New Eparchy for Australia and New Zealand
Support for nuclear power research
The way the world ends
Faith in action
Global study calls for protection of children
U.S. Bishops to vote
School systems struggle with religion
In the United States …
Congo Bishops urge election calm

 

New Eparchy for Australia and New Zealand

Pope Benedict XVI has created the Chaldean Eparchy of Oceania.

Embracing the Chaldean communities both in Australia and in New Zealand, it will have the title, St Thomas the Apostle of Sydney of the Chaldeans. The Most Rev. Djibrail Kassab, currently in Bassorah, Iraq, will be its first Bishop.

The Chaldean Church is an Eastern Church of the Catholic Church. Today, as in ancient times, its presence is centred on the Middle East, particularly in Iraq.  Other Eastern Catholic Churches, the Ukranian, Maronite and Melkite churches, have been present in Australia for almost a century and each has its own bishop.  Eastern Churches are in communion with the Roman Catholic Church, but have distinct liturgies as well as some different emphases in theology and canon law. Immigration to Australia has increased their numbers.

In welcoming the creation of the Eparchy (similar to a diocese in the Latin Church) the President of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Philip Wilson, of Adelaide, said, “It is important that Catholics who belong to the Chaldean Church have the opportunity to celebrate their faith and worship according to their own rituals and laws and the creation of a Chaldean Eparchy will help facilitate this.”

The creation of a new Eparchy was mooted by Bishop Peter Stasiuk (Ukrainian Catholic, Melbourne) when he spoke with Online Catholics several weeks ago following the formation of a new association of the Eastern Catholic Bishops of Australasia.  (Meet the rellies)

 

Support for nuclear power research

MELBOURNE:     The General Synod Public Affairs Commission of the Anglican Church of Australia has stated its support of the continuing research into nuclear power in Australia – for the express purpose of investigating alternatives to fossil fuels and producing energy with low levels of greenhouse emissions.

“The Anglican Church of Australia subscribes to Christian principles of social justice and equity, as well as stewardship of the environment for future generations,” said Dr Ray Cleary, Commission Chair.   “There are, of course, risk and costs associated with nuclear power and we are mindful that all risks must be weighed against potential advantages before further investment in nuclear power goes ahead.”  Dr Cleary said that the expansion of uranium mining and the development of nuclear power are two separate issues that are often lumped together.   (details)

 

The way the world ends

WASHINGTON:    It is difficult to underestimate the problems associated with North Korea's recent nuclear weapons test. Following a small atomic explosion in a mountainous area of North Korea of less than one kiloton -- the Hiroshima bomb was 13 kilotons -- the U.S. administration is encouraging draconian economic sanctions to be enacted against a desperately poor country where millions of people are malnourished and that will further ostracise a paranoid regime, while the rest of the world looks on with horror as the nuclear arms race threatens to spiral out of control.

While lateral proliferation is indeed an incredibly serious problem as ever-more countries prepare to enter the portals of the nuclear club, one consistent outstanding nuclear threat that continues to endanger most planetary species is ignored by the international community.

In fact, the real "rogue" nations that continue to hold the world at nuclear ransom are Russia and the United States. Contrary to popular belief, the threat of a massive nuclear attack -- whether by accident, human fallibility or malfeasance -- has increased.

Of the 30,000 nuclear weapons in the world today, the United States and Russia possess 96 per cent of them…      (full text, by Helen Caldicott)

 

Faith in action

WASHINGTON:    Amnesty International USA has held its ninth annual national weekend of Faith in Action on the Death Penalty (NWFA) during which thousands of members of faith-based groups and human rights activists throughout the nation examined their perceptions of the death penalty. More than 500 faith communities, interfaith groups and individuals in 46 states and the District of Columbia registered as participants. The weekend included events that created a safe space for both those who support and oppose the death penalty to discuss their views.

 

Global study calls for protection of children

NEW YORK:     A report that calls on governments to protect all children from violence was tabled at the United Nations General Assembly, recently. Written by independent expert Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, the report represents "the first comprehensive, global study" conducted by the UN on all forms of violence against children and builds on an earlier UN study of the impact of armed conflict on children.

