News in Brief
Cardinal George Pell’s requiem Mass
Thousands of mourners packed Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral today for Cardinal George Pell’s requiem mass, while others gathered outside to watch the service on screens.
The former Catholic archbishop of Melbourne and Sydney died in Rome last month aged 81.
The mass was celebrated by Sydney’s Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher, who paid tribute to the Cardinal, who spent 56 years as a priest and rose to become the third most powerful man in the Catholic Church.
During his homily, Archbishop Fisher remembered Cardinal Pell as a “giant of a man” who had a big heart, and that when he was ordained, he adopted the motto “Be not afraid”.
He said while some may find the late cardinal “polarising”, others found him “faithful, hospitable and witty”.
During his eulogy, Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott said George Pell was “the greatest Catholic I’d ever known”.
“He was the greatest Catholic Australia had ever produced and was controversial for telling the unpopular, unpalatable truth”.
During the proceedings, Police riot squad units remained outside the cathedral to maintain a buffer zone between mourners and protesters.
Mourners applauded as the Cardinal’s body was carried out of St Mary’s Cathedral and laid to rest in the cathedral’s crypt in a private burial.
Proposed reforms to discrimination legislation
Proposed reforms to discrimination legislation would make it impossible for Catholic schools to be Catholic said National Catholic Education Executive Director Jacinta Collins.
“At the recent National Catholic Education Commission meeting, our educational leaders across Australia were very concerned by the narrow approach taken in the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) paper.”
“The proposed reforms fail to provide real protections for religious schools to effectively operate and teach according to their religious beliefs and ethos,” Ms Collins said. Ms Collins said the review has been limited to exemptions in the Sex Discrimination, Fair Work and other Acts and does not address the need for protections for religious rights in Australia.
Ms Collins said the review has been limited to exemptions in the Sex Discrimination, Fair Work and other Acts and does not address the need for protections for religious rights in Australia.
Additionally, Ms Collins said the Commission expressed some concern over the process to date and looks forward to the ALRC engaging with the Independent Expert Committee that Justice Rothman has re-established to advise the consultation.
“We will make a detailed submission on behalf of the Catholic education sector to the consultation process and will urge the large number of families who choose Catholic schools to also make their views known
Media Release, Catholic Education Commission
Oceans, synodality among key themes for Oceania bishops
Dozens of bishops will descend on Fiji this weekend for the quadrennial gathering of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania to reflect on and pray about their shared mission in the region.
The assembly will bring together members of the bishops conferences of Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea/Solomon Islands and the Pacific Islands.
One of the key themes of the FCBCO assembly is the oceans, and particularly the intersection between the People of God and the seas.
Archbishop Peter Loy Chong of Suva, the current president of the Federation, said the bishops of Oceania must tackle the reality of rising sea levels in their part of the world “because if we don’t, no one else will”.
Formation for mission is another central theme of the assembly, along with the increasing emphasis on synodality, or “walking together”, in the Church.
Archbishop Chong asked people across Oceania to pray for the bishops gathering in Fiji and their collaborators, including some of those who participating in the synod writing process, and the success of the assembly.
“Because of the importance of this assembly from the 5th to the 10th of February, I humbly request your prayers for those who are there – mostly bishops, but also lay people that are working to make the assembly happen,” he said.
A special Synod of Bishops prayer has been written for this purpose.
ACBC Media Blog