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ISSUE 16 DECEMBER 2018
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Sr Marie-Chrissie: New carmelite PAGE 12
Womenâ€™s health through NaProTECHNOLOGY PAGE 16
Promoting truth about women PAGE 28
Official magazine for the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth
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Featured this month
Women’s Health Through NaProTECHNOLOGY
Sr Joan Evans On receiving the prestigious National Order
“Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother.”
— Mark 3:35
Young People Do they really need God?
FROM THE EDITOR Jamie O’Brien During his general audience of February 2015, Pope
Francis spoke about the need to do much more in favour of women. As a son, brother, husband and father (of four) of two daughters, I was compelled to do what I could to
FROM THE ARCHDIOCESE
do my best to convey the story of the work of women
From the Bishops of Western Australia
in the Church in Perth. In this special 40-page issue, we
From Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton
speak to Carmelite Sister Marie Chrissie, who recently took her first vows of profession. We also speak to young mother, musician and teacher, Therese Le-Sanders, who speaks about her journey of faith, motherhood and her hopes for the future. Newly-appointed Executive Director of CEWA, Dr Debra Sayce says she is looking forward to building on and strengthening the values that Catholic education has presented over the many years in WA. Our Director of Safeguardiung Andrea Musulin also talks about the launch of her new handbook for teenagers, Love Sex
IN THIS EDITION Euthanasia Celebrating women Sr Marie-Chrissie: Religious Life The University of Notre Dame Debra Sayce: Catholic Education Therese Le-Sanders: Young Mother Prafula Pearce: My life, my faith, my journey
and Relationships, as part of the Church’s response to the
Handbook: Love, Sex and Relationships
Royal Commission’s recommendations and in conjunction
Phillipa Martyr: Feminism
with the Year of Youth. The Record Magazine is a magazine
for the people and I hope you will enjoy taking the time
Movie Review: An Interview with God
to engage with us. Please feel free to share your thoughts
Recipe: Poisson en Papillote
via email@example.com, or by contacting us on
08 9220 5900.
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I S S U E 1 6 DECEMBER 2018 3
WA Bishops speak out to support life
“This prohibition sits at the heart of every civilised society. “The right to life is the ‘sine qua non’ of all human rights: to risk or relativise it would be to undermine the foundation of every other right we enjoy.” In an exclusive interview with The Record, Archbishop Costelloe reiterated that respect for human life from conception to natural death is of utmost importance, describing it as a fundamental pillar of the Catholic understanding of what it means to be human. “Every other human right ultimately becomes groundless if this absolute right to life is compromised,” he explained. Archbishop Costelloe added that decisions individuals make about their desire to determine the time and manner of their death have implications beyond their own lives. He added that once the ‘right’ to end one’s life is established and legislated for, it only opens up further questions. “It becomes possible to ask if and under what circumstances others might have the ‘right’ or even the ‘obligation’ to end someone’s life. “It also becomes possible to ask if a person has not only the ‘right’ but sometimes the ‘duty’ to end their life,” Archbishop Costelloe said. “This is the slippery slope argument, dismissed by some as a scare tactic.” Archbishop Costelloe said in countering this, some suggest enshrining suitable ‘safeguards’ in legislation. “It is not scare-mongering to ask if future legislation might include severely physically disabled people, those suffering distressing and degenerative neural conditions such as dementia, and infants whose medical conditions are incurable, though not lifethreatening.” Archbishop Costelloe concluded by saying that the solution lies not in more legislation, but the increase the availability of palliative care services and facilities to help support both the dying and their loved ones. “All of us - governments, churches, institutions, families, and individuals must accept this responsibility to truly care for and support people throughout their lives, and especially as they come close to death. “In this sense, the question about voluntary euthanasia is part of a much wider issue of our society’s capacity to care for all human life,” he concluded.
WORDS Jamie O’Brien and Josh Low
he seven Bishops of Western Australia have recently called on the WA Government to take the ethically and socially right road towards better and more accessible end-of-life care. Voluntary assisted dying, the Bishops said, does not take suffering away, except by taking the suffering person away. In a statement released Tuesday 20 November, the seven Bishops – Archbishop Timothy Costelloe and Auxiliary Bishop Sproxton of Perth, Bishop Christopher Saunders of Broome, Bishop Michael Morrissey of Geraldton, Bishop Gerard Holohan of Bunbury, as well as Emeritus Archbishop Barry Hickey of Perth and Emeritus Bishop Justin Bianchini of Geraldton spoke extensively about the current debate of doctor-assisted suicide and euthanasia in WA. “Voluntary assisted dying is never a purely individual choice: it is always a social choice that requires and demands other people to cooperate,” the statement says. “It always affects other people. “Every decision we make, no matter how private it may appear to be, does in fact impact on others precisely because we are not isolated individuals but people who live in a family, a community, a society,” the Bishops said. The WA Government announced in early November that they will soon introduce a bill to Parliament to legalise voluntary assisted suicide for patients suffering from a terminal illness. The announcement comes following the recommendations from the Joint Select Committee on End of Life Choices, outlined in its August report ‘My Life, My Choice’. The statement from the WA Bishops explained that voluntary assisted dying in either form represents a radical breach in the universal prohibition on one person killing another.
A J O I N T PA S T O R A L L E T T E R from the
Catholic bishops of Western Australia
ith the current debate about doctor-assisted suicide and euthanasia in Western Australia, we can expect the challenge of how best to care for the chronically ill and dying to occupy us all over coming weeks and months. The Catholic Church has provided public and private health services in WA for over 120 years, including acute health care, aged care, disability and social support services. As one of the largest contributors to health care in this State, we strive to make authentic human compassion an absolute goal and hallmark of the care we offer. Compassion is the ability to accompany a person caringly through their experience of pain and suffering. Compassion challenges us to become more humane and caring people. Indeed our claim to provide ‘excellence in care’ can be measured in the commitment of our many dedicated caregivers who offer every patient, as death approaches, an affirming, enriching and peaceful natural end to their mortal life. We will always accompany, and never abandon, anyone who comes into our care. A Parliamentary Joint Select Committee recently delivered 24 recommendations on end-of-life care in a Report entitled “My Life, My Choice”. Most of the report deals with decision-making in end-oflife care, and with palliative and comfort care for the dying. The last six recommendations propose legalising ‘voluntary assisted dying’ in this State. The term ‘voluntary assisted dying’ embraces both doctor-assisted suicide (which requires authorising a medical professional to supply lethal means so that a person can end their own life) and euthanasia (when the doctor uses lethal means to end the person’s life directly). In this Pastoral Letter we use the committee’s own term to capture both of these.
