"Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)


Pope Francis' Moves for Cultural Change in the Vatican

Jvatican1It was possibly a watershed moment in Holy See media relations. The scene was the Sala Stampa of the Holy See some 10 days ago. Australian Cardinal George Pell was presenting the New Economic Framework for the Holy See, a document which outlines proposed major reforms not only to IOR (the Vatican bank) and to APSA (the Vatican City treasury), but also to all the various Vatican-run media. Halfway through the press conference, a reporter from Milan newspaper Corriere Della Sera asked a question. She wanted to know why, among the six new lay members of the board of IOR, there was no Italian representative. For a brief moment, almost the entire press room started to laugh. Read more.


Irish Priests Back Francis' Comments on Celibacy

JpopefrancisThe organisation representing Catholic priests in Ireland has called for an end to the Vatican's celibacy rule. The Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland warmly welcomed recent comments by Pope Francis hinting that priests may be able to marry in the future. Read more.

Tom Petty Album Rocks the Catholic Church

Jtom pettyIn new song titled "Playing Dumb," famed rocker Petty and his band the Heartbreakers -- who together have produced classics such as "Runnin' Down a Dream," "Free Fallin'" and "Mary Jane's Last Dance" -- address their outrage with the church's decade-long abuse scandal. Read More


Francis Speaks, Scalfari Transcribes, Brandmuller Shreds

JVaticanCuriaPriestAs a Church historian, the German cardinal refutes the notion according to which clerical celibacy was an invention of the 10th century. No, he objects: its origin is with Jesus and the apostles. And he explains why. Read more.


Pope Francis Meets Victims of Sexual Abuse

JPopeFrancis03Pope Francis met for the first time Monday with people sexually abused by priests, saying Mass with six survivors and then meeting privately with each for half an hour. Read more


Peacemaking Calls for Courage - Much More So Than Warfare

JPopeFrancisMiddleEastPeacemakingThis was Pope Francis message to his guests Sunday evening – the Israeli and Palestinian Presidents Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas – as he welcomed them to his home for an Invocation for Peace in the Holy Land. Read more

"Still I Rise" - Remembering Maya Angelou

JMayaAngelouMaya Angelou, born Marguerite Annie Johnson on April 4, 1928, died May 28, 2014. She was an American author and poet who published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry, and was credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning more than 50 years. Watch her recite her most famous poem.


Adult Bible Classes Standing Room Only

JSisterCarolToday, people around the world view Sr Carol Perry's 10 a.m. Sunday Bible study class, live through the church's website. A gifted storyteller, she makes the Bible's ancient people seem like relatives remembered from childhood. "They're our ancestors," she said. Read more

Mary McAleese in Sydney

JMaryMcAleese04The former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, will be the guest of Aquinas Academy and Catalyst for Renewal in Sydney in September. On Sunday September 7 there will be a Public Forum in the Sydney Town Hall where Mary will be interviewed by Andrew West of Radio National Religion and Ethics Report. Bishop Geoffrey Robinson will introduce Mary. The Forum will begin at 2pm. All welcome - tickets $20. Book online now.

Read more ...

Sister Heads for Syria in Response to Pope Francis' Call

JSister Maria Nazareth Credit Aid to the Church in Need CNA 4 29 14Gaza City, Apr 30, 2014 / 04:19 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A religious sister from Argentina, who has been serving for four years in the Gaza Strip, is preparing to go to the Syrian city of Aleppo, in response to Pope Francis' call to aid those who are "forgotten." Read more


Pope Francis is not so Popular with Some in the Curia

JPopeFrancisandcrowdPope Francis is seeking to build a "new way of being church" for Roman Catholics in a similar way to how St. Francis of Assisi reported being told by God to repair the church during the 13th century, a cardinal who is one of the pontiff's closest advisers said.

"There is a new concept of church here" in how the pope is governing the Vatican, said Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, speaking April 8 in St. Petersburg, Fla. "There is a new way of thinking, including the way of governing in the church, here." Read full article.


In Defence of Cardinal Pell


On April 2 2014 Elizabeth Farrelly wrote in the Fairfax Press that "George Pell wants to insure priests againts being sued for child sex abuse". Farrelly got it wrong. Read Frank Brennan's piece in Eureka Street.

Jesuit Priest Martyred in Syria


JFr Frans van der LugtDays after Dutch Jesuit priest, Franz van der Lugt, was murdered in Sydria, a close young friend spoke of his life and commitment to the people he served in Homs. In particular, he spoke of the extraordinary contribution he made to Christian-Muslim relations there. When the rebels took over Homs, Fr van der Lugt said, 'I can't leave my people, I can't leave my church, I am director of this church, how can I leave them?' Read full report

Religious Order From France Having Global Impact


A missionary order founded in the middle Ages in France is sending their burgeoning number of vocations from Asia and especially South Korea to evangelize countries throughout the world.

Read the full article.


Irish Priest Sings Leonard Cohen

JTulipsYou have heard Leonard Cohen sing his famous song Halleluia. Here is another version - and it's pretty good. Click here to watch the video.

Racial Hatred Laws 20 Years On

Frank Brennan SJ

JFrankBrennanTwenty years ago Frank Brennan wrote a piece for Eureka Street in which he said: "Incitement to racial hatred and hostility, or hate speech as it is sometimes called, is conduct by an offender or a group that is likely to cause a second person or group to act in an adverse manner towards a third person or group on the grounds of their race, causing that third person or group to fear that violence may be used against them because of their race. Each element — cause, likelihood and grounds — would have to be proved beyond reasonable doubt in order to secure a conviction. Advocates of such laws concede that there is little prospect of successful prosecutions — there have only been one or two in Canada, for example — and argue instead for the symbolic value of the law." In this recent essay in Eureka Street Frnak Brennan revisits the issue in the light of Attorney General Brandis' proposal. Read the full essay.

The Commission and the Protection of Minors



We recently posted an article from NCR by Fr Tom Doyle criticising the constitution of the Pope's Commission on sexual abuse - "Questions About the Pope's Abuse Commission". This article offers another perspective - read the article by Fr Zollner SJ.

Cardinal Pell Before the Royal Commission


A stark feature of the sexual abuse tragedy is that the Catholic Church has been led back to its mission and - perhaps - greater integrity, by the secular world. The victims, together with the media and the courts of our land have demanded an honesty and transparency of the Church that the Church, left to herself, would never have sought out. These days of the Royal Commission have been a dreadful ordeal for innocent victims like John Ellis. Let us hope his suffering has not been in vain. Frank Brennan offers a reflection on Cardinal Pell's presence before the Commission - read the full article from Eureka Street

Questions About Pope's New Abuse Commission

Thomas Doyle



The countless victims of clergy sex abuse have been waiting for 30 years for the Vatican to show it really understands the depth of the problem and is willing to do something real about it. Judging by the latest move,naming members of a pontifical commission, victims will have to keep on waiting. Those who have been deeply involved in this issue for the long haul had little hope the promised commission would make a difference, and we probably won't be disappointed.Read the full article from NCR

German Bishops Publish Results of Questionnaire

JMarriageThe German and Swiss Catholic Bishops Conferences are the first to publish initial analyses of last year's Vatican questionnaire, sent to dioceses around the world in preparation for the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops 2014.

The German bishops' report, published in German, English and Italian, praises the participants in the survey. They said: "Despite the linguistic style of the questions, which many criticised as being difficult to understand, many individuals and bodies have taken the initiative themselves and have studied the preparatory document for the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops and sent to the dioceses their responses to the questions which it contains."  Read full report