Category Archives: Bishops

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

Aussie Bishop attends assembly of European Bishops Conferences

Bishop McGuckin addressing the European Bishops.

Bishop McGuckin addressing the European Bishops.

As Vice-President of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania (FCBCO), I represented FCBCO at the Plenary Assembly of Council of the Conferences of the European Bishops (CCEE) which was held in the Principality of Monaco, 6-9 October 2016.

Unlike our Plenary Assemblies, on the whole it was mainly the Presidents of European Bishops Conferences that are involved in the Plenaries. Even then the number at the Assembly was approximately 80.

Various reports were given and tabled at the meeting: Migrants and refugees; family and gender ideology; Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe.

Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomes gave a report on behalf of the Latin American Conferences. There were also reports from Africa and Asia. I gave a report for Oceania. Continue reading

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

014z1911_200

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

Halloween – Ghoulish or Godly?

halloween_fb_post_1425px_200Halloween is growing in popularity but its roots are lost on most people. It is observed on 31 October, the “een” or “eve” of All Hallows Day (All Saints Day) on 1 November.

“Hallow” occurs in the Lord’s Prayer – “hallowed be thy name” (may God’s name be held holy) – so to celebrate Halloween without connecting it to All Saints Day would be like celebrating Christmas Eve without a Christmas Day. If you take away the Saints from Halloween, along with our Christian beliefs about the dignity and destiny of human beings, then all you have left is a pre-Christian Celtic celebration held at the end of summer in the northern hemisphere.

As days shorten and winter nights lengthen, the spirits (goblins and ghouls) have more dark time to be mischievous and haunt. The pagans appeased them with treats so as not to suffer their tricks. Continue reading

Australian Catholic Bishops Congratulate Archbishop Denis Hart on his Vatican Appointment

Archbishop Denis Hart

Archbishop Denis Hart

The Australian Catholic Bishops congratulate the Most Rev Denis J Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Archbishop of Melbourne, on his appointment by Pope Francis as a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

This appointment acknowledges Archbishop Hart’s contribution to the liturgical life of the Catholic Church in Australia and internationally.

Vatican Congregations are the senior bodies of the Roman Curia, each entrusted by the Holy Father with a particular area of responsibility.

The Holy See announced the nomination by Pope Francis of ten Cardinals, seven Archbishops and ten Bishops as members of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on Friday 28 October 2016.

Archbishop Hart expressed gratitude for the trust implied in this appointment while expressing readiness to assist the work of the Church in whatever way possible. Continue reading

“No family drops down from heaven perfectly formed”

Bishop Michael Kennedy with Aussie pilgrims during World Youth Day, 2016.

Bishop Michael Kennedy with Aussie pilgrims during World Youth Day, 2016.

“No family drops down from heaven perfectly formed.” (325) This, I believe, was one of Pope Francis’ key messages in his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, The Joy of Love. It’s also one of the reasons the Catholic Bishops of Australia are calling all the faithful to a month of prayer and fasting for marriage and families during the month of October, and why many other Christians are joining in this effort too. Happy families require effort; happy families need prayer.

You see the Pope and the whole Church continue to present the beauty and perfection of God’s plan for marriage and family as a community of life and love that reflects the very life and love of God himself in the Blessed Trinity. But we also know that the everyday lives of families can be rather messy affairs. You don’t need me, or anybody for that matter, to name all the things that can make our family life bumpy and difficult. Each of us just has to think of our own family situation! 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

Anglican and Roman Catholic Dialogue flourishes during Canterbury-Rome Pilgrimage

Bishop delegates for Australia, Catholic Archbishop Christopher Prowse, with Anglican Bishop of Wangaratta, John Parkes. Joint letter by Archbishop Christopher Prowse, Catholic Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn and Bishop John Parkes, Anglican Bishop of Wangaratta (pictured on the left).

Representing the Anglican and Roman Catholic communities of Australia, we have returned recently from our anniversary pilgrimage in Canterbury (England) and Rome (Italy). It has been 50 years now since Archbishop Michael Ramsay and Pope Paul VI met to begin formally, the worldwide Anglican/Roman Catholic ecumenical dialogue.

Together with 38 Anglican and Catholic Bishops from 19 countries, we reviewed the progress on the pilgrimage to unity so far. The mood has changed from optimism that organic unity was imminent, to a more realistic assessment. Serious obstacles have arisen on matters pertaining to the ordination of women, and human sexuality. Friendships between our communities have continued to mature in the midst of these complex issues. 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

Pope Francis calls for a Day of Prayer for Peace

day-of-prayer-for-peace20-september-2016_200On Tuesday 20 September next, Pope Francis has called for the observance of a ‘Day of Prayer for Peace’. The day of prayer coincides with the Holy Father’s visit to Assisi, Italy on 20 September. The day will centre around the theme, ‘Thirst for peace: faiths and cultures in dialogue’.

Representatives from different religions will meet the Holy Father upon arrival in Assisi including, His Holiness Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople; a Muslim representative; His Grace Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Centerbury; the Syro-Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch; a Jewish representative; and the supreme Head of the Tendai (Buddhists), Japan.

The representatives will join Pope Francis for lunch with a number of victims of war.

The moment of prayer for peace will take place at 4 p.m (Rome time) in the lower Basilica of St. Francis’ Church. There will be an ecumenical prayer for Christians in the presence of representatives from other religions. All of the participants will gather at St. Francis’ Square for a closing ceremony.  Continue reading

Finding the Silver Bullet for Evangelisation

Bishop Nicholas Hudson

Bishop Nicholas Hudson

Interview with Bishop Nicholas Hudson, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, on Friday 2 September during the Proclaim 2016, national conference on evangelisation.

‘Are you going to give us a silver bullet for evangelisation?’ Bishop Nicholas Hudson, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, was asked on the journey from Sydney airport to the Diocese of Broken Bay for the Proclaim 2016, national conference on evangelisation.

He quickly responded, ‘there is no silver bullet, it’s going to be different in every parish and every local community’. Interestingly, the question stayed with him and ‘I’ve found myself thinking, there is one silver bullet and that is to just start doing it’.

‘Sometimes there is scope for reflection and being strategic that’s the reason why we are all gathered here for Proclaim 2016. We know that Pope Francis has a vision and there is a phrase, “Vision without strategy is hallucination”. That is how Pope Francis sees it and when he says that he dreams of a missionary option for the Church, what he means is that we need to do a lot of rethinking.

Bishop Comensoli leading morning prayer during Proclaim 2016

Bishop Comensoli leads morning prayer during Proclaim 2016

‘We need to rethink our strategies, our methods and our structures in order to be more evangelising but the way we become more evangelising is just by getting on with it.

The Proclaim conference was hosted by the Diocese of Broken Bay in partnership with the Australian Catholic Bishops Commission for Evangelisation.

Bishop Hudson’s address at the Proclaim conference focused on parishes becoming oases of mercy. ‘I learnt from my Dad when I was six years old, he used to take me out to visit the neighbours who were elderly or alone. He wasn’t self-consciously teaching me to make our family or our parish an oasis of mercy, but I realised that he was for those vulnerable people around us, an oasis of mercy.

‘He would say to me, Nick, let’s go and see Bob, next door, or we would drop off a shepherd’s pie to Mr Flood every Saturday. It was a way of showing mercy. So I believe that parishes need believe in being oasis of mercy, by simply showing mercy to their neighbours. The clue is to simply ask, who is my neighbour? And if you ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in the response, you can’t but become more evangelising.’ Continue reading