Monday, 29 June 2009

A Charter of Rights and the Bishops

You might recall that Australia currently has an inquiry running into whether or not we should have a Charter of Human Rights. You might think that with the increasing use being made of such legislation in the United Kingdom, Canada and elsewhere to persecute Christians, the Catholic position on such a thing was clear cut.

Apparently not.

ACBC Submission to the Inquiry

Our bishops have made a Submission to the Inquiry - but it sidesteps the whole question of a Charter, presumably because the bishops could not agree among themselves.

On the plus side it does focus on protection of life issues, including questions of conscientious objection. But I wasn't overwhelmed by the strength of the arguments, the practical examples (there are none) or anything else in it. It reads to me like a statement of a position, not an attempt to make a compelling case that could be used in the final report of the Inquiry.

More fundamentally, it pretty much ignores the question of freedom to practice religion and manifest one's faith publicly altogether! Yet this is the arena where all around the world, things are increasingly becoming difficult for Christians, who are being persecuted as 'intolerant' of the homosexual agenda in particular, under the guise of protecting human rights.

Should the bishops be making these submissions?

Now I have to admit I always wonder about the cost-benefit ratio of the bishops' making these kinds of submissions anyway - there are times when they do need to speak up, but to routinely invest considerable effort to do things more obviously in the realm of the laity seems a questionable prioritization of resources. When they duck out on the real issues facing our society, even more so!

Let's hope lots of other submissions have tackled the real issues, and taken a more hard hitting approach to doing so.

Next steps on the Inquiry

Meanwhile, the Inquiry itself is moving closer to conclusion. There is a talkfest coming up in Canberra in a few days, all looking terribly politically correct.

The sessions on how the UK charter is working could be fascinating (the speakers are Lord Thomas Bingham, Rt Hon Jack Straw MP, Mr Murray Hunt, Mr Geoffrey Robertson QC, Dr Hilary Charlesworth, Mr George Williams and Julian Lesser).

The other session Canberraites might want to focus on takes place this Wednesday afternoon, and our bishops are noticeably absent from the speakers list:

"Hot button issues

Session Chaired by:

Ms Tammy Williams and Mary Kostakidis
Member, National Human Rights Consultation Committee


Euthanasia and the Right to die

Mr Neil Francis
Chief Executive Officer
Dying with Dignity Victoria

Abortion and the Right to life

Ms Rita Joseph
Institute on Family Policy and Politics

Same Sex Marriage

Mr Rodney Croome
Gay Advocate

Religious Freedom in Employment

The Rt Reverend Robert Forsyth
Bishop of South Sydney
Diocese of Sydney Anglican Church of Australia "

Start worrying folks.

Ad Multos Annos...

I do particularly love finding out a little background on the priests we are praying for, it is a nice way of helping us pray for them, as well as capturing a little of the history of the traditionalist movement in Australia.

So thanks to Rosemary for the photos and background here on Father Georges Maurel whose 30th anniversary of ordination it is today (and if you have some background on those whose aniversary is coming up, please do send it in, or add something via the comments button).

A priest of the Archdiocese of Perth, he is French born and was ordained by the late Archbishop Lefebvre in 1979. He left Society of St Pius X some years ago and was helping Father Michael Rowe with the Latin Mass Community in WA until he followed a call to be a hermit. Having made his consecration into the hands of Archbishop Hickey he went to Queensland - the WA community misses him, but he will welcome any visitors at his hermitage in South Mackay.

Please pray also for Fr McDaniels of Melbourne, whose seventh anniversary of ordination it is today.

Today is also a particularly appropriate day to remember our current Peter, Pope Benedict XVI. May all priests, especially the traditionally inclined, strive always to lead by example, and seek the grace to forgive each other past sins and hurts, to see past differences of opinion, and work together for the restoration of Holy Church in union with Peter.

SS Peter and Paul - Patronal feast of the Fraternity of St Peter

Today is the Feast of St Peter and St Paul, which is also the patronal feast of the Fraternity of St Peter, so please do say a pray for them!

Here is a photo of priests and seminarians celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Fraternity's formation at World Youth Day last year:

Lewisham apostolate (Frs Wong and Gresser, with Fr Rizzo, now stationed in Christchurch NZ):

Adelaide (Fr McCaffrey):

Parramatta (Fr Rehak, pictured in Canberra last year):

and Fr Define, Regional Superior:

Canberra and Goulburn (Fr Webb):

and Fr Popplewell:

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Wangaratta Confirmations and Solemn Mass

A few shots from Friday's traditional rite confirmations and Solemn Mass, the first performed according to that rite in over 40 years in the diocese, and performed by Bishop Joe Grech of Sandhurst.

The mass, held at St Patrick's Church, was well attended, attracting over 250 people.

There were eight candidates for confirmation.

And the music was performed by the Wangaratta Choristers.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Please pray today especially for...

Fathers Donald Lourensz and Leo Hynes, both of the Diocese of Sandhurst, whose ordination anniversary this is.

PS I'm told that is Fr Hynes pictured above with Bishop Grech.

Updated priest prayer list

First, ad multos annos to Fr Nicholas Dillon, currently resident in Melbourne! Please keep him especially in your prayers today.

Secondly, I've received a few additions and corrections to the list, so thought I'd provide an updated version. This time it is in order of ordination date.

I'd really love for priests and/or their friends/parishioners to check it and let me know of any corrections ( And of course if you'd rather not be on it, just let me know.

Also, there a lot of names at the end for which I do not have dates.....



Bp Geoffrey Jarrett - 22 February 2001


Fr Lawrence Gresser FSSP - 4 March 2000
Bp William Brennan – 4 March 1984
Fr David Thoroughgood - 20 March 1982


Fr John Parsons - 3 April 1982
Fr Martin Roestenburg O Praem - 13 April 1991
Bp Patrick Power – 18 April 1986
Fr James McCarthy - 30 April 2009
Fr Andrew Benton - 30 April 2009


Fr Terence Mary Naughtin OFM Conv - 7 May 1988
AB Barry Hickey - 1 May 1984
Bp Aloysius Morgan (obit 21.5.08)
Fr Timothy Deeter - 8 May 1981
Cardinal George Pell – 21 May 1987
Fr Michael Rowe - 21 May 1994
Fr Ken Webb FSSP - 22 May 2004
Fr Patrick Holmes - 27 May 1961


Fr Duncan Wong FSSP – 7 June?
Bp Peter Elliot – 15 June 2007
AB Mark Coleridge – 19 June 2002
Fr William Grogan - 22 June 1979
Fr Glen Tattersall - 23 June 2001
Fr John Fongemie FSSP - 23rd June 2001
Fr Michael McCaffrey FSSP - 24 June 2006
Fr Nicholas Dillon - 27 June 2003
Fr Donald Lourensz -28 June 1987
Fr Leo Hynes - 28 June 1975
Fr John McDaniels - 29 June 2002
Fr Georges Maurel - 29 June 1979
Fr Jim Shelton - 30 June 2000


Fr Peter-John Nievandt - 1 July 2005
Bp Kevin Manning of Parramatta - 10 July 1991
AB Philip Wilson – 10 July 1996
Fr Gerald Quinn CP - 21 July, 1962
Fr Leo Lane - 27 July 1948
Fr Christopher Dowd OP – 30 July 1988


Msgr John Kelly (obit 5 August)
Fr Chris Reay - 19 August 1978
Fr Bernard McGrath - 17 August 1984


Fr Kim Holland - 25 September 1992
Fr Brian Limbourne - 29th September 1989


Fr Paschal M Corby OFM Conv – 17 November 2007
Fr Dominic Popplewell FSSP - 22 Nov 2008
Fr Marko Rehak FSSP - 22 November 2008


Archbishop Denis Hart – 9 December 1997
Fr Mannes Tellis OP - 20 December 2008


Fr Gregory Jordan SJ – Brisbane
Fr William Aliprandi – Broken Bay
Fr Martin Durham - Rockhampton
Fr Mark Withoos - Rome
Fr Joseph Kramer FSSP - Rome
Fr Paul McGavin – Canberra-Goulburn
Fr Peter Grasby – Melbourne
Fr Gerard Diamond – Melbourne
Fr Vel Maglica – Melbourne
Fr John Walshe – Melbourne
Fr John O'Neill - Parramatta
Fr Terance Hogan - Parramatta
Fr William Define FSSP - Parramatta
Fr Andrew Wise - Sale
Fr John Stockdale – Sandhurst
Mgr John Duffus – Sandhurst
Fr Richard Aladics – Sydney
Fr Mark Spora - Sydney
Fr Kevin Muldoon - Sydney
Fr Anthony Robbie - Sydney
Fr John Stork – Wollongong

Friday, 26 June 2009

Seven signs of the counter-reformation...

