The Catholic Weekly https://www.catholicweekly.com.au The Church. All of it. Wed, 14 Nov 2018 05:25:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Gobsmacked: Rome steps in, US abuse reform votes delayed https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/gobsmacked-rome-steps-in-us-abuse-reform-votes-delayed/ Wed, 14 Nov 2018 05:25:55 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=15809 By Greg Erlandson Seasoned bishop watchers know that just about every autumn meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has a surprise. Sometimes it’s an election result. Sometimes it is the debate you never expected. Sometimes it’s that there’s no debate. But the first day of the 2018 Autumn meeting was one that caught […]

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Prelates pray before the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel during a day of prayer on 12 November at the autumn general assembly of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. CNS photo/Bob Roller

By Greg Erlandson

Seasoned bishop watchers know that just about every autumn meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has a surprise. Sometimes it’s an election result. Sometimes it is the debate you never expected. Sometimes it’s that there’s no debate.

But the first day of the 2018 Autumn meeting was one that caught just about everyone in the room flat-footed. Right on the eve of what looked to be a decisive meeting of the US bishops in dealing with sexual abuse within their own ranks, the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops asked them not to vote on two of the key proposals that were to be put before them.

When Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the conference, made the announcement Francis had asked that the US reform votes be delayed within the opening minutes of the meeting, the entire room — bishops, staff and journalists — were gobsmacked.

This, after all, was the meeting when the bishops were going to get their own house in order following the latest wave of sex abuse stories — Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, the Pennsylvania grand jury report, and the subsequent flood of subpoenas and investigations and self-published lists of priest offenders.

The McCarrick scandal in particular raised questions about who knew what and when. It also highlighted the fact that even when adults were involved, there could be harassment and abuse of power. In a 16 August statement, Cardinal DiNardo called for “an investigation into the questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick, an opening of new and confidential channels for reporting complaints against bishops, and advocacy for more effective resolution of future complaints.”

Following meetings in Rome, some of the early requests by the US — particularly for an apostolic visitation to investigate the questions surrounding the McCarrick scandal — were rejected or modified by Rome. Likewise, a request by Pope Francis that the fall meeting become a weeklong retreat for the US bishops was rejected as logistically impractical, and plans were made for such a retreat in January in Chicago.

What is not clear is how much of the discussion and planning by the U.S. bishops involved Rome. By the eve of the November meeting, the US bishops were planning to ask for votes by the entire conference on three key issues:

  • A proposal for “Standards of Episcopal Conduct.”
  • A proposal to establish a special commission for review of complaints against bishops for violations of the “Standards of Episcopal Conduct.”
  • And a protocol regarding restrictions on bishops who were removed from or resigned their office due to sexual abuse of minors, sexual harassment of or misconduct with adults, or grave negligence in office.
Protesters gather outside the hotel in Baltimore where the US Conference of Catholic Bishops was meeting during its fall general assembly. Photo: CNS, Rick Musacchio, Tennessee Register

In addition, there was to be a report on a third-party reporting system that would allow victims or those knowledgeable of abusive situations regarding bishops to report such cases confidentially.

According to Cardinal DiNardo’s announcement, word was received on 11 November that the Vatican was asking the conference to delay their vote because of the previously announced meeting at the Vatican of the presidents of all the world’s bishops’ conferences to discuss the abuse crisis in February.

In his remarks, Cardinal DiNardo expressed his disappointment at the request for the delay of the reform votes, which threw the planned agenda for the four-day meeting into disarray.

Theories abound about what happened and why, ranging from the darkly conspiratorial to the surmise that Rome simply did not want the US bishops to get too far ahead of the Vatican on the very sensitive issues involving the disciplining of bishops. Such discipline in church law is normally the prerogative of the pope himself.

One observer said that the US bishops’ sense of urgency — inspired in part by the anger of many lay Catholics and their priests — clashed with the more cautious way that Rome would approach any issue with such far-reaching implications.

What will be the implications of this sudden twist is still unknown. Protesters and bishops alike may now see Rome as the obstructionist, and the growing pressure on Pope Francis will continue. Ironically, this may take some heat off the US bishops, at least temporarily, but is unlikely to help Rome-US relations.

Critics of the proposed action items also may be relieved, since there were those who viewed the proposals as opening the door for other conferences to make similarly unilateral changes in areas of discipline or doctrine.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, delivers the presidential address on 12 November during the fall general assembly of the USCCB in Baltimore. Photo: CNS, Bob Roller

Perhaps most frustrated are those bishops — many of them appointees after 2002 — who want to open their archives, name priests credibly accused, and forthrightly address issues of accountability and transparency.

