Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Yep, he really did say that!!

Archbishop: church not obligated to compensate abuse victims

Appearing before a special parliamentary commission on sexual abuse of children three days before Christmas, Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard of Mechelen-Brussels told the commission that he saw no reason for the church to compensate victims of sexual abuse.

"The civil court must determine the compensation and the offender must pay," Léonard said. Commission members reacted with surprised amazement. (Full text)

Arch Leonard is one of Catholicism's sad side shows. There is a great little note about him over at The Hermeneutic of Continuity. He is part of the "gloves on" brigade who appears in most of his google images fronting the media and wearing what has to be the biggest "cross-ring" available from the Vatican Dress-Ring shop.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Eric dumped from Hogan's Heroes

Among the daily "drops" I receive in my email is the e-bulletin coverage from CathNews. It's a useful service not just for the content but also for gauging the ecclesial landscape. The most recent change in editorial staffing has also introduced some odd if not disturbing items into the columns.

However, one of the promised features in a recent e-bulletin did not appear as advertised and is well covered by a discussion on the Catholica Forum. The controversy has also been picked up by The Age in Melbourne. In an alarming statement from the Australian Bishops Conference the newspaper reports:

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference general secretary Brian Lucas said the Cath News editorial team withdrew the article ''when some of the content was brought to their attention and they realised it fell outside their guidelines to provide informed opinion. They apologised for their error.''

Is Brain Lucas suggesting that the editorial team do not understand the guidelines of providing "informed opinion"? Does Brian Lucas consider Eric Hodgens writings "out of bounds" as informed opinion? Which Bishops if any spoke out against this absurd decision? Is the baptism of a Murdoch Scion meant to provide us with a more informed opinion than a reflection by a leading pastoral observer and practitioner?


On the Golden Anniversary of his generation's ordination, Eric Hodgens reflect on the aspirations of priests and the church over the past 50 years, in The Swag, the magazine of the National Council of Priests of Australia.


Now to the item in question: When you click "more" you will find a syndicated article from The Australian. However, although the alternative article was published on December 22nd it does not appear in the archive listings for that day on the CathNews site.

What is really interesting about the original Hodgens article promo is the image used of JP11. In his article Hodgens says of the media savvy pontiff:

"..John Paul II. Charismatic in front of the TV camera; brilliant at languages; but – out of touch in scripture and limited in theology, a bad listener and rock solid is his self-assessment as God’s chosen man of destiny. His whole life had been spent in the persecuted church of Poland with its fortress church mentality frozen in time.

Was that comment too much for some of the "satin and lace' brigade who prefer extraordinary rites of liturgy?

I for one am happy to be able to promote the informed opinion of Eric Hodgens.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Stop the Sainting!!

 In December 2011 the news from the Vatican included: Pope decrees sainthood for Italian, beatification for 11 others

Now I am sure they are all jolly good folk with the usual quirky characteristics that lead people to found religious orders. What's interesting about this list is that there is not one lay person among them. What is disturbing about this list is the inclusion of six clergy who have been recognized as martyrs who died for "hatred of the faith".

What is really fascinating about this list is that they are contemporary enough for us to find quite a few of them in Google images.
Baltasar Mariano Munoz Martine
Antonio Palladino
Selim Abou-Mourad

Enough I say. We have enough "Sainted" clergy and religious.

When will the joys and hopes grief and anguish of ordinary people of faith who live in the suburbs as single married and widowed be recognized?

Enough of miracle criteria. Does our God really play favourites? I don't believe this.Let's get back to local calendars of ordinary saints who inspire us to live the Gospel.

And what is this criteria of those who have been martyred for "Hatred of the Faith"? The Spanish revolution was not about "hatred of the faith" It was as all revolutions are: abuse of power and economics.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Sunday Obligation

You know you are getting to people by the number of responses you get to a Facebook post.

A post announcing my support for the objections to the inauguration of former General Peter Cosgrove as Chancellor of theAustralian Catholic University indicated that the day would not be one of "rest".

The Catholic Worker Movement organised protests at the Catholic Cathedrals in Sydney and Brisbane to raise awareness of the issues surrounding this appointment. Read Jim Dodrill’s statement . Watch Sean O'Reilly's video clip about the protest.

The Catholic Worker Movement claims Peter Cosgrove should be one of the last people to be given such a position, after he clearly ignored Papal appeals and the declaration of his own bishops in 2003, by leading Australian forces into a bloody and immoral invasion of Iraq.I stand by them on this one as well!

