The Catholic Weekly https://www.catholicweekly.com.au The Church. All of it. Sun, 18 Aug 2019 05:36:56 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.2 First Catholic day care centre for Sydney https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/first-catholic-day-care-centre-for-sydney/ Sun, 18 Aug 2019 05:32:59 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=26248 Families battling cost of living pressures have called a new not-for-profit preschool and long day care centre introduced in south-west Sydney “a godsend’. Established by Sydney Catholic Early Childhood Services (SCECS), the St Therese Catholic Preschool & Long Day Care centre at Sadleir, is the first of a number of centres planned for the Archdiocese […]

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Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP with Parish Priest Rev Paulino Tui Kolio, Tony Farley and SCECS Head Franceyn O’Connor. Photo: Kitty Beale
Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP with Parish Priest Rev Paulino Tui Kolio, Tony Farley and SCECS Head Franceyn O’Connor. Photo: Kitty Beale

Families battling cost of living pressures have called a new not-for-profit preschool and long day care centre introduced in south-west Sydney “a godsend’.

Established by Sydney Catholic Early Childhood Services (SCECS), the St Therese Catholic Preschool & Long Day Care centre at Sadleir, is the first of a number of centres planned for the Archdiocese of Sydney and offers affordable childcare in partnership with parishes and Catholic schools to achieve key educational milestones.

Officially opened and blessed today by Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Rev. Anthony Fisher OP, and joined by executive director of Sydney Catholic Schools Tony Farley, he said the centre will promote the pastoral outreach of parish and school communities by supporting the lifelong needs of families with young children.

“Catholic education has achieved some extraordinary things in 200 years but we must keep pushing the boundaries and one such boundary we are crossing at last is into affordable, quality Catholic pre-school and long day care centres,” he said.

“We know parents want it and need it and we aspire to be everywhere in Sydney with more prosperous areas assisting poorer ones.

“My vision is for an Archdiocese where parishes minister to our people from cradle to grave.

“Where a parish pre-school is just as normal as a parish primary school and where both are focused on assisting parents and parishes in passing on the Catholic faith to our young people, as well as giving them the best possible start educationally.”

Mum Emma Coleiro, with daughter Jasmine. Photo: Kitty Beale
Mum Emma Coleiro, with daughter Jasmine. Photo: Kitty Beale

The new state-of-the-art purpose built centre is a place of both “education and evangelisation” and offers places for 40 three to five year olds with programs to identify children with diverse learning needs including gifted tendencies.

It is the first of a number of centres planned for the Archdiocese of Sydney, with another preschool also operating in Auburn and others planned for Austral, Bonnyrigg and Caringbah in the near future.

University of Notre Dame and Australian Catholic University students enrolled in teaching degrees may complete work placements at the preschool, where they will observe what religious education looks like for 3 to 5 year olds.

Mum Emma Coleiro, whose daughter Jasmine has been attending the centre since it opened about eight weeks ago, said it was an absolute “godsend”.

She said she felt blessed having the opportunity to have her daughter in Catholic day care and developing relationships not just with the centre but with the neighbouring primary school, Parish Priest and most importantly God.

“My main reason for sending Jasmine here is because it’s Catholic, but there are so many other positives I have found since we started,” she said.

“The staff are absolutely beautiful, the centre is so bright and new but it’s the familiarity Jasmine has already developed with St Therese primary school that has been one of the biggest benefits.

“The family educator from the school as well as the Parish Priest Rev Paulino Tui Kolio visits regularly enabling the kids to feel very comfortable learning about their faith.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP blesses the new childcare centre in Sadleir. Photo: Kitty Beale
Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP blesses the new childcare centre in Sadleir. Photo: Kitty Beale

“It’s just so lovely when Jasmine comes home from the centre singing a hymn she learnt or with a prayer they have written themselves.

“We feel very lucky to be one of the first families here and honestly couldn’t be happier.“

SCECS Head Franceyn O’Connor said the Sadleir-Miller centre is the first such facility aimed at ensuring that all young families have access to affordable early childhood services.

She said by having a not-for-profit long day care option, SCECS is trying to reduce the financial stress families are facing due to soaring childcare costs.