Following the announcement of the delay of the US reform votes, the bishops of the Missouri province released a letter originally written on 6 October. It expressed support for the proposals suggested by Cardinal DiNardo but added: “We fear these measures will not be enough in either substance or timeliness to meet the demands that this pastoral crisis presents.”

Delay is inevitable, however. And now the bishops have the rest of their meeting to decide what, if anything, they are still able to do.

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Gobsmacked_by_Francis_head_in_hands580x567_141118 Prelates pray before the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel during a day of prayer on 12 November at the autumn general assembly of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. CNS photo/Bob Roller Gobsmacked_by_Francis_protest_850x567_141118 Protesters gather outside the hotel in Baltimore where the US Conference of Catholic Bishops was meeting during its fall general assembly. Photo: CNS, Rick Musacchio, Tennessee Register Gobsmacked_by_Francis_Di_Nardo850x617_141118 Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, delivers the presidential address on 12 November during the fall general assembly of the USCCB in Baltimore. Photo: CNS, Bob Roller
Sydney students arrive in Rome https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/sydney-students-arrive-in-rome/ Wed, 14 Nov 2018 05:14:10 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=15820 Participants in the inaugural Australian Catholic University (ACU) School Leavers Program arrived at the ACU Rome Campus this week to begin a three-week study on the history of Western Civilisation in Rome and London. The groups’ arrival at the Rome Campus was marked by an opening Mass celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop for Sydney Bishop Richard […]

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Participants in the inaugural ACU School Leavers Program in Rome with Bishop Richard Umbers.

Participants in the inaugural Australian Catholic University (ACU) School Leavers Program arrived at the ACU Rome Campus this week to begin a three-week study on the history of Western Civilisation in Rome and London.

The groups’ arrival at the Rome Campus was marked by an opening Mass celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop for Sydney Bishop Richard Umbers, along with ACU Rome Campus Chaplain Fr Anthony Expo.

ACU and Sydney Catholic Schools have collaborated to send the group of 21 high-achieving school leavers on an immersion experience exploring the foundations of Western Civilisation, first in London and then Rome.

Students were selected based on their academic excellence and their potential for leadership and community service in the Church and wider community. All of the students were nominees for the Archbishop’s Awards for Excellence.

During their time in the UK the students will visit many of the pivotal places in the history of Western Civilisation including Oxford University and London’s Houses of Parliament.

While in Rome the group will visit famous historical and cultural sites such as the Roman Forum, the Catacombs and the Vatican, between daily reading sessions and lectures on the people, institutions and events that have shaped the Western Civilisation since the time of Ancient Greece.

ACU Vice President Father Anthony Casamento csma said that ACU is delighted to be partnering with Sydney Catholic Schools to offer this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to students.

“Our mission as a Catholic university is to engage in the Catholic intellectual tradition, where faith and reason are in dialogue – and this program gives students the opportunity to do just that while being in the unique classrooms of the cities of Rome and London,” he said.

“It was also important for the School Leavers Program to allow the students the possibility to enter into the opportunities that living and learning in another city and culture has to offer.”

“The University’s hope is that by understanding how powerfully Christianity, politics and culture have shaped both the Western world and today’s diverse, complex, and secular society, this learning experience will inform the development of leadership and service in the next generation of Catholic leaders in our country,” he said.

Related story: Schoolies of a spiritual nature

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Monica Doumit: The mask that evil wears https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/monica-doumit-the-mask-that-evil-wears/ Wed, 14 Nov 2018 03:31:11 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=15804 In all of the big news stories that have occurred in recent weeks, only lightly reported was an extraordinary – and unprecedented – decision handed down in the Queensland Supreme Court last week. In early October, Graham Robert Morant was found guilty of counselling his wife, Jennifer Morant, to commit suicide, and then assisting her […]

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A Queensland judge has seen through the deception that euthanasia is always noble in intention.
A Queensland judge has seen through the deception that euthanasia is always noble in intention.

In all of the big news stories that have occurred in recent weeks, only lightly reported was an extraordinary – and unprecedented – decision handed down in the Queensland Supreme Court last week.

In early October, Graham Robert Morant was found guilty of counselling his wife, Jennifer Morant, to commit suicide, and then assisting her to do so by driving her to a hardware store to purchase the generator that she would use to take her own life, unpacking it, and then helping her to set it up in her car before leaving the house and going to church so that she would die alone (and he would have an alibi.)

Mrs Morant suffered from chronic back pain, depression and anxiety, but was not suffering a terminal illness. The judge found that, over a period of about nine months, her husband had convinced her that the best thing to do would be to take her own life. He also found that he had a financial motive to do so.

Mrs Morant had a life insurance policy that had been taken out in 2010. In the years leading up to her death, however, two additional life insurance policies had been taken out on her behalf, with Mr Morant as the sole beneficiary of each one. In total, they would have paid out $1.4 million to Mr Morant if his wife had died, provided she did not commit suicide within 13 months of the policies being purchased.

