Church opens canonical investigation into Bishop Saunders

Former Broome Bishop Christopher Saunders (File photo)

The Holy See has initiated a canonical investigation into former Broome Bishop Christopher Saunders, with Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane appointed to oversee the investigation.

Bishop Saunders stood aside as Bishop of Broome in March 2020 after media reports that Western Australia Police had begun an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct. He strongly denies the allegations.

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Registrations open for Evangelise conference

The conference scheduled for October consolidates a number of national events supporting evangelisation and mission.

Registrations are now open for Evangelise, a national online conference for Catholics set to be held from October 20-22.

Hosted by the Bishops Commission for Evangelisation, Laity and Ministry, Evangelise will promote understanding and explore practices of evangelisation in Australia through encounters with Christ, formation in discipleship, and mission in the world.

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Bishops support Catholic schools with guide on gender, identity

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has released a guide on gender and identity to support Catholic schools in responding to the individual social and pastoral needs of students.

Created and Loved: A guide for Catholic schools on identity and gender outlines a pastoral approach shaped by the theological, medical and legislative context in which Catholic schools operate.

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Three Australians named to key Synod of Bishops group

Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, Susan Pascoe and Fr Ormond Rush

The journey of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia is seen as a key reason three Australians are part of a group of about 20 people from around the world preparing a key document for the global Synod on Synodality.

More than 100 bishops conferences, including the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, last month published national or regional syntheses following a months-long period of local consultation in preparation for the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.

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Leaders of national bodies discuss Church’s mission

The leaders of three major bodies have met to discuss how dioceses, religious institutes and ministerial public juridic persons can collaborate to advance the mission of the Church in Australia.

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, Catholic Religious Australia president Br Peter Carroll FMS and Eva Skira, the chair of the Association of Ministerial PJPs, met last week in Brisbane.

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Resources for Migrant and Refugee Sunday published

The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office has published resources to support the commemoration of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees on September 25.

The theme for the 108th such event is “Building the Future with Migrants and Refugees”. In his message, Pope Francis says no one should be excluded, adding that God’s inclusive plan “gives priority to those living on the existential peripheries”, especially migrants, refugees, displaced people and those seeking asylum.

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Australian synthesis for global Synod of Bishops published

Catholics in Australia have expressed a strong need for a Church that is missionary and a Eucharistic community that is inclusive, the national synthesis for the global Synod on Synodality reveals.

The Australian synthesis, which emerged from a nine-month process that began in October 2021, draws from the diocesan consultation phase for the Synod of Bishops.

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Bishops lament family, domestic violence in annual justice statement

Australia’s bishops have used their annual social justice statement to condemn the scourge of domestic and family violence, saying relationships must be “marked by respect and freedom rather than coercion and control”.

The Church in Australia has published social justice statements each year since the 1940s on a wide range of topics. This year’s statement is titled Respect: Confronting Violence and Abuse.

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New portal puts spotlight on vocations

As the Church in Australia prepares to mark National Vocations Awareness Week, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has set up a new online portal to highlight vocation in its many forms.

National Vocations Awareness Week is celebrated each year across a week that includes the August 8 feast day of Australia’s first saint: St Mary of the Cross MacKillop. The week runs this year from August 7-14.

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New disability projects officer starts at Bishops Conference

The new disability projects officer of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference will continue to carry forward efforts to promote the full participation of people with disability in the life of the Church.

Damien Gardiner, who has significant experience working in the disability sector, recently took on the role previously held for many years by Patricia Mowbray. Mrs Mowbray retired in 2021.

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Research groups to crunch the numbers in webinar

Two of Australia’s most prominent religious research organisations will host a webinar on Wednesday to share initial insights into the latest Census results, including on religious affiliation.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s National Centre for Pastoral Research has teamed up with the Christian Research Association to present the free webinar titled “What the 2021 Census Figures Really Mean”.

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Expressions of interest sought for bishops’ advisory councils

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference is accepting expressions of interest from people with the skills and attributes necessary to provide guidance to bishops through a number of advisory councils.

The current three-year terms of the councils that advise the episcopal commissions and Permanent Committee of the Bishops Conference will expire in November this year. There are vacancies to be filled on three of those bodies.

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