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

 

27 August 2015

Catholic News Service

Parents who juggle packed work and family schedules deserve a Nobel Prize in mathematics for doing something not even the most brilliant scientists can do: they pack 48 hours of activity into 24, Pope Francis says.

‘I don't know how they do it, but they do,’ he told thousands of people gathered Wednesday for his weekly general audience. ‘There are mums and dads who could win the Nobel for this!’

Focusing his audience talk on the family and prayer, Pope Francis said he knows modern life can be frenetic and that family schedules are ‘complicated and packed.’

The most frequent complaint of any Christian, he said, is that he or she does not have enough time to pray.

‘The regret is sincere,’ the pope said, ‘because the human heart seeks prayer, even if one is not aware of it.’

The way to begin, he said, is to recognize how much God loves you and to love him in return. ‘A heart filled with affection for God can turn even a thought without words into a prayer.’

11 August 2015

Catholic News Agency

Regarding the latest investigative videos exposing Planned Parenthood, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia says that, of the many struggles plaguing modern society, none can be equated with the blatant taking of innocent human lives.

‘Here’s a simple exercise in basic reasoning. On a spectrum of bad things to do, theft is bad, assault is worse and murder is worst. There’s a similar texture of ill will connecting all three crimes, but only a very confused conscience would equate thieving and homicide,’ states Archbishop Chaput.

‘Both are serious matters. But there is no equivalence. The deliberate killing of innocent life is a uniquely wicked act. No amount of contextualizing or deflecting our attention to other issues can obscure that.’

In a series of five videos released thus far by the Center for Medical Progress, Planned Parenthood officials casually discuss prices for various aborted baby body parts and how abortion procedures may be altered to ensure intact organs and even ‘intact cadavers.’ One video shows a medical assistant looking through body parts from an aborted baby before proclaiming, ‘Another boy!’

The videos have raised questions of whether the organization is harvesting and selling organs from aborted babies.

The videos have prompted widespread outrage, nationwide rallies, congressional investigations and calls to defund the organization, which receives more than half a billion dollars in taxpayer money annually.

24 August 2014

Aid to the Church in Need

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem has strongly condemned the decision by Israel to resume the construction of the West Bank Barrier, calling it ‘an insult to peace.’

On Monday 17 August, bulldozers arrived to restart the building of the barrier through the Cremisan Valley near Bethlehem – despite the Supreme Court having rejected a planned route through the area in April 2015, after a nine-year legal battle.

Israeli authorities began work on the West Bank Barrier, which separates parts of the Palestinian Territories from Israel, in 2002 following a spate of suicide bombings by militant groups.

According to a statement by the Latin Patriarchate sent to the Catholic charity, Aid to the Church in Need: ‘Israeli bulldozers arrived unannounced on private property in Beir Ona, near the Cremisan Valley, to resume the construction of the separation wall. The people of the area have noted with surprise and pain that their 50, centuries-old olive trees have been uprooted.’

23 July 2015

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

Lack of internet access in the digital age is a major factor for disadvantaged communities No matter how well-intentioned, policies by local, state and federal governments have done little to change the lives of some of Australia's poorest communities where people remain trapped in a cycle of entrenched disadvantage. A landmark report commissioned by Catholic Social Services Australia (CSSA) and Jesuit Social Services (JSS) found the majority of suburbs and towns listed as Australia's most disadvantaged 15 years ago are still among the nation's most severely disadvantaged communities.

"Current policies are not working," says Marcelle Mogg, CEO of Catholic Social Services pointing out that in many towns and suburbs entrenched disadvantage is not only continuing a decade and a half later, but in some cases the disadvantage experienced by those in these communities has become even more severe.

Mainstream policies work for 97 percent of Australians but for the 3 percent who live in areas of disadvantage what is needed is a whole new approach, she says.

23 July 2015

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

Around 500 people packed into Cathedral Hall at St Mary's Cathedral Wednesday night for an address by the Archbishop of Sydney, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP titled "Same-Sex Marriage" - Evolution or Deconstruction of Marriage and Family?

The evening was hosted by the Order of Malta (NSW Branch) was the fifth in a lecture series on the Order's Defence of the Faith.

With the campaign to redefine marriage gaining momentum and attention Archbishop Fisher was keen to outline that with three and soon to be four bills before the Federal Parliament a change to the Marriage Act was not a "done deal".

Supporters of classical marriage, between a man and a woman, are often presumed to have no real arguments to offer however Archbishop Fisher  said he wanted to offer reasons - "not decrees from on high, or from the past, not expressions of hatred or prejudice" but clear reasons people can understand and which can be helpful in proclaiming and witnessing to true marriage  among families, friends and colleagues.

"The redefine marriage campaign has concentrated on the use of five common slogans and Archbishop Fisher addressed each one - that it's all about justice, that sexual differences don't matter, that it's all about love, that it's all about the numbers and that it doesn't affect me - while outlining the reasons for preserving the classical understanding of marriage," Archbishop said in concluding his address.

11 June 2015

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

Diversity and tolerance will be celebrated next week when politicians from both minor and major political parties join community leaders from 30 different faiths at Federal Parliament for the Australian Catholic University's Inaugural Interfaith Prayer Breakfast.

"The Interfaith Prayer Breakfast provides an opportunity to reflect on the important role faith plays in our everyday lives and in making sense of our world," says ACU Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven who hopes the breakfast will become a regular event on the Federal Parliamentary, interfaith and University calendars.

Faiths represented at next week's breakfast will include leaders from Australia's Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, and Baha'i communities. Leaders from Christian churches will also be present. Roman Catholic, Baptist, the Salvation Army, the Uniting Church, Coptic Orthodox, the Wesley Mission and other Christian denominations will also be represented.

Seven different faith leaders will not only help lead prayers but also deliver readings on leadership, governance and service, and pray for the wise deliberations of Federal Parliament.

10 June 2015

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) says that the proposed tax system puts sole-breadwinner families at a ‘disadvantage’ as these will not have access to two tax-free thresholds.

In a submission on the Australian Government’s Tax Discussion Paper addressed to the Treasury, the ACBC said that the government had a primary duty to promote ‘the common good’. Alongside the government’s proposal to ‘boost productivity and encourage higher workforce participation’ the Bishops would like to see ‘an explicit reference to the wellbeing of all Australians’.

‘There is no point to improving economic growth if there is no improvement to the lives of Australians. Improving the lives of Australians goes further than improvements in the number of opportunities for workers, or to economic growth, the national accounts or even to pay packets. All these measures could be driven higher if we all worked 12 hour days in the paid workforce, but the bigger picture—the common good—would be missing,’ the submission said.

Of special concern was the direct consequence the proposed tax laws had for single-income families.

‘Parents who stay at home are considered to be outside the workforce because they do not receive pay. This overlooks the key role these parents have in the welfare of their families and local communities … These families are disadvantaged by the tax system because they do not have access to the two tax free thresholds available to families with the same total income, but two income earners.’

10 June 2015

Australian Christian Lobby Managing Director Lyle Shelton has joined with 38 leaders of Christian and other religious groups in signing a letter to the Prime Minister urging him and the parliament to uphold the true meaning of marriage.

Mr Shelton said such a demonstration of support from Australia's faith communities for man-woman marriage and the rights of children it protects was a welcome development in what has been largely a one-sided debate.

"It is so important our nation does not sleep-walk into a legislative change to the definition of marriage without considering the consequences," Mr Shelton said.

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