“Financial circumstances should never be the barrier that limits access to early education,” Mrs O’Connor said.

“This is why it’s vital that we create as many affordable early childcare places as possible for young families in our local parish communities.

“We want every young family in the Sadleir-Miller community to have access to high quality education and care within a beautiful Catholic environment.

“Working across the parish community we can provide a more comprehensive early education experience, including a seamless transition into Kindergarten with the foundations already in place to succeed at school.”

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Cramsie-Childcare-160819-1 Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP with Parish Priest Rev Paulino Tui Kolio, Tony Farley and SCECS Head Franceyn O’Connor. Photo: Kitty Beale Cramsie-Childcare-160819-2 Mum Emma Coleiro, with daughter Jasmine. Photo: Kitty Beale Cramsie-Childcare-160819-3 Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP blesses the new childcare centre in Sadleir. Photo: Kitty Beale
Q&A with Fr John Flader: Putting kids, not sex, first https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/qa-with-fr-john-flader-putting-kids-not-sex-first/ Sun, 18 Aug 2019 00:30:09 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=26244 “Dear Father, You began an interesting commentary on the Vatican document on gender theory and promised to continue. What else does the document say?” The document to which you refer, Male and female he created them – towards a path of dialogue on the question of gender theory in education, was issued on 2 February […]

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A sign protests a US state law prohibiting transgender rest room access in a hotel. PHOTO: CNS/Jonathan Drake, Reuters

“Dear Father, You began an interesting commentary on the Vatican document on gender theory and promised to continue. What else does the document say?”

The document to which you refer, Male and female he created them – towards a path of dialogue on the question of gender theory in education, was issued on 2 February 2019 by the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education.

After discussing the three guiding principles of listening, reasoning, and proposing, the document goes on to give criteria to the different groups involved in education.

The first of these is the family, the natural place for the relationship of complementarity between man and woman to find its fullest realisation. The family is a natural unit and is the first one responsible for the education of its children. The document insists on two fundamental rights in this regard.

The first is the family’s right to be recognised as the primary environment for the formation of children, including their sexual and affective education.

This is fundamental in Australia, where programs like Safe Schools seem to take this right away from parents and transfer it to schools, in the event that a child wishes to adopt a different gender and the parents are opposed to this transition.

The second right is that of children to grow up in a family with a father and a mother where the masculinity and femininity of the father and mother help the child grow in affective maturity.

This too is fundamental in this country, where same-sex “marriage” has been legalised and where other types of relationships deny children the complementary roles of a father and a mother.

The document next addresses the school, which educates children in a role subsidiary to that of the family. The goal of the Catholic school is the promotion of the human person, and the person finds the fullness of the truth about man in the person of Jesus Christ.

The document stresses that the school is to dialogue with the family and respect the family’s culture, listening to its needs and expectations.

Boy and girl icons

The school should help children grow in affectivity and develop a critical sense in dealing with such issues as the flood of pornography and the overload of stimuli that can deform sexuality.

As regards society as a whole, the document mentions that the educational process should give a perspective on the situation of contemporary society, where the culture of marriage is in decline.

There should be an educational alliance between family, school and society but this alliance, the document says, is in crisis. All participants in education are to carry out their responsibilities in the name of the parents and with their consent.

The document next addresses formators, those who contribute to the formation of the students in various ways. They can have a strong influence on their students, and for this reason they should have not only professional qualifications but also cultural and spiritual preparedness.

They should always endeavour to give their students good example since, in the words of Pope Paul VI, “modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses” (EN 41).

Educators should be especially prepared regarding the issue of gender theory and regarding current and proposed legislation in this matter. And they should develop new teaching materials that offer a sound vision of the human person to counter materials that give a partial or distorted vision.

In its conclusion, the document says that the path of dialogue, which involves listening, reasoning and proposing the Christian vision, is the most effective way to bring about a positive transformation of concerns and misunderstandings in the area of gender theory.

This culture of dialogue does not contradict the legitimate aspirations of Catholic schools to maintain their own vision of human sexuality, in keeping with the right of families to base the education of their children on a proper anthropology of the person’s true identity.

