On the Feast of St Josephine Bakhita today, 8 February, bishops and religious leaders across Australia support the call from Pope Francis to end the injustice of human trafficking against all people, in particular children.
‘They are children! Not slaves!’ is the theme for Bakhita Day this year. Pope Francis has designated today a world day of prayer, reflection and action against human trafficking.
St Bakhita is the Patron Saint for victims of slavery. The United Nations estimates that one in every three victims of human trafficking is a child. It is estimated that 30 million children have lost their childhood through sexual exploitation over the past 30 years. Annually, millions of children are trafficked into domestic servitude, sexual exploitation, pornography production, forced marriage, illegal adoption, forced labour, and to become child soldiers. Continue reading
Parliament House, Canberra
All members of religious groups deserve the right to not participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies if they hold a traditional view of marriage, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) said in a submission released this week.
The Australian Senate has established a select committee to examine draft exemptions for ministers of religion, marriage celebrants and religious groups so they do not have to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies, should the law be changed. The Select Committee on Same-Sex Marriage is expected to report on 13 February 2017.
“Changing the definition of marriage would have an impact on all the members of the Catholic Church, but perhaps the most significant impact would be on ordinary parishioners trying to live their Catholic faith in their daily lives,” said Archbishop Anthony Fisher, chair of the ACBC’s Commission for Family, Youth and Life. Continue reading
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
The 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
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.
- 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
On Sunday 27th November 2016, church leaders, parishes and Indigenous communities will gather together to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of Saint John Paul II’s (JPII) visit to Alice Springs in the heart of Australia on 29th November 1986.
The theme of the commemorations is, ‘Walk Tall and Command Respect. The time for this rebirth is now’.
Bishop Eugene Hurley, Chairman of the Bishops Commission for Relations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (BCRATSIP) said, ‘It is appropriate that we celebrate and observe the thirtieth anniversary of the visit of John Paul II as we prepare for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in Advent. As with both, the theme is one of hope and rebirth’.
‘This timely theme is an invitation and call to us to create and ensure a change in societal attitude and promote not only rebirth and hope but justice and equal rights of indigenous peoples.’ Continue reading
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
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
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
In 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
Pilgrims at the Australian Gathering in Tauron Arena, Krakow.
World Youth Day in Sydney changed the landscape of youth ministry nationally, the Australian bishops said today during a national gathering of Australian pilgrims currently participating at World Youth Day (WYD) events in Krakow, Poland.
Today, the Australian Bishops joined more than 3,000 young people at a national Australian gathering during WYD Krakow that included a launch of the ‘Year of Youth’, building on the legacy of World Youth Day 2008 (WYD08).
The Year of Youth will celebrate the tenth anniversary of World Youth Day, Sydney and highlight how the Australian Church continues to tell the story of WYD08 in its local ministry.
Bishop Mark Edwards, Australian Catholic Bishops Delegate for Youth and an MC at the national gathering said, ‘The years of preparation leading up to World Youth Day 2008 (WYD08) and its events have changed the landscape of youth ministry leaving a lasting impression on the Church. Local youth ministries have grown and diversified. The number of youth ministers has increased along with diocesan support structures. Continue reading
Many friends, family and parishioners will have the opportunity to follow Australia’s journey to the city of mercy as 2,500 World Youth Day pilgrims travelling to Poland with the live web cast of events from Krakow through the digital platform Xt3.com.
From 26-31 July, main events from Krakow will be broadcast live at: www.xt3.com/live.
Xt3, meaning Christ in the Third Millennium, is a website and digital resource that began in 2008 during World Youth Day, Sydney, as a way to connect pilgrims. It has since developed into a hub of Catholic online resources.
Hosted by the Archdiocese of Sydney, Xt3 is a digital resource where Catholic events can be viewed live from the comfort of your own home, such as the meeting of Pope Francis with the youth of the world in Krakow during World Youth Day this month.
Given the international time difference, the World Youth Day events will be available to watch at any time after the live web cast has been broadcast.
A unique feature of the Xt3 live web cast is the ability for viewers to comment online and join in solidarity with those present and others watching from around the world. Social media posts using the hash tag #AussiePilgrims will be published on screen during the live web cast. Continue reading