More compassion
In conversation – the 2006 Mary Ward Justice lecture
Religion and politics at The Socratic Forum
Justice call for Timor-Leste
Chega! (“Enough!”)

Possible return of married priests?


More compassion

SYDNEY:  The ideal of a more just and compassionate Australia lies behind the new Centre for an Ethical Society (CES) which will be launched in Sydney next Tuesday.

CES, an autonomous, mainstream Christian, not-for-profit body, aims to promote Christian social justice within Australia’s democratic traditions.  In keeping with scriptural imperatives and Christian tradition, CES’ purpose will be the pursuit of the common good through the promotion and education of Christian social values in Australian public life.

The centre will be launched by Sir Gerard Brennan. Respondents to his address will be Mr Pat Dodson, Sr Susan Connolly and the Uniting Church’s Rev. Geoff Dornan.  The launch, which will be MC’d by Melbourne Anglican author Dr Muriel Porter, will be held at the Pitt Street Uniting Church, Sydney, on Tuesday, at 10.30am.  Interested people are invited to attend.


In conversation – the 2006 Mary Ward Justice lecture

SYDNEY:  The first Indigenous member of the New South Wales Government, Ms Linda Burney, will feature when the 2006 Mary Ward Justice lecture is presented tonight in Kirribilli, Sydney.

Ms Burney and the Deputy President of the Native Title Tribunal and the former Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Mr Fred Chaney, will have a conversation about Making Indigenous Poverty History.  This conversation will be facilitated by Jennifer Brockie, the presenter of SBS’ Insight programme. 

An initiative of the Loreto JPIC Committee in cooperation with Loreto Kirribilli and Loreto Normanhurst, the lecture will be held at Centenary hall, Carabella Street, Kirribilli, from 6-9pm.  The conversation will start at 6.30pm.  The cost is $10.

Meanwhile …

BRISBANE:   The Brisbane Indigenous community will rally and march on Saturday to highlight the tragedy of black deaths in custody. This follows a recent Coroner’s report on the death of Mulrunje while in police custody on Palm Island.  The rally will start at 11am in Queens Park (crn George and Elizabeth Streets).  The march will be through the city to Mulgrave Park, South Brisbane.

BRISBANE:   The Western Suburbs Deanery Pastoral Council will host an open reflection evening on the 2006 social justice statement:  The heart of our country: Dignity and justice for our indigenous sisters and brothers.  It will be held at the Ngutana Lui Cultural Centre, Inala, on Wednesday, November 29, at 7.30pm


Religion and politics at The Socratic Forum

MELBOURNE:   Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser will be among the distinguished commentators to address The Socratic Forum on the topic, That we should keep religion out of Australian politics, tonight, in Melbourne.

Speaking for the topic will be the Leader of the Australian Democrats Senator Lyn Allison and against, will be Professor of Law Fr Frank Brennan sj.

The forum will be addressed also by Professor of Politics at Latrobe  University, Judith Brett; Professor of Intercultural Studies at  RMIT, Desmond Cahill; honorary associate in the Department of Arts at Latrobe University, Brian Coman; and Melbourne based author and journalist Muriel Porter.

It will be facilitated by former ALP National President Dr Barry Jones.

The Socratic Forum - which seeks to enhance non-partisan debate on key issues facing Australians, free of any political, religious, and other constraints - will be held in the Christ Lecture Theatre on the ACU National Melbourne campus (St Patrick’s) from 6.30pm to 8pm (further information: Carly McIver on 02 9739 2513)


Justice call for Timor-Leste

NEW YORK:  November 12 - On the 15th anniversary of the infamous massacre at Santa Cruz cemetery in Timor-Leste, the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) has called for justice for its victims and their families, as well as the many others killed and victimised during Indonesia’s invasion and occupation of the territory from 1975 to 1999.

The 1991 massacre – witnessed and filmed by foreign journalists – was a turning point in Timor-Leste’s struggle for self-determination.

