Saturday, January 19, 2008

Dr. Otto von Habsburg on Religion,Politics and Education

Thanks to my Bavarian sparring partner, Martin Cooke, for introducing me to this clip. It is worth considering some of the arguments about language and spirituality for us in the land Downunder. Would love to hear from viewers on this one:

I also suggest you watch:

Friday, January 18, 2008

Update on petition to Australian Catholic Bishops Conference November 2007

Dear Signatories to the Petition,

We are writing to report back to you on the current state of the Petition presented to the Catholic Bishops of Australia regarding ordination and ministry which we organized late last year. Firstly, thank you for your support. The Petition far exceeded expectations. In the end 16,746 people signed. This included 166 priests, as well as many deacons, sisters and brothers. In all 14,650 signed hard-copies and 2,096 signed on-line. The vast majority signed-up after Sunday Mass in parishes or in schools and ministries in every state and territory. The core base came from Mass-going Catholics.

This made a real difference and influenced Bishops’ Conference to discuss the Petition at length at their meeting in late-November 2007. We are grateful to the Bishops Commission for Church Ministry (chaired by Bishop Michael Malone) and Archbishop Philip Wilson (Adelaide), President of the Bishops’ Conference, for their help in getting the Petition onto the agenda of the Conference.

The result of the bishops’ discussion was open-ended. In a letter of 30 November 2007 Archbishop Wilson said that "during the discussion it was clear that the Bishops continue to be deeply concerned to make adequate pastoral and sacramental provision for the Church in Australia", and he assured us that "We intend to pursue discussions at future Plenary Meetings of those aspects which are within our competency as a Conference of Bishops in the Universal Church".

As we understand it the Permanent Committee of the Conference has not yet met to decide as to how this will be achieved. We know that a number of the bishops are quite sympathetic to the issues raised in the Petition. What is clear is that real change on the issues of ordination and ministry has to come from the grass-roots and that work at the local level is absolutely essential.

Certainly our small committee intends to work to keep the issues of ordination and ministry on the broader agenda of the Australian Church. We have recently set up a webpage as a basic means of communication. You can find it at . We would appreciate it if you would pass on this letter and the web address to anyone in your parish or ministry who signed the Petition or who is interested in the church’s ministry. Again we want to thank sincerely everyone who assisted in any way with the Petition.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Collins

For the committee of Catholics for Ministry

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

January 1 2008

Pope Benedict Benedict XVI’s message for the 41st World Day of Peace, to be celebrated Jan. 1, 2008. “The Human Family, a Community of Peace,

The family needs a home, a fit environment in which to develop its proper relationships. For the human family, this home is the earth, the environment that God the Creator has given us to inhabit with creativity and responsibility. We need to care for the environment: it has been entrusted to men and women to be protected and cultivated with responsible freedom, with the good of all as a constant guiding criterion. Human beings, obviously, are of supreme worth vis-à-vis creation as a whole. Respecting the environment does not mean considering material or animal nature more important than man.

Commentary By JOHN L. ALLEN JR. National Catholic Reporter

John Dear SJYou might also like to take some time out to read and reflect on the Prayer for Peace from John Dear SJ. John Dear is a Jesuit priest, peace activist, and the author of more than 20 books, most recently, Transfiguration (from Doubleday, with a foreword by Archbishop Tutu). Other books include You Will Be My Witnesses, Living Peace, The Questions of Jesus and Mohandas Gandhi. He has served as the director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the largest interfaith peace organization in the U.S., and after 9/11, as a coordinator of chaplains for the Red Cross at the New York Family Assistance Center. From 2002-2004, he served as pastor of four churches in New Mexico. He has traveled the war zones of the world, been arrested some 75 times for peace, and given thousands of lectures on peace across the country. He lives in the high desert of northeastern New Mexico. For information about his books, articles and speaking schedule, see: