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Vocations in Australia

29 January, 2015 0 Comments

By Lyle Dunne

To sustain a population of 2000 diocesan priests… you’d need around 150 men entering the seminary annually, meaning a seminary population of about 700: 3 to 4 times the current number.

We’ve looked at vocations in France (Apres Nous le Deluge? July 2014) and in the US (Vocations and Adoration, May 2014). Now it’s time to look closer to home.

It’s hard to get comprehensive data on vocations in Australia, which makes the pessimist in me wonder if bad news is being concealed.

However I’ve been looking at the “FAQ” site of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Pastoral Research Office.

Ordination of Fr Ashley Caldow, Bendigo,14 Sept 2013. Photo:


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10 January, 2015 0 Comments

By Lyle Dunne

The Vatican is seeking your view on the Synod on the Family.

I received this today:

Following the Extraordinary Synod on the Family in October, Pope Francis and the Synod of Bishops are once again seeking responses to questions as part of their preparation for the 2015 Synod on the Family.

The theme for the Second Synod on the Family is “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and the Contemporary World”.??Engaging in this questionnaire is a way to take an active role in shaping how we share the Gospel and respond to the needs of those around us.

A series of 30 questions on this theme has been made available by the Australian Bishops for the further consideration of the faithful. It will take approximately 15 to 30 minutes to complete.

Submissions close COB 9th February. Please feel free to share!

So I’m sharing.


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Buying Back the Farm: the TLM in Limerick

12 December, 2014 0 Comments

By Lyle Dunne

Traditionalists in Limerick must be beginning to think of the GFC as an ill wind that has certainly blown them good.

When I was in Ireland a few years ago, I was thrilled to discover the interior of the Church in the town of my ancestors had been preserved from modernisers – pulpit, altar rails and all! But it was not through the actions of parishioners motivated by a respect for beauty or tradition, but the secular authorities – specifically the government guardians of architectural heritage. The pulpit, it seemed, was of particular historical significance because of a relief portrait on the front of the priest who raised the funds to erect the Church! (One tends to forget how recent most Catholic churches in Ireland are: neither of the two ancient cathedrals of Dublin is now in the hands of the Catholic Church.)

A narrow squeak, I thought. You can never go back, they say. It’s no use bemoaning the past. In the words of the Irish song The Town I Loved So Well:

For what’s done is done and what’s won is won
and what’s lost is lost and gone forever
I can only pray for a bright, brand new day
in the town I loved so well

Well, not always forever.


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Review of The Vatican Museums

14 November, 2014 0 Comments

by Lyle Dunne

The Zeitgeist was always going to intrude. But the good news is that the reality of unfashionable but undeniable naked beauty blows it out of the water, and in the process knocks the Whig theory of history  into a cocked hat.

If I see that shot of that door opening one more time...(photo: Rymill films)

The Vatican Museums in 3D is a welcome extension of the welcome development of using the cinema to provide broader access to “high” culture such as opera productions from London or New York.

It is entirely fitting that the Vatican Museum should be at the forefront of this trend – and not altogether surprising, given that Church’s interests are perhaps less commercial than other major museums’.

(One should mention The Russian Ark, made in 2002, filmed in the Hermitage in a single amazing 87-minute shot; this however was not a documentary in the same sense, there was more focus on the palace and its history and less on the works themselves – and it did not use the same extraordinary ultra-high-definition 3D technology.)

The technical skills employed in bringing this work to the screen are literally astonishing. So astonishing, alas, that the film-makers, in my view, got a little carried away.


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More on Norcia and St Benedict

14 October, 2014 0 Comments

By Rod Dreher, The American Conservative

Prayer, fasting, the liturgy, discipline, work: these are the foundations of a Christian life that does what it is supposed to do: unite us to our Creator.

Following on from In Beer Veritas, here are a couple of additional pieces from the same trip – the first one, What We Need are Men Like St Benedict, talks about St Benedict and the monastery, and contains a link to the trailer for Quaerere Deum (To Seek God), a 2011 documentary about these monks. The other, just titled Norcia, is more of a travelogue, sharing the delights of regional cuisine (including donkey sausage).

Piazza San Benedetto, Norcia (Photo: UK Telegraph)

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