Catholics for Renewal


News 2022


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.
2022 World Interfaith Harmony Week Lecture
Religious freedom, discrimination, and living well together
Guest Speaker: Professor Douglas Ezzy, PhD, Lecturer, University of Tasmania
Zoom Tuesday 1st February at 7pm AEDT     (Details and registration - Events 2022 page  HERE)
EXTENDED TIMELINES - Plenary Council & Synod of Bishops
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
The linked  timelines synchronises the schedule of events and activities of the Synod of Bishops program with that of the ongoing Australian Catholic Plenary Council process  HERE
Submissions to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights in relation to the Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 and related Bills: published HERE.   18 January 2022
The Catholics For Renewal (CFR) submission is No. 196. Some others include: The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC): No. 95;  Vinnies (St Vincent De Paul) No. 19, The Josephites (No. 79).
Pope Francis appoints new ambassador to Australia
Extract from ACBC Media blog,  CathNews, 18 January 2022
Pope Francis has announced that American Archbishop Charles Balvo, a veteran of the Vatican’s diplomatic service for more than 30 years, will serve as the next Apostolic Nuncio to Australia.           Archbishop Balvo, the Vatican’s ambassador to the Czech Republic, was born in New York City and was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of New York in 1976.     After serving in apostolic nunciatures in South America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East, Archbishop Balvo was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to New Zealand and several Pacific Island nations in 2005. He was also Apostolic Delegate to the Pacific Ocean.      In 2013, he was named Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya and took on responsibility for South Sudan after the country was established. While posted in Kenya, Archbishop Balvo also served as Permanent Observer to the United Nations Environment Program and Human Settlements Program.      He has been in the Czech Republic since 2018.     Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge welcomed Archbishop Balvo’s appointment on behalf of the Australian bishops.    “Archbishop Balvo is no stranger to the Antipodes, having served as Nuncio in New Zealand and the Pacific – and I myself came to know him at that time,” Archbishop Coleridge said.     “But he returns to this part of the world enriched by his service as Nuncio in Africa and Europe.”     Archbishop Coleridge said Archbishop Balvo “comes to us at a complex and challenging time in the Church and in Australia”.     “But his combination of gifts and experience will equip him well for all that lies ahead,” he said.           Archbishop Balvo succeeds Archbishop Adolfo Yllana, who last year completed six-and-a-half years in Australia when Pope Francis appointed him Apostolic Nuncio to Israel and Cyprus, and Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine......(more)   Photo: Archbishop Charles Balvo, Wikimedia Commons, Dan1, CathNews 20220118
Government extends deadline for draft Violence against Women review
Extract from SBS News, CathNews, 20210118
The Morrison Government has responded to calls from thousands of Australians who have demanded more time to review the Draft National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022-2032. Source: SBS News.      In a statement to SBS News, a spokesperson for the Minister for Social Services, Anne Ruston, confirmed Australians will now receive four weeks to provide feedback on the draft plan.      “Minister Ruston contacted state and territory ministers who make up the Women’s Safety Taskforce over the weekend and they have jointly agreed to extend the timeline for public comment by four weeks, particularly in light of the COVID-related workforce pressure the sector is under,” the spokesperson said.      On Friday, the Government released the draft plan that aims to set the foundation for a decade-long commitment to eliminate domestic and gender-based violence in the country.     But only two weeks had been provided for Australians to provide feedback on the 75-page report, with the consultation period initially ending on January 31.      The tight deadline had caused anger from activists, domestic violence groups and victim-survivors.     Almost 8000 people signed an open letter calling on the government to extend the deadline to at least six weeks to ensure affected women have sufficient time to read and provide their insights into the plan.....(more).   Photo:Anne Ruston, Facebook, CathNews 20210118
LGBTIQA+ Catholics – will the Plenary Council ignore them or treat them with respect, sensitivity, and compassion?
