New report reveals realities of religious vocation in Australia today

A new report on recent religious vocations in Australia has uncovered some common characteristics of religious orders that are attracting new women and men, which could help strengthen religious life in Australia and overseas.

Understanding Religious Vocation in Australia Today was commissioned by Catholic Vocations Ministry Australia (CVMA) and carried out by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Pastoral Research Office. Continue reading

Pope Francis backs decision to hold Plenary Council in Australia

Pope Francis has given his approval for the Catholic Church to hold the first Plenary Council – the most significant national gathering that can be held – in Australia in more than 80 years.

“The Australian Bishops are deeply grateful to Pope Francis for affirming the decision and we ask all people to join in prayer as we embark on this journey together as God’s people in Australia,” said Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, chair of the Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council. Continue reading

Roman Reflection: We cannot lose our smallness Office for Youth

Melbourne’s Angela Markas is the official Australian Catholic Bishops Conference delegate to the gathering of young people at the Vatican before the Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment. She shared this reflection en route to this week’s meeting.

Here I am, waiting for my last flight to get to Rome. And as I sit here, and watch people begin to line up for the flight, it hits me — this is real.

I never thought for a single moment that I would have this kind of opportunity. It is beyond me that I have been found worthy of it, and no matter how much time may pass, I don’t think I could ever understand. Continue reading

International Women’s Day shines the spotlight on rural women Office for the Participation of Women

Catholics across Australia are being invited to join with people around the world in considering the particular challenges women face when they live outside metropolitan areas.

International Women’s Day, which is celebrated each year on March 8, this year has the challenging theme “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives”. Continue reading

Bishops: Religious freedom is critical in a pluralist Australia

Bishop Comensoli

Bishop Peter Comensoli

Religious freedom must be enshrined in Australian law and recognised as a right, rather than an exception or an exemption, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) has explained.

In its submission to the Religious Freedom Review called by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and chaired by the Hon Phillip Ruddock, the ACBC has tasked the Review to recognise the increased need for a framework to support all people of faith as Australian society continues to evolve. Continue reading

Next decade must deliver more for Indigenous Australians, Catholic leaders say Bishops Commission for Relations with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Darwin Bishop Eugene Hurley and the chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council have lamented the slow progress – and lack of progress in some cases – in the 10 years since then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivered a national apology to Indigenous Australians.

On February 13, 2008, Mr Rudd apologised for the treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the policies that caused pain, trauma and suffering for those peoples. It was hoped it would usher in a new age for relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and help “close the gap” on a range of measures, including health, education, employment and incarceration rates. Continue reading

Local, international research to help guide youth ministry Office for Youth

Fr Chris Ryan MGL, chairman of the Australian Catholic Youth Council Research Task Group, will speak at the research seminar.

Researchers from Australia and the United States will present their findings on how young people perceive and engage with the Catholic Church during one of a series of significant events that will be held during the Year of Youth.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s Office for Youth, in partnership with the Archdiocese of Brisbane and the Australian Catholic University, will host the two-day youth and youth ministry research seminar in Brisbane next month. Continue reading

STATEMENT: A Message to the Catholic Community at the Beginning of Lent Days of fasting and reparation in sorrow for child sexual abuse and for the healing of victims

Dear brothers and sisters,

Last December, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse handed down its final report. Like the Australian Government and many other institutions, the Catholic bishops of Australia and leaders of religious institutes are currently studying the final report and its recommendations. Continue reading

Youth Council offers prayer, encouragement to youth delegate Office for Youth

Archbishop Anthony Fisher with Ashleigh Green, left, and Angela Markas

Melbourne’s Angela Markas has been encouraged to “be yourself” as she prepares to represent young Australians at a Vatican gathering next month that will help inform this year’s Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.

Miss Markas, 22, met with members of the Australian Catholic Youth Council this week and shared the story of her faith journey and the faith of the Chaldean Catholic community of which she is a member. Continue reading

Catholics are Discovering Prayer with new resource National Centre for Evangelisation

The Catholic Enquiry Centre has launched a new prayer resource that can help people escape the busyness of their daily lives and find space to encounter God.

Discovering Prayer was developed as a complementary resource to other Catholic Enquiry Centre materials that serve as an introduction to the Catholic Faith. Continue reading

Feast day highlights realities of modern slavery

The Catholic Church in Australia and around the world will recommit to fighting slavery and human trafficking in the coming days as it celebrates the feast of St Josephine Bakhita.

Pope Francis, who has continued the papal tradition of clear denunciation of human trafficking and slavery, has designated February 8 as a day of prayer, reflection and action to end the injustice of human trafficking. Continue reading

New director leads Pastoral Research Office in Canberra

Experienced researcher Trudy Dantis has this week begun as the new director of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s Pastoral Research Office.

Dr Dantis, who has conducted research on behalf of the Catholic Church in Australia and India, will lead the Pastoral Research Office from its new Canberra office. Continue reading