“Where is the intellectual honesty in appointing such a person to lead the Catholic Universities?”, asked Catholic Worker Sean O’Reilly.(pictured above) “Peter Cosgrove demonstrated clearly that when it comes to war, he has ‘No King but Caesar’. He ignored the pleadings of the Pope, and the declaration of Australian Catholic bishops that this was not a just war."

In an interview with the ABC News Cosgrove stated "I wasn't particularly conscious that the church was taking a very strong position". It's hard to believe that the then Defense Chief was not aware of public opposition to the War from the Vatican and the Australian Catholic Bishops. How well informed is the man who has just been inauguirated as Chancellor of Australian Catholic University?

Sean said" "The war caused massive suffering which continues today, especially among Cosgrove’s fellow Catholics in Iraq.”

Sean said: “One worries about the militarisation of Catholic schools and institutions when the ACU appoints a General as it’s Chancellor, and not just any general, but one who made a mockery of the Church’s Just War teaching.”

One of my Facebook friends was more concerned about Peter Cosgrove's lack of serious academic credentials than military background. Another journalist friend noted that Cosgrove is seen by many in Timor Leste as a peacemaker. Sadly, his local reputation as a "folk hero" is dwarfed by his shameful military participation in Afghanistan and Iraq.

See images of the Brisbane protest here

You can voice your concerns about the appointment of General Peter Cosgrove as ACU Chancellor by contacting the members of the Senate of the Australian Catholic University. See this link for contact.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Upsizing the Rosary!!

I was strolling through Brisbane Markets today when I noticed a stallholder offering rosary beads that would "fit small ladies up to XL men". The stock on display seemed to be the conventional "one size fits all" I imagine the made to order set would be arranged in a discrete booth where appropriate measurements would be recorded.

When I was growing up in Geelong the evening rosary was as regular my Mum's trifle. It (the rosary, not the trifle) was a strange ritual involving us burying our heads deep into a chair with our backs to each other as we rattled off the required Paters and Aves to complete the regulatory decades of the day.

It became more challenging when we bought our first TV set. In those days you wouldn't turn the TV off for the rosary as it took a while for the valves to warm up again. We used to turn down the volume and cover the set with a rug. This provided another great distraction as each of us kids positioned ourselves at the edge of the rug to see if we could glimpse a bit of the black and white colour image of Sunnyside Up or perhaps a scene from Peyton Place.

I'n not sure when the ritual began to die but I suspect it happened as we moved into secondary school and our engagements with extra curricular activities took us out of the house soon after tea on some evening.

My other strong childhood memory of the Rosary was the incredible passion of the Ladies of the Legion of Mary. My grandmother was a member of the Geelong Praesidium and I remember hitting the streets with her and Kit Corbett as they did the rounds of local homes with the fervent door call: "Are there any Catholics in this household"? They were as passionate as JWs and Mormons in full flight weeding out recalcitrant Catholics and other unsuspecting "lapsed" with a fierce determination and sense of purpose.

On Monday evening The "Legion Ladies" would lead a rosary at the home of one of the locals who was hosting the statue of Our Lady of Fatima which did the rounds of the parish. Neighbours would come around for a good dose of Marian Hymn singing a few decades of the rosary and a hefty supper.

I still carry beads with me as a reminder of prayer that binds me to generations and a spirituality of mantra prayer. The beads I carry are coloured in red. black and yellow, the colors associated with Australia's First People. I also have a larger set that I have carried with me in memory of my days as a Capuchin friar when they were my constant companion as part of my habit. I am reminded of this tradition now as I see young people who wear rosaries around their necks.

In a news item earlier this year the Catholic Womens League denounced young people wearing rosaries as "disrespectful to the beliefs of Catholics" I mix with young people who wear rosaries most Sunday nights at The Fox Hotel in South Brisbane. None of them have shown any disrespect to my faith and in fact we have had some great conversations about life and spirituality when discussing the rosary wearing fad.

