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Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle www.mn.catholic.org.au
Prayer for the Year of Grace
You have blessed this ancient land
with many gifts, especially its people.
We thank you for the Year of Grace,
a time to start afresh from Christ.
You invite us to contemplate the face of Jesus your Son,
that we may experience a new wave of grace,
and that the light of Christ may burn more brightly in our lives.
Attune our hearts and minds
to the presence of your Holy Spirit,
that our Church may be transformed,
our relationships be healed,
and our nation grow in compassion and justice.
We make our prayer
through the intercession of St Mary MacKillop,
who showed us new ways of living the Gospel.
Mary, Help of Christians, pray for us.
By MARGARET WALKER
By BRYAN DUNN
Compiled by LOUISE GANNON RSJ
Everyone else is
looking at Mt Fuji...
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At some stage in our lives, we've all
suffered pain. But for some people, it
takes on a whole new dimension when
chronic pain is severe and constant. Chronic
pain is a recognised medical condition and
many people who suffer with chronic pain
have had a difficult road to diagnosis and
treatment, often being stigmatised and
feeling their voices are not being heard.
In 2001, Coralie Wales realised there
was no community group to help support
those with chronic pain. She invited
people suffering to share their story on her
website and the response confirmed there
was certainly a need to help alleviate the
isolation of those suffering chronic pain and
to help them manage their pain. With the
help of Rotary groups, the seeds of what
is now Chronic Pain Australia had been
sown. Chronic Pain Australia receives no
government funding and is run by a group of
Their website has useful and powerful
information for sufferers, including children,
and their families and carers. For those
not familiar with the condition, there is a
video clip called "Brain Man" which explores
the different types of pain, explains the
condition and how people can cope. It
provides opportunities for sufferers to
share their stories, helps those in the
same situation and also assists others
The objectives of the group will be
highlighted during National Pain Week,
22-28 July, when a conference to help
continue the conversation surrounding this
issue will be held in Canberra. It aims to
help increase knowledge of chronic pain in
the general community, promote positive
relationships between sufferers and health
workers and reduce the isolation felt by
those with chronic pain. To this end, you can
use the website to give ideas or questions
to those involved to take to the conference.
The website also offers information about
support groups available for those with
chronic pain, opportunities to participate
in research, personal stories to read and
unexpected advice on issues such as how
superannuation changes will affect those
who suffer chronic pain.
Those who began and continue to work
with Chronic Pain Australia certainly uphold
the adage to see a need in the community
and do something about it. Their message
is positive and remains hopeful, which is
appreciated by the sufferers of chronic pain
and their families and carers.
The Irishman in the recent movie The
Way - the story of four people walking
the Camino in Spain - is invited by
his fellow peregrinos to visit a church. He
replies: "The Church has done much
damage where I come from; I'll not be
visiting any church". I wondered whether his
words were reflective of the view of some
Catholics in Ireland after publication of the
Murphy Report (2009).
The Murphy Report analyses sexual abuse
in the Dublin Archdiocese by examining
allegations against 48 priests, and the
process adopted for dealing with those
allegations. It is a factual account of the
Archdiocese's response to the crisis.
Kevin Egan's Remaining a Catholic after
the Murphy Report offers a considered
response to the issue. Egan addresses
three questions: what happened, why did it
happen, where do we go from here?
Egan's analysis considers various
explanations: the 'Rotten Fruit Theory', the
'Celibacy Theory', and the 'Abuse of Power
Theory', among others.
Wisely, he proposes that the matter of
abuse must be examined from a systemic
perspective. Examination of sexual abuse
through a systemic lens exposes a culture
of denial and clericalism, and a lack
Egan quotes Australian Archbishop Mark
Coleridge who points to poor understanding
and communication of church teaching
on sexuality; celibacy; seminary training
leading to 'institutionalised immaturity'
Egan then applies organisational diagnostic
criteria to the church in Ireland. He
proposes that the Irish church is both
narcissistic and addictive.
In proposing a model of future church,
Egan turns to Avery Dulles, the American
Jesuit theologian. Dulles proposed moving
from the current institutional model of the
church to a model based on the People
of God in which the institution exists to
ensure the Church becomes a community
of life, witness and service.
Egan suggests that healing will come with
and through the victims of abuse. In a
sense, the fury of the abused is a cry for
healing - of their own wounds and those of
The challenge is for all involved to listen
and learn from each other, and then act.
Bryan is an active member of Newcastle
Parish. Remaining a Catholic after the
Murphy Report by Kevin Egan, Columba
Press, Dublin, 2011.
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