Voluntary assisted dying in either form represents
It cannot and does not address the deepest
a radical breach in the universal prohibition on
human needs of the one who suffers, or the
one person killing another. This prohibition sits
depth and breadth of that profoundly distressing
at the heart of every civilized society. The right
human experience. We believe that even creating
to life is the ‘sine qua non’ of all human rights:
an option for voluntary assisted dying risks
to risk or relativise it would be to undermine the
encouraging a view that the real aim of end-of-life
foundation of every other right we enjoy.
care is to deal with a set of physical symptoms,
In many respects “My Life, My Choice” is an
when we should always seek to provide care for
excellent report. It clearly identifies factors
the whole human person in all of our relational,
emotional, intellectual, and spiritual dimensions.
Directives and Enduring Powers of Guardianship,
While we understand that some individuals would
which are statutory instruments intended to
like the option of voluntary assisted dying, we
assist health care decision-making for people
believe it is not in our best social interests for our
who are temporarily or permanently deprived
laws to allow it.
of the power to decide for themselves. It makes
The title of the Committee report “My Life, My
important recommendations to improve the
Choice” reflects the modern myth that each one
way these instruments can offer greater peace
of us should have completely autonomous control
of mind to people at risk of losing decision-
over all the key moments in our lives. But the
reality is, none of us is so individual that we don’t
need others to flourish at every moment, whether
The Report also offers insightful analysis of
in life or in death or at any point in between.
some serious challenges to better access to, and
Voluntary assisted dying is never a purely
delivery of, palliative and comfort care at the end
individual choice: it is always a social choice that
of life especially in country and remote Western
requires and demands other people to cooperate.
Australia. Palliative care aims to offer people
It always affects other people. Every decision we
with life-limiting illness their best opportunity
make, no matter how private it may appear to be,
to live as well as possible for as long as their
does in fact impact on others precisely because
we are not isolated individuals but people who
Modern medicine has made it possible for many
live in a family, a community, a society. The myth
of us to live longer, but that often means our end-
of “it’s my life, it’s my choice” completely ignores
of-life journey may also be longer and potentially
with more suffering, which on rare occasions can
Socially speaking, a far better approach would
be extremely difficult to relieve.
begin with acknowledging the great richness
We acknowledge this dilemma, and we know how
and complexity of the whole life cycle, including
profoundly it can affect not only the patient but
illness, suffering and death, and then learning
also their family and friends. And we appreciate
how to talk about these more naturally. We would
that some individuals honestly feel, in light of
come to see these not as events to be avoided at
their terrible experience of pain and distress,
all costs but as inevitable moments in life which all
that they would rather die than endure another
of us should expect to experience at some time.
moment of torment.
In any event, and despite assumptions implicit
These are critical and complex questions for
in the Report, no government can guarantee
our whole society to address very seriously, but
that once legislated, these laws will never be
voluntary assisted dying is not the right answer.
expanded to embrace categories of people
Voluntary assisted dying does not take suffering
beyond the imminently dying. If one government
away except by taking the suffering person away.
today claims it can legislate an initial breach in the
universal prohibition on killing, it would have to
with a clear conscience. Such choices are fully consistent with both the patient’s legal rights and our own ethical standards. Rather than legislate to allow voluntary assisted dying, we must use all the means of treatment we now have available in more creative and coordinated ways. We need to invest heavily in research into more effective ways of managing chronic pain, suffering and disability. And we have to work harder to create new models of care across the whole continuum of patient need. Voluntary assisted dying will not provide any West Australian with a reasonable solution to their end-of-life needs. Better advance health care planning, more workable statutory instruments, and a substantial investment in making excellent palliative care in all its forms more accessible to all West Australians, will bring benefit to everyone. As it seeks to address these critical questions we call on Government to take the ethically and socially right road toward better and more accessible end-of-life care, and not to take the easy road of voluntary assisted dying.
acknowledge the capacity of another government tomorrow to legislate further breaches. This kind of ‘legislated bracket creep’ has occurred elsewhere, and we already know that pressure will certainly be brought to bear on a future WA government to broaden these laws, as local advocates for voluntary assisted dying have clearly stated. We also know that where it has been introduced, voluntary assisted dying changes the ethos of medical practice. This is inevitable whenever the ‘my life, my choice’ principle is given unqualified
professional standards of medical knowledge and clinical experience. Voluntary assisted dying confronts doctors, nurses and other health professionals with values and attitudes which violate fundamental convictions about the nature of human life that ground the obligations of their own professions. Against the threat of voluntary assisted dying we call on all medical professionals to resist pressure to transform their professions into services that simply deliver whatever a patient wants. Genuine medical need is always the best driver of excellent medical care. We urge government and health care providers, including Catholic providers, to work together in order to break through any systemic or organisational factors impeding patient access to better palliative and end of life care. Catholic health, aged care, disability and social service providers in this State are committed to providing truly compassionate care of the highest quality. We will always accompany the patient on their end-of-life journey, and never abandon
Information about Advance Health Directives and Enduring Powers of Guardianship can be found on the website of the Office of the Public Advocate: https://www.publicadvocate.wa.gov.au/default.aspx
The Report acknowledges this in the case of Belgium (at 5.84).
