Monthly Archives: July 2009

Attend SARC Hearing with Religious Leaders on August 5

Well, this should be interesting. I have received the following circular email from Rob Ward, Victorian State Director of the Australian Christian Lobby. He is informing us of the upcoming schedule for the public hearing of the Scrutiny of Acts & Regulations Committee into the proposed review of the exceptions in the Equal Opportunity Act here in Victoria, to be held in the Legislative Council Committee Room at Parliament House.

It is an impressive line up! (For the full list of groups making submissions to the hearing, see here.)

Dear David ,

Are you able to take a couple of hours to stand for religious freedom?

This coming Wednesday 5th August, the Scrutiny of Acts & Regulations Committee will be hearing from a number of faith leaders as they respond to the direct attack on religious freedom that is the SARC review of the exceptions in the Equal Opportunity Act. These long standing exceptions allow faith based groups to choose staff and volunteers who share their faith & ethos. It is proposed that they be removed.

I believe we need to fill/overfill the Legislative Committee room with people who like us, are deeply concerned with protecting religious freedom.

Below is a timetable for the Wednesday. If you can come along for all or part of the day, if your denomination/tradition has clerical garb, please wear it.

I must say that the room is small and we cannot guarantee you or anyone a spot. But even if you are turned away, if lots of leaders are turned away, we still make the point. Freedom matters to us!

10:10am Catholic Bishops of Victoria Bishop Christopher Prowse DD , Bishop of the Diocese of Sale
10:30am Catholic Social Services Denis Fitzgerald, Executive Director, Catholic Social Services Victoria.
10:45am Anglican Church of Australia The Most Reverend Dr Philip Freier, Archbishop of Melbourne, The Rev’d Dr Mark Durie,
11:10am Presbyterian Church Rev. David Palmer, Convener
11:30am Islamic Council of Victoria
11:50am Sikh Interfaith Council Gurdarshan Singh Gill, Chairperson
12:15pm B’nai B’rith Deborah Stone, Research Director
1:15pm Mt Evelyn Christian School Dr. Gerry Beimers (Administration Manager), Martin Hanscamp (Principal)
1:35pm Christian Schools Australia Stephen Doherty, CEO (National), Jeanette Woods, State Executive Officer
1:55pm Australian Christian Lobby Rob Ward, Victorian State Director, Mark Sneddon, Member State Council
2:20pm Catholic Education Office Bishop Timothy Costelloe, Chairman, Nancy Bicchieri, Deputy Director, Stephen Elder, Director

If you cannot come, could you encourage others to come. Of course prayer for all those standing for freedom is a must!


Robert Ward
Victorian State Director
Mob: 0408 348 352
Office: (03) 9018 1782
Fax: (03) 9011 9731
PO Box 455, Flinders Lane 8009


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School Students reject “Politician’s Republic”

George Bougias addresses the students at the Western Region Constitutional Convention

George Bougias addresses the students at the Western Region Constitutional Convention

An aquaintance of mine, George Bougias, who belongs to Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy (an organisation which I myself have not joined – not because I do not agree with their ideals but because, as I think I have said before, I am not by nature a “joiner”), sent around an email report of schools “Constitutional Convention” held recently in which he participated as a speaker. This is his report:

Dear all

Just to let you know that, this month, I once again participated in the ‘Western Region Constitutional Convention’ (in Melbourne) where students from 3 schools get to hear 2 speakers (for and against a politicians’ republic).

There were also other speakers including from local government, the AEC etc.

Student groups are divided into ‘States’ and then vote on whether they want Australia to remain a Constitutional Monarchy or become a Presidential Republic

In a mirror result to last year, our Constitutional Monarchy was victorious with NO State voting for a politicians’ republic and the referendum question being massively defeated in a landslide.

The main arguments for rejecting a politicians’ republic by the students were:

1. Australia functions well at the moment and there is no reason to change; and
2. There are serious questions over whether a President be trusted.

I note that the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) conducted the formal vote (so republicans cannot complain about any ‘rigging’ etc etc etc)!!!

I attach some photos from my presentation.

God Save the Queen!


Interesting, no? Two questions (which I will put back to George also):

1) What precisely does he mean when he says that the students rejected “a politician’s republic”? I assume he means one where the politicians do the appointing. Were the students open to some other kind of republic?

2) Why was “trust” an issue with a proposed president? Surely whether or not any “president” can be trusted will depend on what powers the President is given?

Of course, in my own model (see sidebar), the Elected Monarch has only the power of appointing the person whom the Premier/Prime Minster chooses as Governor/Governor General, so the issue of “trust” doesn’t come into it. Also my model changes nothing at all about how Australia functions except to have a resident Australian Citizen as Head of State. (I remind readers as I have before, that my own preference is to retain the Monarch of Great Britain as the Monarch of Australia.)


