Thursday, November 08, 2018

Resources for a Plenary Council

Dorothy Day's letters show heartache, faith

“I never expected much of the bishops,” Dorothy Day wrote to Gordon Zahn in 1968.
“In all history, popes and bishops and abbots seem to have been blind and power-loving and greedy. I never expected leadership from them. It is the saints that keep appearing all through history who keep things going. What I do expect is the bread of life and down through the ages there is that continuity.”

That’s just one of the helpful insights in the first-ever collection of Dorothy Day’s letters, All the Way to Heaven: The Selected Letters of Dorothy Day, edited by Robert Ellsberg. Following the recent publication of her diaries, these letters reveal more of Dorothy Day and her struggle to serve the impoverished and practice that “harsh and dreadful love” she often spoke about.

A call to action for Catholic laity

In a recent commentary, Eric Sammons argues that dioceses are unnecessarily bloated, and that Catholic activity has been needlessly centralized in diocesan offices. The result, he argues, is that the cost of Catholic action is inflated while its quality is compromised, and bishops are distracted from their direct pastoral responsibilities as they attend to abstract political, economic, and social agendas that are really the concern of the laity.

“Human beings orchestrate the reflection of God’s glory in the world by clothing material things with sacred meaning.” (Rowan Williams, author, poet, theologian, 104th archbishop of Canterbury).  
Parallel this statement of Williams’ with the first lines of Psalm 24, reminding us that “the earth is the Lord’s and all it holds, the world and those who dwell in it,” and we find our pattern for living a liturgical life. 

The liturgical assembly as “instruments of God for the care of creation”

In his encyclical Laudato Si, Pope Francis reminded us of our role as instruments of God for the care of creation. In section V: A Universal Communion, Francis stated: “The created things of this world are not free of ownership: ‘For they are yours, O Lord, who love the living’ (Wisdom 11:26). This is the basis of our conviction that, as part of the universe, called into being by one Father, all of us are linked by unseen bonds and together form a kind of universal family, a sublime communion which fills us with a sacred, affectionate and humble respect.”
We belong to God. The earth belongs to God. All of creation belongs to God. Every Sunday Mass is a recognition of that reality. We stand in humility before the God of all creation and, through Christ, give ourselves back to God, to serve as instruments of the deep and holy love that brought all of creation into being.

Archdiocese of Brisbane Opinion Poll

The Archdiocese of Brisbane heard from 25,000 people on their thoughts about the recent abortion legislation in Queensland. 98 per cent of those were critical of the legislation.
Thank you all for your counsel.
Because you helped us lead such a strong campaign, we would like to know your thoughts on our other worthy initiatives.

Monday, November 05, 2018

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 26 years ago. This year as is my custom  I will write the names of both my father and my mother in  a memorial book at my local Cathedral. RIP my loving parents.

This year I will also add the names of the 12 men who lost their lives in detention on Manus island, Nauru and Christmas Island

Moammed Sawar (Nauru 2002)
Reza Barati (Manus 2014)
Hamed Khazaei (Manus 2014)
Fazal Chegani (Christmas Island 2015)
Omid Masoumali (Nauru 2016)
Rakib Khan (Nauru 2016)
Kamil Hussain (Manus 2016)
Faysal Ishak Ahmed (Manus 2017)
Hamed Shamshiripour (Manus 2017)
Rajeev Rajendran (Manus 2017)
Sayed Ibrahim (Nauru 2017)
Salim Kyawning (Manus 2018)

Bishop Peter J Elliott DD MA STD

One of the fun aspects of doing public photography is you get to have selfies with politicians, musicians and other celebs who look into your lens.
Image may contain: one or more people and people standing

This pic from 2010 was taken in Santa Teresa Spirituality Centre Northern Territory. The colourful celeb on the centre is the recently retired Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne, Peter Elliott. It is no accident that I am found far to his left!!!  Bishop Elliott was visiting the Ltyentye Apurte Community in his role as a member of thAustralian Catholic Disability Council.

This is one of my treasured community pics with the locals including a photobomb from one of the dogs. it speaks volumes about Catholic diversity, culture and the challenge of political and economic isolation.

But back to the celebrity Bishop, Peter Elliott. In November 2018 Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Peter Elliott when he ticked over the expiry age of 75. The theme of his episcopate was an exhortation from Mother Teresa to be a "happy bishop" There was no reference to Pope Francis exhortation  "be shepherds, with the “odour of the sheep"

The most telling story of Bishop Elliott's  pastoral preferences is found on a google image search under his name.  Among the collection is a the Archibald Prize entry of Bishop Elliott by Yi Wang. The painting made it into the finalists selection, being the first time for any Aussie Catholic Bishop and his cat.

Happy retirement Bishop Elliott!!!!!

The Happy Bishop