Mrs Morant took her own life three months after that 13-month deadline expired, making Mr Morant eligibile to receive the associated payments. In the months before Mrs Morant’s death, her husband had taken her to see the property he intended to buy with the money that would be left to him.

Apart from the callousness of such action, what makes this case astounding is that it is the first time in the world, it seems, that a person has been imprisoned for encouraging another person to commit suicide. [The conviction of Michelle Carter, the Massachusetts teen who encouraged her boyfriend to commit suicide in a series of text messages, and the 15-month sentence imposed upon her, has been appealed and a decision on that case is expected shortly.] Justice Peter Davis of the Supreme Court of Queensland made this clear in sentencing remarks handed down on 2 November, saying that he could find no guidance in Australia or any other jurisdiction on how long to imprison someone who had urged another to take their own life. “Research has failed to find any conviction for any similar offence in any other jurisdiction,” he said.

What this means is that Justice Davis had the opportunity, by the sentence he imposed, to indicate not only to Australia but to the whole world, whether counselling someone to take their own life was a serious criminal offence.

And the judge delivered, sentencing Mr Morant to 10 years imprisonment for counselling his wife to do so. In doing this, Judge Davis commented that counselling a person to suicide is a more serious offence than assisting them to take their own life because, as was in this case, there is an element of persuasion to the crime.

Assisting a person who has otherwise already decided to take their own life is one thing; actively trying to convince them to do so is another, and it is much more dangerous.

Indeed, it exposes one of the grave risks associated with legalised euthanasia and assisted suicide, because it clearly highlights the enormous – and even fatal – amount of influence that a loved one can have over a person in their “choice” to die.

This is particularly the case when a person stands to benefit financially from the death of a family member. Judge Davis spoke of this risk in his sentencing remarks. “One can imagine many circumstances arising where people in positions of trust and responsibility could succumb to the temptation to counsel suicide for personal gain,” he said.

It’s not a great stretch to imagine, for example, an elderly Sydneysider living in a property that, in current markets, could be worth millions of dollars while their children struggle to even save a deposit to purchase their own Sydney home, being pressured to ask for death.
As in the case of Mr Morant, such subtle forms of influence could occur over months or even years, such that the vulnerable person involved can be convinced that suicide is their own free decision. The gradual, hidden nature of such influence would make it near impossible for others to detect.

This is why the continued push to legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide is so dangerous, because no legislative safeguard could protect the most vulnerable against this type of influence. It is very good to see that a Queensland judge has become the first in the world to recognise at law the seriousness of such influence. Let’s hope our parliamentarians listen to him.

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Doumit-181118 A Queensland judge has seen through the deception that euthanasia is always noble in intention.
Martyn Iles: Help a refugee? Love them https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/martyn-iles-help-a-refugee-love-them/ Wed, 14 Nov 2018 03:08:13 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=15801 Among Christians, a debate about Nauru rarely gets far before someone invokes Jesus. His parable of the Good Samaritan, His command to love our neighbour, even the notion that He was a refugee (sort of). Commands such as these, we are often told, are clear evidence of what the government ought to do about refugees. […]

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Australia’s treatment of illegal migrants elicits passion and controversy. But walking the walk starts with us, writes Martin Iles.
Australia’s treatment of illegal migrants elicits passion and controversy. But walking the walk starts with us, writes Martin Iles.

Among Christians, a debate about Nauru rarely gets far before someone invokes Jesus. His parable of the Good Samaritan, His command to love our neighbour, even the notion that He was a refugee (sort of).

Commands such as these, we are often told, are clear evidence of what the government ought to do about refugees.

But here’s the thing…

Jesus wasn’t telling the government what to do.

When Jesus gave the parable of the Good Samaritan, His whole intent was to tell me that I am personally commanded to be the Good Samaritan.

The Good Samaritan never did his good deeds by the proxy of government. He did not outsource them to bureaucrats. He did not lobby the passing priest and Levite to help the victim on his behalf. He did not set up a committee to resolve the problem of victims by the roadside. He didn’t express his outrage at the governing authorities of the time for allowing such a thing to happen.

He knelt and did it himself.

The point is this: he got his own hands dirty. He got down on his knees in the dust. He took His own risk. He spent his own money. He used his own time. He risked himself. He loved his neighbour.

This is how love – agape – works. It acts, at great cost to oneself, for the ultimate and highest interests of the other. Love is action. Love is costly. Love is for the other. But crucially, love is personal.

It would be brilliantly convenient if Jesus had directed His parables to the institutions of government. I could outsource these obligations at the ballot box and feel magnificently virtuous. So many of the more difficult aspects of my Christian duty could be disposed of in my vote. I could outsource my love of neighbour and leave it there.

