Category Archives: Press Releases

Statement on Royal Commission: Australian Catholic Bishops’ Response

Bible and candle

The President and Permanent Committee of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, on behalf of the Australian Bishops, support the announcement by the Prime Minister of a Royal Commission into child sex abuse in our community.  This is a serious issue not just for the Catholic Church but for the whole community. As Catholic bishops and as individuals we share the feelings of horror and outrage which all decent people feel when they read the reports of sexual abuse and allegations of cover ups.

Over the past 20 years, there have been major developments in the way the Church responds to victims, deals with perpetrators and puts in place preventive measures. In addition, there is a much greater general awareness of the issue of paedophilia in the broader community.

Sexual abuse of children is not confined to the Catholic Church. Tragically, it occurs in families, churches, community groups, schools and other organisations.  We believe a Royal Commission will enable an examination of the issues associated with child abuse nationally, and identify measures for better preventing and responding to child abuse in our society. Continue reading

Excision policy: a disturbing proposition for the international protection of asylum seekers

Excision policy - ABC online

Media Release, 2 November

The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office are gravely concerned with the proposal to excise the whole Australian territory for asylum seekers who arrive by boat. The excision policy places boat arrivals in a precarious legal position and denies them the legal right to ask Australia for protection due to their mode of arrival.

“We appreciate the considerable challenge that the Australian Government faces to ensure asylum seekers do not lose their life reaching Australia. Unfortunately, we do not decide who comes to Australia or the manner in which they arrive” said Fr Maurizio Pettena, Director of ACMRO.

“Australia has an exceptionally high level of regulation across our borders. Nonetheless, there will be times when people seeking asylum by boat will challenge this and our level of compassion” he said. “We should not give in to these challenges by disregarding our respect for human rights and the Refugee Convention.” Continue reading

Vatican II: Everybody’s Talking about It

Sr Maryanne Confoy presenting at the eConference

By Dan McAloon

Vatican II: An Event of Grace National eConference

Broadcast Wednesday 10 October 2012

The themes of renewal, adaptation, ecumenism and mission that Vatican II laid out were articulated in a voice that was at once fresh and energising, said Bishop Michael Putney,  keynote speaker at the BBI-ACBC international eConference ‘Vatican II: An Event of Grace’, broadcast live on Wednesday 10 October.

The strong impetus on dialogue throughout Vatican II continues to impel us forward, said Bishop Putney. “Vatican II defined dialogue in ever widening circles”, he said. “Dialogue begins within the Church, reaches out to other Christians, to other believers in God, and to the rest of the world. Our mission is to share our relationship with God with others.” Continue reading

Australian Bishops at Synod on New Evangelization


People gather at St Peter's for the Synod


Media Release, 7 October, 2012

Three Australian bishops are among the hundreds of Bishops and priests from around the world gathering in Rome for the XXIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, on the theme “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.”

The three are Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, Archbishop of Perth, and Bishop Christopher Prowse, Bishop of Sale. Cardinal Pell was nominated by Pope Benedict XVI as one of the Synod Fathers, and Archbishop Costelloe and Bishop Prowse were elected to represent the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

The Synod commenced this morning with Mass in St Peter’s Square at 9.30am and will conclude on Sunday 28 October. Continue reading

Focus on human dignity – 3rd National Conference on Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees

Media Release, October 4, 2012

The Third National Conference on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees will be held from 6-7 December at St Patrick’s Campus of Australian Catholic University, Melbourne.

The conference carries the theme “I have heard them crying out” (Exodus 3:7) and is run by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) through the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO) and endorsed by the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People. Continue reading

Head of Syro-Malabar to visit Australia

Cardinal Alencherry blessing in Rome

Media Release
3 October, 2012

His Beatitude Mar George Cardinal Alencherry, the Major Achbishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church will commence a pastoral visit to Australia in November 2012, the first ever pastoral visit by the Head of the Syro-Malabar Church to members of the church in this country.

As Head of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Cardinal George Alencherry is looking forward to meeting his people here in Australia.

“I am very excited to visit with some of the 10,000 Syro-Malabar families spread across Australia”, said Cardinal Alencherry. Continue reading

Advertisement: Communications Officer, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference is seeking a Communications Officer to work with the General Secretary, Communications Director and Director, Office for the Participation of Women in the media and administrative work of the Secretariat in Canberra.

The Communications Officer will have an understanding of communications, websites and social media, and administrative tasks, with direct responsibility to the General Secretary.
Working as part of the Communications team, the Communications Officer is responsible for updating the various websites; managing eNews platforms and blogs; writing and disseminating media releases where required; some social media initiatives; and administrative duties to assist the General Secretary, Communications Director and Director, Office for the Participation of Women, where required.

