The Catholic Weekly https://www.catholicweekly.com.au The Church. All of it. Fri, 18 Oct 2019 05:09:45 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.4 Different clicks, same prayer https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/different-clicks-same-prayer-pope-asks-catholic-to-pray-the-rosary/ Thu, 17 Oct 2019 22:38:56 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=28356 The Click to Pray eRosary is both a free app and high-tech rosary bracelet.

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The new Click to Pray eRosary bracelet sits on its charger. The high tech rosary, which connects to a smartphone application, was unveiled at a Vatican news conference on 15 October 2019. Photo: CNS, courtesy Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network

Told that some people think Pope Francis isn’t exactly a fan of the rosary, Jesuit Father Federic Fornos practically shouted, “What?”

“Pope Francis says the rosary is the prayer of his heart. He prays it every day,” said the international director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, formerly known as the Apostleship of Prayer.

Father Fornos was at the Vatican press office on 15 October to launch the latest effort to respond to what he said was Pope Francis’ explicit request that the network help young people learn to pray and love the rosary.

Apple and Android

The Click to Pray eRosary is both a free app for Apple and Android and an actual high-tech rosary bracelet that connects to a smartphone using Bluetooth. Making the sign of the cross with the rosary automatically opens the app on the phone, while clicking one of the prayer beads allows the person praying to advance through the prayer texts, music and images on the screen.

Father Joao Chagas, head of the youth office at the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life, said the app – described on clicktoprayerosary.org – is “a concrete sign of the pope’s desire to enter the lives of young people and help them pray.”

Pope Francis’ big push to get young people to pray the rosary came in the run-up to and the celebration of World Youth Day in Panama in January, Father Fornos said. Hundreds of thousands of rosaries were distributed to the young people taking part.

Jerry Kao, chairman of GadgeTek Inc., unveils a rosary bracelet that connects to a smartphone application during a news conference at the Vatican on 15 October 2019. Looking on is Jesuit Father Federic Fornos, international director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network. Photo: CNS, Paul Haring

But the pope has not let up. Speaking to Polish pilgrims at his weekly general audience on 9 October, Pope Francis reminded them that when Mary appeared to two young women in Gietrzwald, Poland, in 1877, she told them, “Pray the rosary every day” and, the pope said, “she assured them that the graces imparted by this prayer would be salvific and would lead people to happiness in heaven.”

“Remember these words, especially now, in the month of October dedicated to the rosary,” the pope continued. “Through the intercession of Mary, mediator of graces, we ask for peace for the world, wisdom for those who govern and for faith and unity for families.”

Marking the month of the rosary in 2017, Pope Francis tweeted: “The rosary is a synthesis of the mysteries of Christ: we contemplate them with Mary, who allows us to see with her eyes of faith and love.”

Mary a refuge

But his admonitions to pray the rosary were particularly fervent in October 2018 when the Catholic Church was reeling from accusations about clerical sexual abuse and, particularly, its cover-up.

Pope Francis asked Catholics last year to pray the rosary each day in October, asking Mary to protect the church and make it more aware of its “sins, errors and the abuses committed in the present and the past, and committed to fighting without hesitation so that evil would not prevail.”

Turning to Mary in times of trouble should be as natural as turning to one’s earthly mother when things look grim, he has said.

Pope Francis, above and below, prays the rosary at the Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love in Rome in this 2018, photo. Francis prays the Rosary every day and wants Catholics everywhere to do the same. Photo: CNS, Vatican Media

Celebrating the feast of Mary’s assumption into heaven on 15 August, Pope Francis told people that the feast is a reminder that, in heaven, “there is a mother who waits for us, and she is our mother. She loves us, she smiles at us and she rescues us with great care.”

“Like every mother, she wants the best for her children and tells us, ‘You are precious in the eyes of God. You were not made for the little gratifications of this world, but for the great joys of heaven,'” he said.

“Let’s allow the Mother of God to take us by the hand,” the pope said. “Every time that we pick up the rosary and pray, we take a step forward toward the great goal of life,” which is to be with God for eternity.

The pope also has let the rosary speak for itself, such as when he went to Rome’s Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love on 1 May 2018. Greeting the crowds gathered outside the shrine’s original little church, the pope said little more than: “Let’s pray together. I’ll see you later, but let’s pray, OK?”

Pope Francis prays the rosary. Just as for his predecessors, for Francis, Marian devotion is vitally important and should be a natural part of daily Catholic life. Photo: CNS, Vatican Media

Then he went inside, recited the rosary with a few dozen people and came back outside to recite one more Hail Mary with the crowd and give them his blessing.

In Pope Francis’ descriptions of her, Mary is the ideal disciple: full of faith, willing to take risks and ready to set out at a moment’s notice.

The Gospel description of her visitation to her cousin Elizabeth says, “She set off in haste.”
At the end of a Marian procession and recitation of the rosary in the Vatican Gardens in 2014, Pope Francis said Mary, “the virgin of haste,” is “always ready to come to our aid when we pray to her, when we ask her help, her protection.”

