Category Archives: Bishops

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

Pope Francis appoints Fr Gregory Homeming O.C.D. as sixth Bishop of Lismore

Bishop elect Homeming

Bishop elect Gregory Homeming O.C.D.

Pope Francis has appointed Fr Gregory Homeming O.C.D as the sixth Bishop of Lismore and accepted the resignation of Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett today, 20 December.

Bishop Jarrett has served the Diocese of Lismore for the past 15 years.

Fr Homeming is currently the Regional Vicar of the Discalced Carmelite Friars in Sydney, Australia. Speaking about his appointment today, he said, ‘I am humbled by the news. I knew that I had to say yes after the past 31 years as a Friar. There is a lot that I have to learn. I hope that the people and the priests of the Diocese of Lismore will teach me how to be their bishop.

I have travelled to the Diocese of Lismore many times as Superior of the Discalced Carmelites visiting the Carmelite nuns at Goonellabah, New South Wales’.

Archbishop Denis Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, congratulated Fr Homeming following the announcement. ‘I join the bishops of Australia in rejoicing at the appointment of Fr Homeming as Bishop of Lismore. He brings wide experience as a retreat-giver, spiritual director and leader. His gifts will be a great enrichment to the Church in Australia.’ Continue reading

Archbishop Hart delivers a message for Christmas

Archbishop Denis Hart

Archbishop Denis Hart

Dear Friends,

Christmas is a special time when we remember God’s closeness to us and our responsibility to become peacemakers. In this season of peace and goodwill we see our God, the maker of all things visible and invisible, reduced to the most vulnerable of creatures; another little Middle Eastern boy caught up in homelessness, poverty and a cruel cycle of violence. Yes, our God gave up everything in order to become one with us. You cannot get closer than that! He comes to us, and stays with us, especially in times of difficulty and loneliness. Continue reading

One Year to Go to Australia’s Biggest Catholic Youth Festival in Sydney

acyf17-logo_200One year from today, thousands of young people will gather for the final Mass of the Australian Catholic Youth Festival to be held in Sydney from 7 to 9 December 2017.

The three-day Festival is a youthful and energetic celebration hosted by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in partnership with the Archdiocese of Sydney. The surrounding dioceses and Catholic agencies are generously supporting this whole of Church celebration.

The event will be held at Sydney Olympic Park and at other key locations in the city. It is expected to attract 15,000 young people who will celebrate their faith together while also acknowledging ten years since Sydney hosted World Youth Day in 2008. Continue reading

Catholic Bishops of Australia Extend an Invitation to the Year of Youth 2018

acyf2015_day2_241_200The Catholic Bishops of Australia invite Catholics across the country to join in celebrating a Year of Youth from the beginning of Advent 2017 to the end of 2018.

The Year of Youth celebrates ten years since World Youth Day was hosted in Sydney during 2008.

It will focus on the theme, ‘Open New Horizons for Spreading Joy: Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment’. The emphasis is on local discussion and dialogue in parishes, schools, youth groups and dioceses.

Delivering the invitation, Archbishop Denis Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said, ‘In 2018, we want to engage with youth in new ways and they with us, helping young people to encounter God in Jesus Christ and his Church. Open your hearts to the life God intends for you and so make a real difference in the world’.

On behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Hart said, ‘As Bishops we invite you, the youth of Australia, to open your hearts to Christ. You are deeply loved by Jesus and the Church. We appreciate your gifts and contributions, and we want to journey with you. Continue reading

The Catholic Church Walks Alongside Aboriginal Rebirth

Archbishop Prowse, Elder Tony and Archbishop Yllana.

Archbishop Prowse, Elder Tony and Archbishop Yllana.

HOMILY at St Christopher’s Cathedral, Canberra on the First Sunday of Advent and the 30th Anniversary of St John Paul II’s Speech at Alice Springs.

We have now entered into a new Liturgical Year focussing on the Gospel of Matthew. We begin today our Advent Season.

The Gospel calls us to STAY AWAKE in anticipation for the Lord’s coming. We are to be ‘READY,’…for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour’. It is a time of hope.

Not only is Jesus to come unexpectedly in time, but he comes unexpectedly in appearance. Who would have expected the Almighty Son of God to come unexpectedly as a fragile child in a Bethlehem stable, at an unexpected time of Roman Imperialism in the chaotic religious culture of Judea.

Also today, we welcome Pope Francis’ representative in Australia, our Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency, Archbishop Yllana, as our Principal Celebrant. He is with us because it is a special day for all Australians. We look back to the Pastoral Visit 30 years ago of St John Paul II to Australia. In this 1986 visit, the Pope visited all States of Australia. It was however, his monumental speech in Alice Springs (29th November 1986) that we recall today. Continue reading

Catholic Church in Australia Launches New Company to Protect Children and Vulnerable Adults

Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Sr Ruth Durick OSU and Archbishop Denis Hart.

A new independent company to be established by the Catholic Church to develop, audit and report on compliance with professional standards to protect children and vulnerable people was announced today by church leaders

Catholic Professional Standards (CPS) Limited represents a new national Church response to the importance of safeguarding vulnerable people. It will be responsible for setting the highest standards to ensure the safety of individuals involved with the Church at all levels and engaging with Catholic service providers.

CPS will:

  • Develop new standards for the protection of children and vulnerable adults across Church entities particularly in areas where there are currently no current relevant standards
  • Audit and report on the compliance of each Church authority against the new professional standards
  • Provide education and training regarding the new standards

Continue reading

McGilvray House and Dougherty Centre blessed by Archbishop Hart

mcgilvrayArchbishop Denis Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, officially named and blessed McGilvray House and The Dougherty Centre in Canberra today, 15 November 2016.

The former St Patrick’s Convent was renovated over the past 18 months. It is located beside the Bishops Conference Secretariat. This home of the Mercy Sisters was officially named and blessed as McGilvray House after Mother Mary McGilvray.

Glenn Mowbray, Business Manager, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, said, “Marie McGilvray grew up in a faith-filled family and entered the Sisters of Mercy on 25 March 1928. Mother McGilvray received her Habit later that year on 22 December. Her date of Profession was 27 December 1930 and Final Profession was 22 December 1936, taking on the name Sister Mary Ignatius. Continue reading