Author Archives: ACBC Communications

Statement from the Bishops Commission for Catholic Education: Federal Government Funding Proposals

bigstock--169540202_200The Bishops Commission for Catholic Education, speaking on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, has expressed concern at some elements of the Federal Government’s budget announcement regarding Catholic school funding.

As Bishops, we acknowledge the difficult financial situation currently faced by the Government and the nation. We are fully aware of the need for restraint and responsible stewardship of the nation’s resources. We also acknowledge the Government’s recognition, in its funding proposals, of its responsibility to facilitate parental choice in the matter of education. It is this principle that undergirds the now well-established practice of funding a Government education system and a Catholic education system, as well as hundreds of Independent schools.

We are encouraged that the Government has now announced that there will be a minimum funding indexation for all Australian schools in the medium to long term. The Government’s proposed floating indexation rate had been creating uncertainty for schools, school systems and families. Continue reading

Budget 2017: Fairness and compassion should be the cornerstones of our society

bigstock--166382459_200Fairness and compassion should be the cornerstones of our society. How we treat our poorest and most vulnerable is a measure of our commitment to a fair and just society.

Today, Archbishop Denis Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said, the Catholic Bishops welcome the government’s commitment to fully fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme and its housing measures to help people secure more affordable housing.

The Bishops acknowledge the government’s decision to remove earlier measures from the 2014-15 budget that may have affected families and the vulnerable in our society.

For those on the very margins of our society, especially those with no prospect of meaningful work, the budget offers no new hope.

‘A lack of regard for the poor and marginalised alienates them from society rather than allowing them to participate fully within it,’ Archbishop Hart said. Continue reading

Registration opens online for the Australian Catholic Youth Festival

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP

With seven months to go, online registration officially opened this morning for the Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF) in Sydney from 7-9 December 2017.

Among the first to register were a number of the Bishops of Australia while gathered in Sydney for their biannual Plenary Meeting.

The Festival registration process can be completed on mobile or tablet devices. Alternatively, groups and individuals can register online at, www.acyf.org.au.

Groups are encouraged to register early with an additional incentive of a complimentary registration per organisation, for all groups of more than ten, that register before 31 May 2017. Continue reading

Cardinal Sandri encourages Eastern Catholics in Australia

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri addresses the Australian Bishops

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri addresses the Australian Bishops

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, delivered an address at the Plenary meeting of the Australian Bishops Conference today, 10 May, in Sydney.

Over the past few days, accompanied by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Tito Yllana, Cardinal Sandri has visited the five Eastern Eparchys in Australia; Maronite, Melkite, Ukrainian, Chaldean and Syro-Malabar communities.

Cardinal Sandri shared reflections with the bishops about the situation of Christians in the Middle East with a particular focus on Iraq and Syria. He also spoke about the presence of Eastern Catholics in Australia. He thanked the bishops, ‘for the beautiful book “Eastern Catholic Churches in Australia“, that you have published: I hope it will be an example also for other Episcopal Conference’. Continue reading

Bishops launch new norms and guidelines for the permanent diaconate

IMG_9345_200The Australian Bishops officially launched new norms and guidelines for the permanent diaconate during their plenary meeting in Sydney on May 8.

Deacon Tony Aspinall, National Coordinator of the Permanent Diaconate joined Bishop Peter Ingham, Outgoing Chairman of the Bishops Commission for Church Ministry to launch the guidelines following a special Mass with deacons at Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel in Sydney.

Deacons Tony Hoban and Roberto Corpuz joined the bishops at the launch along with Fr Greg Bourke, Executive Secretary of the Bishops Commission for Church Ministry.

The ‘Norms for the Formation of Permanent Deacons and Guidelines for the Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons’ were developed by the Australian Bishops following the publication of a Vatican document providing clarity about the formation of deacons. Each bishops’ conference was encouraged to develop their own guidelines. Continue reading

Recognising the vision of Sr Clare Condon SGS

Archbishop Denis Hart and Sr Clare Condon SGS

Archbishop Denis Hart and Sr Clare Condon SGS

During the annual meeting of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia on May 6 in Sydney, the vision, commitment and work of Sr Clare Condon SGS was recognised and acknowledged.

Sr Clare has recently retired as Co-Chair of the National Committee for Professional Standards; a joint committee of Catholic Religious Australia and the Australian Catholic Bishops.

The committee was established to oversee the development of policies, principles and procedures in responding to Church-related abuse complaints. The committee’s purpose is to ensure pastoral care for victims and survivors of sexual and physical abuse by church personnel.

Speaking as President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Hart said, ‘Together with Bishop Bill Wright, Sr Clare Condon has provided wise and compassionate leadership to the National Committee for Professional Standards since 2012. In fact, Sr Clare Commenced as Co-Chair in the same month that Prime Minister Gillard announced the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Sr Clare Condon SGS and Archbishop Philip Wilson

Sr Clare Condon SGS and Archbishop Philip Wilson

‘Sr Clare came to the position having retired as the President of Catholic Religious Australia in 2010 and while serving as a board member of Catholic Church Insurance until 2016. And all of this while Congregational Leader of the Sisters of the Good Samaritans, the first religious institute that commenced life in Australia. Today, besides members in all Australian mainland States and Territories, it has local members in Japan, Philippines and Kiribati.’ Continue reading

New Catholic Women’s Mentoring Program announces BBI as inaugural partner

Fellowship2015-group-300x200-thumbThe Australian Catholic Women’s Mentoring program is delighted to welcome BBI-The Australian Institute of Theological Education (BBI) as its inaugural annual partner for 2017/2018.

