled a Buddhist shrine at a temple in the northern province of Chiang Rai three times and draped a temple 

relic - bone remains of one of Buddha's disciples - with a white cloth.            They thanked the holy spirits for their rescue, and paid tribute to Saman Kunan, the only rescuer who died during the dramatic rescue mission.        Fourteen-year-old Adul Sam-on was the only one in the group of 13 — a dozen boys aged 11 to 16 and their coach — who did not join the ceremony on Tuesday and will not serve as a Buddhist novice because he is a Christian.     Thai Buddhist males are expected to enter the monkhood at some point in their lives to express gratitude.     Sangiemjit Wongsukchan, the mother of 14-year-old Ekarat Wongsukchan, told The Guardian her son will go “back to his normal life” after this.      “We can only do this for nine days because then he will have to go back to study and prepare for exams. Back to his normal life.”.....(More)  Photos: news.com.au  AFP  

Funerals can cause tension between the living and the dead, so whose beliefs matter most?
Extract from Monique Ross, Life Matters, Radio National, ABC, 24 July 2018
Are funerals for the dead, or the living?    It can be a difficult question to answer, especially for families who disagree about the role religion should play in the send-off of a loved one.     Tension over whose beliefs matter the most can blow up into lengthy feuds — and sometimes results in the wishes of the dead being cast aside entirely.     Interfaith minister CiCi Edwards-Jensen recalls meeting a man in palliative care, who had grown up Catholic but later converted to Buddhism.    His family knew he wanted a Buddhist funeral, but when the time came, they organised a Catholic one instead.    "I see on both sides how tearing that was — for him the sadness of not being able to have the funeral that he wished, and the other with the family steeped in their Catholicism, not seeing their son have the last rites, and perhaps them believing that he won't be going to everlasting life," Reverend Edwards-Jensen said.        "It would have been traumatic for them, I should imagine."      Clare Johnson, the director of the Centre for Liturgy at the Australian Catholic University knows an elderly man who worries his funeral wishes won't be considered paramount.     "[He is] a lifelong practicing Catholic and wants to have a Catholic funeral, and it means an enormous amount to him," she said.    "His children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, the faith doesn't mean as much to them.     "He's quite concerned that even though he would like a Catholic funeral with all the bells and smells, literally, he may not be given that."     But in order to fulfil his wishes, the man's children may end up sitting through a funeral that makes them feel awkward or uncomfortable.           "Definitely there is a discontinuity, and it's part of the outcome of the falling practice of religion in Australia," Professor Johnson said......(More)  Photo: ABC, Getty, Julian Kumar.    

Spare a thought for the new archbishop
Where bishops once had the last say, they are now just another voice in public debate
Limited extract from Eric Hodgens, subscription journal La Croix International, 23 July 2018
A bishop’ job is part shepherd, part leader, part ruler, part manager. Pope Francis insists that pastoral care is the primary role.     The Melbourne Catholic Church is getting a new bishop. At 54 he can look forward to 21 years in that post. What is the scenario Archbishop Peter Comensoli is walking into?    It is not a good time to be a bishop.     Over the last 50 years Western culture has dramatically changed. Contemporary culture is secular and pluralist. Authority, once derived from status, now must be won. Where bishops once had the last say, they are now just another voice in public debate.    The Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference (ACBC) has problems. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has diminished episcopal authority in the public forum.    Meanwhile, within the church institution, some bishops take a strong, conservative line on issues like abortion, same-sex marriage and dying with dignity, asserting that their views are “the church’s teaching.”....(source)  Photo: La Croix International, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne.

