This blog offers an Australian perspective on faith, religion and spirituality. It invites you to join the joys and hope, the grief and anguish of a middle aged Aussie Catholic.
The material reflects my interest in global as well as local issues.My perspective is probably more quirky than orthodox.
The Catholic Justice & Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Brisbane invites parishes, schools, agencies
and groups to send a clear message to our Federal Government and Members of Parliament on the issue of
people seeking asylum: we say no to cruelty. Catholic individuals and groups in south-east Queensland and around Australia are encouraged to take part
in our month-long campaign by following these simple steps:
• Gather a group of parishioners, students, staff or group members together and ask them to cross and
raise their arms above their heads • Take a photo of of the group in this powerful pose, symbolising solidarity with those seeking asylum and
a rejection of our Government’s cruel treatment • Share the photo on social media using the hashtag #WeSayNoToCruelty • Email the photo to email@example.com with your parish, school, agency or group name and we will
post it on our A Movement of the Heart Facebook Page as a public witness to the Gospel; OR
• Share you photo and the name of your group directly on our A Movement of the Heart Facebook Page; OR
• Post the photo and the declaration on your own Facebook profile Other ways to get involved: • E-mail your photo and a copy of the declaration to the Minister for Home Affairs, Mr Peter Dutton, and
tell him that you are opposed to the cruelty with which his Government’s policies are treating people
seeking asylum; • E-mail your photo and a copy of the declaration to your local Federal MP and any of your State or
Territory Senators and tell them you oppose the Government’s cruel measures; • Print your photo and a copy of the declaration and deliver them personally to your local Federal MPs
office and ask for an appointment to share your concerns; • Send the photo and the declaration to your local newspaper or radio station and tell them you are
joining many other Catholics in sending this message to the Federal Government. Make sure you also try to replace the cruelty of Federal Government policies by donating money or goods to
agencies and groups providing direct support to the approximately three hundred people seeking asylum in
south-east Queensland who are facing destitution because of Government policies and actions. We also encourage you to include prayers for people seeking asylum facing destitution at Masses,
assemblies and meetings during the month of August.
This campaign will run from 1 August to Migrant & Refugee Sunday, 26 August. At the conclusion of the campaign, the Catholic Justice & Peace Commission will print all photos received
and deliver them to The Home Affairs Minister’s office
We here at MMI take this opportunity, on Harmony Day, to reiterate our commitment to, the realisation of dignity for all, to help people help themselves and to do so regardless of ethnicity, political beliefs, gender or religion. We celebrate and respect, the traditional owners and custodians of the land, the diversity of our workplace and the positive contributions that multiculturalism has made in all our lives.
The image is a favourite of mine by Luke Roberts In 1995 his painting of Mother Mary MacKillop was a prizewinner in the exhibition Mother Mary: A Tribute at the Powerhouse Museum Sydney. This exhibition was visited by John Paul II as part of the celebrations around the beatification of Mother Mary MacKillop.
In recent years I have adopted a patron and spiritual mentor whose feastday falls on July 24. In keeping with my heightened sense of the "feminine", my newly adopted patron is a woman saint. Christina the Astonishing, Virgin (1150 - 1224) (when read aloud the word "comma" should be pronounced as she was not just an astonishing virgin, but astonishing in other ways!!)
Christina's bio reads like the script from a Dan Brown and Steven Spielberg collaboration. This is definitely a PG rated text. It is best read, seated with all lights on and the children safely in bed.
This image depicts the first recording of Christina's public appearances when she was believed to have died, but managed to soar from her coffin during her funeral Mass. Not surprisingly, such behaviour saw a quick exodus from the Church with only the dutiful priest and her distressed sister left to witness this amazing resurrection. And yes, there was more: while presumed to be dead, she had in fact been "on tour" to Hell, Purgatory and Heaven. Upon this return visit she decide to dedicate her life to a sort of public pyschodrama performance where she acted out the downside of the nasty behaviour she saw around her.
