29 Oct 2019
Concerning the Prostitution Bill
Letter to the Archdiocese of Adelaide and the Diocese of Port Pirie
Dear Sisters & Brothers
There has not been great publicity, but a review of the Bill affecting brothels and prostitution is about to be debated in the Lower House of State Parliament.
Under present law, prostitution is not illegal, but brothels are. The effect of the proposed legislation, introduced by Ms Tammy Franks MLC, is to decriminalise brothels.
The Bill has the support of many members of the Government and Opposition. The Premier himself supports the new legislation, while the Leader of the Opposition has stated he will not support it.
As Catholics we should have deep reservations about this proposed legislation. There is no wish on my part to see people engaged as prostitutes classified as criminals. What does concern, however, is the decriminalisation of brothels, because of the consequences which I understand also concern the police. If brothels are decriminalised, then the police will lose automatic right of access to these institutions, and hence the brothel could well become subject to criminal control, owned and controlled by local or overseas criminals. It also opens the possibility of further exploitation of women because the protection currently afforded by the law will be removed. It takes a special sort of courage for a working prostitute to make a complaint about her treatment.
28 Oct 2019
View from the balcony
Bishop Greg O'Kelly SJ | The Southern Cross newspaper – November 2019
https://thesoutherncross.org.au/As we continue along our journey to the Plenary 2020, it is worth reflecting on the parable of the wheat and weeds. The hands wanted to pull out the weeds that an enemy had planted in the crop, but the farmer wisely noted that to do so would kill the wheat too, so intertwined were the roots of both wheat and weeds.
The parable was spoken by Jesus as an image for the Church. Jesus said that while we are not to be of the world we must be in the world. The Church cannot remove itself from the real world, no matter the corruption. We are not a sect, creating our own little island of purity. Jesus rubbed shoulders with sinners. He sat down and ate with them. He persevered with the Twelve even when they failed to get His message to the very end, when two betrayed Him, then all save one ran away when He needed them most, at His execution. ‘Go out into the highways and byways and invite all to the Feast,’ Jesus said. The Church is not just a museum of saints; it is a community of sinners and saints, as Pope Francis says. We only need to read our history.
01 Oct 2019
Life in abundance
The Southern Cross newspaper – October 2019
We have never had so much materially or scientifically. We have a way of life adorned with creature comforts that were unthinkable not so long ago, and with the technology to enable opportunities that formerly we could only dream of.
Yet at the same time we live in what John Paul II called a culture of death, an era of diminishment of the human spirit. If we have not sold our souls in 21st century Australia to the devil, we are otherwise occupied in adoring golden calves.
We live in an age of glitz and appearance (read the lifestyle magazines), and our society in consumerism focuses on what is possessed rather than who possesses.
To the astonishment of a Christian, we have politicians who promote death as a good to be accomplished by human intervention, against the two most fragile sections of our society, the unborn, the sick and frail. We sanitise our language, and with abortion and euthanasia may not use the word “kill” but rather say terminate or euthanase. In the same sex marriage debate, the language was changed from the meaning of marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman to the concept of marriage equality. Abortion is now referred to as a medical procedure, or women’s reproductive health. Euthanasia is now described as death with dignity.
01 Sep 2019
Listening like a disciple
The Southern Cross newspaper – September 2019
There are two categories of people on Twitter – those called “followers” and those called “following”. Is that what discipleship means?
Having tried to master Twitter in a vain attempt to become relevant (!) I was distressed the other day to read in the paper that Twitter presents a ‘…world where aging baby boomers impart their revolutionary ideals on the new generation’. What about pre-baby boomers! The article also mentioned that a certain political commentator has 149,000 followers. That is about 2000 times more than the number of ‘followers’ I have!
21 Aug 2019
Message from Bishop Greg O'Kelly SJ
Dear Sisters and Brothers
As you are no doubt aware, the Victorian Court of Appeal today handed down its decision on Cardinal Pell’s appeal against his conviction.
The appeal was dismissed by the Court with one of the three judges, Justice Mark Weinberg, dissenting. There is a possibility of further appeal.
I am very aware that this decision will give rise to a range of responses from people and that there will be intense and emotive media coverage of the outcome.
01 Aug 2019
Conversing with Pope Francis in Rome
The Southern Cross newspaper – August 2019
In June I spent two weeks in Rome for the Ad Limina Apostolorum which means Threshold of the Apostles, referring to Saints Peter and Paul, both martyred and interred in Rome. Each diocese prepares a detailed account of the pastoral and practical activities of the previous five or seven years, which form part of the basis for conversations with Vatican departments. The group of 35 Australian bishops started with a five day silent retreat conducted by Brother Ian Cribb SJ, formerly director of the retreat house at Sevenhill, who received the praise of all.
23 Jul 2019
Review of abortion law and medical practice in SA update
Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Archdiocese of Adelaide and Diocese of Port Pirie
I am writing to update you on the review of abortion law and medical practice in SA commissioned by the Attorney General, Vicki Chapman.
The South Australian Law Reform Institute (SALRI) has now completed both its public consultation and its series of roundtable consultation sessions.
