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


4 September 2015

The Carmelite Centre, Melbourne

HUMAN rights advocate and prominent Melbourne lawyer, Julian Burnside, together with Carmelite Friar Ken Petersen, drew a crowd of passionate refugee supporters to a panel discussion, “Refugee Policy in Australia: A Contemplative Approach”, held at the Carmelite Centre, Middle Park on 2 September.

The immorality of false language together with the draconian conditions in which asylum seekers are held in detention, chiefly on the off-shore facilities of Manus Island and Nauru, became a catalyst for a lively question time from the animated audience, many of whom had travelled long distances to hear the guest speakers.

Julian Burnside began the evening by highlighting successive government’s use of pejorative language to demonise refugees and incite fear in the Australian public.

His emotional telling of story after story of rape, attempted suicides, denial of medical care and natural justice to people, who are in mortal fear of their lives, had a profound effect on those present including fellow guest speaker Father Ken Petersen who cited the Good Samaritan as a model for Christians in making a compassionate response.

Fr. Petersen, a Carmelite based at Sancta Sophia Meditation Community in Warburton, drew on the power of meditation, contemplation and prayer as complementary in any action where one is seeking to maintain a commitment to the sympathetic and respectful management of asylum seekers.

2 September 2015


In a new set of pastoral guidelines for the upcoming Holy Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has made some significant moves, allowing all priests to absolve the sin of abortion and granting SSPX priests the faculty to absolve Catholics of their sins.

‘One of the serious problems of our time is clearly the changed relationship with respect to life,’ the Pope said in a 1 September letter addressed to Archbishop Rino Fisichela, president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, charged with organising the jubilee.

In today’s society, ‘a widespread and insensitive mentality’ has become an obstacle to welcoming new life, with many who don’t fully understand the deep harm done by the ‘tragedy of abortion,’ he said.

However, Francis also noted that there are many women who, despite thinking abortion is wrong, feel that they have no other choice.

‘I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonising and painful decision,’ he said.

A woman who obtains an abortion automatically incurs a ‘latae sententiae’ excommunication, along with those who assisted her in the process. Because of this excommunication, the sin of abortion can normally only be absolved by a bishop, or certain priests appointed by him. In the Archdiocese of Melbourne (and in many other Australian dioceses) already, the bishop has given to every priest with diocesan faculties the power to remove the automatic excommunication of those who have, or co-operate in an abortion.

However, Pope Francis is taking it to a universal level. He said that the forgiveness of God can’t be denied to a person who has sincerely repented, especially when the person comes to the Sacrament of Confession in order to be genuinely reconciled with the Father.

Because of this, Francis said, he has allowed all priests for the Jubilee of Mercy ‘to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it.’

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.

Subscribe to Newsletter