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Father James Bacik

Fr James Bacik will be a guest of the Archbishop’s Office of Evangelisation here in Melbourne for a few days. Here are the events where you can catch up with him if you are in Melbourne. To book, contact the AOFE on 9926 5761 or

Help My Unbelief: Searching for the Mystery of God in an age of doubt
A dinner conversation for priests, pastoral associates and lay parish leadership.

Fr James Bacik, in conversation with Marcelle Mogg, will discuss today’s struggle to believe in a culture of doubt. The evening is an opportunity to hear and discuss ways of reaching out to the alienated and searching in our parish communities and beyond.

Fr James Bacik is one of North America’s finest, most insightful theologians renowned for his remarkable capacity for clear writing and effective teaching. He has a gift for bringing Theology to the masses and is passionate about combining the academic study of theology and the pastoral work he has been doing for many years.

Marcelle Mogg is the Director of Mission at St Vincent’s Public Hospital and is the former editor of Eureka Street magazine.

Venue: Marcellin College 160 Bulleen Road, Bulleen

This is a free event but bookings are essential as places are limited! Contact the AOFE to reserve places for your parish team.

Is there really a God? Searching for mystery in a culture of doubt

Age journalist Martin Flanagan in conversation with Fr James Bacik

Venue: The Oratory, Newman College 887 Swanston St Parkville

Martin Flanagan is a well-known journalist with The Age newspaper. Martin is widely respected for his writing on sport, indigenous issues and the spiritual journey.

Father James J. Bacik is one of North America’s finest, most insightful theologians. He is renowned for his remarkable capacity for clear writing and effective teaching. He has a gift for bringing Theology to the masses and is passionate about combining the academic study of theology and the pastoral work he has been doing for many years.

Both look like really interesting sessions, but unfortunately I am not a parish leader and on Monday night I will be teaching my Anima Education course Apocalypse Now (to which you are all welcome if you don’t go to hear Fr Bacik).

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Glen Bolas on Piper on Wright

Glen Bolas at Hwaet! has an excellent post on John Piper’s criticism of Tom Wright’s doctrine of Justification. I will comment further on this when I am at greater liberty. HT to Kiran for letting me know about this.

Update: I found this youtube video in which Wright discusses his response to Piper.

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Events at Caroline Chisholm Library

I received this email from Anna Krohn, who is, among other things, the librarian of the Caroline Chisholm Library. You might be interested if you are in town.

Dear Friends,

Just to remind you of three events at the Caroline Chisholm Library programme over the next weeks-

1) The fascinating scholar Dr Anna Silvas speaks of her visits to ancient Asia Minor, once called simply the ‘Christian land’,today Turkey. After briefly outlining the character of St Basil the Great, she reports on her search for the location of St Basil’s retreat, which was eventful and wonderfully successful. In St Basil the Great: Voyage of Discovery. 1-2pm Wednesday July 29th, 2009.

2) Fr Anthony Denton the Director of the Melbourne Archdiocese’s Vocation Office will speak with and present Bishop Julian Porteous (Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney) new book After the Heart of God (Connor Court Press, 2009) in which the Bishop addresses the question of the mission of the priest in contemporary times. Book Launch: Friday 7th August,6.30 pm (with refreshments)

3) The widely recognised and popular English Catholic journalist: Joanna Bogle will be present at the launch of her most recent book: A Yearbook of Feasts and Seasons (Gracewing Press, 2009) on 6.30 pm Friday 17th August. (Book signing and refreshments)

All are welcome.
Best wishes: AMK

Caroline Chisholm Library
3rd Floor/ 358 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne email:

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“Exorcism” at South Australian Lutheran Camp

Did you catch this news story a few weeks ago? I only caught up with it through reading the LCA President’s comments on his page here.

I know none of the details, but it did remind me of the Vollmer case refered to in the news report above. I had close second-hand experience of that one, due to the fact that one of the men who was charged and served a three month sentence in relation to it was married to my cousin. I remember at the time being terribly frightened by the inept actions of these amateur “exorcists”.

The Catholic Church not only believes in exorcism, but has trained exorcists (always priests) who are licenced by their local bishop. So my problem is not with the idea of exorcism. I am terrified that amateurs might take into their own hands both the diagnosis and the cure. Both the cases refered to in this post were misdiagnoses. That’s bad enough. But, worse still, God help anyone who attempted an “exorcism” on a real demon without the expertise and experience required.


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The Miracle of Sharing?

I was a little dismayed this morning when our pastor preached on the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes using the “exegesis” that goes: one boy came forward willing to share his lunch, and after the disciples got everyone to sit down and Jesus blessed the boy’s lunch and started handing it out, then everyone realised that there would be enough to go around if only they too shared what they had brought…

Two questions:

1) Do you think this interpretetion “spoils” the miracle by downgrading it to a pot-luck dinner?
2) Did your pastor use this idea?


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