Thursday, March 14, 2019

Climate Change: A Catholic Perspective



A Statement from The Catholic Justice & Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Brisbane  on Climate Action

The Catholic Justice & Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Brisbane acknowledges the deep concern and frustration of many people with the failure of political leaders in Australia and around the world to take urgent and far-reaching action to address the climate crisis. The most recent report of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) makes it crystal clear that the world is on the brink of unprecedented environmental and social upheaval as a result of dangerous climate change. Fellow Australians in the Torres Strait and our neighbours in the Pacific are not just worried about the future; they are facing the destructive impacts of climate change now.

In his encyclical, Laudato Si, Pope Francis criticises the short-sightedness of “power politics” which delays the implementation of policies which effectively address critical environmental challenges in a timely manner. In these circumstances, it is understandable and appropriate that people of all ages in every country take action to pressure political leaders to stop evading their responsibility to do what is urgently needed to deal with environmental crises like dangerous climate change. The Australian Government must commit itself to phasing out the use of coal and other fossil fuels quickly. Fossil fuels do not have a future if we are to respond to the evidence on climate change before us now. We must transition quickly to renewable energy and we must support communities affected by the phasing out of the mining and burning of fossil fuels.


The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Brisbane respects those who take nonviolent, peaceful action to pressure decision makers to protect the earth and all who live on it from even more serious consequences of dangerous climate change.


The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Brisbane is in solidarity with our damaged and degraded earth. We are in solidarity with the peoples of the Torres Strait Islands and the Pacific. We are in solidarity with all those who take action to protect us and the earth from more serious climate change impacts including young people who, in good conscience, choose to take action today and in the future.


We will continue to find ways to enable all their voices to be heard and respected.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Militarism and the Church

You might think the threat of war is lower than ever. The opposite is true, writes Professor Joseph Camilleri.
Recent revelations of Australian arms exports to the Middle East have rightly provoked widespread consternation. But this is no sudden aberration. Nor is it a uniquely Australian phenomenon.
Ours is a world of expanding military budgets, soaring arms sales, deeply entrenched conflicts, and large-scale military interventions. The result: humanitarian disasters, record numbers of forced displacements, immense damage to the natural environment, and the use of a nuclear weapon now more likely than at any time since the worst days of the Cold War. (Read full article here)
"It should also be noted that the production, acquisition and transfer of arms represent a pernicious misallocation of human and financial resources, a profound disregard for the cries of the poor and the cries of the Earth."

We do not just need to change the Government this year, we need to change the culture of militarism.
As a practical response to this issue I call on Archbishop Mark Coleridge and the Cathedral of St Stephen, Brisbane to ban the traditional armed catafalque party from the ANZAC Day Mass on 25th April. This will be a powerful symbolic gesture of endorsement of Catholic Social Teachings.




Monday, March 11, 2019

Call to Remove Saint Status from Pope John Paul II

Is it time to remove the title "John Paul the Great" from the statues of the late Pope in the grounds of the Catholic Cathedrals of the Archdiocese of Sydney and the Diocese of Parramatta?

A call to remove the status of sainthood from John Paul II has been published in  France. A translation of the French text and the original source are included in this post



