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


1 July 2010

Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart has today issued a Pastoral Letter in response to the recent international focus on the issue of sexual abuse.

“This year is proving to be a distressing and sorrowful time for all Catholics throughout the world as well as here in Australia, “ says Archbishop Hart.

“In the Melbourne Archdiocese we have been dealing with this abhorrent issue for some 14 years.

“It is only in recent times that this issue has emerged in other countries to the extent it has, “ adds Archbishop Hart.

“Here in Australia the 1970’s were the worst period of reported sexual abuse cases. Most of the complaints relate to incidents from 30 to up to 80 years ago.

“The number of proven reported cases of abuse occurring in the last ten years here in Melbourne have declined to less than a hand full. But even that’s too many for me”.

The Archbishop has pledged to continue the Melbourne Archdiocese’s strong response to allegations of sexual abuse -which provides care, counselling, support and compensation to sexual abuse victims and deals with offenders.

12 July 2010

The archbishop of Caracas, Venezuela, is denouncing the government's attempts to install a Marxist Socialist regime through "unconstitutional" and "illegal" methods violating the rights and will of the people.

Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino underlined the need to speak publicly, to voice "my conscience as a Venezuelan and as archbishop of Caracas, given the reality that we are experiencing."

He wrote a statement, issued Wednesday 7 July, denouncing "the danger that is threatening our beloved homeland."

"Going beyond the national constitution," the cardinal wrote, President Hugo Chávez "and his government want to lead the country on the path of Marxist Socialism, which monopolizes all spaces, is totalitarian, and leads to a dictatorship, not even of the proletariat, but of the leadership that governs."

"Going against the popular will, which on 2 December, 2007, rejected the proposal of nationalizing and the socialist reform of the national constitution, through unconstitutional laws, there is an attempt to implant in Venezuela a Marxist regime, as the president has openly proclaimed on repeated occasions," the prelate stated.

He asserted that "such conduct is unconstitutional and illegal but, above all, it attempts against the human, civil and political rights of Venezuelans."

"The failure of Marxist Socialism in other countries is more than evident," Cardinal Urosa noted.

He continued, "Moreover, the pretension to monopolize all productive activities through, for example, the progressive monopolization of importation, distribution and commercialization of foods, is in the line of dismantling the national productive apparatus so that we will all depend on the government even to eat."

Chávez has progressively nationalized many major national companies in various industries: oil, telephone, electric, steel, and cement. In addition, he has taken over supermarkets and large areas of farmland. This nationalization, along with government-issued price controls and other factors, has contributed to a rapid decrease in food production in the country. Thus Venezuela currently imports around two-thirds of its food needs.

27 June - 10 July 2010 (Volume 21, Issue 11)

Sister Maria Casey RSJ is the Postulator for the cause of canonisation of Mary MacKillop. Catherine Sheehan recently interviewed her for Kairos Catholic Journal. The canonisation of Blessed Mary MacKillop will take place at St Peter’s in Rome on 17 October this year.

Sr Maria, when was the cause for Mary MacKillop’s canonisation first opened?

The cause was opened in 1926.

How long have you been involved with the cause?

I have been involved officially since 2001.

How was it that you came to be involved in the cause?

The Postulator at the time was Fr Paul Gardiner. He had the authority to appoint an assistant called a Vice-Postulator. He asked me and then my congregation gave the necessary consent. He was living in Penola and I was in Sydney. A lot of the work was happening in Sydney, hence the need for someone to be working there.

When did you become Postulator?

Fr Gardiner resigned for reasons of health in June 2008. I was recommended by my congregation to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in the Vatican. After they followed due process they appointed me to the role in July 2008.

What is involved in the process for canonisation?

It starts with the taking of testimony from the people who knew Mary MacKillop. That was all taken under oath, especially from sisters who knew her and priests and other people. Her letters and her writings were examined to see that there was nothing theologically incorrect and also to decide what kind of woman she was. Then there was a review of all the material that was collected and sent to Rome. And, when all was well, the go-ahead was given.

16 June 2010

Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli is the latest in a series of celebrities who have testified that they narrowly escaped abortion. The anti-abortion movement applauds Bocelli for his honesty after he described in a video how his mother rejected advice from doctors to terminate her pregnancy.

In the video, which has been posted to the web, Bocelli plays piano while recounting the story of his mother’s brave act.

Click here for full story

11 May 2010

On April 29 the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its annual report. Along with an overview of the violation of human rights in many countries when it comes to freedom of worship the report also contained the 2010 recommendations about the nations the commission thinks should be named as “countries of particular concern,” or CPCs.

USCIRF, which is an independent government commission, urged that 13 nations - Burma, China, North Korea, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam -- be named CPCs.

Furthermore, USCIRF announced that the following countries are on the 2010 USCIRF Watch List: Afghanistan, Belarus, Cuba, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Laos, Russia, Somalia, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Venezuela. These are states that require close monitoring due to violations of religious freedom.