So, rosaries are everywhere it seems from the necks of the Sunday nights party people to the boutique stall offering designer size for the hip or the pocket. I am happy to see
anything that points beyond our consumer culture and calls us to meditation and prayer.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review of A Divine Society

Extended version of a Review published in TearAustralia Issue 4/2010

Where would you read a book titled, A Divine Society The Trinity, Community and Society? It almost begs for a quiet corner in a church or at least a discrete bedside table. However, my suspicion is that when Dave Andrews wrote this refreshing text he was hoping it would get some public airing.
I usually travel on public transport, a perfect setting for a good read. My copy of Dave’s most recent work was my traveling companion in the Roma Street Transit Centre, on local buses and trains and even on a Qantas flight.
This is one of those books with a cover you can’t ignore. The beautiful Icon of the Trinity by Andrei Rublev provided a visual contrast to the public transport advertising for personal satisfaction, economic wellbeing and social status. Dave’s theology of the Trinity contrasts these consumer values with an understanding of the divine as Creator, Liberator and Sustainer.
Throughout the book Dave invites the reader to explore a new language of community. He even reclaims an old aussie slang word, “Trey” and gives it new currency when exploring the dynamic that builds the base for community.( Anyone under 50 years of age may have to look up Google to understand this one!!!)
Dave Andrews is a storyteller and he brings his skill into theology making the often abstract and illusive Christian belief in the Trinity an invitation to live a commitment that builds community and transforms society. His modeling of these ideas at St Andrews’s in South Brisbane is a rich example of his innovative skill and pastoral sensitivity.
Dave’s theology, wisdom and practical advice are encouraging and challenging. He encourages good theology and praxis. He challenges our comfort zones if we believe we have found community.
A Divine Society The Trinity, Community and Society deserves a wide readership not only within faith communities but also among those who work in community development with people of faith. The text of the Declaration Towards a Global Ethic concludes the book and invites people of good will to build a new experiences of community in our fragile global village.
Tony Robertson is a blogger, photographer and community jester in Brisbane. He has lived in faith communities in Australia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea. In recent years he has joined the L'Arche Community in Brisbane and is involved in school retreats and justice reflections.

Learning from The Waiters Union


‘This book celebrates the learnings of people who journeyed a week, a month, a decade, or more with that small network in West End. It’s a celebration of many ordinary everyday people living in and working with communities where not everyone has enough to eat, or a safe place to live, or access to a good education or adequate health care. It’s a celebration of an authentic struggle to live grace and hope and love into the world. It’s a celebration of a successful people’s movement and a life changing community immersion experience. I hope it is also an encouragement to help you move from where you are now to where you want to be.’

Foreword Introduction Reviews

A Tribute to Roberta Sykes 1944-2010

The passing of Roberta Sykes A statement from Bev Manton, Chairwoman of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC)

In 1998 Roger Riordan read Snake Cradle, the first volume of Roberta Sykes’ autobiography. She had been attending a convent school, but when she reached the age of 14 (then the official school leaving age) she was summarily told to leave.

This precipitated a whole series of disasters, and it took her many years to retrieve her life. Roger was appalled by this story, and resolved to try to do something to save other aboriginal children from similar suffering. He contacted Roberta, and at her suggestion, in 1999 he endowed the Koiki (Eddie) Mabo Fund at the University of Newcastle. This has in turn inspired several other scheme

Rights campaigner Roberta 'Bobbi' Sykes dies ABC Report

Bobbi Sykes Wikipedia entry


Roberta Sykes Trinity College

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Australians Forgotten by the Churches

We pray for those who experienced childhood abuse in Church and State Institutions. May they find justice, healing and redress. (Prayer from the Jubilee Mass of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commision, Archdiocese of Brisbane November 2010)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Church and Belief Against the Odds

Believing in the Church

The Church is an object of faith. In the Apostles' Creed we pray: "I believe in God, the Father ... in Jesus Christ, his only Son - in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting." We must believe in the Church! The Apostles' Creed does not say that the Church is an organization that helps us to believe in God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. No, we are called to believe in the Church with the same faith we believe in God.

Often it seems harder to believe in the Church than to believe in God. But whenever we separate our belief in God from our belief in the Church, we become unbelievers. God has given us the Church as the place where God becomes God-with-us.


The Two Sides of One Faith

Our faith in God who sent his Son to become God-with-us and who, with his Son, sent his Spirit to become God-within-us cannot be real without our faith in the Church. The Church is that unlikely body of people through whom God chooses to reveal God's love for us. Just as it seems unlikely to us that God chose to become human in a young girl living in a small, not very respected town in the Middle East nearly two thousand years ago, it seems unlikely that God chose to continue his work of salvation in a community of people constantly torn apart by arguments, prejudices, authority conflicts, and power games.

Still, believing in Jesus and believing in the Church are two sides of one faith. It is unlikely but divine!