 Source
Christian Testimony

The women's rights day of 2019 will be for us, women, Catholic or not, a day of mourning and indignation. We shout our horror by discovering the documentary Religieuses abusées, the other scandal of the Church on the abuse and rape of religious women by priests.
We lack words to condemn these priests and religious predators and rapists. On the grounds that the nuns gave their lives to "serve", they themselves served, served on the bodies of these women, denying their vows, their word, their dignity - though so often invoked by the Church! - their very person to be human free and responsible for his body. In their clutches, these women have been dispossessed and reduced to a sexual function, a use that is agreed upon, then thrown or "shoved" to another for "profit" With impunityJoin the debate
We indignant ourselves with the system in which these facts are inscribed. No, they are not mere isolated abuses perpetrated by some perverts. It is clear that they are part of this "culture of abuse" denounced by Pope Francis. Yes, it is a system and a culture that denies the body of the other, that of children as well as women. This system is rooted in the male inter-self and is perpetuated by the idolatry in which the function of the priest is held.
But there is worse. There is the concept that the Catholic Church has forged and that she calls "the Woman". We denounce the poverty and indigence and the maneuver of domination that drives this vision. Under the decisive influence of Pope John Paul II, "the Woman" becomes an idea, conceived exclusively by men - single in addition. Its sole vocation, its purpose is to help man through marriage and motherhood or to serve the Church in religious chastity; a vision that is unrelated to the women of flesh, blood, spirit and soul that make up half of the human race and at least two-thirds of practicing Catholics.
We dare to say that the first abuse committed against women is this idealization, this deception which masks the numberless discrimination of women in their own Church. It is on the altar of this woman-idea that the lives of real women are sacrificed.
In the Catholic Church, "the Woman" must respond to a dual vocation "virgin or mother". She is assigned to her sexed body; its "non-use" in the virginity or its "use" in the maternity, without any place being left to the other dimensions of the human being!
We denounce the lie and hypocrisy of this ideology weighing on us. It is this that reveals the abuses on the bodies of the religious women. They have vowed chastity and their word is violated along with the body. When these rapes lead to pregnancy, they are forcibly aborted or their child is cynically abandoned, on the express order of the head of the community. The violence done to their bodies is then at its height since even motherhood, their "other" vocation, is forbidden to them.
Thus, not only do the leaders of the Catholic Church impose on all women their ideology of "the Woman", but - aided by some women acquired in the system - they themselves violate the rules they impose on all.
Our accusation is not about criminals and rapists alone. It aims at the conspiracy of silence that surrounded these monstrous actions. "We wash his dirty clothes with the family," it is said to justify keeping the media and justice at bay. But this dirty linen is simply moved, without ever rubbing laundry or soap. Would one be in an army that manages his BMC (countryside military brothel) as a lesser evil?
On March 8, with the Gospel and the attitude of Jesus himself towards women, we reaffirm the imprescriptible rights of women, who are those of every human being, everywhere and especially in the Church. .
We call for the decanonization of Pope John Paul II, protector of the abusers in the name of the "reason of Church" and principal architect of the ideological construction of "the Woman *", as well as the prohibition of teaching, propagating or to publish the "theology of the body" that he preached during his catechesis on Wednesdays.
Christine Pedotti and Anne Soupa, co-founders of the Skirt Committee.
* John Paul II was the decisive voice that led Pope Paul VI to condemn contraception (encyclical Humanae Vitae ). He then developed a theology of the Woman, always referred to the Virgin Mary, a figure of silence and obedience.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Singing My Way Through Catholicism


Friday March 8  this year marks the 66th    anniversary of my baptism at the Church of St John the Evangelist in 1953.

Part of Catholic culture at the time of my birth was to name children after great saints This was my parents choice rather than dedicate me to Troy Donahue or even "Bing Crosby" one of my father's idols. Family lore tells that I was entitled to be called "Alexander" in the custom of my father and grandfather as a first born son. However,Irish Catholicism won the day and I was named in honour of St Anthony (of Padua) and St Gerard Majella. Both these men have been associated with working among the poor and being pretty passionate about most things in  life except sex.. Pity most of the popular images of such men portray them as insipid blokes with total disinterest in the world around them.

My parents initiated me into a Catholicism that continues to be a core community of faith and challenge in my life. At the heart of this community are relationships that have nurtured and sustained my questions, my passions and my spirituality. Finding these relationships has been a life long journey from the Irish clericalism that dominated my Primary education through the machismo of life at a Christian Brothers College  and finally the exposure to a global vision in a community ofCapuchin Friars.

This anniversary also falls on International Women's Day. I acknowledge the women in my family history, those who educated me, my friends and work colleagues. My women mentors in faith have included  Margaret Oats, "Mum" Shirl and, Dorothy Day.