And a democratic state cannot reduce the range of education on offer to a single school of thought, especially in relation to this extremely delicate subject, which is concerned with the fundamentals of human nature and with the rights of parents to choose freely an educational model that accords with the dignity of the human person.

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Transgender-Bathroom-Sign_27022017_CNS_850 A sign protests a US state law prohibiting transgender rest room access in a hotel. PHOTO: CNS/Jonathan Drake, Reuters gender_pexels-photo_850
Philippa Martyr: Fault lines for Catholic agencies https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/philippa-martyr-fault-lines-for-catholic-agencies/ Sat, 17 Aug 2019 00:30:19 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=26241 Across Australia, we’ve seen a sudden upsurge in expanded abortion and euthanasia laws. Which is probably confusing, because you were probably under the impression that we just had a federal election which returned a conservative government. Abortion and euthanasia, on the other hand, fall under the purview of State governments, which are a mixed bag. […]

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Dominican postulant Anna Harper plays Pokeno with patient Harriet Boyle at Rosary Hill Home in Hawthorne, New York. Rosary Hill is the motherhouse of the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne, who staff a nursing home at the site that provides palliative care to people with incurable cancer and are in financial need. Photo: CNS, Gregory A. Shemitz

Across Australia, we’ve seen a sudden upsurge in expanded abortion and euthanasia laws.

Which is probably confusing, because you were probably under the impression that we just had a federal election which returned a conservative government.

Abortion and euthanasia, on the other hand, fall under the purview of State governments, which are a mixed bag. They do say that you get the government you deserve. You certainly get the government you voted for.

Given that more than 90 per cent of Catholics don’t practice, and now look and think and act like everyone else in the country, it’s not surprising to find that they also vote like everyone else.

We no longer have enough engaged, interested Catholics to resist the stampede of anti-life legislation that’s being passed all over the country.

If it’s any consolation, our Protestant brothers and sisters have the same problem.

I have been to many interdenominational pro-life events, only to see the same scanty group of people each time, even though many report that their community churches are full to bursting on weekends.

There are fresh challenges facing anyone who wants to enter public life as a professing Catholic. One vital area in which practicing Catholics should be mobilising is in the defence of free speech.

The Church thrives in a society where it’s free to spread the Gospel unmolested, and free speech is also closely connected to life issues.

There are clear cases of Facebook bans being applied to pro-life events in Australia, and it’s almost impossible to secure any air time for an alternative voice in the mainstream media.

Getting the movie Unplanned to Australia and into cinemas has also taken a heroic effort from many good people.

Euthanasia law
Before her death in March 2018 former nurse and cancer sufferer Anna Correy spoke of the dangers of euthanasia and promoted palliative care for the suffering. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

As always, demography is not on our side. There are only about 600,000 practicing Catholics in the entire country, with around two-thirds over the age of 60.

The mid-20th Century innovator Buckminster Fuller said that the way to get rid of a bad structure was to create a good structure that made the bad one obsolete.

This is where we may have to devote our time and energies now – to authentically Christian charities and health services that provide compassionate and realistic alternatives to coerced abortion and euthanasia.

Unfortunately it’s going to be difficult for existing Catholic hospitals and health services to hold the line against the culture of death. Most of these are not actually independently wealthy, but rely increasingly on government payments and subsidies in order to deliver care.

The trade-off for this is that they have to meet increasingly complex guidelines and standards, which can easily be amended to include the provision of, say, euthanasia in a Catholic nursing home.

We would like to think that there would be opt-out and conscience clauses in any legislation, but given the painful battles fought by individual religious orders in the US against the federal government there, it could get just as messy here.

We’ve already seen how impossible it is for medical practitioners to protect their conscience in abortion referrals, and how easy it is for them to be prosecuted.

Most religious orders that provide health care began with one or two people and a small building, and very basic but loving care. There’s no government funding, but no one is legally murdered or neglected.

Mother Teresa’s nuns have been providing this form of health care for decades, in the face of unjustified criticism from affluent Western atheists who think that health care should only be provided if it’s expensive and high-tech.