Extracts from Kevin McGovern, Publised in the Summer edition of The Swag and in ABC Religion & Ethics October 2021, linked here 17 January 2022
In Fourteen: My Year of Darkness, and the Light that Followed, Shannon Molloy reveals the homophobic physical and psychological abuse that was inflicted on him in Year 8 at an all-boys Catholic high school in rural Queensland. Perhaps the most disturbing episode involved a note written by someone else which purported to be a love letter from Shannon to another boy. The lengthy note described in graphic detail all manner of sexual things which it claimed Shannon wanted to do to the other boy. Incredibly, the note was read in its entirety to the whole class including Shannon by one of their teachers. Shannon attempted suicide that afternoon............Linda and Felicity are a same-sex couple. They are both from Catholic families — indeed, both of them are committed Catholics. They attend Mass each Sunday with their daughter Olivia. But because they are a same-sex couple, Linda and Felicity were afraid that the priest would refuse to baptise Olivia. They were so concerned that they searched online and contacted a group of LGBTIQA+ Catholics, who directed them to a priest who performed Olivia’s baptism. Should Catholic parents feel so much fear about having their child baptised?.........Have LGBTIQA+ Catholics been excluded from consideration?          Fear. Fear of being judged. Fear of rejection. Feelings of great vulnerability, of hanging onto their faith by a thread. These are very familiar emotions for LGBTIQA+ Catholics. But will the Plenary Council respond to their situation with understanding and mercy? I am sorry to report that, based on the Working Document for the Council, there is little to suggest that it will. This is particularly surprising because in the Listening and Dialogue Sessions which began the journey to the Plenary Council, “ending discrimination against LGBTI” was a prominent issue. As Listen to what the Spirit is saying: Final Report for the Plenary Council Phase I: Listening and Dialogue noted.......(more)     Photo: LGBTIQA+ people marginalised Wheatfield iStock Getty Images, ABC Religion and Ethics 20211007
Pope Francis praises Sister Jeannine Gramick’s 50 years of L.G.B.T. ministry in handwritten letter
Limited extract from Jim McDermott, Subscription Journal. America, The Jesuit Review, 7 January 2022
In another sign of support for L.G.B.T. Catholics and those who advocate on their behalf, Pope Francis sent a handwritten letter on Dec. 10 to Jeannine Gramick, S.L., the co-founder of the Catholic apostolate New Ways Ministry.        Sister Gramick is celebrating 50 years of working with and advocating for L.G.B.T. people. Noting her anniversary as the reason for his letter, the pope congratulated her in Spanish on “50 years of closeness, of compassion and of tenderness” in a ministry that he described as being in “‘the style’ of God.”         Pope Francis’ letter to Sister Gramick is the latest in a series of letters from the pope written to gay Catholics and others who are serving and advocating for L.G.B.T. people.          In his letter, the pope praised Sister Gramick for her willingness to suffer for love’s sake. “You have not been afraid of ‘closeness,’” he wrote, “and in getting close you did it ‘feeling the pain’ and without condemning anyone, but with the ‘tenderness’ of a sister and a mother.”          “Thank you, Sister Jeannine,” the letter concluded, “for all your closeness, compassion and tenderness.”         Almost from the start of their work in New Ways Ministry, Sister Gramick and New Ways Ministry co-founder Robert Nugent, S.P.S., were met with resistance by church authorities for the programs they offered throughout the country, which educated Catholics about the science, sociology and theology of homosexuality. Some bishops in the United States pressured Sister Gramick’s superiors to remove her from the ministry.        When they declined to do so, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith launched an 11-year investigation that ended in a notification, which stated that Sister Gramick and Father Nugent’s presentations on homosexuality did not accurately represent “the intrinsic evil of homosexual acts and the objective disorder of the homosexual inclination,” and banned the two from any pastoral work related to L.G.B.T. people.       A year later, Sister Gramick described her experience with the Vatican as akin to that of a battered woman. In response to Vatican demands that she stop talking about the investigation, she replied, “After finding my voice to tell my story, I choose not to collaborate in my own oppression by restricting a basic human right.” Sister Gramick ended up leaving her original religious community, the School Sisters of Notre Dame, and joining the Sisters of Loreto in order to continue her ministry.       Just last month, after the Vatican’s General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops removed a link to a webinar hosted by New Ways Ministry from its website, New Ways revealed that Pope Francis had written them two letters earlier this year praising their ministry. The link was later restored. In those letters, Francis, writing about Sister Gramick, acknowledged that he knew “how much she has suffered,” describing her as “a valiant woman who makes her decisions in prayer.”....(source).    Photo: Pope Francis CNS photo, Sister Jeannine Gramick, CNS photo by Nancy Wiechec, America, The Jesuit Review, 20220207
German Catholic group gives Pope Francis ‘reform manifesto,’ saying the Synodal Path is ‘getting out of hand’
Limited extract from Americamagazine, The Jesuit Review,  Catholic News Service 6 January 2022
