Catholics for Renewal

Subtitle

News 2018

(archived News 2017 HERE)
    A broad and  diverse mix of Local, National and International faith-related News, Information and Opinions. 
                            Views expressed are those of the Authors and may or may not always represent those of Catholics For Renewal.

Previous Editorial: Bishops must engage their dioceses now (Here)
2nd last Editorial: Circling the Wagons (Here)
See earlier Catholics For Renewal EDITORIALS 
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Editorial

A Christmas Message from the Royal Commission

Extract from Editorial, 23 December 2017

It was fortuitous, perhaps even providential, that the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse published its Final Report just days before Christmas, for its many volumes contain one very simple and powerful message: we must all take responsibility for placing the child at the centre of our thinking and acting and, above all, for protecting the child from harm....Full Editorial HERE
Welcome to the: Catholic Church in Australia
Mandate of the Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council
Extract from Preamble to New ACBC website "Plenary Council 2020", a website than promises "resources plus regular updates", 16 January 2018
At the conclusion of the Jubilee Year 2000, Pope Saint John Paul II encouraged the Church in his Apostolic Letter ‘Novo Millennio Ineunte’ (2001) to discern what the Spirit has been saying to the Church and to put into practice resolutions and guidelines for action that fit the context and culture of each place (§3). Reflecting on what the Spirit has been saying to the People of God, he exhorted “the Pastors of the particular Churches, with the help of all sectors of God’s People”, to plan for the future in a collegial way that harmonises among the dioceses the work of pastoral revitalisation (§29).

Pope Francis has encouraged and fostered the same collegiality among bishops and synodality throughout the whole Church. In his address last October commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops, he stated: “A synodal Church is a Church which listens, which realises that listening ‘is more than simply hearing’. It is a mutual listening in which everyone has something to learn. The faithful people, the college of bishops, the Bishop of Rome: all listening to each other, and all listening to the Holy Spirit, the ‘Spirit of truth’ (Jn 14:17), in order to know what he ‘says to the Churches’ (Rev 2:7).” Speaking of Ecclesiastical Provinces and Regions, Particular Councils and Conferences of Bishops, the Holy Father went on to observe that, “We need to reflect on how better to bring about, through these bodies, intermediary instances of collegiality, perhaps by integrating and updating certain aspects of the ancient ecclesiastical organisation. The hope expressed by the [Second Vatican] Council that such bodies would help increase the spirit of episcopal collegiality has not yet been fully realised. We are still on the way, part-way there.”

The circumstances of the Church in Australia in our time, including the patterns of change that are evident within the community of the Church, the issues confronting the Church in modern multicultural and secular Australia, the increase in entrusting responsibility for and leadership of the Church’s mission to laity, and even the changing face of the Episcopate, prompt the Church to review, analyse, and discern the signs of the times, to listen anew to the Spirit, and to chart its course into the future.