19 Jul 2019
Abortion Law Reform SA | SALRI Submission
South Australian Law Reform Institute (SALRI) Brief
SALRI was asked by the SA Government on 26 February, 2019 to consider a suitable legislative framework for the termination of pregnancy. Specifically, it was tasked with modernising the law in SA and to adopt best practice reforms so that abortion could become a regulated medical procedure under health laws (as opposed to its current status as a criminal law issue). It was expected that abortion would be equitably and safely available to women living in rural, regional and remote areas. SALRI’s recommendations were also expected to be consistent with recent interstate and international legislative developments and take into account current clinical practice from around Australia and internationally. Their report to the SA Government is due on 31 August, 2019.
SALRI’s terms of reference clearly state that their brief is not about preventing or precluding abortion. Complex moral questions (i.e. such as when human life begins) fall outside of its terms of reference. SALRI acknowledges that abortion is ‘a sensitive topic that gives rise to sincere, strong and often competing views’. Because it is an issue that ‘raises various sensitive, legal, medical and ethical implications’, SALRI considers abortion to be a matter of ‘personal ethics upon which individual minds are free to differ’.
01 Jun 2019
The Southern Cross newspaper – June 2019
The time of Pentecost is upon us. ‘Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle within us the fire of your divine love’. It is a good word enkindle. It means to set something alight, to create a new reality, to produce light and warmth. We have just completed the listening phase in preparation for the Plenary Council 2020.
12 May 2019
Christ in disguise
The Southern Cross newspaper – May 2019
Train loads of events fill our daily lives. If we don’t reflect on our experiences, we will never pick out what our experience of the major events is telling us, how the finger of God is tracing its patterns through our lives. So what has our experience of the major Seasons of Lent and Easter taught us?
27 Apr 2019
Ordination to the Diaconate of Pat Lopresti
Homily - April 27 2019
Dear Pat, my brother, in this holy Season, your baptismal name of Pasquale, the Pascha, Easter, is so appropriate, especially as upon the sacrament of your baptism you now in this time of Easter add to it the sacrament of ordination to Holy Orders. I welcome your family, your father Domenico and Rita, and your sister Rita. I welcome your friends and fellow seminarians to a sacred event that is charged with significance for you in the story of your life. I welcome all here present. Patrick, the word of election, the word of choice by the Church, was uttered over you in the last few minutes. The people affirmed the choice with their applause. Note that it is the Church which calls you forth, it is the Church which takes the initiative here, and you are called out by and for the Church. You are being called forth from among the people of God to proceed to Holy Orders. In a few minutes you will prostrate yourself on the floor of this Cathedral as a host of Saints is invoked on your behalf, Saints from all the traditions of the Church. And there will be the great threefold prayer sung by the people:
17 Apr 2019
Easter message from Bishop Greg O'Kelly SJ
The world has been riveted by the sight of Notre Dame Cathedral burning in Paris. It is the greatest symbol the French have, and has been with them for almost nine centuries. The timbers had the marks of medieval saws and hammers. There was modern IT and closed circuit television as well, wizardry of modern technology cheek by jowl with handcrafted ancient artistry.
It was a Cathedral that spanned the ages, so much of it was reduced to ashes. It will be built again, rising from the destruction.
18 Mar 2019
Letter from Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ, Apostolic Administrator
Dear Brothers & Sisters
Along with all right thinking and feeling people, the Catholic communities of South Australia wish to express to our Muslim brothers and sisters our own feelings of distress and horror at the murder of the Muslim people in the Christchurch mosques. That such tragedies could be enacted in the midst of a society so similar to our own, and so close to ourselves, or indeed in any society, is alarming and horrifying.
06 Mar 2019
Pastoral Letter for the Season of Lent 2019
On Ash Wednesday one year ago a school shooting massacre occurred at the Parkland High School in Florida, resulting in seventeen deaths and a large number of wounded. Displayed prominently was a photo of anguished mothers arriving at the school to find out whether or not their child was a victim. One mother hugs another, and on her forehead is traced very visibly the cross she had received at an Ash Wednesday ceremony. “Dust to dust, ashes to ashes” was a refrain she heard that morning and would never have guessed how tragedy might visit her so starkly and so soon.
01 Mar 2019
Life is a gift that God gives forever
The Southern Cross newspaper – March 2019
Pope Francis has asked us to look at life issues in a holistic way, as a total perspective. It comes out of Our Lord’s words: ‘I have come that you may have life and have it to the full’. Pope Francis says that the Christian attitude to life must embrace everything from conception to natural death. And so it covers actions like abortion; it covers actions like capital punishment. It’s odd to be opposed to abortion and yet support capital punishment; there’s a contradiction there.
This Christian overall outlook on this issue also includes in its scope the poor and the vulnerable – those who haven’t got enough in order to have a proper human life. The Christian attitude to life also covers the environment, the Pope says, because we must not destroy that which gives us life. It covers the end of life as in the need for palliative care rather than euthanasia. This is the Christian attitude to all of life – we just don’t isolate abortion and speak about it by itself. It’s part of a whole framework of how the Christian regards life as a gift of God. As Saint Pope John Paul II said: ‘Life is a gift that God gives forever’.
