Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Catholics and Civic Honours

One of the headline stories carried by the Catholic Leader includes a listing of Catholics who received honours in the Australia Day awards.

Many of those listed are religious who I believe have made extraordinary contributions to health, education and community in their ministry. A number of recipients this year have contributed to Government.

My question is whether this celebration of "Catholics" in the honours list is just a remnant of the old sectarian days. Should we have some special sense of pride that members of the tribe have been recognized by the Empire?

The list is also based on high profile people who either serve in the Catholic institutions or whose public life includes religious affiliation. 

For example those missing from the list include Cait McMahon, awarded for 'service to community health, particularly through traumatic stress services for journalists' and Sev Ozdowski whose award acknowledges "significant service to the community, particularly to human rights education, social justice and multiculturalism, and as an academic"

As far as I can see no other faith group publishes such a listing.I have no doubt that recognition for extraordinary service is part of our public life and acknowledgement. I really question whether getting a gong for just doing your job, particularly in the religious sphere is a value we should be celebrating.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Images That Open Your Eyes: The Sacristan

The "temple police" have been quiet of late. St Mary's South Brisbane has been reclaimed by the orthodox and the new Roman Missal has kept most priests busy getting their tongues around consubstantial  language.

However, they may now have a new campaign to pursue. A video clip has been doing the rounds of Facebook with a bevvy of dancing priests. It could be an audition practice for one of the popular national talent shows that are all the rage.

The clergy boys are in full swing with chasubles, parishioners and a swinging nun in her habit all doing perfect routines to a catchy tune.

The real highlight of this clip is the little old lady in the background clearing the altar. Her expression is priceless. She just keeps on doing what generations of ladies have done, folding the cloths, cutting the flowers and hanging Father's gear in the cupboard.

Let's dedicate this clip to those forgotten and unspoken elders of our communities who never got a thank you clap after Mass and carried the secrets of the sacristy to their graves.

Watch the video here

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Mannar Catholic Bishop Rayappu Joseph Resigns

The Catholic Justice & Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Brisbane pays tribute to Bishop Rayappu Joseph of the Diocese of Mannar in the north of Sri Lanka whose resignation was accepted by the Holy Father on 14 January 2015.

Bishop Joseph exposed himself to serious danger repeatedly when he publicly spoke out calling for justice for the many members of his Tamil flock who were killed during the bloody civil war which ended in 2009.

The Commission's Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, met with Bishop Joseph in 2012 when Catholic Justice & Peace workers visited his Diocese. Bishop Joseph fell very ill last year. 

An Apostolic Administrator has been appointed for the Diocese of Mannar. Bishop Joseph, we thank you for your courage and deep commitment to the Gospel. We pray for you and ask that our loving God surrounds you  with love and peace

I am called a controversial Bishop because there are ‘controversial’ issues taking place and when I speak on those issues I turned to be ‘controversial If I speak out, I am an ‘outspoken Bishop’. 

If I care for the poor and fight for justice, I am an anti Sri Lankan, a LTTE or a separatist. So, what am I to do? I care less about these names, but I will keep voicing against injustice and fight against human rights violations. Interview text 5 August 2012

Bishop Joseph Archives Sri Lanka Briefs

Sri Lanka row over Catholic letter on human rights 6 March 2012

Monday, January 18, 2016

Cardinal Pell Quotes Scripture Scholar Margaret Thatcher!!!!

One of my blog posts that is never short on content is: Great Quotes From Australian Catholic Bishops

This one however deserves its own post.It is an extract from:
Keynote address by His Eminence, George Cardinal Pell AC,to the Global Foundation roundtable on the global economy
Rome, 17 January 2016

I like to quote Maggie Thatcher who pointed out that if the Good Samaritan had been without capital he could not have paid for the care of the man who was beaten and robbed on the road to Jericho. It was also useful that the innkeeper trusted him sufficiently to accept his promise to cover any extra costs when he returned (Lk 10:25-37).

So there we have it from the Oxford don himself, Thatcher is now recognized as a Scripture Scholar.You can understand Thatcher's theology from her speech to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland on 21 May 1988.