But He didn’t. He directed His commandments to me.

Let me make a trite point, but one which is too often lost: the institution of government is not a citizen.

As a citizen, duties flow to me from the commands of Christ. I must fulfil them.

And yes, I should vote in the best interests of my neighbour.

But I should also vote for the government that will best implement the duties which flow specifically to it from the commands of God.

In scripture, those duties and commands are differently expressed and separately articulated compared to my duties.

Why? Because the government is not a citizen. They are different. They exist for different reasons.

This is by God’s design. He intended governing authority to be a feature of life in this world (bad news for anarchists, then). That is why the Apostle Paul said governing authorities are “instituted by God,” “what God has appointed,” and reminded us that there is no authority except from God [Rom 13:1].

The governing authorities, we are told, are called to a ministry for God which exercises God’s governing power to restrain evil and promote good [Rom 13:1-7]; a ministry of righteousness, for it is righteousness that exalts a nation [Prov 14:34].

This is not a simple task. It requires great wisdom.

Principally, it requires great wisdom because the realities of this fallen world are so complicated. Well-intentioned laws can all too often lead to unintended outcomes. A good idea can all too often come joined at the hip with a bad idea. Something that looks good – even “righteous” – can so often be a cover for that which is bad – even “evil.”

We should not pretend that the business of good government is simple. It is a ministry entrusted to some which carries great responsibility, and a massive need for wisdom and insight. I suspect that is why wisdom was such an appropriate gift for Solomon.

But to think these matters through is not unchristian. Wisdom is every bit as much a Christian virtue as compassion. We are called to know both.

If a seemingly compassionate policy undermines national sovereignty, then one must pause for thought. God ordains nations and determines their times and dwelling places [Acts 17:26]. Christians should not simply oppose passports and borders.

If a seemingly compassionate policy carries a real security risk, then more thought is needed. A security risk means a risk of harm to a government’s people. If a government is to restrain evil as God intended, then they would take such a thing very seriously.

If a seemingly compassionate policy is known to cause a worse humanitarian problem, then it makes no sense. It’s not wise. For the present discussion, it is well known that if people smugglers get wind of any sort of hope, they will be back in business. People will drown. Human trafficking will be facilitated.

I could go on, but suffice to say that the challenges of this policy area are very real. Pretending otherwise would be dishonest.

Importantly, however, it is neither unchristian nor unfaithful to the commands of Christ to take all these matters (and the rest I haven’t mentioned) very seriously.

The application of wisdom is crucial.

ACL has long campaigned for strong borders with a generous humanitarian intake for refugees, focusing on the most persecuted minority groups.

We have tried to strike a balance. The government has a job to do which is hard, with many competing challenges.

But when a refugee moves into your street, love them. That’s your job.
Jesus was talking to you.

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Iles-181118 Australia’s treatment of illegal migrants elicits passion and controversy. But walking the walk starts with us, writes Martin Iles.
Q&A with Fr John Flader: An All Saints obligation? https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/qa-with-fr-john-flader-an-all-saints-obligation/ Wed, 14 Nov 2018 02:41:43 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=15796 “My wife is from Spain and on All Saints Day she asked me why this feast is not a Holy Day of Obligation in Australia as it is in Spain. Why are there differences from one country to another?” The matter of holydays has a long and interesting history. In the Middle Ages there were […]

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Candles placed at graves are seen on All Saints’ Day in Ivenets, Belarus. Photo: CNS photo/Oliver Hoslet, EPA
Candles placed at graves are seen on All Saints’ Day in Ivenets, Belarus. Photo: CNS photo/Oliver Hoslet, EPA

“My wife is from Spain and on All Saints Day she asked me why this feast is not a Holy Day of Obligation in Australia as it is in Spain. Why are there differences from one country to another?”

The matter of holydays has a long and interesting history. In the Middle Ages there were very many days on which attendance at Mass was obligatory apart from Sundays, and these were reduced in 1642 by Pope Urban VIII to thirty-six. Early in the 20th century that number was reduced to eight by Pope Pius X, but it was raised again to ten in the 1917 Code of Canon Law. Nonetheless, individual bishops could decide how many of them to observe in their own dioceses.

The 1983 Code of Canon Law has kept the number at ten. They are “the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Epiphany, the Ascension of Christ, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, the feast of Mary the Mother of God, her Immaculate Conception, her Assumption, the feast of St Joseph, the feast of the Apostles Saints Peter and Paul, and the feast of All Saints” (Can. 1246, §1).

“However, the Episcopal Conference may, with the prior approval of the Apostolic See, suppress certain holydays of obligation or transfer them to a Sunday” (Can. 1246, §2).
In view of this last paragraph, we can explain the differences between one country and another. In the Vatican City itself, for example, although not in the rest of the diocese of Rome, and in the diocese of Lugano in Switzerland, all ten holy days are observed. In other countries, the numbers are smaller and they vary considerably.