Related

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POPE-ROSARY2 The new Click to Pray eRosary bracelet sits on its charger. The high tech rosary, which connects to a smartphone application, was unveiled at a Vatican news conference on 15 October 2019. Photo: CNS, courtesy Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network POPE-ROSARY5 Jerry Kao, chairman of GadgeTek Inc., unveils a rosary bracelet that connects to a smartphone application during a news conference at the Vatican on 15 October 2019. Looking on is Jesuit Father Federic Fornos, international director of the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network. Photo: CNS, Paul Haring POPE-ROSARY3 Pope Francis prays the rosary at the Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love in Rome in this 2018, photo. Francis prays the Rosary every day and wants Catholics everyuwhere to do the same. Photo: CNS, Vatican Media POPE-ROSARY1 Pope Francis prays the rosary. For Francis, Marian devotion is vitally important. Photo: CNS, Vatican Media
Sydney pro-life woman viciously targeted https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/28347-2sydney-pro-life-woman-viciously-targeted/ Thu, 17 Oct 2019 05:41:46 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=28347 A local pro-life activist has revealed she was the target of extreme online bullying just days before the NSW abortion bill was tabled in Parliament. Director of LifeChoice Australia Rebecca Gosper told supporters at the annual March for Babies in Melbourne on 12 October that an image of her face was photo-shopped onto pornographic images […]

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LifeChoice Australia Director Rebecca Gosper takes part in a peaceful pro-life demonstration outside the NSW Parliament PHOTO: GIOVANNI PORTELLI

A local pro-life activist has revealed she was the target of extreme online bullying just days before the NSW abortion bill was tabled in Parliament. Director of LifeChoice Australia Rebecca Gosper told supporters at the annual March for Babies in Melbourne on 12 October that an image of her face was photo-shopped onto pornographic images and spread online with links to her personal Facebook page and the organisation’s website.

NSW police, who have been investigating the attacks, have contacted US authorities seeking help due to the extreme and explicit nature of the abuse towards the high-profile pro-lifer.

Ms Gosper said the episode revealed the dark side of youth activism and the cost of maintaining a public pro-life stance.

“This is the first time I’m sharing this publicly and it’s not easy, but it’s the right thing to do and people need to know,” she told the 3000-strong crowd gathered in East Melbourne.
“No matter how often the other side tries to bully and intimidate us into silence, we will not back down.”

“I was targeted because I’m a pro-life woman who dared to speak out on behalf of other women.”

“Given the online images were posted just days before news broke about the abortion bill, I cannot accept that this was merely coincidental.”

Ms Gosper said she was “distraught” over the photos which were posted in an attempt to intimidate and silence her and that for the first few days it almost succeeded. “I feared for my personal safety and that of my family,” she said. “Women in Australia deserve better. They deserve real support, real choices and real love. For their sake I will continue to stand up and be a voice for the voiceless.”

LifeChoice Australia is a student-based pro-life organisation aimed at promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death. The troubling revelations expose the dark side of Australian political activism and the extreme lengths to which some pro-abortion protesters are willing to go to silence opposition.

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Rebbeca-Gosper_Prolife-Rally_171019_PORTELLI_850 LifeChoice Australia Director Rebecca Gosper takes part in a peaceful pro-life demonstration outside the NSW Parliament PHOTO: GIOVANNI PORTELLI
Agencies slam drug testing scheme https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/agencies-slam-drug-testing-scheme/ Thu, 17 Oct 2019 03:37:50 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=28346 Catholic leaders have slammed the Federal Government’s plan to trial drug testing of welfare recipients.

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The Federal Government trial would lead to an increase in stigma and anxiety for people with substance use disorders.

Federal Government’s mandatory drug trial targets society’s most vulnerable, say experts

Catholic health, welfare and justice advocates have slammed the Federal Government’s plan to trial on-the-spot drug testing of people on income support, warning that it is a dead end that will not help people heal substance abuse issues and secure employment.

They join a rising chorus of opposition to the plan including from leading medical and health experts such as the Australian Medical Association, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the Public Health Association of Australia, the Kirby Institute, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

The bill being considered by the Senate would allow a two-year trial testing about 5000 new recipients of Newstart and Youth Allowance in Canterbury-Bankstown, Logan in Queensland and Mandurah in Western Australia.

St Vincent’s Health Australia CEO Toby Hall says drug trial will exacerbate disadvantage.

Anyone testing positive will have 80 per cent of their payments quarantined onto a cashless welfare card for two years and they will be re-tested after 25 days. People testing positive twice will be referred to treatment while those refusing a test face immediate withdrawal of income support.

Toby Hall, CEO of St Vincent’s Health Australia said there is no evidence to back up the trial and that it is “hard not to conclude” the government’s persistence in going forward was “about making a political point”.

“Our expertise and experience tells us that this isn’t the way to help people into treatment,” Mr Hall said. “By clinical definition, people with severe substance use disorders are unable to modify their behaviour, even in the face of known negative consequences.

“In fact, an increase in stigma and anxiety for people with substance use disorders will exacerbate addiction issues rather than address them.”

St Vincent de Paul Society said the proposed mandatory drug testing is “expensive, discriminatory and stigmatising and does not remove disadvantage.”

“It deflects attention from underlying structural factors that drive inequality and poverty, while scapegoating people who receive income support,” Vinnies said in a statement.

Moreover, it would be ineffective as around half of Newstart recipients are aged 45 and over, who according to the 2016 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) National Drug Strategy Household Survey, have some of the lowest rates of illicit drug use.

