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

 


15 May 2018

Crux

In recent months, the Australian Catholic Church has been in the spotlight, primarily due to news that the former Archbishop of Sydney and the pope’s current finance minister, Cardinal George Pell, will stand trial for ‘historical sexual offenses’ amid continuing fallout from the Church’s clerical abuse crisis.

As the Church attempts to change the narrative about its role in public life, Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane has been elected as the new head of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference. Serving as his vice-president will be Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney.

Soon after their election, Bishop Richard Umbers, an auxiliary bishop of Sydney, tweeted that with the election of Coleridge and Fisher, the Australian bishops had ‘put forward the two most articulate bishops in the conference.’

In an interview with Crux, Coleridge describes how he intends to navigate the tensions between the Church and various political and ecclesial battles in Australia - and in a way that puts Jesus Christ at the center of his work.

Among other points, Coleridge said it’s critical to pursue dialogue with the Australian government about recent calls to eliminate the seal of the confessional in the wake of the abuse crisis, because the Church has to explain that while cover-ups undeniably happened, the Sacrament of Penance is not ‘the linchpin of a whole culture of secrecy.’


14 May 2018

Crux

Pope Francis said Sunday he’s praying for the Christian community in Indonesia after multiple suicide bombers killed at least 11 people who were participating in religious services.

‘I’m particularly close to the dear people of Indonesia, especially to the Christian community of the city of Surabaya strongly hit by the grave attacks on places of worship,’ the pope said after his weekly Sunday Regina Coeli prayer.

CNN reported that suspected suicide bombers struck three different churches in Indonesia on Sunday morning.

The number of deaths is still uncertain, but at least 11 have been killed in the attacks and scores more injured.


22 May 2018

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

Philip Wilson has today announced he will stand down from his role as Archbishop of Adelaide but says he won't resign until "it becomes necessary or appropriate''. 

The Archbishop was found guilty of concealing child sexual abuse at a hearing in Newcastle Local Court yesterday.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has supported Archbishop Wilson's decision acknowledging that "though difficult, it was appropriate under the circumstances".

Archbishop Wilson, 67, announced that after considering the judgement handed down by Magistrate Robert Stone he would step aside on Friday.


24 May 2018

Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street

Every society has ways of marking out, and sometimes marking, people who are considered a lesser breed.

The Greek word stigma originally referred to the branding of slaves and traitors. In other societies adultery, desertion, Jewish descent, imprisonment, ignorance and other crimes also earned branding or wearing distinctive clothing. The scold's bridle, the scarlet letter, the yellow star, the white feather and the striped uniform are just a few of the ways to exclude people from the benefits of society by marking them as outsiders.

In Australia such external forms of stigmatising are generally seen as a bit crude — though the recent withdrawal of medical benefits from people brought back from Manus Island for treatment shows that crudity and cruelty are alive and well. But the expectation that the state will ensure that the weakest and most disadvantaged in society can live with self-respect has caused problems for governments. They balk at making the wealthy fund their share of that care through higher taxes, but fear the electoral consequences of being seen as heartless.

The solution has been to allow the real value of Newstart and its equivalents to decline. Those whose life is diminished by this deprivation are then stigmatised. That has traditionally been done by straightforward blackguarding. People who are unemployed were called dole-bludgers and refugees called illegals, and accused of ripping off the community. People would then regard as justifiable the hardship imposed on the targeted groups.


4 May 2018

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese 

Cardinal George Pell will face separate trials in his fight against historical sexual assault charges.

The Cardinal, who has pleaded not guilty, is due to return to the County Court in Melbourne on Wednesday, 16 May for a further directions hearing when it is expected a date for the first trial will be determined.

Half the charges he faced during the committal hearing were dismissed by the magistrate. These were described by his defence barrister Robert Richter, QC, as the "vilest of the charges".

Mr Richter said the remaining 10 charges should run as two separate trials. "They are completely different in nature", he said and are "separated by 20 years".

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