Continue reading

Cardinal Rodriguez walks as one with Australia’s first people

Cardinal Rodriguez at the Purple House

By Ryan Heffernan

CARITAS Internationalis president, Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga stood in solidarity with Australia’s first people when he visited Purple House, a unique medical service operating in Alice Springs and surrounding remote communities.

Cardinal Rodriguez and Caritas Australia CEO, Jack de Groot, engaged in conversations with dialysis patients and witnessed firsthand the Purple House renal facility, nutritional program and traditional bush medicine program – run by the Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation (WDNWPT). Continue reading

Bishop Joseph Grech Colloquium on Welcoming the Stranger

Alex, Archbishop Hart, Santilla Chingaipe, Minister Chris Bowen and Fr Maurizio Pettena at the colloquium

IN a fitting tribute to Bishop Joseph Grech, the second annual memorial colloquium on migration was held last night at Australian Catholic University in Fitzroy.

The event which is a partnership between ACU and the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office is held to honour the memory of Bishop Joseph Grech who passed away in December 2010.

A staunch defender of the rights of migrants and refugees, Bishop Joe always emphasised the importance of dialogue between all people of good will on such issues as the right to seek asylum. Continue reading

Joint statement by Christian leaders on the passing of the asylum seeker legislation

Asylum Seeker Boat

As Australian church leaders, we stand together to express our grave concern at the passing of legislation to allow for the offshore processing and indefinite detention of asylum seekers.

Core to the Christian faith is the principle of ‘welcoming the stranger’, and Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan guides us as we seek to care for those who are vulnerable and marginalised in society. As Christians, we are called to cross the road to help, to not turn away those in need.

The Seventh Forum of the National Council of Churches in Australia in 2010 called on all political parties to meet Australia’s responsibilities by “accommodating and processing in Australia asylum seekers who reach Australian territory”.

Australia is an open and hospitable country. Many of our churches grew here as a result of people having fled places of violence or migrating to seek better futures for their families.

We welcome the commitment of the Government to increase the number of places in our humanitarian program to 20,000 and hope that it will continue to increase the program as the Panel has recommended.

However, we are deeply troubled by the potential for asylum seekers to suffer adverse mental health consequences and to experience other detrimental impacts as a result of this legislation. We are concerned that this damages our credibility and, in particular, our ability to negotiate a humane regional system of protection.

Finding answers to this complicated humanitarian challenge is difficult. As long as our world is broken and countries are ravaged by war, then people will flee violence and persecution. But as a rich and secure nation, Australia has a particular responsibility to ensure that we work positively with other nations to develop a range of strategies that are grounded in compassion and that seek to honour the moral responsibility we have to victims of violence and persecution.

It is only through such cooperation that we can provide asylum seekers with real alternatives to undertaking a desperate boat journey to find safety.



The Most Reverend Doctor Phillip Aspinall

Primate, Anglican Church in Australia


Reverend Craig Brown

Federal Coordinator, Churches of Christ in Australia


Commissioner James Condon

Australia Eastern Territory, The Salvation Army


Ms Maxine Cooper

Yearly Meeting Clerk, Religious Society of Friends


Reverend Professor Andrew Dutney

President, Uniting Church in Australia


Dr Joe Goodall

Moderator, Congregational Federation of Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand


The Most Reverend Denis Hart

President, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

2 September 2012










Youth Ministry Convention: Registration ends tomorrow 30 August!!


The ACYMC is the main formation opportunity for Youth Ministers working in schools, colleges, dioceses and movements and anyone interested in this
important work of the Church is welcome to attend.

Registration for ACYMC

The Australian Catholic Youth Ministry Convention has been developed to provide a quality event for youth minsters in Australia at an affordable price.

Full Price: $360 – registrations close Thursday August 30th Continue reading

Archbishop Hart and Minister Bowen to speak on Australia’s moral obligations to people seeking asylum

Immigration minister Chris Bowen

Media Release 22 August, 2012

Next Thursday the 30th August, Archbishop Denis Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and the Hon Chris Bowen, Minister of Immigration and Citizenship will come together to reflect on Australia’s moral obligations to people seeking asylum.

The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office, in association with the Australian Catholic University, host this public lecture in honour of Bishop Joseph Grech who passed away in late 2010.

This public event is the second annual memorial colloquium on ethics and migration to be held and is also part of the Catholic Church celebrations for the 98th world day of migrant and refugees.

“The colloquium represents a formal platform for both speakers to invest in the ethical education on migration governance and ethics” said Fr Maurizio Pettenà, National Director of ACMRO.

Continue reading