“If this trial goes ahead, most people tested will never have used hard drugs,” it said.

“We already know that many of the processes people need to go through to receive income support are unnecessarily onerous and deliberately difficult.

“This trial will add a new layer of stigma for people struggling to find employment.”

Father Peter Smith, Justice and Peace Promoter for the Archdiocese of Sydney said the concept of the government singling out those on welfare payments for testing for drug use is “once again targeting the most vulnerable in our society”.

“At a time when welfare payments, especially job search allowance, are woefully inadequate, drug testing is a punitive measure for those afflicted with addiction rather than support and amelioration,” he said.

“There is a large body of evidence that suggests it is, in fact, ineffective. Drug addiction is a major societal problem but it is not confined to welfare recipients by any means.”

The Government is yet to reveal the full cost of the trial or how the tests will be conducted, except that they take place in Centrelink offices. Mr Hall said that threatening people who have a substance abuse disorder with the prospect of being placed on income management will not change their behaviour.

“Up to 500,000 Australians are currently in desperate need of treatment, but can’t get the help they need – the services just aren’t there or the waiting lists are too long.

“We have been telling the Government repeatedly that if they were serious about helping people into treatment this should be where their efforts are directed, not pursuing this dead-end strategy.”

Related article:

Church, welfare leaders call out wage crisis

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drug-testing_stock_850 The proposed Federal Government trial would lead to an increase in stigma and anxiety for people with substance use disorders. Toby-Hall-photo-euthanasia-close-up St Vincent’s CEO Toby Hall has committed Australia’s largest Catholic healthcare provider to not providing euthanasia, should any laws legalise the practice.
Bendigo gets its eighth bishop https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/bendigo-gets-its-eighth-bishop/ Thu, 17 Oct 2019 00:14:26 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=28324 Amid the soaring neo-gothic grandeur of Sacred Heart Cathedral, former Ballarat priest Shane Mackinlay was consecrated as the eighth bishop of the historic goldrush town of Bendigo in central Victoria on Wednesday 16 October. Archbishop Peter Comensoli, Archbishop of Melbourne, was the principal consecrator, joined by Bishops Leslie Tomlinson, Bishop Emeritus of Sandhurst, and Paul […]

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Bishop-elect Shane McKinlay lies prostrate before the central altar of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Bendigo as the Litany of Saints is chanted. Photo: Bill Conroy Press1 Photography

Amid the soaring neo-gothic grandeur of Sacred Heart Cathedral, former Ballarat priest Shane Mackinlay was consecrated as the eighth bishop of the historic goldrush town of Bendigo in central Victoria on Wednesday 16 October.

Archbishop Peter Comensoli, Archbishop of Melbourne, was the principal consecrator, joined by Bishops Leslie Tomlinson, Bishop Emeritus of Sandhurst, and Paul Bird CSsR of Ballarat as co-consecrators.

Numerous clergy attend

Over 30 Bishops and 300 clergy were present at the ordination, including the Papal Nuncio to Australia, Archbishop Tito Adolfo Ylana and President of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Mark Coleridge.

Dignitaries, family, friends and parishioners numbered close to 2000 people, including those from as far as Ballarat, Echuca, Shepparton, Wangaratta and Wodonga.

Bishop Shane’s brother Jason made the journey from Hamburg, Germany and Victoria Jarvis, who was at Bishop Shane’s ordination to the priesthood in Ballarat, drove nearly seven hours from Adelaide for the occasion.

International audience

The Episcopal Ordination was live streamed on YouTube for those who could not make the Ordination in person and was viewed from 54 countries, with the top national audiences outside Australia being the USA, Canada, the Philippines and Vietnam.

The spiritual unity of the Church and the mission of bishops as Good Shepherds and successors to the Apostles was elucidated in Archbishop Comensoli’s homily, drawing on musical imagery.

“It is for all of us – bishops, priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful – to join in the singing of Christ into this time and place. Yet, as Paul goes on to note, we each have a particular voice with which to proclaim the song of Jesus Christ,” Archbishop Peter said.

Shepherds

“So, to a few, the apostolic voice is given as a definitive character. Bishops are those among us to whom the song of Christ’s life takes on that particular shape and sound belonging to the Shepherd.

“The Christian song-line the bishop sings is not something he makes up, but a pathway he himself has received to lay out for others to follow.

“Fidelity, therefore, is his chief task in singing it: fidelity to what he has received and fidelity in passing it on,” he said.

Papal Nuncio Archbishop Tito Adolfo Ylana consecrates Fr McKinlay as a bishop, watched by principal consecrator Archbishop Peter Comensoli of Melbourne, at left, and Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane. The Diocese of Sandhurst where Bendigo is located is a suffragan diocese of the Archdiocese of Melbourne. Photo: Bill Conroy Press1 Photography

In a heartfelt address, Bishop Shane thanked friends from his parishes in Ballarat, Bungaree and Gordon, colleagues from the Catholic Theological College, the University of Divinity. The clergy and religious of Sandhurst and his fellow bishops were thanked for their support and encouragement, particularly his predecessor Bishop Leslie Tomlinson, who moments prior had led Bishop Shane through Sacred Heart Cathedral to give his first blessing to his people as Bishop.

