Two Australian experts were invited to provide testimony to the New Zealand Commission Of Inquiry Into Historical Abuse In State Care And In The Care Of Faith-based Institutions, which began initial Hearings in February 2019. It is NZ’s biggest public inquiry ever, has a budget of NZ$79 million and is expected to run for 4 years. It is examining what happened to children, young people and vulnerable adults in State and faith-based care in Aoteoroa New Zealand between the years 1950-99. It may also listen to survivor experiences before and after these dates. In relation to State Care the Inquiry is specifically investigating why people were taken into care, what abuse happened and why, and the effects of the abuse. It is specifically focusing on Māori, Pasefika and disabled people because of the disproportionate number of people from these communities in care. There are four important elements of this inquiry. Following establishment of guidelines, the Commission then moved into an information and evidence gathering phase. Based on the evidence gathered, two reports will be produced with recommendations for addressing future responsibility - one at the end of 2020 and the second in 2023.....(more)
Warsaw launch of Getting back on Mission.
Friday 4 October 2019
Following the Melbourne launch of Getting Back on Mission by Francis Sullivan the book has now since been launched in Warsaw, at a meeting of the International Church Reform Network. Plans are underway for two further Australian launches, in Sydney and Canberra.
From the left at the Warsaw launch are: Helmut Schüller (Pfarrer-Initiative, Austria - who launched the book), Deborah Rose-Milavec (Future Church, USA) who warmly endorsed it, David Timbs (Catholics For Renewal) and Ian McGinnity (ACP Australia).
A warm welcome helps arriving priests, parishes
Extract from Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader, 6 August 2019
A major Church conference on missionary clergy and religious in Australia has heard of the demographic shifting of the Catholic Church and the need to welcome and nurture international priests. “The Church is rich, the Church is vibrant because of its diversity,” Fr Aniedi Okure, a Dominican priest and executive director of the Africa, Faith and Justice Network in Washington, told the sixth national conference on missionary clergy and religious in Australia, being held in Brisbane. Fr Okure spoke on Tuesday of the experience and challenges for clergy born outside the United States, and trying to fit in to that country’s pastoral life. He is an instructor at Loyola Marymount University’s Cultural Orientation Program for International Ministers and described the process of “give and take” needed to help an “incoming” priest adjust to a new pastoral community in which he is going to serve. “Orientation is crucial and should be undertaken as soon as the person arrives. It is to prepare the missionary priest to enter appropriately to the new context,” he said. “Orientation diminishes cultural misunderstandings for both the missionary and the ecclesial communities. In fact, cultural differences can make or break the missionary, it can make or break the community.” Fr Okure said careful orientation ensured that new priests “were not shy and enclosing themselves”, but rather are able to use their experiences and gifts and talents to contribute to enriching and enhancing their ecclesial community. His orientation approach was now used by US bishops to generate guidelines and conduct pastoral planning. While accepting that Australia is not identical to the United States, Fr Okure said there are many lessons to learn from the US about welcoming international priests.....(more) Photo: Okure Fr Aniedi Okure The Catholic Leader photo 20190706
Key Plenary Council topics emerge from final report of the Listening and Dialogue phase
Extract from Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader, Brisbane, 2 August, 2019 Celibacy for priests, the role of women, and the inclusion of divorced and remarried Catholics were among “strongly discussed” topics contained in the Plenary Council 2020’s latest report. The final report of the council’s Listening and Dialogue phase captures the voice of more than 222,000 Australians and provides insights into 17,457 group submissions. Plenary council president Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe said the 314-page document was the result of the listening process that had produced “an extraordinary treasure of ideas and proposals which represents the heartfelt response of many people”. “The great challenge ahead of us now is to ‘catch’ the voice of the Holy Spirit within the passionate, hopeful but sometimes contradictory voices of God’s people.” Among the wide-ranging list of submissions were those calling for ways to improve the sacraments to increase Church attendance and “allow the fullness of a Catholic life to flourish”, and addressing the clerical child sex abuse scandal. The structure of Church life “drew a great deal of attention” around leadership and governance, the need for greater listening between leadership and the laity, and the need to “modernise Church teachings to bring them in line with Australian society in the 21st century”. Brisbane leads Plenary submissions Brisbane archdiocese produced the highest number of individual submissions (1890), and about 44 per cent of individual submissions (5663) were received from those aged more than 50. Many respondents discussed the need for greater outreach and evangelisation, particularly to young people. Identified as “critical” was a significant desire for the Church to humble itself in the light of the sexual abuse crisis, and for more to be done to offer healing and restoration to those affected....(more). Photo: Catholic Leader, Brisbane
Archbishop Comensoli 'did not revoke' US sister’s invitation
Extracts from CathNews, The Age, 29 July 2019
Melbourne Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli says he neither invited nor revoked any invitation to US Benedictine Sr Joan Chittister to speak at a national education conference next year. Tensions emerged last month when it was revealed that Sr Joan – an author, feminist and advocate of Church reform – had been asked to take part in the 2020 National Catholic Education Conference in Melbourne, only to have her invitation rescinded a few weeks later. “I am very saddened to say that while our organising committee strongly supported the inclusion of Sr Joan as a speaker at the conference, the Archbishop of Melbourne has failed to endorse her inclusion,” John Meneely, the Ballarat Catholic Education Office deputy director, wrote in a June 1 email seen by The Sunday Age. “I am presently seeking [an] explanation for his reasoning.”......The Archdiocese issued a statement on Friday night acknowledging that Archbishop Comensoli was advised in May of “a proposal for Sr Joan Chittister to speak at the National Catholic Education Commission Conference”. “When the conference was raised with him, Archbishop Comensoli requested that more names aligned to the themes of a national Catholic education conference be considered,” the spokesman said. “The conference is a national conference with an organising committee drawn from leaders in Catholic education that is engaged in dialogue as part of the planning with a range of stakeholders including Catholic education leaders, Church representatives and bishops....(more)