Category Archives: ACBC agency news

Church Welcomes Government’s Refugee Resettlement Deal with United States

bigstock-american-immigration-110906003_200“The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO) welcomes the announcement by Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and Minister for Immigration, Peter Dutton that the Government will offer those on Manus Island and Nauru a one-off deal to resettle in the United States of America.”

“The ACMRO is grateful to the USA for accepting to resettle asylum seekers and opening its doors and welcoming those who have been awaiting settlement after many years of detention.”

“The ACMRO, however, is disappointed that Australia did not take the step of settling at least some of those on Manus Island or Nauru in Australia, showing other nations that we are accepting our fair share of the current refugee crisis. Continue reading

Media Statement from Bishop Vincent Long ofm conv

bigstock-hundreds-of-immigrants-are-in-102784622_200“The announcement by Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and Minister for Immigration, Peter Dutton that the Government will introduce proposed legislation banning those who have arrived to Australia by boat from 19 July 2013 onwards from ever being able to apply for a visa to Australia is deeply disappointing.”

“Seeking asylum even by boat is not illegal. It is a basic human right. Yet not content with demeaning them, the Australian government now want to introduce laws that will ban them from ever coming here.” Continue reading

Bishop Brady Celebrates Mass for Holy Father’s Jubilee for Prisoners

yearofmercy200x200Celebrating the Jubilee for Prisoners on Sunday 6 November, Bishop Terry Brady, the Australian Catholic Bishops Delegate for Prisoners, preached the homily below during Sunday evening Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney. 

Pope Francis has set aside this 32nd Sunday in the Church’s year; throughout the World as a special day of recognition for Prisoners and their families.

This jubilee day for Prisoners occurs within another special period in the Catholic Church – the Holy Year of Mercy; a time of grace, prayer, forgiveness and compassion. Both these jubilees are to remind us that God’s love is unconditional.

Many people have spent time in jail, including saints and even Jesus himself. The Holy Father’s message is for everyone, regardless of their circumstances, because we all possess human dignity.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Social Justice Statement 2011-2012 “Building Bridges, Not Walls”, raised similar concerns as Pope Francis. Both urged us all to think about the conditions in our prisons, and to ask who are most likely to find themselves there. Continue reading

Prison Chaplains across Australia deliver ‘A Message for Prisoners’ during the Year of Mercy

Prison Chaplains across Australia are delivering a special ‘Message for Prisoners’ from the Catholic Church about love and hope from the Australian Catholic Prisoners Pastoral Care Council.

This message marks the Jubilee for Prisoners chosen by Pope Francis to be celebrated during the Year of Mercy on 6 November 2016.

In his message written for prisoners, Bishop Delegate for the Australian Catholic Prisoners Pastoral Care Council, the Most Reverend Terry Brady said, ‘Pope Francis shows us the importance of accompanying one another in the ups and downs of life. We all stumble; make mistakes; fail others and ourselves. But we are all capable of loving and of experiencing hope’.

Bishop Brady said this special day for prisoners, occurring during the Year of Mercy, invites each one of us to follow the merciful example of God, ‘to forgive and love rather than judge and condemn’.

‘Many people have spent time in jail – including saints and even Jesus himself. His message is meant for everyone, regardless of the circumstances because we all possess human dignity.’ Continue reading

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