Articles are reproduced with thanks from the Archdiocesan website, unless otherwise stated.


21 December 2015

Vatican Radio

FOR THE FIRST TIME since the Second Vatican Council changed Christian teachings toward Judaism and the Jewish people 50 years ago, a group of Orthodox rabbis have issued a public statement advocating partnership with Christians and appreciating the religious value of Christianity.

Published on the website of the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC) in Israel, ‘To Do the Will of Our Father in Heaven: Toward a Partnership between Jews and Christians’ is signed by over 25 prominent Orthodox rabbis in Israel, the United States and Europe, and calls for cooperation between Jews and Christians to address the moral and religious challenges of our times. The proclamation’s authors are inviting fellow Orthodox rabbis to join in signing the statement.

‘The real importance of this Orthodox statement is that it calls for fraternal partnership between Jewish and Christian religious leaders, while also acknowledging the positive theological status of the Christian faith. Jews and Christians must be in the forefront of teaching basic moral values to the world,’ said Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, one of the statement’s initiators, and founder of CJCUC, member of the Israeli Rabbinate and the Chief Rabbi of Efrat. While not a direct response to the Church’s 1965 ‘Nostra Aetate,’ ‘To Do the Will of Our Father in Heaven’ was clearly influenced by Christianity’s new affirmation of the eternity of the Jewish covenant and the respect that Christian leaders have demonstrated toward Judaism and Jews in contemporary dialogues and religious encounters.

13 December 2015


Spokesperson for Cardinal Pell, Rome.

IT HAS BECOME important to clarify some points around the reporting of Cardinal Pell's ill health and his unsuccessful application on Friday to give evidence to the Royal Commission by video link.

1. Cardinal Pell's lawyers tendered evidence from his doctors that it is not safe for him to undertake long haul flights at this time. The Royal Commission reviewed this medical evidence and accepted it as grounds for deferring Cardinal Pell's attendance until February. The Commission also required this personal information to be treated as confidential. Reports referring to "alleged illness" or casting doubt on the authenticity of the evidence of Cardinal Pell's long-standing heart condition are misleading and mischievous.

2. Some reports have claimed that that Cardinal Pell is too sick to give evidence. In fact, his doctors have advised him only that it is unsafe to undertake long haul flights. As a consequence a trip to attend a speaking event in Florida in January has also been cancelled. Otherwise he continues to be able to carry out his duties in the Vatican and to undertake a normal day's activities. His health issues do not preclude him giving evidence by video link, and Cardinal Pell did not wish to delay his evidence or the work of the Royal Commission. This is why he applied for permission to attend the hearing by video link on Friday.

27 November 2015

OPENING STATEMENT given by ACBC Public Policy Director, Jeremy Stuparich, to a public hearing of the Australian Parliament's Human Rights Subcommittee inquiry on Australian advocacy for abolition of the death penalty on 27 November 2015.

I appreciate the invitation from the Committee to speak with you today about efforts to end the death penalty internationally. Australia's Catholic bishops oppose the death penalty and want to see it abolished everywhere.

The bishops welcome the Committee’s inquiry in this area because they want to understand how they can more effectively contribute to the goal of ending capital punishment worldwide.

The death penalty can in Australia be seen as an issue remote from our lives, but earlier this year, the bishops were active not only in lobbying for clemency for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran but also importantly in prayer vigils on their behalf. The executions of these two young men reminded Australians of the pain and sadness that accompanies all judicial killings around the globe.

23 November 2015

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH’s Truth Justice and Healing Council has released guidelines for how Church authorities should respond when claims of child sexual abuse are made against them.

The guidelines, which have been endorsed by the Church leadership, will come into effect from 1 January 2016 and are designed to promote justice and consistency in the way the Church handles child sexual abuse claims and conduct litigation when taken to court.

They also include a requirement for Church dioceses or religious orders to assist a claimant to identify the correct defendant to respond to legal proceedings.

The CEO of the Truth Justice and Healing Council, Francis Sullivan, said the community expects the Catholic Church to have a compassionate and consistent approach towards survivors of child sexual abuse, including when they take legal action.

‘These guidelines provide a framework for Church authorities to do the right thing in court and ease the trauma of litigation for survivors,’ he said.

13 November 2015

Media and Communications Office/ABC News

VICTORIA'S UPPER HOUSE has passed legislation to legalise adoption by same-sex couples, but with an exemption for faith-based adoption services.

The bill will now need to go back to the Lower House for approval.

Members of the Opposition were given a free vote on the bill, apart from the religious exemption amendment, which they were compelled to oppose.

In debating the bill Liberal MP Bernie Finn said his first priority was the rights of children.

‘I am not convinced that same-sex adoption is in the best interests of children ... that is not to say that many same-sex couples are not superb parents,’ he said.

Friday 30 October 2015 Catholic News Service

China's Communist Party leaders have announced they are changing the nation's one-child policy.

The Communist Party's Central Committee in Beijing now says it will allow all couples to have two children.

The Chinese government imposed its one-child policy in 1979 to curb the growth of the population that, at that time, was reaching 972 million people. The policy most strictly applied to Han Chinese, but not to ethnic minorities around China. Han families in rural areas could apply to have a second child if the first child was a girl. In areas where the policy was enforced, parents could lose their jobs for having more than one child. Sometimes the second or third child was penalized and could not be registered, so he or she could not go to school.

The one-child policy often was enforced at the provincial level, and enforcement varied. In a 2007 interview with Catholic News Service, Jean-Paul Wiest, research director of The Beijing Center for Chinese Studies, said some provinces provided that if each spouse was a single child, the couple could have two children. How much the policy was followed also depended on local officials, Wiest said. For instance, in some strong Christian areas, the village's chief official might be Catholic, so the policy might not be enforced.

22 October 2015

Australia's Catholic Bishops have condemned victimisation of women in detention and offered the Church's support to help Somali refugee Abyan who was said to be a victim of rape and sexual assault. Bishop Vincent Long, Bishops Delegate for Migrants and himself a refugee, made the offer of support on behalf of the Church today.

‘The Church wants to offer trauma-related counselling and practical support to Abyan, to help her feel supported during and after her pregnancy, and to other women who find themselves in the same horrific situation,’ Bishop Long said.

‘Given Abyan was raped and that it was Australia who released her into the community in Nauru, we have a duty to provide her the appropriate services and care in Australia.

16 October 2015

At Australian Catholic University in Fitzroy on 15 October, Melbourne’s Archbishop Denis Hart conferred the papal honour of Knight of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great upon Melbourne lawyer Paul Hoy.

In a ceremony at the Fitzroy campus of ACU, Archbishop Hart praised Mr. Hoy for his extraordinary work for and commitment to the Archdiocese of Melbourne over 25 years, as adviser to the Archdiocese on constitutional and taxation matters, as well as being instrumental in establishing remuneration and retirement foundations for priests.

Additional praise came from Archbishop Hart for Mr. Hoy’s enduring work for the Australian Catholic University itself.

Paul was part of the original group negotiating with the Minister of Education for the establishment of the University.

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