Superabundant Grace

Over the centuries the Church has done enough to make any critical person want to leave it. Its history of violent crusades, pogroms, power struggles, oppression, excommunications, executions, manipulation of people and ideas, and constantly recurring divisions is there for everyone to see and be appalled by.

Can we believe that this is the same Church that carries in its center the Word of God and the sacraments of God's healing love? Can we trust that in the midst of all its human brokenness the Church presents the broken body of Christ to the world as food for eternal life? Can we acknowledge that where sin is abundant grace is superabundant, and that where promises are broken over and again God's promise stands unshaken? To believe is to answer yes to these questions.


The Church, God's People

As Jesus was one human person among many, the Church is one organization among many. And just as there may have been people with more attractive appearances than Jesus, there may be many organizations that are a lot better run than the Church. But Jesus is the Christ appearing among us to reveal God's love, and the Church is his people called together to make his presence visible in today's world.

Would we have recognized Jesus as the Christ if we had met him many years ago? Are we able to recognize him today in his body, the Church? We are asked to make a leap of faith. If we dare to do it our eyes will be opened and we will see the glory of God.


Source: Daily Reflections by Henri Nouwen, by subscription to the Henri Nouwen Society:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Where were you on October 17 2010?

It seems most "dyed in the merino wool" Catholics were glued to their TV sets, watching the coverage of the canonisation of Mary MacKillop.

I dropped by the show at the Cathedral of St Stephen in Brisbane but left sadly wondering about the fascination of Catholicism with pomp and circumstance. The MacKillop bazaar was doing a roaring trade complete with celebrity pics of our Mary (no, not the Danish One) Rosary beads with Mary's head and everything except MacKillop condoms available for the devotees.

The best commentary I have read to date is from Mark Bahnisch: Both atheist ‘rationalism’ and Catholic triumphalism betray Mary MacKillop’s legacy

The highlight of my day was actually the Queensland Launch of Anti-Poverty Week held at Musgrave Park in West End.

The locals came along for a BBQ and some music from those who know the journey from poverty to community. Agencies had their banners, the Salvos offered free Fair Trade coffee and Vinnies and Red Cross worked together to prepare the snags and the banquet.

The numbers weren't big. Challenging structures that leave people in poverty isn't good news on a warm Sunday in Brisbane. I noticed that none of the
local Churches had a presence and it probably wasn't fair to expect any religious orders to come along to something that wasn't about the vow of poverty.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

ABSOLUTE MUST READ: Causes of the Unfathomable Clerical Silence on Clergy Sex Abuse

Join a discussion on this article on the Catholica Forum

This extraordinarily insightful and fact-filled essay by Vinnie Nauheimer is an absolute must read for everyone who wants to understand the WHY of clergy sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church and its cover up.

Voice from the Desert is proud to have published many of Vinnie’s previous work. This one is the best, in my judgment.

Also by Vinnie:
The Pope Soars to new Heights of Hypocrisy!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sacrd music of the Abrahamic Faiths

Hosted by the Multi-Faith Centre of Griffith University and the Qld Forum for Christians, Jews and Muslims.

Venue: Griffith University Multi-Faith Centre, Nathan Campus.

Annual Evening Of Jewish, Christian & Muslim Sacred Voices and Music followed by a Kosher-Halal Supper

The programme will include contributions by Christian school voices, a breathtaking Muslim chant, lively Jewish groups and QCT's Georgia Corowa, Coordinator of the Churches Together Indigenous People's Partnership (CTIPP) and a professional musician.

All are welcome - suitable for youth upwards (children welcome with accompaniment).

Entry is free - gold coin donations welcome

RSVP: by 29th October

Location Map - then click on campus maps, Nathan campus, Building N35 at grid N6. Free parking after 7pm.

Click here to read about last year's event.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Love’s Urgent Longings: Wrestling with belief in today’s Church

Book Love’s Urgent Longings: Wrestling with belief in today’s Church, the latest offering from Bishop Geoffrey Robinson (pictured), was launched by Michael Whelan SM in the Crypt of St Patrick’s Church in the Rocks, Sydney.

The text of Michael's talk: A PILGRIM’S PROGRESS: RECLAIMING A RICH TRADITION a great introduction to this work from one of Australia's more adventurous Church leaders in recent times.

This book, published by John Garratt Publishing, Melbourne, presents the story of a spiritual journey made over the past few years by Bishop Robinson.

