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


Kairos: Volume 21, Issue 22
28 November - 11 December 2010

By Michael Cook

France has just awarded the Legion d’Honneur to a woman who beat locked-in syndrome but has been a quadriplegic for 30 years. Fifty-six-year-old Maryannick Pavageau received the distinction for years of battling for the dignity of the handicapped and disabled.

In 1984, when she was 29, she had a stroke which left her completely paralysed. For months she was in a coma. When she woke, she could move only her eyelids (locked-in syndrome). Later she recovered some speech and a bit of movement in some fingers. But she still required round-the-clock professional care when she returned home after 32 months in hospital. She had a husband and a two-year-old daughter and she could barely communicate with them. It must have been devastating for an active woman working as a lawyer and marriage counsellor.

But Mme Pavageau is a woman of determination and courage. “When I discovered the state I was in, it never occurred to me to ask, ‘why me?’” she says. “Instead, I said, ‘what’s next?’”

Despite her gigantic handicaps she raised her daughter Myriam, who is now a diplomat, has travelled as far as Rome and Beijing, and has become an activist for the disabled and against euthanasia. Jean Leonetti, a cardiologist and a deputy in the French Parliament who wrote a 2008 report for the government that slammed the door shut on the legalisation of euthanasia, was so impressed with her intelligence and courage that he devoted a chapter in his book on euthanasia to describing how she managed to cope with her disability. Its title was ‘la force immobile’.

25 November 2010

Pope Benedict XVI is expressing regret over the illicit episcopal ordination in China of Father Joseph Guo Jincai. The Holy See is investigating the forced participation of prelates in this ceremony.

The Pope received the news of Saturday's ceremony "with deep regret, because the above-mentioned episcopal ordination was conferred without the apostolic mandate and, therefore, constitutes a painful wound upon ecclesial communion and a grave violation of Catholic discipline," a Vatican communiqué stated today.

It also reported that "in recent days, various bishops were subjected to pressures and restrictions on their freedom of movement, with the aim of forcing them to participate and confer the episcopal ordination."

"Such constraints, carried out by Chinese government and security authorities, constitute a grave violation of freedom of religion and conscience," the statement asserted.
It noted that "the Holy See intends to carry out a detailed evaluation of what has happened, including consideration of the aspect of validity and the canonical position of the bishops involved."

UCANews reported that the prelates who participated in the ordination for the bishop of Chengde included Bishop Peter Fang Jingping of Tangshan, Bishop Joseph Zhao Fengchang of Liaocheng, Bishop Joseph Li Shan of Beijing, Bishop Paul Pei Junmin of Liaoning, Bishop Joseph Li Liangui of Cangzhou, Bishop Peter Feng Xinmao of Hengshui, and Coadjutor Bishop Francis An Shuxin of Baoding. Bishop Jingping was the presiding celebrant.

The report noted that many of these bishops were taken away by government officials for the days preceding the ceremony.  At the ordination Mass itself, over 100 police surrounded the area. Cameras were prohibited and mobile phone signals were blocked.

16 November 2010

By Celeste Badman

On Friday 12 November, over 1000 Victorians rallied on the steps of Melbourne State Library, demanding the Iraq government do more to protect Iraqi Christians.

In an emotionally-charged demonstration, mock rifle fire drowned out the rattle of trams as sympathisers re-enacted the recent killings of Christians in Iraq.

On 31 October, an attack on an Iraqi Christian Church in Baghdad resulted in the death of 58 and wounding of 100 people at Mass. The attack is being called an “act of unprecedented ferocity” in an ongoing pattern of persecution towards Iraq’s dwindling Christian population.

Continued attacks on Tuesday 9 November and Wednesday 10 November claimed another six lives and severely injured 26 Iraqi Christians, including a four-month-old baby. Aid to the Church in Need reported on 11 November that bombs went off at three Christian homes on Tuesday evening, and mortar bombs exploded Wednesday throughout Christian neighborhoods such as Dora, in Southern Baghdad.

Following the 31 October attack, Pope Benedict XVI told the faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square that he was praying "for the victims of this absurd violence, which is even more ferocious as it struck defenseless persons, gathered in the house of God, which is a house of love and reconciliation."

The Melbourne peace rally, organised by 17 Assyrian Chaldean Syriac organisations from Melbourne, was intended to influence the Australian Government to put pressure on the Iraqi Government to take action against the persecutions.

Most of the protestors were Assyrian Chaldean Syriac Christians, many of whom have relatives in Iraq affected by the current persecutions. Several wept as they held up banners pasted with graphic images of men, women and children who died in the attacks.

12 November 2010

Currently, an election debate is raging in Victoria on who can be ‘toughest’ on crime. The Inter Church Criminal Justice Taskforce of the Victorian Council of Churches has just developed a publication to consider issues of criminal justice from a broad Christian perspective.

While senior Christian leaders in Victoria say there will always be a place for some prisons to keep the community safe; this needs to be balanced with research that indicates that tackling inequality can reduce violent crime.  Furthermore, communities displaying cohesive relationships between people have lower levels of crime. There are better ways to make the community safer than the use of harsher sentencing; this can be done by exploring evidence-based prevention and rehabilitation programs.