We already have many small organisations that are providing wraparound care to women and couples with crisis pregnancies.

They do this with no government funding, so that the agency has the freedom to encourage and support their clients appropriately.

This is voluntaryism and subsidiarity at its very best, where money is spent on the client and not on office suites. It’s a social justice issue we can all get behind.

We may have to go back to something as simple as this to provide good palliative care to people who don’t want to be euthanised.

It won’t be fancy, but it will come out of the Church’s burning heart of love – and hopefully the costs could be offset from some of those property portfolios.

If the Church in Australia can redirect its time and treasure into providing living alternatives – even in the face of threats of loss of government health funding – then we will be providing a genuine culture of life that will draw more people to its countercultural light.

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20110805cnsbr06367 Dominican postulant Anna Harper plays Pokeno with patient Harriet Boyle at Rosary Hill Home in Hawthorne, New York. Rosary Hill is the motherhouse of the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne, who staff a nursing home at the site that provides palliative care to people with incurable cancer and are in financial need. Photo: CNS, Gregory A. Shemitz Anna-Correy850 Before her death in March 2018 former nurse and cancer sufferer Anna Correy spoke of the dangers of euthanasia and promoted palliative care for the suffering. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli palliative-care-medical-patient-808
Monica Doumit: Betrayal of the Gospel of Life https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/monica-doumit-betrayal-of-the-gospel-of-life/ Fri, 16 Aug 2019 20:30:16 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=26246 There are so many things that can be said about the passage of the abortion-till-birth bill through the Lower House last week. We could talk about the ramming through of a Labor-Greens policy under the banner of a Berejiklian-Greenwich government. We could talk about the “lipstick on a pig” amendments that did nothing to make […]

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Rachel Carling, CEO of NSW to Life, which organised rallies outside Parliament House. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

There are so many things that can be said about the passage of the abortion-till-birth bill through the Lower House last week.

We could talk about the ramming through of a Labor-Greens policy under the banner of a Berejiklian-Greenwich government.

We could talk about the “lipstick on a pig” amendments that did nothing to make this evil bill any better.

Or we could talk about the chilling, cackling laughter from MPs that was heard throughout the Parliamentary chamber after the bill passed.

For anyone who heard it, the sound could only be described as demonic.

But I won’t explore those in any detail this week. Instead, I want to talk about two other aspects of last week’s debate that really struck me.

The first was the twisting of Catholicism and Christianity more broadly in support of this bill.

Not only did the MPs ignore the clear teaching of the Church on abortion and the clear messages from the NSW Bishops against the bill, but some went as far as to use Scripture to support their position.

One MP rose to mention his mother, a daily Mass attendee, and his own love for the Catholic Church and his Catholic faith, before promising to not impose that faith on the people of NSW.

Another spoke of her regular Mass attendance, before quoting Jesus’ exhortation in Luke 6:37 against judging others.

Indeed, the citing of this item of Scripture or the similar verse in Matthew 7 to justify the sanctioning of abortion was a regular theme throughout the debate.

Images by Giovanni Portelli Photography © 2019

One MP was particularly creative, quoting two Vatican II documents on the importance of conscience to justify her anti-life vote.

I wonder whether these Mass-attending, Scripture-quoting Catholics listened to the Gospel on the Sunday after the vote.

If they had, they would have heard Jesus say the following:

“That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly. Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”

In other words, Jesus expects more of the Catholics in Parliament.

They have been entrusted with much – the fullness of the truth and the sacraments and the responsibility of governing this great state – and so much more is demanded of them.

Their ‘yes’ vote is worse than that of any other MPs, because they knew better.

It wasn’t only the MPs that were betraying the Gospel of Life (and the Gospel more generally) last week. Disgracefully, certain Christian leaders did too.

Newcastle’s Anglican Bishop, Peter Stuart, wrote to MPs asking them to support the bill, as it would move abortion into the more appropriate framework of “healthcare.”

Thank God the Sydney Anglicans were solid on this issue, with Archbishop Glenn Davies even attending the vigil outside Parliament House with Archbishop Fisher on Monday.