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A group of pilgrims presented Pope Francis with a “reform manifesto” critical of the German Synodal Path, reported the German Catholic news agency KNA.              On the sidelines of the pope’s Jan. 5 general audience, representatives of the “Neuer Anfang” (”New Beginning”) initiative handed him a pamphlet containing their own statements on themes that are also dealt with in the Synodal Path consultations, launched by the German bishops’ conference and the Central Committee of German Catholics.         A member of the group said they had handed the manifesto directly to the pope because its views had no chance of being accepted by Synodal Path members in Germany.     In their manifesto, they thanked the pope for initiating a world Synod of Bishops on synodality and said the “Synodal Path in Germany is getting out of hand.”        “The joy of the Gospel” appeared to be getting lost in the “bickering of politicized groups,” the text said.       The manifesto and a “Letter from the Pilgrim People of God to the Pope” stem from an initiative launched by Bernhard Meuser, a German publicist, and Martin Brüske, a theologian who teaches in Switzerland.     The “Faith Manifesto,” signed by around 6,000 people from Germany and other European countries, contains nine theses. They include the legitimacy of the Synodal Path, the unity of the church, power, women, marriage, laypeople and priests as well as abuse. The manifesto sharply criticizes the demands of the Synodal Path, which amount to a “self-secularization of the church,” as Meuser told KNA.      The manifesto contains a set of proposals: Any reform must take place in unity with the universal church; there must be no separate national paths; power in the church must serve and be legitimate and transparent.    “There is indeed also abuse of power in the church,” it says. However, it adds that it does not want “a church of officials and  functionaries.”        The sacramentality of the church must be preserved, as must the difference between clergy and laypeople, the manifesto says. Women’s abilities must be more strongly recognized; however, their non-admission to the priesthood is not discrimination, it adds. It also supports the special status of traditional marriage as a sacrament and opposes the blessing of same-sex couples......(Source)
Five predictions for Pope Francis and the Vatican in 2022
Extract from L. Allen Jr. Editor, Crux, 4 January 2022
..........The Synod on Synodality becomes a lightning rod:    To reset, the Synod of Bishops on Synodality convened by Pope Francis is currently in the phase of diocesan consultations, originally set to end in April but the deadline has been pushed back to August. In September a continental phase will begin, intended to sort through the results at the diocesan level, with the physical assembly set for Rome in October 2023.          So far there’s been relatively little hubbub about the synod, for the basic reason that relatively little has happened yet. However, as with most things in the Francis papacy, today’s calm is likely deceiving.        In the spring and summer of 2022, dioceses in various parts of the world will report the results of their consultations with priests, religious and laity, and most of that material will become public knowledge. As it rolls in, some Catholics are going to have issues with the content – perhaps especially because the diocesan bishops most gung-ho about the synod are Pope Francis loyalists, so the first phase may elicit largely “progressive” input.      As that picture begins to take shape, conservative Catholics likely will begin issuing warnings about where the synod may be headed and start organizing for the next phase. One soundbite worth preparing for: “My God, this is Germany on a global scale!”      Prediction: Especially in the second half of the year, the Synod on Synods will become a leading Catholic debating point......(More)       Photo: Pope Francis delivers blessing Sunday, Jan 2, 2022, Andrew Medichini AP Crux, 20220104
Dublin archbishop: 'Radical change is coming in the church'
Extract from Sarah Mac Donald, National Catholic Reporter Catholic News Service, 3 January 2022
Dublin — After a year at the head of the Archdiocese of Dublin, Archbishop Dermot Farrell said, "Radical change is coming in the church," which will see a renewal of energy and new forms of ministry.            "With a powerful commitment from clergy and lay faithful, across the full range of the life and ministry of parish communities, we are going to experience a renewal of energy and the adoption of new forms of outreach and ministry," the 67-year-old archbishop told Catholic News Service. He also said he believes change is already happening in the church's structures all over the Western world.         "Pope Francis is offering us a way of being church, the synodal pathway, of walking together more closely and being a church that is hope-filled, despite many challenges."           The leader of the largest Irish diocese, with more than 1 million Catholics and 207 parishes, invited the faithful to "walk this journey together with me — and walk it with hope: a hope that frees us to undertake radical change, a hope that inspires us to be ambitious and a hope encourages us to be brave."            In November, the archdiocese published its "Building Hope Task Force Report," a strategic plan for pastoral renewal amid major challenges such as a collapse in revenue and priest numbers.           "As a diocese, we need to take stock of how well we are prepared to serve the mission of the church," the archbishop said. "Of course, we confront immense challenges. Certain forms of church life may be dying out. Once we accept this, it does not mean resignation or powerlessness, but new responsibilities for the mission."      He stressed that there is "no pre-packaged plan to address the reality in which we find ourselves.".....(More)