What’s behind the Latino priest shortage?
Extract from J.D. Long-García, America, The Jesuit Review, 23 July 2018
Gilbert Guzman is 51 and, in a way, he began a new career on June 2. He was ordained to the priesthood that day at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles. While discernment is never easy, he said it was even more complicated as a Latino.       “You might get raised eyebrows if you say you want to be a priest. ‘What’s wrong with you that you don’t want to get married?’” Father Guzman told America. “We need to see ourselves as a gift to the community, not a scourge.”        Father Guzman, a self-described late vocation to the priesthood, said part of the struggle in his discernment was cultural. He was born in San Diego, just north of the U.S.-Mexico border. He describes himself as a Mexican-American and said his cultural background added “all sorts of complex forces” to the discernment process.         “Being Latino, there was a little more pressure to just go back and have a girlfriend and get married,” Father Guzman said. “I feel like that might have something to do with the number of Latino priests—the longing to really participate with family.”       The growing number of U.S. Latinos is not reflected in vocations to the priesthood. The Center of Applied Research for the Apostolate at Georgetown University reports that 20 percent of this year’s class of ordained priests are Hispanic. The number is a fraction of the estimated number of Latinos, who make up 34 percent of the nation’s Catholic population—and more than 50 percent of Catholics under 30.....(more)  Photo: America, The Jesuit Review, (Victor Alemán/Angelus News).
Further Recognition for Fr Len
Friday 20 July 2018
Some time ago Fr Len Thomas was awarded the prestigious Paul Harris 20 year service Medallion for tireless service to Rotary and Mental Health. He has just been presented with a further award to accompany that in recognition of continuing outstanding commitment to the Club and community -  the Rotary Sapphire Pin. Len's tireless work is already well recognised in our Parish where he served as priest-in-residence,  and at the time also as the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne Mental Health Chaplain.  Apart from many other things during 'retirement' Len can occasionally still be  found locally at our informal Parish Men's group gatherings. We congratulate Len for his most recent recognition and thank him for all he continues to do.
National Council of Priests of Australia calls on Pope to intervene in Philip Wilson case
Extracts from ABC News, Friday evening 20 July 2018
The Executive of the National Council of Priests of Australia (NCP) has "wholeheartedly" endorsed the appeals for Archbishop Philip Wilson to resign, and have called on the Pope to intervene.    The NPC says Archbishop Philip Wilson's position has been "compromised" since his conviction.      It follows a call by the PM for the Pope to sack him         He's the most senior Catholic in the world to be convicted of concealing child sex abuse.     It follows comments made by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday that the Pope should "sack" Wilson.....(more)
Religious freedom can be protected with 'tweaks', says Ruddock review member
Frank Brennan says marriage equality requires changes to marriage, discrimination and fair work laws
Extract from Paul Karp, The Guardian, 20 July 2018
The legislation of marriage equality in Australia may only require “slight tweaking” to protect religious freedom, according to Father Frank Brennan, a member of the Ruddock review panel.       In comments to be delivered on Friday, Brennan issues a blunt assessment that he doubts the Coalition will legislate a religious freedom act, as minister Dan Tehan has suggested, and warning that religious schools should not discriminate against LGBTI staff and students.      The speech, seen by Guardian Australia before its delivery to the Castan Centre human rights conference, is the clearest indication yet that only minimalist changes to expand religious freedom have been canvassed by the Ruddock religious review.     Brennan speaks approvingly of adding religion as a category to be protected from discrimination in federal law, mirroring provisions in most states. He notes that change was supported by pro-marriage equality groups such as the Equality Campaign and the Human Rights Law Centre.     Brennan – who says he is constrained by the fact the government has not yet released the Ruddock review – expresses his personal view that “freedom of religion needs to be more than an exception clause found in various state non-discrimination legislation”.     When speaking about the consequences of changes to the Marriage Act to legalise same-sex marriage, Brennan refers four times to the need to “tweak” laws including the Marriage Act, Sex Discrimination Act and the Fair Work Act to respond.      For example he questions whether a church boarding school should “be required to provide married quarters for a boarding master in a same-sex marriage”.      In another instance he suggests an expansion of LGBTI rights by questioning why a religious school should be allowed to discriminate against gay staff and students where “it can be demonstrated that the adherents of the particular religion or creed voted overwhelmingly in support of same-sex marriage”.     But he said legislators “might judge that the protections are already adequate” in these areas....(more)
Turnbull, Shorten urge Pope to sack Archbishop Wilson
[Ed: Reports on this news item have been widely published in major news bulletins around the world]
Extract from CathNews, Newcastle Herald, 20 July 2018
Bill Shorten has backed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s call for the Pope to sack Archbishop Philip Wilson as abuse survivors call for other institutional leaders to be prosecuted for concealing child sexual offences.         The Opposition Leader said he agreed with Mr Turnbull that Archbishop Wilson’s position was “untenable” after the archbishop refused to resign following his decision to appeal his conviction for concealing the child sexual abuse offences of New South Wales priest, Jim Fletcher.        “If he doesn’t have the decency to resign then his superiors in the Church should take action,” Mr Shorten said, less than two weeks after the two leaders expressed surprise and concern that Archbishop Wilson did not resign as soon as he was convicted on May 22, and after other bishops encouraged him to resign.       “The community has spoken. The courts have spoken. Now it’s time for the Church to truly listen,” Mr Shorten said.          His comments came after Mr Turnbull increased pressure on the Church to respond to the impasse yesterday as he prepared to meet with Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher and Melbourne Archbishop-designate Peter A Comensoli.    Mr Turnbull said “the time has come for the Pope to sack” Archbishop Wilson because it was “clear that he should resign”.....(more)   Photo: CathNews, ABC News.
Pope Francis announces he will canonise Nunzio Sulprizio in October
Edited extract from Melbourne Catholic, Vatican News, 20 July 2018
Pope Francis announced on Thursday during an Ordinary Public Consistory that he will canonise an additional person on 14 October along with Blessed Paul VI and Blessed Oscar Romero.   Blessed Nunzio Sulprizio was born in Pescosansonesco (Italy) on 13 April 1817 and died in Naples (Italy) on 5 May 1836. He was beatified by Pope Paul VI on 1 December 1963....It is fitting that Nunzio Sulprizio, who died at the age of 19, be canonised during the Synod whose theme is Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment. Now with the addition of Blessed Nunzio, the canonization will include people from every walk of life: clerical, religious and lay.      Blessed Nunzio was born in Pescosansonesco in Italy in April of 1817. He lost both of his parents while still a child and was brought up by an uncle. His uncle exploited him, not allowing him to go to school, and forcing him to work in his blacksmith shop. Regardless of extreme cold or intense heat, he was forced to carry enormous weights over great distances. He found refuge before the Tabernacle where he would keep Jesus company. After contracting gangrene in one of his legs, he was sent to a hospital for people with incurable diseases in Naples. He suffered tremendously on account of the pain. Yet, he is known to have said such things as:  Jesus suffered so much for us and by his merits we await eternal life;      If we suffer a little bit, we will taste the joy of paradise;     Jesus suffered a lot for me. Why should I not suffer for Him?       I would die in order to convert even one sinner.  Once he got better, he dedicated himself to helping other patients. But his health took a sudden turn for the worse. He died from bone cancer in May of 1836 before he reached his 20th birthday.....(more)
Youth alienated by Catholic Church, says Dublin archbishop
Urges Irish parishes to seek new ways of relating to teenagers ‘disgusted’ by child abuse scandals
Limited extract from staff, subscription journal,  La Croix International. 19 July 2018
Ireland. Catholics should “learn new ways in which they can win new hearts” as young people increasingly feel alienated from the teachings of the church, according to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin.     The Republic of Ireland capital is set to welcome Pope Francis in August as he will attend the World Meeting of Families there but concerns are growing as attendance rates at church services continue to dwindle.     Archbishop Martin sounded a wake-up call, saying Catholicism is becoming “foreign” to young people, especially in Ireland, The Irish Times reports.    “The main body of the membership of Irish Catholicism and its leadership belong to an age and cultural group that is in many ways foreign to the culture of young people,” he said.     “The Irish church needs to waken itself to the urgency of this situation,” he said, adding it “needs a radical overhaul in its outreach” and must “re-learn the ability to speak the language of faith authentically in a world where that language may be alien.”....(source)
CHOSEN 2018
Extract from Raifiel Cyril, Melbourne Catholic, Wednesday 18 July 2018
‘You did not choose me but I chose you and I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last’. (John 15:16).     Over 200 young adults from different parts of Australia made for a cozy bunch at Mannix College, Melbourne. The Jesus Youth Movement understands that new evangelisation is a priority for the Church. In one sense, the mission is simple and clear: To propose once again to young people the entire Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. In this context, Jesus Youth Australia organised a National Youth Conference named ‘CHOSEN’ to help young people encounter Jesus in a life changing way.    12 to 15 July was never meant to be just another ordinary youth gathering. From the first evening Rally on Thursday the 12th the mood was electrifying. Bishop Terry Curtin set it off with his lively inaugural address and MasterPlan gave the eager crowd a delicious dose of their talent.    Masterplan, an International Catholic band, is an initiative within the Jesus Youth Movement in the UAE. The Band had played centre stage at WYD Poland and WYD Spain and have performed in 3 continents! MasterPlan led the Chosen Morning and Evening Rallies, Impact Sessions, Soul Cafe and assisted with liturgical celebrations.....(more)  Photo: Melbourne Catholic.
Melbourne's new archbishop says promoting the Church as an 'institution' allowed 'great evils' to happen
Bishop Peter Comensoli said the abuse crisis was 'paramount' and required a response at every level in the Church
Extract from Christopher lamb, The Tablet, 17 July 2018
The new Archbishop of Melbourne says that seeing the Church as an institution rather than the “people of God” allowed for “great evils” to be committed and has pledged himself to rebuilding trust in light of the clerical sexual abuse scandal.      Archbishop-elect Peter Comensoli, who will take up the leadership of Australia’s largest Catholic diocese on 1 August, said the abuse crisis was “paramount” in everyone’s thinking and required a response at every level in the Church.         Devastating findings by a recent royal commission found that 4,444 people alleged incidents of child sexual abuse against the Church, many of them covered up by bishops who had pursued a strategy of protection of assets against legal claims.      But speaking to The Tablet during a phone interview from Australia, the new leader of Melbourne archdiocese explained that protecting the institution rather than its people was a counter-witness to the Gospel.     “The Church is the pilgrim People of God, it is the Body of Christ, and in manifesting that there are institutional dimensions. In the same way there are institutional dimensions in a family: we have meals at a certain time and we do things at this time. So there is an institutionality to the Church,” the soon-to-be-archbishop explained.     “But when that became paramount and started to usurp the Gospel, and usurp the Church as the people of God, that’s when the great evils were manifested in that context. It led to a loss of following of the Gospel.”........The new Archbishop of Melbourne says that rebuilding trust in the Church requires looking at all governance structures while ensuring that safeguarding procedures are compliant..........The incoming archbishop will also be an important part of the “Plenary Council” - Australia’s national synod-style gathering taking place next year - which is to address questions such as the role of laity, governance, schools, healthcare, welfare agencies and the role of women. When it comes to women’s role in the Church, the bishop says “half of my own leaders” in the diocese are female including his senior adviser, chancellor and financial administrator.      “And they just get on with it at the service of the Gospel,” he said.    "The secular voice can’t be the only one: we are a pluralist country, not a secular country, where more than 60 per cent believe.....(MORE)  Photo: The Tablet. Twitter  
Breaking the seal for the common good
Extract from Peter Johnstone, Eureka Street,  17 July 2018
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has recommended that the Catholic 'seal of confession' should not exempt priests from a proposed offence of 'failure to report'. That offence would apply to any failure to report to police in circumstances where a person knew, suspected, or should have suspected that a person associated with their institution had sexually abused a child.      The proposed law is focused on likely continued offending and is intended to get paedophiles off the streets. The Royal Commission wanted to ensure that, wherever possible, known paedophiles are not at large and free to sexually abuse children.      The response of some Catholic commentators has threatened defiance of any such civil law by confessors, despite the Church's stated commitment to the more effective protection of children. At a time when the issue of religious freedom is receiving publicity, this issue goes to the heart of current state/church relations.     Though few Catholics today use sacramental confession, the seal is a key feature, providing a guaranteed assurance of confidentiality. Strict canon lawyers will argue that canon law forbids a confessor from disclosing confessed material regardless of the content, circumstances and consequences. Canon law can of course be changed.     The question raised is whether a religious confessor (Catholic or other religion) who obtains knowledge of the sexual abuse of a child, or of a child abuser, in a sacramental confession, should be bound by the proposed civil law. The Commission, having thoroughly examined the evidence before it, decided that no religious confessor should be exempted from the mandatory requirement to report.    Any person who sexually abuses a child is a continuing danger to children. The requirement to report is based on substantial evidence of the past failures of institutional personnel to report. The consequence was predators remaining at large and more abuse.    In April 2010 the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith gave permission to bishops to report child sexual abuse by clergy to the civil authorities, but only where there were civil criminal mandatory reporting laws. Up to 2017 such laws existed only in NSW and Victoria. The Royal Commission has recommended that such laws be introduced throughout Australia..."Governments legislate for the common good, for all citizens. They must not be thwarted by customs or laws of particular religions which could threaten the common good."....(more)  Photo: Eureka Street
Let's talk about the Catholic bishops
Extract from John Warhurst, Eureka Street, 16 July 2018
The Catholic bishops are by institutional design the centrepiece of the Australian Catholic community. This means a lot is happening in the name of ordinary Catholics whether they like it or not because the perception of the wider community is that the bishops represent all Catholics.      The future of the Australian church may have been put in the hands of the Plenary Council 2020, but any outcome of this process is half a decade away. Till then it is business as usual.    Prime among the bishops now in the news is the recently convicted Archbishop Wilson of Adelaide, who is being called by the Prime Minister, the South Australian Premier and the new Archbishop of Melbourne to resign his position. The Australian community, represented especially by child abuse survivors and media commentators, interpret his resistance as an indication of the church's failure to learn the lessons of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.     Most bishops are actively resisting new legislation by some state and territory governments to remove the seal of the confessional as it relates to child sexual abuse. Many have also backed calls for new legislative or constitutional protections for religious freedom. The former of these issues has emerged from the Royal Commission while the latter has followed the new same sex marriage legislation. Both take the bishops into new territory.    At the same time the two most senior bishops, Archbishops Coleridge and Fisher, President and Deputy President of the Bishops Conference, are putting considerable energy into the traditional politics of education funding by seeking urgent meetings with the Prime Minister. No issue more defines the identity of the Catholic community in its own eyes and those of fellow Australians than Catholic schools. Education funding is for bishops their core practical business, to be safeguarded above all else.    In this context, Australian Catholics need a framework to help them comprehend the dynamics of church-state relations. While knowledge of individual bishops is helpful, what is more useful is a sense of how they operate and where they stand collectively.....(more)
 Clericalism is killing the Catholic Church — even in Africa
'We need to recognize that at this time in our history, we have failed as pastors'
Limited extract from Donald Zagoré SMA, subscription journal La Croix International,  Ivory Coast, 16 July 2018
We need to face the facts. The significant number of Christians who are leaving the church to join new communities is a sign that Christians are tired of what we Catholics have offered them.        So they are looking for something new that the classical parish pastoral framework is unfortunately no longer able to provide.      In fact, the Catholic Church’s classical parish pastoral program in Ivory Coast is currently trapped in a bureaucratic system that kills the prophetic spirit of pastoral ministry.     This has led to a spiritual vacuum among Catholics. Weighed down with the burden of endless socio-political suffering, they are desperately looking elsewhere for a new experience of God.     As the Psalmist wrote: “It is your face that I seek, Lord.”     Genuinely thirsty for the Holy Spirit, thousands of Christians have ended up deserting the bureaucratic classical parish pastoral framework in order to “descend into deep waters.”    As a result, they are joining the framework offered by many new communities, which seems to quench their spiritual thirst.     We therefore need to recognize that at this time in our history, we have failed as pastors.   As well as its roots in an outdated classical pastoral framework, this failure is also closely linked to a rise in clericalism. What’s more, it is a form of clericalism denuded of prophetic witness.   What more can we hope for from an ecclesial pastoral schema that has turned into a bureaucracy?    But laypeople have refused to allow themselves to be boxed in by the clericalism that we have unwittingly imposed on them.....(source)
Pope appoints presidents-delegate for Synod assembly on youth
All four cardinals come from the 'peripheries' — Myanmar, Iraq, Madagascar and Papua New Guinea
Limited extract from La Croix International staff, 16 July 2018
Pope Francis has appointed presidents-delegate for the October meeting of bishops focused on youth. All four cardinals come from the “peripheries” — Myanmar, Iraq, Madagascar and Papua New Guinea.........The XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which has as its theme “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment” is scheduled from Oct. 3 to 28 in the Vatican.      The presidents-delegate take turns in presiding over the synod assemblies on behalf of the pope.    A president-delegate is responsible for guiding the work of the synod and assigning special tasks to certain members, when necessary, so that the assembly proceeds efficiently.  He also signs the documents of the assembly.    When there are several presidents-delegate, they all sign the final documents of the synod.     The choice of the four cardinals is consistent with the pope's pro-poor pastoral approach. They are cardinals Pope Francis himself has created in recent years, sidelining more economically advance countries....(source)   Photo: La Croix International.
Speech by Kristina Keneally to the Catholic Secondary School Principals Conference Cairns, July 2018
Limited extract from Catholica, July 2018
.........In short, where is God in all of this? I am still a Catholic.  I’m not a devout Catholic – I don’t wear my scapular everyday and pray a decade of the Rosary every night.  I’m not a practicing Catholic.  That is, I don’t attend church every Sunday.  But even if I did, I reject this phrase.  It says that Catholicism is defined by its practices:  Mass attendance, refraining from meat on Friday, regular reception of the sacraments.      The practices are important, but only because they are meant to support or encourage faith.  They are not ends to themselves.  And if the practices become a distraction from faith then they should be discontinued. Today I say I am “openly Catholic” – not unlike how we used to say someone was “openly gay” back when the distinction between closeted and openly gay people was more pronounced. I like the idea of being openly Catholic.       It says one is a visible Catholic in the world, a witness to Christian faith. It says one is open to encounter with people of other faiths, or no faiths at all. Being openly Catholic means trying to be understanding, not judgemental; forgiving, not revengeful; and most of all, welcoming. Pope Francis says, “God is not afraid of new things.”       An openly Catholic person can be open to new things, confident in God’s grace. I should also note that I am not an orthodox Catholic. In good conscience I cannot give my assent to several of the Catholic church’s teachings.      If the practice of Catholics around the world when it comes to matters like artificial contraception or divorce is anything to go by, I’m hardly alone rejection of certain church teachings. Some would say this statement places me outside the Church.  To make that claim misunderstands what it is to be a Catholic.  It also misunderstands the importance of the Catholic Church’s teaching on conscience......(speech here)
Celebrating NAIDOC Week
Extract from Media and Communications Office, Melbourne Catholic Friday 13 July 2018
This week, a group of representatives from the Catholic community gathered in the Cathedral Room in East Melbourne to celebrate NAIDOC week.       The theme this year is Because of Her, We Can’, celebrating the strong roles that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have played in our lives. As leaders, trailblazers, politicians, activists and social change advocates, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have fought and continue to fight for justice, equal rights and access to education, in addition to celebrating Indigenous culture, language and art.  In celebration of this theme, Sherry Balcombe from the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry spoke about the women who have inspired her. 'Women form the backbone of communities across Australia and this is particularly true for Aborginal and Torres Strait Islander ministries,' she said.     'Women are at the forefront of these communities designed to meet the physical and spiritual needs of Australian and Torres Strait Islander Catholics,' said Sherry.      The event was held against a backdrop of photographs of Indigenous women, including Nova Peris and Linda Burney, displayed with descriptions of their careers and accomplishments.   NAIDOC Week 2018 is held nationally from Sunday 8 July to Sunday 15 July....(more)  Image: Macleayargus.com.au
Proclaim Conference explores new ways of contemplating the face of Christ
Extract from Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader, 12 July 2018
This is a spirit moment for the Church, Archbishop Mark Coleridge has told the Proclaim 2018 conference in Brisbane, challenging Catholic delegates to renew and rejuvenate the Church in Australia.      “I am intensely conscious as I sat amongst you that I face the danger of being pale, male and stale,” Archbishop Coleridge said.     “Here at Proclaim what we set ourselves to do is to press the refresh button in the Church right across the nation.”      More than 600 delegates are attending the three-day conference, with the theme “Make Your Home in Me” (John 15:4) with an agenda to explore new ways of contemplating the face of Christ in community and to find new mission pathways.     The goal is to engage parishes and faith communities in a conversation focusing on five key areas – leadership, culture change, young people, belonging and evangelisation.    Drawing on the example of the young Thai soccer team – the Wild Boars – and their coach trapped in a cave for two weeks, Archbishop Coleridge said we were all intensely moved by the story, and overjoyed by their rescue.    “Because it is the truth of the human situation. Those boys are you and me. Others come to their rescue and finally they are set free,” he said.     “In that story we recognise a kind of good news that goes to the heart of the truth of where we are as human beings.     “We, the human race, are trapped. We mightn’t even recognize it, but this is the truth at least as the scripture has it.    “And we can do absolutely nothing down there in the darkness but wait and hope that someone comes.    “God comes to our rescue through Jesus who dies so that we might live.    “This is the good news that we have to proclaim.”    Archbishop Coleridge said the key to the journey began with listening to the Word of God. To proclaim was also to speak and to act, he said.    He said “the young” were the megaphone, and were posing many difficult questions about parish life.    “Are they (young people) saying we need a new paradigm?” Archbishop Coleridge said.   “Do we need a new paradigm of our local communities of faith?    “How can we imagine the parish as something new, something that doesn’t leave everything behind, but isn’t afraid to do it differently?....(more)   Photo: The Catholic Leader, Mark Bowling 
From inmate and homeless to cardinal’s aide
Extract from Paulina Guzik, Crux, 12 July 2018
Rome. Twice a week a black van full of volunteers leaves the Vatican and goes to one of Rome’s train stations to serve dinner to the poor. Behind the wheel? A cardinal dressed in a simple grey shirt.      When the van returns to the Vatican after serving meals to approximately 300 homeless, migrants and others in need, the driver stops, opens a car window and greets the homeless that either sleep under the colonnade at St. Peter’s Square or walk towards a nearby dormitory.    Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the Papal Almoner, knows most of them by name.    Three years ago, Enzo Luciani was one of those sleeping under the colonnade. He had a long beard and as he says, he was “stinky as everyone else before the pope built the showers for us here.”         That was before he met “Don Corrado” - the nickname given Krajewski - and after the years of a real “road to Damascus” moment, Luciani is the right hand man to the cardinal.    Originally from Naples, and having served several prison sentences in the past, Luciani now does everything from cooking for the cardinal and the poor that dine at his apartment every day to helping him out in packing the van with the dinners that are later served to the homeless.   During the June 28 consistory in which Krajewski was given his red hat, Francis said to the new cardinals: “None of us must feel ‘superior’ to anyone. None of us should look down at others from above. The only time we can look at a person in this way is when we are helping them to stand up.”Paulina Guzik spoke to Luciani about his life and work with the papal almoner.....(more)
Lessons in compassion from Thai cave rescue
"A deeper Thai cultural strand ran in the story, the counterpart of the emphasis on the competitive individual in the West and in business everywhere."
Extract from Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, 11 July 2018
It was hard not to be moved, encouraged and impressed by the plight and rescue of the boys marooned in the North Thailand cave. People around the world responded to the boys' youth and the danger they faced and by the generosity and skill displayed in their rescue.      I was particularly moved because what I was seeing done for village boys in Thailand was so different from what was appearing in our adult media: bank executives and insurers profiting by imposing misery on their clients; evidence of unethical and extortionate behaviour in so many businesses that it seemed a royal commission into almost any section of corporate behaviour would yield similar results.      In addition to that, the rat run from international agreements and diplomatic conventions and from anything not grounded in crude self-interest, and the snarling, demeaning exchanges characteristic of public life.     All these made it seem that the neoliberal vision of human well being as unregulated competition for wealth, encapsulated in browbreating poor and grieving Indigenous women into taking out unwanted funeral insurance, had captured the minds and hearts of the whole world.     Watched from a distance, the events in Northern Thailand showed that this was not so. They disclosed a mature human response to misfortune and a sophisticated culture. The news that the boys were lost in the cave generated concern and attention throughout Thailand.    These boys were everyone's sons. Volunteers flowed in from all parts of Thailand, offering their labour and their gifts to the people who could rescue them. International volunteers also offered their services, and were welcomed for the skills they brought and incorporated into an international team that worked cooperatively and tirelessly at the risk of their lives. This encapsulated a society working effectively out of compassion.    The Thai coordinators of the rescue also emphasised communal relationships over individual interests....(more)  Photo:  Eureka Street.
Women push for more from Vatican, Francis
Extract from National Catholic Reporter, 11 July 2018
Dublin. Pope Francis' appointment of Italian journalist Paolo Ruffini as the first layperson to head a Vatican department on July 5 has been welcomed by Voices of Faith, a group promoting women's leadership in the church.      A spokesperson for the international network of Catholic women described the decision to appoint the 62-year-old Italian journalist as prefect of the Dicastery for Communication as a "precedent."     "It opens the door for laypersons of both genders to lead Vatican entities," Chantal Götz told NCR.     Explore Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment with this free guide.    But she added, "It is also an opportunity missed."    She said that women need to be leading dicasteries and councils because that is where decisions are made. "Actions or implementations are now expected if the Vatican is serious about women in leadership positions," she said.    Francis reportedly said in a June interview with Reuters, "I don't have any problem naming a woman as the head of a dicastery." But he said it is difficult to find the right candidates and convince curial officials to accept women to leadership positions.    Götz, managing director of Voices of Faith, believes there are many women with excellent qualifications for such roles. The question is "Why is the Vatican not finding them?", she said.   She made her comments in the wake of a statement by Voices of Faith calling on Francis and the Vatican to adopt sustainable human resources policies that have been shown to jumpstart change, facilitate transparency and ensure accountability.   Voices of Faith has invited the Vatican to adopt open, merit-based and transparent hiring practices that work for business, government and other major institutions.    "We call on the Vatican to publicly announce any vacancies, openly list required qualifications for vacant positions and implement transparent selection and hiring policies," the group said....(more)
Cardinal Farrell claims laity best placed to advise couples
Extract from Sarah Mac Donald, The Tablet, 11 July 2018
The Prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life has said priests are not the best people to train couples for marriage as they “have never lived the experience”.    Cardinal Kevin Farrell expressed his strongly held views in an interview with Intercom magazine, a publication of the Irish bishops.      The former Bishop of Dallas said priests “have no credibility” in this area and though “they may know moral theology, dogmatic theology in theory, to go from there to putting it into practice every day ... they don’t have that experience”.    The Cardinal was speaking about the role of the laity and the importance of not clericalising them. There are countries, such as the US, Cardinal Farrell explained where “the laity run the Church”.    Referring to his time as Bishop of Dallas, he said “we had one priest in a parish where 10,000 people would attend Mass at the weekend. We have parishes that have a $20 million annual budget. No priest is going to be able to run a parish of that magnitude without competent lay people.”    In Dallas, there are a million and a half Catholics and 75 priests, with a 45 to 50 per cent rate of Mass attendance. “Those 75 priests are not going to be interested in organising marriage meetings,” the Cardinal stated.    He said this meant many pastoral tasks usually left to priests in Ireland, such as marriage preparation, was done by members of the laity elsewhere.     Of his own dicastery, he revealed that Pope Francis had told him he wanted a department in the Vatican for lay people that is equivalent to all of the other congregations (for bishops, clergy and religious).    And by lay people, he [Pope Francis] does not mean people who belong to ecclesial movements, rather the regular people who go to church,” the Cardinal said....(MORE)
Engaging with the hope of parishes
Edited extracts from Media and Communications Office, Melbourne Catholic, Friday 6 July 2018
Melbourne parish priest Fr Brendan Reed, supported by the Catholic Development Fund (CDF), has this week launched his newest book, volume two of a series, entitled Engaging with the hopes of parishes.
CDF sponsored the publication of Fr Reed’s extensive research and also hosted the book launch.     At the launch ceremony at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Centre in East Melbourne, Fr Reed was introduced by Archbishop Denis Hart, who congratulated him both on the book itself, and on the diligence of the research and long term commitment that gave rise to it.     Fr Reed describes the book as ‘a systematic, empirical and practical search for a parish engagement scale’, or, in acronym, SPES (Latin for ‘hope’). It’s primarily, he said, in acknowledging Archbishop Hart’s introduction, a book about parish life, offering a new framework and a new context for the core Christian community.     Fr Reed is proposing four new and different, but complementary, models for parish life.    The convinced parish',  The engaged parish,   The devoted paris,  The consumerist parish.        His book, he said, will help parishes better understand who they are and what they are capable of becoming, and offers new insights, new visions, on ways for the radical transformation of parish life to ensure the relevance, the power, the growth of Catholic community in an increasingly secular age.     Engaging with the hopes of parishes provides both pastoral and theological grounds for proposing the engaged parish as the future, the new model, for the ideal parish in a changed world.....(MORE)  Image: Melbourne Catholic.
Update on Parish Redevelopment and Heritage Tribunal Hearing
Friday 6 July 2018                                          
In handing down its decision on the application to list Mary Immaculate Church on the Victorian Heritage Register, the Tribunal has decided that “after considering the Executive Director’s recommendation, submissions received and conducting a hearing into those submissions, the Heritage Council has determined that Mary Immaculate Church is not to be included in the Victorian Heritage Register”.