Unsurprisingly, the Uniting Church also backed the bill, giving MPs a permission structure to vote against life.

A sign reading “Care for Creation” hung outside Pitt St Uniting Church throughout the debate.

Ironically, it bore not an anti-abortion message, however, but an anti-coal one. Because #progressive.

Thankfully, there was no such confusion about the Catholic position outside Parliament.

Thousands upon thousands called their MPs asking them to vote against the bill, with many MPs mentioning the unprecedented number of phone calls received in their offices about the bill.

The second thing that struck me was the way in which men were derided throughout the debate.

Those who rallied in favour of abortion ridiculed the men standing for life, saying vile things about them, and ordering them to stay silent.

Inside Parliament, the message was heard, with male MPs standing up to let everyone know that he did not have a right to have an opinion on this issue, almost apologising for exercising his vote at all.

The shame of it is this: one of the key reasons that abortion is so widespread in this state is too many mothers feel that abortion is their only choice; they know that the child’s father will not support them, and society has dropped its expectation that they do so.

The absence of men is a contributor to the scourge of abortion; not the answer to it.

This attempt to sideline men stood juxtaposed to the approach of the pro-life side.
From our faithful Bishops and clergy, to the 22 MPs who stood for life inside Parliament, to the hundreds who stood outside Parliament not only for life, but also making sure that women and children present were safe, to the countless who didn’t stand, but knelt, in prayer in St Mary’s Cathedral and other places these past weeks, the voices and the presence of men were welcome and encouraged.

Because we know that we best combat a culture of death by building a culture of life together.

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2019-08-01-10-25-24-NIKON-D3S-DSC_2122 Rachel Carling, CEO of NSW to Life, which organised rallies outside Parliament House. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli Images by Giovanni Portelli Photography © 2019 Images by Giovanni Portelli Photography © 2019 Rally_NSW-Parliament_Patrick-Lee_060819_850
Numbers give scope of the Archdiocese of Sydney https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/numbers-give-scope-of-the-archdiocese-of-sydney/ Fri, 16 Aug 2019 17:30:05 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=26253 When Australia’s bishops visited Rome for their Ad Limina pilgrimage to meet Pope Francis in July, they brought quinquennial reports (reports prepared every five years) on each of their dioceses or archdioceses to submit to the Holy Father and the relevant Vatican dicasteries. The reports constitute a comprehensive snapshot of a diocese at every level […]

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The Madonna and Child appeared in the final segment of the Lights of Christmas display at St Mary’s Cathedral. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

When Australia’s bishops visited Rome for their Ad Limina pilgrimage to meet Pope Francis in July, they brought quinquennial reports (reports prepared every five years) on each of their dioceses or archdioceses to submit to the Holy Father and the relevant Vatican dicasteries.

The reports constitute a comprehensive snapshot of a diocese at every level and are full of statistical information of the kind which helps Vatican authorities keep track of not only how a diocese is progressing but also help build up the bigger picture of how the Church is travelling around the world.

Excerpts from the Sydney report have been included in recent editions of the Ad Clerum newsletter which goes out to clergy from the Archdiocesan offices in the Polding Centre.

The August Ad Clerum, for example, revealed that there are 174 priests incardinated in the Archdiocese of Sydney who exercise their ministry within the archdiocese.

In addition, there are 245 priests from religious orders and institutes whose ministry is also in the archdiocese, together with another 60 priests incardinated in other dioceses but who serve within the Archdiocese of Sydney.

Last week the Archdiocese celebrated the ordinations of seven young men to the priesthood, all in their 20s or 30s. However they are far younger than the median age of active priests in Sydney, which is 63.

The median age of retired clergy, meanwhile, is 80.

Statistics

The ratio of priests to Catholics is an important figure but can be misleading. The ratio of priests to faithful in the archdiocese is 1:1312 however the ratio of active priests to practising faithful is far lower at 1:281, revealing the large number of Catholics who are baptised but don’t regularly practise their faith.

The Archdiocese is made up of 135 parishes, with the average number of faithful participating in the life of the parish being 692.

