Nazareth Catholic Parish

Grovedale, Torquay and Anglesea

Pope Francis and Archbishop Commensoli write to us

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Pope Francis has responded to new reports of clerical sexual abuse and the ecclesial cover-up of abuse. In an impassioned letter addressed to the whole People of God, he calls on the Church to be close to victims in solidarity, and to join in acts of prayer and fasting in penance for such "atrocities".
Archbishop Commensoli has also written to the People of God in the Melbourne Archdiocese, emphasising and reiterating his own determination "to ensure that our local Church in Melbourne is unequivocally committed to attending to the harm done, prioritising the dignity and care of all who are young and vulnerable, rebuilding trust among our people, and creating safe environments in our communities, agencies and organisations. This is the way of Jesus Christ. It must be my way. And I invite you to join with me in making it our common Gospel way."

 No matter who you are or what you are,
you are WELCOME among us.

 Happy Father's Day to all our heros and role models. Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do, in presenting the face of our heavenly Father to our families and to the world.

World Meeting of Families

This meeting takes place every three years somehwere in the Catholic world and this year it has just been held in Dublin, Ireland from 21-26 August.
The website of WMOF is a mine of information, and there is much to be learned, discerned and thought about there.
In particular, have a look at the explanation of the Logo . Sometime logos appear as being very simple, but when they are well thought out and designed as this one is, they can tell a whole story. This logo speaks eloquently of the various elements that define the meetings.
Bishop Barron presented a session on the Gospel of Love (Amoris Laetitia). In a brief 8 minute video, he presents some of the points he made in his session. He opens up the way in which Pope Francis understands family, as the 'school of virtue', where everyone learns and grows in the interior disposition towards good, where each person learns the habit of being virtuous. See what you think about his analogy of learning a sport as a way to better understand the learning of virtue. 
Perhaps you have not yet read Amoris Laetitia - it is growing chapter by chapter so you don't have to read it all in one go.
Fr James MartinSJ  was another presenter and he offers ways in which the family of the church - the parish - could be more encouraging and welcomging to our LGBT brothers and sisters.  Read his paper here

Catholic Church releases report in response to Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

Friday 31 August 2018  Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 

Read a brief report in Melbourne Catholic

There is a link to the full response at the end of the Melbourne  Catholic article

We all have a father, and almost any man can biologically father a child, but the irreplaceable and unique role of fathers is often little acknowledged.

Dads help their children thrive
Children do better academically, emotionally, and socially when their father has greater involvement in their lives. They tend to take more risks, while also developing greater self-discipline. Involved fathers are also more likely to have a stronger influence on their children’s moral development and religious belief and practice.

The kind of involvement is important too.
The most effective forms involve:
• Listening, encouraging, and conveying warmth
• Providing everyday assistance
• Providing reasonable and consistent behavior correction, and
• Facilitating children’s increased independence over time.

Dads do it differently
Father’s play styles and type of nurturing provides unique benefits:
• Through roughhousing type of play children are prompted to develop their gross motor skills
• Encouragement of risk-taking in play develops confidence
• They tend to use more questions in play, which encourages children’s interaction and develops vocabulary
• They inculcate a strong physical sense of protection. Children who spend lots of time with their fathers tend to be less vulnerable 
• Fathers tend to provide firmer discipline, whereas mothers tend to negotiate more. Both are important, with the firmer correction prompting children to achieve goals

Where is our church heading?

The USA is reeling once again in the wake of the level of abuse and cover up that has been revealed in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report published on August 14, 2018. Attorney General Josh Shapiro said the report identified 301 priests who abused children and more than 1000 victims.

At the same time as the Pennsylvania Report was becoming public knowledge, there was a report from the UK that the sexual abuse at two prominent Benedictine schools was considerably higher than was reflected by conviction figures with monks hiding allegations to protect the Church’s reputation.

Kim Smolik from Leadership Roundtable (An organisation that promotes best practices and accountability in the management, finances, communications, and human resources development of the Catholic Church in the U.S., including greater incorporation of the expertise of the laity.) says that ‘the Catholic Church in the United States, and elsewhere is at a precipice.’ In the statement issued by the Leadership Roundtable on August 27, she goes on to say:

“Catholic leaders, lay and ordained, must create a new culture of leadership and management that is transparent, accountable, competent, and grounded in justice in order to restore trust and safeguard the essential mission of the Catholic Church.
For the culture to change, the Church must practice accountability at every level and not just in terms of sexual abuse”

Smolik goes on, “the underlying conditions were decades in the making; solving these problems will require a long term, transformational change that must begin with immediate steps.”