Bishop Shane acknowledged the difficulty of being Catholic and building up the reign of God in contemporary Australia.

“These are challenging times in which to do this, with many people feeling deeply hurt and disillusioned by the Church,” he said.

Overcoming challenges

“I take those challenges very seriously; responding to them must be integral to whatever we do.”

“We can only be faithful to this by placing our trust in God, sharing our gifts generously with those around us, and valuing and celebrating the riches that are brought by each member of our community,” he said.

The day could not escape Ballarat-Bendigo rivalries as Bishop Shane joked that the friendly inter-city competition “has not stood in the way of a wonderful contingent of people from Ballarat and from other parts of my life being here.”

Bishop McKinlay is enthroned as eighth bishop of Sandhurst. Photo: Bill Conroy Press1 Photography

Monsignor Frank Marriott, former Vicar General of Sandhurst, was more emphatic after Mass when he made the claim to WIN News’s Will Hogan that “today is a bit special, because he’s a country lad from Ballarat, and [therefore] we’ve conquered Ballarat again!”

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prostrate_litany Bishop-elect Shane McKinley lies prstrate before the central altar of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Bendigo as the Litany of Saints is chanted. Photo: Bill Conroy Press1 Photography consecration Papal Nuncio Archbishop Adolfo consecrates Fr McKinlay as a bishop, watched by Archbishop Peter Comensoli of Melbourne, at left, and Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane. Photo: Bill Conroy Press1 Photography enthroned Bishop McKinlay is enthroned as eighth bishop of Sandhurst. Photo: Bill Conroy Press1 Photography
Xavier Rynne II: Letters from the Synod for the Amazon Vol. 5 – October 16 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/xavier-rynne-ii-letters-from-the-synod-for-the-amazon-vol-5-october-16/ Wed, 16 Oct 2019 23:40:45 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=28321 What Would John Paul II Have Said? Forty-one years ago today, the cardinal archbishop of Cracow, Karol Wojtyła, was elected Bishop of Rome, the first Slavic pope ever and the first non-Italian pope in four hundred fifty-five years. He brought to the papacy an abundance of supernatural as well as natural gifts, and the two […]

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The future Pope John Paul II is pictured during his time as archbishop of Krakow, Poland. His life under communist rule is often cited as part of the reason he spoke out strongly against communist and was instrumental in its decline. Photo: Catholic Press Photo

What Would John Paul II Have Said?

Forty-one years ago today, the cardinal archbishop of Cracow, Karol Wojtyła, was elected Bishop of Rome, the first Slavic pope ever and the first non-Italian pope in four hundred fifty-five years. He brought to the papacy an abundance of supernatural as well as natural gifts, and the two worked together to give him a uniquely prescient view of what Vatican II had called, in its Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, the “signs of the times.” His analysis of those signs and his times was always the by-product of prayer. But it was also the result of the wide-ranging consultations he conducted, often over meals, throughout his pontificate. He knew what he didn’t know, and he eagerly sought the company of men and women – including many who were not clerics – to help him fill the gaps in his knowledge.

Ancient History?

One of the tell-tale signs of the historical ignorance that distorts the view of younger Catholics of a traditionalist bent is their claim that John Paul II is, somehow, passé, old hat, yesterday’s news: that looking to his social doctrine for insight into 21st-century contentions is akin (as one recently put it) to those Republicans who think everything would be just fine if only Ronald Reagan, or at least his policies, were somehow reincarnated.

That is to due scant justice to the richness of John Paul II’s thought or its continuing salience. Of course the situation of the West today is not what it was in the decades immediately following the Cold War. But does that mean that the John Paul II template for thinking about social, cultural, economic, and political challenges is useless? That’s a rather queer view of “tradition” to come from self-identified traditionalists. John Paul’s insistence on the centrality of a vibrant public moral culture to the success of free politics and free economics – to the capacity of democracy and the market to contribute to genuine human flourishing – would seem even more salient in today’s contentious and self-destructive post-modern West than it did in 1991, when the Polish pope articulated a culture-first vision of the free and virtuous society of the post-Cold War future in the encyclical Centesimus Annus.

The same criticism is often leveled, and from the same quarters, at John Paul II’s vision of the Church of the twenty-first century, which, in the second half of his pontificate, he proposed under the banner of the “New Evangelization.” The modern roots of that vision go back to Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903), as I explain in my recently-published book, The Irony of Modern Catholic History: Counter-Reformation Catholicism had run its historical course, leaving great institutional expressions of Catholic faith throughout the West; but those institutions now had to be turned into launch-platforms for mission in the twenty-first century, because the ambient public culture no longer helped the Church and its people transmit the faith to future generations. And as Karol Wojtyla lived it and then interpreted it, the entire purpose of the Second Vatican Council was to prepare the Church for a new springtime of evangelization and missionary zeal in its twenty-first century and third millennium.

Pope Francis attends a prayer service at the start of the first session Synod of Bishops for the Amazon at the Vatican on 7 October. Photo: CNS photo/Vatican Media
Pope Francis attends a prayer service at the start of the first session Synod of Bishops for the Amazon at the Vatican on 7 October. Photo: CNS photo/Vatican Media

Getting Down to Amazonian Cases.

What does all this have to do with the Special Synod for Amazonia? A lot, I would suggest.

