Daily Archives: October 29, 2009

Anima Women’s Network Fundraising Dinner (November 28)

Guest Speaker and Musical Interludes: Peter Roberts, Harpist

The approach of music in palliative medicine – thanatology offers through the musician, specialized musical skills with harp and voice and a genuine loving presence which ministers to the emotional, physical and spiritual need of dying patients.

Saturday 28th November
6.00 pm Mass at Holy Spirit Parish, cnr Wilmoth & Clarendon Sts, Thornbury
7.00 pm Dinner in Silver Room at Olympic Hotel, 31 Albert Street, Preston

Dinner includes hors d’oeuvres, main course and dessert plus tea/coffee
Drinks at bar prices * Iced water on tables * Raffle with major travel prize
Cost :$55 per head or $100 for married couples
Make up a table of 10 or we will allocate you a seat

For more information or for bookings phone Joan on 9926 5733 or joan.clements@cam.org.au
Closing date for bookings 20th November 2009

Flyer for dinner

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An Excellent Defence of Conscience

This article, Over the counter conscience vote, by Beth Doherty, is an excellent defence of the right of Catholic business owners to conduct their business according to their conscience.

The refusal of organisations such as the well-known Body Shop to stock supplies tested on animals is a widely accepted fact. People can choose to shop there or they may prefer to purchase other cosmetic brands. Some consumers refuse to purchase sporting goods from companies such as Nike due to accusations of the use of sweat-shop labour. Others choose not to consume Nestle products because of previous alleged unethical practices regarding powdered milk. People vote with their feet, and act on their conscience…

The right to individual conscience seems to only be respected when the widely held view is at stake. Mr Dal Broi’s views are consistent with Catholic Church teaching and he makes no apology for that. He is serving his conscience and, as a health professional, he has as much right to live his moral beliefs in a free and democratic society as do those who choose to use contraception.

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Congratulations Paul Quist STL!

Paul and Carol in Rome (Large)

Paul and Carol Quist in Rome

Our most sincere congratulations to Paul Quist – one time ELCA pastor and graduate of the Melbourne John Paul II Institute – upon passing his STL examination in Rome. I trust Paul and his wife Carol will now be able to enjoy the delights of Rome in full!


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When is a Lutheran Bishop not a Lutheran Bishop?

When she is a “German protestant” Bishop. Yes, Lutherans in Australia and the Missouri Synod can console themselves: the EKD is not a “real” Lutheran Church, but an amalgam of “22 Lutheran, Reformed and United Churches” – just the thing my ancestors fled from 170 years ago by emigrating to Australia.

Knowing that the Evangelische Kirche is not a “real” Lutheran Church might be some consolation for Lutheran readers of this blog. Some. In any case, you have to admit, she is one hell of a lot better looking than any other Lutheran bishops I know. OR Catholic ones, for that matter.


Bishop Margot Käßmann (Photo: Reuters)

Anyhow, let’s see how she scores according to this Reuters report:

German Protestants pick woman to head church
Wed Oct 28, 2009 1:07pm EDT
By Madeline Chambers

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Protestants on Wednesday elected Margot Kaessmann, a divorcee [one point off] and the Lutheran bishop of Hanover, to lead them, the first woman to take the post and only the third woman to head a major Christian church.

Kaessmann, 51, a regular on television talk shows and known in the media as the “pop bishop” [three points – any leader of a Christian Church today with a “pop” following has to have something going for them] was considered something of a controversial candidate to lead Germany’s roughly 25 million Protestants because she is divorced. [On further consideration, another point off ]

But she still won 132 of a possible 142 votes [add another point] at a synod of the EKD, an umbrella group for 22 Lutheran, Reformed and United Churches, to replace the retiring Berlin Bishop Wolfgang Huber, 67, as EKD chairman.

“It is a sign that we are saying: for biblical and theological reasons, it is possible for women as well as men to assume any office in the Protestant Church,” she said after the vote. [minus another point]

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) welcomed the choice. “The election sends a signal to the Church worldwide that God calls us to leadership without consideration of gender, color or descent,” Rev. Ishmael Noko, LWF general-secretary told the Ecumenical News International news agency at the synod in Ulm.

The mother of four will be charged with reviving the appeal of the Church, which has been losing members in recent years. [Mother of four?! That’s quite something for a career woman in Europe, isn’t it? Very appealing. Add three points.]

