Monday, November 26, 2018

Young, Gay and Catholic in Australia

Finn Stannard tells SBS News why he chose to share his journey to accepting his sexuality with 1,500 people, as footage of his powerful speech is released.

Finn Stannard
Finn Stannard making his keynote address.
St Ignatius’ / SBS News

Congratulations to Finn Stannard and the school community at St Ignatius College, Riverview. This young man has taken a public stand with the support of his principal and as such has firmly challenged the pastoral practices of the Catholic Church.
Most significant is that in the week the Australian Catholics Church has celebrated the conclusion of the Year of Youth, a young voice has spoken a truth that needs to be heard and welcomed with the enthusiasm that is normative for such events.
It is also worth noting that this item is making news as we celebrate Social Inclusion Week across Australia. Thanks again Finn for stretching the boundaries!!!

Finn Stannard
Finn, centre, with his boyfriend Tom Moiso, left, and a friend at his school formal.
Finn Stannard / SBS News

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Tell Prisoners That They are Prisoners No More

One of the folky type hymns from the 1970s that I loved singing in my #Catholic culture included the chorus:
He sent me to give good news to the poor
Tell prisoners that they are prisoners no more
Tell blind people that they can see,
And set the downtrodden free
And go tell everyone
The news that the kingdom of God has come
Yes,,"tell prisoners that they are prisoners no more". Can't imagine the "Law and Order" brigade of certain political world views singing that with ease. Funny thing is it's a line straight out of Hebrew (Isaiah 61:1) and Christian (Luke 4:18) Scriptures. it's a pro-life call that is rarely heard from the pulpits or proclaimed from the Cathedra.
Debbie Kilroy is one of my local heroes and a women who speaks truth to justice in a way that challenges structures and individual prejudice.
To whet your appetite for this article: "Abolition pushes us to envision ways of addressing violence and creating safer communities without using forms of harm to do so. In her keynote, Angela Davis said it takes courage to imagine this different future as we inevitably feel most comfortable in what we know. To build a world without prisons is to disrupt a society built on inequity, patriarchal violence and colonisation.
Feminism that sees prison as the answer is no friend to our most marginalised women.
This means addressing the roots of poverty and trauma".
Read it and then send it to your State and Federal politicians and tell them you want to sit down with them and discuss this as a political action.

About This Website
We often apply more humanity to property than we do humans we deem unworthy

Saturday, November 24, 2018

A Catholic Feast from a Mennonite Perspective

Being Latin rite Catholic, we do things out of sync with lots of the commercial, sporting and political world. You see today is the "end of the year" for us and next Sunday we will start a new year with preparation for the Christmas season.
However, today's celebration is as political as it is religious. It's a day we celebrate Christ the King. Now I know the republicans within will throw their liturgical arms up in dismay and the cries of "Patriarchy" will echo in the halls of the righteous.
Here's an insightful perspective on this very Catholic day from an unexpected source: 
Melissa Florer-Bixler is the pastor of Raleigh Mennonite Church in North Carolina where she works towards the formation of broad coalitions that exercise citizen power for the common good.

This Sunday, the last one in November, the church makes room for Christ the King Sunday. This is the church’s New Year’s Eve, before we remember—once again—that God enters history as an impoverished baby, born to an unwed mother. But before baby Jesus we pause here, remembering the God who formed stars and planets.
The roots of Christ the King feast day go back to 1925 when it was initiated by Pope Pius XI. It was a year of grief, the nations reeling from World War I as government structures and institutions devastated by war left a vacuum filled by terror. That year, Benito Mussolini made a speech to the Italian Chamber of Deputies that was the turning point for his reign of fascism. The Ku Klux Klan held a march in Washington, D.C. that attracted 35,000 white supremacists. In 1925, Hitler was rebuilding the Nazi party and solidified his role as absolute leader. The future was uncertain.
Pope Pius wanted to remind the church of God’s absolute rule over history. In his encyclical Quas Primas, he writes to the people that the kingdom to which Christians belong is “spiritual and concerned with spiritual things … it demands of its subjects a spirit of detachment from riches and earthly things, and a spirit of gentleness. They must hunger and thirst after justice and more than this, they must deny themselves and carry the cross.”
I wonder how these words sit with us now, our eyes on history. We now know that Mussolini went on to be one of the world’s worst mass murderers, responsible for 400,000 deaths in World War II, 30,000 more during the Italian invasion of Ethiopia. The lynching of black people abetted by white Christians in concert with the KKK between 1882 and 1968 is a wound on the soul of our nation. Six million Jews, seven million Soviet citizens, and nearly a million other disenfranchised people died at the hands of the Nazi regime.
What do we say of Pius’ assertion that Christians are to be “concerned with spiritual things” in the face of such terror?

Monday, November 19, 2018

Thinking Migration 2018

Thinking Migration No 3, 2018
This publication comes under a new dress: for the first time, in fact, this is on-line. In doing so, we hope to reach out to a larger number of people and to make available the long and rich tradition of the teaching of the Catholic Church, in terms of theological reflection, policies, practices, and pastoral care to migrants and refugees, in a way possible only through cyber space.
This issue of Thinking Migration comes into existence in the week the Catholic Church in Australia marks the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees. In His message for the occasion, Pope Francis says that:
“Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, w ho identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age”. (Matthew 25:35 - 43).
The Holy Father qualifies this encounter with for action verbs: “Welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating migrants and refugees”. The global political debate demonstrates, once again, that migration is looked upon not as an opportunity for an encounter, but rather, from the point of view of interest. Everyone seems to have some interest in migration: States, politicians, employers, migration agents and lawyers; perhaps it is less considered from the point of view of migrants and refugees.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Introducing Islam to Christians Sydney 2019

With Christians and Muslims together forming over 50% of the world's population, if there is to be meaningful peace in the world, there has to be mutual understanding between the followers of these two world religions.
Teacher of HSC Studies of Religion, pastoral worker, catechist, priest, adult educator, student, or simply a concerned citizen? - this course is for you!
M7195 Introduction to Islam/M8543 Introducing Islam
Learn about Islam. Learn about the faith that shapes the lives of one fifth of the world's population. Learn a Christian response to and interfaith engagement with Muslims.
Join Patrick McInerney  and Muslim guest scholars over five Saturdays in the first half of next year at the Catholic Institute of Sydney:
9 March, 23 March, 6 April, 4 May, 1 June
For details contact The Registry
Catholic Institute of Sydney
99 Albert Road Strathfield NSW 2135
Ph: 02 9752 9500
Registrations close 6 December.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Resources for a Plenary Council 2020

It is an interactive workbook bringing together historical, theological, sociological, and experiential insights to illuminate the main issues surrounding reform. Taking a measured approach by looking at both the positives and the negatives arising from the experience of Catholics, Goosen examines such things as what reform actually is, the need for reform, and psychological attitudes and resistance towards reform. He tackles thorny subjects like clericalism head-on and addresses the abuse of power in the church.

He also seeks out signs of hope—following the example of Pope Francis—and explores possible strategies for the future. Saving Catholics is a practical tool for parish, school or other community groups to aid in their discernment of the way forward to reform and renewal in the Catholic Church.

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 pussy.

Happy retirement Bishop Elliott!!!!!

The Happy Bishop