Launching in late May 2017, the Australian Catholic Women’s Mentoring program is a national program aimed at building the skills, confidence and networks of Australian Catholic women and encouraging them in their faith.

The program aims to empower women to use their gifts and talents to make meaningful and significant contributions to the Australian Church and, in turn, have a positive impact upon Australian society. Continue reading

Destroy human trafficking by 2030, Catholic Bishops say

Bishop Terry Brady

Bishop Terry Brady

Australia’s national policy should be directed to destroying human trafficking by 2030, Bishop Terry Brady told a parliamentary inquiry today.

Bishop Brady was giving evidence on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement in Sydney at their hearing on human trafficking. Bishop Brady is Chair of the Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life.

‘Australians have a moral imperative to eradicate the injustice of human trafficking and modern slavery,’ Bishop Brady said. ‘If we know that the human dignity of people is being harmed in this way, we should do what we can to free them from that ill-treatment.

‘As an example to others and to spur reform in Australia, the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney announced in March that it would slavery-proof its supply chains. Continue reading

Bishop Timothy Harris Ordained Sixth Bishop of Townsville

Bishop Tim Harris being congratulated by Bishop Peter Ingham

Bishop Tim Harris being congratulated by Bishop Peter Ingham

The episcopal ordination of the Most Reverend Timothy Harris as the sixth Bishop of Townsville took place today, on the Feast of St Philip and St James, at the Ryan Catholic College in Townsville.

Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge, was the principal consecrator of the ceremony. The co-consecrators were Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, Apostolic Nuncio to Australia and James Foley, Bishop of Cairns, in the presence of Cardinal John Ribat MSC, Archbishop of Port Moresby, Fr Mick Lowcock who has been Diocesan Administrator since the death from cancer of Bishop Michael Putney three years ago. They were joined by priests of the Diocese of Townsville and clergy from the Archdiocese of Brisbane and visiting priests. Continue reading

Church needs to engage marginalised young Australians

Ashleigh Green

Ashleigh Green

From 5th to 9th April, I had the great honour of being the Australian Youth Delegate at the conference, ‘From Krakow to Panama: The Synod Journeying with Young People,’ held in Rome.

Organised by the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life in collaboration with the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, the conference was attended by 270 delegates from 103 countries. Significantly, over half of the delegates were young people.

When we arrived at the conference venue on Tuesday afternoon, few of us knew what to expect. Some had travelled 30 hours to be there, others just one hour, but we had one thing in common – we had big dreams for the Church and we craved the opportunity to be heard. 

Two days were devoted to discussions about the upcoming Synod of Bishops on ‘Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment.’ I delivered a presentation on my hopes for the Synod and the Year of Youth, with my focus being the need to engage our most marginalised young Australians.

As a social worker, I work with young people in Out of Home Care and families in crisis. I urged that we create new and welcoming spaces in the Church that meet our young, disadvantaged Australians where they are at.  Continue reading

New mentoring program for Australian Catholic women set to launch

Christine Pace

Christine Pace

A new mentoring program, aimed at helping to build the skills and faith of Australian Catholic women so they can have a positive impact in both the Church and wider society, is set to be launched in May.

The Australian Catholic Women’s Mentoring Program is the initiative of Christine Pace and other members of the Young Catholic Women’s Interfaith Fellowship for 2015/16.

It will be launched on Saturday, May 20 during the group’s final residential gathering at Mary MacKillop Place, North Sydney. Senator Deborah O’Neill will be guest speaker.

Christine says the idea for the mentoring program sprang, in part, from the conversations at the last Catholic Women’s Colloquium.

“At the Colloquium, a lot of women were talking about the need for women to get together and support themselves and organise themselves to have an impact in the Church,” she says.

“And as I thought about that, I thought the answer to that is a mentoring program, which would provide a structured way for women to get together in faith and grow in confidence and skills in whatever area they are in.” Continue reading

Cosmos named ACBC Official Tour Operator for World Youth Day, Panama 2019

28164636443_5d1773f074_o_200Cosmos will be the official tour operator to coordinate the Australian pilgrimage to World Youth Day (WYD) 2019 in Panama, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, the Australian Catholic Bishops Delegate for Youth announced today.

After facilitating a rigorous process of informing, identifying and selecting a company to support the Australian pilgrimage, the Australian Bishops selected Cosmos as the company that will manage up to 30 groups and over 1,000 pilgrims.

Cosmos managed the successful Australian pilgrimages to WYD 2016 in Krakow, as the ACBC Tour Operator. Cosmos is continuing to build on its extensive experience in offering affordable tours across the globe, which includes a range of pilgrimage experiences. Cosmos caters for over 40,000 clients each year and is part of the Globus Family of Brands, one of the world’s largest touring companies.

Archbishop Anthony said, “I am happy to announce the appointment of Cosmos as our tour operator for WYD 2019 in Panama as it provides young people and the Church in Australia a great opportunity to encounter the Catholic Church in Central America and to encounter Pope Francis through the WYD experience. Continue reading