A Catholic student leader, Devett O'Brien says that the Church should
have a "young heart" because Jesus lived and died young while
Australia's bishops respond by forming the Australian Catholic Youth
Council to be chaired by Sandhurst Bishop Joseph Grech.
With an invitation to China reported to be waiting for him as he left
Brazil, Pope Benedict has attacked Marxism as well as unbridled
capitalism for problems in Latin America while defending the Church's
role during the European colonisation of the region.
The Holy See has adopted new rules that allow national bishops'
conferences to propose saints from under-represented countries for
inclusion on the Church's universal calendar - but competition is stiff
for the few remaining available dates.
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone has denied that
the Church is suppressing an apocalyptic vision of the end of the world
some claim the Virgin Mary to have revealed at Fatima 90 years ago.
Concluding his tour of Brazil, Pope Benedict has described South
America as a "continent of hope" while denouncing drug dealers and
warning against drug use and sexual infidelity.
Former Australian Idol star Guy Sebastian's "Receive the Power" will be
the official theme song for World Youth Day in Sydney because it "hits
the mark" on every level, according to WYD coordinator, Bishop Anthony
World Youth Day registrations from the US are outpacing those from
Australia, organisers say, with 27,000 Americans on the books compared
to 20,000 Australians in a total of more than 80,000 people who have
put their names down for the Sydney event.
Former Philadelphia truck driver Sr Mary Annette Gailey, who has just
made her final vows, says that the solitude of the road helped her
discover her new path, while Paris Hilton has reportedly vowed to "live
like a nun" in a bid to stay out of jail.
An American lobby group against anti-Semitism, the Anti-Defamation
League, is calling for the suspension of the canonisation process for
World War II Pope Pius XII until the Vatican archives for the late
pope's pontificate are finally opened.
Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony has announced that the archdiocese
will sell its chancery building along with 50 other properties to raise
funds towards a potential $1.2 billion that may be needed to settle
hundreds of sex abuse cases.
Visiting Fatima for the 90th anniversary of the 1917 apparitions of the
Virgin Mary to three Portuguese children, half a million pilgrims
prayed for the safe return of British toddler Madeleine McCann who
disappeared at a coastal resort early this month.
The British press is abuzz with speculation that outgoing Prime
Minister Tony Blair is about to join his wife Cherie as a Catholic
after a British priest who says weekly Mass for the family made the
prediction at a recent event.
The New Zealand Government Corrections Department has reversed a prison
ban on communion wine following pressure from the Catholic Church and
politicians outraged over "political correctness gone mad".
Bishop Dong Guangqing, the first Chinese government appointed Catholic
bishop, has died in the central city of Wuhan at the age of 90.
A father has left his three year old son at the newly opened "Stork's
Cradle" baby hatch at a Japanese Catholic hospital in Kumamoto that was
designed for parents to safely abandon new born infants they are unable
to care for.
A Vietnamese artisan has made the nation's biggest bronze trumpet for
his Catholic parish in the northern village of Xuan Tien - a 5.5 metre
long musical instrument that weighs 350 kilograms.
In a move condemned by Pakistan's Catholic bishops, the south Asian
country's National Assembly is considering an apostasy bill proposed by
a pro-Taliban coalition of religious parties that imposes death on
Muslim men who convert from Islam.
Police in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu have arrested a prison
ministry nun on charges of smuggling marijuana to a prisoner suffering
A jury in the Brazilian frontier state of Para has found a wealthy
rancher guilty of ordering the killing of American-born landless
people's champion, Sr Dorothy Stang.
Addressing 40,000 young people in Brazil, Pope Benedict has called for
"greater commitment" to fighting environmental devastation in the
Amazon basin that threatens indigenous peoples in the region.
Criticisms of the mother of a newborn child left outside a Melbourne
hospital this week could push her "towards the edge", Centacare's Fr
Joe Caddy has warned, saying that the mother needs to be invited in so
as she can accept her responsibilities.
Parents of three Melbourne children, including one who has a learning
disability, are claiming discrimination after their parish priest
informed them their children would be finishing up at the parish school
and that he had enrolled them in another school.
Citing weaknesses in its christological and ecclesiological
foundations, controversial ACU religious education lecturer Fr Daniel
Donovan, says that a draft pastoral plan for the Sydney archdiocese is
"seriously flawed" and has "shades of Opus Dei".
Twenty Batesman's Bay men - including retired railway gangers,
professors and bankers - have got their own "Men's Shed" thanks to
local parish priest Fr Tom Thornton who donated a piece of land to the
The Albury suburb of Lavington in southern NSW is now home to three
Filipino sisters who have arrived to work with the most needy people in
the community including the aged, the sick and the unemployed.
Endorsing comments by Pope Benedict, a spokesman for Perth Archbishop
Barry Hickey has said that any Catholic doctor performing an abortion
is excluded from communion.