Citing Murray Hindle, president of Death with Dignity WA, in a forum sponsored by Palliative Care Australia on 28 August 2018.
them. We will not provide death, or support the provision of death, as a treatment for suffering. We know that we must neither over treat nor under treat, but always offer only treatment that is beneficial and bearable. We confirm that any medical treatment a competent patient believes will not be therapeutically beneficial or finds to be unreasonably burdensome can be refused
BI SHOP D ON SPROX T ON:
Perspective and Wisdom
In his homily for the 2018 Marriage Day Mass, Perth Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton recently told the story of his meeting with Filipo, who recalled his life’s journey and the love for his wife.
met a remarkable man on a recent parish visitation. His name is Filipo. The visit had begun with the celebration of the Mass with the residents of a home for the aged. Afterwards, I visited the residents who were unable to be at the Mass. This was how I came across Filipo who was sitting in the sun. He greeted me with a hearty, “Buongiorno”. He quickly began telling me something of his life. Filipo had come to Australia as a young teenager, sent by his family in Italy to live and work for his uncle. He told me that he had learnt to work very hard on the little property his uncle owned. They were long days and hard work. Eventually, Filipo was able to strike out on his own. He was able to buy a dairy farm, which as anyone who knows this sort of work realises, involves total commitment and hard work. His goal was to be able marry the young lady who had entered into his life and provide for her and a future family. As Filipo told his story, he repeated several times, how much he loved and admired his wife. He said, “God blessed me with my wife. She was the greatest blessing of God in my life. Everything I did was for her.” He had no regrets but felt only gratitude to God for the woman placed in his life. He also said that he was grateful to God for the gift of his children. He loves them and is very proud of them. Filipo is a contented man. My last glimpse of him as I went on to meet the other residents, was a man sitting in the gentle, spring sunshine at peace and joyful, and above all deeply grateful for his life and the blessings he has received from God. I have been reflecting on my encounter with Filipo. Here is a man who is able to identify the many moments of
grace that have marked his life’s journey. Through these he has come to know the friendship and love of God. He is able to sit comfortably with God who is never far from him. Filipo still has the greatest love for his wife who has passed away. He cherishes the memories of their lives together where they both received from one another and generously gave to one another. Their mutual helping of each other in achieving their goals and raising their family brought them personal growth and maturity, both humanly and spiritually. They became more because of each other. Theirs seemed to be a marriage where a partnership flourished. A partnership requires the agreement of both spouses that their values align, and each one’s opinions and views on matters are important. Filipo recognises that the woman he had loved from the beginning was that “other half” who he relied upon and listened to along the journey of their marriage. They had their differences, but these did not diminish their lives together, but rather enriched them. The insights of his wife improved the decisions they made. Many times he came to see a much better way to go because of her perspective and wisdom. As Christmas is approaching, I turn to its story that includes the story of Mary. Throughout the story of God’s interaction with humanity, we find the place of significant women. They were the chosen ones who would cooperate with God in moving his plan for salvation forward at critical stages. My meeting with Filipo has been yet another illustration of the possibilities that abound when women and men find a way to form respectful and open partnerships, whether in marriage or in any facet of life.
+ Bishop Donald Sproxton AUXILIARY BISHOP OF PERTH
t is beyond question that we have to do much more in favour of women, according to Pope Francis. The Holy Father was speaking during his general audience in February 2015 on the Difference and complementarity between men and women. “Making sure that women not only are listened to more, but that their voices carry real weight, and are an acknowledged authority in society and the Church,” he said. In echoing the words of Pope Francis, Archdiocese of Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe says the role of women is important because the role of everyone is important. “St Paul reminds us in one of his letters that there is ‘neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, because we are all one in Christ Jesus’. “Because of our Baptism, every single one of us has both the privilege and the responsibility of being disciples of Christ and witnesses of His presence and action in our lives. “We have been given the gift of faith and the Lord now asks us to allow Him to work through us to bring that gift to others. We do so by making all our gifts and talents available for this great task. One of these precious gifts is the gift of our own identity, including our sexual identity.” A 1999 report on The Participation of Women in the Catholic Church, undertaken for the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, found that the dominant issue affecting women’s participation in the Church in Australia was gender equality. This understanding of equality, the report said, did not imply the sameness of men and women but, rather, their complementarity and mutuality. The report found that the Church was seen to be lagging behind the wider Australian society in recognising the changing role of women as one of the “signs of the times” and affirming the equality of women. Archbishop Costelloe says that for him, women are well placed to understand and evaluate “from within” many of the challenging issues of today.
THE RECORD MAGAZINE
Celebrating Women WORDS Jamie O’Brien
“Women will, for example, have a better instinctive grasp of both the strengths and the weaknesses of the feminist movement (in all its manifestations). Because of their intimate involvement in the bringing forth of new life, they will be able to offer unique insights into the complex issues surrounding such matters such as abortion, IVF, contraception and other ‘life’ issues.” It would be a mistake to suggest, said Archbishop Costelloe, that women’s voices should primarily be heard only in relation to women’s issues, or that men’s voices have nothing to contribute to these discussions. “What we need to hear are ‘voices of wisdom’ on these and all important issues,” said Archbishop Costelloe. “To the extent that we have created a
The 1999 report on The Participation of Women in the
society, or a culture, or even a Church, in which the voices of women are excluded or disregarded, we have foolishly limited our access to the wisdom we need to confront the many challenges we face,” he said. The importance of the role of women in society also featured as a central theme, entitled Women’s cultures: between equality and difference, at a Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Culture, held in February 2015.
Catholic Church. Image: Sourced.
With reference to the first theme considered in the Plenary Assembly, Between equality and difference: the quest for an equilibrium, Pope Francis remarked that this equilibrium must be harmonious, not merely a question of balance. “Equality and difference of women – like that of men – is best perceived from the perspective of ‘with’, in relation to, rather than ‘against’,” Pope Francis said. The Holy Father also spoke about the indispensable role of women in the family, and highlighted the importance of “encouraging and promoting the effective presence of women in many areas of the public sphere, in the world of work and in places where the most important decisions are taken”, without prejudice to their role in the private domain. “We must not leave women to bear these burdens and take all these decisions alone; all institutions, including the ecclesial community, must guarantee freedom of choice for women, so that they have the opportunity to assume social and ecclesial responsibilities, in harmony with family life”. So what can we do – as followers of the Gospel – to help encourage, grow and strengthen the role of women in the Church? The first and most important thing we
What we need to hear are ‘voices of wisdom’ on these and all important issues.”
can do, says Archbishop Costelloe, is make sure our priorities are right. “I have said often, and am more convinced
challenges we face in the Church will remain intractable unless we return Christ to the heart of everything we are
In his speech for the occasion, the Holy Father reiterated the importance of finding “criteria and new ways to enable women to no longer feel like guests, but instead to be full participants in the various areas of social and ecclesial life”.
trying to do and be in the Church and in the world,” Archbishop Costelloe said. “We have to take seriously the words of Christ that He is our way, our truth and our life. “Christ must be at the centre of our efforts.”
