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News & Views

CRA and members of Religious congregations across Australia reflect on current issues in our world and our Church.

0518CarmelitesWF 150A new Carmel will make its home in the Wilcannia-Forbes diocese at the invitation of Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green OSPPE.

Five nuns will come from communities of Discalced Carmelites in Nebraska and Pennsylvania to form a Monastery of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in the western New South Wales diocese. Two of them are Australian – Sr Francis from Canberra, who joined the Nebraska convent around 15 years ago and Sr Mariam originally from the Blue Mountains, who joined one of the Pennsylvania convents in 2011.

0517Slavery 150The Federal Government has announced it will harness the power of big business to help combat modern slavery, through the establishment of a Modern Slavery Reporting Requirement, in a move that has been welcomed by Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH) who have worked tirelessly to combat slavery and human trafficking.

The reporting requirement, which will be enacted through a new Australian Modern Slavery Act, will require more than 3,000 large corporations and other entities to publish annual public statements on their actions to address modern slavery in their supply chains and operations.

0517MercyHandover 150A journey that began with the arrival of Queensland’s first Sisters of Mercy in 1861 took another historic turn recently.

During a special ritual, the Brisbane Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy transferred canonical responsibility for Mercy Community Ltd to Mercy Partners, The Catholic Leader reports.

Sr Pat Fox2 150Australian Sister Patricia Ann Fox of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion has been in the headlines since her arrest in the Philippines on April 16 for allegedly engaging in illegal activities. She was released the following day after a 22-hour detention, but has since had her missionary visa revoked and was given 30 days to leave the country.

Catholic Religious Australia is among a growing chorus of religious and broader community leaders who have spoken out in defence of Sr Pat and her work with the poor and marginalised in the Philippines.

1712RuthDurick 150On Saturday 5th May a number of leaders of Religious Congregations joined with members of the Australian Bishops Conference to thank the members of the Truth Justice and Healing Council whose work covered the 5 years of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and which was completed at the end of April.

It was my honour on behalf of Catholic Religious Australia and its members to acknowledge the achievements of the Truth Justice and Healing Council and to thank its members and staff for the superb work they have done over the past 5 years. Catholic Religious Australia has had the opportunity elsewhere to say a particular ‘thank you’ to Francis Sullivan. The acknowledgement of the TJHC , given on Saturday 5th May, appears here:

Royal Commission Final Report 150The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia have established a new advisory group that will play a crucial role in influencing and monitoring the Catholic Church’s ongoing response to the child sexual abuse scandal.

Archbishop Denis Hart, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, explained that the new Implementation Advisory Group will monitor the response to the findings and recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse and the recommendations of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council, which led the Church’s engagement with the Royal Commission.

Sr Pat Fox2 150In 2013, Pope Francis wrote that being a Missionary was at the very heart of being a Catholic, a parish or a Catholic Institution. For the past 27 years, Sr Patricia Fox, the Superior of the Our Lady of Sion Order has been living these ideals as a Missionary to the poor and marginalised in the Philippines.

We applaud the missionary work of Sr Patricia over these many years, bringing the face of Christ to our Philippine sisters and brothers. Standing in solidarity with the poorest of the poor, Sr Patricia has contributed to many agricultural projects in order to empower ordinary people to take charge of their lives and work towards the alleviation of poverty.

Sr Pat Fox 150The Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion issued a statement this week indignantly condemning the Bureau of Immigration’s arrest and detention of Sister Patricia Fox, NDS, without due process and respect for her fundamental rights.

Sister Pat, who has now been released from detention, has since 1990 been a tireless worker amongst the poor and marginalised people of the Philippines.

0418RejoiceandbeGlad 150Holiness is present in the patience of God’s people, in parents who raise their children with immense love, in people who work hard to support their families, in the sick, and in elderly religious who never lose their smile, says Pope Francis in his latest Apostolic Exhortation, Gaudete et Exultate.

In the document, ‘Rejoice and be Glad’, Pope Francis says the path to holiness consists in daily acts of charity, joy and a sense of humour and people should choose their own path to holiness according to their state in life.

0418OverseasAid 150The Edmund Rice Centre has called on the federal government to boost its overseas aid budget rather than proceed with a reported $400 million cut.