'Only the Pope can compel a bishop to resign'
Despite Archbishop Philip Wilson’s conviction for concealing child sexual abuse only the Pope can force him to resign, Archbishop Mark Coleridge said yesterday.
Extract from CathNews, SBS News,  06 July 2018
Archbishop Wilson, 67, the most senior Catholic official in the world to be convicted of concealing child abuse, is likely to serve his 12-month sentence in home detention.      He stood aside as Archbishop of Adelaide in May after being found guilty of failing to report to police the historical sexual abuse of two altar boys by a pedophile priest, after a landmark magistrate-only trial in Newcastle Local Court.     However, he has indicated he plans to appeal his conviction and says he will only resign if that fails.    Archbishop Coleridge, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president, said an appeal was the right of "any citizen" but made it clear it would require intervention from the Vatican to compel Archbishop Wilson’s resignation.   "A number of survivors, prominent Australians and other members of the community have publicly called on Archbishop Wilson to resign. Although we have no authority to compel him to do so, a number of Australian bishops have also offered their advice privately. Only the Pope can compel a bishop to resign,” he said in a statement.    " We also recognise the ongoing pain this has caused survivors, especially those who were abused."    Archbishop Wilson is now facing unprecedented calls from across the political arena to step down....(more). Photo: Archbishop Mark Coleridge, ACBC\

Hobart Archdiocese bans Jesuit academic from speaking at planned event
Extract from Sky News, 5 July 2018
Jesuit academic father Frank Brennan, CEO of Catholic Social Services Australia has been banned from speaking publicly in the Hobart Archdiocese for his defence of Catholics' rights to voice their own opinions according to their conscience with regard to same-sex marriage.     Father Brennan was banned from attending already advertised speaking events by Hobart Archbishop Julian Porteous in a letter to the provincial of Jesuit Order.....(more)

Change of era in Australia
We are in a change of era and the shape of that era is only just beginning to be explored
Limited Extract from Michael Kelly SJ, Bangkok, Subscription journal La croix International, 5 July 2018

In a line for his vision for renewal and change, Pope Francis captured something that is true for the church across the world but most especially for the church in Australia. The pope described our time in the church and wider society as “not so much an era of change as a change of era.”