The above article is an abridged version from three articles. For the full series, please email firstname.lastname@example.org I S S U E 1 6 DECEMBER 2018 11
Sr Marie-Chrissie: Answering the call to religious life WORDS Josh Low
The Discalced Carmelite community were filled with in October this year as they welcomed Sr Marie-Chrissie of the Trinity OCD, who made her Profession of First Vows to the Order.
e ld at the Carmelite Monastery in Nedlands on 29 September, Mass was celebrated by Carmelite priest Fr Gregory Burke OCD and concelebrated by the Very Rev Fr Peter Whitely VG, St Charles’ Seminary Rector Fr Phillip Fleay, Vocations Director Fr Mark Payton and Frs Greg Donovan, Mark Baumgarten and Mariusz Grzech. In his homily for the occasion, Fr Burke said Sr Marie-Chrissie, through her profession of vows, was answering God’s call to come to this Theresian Carmelite community, and within it, to follow Christ. “This is a way of life that is more vulnerable; it’s a ‘little way’ which is more mystical - where the gifts of all are valued at every level. “This community is called to be a community of hope; of refusing to despair and give up. A people who, within the limits of doing what we can where we are,
THE RECORD MAGAZINE
PHOTOS Feby Plando
are called to be witnesses of hope and to be part of, through prayer, work and love, helping the Church in its mission today,” he said. “Sr Marie-Chrissie, we pray for you today, rejoice with you today, and we ask God’s blessing upon you on this day and every day of your life. “We also ask God’s blessing on your sisters in this community, that the Lord may strengthen them, enhance their numbers and that their witness may be ever bright, and that their contribution to the Church in this place be one that gives life and strength, hope and confidence to all of us here in the Archdiocese of Perth,” Fr Burke concluded. Born in Sabah, East Malaysia, Sr Marie-Chrissie explained to The Record that even though her journey with the Order is in its early stages, she felt the call to religious life from a young age. “I was inspired to become a religious sister from young. My mother used to read to me about the saints, and taught me to pray and love Jesus. “I was so delighted and fascinated by religious communities that I decided to write and ask to be admitted to the religious life at the age of 12, thinking I was old enough to serve God like them,” she said.
“They told me to continue my studies but what inspired me were their words of encouragement and that they were praying for me. It meant a lot to me at the time to know the religious sisters were praying for me.” As time went by, Sr Marie-Chrissie explained that she felt her call to religious life become stronger, but was also discerning which religious community to join. “When I visited the Carmelites in Malaysia, I felt there was something special there in the life of the enclosure. “There is a sort of power inside that flows out and I could feel it. This hidden life to me was something beautiful. “I think I’ve always felt that call from God to be His servant in Carmel, and I felt that it was what I was being called to in the future,” she said. “The Carmelites’ life of prayer was what I found very attractive from a young age. There are so many religious congregations but Carmel gave me this aspect of prayer which I related to and found so important.
“We’re still human of course, but we try to live out the Gospel in concrete ways. In how we deal with each other and live together, and it’s amazing to see how God works in each person in a different way.” For young women discerning religious life, Sr Marie said taking the first step in reaching out to learn more about religious communities is a good start.
“It’s a part of their life, where they’re not just living and saying prayers every day, but living the Gospel through their own lives as a community, where in each moment they offer their service to God and the Church.” Sr Marie-Chrissie explained that is what she loves about being with the Carmelites; helping the Church with a life of prayer. She added that though they may be a small community, how they live their lives more closely to the Gospel by loving God and neighbour, is at the heart of the community. “We know that through our life here living in prayer, we can offer something to the Church. Not just locally, but to the wider Church in the world. “Just like the example of St Thérèse of Lisieux and her little way - doing simple little things with great love, and having the intention of doing everything for Jesus, no matter how small, because there’s a value in everything; that’s how we contribute to the Church,” she said. “We are a small community and our daily life is the same every day, but the crucial part is how we live our life more closely to the Gospel, by loving God and neighbour.
communities just to see what it’s like; to talk with the sisters and get to know about them, as well as to find a spiritual director to discern their vocations. “In my experience here, we really live the sisterly life in our relationships and how we work together, and I feel so comfortable with them – Being here I really feel like a part of a big family, one that helps me to grow also to live out the Gospel values each day,” she concluded. Sr Marie-Chrissie will continue to live in the Discalced Carmelite community, professing temporary vows each year for the next five years before her Profession of Final Vows.
We’re still human of course, but we try to live out the Gospel in concrete ways. “It’s very challenging process and needs a lot of discernment, as well as understanding how the gifts you have been given is compatible with the way of life. “It’s not something that can be forced; you have to look at whether you’re able to match your personality to the charism of the community,” she said. “But I would encourage young women to visit religious
I S S U E 1 6 DECEMBER 2018 13
Top WA Award for Broome Nursing student Award winner aims for future in prevention of chronic disease in remote communities
hen Soleil White’s one-year-old daughter fell sick, it was the wonderful response by Aboriginal medical service staff that sparked her passion for education and first steps to a career in healthcare. Fast forward just over 12 months and on 28 September this year, Soleil was named the Western Australia Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year at the WA Training Awards, hosted by the Department of Training and Workforce Development and State Training Board. Currently working as a certified Aboriginal primary health care worker with the Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Service, Soleil is studying a Diploma of Nursing at The University of Notre Dame Australia in her home town of Broome. “I wanted to give back and be of help to other people,” Soleil said. “I believe that if more Aboriginal people are educated, as nurses, doctors, specialists, or surgeons, we will be able to make more of an impact on the community,” she said. Following graduation next year, she plans to pursue a Bachelor of Nursing degree and then work in remote communities in the Kimberley, Arnhem Land and Torres Strait.
Reflecting on the Student of the Year Award, she said she was amazed that a Broome girl could be recognised with a State-wide award. “It is possible for us, despite living in remote communities, that we can push boundaries and be rewarded for our work,” she said. As part of the award, Soleil automatically qualified
“Chronic diseases are extremely high in the regional Aboriginal populations and my goal is to work on preventing them in younger people, said Soleil.
as a finalist in the national training awards and was presented with a cheque for $3000 which she plans to put towards her studies.