Traddies are a often a depressed lot, convinced the end is nigh (as well it might be). And it is easy to find lots of things to be depressed about in the Church and outside of it.

Over at Creative Minority Report, they even have a Friday setpiece of the Eight Signs of the Apocalypse (well ok they might be a bit humorous...).

But really, traddies have a lot of things to rejoice about at the moment, so I've decided to try out a new series for Friday each week, viz the seven signs of the Counter-Reformation - collecting up the good news stories on the restoration of things Catholic. Do please send me suggestions to include...

7. A Bishop meeting with traditionally oriented Orders - and praising the use of chant and wearing of habits.

The Acatholicas are all het up about an entry from Cardinal Sean O'Malley's blog:

"On Wednesday morning I celebrated Mass and had breakfast with the Heralds of the Gospel, an International Association of Pontifical Right. They were first established by Pope John Paul II in 2001, and they already have thousands of consecrated men and women and are present in 57 countries world-wide.

They came to Boston for a visit, and to bring with them the pilgrim image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to various parishes and schools of the archdiocese. I was so impressed with their love and devotion for the Eucharist, the Blessed Mother and the Holy Father.

They sang beautifully during the Mass, and most of their repertoire was the old Latin chants I learned as a young friar.

It was wonderful to be with them and to hear about all the exciting things they are doing to evangelize in different countries. I also have to say that they looked pretty impressive in their very distinctive habits! "

6. Archdiocese of Manila decrees that only boys may be altar servers (with apologies to The Sibyl!).

Rorate Caeli reports that on 14 June Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales' of Manila issued a Pastoral letter on the Sunday Celebration of the Eucharist that includes a prohibition on female altar servers:

"28. From antiquity, the altars (sic) servers have exercised their ministry within the assembly and they have helped to enhance the quality of the celebration by taking part in processions and by ensuring that all the requisites for the celebration are available at the appropriate time. (GIRM, 100)

It is a proven fact that many ordained ministers developed their vocation to the priesthood because of their membership in this ministry when they were young. We therefore wish to continue the practice of reserving this ministry to young boys, in order to introduce them to the life and ministry of the Church. (Redemptionis Sacramentum)."

5. Record numbers attend Blessed Sacrament Processions for Corpus Christi this year

From Sydney the Catholic Weekly reports:

"More than 5000 Catholics braved the inclement weather to walk, pray and sing together in the rain during the annual Procession of the Blessed Sacrament to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi last Sunday. Despite the weather, crowd numbers were up in the year following World Youth Day on the Feast of Corpus Christi. Bishop Julian Porteous, Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney, said people came to show their “great appreciation of the gift of Christ given to us through the Eucharist”.

“The procession was more like a sea of umbrellas as we walked through the city from St Patrick’s, Church Hill, and ended inside St Mary’s Cathedral,” he said. “The Cathedral was absolutely packed and several hundred weren't able to fit in."

4. Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP....speaks from a Salvation Army Hall.

The Liberal former Master of the Dominican Order, who presided over the period of its decline between 1992 and 2001 was in Australia this week for the 'Catalysts for Renewal Forum' - held at Sydney's Salvation Army Hall due, one gathers to the Cardinal Archbishop's insistence that those using catholic facilities actually say things consistent with catholic doctrine.

Fr Radcliffe apparently supports homosexuals becoming priests and other such causes.

Of course, we will know the restoration has really arrived when Liberals don't get to speak in Brisbane Cathedral and participate in its anniversary celebrations.....

3. US bishops correct false teaching about the relationship between Judaism and Catholicism

Catholic Culture reports that the US Conference of Catholic Bishop's has put out a statement acknowledging significant deficiencies in a 2002 statement on the Church's mission and the role of Jews.

The 2002 statement is now apparently 'not be taken as an authoritative presentation of the teaching of the Catholic Church' and 'contains some statements that are insufficiently precise and potentially misleading.

'The statement notes that while the original document emphasized the unique relationship between God and the Jewish people, 'This acknowledgment needs to be accompanied, however, by a clear affirmation of the Church's belief that Jesus Christ in Himself fulfills God's revelation begun with Abraham and that proclaiming this good news to all the world is at the heart of her mission'.

According to Catholic Culture, the new USCCB statement goes on to observe that the emphasis in Reflections on the importance of the Jewish witness "could lead some to conclude mistakenly that Jews have an obligation not to become Christian and that the Church has a corresponding obligation not to baptize Jews." The Church can never compromise her commitment to evangelize all people, the bishops' doctrine committee states.

2. Church recovation reversed: return to use of the High Altar at Westminister Cathedral

In one of a series of promising moves, the new Archbishop of Westminister has ordered the removal of the temporary freestanding altar that previously blocked the view of the older High Altar. Read more at New Liturgical Movement. Here it is as it was:

For a Pontifical Mass showing its restored splendor, go and take a look at Fr Finigan's blog.

Hmm, if only this trend had caught on in Australia a little earlier so that we didn’t have the new anti-TLM altar in St Mary’s – not to mention the ‘innovative’ approaches to architecture being adopted by some of the bishops in the West…

1. The Pope initiates Year of the Priest

Yes, that's a Year dedicated to the sacramental priesthood, Holy Orders.

Not the 'priesthood of the faithful', not a year of the laity.

At his General Audience this week the Pope explained:

"The aim of this Year for Priests", he went on, "is to support each priest's struggle towards spiritual perfection, 'upon which the effectiveness of his ministry particularly depends', and to help priests, and with them the entire People of God, to rediscover and revive an awareness of the extraordinary and indispensable gift of Grace which the ordained ministry represents, for the person who receives it, for the entire Church, and for the world which would be lost without the real presence of Christ".

"Although the historical and social conditions in which the 'Cure of Ars' worked have changed, it is right to ask how priests can imitate him by identifying themselves with their ministry in modern globalised societies", said the Pope.

"In a world in which the common view of life leaves ever less space for the sacred, in place of which 'functionality' becomes the only decisive category, the Catholic concept of priesthood could risk losing its due regard, sometimes even in the ecclesial conscience".

The Holy Father identified two conceptions of the priesthood, "which do not in fact contradict one another". On the one hand "a social-functional conception which identifies the essence of priesthood with the concept of 'service'. ... On the other hand there is a sacramental-ontological conception" which sees priestly ministry "as determined by a gift called Sacrament, granted by the Lord through the mediation of the Church"."

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Upcoming events...

Just a reminder for this weekend....

And there are a few EWTN programs coming up to that might be worth a look either on tv if you have the channel, or online:
  • a Pontifical High Mass of the Extraordinary Form live from the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama at 8 a.m. US ET Wednesday, July 1 (10pm Australian Eastern Standard Time) - but if you are watching on cable, you will need to check the schedule), the Solemnity of the Most Precious Blood. The celebrant will be Bishop Joseph N. Perry, Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Chicago;

  • Pope Benedict XVI’s celebration of Vespers for the Conclusion of the Year of St. Paul live from Rome at noon US ET June 28 (8pm Australian Eastern Standard time). The following day, the Pope’s celebration of the Mass for the Solemnity of the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, which includes the imposition of the pallium on new archbishops. The Mass will air live from Rome at 4 a.m. ET June 29 and will re-air at 11 a.m. ET June 29.

And if you are a man and haven't signed up yet for Flavigny Monastery's Ignatian Retreats, do it now! Flavigny was originally formed to continue a tradition of offering Ignatian retreats as part of the program of re-evangelizing France in the 1930s, so has long experience in this field. The Monastery itself was originally closely associated with the SSPX, but was reconciled to Rome in the mid-1980s (before Le Barroux). You can find out more from their excellent website.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The morality of politics continued...

