Saturday, December 03, 2016

Jennifer Herrick: Exposing Abuse


Jennifer Herrick. Photo: Victoria Grant
The name of Jennifer Herrick deserves to be written large in the annals of the history of the Catholic Church in Australia
Her story of a secret and abusive relationship with Father Tom Knowles of the Blessed Sacrament Congregation reached its climax today, 4th Decemeber 2016  when a public apology and news of Knowles laicization was read to the congragation of St Francis Church in Melbourne.
Not only has she exposed the tip of the iceberg of clergy abuse of vulnerable women; Jennifer has also exposed the Achilles heel of the Catholic priesthood. Clericalism and male entitlement are the false idols of the Church which continue to attract a new generation of inappropriate clergy both home born and imported.
If we are to be honest about the Church we love and the power it has for compassion, hope, and dignity of all life then we need to confront the dark truth that roams our sanctuaries like a wolf in sheep's clothing.
Father Tom Knowles. Photo: Newcastle Herald
The beautiful historic Church of St Francis in Melbourne is now tainted by the memory of the abusive behaviour of Tom Knowles. His skill as a renowned liturgical leader is meaningless in the light of his history of neglect of the very vows he proclaimed in public. His removal from priesthood testifies to a culture that needs to be named and confronted. His congregation of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers will need to hold a public ritual of lament before I return to pray and worship in one of my favourite churches.
Is it ironic or a moment of grace  that this news is breaking as we "Orange the World" to end violence against women and girls? It would have been a welcome gesture if clergy adopted orange as the colour of their vestments during this campaign!!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Remembering Those Who have Gone Before Us

In the Catholic tradition November is a month to remember those who have died. In many Churches there is a custom of writing the names of family, friends and significant people in a book of remembrance.

Today I visited the Cathedral of St Stephen to add two names to their remembrance book. These are significant names that deserve mention in every parish listing of those who are deceased and worthy of our prayers.

Hamid Khazaei died as a result of neglect and abuse by detention centre staff on Manus Island. His death is another indication of the cruelty and inhumanity of Government policies and treatment of asylum seekers and refugees,

Tyrone Unsworth took his own life at 13 as a result of homophobic bullying by his peers. The tragic death of a young Indigenous boy in these circumstances cries out for a community of welcome, inclusion and safety.

RIP

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Jubilee for Prisoners

Australians faced a challenging question in the 2016 Census this year. The optional religion question always creates great party conversation and passionate declarations from religious bodies.

Like many of my friends and associate I ticked the Catholic box not quite realising  how it would come back to haunt me within months. You see ticking the Catholic  box aligns us with a political world view that pits us agaainst the powers of "Empire" endorsed by major parties who  we vote for at elections in Australia.

In the calendar of this Jubilee Year of Mercy Pope Francis has named Sunday 6th November, 2016 as the day of Jubilee for Prisoners.

The Australian Catholic Bishops have written to prisoners informing them of this special day of blessings for them and reminding them that throughout our lives we all experience the ‘ups and downs’ of life. We can all stumble and fall but with help we can all commence again.

We would like you to be aware of this special occasion within the Catholic church, but as is the spirit of Pope Francis, this day is one of recognition of all those who are in prison.

We invite all parishioners to join in prayer for all prisoners that they come to know their God’s love, mercy and forgiveness.

May all of us remember the victims of crime and also those victims who became offenders.

We remember also all those who are entrusted with the care of those who are incarcerated, especially our prison Chaplains.




2011-2012: Building Bridges, Not Walls
Prisons and the justice system
Download
    • Statement: PDF Word
    • Summary: PDF
    • Letter from Archbishop Philip Wilson: PDF
    • Liturgy Notes: PDF  Word
    • Community Education Resource: PDF  Word
    • Prayer card: here
    • Ten Steps: here
    • PowerPoint: here
    • Media Alert: here
    • Launch Addresses:
  •    Hon Graham West: PDF
  •    Margaret Wiseman: PDF 
  •    Bishop Christopher Saunders: PDF

Responsibility, Rehabilitation, And Restoration: A Catholic Perspective On Crime And Criminal Justice


A Statement of the Catholic Bishops of the United States
Issued by USCCB, November 15, 2000. Copyright © 2000, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved.

"We are still a long way from the time when our conscience can be certain of having done everything possible to prevent crime and to control it effectively so that it no longer does harm and, at the same time, to offer to those who commit crimes a way of redeeming themselves and making a positive return to society. If all those in some way involved in the problem tried to . . . develop this line of thought, perhaps humanity as a whole could take a great step forward in creating a more serene and peaceful society."

Pope John Paul II, July 9, 2000

These are great resources for education, awareness and prayer. However, in my home Archdiocese of Brisbane there is no mention of this day in the Cathedral Newsletter. Nor does it feture on the social media page of Centacare who are responsible  for Catholic Prison Mnistry and Prison Chaplaincy

Nor does this important day feature in the news at St Mary's Catholic Parish South Brisbane. This is quite significant as this is the parish from which Catholic Prison Ministry was founded in 1985.


 No jubilee for prisoners in the Archdiocese of Brisbane it seems!!!!

#jubileeforprisoners

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

2016 "Hands of the World" Fair Trade Market

The Cathedral of St Stephen's Art Group (COSSAG) yearly Fair Trade market is on again. At the Francis Rush Centre in the Cathedral of St Stephens Precinct 

249 Elizabeth St, Brisbane cbd. 

Just a reminder that the market opens 5pm this Thursday the 27th of October for a preview at 5pm to 7pm. The market continues 28/10 to 31/10 open 9:30am to 4:30pm. If you can't make it please let others know who may be interested.

For the preview on Thursday evening the Cathedral car park will be open for guests from 4:30pm - entry Charlotte Street. Please park on the B2 level.