In seeking answers to the urgent longings of the title, he goes back to basics to encounter the spiritual, to consciously respond to the force of his deepest desires and to understand the ways that move him towards higher goals. This is an intensely personal journey, but one that is likely to resonate with many Catholics. It follows Bishop Robinson’s explosive Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church: Reclaiming the Spirit of Jesus, which offered a critique of the Church’s use and misuse of power.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Encounter - James Alison: Sexuality, Certainty and Salvation

Encounter - James Alison: Sexuality, Certainty and Salvation

ABC Radio National | 10 October 2010

Priest and theologian James Alison believes that there are bright glimmers of hope to be found in the Catholic Church's wrestling with issues around homosexuality. He reflects on his own experience as a gay Catholic, on the givenness of sexual orientation, and on what he calls 'the shape of God's affection'.
Producer: David Rutledge
Repeated Wednesday 16 October, 7.05pm; and Thursday 14 October, 4.05am


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Well, Whaddya Know?

Pew: Atheists and Agnostics Best Informed on Religion

A study from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that Americans who don’t believe in God scored better on a religious study quiz than those who identify with a specific religion.

The U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey, a nationwide poll of 3,412 Americans age 18 and older, found that out of 32 questions related to various religions, atheists and agnostics typically got the most correct responses. Jews and Mormons also scored higher than Protestants and Catholics.

However, while atheists and agnostics performed highest on religious questions overall, on questions related to Christianity, Protestants and Catholics out-performed all other groups. So, basically, they know more about their own faith than about those of other religions. For those who want to test themselves, a shorter version of the quiz is here.

And this is how you would have to administer the test as a call operator!!

See the Catholica Forum Discussion here

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Online Wednesday 6 October, 2010 – Saturday 15 January, 2011

Sydney, Australia: An exhibition of 99 works that explore the religious and spiritual in art will be displayed and for sale online at http://www.blakeprize.com.au from Wednesday 6 October 2010 to Saturday 15 January 2011. The works were selected by the Blake Society Directors from over 300 images shortlisted, for finalist consideration, in this year’s Blake Prize.

The exhibiting artists include Craig Ruddy, Maryanne Coutts, Janette Hanrahan, Shirley Purdie and David Tucker.

The Blake Prize Exhibition Program continues to be one of Australia’s most committed to allowing artists to engage and explore the religious and spiritual in art. This year’s online exhibition includes works that look traditional religious themes including parables and symbolism. Many works also undertake a personal exploration of the religious and spiritual encompassing themes of stillness, loss, life experience and fertility.

Rev Dr Rod Pattenden, Chairperson of the Blake Society said, “The Directors cut provides a stunning survey of the range of works submitted for this year’s Blake Prize. The standard is extremely high and the range of ideas and modes of expression are prickly with interest for both collectors and people interested in ideas of cultural diversity in Australia.”

The Exhibition runs from Wednesday 6 October, 2010 to Saturday 15 January, 2011 For MEDIA enquiries and images contact Stefanie Lewis on 0419 442 643 or info@blakeprize.com.au

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Social Justice Sunday 2010

This Statement is issued at the conclusion of the United Nations’ International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of theWorld and theWorld Council of Churches’ Decade to Overcome Violence. Key goals have been the promotion of fundamental human rights, addressing wide varieties of violence – direct and structural – in homes, communities and in the international arenas, and learning from local and regional ways of
overcoming violence.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Redress for Victime of Clergy Abuse

A practical suggestion in the process of redress for victims of clergy abuse has to be the public acknowledgement of the criminal history of clergy like Kevin O'Donnell

  • All parish and archdiocesan histories should include an appendix noting the abuse history of clergy who are named as pastors and assistants in Parish and Diocesan records.

  • Deceased Bishops and Archbishops who contributed to the scandal of silence should be removed from their burial sites in Cathedrals and interred in public space with plain headstones and a comment explaining why their remains have been removed from a place of honour.

  • It is a custom in Catholic schools to have an honour board of former students who have ben ordained. I suggest clergy who have been convicted of sexual abuse and stripped of their priesthood have their names removed from such honour boards and an explanation included at the base of the board.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Shame and Deceit of the Catholic Church


Chrissie and Anthony Foster were like any other young family, raising their three daughters in suburban Melbourne with what they hoped were the right values. Chrissie could not have known that the stranger-danger she feared actually lurked in the presbytery attached to the girls' Catholic primary school. Father Kevin O'Donnell, a long-term paedophile, lived and worked there.

Two of their young daughters became victims of O'Donnell. And once the truth was revealed, the Fosters began a battle to find out how this could have happened. The Church offered silence, lies, denials and threats. Meanwhile, their daughters tried to piece together their fractured lives.

