Ursula Stephens to lead Catholic Social Services Australia
Extract from CathNews, ABC Media Blog, 3 May 2019
Former New South Wales senator Ursula Stephens will take over as the new chief executive officer of Catholic Social Services Australia on July 1, it was announced this morning.
Bishops Commission for Social Justice – Mission and Service chair Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv. welcomed Dr Stephens and, on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, wished her well in the new role. CSSA chair Maria Harries said Dr Stephens was chosen from among a field of high-quality candidates, “which is a testament to the work that Catholic social services providers carry out each day across the country”. “The appointment of Dr Stephens promises to enable CSSA to continue to implement its strategic vision of a fairer, more inclusive Australia,” Dr Harries said. Bishop Long’s announcement outlined some of Dr Stephens’ achievements in her time representing the Australian Labor Party, including her work advocating for social inclusion policies while in government. Dr Stephens served in the Australian Senate from 2002 to 2014. Dr Stephens also has experience within the social services sector, in social policy development, government relations and community services more broadly, he explained. Dr Stephens will replace Fr Frank Brennan SJ, who is leaving CSSA to take on the role of rector at Newman College at the University of Melbourne from next year. Bishop Long paid tribute to Fr Brennan as someone who “has been an advocate for marginalised and vulnerable people for decades”. Dr Stephens also praised Fr Brennan, saying she looks forward to taking up the task of “supporting the work and commitment of the CSSA members to improve the lives of so many Australians”....(More). Photo: CathNews
We're waiting on the decision about women deacons
Extract from Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter, Apr 24, 2019
Will he or won't he? That's the question being asked in some circles as the date approaches for the pope's appearance at this year's May 6-10 meeting of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG), the leaders of the world's congregations of Catholic women religious. Every three years the group meets in Rome, and during the last gathering, in answer to a question from the group, Pope Francis agreed that it would be good to appoint a commission to study the history of women deacons. The commission was formed within three months, in August 2016, and last summer, having completed its work, the commission sent a paper to the pope. So the big question this year is: What's Francis going to say about women deacons?....(more)
A monarchical organization, powered by ideology, with promotion by patronage results in bad governance. The Catholic Church has a governance problem. Wilton Gregory has been appointed Archbishop of Washington, DC replacing Cardinal Donald Wuerl. While there will be some disappointed faces amongst younger bishops in the USA, most Catholic commentators are positive about the appointment. At 71 he is old for the job and has only four years till official retirement age. One factor may be a shortage of younger bishops who are in tune with Pope Francis. Therein lies the problem. A monarchical organization combined with appointment by patronage inevitably weakens an organization. The first rule of any Human Resources (HR) department is to get the best person for the job. This entails advertising the job, publishing an accepted set of criteria for......(source). Photo: La Croix International 20190408
Extract from Francis Sullivan, Pearls & Irritations, John Menadue website, 11 March 2019
Since the conviction of Cardinal Pell I have been asked why I remain a Catholic. It is an obvious question. The extent of criminal behaviour and the active cover up by bishops and religious leaders of perpetrators has been breath taking. Ordinary Catholics have been played as mugs by the Church leadership. Why stay? My answer is why not! The abuse scandal has rocked my confidence in the clericalist management of the Church but not my sense of the collective journey I walk with other Catholics. I believe the “assembled walkers” are the Church! I feel no compulsion to leave them. I feel participating in a faith community a vital aspect of my self expression. Being Catholic for me is less a religious tag or a member of a religion and more a chosen pathway of personal and spiritual discovery best undertaken in community. It is my way of living the Gospel. I have found deep comfort in and direction from my faith tradition. I feel nurtured in the sense that I am part of a pilgrim people, ever moving into a better understanding of the divine in my life and an appreciation of what that means for me as person in society. The clerical sex abuse scandal is a crisis primarily about the culture of the Church. It may well cause some to rethink their beliefs and practices, but for me it has been a call to deepen my spiritual practice. To commit to daily meditation and reflection. To draw on the sacramental life of the Church and the richness of scriptural practices like lectio divina. It has been a time to become mature in my faith development, less dependent and literally more adult in my engagement with the institutional Church. I have benefited by being raised as a Catholic and being involved in social and spiritual apostolates of the Church. I have found the wisdom of the teaching and spiritual tradition a rich source of inspiration, information and discernment. At the same time I understand that participation in the Church is a continuum of engagement......(more)
Pope Francis calls for an ‘all-out battle’ against the evil of sexual abuse
Extracts from From Gerard O’Connell, America, The Jesuit Review, 24 February 2019
In his closing talk to the Vatican summit for the protection of minors, Pope Francis offered a wide-ranging analysis of the plague of the sexual abuse of minors in the world and the Catholic Church. He committed the church to do everything possible to eradicate it from within the church itself and from society as a whole. “We are facing a universal problem, tragically present almost everywhere and affecting everyone,” Pope Francis said in a 30-minute talk at the end of Mass, which he celebrated in the Sala Regia, next to the Sistine Chapel, with the patriarchs, cardinals, bishops and priests who had participated in the four-day summit on the protection of minors.........The pope sought to locate the abuse of minors by clergy in the wider reality by showing that the sexual abuse of minors is widespread in the world. “It is difficult to grasp the phenomenon of the sexual abuse of minors without considering power,” he said, “since it is always the result of an abuse of power, an exploitation of the inferiority and vulnerability of the abused, which makes possible the manipulation of their conscience and of their psychological and physical weakness.” He urged all Catholics to help the church be liberated “from the plague of clericalism, which is the fertile ground for all these disgraces.” “I make a heartfelt appeal for an all-out battle against the abuse of minors both sexually and in other areas, on the part of all authorities and individuals, for we are dealing with abominable crimes that must be erased from the face of the earth,” the pope said.....(more). Photo America, Jesuit Giuseppe Lami/Pool Photo via AP
A new Australian Catholic Bishops Conference publication launched last night presents a blueprint for parish communities regarding the stewardship and renewal of existing church buildings. Source: ACBC Media Blog. Bishop Patrick O’Regan, chair of the Bishops Commission for Liturgy, officially launched Fit for Sacred Use: Stewardship and Renewal of Places of Worship during the opening session of the National Liturgical Architecture and Art Council’s (NLAAC) symposium, being hosted at Australian Catholic University’s Melbourne campus. Fit for Sacred Use is the companion document to And When Churches are to Be Built, launched in 2015. The earlier publication had a focus on the construction of new churches; the new volume looks at the redesign of existing churches. Bishop O’Regan said the two publications help improve the “cultural literacy” of people within parish communities and therefore helps them make informed decisions about any reordering of churches.....(more). Modified Photo: MMOCCPI CAD (Creative Art Department!)
January 2019This website is very regularly updated throughout the year (and indeed has been for the last 11 years), except for January when its voluntary operator takes some much needed rest. It will still be updated in January but less regularly than usual unless there is 'breaking news', which is always possible. Particular News items will also be published where possible, as will Prayers Of The Faithful, the weekly Newsletter and some other content. For others also having a rest may we all come back re-energised to face what is likely to be an exciting year for our Parish and wider Church. Meanwhile do keep a close eye on the website.