The Centre, which carries forward the charism of Blessed Edmund Rice, founder of the Christian Brothers, says any decision by the Turnbull Government to cut Australia’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) would come at the worst possible time, as last year, the United Nations warned the world was facing the worst humanitarian crisis since 1945.

1712RuthDurick 150In this Easter Season we hear the wonderful accounts from the Acts of the Apostles of the early Christian churches. They were struggling communities, trying to find their way in a society which had strung up their leader and made a public example of him. It is significant that the Church gives us the opportunity during the Easter season each year to hear again the account of the early church and its formation.

If Easter is about anything it is about hope – to be found in darkness and death as much as in life and light.

0418EileenOConnor 150The members of Our Lady’s Nurses of the Poor say they are “delighted” by the news that the official process for the beatification of their founder, Eileen O’Connor, has begun.

Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher OP announced he has begun the process which could lead to the proclamation of Australia’s next saint.

Carmelites 150For a religious order well known for its charism of prayer and contemplation, the Carmelites of Australia and Timor-Leste have made a big splash in social media, clocking up more than 100,000 Facebook followers in less than a year.

Communications Director Fr David Hofman O.Carm says the Carmelites have been surprised and delighted at the growth of their social media following and the opportunities for connecting with people that it presents.

Amended flyer 150The 42nd Catholic Religious Australia National Assembly will be held in Brisbane from June 19 to 21, with the theme 'Religious in Australia: Evolving with Hope'.

Keynote speakers will include Gail Worcelo cp and Michael Whelan sm and registration forms are available here to download.


Vocations Ministry Report 150A new report on recent religious vocations in Australia has uncovered some common characteristics of religious orders that are attracting new women and men, which could help strengthen religious life in Australia and overseas.

Understanding Religious Vocation in Australia Today was commissioned by Catholic Vocations Ministry Australia (CVMA) and carried out by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Pastoral Research Office.

1712RuthDurick 150The plight of children is constantly before us these days. Often it is from a distant, bureaucratic perspective – compliance, record keeping, reporting. While these are important, we need to check ourselves that we do not lose sight of the child as an individual, as a gift.

We need to check ourselves that we have not become inured to the violence which is perpetrated on the most vulnerable members of our society in so many ways and which forms a regular part of our daily news reporting. We can get caught up in the policies, protocols and political strategies of the powerful and the administrators and lose sight of the very people for whom we are here.

0318AsylumSignThe Sisters of the Good Samaritan have called on the Federal Government to urgently review proposed changes to a Government support program for people seeking asylum which will force vulnerable people, including families and children, into destitution and homelessness, The Good Oil reports.

“The Sisters of the Good Samaritan are deeply concerned by the Government’s proposed changes to the Status Resolution Support Service which fail to recognise and respect the human dignity of all people,” said Congregational Leader Sister Patty Fawkner.

0318TJHC 150The Chief Executive of the Catholic Church’s Truth Justice and Healing Council, Mr Francis Sullivan, has urged all states to join New South Wales and Victoria in signing up to the national child sexual abuse redress scheme, as Catholic leaders reiterated their long-standing support of the scheme.

"Today’s announcement paves the way for non-government organisations in NSW and Victoria to join the scheme," Mr Sullivan said.

0318SrAnneGardiner 150International Women’s Day was celebrated in Rome this year with a talk from Australia’s Sr Anne Gardiner on the work being done to support indigenous women into leadership positions in in the remote island community, Vatican News reports.

Australia’s Embassy to the Holy See sponsored the event and invited Sr Anne, a Daughter of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, who was recognised as the 2017 Senior Australian of the Year because of her work with the Tiwi island people.

1712RuthDurick 150The release, in December 2017, of the final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse marks an important point in our development as church and as religious in the church and society here in Australia. We are particularly mindful at this time of all those whose lives have been so damaged by the evil of sexual abuse.

The release of the final report is not a full stop. It is an ellipsis indicating a pause, perhaps a faltering pause, but one denoting that the future is ours to take hold of, and to move forward as gospel women and men, doing what we are called to through our consecration: To bring good news to the poor; to bind up hearts that are broken; to proclaim liberty to captives, freedom to those in prison. (Luke 4:18)

0218GeoffGiudiceCPSL 150The seven-member board of the Catholic Church’s new child and vulnerable person standards setting, auditing and reporting organisation is now in place and busy developing a major new approach to the way the Church ensures everyone who comes into contact with its ministries is as safe as possible.