“East Timor is now independent, but its people cannot overcome their tragic past until there is accountability for decades of systematic human rights violations by the Indonesian military,” said John M. Miller, National Coordinator of ETAN. “This de facto impunity has an impact on Timor-Leste today, contributing to the current security crisis which forced half the capital’s residents from their homes. ETAN will not rest until justice is done.

“We urge the new Congress to take action toward accountability and justice, moving beyond the Bush administration’s lip service to support  for an international tribunal to try crimes against humanity committed in Timor-Leste,” Mr Miller said. “Congress should address the recommendations of Timor-Leste’s truth and reconciliation commission, especially its calls for a tribunal, reparations and restrictions on assistance to Indonesia’s military.

“On this important anniversary, we again join with the Timorese people in urging the United States and the international community to seriously pursue the Indonesian generals and political leaders who organised and directed numerous crimes during the 24 years of illegal occupation. A credible international tribunal is the only way to end impunity,” Mr Miller said.

ETAN was formed in reaction to the Santa Cruz massacre. The U.S.-based organisation advocates for democracy, justice and human rights for Timor-Leste and Indonesia.


Chega! (“Enough!”)

The groundbreaking 2500-page report of East Timor’s Reception, Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CAVR), which documents the nation’s human rights abuses under Indonesian occupation, was launched in Australia on Sunday.  Other launches will follow around the country this month.

According to organiser Dr Mark Byrne, convenor of the Australian Coalition for Transitional Justice in East Timor (ACTJET), the launches provide an opportunity for Australians to understand some of the underlying causes of the recent violence in East Timor.

Sr Susan Connelly, Assistant Director of Mary MacKillop East Timor, said the Australian launches were also a timely opportunity to reflect on Australia’s role in the past and future of East Timor.

“With the announcement of a new security treaty with Indonesia, we are concerned that accountability for past human rights violations in East Timor will once again take a back seat to securing our relationship with Indonesia,” she said. “Events in Dili this year have proven this would be a mistake.”

Speakers at the launches include: Former CAVR Chair Aniceto Guterres Lopes, Commissioner Isabel Guterres and Special Advisor Pat Walsh and representatives of the Timor-Leste Government. Australian respondents include John Dowd QC (Sydney), Bishop Hilton Deakin (Melbourne), Senator Natasha Stott-Despoja (Adelaide) and Peter Garrett MP (Canberra).

Launches have been held already in Sydney (Sunday) and Melbourne (Tuesday).

Further launches will be:

tonight, in Ballarat, at the Central Highlands Central Library, Doveton St, at 7pm (contact 03 5331 4101);

tomorrow, in Adelaide, at the Basil Hetzel Building, University of SA; 6 for 6.30pm (contact 08 8295 6481);

on Friday, in Perth, City of Melville, 10 Almondbury Rd, Booragoon; 6.30 pm (contact 08 9364 0660);

on Tuesday, November 28, in Canberra, in Committee Room 2R1 Parliament House; 7pm. (Bookings essential for escorted pass: contact Sue Harris-Rimmer, 02 6285 4200 by Friday, November 24)


Possible return of married priests?

The American renewal group FutureChurch has welcomed reports that Pope Benedict has called for a meeting tomorrow (Thursday, November 16) to discuss possible dispensation of the celibacy vow and requests for re-admission to ministry by priests who have left.

“We are delighted that the Vatican is considering permitting married priests to return to active ministry.  Our Catholic people will welcome them with open arms,” said Sr Christine Schenk, executive director of FutureChurch and a lobbyist at the International Synod on The Eucharist at which she called for open discussion of mandatory celibacy and women deacons. Although four of the synod’s 12 working groups wanted to study married priests, the final proposition affirmed the current discipline of mandatory celibacy.

“At the synod there was much talk of allowing “viri probati” (“tested men”) to perform priestly functions,” Sr Christine said.  “I can’t imagine who would be more fit to serve the people of God than men who have already served faithfully for many years and then were called to marriage. For these men, marriage will only enhance their priestly ministry."




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