One of the most striking things about the Synod thus far has been its recycling of ideas from the 1970s, primarily in the form of liberation theologies of one sort or another, but now with an overlay of eco-theology that takes more cues from Greta Thunberg than from Karl Marx. This revamped and recycled liberationist perspective is as likely to prove evangelically sterile as its Marxist-inspired predecessors. Why? Because from an ecclesiological point of view, it turns the Church into another global non-governmental organization (NGO) whose primary purpose is environmental repair – much as the predecessors imagined the Church’s primary purpose as political advocacy, sometimes in the form of revolutionary violence. And if there is anything that the sad state of the Church in western Europe (and especially Germany) should have taught the world Church, it is that imagining Catholicism as an NGO is a sure prescription for empty pews on Sunday, a marked lack of evangelical zeal during the week, and empty seminaties and houses of formation for the consecrated life.

Eco-theology of a liberationist sort intersects at Synod-2019 with what can only be described as a kind of embarrassment at the history of evangelization in Latin America, which is often identified in one-to-one correspondence with colonialism’s least desirable features. No serious student of the history of Latin America doubts that the continent’s first evangelization had its rough edges. Were those rough edges materially worse, however, than some indigenous religions of the continent, with their practice of human sacrifice? Again, no serious student of these matters doubts that there were racist attitudes in play in that first evangelization. But where is there room in the Narrative of Embarrassment (dominated as it is by Western guilt and political correctness) for Our Lady of Guadalupe, whom John Paul II saw as perhaps the second millennium’s most powerful icon of a successful “inculturation” of the Gospel, what with her indigenous features and the native symbols on her mantle?

Moreover, if Latin America’s first evangelization is, in the main, something for which the Church should repent, what in that repentance is going to be the driver of the evangelization the Latin American bishops called for in 2007 in their Aparecida Document?

Pope Francis attends a session at the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon at the Vatican. Photo: CNS photo/Vatican Media
Pope Francis attends a session at the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon at the Vatican. Photo: CNS photo/Vatican Media

A Social Doctrine with Continuing Relevance.

Synod-2019 would also benefit from the empirical sensitivity that John Paul II displayed in his mature social doctrine, which is found in its most developed form in the aforementioned Centesimus Annus and the 2003 apostolic letter Ecclesia in Europa [The Church in Europe}, which is a kind of papal report card on the condition of the West, fourteen years after the Revolution of 1989 and the end of the Cold War.

In Centesimus Annus, whose title and text both make clear that it was written both to celebrate Leo XIII and to stretch his social doctrine into the twenty-first century, John Paul suggested that the wealth of nations in an increasingly post-industrial world lay, not so much in land or in stuff in the ground, but in the human imagination: in entrepreneurial instincts married to scientific and technical knowledge. The poor, he insisted, were not to be considered wards of the state, locked into one form or another of welfare dependency. Think of the poor, he insisted, as people with potential to be unleashed – people who should be empowered with the skills essential to joining the networks of productivity and exchange that help wealth grow throughout the world.

If these themes have been articulated at Synod-2019, I’ve missed them. Rather, there is a lot of talk about the evils of mineral extraction, the dangers to the environment of building hydroelectric dams and power plants, and the urgency of maintaining Things As They Are in the Amazonian rainforest. All of which is fine, I suppose: if you imagine that people living in what amount to Stone Age conditions deserve no better, want nothing better, and are capable of nothing better.

But that is simply a mirror image of the deprecatory view of indigenous peoples taken by the worst of the Spanish and Portuguese colonialists – a view stoutly resisted by the 16th-century Spanish Dominican Bartolomé de las Casas, whose defense of the native peoples of Latin America is one of the foundation stones of modern human rights law.

Pope Francis walks in a procession at the start of the first session Synod of Bishops for the Amazon at the Vatican on 7 October. Photo: CNS photo/Vatican Media
Pope Francis walks in a procession at the start of the first session Synod of Bishops for the Amazon at the Vatican on 7 October. Photo: CNS photo/Vatican Media

Other Signs of the Times.

Four years before his election as Bishop of Rome, Cardinal Karol Wojtyła was the Relator, or rapporteur, of the 1974 Synod of Bishops on evangelization. It was a contentious meeting that could agree on no final report (although its unhappy ending led to the great document of the last years of Pope St. Paul VI, the 1975 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi [Announcing the Gospel], another precursor of the New Evangelization). One of the reasons for Synod-1974’s inability to reach a consensus was the divide between bishops from western Europe and Latin America who saw in the liberation theologies of the day a path forward for the Church, and those who were either critical of liberation theology in se or who had a different ecclesial experience: what Wojtyła once described as the difference between those for whom Marxism was “a fascinating abstraction” and those for whom it was an “everyday reality.”

Something similar seems to be afoot at Synod-2019, in that a lot of the ideas  dominating the Synod’s first ten days seem to have been exported from western Europe – including an almost apocalyptic concern for “Mother/Sister Earth,” a deprecation of extractive industries and other forms of economic development, a celebration of indigenous religiosity, and a consequent squeamishness about proposing Jesus Christ as Lord and Redeemer. And it seems that a lot of the money behind the pre-Synod agitations in support of those ideological agendas (and the various Off-Broadway activism at Synod-2019) is coming from wealthy western NGOs, often using taxpaper money, but rather removed from the on-site experience of life in the complex region known as Amazonia. A new form of colonialism, perhaps? Another distraction from the Church’s primary task of evangeliation?