The conviction and sentencing of the highest placed cleric in the Catholic world – Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide – and the forthcoming....(more)
Major Catholic church consultation ambitious - but will it succeed?
Extract from John Warhurst, The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 July 2018
The huge Australian Catholic community, the largest, the most clerical and the most hierarchical of our Christian churches, has just embarked on a potentially defining internal consultation process, the Plenary Council 2020, to discuss the future of its church. While its leaders, like Cardinal George Pell and the recently sentenced Archbishop Philip Wilson, attract media attention for all the wrong reasons, this major consultation gives lay Catholics a rare opportunity to express their views with some hope of having an impact.  It has been sold to the Catholic community by its leadership as a once-in-a-life-time opportunity to overturn business as usual and to start afresh. It comes, of course, after, and in part a response to, the revelations by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse of the church’s criminality in that regard. The Royal Commission recommended that the church review its governance, structures and culture, in addition to making specific child-safety recommendations. This council is too broad to be such a review, but it does offer the chance for some action on governance and related issues.    The Australia-wide consultation began two weeks ago in Canberra with four well-attended, open listening and dialogue sessions held off church property in a gesture towards disenfranchised Catholics. It involves a three-stage process of dialogue, discernment and legislation, which will culminate in March 2021 when Australia’s bishops, sitting in splendid isolation, will distil the proposals which have emanated from a larger October 2020 Plenary Council meeting in Adelaide in which lay Catholics will fill up to one-third of the places, following a yet to be determined selection process.....(MORE)
The sentencing of Archbishop Wilson
Extract from Frank Brennan, Eureka Street, 4 July 2018
Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson has been sentenced to 12 months' detention for concealing child sexual abuse. Magistrate Robert Stone adjourned the matter to 14 August while Wilson's home detention order is assessed for suitability. It's very likely that he will appeal his conviction and sentence.          Archbishop Philip WilsonAn appeal may well succeed, but that's not the end of the matter. This has been a six-year saga relating to events which occurred more than 40 years ago. The law is complex; and emotions are running high.         When bishop of Wollongong and later Archbishop of Adelaide, Wilson did a lot to improve the Catholic Church's national response to crimes of child sexual abuse committed by church personnel. But the present criminal conviction and sentence of imprisonment relates to his time as a young priest in the diocese of Maitland-Newcastle back in 1976. It was only later when he was Archbishop of Adelaide that some of his earlier behaviour came back to haunt him. Local residents in Maitland-Newcastle who were sexually abused as children by either Fr McAlinden or Fr Fletcher have been very outspoken against Wilson, regardless of his later behaviour as a bishop nationally committed to cleaning up the mess.          In 1990, the New South Wales parliament had amended the Crimes Act creating a new offence of concealing a serious indictable offence. Section 316(1) provides:....(more)  Photo: Eureka Street
Statement on Sentencing Archbishop Philip Wilson'Australian Catholic Bishop's Conference, 3 July 2018
Extract from  Media Release,  Australian Catholic Bishop's Conference, 3 July 2018
The Catholic b ishops of Australia acknowledge that the effects of sexual abuse can last a lifetime , but w e hope that today ’s custodial sentence brings some sens e of peace and healing to those abused by deceased priest James Fletcher. It takes great courage for survivors to come forward to tell their stor ies . Survivors have been vital in helping us learn the lesson of our shameful history of abuse and concealment, which was laid bare in the Royal Commission into Institutional Reponses to Child Sexual Abuse and state inquiries, including the Cunneen Inquiry . The Church has made substantial changes to ensure that abuse and cover -up are no t part of Catholic life and that children are safe in our communities. We will continue to work with all those in the Church and beyond who are seeking to put in plac e strong and consistent standards of safeguarding throughout Australia , including how we respond to allegations of sexual abuse . The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has no further comment to make at this time....(source)
Jesus, Mary and Joseph locked in cage at Indianapolis church to protest Trump immigration policies
Extract from  Rebecca Joseph    National Online Journalist, Global News, 3 July 2018
A church in Indiana has “detained” statues of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus in a bold statement against current U.S. immigration policies.    “On our lawn tonight we placed The Holy Family…in #ICE detention,” officials from Christ Church Cathedral wrote on Twitter on Sunday.      Using the hashtag #EveryFamilyisHoly — in English as well as Spanish — officials asked God to watch over families detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in recent weeks.     The Holy Family is surrounded by a chainlink fence, similar to the ones seen detaining children of people arrested for crossing the U.S. border illegally....Rev. Canon Lee Curtis of Christ Church Cathedral came up with the idea, saying the Holy Family was seeking refuge when they went to Egypt, quoting Matthew 2:13-14.      “The statement with the Holy Family says as much about our policy as any statement would say,” Curtis told NBC News.        “We want an end for family detention. Families, all families, every family, is holy, and we hope and pray that families who are seeking out a better life for their kids are afforded that opportunity.”          Officials at the church said they also disagreed with people using the Bible to justify actions taken at the border.     “We heard a lot of the Bible quoted, people trying to say what scripture justifies and doesn’t justify,” said Rev. Stephen Carlsen, who is the dean of the church.        “Our tradition, our sacred traditions, are crystal clear. People who come to us for safety, for refuge are just like everyone in our families.”.....(MORE)   Photo: Globalnews.ca 
Pope Francis surprises poor and homeless at new cardinal’s dinner
Extract from Melbournne Catholic, Vatican News, 2 July 2018 Monday 2 July 2018
As new Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the pope’s alms giver, was treating the poor and homeless of Rome to a dinner Friday night, Pope Francis surprised them with a visit and joined their celebration as a guest.     There was great celebration on Friday in the Vatican when some 280 poor people were invited to a dinner by new Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the official almsgiver of the Pope, who was made cardinal by Pope Francis at the Consistory the previous day, 28 June.      The Pope's surprise visit:    Pope Francis surprised Cardinal Krajewski, his guests and volunteers with a visit and joined them at table at the Vatican employees’ canteen. ‘I came for the poor, not for you,’ a smiling Pope told Cardinal Krajewski, popularly known as Fr Corrado (instead of Konrad) to the poor he serves on behalf of the Pope.     The Holy Father dined with the poor and spent about two hours chatting with them as if in a family, listening to their stories that often told of suffering but also of hope.....(more)

