Category Archives: Bishops

Pope Francis appoints Fr Michael Morrissey, Ninth Bishop of Geraldton

Bishop-Elect Michael Morrissey

Bishop-Elect Michael Morrissey

The Holy Father has today appointed Fr Michael Morrissey, the Vicar General and Chancellor of the Diocese of Geraldton, as the ninth Bishop of Geraldton.

Bishop-Elect Morrissey is the first Bishop of Geraldton who was born, raised, ordained and has ministered in the Diocese.

Archbishop Denis Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference welcomed the appointment, ‘On behalf of the Australian bishops, I join priests and people in welcoming Fr Michael Morrissey as Bishop of Geraldton. He has long priestly experience of Geraldton and already has been involved with so many people young and old.

‘Fr Michael is a worthy successor after the twenty-five year term of Bishop Bianchini who has governed the diocese with so much love and care. We wish him many years of Gospel service as the new bishop.’

The Bishop-Elect said his appointment recognises ‘all those small communities scattered throughout the diocese, including Yalgoo, my home town where I grew up on a sheep station’. Following in Bishop Justin Bianchini’s footsteps is very special, he said after working closely with him for the past 25 years. ‘I hope to continue the legacy of Bishop Justin listening to the people and seeing where they would like to go in their faith and life.’ Continue reading

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

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

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

Australia’s Catholic bishops speak out for persecuted people

FullSizeRender_200Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world, Australia’s Catholic bishops have told a Parliamentary inquiry.

More than 100,000 Christians are killed each year because of their faith and the bishops highlighted how Christians had been driven from the cradle of Christianity in the Middle East.

The Australian Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade is holding an ‘Inquiry into the status of the human right to freedom of religion or belief’. The inquiry this week published the Bishops’ submission.

But Christians are by no means the only people suffering for their faith, with the submission also condemning the persecution of Yazidis, Baha’is, Jews, Muslims and others.

“Understanding and recognising the full complexity of the right to freedom of religion or belief will be increasingly important to Australia negotiating its way in the world,” said Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president, Archbishop Denis Hart. Continue reading

How should we care for migrants and refugees?

Cardinal Peter Turkson

Cardinal Peter Turkson

The care of migrants and refugees coming to Australia is one of the most divisive issues in Australian public debate.

Pastoral care of migrants and refugees will be top of the agenda for the Church in Australia later this year as Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana and Cardinal Orlando Quevedo from the Philippines arrive in Melbourne to give keynote speeches at a national conference on the issue.

The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office, an agency of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, will host this timely conference at the Australian Catholic University, Melbourne Campus, on July 19 and 20.

Cardinal Turkson will deliver a keynote address focusing on his role as Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development within the Roman Curia. The Dicastery is in effect a department to promote the care of vulnerable and marginalised people. The Ghanaian Cardinal will also reflect on his work with Pope Francis. Continue reading

Statement from Archbishop Denis Hart, President, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference at the conclusion of case study 50 of the Royal Commission

Archbishop Denis Hart

Archbishop Denis Hart

As the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse concludes its final hearing into the Catholic Church, I acknowledge the cooperation of witnesses, agencies, religious institutes and dioceses across the Church in Australia.

I particularly want to acknowledge the bravery of the survivors of child sexual abuse who have given evidence, not just in case studies involving the Catholic Church, but across the more than 50 case studies so far that have examined the many different institutions throughout Australia.

Over the past three weeks, more than 70 Church leaders and professionals have appeared before the Commissioners sharing expertise, identifying failings and describing best practice for the future of our Church structure, culture and governance.

The final hearing discussed many aspects and characteristics of Church and clergy life including: Canon Law, the confessional, celibacy, clericalism, formation, professional support and supervision.

What we have learnt from our involvement in the Royal Commission case studies and our own work in coming to a better understanding of the many different issues that have contributed to child sexual abuse in the Church will inform our future policies and practices.

The work of the Commission staff and the Commissioners themselves has no doubt been gruelling and challenging and, along with the rest of the Australian community, we owe them a debt of gratitude for their years of service.

I also acknowledge the work of Truth, Justice and Healing Council in responding to the Royal Commission on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia. Looking ahead, we turn our focus to the newly established Catholic Professional Standards Ltd to ensure child protection standards are set and audited at the highest level.

As the President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference I make this commitment to the survivors of child sexual abuse, the Catholic and broader community: I will do all within my power to ensure the abuse of the past never happens again, that the reforms my fellow bishops and religious leaders have endorsed over the past years will be implemented. I reiterate that the Catholic Church in Australia will continue to support the survivors of child sexual abuse.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference looks forward to responding to the final report and recommendations to Government from the Hon Justice Peter McClellan AM, Chair of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, due to be presented at the end of this year.

 

Pope Francis appoints Fr Timothy Harris, Sixth Bishop of Townsville

Bishop-Elect Timothy Harris

Bishop-Elect Timothy Harris

The Holy Father has today appointed Fr Timothy Harris, a priest of the Archdiocese of Brisbane, as the sixth Bishop of Townsville.

Bishop-Elect Harris is currently the Parish Priest of Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.

Speaking about his new appointment, Bishop-Elect Harris said, ‘I’m very conscious that the Diocese of Townsville has been without a bishop for three years. It has been on all of our minds. If the bishop is a sign of unity, which he is, I hope that I can strengthen the unity of the vast Diocese of Townsville and build on the work of Bishop Michael Putney and, since his death, on the efforts of Diocesan Administrator, Fr Mick Lowcock, the Parish Priest of Mount Isa. Continue reading

Statement from the Truth Justice and Healing Council to the Royal Commission as part of Case Study 50: Catholic Church authorities in Australia

logo-TJHC_200Statement read by Francis Sullivan, CEO, Truth Justice and Healing Council on 6 February 2017

Introduction

Commissioners I make this statement on behalf of the Truth Justice and Healing Council.

When the Truth Justice and Healing Council made its first major submission to this Royal Commission in 2013 it included a nine-point Commitment Statement by the Catholic Church leadership.

This in part said the leaders of the Church in Australia committed themselves to repairing the wrongs of the past, to listening to and hearing survivors, to putting their needs first and to doing everything the Church can to ensure a safer future for children.

Over the past four years, as the Church has been through what many would say has been the most intense and unforgiving examination of almost all aspects of its operations in Australia, the Council has worked hard to hold the Church leadership accountable to these words.

But more than that – to put these words into action.

And having been involved with this Commission from the word go I have seen the Church leadership rise to this challenge. Continue reading