I have been Catholic across three countries three states, four Archdioceses one religious order, numerous professional associations, groups and everything Catholic!!!
I remain in the Church because I cannot be elsewhere. I have a right by baptism to membership and participation in this community. Its ambiguity and its weakness are part of my reality and give me a context for personal conversion and commitment to maturity. 

Peak experiences include:
  • Suffering Catholic Trauma at my first communion mass with the anxiety of the host getting stuck in the roof of my mouth
  • Endless childhood confessions admitting to sins I could barely pronounce
  • Induction into the Guild of St Stephen by the famous Guilford Young at our first National Conference for Altar Boys (as we were in those days !!)in 1964.
  • Taking vows of poverty chastity and obedience  with the Capuchin Friars and then discovering that two  out of three wasn't a pass.
  • Falling in love with Bing Crosby instead of Julie Andrews
Acknowledging your Catholicism is made with some trepidation in the current climate.
However, there is a spectrum of Catholicism. At one end you will find George Pell and at the other, Andy Warhol You will find Mary Queen of Scots, but you will also discover St. Mary MacKillopTony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce carry membership cards as did Mum Shirl. and Fr Ted Kennedy of Redfern. Scoundrels, saints and sinners , have filled the pews,written our history and taken us on the highs and lows of human experience.
I grew up in a era of Catholicism that nurtured a love of music and singing. The popular Hymn, "How Can I keep From Singing" is rarely sung in Catholic Churches but it captures a sentiment that some of us will identify with as we scroll our social media and watch the reports of clergy abuse dominate our screens.:
Thro' all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul—
How can I keep from singing?
Each year I publish a list of hymns and music that I have sung in Catholic communities from childhood to my adult years. The list now runs to 66 pieces to commemorate this anniversary. If you are Catholic you might enjoy a trip down memory lane. If you have never sung with Catholics, you will probably be amazed at the clips you can find on youtube!!!
I hope the sharing of this post nurtures hope for all of us who live in these days of "tumult and strife"
Readers are welcome to sing-a-long to their favourites and add comments and stories of their memories of these and similar hymns that nurtured the Catholic baby boomers.

All Creatures of Our God and King is one of those majestic pieces that sounds best in great Cathedrals and is usually dragged to death in the local parish. Naturally this comes from the Franciscan influence in my Catholicism and I got to sing it in Capuchin and other parishes all over the country.

Allelu Folk Mass is part of the work of Ray Repp who was one of the first 'folk" style church musicians beginning his publications in 1966.His settings and songs were a regular feature of my weekly singing at Nazareth House Brisbane in 1973. This clip gives you access to hours of happy listening to an era now lost in the archives of most parishes. if you haven't done so go back and read the bio. No wonder I felt the vibes singing his songs!!

Amen was one of those great anthems that we never really got the swing of. We played it twice with no hand clapping and quickly moved on to the Our Father. The 70s could have been so moving!!

Ave Verum was last sung with the parish choir at the now burnt out Church of St Joseph's in Collingwood.

Be Thou My Vision  Rop tú mo baile in its original Gaelic.It remains one of those stirring  hymns where the old English phrasing sits comfortably.

Bring Flowers of the Fairest is one of those songs from my primary school days. Once a year the girls got to have their 15 minutes of Church fame with the crowning of the statue of Our Lady. This somewhat romantic ritual included the less than workplace health and safety practice of the lucky lass. wrapped in yards of coloured cloth climbing a less than sturdy ladder to plonk a wreathe of flowers on Mary's head.

Christ be Our Light has been one of the standards at St Mary's in Exile.

Christ The Lord Is Risen Today One of the great numbers form the Living Parish Hymnal that made up my choral work in Geelong.

Come Back To Me This became a classic in my collection for for Lent from  the days when Gregory Norbett was a member of the  Monks of Weston Priory

Come To The Water A beautiful clip of a choral movement. A classic John Foley hymn from the St Louis Jesuits. It was the gathering hymn for my Dad's funeral mass. 

