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

Church needs to engage marginalised young Australians

Ashleigh Green

Ashleigh Green

From 5th to 9th April, I had the great honour of being the Australian Youth Delegate at the conference, ‘From Krakow to Panama: The Synod Journeying with Young People,’ held in Rome.

Organised by the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life in collaboration with the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, the conference was attended by 270 delegates from 103 countries. Significantly, over half of the delegates were young people.

When we arrived at the conference venue on Tuesday afternoon, few of us knew what to expect. Some had travelled 30 hours to be there, others just one hour, but we had one thing in common – we had big dreams for the Church and we craved the opportunity to be heard. 

Two days were devoted to discussions about the upcoming Synod of Bishops on ‘Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment.’ I delivered a presentation on my hopes for the Synod and the Year of Youth, with my focus being the need to engage our most marginalised young Australians.

As a social worker, I work with young people in Out of Home Care and families in crisis. I urged that we create new and welcoming spaces in the Church that meet our young, disadvantaged Australians where they are at.  Continue reading

New mentoring program for Australian Catholic women set to launch

Christine Pace

Christine Pace

A new mentoring program, aimed at helping to build the skills and faith of Australian Catholic women so they can have a positive impact in both the Church and wider society, is set to be launched in May.

The Australian Catholic Women’s Mentoring Program is the initiative of Christine Pace and other members of the Young Catholic Women’s Interfaith Fellowship for 2015/16.

It will be launched on Saturday, May 20 during the group’s final residential gathering at Mary MacKillop Place, North Sydney. Senator Deborah O’Neill will be guest speaker.

Christine says the idea for the mentoring program sprang, in part, from the conversations at the last Catholic Women’s Colloquium.

“At the Colloquium, a lot of women were talking about the need for women to get together and support themselves and organise themselves to have an impact in the Church,” she says.

“And as I thought about that, I thought the answer to that is a mentoring program, which would provide a structured way for women to get together in faith and grow in confidence and skills in whatever area they are in.” Continue reading

Cosmos named ACBC Official Tour Operator for World Youth Day, Panama 2019

28164636443_5d1773f074_o_200Cosmos will be the official tour operator to coordinate the Australian pilgrimage to World Youth Day (WYD) 2019 in Panama, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, the Australian Catholic Bishops Delegate for Youth announced today.

After facilitating a rigorous process of informing, identifying and selecting a company to support the Australian pilgrimage, the Australian Bishops selected Cosmos as the company that will manage up to 30 groups and over 1,000 pilgrims.

Cosmos managed the successful Australian pilgrimages to WYD 2016 in Krakow, as the ACBC Tour Operator. Cosmos is continuing to build on its extensive experience in offering affordable tours across the globe, which includes a range of pilgrimage experiences. Cosmos caters for over 40,000 clients each year and is part of the Globus Family of Brands, one of the world’s largest touring companies.

Archbishop Anthony said, “I am happy to announce the appointment of Cosmos as our tour operator for WYD 2019 in Panama as it provides young people and the Church in Australia a great opportunity to encounter the Catholic Church in Central America and to encounter Pope Francis through the WYD experience. 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

Church calls Australian youth to showcase their talents ahead of major youth festival

acyf17-logo_200Young people across Australia are invited to showcase their musical, artistic and film making talents ahead of the Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF) later this year.

For all singers and songwriters out there, the Festival is seeking entries for the official theme song of ACYF. Do you have what it takes or do you know someone who could compose the lyrics for the official song to be professionally recorded and sung by more than 15,000 young people this December?

This exciting opportunity is open to all ages, however the song must appeal to young people by engaging them in a way that touches their hearts and minds. The song must reflect the joyful and exciting atmosphere of the Festival. As an agent of evangelisation, the song should draw young people to Jesus and the Church. Entries close on 26 May 2017.