What would John Paul II have said about those signs of the times?

He would have suggested that they be read very, very carefully indeed, “lest the Cross of Christ be deprived of its power” [1 Corinthians 1.17]. – George Weigel

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POPE JOHN PAUL II The future Pope John Paul II is pictured during his time as archbishop of Krakow, Poland. His life under communist rule is often cited as part of the reason he spoke out strongly against communist and was instrumental in its decline. Photo: Catholic Press Photo xavier-171019 Pope Francis attends a prayer service at the start of the first session Synod of Bishops for the Amazon at the Vatican on 7 October. Photo: CNS photo/Vatican Media xavier-171019-3 Pope Francis attends a session at the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon at the Vatican. Photo: CNS photo/Vatican Media xavier-171019-2 Pope Francis walks in a procession at the start of the first session Synod of Bishops for the Amazon at the Vatican on 7 October. Photo: CNS photo/Vatican Media
This Catholic Life Podcast – Ep. #12: Finding Faith https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/this-catholic-life-podcast-ep-12-finding-faith/ Wed, 16 Oct 2019 19:00:10 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=27112 Episode #12 – Finding Faith Hosts:  Peter Holmes & Rian Galliott Guest:  Sherry Weddell Find It On iTunes – This Catholic Life Podcast Links: The Sienna Institute website https://siena.org/ The Sydney site https://www.sydneycatholic.org/forming-parishes-of-intentional-disciples/ Sherry is the author of Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus (Our Sunday Visitor, 2012) Subscribe: iTunes, Google […]

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Episode #12 – Finding Faith

Hosts:  Peter Holmes & Rian Galliott
Guest:  Sherry Weddell

Find It On iTunes – This Catholic Life Podcast

Links:

The Sienna Institute website https://siena.org/

The Sydney site https://www.sydneycatholic.org/forming-parishes-of-intentional-disciples/

Sherry is the author of Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus (Our Sunday Visitor, 2012)

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Teenager takes a seat at the UN https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/teenager-takes-a-seat-at-the-un/ Wed, 16 Oct 2019 05:09:23 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=28274 In the middle of her Year 12 trials Ashleigh Chatelier, college captain of St Scholastica’s college in Glebe, received a call she had been praying for. Ashleigh was chosen through the United Nations Youth Organisation to attend a Middle Eastern Educational Tour in January 2020, to explore themes of nationalism, religion and statehood in some […]

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St Scholastica’s College graduate Ashleigh Chatelier will represent UN Youth in the Middle East in January. PHOTO: A Fok

In the middle of her Year 12 trials Ashleigh Chatelier, college captain of St Scholastica’s college in Glebe, received a call she had been praying for.

Ashleigh was chosen through the United Nations Youth Organisation to attend a Middle Eastern Educational Tour in January 2020, to explore themes of nationalism, religion and statehood in some of the most exciting and spectacular parts of the world.

Selected as one of New South Wales’ two representatives, Ashleigh will join the 16-strong team to head to Tel-Aviv, Amman, Petra and Jerusalem. The educational experience focuses on developing a first-hand understanding of the work towards peace in the region.

Ashleigh and her companions will be meeting with representatives from Non-government organisations, Intergovernmental Organisations, representatives from the United Nations and Politicians to understand the roles of the different stakeholders.

The tour will visit both Israel and Jordan and throughout these locations those involved will discuss the roles of these key factors in crisis such as the Israel -Palestine conflict. The program will look at how Australia interacts with the region and what role we play in the greater international community.

Ashleigh Chatelier. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

Commencing her Higher School Certificate exams this week, Ashleigh aspires to a career working in law and International Relations.

She began her UN encounter through the NSW UN Youth conference, before going to the National conference.

In May, UN Youth members were invited to apply to be part of the Middle Eastern Experience. After an extensive three-stage application process involving interviews and essay writing, Ashleigh was successful.

Ashleigh attributes a keen personal interest in Human Rights to the development of her professional interest and aspirations.

“The UN Youth is great however there’s only so much you can learn from Australia. I’m extremely excited to be taking my learning experience to another level,” she said.

“I’ve always been interested by the conflict in the Middle East and the struggle between the Israelis and Palestinians.

“I’m intrigued by the role of religion in the conflict and in the region.”

Ashleigh has already met with some of the other delegates who will be joining her on the expedition, as well as the four facilitators who will be running the program. Before she can go on the journey Ashleigh will have to undertake the stressful HSC exams beginning on 17 October.

A bit stressed out, Ashleigh is looking forward to completing her high school studies and beginning the next stage of her life with this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

UN Youth Australia is a youth run volunteer organisation. If you would like to help Ashleigh raise funds for her trip please head to https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=565232&

Related article: 

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Ashleigh-Chatelier_UN-rep_151019_Fok_850 St Scholastica's College graduate Ashleigh Chatelier will represent UN Youth in the Middle East in January. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok Ashleigh-Chatelier2_UN-rep_151019_Fok_850 Ashleigh Chatelier. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok
Vinnies: ‘No start’ on Newstart https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/vinnies-no-start-on-newstart/ Wed, 16 Oct 2019 02:15:46 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=28235 Many people on the Newstart and Youth Allowance are living in poverty.