She has a reputation as a modernizer [lose two points] and supporter of closer dialogue between Catholics and Protestants [add three points]. “We Are Church,” a reform group of Catholic lay people, said the election sent a signal of hope for Catholics who support women clergy. [Subtract four points – any one who “We Are Church” endorses has to be a bit of a worry…]

“I very much want to strengthen ecumenicism in our country,” she was quoted by German media as saying. [Okay – we’ll take that on face value, though I don’t really know what she means other than increase friendliness between the EKD and the Catholic Church. The EKD has less chance of restoring full communion with the Catholic Church than the Anglican Communion. Add two points]

German-born Pope Benedict is firmly against any change in the celibate male clergy in Catholicism, the world’s largest Church, and offered last week to take in conservative Anglicans opposed to female priests and gay bishops in their churches. [Um. Tell us something we don’t know. But I guess this is the journalist’s way of saying: “Fat Chance” to future Catholic/Protestant unity in Germany.]

The only other female heads of large churches are Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church in the United States and National Bishop Susan Johnson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. Queen Elizabeth is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England but Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is its head. [hmm. We won’t quibble] The Church of England has women clergy and a recent decision to allow women bishops could open its top post to women, but conservatives are trying to limit their powers.

(Reporting by Madeline Chambers in Berlin and Tom Heneghan in Paris; editing by Noah Barkin)

So, Bishop Käßmann scores three points from me. What does that mean? I don’t know…


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Papa Benny on the Interpretation of Scripture

Pope Benedict addressing the Pontifical Biblical Institute:

In this regard, the already mentioned dogmatic constitution “Dei Verbum” has stressed the legitimacy and necessity of the historical-critical method, reducing it to three essential elements: attention to literary genres; study of the historical context; examination of what is usually called Sitz im Leben. The conciliar document maintains firm at the same time the theological character of exegesis, indicating the strong points of the theological method in the interpretation of the text. This is so because the foundation on which theological understanding of the Bible rests is the unity of Scripture, and this assumption corresponds, as methodological way, to the analogy of the faith, that is, to the understanding of the individual texts from the whole.

The conciliar text adds a further methodological indication. Scripture being only one thing starting from the one People of God, which has been its bearer throughout history, consequently to read Scripture as a unit means to read it from the Church as from its vital place, and to regard the faith of the Church as the real key to interpretation. If exegesis also wishes to be theology, it must acknowledge that the faith of the Church is that form of “sim-patia” without which the Bible remains as a sealed book: Tradition does not close access to Scripture, but rather opens it; on the other hand, the decisive word in the interpretation of Scripture corresponds to the Church, in her institutional organizations. It is the Church, in fact, which has been entrusted with the task of interpreting authentically the Word of God written and transmitted, exercising her authority in the name of Jesus Christ (cfr “Dei Verbum,” 10).

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Cooees always did enjoy a good doppelgänger. I wonder if our readers can spot the similarity between these two characters.

For we do indeed live in strange times! With the Australian Labor Party sending boatloads of assylum seekers back where they came from, Mr Rudd is beginning to look exactly like Mr Howard whom he so often criticised. And in the ecclesial world, that arch-doyen of liberal Catholicism, Father Hans Küng, is sounding disturbingly like Lucius Malfoy in the rhetoric he uses to criticise Pope Benedict’s ecumenical model of an inclusive Church.

In Harry Potter, the “pure blood” wizards want to expel those of “muggle” parentage from the wizarding world, derisively calling them “mud-bloods”. According to this CNS story, Fr Küng wants to preserve a similar pure “exclusivism” and the observance of a strict “class division” between the brothers and sisters of Christ, where the “Traditionalists” are the new “mud-bloods” who threaten the purity of Catholic liberalism. He wrote in an editorial Oct. 28 in the Rome daily La Repubblica:

“Traditionalists of all churches, unite under the dome of St. Peter’s! Look: The fisherman is fishing above all on the ‘right’ side of the lake. But the water is muddy.”

No “odd fish” allowed among the 153 fish in St Peter’s net.

But maybe he is on to something with that reference to John 21.

Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.

There you have it. Peter way out in front, recklessly throwing himself into the sea without any regard for his own safety. Pope Benedict has seen that it is God’s will to reach out to Christians who share the faith of the Church and bring them into unity. Fr Küng, et aliter, are sitting back in the boat grumbling.

Update: Here is the link to Küng’s op ed piece in English. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2009/oct/27/catholicism-pope-anglicanism-church. It seems that the “muddy water” comment has been deleted in the English version. I wonder why…

Update: I have just found the original Italian piece here. The passage in question reads:

Tradizionalisti di tutte le chiese, unitevi – sotto la cupola di San Pietro! Vedete: il pescatore di uomini pesca soprattutto sulla sponda destra del lago. Ma lì l’acqua è torbida.

I guess you could more charitably translate “torbida” as “cloudy” or “murky”, but still. And this line is definitely left out in the English version.

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