The latest installment in the Utegate saga are claims that the public servant at the centre of the storm, Godwin Grech, has been an ongoing source of embarrassing leaks from the Department of the Treasury.

It poses some interesting questions about the morality of politics. Call me catholic, but I actually do think there are some principles politicians and public servants should abide by.

Was Grech a sneak?

Liberal sources are now apparently saying that Mr Grech was a source of 'offline' advice (ie advice that bypassed the Departmental hierarchy and vetting processes) when the Liberals where in Government. Not illegal of course, but you depending on what it consisted of, pretty unwise on the part of those listening you would have thought. And not something that would win you many friends amongst your colleagues. Certainly not behaviour consistent with Catholic morality in my view.


The more serious allegation though is that he has continued to be in regular contact with senior Liberals, most notably the leader of the Opposition Mr Turnbull, and may have fed him sensitive information on planned Government responses to the economic crisis and other issues. If this allegation is proved, Mr Grech faces a jail sentence.

And really, whoever the Treasury leaker is, they deserve to be caught and jailed - it is one thing to be a whistleblower, something that might possibly be justified in very rare circumstances indeed.

Quite another to provide information to someone for political or commercial purposes.

Making use of leaks and leakers?

It also raises some pretty serious issues to my mind about the morality of those receiving the information. If a journalist happens to receive a brown paper envelope with a juicy leak on a subject where they genuinely believe some debate might be in the public interest, the morality of using it is at least debatable.

This however is alleged to be a case of a politician maintaining contact with a person they know is passing on the material illegally. Material moreover whose release systematically undermines the integrity of the processes of Government and impacts on the policy debate.

First there are the immediate impacts on policy implementation and debate. More fundamentally though, every time senior public servants are found to have leaked, good government suffers.

Because what sensible politician wants to risk having someone in the room at Expenditure Review Committee and other Cabinet discussions if they might disclose those discussions to their political enemeies and work to undermine their decisions? Yet often having a public servant present can be critical to making sure decisions are made with all of the advice on the table, and that the decision is well implemented.

And what politician even wants to even seek advice at all if the risk is that if the public servant's view is not accepted, it will be leaked to the Opposition to use? Better a bad decision than one that can be readily attacked!

Most fundamentally of all, in a case like this apparently motivated by a dislike of the Government per se, how could you ever trust the advice you were being given to be the best possible anyway? Wouldn't you suspect that it might be distorted to lure you into making the wrong decision?

If the situation were reversed and Turnbull was in Government would he not prosecute the leaker? Howard certainly had no hesitation in doing so!

If these claims prove to be true, Mr Turnbull surely has to go. And the Liberals really need to clean up their act if they want to regain Government. All is not fair in love and war.

Feast of the Birthday of St John the Baptist

Ad Multos Annos: Fr McCaffrey FSSP

Congratulations to Fr Michael McCaffrey FSSP, chaplain to Adelaide's Latin Mass Community, shown below at his ordination with Archbishop Wilson of Adelaide:

At his first Mass:
And trying to signal the servers (!) at last year's Ordinations in Canberra:

Please keep him and all our priests in your prayers.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Help the Pope go Gold!

Thanks to reader Matt for the alert to this rather cute peice from The Age :

"Pop stardom awaits Pope
Barney Zwartz June 23, 2009

POPE Benedict XVI, an iconic figure to tens of millions, is about to boost his street cred by putting out a CD on the same label as U2 and Lady GaGa.

Benedict, 82, has long been a model of cool (if that can be interpreted as urbane imperturbability), and a fashion icon for his white robes and cap above brilliant red slippers.

Now he is about to be the first papal pop star, with a CD of music and prayers that entertainment giant Universal Music hopes will strike a chord with millions of Catholics around the world. Also featuring the Vatican choir, it will be released for Christmas.

The program is yet to be announced but will presumably draw on the rich liturgical tradition of the Catholic Church. Benedict has said he is not an admirer of modern folk-style church music, let alone rock.

Universal Music Australia general manager of marketing Tim Kelly said previous popes had been captured on recordings, but this would be the first recording with the direct participation of the Vatican.

To go gold in Australia, the Pope needs to sell 35,000 CDs, a possibility with more than five million Catholics in Australia.

Mr Kelly said only two artists had topped 2 million sales here recently: classical prodigy Andre Rieu and pop star Pink."

Integrity and the public service: the case for some mass sackings

I normally try and minimise my watching of the tv news, but I have to admit to being riveted by 'Utegate'.

The story so far

For the benefit of overseas readers, let me briefly recap. Back when he was an MP, a car dealer in his constituency, a Mr Grant, donated to Mr Rudd, now the Australian Prime Minister, a motor vehicle (colloquially a Ute, or Utility vehicle) to use during an election campaign.

Now, several years later with the financial collapse, the Government started helping car dealers find prop up finance - and the car dealer applied for help. Claims were made that both the Treasurer's Office and the Prime Minister's put inappropriate pressure - supposedly documented in an email - on both public servants and the finance company involved to help the guy who donated the Ute.

On the back of the supposed email, and subsequent emotional testimony given by the public servant, Mr Godwin Grech, who managed the financial bailout scheme, the Leader of the Opposition called for the resignation of the Treasurer and the Prime Minister.

Both the PM and the Treasurer denied any wrongdoing - the PM claimed never to have directly intervened, while the Treasurer claimed that the level of lobbying on behalf of the car dealer was the same as for many others. And in any case, the guy didn't end up getting any money out of the process.

Turns out the PM and Treasurer were correct - the claimed email was a fake, almost certainly concocted by someone in the Department of the Treasury, and the public servant running the scheme is under serious investigation by the Federal Police (who found the fake email at his home). And the Treasurer has tabled evidence that shows several other car dealers got much more assistance than the one concerned here. Moreover the claim of special treatment rests largely on the evidence of the now highly suspect Godwin Grech.

So now the position of the leader of the Opposition, Mr Turnbull, is looking pretty sick. Particularly as the suspicion must be that the Opposition had a role in concocting the email in the first place. If that proves to be the case, it's pretty alarming.

But the other issue in my view, is the role of the public service in all this.

The implications for the Public Service

One of the bulwark's of the Australian system is the neutrality of the Public Service - the idea that they are there to serve the elected Government of the day.

So it is pretty sad to see senior Treasury officials suspected of concocting fake emails designed to implicate the Prime Minister and his Office in improper behaviour.

The theory

In the US, senior officials are appointed by the Executive. In Australia, following the Westminster system, they are supposedly appointed on merit and required to give their best advice and action regardless of their personal views.

But perhaps the time has finally come to acknowledge that we do in fact have a Washminster system, not a Westminster one, and for Labor to clean out those in the Public Service who are white anting the Government and actively attempting to bring it down.

The neutrality of the Australian Public Service has always been more theory than reality. How many politicians down the years, with greater or lesser amounts of evidence to support the claim, have claimed that their public servants have been out to get them?

We all know in practice of course that people come with their own opinions and approaches. We all laughed at the ongoing battle between the bureaucrats and Ministers in Yes Minister for example, and suspected that there might be more than an element of truth in it in our own system.

And there are some pretty famous cases where public servants have seemly been pressured to deliver on policies they know are ill-conceived, and to cover up for the politicians they serve, or who have lost their jobs for refusing to do so.

Still, journalistic claims of a wider duty to the public (not reflected in the law of the land) apart and a few leaks aside, until recently we haven't seen too many overt attempts to actually topple Ministers or even a Prime Minister.

When the public service decides to get its bosses...

We have now.

First there was Defence's alleged investigation of its own Minister for inappropriate links to China (and yes, I know he dug his own grave to a large extent, and that the internal investigation, amazingly found the Department was innocent. Sure).

And now Treasury of all places apparently being the source of a fake email aimed at bringing down the Prime Minister.

This is serious stuff.

Sack the Secretaries

When Labor returned to power, they decided not to sack a number of heads of Department who must surely have been on their hitlist on the integrity/ability to serve the incoming Government front.

That was a bad mistake in my view, and they are now paying the price - because the fish rots from the head.