A police video interview with Dante Wyndham Arthurs, who is soon to
face charges of raping and strangling eight-year-old Perth Catholic
schoolgirl Sofia Rodriguez-Urrutia, could be thrown out of court owing
to alleged questionable police tactics.
Four Year 8 students at Hobart's Sacred Heart College have been
suspended after dressing in balaclavas and crying "hold-up" to
frightened school office staff in a prank apparently inspired by the
controversial Jackass TV series.
A Tasmanian Supreme Court Justice has sentenced former Marist priest
Gregory Ferguson to two years prison with eligibility for parole after
12 months even though the man's crimes were "relatively serious".
The popular media informs us on a regular basis of the rise in the
incidence of drug use. A few years ago the focus was on heroin. Today,
"ice" has the media's attention. Alcohol abuse is also frequently
newsworthy. The campaign to stop smoking connects the habit with
extreme decay, gangrenous limbs and rotting teeth and gums. The images
we have of someone who is addicted tend towards caricatures of mad,
painful helplessness and moral chaos. The reality of addiction is much
more subtle and pervasive - Janine Wilson
Investors are increasingly looking for ways to link their money to ethical principles. In a recent report on this trend, the Financial Times
newspaper cites data that puts the amount held in faith-based funds -
normally invested in by churches - at around $17 billion. Among the
best-known names in this area are the Ave Maria mutual funds, which
have $525 million invested in them. Monies in these funds are not
invested in companies that violate the moral principles of the Catholic
Church - Fr John Flynn
There are times when I wonder if I have become immune to the deaths,
violence and suffering of Aboriginal people. And then, often quite
unexpectedly, something lifts me up to a new place of insight and range
of emotions. This describes something of my experience when reading a
compelling book published late last year about Aboriginal leader and
activist, Rob Riley. The book captures well that particular slice of
Australian history where Aboriginal leaders emerged in the 1970s and
80s with great energy and purpose - Fr Brian McCoy
There has been a lot written about "Into Great Silence", a film which
shows the life of monks in the Carthusian monastery of Le Grande
Chartreuse. It wasn't long after my wife and I saw this movie that the
murders at Virginia Tech happened. All I can think about are the human
extremes here: monks who spend their time in solitary silence before
God, listening deeply; and someone weeping in his own howling,
desperate isolation, one that turns to evil rage and the destruction of
Cardinal Claudio Hummes seems too young for someone who will be 73 in
August. But he is unlikely to be collecting a pension cheque for a long
while. Last October Benedict XVI offered the then-Archbishop of Sao
Paulo a new and entirely different job by calling him to the Vatican to
head up the Congregation for the Clergy. Returning to his former
archdiocese this week with Pope Benedict for the opening of the Latin
American bishops' conference must be a poignant reminder of the change
his life has undergone - Robert Mickens
Zimbabwe has a population of 12 million and used to be the second most
prosperous country in the continent after South Africa. Today economic
life has collapsed as President Mugabe becomes increasingly corrupt and
despotic. As a master promoter of division and distortion, Mugabe tries
to "racialise" his predicament, so that his opponents are portrayed as
Western puppets doing the work of hostile whites. For a long time, he
managed to divide the Christian churches and their leadership, but
those days are almost over - Cardinal George Pell
I spent my annual leave in this place, which from old is dear to many
of us around the world: the "little town" whose name evokes magic
associations in each of us from the early days of our childhood. The
welcome in Bethlehem I received was nothing like what Mary and Joseph
had to go through 2000 years earlier. There is plenty of room in all
inns these days! There were hardly any visitors around and no one to
buy the local's beautiful and mostly hand-crafted goods.
The Rev Jerry Falwell - founder of the US Moral Majority and the leader
of the religious right in the '80s - died on Tuesday after he was
discovered unconscious in his office. Now that the evangelist has
finally met his maker, we pray for his sake that God is an amiable old
white guy with a long grey beard, and is not, say, a big purple
Teletubby. We also pray for Falwell that God is not a feminist, an
environmentalist, a pagan, a secularist, or a supporter of an
"alternative lifestyle" - John D Spalding
Over the past 20 years the private school sector has more than doubled
in size. Independent schools are sprouting like mushrooms in growth
centres all over Australia. In NSW, more than 400 independent schools
now enrol 165,000 students and employ 17,000 staff. So why, when Prime
Minister John Howard launches a savage assault on the competence and
performance of schools, does he not include the private system? The
debate is being fought on serious ideological grounds, with the
nation's students, teachers and parents caught in the middle - Bruce McDougall
Benedict XVI's stinging criticism of both Marxism and capitalism may
have caught some off-guard used to thinking of him as a consummate
conservative, but it shouldn't surprise anyone who knows Joseph
Ratzinger's history. In 1988, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger published
a collection of essays which argued that capitalism is little better
than national socialism or communism, in that all three propose false
idols. It's worth noting that to some extent, scepticism about
capitalism is built into Ratzinger's DNA - John L Allen