28 Feb 2019
Letter from Bishop O'Kelly to the faithful
February 28 2019
Dear Brothers & Sisters
Everyone carrying the name of Catholic must feel bowed down with some sense of shame and even anger at what the crimes of clergy and Church personnel has wreaked upon us as a community. The strength of the media coverage these days reflects a rightful anger on the part of the wider community at the betrayal which such crimes represent, and the hypocrisy they reveal. It is wider than simply the case of Cardinal Pell, and no judgement should be made there until the result of the appeal. Greater than our pain, of course, is the suffering the victims of abuse have been enduring for many years. To continue to do whatever we can to ensure that such crimes do not repeat themselves, and to do whatever we can to help victims and to purify the Church must be a prime response.
14 Feb 2019
Concerning the proposed amendments to the abortion law – South Australia
February 14 2019
My Sisters and Brothers
We should all be extremely concerned about the proposed Abortion Law Reform Bill introduced late last year by Greens MP Tammy Franks which is due for debate in the Legislative Council in coming weeks.
This bill drastically reduces safeguards for the unborn. Abortions may be conducted even well into the ninth month of pregnancy. The unborn deserve love and protection, not destruction.
07 Feb 2019
Concerning the proposed amendments to the abortion law – South Australia
February 7 2019
Circular to Clergy and Personnel – Diocese of Port Pirie; Archdiocese of Adelaide
Dear Brothers & Sisters
Concerning the Proposed Amendments to the Abortion Law – South Australia
In December last year Tammy Franks, of the Greens, proposed amendments to the present laws governing abortion in South Australia. If enacted the amendments could have far reaching consequences, and legitimise a significantly expanded practice of abortion. The next reading of the proposed Bill takes place at the end of this month.
01 Feb 2019
Schools and an authentic church
The Southern Cross newspaper – February 2019
To be authentic Church, the Christian community must exercise and live the corporal works of mercy. The care of the young is an integral work of mercy, a sign of the Church being Church.
Those who care for the young, whether it be in the classroom or the office or front desk or grounds of the school, or engaged with the youth and young families of the parish, are privileged people.
There was a dispute among the disciples, so Jesus took a small child whom He placed in their midst, and said such is the Kingdom of Heaven.
21 Jan 2019
Statement from Bishop O'Kelly SJ
on ACC review of prayer tradition
Media Release – Monday January 21 2019
The Adelaide City Council is reportedly considering abolishing the tradition of praying before meetings (The Advertiser Saturday January 19).
Our basis is as a Christian society, however, we understand the attempt to devise a prayer with which other faiths are comfortable.
The main thing is that there be a prayer acknowledging our need for God’s grace to make decisions that are wise and just.
Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ
Apostolic Administrator of the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide
Bishop of Port Pirie Diocese
18 Dec 2018
The light of Christ outshines any darkness
Reflect how much we need the annual feast of Christmas. It comes and acts like a recharging of the soul. There is so much that can get us down but the annual reminder through the beauty of the Church’s Scriptures and liturgy that God so loved us, no matter how unworthy we might appear to be, that He sent his only Son, gives us again our focus.
Here is a great mystery. In contemplating us, God in some way sees his own image, as He has made us in his likeness, as Scripture says. Nothing can take that away from us. Christmas is the feast of the greatest affirmation of any of us.
Pope Francis has some beautiful reflections on Christmas. He asked one Christmas Eve “on this Holy Night, while we contemplate the infant Jesus just born and placed in the manger, we are invited to reflect: How do I welcome the tenderness of God… the question put to us simply by the Infant’s presence is: Do I allow God to love me?...” Francis then asks us whether we have the courage to also welcome with tenderness those near us who are different. How do we show to those others the warmth of God?
We are told that there are 12 abortions a day in South Australia. What a year full of misery and killing that adds up to. We have celebrated 100 years since the end of World War I, the war to end all wars. What was there to celebrate? Twenty-one years later we were at it again with World War II. How long has it taken to budge the hearts of our politicians over the children on Nauru?
But against all this we must place the tenderness of God, and what the Pope calls His cascade of mercy – born in a family, just as we were, nurtured by the love of parents, growing up with neighbours and relatives, God so affirmed us in that first Christmas through the birth of his Son that we must never lose confidence in the ability of good to triumph, for the light of Christ outshines any darkness, public or personal. The Word was made flesh, ‘and pitched His tent amongst us’, as Scripture says. Because God sees Godself in us and in the newborn Jesus we are all gifted beyond compare.
A happy and holy Christmas and New Year to you and your family.
Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ
22 Oct 2018
Today's national apology
Message from Bishop Greg O'Kelly SJ
Today the Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison will deliver the National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse at Parliament House in Canberra. Events are being held around the country including at the Adelaide Convention Centre where the Minister for Child Protection, Rachel Sanderson, will deliver a State Apology on behalf of the South Australian Government. Five regional events will also be held in Whyalla, Port Pirie, Berri, Port Augusta and Mount Gambier.