I'm not suggesting that the Secretary's of Defence or Treasury in particular are the problem - just that the survival of certain others (and I have no doubt, their continuing activities and leadership style) has created an untenable atmosphere, not helped by the Government's generation of excessive workloads and lack of appreciation for effort due to the Ruddbot's workaholic approach to life. It is the conjunction of these factors that has presumably led inevitably to more hotheaded types moving from more traditional methods of bureaucratic warfare to the overt.

And there have to be serious questions about the quality of the leadership of these two departments (and others) that have allowed things to get to this stage.

Mr Godwin Grech

I'll be curious to see just how much of a role Mr Grech and the Liberal Party turns out to have had in this whole affair. Personally, as one who has some experience with Senate Committees, the sight of a public servant actually wanting to answer questions at a Senate Committee and having to be sat on by his superiors to stop him doing so last Friday struck me at the time as very odd indeed.

And Mr Grech does have some liberal connections - apparently he once worked in Joe Hockey's Office some years ago - and more recently was closely involved in the establishment of the Department of Human Services when Hockey was appointed Minister thereof under the previous Government.

Moreover, as Rudd has been pointing out, the Liberal party has quite a lot of form on fake emails and other documents (the current SA situation being a case in point). And this in itself is terrifying. Where are we living after all, Stalinist Russia!

But perhaps all of this simply reflects the state of disintegration of our society and culture, and the triumph of the culture of death and dissimulation.

And the substantive issue?

The worst point about all this is that the substantive issue - about when politicians should accept free Utes (well, never?), and just how much help it is appropriate to give constituents, is surely going to utterly drown.

In reality, I don't think the Liberals have even the smidgen of a case against either Rudd or Swan on this particular one.

First the car dealer didn't end up getting any money, so any special treatment wasn't that effective!

Secondly, it wouldn't be hard to find more than a few cases where Ministers in the previous government did a lot more overt leaning on the public service and made sure the outcome actually was achieved (remember that regional slush fund?) than occurred here! Having the Minister's Office watching over your shoulder so that the Minister can say hand on heart that he did everything possible for his constituent might be annoying to public servants, but it certainly isn't new or abnormal.

All the same, it is a system that is potentially dangerous, and maybe the time has come for a thorough review of just how some of these processes do work.

Westminster style Governments around the world -but most especially starting with its birthplace - are in trouble at the moment over integrity on many fronts, and maybe the economic crisis makes it particularly timely to think hard about where it is headed.

Now is the time to refound Christendom. If we don't manage to do that, others are waiting to step into the breach. And we will like them a lot less!

Ad Multos annos! - Frs Tattersall and Fongemie

Congratulations to Frs Tattersall and Fongemie today, who, back in 2001 were the first to be ordained deacons and then priests according to the traditional rite in Australia since 1969.

Fr Fongemie FSSP nows serves at the St Philippine Duchesne Church in Kansas City, Kansas.

Fr Tattersall, shown below at Vespers for Pentecost and in Tasmania recently (photos from the Latin Mass Melbourne site), is very much still here though! He is chaplain of Melbourne's Latin Mass Community.

Please keep them especially in your prayers today!
And don't forget that partial indulgence you can collect by saying appropriate prayers for the sanctification of priests...

Monday, 22 June 2009

Ad Multos Annos!

To Fr William Grogan, whose ordination anniversary it is today.

Please do keep him and all the priests on the list (below and on the right hand side) in your prayers - and further additions still welcome.

Traditionalist pictures of the occasional day!

The Pope at Vespers launching the Year of the Priest:
At the tomb of Padre Pio:

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Another priest sings his first TLM: Sacred Heart in Melbourne

Another priest joined the ranks of those who have said and/or sung the TLM this week, with Fr Paschal Corby OFM Conv filling in in Melbourne, and capping of the week with a sung Mass for the Sacred Heart on Friday. Here are a few photos, more as always, on the Latin Mass Melbourne site.

And please don't forget to pray for priests (and collect the partial indulgences available this year!), and in particular for the list of priests who have said the TLM in Australia. Additions and suggestions particularly of priests who have previously served TLM communities in Australia but have now retired or died, and priests saying it in primarily novus ordo parishes are particularly welcome.

Friday, 19 June 2009

NZ bishops reimpose communion on the tongue ban...

Ah the vagaries of the Swine flu response!

How bad is it?

On the one hand, we do now officially have an influenza pandemic. On the other hand, while things could change quickly, the World Health Organization's view is that :

"On present evidence, the overwhelming majority of patients experience mild symptoms and make a rapid and full recovery, often in the absence of any form of medical treatment.

Worldwide, the number of deaths is small. Each and every one of these deaths is tragic, and we have to brace ourselves to see more. However, we do not expect to see a sudden and dramatic jump in the number of severe or fatal infections."

Given the mild symptoms to date (only one person has been hospitalized in NZ), in both Australia and New Zealand Governments have switched from trying to contain the spread of the flu to helping respond to cases of it.

The response

Accordingly, here in Oz, schools are no longer closing, and no drastic measures are being foreshadowed by Church authorities. In the one or two dioceses where measures have been taken, such as Melbourne, there has been a clear indication that communion on the tongue remains lawful, if discouraged.

Not so across the Tasman where traditionalists are now being asked to either receive in the hand or make a spiritual communion, and the possibility of cancelling masses altogether is now being mooted!

Prohibiting reception from the chalice and intinction (well, the later is prohibited any way but!) seems entirely appropriate. But communion on the tongue? At best, this seems like an overreaction.

Couldn't measures like having the priest use medicated wipes as necessary be considered first?

In any case, all catholics should remember that they do have a right to receive communion on the tongue.

You can read the full 'pastoral letter' from the NZ bishops on the Ecclesia Dei Society of New Zealand website.

At last a Bishop for Sale...

And thanks to ML for the nice one below:

Cath News reports:

"Pope Benedict has appointed Melbourne Auxiliary Bishop Christopher Prowse as the eighth Catholic Bishop of Sale.

The news was announced by the Vatican today and communicated in Australia by the Apostolic Nuncio in Canberra, Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto.

He succeeds Bishop Jeremiah Coffey who retired eighteen months ago.

Bishop Prowse, 55, was born in Melbourne. He is a former Vicar General of Melbourne and was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne in 2003.

On receiving news of his appointment, Bishop Prowse commented: "Pope Benedict XVI has given me an enormous responsibility to teach, govern and sanctify the good people of the Sale diocese. In thanksgiving, I hope to offer my life as a servant of the Gospel of Jesus, alive in the Catholic Church."

Bishop Prowse added: "May I implore humbly the prayers of people as I prepare to take up this pastoral responsibility of service."

The Diocesan Administrator of Sale, Father Peter Slater, said: "I am delighted with the news of the appointment of Bishop Christopher Prowse to Sale. I am sure the whole diocese will welcome Bishop Prowse and we look forward to his work among us as our Bishop."

The Solemn Mass and Liturgical Reception of Bishop Prowse as Bishop of Sale will be take place at St Mary's Cathedral, Sale, 2pm on Wednesday, July 15 2009.

Bishop Prowse's CV

Bishop Christopher Charles Prowse was born in East Melbourne on November 14 1953. He is the third child of six children of Frank Prowse and Marian Atkinson (both deceased).

His education was at St Francis Xavier Primary School, Box Hill (conducted by the Sion Sisters NDS) and St Leo's College, Box Hill (conducted by the Christian Brothers CFC).

He was an Altar Server at St Francis Xavier Parish, Box Hill. At St Leo's Box Hill he enjoyed Drama and Public Speaking involvements. He was School Captain in 1971.

His family lived in Blackburn. His father, Frank, played VFL football for Hawthorn (1948-1951). His football team is Hawthorn.

He studied for the priesthood at Corpus Christi College, Werribee (1972) and Clayton (1973-1980). He was ordained for the priesthood by Archbishop Sir Frank Little at St. Patrick's Cathedral on August 16 1980.
Bishop Prowse has a Bachelor of Arts (Monash 1978), a Bachelor of Theology (MCD 1979), a Licentiate in Moral Theology (Gregorian University, Rome, 1987), and a Doctorate in Moral theology (Lateran University - Alphonsianum, Rome, 1995).

