During the past week, there have been many diocesan events which I will share with you as part of this message, in an attempt to keep you up to date with how we are living out our call to be the people of God in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.
The greatest objection to religious belief in our time is possibly the perceived connection between religion and violence. All the religions have messages of peace; all are historically complicit in violence.
A private Members’ Bill will shortly be debated in the NSW Parliament. The effect of this law would be to permit euthanasia or voluntary assisted dying for people experiencing severe pain, suffering or physical incapacity to an extent unacceptable to themselves – provided they are over 25 with a terminal illness likely to result in death within a year.
“I love your new boss” was said to me numerous times after Pope Francis’ election to the papacy in March 2013. Often the remark was made by someone who did not share my Catholic faith; often, too, by someone under thirty. To this day, there’s a freshness and vibrancy in Francis’ leadership of the church.
During the past week I have visited and been part of the Newcastle Islamic Centre at Mayfield, joining with them and others in our Interfaith initiatives. Just over a week ago they hosted an information evening in which they shared their faith with us. Those who wished, were then invited to join them for prayer on Monday afternoon or night and then on Thursday they hosted the United Nations International Day of Peace.