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


20 January 2017

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

These are the faces of innocent children, men and women. One, two, three and so on up to 215 million.

This is the number of people who suffer violence for the mere fact of being Christian.

The statistics have been revealed in the latest report by Open Doors, who for 60 years has taken the pulse of religious persecution in the world.

Its investigators analysed 50 countries throughout the world, totalling 4,800 million inhabitants. Out of these, 215 million are Christians and suffer a high, very high or extreme degree of persecution.

These figures estimate that one in 12 Christians in the world is a victim of violence based on religion. North Korea ranks first, where there is an absolute lack of freedom and, therefore, lack of freedom of religion. Somalia follows closely behind, where the conversion of a Muslim to Christianity can lead to death. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria and Iraq are unfortunately still on the list as well. Religious fundamentalism and jihadist terrorism prevent any favourable progress in these countries.

Monday 13 March 2017

Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service

Within hours of President Donald Trump's new executive order March 6 banning arrivals from six majority-Muslim nations, Catholic and other religious groups joined secular leaders in questioning the wisdom of such a move, with others vowing to oppose it outright.

Bill O'Keefe, vice president for advocacy and government relations at Catholic Relief Services, said in a statement, ‘As the world's most blessed nation, we should be doing more to provide assistance overseas and resettle the most vulnerable, not less. It is wrong, during this time of great need, to cut humanitarian assistance and reduce resettlement.’

O'Keefe added, ‘Refugees are fleeing the same terrorism that we seek to protect ourselves from. By welcoming them, we show the world that we are an open, tolerant nation which seeks to protect the vulnerable. That has always been America's greatest strength.’

14 December 2016

Catholic Archdiocese of Perth

The University of Notre Dame has conferred a Doctor of Laws to the Honourable Neville Owen for his tireless and faithful commitment to the legal profession, most notably as the Senior Judge of the Court of Appeal of the WA Supreme Court, at its Graduation Ceremony at the end of 2016.

The Hon Owen is a former Chancellor of the University and has been an active contributor to the University community since 1997 when he was a founding member of the School of Law Advisory Board.

He was appointed as a Governor of The University of Notre Dame Australia in 1997, and a Trustee and Director of the institution in 2005.

In 2011, Notre Dame named its newly restored courthouse on the Fremantle Campus in his honour.

The Justice Owen Moot Court aims to inspire future lawyers to approach their professional life in the same ethical light that the Hon Owen did throughout his career.

With a special interest in corporate governance, commercial litigation, corporate insolvency and business ethics, the Hon Owen’s legal career was wide and varied.

Most notably, he oversaw the Bell Group litigation, which commenced in 2003, and was one of Australia’s longest running and most expensive civil actions.

After 400 sitting days and the tender of more than 85,000 documents, the Hon Owen delivered his final judgement in 2008.

11 November 2016

By Francis Sullivan, Truth Justice Healing Council

Since the Turnbull Government announced its plans to set up a national redress scheme for the survivors of institutional child sex abuse some, not many, lawyers and commentators came out saying it is effectively a Catholic driven scheme designed to protect the bottom line.

It is certainly true that the Catholic Church backed the Royal Commission’s redress proposal for an independent, federal government-run scheme to investigate and determine redress payments 100 percent. But to suggest we were able to bend the will of both the Commission and the Federal government to design a scheme that financially benefits the Church is, to put it kindly, ludicrous.

Here is how the development of the redress scheme played out.

From September to November 2014 the Royal Commission held a series of roundtables to discuss redress and civil litigation reforms.

In January 2015 the Royal Commission released a consultation paper calling for submissions. It received more than 250.

In September 2015 the Commission released its final report in which it outlined as its preferred option an independent, federal government-run redress scheme to investigate and determine redress payments. Of the submissions to its initial consultation paper only a handful, if that, indicated they did not support what turned out to be the Commission’s preferred option.

7 November 2016

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

Media Statement from Bishop Vincent Long ofm conv, Australian Catholic Bishops Delegate for Refugees

The announcement by Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and Minister for Immigration, Peter Dutton that the Government will introduce proposed legislation banning those who have arrived to Australia by boat from 19 July 2013 onwards from ever being able to apply for a visa to Australia is deeply disappointing.

Seeking asylum even by boat is not illegal. It is a basic human right. Yet not content with demeaning them, the Australian government now want to introduce laws that will ban them from ever coming here.

The motives for these measures, in light of the current situation on Manus Island and Nauru, and in light of the bigger challenges facing Australia, are questionable at best and sinister at worst.

4 November 2016

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese 

This Sunday 6 November, the Catholic Church in Australia will celebrate a Jubilee for Prisoners as part of the Year of Mercy. On behalf of the Australian Catholic Prisoners Pastoral Care Council, Bishop Terry Brady delivers this special message for prisoners.

Bishop Terry Brady will celebrate a special Mass at 6.00pm in St Mary's Cathedral. All are welcome to attend, especially those who are affected or work in the prison chaplaincy to join in praying together for healing and mercy.

"In calling for this special Jubilee, the Pope has set aside a special day of recognition for those in prison, their families and their loved ones" says Bishop Brady. This Jubilee occurs within another special period in the Church - the Holy Year of Mercy - a time of grace, prayer, forgiveness and compassion.

Friday 10 June 2016

Paul Russell

The Legal and Social Issues Committee of the Victorian Parliament handed down its Report into End-of-Life choices in Victoria today.

The extensive report makes some valuable comments and recommendations in respect to improvement in palliative care.

It acknowledges that access to palliative care is patchy, is overburdened and needs improvement. In a country rated recently as second in an international table for end-of-life care, it still remains that the availability of such care is more closely related to postcode than it is to need.

The committee heard from many individuals whose family members had passed away in circumstances that were clearly far from what all Victorians would want and certainly far from best practice. The committee seems to take it as read that such cases are compelling proof that Victoria needs a regimen of 'assisted dying' – euthanasia or assisted suicide. Few, I contend, are that clear.

While family members submitting their stories to the committee often (but note: not always) called for legislative change, the submissions and stories may well have been evidence of poor care, lack of care options or, indeed, refusal of good care options; we simply do not know. For the committee to seem so easily to have accepted that poor deaths require the State of Victoria to help people to suicide is a travesty as much as it is the potential abandonment of people in great need.

13 June 2016

Fr Tony Kerin, Episcopal Vicar for Life, Marriage and Family

AS chaplain to a big Melbourne hospital, I often provide comfort and support to those dying and their families. Another part of my ministry in the parish is visiting families in the aftermath of suicide.

The death of a loved one leaves those close to them with a sense of pain and loss, but the agony caused by suicide is different.

“What more could I have done?” and the unanswerable “Why?” haunt those left after such a tragedy. While suicide may seem to a person taking their own life as a way to end their suffering, it does not remove the pain. It just shifts the distress on to others.

The Victorian Government’s Inquiry into End of Life Choices addressed many important questions. Recommendations such as improving education for health professionals and improving access to palliative care, if legislated, will definitely improve outcomes for Victorians approaching the end of life. But recommendation 49 to introduce assisted suicide and euthanasia will transfer the distress to health professionals and to family, as anyone who has experienced a loved one’s suicide knows only too well. It does not remove the suffering.

This year, the Victorian Government has committed $27.5 million to suicide prevention and rightly so. Organisations like Lifeline and beyondblue do extraordinary work reaching out to vulnerable people at risk of taking their own lives. Yet this recommendation to government is an Orwellian contradiction that promotes suicide as a “medical treatment” at the same time.

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