Monthly Archives: December 2006

Zenit you can watch! Rome TV Newsagency

Rome Reports ( is a new venture by the Legionaries of Christ, who already run the best Vatican news service, Zenit. Now you can actually watch (on streaming video) the events in the Vatican which you have previously only read about.

Once you get to the website, you need to click on the “Rome Reports Video Newsfeed” on the left hand side of the screen. If this doesn’t get you the newsfeed, click on this link: You have to make sure your pop-up blocking feature is off, but otherwise it is just like watching Youtube, only with the Holy Father.

The current newsreport includes the Holy Father speaking about this trip to Turkey, and the visit of the Greek Orthodox Archbishop Christodoulos. It runs for about 20 minutes. I don’t know how often they will be updating this, but I am hooked already.


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Latin mass rumours find solid foundation: Cardinal Medina speaks out

This report from the Catholic News Agency appears to provide the surest proof yet that there really is a Motu Propio on the traditional Latin mass ready to go:

VATICAN CITY, December 14 (CNA) – At the conclusion of the Ecclesia Dei commission this week, which is responsible for maintaining dialogue with the Lefevbrist movement, the former head of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Jorge Medina, said Pope Benedict XVI it was “very probable” that Pope Benedict XVI would issue an indult for the celebration of the Mass of St. Pius V.The Mass of St. Pius V, which was celebrated universally before Vatican II, can currently be celebrated only with the permission of the local bishop. According to Cardinal Medina, the Pontiff may issue a “Motu Propio”—a document released on the Pope’s own authority—that would authorize the universal use of the missal without the need for diocesan approval. “The publication of a Motu Propio by the Pope allowing for widespread celebration of the Mass in Latin according to the missal of St. Pius V is very near,” the cardinal said.“The matter has been calmly studied and it was discussed for more than four hours, resulting in some corrections to the text of the Motu Propio,” he added. The next step for it to be definitively published will be taken by Cardinal Dario Castrillon, president of the commission “Ecclesia Dei, who will present the text to the Pope for his final approval.

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Two Danny’s get Re-Trial!

The two Danny’s have won a reprieve following their application against the findings of Judge Higgins in the long running Religious Vilification case before VCAT. Hailed as a success by Catch the Fire Ministries and just about every other conservative Christian group around the world, this is not quite an exoneration–it is a call for a retrial, without any further evidence to be taken, but in the light of the rulings of the appeal. It is expected, however, that in that light, a new verdict–of “not guilty”–will be handed down.

I am still wading through the 80 pages or so of the appeal’s findings, but at the moment it seems to hinge upon the idea that the criticising and ridiculing of religious beliefs should be distinguished from the vilification of those who hold those religious beliefs. It also includes the fact that just because someone feels insulted by what someone else says about their religious beliefs doesn’t mean that Victoria’s Religious Vilification laws have been breached.

[I understand that Peter Feris wrote a piece on this for, but as I’m not a subscriber, so I couldn’t read it. Anyone out there in blog land with access to this article?]

In general, I welcome these new distinctions, just as I welcomed the amendments to the law made last year, although I agree with Mark Zirnsak of the Uniting Church, that we wouldn’t want anyone–especially Christians–seeing this as a “green light” for being nasty to people of other faiths. I also hope–although I don’t expect–that these findings would calm the fears of some Christian folk about the Victorian laws. It is obvious that the laws are working themselves out over time and that Christians acting in good faith–and in a spirit of charity–have nothing to fear. (Cf. The Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission’s Statement “Talking about Other Faiths: A Position Statement of the Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission”)

[Reader: I guess that puts paid to your thoughts about charging Richard Dawkins with religious vilification?
Schütz: It does, rather.]

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Of Bishops and (a few good) Men…

Last Tuesday, I held in my hands the episcopal ring which will be placed on the finger of the new Anglican archbishop of Melbourne (Dr Philip Freier) at his installation this Saturday. My friend, the Archdeacon (how Trollopian that sounds!), who had commissioned it, was showing it around at an ecumenical meeting. Dr Freier will be a very welcome addition to the Melbourne ecclesiastical scene. We hope to hear much of and from him.