THE RECORD MAGAZINE
Top childbirth researcher joins effort to reduce caesarean births
prominent researcher from The University of Notre Dame Australia, has joined an effort to dramatically reduce the number of medical interventions that occur during childbirth in Australia. A Sydney-based research team headed by Dr Kate Levett, a lecturer at Notre Dame’s School of Medicine, has been awarded a grant of $320,000 to examine the effectiveness of antenatal education in reducing the rate of caesarean births in Australia – one of the highest in the western world, after the United States. “The current rate of caesarean births in Australia is around 34 per cent, more than twice the optimal rate recommended by the World Health Organization,” says Dr Levett. “WHO recommends a caesarean rate of between 10 and 15 per cent as having the greatest health benefits for women and babies. “Apart from the burden on the health system, such interventions have a potentially negative impact on the health and wellbeing of women and their babies.
“In many cases such procedures may be avoided thanks to better education and alternative pain management options. When women are adequately prepared through antenatal education, they are less likely to go down this cascade of medical interventions.” Dr Levett will lead a team from Notre Dame and Western Sydney University’s School of Medicine, School of Nursing and Midwifery and NICM Health Research Institute. The new project, part of an $18 million commitment by the Turnbull government to improve the health of Australian women, builds on Dr Levett’s PhD research which found that an effective childbirth education program could reduce caesareans in Australia by 120,000 each year, saving the healthcare system up to $97 million annually. “Our previous study showed that the Complementary Therapies for Labour and Birth Program significantly reduced epidural use, caesarean sections, as well as reducing a range of other clinical interventions that have important adverse consequences if overused in healthy women and babies,” Dr Levett says.
I S S U E 1 6 DECEMBER 2018 15
Research into the Creighton Model FertilityCare System (CrMS) - the sytstem that predicts women’s health and fertility - started in 1976 and was completed in 1980.
Uncov er ing women’s hea lth through Na ProTECHNOLOGY
WORDS Theresia Titus
standardised system with a standardised language used by all women to describe the observations of their health is how Perth doctor Amanda Lamont describes the Creighton Model FertilityCare System (CrMS). It was co-developed by Obstetrician-gynecologist Professor Thomas Hilgers, who is also the founder and director of the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction in Omaha, Nebraska. His continuing research in CrMS allowed him to develop NaProTECHNOLOGY, which uses the CrMS charting system. Having established the first Australasian centre for NaProTECHNOLOGY and FertilityCare with the support of St John of God in 2002, Dr Amanda Lamont spoke to The Record. “All Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FABM) of family planning such as FertilityCare CrMS are based on observation of natural biomarkers to determine the fertility or infertility of any given day of a woman’s cycle,” Dr Lamont said. “These methods observe fertility as a natural part of health and teach couples to work with their natural fertility cycles to plan their families.” In contrast, artificial contraceptive methods “aim to suppress or interfere with a person’s natural fertility” and can have a devastating effect on women.
Professor Thomas Hilgers receiving a $50,000 gift from the St John Paul II’s discretionary fund in 1994.
The oral contraceptive pill is classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a Group One carcinogen (having cancer-causing agent properties). Couples who wish to implement NaProTECHNOLOGY into their family planning will need to attend an initial medical consultation, as well as separate charting teaching sessions to ensure they are comfortable with the charting process. “Further diagnostic tests, sometimes including surgical procedures, may be needed after a review of the charts and initial investigations,” Dr Lamont said. “A management plan would be developed and regularly reviewed with hormonal monitoring using the FertilityCare CrMS charts, blood tests, ultrasounds and other investigations if and when needed.” By using CrMS and NaProTECHNOLOGY, couples have the opportunity to attain knowledge which allows them “to be active participants in God’s wonderful plans for their family by choosing to time their intimacy” following their natural fertility cycles.
Dr Amanda Lamont, a Fertility specialist and founder of FertilityCare and NaProTechnology in Perth. Photo: Sourced
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Photo: Pope Paul VI Institute
Example of a CrMS chart: three cycles charted for the CrMS showing the occurrence of menstruation, the pre-Peak dry days, the mucus cycle, the Peak Day (P), and the post-Peak dry days. The pre-Peak phases are variable in length (14, 9, and 20 days) but the post-Peak periods are consistent (14, 15, 13 days). Photo: Pope Paul VI Institute/ NaPro textbook p46
“This contrasts with the use of artificial contraceptives such as the Oral Contraceptive Pill, which suppresses a woman’s fertility as though it were a disease to be ‘treated’”, Dr Lamont said. “A woman is able to notice any changes in her reproductive health by observing her FertilityCare chart and can bring any concerns to her FertilityCare charting teacher or NaProTECHNOLOGY doctor. “NaProTECHNOLOGY does not involve the suppression of any hormonal systems but instead aims to restore normal function to the reproductive system,” she explained. Dr James Kho, NaProTECHNOLOGY medical practitioner who had worked alongside Dr Lamont, estimated they both have seen a few hundred patients. Based at Thornlie Medical Centre and moving to Rapha Women’s Health Centre in Osborne Park next year, Dr Kho said he would have been of service to more than 100 patients within the past five years. Dr Lamont also explained that the model involves the observation of female bodily discharges, to identify times of fertility and infertility in the women’s cycle, as well as any suggestive hormonal deficiencies that could lead to miscarriage. “There are many other changes observable in a woman’s cycle which can indicate problems associated with subfertility, miscarriage and women’s health problems,” she said. “Problems such as PMS and
Polycystic Ovarian Disease, for example, show some detectable charting patterns which would trigger investigation and management in the hands of a trained NaProTECHNOLOGY doctor.” Depending on the case of each couple, hormonal medications or supplements may be necessary to use iand surgeries may even be needed. Conditions such as endometriosis, blocked fallopian tubes and pelvic adhesions can “only confidently be diagnosed at the time of surgery”. “Natural hormones such as progesterone, together with vitamins such as Vitamin D and minerals such as Zinc may be used in situations where a person is deficient in hormones, vitamins or minerals,” Dr Lamont said. Dr Lamont also highlighted studies have confirmed NaProTECHNOLOGY is able to lower divorce rates as “high levels of communication and cooperation between spouses are fostered” and has been shown to be 99.3 per cent method-effective in avoiding pregnancy. “The combination of the FertilityCare system and NaProTECHNOLOGY offers a unique, highly effective and ethically sound approach to womens health care and fertility management,” Dr Lamont said. “Couples are thoroughly investigated to find the cause of their problem, then offered a tailored treatment plan which incorporates care for their long-term reproductive and general health as well as management of their immediate health needs. “NaProTECHNOLOGY is offered in a manner which is deeply respectful of the dignity of each family member: wife, husband and child,” she concluded.