Of archdiocesan parishes, 104 are entrusted to diocesan clergy with the remainder entrusted to the ministry of religious clergy.

Although religious life has, like the rest of the church, faced its own challenges in recent decades, over 1200 men and women are living consecrated life in the archdiocese within 19 clerical religious institutes, five religious institutes of men and 42 religious institutes of women.

Sydney priests are also working in missionary fields, the Ad Clerum revealed, in Peru, Papua New Guinea, South Australia and regional NSW. In addition to these, Sydney laity of the Neocatechumenal Way are also living and working in missions in PNG, in the archdioceses of Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide and in the dioceses of Broken Bay, Wollongong and Parramatta.

Several religious from the Sisters of St Joseph, the order founded by St Mary MacKillop continue to serve overseas as well, the report noted.

Sydneysiders also strongly support missionary work, with the annual financial contribution from the Sydney Archdiocese to the missions totalling $2,563,118.

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_DSC1082 The Madonna and Child appeared in the final segment of the Lights of Christmas display at St Mary's Cathedral. Photo: Giovanni Portelli cath_180819p05
Unplanned to screen here https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/unplanned-to-screen-here/ Fri, 16 Aug 2019 05:30:28 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=26239 People power has brought the screening of a popular US pro-life film to Australia. The production team behind Unplanned, which tells the true story of Abby Johnson, a former abortion clinic worker-turned pro-life activist, announced on 31 July that months of petitioning by people in Australia and New Zealand had been successful. Cinema screenings have […]

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Ashley Bratcher, right, plays Abby Johnson, in Unplanned, the story of an abortion worker who joined the pro-life movement. Photo: CNS
Ashley Bratcher, right, plays Abby Johnson, in Unplanned, the story of an abortion worker who joined the pro-life movement. Photo: CNS

People power has brought the screening of a popular US pro-life film to Australia.

The production team behind Unplanned, which tells the true story of Abby Johnson, a former abortion clinic worker-turned pro-life activist, announced on 31 July that months of petitioning by people in Australia and New Zealand had been successful.

Cinema screenings have been organised throughout the country by local supporters through an on-demand platform including sold-out sessions in Burwood and Castle Hill.

Life Choice Australia has organised a screening at Event Cinemas in George Street in Sydney’s CBD on 11 September.

The move’s writers and directors Chuck Konzleman and Cary Solomon said the next step will be regular scheduled showings.

“We can’t tell you how excited we are that finally Australians will get to see Unplanned,” said Mr Solomon.

Producer Daryl Lefever visited Sydney in May to promote the movie which he said was having a profound impact on viewers in the US, with many becoming pro-life after seeing the film.

Local supporters hope there will be a similar effect here, particularly in the wake of the recent push to legalise abortion up until birth in NSW.

An online petition to bring the movie to local cinemas is at 22,000 signatures and still climbing.

For screening details and ticket information, see the Life Choice Australia and Unplanned Australia and New Zealand Facebook pages.

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Prize honours inspirational poet https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/prize-honours-inspirational-poet/ Fri, 16 Aug 2019 01:23:33 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=26235 Les Murray would welcome the competition for young composers, says long-time friend.

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Les Murray
Les Murray gives a poetry reading at the National Gallery in 2002. PHOTO: AAP Alan Porritt

The late Les Murray would be pleased about the launch of a competition for new composers inspired by one of his celebrated poems, said his long-time agent and friend Margaret Connolly.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP announced his inaugural Archbishop’s Prize for New Composers which invites people aged between 18 and 35 to compose a short piece of choral music with lyrics from Mr Murray’s poem Animal Nativity.

A panel of judges will award a cash prize of $2500 to the winner whose piece will be performed before thousands of people at the Christmas concert in St Mary’s Cathedral in December. Also on offer are second and third prizes of $1000 and $500 respectively plus paid flights to Sydney for any interstate winners needing to claim their prize.

Les Murray, who passed away last week, spends time reading in the Sydney campus of Notre Dame Australia.
Les Murray during a visit to the Sydney campus of Notre Dame Australia. PHOTO: UNDA

“Les was a great encourager of young talent, and I think he would have been very happy about this,” said Ms Connolly who was Mr Murray’s agent for 30 years. “People would send him their poems and he would spend a lot of time responding, writing notes on them and giving them interesting suggestions.”