Bishop Freier is only 51 years of age, and from the Northern Territory. This is interesting for two reasons. The first is that he is roughly the same age as the current Lutheran President/Bishop, The Rev. Greg Pietsch (“if that’s how they spell peach, I wonder how they spell apricot!” as one Catholic was recently heard to say). Both incumbents could well be around for the next 14-19 years, and given that Archbishop Hart, our Catholic Ordinary, has at least another 10 years to go, this means we are heading into a period of quite extraordinary stability in the ecclesiastical leadership of Melbourne (the Uniting Church rotates every three years, so theres never any stability there…).

Ah, but there’s still some excitement ahead, and that’s where the other interesting point about Archbishop Freier comes in. It just so happens that the Catholic Bishop of Darwin, the Most Rev. Ted Collins, has just retired at age 75, leaving a vacancy for someone well trained in evangelisation and Aboriginal Ministry. Whether or not Papa Benny knows about it (and I believe him to omniscient in these matters), there is such a candidate among the auxiliaries of Melbourne: a relatively youthful, can-do sort of bishop whom we will be very sad to lose, but are resigned to the fact that with his talent he won’t remain an auxiliary for ever. We thought him originally marked out for Sale–but it seems that there is at least one good
candidate from the Sale diocese (with experience in training priests) for when Bishop Coffey reaches the magical 75 mark (cf. Coo-ees in the Cloister).
Now add that to the fact that Papa Benny has just accepted Melbourne Auxiliary bishop Joe O’Connell’s resignation (he finishes his duties around next July),
and that we are already one short since Mark Coleridge became Archbishop of Canberra, AND that Bishop Hilton Deakin turns 75 next November, that means that we could be needing FOUR new auxiliary bishops in Melbourne in the very near future.

I understand that bookies are currently taking wagers on the outcome, but being no betting man (a residual queesiness from Lutheranism) I am making no prognostications. (Not in public like this anyway!) Suffice it to say that the Melbourne Catholic Archdiocese is sorely in need of “a few good men” to exchange whatever colour they are currently wearing (black, white, blue or biege) for the episcopal purple!

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A blatant attempt at proselytising by Spong’s Church

Here’s a nasty little piece, to which Amy Wellborn alerts us (and a good dissection of it by Christopher S. Johnson).

It is a blatant act of what we, in the Catholic Church, call proselytising (aka “Sheep-stealing”). Apart from the fact that it plays fast and loose with the Truth (“What is that?”), it is a distinctly agressive plot to attract disaffected adherants away from the Catholic faith to their own variant by painting Catholicism as bad as they possibly can and by making their own church sound as good (by their definition, at least?) as they possibly can.

Newark is, of course, Bishop Spong’s old stamping ground. So much for ethics and ecumenism in the liberal Episcopalian camp.


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A good definition of the Christian concept of Creation

From the same review as the quote below, Stephen Barr gives us this definition of Creation:

In its traditional and profounder meaning, creation is that timeless act whereby God holds all things in existence. It is not an alternative to natural theories of origin or natural explanations of change.

I completely concur with this definition, and it is the foundation for my continuing assertion that “trademark” ID™ is a “wrong turn at Alberquerque”. (I am still working on a reply to Inquisitive Brain’s assertion that it is in fact a “right turn“. Stay tuned.

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Quote for the day

I liked this quotation from Stephen Barr’s Review of Edward O. Wilson’s “The Creation: A meeting of Science and Religion” in October First Things.

The book is written in the form of a letter to an imaginary Southern Baptist pastor, whom he addresses as “my respected friend.” …The “respect” he has for his Baptist friend seems at times to be of the kind that a naturalist might have for an orangutan. It is a respect for biodiversity; no intellectual equality is implied. The pastor has nothing to teach Wilson except as a specimen.

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