Dr James Kho, who practices at Thornlie Medical Centre, will move to Rapha Women’s Health Centre in Osborne Park next year. Photo: Supplied
I S S U E 1 6 DECEMBER 2018 17
Newly appointed Executive Director of Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA) Dr Debra Sayce says she is looking forward to building on and strengthening the values that Catholic education has presented over the many years in WA.
NEW CATHOLIC EDUCATION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
‘The world needs Catholic education’ WORDS Jamie O’Brien
Newly appointed Executive Director of CEWA Dr Debra Sayce has also been Director of Religious Education, a position she held from 2009. Photo: Ron Tan 18
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ewly appointed Executive Director of Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA) Dr Debra Sayce says she is looking forward to building on and strengthening the values that Catholic education has presented over the many years in WA. Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton officially announced the appointment in a letter dated 10 September. “Debra Sayce has more than 13 years of system leadership experience in CEWA,” Bishop Sproxton wrote. As the current Acting Executive Director since October 2017, Dr Sayce has also been Director of Religious Education, a position she held from 2009, except for a 12-month period during which she was Principal of La Salle College. Dr Sayce will commence her new position on 1 January 2019. “I’m coming into the role with my eyes open, knowing that I am working with incredibly talented and faithful people,” Dr Sayce said, in an exclusive interview with Communications Manager and The Record Editor Jamie O’Brien.
“The Bishops are very collaborative and supportive,” she said. “They want to work with you and they offer great support.” Bishop Sproxton expressed his confidence in Dr Sayce. “With a strong commitment to her Catholic faith, Debra is an active member of her parish. “Her commitment to the mission of the Church is also represented by her membership of the Australian Catholic Disability Council, Plenary Council 2020 Executive Council and Caritas,” he continued. Dr Sayce told The Record she is keen and ready to hit the ground running with a new strategic direction. The Catholic Education Commission of WA’s new strategic direction, which will be launched later this year for implementation between 2019 and 2021, will focus on four priority areas. Having spent the majority of her parish life at East Victoria Park, Dr Sayce migrated to Perth with her family from India at the age of five, and says her interest and passion for Catholic education has come from a combination of influences. “My role is to ensure that Catholic education enacts the four focus areas we are planning to launch,” Dr Sayce explained. “Focussing on the Catholic schools of excellence in providing effective, contemporary pedagogy and mission inspired practice and outreach, pastoral communities of well-being and safety for students and staff, providing an affordable and accessible environment with a strong Catholic context, and most importantly helping our schools to be Christ centred and student focussed,” she said. Dr Sayce noted that one example of how she intends to support this approach is to further strengthening leadership development and formation. “I very much believe in growing their [emerging leaders] capacity to respond in a changing context,” Dr Sayce added.
“We are living in secular times and Catholic education can be counter-cultural with societal values, so we have to be very mindful of how we ensure we do our best to put forward the real Gospel values.” Having started her career in Catholic education as a teacher at La Salle College, Dr Sayce has had a varied educational experience. She says it was when she began her teaching career at an independent school that she came to understand the meaning of teaching as a vocation. “Those formative years were extraordinary because I was given positive experiences of coming to understand the vocation of teaching,” Dr Sayce recalled. Dr Sayce also paid tribute to the inspiring leaders she has worked with over many years and was impressed with the manner in which they gave witness to the faith. She also attributed much of her educational journey to other experiences, including two Camino pilgrimages in Spain. “I’m excited about continuing to support parents as partners in the journey of catholic education, because parents are the first educators of their children in faith and in life,” Dr Sayce expressed. “CEWA supports the whole process of education, formation and learning, endeavouring to be Christ centred communities in a secular world. “The world needs Catholic education. “A Catholic education that enables each young person to find their God given talents and understand there can be an alternative choice in this increasingly secularised world. “And that other choice is a relationship with Jesus,” Dr Sayce concluded.
I S S U E 1 6 DECEMBER 2018 19
As Sr Joan Evans, of the WA Presentation Sisters, went up to receive her Order of Australia medal at Government House, she could only imagine how proud her late mother and grandmother would be.
Sr Joa n be a ms w ith pr ide, r em a ins humble in r ecei v ing pr estigious Nationa l Or der WORDS AND PHOTO Matthew Lau
y mother has gone for some years now; I know she and my grandmother would be very proud. Both of them were very close to me,” she told The Record. The Hon Kim Beazley AC, Governor of Western Australia, invested Sr Joan at Government House on Friday 7 September 2018. The esteemed accolade came as a great surprise to the 86-year-old retired religious sister, whose missionary work was never carried out purely in the hope of attaining awards. “These things aren’t part of my work.” Sr Joan was made an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the international community of Thailand through humanitarian assistance programmes for the disadvantaged, and to improving the lives of women, children and the elderly. When asked how she felt when accepting her medal from the Governor-General, Sr Joan said she was “just very happy”. “The 27 years in Bangkok was the cream of it. I was happy, happy, happy, all the way.” While she endured some tough times and witnessed some upsetting scenes during her charitable work overseas, Sr Joan always placed her trust in the omnibenevolent Lord. The born-and-bred Perth girl was just 16 when she felt the indubitable call to religious life, a vocation she has devoted her life to for the past 70 years and has no regrets.
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Retired religious sister Joan Kyrle Evans PBVM receives her Order of Australia medal by Governor of Western Australia Kim Beazley at Government House on 7 September 2018.
Photo: Michael Bain
“I have never wanted not to be what I have put myself up to do,” she said firmly. Dealing with people experiencing extreme poverty in the slums of Klong Toey was a far cry from her teaching days in Perth and Geraldton. Her affinity with the people of Bangkok grew naturally, knowing that God was with her all the way. “When I was a child I asked to be baptised, I never thought of anything else but that,” she fondly recalled. “I have given myself to the Lord. That is the truth of it.” Education was Sr Joan’s core mission as she believed there was a real need to help children and young adults to the point where they could help themselves. In Thailand, Sr Joan started an infant milk initiative – known as the “Milk Run” – where each fortnight, families in need are provided with milk formula and full cream powdered milk for babies up to 12 months of age. A key part of Sr Joan’s undertaking involved buying school uniforms, bags and shoes each year so that underprivileged children and young adults could attend school. Her Fares and Food (2F) project helped struggling families to afford transport costs and meals. While Sr Joan’s primary focus was education, her days were often filled with ferrying sick people to hospital, helping out with requests for payment of bills or comforting those in the community who were sick or dying. She also provided food assistance to 90 families each fortnight by providing rice, cooking oil and other essential items. Sr Joan returned to Perth in 2016. Her volunteers continue a number of her projects unstintingly. The other four Officers recognised in this year’s Australia’s Queen’s Birthday Honours were: Peter Fitzpatrick AO, Paula Nathan AO, Prof Michael Quinlan AO, and Prof Christobel Saunders AO.