Accordingly, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) has decided to celebrate a Plenary Council for the Church in Australia in 2020.....(more)     Image: Mark Votava
The humble, indispensable women leading the Catholic Church you’ve (probably) never heard of
Extract from Kerry Weber, The Jesuit Review (U.S.), 16 January 2018
Coleen Heckner grew up immersed in Catholic culture. From her parents and her devout grandfather, who served as an usher in his parish, to the Daughters of Charity and the Sisters of Mercy, who educated her in grade school and high school, she was surrounded by examples of faith. A member of the Vatican II generation, she was influenced by St. John XXIII and became passionate about issues of social justice, in part because the peace activists Daniel Berrigan, S.J., and Phil Berrigan were among the speakers brought to her Baltimore classroom. “I grew up in a really neat time to have all these folks touch my life in some way,” she said.      In the years that have followed, Ms. Heckner’s faith commitment has not waned. While working as a psychiatric nurse practitioner, she has attended Mass weekly and has been active in parish life, having served as a member of a parish council and a eucharistic minister to the homebound. Her adult son spent some time in seminary, and she enjoyed her visits there. She would love to be a deacon someday and has a devotion to Mary (“I’ve always believed if you want to get something done you give it to a woman”).    In 2011 she earned a master’s degree in pastoral studies from St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry in Albany, N.Y., which allowed her to serve as a chaplain resident at Albany Medical Center and now as a pastoral associate at a nearby nursing home.    Her wealth of experience would seem to make her a natural role model for others looking to put their faith into action, but she shies away from the title. “I don’t see myself as a role model,” Ms. Heckner said. “I tend to work one on one behind the scenes.”    Yet Ms. Heckner is, in some ways, just the type of person many Catholic women name when describing their models of the faith.....(more)
Letter From Rome: Working towards a full-scale 'paradigm shift'
Pope Francis has not just unleashed the stifled energies of Vatican II, he is actually leading the effort to help the church enter into the new paradigm
Limited extract from Robert Mickens, Rome, subscription journal La Croix International, 12 January 2018
Cardinal Pietro Parolin this week put his finger on the single most important issue that has become the driving force of the small, but tenacious opposition to Pope Francis and his pontificate.     It is the full-scale “paradigm shift” the pope is working so diligently to bring about within the global Catholic Church.      That’s not exactly how the pope’s Secretary of State articulated it in a video-taped interview posted Thursday on the Vatican News website.    But looking at the many changes and processes for change that Francis has set in motion since being elected Bishop of Rome in March 2013, the paradigm shift is definitely well underway. And this has caused some very influential people – both inside and outside the church – to be extremely worried.      So what did Cardinal Parolin actually say? He actually used the word “paradigm” three different times in the recent interview conducted by the Holy See’s Secretariat for Communication.     The first instance was in reference to the creative approach the Vatican is taking to prepare for next October’s meeting of the Synod of Bishops, which will discuss issues regarding today’s youth.    “I believe the most innovative aspect to this approach is the search for a new relationship between the church and young people, based on....(source)
Pope faces challenge of restoring trust in wake of Peru, Chile scandals
Extract from Junno Arocho Esteves, Melbourne Catholic, Catholic News Service, Friday 12 January 2018
When Pope Francis embarks on his fourth visit to South America, he will face the enormous task of restoring trust and encouraging healing after scandals in both countries left many wounded and angry at the Catholic Church.     Pope Francis planned the trip 15-21 January to Chile and Peru as an opportunity to take a message of hope and comfort to people on the margins of society, particularly the indigenous people.      The Vatican said on 10 January that Pope Francis followed the case ‘with concern’ and ‘insistently requested’ the congregation to act.     Despite his actions to address the issue of sexual abuse in Peru, his decision to appoint a bishop accused of turning a blind eye to abuse drew outrage in Chile.    The pope's appointment of Bishop Juan Barros as head of the Diocese of Osorno sparked several protests — most notably at the bishop's installation Mass — due to the bishop's connection to Father Fernando Karadima, his former mentor.    Father Karadima was sentenced to a life of prayer and penance by the Vatican after he was found guilty of sexually abusing boys. Greg Burke, director of the Vatican press office, told reporters on 11 January that Pope Francis' formal schedule for Chile and Peru does not include a meeting with sexual abuse victims or with the people still protesting Bishop Barros' appointment. Sexual abuse is ‘clearly an important theme,’ Burke said, adding ‘the best meetings are private meetings.’...(more)   Photo: Melbourne Catholic. (CNS photo/Pablo Sanhueza, Reuters) 