After serving as a Deacon at St John's, Mitcham in 1979, he was appointed Assistant Priest at St Mary of the Angels, Geelong (1981-1983), and St Monica's, Moonee Ponds (1984-1985). He was a Diocesan Vocations' Director in 1984-1985.

Between 1988 and 2001 he was Lecturer in Moral Theology at Catholic Theological College. From 1988 he was Priest-in-Residence at St Mary's, Thornbury and in 1996 he was appointed Parish Priest of Holy Spirit Parish, East Thornbury.

Appointments during this time included Director of the Catholic Pastoral Formation Centre (1997-2001), and Media Spokesman (1999 - ).

In August 2001 he was appointed Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, after a short appointment as Assistant to the Diocesan Administrator. At this time he became a member of the College of Consultors of the Melbourne Archdiocese. He became a member of major Archdiocesan committees. On October 6 2001 he was appointed a Chaplain of His Holiness.

On April 4 2003, Pope John Paul II named him Titular Bishop of Bahanna and Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne. He was ordained a bishop at St Patrick's Cathedral on 19th May 2003.

From 2003 till 2007 he was Bishop with pastoral responsibility for the Southern Region of Melbourne and was Parish Priest of St Kevin's, Ormond.

From 2007 till 2009 he was Bishop with pastoral responsibility of the Western Region of Melbourne and Geelong, and resident at Corpus Christi Parish, Kingsville. In 2007 he became the Episcopal Vicar for Justice and Social Services, and, in 2008, Episcopal Vicar for Health. He was appointed onto key committees organising Days in the Diocese Melbourne and World Youth Day 2008, Sydney. He was particularly active in the apostolates to the aboriginal community, migrants, interfaith, and new ecclesial communities.

In the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference he is a member of the Commission for Relations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and a member of the Commission for Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations.
From the Australian Bishops Conference he was appointed as Co-Chair of the Australian Anglican and Roman Catholic (AUSTARC) Dialogue, and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania.

In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him a Member of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue."

Feast of the Sacred Heart: Ad Multos Annos to AB Coleridge

Today marks the start of the Year of the Priest, and Canberra-Goulburn's Archbishop has put out a pastoral letter on the subject well worth sharing. It is also the anniversary of his consecration as a bishop today, as well as of his appointment as Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn, so Ad Multos Annos!
Here is his letter:

"Brothers and Sisters,

Grace to you and peace in the name of Jesus, the "great priest over the house of God" (Hebrews 10:21). From 19 June this year, the Feast of the Sacred Heart, till 19 June next year, Pope Benedict has invited the whole Church to celebrate a Year of the Priesthood. For all of us it will be a time to focus upon the mystery of the ministerial priesthood and the great gift it is at the heart of the Church.

We begin to understand the mystery when we see that Jesus is the only priest.

By Baptism, the whole Church is drawn into the mystery of Christ's priesthood, and from within the Church some men are called by Christ to share in that mystery as ordained priests.

But what does it mean to say that Jesus is a priest? In religions that know a priesthood, the prime function of priests is to offer sacrifice. This sacrifice takes many forms, but in Jesus it is unique. He sacrifices himself on the Cross. He is both the priest and the victim.

On Calvary, we see the perfect self-sacrificing love which is eternally the heart of the Trinity and therefore the heart of all things. Between the Father and the Son there is an eternal dynamic of perfect self-sacrificing love which overflows into the creation and into the human heart as the Holy Spirit who draws all into that eternal dynamic. On the Cross, the eternal self-sacrificing love enters time; and into that same love the whole Church is drawn from age to age as a priestly people.

But some men are called into that love in a special way for the building up of the priestly people. When Jesus calls a man into this mystery of self-sacrificing love as a priest, he is calling him above all to live the mystery of the Cross. As the Bishop says in the Rite of Priestly Ordination: "Model your life on the mystery of the Lord's Cross". If this does not happen, if the priesthood is not an experience of self-sacrificing love, then inevitably it will become a kind of loveless clericalism, more concerned with power and prestige than with the priesthood of the crucified Lord.

At the altar, which is the epicentre of the priesthood, the priest speaks words which are not his own. He gives his body over so that the words of Christ can be spoken: "This is my body given for you". The bread becomes the Body broken for the life of the world. "This is my blood poured out for you": the wine becomes the Blood which is shed for the life of the world. Christ calls priests not only to speak these which are his words, but also to live the mystery of the Body and Blood which is his own sacrifice. Again as the Bishop says in the Rite of Ordination: "Imitate what you celebrate".

The call of Jesus is total, as was his death on the Cross and his Resurrection from the dead. His call claims the mind, the heart, the soul and the body of a man - which is why the ministerial priesthood is much more than a job. The priesthood is hard work, but it is not just a job. It is a job and a marriage rolled into one with something extra as well.

That something extra is a special call to holiness. In the Bible, to be holy "as I the Lord your God am holy" (Leviticus 19:2) means to be separate for the sake of service - not just separate for the sake of being separate, but separate for service. Again, if service is not there, then the priesthood will decay into clericalism.

The priest serves primarily by living the mystery of the Lord's Cross, sacrificing himself in love for the building up of the Church. Through this Year we will celebrate and ponder the gift of the ministerial priesthood.

We will pray for the priests we have and give thanks for their tireless service of which only God can take the full measure. We will also ask the Lord to send us more priests who can fill the Church with the glory of Christ by emptying themselves in his name.

Each parish will think of ways to celebrate the Year of the Priesthood, and there is also a committee considering ways in which we can celebrate the Year in the Archdiocese.

May the gift of this Year lead us all to know and love more deeply the mystery of the priesthood of Jesus who "has appeared once for put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" (Hebrews 9:26).

+ Mark Coleridge
PS The Pope has put out a nice letter too, I'll probably blog on that in the next few days!

Praying for Our Priests

As regular readers will be aware, I've been compiling a list of priests who have said the Traditional Latin Mass in Australia at one time or another, or supported our communities in various ways, with a view to contributing to the Year of the Priest.

Remembering and praying for our priests seems to me like a good way of thanking our priests for their past service, sustaining them in their future service, and helping to remember our history!

The list is looking pretty impressive, but I do know there are still quite a few names missing. So help fill in the blanks folks!

Ordination anniversaries

In the case of those priests for whom I have ordination dates, I'll put their names up in the sidebar at the right for the month, so as to urge you to especially keep them in mind during that period. I'll also try and put up a prompt on the anniversary of their ordination. So please, look at the list, and find out the missing dates (and names) for me!

Prayer for priests

But I'd also like to invite everyone who reads this blog to print out the list - either the whole thing, or perhaps just for your State or diocese, and offer a prayer for them, particularly over this next week, what would once would have been the Octave of the Sacred Heart!

Here is a prayer by St Therese of Lisieux that you might find suitable:

O Jesus, eternal Priest,
keep your priests within the shelter of Your Sacred Heart,
where none may touch them.
Keep unstained their anointed hands,
which daily touch Your Sacred Body.
Keep unsullied their lips,
daily purpled with your Precious Blood.
Keep pure and unearthly their hearts,
sealed with the sublime mark of the priesthood.
Let Your holy love surround them and
shield them from the world's contagion.
Bless their labors with abundant fruit and
may the souls to whom they minister be their joy and consolation here and in heaven their beautiful and
everlasting crown. Amen.

Maybe after the initial launch of the Year, we could also take particular intentions for each month, such as for vocations, for priests who have left the ministry, and so forth? Suggestions welcome...