This is the chilling true story that made national and international headlines. Chrissie Foster's heartbreaking account of her family's suffering, and their determination to stand up for themselves against the might of the Catholic Church, is testament to the strength of a mother's love, and the resilience of the human spirit


James Campbell Sun Herald August 2010

Abuse of Trust: Child Sexual Abuse and the Churches ABC Radio National

Sex abuse victims distressed by the Catholic Clergy's compensation system ABC Stateline

Madonna King: CourierMail review

  • Sunday Herald Sun
  • August 29, 2010 12:00
  • O'Donnell's History and Little Action

    Speak No Evil Peter Ellingsen May 2002

    Friday, August 27, 2010

    Worship and power

    Christian fidelity is not the monopoly of ecclesial conformists. The Church is integral to the life of grace, but always in a way pointing beyond its present achievement: it gives us "a sacrament and instrumental sign" of a reality greater than itself: "intimate union with God and ... the unity of all humanity" (Lumen Gentium, n. 1). In the pilgrim Church, ideological purity is no sign of theological wisdom.

    Philip Endean SJ teaches theology at the University of Oxford. Read full text of Worship and power

    Wednesday, August 18, 2010

    What to wear to Mass?

    A news report from Church Resources with a good dose of religious kitsch announced that Hollywood star Mark Wahlberg attended Mass at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney this week. We were even told that "Wahlberg, 39, was at Mass on Monday, wearing his golf clothes after a game with co-star Will Ferrell..."

    In the original report from the Herald Sun, Wahlberg is photographed arriving at the airport in what seems to be his golf gear, possible ready for Mass.

    However, Church Resources chose to use a Wikipedia image of Wahlberg seen here in his "Sunday Best".

    Both reports noted that Wahlberg is "a
    committed Catholic and Calvin Klein underwear model" so why couldn't we have one of those great shots in his undies that you can find all over google. Was he wearing CKs under his golf pants and in good sagging manners, did they peek out as he knelt in prayer? I'm sure Church Resources would have seen their ratings go through the roof had they used this pic of Wahlberg to accompany the article.

    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    Ramadan Karim

    As a Christian I stand in prayerful solidarity with my Muslim friends who are entering the season of Ramadan. I was alerted to the beginning of this Holy Season by one of my young Islamic friends on Facebook. Thanks Ayman for your call to all of us to consume less, to do random acts of mercy and to stop 5 times day to pray, be still and wonder at the 99 Most Beautiful Names of God.

    More than one billion Muslims across the world have begun observing Ramadan with soaring temperatures in the Middle East and elsewhere set to pose a challenge for many worshippers.

    For the next 30 days, believers will observe the holiest month in Islam by abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking and having sex from dawn to dusk (Extract of news item from Queensland Muslims.
    Read full text here)

    Shame Benedict Shame

    The latest news reports from the Vatican indicate that Pope Benedict XVI has refused to accept the resignations of two Irish Bishops,Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field

    When the Bishops offered their resignations they wrote:

    "As we celebrate the Feast of Christmas, the Birth of our Saviour, the Prince of Peace, it is our hope that our action may help to bring the peace and reconciliation of Jesus Christ to the victims/survivors of child sexual abuse."

    Pope Benedict's refusal to accept their resignations suggests that the Vatican is not concerned about bringing " the peace and reconciliation of Jesus Christ to the victims/survivors of child sexual abuse."

    There are heretics in the Vatican By Vinnie Nauheimer © All rights reserved
    was published on August 12 2010 provides a perspective from survivors of clergy abuse

    Wednesday, August 11, 2010

    Jesus the Christ E-Conference

    On behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference I invite you to participate in the upcoming National eConference Jesus the Christ on Thursday, September 16th 2010. Fr Gerald O’Collins sj will share his understanding of Jesus Christ as Son of God, Son of man; fully human, truly divine. If your parish, college or community is not involved perhaps you may like to give it a go!

    This eConference is a faith formation experience and is designed for the ‘hungry and thirsty’ in our parishes, schools, colleges and hospitals. There are no costs involved. The Mary First Disciple eConference in May attracted over 60,000 participants. We will provide the ongoing support and necessary resources to make this a successful event for your community.

    The IT requirements for this eConference are very simple - a venue with broadband internet access, data projector, screen and a set of speakers. For more information and to register go to http://jesus.vividas.com and to view previous eConferences, please visit www.bbi.catholic.edu.au and follow the links.