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The meagre amount for Newstart and Youth Allowance keeps many Australians in chronic poverty PHOTO: CNS/David Gray, Reuters

The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia is calling for a 25 per cent increase of Newstart and Youth Allowance payments. For a single recipent this would mean an increase from approximately $279 a week to $349 a week – an increase of $70.

The statement comes in light of Anti-Poverty Week and the St Vincent de Paul Society’s report on 15 October, Raise the Rate: Case Studies, a document citing academic research and 18 individual case examples of Australians struggling on current Newstart payments.

“The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council is highlighting case studies that demonstrate the extent and severity of hardship faced by people living on Newstart,” wrote Claire Victory, president of the St Vincent De Paul Society, in the report. “Long-term unemployed people represent just over three-quarters of all Newstart recipients.
“And over half of people on Newstart and almost two thirds of people on Youth Allowance are living in poverty.”

Newstart and Youth Allowance amounts have not been significantly adjusted since 1994 and do not take into account 21st century living conditions.The report found that the biggest issue keeping Australians in poverty were housing costs and medical expenses.

“We cannot address poverty and ultimately support people to get meaningful quality long term work without addressing the chronic housing shortage,” wrote Claire.

The report also highlighted that the overly competitive job market is actively excluding many in long-term unemployment from accessing basic jobs.

Related Articles:
Spotlight on low-income renters
Pensioner’s struggle to pay rent

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Homeless_Australia_CNS_850 The meagre amount for Newstart and Youth Allowance keeps many Australians in chronic poverty PHOTO: CNS/David Gray, Reuters
Melbourne council push against seal of confession https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/melbourne-council-push-against-seal-of-confession/ Wed, 16 Oct 2019 01:18:40 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=28239 The City of Melbourne council will seek advice on whether it can put pressure on Catholic churches to comply with state laws requiring them to break the seal of confession in cases relating to child sexual abuse. The private motion put up by Councillor Nicolas Gilley was passed on 15 October by a vote of […]

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Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli has said he will not break the seal of confession in order to comply with a civic law. PHOTO: Peter Casamento

The City of Melbourne council will seek advice on whether it can put pressure on Catholic churches to comply with state laws requiring them to break the seal of confession in cases relating to child sexual abuse.

The private motion put up by Councillor Nicolas Gilley was passed on 15 October by a vote of 5-3.

An original version of the motion referenced Archbishop Peter A Comensoli’s public statements in defence of the seal of confession and sought a public declaration by the city’s Catholic churches, which would include St Patrick’s Cathedral, that they would comply with mandatory reporting laws, forcing priests to reveal any disclosures of abuse made through the sacrament of confession.

Cr Gilley had broached the idea of putting up “great big signs” in front of churches advising there was a risk to children in such institutions.

Councillor Beverley Pinder who opposed the motion told the meeting that while it was a “slight improvement” on the original she believed it still took “the council into territory in which it has no role or authority”.

“I do believe, obviously, all we can do to protect our children, keep them safe and look after their welfare is paramount and goes without saying, but I don’t believe that targeting places of worship is a constructive way to do it,” Cr Pinder said.

“The focus should really be on places where children participate as opposed to places of worship.

“Unfortunately we’re in a situation where places of worship and in particular the Catholic Church have been subject to attack and criticism based on media reports and not knowledge of the full facts.

“I strongly support the mandatory reporting laws, as does the Church….I’m concerned about this approach we’re taking today.”

Cr Gilley, a former Anglican priest and an abuse survivor, acknowledged the Catholic Church’s work in safeguarding and said his motion was not singling it out but that he became concerned after seeing reports that Archbishop Comensoli was unwilling to break the seal of confession in order to obey mandatory reporting laws.

“I don’t think we can put ourselves above the law because of our faith with respect to any issue in society,” he said.

Council CEO Justin Hanney advised the meeting that the council had no legislative or regulatory levers to deal with the issue under the Local Government Act, and that specific legal advice would need to be sought.

The motion calls on council management to confirm with the Child Safety Commission if the Archdiocese’s Safeguarding Children and Young People Framework provides adequate protection for children.

It then requests management to report back on what the council’s role could be in seeking confirmation from places of worship of their compliance with mandatory reporting laws and how to respond if there was any intention of non-compliance.

Related article:

Confession seal crisis deepens

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AB-comensoli808 Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli after his reception as the ninth Archbishop of Melbourne at St Patrick's Cathedral on 1 August. PHOTO: Peter Casamento
Simcha Fisher: On meteors and managed expectations https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/simcha-fisher-on-meteors-and-managed-expectations/ Wed, 16 Oct 2019 00:30:06 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=27291 Not long ago, our hemisphere passed through the Perseid meteor shower. When I was young, my family was heavily into astronomy. We owned more than one telescope, and we would sometimes all pile into the van after dark and drive out to the countryside, where there were no streetlights or house lights, but only the […]

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As parents, we want to pass on our delight in something bigger than ourselves to our children.

Not long ago, our hemisphere passed through the Perseid meteor shower. When I was young, my family was heavily into astronomy. We owned more than one telescope, and we would sometimes all pile into the van after dark and drive out to the countryside, where there were no streetlights or house lights, but only the velvety darkness and the sound and smell of sleeping cows.

