This Friday 28 September the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle will launch the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) Social Justice Statement 2018-2019 A Place to call Home: Making a home for everyone in our land. The statement reflects the deep concern that the Bishops have about the number of homeless people in Australia and the insecurity of housing.
If you listen to some reports in the media, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Australians were a completely secular bunch who have turned their backs on religion and Christian values. The opposite is true, according to new independent research released in May 2018.
As Bishop Bill has written, it was a cold and stormy night in June 2011 when he was ordained eighth Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle.
Census results that show declining numbers of Christians always attract some comment. There’s a section of the community that positively delights in rushing to explain why the church, or often ‘religion’ itself, has had its day in an enlightened, scientific and liberal age.
‘Have you been here before?’ they all seem to ask, conscious that their corner of the world has not been high on the tourist bucket list. And I am revelling in being able to say ‘Yes, but not for 50 years.’ Papua New Guinea was even more remote from the jetset in 1968, but the schoolboy that I was then had indeed spent a fortnight or more on a tour with his father of the incipient banking industry of the soon-to-be nation. Many things I remember vividly.
Happy Easter! We are in Easter Week and it is the greatest of our Christian celebrations. The commemoration of Christ’s death and rising is the heart of our Christian faith.
OK, we’re going back in time. Not very far, but you’re reading this in March while my head is still in February. I’m going to one of our high schools this afternoon to have a conversation with its student leaders, and I have a trick question to put to them.