In Australia before the 1983 Code of Canon Law there were five holy days of obligation: Christmas, New Year’s Day (at first the feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord, later the feast of Mary the Mother of God), the Ascension of Our Lord, the Assumption of Our Lady and All Saints’ Day.

When the new Code came into force, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in 2001 reduced the number of holy days to two: Christmas and the Assumption of Our Lady (August 15).

In addition, the Australian bishops transferred some of the holy days listed in the Code of Canon Law to a Sunday: the feasts of the Epiphany, the Ascension and the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), so that these feasts could be more easily celebrated by all the faithful.

In Spain, where your wife came from, there are seven holydays: Christmas, Mary the Mother of God, Epiphany, St Joseph, the Assumption of Our Lady, All Saints’ Day and the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady.

In the United States, there are six: Christmas, Mary the Mother of God, the Ascension, the Assumption of Our Lady, All Saints’ Day and the Immaculate Conception.

In Italy, there are also six: Christmas, Mary the Mother of God, the Epiphany, the Assumption of Our Lady, All Saints’ Day and the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady.
In Ireland, too there are six: Christmas, the Epiphany, St Patrick’s Day, the Assumption of Our Lady, All Saints’ Day and the Immaculate Conception.

Interestingly, in Malaysia and Singapore Ash Wednesday is a holy day of obligation.
In the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches, the Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches stipulates that there are to be five holy days common to all the Churches: the Nativity of Our Lord, the Epiphany, the Ascension, the Dormition of Our Lady and the feast of Saints Peter and Paul (cf. CCEO, can. 880). The Dormition of Our Lady celebrates her falling asleep, or death, and subsequent assumption, and it is celebrated on August 15.

A question many people ask is whether they are bound to observe the holy days of their country when they are travelling or living overseas. In the case of those travelling it would seem logical that they should endeavour to observe the holy days of their own country but they would not be bound by the holy days of the country in which they happen to be at the time. But when they have taken up residence in a new country, they are bound by the holy days of their new country.

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flader181118 Candles placed at graves are seen on All Saints’ Day in Ivenets, Belarus. Photo: CNS photo/Oliver Hoslet, EPA
Charles O’Neill commemorated at St Patrick’s https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/charles-oneill-commemorated-at-st-patricks/ Tue, 13 Nov 2018 20:30:24 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=15767 One of Australia’s most influential Catholics had a heart for the poor and for St Patrick’s at Church Hill.

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Bishop Terry Brady
Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney Terry Brady blesses the sculpture of Charles O’Neill at St Patrick’s Church Hill on 9 November. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

One of Australia’s most influential Catholics who had a huge heart for the poor has been commemorated with a bronze sculpture at St Patrick’s at Church Hill.

Charles Gordon O’Neill was a Scottish-born engineer who was instrumental in establishing the St Vincent de Paul Society in New Zealand and Australia during the late 1800s.

By 1891 when O’Neill resigned from Society leadership, Vinnies had 20 active conferences with more than 300 members making almost 11,000 visits to people in need each year.

The parishioner at St Patrick’s Church Hill was dogged by destitution in his later years, and requested that his body be buried in the Society’s section for the poor at Rookwood cemetery.

Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney Terry Brady blessed the bust of Charles O’Neill after Mass on 9 November attended by representatives of St Vincent de Paul Society’s including the NSW president Dennis Walsh, NSW CEO Jack de Groot, and NSW director of mission Leo Tucker.

Charles O'Neill
The bust made of bronze is one of several depicting prominent parishioners that will be placed along the eastern side of the facade of St Patrick’s. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

The bust is one of two that were made by the Society, one for St Patrick’s and the other for the Charles O’Neill walk at Rookwood cemetery.

It is the first of several sculptures commemorating historically significant parishioners which will be located along the eastern external wall of the church, said St Patrick’s parish priest Fr Michael Whelan SM.

Among those honoured will be Aboriginal leaders Bennelong and Barangaroo, the first parish priest, Archdeacon John McEncroe, and first Marist parish priest Fr Joseph Monnier.

Fr Whelan said there was a strong connection between the parish, Charles O’Neill, and the St Vincent de Paul Society.

Charles O'Neill photo
Co-founder of St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia and New Zealand Charles Gordon O’Neill was remembered at Mass at St Patrick’s Church Hill on 9 November. PHOTOS: Alphonsus Fok

“Charles came to Sydney and wanted to set up a conference of the Society here, and the parish priest at the time Fr Charles Heuze SM helped him to set up the first conference of the Society in NSW,” he said.

