The New Zealand Catholic Bishops wishes to see different policy options for food programmes in schools examined and debated, including those proposed last December by the Expert Advisory Group of the Children’s Commissioner, and the proposal in the private member’s Education (Food in Schools) Amendment Bill.
The popes have been giving great examples of what we can do to implement ecumenism and to reach out to other denominations. Many Catholics have been implementing this new spirit of Vatican II for years. One example is the Ecumenical Good Friday Walk in Beach Haven and Birkdale, on Auckland’s North Shore.
However unusual Papal resignation may be there is widespread recognition throughout the Church that Benedict’s decision is a fitting and courageous one, given his nearly 86 years and increasing physical frailty. The Conclave of 2005 in which I took part, and the Conclave a few days from now differ in a number of respects.
One of the puzzles for Catholic theology is that Jesus chose to be baptized by John the Baptist. We know baptism washes away sin, but Jesus was without sin. We know baptism makes us a child of God but Jesus is already the beloved Son of God.
Last night we were guests at a Vietnamese cultural evening, literally hundreds of people, took part in a ceremony outside before it all began which reflected on the Year of Faith, it was an amazing colorful and very loud experience. We then went into the Auditorium for the cultural events, they represented the North, Central and Southern areas of Vietnam, they were very beautiful and told powerful stories of the history of Vietnam.
There has been a lot of talk about people being very spiritual and involved in lots of spiritual practices, but that does not necessarily lead to being active in society and taking the Gospel with them wherever they go.
It is going to be an interesting few days and I am privileged to be here and to be part of it. It is of course a huge area of the world that we are talking about with an enormous percentage of the worlds population, but it is fascinating and very informative to see the work of another Federation.
How would you describe a soldier of the Second World War era? The question was addressed to me from a member of the Parliamentary Committee hearing submissions on the Marriage Amendment Bill which requires the re-defining of marriage to include same-sex couples.
The sharing of our own treasured and individual stories both demands and creates community, possibly with those we are related to or those who are immediately around us.
There has been a deep sense that something new is happening in the Church, that this is the time of a New Pentecost which the Second Vatican Council called for. I have seen something of that confidence and energy during these days, and I believe that most of us are going home to our own Churches inspired and ready for the challenge to "preach the Gospel anew."