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

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Church Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Saint John Paul II’s visit to Alice Springs

30th-anniversary-mediablogOn 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

Church Welcomes Government’s Refugee Resettlement Deal with United States

bigstock-american-immigration-110906003_200“The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO) welcomes the announcement by Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and Minister for Immigration, Peter Dutton that the Government will offer those on Manus Island and Nauru a one-off deal to resettle in the United States of America.”

“The ACMRO is grateful to the USA for accepting to resettle asylum seekers and opening its doors and welcoming those who have been awaiting settlement after many years of detention.”

“The ACMRO, however, is disappointed that Australia did not take the step of settling at least some of those on Manus Island or Nauru in Australia, showing other nations that we are accepting our fair share of the current refugee crisis. 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

God’s Grace in Prison Chaplaincy

Bishop Brady chats to inmates at Silverwater yesterday

Bishop Brady chats to inmates at Silverwater on Sunday 6 November 2016

In the middle of maximum security Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre, Sydney, a converted demountable classroom has been transformed into a chapel. Bishop Terry Brady, Australian Catholic Bishops Delegate for Prisoners along with 50 inmates, volunteers and prison chaplains, gathered to celebrate Mass on Sunday 6 November, the Jubilee for Prisoners.

During a moving service, the inmates and the chaplains held up the struggles of life in prison to God’s care and sought help to endure. Through the hymns and prayers, the prisoners who came voluntarily, readily participated in the service and expressed their gratitude for the opportunity.

Bishop Brady assured the women there is hope for them, no matter what circumstance they find themselves in. Continue reading

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

Bishop Brady Celebrates Mass for Holy Father’s Jubilee for Prisoners

yearofmercy200x200Celebrating the Jubilee for Prisoners on Sunday 6 November, Bishop Terry Brady, the Australian Catholic Bishops Delegate for Prisoners, preached the homily below during Sunday evening Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney. 

Pope Francis has set aside this 32nd Sunday in the Church’s year; throughout the World as a special day of recognition for Prisoners and their families.

This jubilee day for Prisoners occurs within another special period in the Catholic Church – the Holy Year of Mercy; a time of grace, prayer, forgiveness and compassion. Both these jubilees are to remind us that God’s love is unconditional.

Many people have spent time in jail, including saints and even Jesus himself. The Holy Father’s message is for everyone, regardless of their circumstances, because we all possess human dignity.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Social Justice Statement 2011-2012 “Building Bridges, Not Walls”, raised similar concerns as Pope Francis. Both urged us all to think about the conditions in our prisons, and to ask who are most likely to find themselves there. 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

Prison Chaplains across Australia deliver ‘A Message for Prisoners’ during the Year of Mercy

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

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

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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