How different would the Cardinal's speech been had he chosen to use the political interpretation  by Martin Luther King Jnr. on this familiar parable

If the Cardinal wanted to give a nod to a feminist approach  to parables he could at least have acknowledged an Australian like Anne Elvey.

The Cardinal's choice of the Baroness scholar will leave many sceptical of the work of the Global Foundation and Pell's public commitment to its cause.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

ASIA/IRAQ - The Chaldean Patriarch: we offer the "fast of Nineveh"

Baghdad - Chaldean Christians, in accordance with its liturgical tradition, are preparing to observe the so-called "fast of Nineveh" , preceding the three weeks of Lent. For three days, from Monday, January 18, the Chaldeans are eager to follow this spiritual practice abstaining from food and drinks from midnight until noon the next day, avoiding to eat foods of animal origin during the three days.

On the eve of the "fast of Nineveh", the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Luis Raphael I has invited all the faithful of the Chaldean Church to pray and live abstinence from food in order to ask the Lord for the return of the gift of peaceful coexistence in Iraq and throughout the troubled region of the Middle East.The practice of the "fast of Nineveh" refers to the fasting called by the prophet Jonah to the inhabitants of that corrupt city, which stood in the present Mosul, now in the hands of the jihadist of the Islamic Caliphate . That fast - so we read in the Bible – touched God and saved the city from annihilation. In the statement released by the official media of the Patriarchate, the Primate of the Chaldean Church also recalls the words of St. Ephrem, who highlighted that the fasting of Nineveh was a model of sincere repentance. In the statement, sent to Agenzia Fides, Patriarch Louis Raphael repeated that Iraq is faced with a "deadly conflict", fueled by religious fanaticism, and calls everyone to prayer and penance to ask for conversion and invoke the waiver of all violence and war.

Loving God,
Over these days,
Remember those who lived in Mosul and the Nineveh Plains.
In your love for them,
Grant them freedom, peace and mercy.

Bless those who support them in the camps.
Bless those who provide food, water, clothes and security.
Open our hearts to them in their suffering.
Open our hearts to them in prayer.

Hear the cry of the people of the Middle East for peace and healing.
Hear our desire to be in  prayerful solidarity with them.
Uplift those in exile and sustain them.
Grant them a safe return home.
Source: ACP

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A Magna of a Discussion About the Cappa

I like to look over the neighbour's fence and see what is happening. One of my favourite fences is the one that surrounds a website known as New Liturgical Movement.

It is a religious version of Tumblr featuring men in vestments.If you want a "warm up" for this article you could check the Tumblr pics of Cappa Magna. (Our friend George does not get a guernsey)

The article that caught my eye in NLM appeared on Monday: The Cappa Magna in the Light of Nature, Rationality, and Mystery

It's worth a read as an exercise in cultural imperialism for one thing.But the real thrill is the variety of opinions in the comments. There are some classic observations  including a debate as to  whether Diana's wedding train is longer than the magna in Cardinal Burke's Cappa!!

If you love history, fashion and want to understand what turns some men on in the sacristy/vestry this is the article to read.

Keep a good wine handy

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Short Course on Mercy in Brisbane

The “Short Course on Mercy” will be held in late February-March 2016 (in Lent). 

It aims to explore the biblical, theological and ethical meaning of mercy as part of the Year of Mercy announced by Pope Francis. The planned structure of the Course is:

Monday, 22 February: Pope Francis’ Theology of Mercy (Assoc. Prof. Orm Rush)
Monday, 29 February: Biblical Understanding of Mercy (Dr. Ian Elmer)
Monday, 7 March: Creation and Sin (Assoc. Prof. Robyn Horner)
Monday, 14 March: The log in your eye: Mercy and Ethics (Dr. David Kirchhoffer)

Please note that all the sessions are on Monday evening. The final date on the Short Course website is currently wrong (as it has a Wednesday session). This will soon be corrected.

For more information, please visit the Short Course website and click on the Brisbane page:

To register, please visit:

We have applied for this Short Course to receive hours in the Brisbane Catholic Education Office’s "Accreditation to Teach in a Catholic School" and "Accreditation to Teach Religion in a Catholic School". I will notify you once this is confirmed.

If you cannot register online, or wish to register a group (by invoice), please contact