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday

,1 July 2018


"Because of her, We can!"
For at least 65,000 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have carried dreaming stories, songlines, languages and knowledge that have kept their culture strong, and enriched it as the oldest continuing culture on the planet. May we learn through them about harmony with the Spirit, each other, and the environment.
Pope Francis appoints Bishop Peter A Comensoli the ninth Archbishop of Melbourne
Extracts from Media and Communications Office, Melbourne Catholic, Friday 29 June 2018
The Holy Father Pope Francis has appointed Most Reverend Bishop Peter Andrew Comensoli of the Diocese of Broken Bay as the ninth Archbishop of Melbourne.     Archbishop-elect Comensoli (b.1964) grew up in the Illawarra region of New South Wales and was educated by the Good Samaritan Sisters and Marist Fathers. He studied commerce at the University of Wollongong and worked for a time in the banking sector. He entered the seminary in 1986 and was ordained in 1992.       Following his ordination, Archbishop-elect Comensoli undertook postgraduate studies in moral theology in Rome and at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. After serving in a number of parishes in the Diocese of Wollongong, he was Diocesan Chancellor for six years prior to his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop to the Archdiocese of Sydney in 2011 and as Apostolic Administrator to the Archdiocese of Sydney in 2014. He has served as Bishop of Broken Bay for the past three-and-a-half years.       The life of Christian discipleship is a precious gift, developed through hearing and responding to God’s call. In accepting this call to be a new missionary among God’s people of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, I readily acknowledge the great responsibility entrusted to me, along with the frailties I carry,’ he said.         ‘To the good people of Melbourne, let me say that you are already in my prayers. As I come among you I place my trust in the tender encouragement of Jesus. We are pilgrims together in the Lord’s vineyard. As we take these first steps in friendship, may we anchor our lives to his Gospel.....In announcing the appointment, Pope Francis also accepted Archbishop Denis Hart’s resignation after 17 years as Archbishop of Melbourne. Archbishop Hart will serve as Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese until the installation of Archbishop-elect Comensoli on Wednesday 1 August.....(more)  Photo: Melbourne Catholic
Labor to support ‘toothless’ anti-slavery laws
New laws aimed at stamping out modern slavery in Australia and overseas were yesterday introduced in federal Parliament. Source: ABC News.
Extract from CathNews, 29 June 2018
The Labor opposition has labelled the proposed reforms “toothless”, but plans to grant them bipartisan support.    If passed, the laws will mean around 3,000 businesses in Australia with an annual turnover of $100 million or more will need to identity any modern slavery in their supply chain, and report it to authorities.    “Businesses will then have to detail what steps they have taken, and will take, to address these risks,” said Assistant Minister for Home Affairs Alex Hawke.    “This bill will enable large businesses, consumers, civil society and government to work together to eliminate modern slavery in supply chains.”    A Modern Slavery Business Engagement Unit, costing $3.6 million, will set up the reporting requirements and support the 3,000 affected Australian businesses.   Modern slavery includes where people are forced into prostitution, or forced to work for low wages in construction, sweatshops or food supply chains. It can include also underpayment of wages, denied visa extensions by employers or being forced to live in squalid accommodation....(more)  Image: CathNews, Pexel
Adelaide priest Fr Charles Gauci named Bishop of Darwin
Edited extract from ACBC, Melbourne Catholic, 28 June 2018
Pope Francis has appointed Fr Charles Gauci, currently administrator of St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral in Adelaide, the seventh Bishop of Darwin.    Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge welcomed the appointment of a man who is known for his deep spirituality and real commitment to evangelisation.     ‘Fr Charles has ministered to people from many walks of life – as a pastor in parishes, a chaplain to schools, a spiritual director and retreat leader,’ Archbishop Coleridge said.      ‘He will be a great gift to the Church in Darwin with all its challenges and also a good addition to the Bishops Conference because of his long and varied experience as priest and teacher of the faith.’    Fr Gauci was born into a faith-filled family in Malta and arrived in Australia as a 13-year-old. He was ordained for Adelaide in 1977 and has served in parishes across the Archdiocese. He has also held a number of archdiocesan leadership roles, including as chairman of the Council of Priests.....Fr Gauci said he hopes to visit the Diocese – which takes in almost all of the Northern Territory – as soon as possible so he can meet the local people and speak with Bishop Eugene Hurley, who has served in Darwin for the past 11 years and as a bishop for almost 20 years.    ‘Bishop Eugene is a great man; I’m humbled to succeed him. He will help me understand the Diocese, its communities and ministries. With that knowledge and discerning what God is asking of me, I will seek to fulfil the task now entrusted to me,’ he said.    ‘I look forward to continuing to learn from all the people of God as their fellow traveller.’....(more) Melbourne Catholic ACBC
Pope tells cardinals: Avoid palace intrigue, serve Christ and the Church
Extract from National Correspondent  Christopher White, Crux, 28 June 2018
ROME - Don’t waste your time being involved in palace intrigue, and focus solely on serving Christ and his Church, was Pope Francis’s message to the 14 new cardinals he created on Thursday.     “What does it profit us to gain the whole world if we are corroded within?” asked Francis at a consistory at St. Peter’s Basilica. “What does it profit us to gain the whole world if we are living in a stifling atmosphere of intrigues that dry up our hearts and impede our mission?”.     “Here, as someone has observed, we might think of all those palace intrigues that take place, even in curial offices,” Francis continued.     In keeping with what has become his custom, Francis’s new appointments to the College of Cardinals come from remote corners of the globe, including non-majority Catholic locations such as Pakistan, Madagascar, Iraq, and Japan.     He announced the names of the new appointments last month during his Sunday Angelus following Mass on Pentecost Sunday on May 20, noting that their locations reflect the “universality of the Church, that continues to preach the merciful love of God throughout the earth.”....(more) Photo: Crux, Alessandra Tarantino. 
Sights and sounds as Pope Francis creates new Princes of the Church
Extract from Inés San Martín, Crux, Vatica Correspondent, 28 June 2018
ROME - Pope Francis will create 14 new cardinals on Thursday, 11 of whom will be in a position to elect, and be elected as, the next pope. They come from 12 countries, including Madagascar, Japan, Pakistan, Iraq, Mexico, Peru, Spain and Italy, in another attempt by the pontiff to make the College of Cardinals a reflection of the universality of the Church.....(more)
French NGO founder priest dismissed from clerical state
The Vatican Congregation for the Clergy has issued a 'final' decision dismissing Heart’s Home founder Father Thierry de Roucy for 'disobedience'
Limited extract from Céline Hoyeau, subscription journal La Croix Internationals, 28 June 2018
France:  In a rare Vatican decision, the founder of the international association Points Coeur (Heart’s Home), which has been sending young volunteers on mission since 1990,  has been dismissed from the clerical state, La Croix has learned.       The Vatican decision brought to a close a ten year long process marked by a complex process between Father Thierry de Roucy, now aged 61, the Heart’s Home organization, the bishop of the Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon  and Rome.     In 2011, de Roucy was found guilty of abuse of ecclesiastical power, sexual abuse and absolution of an accomplice in the person a young assistant priest.    The latter was subsequently relieved of his priesthood at his own request after church authorities concluded that he had been subject to undue influence.    'Final' decision....(source)  Photo: La Croix International,  promesaartstudio/stock.adobe.com
Pope’s ex-chief of staff says ‘too early’ to judge Vatican reform
Extract from John L. Allen Jr. Editor, Crux, 27 June 2018
ROME - Perhaps Pope Francis’s most powerful aide for the last five years, who will be named a cardinal tomorrow, says it’s still “premature” and “too early” to judge the results of the pontiff’s much-ballyhooed reform of the Vatican.        It’s still to early to judge the reform,” said Italian Cardinal-designate Angelo Becciu, speaking to reporters on Wednesday.      Many things have changed, things have been modified in discasteries [a word referring to Vatican departments], but we’re still searching to find the best path,” he said.          The state of Francis’s reform has been questioned lately by observers who note that aside from the consolidation of some pre-existing Vatican departments and the creation of some new ones, there’s been little tangible change in Vatican structures and operations. In the meantime, the Vatican’s traditional centers of power, especially the all-important Secretariat of State, appears to have consolidated its role rather than seeing it diminished or redefined.        Becciu, however, counseled patience....(more)
Archbishop Coleridge demands greater accountability of Bishops during visit to Rome
Extract from  Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader, 27 June 2018
BRISBANE Archbishop and Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Mark Coleridge has used a Vatican visit to publicly demand bishops “be accountable” in changing Church culture that made child abuse possible.         “We’re not above the law, we are not a law unto ourselves nor is the Church a law unto herself,” Archbishop Coleridge said following a conference on safeguarding and child protection held at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University on June 18-21.       In Rome, Archbishop Coleridge also met with leading Church officials interested in the episcopate in Australia, the process of responding to the Royal Commission and preparations for the Plenary Council.     He used a lunch hosted by the Australian Ambassador to the Holy See and attended by the Vatican’s deputy foreign minister, to reiterate his key message: “… that the bishops are keen to work with the government in tackling child abuse at every level”.     “The presence of Vatican officials made it clear that the Holy See shares the same commitment,” Archbishop Coleridge said.     Archbishop Coleridge was one of several Australian keynote speakers at the Anglophone Safeguarding Conference, reflecting on the theme “Culture, an enabler or barrier to safeguarding”.      Some elements of Catholic culture had been “very destructive” and there were aspects of Church culture that had hindered progress in addressing allegations of sexual abuse, Archbishop Coleridge said.     “I’ve tried to identify the points at which Catholic culture made child abuse possible and also gave rise to the cover-up of the abuse that happened,” he said.     “One word that’s used to describe a large and complex phenomenon within the culture is clericalism – in other words, authority geared to power and not to service.     “In many ways, what happened in the Catholic Church was that our strengths became our weaknesses.”    Archbishop Coleridge said an example of those strengths was that closeness that Catholic clergy and religious shared with families.    However, he said, it was precisely that which, “in certain situations, gave them access to the children who were abused”.    Nevertheless, Archbishop Coleridge said that just as strength can become a weakness, a weakness could also become a strength.    “I believe that the agony we are passing through this time in fact is a purification of the Church that has already made us stronger,” he said.....(more).  Photo Catholic Leader, Emilie Ng
German bishops declare backing for mixed-marriage couples
Extract from James Roberts, The  Tablet, 27 June 2018
Pope Francis expanded on the issue in the press conference on the plane back from Geneva to Rome on Monday.      The leadership of the German bishops’ conference today issued a statement saying that they are determined vigorously to pursue the initiative on intercommunion that they launched after their plenary in February this year. The initiative, they said is aimed at producing “greater unity” between Christian Churches. In Germany the vast majority of mixed marriages, couples the handout seeks to accommodate, are between Catholics and Lutherans.     “It is important for us that we are on an ecumenical quest to achieve a more profound understanding and even greater unity among Christians, and we consider ourselves to be obliged to stride forward in this matter courageously,” the permanent council of the conference said. The council is made up of the current 26 diocesan bishops, out of a total conference membership of 66.    A decision to help mixed-denomination couples to both receive communion, and an associated handout for parishes, was approved at the bishops’ conference’s spring plenary on 22 February by a two-thirds majority, and has since proved highly controversial. One month later, on 22 March, seven bishops, including Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki of Cologne, Germany’s largest diocese, sent a letter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in Rome asking for clarification as to whether the issue was within the competence of a local bishops’ conference or rather a matter for the Universal Church.     Francis reaffirmed on the plane that under the Code of Canon Law, it is up to the local bishop to decide under what conditions communion can be administered to non-Catholics, and not up to local bishops’ conferences.     The problem with having an entire bishops’ conference deal with such questions is that “something worked out in an episcopal conference quickly becomes universal”, he said.        Whatever the German conference may come up with in the end, he said, will likely be “an orientational document so that every one of the diocesan bishops can determine by himself what the Code of Canon Law already permits.”.....(more)
Doctrinal chief Ladaria plays down possibility of female deacons
Extract from Christopher Lamb, The Tablet, 27 June 2018
Ladaria has said that the ruling against women being ordained priests was definitive, infallible teaching
The leader of the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation sought to play down expectations about the possibility of female deacons today, arguing that a commission set up by Pope Francis was focussed on their historical role in the early Church rather than on ordination.       Cardinal-designate Luis Ladaria told reporters in the Vatican on 26 June, that while women deacons existed in the early Church they were “not the same” as their male counterparts.      “The question the Pope has asked, and we have to answer, is what the situation for deaconesses was in the old Church. We know from the sources that they existed in the old Church: but what was the meaning of deaconesses? Was it the same as [male] deacons?” the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said on Tuesday.    The doctrinal prefect, who is to be created cardinal by Pope Francis in a ceremony in St Peter’s on 28 June, is president of a body formally established by Francis in August 2016 to examine women deacons.       Ladaria said that “the work of the commission is at a good point,” that they had studied the question the Pope had put to them and “passed to the Holy Father our conclusions.” His remarks are the first public comments about the body’s work since it was set up almost two years ago.     And he repeatedly underlined that the commission - made up of twelve theologians split equally on gender grounds - was not tasked with giving a yes or no to ordination.....(more)  Photo: The Tablet, CNS/Paul Haring   
Parish Redevelopment update  A further delay! 
Friday 22 June 2018
We have been advised that the decision of the tribunal hearing of Heritage Victoria in relation to Mary Immaculate Church held on April 17th will now not be handed down till July 17th rather than June 17th as expected.
Bishop Vincent Long joins reform groups and politicians on release of church report
Extracts from Joanne McCarthy, Newcastle Herald, 21 June 2018
There are growing calls for Australia's bishops to release a Truth Justice and Healing Council report.          Bishop of Parramatta Vincent Long has broken ranks with the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference to join reform groups and politicians calling for public release of a church report responding to the child abuse royal commission.      Keeping the four-volume, 1000-page, church-commissioned Truth Justice and Healing Council report “in-house for any period longer than necessary” is “not in the interest of the kind of church the Pope speaks about”, said Bishop Long in a statement this week.        Pope Francis recently urged all Catholics “not to be afraid of being the central drivers of the transformation that is being demanded today” in the wake of the child sexual abuse tragedy.         The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said it would “take some time” to consider the TJHC report it received in March, and would formally respond to the royal commission when it had “completed our dialogue with the Holy See” and received advice from an implementation advisory group appointed in May.         On Tuesday shadow social services minister Jenny Macklin said the TJHC report should be made public because “We need full transparency from the Catholic Church on this issue”, more than six months after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released its landmark final report.    More than 60 per cent of abuse allegations to the commission related to Catholic institutions, and there were more than 4400 abuse allegations between 1980 and 2015.             “People who have suffered abuse deserve to see the formal response to the royal commission’s recommendations from the Truth, Justice and Healing Council. The royal commission did not make its recommendations lightly,” Ms Macklin said.          Attorney General Christian Porter responded to questions about the TJHC report by saying the key to protecting future generations was for “all those involved to be open and transparent about what occurred and what is being done to prevent a recurrence”.           State governments and institutions that decide not to accept the commission’s recommendations “should state so and why”, Mr Porter said.        In NSW Parliament on Tuesday NSW Greens MP and justice spokesperson David Shoebridge, who played a key role in the campaign for a royal commission, lodged a notice of motion calling for the report’s immediate release because “it’s well past time that survivors, victims and their families and supporters saw the Catholic Church’s response”.        “It may be that the TJHC report reflects unfavourably on actions taken by the hierarchy. If that is the case then it’s precisely why it must be released immediately,” Mr Shoebridge said..........Bishop Long, who was sexually abused by clergy as an adult, told the royal commission in February, 2017 the church needed to “dismantle the old model” of Catholicism and end a “pecking order” that had lay people “right at the bottom of the pyramid”.     In a statement this week he said all Catholics should be involved with the church’s response to the royal commission, including “taking into account the Truth, Justice and Healing Council (TJHC) report”.        The Pope’s comments about church reform and a more active involvement by lay Catholics “should serve as an encouragement for the bishops to engage closely and respectfully with the faithful in responding to the child sexual abuse crisis”, Bishop Long said......(more)  Photo: Newcastle Herald
Tasmania is the latest state to declare priests will be required to report allegations of child abuse, even those made in the confessional, and could face criminal charges for failing to do so.
Extract from CathNews, The Mercury, 21 June 2018
The reform plan has put the Tasmanian government at odds with the Church, which says priests must keep confessions secret.       Tabling the government’s response to the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Parliament yesterday, Attorney-General Elise Archer said careful consideration had been given to its 409 recommendations.     The Tasmanian government has accepted in whole or in principle the vast bulk of the commission’s recommendations that lie within its jurisdiction and says it will give further consideration to all but three.     Ms Archer said state laws would be reformed to provide greater protection to children.    “Tasmania will be one of a number of jurisdictions in taking the lead in accepting in principle the need to include priests as mandatory reporters, and importantly to lift the veil from the confessional for the purpose of such reporting,” she said.    “The Tasmanian government also accepts, in principle, the need for a specific criminal offence for the failure to report child sexual abuse and criminalising such behaviour,” she said. “Consistent with the need to put children first, the government also accepts in principle the child safe standards recommended by the royal commission.”    Hobart Archbishop Julian Porteous backs mandatory reporting but not when it means breaking Church law that requires priests to uphold the seal of confession, 9news.com.au reports.    He said any allegations and suspicions of child or vulnerable adult abuse must be reported and acted on.
"The Catholic Church in Tasmania has zero tolerance for the abuse or neglect of children or vulnerable adults and is committed to acting in their best interests," he said yesterday.    He joined Catholic bishops across Australia in opposing any legal changes forcing the reporting of abuse revealed in confession, which under canon law would result in a priest's excommunication from the Church....(more)
Catholic Religious Australia elects new president
Extract from CathNews,  21 June 2018
At a national gathering of members yesterday, Catholic Religious Australia elected Josephite Sister Monica Cavanagh as its new president.    The 42nd National Assembly of Catholic Religious Australia began on Tuesday, exploring the theme of “Religious in Australia: Evolving with Hope”. Electing a new president and council was a significant part of the gathering.      Sr Monica, the congregational leader of the Sisters of St Joseph, said it was “a great honour” to be elected by her peers.    “I believe the voice of religious men and women is very important at this time in the life of the Church and the community. We are called to be the prophetic voice – we must be courageous and respond as ecclesial women and men,” Sr Monica said.    After a structural review, CRA has moved away from state representation to a model of shared leadership.    In a statement release yesterday, CRA said: “The new council members take on this role with great energy and passion for responding to the challenges and opportunities of today’s Church and society.    “They are a council who stand together and are committed to strengthening the voice of the religious in Australia.”....(more)