Mr Walsh said that Charles O’Neill is a reminder to anyone in NSW that they too can make a real and lasting impact in their communities.

“His story is about putting your faith and values into action,” he said.

“The St Vincent de Paul Society that Charles introduced to Australia continues to assist the most vulnerable in our community, and our members continue to be the backbone of this transformative work.

“As we remember the life and legacy of an ordinary man in Charles O’Neill, we call on parishioners across NSW to consider becoming members in their local Conference and to make a difference today”.

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BishopBrady_ONeill_AFok_9-11-18_850 Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney Terry Brady blesses the sculpture of Charles O'Neill at St Patrick's Church Hill on 9 November. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok Bust_ONeill_AFok_9-11-18_850 The bust made of bronze is one of several depicting prominent parishioners that will be placed along the eastern side of the facade of St Patrick's. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok Photo_ONeill_AFok_9-11-18_850 Co-founder of St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia and New Zealand Charles Gordon O'Neill was remembered at Mass at St Patrick's Church Hill on 9 November. PHOTOS: Alphonsus Fok
Aussie-born Princess Mary meets Pope https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/aussie-born-princess-mary-meets-pope/ Tue, 13 Nov 2018 06:37:02 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=15775 Aussie-born Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, and husband Prince Frederik, had an audience with Pope Francis, on 8 November at the Vatican. The royal couple met with the Holy Father in the Apostolic Palace, where they exchanged gifts, had a brief conversation, and posed for photos. Mary and Frederik presented the Pope with a traditional […]

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Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark met with Pope Francis on 8 November at the Vatican. PHOTO: CNS

Aussie-born Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, and husband Prince Frederik, had an audience with Pope Francis, on 8 November at the Vatican.

The royal couple met with the Holy Father in the Apostolic Palace, where they exchanged gifts, had a brief conversation, and posed for photos.

Mary and Frederik presented the Pope with a traditional vase from Denmark and a book titled, Frederik VIII’s Palace. Princess Mary explained the design on the vase to the Pope and also the significance of the architecture of the royal palace in Copenhagen. The pontiff gave the couple several books.

According to protocol, Princess Mary was dressed entirely in black for the papal audience, including a knee-length black dress-coat and black lace mantilla.

The royals were in Rome as part of a tour to strengthen Denmark’s ties with Italy.

 

 

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Aussie-born Princess Mary meets Pope Aussie-born Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, and husband Prince Frederik, had an audience with Pope Francis, on 8 November at the Vatican. Denmark,Pope,Princess Mary,Vatican,Princess Mary Princess-Mary-and-Pope_CNS_850
Science should serve humanity, says Pope https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/science-should-serve-humanity-says-pope/ Mon, 12 Nov 2018 22:48:48 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=15760 Scientists worldwide must serve humanity and the health of the planet, Pope Francis said.

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Pope Francis and Cardinal Martinez
Pope Francis greets Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach of Barcelona, Spain, during a meeting with participants attending the plenary meeting of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences at the Vatican on 12 November. PHOTO: CNS/Vatican Media

Scientists worldwide must serve humanity and the health of the planet, which means they must also propose viable solutions to problems and persuade government leaders and policymakers to implement them, Pope Francis said.

Answers to many world problems exist, he said, so what is lacking is the desire and political will “to halt the arms race and to put an end to war,” to switch to renewable energy as a matter of urgency, to guarantee water, food and health for all people, and “to invest for the common good the enormous capital” lying dormant in tax havens.

The Pope spoke on 12 November to members and experts invited to the plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. The academy was meeting on 12-14 November to discuss the importance of all scientific fields and how scientists should engage more with society and leaders, particularly in guiding policy and debunking fake news.

The scientific community is a part of society and must not consider itself to be “separate and independent”, the Pope said. “Indeed, it is called to serve the human family and its integral development.”

Our faith comes with a responsibility to protect the planet. Photo: Shutterstock
Our faith comes with a responsibility to protect the planet. PHOTO: Shutterstock

Some of the most urgent challenges scientists can address, he said, include “the immense crisis of climate change” that is unfolding and the threat of nuclear weapons.

Reiterating the appeals of his predecessors, Pope Francis also called for the elimination of nuclear arms and asked that “scientists actively cooperate to convince government leaders of the ethical unacceptability of such weaponry because of the irreparable harm that it causes to humanity and to the planet.”

“Global changes are increasingly influenced by human actions. Hence there is also a need for adequate responses aimed at protecting the health of the planet and its inhabitants,” the pope said.

The state of the earth is being “put at risk by all those human activities that employ fossil fuels and deforest the planet,” he said.

“Just as the scientific community has made progress in identifying these risks, it is now called to propose workable solutions” and to convince communities and their leaders to implement them.

There is much to do in achieving sustainable development that benefits all people, he said.