The Australian Catholic Youth Festival is also seeking entries to a short film competition and an art competition that will be curated into an exhibition at the Festival to be held at Sydney Olympic Park from 7 to 9 December 2017. Continue reading

Pope Francis appoints Fr Ken Howell an Auxiliary Bishop of Brisbane

Bishop-Elect Ken Howell

Bishop-Elect Ken Howell

The Holy Father has appointed Fr Kenneth Michael Howell as an Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Brisbane. The announcement was made at noon Rome time today. The Auxiliary Bishop-Elect will serve alongside Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge. 

On behalf of the Australian Bishops, Archbishop Denis Hart welcomed the appointment, “Father Howell has shown gifted service as Liturgist, Cathedral Administrator and Pastor, having recently overseen the construction and completion of the new Mary, Mother of Mercy Church in the Parish of Burleigh Heads.

Fr Howell’s gifts, knowledge and love of people will make him a welcome and respected member of the Bishops Conference, where I’ve no doubt he will provide generous service.”

On receiving the news, Fr Howell told the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, “Brisbane is my home place and the Church that has nurtured my faith. It has been the great blessing of my life to serve this Church as a priest for the past 34 years. This new opportunity to serve the Brisbane church as an auxiliary bishop, I see as both a joy and an exciting challenge”. Continue reading

British Actor Liz Carr brings Assisted Suicide: The Musical to the Aussie stage

Liz Carr

Liz Carr

Assisted Suicide is not the most common subject for musical comedy shows – and that’s exactly why British actor, comedian and activist, Liz Carr, was so passionate about bringing the topic to the stage.

“It’s a serious subject, and I just wanted to create a space where people can talk about it,” she says.

“Comedy is how you open things up and through the ridiculousness and the banality and the laughter, we can ask the questions. And I wanted it to be a musical because firstly, I love musicals, and secondly, music allows us to explore emotions and different ideas in ways that are far more palatable than just doing a lecture for an hour and a half.”

Liz, who has lived with disability since childhood, knows all about the limitations of the lecture circuit, because before she brought Assisted Suicide: The Musical to the stage, she spent years speaking out against euthanasia and assisted suicide (EAS) in lectures, articles and on news and chat shows. 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

Group of palliative care practitioners speak out against euthanasia & assisted suicide

More than 30 of Australia and New Zealand’s top palliative care practitioners have joined forces to oppose the introduction of euthanasia and physician assisted suicide, describing the practice as “unnecessary and unsafe”.

A letter, authored by Professor Douglas Bridge and co-signed by 32 other palliative care specialists and medical professionals was published in this week’s edition of the Medical Journal of Australia’s MJA InSight.

It was a response to an opinion piece recently published in the MJA by Palliative Care Specialist, Professor Emeritus Ian Maddocks, who asked whether it was time to consider an integration of palliative care, euthanasia, and physician assisted suicide (EPAS).

“As palliative care practitioners, we know this supposed common ground is both a contradiction in terms and contrary to sound medical practice,” the letter from the 33 practitioners says.

“Supporting people when they are dying is utterly different to intentionally causing them to die. What Professor Maddocks calls ‘a single effective intervention’ is in fact an act of killing.” Continue reading

Youth leaders fly to Rome to plan Synod 2018 and World Youth Day 2019

Ashleigh Green

Ashleigh Green

Australian Catholic youth leaders will fly to Rome next month to help plan two major events for young people.

Ashleigh Green, a young woman from the Broken Bay Diocese and Malcolm Hart, Director of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Office for Youth, will head to Rome in the first week of April, to participate at an international meeting about World Youth Day (WYD) and the upcoming Synod on young people.

The five-day gathering will focus on the theme, From Krakow to Panama – The Synod Journeying with Young People. It will include an evaluation of WYD in Krakow during 2016 and will look ahead to WYD in Panama during 2019. Time will be spent on the pastoral and logistical preparations required. Members of both the Polish and Panamanian organising committees will be present.

Ashleigh Green was part of the Diocese of Broken Bay’s WYD pilgrimage to Krakow. Continue reading