Author Archives: ACBC Communications

Bond strengthens between Church and Australia’s First Peoples

A connection between Gospel values and the core tenets of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life – family, spirituality and culture – is attracting more of Australia’s First Peoples to the Catholic faith.

Australia’s First Peoples now constitute more than 130,000 of all Catholics in Australia and the numbers are increasing, according to the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC), a peak advisory body to Australia’s bishops. Continue reading

Youth ministry gathering marks 10 years since WYD in Sydney Office for Youth

Bishop Mark Edwards

Ten years since the first national gathering of youth ministers soon after World Youth Day in Sydney, delegates will meet in Parramatta in September to identify areas for future growth and to contribute to Plenary Council 2020 discussions.

More than 300 delegates who work with young people in parishes, schools, communities, universities and vocations are expected to attend the Australian Catholic Youth Ministry Convention (ACYMC). Continue reading

Geraldton Diocese gives strong country voice towards Plenary Council Plenary Council 2020

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.

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.” Continue reading

Catholic groups want anti-slavery legislation strengthened

Peak Catholic groups are concerned the Modern Slavery Bill 2018, currently before federal Parliament, could become a “toothless tiger” if their recommendations to the inquiry are not adopted.

Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH) and other Church groups have made submissions strongly supporting the legislation, but have urged politicians to make changes to protect the vulnerable. Continue reading

Church groups rally to help drought-affected communities

Bathurst Bishop Michael McKenna

Australian Catholic social services, individual parishes and dioceses have swung into action to assist regional and rural communities suffering hardship due to prolonged drought.

In light of the current crippling eastern seaboard drought affecting rural and regional communities from northern Victoria to Queensland, the Catholic Social Services Australia network has again called for a reinstatement of Federal-government support for its rural assistance and counselling programs. Continue reading

Catholic communicators to focus on hope-filled message Australian Catholic Media Council

Catholic News Service editor-in-chief Greg Erlandson, a keynote speaker at the Australian Catholic Communications Congress

Restoring hope and trust in the world, the Church and the media will be the focus of a gathering of Australian Catholic communicators in Brisbane in September.

The Australian Catholic Communications Congress, an initiative of the Australian Catholic Media Council, will draw delegates from across the Church – communications professionals, journalists, priests and parish pastoral workers, but also members of the lay faithful. Continue reading

Survey explores young people’s hopes and challenges Office for Youth

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, the Bishops’ Delegate for Youth, says the largest survey of young Catholics ever conducted will further shape the Church’s engagement with young people and help the bishops tackle some of the many challenges young people face in contemporary society.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference last year initiated a survey of people aged 16 to 29 as part of international preparations for the Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment, which will be held in October this year. Continue reading

Momentum building as Plenary Council marks two-month milestone Plenary Council 2020

Thousands of people from across Australia have taken time in the two months since the Plenary Council 2020 officially launched at Pentecost to consider the future of the Catholic Church.

In May, the Listening and Dialogue phase of the Plenary Council began, with resources created to help people across the country participate in a prayerful conversation to consider the question: “What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?” Continue reading

The Church is for life — and life to the full Humanae Vitae 50th anniversary

Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae was published 50 years ago this month.

by Steven Buhagiar

In Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis reminds us that “we need to return to the message of the encyclical Humanae Vitae”. (82)

How are we to understand this call? I think the key is to be found in the Pope’s recent statement to doctors that “the Church is for life!” It always has been. As the Scriptures say: “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” Continue reading

PROCLAIM 2018 Conference launches Listen as Plenary Council song Plenary Council

Hundreds of people gathered in Brisbane for the 2018 PROCLAIM Conference yesterday witnessed the first screening of a new music video for the Plenary Council 2020.

PROCLAIM, the biennial national evangelisation conference, this year has a particular focus on the Plenary Council process and how it can help renew the Catholic Church in Australia. Continue reading

Seafarers’ welfare must be supported: Cardinal Sea Sunday

As the Catholic Church in Australia and many other countries prepares to celebrate Sea Sunday on July 8, Cardinal Peter Turkson has called for international labor agreements aimed at supporting those who work on the seas to be upheld.

Cardinal Turkson, prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Human Integral Development, said some companies are not allowing seafarers time ashore when their vessel is in port, while others aren’t allowing chaplains and other support personnel to visit the ship.

He said that such behaviour is in breach of the spirit of aspects of the Maritime Labor Convention aimed at improving the wellbeing of seafarers.

“Crews should not be denied the freedom of coming ashore likewise chaplains and ship visitors should not be denied the right to go on board of vessels,” Cardinal Turkson said.

Cardinal Turkson said those who work on the seas — on merchant, fishing, passenger or war vessels — are also often subject to considerable dangers, not least from piracy.

He said piracy is inevitably related to political instability, but added that changes in a number of maritime industries, including fishing, had allowed “unscrupulous individuals” to convince people who were unemployed to become pirates.

Cardinal Turkson also lamented statistics that point to an increase in the number of seafarers who are abandoned. Statistics show more than 1,300 people were abandoned for a variety of reasons in the five years till 2017 — often without having been paid their wages, without food and without supplies for an onward journey.

In many such cases, Cardinal Turkson explained, the Church’s ministry to seafarers through its Stella Maris centres has been critical in providing material, spiritual, legal and psychological support.

Sea Sunday, celebrated on July 8 this year, includes an appeal to support the work in those centres and the chaplains and managers who work in Australian ports.

Many parishes will hold special collections on Sea Sunday for that purpose, or people can visit the Apostleship of the Sea website for information on the ministry and how to support its work.

Last month, Bishop Bosco Puthur, the Bishop Promoter for the Apostleship of the Sea in Australia, spoke about the critical work carried out in and from the Stella Maris centres.

“The men and women who spend weeks or months on end travelling the oceans have often left family and other loved ones behind, and they often don’t have access to their religious practices,” Bishop Puthur said.

“For those people for whom faith is integral to their life, being helped to access the sacraments after a long journey is a source of great comfort and joy.”


Bishops back efforts to eliminate modern slavery

Image with ACBC logo and 'Media Statement' written under itThe Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has supported new legislation to help eradicate the scourge of modern slavery.

The ACBC has been advocating legislation to combat slavery for a number of years. The bishops acknowledged the long-term and expert work of Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH) and the Archdiocese of Sydney’s Anti-Slavery Taskforce to achieve this outcome. Continue reading