Sunday, January 28, 2007

Australia Day

Australia Day

By + Cardinal George Pell
Archbishop of Sydney
28 January 2007

Many Australians would be surprised to learn that our country is one of the oldest democracies in the world; one of the earliest nations to give all adults a vote, including women.

We know well that the colony of New South Wales was founded as a British prison, partly in response to the fact that the government in London could no longer offload their convicts to Georgia in North America after the American War of Independence. Few of our United States friends are aware of this and fewer speak about it publicly. But wishing cannot change the past.

As a child I was told that most of the convicts had only committed minor crimes and that many of them were Irish political rebels. In fact most of the convicts were wild, very wild, and often made worse by hardships, by the length of the journey to the other side of the world in small boats and the fierce cruelty of the system, which was worse again on Norfolk Island and Sarah Island in Tasmania.

But there was another side to the story as ex-convicts and their families changed for the better when they received their freedom, were given a fair go, encouraged by good governors such as Macquarie and Bourke. The discovery of gold in the 1850¡¯s, changed our society further.

Australians do not attempt to deny our past, the misery and degradation of the gaols, the awful mistakes, sometimes crimes, with the aborigines, because these humble beginnings emphasise the distance we have travelled to build one of the most prosperous and decent societies in the world.

The climate was hard for the first Europeans, the distances were immense, usually preventing any return, and for more than 150 years there were bouts of sectarianism, English versus Irish, Protestant versus Catholic. Catholics then were often seen as Moslems are today. But the old stories of how communities battled successfully to overcome these hurdles generate national loyalty for us now, reinforcing the conviction that we are Australian citizens, bound to one another by mutual obligations and belonging, not hostile neighbours.

Our young people should be told of our ancestors¡¯ achievements, exploring and settling a huge wilderness, planting self-governing communities, building roads and railways, schools, hospitals and churches, defending freedom here and abroad. We shall continue to thrive only if there is a critical mass of givers not takers, prepared to put themselves out for the common good, energetic enough to keep public opinion sound and courageous enough to withstand its mistakes.

No one has to belong to a particular race or religion to become an Australian, because the nationhood we celebrate on Australia Day is a civic, open nationalism, not racial, not hostile to anyone who chooses to belong and contribute.

Whatever our backgrounds and differences, if we are Australians, old or new Aussies, we belong to one another.

Monday, January 22, 2007

To Blog

Thanks to Miss Monification for this tip. Try it for yourself if you don't believe it, but Blogger's own spell check doesn't accept the words 'Blogger' or 'Blogging'.

Spiders on Drugs

A mate sent me a link to this video today. I couldn't stop laughing - 3million views... it's gotta be awesome!

Oz politics

A piece worth reading from The Australian by Tom Switzer. It's in relation to this news here that former ABC presenter Maxime McKew will be working for the ALP.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

I haven't been posting much lately and probably won't until Monday. The excuse is that I've be soooo busy.

I had a meeting set up with my local Archbishop, Phillip Wilson DD JCL for Friday and was keen to get an ACSA "Annual Report" done in time for that meeting. Arch. Wilson is the President of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference (ACBC) and we report to them on a yearly basis. So my entire Wednesday night was taken up churnign out that report.

Thursday night my ACSA Treasurer, the redoubtable Camillus, hit Adelaide with a storm. He decided he wanted a bit of a holiday and made sure it co-incided the the ACBC meeting. 'Twas good to have some support.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Like something out of Yes Minister!

Here Down Under we are in one of (if not the) worst drought on record. There are water restrictions in place in nearly every state and even people employed to moniter the suburbs. You are also encouraged to alert the authorities about neighbours breaking the laws regarding the use of water. The laws include only being allowed to water your garden for three hours and only after 8pm on a certain day of the week.

The classic story today from The Advertiser is about the Minister for Water, Michael Wright breaching his own laws. (The Aussies will apreciate this).
"It's not clear how this occurred but the sprinkler was turned off immediately it was realised," Mr Wright, who was interstate for work yesterday, said in a statement.

It is clear how it occured. You forgot to turn off the tap!

Monday, January 15, 2007


Fr. Ephraem muses about why some 'modern' priests get dementia.

Rocco has the Pope and Lech Walesa "furious" about the Polish debacle.

Fr. Tim has a simply magnificent post about Communion-in-the-hand.

And this is bizarre (hat tip to Rocco again)....
The Epicopaleans do "Latin Mass".