American Cardinal Accused of Sexually Abusing Minor Is Removed From Ministry
Extract from Laurie Goodstein and Sharon Otterman, New York Times, 20 June 2018
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington and a prominent Roman Catholic voice in international and public policy, has been removed from ministry after an investigation found credible allegations that he sexually abused a teenager 47 years ago while serving as a priest in New York.    The news comes at a time when Pope Francis has endeavored to overcome criticism that he has turned a blind eye to child sexual abuse by clergy in Chile and elsewhere. The New York Archdiocese said in a statement that the Vatican was informed and involved in the investigation into Cardinal McCarrick, and that the cardinal has ceased his public ministry “at the direction of Pope Francis.”    Cardinal McCarrick, 87, said in a statement that he was innocent, but that he cooperated with the process and accepted the Vatican’s decision.    “While I have absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse, and believe in my innocence,” his statement said, “I am sorry for the pain the person who brought the charges has gone through, as well as for the scandal such charges cause our people.”...(more)

Australian prelate: Laity could have prevented ‘catastrophic’ abuse crisis
Limited extract from Inés San Martín, John L. Allen Jr, Christopher White, Cruxnow, 20 June 2018
ROME - Arguably, few people in Australia can say they are more on the front lines in picking up the pieces after the recently concluded Royal Commission into Institutional Sexual Abuse that was highly critical of the Catholic Church than Archbishop Mark Coleridge, elected as president of the country’s bishops’ conference last month.     Despite the challenges, which also include trials of two of Australia’s most renowned clerics, Archbishop Philip Wilson in Adelaide and Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s finance czar, Coleridge is convinced that when it comes to fighting clerical sexual abuse, a “change in culture” is needed and is already in motion.           There’s absolutely no room for complacency, but there is room for encouragement,” Coleridge told Crux on Monday in Rome.     The Australian prelate is in the eternal city this week to participate in the “Anglophone Safeguarding Conference,” a yearly gathering taking place since the early 2000s, bringing together bishops’ conferences from the English-speaking world under the aegis of Rome’s Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University.          Among other things, Coleridge spoke with Crux about the role of the laity in addressing the problem, because if “there had been more lay people involved in decision making roles in times past, we wouldn’t have the catastrophe on our hands that we now have.”    “There’s no point in denying that, generally, clericalism was at the heart of the problem, and still is. Part of the culture shift we’re trying to bring about is to break the hold of that clericalism. Therefore, obviously lay people need to take on responsibilities that are new in the Catholic Church,” he said.....(more)  Photo: Cruxnow, Religion News Service, David Gibson
Pope says no to women priests, yes to women in Curial leadership
Extract from Elise Hart, Catholic News Agency, 20 June 2018
Vatican City, Jun 20, 2018 / 03:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In an interview with Reuters, Pope Francis said more space has to be created for women to take on leading roles in the Roman Curia, but that priestly ordination is not an option.    Responding to a question about women's ordination to the priesthood, the pope said “there is the temptation to 'functionalize' the reflection on women in the Church, what they should do, what they should become.”     “We cannot functionalize women,” he said, explaining that while the Church is referred to as a woman, the Sacrament of Holy Orders is out of the question “because dogmatically it doesn't work.”     “John Paul II was clear and closed the door, and I will not go back on this. It was something serious, not something capricious,” he said, adding, “it cannot be done.”
However, Francis stressed that while the priesthood is out, women do need to be given more opportunities for leadership in the Roman Curia – a view he said has at times been met with resistance.    “I had to fight to put a woman as the vice-director of the press office,” he said, referring to his decision in 2016 to name Spanish journalist Paloma Garica Ovejero as the Vatican's deputy spokesperson.    He said he at one point offered a woman the job of heading the Vatican's Secretariat for Communications, but she turned it down because “she already had other commitments.”    Women in the Curia “are few, we need to put more,” he said, adding that it can be either a religious sister or a laywoman, “it doesn't matter,” but there is a need to move forward with an eye for quality and competency in the job.   “I don't have any problem naming a woman as the head of a dicastery, if the dicastery doesn't have jurisdiction,” he said, referring to the fact that some Vatican departments have specific functions in Church governance that require a bishop to do the job. Lay men are also ineligible to oversee offices that require the jurisdictional authority of a priest or bishop.    For example, the Vatican's Congregation for Clergy has jurisdiction, so it has to be led by a bishop, but for others, such as the Vatican's Secretariat for the Economy, “I would not have a problem naming a competent woman,” Francis said.    Women must continue to be promoted, but without falling into “a feminist attitude,” the pope said, adding that “in the end it would be machismo with a skirt. We don't want to fall into this.” ....(more)  Photo: Catholic News Agency Ibanex CNA Pope frncis meets with woman Ibanez/CNA
American Cardinal Accused of Sexually Abusing Minor Is Removed From Ministry
Extract from Laurie Goodstein and Sharon Otterman, New York Times, 20 June 2018
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington and a prominent Roman Catholic voice in international and public policy, has been removed from ministry after an investigation found credible allegations that he sexually abused a teenager 47 years ago while serving as a priest in New York.    The news comes at a time when Pope Francis has endeavored to overcome criticism that he has turned a blind eye to child sexual abuse by clergy in Chile and elsewhere. The New York Archdiocese said in a statement that the Vatican was informed and involved in the investigation into Cardinal McCarrick, and that the cardinal has ceased his public ministry “at the direction of Pope Francis.”    Cardinal McCarrick, 87, said in a statement that he was innocent, but that he cooperated with the process and accepted the Vatican’s decision.    “While I have absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse, and believe in my innocence,” his statement said, “I am sorry for the pain the person who brought the charges has gone through, as well as for the scandal such charges cause our people.”...(more)
How the Anglican Church has hardened its stance against same-sex marriage
Extract from opinion piece, The Conversation, 19 June 2018
In the aftermath of the legalising of same-sex marriage in Australia, the Anglican Church has ramped up its discrimination against gay people to new heights.      Not content simply with the discrimination built into the legislation – per ministers of religion to refuse to marry same-sex couples – conservatives in the Anglican Church are making sure the church is a complete no-go zone for gay couples.     To begin with, Anglican clergy are not actually free to marry same-sex couples, should they wish to do so. And many clergy would like to.        The state licenses ministers to perform marriages only according to their church’s authorised marriage rites. Conservatives have been quick to point out that the Anglican Church’s wedding services are specifically for male-female marriages, and so cannot be used legally for same-sex weddings.   Now the Anglican bishops have added a raft of new restrictions as well.....(more)   
Asian church’s turn in the abuse spotlight is here
The window of opportunity to deal with the problem before it becomes a major scandal is closing
Limited extract from Fr William Grimm MM, subscription journal La Croix International, 18 June 2018
Pope Francis accepted the resignations of three Chilean bishops in connection with the cover-up of sexual abuse by clergy in their country.     One bishop was the lightning rod for uproar among Chile’s Catholics because of accusations that as a priest he covered up abuse by a priest who was his mentor. The pope’s appointment of him as a bishop and his initial vehement defense of the man in the face of protests have been the low point of Francis’ papacy.   The other bishops whose resignations were accepted have already reached the episcopal retirement age of 75, so the pope’s having them step down is not going to satisfy critics who point out that cover-ups have been a systemic problem involving more than a handful of bishops.      By having the entire Chilean hierarchy come to Rome, Francis seems to....(source)
Are women 'substantially' incompatible for the priesthood?
Attempts to link maleness and priesthood through the ages have failed the test
Extracts from John Wijngaards, Opinion Piece. Mational Catholic Reporter, 18 June 2018
What do these popes have in common? Nicholas V (1454) authorised Christian conquerors to enslave native peoples. Innocent VIII (1484) endorsed the torture and execution of witches. Benedict XIV (1745) condemned taking interest on capital loans as a mortal sin. Pius IX (1864) declared non-Christians could not obtain eternal salvation. John Paul II (1994) taught that priesthood is reserved only to men.         All defended errors based on a mixture of misread scripture and ill-informed prejudice. The only difference is that whereas the other erroneous teachings have now been discarded by the official church, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith last month still repeated Pope John Paul II's mistaken view.        Archbishop Luis Ladaria writes: "The impossibility of ordaining women belongs to the 'substance' of the sacrament of order, a fact the Church recognizes. She cannot change this substance. … It is not just a question of discipline, but of doctrine." This is a massive claim that needs to be exposed for the fallacy it is.            Take note: the archbishop asserts that the exclusion of women is not just a practical custom going back to Jesus. A fundamental obstacle is at stake, a trait that makes every woman an intrinsic mismatch to the eucharistic priesthood of Christ. What is he talking about?....Some women presided at the Eucharist in early Christian communities. But the Hellenistic-Roman context in which the church grew up soon strangled such "anomalies."  The reason? Women were considered mentally and physically inferior. Roman law deprived them of public office. As Augustine succinctly remarked: "Women rank below men by nature and law."....(more)  Photo: NCR, CNS/Paul Haring

Presentation of the Pontifical Yearbook 2018 and of the "Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae" 2016, 13.06.2018
Whilst perhaps not a headline to command attention the substance of this translated Bulletin from the Holy See Media Office contains a great deal of interesting data on the composition of the Catholic Church and its global demographics.