Ruddock's religious freedom review kicks off in Sydney
Edited extract from SBS News,10 Jan 2018
A government-appointed panel set up to critique whether Australia's laws adequately protect religious freedom (has just met) for the first time in Sydney.    The prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, announced the review in the final month of the national same-sex marriage debate last year, amid pressure from some Coalition conservatives who wanted to see religious exemptions built into the bill to amend the Marriage Act.     In the end, the so-called Smith bill to legalise same-sex marriage in Australia passed with no amendments.   Mr Turnbull decided the panel would be led by Phillip Ruddock, a Liberal elder who served as a senior minister in the Howard government and is now the mayor of Hornsby in Sydney.    Also on the panel are Jesuit prist Frank Brennan, former high-profile judge Dr Annabelle Bennett, Australian Human Rights Commission president Rosalind Croucher and constitutional lawyer Nicholas Aroney.     The panel has been asked to make its recommendations by March 31 and is currently accepting submissions, although the submissions have not been made public.....(more)
Joy but some are cross after Melbourne girl wins male-dominated Blessing of the Waters        Extract from Liam Mannix, The Age, 10 January 2018
The priest tossed the wooden cross high in an arc over her head, and Emily Paxevanos​ took a deep breath, turned and plunged into the water.  The 16-year-old swam about 30 metres through the choppy sea at Rye, the only girl in a field of young men who were all in hot pursuit of the crucifix.    In doing so on Saturday, Emily became the first girl to retrieve the cross at the annual Blessing of the Waters ceremony at Rye – possibly the first girl to win the traditionally male-only event anywhere in Australia, her family believes. She was the only female swimmer in the race.   The Greek Orthodox community holds several blessing ceremonies across Melbourne, with the largest held at Port Melbourne....The ritual commemorates Christ's baptism in the River Jordan, and is one of the most important days on the Greek Orthodox calendar. A priest tosses a wooden cross into the sea for young men to chase, with the winner receiving good luck and prosperity....."When I jumped under the railings to go on the pier, people were going 'oh, what's this'. But I didn't really care, I just went up front," she said.    "There was a few of the boys kicking up a stink about girls being allowed in – I think because she got it. He thinks it will be the last time only a single girl competes in the ceremony, with many adoring young women approaching Emily after she emerged victorious....On Tuesday, the Red Hill parish issued a statement confirming Emily was the first woman to retrieve the cross in Father Tatsis' 51 years as a priest.  "Our congratulations to dear Emily. Her achievement in retrieving the cross also helps dispel the oft-levelled charge the Orthodox Church is misogynistic in character," the Red Hill church statement said....(more) Photo: The Age, Rob Paxevanos [Ed: Joyous female surrounded by unhappy males]
Cardinal Pell's accuser dies before court case
Damian Dignan, who lived in the Victorian town of Ballarat, made allegations that were strenuously denied by the Australian cardinal.      Edited extract from The Guardian, 8 January 2018
A man who publicly accused Australia’s most senior Catholic cardinal, George Pell, of child sexual abuse has died following a long illness.....QC and former chief Victorian magistrate and crown prosecutor, Nicholas Papas, told Guardian Australia that Damian Dignan’s death would affect the structure of Pell’s upcoming court case in Melbourne.   “The death of a witness if generally very serious and can affect whether the case proceeds or not,” he said. “But it’s not as simple as that, as there may be other evidence or witnesses. In a murder case, for example, the victim is obviously never there and yet a case can proceed. So it’s not that it’s unusual for witnesses to be dead, but in a case where an allegation involved historic sexual assault and there may be no other direct witnesses to that abuse, it can seriously affect the case.”(more)
The 'Francis Revolution' enters the New Year
The aim of papal activity over the next year is to put more flesh on the inspiring blueprint the pope issued for his pontificate in 2013
Limited extract from Robert Mickens, Rome, subscription journal La Croix International 5 January 2018
