Repentance is the most effective way to change oneself and society,
Pope Benedict said yesterday, in a Lenten warning that true conversion
is the only path to conquering evil and death.
The diocese of Rome has completed its examination of the life and
virtues of Pope John Paul II in the first step of the process towards
canonisation of the late pontiff.
A retired Irish priest is said to be working to reunite his niece with
her baby after the child was found abandoned in a Surfers Paradise
Reports say that the Vatican will silence Spanish-born liberation
theologian, Jon Sobrino, who works in El Salvador and who narrowly
escaped death in a 1989 massacre that killed six fellow Jesuits, after
he allegedly failed to affirm Christ's divinity.
Vietnam and the Holy See are moving towards establishing diplomatic
relations after a Vatican delegation visit this week and an
announcement from Rome which has raised hope for a papal visit to the
Although the Moscow Orthodox Patriarchate has played down a visit today
to Pope Benedict by Russian President Vladimir Putin as "only a state
visit", the Holy See nuncio to Russia has suggested that the meeting
indicates "ecumenical progress".
A German journalist has been fined A$170 after being caught filming
three artists who were stealing water from the garden hose at Pope
Benedict's Bavarian home to sell on the eBay online auction website.
In a major document on the Eucharist released overnight, Pope Benedict
has called for a renewed emphasis on the Latin Mass, Gregorian chant
and classical church art as well as insisting on the obligatory
"witness of virginity" in the Latin Church.
Days after Pope Benedict slammed the "destructive" influence of the
internet and other media, the Holy See has announced that the Vatican
will launch its own news and entertainment TV network, H2O, by the end
of the year.
Saying that some couples already have "mental lines drawn" when they
marry and are already prepared to "revisit" their commitment, Sydney
priest Fr Chris Ryan says that it is not possible to "pick" the
marriages that will endure.
Contrary to earlier reports, the Holy See has not barred Spanish
liberation theologian Fr Jon Sobrino from teaching or publishing but
has declared that his work contains statements that are "either
erroneous or dangerous".
Strictures in Pope Benedict's back to basics apostolic exhortation
would only be observed when the bishop visits, a Melbourne priest has
said while others have welcomed Benedict's criticisms of "trashy"
modern liturgical music.
Saying that the Church needs to become a "Gypsy among Gypsies", the
Vatican this week has launched a campaign to win over Europe's Roma
people from non-mainstream Protestant "sects".
Commenting on the Vatican critique of Fr Jon Sobrino's theology, fellow
Jesuit Fr Andrew Hamilton, who has worked with the Spanish theologian
in El Salvador, says that Christ hides his divinity in such "exigent
Noting that every generation poses questions on Christ's identity,
Venezuelan Bishop Mario Moronta insists that Jesus was neither a
revolutionary, nor a socialist, nor a hippie, nor an alien.
Profits on an undisclosed shareholding of Senator Santo Santoro, were
not donated to charity as claimed by the Federal Aged Care Minister but
to the Family Council of Australia of which the Catholic Church is a
member, reports say.
A Cambridge University report commissioned by the European Catholic
Caritas agencies has warned that Britain could become Europe's "moral
poor man" because of policies that ignore the needs of the poorly paid
migrant workers who help keep the nation's inflation rate down.
A bedridden Spanish woman who suffered from muscular dystrophy for more
than twenty years has died at her own request after she was transferred
from a Catholic to a state hospital where her respirator was switched
As fugitive Timorese rebel leader Major Alfredo Reinado calls for
mediation by the Church, an East Timor priest has accused Australian
troops of terrifying local villagers after a raid by the soldiers left
a number of houses in ruins.
A leader of China's Catholic affairs association is calling on the
nation's Government to encourage Christians to donate bibles to hotels
in anticipation of the thousands of visitors expected for next year's
Caritas Australia says that tsunami reconstruction projects it funded
in Sri Lanka have ground to halt as fears grow that, with more than
200,000 people forced to flee their homes, the country is erupting into
One person was killed and several injured after hundreds of shotgun and
teargas armed riot police stopped a Harare prayer meeting that had met
under the banner of the "Save Zimbabwe campaign".
Representing the Catholic NGO Maryknoll at a United Nations conference
on the status of women, a young Masai woman who recently escaped a
forced marriage in Tanzania has called on the international body to
work for an end to the practice.
Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart has condemned an announcement by
Victorian Premier Steve Bracks that the state government will introduce
a law modelled on a recent federal legislation to allow "therapeutic"
cloning of human embryos.
The NSW Greens has accused the state government of double standards on
the distribution of political material in schools for failing to stop
the Catholic Education Commission from distributing a critique of the
Greens' education policy.
Welfare agencies are pressing the NSW government to implement
recommendations from the recent Vinson report to give funding priority
to so-called "poverty code" areas where intergenerational poverty is
Warragamba priest Fr John Evans is among a group of 42 NSW victims who
lost their homes in a Christmas 2001 bushfire who are suing the State
Government over an alleged failure to warn residents of the blaze.
