Ministry to seafarers gets stamp of approval

Australia Post will release a commemorative envelope later this month celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Catholic Church’s ministry to seafarers through the Apostleship of the Sea.

The postage-paid envelope, which will cost $1.35, features an historical image of an Australian port and a photo of Melbourne Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli visiting his local Stella Maris centre in 2018.

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A Letter to the Faithful Regarding Development of a COVID-19 Vaccine

 

14 September 2020

Friends, I take this opportunity on the Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross to share the perspective of the Catholic Church in Australia to development of a vaccine for COVID-19.

Many Catholics have sought advice from the bishops about the ethics of a vaccine, which has been discussed widely in Australia in recent weeks. Early in September I met with the Federal Health Minister to discuss vaccines for COVID-19, following a letter I wrote to the Prime Minister in July.

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Port Pirie bishop to be ordained in Poland

Fr Karol Kulczycki SDS, Bishop-Elect of the Diocese of Port Pirie, will be ordained in Poland later this month before taking up his ministry in the regional South Australian diocese.

Fr Kulczycki’s episcopal ordination will take place on September 29, the Feast of the Archangels, in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Trzebinia – the church in which he was ordained a priest in 1994.

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Holy See offers observations on Royal Commission recommendations

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has provided the Holy See’s observations on 12 recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to the Australian Government.

The Royal Commission proposed that the Bishops Conference engage with the Holy See on those recommendations because they relate to universal Church law or practice. Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin confirmed that the recommendations, and the entire final report of the Royal Commission, were studied closely by several Vatican dicasteries.

The Holy See reiterated its commitment to child protection, and its desire to “spare no effort… in collaborating with civil authorities to pursue every avenue to end the scourge of sexual abuse”.

“The Pope has sought to promote reform and vigilance at all levels within the Church and to encourage the efforts of local Churches in the same direction,” the response said.

“That commitment has led to the adoption, both by the Holy See and by Dioceses, Episcopal Conferences and Religious Institutes, of a wide range of measures, designed to ensure a proper response to such cases, including at the canonical level, as well as encouraging cooperation with civil authorities, both domestic and international.”

Many of the Royal Commission’s recommendations have already been addressed by the Holy See, including some of the matters related to priestly formation and the appointment of bishops. Others, such as having local tribunals to manage disciplinary cases, are still under consideration because they are part of a broader revision of Church laws that will be applicable worldwide.

Concerning the seal of Confession, the Holy See affirms the inviolability of the sacrament, but observes that a priest hearing a confession “may, and indeed in certain cases should, encourage a victim to seek help outside the confessional”. The priest can also encourage that person to report the abuse to the authorities.

Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said the commitment to child safety that underpins the Holy See’s observations is one the Church in Australia shares.

In a letter to the Attorney-General accompanying the Holy See’s observations, Archbishop Coleridge expressed the hope that the observations and the local Church’s commitment, in partnership with all levels of government in Australia, will help create and maintain genuinely safe environments.

“The Holy See’s observations were addressed to the bishops rather than to the Federal Government, but it was obviously important that they be communicated to the Government for the sake of proper collaboration,” Archbishop Coleridge said.

“The bishops are keen to support the ongoing public conversation about policies, practices and protocols which will ensure that children and other people at risk are safe in our communities. It’s in this spirit that the observations have been published.”

Archbishop Coleridge said the Australian bishops at their May meeting had expressed the hope that representatives would meet with the Attorney-General in person to present and discuss the Holy See’s observations. Due to ongoing COVID-19 travel restrictions, the response was provided in writing rather than wait any longer.

Click here to read the Holy See’s observations.

New Australian Ambassador to the Holy See appointed

Chiara Porro, the new Australian Ambassador to the Holy See, will present her credentials to Pope Francis on August 27

Australia’s bishops have welcomed the appointment of a new residential Ambassador to the Holy See, with the new ambassador to present her credentials to Pope Francis this week.

Chiara Porro has worked within the Department of Foreign Affairs for most of the past dozen years, including in overseas postings in India and New Caledonia. She has also served in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

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Scripture and papal leadership inspire retreat for creation

Catholics in Australia are being encouraged to participate in a first-of-its-kind week-long retreat in preparation for the ecumenical celebration of the World Day of Prayer for Creation on September 1.

The “7 Days of Creation Reflection-Retreat” has been prepared by Columban priest Fr Charles Rue, whose ministry has for many years had a focus on the Catholic understanding of care for the environment.

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Webinar will help parishes use data to shape ministry

People engaged in parish ministry are being encouraged to attend a webinar next week to help understand how data from the 2016 Australian Census can inform the way they support their local communities.

In June this year, the National Centre for Pastoral Research published social profiles on almost 1300 Catholic parishes across Australia. Each profile looks in great detail at the demographic makeup of those living within a parish’s boundaries, according to the 2016 Census, particularly those who identified as Catholic.

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Hundreds set for inaugural Catholic Men’s Gathering

More than 700 men from across Australia, as well as New Zealand, Uganda and Kenya, will participate in the inaugural Catholic Men’s Gathering, being delivered this weekend using video technology.

The gathering had originally been scheduled for July 2020, but was postponed by 12 months due to COVID-19. The success of other events that had shifted online prompted the decision to deliver the men’s gathering using digital means in August 2020 instead, with a live event still scheduled for 2021.

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Bishops’ annual Social Justice Statement focuses on mental health

The Catholic bishops of Australia have released the Social Justice Statement 2020-21, on the critical subject of mental health, in the lead-up to Social Justice Sunday on August 30.

The Statement, To Live Life to the Full: Mental health in Australia today, encourages faith communities, governments and individuals to make mental health a priority.

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Pope Francis appoints new Bishop of Port Pirie

Pope Francis has this evening appointed Fr Karol Kulczycki SDS, the former head of the Salvatorians in Australia, as the new bishop of the Diocese of Port Pirie in regional South Australia.

Fr Kulczycki was born in Poland in 1966, ordained to the priesthood in Trzebinia in 1994 and is currently based in Poland. He spent 21 years serving the Church in Western Australia, including in parish ministry, as vocations director and as a college chaplain.

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Working document next step on Plenary Council journey

The working document – or instrumentum laboris – for the Plenary Council will provide a constant reminder of the need for deep and ongoing discernment of God’s will for the Church, the Council’s president has said.

Work recently began on the development of the instrumentum laboris, with the document drawing heavily on the first two preparatory phases of the Council journey: Listening and Dialogue and Listening and Discernment.

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