Featuring Fair Trade products from around the world.
* Unique and traditional handmade wares
* Genuine fair trade products
* Eco friendly products

Be an ethical consumer and do your Christmas shopping here at the market. Discover beautiful artisan products that are not readily available in the shops.

October is Fair Trade month. Not only can you shop but also become informed. Artisan's work from around the world - over 20 countries - will be on display and for sale.

We are proud to be hosting the following traders this year:
Mamatas
My South American Shop
Siham Craftlink
One Colour
Mingalaba
Samana
Penn Lane
Esthers Parties
Global Conduct
Kashae Wings of Hope
Montville Alpaca
Oxfam
Dev Trade
Trading Circle
Kaya Collection

The Market officially opens at 5pm on the 27th of October. Light refreshments will be served - all welcome!

Then the market continues Friday the 28th of October to Monday the 31st of October. Open 9:30am to 4:30pm each day.

Come and discover unique hand made gifts and home wares from around the world while being an ethical consumer. Unique traditional handmade wares that are genuinely fair trade.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Archbishop Chaput Believes Small is Holier

Archbishop Chaput welcomes 'smaller church' of holier Catholics



In a stark prognosis for contemporary Catholicism, a leader of the conservative wing of the U.S. hierarchy has said that "a smaller, lighter church" of fewer but holier believers is preferable to one that promotes inclusion at the expense of traditional orthodoxy.
In a speech delivered Wednesday at the University of Notre Dame, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput also suggested that many prominent Catholics are so weak in their faith that they ought to leave the church. (Read full text here)



This is the man responsible for the unholy treatment of Bishop Bill Morris of Toowoomba. Will any of the Australian Catholic Bishops challenge this myopic vision of Catholicism? 
I disagree with most of the public statements of Archbishop Chaput but I would never suggest he leave our community. What a bloody disgusting pompous statement about our diversity and wealth of experience!!
Being Catholic is not comfortable nor easy. It is a community founded on the words and deeds of Jesus. it's founding heroes were the early martyrs who made a sacrament of civil disobedience. It promotes princplles of non-violence and non compliance with the empire. It stands against the values of neo-liberalims embraced by mainstream political parties.It calls us into social action on behalf of justice as well as a deep spiriituality which is close to the practice of #Dadirri
Archbishop Chaput does not speak for me or the Cathoics who inspire my faith and politics.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Anti Poverty Week Ecumenical Service in Brisbane

An ecumenical prayer service for Anti Poverty Week  will be held on Thusrday 20 October 6.00pm at the Cathedral of St Stephen in Brisbane. 

The service has been organised by: Wesley Mission Queensland to recognize the hardship within our community.

The main aims of Anti-Poverty Week are to:
- Strengthen public understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty and hardship around the world and in Australia; and
- Encourage research, discussion and action to address these problems, including action by individuals, communities, organisations and governments.
Poverty in Brisbane.

Catholic Social Teachings

Commonwealth for the Common Good Australian Catholic Bishops 1992


Economic Justice

    ‘Within an unjust economic system marked by significant structural inequities, the situation of the marginalised is daily becoming worse. Today, in many parts of the world, people are starving, while in other places there is opulence.’
    Pope John Paul II, World Food Day, 16 October 2003
    In preparation for the service you might like to use the following resources:

    Monday, October 03, 2016

    Interfaith Welcome to Refugees



    The Welcome Fest 2016 in Brisbane brought togther community organisations, cultural groups, Governemnt services, food stalls and a presence from the Queensland Forum of Christians, Jews and Muslims.

    The Forum is a collaboration between the Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies, Queensland Churches Together and The Islamic Council of Queensland.



    Meeting a few the official representatives of the forum and supporters was one of the highlights of my day The work of the Forum was also acknowledged by Senator Claire Moore who stopped by the stall for a photo with the team.


    However the image of the stall that I will treasure happened  while I was setting up for another picture with supporters. As I aimed my lens a group of young boys "photobombed" my shoot with energy, pazzaz and that cheeky initaive that only younge people can bring to community.

    I love this image. The people who staffed and visited the stall were like me part of the "Ageing Society" identified by the Australian Cathoic Bishps in this year's Social Justie Statement  These young men who stand in front of the banner prmooting dialogue and understanding may not have realised or even cared what the stall stood for. However, a couple have aready tagged themselves and  we have planted a seed  for the future as we welcome the diversity of religious faith and commitment. 

    A Picture is worth  a thousand words and this image will nuture hope for the future.

    More About The Forum

    In the Queensland Forum for Jews, Christians and Muslims ("The Forum") representatives of QCT meet with representatives of the Jewish Board of Deputies and the Islamic Council of Queensland. This forum was set up approximately six years ago, while a Jewish-Christian dialogue had been taking place for longer.

    Taking inspiration from the Australian National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims, and Jews, the Forum has given itself a set of purposes and objectives which clearly position it as a bridge-building and peace-making body of the Abrahamic Faiths in Queensland.

    One project of the Forum was to compile three short brochures, "On Entering a Church" ,"On Entering a Synagogue" , "On Entering a Mosque" . These contain explanations of religious practices in places of prayer/worship in the three traditions. They describe in a simple manner what a visitor should do in order to feel comfortable and not to offend.
    Each month members of the Forum - there are up to five from each faith - meet to discuss topics of interest and joint activities. During the meal that follows, to which all contribute, conversation is often light-hearted.
    A first Abrahamic Faiths Concert was held on 15 November, 2007.  It was such a success that it has now become an annual event - held in 200820092011201220132014and 2015.
    Click here to download the Forum for Jews, Christians and Muslims 2016 AGM report.
    Click here to download the Forum's brochure.
    Click here to download the Forum for Jews, Christians and Muslims 2015 Report to the QCT Assembly.