Daily Archives: February 13, 2009

Story from a blog reader caught in the fires…

It was a bit of a shock to find that one of our regular readers of SCE was caught up in last Saturday’s fires – here is her story:

Thanks for asking – I had a horrible weekend!

Went to Christmas Hills (CH) to pick up the family’s two little dogs on Friday eve, to take back to Horsham next day, then all of us went to the Yarra Glen pub to eat (daughter and her defacto,Ross, and my son).

Got back from pub to find 12 yo maltese cross dog had got out and was missing.

Spent time in blasting heat on Sat looking through forest for maltese imagining him dehydrating and dying there. Couldn’t find him.

Late Sat afternoon we found there were fires near Yarra Glen

Later daughter walked outside and could hear the fire coming from towards Yarra Glen! It was the most horrible sound, not extremely loud but eerie and menacing, a strange sort of deep rumbling (couldn’t see anything as there was a rise in that direction near the house & between the fire)

Panic about staying or leaving.

Daughter and defacto decided to stay. I said I’d go and take the two remaining dogs (extra one belonged to daughter) so they would have less to worry about protecting.

Son & I left along bush track in separate cars.

About this same time the weather change came and the fire no longer continued in their direction.

Houses about 1.5 to 2 km way in the CH area burnt that afternoon or evening (Skyline Road)

I then drove on to Beaufort and stayed there for night in motel, as I had heard the Western Highway might still be blocked because of
Horsham fires, before travelling on to Horsham Sunday.

Pound phoned Monday to say our dog was picked up by a ranger that Sat morning.

My daughter said in any such future situation she would leave, thank goodness. I felt ill leaving her there (her house is surrounded by trees and scrub)

All is well now. No injuries to persons occurred at the Horsham fire these being mainly grass fires rather than forest fires.


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Bishop Morris digs deeper as "Temple Police" go on war path!

It might well be said that it would be unfair to dog a bishop for something he happened to write in an off-hand manner years ago in a pastoral letter.

It is another thing altogether if he is still openly pushing the same agenda today.

The Courier Mail has a story today about a man who I am assured by someone who knows him well is a gentle and caring bloke, and among one of the most pastoral bishops in Australia.

I am glad to hear it, and if only we could have more of them.

But why is it that “pastoral” bishops are always played off against doctrinally “faithful” bishops? Is there some law of ecclesiastical nature somewhere that they can’t be both?

According to the Courier Mail article, Bishop Morris “admitted he’s…under investigation after discussing the prospect of women or married priests in a pastoral letter.”

Far from defending himself against this charge, he in fact deeps deeper:

“I will continue to fight for what I believe is the truth… And I will continue to fight to be able to ask questions… There’s a lot of people agitating for a third Vatican Council and that could happen too – I’d love to see that happen.”

At the same time, he points the finger at who is to blame for his current predicament. I have often denied that there are any such thing as “church police”, but it seems that I am wrong. According to the Bishop,

“There are plenty of temple police around at the moment. They’re not a large majority – they believe in their conservative views and if they don’t agree with something, they’ll write to Rome.”

Well, why wouldn’t they? Especially since they know that “Rome” also “believes in their conservative views” and doesn’t agree with the same things they don’t agree with.

As for Vatican III – yeah, I’d like to see that. Especially as currently there are about 4800 bishops in the Catholic Church. Where on earth would they meet? And where would you house them for three years? And who would fund it? And why does every liberal and his dog assume that the decisions of such an ecumenical council would be in their favour?

We pray that Bishop Morris will not be fazed by the attacks of the “Temple Police”, leave aside challenging current Church doctrine, and continue being pastoral.

(Bishop Morris modeling the new mode of clerical dress from New Zealand. Picture from Courier Mail)


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The Mass for the Repose of the Souls of the Victims of Bushfire and Spiritual Support of Those who are Suffering

Barney Zwartz, who was at the mass in St Patrick’s yesterday, described it as “grandly titled” in his article in The Age this morning. Here are some TV news coverages:


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Benedict on Australia again!

From the Vatican Information Service:


VATICAN CITY, 12 FEB 2009 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received the Letters of Credence of Timothy Anthony Fischer, the new ambassador of Australia to the Holy See. The Pope began his remarks by expressing his sorrow for the recent bush fires in the Australian region of Victoria, asking the ambassador “to send my condolences to the grieving individuals and families”.

Continuing his English-language address, the Holy Father noted how the new ambassador is Australia’s first residential ambassador to the Holy See, thus marking a “new stage” in the diplomatic relations between the two countries. “The Church’s engagement with civil society is anchored in her conviction that human progress – whether as individuals or communities – is dependent upon the recognition of the supernatural vocation proper to every person”, he said. “It is from God that men and women receive their essential dignity and the capacity to seek truth and goodness. Within this broad perspective we can counter tendencies to pragmatism and consequentialism, so prevalent today, which engage only with the symptoms and effects of conflicts, social fragmentation, and moral ambiguity, rather than their roots”.

He then went on to recall last year’s World Youth Day celebrated in Sydney, commenting that every WYD “is a spiritual event: a time when young people, not all of whom have a close association with the Church, encounter God in an intense experience of prayer, learning, and listening. … I pray that this young generation of Christians in Australia and throughout the world will channel their enthusiasm for all that is true and good into forging friendships across divides and creating places of living faith in and for our world”.

“Cultural diversity brings much richness to the social fabric of Australia today. For decades that collage was tarnished by the injustices so painfully endured by the indigenous peoples. Through the apology offered last year by Prime Minister Rudd, a profound change of heart has been affirmed. Now, renewed in the spirit of reconciliation, both government agencies and aboriginal elders can address with resolution and compassion the plethora of challenges that lie ahead”.

The Holy Father had words of praise for Australia’s “active support of the Millennium Development Goals, numerous regional partnerships, and initiatives to strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty”. He also highlighted its readiness “to respond to a growing variety of exigencies in a principled, responsible and innovative manner. Not least of these are the menacing threats to God’s creation itself through climate change. Perhaps more than ever before in our human history the fundamental relationship between Creator, Creation and Creature needs to be pondered and respected”.

Referring then to his Message for this year’s World Day of Peace and its focus on “the need for an ethical approach to the creation of positive partnerships between markets, civil society and States”, the Holy Father commended “the Australian Government’s determination to establish relations of co-operation based on the values of fairness, good governance, and the sense of a regional neighbourhood. … It is ethics which render imperative a compassionate and generous response to poverty; they render urgent the sacrificing of protectionist interests for fair accessibility of poor countries to developed markets just as they render reasonable donor nations’ insistence upon accountability and transparency in the use of financial aid by receiver nations”.

Finally Pope Benedict spoke of the activity of the Church within the healthcare sector, highlighting one aspect of particular concern in “the provision of medical care for families, including high-quality obstetrical care for women. How ironic it is”, he concluded, “when some groups, through aid programmes, promote abortion as a form of ‘maternal’ healthcare: taking a life, purportedly to improve the quality of life”.

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