The report also expressed clear dissatisfaction with the U.S. government. In his presentation of the report the commission’s chair, Leonard Leo, said that: “The report’s conclusion is clear -- our government must do more.”

According to Leo, “U.S. foreign policy on religious freedom is missing the mark.” He singled out for criticism the fact that so far no Ambassador-at-Large on International Religious Freedom has been named, over a year after the new administration took power.

In an even more pointed critique Leo commented that after some strong language on religious freedom used by President Obama in his Cairo speech, “presidential references to religious freedom have become rare.”

“The same holds true for many of Secretary of State Clinton’s speeches,” Leo added.

1 May 2010

The following is a translation of a communiqué released 1 May by Pope Benedict XVI regarding meetings held Friday and Saturday with the visitors of the Legion of Christ.

* * *

1. On 30 April and 1 May, the Cardinal Secretary of State chaired a meeting at the Vatican with the five bishops in charge of the apostolic visitation of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ (Archbishop Ricardo Blazquez Perez of Valladolid, Spain; Archbishop Charles Joseph Chaput, OFM Cap., of Denver; Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, SDB, of Concepción, Chile; Bishop Giuseppe Versaldi of Alexandria, Italy; and Bishop Ricardo Watty Urquidi, MSpS, of Tepic, Mexico).It was attended by the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and the substitute of the Section for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State.

The Holy Father was present at one of the sessions, at which the visitors presented a summary of their reports, which had already been sent in.

During the visitation, more than 1,000 Legionaries were interviewed, and hundreds of written testimonies were sifted through. The visitors went to almost all the religious houses and many of the apostolic works directed by the congregation. They have heard, orally or in writing, the opinion of many diocesan bishops of the countries in which the congregation is at work. The visitors also met many members of the Regnum Christi Movement — although it was not the subject of the visitation — especially consecrated men and women. They have also received a great amount of correspondence from laypeople and family members of those involved in the Movement.

The five visitors have told of the sincere welcome which they were given and of the constructive spirit of cooperation shown by the congregation and the individual religious. Even though each of them acted independently, they have come to substantial agreement in their assessment and to a common opinion. They testify to having met a great number of exemplary religious who are honest and talented, many of them young, who seek Christ with genuine zeal and are offering their entire lives to spread the Kingdom of God.

2. The apostolic visit has been able to ascertain that the behavior of Father Marcial Maciel Degollado has had serious consequences for the life and structure of the Legion, such as to require a process of in-depth revision.

The very serious and objectively immoral behavior of Father Maciel, as incontrovertible evidence has confirmed, sometimes resulted in actual crimes, and manifests a life devoid of scruples and of genuine religious sentiment. The great majority of Legionaries were unaware of this life, above all because of the system of relationships built by Father Maciel, who had skillfully managed to build up alibis, to gain the trust, the confidence and the silence of those around him, and to strengthen his role as a charismatic founder.

Not infrequently, the lamentable discrediting and dismissal of whoever doubted his behavior was upright, as well as the misguided conviction of those who did not want to harm the good that the Legion was doing, created around him a defense mechanism that made him untouchable for a long time, making it very difficult to know his real life.

Monday 22 February 2010

In the lead-up to St. Valentine’s day, both the bishops of the United States and those of England and Wales organized a week of activities to draw attention to the importance of marriage and family life.

This period also saw the publication of two briefings on marriage by an English think tank, the Relationships Foundation. On 9 February they published “Counting the Cost of Family Failure,” and the following day “Why Does Marriage Matter?”

In the first briefing the foundation put at 41.7 billion pounds ($64.49 billion) the annual cost of failed relationships. This works out at 1,350 pounds ($2,088) for each U.K. taxpayer. Public policymakers need to take into account this high economic burden and take appropriate steps to ensure more stable relationships, the briefing urged.

“It is an unpopular truth that choices have consequences and costs, and that these are not always borne by the choice-maker,” the briefing commented.

The foundation also pointed out that functioning families are key to social life and in transmitting skills. The briefing put at 73 billion pounds ($112 billion) a year the amount contributed by families through their support of family members and the social care they provide.

The briefing observed that family breakdown imposes costs that are not merely financial. It referred to studies showing a greater incidence of health problems among divorced adults and their children.

In addition, the emotional traumas, loneliness and fractured relationships have an impact that is far from negligible. Children’s education also suffers as a divorced parent has less time to assist with homework and to encourage learning.

By the Editors of NCR - National Catholic Register (considered by many to be a "centre-left" American magazine on Catholic affairs)

April 26-May 2, 2009 Issue

With same-sex "marriage" becoming an issue in more and more states, it's more important than ever that we know how to articulate why marriage is only possible between a man and a woman.

Public relations matter. It's true that Christians are often called on to be the conscience of a nation. We must, in the words of Dorothy Day, "Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."

But to win the argument about homosexual "marriage," we can't simply be right. We have to be right, and be persuasive.

That means speaking our message not in the way that makes us feel most comfortable, but in the way that makes others most comfortable agreeing with what they know to be true.

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