Dominique. Long before Janet Mead rocked the charts, the anonymous Singing Nun was in the charts. Jeanne Paule Deckers  life is one of tragic love and  the upheaval that marked the 60s. Stay on this channel to check the 1982 release of this one.

Dona Nobis Pacem. My first public performance of this great piece from the pen of Mr Mozart himself was at my first profession ceremony in the chapel of Nazareth House Brisbane in 1974

Dream Lady No collection like this would be complete without a reference to St Mary of the Cross,.  This piece was written by another Australian hymn writer, Kevn Bates SM. He gets uncluded because he also comes from my birth city of Geelong in Wathaurong Country.

Faith of Our Fathers Bing Crosby was the second most important man in our house after Dad. His "White Christmas album was a sacred relic brought out for the season. Among the tracks was this version of the classic patriarchal hymn. Local Catholics will of course recognize this tune as the popular O Bread of Heaven from the Living Parish Hymnal.

Faith of Our Fathers  The mothers, sisters, aunts and parish housekeepers were all left in the back row for this one. Testosterone  with incense. Watch this rendition from Dublin carefully. You will notice the nice young man behind Mr Patterson does not open his lips once. I bet the producers had a word or two to say to him. In his \defense he may have been a Presbyterian!!

Filipino Mass Songs In 1979 I spent a month in the Philippines where the music and passion of a people living under a repressive martial law sang boldly and loudly of their faith.

Frank Anderson msc is here because almost every Australian parish has sung one of his songs at some stage.

Glory and Praise to Our God is now one of the standards that we sang even though it was canned by Thomas Day when he wrote Why Catholics Can't Sing.

God of Mercy and Compassion was in the Lent  pages of  the Living Parish Hymnal

Hail Glorious St Patrick comes from my six year stint as a primary student at St Patrick's in Geelong West.

Hail Mary Gentle Woman comes from the great Catholic warbler, Carey  Landry. From 1972 his songs became a staple in schools parishes retreat centres and I bet the members of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference even sang along at one of their gatherings.So, what happened to Carey when the St Louis Jesuits arrived? Well, he upped and married his travelling companion, Carol Jean Kinghorn and they have been singing happily ever after as hospital chaplains.

Hail Queen of Heaven is one of those "Are you really Catholic" hymns. You can tell that young Regina singing in this clip failed the test. She is reading the words!!! 

Hail Redeemer King Divine is another one of those "real men" hymns from the Holy Name Society. My Dad used to take me along to this religious testosterone gathering every month at Ss Peter and Paul's Church in Geelong West. Love this version with its images of Christchurch Cathedral prior to the 2011 earthquake.

Here I Am Lord is one of those contemporary obligatory songs for major events. To be sung properly it should alternate between a soloist and the community. However most Catholics like to be God in this one.

Holy God We Praise Thy Name is another great anthem that rang out from the Holy Name Societygatherings in my childhood parish.

I'll Sing A Hymn to Mary probably rubs shoulders with O Purest of Creatures for the most sung Marian hymn from the Living Parish Hymnal

Jesus In Your Heart We Find comes from the Year of Faith collection of James McAuley and Richard Connolly.

Jesus Remember Me from the Taize Community.

Jesus, My Lord, My God, My All Another great sing-a-long from the Living Parish Hymnal

Joy is Like The Rain is one of the now archived songs of the 60s that most of us have agreed never to inflict on unsuspecting congregations again. However, listening to the story behind the song from one of my favourite feminist theologians gives me second thoughts.

Kyrie Eleison One of the beauties of Catholic singing is that you get to learn several languages including Greek.

Laudate Dominum I have thrown in a few of the Latin chants from the Taize community

Lead Kindly Light was rarely sung in my youth but it is a standard as an adult from the  inspiration of John Henry Newman..

Litany of the Saints is a chant that has featured in all my choral experiences from the plainchant to the newer settings such as this.

Lord of the Dance gets a mention not only because it comes from the great Sydney Carter, but also because it featured in Travelling to Freedom, the 1971 replacement for the LPH.