Shine Jesus, Shine

I hope you're all preparing for World Youth Day 2008. Here in Adelaide we've been working on an acceptable alternative to Graham Kendrick's 1987 classic Shine Jesus Shine. You all know the chorus which will no doubt be sung at least 7x7 times a day over the two weeks.
Shine, Jesus, shine
Fill this land with the Father's glory
Blaze, Spirit, blaze
Set our hearts on fire
Flow, river, flow
Flood the nations with grace and mercy
Send forth your word
Lord, and let there be light
Although it doesn't quite match in an exact translation, a very reverend and pius brother has been working on a version called Lux Jesu, Lux. It fits the same tune as well so stay tuned for publication of the final product.

Are there anymore "hymns" we can "improve" before 2008??

Sunday, January 14, 2007

McAuley and the Cardinal

I'm still in the middle of the biography The Heart of James McAuley by Peter Coleman and published by my mate at Connor Court. McAuley was a famous Australia poet and one of Australia's bets known Catholic converts. He was involved politically in the 50s and 60s in the Cold War battles that raged in Australia and the Labor Party. He was a close friend and confident of Bob Santamaria and was very scathing of his Archbishop, Cardinal Gilroy over his "betrayal" of the Movement and its work. So harsh was the relationship that Cardinal Gilroy refused his imprimatur to McAuley's first published hymn book which includes the often sung Help of Christians Guard this Land. (Australia is under the patronage of Mary, Help of Christians.) Archbishop Young of Hobart was happy to give his imprimatur to the publication.

The first verse is:

Help of Christians, guard this land,
From assault and inward stain;
Let it be what Christ has planned,
His new Eden where you reign.

It's a very stirring and upbeat hymn and infact you could easily march to it. We adopted it three years ago as ACSA's official hymn.

Links: Wikipedia's biography of McAuley

Length of Sermons

Okay guys, I'm looking for a bit of help and your opinion. How long should a sermon go for at your average Sunday morning Mass? Should it be short, sharp, shiny and to the point (5mins) at one extreme, or should it ramble on and repeat itself to hammer in the point (15-20mins)? I'm looking for a opinions here and reasons.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Ruddock doing something useful

Story from ABC News today:
Euthanasia advocate Phillip Nitschke is furious that federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock is attempting to stop his book from being published in Australia.

Mr Ruddock is appealing a decision by the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) to approve the sale of the self-help euthanasia book under strict conditions.

The book offers advice and tips to those considering euthanasia and is being sold in the United States and Canada.

Dr Nitschke denies his book would lead to an increase in Australia's suicide rate.

"Desperate people are the ones who do desperate things," he said.

"What we find is that when people are in possession of the best information, feel like they have choices and control, is that they actually live longer.

"So I simply don't agree with that idea that putting this information out is going to lead to a spate of suicides.

"Rather it will help or improve the overall general health of a lot of anxious and elderly folk at present."

Dr Nitschke says the Government's action is a violation of Australia's democratic rights. More...

The piece later quotes the prominent Northern Territory anti-euthanasia campaigner Tom Kylie as believeing that the book should be published. He believes that its publication would lead to a more healthy debate. Weird! There are some things that shouldn't be published. Last year Sandra Kanck MLC read out instruction to kill yourself in Parliament here in South Australia. The section was removed form Hansard.

Speck archives

Dragging out the archives still... will have to wait until I'm regularly at uni for some new ones.

"I never met an altar boy before... say something in Latin!"

Girl banned from wearing Cross at school

From the Daily Mail via The Australian
A BRITISH schoolgirl has been barred from wearing a crucifix necklace in class, the Daily Mail reported today.

Samantha Devine, a 13-year-old Roman Catholic, was told by teachers in Gillingham, south-east England, that it breached health and safety rules, the paper added.

Her family reportedly says it will fight the decision and has accused the school of discriminating against Christians because Sikh and Muslim pupils can wear religious symbols.

The case echoes that of British Airways employee Nadia Eweida, who was suspended in October for failing to remove her necklace or hide it under clothing in accordance with company policy.

The girl has pledged to keep wearing the cross when school restarts next week after the Christmas holiday.

"I am proud of my religion and it is my right to wear a cross around my neck.

"I can't understand why the school thinks a tiny crucifix on a thin silver necklace is a health and safety hazard," she told the Mail.
We hear about these stories so often at the moment. Such a shame especially in 'Christian Europe' as it was once known.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Catholic Church's agencies under fire from Australian Media

The Catholic Church in Australia and it's agencies have been under scutiny by the Australia press. It's started again because of The Federal Government's funding of the Catholic CentreCare to provide pregnancy counselling. Much of the media and sections of the parliamentary parties and lobby groups believe than counselling can only be given by pro-choice agencies.