Extract from Google translation (with caveats on translation accuracy), Holy See Press Office, Saturday 16 June 2018

Edited extract from Google translation (with caveats on accuracy), Holy See Press Office, Saturday 16 June 2018
The Pontifical Yearbook 2018 and the Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae 2016, which was edited by the Central Statistical Office of the Church, are currently being distributed in bookstores, with a delay due to the passage to more advanced methods of editing and production. and performing of the two yearbooks.        The printing work of both volumes was done by the Vatican Press.     From the reading of the data reported in the Pontifical Yearbook, we can deduce some news concerning the life of the Catholic Church in the world, starting from 2017.        During this period, 6 new Episcopal seats and 4 Eparchies were erected; a diocese has been elevated to the Metropolitan Seat and 3 Apostolic Vicariates have been raised to the Diocese.           The statistical data of the Annuarium Statisticum , referring to the year 2016, allow us to update some basic numerical aspects of the Catholic Church in the world context and highlight the most marked and most important trends.    The number of baptized Catholics in the world rose from 1,285 million in 2015 to 1,299 million in 2016, with an overall increase of 1.1%. This increase is lower than the average annual increase recorded during the period 2010-2015 (1.5%); and again this growth is slightly lower than that of the world population between 2015 and 2016; so that the relative presence of baptized Catholics does not diminish by a few thousandths: from 17.73 Catholics per 100 inhabitants in 2015 to 17.67 in the following year.          The distribution of Catholics, according to the different demographic weight of the different continents, is different in the various geographical areas....(more of the Google translation HERE)
Neighbouring Parishes (Yarra Deanery)  "Listening to God by listening to others"
Friday 15 June 2018
As part of its usual rotation arrangements the The Yarra Deanery (chaired by Fr Wayne Edwards of St Pius X Parish Heidelberg) met at the Catholic Parish of Ivanhoe on Wednesday evening and made good progress considering practical ways to encourage and help all people across our neigbouring parishes participate in renewing our Church through processes leading up to the Australian 2020/2021 Plenary Council. Discussion focused on effective ways to encourage easy participation by everyone, supported by provision of accessible information resources relating to what has and hasn't been happening in the Australian Church in current times. This is an important opportunity. The last such review of our Church was 80 years ago.
Cardinals present first draft of blueprint for Vatican reform
Extract from CathNews. Crux, 15 June 2018
The council of nine cardinals, or C9, tasked with advising Pope Francis and shaping the reform of the Roman Curia, has released a first draft of a constitution outlining the Pontiff’s vision for the Vatican.   The proposed document is an Apostolic Constitution, one of the highest forms of papal decrees which usually promulgates significant Church legislation.     For the time being, it is entitled Praedicate Evangelium (Preach the Gospel), and it will be submitted to Francis for review.    “The pope will do what he wants,” said Vatican spokesman Greg Burke, and he will apply “all the opportune or necessary changes”.    The draft offers a guideline to “understand the spirit (of the document) and what is behind the writing,” Mr Burke said, and it lists the “guiding principles” that Francis has offered to inspire the new constitution.    There is no set date as to when to expect the final document, which Mr Burke said still requires “a lot of work,” but it will eventually replace Pastor Bonus, St John Paul II’s 1998 constitution for the Roman Curia.   The cardinals, with the exception of Australian Cardinal George Pell, who remains on leave from his position as Prefect of the Vatican's Secretariat for the Economy as he prepares to face trial on historical child sexual abuse charges, met for three days this week, with the Pope not attending on Wednesday because he was at his weekly general audience in St Peter’s Square....(more)
ACBC President going to Rome
Extract from Media and Communications Office, Melbourne Catholic, 14 June 2018
 ACBC President, Archbishop Mark Coleridge will head to Rome this week to attend a conference of English speaking Catholic leaders to discuss best practice for child safety.     To cooincide with his trip, he has released a video explaining that many of the recommendations given to the Church by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse have already been implemented. Others, however, need deeper conversations and a strategy to be put in place.   He also addresses the issue of the seal of confession, stating 'The Catholic Church does not view the sacramental seal as incompatible with maintaining child safety. The Church is committed to taking all measures to make child safe environments, however there is nothing to suggest that legal abolition of the seal will help that.'....(source)  Photo: Melbourne Catholic.
Protecting children in the church
There is no doubt that the protection of children and youth against sexual violence remains a central problem in the Catholic Church and in society
Limited Extract from Hans Zollner SJ, Vatican City, subscription journal La Croix International,  14 June 2018
The issue of sexual abuse of minors committed by clergy is constantly returning to the forefront of media attention.     Recently, through various news outlets and publications worldwide, this focus has been particularly sustained for the Karadima case in Chile. It's hard to say why that has resonated with people around the world more than other cases have.           The offer of resignation by all Chilean bishops is a sign of huge importance, which is in line with a development that we have seen over the last years. There is no one turning point — the ship of the church is slowly moving in another direction. It is a huge effort, and change is on the way.       For Pope Francis, calling a whole bishops' conference to Rome has been new. John Paul II and Benedict XVI summoned cardinals and bishops to discuss clerical sexual abuse, but this is new for Francis. He takes the problem seriously.     The message is "let us look at the system; let us look at the whole ship." The message communicated by his own behavior is "admit when you have failed and be honest."     Despite everything that has happened in recent months, he gets it, he expresses sorrow, he asks for forgiveness. This is the point: he has a heart. People have the impression that other high-ranking prelates do not have a heart.      There is no doubt that the protection of children and youth against sexual violence remains a central problem in the Catholic Church and in society.....(source)  Image: La Croix International.
Police in Chile raid Catholic Church offices amid abuse investigation
Extract from James Macintyre, The Tablet, 14 June 2018
Police and prosecutors yesterday raided Catholic Church offices in two Chilean cities looking for documents and investigative reports related to the sex abuse scandal that has rocked the country.      The surprise raids took place at the headquarters of the Ecclesiastical Court in Santiago, and the bishop’s office in Rancagua, in the O’Higgins region where 14 priests are accused of having had sexual relations with minors, the Associated Press (AP) reported.     “In Chile, we are all subject to common justice,” said prosecutor Emiliano Arias, who led the raid in Santiago.     Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, the Archbishop of Santiago, said Church officials “gave the prosecutor all the requested documentation”, adding that the officials are “available to cooperate with the civilian justice system in all that is required”.    Last month, all of Chile’s 31 active bishops offered to resign over their collective failure to protect Chile’s children from priests who committed abuse, including rape.    The police raids came as two leading Vatican investigators, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, and Spanish Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu, are in Chile to investigate the sexual abuse of minors committed by clergy.    Scicluna and Bertomeu earlier this year put together a 2,300-page report that led the Pope to realise that he had misjudged the situation in Chile and to concede that he had made “grave mistakes” in previously defending Bishop Barros of Osorno, who is at the centre of cover up claims.   On Monday, Francis accepted the resignation of Barros, along with that of Archbishop Cristián Caro Cordero of Puerto Montt and Bishop Gonzalo Duarte García de Cortázar of Valparaíso. The Pope named a temporary leader for each diocese.   Barros, 61, has been the subject of intense controversy since Francis appointed him bishop of Osorno in 2015 despite objections from local Catholics, the Pope’s own sex abuse prevention advisers and certain other bishops in Chile.   In a letter addressed to Chile's bishops and released by the Vatican in April, Francis said he had made “serious mistakes in the assessment and perception of the situation, especially due to a lack of truthful and balanced information”.....(more)
National apology for child sexual abuse survivors
Extract from CathNews, The Australian, 14 June 2018
The Turnbull Government has promised to deliver a national apology to survivors and victims of institutional child sexual abuse, and their families, later this year, as part of its official response to the royal commission. Source: The Australian.     The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse delivered its findings late last year, giving the commonwealth, state and territory governments six months to respond.    Of the 409 recommendations made, 122 fell wholly or partially under the Commonwealth’s jurisdiction.    “We’ve already acted on many of the recommendations of the commission, but today, we accept or accept in-principle 104 of the remaining 122 recommendations directed wholly or in part to the Australian government,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.     “The additional 18 recommendations have been noted as they require further consideration. We’ve not rejected any of the royal commission’s recommendations.”    Mr Turnbull announced a new federal office to monitor child safety and said he would deliver his national apology on October 22 to coincide with National Children’s Week. He has formed a national apology reference group to ensure the apology meets the expectations of survivors.   “Now that we’ve uncovered the shocking truth, we must do everything in our power to honour the bravery of the thousands of people who came forward,” he said.    On the question of the seal of the confessional, Mr Turnbull said the safety of children must come first, but he acknowledged it was largely an issue for the states to determine and Attorney-General Christian Porter would be talking to the states to try and ensure a harmonised outcome.     Australian Catholic Bishops Conference President, Archbishop Mark Coleridge, welcomed the government’s response to the royal commission , including measures to standardise approaches to child safety and research to help prevent child sexual abuse in the future.   “The Catholic Church has already begun its work to respond to the recommendations of the royal commission. Some of those responses began during the course of the royal commission,” he said....(more)
Catholic Church has begun work on Royal Commission recommendations
Statement from Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge, 13 June 2018
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference welcomes the Turnbull Government’s response today to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, including measures to standardise approaches to child safety and research to help prevent child sexual abuse in the future.     The Catholic Church has already begun its work to respond to the recommendations of the Royal Commission. Some of those responses began during the course of the Royal Commission.     Across the country, child safeguarding offices have been established or strengthened in dioceses, archdioceses and other Catholic organi sations to streamline and centralise work on protecting children and young people in Church settings.     At the national level, Catholic Professional Standards Ltd has been working with Church agencies, other non-government organisations and a number of gover nment agencies to produce consistent n ational s afeguarding s tandards for the Church.    The Catholic Church was the first non-government institution to join the national redress scheme on the national level.    The Church had called for such a scheme over recent years and is firmly committed to providing redress to survivors who were abused in Catholic settings.  The Church also has established the Implementation Advisory Group, made up mostly of lay people, which is helping the bishops decide how to respond to the Royal Commission.  The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference is considering advice from internal and external stakeholders, including the Implementation Advisory Group. The Federal Government’s response will also inform the bishops’ response in important ways.    Regarding the issue of the seal of confession, the Catholic Church does not view the sacramental seal as incompatible with maintaining child safety.    The Church wants measures that will genuinely make environments safer for children. There has been no compelling evidence to suggest that legal abolition of the seal of confession will help in that regard.   Protecting children and upholding the integrity of Catholic sacraments are not mutually exclusive and the Church wants to continue to work with government to ensure both can be achieved and maintained.....(source)
Federal Government formal response to CSA Royal Commision
Edited Extract from ABC News, Wednesday 12 June 2018
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will deliver a national apology to victims of institutional child sexual abuse on October 22 this year.       Key points:    The Federal Government will adopt 104 of 122 recommendations from the royal commission, and is still considering 18; That includes forcing priests to report information revealed to them during confession;  WA will sign on to the national redress scheme, clearing the way for compensation to begin on July 1.       Mr Turnbull this morning outlined the Federal Government's formal response to the five-year Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse.    The Prime Minister said 104 of the commission's 122 recommendations relating to the Commonwealth would be adopted, including the establishment of a national office for child safety.     The Government will consider the other 18 recommendations but noted none had been rejected.    A recommendation to make it an offence to fail to report that a child is at substantial risk is still being considered because states have to all agree on the wording.     The royal commission recommended forcing priests to report information revealed to them by people making confession.    Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter has made it clear he supports the contentious recommendation.    But the Australian Catholic Bishops Office said there had been no compelling evidence to suggest that removing the protection for confession would improve child safety....(more)  Pho to:ABC News  

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Plenary Meeting May 3-10 2018
Extract from and link to ACBC Summary Report, 12 June 2018
On Thursday, May 3 , the Catholic bishops of Australia gathered for the biannual p lenary m eeting at Mary MacKillop Place, North Sydney. The 14 c ommissions of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference held meetings on the first day of the gathering, followed by the Plenary Meeting over the seven subsequent days....(more)