For the next forty years Christina managed to cause alarm and anxiety in her local community by performing Olympian spiritual exercises which included extreme prayer balanced on poles. She had no dress sense, ignored any protocols about workplace health and safety and refused to be tamed by doctors priests or any other well intentioned men of the town.
Yet, the records of the time also note that her advice was sought by both civic and religious leaders of her day.She was even summoned to the death bed of a local Count to hear his confession.
Like other popular residents of the celestial realm Christina had been provided with w series of patronages to keep her busy. It may not surprise readers that the list includes:
Christina has her own entry in Wikipedia and appears prominently in a Google search. She has been the subject of art, study and even song:
So, I invite you to join me on her feast day as we celebrate Christina, a parable of the reign of God. The eccentric grace that drove her to extremes is the spirit in which I now invoke her as patron of "Holy Irritants". In this age, the mere example of nonconformity, the mere refusal to bend the knee to custom, is itself a service. Precisely because the tyranny of opinion is such as to make eccentricity a reproach, it is desirable, in order to break through that tyranny, that people should be eccentric. Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage which it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric, marks the chief danger of the time. On Liberty John Stuart Mill
From the Archives Celebrating Wilgefortis On Friday July 20 2012 a group of Brisbane artists launched an exhibition titled "Wilgefortis" at The Art Factory Gallery in South Brisbane. Even a well rounded Catholic like myself was surprised to discover that my cultural inheritance included this legend of a bearded woman on a cross.
St Wilgefortis in keeping with any decent legend also went by various aliases: Liberata, Kummernis, Uncumber, Ontkommer, Debarras and Livrade. None of these have made the list of "popular name choices for your new baby" in ancient or contemporary sources.
She gets a decent coverage in a google search and her story can be told in contemporary genre using easy read dot points:
A happy virgin is promised in a traditional marriage transaction by her father to some equally patriarchal character.
Being a good Catholic girl she prays for a non violent bit of divine intervention.
Her prayers are answered and she wakes up one day sporting enough facial hair to scare off any suitor.
Her dad does the only thing any honourable a chap could do in the circumstances and had her strung up on a cross.
There is also a youtube version for the visually inclined:
The Brisbane Exhibition is not so much a hagiography as a reflection on the themes and images that this story tells of the human condition The Church has eliminated devotion to Wilgefortis along with other legendary characters as part of its quality control in the Second Vatican Council. However, it cannot eliminate the stories of exploitation, abuse and the control of women's live and bodies that it has endorsed and supported for generations.
To really explore the creative vision that our local artists have brought o this exhibition I suggest you visit the album I have created and read the bio notes. At the launch of the exhibition the costs of refreshments were donated to the Ozcare Womens Refuge. This gesture speaks volumes of the artists commitment to their role as agents of social change.
In the last week of June 2017 the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference rode on a "high" for a couple of days. On 28th June they released the announcement of a new Plenary Council Executive Council which in pewspeak means a group of people to kick start the Church yet again.
The next day most of them hoped over to Geraldton for the ordination of Michael Morrisey, the new Catholic Bishop. Somewhere between departure and arrival their phones lit up with a news item about George Cardinal Pell that has wiped the gloss off their mitres for the rest of the year.
For Catholics of the "old school",plenary is one of those get out of jail words that conjures up liberation, release, and a short cut to eternal happiness. This Plenary Council however has a slightly more modest agenda:
‘‘This is no time for the Church to be putting up signs that say “business as usual”. If we needed any proof, then the Royal Commission has shown that. We need to face the facts, and in the light of the facts, which aren’t always friendly, we have to make big decisions about the future. The Plenary Council will place the Church on a sound footing to respond to what is not merely an era of change but a change of era.’
Check out the Catholica commentary on the song here
So for Catholics "It's Time" for a new era of Australian Catholicism which will be take off in 2020!! Nor sure if that includes adding to the census tally So, let's meet the crew heading this project and see how they line up in communication with the rest of us in various pews. The link on the name will show a piccie and a bit of a bio or where available a video clip.