Denis Fitzgerald, Inter-Church Criminal Justice Taskforce Chair said the booklet contained more than a theological analysis.

“Our contribution provides evidence-based solutions that are an alternative to higher levels of punishment as a means to make communities safer.

“We need to work on ways to stop the cycle of crime to heal our broken communities,” he said.

An alternative is to examine communities that experience less crime, and how to follow their example.

“Norway is a good example as they experience a  much lower re-offending rate after imprisonment than is achieved in Victoria,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

Kairos: Volume 21, Issue 20 - November 2010

By Laura Meli

On Wednesday 13 October, Alex Schadenberg, founder and executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition in Canada and international Chair of the Coalitions against Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide spoke at a lunch hosted by the Australian Family Association in Melbourne.

Mr Schadenberg, who also spoke in Perth, Adelaide, Hobart, Canberra and Sydney, highlighted the need to clarify the truth about euthanasia. Those who support euthanasia call it ‘an act of mercy’ and an issue about ‘choice’. Mr Schadenberg, however, said euthanasia was not a merciful act of aid in dying; rather, “euthanasia is when one person directly and intentionally ends the life of another person by active or passive means”. In other words, euthanasia is not about “letting die, which is a natural process”, nor is it about “withholding or withdrawing aggressive medical treatment”; essentially, euthanasia is an act of homicide.

Similarly, euthanasia is not about ‘choice’. “Choice is an illusion”; in reality, euthanasia puts the most vulnerable people in society at risk, and empowers the doctors, not the patients, with the right to lethally inject. Mr Shadenberg stressed the vulnerability of those with disabilities and the growing concern about abuse of the elderly.

Identifying the need for clarity in this issue was primarily what ensured the success of Mr Schadenberg’s campaign in 2008 to overturn a euthanasia bill in the Canadian Parliament. In the debate, Mr Schadenberg played a key role in influencing the Canadian Parliament to reject the legislation to legalise euthanasia by an incredible 228 to 59 votes. His strategy was simple: uncover the truth. He credits the success of his campaign to visiting every single member of parliament and talking to them about their concerns. Once the parliamentarians were aware that euthanasia was not about the patient’s right to choose medical treatment but about the right of the doctor to intentionally cause death, their concern increased.

29 October 2010

In 1977 Melissa Ohden survived a failed saline infusion abortion and was born after approximately six months gestation. Despite the initial concerns about her future, she has not only survived but thrived. With the love and support of her adoptive parents, Melissa began searching for the truth about the abortion attempt and for her biological family in 1997. Despite the many obstacles that she encountered along the way, Melissa found her maternal grandparents and her biological father in 2007. Although her biological father passed away in January of 2008, Melissa was later contacted by his parents, after they found the letter that she had sent him prior to his passing away. She has now established relationships with many of her biological father’s relatives.

Melissa has a Master's Degree in Social Work and is the founder and director of For Olivia's Sake, an organisation which seeks to peacefully raise awareness of the intergenerational impact of abortion on men, women, children, families and communities.
She lives in the USA with her husband and young daughter and was in Melbourne in September as part of a three-week Australian tour, during which she shared her incredible story with over 2,000 people. Melissa recently spoke to Kairos about her message of hope and healing.

By Fiona Power

How would you describe yourself and your life?

I always joke that I “never signed up for this”  - providing a voice to the tens of millions of children whose lives have been ended by abortion, their parents and family members, and ultimately our communities who are grieving from abortion, but I am so grateful to God for doing so. 

Although it was laid upon my heart over 19 years ago that I was saved for this very purpose, for this mission, I never could have imagined that my life would be so amazing.  Each and every day I have the opportunity to share my message of hope and healing with others, and I get to see and hear from those who are impacted by my story.  Every day brings new experiences and opportunities.  From all of this, I continue to grow and evolve as a woman, wife and mother and faithful servant of God.  I wake up every day excited to see what he’s going to do next in my life and how I will be called to serve him.

23 September 2010

Last night’s resounding defeat of a bill to legalise euthanasia in Western Australia by 24 votes to 11 marks the fourth time a fully-constituted State parliament has carefully considered and then thrown out a euthanasia bill in the last two years, the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) said today.

ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said that the WA decision exposes the diabolical tactics of euthanasia advocates such as Bob Brown and Philip Nitschke in seeking to overturn Federal Government legislation in order to push debate on euthanasia into the smaller Territory parliaments, where they envisage they will have more opportunity to manipulate the outcomes.

“The introduction of legalised euthanasia has now been rejected by four State Parliaments in the last two years alone – with bills rejected by the South Australian and Tasmanian Parliaments last year, and by the Victorian Parliament in 2008,” Mr Wallace said.

“In total, 10 parliamentary sitting days were used up in four jurisdictions on this issue and now yet another bill has been introduced in South Australia, with euthanasia bills again mooted for Tasmania, NSW and Victoria.

21 September 2010
Article by Fr Frank Brennan in his "The Meddling Priest" column in "Eureka Street":  link

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