Make Me A Channel of Your Peace was never written by St Francis, but lets not let the facts get in  the way of  the Peace Prayer of St Francis. I've sung it in lots of places and sang along  with the TV when it featured at Diana's funeral.

Missa Luba One of the great musical discoveries of my youth was this mass Setting. I still love singing it

Music from Papua New Guinea For two year I worked as a volunteer in the Diocese of Daru-Kiunga in Papua New Guinea. here is a set of images and hymns from their 2012 anniversary celebrations.

Now Thank We All Our God  was there in  the Living Parish Hymnal but I couldn't resist  giving the Mormons a chance to feature.

Now the Green Blade Rises A wonderful Easter song which I learnt from the Travelling to Freedom collection

O Sacrament Most Holy Another one where the Living Parish Hymnal opens automatically.

One Bread, One Body a contemporary standard loved and sung in many parishes.

Only A Shadow The Catholic version of shadow boxing religion from  Carey Landry. 

Our Father:  How could I not include the  song that still crops up in the most unexpected liturgies. And I got to meet the good lady many years later but didn't get her autograph!!

Our Father: The Aboriginal Our Father sung at the 2015 National Aboriginal Torres Strait Island Catholic Council Assembly in Darwin July 2015

Pange Lingua Gloriousi It usually only got an airing on Holy Thursday but that was enough to have it firmly planted in the memory bank.

Peter Kearney  has been called a pioneer in contemporary religious song. His earliest hymns 'Fill My House' and 'The Beatitudes' published in 1966 became internationally known. From 1982 Peter made music his work. As well as writing and publishing he has toured in all Australian states and overseas in Ireland, the United Kingdom and the USA to present his workshops and concerts.I have sung Peter's material for years in many settings.  See his bio.

Priestly People For a brief time before SLJ (St Louis Jesuits) everyone in Catholic parishes sang the music of the gifted Lucien Deiss.

Shalom Chaverim got in as the most popular Hebrew text in Catholic parishes in the 1970s.

Sons of God is one of those 60s songs that most of us have left behind in the archives of  forgettable songs of the era.

Soul of My Saviour is in the top ten selection from the Living Parish Hymnal

Spirit of God was blown all over Churches and schools in the 60s and 70s. I just love the reference to Sr Bubble .

Sr IreneO'Conner also predated Sr Janet Mead, but never broke into the charts. Irene was a member of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary with an aunt, Majella Tracey.I sang some of Irene's songs in my days as a Capuchin Friar.

Sweet Sacrament Divine Concert performances of these classic hymns from my childhood days overwhelm the memories of our local parish choir.

Take Our Bread has been sung to death and should now be quietly put in the dusty cupboard in the sacristy or vestry if you are reading from the USA.

Tantum Ergo That preconciliar Latin just gets in you and  every verse comes back from Sunday arvo Benediction.

The Lourdes Hymn Another great classic that sorts the real from the wannabees. If you need to read  the words you aren't really Catholic.

The Rose A Catholic hymn? It's presence in the list is again personal. In  the late 1970s a friend's sister was tragically gunned down by her police co-workers in an accident. The rendition of The Rose sung at her funeral haunts me to this day.

The Spirit of God From the work of the great Lucien Deiss.. Check out the other examples of his work on the sidebar of this clip.

Ubi Caritas another beautiful chant form Taize.

Veni Creator Spiritus The haunting Gregorian chant that I was taught as a young member of our parish choir in Geelong West. 

We Stand for God Another one of those "if you are really Catholic" hymns. Another anthem of the old Holy Name Society from our family parish of Ss Peter and Paul's in Geelong West.

Wherever You Go A lost treasure from the Monks of Weston Priory.