Finally, the statement finishes with “As lay, religious, and ordained leaders, in this critical time we understand that the solution rests with each of us in the Church to live up to our respective ecclesial responsibility and to act.”

Do we really want our church to change?

Massimo Faggioli (Professor of theology and religious studies at Villanova University) goes further than just calling for change. He says in his article in Commonweal "Trent's Long Shadow" that "Tackling the failures that made the sex-abuse crisis possible will involve many changes—changes to the church’s relationship with civil authorities and criminal justice, cultural and spiritual changes, but also changes in the structure of the institution itself. It is finally time to revisit the basic models of ecclesial organization that the Council of Trent imposed on the Catholic Church."

The latter sentence here held a resonance with Fr Linh's homily last weekend, when he artfully used the analogy of tidying up a woman's handbag to help us understand the very real need to have a good look at our 'bag of life' - to look carefully at the contents we hold onto and to ask ourselves what really is important? What do we need to keep as still being valuable and what do we need to throw out, being no longer useful? He asked us to consider what is it that we need to be faithful to?

In the context of the Sunday scriptures, Fr Linh reminded us that the Israelites were going through a time of reassessment, when Joshua challenged them to look into their bag of life, and to reassess which god they were committed to. Where would they place their allegiance - in the gods of the Amorites, the land in which they were now living, or in the God who had brought them out of Egypt? To whom would they be faithful?

In the gospel a similar request was made to the disciples and their faithfulness was put to the test.

In the context of the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Fr Linh reminded us of our faithfulness to the God of life and love, as we re-arrange our bag of life and continue to hold onto a genuine welcome, protection and hospitality towards those who have been displaced from their homelands.

In the context of the Plenary Council, that question of "what is it that we need to be faithful to?" seems to be shouting out to every Australian Catholic, to look into the bag of life of the church and their own lived experience, and to re-assess what needs to be kept, protected and developed, and what needs to be jettisoned. Perhaps as we contemplate our participation in the Listening and Dialogue sessions, we also need to think about which aspects of our faith and the practice of our faith, are we prepared to be faithful to.

More pointedly, perhaps we need to ask ourselves whether our church is still important enough to us, and are we able to whole heartedly get involved in the Plenary Council, to be part the process that will steer the Australian Church into the future?

So, what is my responsibility to effect change?

Fr Thomas Rosica, (Founding CEO of the Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation and Television Network in Canada) in his article "We can only move forward when we name the evil of clericalism" refers to the words of Pope Francis in his letter to the People of God 'it is impossible to think of a conversion of our activity as a Church that does not include the active participation of all the member's of God's people." 
Further on Rosica says "Ordained ministers and lay persons suffer from clericalism. If we are to learn anything from the current crisis facing the church, reform, healing, renewal must come about from every single member of the church, most especially lay women and men who have been commissioned by their baptism to be salt and light, leaven and hope, agents of renewal and witnesses to hope. As members of the church, we must decide once and for all that cronyism has no place among us...Any internal and cloistered bodies that answer only to themselves without transparency, honesty and accountability are destined for irrelevance and ruination."
An editorial piece from National Catholic Reporter "The Body of Christ must reclaim our church" on August 17,2018 finishes with these words "The next time you go to mass and as you kneel in the silence that envelops the church just before the liturgy begins, utter a prayer for this battered and wounded body we call the church. Pray for a renewal and inspiration from the Holy Spirit, and pray for a reform of our broken system. Then glance to your left and your right. Kneeling beside you are likely the strongest allies you have in rebuilding a church so badly in need of reform."
This affects all of us - the people of God. It's more than past time that we the laity demand more of our church leaders." 
Thomas Rosica finishes his article with "Francis has begun the exodus leading to this reform...will we follow?" 
To answer that headline question above - you and I have a responsibility, as baptised members of the People of God, to be part of the movement under the direction of the Holy Spirit to bring about good and effective change within our church . Please take up the invitation to be involved in the Plenary Council which has already begun. Seek out opportunities within your own parish  to participate in the Listening and Dialogue sessions currently being offered. 
If you have missed the invitation here in our parish please give DICK DANCKERT a ring on 0400 579 823 and let him know you are interested.
If you need more information read more about the Plenary Council here, or you can visit the Plenary Council website where you can make an individual submission if you want to do that.