We are just into the first week of 2018, but this new calendar year is already showing clear signs that this will be a challenging and exciting time for the continuing reforms Pope Francis has been trying to bring to the Vatican and the entire Catholic Church.      The 81-year-old pope, who will mark his fifth anniversary as Bishop of Rome in only a few months from now, has a full slate of events over the next twelve months. They promise to form yet another series of decisive moments in his efforts to change the mentality and practice of what it means to be church in the 21st century.      The aim of all this papal activity over the next year is to put more flesh on the inspiring, yet skeletal outline and blueprint Francis issued for his pontificate in the 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (Joy of the Gospel).      “I dream of a ‘missionary option’, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation,” Francis wrote in that remarkable document.        “The renewal of structures demanded by pastoral conversion can only be understood in this light: as part of an effort to make them more mission-oriented, to make ordinary pastoral activity on every level more inclusive and open, to inspire in pastoral workers a constant desire to go forth and in this way to elicit a positive response from all those whom Jesus summons to friendship with himself,” he stressed, still in the early months of his papal ministry.....(more). Photo: La Croix International/ucanews  
Dear Correctors: Where is your love, intelligence and charity?
'If one chooses to be more Catholic than the pope, at least do so with a touch of modesty'
Limited extract from Benoît Bourgine. subscription journal La Croix International 4 January 2018
Heresy is back. Not at the end of a dark alley or whispered at illicit meetings of nonconformists, but, we are told, at the very summit of the church, on the throne of St. Peter himself.      In a petition, a few dozen priests and academics overtly accuse Pope Francis of propagating doctrines which "tend of themselves to the profaning of all the sacraments and the subversion of the Law of God."       Let us be clear from the outset that there is no reason to doubt the sincerity of the signatories of the 25-page letter entitled "Filial Correction." The anguish they feel and which inspired them to put collective pen to paper is worthy of respect......(more)
Melbourne’s New Archbishop.
Extract from Eric Hodgens, Pearls and Irritations, John Menadue website, 5 January 2018
2018 will be a fateful year for the Catholic Church in Australia as Melbourne gets a new archbishop. This appointment, if successful, offers some hope for the Church; if a failure, it will hasten the Church’s decline into insignificance. Here’s why.     The national episcopal conference is of central importance because changes affecting the whole country require its approval. Pope Francis is encouraging national conference to be more proactive – in contrast to the policy of the last two popes who restricted conference authority.    The Australian Conference of Catholic Bishops (ACCB) is in poor shape having been hit by a triple whammy of Roman constriction under the last two popes, the back room influence of Cardinal Pell and the public devastation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.    The two popes exercised their control by carefully selecting compliant bishops and then closely supervising them. Over 35 years this led to a paralysis of local initiative and a policy of doing nothing without Rome’s approval.....(more)
Father Tom Doyle says tax concessions should be on table as church responds to Royal Commission
Extract from Joam McCarthy, Newcastle Herald, 4 January 2017
The Australian Government should ignore the church/state divide and put “massive pressure” on the Catholic Church to name child sexual abuse as a crime in church law, says the American Catholic cleric who first blew the whistle on the global abuse scandal in 1984.      “The church gave up this privilege long ago when they started to enable sex abuse, lie about it to society and cover up for abusers,” said Dominican priest Tom Doyle after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse’s final report in December recommended major changes, including to celibacy and the secrecy of the confessional.            The government must link tax concessions with the need for significant change in the church because “when enough money goes away they start to feel the reality”, he said.         Australian politicians needed to end the “deference and preferential treatment” given to the Catholic Church because “the deference accorded by many sectors in civil society has done its part to enable this harm, by allowing the churches to escape accountability”, he said in response to Newcastle Herald questions.....(more)  Photo: Newcastle Herald, Tom Doyle Newcastle Herald
Pope Francis message for the 51st World Day of Peace
Migrants and refugees: men and women in search of peace
Extract from Pope Francis, published in Melbourne Catholic, Monday 1 January 2018
Peace to all people and to all nations on earth! Peace, which the angels proclaimed to the shepherds on Christmas night, is a profound aspiration for everyone, for each individual and all peoples, and especially for those who most keenly suffer its absence. Among these whom I constantly keep in my thoughts and prayers, I would once again mention the over 250 million migrants worldwide, of whom 22.5 million are refugees. Pope Benedict XVI, my beloved predecessor, spoke of them as ‘men and women, children, young and elderly people, who are searching for somewhere to live in peace.’ In order to find that peace, they are willing to risk their lives on a journey that is often long and perilous, to endure hardships and suffering, and to encounter fences and walls built to keep them far from their goal.      In a spirit of compassion, let us embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands.     We know that it is not enough to open our hearts to the suffering of others......(more)  Image: Pope Francis Facebook