The internationally loved poet who died in a Taree nursing home in April had a “very generous” attitude to his poems, being happy for readers to take from them whatever meaning they wished, Ms Connolly said.

“His wife Val is a great lover of music and was very happy to give her permission for Les’ poem to be used for this competition.”

Archbishop Fisher said he hoped to showcase the talents of young, unpublished composers across Australia. “This competition honours the historical contribution the Church has made to the arts and I personally chose the poem by Les Murray to honour this inspirational poet who died this year and contributed so much to the arts in Australia and had such a strong Catholic faith”, he said.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for a talented new composer to have their work recognised publicly and performed by one of the nation’s oldest and most respected church choirs, the St Mary’s Cathedral Choir at our Christmas Concert.”

At Mr Murray’s state memorial service at the NSW State Library in Sydney in June, he was remembered by a priest who knew him as a mystic who regarded all reality as “suffused with the presence of God”.

“Much of his work belongs, I believe, to the Christian mystical tradition,” Fr Paul McCabe, a retired priest based in Armidale, told the 300 guests in the library’s Reading Room.  “He himself said that he wrote poetry to explore reality which ultimately mirrors divine truth, and all his work he dedicated ‘to the glory of God’.”

Competition entries close at 5pm on Monday 30 September. For details and an entry form see sydneycatholic.org.

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Les-Murray_AAP Les Murray gives a poetry reading at the National Gallery in 2002. PHOTO: AAP Alan Porritt Schmude-1-120519 Les Murray, who passed away last week, spends time reading in the Sydney campus of Notre Dame Australia.
Cardinal Pell appeal decision to be live-streamed https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/cardinal-pell-appeal-decision-to-be-live-streamed/ Thu, 15 Aug 2019 00:27:58 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=26226 The Victorian Court of Appeal will hand down its decision whether to uphold or overturn Cardinal George Pell’s child sex abuse conviction next Wednesday, 21 August. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, Chief Justice Anne Ferguson, will read out a summary of the Court’s conclusions at 9.30am. The full judgement will be […]

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Cardinal George Pell is pictured during the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican in this 2014, file photo. The Victorian Court of Appeal ruling on his appeal against his conviction will be live-streamed on Wednesday 21 August from 9.30am AEST. Photo: CNS, Paul Haring

The Victorian Court of Appeal will hand down its decision whether to uphold or overturn Cardinal George Pell’s child sex abuse conviction next Wednesday, 21 August.

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, Chief Justice Anne Ferguson, will read out a summary of the Court’s conclusions at 9.30am.

The full judgement will be available later. The proceedings will be live streamed over the internet on the Supreme Court of Victoria’s website with media outlets also able to broadcast the hearing.

A jury found Cardinal Pell guilty last December of historical sexual offences.

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Pell_post Cardinal George Pell is pictured during the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican in this 2014, file photo. The Victorian Court of Appeal ruling on his appeal against his conviction will be live-streamed on Wednesday 21 August from 9.30am AEST. Photo: CNS, Paul Haring
This Catholic Life Podcast – Ep. 3: “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/this-catholic-life-podcast-ep-3-a-good-man-is-hard-to-find/ Wed, 14 Aug 2019 20:00:43 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=25356 Episode #3 – A Good Man Is Hard To Find Hosts:  Peter Holmes & Renee Kohler Guest:  Anna Hitchings Find It On iTunes – This Catholic Life Podcast Finding a good Catholic man to date is difficult. A shortage of good men Qualities of a good man The Definition of dating The Catholic dating scene […]

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Episode #3 – A Good Man Is Hard To Find

Hosts:  Peter Holmes & Renee Kohler
Guest:  Anna Hitchings

Find It On iTunes – This Catholic Life Podcast

Finding a good Catholic man to date is difficult.