I S S U E 1 6 DECEMBER 2018 21
Being a young mother is undoubtedly daunting to any woman. Perth woman Therese Le-Sanders, who recently became mum to a baby girl, spoke to The Record about her journey as a daughter, teacher and now mother of a baby girl.
WORDS Theresia Titus
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or Therese, being a Therese credits her parents young, Catholic mother for the faith she has. From has a significant aspect a very young age, she has to her life. been involved with music at “I think it is extra special, it’s her local parish of Bayswater like a gift,” she said. and the Vietnamese Catholic “I didn’t know how it would Community, as well as feel to be a mother until I held teaching Sacramental classes. my baby in my arms. Therese Le-Sanders conducting the Little Angel choir during the “My dad used to play the Photo: Peter Bui organ at Claremont Parish, St “It was then that I realised that Vietnamese Catholic Community Mass. I am going to be the person Thomas the Apostle Church who is going to nourish her, and he would teach us how to give her life and also teach play the organ. I never had a her to become like me or music teacher, it was my dad even better.” who taught me,” she said. Therese shared several “He would ask us to play at photos of her daughter with the beginning and end of The Record and said that she our evening prayer, and then already has many visions for Fr Nguyen Mong Huynh her little one. Having her had found out that we had daughter grow up in the Catholic faith is one of them. done that so he asked if we would like to play at the “It is up to her where she wants to go, but I want her to parish Mass.” have that [Catholic] faith,” she said. Therese reinforced that it has been her mother, in “The fact that she is going to be grounded in good addition to her own experience of becoming a mother, morals and values through our faith and will learn to be who trengthens her Catholic faith. a kind person in the future, helping other people, while Therese recalled the moment her mother had a stroke. also aiming to be a disciple of Jesus, is crucial to me.” “We were terrified, but my mum has a profound faith Therese admitted that her inspiration to be the best in God, always trusting and always full of confidence, mother for her daughter comes from her own life accepting that whatever God has planned for her she experience. would accept,” she said. “I would like my daughter to have the same experience Speaking about her own experience, Therese explained as I did. how her own faith was tested during the birth of her “My mum has been consistent in her style of parenting daughter, a 36-hour labour. and still looks after my family; she is still an outstanding “The birth of my baby is a big deal for me because I mother to me,” she said. thought, ‘after the pain, my baby came out naturally and “My mum has been a rock for me and seeing her still healthily’, and we just couldn’t believe it,” she said. mothering [me] is amazing. Therese says her personal experiences and the support “It encourages me to aim to be that kind of mother to she has received from her family, Church and school my daughter, in addition to spreading the faith like she community has molded her into the Catholic woman has to me. she is today, and allowed her to nurture the faith of the “It’s such a beautiful feeling,” she continued. students she teaches. Born in Australia, Therese’s her father Minh Le is the “I look forward to strengthening my daughter’s faith and President of the Vietnamese Catholic Community love of Christ by providing her with the same engaging in Perth. opportunity,” she said. Therese told The Record that both of her parents fled “I pray that she will be passionate about being involved Vietnam during the war, forcing them to leave the with the Church, and that her contribution will positively seminary and convent. They met in Perth as refugees. impact the life of others.”
... whatever God has planned for her she
trust that it would all be alright in the end.
I S S U E 1 6 DECEMBER 2018 23
In this raw interview, Ocean Reef parishioner Prafula Pearce speaks firsthand about her life and experience a woman. The 62-year-old wife, mother and grandmother is a full-time academic who converted to Catholicism.
â€œ Prafula Pearce: My life, my faith, my journey 24
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These days, I have to juggle my time between my various duties and obligations: at work where I lecture and have served leadership roles such as the Deputy Head of School and Academic Discipline Leader; at St Simon Peter Church, Ocean Reef Parish, where I attend Mass, and carry out my role as a Safeguarding Officer; at home as a wife; and as a mother and grandmother, I love to play with my four grandchildren in Perth from five to 11 years of age. My one hour journey to and from work allows me to make my car a private place to pray, especially the rosary and the stations of the cross and listen to amazing talks from my collection of CDâ€™s from Lighthouse Catholic Media. I get engrossed listening to speakers like Scott Hahn and his conversion story. My one hour journey is often not long enough! On my way home from work, I love stopping over at our Adoration Chapel to say thankyou to Jesus or to hand over to Jesus the anxieties of that day. However, I was not always a Catholic. I was born in Mombasa, a small town in Kenya, where I was brought up as a strong Jain, which is sect of Hinduism. As a child, I loved walking to the temple and to participate in the various rituals.
At the age of 16, I went to England to study Accountancy, which I completed by the time I was 21 years of age, while also working at Cadbury Schweppes in Marble Arch. This was not enough for me, so I took up a four year part-time degree at Thames University to obtain a Bachelor of Laws degree. It was during my third year of study that my daughter was born and although it was a struggle juggling motherhood and work, I completed my law degree the following year. It was then that my conversion from Hinduism to being a Catholic commenced. At the age of 24, I was only baptised and confirmed. At the time I was pregnant with my first daughter. Although I then went to church mostly on Sundays, I did not really know or understand the faith. At the age of 33, I migrated to Perth, and it was then that I felt my faith really started to grow. It was some years later that I accompanied a friend to an event at Aquinas College, where the young visionaries from Medjugorje were organised to speak. As we were driving out of the car park, someone knocked at the car window and gave me a Medjugorje tape, which had the story of the Medjugorje apparition on one side with a message of repentance, fasting and prayers, and the other side of the tape had a narration of the Rosary. Until then, I did not know how to say the Rosary and had no knowledge or understanding of what mysteries were or what they meant.