Yahweh, I Know You Are Near is now consigned to the "naughty corner" of Catholic hymns.See this instruction from  Rome in 2008.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Poems for Lent and Holy Week

ECCE HOMO 

POEMS FOR LENT AND HOLY WEEK





http://jameswoodward.wordpress.com/2010/05/27/georges-rouault-christ-on-the-cross/

Compiled by Karen A. Keely

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Ash Wednesday



On this day we wear the mark of the ashen cross to remind ourselves that stardust is our origin and our destination. We have a responsibility for right living with each other and our Mother Earth. 

We wear the cross of suffering and pain inflicted by injustice and exploitation. We wear this mark to remember the words and deeds of Jesus of Nazareth so that all may have life and have it to the full.

Repent is not a popular word and rarely makes it into the friendly game of Scrabble. Yet it is a life giving choice we make if we are to be agents of change and rewrite grace into history

Ash Wednesday calls us to repent of all that is not life giving at the personal and social in our choices. Repentance also demands a change of heart and practice if it is going to be effective.

This is the time to fast from inhumanity and cruelty. This is the time to put our prayer into action and our alms giving into justice making.

Let us be glad for the season of Lent 

Saturday, March 02, 2019

Lenten Reflections An exhibition by Visionaries artists




4 MARCH - 26 APRIL, 2019


    Forgiving Father  Frank Wesley

Vera Wade Gallery
                     Saint Andrew’s Uniting Church - Corner Ann & Creek Streets, Brisbane City
Opening hours: 11am - 2 pm weekdays (except public holidays)

Opening Dedication and Morning Tea Sunday on March 10 at 10:45
       
Reflection Hour 
each Wednesday 11 am, March 13 to April 17

Artists: GwendaBranjerdporn, Sue Mansill, Marion McConaghy, Graham Moss, Sue Oliver, Rita Ringma, Sharon Roberts,Bernice Ross, Cees Sliedrecht, Frank Wesley, Geraldine Wheeler.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

I Believe Survivors

Today I added more ribbons to the Loud Fence in the grounds of the Cathedral of St Stephen Brisbane. 
I added a hero white ribbon for the brave voices of those who have experienced abuse by Church and Religious personnel. 
I added a cardinal red ribbon for victims of abuse who passed away before their voice was heard or their story told. 
I tied a repentance purple ribbon to remind us all that we are about to begin the season of Lent, a time of metanoia and change of heart as people and as an institution.

The Loud Fence in Brisbane is the old entrance to what was St Stephen’s School building. The gate has a padlock on it and is no longer used. It is in Charlotte Street behind all the main buildings where the clergy rarely walk but members of the public pass in droves. It stands as a symbolic monument to the history which locked out the cries of those abused and refused to welcome them when they attempted to tell their stories. Now the stories of victims and survivors are told in ribbons of memory, colours of grief and threads of hope.
#loudfence #IBelieveSurvivors

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Our Queer Closet in the Vatican

In the Closet of the Vatican exposes the rot at the heart of the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church today. This brilliant piece of investigative writing is based on four years' authoritative research, including extensive interviews with those in power.
The celibacy of priests, the condemnation of the use of contraceptives, countless cases of sexual abuse, the resignation of Benedict XVI, misogyny among the clergy, the dramatic fall in Europe of the number of vocations to the priesthood, the plotting against Pope Francis – all these issues are clouded in mystery and secrecy.
In the Closet of the Vatican is a book that reveals these secrets and penetrates this enigma. It derives from a system founded on a clerical culture of secrecy which starts in junior seminaries and continues right up to the Vatican itself. It is based on the double lives of priests and on extreme homophobia. The resulting schizophrenia in the Church is hard to fathom. But the more a prelate is homophobic, the more likely it is that he is himself gay.
"Behind rigidity there is always something hidden, in many cases a double life." These are the words of Pope Francis himself and with them, the Pope has unlocked the Closet.
No one can claim to really understand the Catholic Church today until they have read this book. It reveals a truth that is extraordinary and disturbing. (Purchase via Amazon))


The Corruption of the Vatican’s Gay Elite Has Been Exposed By 

Welcome to my world: Notes on the reception of Frédéric Martel's bombshell James Alison