The Who of @PlenaryCouncil2020
The official web page provides provides a list of key players with no real biographical or background information. In fact the only people for whom any background data is provided are the members of the Bishops Commission!!!
Very Rev Ian
WatersSenior Fellow of the Catholic Theological College, Melbourne will serve as Historical and Canonical Consultant to the Committee. Oh dear, poor old Ian gets a serve as lacking a bit of pastoral sensitivity in this extract from "Hell on the Way to Heaven "by Chrissie Foster. Hope his skills have improved a bit lately for this new role. Mr Shane Dwyer (also waiting for a response to my friend request) Initially and on an ad interim basis the Committee will be chaired by Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Chair of the Bishops Commission. Gender balance is even and lay representation exceeds clerics and religious. The age range appears good with a deliberate lean to younger voices. The presence of an Eastern Rite Church is welcome and it is worth acknowledging John Lochowiak, a member of the First Nations Peoples.
At their meeting in May, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference agreed that each diocese (including the eastern Churches and Ordinariates) would nominate two people to be part of a national network of diocesan Plenary Council coordinators.
So here we have a nice pic of the selected Diocesan n Coordinators with no names provided. If you use a zoom tool you can almost read a couple of name tags.
The How of @PlenaryCouncil2020
One of the reasons there are so many people in the PC Executive Council is that the Australian Catholic Bishops want them to read. Lots and lots of reading in fact if the process is going to work. At the heart of the project is a questionnaire. The site suggests allocating 10 minutes to complete the questions. However, the invitation to submit answers as well as documentation if desired would easily call for quite a bit of reflection. There are a couple of quirky fields in the template. The age range selection goes up to 110!! The religion field allows for all sorts including No Religion at the bottom of the selection. As of publication the questionnaire is only available online in English.
What is not clear is who will read the submissions for reform and even more who will interpret the results?
While hosting a major conference on Evangelisation Archbishop Mark Colereidge managed to stir the possum with one of his throw away lines: "Proclaim Conference 2018 has commenced andArchbishop Mark Coleridge has opened saying that this is a spirit moment for the church, challenging us to renew and rejuvenate the church in Australia...less stale, less male, less pale. " The Facebook comments are worth following. In particular note the replies to my question about the Welcome to Country. Plenary Challenge
Feb 11, 2018 - Half of active Catholic parishioners say their opinion of senior ... Fairfax Media, show the “bond of trust between the laity and their bishops has been severely impaired,” says Professor Neil Ormerod of the Australian Catholic University. ... National Church Life Survey showed a “serious erosion of trust in the ...
The Panel received submissions on the matters contained in its Terms of Reference from 14 December 2017 to 14 February 2018. The Panel also accepted a small number of submissions received after 14 February 2018. The Panel received more than 15,500 submissions. Published submissions can be found here.
The Jubilee theme of Recognition challenges all of us.
Since its beginnings in 1988, the members of the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry in Melbourne (ACMM) have sought to express their Catholic/Christian faith in culturally relevant ways. In the light of John Paul II's words in Alice Springs: 'Go to God through your own culture', and in an endeavor to bring the two ways Aboriginal way and Christianity together, this has been, in the life of the ACMM community, an ongoing process of reclaiming and discovery.
Praying the Rosary Aboriginal way has resulted in a reflective process of painting and story telling which links the Gospel stories upon which this traditional form of prayer is based, with the historical and contemporary experience of urban Aboriginal people. It is an expression of one aspect of what we call 'city dreaming'.
Along with the paintings and the reflections in this brochure we have included the five step process we use when, as a community, we gather to relive and retell these stories.
In the spirit of Jubilee and on the occasion of our tenth birthday, the members of the ACMM invite you, the wider Catholic community, to become part of our story and struggle, by participating in this process.