A Tasmanian child abuse campaigner, Walter Tusyn, has called for the
State Government to investigate alleged abuse of hundreds of girls at
Church-operated commercial laundries in the years after World War II.
A Canadian philosopher, Charles Taylor, who advocates spiritual
solutions to violence and warns against identifying Christianity with
European civilisation, has won the prestigious Templeton Prize for
progress on spiritual issues.
Fifty per cent of all patients in medical and tuberculosis wards in
Port Moresby are admitted due to AIDS, the Papua New Guinea National
Catholic AIDS Office says, as fears grow that the disease could kill
millions in Australia's northern neighbour.
Only the good die young, they say, and this was a plane full of both
the good and the young. Liz O'Neill had worked with refugees before
joining the Department of Foreign Affairs, where she looked after
families and journalists in the ghastly aftermath of the Bali bombing.
O'Neill came from a strong Catholic family with an equally strong sense
of social justice. "If I were to use one word in regard to Liz, it
would be that she had great integrity," says Elizabeth Strutt, a
parishioner at St Canice's in Sydney's Kings Cross.
The decisive question currently facing the American Church in a culture
of pluralism is not so much how to evangelise as a fundamentally new
way of being Church. Searching for newfangled methods or even
eye-catching gimmicks of evangelising before examining this
foundational question is putting the cart before the horse. In our
current culture, it is only by imitating Christ's respect for diversity
and otherness that convinces and converts people, not brilliant systems
of ideas and doctrinal propositions - Peter C Phan
There are around 15,000 people working in the Vatican city and around
700 residents. From the Pope to an office clerk, they have ordinary
needs such as for groceries, health care and banking services.
Australian St John of God Brother, Br Fabian Hynes, is one who
fulfilled one of those service roles for 52 years as the head of the
Vatican Pharmacy. The recently retired brother has filled scripts for
six Popes and countless others in the Vatican - Marilyn Rodrigues
Tony Blair has forged a special bond with the Rev Ian Paisley, the
union and Protestant leader who holds the future of the Northern
Ireland peace process in his hands, by discussing their common interest
in and commitment to Christianity. A fierce Protestant, Mr Paisley has
outraged Catholics by denouncing the Pope as the anti-Christ. Mr Blair
is an Anglican who attends mass with his Catholic wife. "Blair is
brilliant at seducing Paisley," Irish politics professor Lord Bew said.
"This is the most amazing love affair."
Even though St Patrick's Day has not yet arrived, I have already
received several cards and messages. Some came the old-fashioned way,
delivered by the postman, but most were like my friend Colleen's, the
virtual variety, and arrived with a "ping' in my inbox. Colleen's card,
animated by leaping leprechauns, proffered a self-styled "auld Irish
blessing". Colleen's not Irish, she's an Aussie of Irish descent,
interested in and proud of her heritage. But her virtual Ireland
doesn't exist any more. It's a new Ireland now - educated,
multicultural, aware - Ursula Stephens
Last week, in Ireland, Trocaire, the official overseas aid agency of
the Irish Church, began its regular Lenten ad campaign. The interesting
thing about the campaign is that it is about more than "charity." It
also asks people to contribute to movements that seek justice. It
always calls for change in the system that is creating the oppression,
contributing to the poverty, or justifying the discrimination. All of
them have gotten widespread support. Till this one. This year's
campaign on gender equality has touched a few nerves - Sr Joan Chittister
The conviction of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, for lying to FBI agents and to
the grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA officer's identity, is
one of those moments in legal history that only has significance if
taken in context. Libby's conviction won't make the history books
because of the resoundingly egregious nature of his offence. It will
make the history books because of his links with the US
administration's dominant point of view, one that required an attitude
of invulnerability, righteousness and the sense of being beyond the
reach of law.
Besieged communities are too often reminded by their elders to sing
from the same hymn sheet - on cue and in perfect harmony. But the
arrival of the Independent Australia Jewish Voices this month shows
there is a growing chorus that is being sung in a different key, and
this may force the conductor to apply a new baton. The irony is that
these new movements are not anti-tradition, but go to the heart of the
three monotheistic faiths. Loyalty to one's tribe, flag, land or elders
should never hinder an over-arching loyalty to truth - Joseph Wakim
Muslims won't help their cause if they always claim they are victims
and ignore or ridicule the fears, real or exaggerated, of majority
Australia. But Melbourne Sheik Mohammed Omran is right in pointing out
that we, the majority, have work to do too. The best way to prevent
even a tiny minority of young Aussie Muslims becoming radicalised is to
treat the Muslim community justly and well, encouraging the education
of their children to break down disadvantage, and rejecting job
discrimination so they can find work - Cardinal George Pell
We've all had the experience of walking away from prayer feeling
comforted and heard, and we've all the experience of walking away
feeling more cold and alone than before we began. So, are there prayers
that work and prayers that don't? Are there good prayers and
not-so-good prayers? Effective words and ineffective words? Prayers
that reach God's ears and prayers that fall to the ground unheard? In
short, what should we talk about when we talk with God? - Janet Conner