But ending hunger, thirst, poverty and high mortality rates among the 8 million people who are in need and “excluded” will never come about without a change in people’s lifestyles, he said.

Speaking to the scientists on behalf of all the voiceless and those who rarely benefit from scientific achievement, the Pope asked that their work benefit everyone, so all people can have access to proper nutrition, water, health and education.

He also asked that they help guide national policies and economies so they truly aim to serve the common good and respect of the planet.

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Popescienceacademy_CNS_12-11-18_850 Pope Francis greets Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach of Barcelona, Spain, during a meeting with participants attending the plenary meeting of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences at the Vatican on 12 November. PHOTO: CNS/Vatican Media Our faith comes with a responsibility to protect the planet. Photo: Shutterstock Our faith comes with a responsibility to protect the planet. PHOTO: Shutterstock
St Raphael’s celebrates 90 years https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/st-raphaels-celebrates-90-years/ Mon, 12 Nov 2018 06:09:45 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=15751 There was standing room only at the 90th anniversary of the dedication of St Raphael’s Church at South Hurstville.

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Monica O'Brien
Life-long St Raphael’s parishioner Monica O’Brien, pictured with her wedding photo, said its combined 90th anniversary and Armistice centenary commemoration was a “wonderful celebration”. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

The 90th anniversary of the dedication of St Raphael’s Church at South Hurstville was a time to give thanks for its past, and embrace a missionary future, said Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP.

The Archbishop of Sydney celebrated Mass on 11 November to mark both the 90th anniversary and commemorate the centenary of Armistice Day.

There was standing room only in the church for Mass concelebrated by parish priest Fr Isidore Ananth-araj EV with other priests from the region, and attended by state and federal members of parliament along with representatives of the Sisters of Charity who began the primary school in 1929.

The festivities included musical performances from St Raphael’s Primary School.

Archbishop Fisher began Mass with prayers for those who built the parish over the years, as well as those who have given their lives during the Great War.

Sth Hurstville parishioners
St Raphael’s Church South Hurstville was full for its 90th anniversary on 11 November. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

In his homily he commended the parishioners on their support of St Raphael’s various ministries, and urged them to keep a missionary focus.

“We see that there is much to give thanks for to Almighty God and 90 years of generous parishioners and pastors,” he said.

“But there’s no cause for complacency.

“For every Catholic who regularly attends Mass here, there are as many as nine more out there who don’t.

Archbishop Fisher and Fr Isidore
Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP and South Hurstville parish priest Fr Isidore Anantharaj EV. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

“Even as we overflow with joy for 90 years of faith and fellowship in South Hurstville, we ache for the nine out of 10 who are not with us.”

The archbishop set parishioners a challenge for the next decade and beyond.

“Reach out to the unchurched in your community with the healing love of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said.

“By the time of the centenary celebration – which God willing I will be here for – perhaps you will be discussing with me your need to build an even bigger church to accommodate all comers.”

Monica O’Brien, 91, who grew up and married her husband Stan at St Raphael’s, said that the day was a “wonderful celebration” and that she still holds “very vivid” memories of the school and parish in days past.

“I commenced school in 1934 and at that time the school was only a small wooden building now used as the tuck shop,” she said.

“Fr McDonald, the pastor, owned a large woolly-haired black dog named ‘Sambo’, which roamed freely among the students at lunch time much to their delight.

“The Sisters of Charity travelled daily by taxi from the convent of St Mary’s Star of the Sea at Hurstville to teach us.”

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Monicao’brien_Sthhurstville_GPortelli_11-11-18_850 Life-long St Raphael's parishioner Monica O'Brien said its 90th anniversary and Armistice centenary celebration was a "wonderful celebration". PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli Congregation_Sthhurstville_GPortelli_11-11-18_850 St Raphael's Church South Hurstville was full for its 90th anniversary on 11 November. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli FrIsadoreAB_SthHurstvilleanniverary_GPortelli_11-11-18_850 Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP and Sth Hurstville parish priest Fr Isidore Anantharaj EV. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli
Simcha Fisher: Thanks be to God https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/simcha-fisher-thanks-be-to-god/ Mon, 12 Nov 2018 03:38:07 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=15740 Here in the United States, we’re creeping up on a somewhat nebulous holiday called “Thanksgiving.” American Thanksgiving had its origins in 1621, when the white Pilgrim settlers brought in their first harvest in the New World. They had come woefully underprepared for the punishing New England winter the year before, and plenty of them died; […]

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Our modern Thanksgiving feast isn't some secularized, watered-down way to celebrate Thanksgiving; this is how the Pilgrims did it. They thanked God by having a party with lots of food. Photo: Freepik
Our modern Thanksgiving feast isn’t some secularized, watered-down way to celebrate Thanksgiving; this is how the Pilgrims did it. They thanked God by having a party with lots of food. Photo: Freepik

Here in the United States, we’re creeping up on a somewhat nebulous holiday called “Thanksgiving.” American Thanksgiving had its origins in 1621, when the white Pilgrim settlers brought in their first harvest in the New World. They had come woefully underprepared for the punishing New England winter the year before, and plenty of them died; but they worked terribly hard, and the Native Americans taught them how to plant corn and catch eel, and God kept their miserable hides alive, and so they were able to bring in the harvest the next year. So they had a feast of thanksgiving.