Queen’s Birthday honour for Melbourne’s Fr Joe Caddy
Edited Extract from Media and Communications Office, Melbourne CVatholic, Monday 11 June 2018
"The Reverend Father Joseph CADDY, St Kilda East : For significant service to the community through a range of social welfare initiatives and policy reforms, and to the Catholic Church in Australia."    So reads the Queen's Birthday honour (AM) in the general division of the Order of Australia honour bestowed on Melbourne's Fr Joe Caddy today. Fr Joe is Episcopal Vicar for Social Services in the Melbourne Archdiocese, former CEO of CatholicCare in Melbourne, and is presently parish priest at St Mary’s in East St Kilda.   The citation from the Governor-General's Office lists major areas where Fr Joe has served and led......In acknowledging his award today, Father Caddy said, 'Australia is a wonderful country and so it is a huge privilege to receive this award. In a way it is a recognition of all those who work in the Church and its agencies for a fairer society, especially for those who are poor or in any way disadvantaged.'While I am enormously honoured to receive this recognition I would be even more pleased to see our Australian society step up do more for those who are in need.....The founder of the Vinnies CEO Sleepout, Bernie Fehon, was also awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia, for service to the community through social welfare programs.     Other Catholics who received honours include (but aren't limited to) Sr Joan Evans PVMB AO, Ms Rebecca Davies AO, Deacon Gregory Kerr OAM, Mr William Lovering OAM, Mrs Carmel Nash OAM, the late Mr John O’Brien OAM, Dr Meegodage Senake Perera OAM, Mr Francis Sheehan OAM, Mr Ross Tarlinton OAM, Dr Mark Turkington OAM, Sr Mary D’Apice RSCJ AM, Mrs Margaret MacMillan OAM, and Dr Catherine Day OAM....(more)
The uncertain future of synodality: Polarization and ecclesial paralysis
Limited extract from Massimo Faggioli, subscription journal La Croix International, 11 June 2018
A significant part of Pope Francis’ legacy will be his emphasis on the ecclesiology of synodality and his enhancement of the Synod of Bishops, which he systematically explained in an address in 2015 to mark this permanent institution’s fiftieth anniversary.      Preparations are actively underway for the Synod’s next two gatherings — an ordinary assembly on young people and faith (October 2018)  and a special assembly for the Pan-Amazon Region (October 2019).       But it is not yet clear how far the Jesuit pope is willing to go with his project of making the Church more synodal. Now in the sixth year of his pontificate, the differences between the Synod assemblies under Francis are in marked contrast with those of his predecessors.     There was more genuine and open debate at the assemblies on the family 2014 and 2015, and there was a truly synodal elaboration and reception of the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia.    Yet there has been no radical change in the governance of the Church at the universal level besides the institution of the C9 advisory council of cardinals, but it is showing signs of fatigue.      And at the national and local levels we have still not seen any renewal – or even beginning — of synodality. The Plenary Council that the Church in Australia is planning for 2020 is a one of the notable exceptions....(Source)  Photo: La Croix International.
ACBC biannual meeting reveals focus of Church and structural changes
Edited Extract from Media and Communications Office, Melbourne Catholic, Thursday 7 June 2018
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) ACBC today provided the minutes from the most recent Plenary Meeting of Australia’s Catholic bishops, held in Sydney 3–10 May.      Among the key talking points, the ACBC committed significant time to the issues of child protection and safeguarding. The conference listened to presentations from the Truth, Justice and Healing Council Chair Justice Neville Owen and CEO Francis Sullivan, focussing on the national redress scheme for survivors of child sexual abuse.     The bishops also discussed the place of the Catholic Church in Australian society. Several bishops pointed to the harm caused by the Church’s mishandling of allegations of child sexual abuse and emphasised the need for families, parishes and schools to be supported and nurtured by the Church.    Additionally, the Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life outlined its concern of the widespread effects of mental illness. The Conference shared an interest in exploring what the Church can offer that governments and other entities cannot.    Representatives of Catholic Health Australia and St Vincent’s Health Australia gave a presentation to the Conference detailing the implications of voluntary assisted dying legislation in Victoria.     The bishops also passed a number of motions to restructure some of the 14 current commissions, including the merger of the commissions for Church Ministry and for Evangelisation to become the Bishops Commission for Catholic Life, Evangelisation and Ministry, taking on responsibility for youth.....(MORE)      Read the ACBC Plenary Meeting full report on the ACBC website here
Reporting scheme shouldn't ignore Catholic community's concerns
Extract from Christopher Prowse, The Canberra Times, 6 June 2018
The Barr government's plans to expand the Reportable Conduct Scheme to include religious organisations is to be commended but it should not ignore the concerns of the Catholic community.      The Catholic Church shares the government’s concern to protect the safety of children and wishes to be a part of the solution. The draft laws are a consequence of the profound failure of the leadership of the church and the duty of care we owe to children. It is a failure that will haunt the church for decades, and which has haunted many survivors for even longer.     For these failures, the church is sorry. I am sorry.      Breaking the sacred seal of confession won’t prevent abuse and it won’t help our ongoing efforts to improve the safety of children in Catholic institutions, writes Archbishop Christopher Prowse.    Breaking the sacred seal of confession won’t prevent abuse and it won’t help our ongoing efforts to improve the safety of children in Catholic institutions, writes Archbishop Christopher Prowse.     At the same time, we are doing all that we can to make sure our schools and parishes are safe places and our protocols and procedures for responding immediately to such issues are in place. We have heard the Australian community, including the very concerned Catholic community, we have learned, and responded on a practical level. I am, committed to continuing this important work.    I support the government’s reportable conduct scheme. When the government scheme to report all child abuse allegations to the ACT Ombudsman did not include parishes and communities of faith, I called for that anomaly to be rectified and strengthened. But I cannot support the government’s plan to break the seal on religious confession.....(more)  Photo: The Canberra Times, Michael Rayner
Which way forward on dealing with clergy sex abuse?
Francis has appealed for assistance in combating problems resulting from clericalism, which he blames for the 'culture of abuse' in the Chilean church
Limited extracts from Céline Hoyeau, Paris and Nicolas Senèze, Rome, subscription magazine La Croix International, 6 June 2018
Pope Francis addressed a letter last Thursday to Chilean Catholics, calling on them to join the reform process for a church which has been devastated by sexual abuse scandals.     More broadly, Pope Francis is aiming to put an end to the clericalism he has identified as the main cause of the abuse culture.    Will Chile’s example become a precedent?     The Chilean church has a number of particularities. Fashioned during the 1980s and 1990s by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who was nuncio in Chile before becoming secretary of state for Pope John Paul II, it emerged as a model for Vatican takeovers of Latin American churches during the late 20th century.     Powerful movements developed there promoting an “elite” kind of church in opposition to what were perceived as “problematic” churches.    The outcome was an extreme form of clericalism, which developed to the point that the Chilean bishops did not hesitate to conceal from the pope the abuses they were covering up.     Nevertheless, “Chile is not an isolated case,” according to José Andrés Murillo, a victim of clerical abuse, who is now an organizer of the first meeting of ECA (Ending Clerical Abuse), the international network of associations of victims of abuse in the church, to be held in Geneva this week.....The Chilean situation has clearly illustrated the complexity of the obstacles that Francis is facing and which continue to damage the church reform process he has launched, of which decentralization remains the touchstone.        However, the abuse issue has also revealed a certain incapacity by bishops to effectively implement this decentralization process.      The implementation of Vatican II “opened the door to a very personal style of government by the bishop,” said Msgr. Valdrini.     “By emphasizing the plenitude of the sacrament of orders as the source of the bishop’s power, the Council isolated him from his sacred character,” he said.    “This is why Francis insists so much on synodality,” Msgr. Valdrini said, insisting on the need to reread Pope Francis’ address to the Synod marking the institution’s 50th anniversary in October 2015.     “He particularly emphasized the importance of the advisers to the bishops in which ‘priests and lay people are called to collaborate with (him) for the good of the whole community’,” Msgr. Valdrini said.        Finally, dealing with the abuse crisis could provide an opportunity for Francis to fully implement his reforms.        Although Chile provided a laboratory for Vatican takeovers, the current field of ruins could become a laboratory for the kind of church desired by Francis, including greater involvement of lay people.....(SOURCE)  Photo: La Croix  Pope Francis La Croix Andrew Medichini-AP
Pope’s decision on German bishops document is in line with Vatican II
The decision is full of good sense and aims to assist the German bishops to come to a common decision on Eucharistic sharing
Limited extracts from Nicolas Senèze, Rome, subscription magazine La Croix International, 6 June 2018
Pope Francis has sent the German Catholic bishops back to the drawing board to rework their document on access to the Eucharist for Lutheran spouses in mixed marriage couples.....(source)
Combat self-assurance that has led to an abuse culture in the church
It is necessary for bishops to undergo regular training on the rights of children, the dynamics of abusers, says co-founder of Ending Clergy Abuse network
Limited extracts from Céline Hoyeau, subscription magazine La Croix International, 5 June 2018
In a few days, Chilean sex abuse victim, José Andrès Murillo, will hand over to Pope Francis a letter containing proposals for the battle against abuse in the church.      Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA), the newly formed international network of groups fighting pedophilia in the church, is meeting for the first time in Geneva this week.     In a few days, one of the network’s founders, José Andrès Murillo, who was himself a victim of a former priest in Chile, will hand a letter to Pope Francis outlining a series of proposals for fighting abuse in the Church.    Céline Hoyeau for La Croix interviewed José Andrès Murillo.    La Croix: What is the objective of the Geneva meeting?     José Andrès Murillo: We will discuss ways of combating all forms of abuse, and particularly sexual abuse in a spiritual context.   In addition, we will discuss the problems raised by sects in religious environments, beginning with the Catholic Church.....(source) Photo: La Croix International, José Andrès Murillo, Tiziana Fabi - AFP.
French bishops choose woman as deputy secretary general
Appointment seen as a logical consequence of the implementation of Vatican II
Limited extract from Anne-Bénédicte Hoffner, France, La Croix International, 5 June 2018
In a first for the Bishops Conference of France, its Permanent Council has chosen a woman to replace outgoing deputy secretary general, Father Gérard Le Stang.       Christine Naline, 60, the person chosen for the post, says she is pleased with her appointment but also sees it as a logical consequence of the...(source). Image: La Croix International, Bishops Conference of France (CEF photo)
From our Parish Retreat Day - The Church as a Field Hospital
Friday 1 June 2018                                                                             
"In the course of half a century (and more), I have seen more Catholic corruption than most Catholics read of. I have tasted it. I have been reasonably corrupt myself. And yet I take joy in this Church, this living, throbbing, sinning people of God; I love it with a crucifying passion. Why? For all the Catholic hate, I experience here a community of love. For all the institutional idiocy, I find here a tradition of reason. For all the individual repressions, I breathe here an air of freedom. For all the fear of sex, I discover here the redemption of my body. In an age so inhuman, I touch here the tears of compassion. In a world so grim and humourless, I share here rich joy and earthly laughter. In the midst of death, I hear here an incomparable stress on life. For all the apparent absence of God, I sense here the presence of Christ."  - Jesuit priest Walter Burghardt
 Institutions follow Catholics, join redress scheme
Extract from CathNews, The Canberra Times, 1 June 2018
Four out of five child sexual abuse survivors will be covered by the national redress scheme, after the Anglican Church, Salvation Army, YMCA and Scouts Australia joined the Catholic Church in endorsing it. Source: Canberra Times.    Flanked by institution representatives in Canberra, Social Services Minister Dan Tehan said those who had yet to sign up would be judged by the public and thanked those who had.      "For owning up to past wrongs, to owning up to behaviour that can only be described as despicable and deplorable, to turn a page," Mr Tehan said.    The Anglican Church had reached an "in-principle agreement" to join, a day after the Catholic Church said it would sign up to the $3.8 billion scheme.      The YMCA also said yesterday it was working with all 19 YMCAs across Australia to help ensure it can be part of the scheme, once it is expected to start next month.      Scouts Australia chief commissioner Neville Tomkins praised the government for providing the scheme to recognise the impact of "horrific crimes".      Major Brad Halse said the Salvation Army was "profoundly sorry" for the abuse children suffered, and his organisation wants to be ready for the redress scheme from July 1.           Legislation to enable the opt-in scheme passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday night, and Mr Tehan said the scheme could begin on July 1 if it passed the Senate....(more)