Cardinal George Pell – 21 May 1987
Fr Lawrence Gresser FSSP - 4 March 2000
Fr James McCarthy - 30 April 2009
Fr Andrew Benton - 30 April 2009
Father Terence Mary Naughtin OFM Conv - [7] May 1988
Fr Duncan Wong FSSP – 7 June?
Fr Kevin Muldoon
Fr Anthony Robbie


Bishop Kevin Manning of Parramatta - 10 July 1991

Fr Marko Rehak FSSP - 22 November 2008
Fr John O'Neill
Fr Terance Hogan
Fr William Define FSSP


Fr John Stork

Wagga Wagga

Fr Kim Holland - 25 September 1992

Broken Bay

Fr William Alliprandi


Bp Geoffrey Jarrett - 22 February 2001



Archbishop Denis Hart – 9 December 1997
Bishop Peter Elliot – 15 June 2007

Fr Nicholas Dillon - 27 June 2003
Fr William Grogan - 22 June 1979
Fr Glen Tattersall - 23 June 2001
Fr Donald Lourensz -26 June 1987
Fr John McDaniels - 29 June 2002
Fr Leo Lane - 27 July 1948
Fr Paschal M Corby OFM Conv– 17 November 2007
Fr Mark Spora


Fr Peter-John Nievandt - 1 July 2005
Fr Chris Reay - 19 August 1978


Fr Leo Hynes - 28 June 1975
Fr Bernard McGrath - 17 August 1984


Archbishop Philip Wilson – 10 July 1996

Father Michael McCaffrey FSSP - 24 June 2006
Fr David Thoroughgood - 20 March 1982
Fr Mannes Tellis OP - 20 December 2008
Fr Christopher Dowd OP – 30 July 1988


Archbishop Barry Hickey - 1 May 1984

Father Martin Roestenburg O Praem - 13 April 1991
Father Timothy Deeter - 8 May 1981
Father Patrick Holmes - 27 May 1961
Father Michael Rowe - 21 May 1994
Father Georges Maurel - 29 June 1979
Father Jim Shelton - 30 June 2000
Father Brian Limbourne - 29th September 1989


Archbishop Mark Coleridge – 19 June 2002
Bishop Patrick Power – 18 April 1986
Bishop Aloysius Morgan (obit 21 May)
Fr John Parsons - 3 April 1982
Fr Ken Webb FSSP - 22 May 2004
Msgr John Kelly (obit 5 August)
Fr John Fongemie FSSP - 23rd June 2001
Fr Dominic Popplewell FSSP - 22 Nov 2008
Fr Paul McGavin


Fr Gerald Quinn CP - 21 July, 1962


Fr Martin Durham - Rockhampton
Fr Gregory Jordan SJ – Brisbane


Fr Mark Withoos
Fr Joseph Kramer FSSP

Indulgences for Year of the Priest

Just a reminder that you can gain the first of hopefully many indulgences (which you could perhaps consider applying to the souls of priests in purgatory) for the Year of the Priest today! Here is what you have to do:

"A. Truly repentant priests who, on any day, devoutly recite at least morning Lauds or Vespers before the Blessed Sacrament, exposed for public adoration or retained in the tabernacle, and who, after the example of St John Mary Vianney, offer themselves with a ready and generous heart for the celebration of the sacraments, especially Confession, are mercifully granted in God the Plenary Indulgence, which they may also apply in suffrage to their deceased brethren, if, in conformity with the current norms, they receive sacramental confession, participate in the Eucharistic banquet and pray for the Supreme Pontiff's intentions.

Furthermore the Partial Indulgence is granted to priests, who may likewise apply it to their deceased confreres, every time that they devoutly recite the prayers duly approved so as to lead a holy life and to carry out in a holy manner the offices entrusted to them.

B. The Plenary Indulgence is granted to all the faithful who are truly repentant who, in a church or in a chapel, devoutly attend the divine Sacrifice of Mass and offer prayers to Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest, for the priests of the Church, and any other good work which they have done on that day, so that he may sanctify them and form them in accordance with His Heart, as long as they have made expiation for their sins through sacramental confession and prayed in accordance with the Supreme Pontiff's intentions: on the days in which the Year for Priests begins and ends, on the day of the 150th anniversary of the pious passing of St John Mary Vianney, on the first Thursday of the month or on any other day established by the local Ordinaries for the benefit of the faithful.

It will be most appropriate, in cathedral and parish churches, for the same priests who are in charge of pastoral care to publicly direct these exercises of devotion, to celebrate Holy Mass and to hear the confession of the faithful.

The Plenary Indulgence will likewise be granted to the elderly, the sick and all those who for any legitimate reason are confined to their homes who, with a mind detached from any sin and with the intention of fulfilling as soon as possible the three usual conditions, at home or wherever their impediment detains them, provided that on the above-mentioned days they recite prayers for the sanctification of priests and confidently offer the illnesses and hardships of their lives to God through Mary Queen of Apostles.

Lastly, the Partial Indulgence is granted to all the faithful every time they devoutly recite five Our Fathers, Hail Marys and Glorias, or another expressly approved prayer, in honour of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to obtain that priests be preserved in purity and holiness of life. "

Thursday, 18 June 2009

News and coming events....

If your priest is away this week, there is a good chance he is at the retreat run by the Confraternity of Australian Clergy at Galong, near Canberra, ending tomorrow, so do say a prayer for the retreatants as they emerge back into the world!

And on priests, I plan to put up an updated version of my priests associated with the TLM prayer list tomorrow, in honour of the start of the Year of the Priest. So please do send any additional names (and ideally ordination dates) that you are aware of.

I'd love to have all the priests who have ever said the TLM mass in this country in the last four decades (however reluctantly!) on it - a way of remembering our history, and thanking those who have served. I am also keen to include priests of Novus Ordo parishes who say a regular or occasional weekday TLM.

Book a retreat for yourself...

And given the example of our priests, this might be a good time to think about a retreat for yourself. Priests and religious are required by canon law to go on an annual retreat, but it is good practice for all of us to do the same.

Retreats are a chance to recharge your spiritual batteries, assess where your life is at, and discern your future path, unstressed by day-today pressures. Unfortunately there aren't many options for orthodox retreats run by experienced priests in full communion with Rome and with a TLM in Australasia, so all men should be considering booking themselves in for one of the five day Ignatian Retreats offered by monks of Flavigny in December!


You might also want to note the date of a few upcoming pilgrimages. The first is to Penola SA in August to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Blessed Mary McKillop, and will include daily Latin Mass, Exposition, Benediction, etc, and is being lead by Fr Michael McCaffrey FSSP. It will end on August 8 with a Solemn Latin Mass at the Church of the Holy Name in Adelaide in the morning and a Pontifical English Mass celebrated by Archbishop Wilson at Adelaide Cathedral in the afternoon. Register your interest by emailing so they can get an idea of numbers and hence cost.

Also, I gather from the Adelaide website that the annual Christus Rex Pilgrimage is scheduled for 23-25 October. If the organisers would care to send me details (and/or update the website, which is still showing last year's pilgrimage date), I'll be happy to provide further details.

New Oriens out

Also a reminder that the latest edition of Oriens is now available, and includes some excellent background articles on the Pope's move to lift the SSPX excommunications (a topic that seems to be heating up again at the moment, over their plans to proceed with some priestly ordinations even as progress appears to be being made on scheduling the necessary doctrinal discussions), the background to events in the Diocese of Linz, also very much to the moment, given the Pope's meeting this week with Austrian Bishops! Also included in this edition is a challenging article on Islam, which you can read over here.

Upcoming Solemn Mass and Confirmations

Finally, if you are free and able to get there, don't forget the Solemn Mass and confirmations (to be performed by Bishop Grech) on June 26 for the Wangaratta Latin Mass community. Details can be found on their blog.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

The new Secretary for Divine Worship

The big news of the last day is the appointment (following extensive rumours!) of Archbishop-elect Fr J. Augustine DiNoia OP (rumour has it that an Australian candidate, presumably AB Coleridge of Canberra-Goulburn, was vetoed within the Vatican) as the new Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, replacing Archbishop Ranjith, who is returning to Sri Lanka.

The Catholic News Service reports the story as follows:

"By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI has named U.S. Dominican Father J. Augustine DiNoia an archbishop and secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

"I am happy the pope has entrusted to me an area that he considers so important," the archbishop-designate told Catholic News Service June 16, shortly after the Vatican announced his new assignment.

"I think the liturgy should give us a sense of the heavenly liturgy; it's about God, not us," he said.

Archbishop-designate DiNoia, 65, has served as undersecretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 2002. Pope John Paul II had named him to the Vatican position and for his first three years at the doctrinal congregation, his superior was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, elected pope in 2005.

Regarding his appointment to the Vatican office overseeing matters concerning the liturgy and sacraments, he said, "My understanding was that the pope was looking for someone with a broad theological background.