It’s notable, isn’t it, that they thanked God by having a feast for themselves to eat? This is how we do it to this day: We throw ourselves a party to say “thanks.” Our modern Thanksgiving feast isn’t some secularized, watered-down way to celebrate Thanksgiving; this is how the Pilgrims did it. They thanked God by having a party with lots of food.

In 1863, when President Lincoln officially declared Thanksgiving a federal holiday, it was surely to express gratitude to God, but also because it would be good for the nation to have a day of thanksgiving. We were emerging from a terrible civil war, and to declare a day of thanksgiving for the victory of the union was a way of making a statement that we were, in fact, unified. It solidified that victory and gave the country a day to celebrate. It was, in short, more about what the country needed than about what God needed.

And there it is again? We’re so grateful to God for the end of the war, we’re throwing ourselves a party! But there’s not a thing wrong with doing it that way. In fact, it’s inescapable. Giving thanks is always more for our benefit than for God’s.

Here’s an example. The other night, I couldn’t sleep, in the worst way. I was in the middle of too many projects, feeling inadequate for too many tasks, anxious about too many problems, real, imagined, past, present, and future.  The hours ground by and I couldn’t fall back asleep, but I wasn’t alert enough to get anything else done.  Exhausted and desperate, I started to spiral down into worse and worse anxiety, and all my usual mental tricks seemed stale and repulsive. Then I thought to try something new: I slowly started to list the things I was grateful for, and I thanked God for each one of them.

“I have a good husband. Thank you, Lord. I’m covered with warm blankets. Thank you, Lord. I really like the colour orange, Lord, so thanks for that. Yellow is also good. Thank you. My three-year-old has a really soft belly, Lord. Thank you. The electric bill isn’t overdue this month, Lord. Thanks. Hey, there’s Brahms and Bach on the internet, Lord. Thank you.” And so on.

You’ll think I’m going to say that, as I worked through this litany of gratitude, I began to feel enrapt in a nurturing, comforting nest of gratitude and eventually became ecstatically aware of all the goodness and kindness that follows me all the days of my life. But that’s not actually what happened. After about twenty-five minutes of thanking God, I got bored, and my limbs began to feel very heavy. The idea of being awake began to seem stupider and stupider, until finally I stumbled my way into sleep. Until a mouse started scratching, and then I woke up again, moved to the couch, did some writing, had a little fight with the cat, and then fell back asleep. The point is, I did get some sleep.

Well, thank God.

Did God reward me with sleep because He was pleased with my gratitude? Not at all. It’s just that same old paradox: gratitude is good for us, the grateful.

I should end *all* my days with a litany of thanks, rather than the hasty mental hat-tip I manage here and there. But it’s just a fact that saying “thank you” to God over and over and over again gave my mind something restful, something solid, something other-than-me-and-my-anxiety to lean on; and eventually, I slept, which is what I needed to do. I don’t believe that God minded at all that I used Him like that to help me settle down and fall asleep. God is always glad for us when we turn to Him, in big ways and in small, because He loves us and wants good things for us.

God gives us good things because goodness flows out of Him because He is God, and that is who God is: Him from whom good things flow. Who we are is children who receive His goodness, and when we’re doing well, to thank Him for it. He delights and is glad to hear us thank Him, but it doesn’t *encourage* Him to give us good things, any more a stream is encouraged to keep on flowing when a deer stops to drink in it. Flowing is what the stream is for, and it’s not going to pack itself up and leave in a huff if the deer isn’t properly grateful.

The deer, however, may suffer if it can’t linger long enough to enjoy having its thirst quenched.

So it’s completely legit to give thanks to God with a big feast for ourselves once a year; and it’s completely legit to bore ourselves to sleep with a long string of thank-yous, too. Thanksgiving, with a small “t,” has always been for our benefit, not His. He will not withhold good things from us if we forget to thank Him; but we always ought to thank Him. Not because He needs it in any way, but because it makes Him glad, and because it sets our own hearts straight.

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fisher-121118 Our modern Thanksgiving feast isn't some secularized, watered-down way to celebrate Thanksgiving; this is how the Pilgrims did it. They thanked God by having a party with lots of food. Photo: Freepik