Wednesday, 4 January 2012

News briefs for Wednesday 4 January*


Feasts: St Titus, Bishop (Benedictine 1963 calendar)

Persecution watch...
  • The Vatican has released a list of missionaries murdered in 2011 consisting of 18 priests, 4 religious sisters and four laypeople.  Most died in South America (especially Columbia and Mexico).
Oz news
  • A Queensland priest, Fr Paul Kelly, has launched a petition asking that the law be changed to prevent the 'gay panic defence' being used in murder cases (why oh why to priests feel the need to involve themselves in issues of this kind?);
  • Fr Brian Lucas of the Australian Bishops' Conference gave an interview to the ABC on US Ordinariate developments yesterday - but when pressed on a timeline for Australia said only probably sometime in the next year.  Sometime this century then.
  • An extreme evangelical anti-Islam pamphlet distributed in Queanbeyan (next to Canberra) over Christmas has caused some consternation to the local Muslim community;
  • Serving as an addendum to my diocese report yesterday, the Canberra Times reports on parish amalgamations and closures in the Canberra-Goulburn diocese (thanks to a reader for the alert).
Refugees and the Indonesian problem
  • Indonesia is about to relax its already lax visa polices further, leading to a likely increase in boat arrivals here...
Oz bishop's Christmas messages
  • Brisbane Apostolic Administrator Bishop Jarrett's Christmas message focuses on recovery from floods and other disasters, and echoes Cardinal Pell's call from last year for bi-partisan action to stop asylum seekers from getting onto boats...
  • The bishops of Cairns and Townsville do not have Christmas messages posted on their website, however 'Bishop Brian' (Heenan) of Rockhampton actually has a rather good Advent message (must have been something in that Roman air during the ad limina!) urging people to take time out from the commercialism around Christmas, prepare a crib, share some Scripture verses with the family, go to confession, and give to Vinnies...
The challenge of renewing the Church...
  • And for an overseas bishop's Christmas message with considerable relevance to Australia, have a read of that by the Bishop Campbell of Lancaster (UK) who, inter alia, questions the reasons for continuing to support schools that are catholic in name only... 

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