"While his studies and his ministry as a priest have been heavily theological, for Dominicans "theology and liturgy go together," he said.

His episcopal ordination will be July 11 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington; U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada, prefect of the doctrinal congregation, will preside at the liturgy, he said.

At the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, Archbishop-designate DiNoia succeeds Sri Lankan Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, who was named archbishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka, June 16. Archbishop Ranjith, a former nuncio, had served as the congregation secretary since 2005.

One of the major tasks facing the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments is overseeing the final approval and use of a new English translation of the Mass.

It was widely believed the pope would choose another native English-speaker as secretary of the congregation after he appointed Spanish Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera to be congregation prefect last December.

Looking at liturgy today, Archbishop-designate DiNoia said, "The great danger is when the focus is on the celebrating community" rather than on God. "

Like auxiliary bishops, Vatican nuncios and the other archbishops serving as secretaries of Vatican congregations, he has been assigned a "titular see" rather than a diocese.

The New York City native will be the first titular archbishop of Oregon City, Ore., which he said was the oldest metropolitan see in the United States after Baltimore, the first U.S. archdiocese. Oregon City became an archdiocese in 1846, but the archdiocese was transferred to Portland in 1928. Oregon City became a titular archdiocese in 1996, but no archbishop had been assigned the title until now.

When Father DiNoia was called to the Vatican he was serving as director of the Intercultural Forum for Studies in Faith and Culture, a Catholic think tank at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington.

Prior to the center's opening, he served for eight years as the executive director of the Secretariat for Doctrine and Pastoral Practices at the U.S. bishops' conference in Washington. In that position and especially as a member of the papally appointed International Theological Commission from 1997-2002, he already had worked with Cardinal Ratzinger before moving to the Vatican.

Archbishop-designate DiNoia also has taught theology at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington and has served as an adjunct professor at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family in Washington and at St. Joseph's Seminary in Dunwoodie, N.Y.He served as editor in chief of The Thomist, a quarterly journal of philosophical and theological studies. In addition to writing numerous articles, essays and lectures, he is the author of a 1992 book, "The Diversity of Religions: A Christian Perspective," and a co-author of the 1996 study, "The Love That Never Ends: A Key to the 'Catechism of the Catholic Church."

Born July 10, 1943, he was ordained a priest June 4, 1970, after studies at Cardinal Hayes High School in New York, Providence College in Rhode Island, and the Dominican House of Studies.He has a master's degree in philosophy and several theology degrees, including a doctorate from Yale University in 1980, where his dissertation was on "Catholic Theology of Religions and Interreligious Dialogue." In 1998 the Dominican order conferred on him the master of sacred theology degree."

The virtue of cooking....

Have you been watching Masterchef Australia?

Go on, admit it, you have been, or at least so the ratings would suggest!

Well, just a few episodes in my case is all I'm admitting to.

But actually, I think this is a program that one can justify watching (although perhaps not in the full on six days a week intensity that Channel Ten is dolling out!).

Why this is watchable reality tv

Masterchef is basically a cooking competition, with some competitors being eliminated each week. Cooking shows are always a winner of course, and this one includes masterclasses and lots of hints for anyone who likes the idea of cooking.

But actually, the real charm of this show is that although it seems to have some of the trappings of other reality shows (and you really wish they'd drop some of these!), it generally treats the contestants with respect.

The judges are kind in their comments, supportive, and try to help - no Ramsay style bullying here!

And the challenges seem genuinely about trying to teach the contestants how to become better cooks and more importantly, better people.

Perseverence, resilience and team work

One of the most attractive elements of the show is the virtues it is trying to instill, such as:
  • perseverance;
  • resilience in the face of disaster;
  • preparedness to have a go at tasks that seem foreign to you, to work hard;
  • how to lead and how to work in a team;
  • how to cope with pressure;
  • a love of learning new things;
  • enjoying yourself while working;
  • and above all, the desire to achieve perfection in even the smallest of tasks.

The show has obviously looked at what virtues real chefs need, and selected for them. But it also actually tries to teach them as well. When cooking disasters happen, for example - and they frequently do - the contenders are prodded by the judges and their peers to pick themselves up and keep going, and given an opportunity to dig themselves out of the hole they have dug themselves through the dreaded 'pressure test' (cooking a new dish to a recipe in a very tight timeframe).

When people don't pull their weight, or make unilateral decisions that the team don't agree with, they get voted out. And while this is clearly a contest, the behind the scenes angst is clearly edited down to a minimum: the demands of prime time and the need for drama are there, but tempered by a decision to present the contestants as inherently attractive personalities (whatever the reality may be!).

I don't want to overstate the case - there are some contestants who come across as childish and immature, or overly critical of others. But still, this is definitely not Big Brother or something of that ilk (thank goodness)!

It makes you want to cook!

The great part of the show though, I think, is that it actually makes you want to get up and try cooking, not just sit there watching as many cooking shows do. It teaches how to taste dishes and appreciate the elements that went into them. To think about presentation. It makes you eye off those exotic and not so exotic ingredients the next time you see them in the supermarket (oh temptation!).

And it emphasises that it is normal to make mistakes, even bad ones! The trick is to recover from them.

I've mostly watched the Sunday night episodes and one or two pressure tests (you can catch up online!), which are based around a 'mystery box' and an 'invention test', challenging the cooks to come up with a dish based around one or two key ingredients. The dishes the contestants come up with may not necessarily be something that you feel like tackling, but it does make you start thinking, well, what could I make with prawns and nuts? Or oranges, chocolate and coconut? It's fun.

The judges

The really nice part of the show though is seeing the judge's reactions to the food (and the contestants' faux pas!). It is one thing to watch someone cook a dish - but good to see that counterbalanced by an assessment from the consumer's point of view! Food critic Matt Preston is a wonderful presence on this show, and it seems very unbalanced when he isn't there. But I really like the two chefs, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris as well, the first for his obvious knowledge, skills, strength with tact, the second particularly for his infectious enthusiasm. The hostess, I'd have to say, seems pretty redundant.

I'd have to confess that, not being up with the gourmet scene, the guess celebrity chefs and restaurants they visit are pretty much all news to me, but from the commentary, regular readers of the Sydney Morning Herald's (or Age's equivalent) Good Food guide would be in foody-fan heaven.

All up, good to see a tv show that actually has something positive going for it!

PS I want Julie to win. Although I quite like Chris too....

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The bishop's guide to change management....

Over at Cooees, there are rumours that two of Melbourne's auxiliaries have turned down the vacant bishopric of Sale, fearing that they would be torn apart. If true, this is sad on several fronts.

So I thought, slightly tongue in cheek, we should help out any other possible reluctant starters with a few thoughts on the subject of how to tackle the task of a difficult diocese! Herewith my offering...

Sale and many other dioceses?

If the Sale rumours are true (and even if not, I'm sure the situation arises elsewhere), it perhaps signals a bigger problem that in many dioceses, liberals have long reigned both in the pulpit and the pews, leaving a legacy that is not easy for a more conservative bishop to deal with.

A new generation, led by the current Pope, is arising that is demanding that the faith be taught and expressed in the liturgy.

But even if the right bishop was appointed, how does he overcome the legacy of the past and actually make things happen? It is not like you can sack all your priests and start again....

It is not an uncommon problem - and one that will hopefully happen more and more often in the next few years!

Change management is an art and a science

In the secular world, many of us have acquired quite a lot of experience in 'change management'. It is not exactly something that is part of the standard curriculum for priests or would-be bishops however. But maybe it should be. Perhaps all the Auxiliaries and potential/new bishops around Australia should be packed off for an intensive course at the Harvard Business School (who specialise in this subject) followed by a quick tour of a few dioceses that have successfully made big changes.

I should say that knowing the science won't necessarily stop you from being torn apart. There are two brilliant books on leadership that I think are very consistent with a catholic mentality, called Leadership on the Line Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading, and Leadership without easy answers, both by Ronald Heifetz (with Marty Linsky on the first).

Both books point out that making real change is inevitably extremely painful and can often lead to assassination, literal or metaphorical. The ultimate example of this, of course, being Our Lord. But that example of course points to why someone sometimes has to take the fall to make salvation possible.

