Monday, November 26, 2012

Response to Eureka Street : Dysfunctional Church stares into the abuse abyss


Dysfunctional Church stares into the abuse abyss

MICHAEL KELLY NOVEMBER 26, 2012
Michael KellyFr Michael Kelly SJ, founding publisher of Eureka Street, is the Bangkok based executive director of UCA News and was, in the 1980s, executive director of the Jesuits' Asian Bureau Australia. 


Every day of my working life I encounter men and women who have survived institutional  childhood abuse. Many are victims of clergy and religious. I walk alongside those who carry deep scars of pain and alienation. I work for an NGO which was founded in the heart of Catholic spirituality and a sense of biblical justice as the work of God. The organisation is now independent of religious affiliation and many of its staff are women who also carry the scars of the pain of betrayal of an institution that nurtured a childhood belief in the grace of love and beauty but is seen now as a patriarchal relic of a bygone era. I come from a family where Catholicism was our culture and now look at a younger generation where this culture has little attraction or meaning. I spent some years in a religious community of men and have been privy to the ambiguities of those who crave power and status from their clerical collars.I grieve the loss of so much promise I was offered by the era of the Second Vatican Council. I sit uneasily in the back pew now watching the passing circus of relics and WYD parades that do not speak  to my soul.The cross of lost dreams and betrayal  weighs heavily on my almost 60 year old shoulders.I do not wish to join the chorus of the bitter and the angry that flood cyberspace from the left and the right. The back pew is close to the door where I can still hear the joys and hopes the grief and anguish of humanity. It seems that their cries are calling me rather than the  "spiritual" language of the sanctuary. Quo Vadis?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Royal Commission into Child Abuse Australia

I have published a page with up to date links to news coverage of the Royal Commission into Child Abuse Australia. Items will be updated weekly.

Current headings are:

  • Catholic Bishops Respond
  • George Cardinal Pell Statements
  • Responses to GCP
  • Legal Status Of the Catholic Church
  • Religious Leaders respond
  • Commentary
  • Social Media

Friday, November 09, 2012

Redfern Jarjum College


Redfern Jarjum College is an independent Catholic, Jesuit school for children of families in the Aboriginal community of Redfern and its surrounds. The College is located in the historic presbytery of St Vincent's Parish.
This  new Jesuit initiative has also been promoted by the Church Mouse, an online history of the Redfern Catholic Parish. This site includes some wonderful images of the work of Bill Clements honouring Shirley Smith (Mum Shirl) and Fr Ted Kennedy. Bill's  sculptures will be  installed in the area between the presbytery and the Church. 
The website of the College is still in development. However it alreadyis a great resource providing educators and the general public with access to college information as well as excellent material on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. The blog style presentation allows for  comments and opportunities to engage with this exciting venture in  contemporary education for  young Indigenous students.
This project deserves wide community support and I suggest a visit to the donations page  on of your Christmas shopping list.


Thursday, November 08, 2012

November Memories

The life cycle of a Catholic is measured in religious language and  liturgical patterns that have colour,imagery and myth to nurture the connection to community and the Divine.

During November, churches often provide memorial books to record the names and memory of those who have died. For the devotional Catholic  November is the "Month of the Holy Souls" which is often celebrated in more public rituals of the dead with processions and graveside visits.

The "soul" language is introduced on the 2nd November with the celebration of All Souls Day. I have vivid memories of my life as a young altar boy with multiple Masses being celebrated "back to back" in my parish Church in Geelong West. This culture has also left us  an extraordinary musical heritage of Requiems.

November carries so many memories for me as it is the month my father died 20 years ago. This year for the first time I will write the names of both my father and my mother in  a memorial book at my local Cathedral. RIP my loving parents.

At my Dads Funeral one of the songs we played was Bing Crosby's Irish Lullaby. It is romantic, nostalgic and  tells me so much about the world that influenced my parents.

Fair Trade Artisan Market in Brisbane


The Cathedral of St Stephen Art Group  hosted the Fair Trade Artisans Market  Hands of the World  from 1st-4th  November  at The Francis Rush Centre, 227 Elizabeth Street Brisbane .

The Fair Trade Artisan Market featured  textiles from 19 countries. Purchases at the market  increased opportunities for education, shelter and medicine for  skilled artists.

COSSAG is  not only a very classy looking acronym, it even sounds impressive. This group is one that I am proud to promote and support. The people behind the group are not just lovers of art and creativity. They have a passion for justice and fair trade which is reflected in their exhibitions.

Images from the market can be viewed here.

For further information please contact COSSAG email: cossag@bigpond.com


Monday, November 05, 2012

Sexual Harassment is a Church Issue

I wonder how many diocese or parishes will carry this images in their bulletins  over the next few weeks?

The 2012 sexual harassment national telephone survey shows that sexual harassment is widespread in Australian workplaces. The survey also shows that progress towards addressing sexual harassment has stalled.

The figures are alarming and if you consider the number of faith based schools, hospitals, welfare centres and local parishes employing staff the message demands attention by all people of good will. It also challenges some of the culture of clericalism that continues in Church circles.

Our history as Catholics should remind us that sexual harassment is written large in our story. The acclamation of Mary McKillop as a a Saint is also the story of a woman who experienced workplace sexual harassment