Anyway, this article appeared in The Australian today, attacking the Catholic-run hospitals for not refering rape victims to agencies which offer the morning-after pill. This opinion piece also featured today. Tony Abbott continues to cop it, but he continues to keep abortion in the press... something that has kept up since March 2004. And something that hasn't happened in decades.

Oh everyone loves a stab at the Catholic Church! The thing is, its because the other Churches have long given up any moral or ethical values they may have once held! Recall the Uniting Church's support for RU486?

(On a side note, did you see this piece in CNA? Where Uruguary's left-wing President expresses his total comittment to support the unborn!)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Stella Artois ad

Thanks to Dominicanus for this one. The ad features a number of traditional priests...

Orthodox Christmas

Merry Christmas to all the Orthodox Christians out there who of course celebrate the Birth of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour today. (The pic is of the Russian Orthodox Patriarch celebrating the Christmas liturgy)

Saturday, January 06, 2007


'Anonymous' didn't seem to like my post below about abortion clinics. I've now worked out where the guy who sent me that image got it from: Those Here is another sample.

Bits of Politics, Catholicism & Christianity

On the front page of The Weekend Australian today was a story on Malcolm Fraser and Santamaria and Santa's role in the dismissial of Gough Whitlam. It read like the Oz had just foudn out the information and it was breaking news! The truth is that the letter was published in a book that was printed last year (2006). The book contains a number of letters to and from Santamaria. I can't remember the name of it but the old mna has a copy. It's not this story by Dennis Shanahan but Dennis' piece is worth a read.

It has also made me think a bit about Malcolm Fraser. In Australia we have a 30-year rule on the release of Government documents. Last year the 30 y
ears found us in 1975 and Gough Whitlam while this years finds us in the government of Malcolm Fraser. Gough suddenly became important again last year and was interviewed on a nearly daily basis on the hot topics of today. I now unfortunately expect this to happen with Malcolm Fraser this year. Oh dear. Both are appalling characters and quiet small 'l' liberal in their values. Fraser in an interview publised on New Years Day refused to say whether he still voted for the Liberal Party. He did state however that he only renewed party membership in support of fellow small 'l' liberal in the ranks. Boy he's a shocker. I think we can only hope that people tire of his rants early this year.

In not unrelated news, Christopher Pearson has a sterling column today titled Rudd needs to learn real Christians are cultural conservatives which follows on from His Eminences column a few weeks ago challenging the ALP of its social progressive policies.

Friday, January 05, 2007

I was sent this image today...

Moses at the pool

I know I don't lifeguard at all anymore, in fact I haven't swum at a pool this summer yet but this made me giggle from Letters from a Young Catholic.

Rocky back in the fold...

I've only just caught up with the news reported just before Christmas that Sylvester Stalone has returned to the fold.
WASHINGTON (CNS) – Sylvester Stallone grew up Catholic, stopped going to church after he tasted fame and fortune, but now considers himself a churchgoing Catholic again.

Stallone's shift back to church started when his daughter Sophia was "born sick," Stallone said in a Dec. 7 telephone interview from Dallas to promote his new movie, "Rocky Balboa."

In November 1996, at age 2 months, Sophia underwent open-heart surgery at the University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center. The operation went well, and Sophia, now 10, is doing "great," Stallone said. "She's the No. 1 athlete in her class."

Stallone tried to find the words to describe what brought about his self-imposed exile from Catholicism. "I don't know. Life," he said. "Your career is going, you're not communicating with your family."

The weight of celebrity was "very heavy," he added. "I didn't have any strong foundation behind me of people that would keep my feet on the ground. I was extremely seduced by the newfound freedom."


Folks, it's been busy back at work so I apologise for the lack of posts. I did manage one post over at the Recusant Cricket Club which you can find over here. It's a tribute to Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Justin Langer.

I read this opinion article by Hon Tony Abbott MP in the SMH on Wednesday titled Why our Christian legacy gets an each-way bet. It was published just days after the controversy surrounding his approval of counselling funding for the Catholic Centrecare for pregnancy counselling.

The article is great and well worth a read. You can find out info about the abortion debate and Tony's remarks about counselling services through Google News I'm sure.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Year's Resolution

Ah! I never really have new year's resolutions as I know from the start that they will never work. Maybe I can just make sure I get through what I hope will be my final year of university and that my final year project along with the ACSA conference doesn't drive me into an early grave or for that matter insane! And maybe I should get fit and drink a little less beer.