And let's not be coy here. Restoring orthodoxy and orthopraxis is about the salvation of souls. That's why we need holy priests to take up the challenge of tackling these difficult dioceses.

So what would you do?

So, imagine for a moment that you were the newly appointed bishop of one of our more challenging dioceses, how would you tackle the problem? I invite readers to offer their suggestions!

Here are a few of mine.

Personally I've always liked the Prochaska five stages of change model - get people from thinking everything is ok to understanding the need for change, to understand that there is a problem; get them thinking about how to make change and equip them with the tools to do it;
get them act; help them maintain the new way of operating.

How would you operationalise it?

1. Find some holy nuns (or monks) to pray for you and the diocese!

Invite in some traditionally oriented nuns from an existing monastery, sponsor a new order wanting to start up (it might fail, but at least in the shorter term you will get some prayers out of it!), or if you can't find anyone to do that, commission an existing monastery to pray for you and the diocese. Everything has to start from grace...

2. Organise Adoration in your new cathedral or somewhere in the diocese.

Grace again, plus a signal about what is most important to you - the presence of Our Lord. Plus a means of actively engaging the laity in your mission.

3. Suss out whether you have any potential supporters hiding out there.

Interview all of your priests individually. Listening is always a good way of starting, and you need to know the extent of your potential support (you never know, someone might have been hiding their colours) and your potential opposition; and what both sides perceive the problems of the diocese to be. A useful chance too, to pass on a little of the flavour of any riding instructions or feedback about the diocese that you might have been given...and to identify who the key opinion leaders (for good or otherwise) are.

Above all, see if you can find some possible 'quick wins', quick and relatively easy ways of fixing a few festering sores that will help get people on board while you build a base of support for change and work out how to tackle the more intractable issues.

You will need to do the same thing with key lay people of course, but we of the laity have to remember to be patient on this front, because the reality is that we can, at a pinch, be replaced - priests of the diocese are priests (of the diocese) forever!

4. Find some priests asap!

Beg, borrow or steal a few orthodox priests, even if just for one or two year placements, from amongst your friends or from dioceses that aren't too badly off. You need at least someone you can rely on, and there is nothing like having at least a few friendly faces around that table at meetings. And depending how dire the priest shortage is in your diocese, you might want to give some of the clergy a sabbatical to catch up with the latest theological trends (ie send them to re-education camp!), or at least be able to do some reshuffling of parishes.

You also need, of course, to start a serious recruitment campaign. Do you have a seminary - is it orthodox and active? If not, is it feasible to set one up? Set up some chances for young men to talk to you about becoming a priest, get a vocations effort happening in the diocese and overseas asap.

5. Create some teaching moments....

Liturgy is crucial so make the liturgy in your cathedral as splendid as possible - bring in an outside choir to sing Gregorian chant, train your choir, and generate enthusiasm.

Set up a workshop to teach all of your priests the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (they don't have to be compelled to offer it thereafter, just required to know the rite of their church). And there is a lot of evidence that just the experience of saying the EF will help increase their understanding of what it means to be a priest.

Bring in theologians to run 'in-service training' workshops on the liturgy, moral theology and a few other vital topics.

And see what has to be done to get catholic schools to actually teach the faith....

6. Run a mission aimed at bringing back lapsed Catholics

This might seem an odd thing to put in a list of things to do at the beginning of a new episcopate. But a bishop is responsible for all the souls in his diocese, not just those who turn up at Mass or hold bureaucratic positions, and while it won't all happen at once, making a start is important I think.

And there is nothing that works better in terms of changing the dynamic of a parish or diocese than new recruits! Many people left over the years because of the awful liturgical abuses they were subjected to. Their children and children's children know almost nothing of the faith. Bringing in people, young and old, people potentially with fervour, without the baggage of the last few decades will help (not to mention potentially improving your finances!).

So bring in some missionaries, run some parish missions, and set up an orthodox, serious program of catechesis targeted at nominal catholics in the first instance.

7. Set up some performance indicators and track your progress

There are some things you need to achieve - set up some key 'performance indicators' early on, and measure progress against them. Things like the number of priests, financial state, numbers attending mass, number discerning a priestly or religious vocation/seminarians, number of high school graduates who continue to practice, number of church weddings out of all couples in the diocese, baptisms as a proportion of births, and so forth.

There will be ups and downs. But if you don't track your progress, you won't know what is working and what more needs to be done. And getting agreement on what to measure, and having the stats is a perfect way of driving home to everyone in your diocese just how much of a problem you have, and what needs to change.

Bishops (and priests) arise!

So, let's pray that good men will take the challenge of ministering to some of our more difficult dioceses over the next few years. Let's pray for those bishops and priests who are trying to make the necessary changes. And let's encourage anyone invited to take up the challenge with courage, even if martyrdom will ultimately be their fate - the blood of the martyrs, after all, is the seed of the Church!

Though if any would-be bishops want to try and avoid that fate, my management consultancy services are available....

Friday, 12 June 2009

'Archblogging': An Australian bishop (or two) join the ranks of bloggers!

Australia's bishops are not (except when resigning for reasons they would rather not make public), in the main, media shy types - Compass puff pieces such as that on the (now ex-) 'bishop of the Universe' aside, Cardinal Pell of Sydney has a weekly newspaper column and Archbishop Hickey of Perth produces regular podcasts of his homilies for example.

And now Archbishop Coleridge of Canberra has joined their ranks, launching a blog devoted to a pilgrimage he is about to lead devoted to St Paul.

In the Steps of St Paul

The blog, called In the Footsteps of St Paul, already has a few posts, and will also include contributions from the Archbishop-Emeritus of Canberra-Goulburn, Archbishop Carroll, and Neil Harrigan (CEO of Centrecare Canberra).

A sample from the latest post by Archbishop Coleridge:

"Now that my meetings in Rome are behind me, I can begin focusing on the Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of St Paul. I’m staying at the moment at the Beda College where we have Dominic Byrne studying for the priesthood. The Rector, Monsignor Rod Strange, is an old mate of mine and I always find the hospitality there first-class. It’s all the more welcome after a few quite gruelling months in the Archdiocese and a couple of fairly intense meetings in the Vatican.

One of the the things I’ve always liked best about the Beda College - dating back to when I taught here - is that it’s just across the road from the Basilica of St Paul’s Outside the Walls.

It’s one of the great churches of Rome and is built over the tomb of St Paul which is now splendidly on view after excavations beneath the papal altar. In fact the whole Basilica looks magnificent after the work that’s been done to prepare for the Year of St Paul.

When Paul was beheaded the disciples came and took his body for burial in what was then Lavinia’s Vineyard. Lavinia seems to have been a wealthy Roman matron who owned land and had become Christian. She was happy to have Paul buried in her vineyard.

Eventually a small shrine was built over Paul’s grave and it became a place of great devotion. When Emperor Constantine began to shower favour on the Church he built over the grave a magnificent basilica, as he seems to have done everywhere he could.

That was replaced in time by a still larger church very like the one we see now. Much of that church was burned down in 1832, but the decision was taken to rebuild immediately and in the same style. So the Basilica you see now is very like - if not in every detail - the church that went up in flames.

Fortunately, some of the great mosaics survived and there are magnificently on show to this day...."

A Tasmanian pilgrimage

The Tasmanian Traditional Latin Mass community held a little mini-pilgrimage last weekend to some of Tasmania's beautiful historic churches, with the assistance of Fr Tattersall from Melbourne. There's a bit of nostalgia value in these great photos for me, as noted below!

Proceedings started with the baptism of its newest and youngest member, followed by Vespers and Benediction at St Joseph's, Hobart (I was baptized there too, although in the days when there was still a roodscreen and altar rails, or so my mother tells me!):

Stephen Smith provided musical assistance.

A litany of Our Lady of Loreto was sung at St John's Richmond, Australia's oldest Catholic Church:

The weather, I gather, was very cold and wet, discouraging some potential participants!

And Mass was sung at St Patrick's, Colebrook (some of those graves are my ancestors I believe):

Both St Patrick's and St John's were designed by Augustine Pugin, most famous for the British House's of Parliament. Note the rather splendid roodscreen:

You can find more photos and links to information on the churches at the Latin Mass Melbourne site.