On this road, you could look up and see the Milky Way spread out across the top of the sky like a shining river. The planets gleamed like jewels, red and yellow and blue. More than once I actually heard a meteor sizzle past like a drop of water on hot soapstone.

Having had these almost mystical experiences throughout my childhood, I feel very strongly — perhaps too strongly — that astronomy ought to be part of every childhood. But in this, I have largely failed with my own kids. We’re just too busy. We’ve prioritised other things, and the thought of dragging ourselves outside in the dark for one last outing at the end of an exhausting day is unbearable.

So my kids know a few constellations. We’ve dabbled in homemade sundials, and they understand the seasons and eclipses and why astrology is nonsense. But a love of astronomy is not part of our family identity, the way it was for my family of origin.

I know this, and I know that knowing it sometimes cause me disproportionate distress. And this is why, when I prepared to take my kids out for the annual Perseid meter shower, I gave myself more than one stern lecture.

The Perseids are an ideal meteor shower, where we are. You can see plenty of shooting stars near the zenith, so the numerous mountains and trees don’t block our view. You don’t have to stay up past midnight to get a good show; the weather is almost always pleasant; and it comes toward the end of our summer vacation, making a much-needed consolation prize before school starts again.

So even though we’re not That Astronomy Family, we always go out and see the Perseids. This year, we made the effort to drive into the country, away from artificial lights.

I did a certain amount of managing expectations. This is something I try to do whenever I introduce the kids to a new activity that may or may not be thrilling and meaningful. I’m not trying to turn them into pessimists; I’m just trying to teach them to adjust their hopes to reasonable levels, so they can enjoy what they have, rather than feeling perpetually dissatisfied.

Part of our job as parents is to get kids used to the idea that it’s possible to be happy, or at least at peace, even when every little experience doesn’t hit maximum fun or excitement. And then sometimes, life exceeds our expectations, and we receive it as an extra gift, rather than as our due.

So I told them that we’d almost certainly see some meteors, maybe a lot, maybe a few, and that they might be bright or dim, depending on how clear the sky was. I told them that they would likely see a flash and perhaps a short streak, but that there wouldn’t be any fireballs screaming madly around the sky. We talked a bit about what it is we’re seeing when we see a meteor, and why we’re seeing it now. Just putting things into perspective.
And more importantly, I gave myself a private little lecture. Now listen, I said to myself.

They might love it, or they might not care very much. You are doing this because you want them to have the chance to see something interesting and beautiful, but there are many other interesting and beautiful things in the world, so this isn’t an all-or-nothing night.

It has been a long day, and some of these kids are pretty tired. Some are afraid of the dark, and may act out to hide the fact. Some may be impressed, but are currently too cool to show it. How much they enjoy it, or appear to enjoy it, is not the final word on my worth as a mother providing a well-rounded life for my children. And for goodness’ sake, it might be cloudy.

Uluru at night, beneath the magnificent panorama of the Milky Way. Photo: Luke Tscharke

And guess what? It was cloudy. The Perseids this year were kind of a bust. Everyone saw at least a few meteors, though, and a few of us saw some real dazzlers. The kids who insisted on lying on their stomachs and snarking at each other missed them, so ha ha to them. They’ll know to look next time. And we had a nice time.

I’m telling you this because it wasn’t too many years ago that, under the exact same circumstances, I would have behaved abominably. I would have let my expectations leap far beyond what is reasonable, and tried to recreate out of whole cloth some idealised version of my own childhood; and then I would have been crushed and bitter when it inevitably didn’t come together.

I would, in short, have ruined everything for everybody, just because I pinned all my hopes, and a lot of my self-worth, on getting something really good.

As it is, I think I did a pretty decent job of hiding my mild disappointment. The kids had a pleasant evening, something out of the ordinary, and it may even have sparked an interest in astronomy in a few of them. Or not. At least we had a family outing that didn’t end in tears. We got some fresh air. We lay down in the grass side by side. We enjoyed each other’s company, more or less. And we did look up at the stars for once, side by side.

The truth is, kids respond to and mimic their parents’ attitudes far more than we like to admit. They are looking to us all the time, for better or for worse, to find out what life is like and how to respond to the good, the bad, the disappointing, and the surprising.

My own childish wonder and awe at the Jupiter and Saturn so many years ago probably came partly from the spectacle itself, but also from my parents’ delight in it.

And that’s what I really want to pass down to my kids, more than a love of astronomy: A sense of delight in something bigger than myself.

And it’s all right if astronomy isn’t what delivers that for our family. So if I want a good experience with the family, it’s true that it’s important to manage the kids’ expectations so they’re not let down. But it’s probably even more important to manage my own.

To recognise what my true motivations are, to assess what is reasonable to achieve, and to ready myself to behave in a way that won’t cause me regret.

And goodness, next year it may not be so cloudy. We can always hope.

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vincentiu-solomon-ln5drpv_ImI-unsplash As parents, we want to pass on our delight in something bigger than ourselves to our children. shutterstock_348811259 universe stars galaxy Milky Way Photo: Shutterstock Uluru Under Stars Uluru at night, beneath the magnificent panorama of the Milky Way. Photo: Luke Tscharke