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

 

26 May 2011

The release of the draft R18+ Computer Games Guidelines by Mr Brendan O’Connor, Minister for Home Affairs and Justice was welcomed today by the Catholic Church.

Fr Richard Leonard SJ, Director of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting said that handling issues of classification involves decisions which are not taken lightly.

“How to handle the classification of R18+ Computer Games is a difficult matter for society as well as for individuals and, especially, for parents.  There are no easy solutions and we want to ensure that there is as much information available on the content of such games for parents and concerned citizens”, Fr Leonard said.

In February 2010, the Australian Catholic Bishops made a submission to the Government Inquiry about R18+ Computer Games as well as a submission to the more recent Senate Inquiry.

The submission argued that ideally, the sort of material featured in R18+ games would never be created.

 “In an ideal world, the sort of material that is included in R18+ or higher classification films and computer games would never be seen in a civilised democracy. However, it is not an ideal world and, in the real world in which we live, such material unfortunately is produced and is available, sometimes legally and often illegally, within our society.”

By Angela Shanahan

Reprinted with thanks to www.mercatornet.com and the May 2011 edition of "Download", the Information Service of St Mary's West Melbourne

A disturbing feature of the crisis in Egypt has been the paucity of any discussion of the implications of the possible rise of fanatical Islamists for Christians, particularly the sizeable Coptic Christian population, estimated at between 10-15 percent of the Egyptian population. The few vague references to their fate were generally voiced as an afterthought to reflections on the repression of women.

This puzzling gap is characteristic of Western analysts who respond only to political and economic explanations. But these have little to do with the deeper social historical complexities of the Middle East and everything to do with religion and the culture. Western analysts seldom understand the importance of religion. Unless conflict has an overt political face it is usually a mystery to them. Yet Christians were out on the street with their fellow Egyptians when Mubarak was ousted, desperate to ward off an Islamic take-over.

In fact the persecution of Copts has intensified over the past 20 years even though few in the West have paid attention to it.

The Copts are the descendants of the original Pharonaic Egyptians and their liturgical language is the closest thing we have to demotic Egyptian spoken in Roman times. Christianity was introduced by the Evangelist Mark as early as 42 AD and flourished for hundreds of years. The Christian monastic tradition began in Egypt. In fact Islam did not dominate Egypt until the end of the 12th century.

18 March 2011

On March 26 the people of NSW will go to the polls in the state election. The majority of the candidates belong to a political party and those parties have policies which they will strive to enact by law, if elected.

What are the Greens promising to deliver into law if their candidates are supported?  It is important then for religious people, particularly those from the major monotheistic traditions, to recognise there are some specific Greens policies that give rise to grave concern.

The Catholic Bishops of NSW have released a message, 'The Green Agenda'.
 

Friday 8 April 2011

Outbreaks of violence in key regions of South Sudan will not block the path to independence, according to a Catholic leader who has called on the government to address the “root causes” of the conflict.

By John Pontifex

Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Adwok Kur of Khartoum highlighted the “large amounts of violent incidents” in South Sudan which is preparing to secede from the north of the country and become a separate nation.

But with less than three months to go before independence is officially declared, reports have come in of heavy clashes between rebel factions and the army of South Sudan.

Hundreds are understood to have died in recent weeks in violent outbreaks in states including Bar el Ghazal, Unity and Upper Nile.

In Malakal, where Bishop Adwok was parish priest in the 1990s before becoming bishop, at least 40 people died in a rebel raid.

Speaking with Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Bishop Adwok said that, although many of the conflicts were intense, most were localised and did not threaten the path to independence.

Bishop Adwok, who gave an interview during a visit to ACN’s international headquarters in Germany, said: “These violent incidents will impede progress but it will not wash away from them their wish to acquire independence.

“The wish to be independent from the north is not somehow grafted onto them – it is in their heart that they want to be independent.” 

17 March 2011

Protests by asylum seekers at Christmas Island are an “understandable reflection of the conditions of detention”, said Fr Maurizio Pettena CS, Director of the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office in a statement today.

“The frustration involved with been locked up for the duration of the application process is immense and we need to consider more appropriate and humane responses to this issue.”

“The use of tear gas and bean bag rounds, fired by shotguns is a highly inappropriate method for managing this situation”, he said.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman, the Australian Human Rights Commission and Amnesty International all report on overcrowded conditions, lack of health and legal services, insufficiently qualified government and contractor staff, insufficient interpreter services, isolation, depression, hopelessness, despair, anxiety, self harm, suicide and attempted suicide in Australian immigration detention centres.

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