  • A shortage of good men
  • Qualities of a good man
  • The Definition of dating
  • The Catholic dating scene
  • Bad experiences with dating
  • Traditions, expectations and freedom
  • Liberated women
  • The Porn culture and what it does to men and women
  • Boundaries and expectations
  • Being “worldly-wise”
  • The Disney factor
  • What is courtship?

Links and Resources:

Anna Hitchings’ blog https://agonyandhope.com/

Anna’s original article https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/for-want-of-a-lot-of-good-men/

Several response articles mentioned in the podcast:

Phillippa Martyr – Be in love with God first https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/phillippa-martyr-be-in-love-with-god-first/

Camillus O’Kane – It’s not hard to find Mr Right, just change your perspective https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/its-not-hard-to-find-mr-right-just-change-your-perspective/

And “Learn from us! Mums offer dating advice” https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/learn-from-us-mums-offer-dating-advice/

The story was picked up by the Australian https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/a-good-man-is-hard-to-find-and-increasingly-becoming-even-more-scarce/news-story/b7e8ad62654d3b65ea3fb9fd3f76e635

and in a follow-up interview with Rod Dreher https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/agony-hope-christian-courtship-anna-hitchings/

#catholicdating, #catholic, #peterholmes, #catholicsingles, #mrright

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Faith leaders front NSW inquiry https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/faith-leaders-front-nsw-abortion-bill-inquiry/ Wed, 14 Aug 2019 03:27:07 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=26205 Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP joined faith leaders to argue against proposed abortion laws.

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Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP alongside the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Dr Glenn Davies at the 1 August Vigil for Life at NSW Parliament House against proposed abortion laws in NSW. PHOTO: Facebook

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP has appeared alongside fellow religious leaders at a NSW parliamentary inquiry into proposed abortion laws which passed the lower house last week.

Joining him on 14 August were Bishop Daniels, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Australia and Rabbi Nochum Schapiro, president of the Rabbinical Council of Australia.

Also appearing before the inquiry to speak against the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019 were the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies, the Rev Joseph Azize of the Maronite Eparchy of Australia and pro-life groups including Right to Life NSW, the Australian Family Association, and Women and Babies Support (WOMBS) International.

Archbishop Fisher, who also lodged a 16-page formal submission to the inquiry co-signed by all the NSW Catholic bishops, said he believed the bill should be rejected outright, and if that was not possible that it should at least be substantially improved, for example to protect medical professionals with a conscientious objection.

“The reason [abortion] is in the Criminal Act is because it goes to the heart of the very origins of human life as well as providing protection for the mother,” he said.

“The reality is that these are not laws used against women who are in desperate situations.”

The archbishop argued that the way the bill was introduced and rushed through the assembly, and inquiry by the council curtailed with almost no opportunity for community engagement, “will only add to cynicism about government today”.

“It has made it very difficult for this state’s 1.8 million Catholics to make their views known to their elected representatives,” he said before raising concerns including the bill’s allowance for unlimited abortion up to 22 weeks and late-term abortion, including sex-selection abortion, up to birth.

“This bill trivialises human life and provides unsupported pregnant women, who often feel they have ‘no other option’ than abortion, with no alternatives, no support,” he said.

“Surely we can do better by the women and babies of this state.”

Thousands of people have lodged submissions to the upper house committee since last Friday, with the archbishop noting that the parliament’s lodgement webpage crashed shortly before the 5pm deadline on 13 August.

The bill allows terminations up to 22 weeks, and after that if two doctors considering all the “circumstances” agree an abortion should occur.

Archbishop Fisher has called all who support the sanctity of human life to a rally at Macquarie Street, Martin Place from 6pm on 20 August, saying it is “critical” to continue to pray and put pressure on upper house MPs to defend life and reject the bill.

“This bill has been rushed through with minimal time for public scrutiny,” he said in a social media message. “I encourage you to voice your opposition. Together we can act to defend the sanctity of life and prevent abortion being made legal up to birth in our state.”

The committee is due to report its findings on 20 August. The bill will then be debated in the upper house before a vote.

Related articles: 

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FAcebook Alongside Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Glenn Davies at the Vigil for Life against proposed abortion laws in NSW. PHOTO: Facebook