Working document released for Plenary Council journey

The working document for the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia provides a catalyst for the Church to renew the journey of prayer and discernment toward the first assembly in October, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB says.

The document, known as an instrumentum laboris, draws heavily on the voices heard during the Listening and Dialogue and Listening and Discernment phases of the Plenary Council, but also from other key sources. It is entitled Continuing the Journey.

Continue reading

Care packages lift spirits of seafarers

Seafarers with their care packages, distributed thanks to Stella Maris Australia

Thousands of people working on the seas have received care packages in recent weeks following the allocation of Stella Maris Australia funding to port chaplaincies across the country just before Christmas.

The International Christian Maritime Association also contributed funding to support the provision of key supplies like toiletries, snacks, clothing and stationery.

Continue reading

Funeral set for ninth Bishop of Armidale

The Diocese of Armidale will farewell its ninth bishop, Bishop Luc Matthys, on February 5 after the Belgian-born bishop passed away last week at the age of 85.

Bishop Matthys died on Australia Day after a short illness.

Having moved from Belgium to South Africa during his childhood, Bishop Matthys was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Johannesburg in 1961. Moving to Australia, he became a priest of the Archdiocese of Melbourne in the 1976 and was appointed Bishop of Armidale in 1999. He retired in December 2011.

A tribute from the Diocese of Armidale described Bishop Matthys as “a noble spirit”, someone who was “kind and gentle of heart” and “a man of profound faith and wisdom”.

In an article celebrating his 50 years as a priest – which fell just after Bishop Michael Kennedy had been announced as his successor in Armidale – Bishop Matthys reflected on the joy of his episcopal ministry.

He spoke especially about the joy of administering the sacraments, including the thousands of Baptisms and Confirmations he’d conferred. He also mentioned the joy he and the faithful received on the occasions when he ordained men to the priesthood.

Vigil prayers and the liturgical reception of the Bishop Matthys’ body will take place on the evening of February 4 at Sts Mary & Joseph Cathedral in Armidale. A Funeral Mass and rite of committal will be held at the same venue at 11am the next day.

More information about the two events can be found on the Diocese of Armidale’s website.

New Church protocol published for responding to sexual abuse

A new protocol to be introduced next week provides a framework for Catholic entities across Australia to respond consistently to people raising concerns or allegations of child sexual abuse.

The National Response Protocol, which was adopted by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference at its November 2020 plenary meeting, is the product of two years of work and widespread consultation within and beyond the Church.

Continue reading

Sign nuclear weapons treaty, Prime Minister urged

Bishop Delegate for Social Justice Terry Brady

The Bishop Delegate for Social Justice has written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, urging Australia to join the countries who have signed a treaty to ban nuclear weapons that comes into force today.

The majority of United Nations member states, including the Holy See, have signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Australia, however, has not yet become a signatory.

Continue reading

Archbishop Wilson, former Conference president, dies

From Catholic Communications, Archdiocese of Adelaide

Archbishop Philip Wilson, who served as Bishop of Wollongong and Archbishop of Adelaide during 45 years of priestly ministry, has died in Adelaide this afternoon at the age of 70.

Born in the Hunter region of New South Wales, a young Philip Wilson studied at St Columba’s College, Springwood and St Patrick’s College Manly before being ordained a priest of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

Continue reading

Report documents steady, meaningful progress on safeguarding

The presidents of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia say their annual report to the National Office for Child Safety outlines comprehensive and sustained work across Church settings.

The provision of an annual report on progress in child protection and safeguarding was one of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The Bishops Conference and CRA adopted that recommendation. They have published the Church’s third such report today.

Continue reading

Bishops publish response to Church governance review report

A review of governance will help shape the way the Catholic Church in Australia understands co-responsibility in its life and mission and puts it into practice, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has said.

The Australia bishops reviewed and discussed the final version of the governance review report The Light from the Southern Cross: Co-Responsible Governance in the Catholic Church in Australia during their recent plenary meeting.

Continue reading

New national Catholic safeguarding agency established

The Catholic Church has established a new company to oversee all safeguarding, child protection and professional standards in Australia, creating a more focused and streamlined model.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) and the Association of Ministerial PJPs (AMPJP) have today launched Australian Catholic Safeguarding Limited.

Continue reading

Plenary Council assembly mixes in-person, online format

The first assembly of the Plenary Council will take place with a combination of online and face-to-face participation as uncertainty remains over restrictions on travel and gatherings.

The decision to hold the October 2021 assembly in a “multi-modal” format was reached last week based on feedback from a number of groups, including the steering committee for the Council assemblies, the Plenary Council’s facilitation team and risk assessors.

Continue reading

Pope appoints apostolic administrator for Broome

Pope Francis has appointed Broome vicar general Msgr Paul Boyers the apostolic administrator of the northern Western Australian diocese, the Holy See announced on Saturday evening.

Msgr Boyers has been overseeing administrative matters in the Diocese of Broome since March, when Bishop Christopher Saunders voluntarily stood aside. Bishop Peter Ingham, the former Bishop of Wollongong, carried out an apostolic visitation of the diocese in the subsequent months.

Continue reading