Category Archives: ACBC agency news

Breathing with two lungs, the Ecumenical journey of the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches

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Prof Philipp Renczes

On 1 November 2016, the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches will host a special address by Professor Philipp Renczes, a Jesuit priest from Germany. Entitled, ‘Breathing with two lungs: The Ecumenical journey of the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches, in particular with the Antiochan Orthodox and the Oriental Churches’.

All are welcome to attend this special event hosted by the Australian Catholic Bishops Commission for Ecumenism and Inter-religious Relations (BCEIR) and the Conference of Bishops and Representatives of the Middle Eastern Apostolic Churches in Australia and New Zealand. It will take place at the Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of St Thomas the Apostle, Bossley Park, NSW, commencing at 7.30pm.

Fr. Renczes was born on March 15, 1964 in Stuttgart. He is Professor of Dogmatic and Patristic Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University and Visiting Professor of Patristics at the “Augustinianum” and at the Pontifical Oriental Institute; Director of the Cardinal Bea Centre for Judaic Studies and Head of the Department of Patristic Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. Continue reading

30th Anniversary of JPII’s Visit to Alice Springs

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JPII took a large gum branch, reached into a clay coolamon & blessed the crowd

November 2016 marks 30 years since (now Saint) Pope John Paul II issued his ground breaking address to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Blatherskite Park, Alice Springs.

On 29 November 1986, the Holy Father told the indigenous community, “Your culture, which shows the lasting genius and dignity of your race, must not be allowed to disappear. Do not think that your gifts are worth so little that you should no longer bother to maintain them. Share them with each other and teach them to your children. Your songs, your stories, your paintings, your dances, your languages, must never be lost”. Continue reading

Raiders make it all the way to the Vatican

James Parker, Archbisop V & Mons Woods.

James Parker, Cardinal Ravasi & Mons Woods with the Raiders jersey

Monsignor John Woods, Priest of St Christopher’s Cathedral, Canberra and Chaplain to the Canberra Raiders rugby team, attended the inaugural Sport at the Service of Humanity conference at the Vatican in October.

The conference was the first global conference on faith and sport, with the Vatican hosting representatives from across the world to affirm the power of sport for human good.

The purpose of the Conference was to unite people from every faith, nationality and culture through sport, in a common goal: To help the ones who need it most, especially the marginalised and the disadvantaged, and to encourage everyone to develop their life skills, character, values, and enjoyment of life itself, through sport.

Mons Woods’ experience will inform the Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life who are in the process of establishing a working group to articulate a framework for a future Advisory Group on Sport & Health within the Bishops Conference. Continue reading

It Is Time To Bring Them Here

bigstock-refugees-103545785_200 One of the greatest crises of our day is the plight of people forced from their own countries by war, persecution or poverty and forced to live without a home, without safety and often separated from their families, Archbishop Denis Hart, President, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said today (13 October 2016).

Pope Francis has called on Catholics to welcome such vulnerable people as our brothers and sisters. In Australia, we do not have to directly meet the responsibilities that many other nations bear. But we do bear the shame of the expulsion and harsh treatment of the people who sought our protection only to be detained on Nauru and Manus Island.

International agencies have been appalled by the conditions under which they live and the effects on their health, spirits and self-respect. Pope Francis, to whom people detained on Manus Island have written, has also expressed his deep concern. The human costs on the detainees are mounting by the day.

The Australian Catholic Bishops also deplore the detention of our brothers and sisters on Nauru and Manus Island. While recognising the effort of the Government to find a solution, we say that enough is enough. We call on the Government to bring offshore detainees to Australia while awaiting further decisions on their future. Continue reading

Bishop Long welcomes government commitment towards refugees

bigstock-125710307_200The announcement by Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, at the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees in New York that Australia will maintain its humanitarian refugee intake at 18,750 from mid-2018 is to be welcomed, Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen ofm conv said today.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, who also attended the summit, reminded those present that, ‘The primary cause of today’s refugee and migrant crisis is man-made: namely, wars and conflicts’, the Bishops Delegate for Migrants and Refugees said.

‘The solution to the refugee crisis is not simply accepting refugees who are fleeing their country, but promoting peace in their homes so that they do not have to leave in the first place.’

‘To this end, we are encouraged by the Prime Minister’s pledge in providing an additional 130 million dollars in support of peace building and assistance to refugees.’

‘Australia, which has had a long tradition of welcoming and resettling refugees throughout its history, can be more generous and humane towards asylum seekers and refugees.’ Continue reading

National Fertility Conference to focus on Infertility in the Year of Mercy

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-3-42-47-pm_200Bishop Mark Edwards, a member of the Bishops Commission for Family, Youth and Life will deliver the opening address at the National Fertility Conference in Melbourne this weekend, 16-18 September 2016.

On Friday evening, Bishop Edwards will address a public forum on the topic, ‘Infertility in the Year of Mercy- a Pastoral Response’.