The Chair of CPSL, The Hon Geoff Giudice, said following the appointments of Queensland education specialist Dr Kerrie Tuite and WA governance expert Dr Ruth Shean this month, the board is now made up of members with a wide range of skills and expertise.

0218ArmsTrade 150The Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart have challenged the Federal Government’s recently announced plan to increase weapons exports.

"Weapons are designed to kill and maim human beings," said the Congregational Leader, Sister Monica Cavanagh. "We completely reject the philosophy which finds it acceptable to boost industry, create jobs, increase exports and protect local manufacturing via the arms trade.

Friday, 26 January 2018 17:26

Australia Day honour for Sr Sheelah

Sr Sheelah Mogan 150Eighty-eight year-old Brigidine Sister Sheelah Frances Mogan says she is “astonished” to be awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in the Australia Days Honours List, The Catholic Weekly reports.

Sr Sheelah, who lives in Randwick has been recognised for her long career as a teacher in Catholic schools, spanning almost 60 years.

TJHC 150 JPEGThe CEO of the Catholic Church’s Truth Justice and Healing Council (TJHC) said today that the release of the Royal Commission’s final report into institutional responses to child sexual abuse is an historic occasion which brings to an end one of this nation’s most important judicial inquiries.

“While the release of this report signals the end of the Commission, the work on implementing its latest set of recommendations and findings is only now just starting,” Mr Sullivan said.

1215 RCFinalReport 150The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has today released its final report, which includes a large number of recommendations, many of which will have a significant impact on the way the Catholic Church operates in Australia.

President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Denis Hart, said the release of the final report is the culmination of almost five years of intense examination of the way in which many different institutions, including the Catholic Church, have historically failed children.

CRAL logo 150The Royal Commission has today released its Final Report. Sister Ruth Durick OSU, President of Catholic Religious Australia, has acknowledged the pain suffered by so many and said religious orders across Australia are committed to continuing the work of recent years to ensure a future in which the safety and protection of children and vulnerable adults is paramount.

1712RuthDurick 150As we come to the end of a year, we can look back on 2017 with joy for the graces received and with satisfaction. We might also experience regret and pain for incompleteness, for sufferings caused, for opportunities missed, writes CRA President Sister Ruth Durick osu.

In this season of Advent, we are called to patient waiting, a time of expectation, a time of hope. It is not just the incarnation of God into our history more than 2000 years ago, in the person of Jesus, that we celebrate. It is the ongoing incarnation which we experience in our daily lives, in our communities and relationships, in our world and in the cosmos that we anticipate, celebrate and embrace.

Monday, 11 December 2017 13:26

Catholic schools at the margins of society

1712ChristianZahra 150As a young student attending Catholic schools in the 1970s and 80s in the Latrobe Valley in country Victoria, there was always a presence in our classroom of the Catholic commitment to assisting people who were disadvantaged or at the margins of our society, writes Christian Zahra, Executive Director of the National Catholic Education Commission.

Catholic schools in the Valley – and indeed across Australia – had a long tradition of serving lower and middle income families and the schools I attended were full of kids from struggling, working class families who in today’s terms, would be described as ‘poor’ or ‘disadvantaged’. I personally knew many families who couldn’t afford the very modest fees charged by Catholic schools and were supported by the generosity of local church communities.

1712SrHilda 150Members of Religious Congregations were a joyful, engaging presence at the Australian Catholic Youth Festival, held in Sydney last week.

More than 19,000 young people from all across the country descended on Olympic Park and the Sydney Showgrounds for ACYF17, an initiative of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, which this year was hosted by the Archdiocese of Sydney.


Monday, 04 December 2017 19:17

Faith groups seek nuclear weapons ban

1712ICANAustralia's Religious have joined other faith and community organisations in supporting an open letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, calling for the Australian Government to sign a treaty to ban nuclear weapons.

Catholic Religious Australia and more than 50 other faith groups, including religious congregations, signed an open letter in solidarity with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICANW) in October, urging the Government to act.

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