Month: March 2017

“Know the mind of the Church”

Today in Penola, a great priest was buried. A great Jesuit. A great man. For many years, Fr Paul Gardiner SJ was Postulator for the Cause of Mother Mary Mackillop’s canonisation. It takes a small army to have someone canonised, but Fr Paul was field marshal. Apart from that, Fr Paul was a remarkable polymath, so typical of the Jesuit tradition. Here’s just two anecdotes to illustrate that point: One of my parishioners in Casterton, who knew Fr Paul well, would sometimes challenge Fr Paul to name the winner of the Melbourne Cup in a given year. Fr Paul got...

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The devil is real

Pope Francis preaches about the devil a lot. Much more than the average priest. Or this average priest, anyway. Unfortunately, the press gives minimal coverage to such remarks, and every year, I suspect, belief in the devil diminishes among Catholics. That’s why, this first Sunday of Lent, I’ve distributed in my parishes a one page sampler of the Holy Father’s warnings about the devil. There is a distinct theme in the Holy Father’s remarks. In typical Ignatian fashion, he focuses on how the devil subverts our relationships. To cite a few examples: “The Adversary wants to keep us separated from God . . . and therefore...

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Good news about fasting

Lent has begun, and if you’re reading this on Ash Wednesday, you’re fasting, and you’re probably hungry right now. Roman Catholics are obliged to fast — one normal meal and two small snacks — on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. But Maronite Catholics observe a much stricter Lent: In regards to the Lenten penitential practices of the Maronites residing in Australia, and in accordance with the guidelines released by His Beatitude and Eminence Mar Bechara Boutros Cardinal Rai, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, we recommend the following practices to the faithful of the Maronite Eparchy of Australia: •...

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