The journey of infertility is a difficult one affecting one-in-six couples. Our technological culture promotes treatments like IVF which, unfortunately, have a low success rate and bypass the underlying cause(s).

Couples who prefer to conceive naturally, because of their religion or a desire for a healthier outcome, may struggle to find medical assistance, which aims to restore their fertility and offer hope.

In recent years, the number of Australian health care practitioners dedicated to a restorative approach to solving infertility has grown. The network includes doctors and members of the three national fertility awareness agencies*. Since 2014, they have met annually to promote therapies for infertility which are respectful of physical, mental and spiritual health, relationships and embryonic life. Continue reading

The Spirituality of Ageing

Sr Patty Fawkner SGS delivered a thoughtful and entertaining address at the launch of 'A Place at the Table: Social justice in an ageing society', the Australian Catholic Bishops annual Social Justice Statement 2016-17.

Sr Patty Fawkner SGS delivered a thoughtful and entertaining address at the launch of ‘A Place at the Table: Social justice in an ageing society’, the ACBC Social Justice Statement 2016-17.

When John Ferguson invited me to speak today [6 September 2016] about the “spirituality of ageing”, I told him I wasn’t qualified and suggested others. John persisted and I thought, perhaps I have some ageing qualifications. The average age of the members of my congregation is 75; I’ve lived with many elderly people; my mother is 94; last year the Commonwealth Government told me I am officially aged and I’ve just learned that I fall in the category of the “young-old”.

An African proverb says, “The death of an old person is like the loss of a library”. The Australian Bishops concur that the wisdom and lived experience of older people are priceless treasures. Briefly, I wish to share some stories from the library of elders I know, and the wisdom I find there for our human journey which is, of course, a spiritual journey. Continue reading

Scale of migration from Syria is staggering, Bishop Rabbat told Colloquium on Christian-Muslim relations

Bishop Robert Rabbat

Bishop Robert Rabbat

The sixth annual Bishop Joe Grech Memorial Colloquium has been held in Melbourne, at Australian Catholic University. This year, the Australian Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO) convened the Colloquium, in association with ACU.

Father Maurizio Pettena, Director of the ACMRO, introduced the speakers, His Eminence Bishop Robert Rabbat, the Eparch of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church of Australia and New Zealand, Mr Bayram Aktepe, President of the Islamic Council of Victoria, and Scalabrian priest Father Fabbio Baggio, a dean and professor at the Pontifical University in Rome.

The theme for the 2016 Colloquium was ‘Ethics and Migration’, with the topic, ‘Christian-Muslim relations in a persecuted region and the impact on immigration.’ In his introductory remarks,   Father Pettena reminded the audience that this week is the week leading up to the 102nd World Day for Migrants and Refugees on Sunday 28 August.

Pope Francis has chosen the theme for this year’s World Day: ‘migrants and refugees challenge us – the response of the gospel of mercy’. Justice without mercy, says Pope Francis, does not constitute true and lasting justice. Continue reading

Migrants and Refugees challenge us to enact a culture of encounter, welcome and acceptance, says Bishop Long

ACBC_OpIn this Year of Mercy, with many newly arrived migrants and refugees in Australia, we must enact a culture of encounter, welcome and acceptance in practical, personal and communal ways, says Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv.

Speaking ahead of Migrant and Refugee Sunday on 28 August 2016, the Bishops Delegate for Migrants and Refugees drew attention to the example set by Pope Francis on his way back to the Vatican from the Greek Island of Lesbos in April this year, ‘he brought with him 12 Syrian refugees, all of whom are Muslim and had their homes destroyed by war’.

‘This is the international context for this year’s Migrant and Refugee Sunday, which will be celebrated on 28 August in Australia. Although we are far removed from the crisis, we are challenged to open our hearts to the sufferings of others.

‘Compassion – which literally means to suffer with – is the hallmark of Christianity. In keeping with the Jubilee Year of Mercy, the Holy Father has chosen as its theme: Migrants and Refugees challenge us: The Response of the Gospel of Mercy.’ Continue reading

Migration Colloquium to Focus on Christian-Muslim Relations in a Persecuted Region

Bishop Robert Rabbat

Bishop Robert Rabbat

On Thursday 25 August, the sixth annual Bishop Joe Grech Memorial Colloquium will draw attention to Christian-Muslim Relations in a Persecuted Region and the Impact of these relations on Immigration.

Keynote speakers; Bishop Robert Rabbat, Melkite Catholic Eparch of Australia and New Zealand, Mr Bayram Aktepe, President of the Islamic Council of Victoria, and Fr Fabio Baggio, a missionary of the Scalabrinian Congregation, will present different perspectives on Christian-Muslim relations and debate the impact of such relations on immigration.

Hosted by the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO), the Colloquium will take place at the Philippa Brazil Lecture Theatre, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne. Commencing at 7pm, the Colloquium is open to the public and free to attend. A questions and answers session will follow the keynote addresses. Continue reading