It says that "all violence against children is preventable" and yet such violence exists in every country of the world, is socially approved and frequently legal and State-authorised.  "The study should mark a turning point -- an end to adult justification of violence against children, whether accepted as 'tradition' or disguised as 'discipline'," says the 36-page report. "Children's uniqueness -- their potential and vulnerability, their dependence on adults -- makes it imperative that they have more, not less, protection from violence."

 

U.S. Bishops to vote on guidelines for ministry to homosexuals

WASHINGTON (CNS):  When the U.S. Catholic bishops meet in Baltimore next month, they will be asked to vote on guidelines for ministry to those with homosexual inclinations.

The proposed document clearly reaffirms and explains church teaching against any sexual activity - homosexual or heterosexual - that takes place outside marriage, and it says authentic ministry must be based on that teaching. But it also says a homosexual inclination is not itself sinful and those who are homosexually inclined "must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity."  It sharply condemns hatred or "violent malice in speech or action" against homosexuals. "Those who would minister in the name of the church must in no way contribute to such injustice," it says.  The 23-page document was prepared by the Committee on Doctrine.  (report by Jerry Filteau)

 

School systems struggle with religion

LONGUEUIL:    The Quebec government is struggling to find ways to accommodate religious groups' demands for greater freedom to exercise their rights in the province's secular education system. School boards received a sudden increase in demands from various religious groups after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled last March that a Sikh student could carry a ceremonial dagger to class. The ruling obliges schools to find a "reasonable accommodation" for religious groups.  (Globe and Mail)

LONDON:    The British government is changing the law to oblige all new "faith schools" to offer up to a quarter of places to non-believers, in a bid to promote social integration. Education Secretary Alan Johnson says the country is slipping into a system of "voluntary apartheid" through separate religious schools. The Church of England has already announced it will set aside a quarter of places at its new schools for people outside the church. But Catholic and Muslim authorities are not happy with the move. (London Telegraph)   (See also:  Faith schools and Threat to Catholic schools, The Tablet)

 

In the United States …

ROME: Bishop William Skylstad, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, while was in Rome recently, spoke with NCR about issues facing the American church. Highlights of his comments include:

* In 2008, each bishop will likely again decide for himself whether to give communion to candidates at odds with church teaching. Skylstad does not expect additional Vatican instructions on the issue.

* More bankruptcies due to sexual abuse scandals cannot be ruled out, but the church is making "massive efforts" to protect children and young people.

* Restructuring in the bishops' conference could mean reduced American funding to the Vatican.

* Any text from Rome on the pre-Vatican II Mass should allow bishops to regulate its use, as opposed to the universal permission sought by traditionalists.

* The Vatican affirms Muslim/Christian dialogue in the United States.

* For now, a trip by Benedict XVI to the United States is tied to a visit to the United Nations.

* An anonymous letter attributed to New York priests attacking Cardinal Edward Egan is "suspicious."      (full text of the interview)


Congo Bishops urge election calm

KINSHASA, Congo (Zenit.org): The bishops of Congo have exhorted the population to refrain from violence and fear and to participate responsibly for the peaceful and legitimate unfolding of the upcoming presidential elections. The prelates' appeal was echoed in a message of the Caritas Internationalis, published in view of the elections October 29.

This is the runoff election to decide who will be the next president: interim President Joseph Kabila (45 per cent of the votes cast in the first election) or interim Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba (20 per cent).

The Congolese bishops' conference "invites the national and international community, while there is still time, to reject evil so that in this way the elections will usher in a better future, because the Congo is in danger".  The bishops condemned the violence that broke out in the capital, Kinshasa, where the personal armies of both candidates clashed shortly after the preliminary results of the first round were released, killing at least 30 people.   It is estimated that from 1998 to 2003 more than four million people died in Congo, the majority from hunger and sickness, as a result of the civil war.

 

 



 



 
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