For the next five years, I must have listened to that tape a thousand times over. I also started getting up half an hour early to say the Rosary. During this time, I developed a great desire to visit Medjugorje, and at the age of nearly 60, I finally found the opportunity to go. Looking back on my visit to Medjugorje, I feel really blessed as it gave me the opportunity to visit the site of the apparition at Fatima, in addition to the Church in Lisbon where St Anthony was born. We were also privileged to be able to visit the Vatican, the Basilica of Saint Anthony in Padua, Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi and most of all, the shrine of Saint Philomena in Mugnano, Italy. I had heard the story about her life in some Catholic literature I had listened to during my daily journey to work. It was this experience of meeting Mgr Giovanni Braschi, the Rector of the Sanctuary, that was a particularly memorable moment. He told me about the story of Saint Philomena and invited my husband and I to stay in the residences in Mugnano during our next visit. He even signed and gave me the last copy of the book he has written in English entitled: Saint Philomena Testimony of the Light of God. I have since continued to develop a great love and devotion for St Philomena and with God’s grace, I will share the story of Saint Philomena with you another day.
A B OV E Prafula Pearce in Medjugorje at a
statue of Our Lady of Sorrows. TO P Ocean Reef parishioner Prafula Pearce with Mgr Giovanni Braschi in Mugnano, Italy. Photos: Supplied
Ocean Reef parishioner Prafula Pearce speaks firsthand about her life and experience a woman. Photo: Jamie O’Brien
I S S U E 1 6 DECEMBER 2018 25
As part of the Church’s response to the Royal Commission’s recommendations and in conjunction with the Year of Youth, the Archdiocese of Perth Safeguarding Office officially launched a handbook for teenagers titled Love, Sex and Relationships – The Basic Essentials for Catholic Teenagers in September this year. Archbishop Costelloe renewed his commitment to ensure all in the Perth Catholic communities feel safe at the Safeguarding Child Protection Breakfast on 4 September.
Photo: Josh Low
NEW TEEN HANDBOOK PROVIDES CHURCH’S SAY ON LOVE, SEX AND RELATIONSHIPS WORDS Amanda Murthy
he 57-page handbook, written by Safeguarding Office Director Andrea Musulin and Manager of Ministry Services at the University of Notre Dame Australia Fremantle Campus, Tom Gourlay, gives an insight into online safety, abuse and violence, pornography, sex and criminal law. During his speech at the launch, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB said the handbook was written in plain simple language, accessible to young people, full of practical examples with activities, and directed to the adolescents themselves.
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“I want to renew my commitment again, to do everything in my power to ensure that children, young people and all vulnerable people are safe and secure in all of our Catholic communities,” said Archbishop Costelloe. “The heart of our efforts has been the establishment of our Safeguarding Office and the development of our Safeguarding programs.” “While it is not always recognised in the wider community, the Catholic Church has made enormous efforts to transform our Catholic communities into places of safety for our young people – the Church of 2018 is not the same as it was 50 years back.”
Mrs Musulin told The Record that the handbook focuses on the prevention of sexual abuse and unsafe relationships, lending life-skills approach to a variety of unsafe, risky, hostile or threatening situations they may find themselves in. “Our hope is that as they work through the basket fillers they will improve their personal safety and their ability to be assertive and resilient when life requires them to be.” With success from the last handbook produced, dedicated to parents with young children between the age of six and 12, Mrs Musulin said it was important that the Archdiocese continue to support and provide reliable basic essentials for Catholic teenagers in the challenging and ever-changing world they live in. “The Bible entrusts parents, as primary educators with the responsibility to inform their teens about sex and to assist them in developing personal safety skills,” said Mrs Musulin.
... the Church is aware of the difficulties that young people face, and through the resource speaks the truth in love into the real-life experiences of young people “This responsibility involves parents being actively supportive in their child’s emotional well-being through their role, in assisting their teens is to guide them through the resource as that is all part of God’s plan for love and protection.” Echoing Mrs Musulin’s sentiments, collaborator Mr Gourlay said the Church is aware of the difficulties that young people face, and through the resource speaks the truth in love into the real-life experiences of young people at a deep level. “We need to speak the truth of Christ boldly in this area, in a way that is much more robust than mere moralism.”
Emmanuel Catholic College students participating in the launch of the new resource titled Love, Sex and Relationships – The Basic Essentials for Catholic Teenagers on 4 September.
Photo: Josh Low
Andrea Musulin says the handbook focuses on the prevention of sexual abuse and unsafe relationships.
Mr Gourlay believes the current Australian culture fosters a number of conceptions of the human person, body and sexuality that are directly at odds with the truths taught by the Catholic faith. “It is very difficult for people of any age, but particularly our young people, to be able to discern the truth in what they may have imbibed from the surrounding culture, and this is evident when we look at the great confusion in these areas in our society,” said Mr Gourlay. Mr Gourlay stated that all efforts were made to ensure the protective behaviours outlined in the handbook reflected a Catholic understanding of the human person (anthropology) in a way that would be accessible to teenagers. “We have tried to demonstrate how the sacraments, so integral to our lives as Catholics, can be a part ovf not only healing from harm done, but can help form us in such a way as to protect us from harm.” Mr Gourlay added that the resource is currently available online and in all Archdiocesan parishes, and he hopes that it will be distributed to all Catholic schools throughout WA in the near future. A second possible collaboration is also in the works for Mrs Musulin and Mr Gourlay, he said, to publish a handbook for young adults. “Protecting young people from physical and emotional harm is fundamental, but it is simply not enough. “The sexual wounds that exist in our culture run deep, and they are not limited to sexual abuse and sexual assault - As a result of the sexual revolution we have experienced something of a revolution in what it means to be a person as such,” said Mr Gourlay. “The Church is in a privileged place where it can offer the healing of Christ to those who suffer, and share with the world what it has received – the truth of the human person, revealed in the person of Jesus,” concluded Mr Gourlay.
I S S U E 1 6 DECEMBER 2018 27
FEMINISM P R O M O T I N G I N
T H E
T R U T H
C H U R C H
A N D
A B O U T I N
T H E
W O M E N W O R L D
WORDS Phillipa Martyr
Catholics and feminism have an uncomfortable relationship. Catholic women of all ages shrink from calling themselves feminists because they know it will frighten the men around them. Catholic men might find themselves either flinching at perceived feminist attacks, or blaming feminism for their personal problems.
hey couldn’t be more wrong – and Samantha Povlock is out to prove it. Povlock is the founder of the online community FemCatholic (www.femcatholic. com) which is answering St John Paul II’s call and working to promote truth about women in the Church and in the world”. Povlock has degrees in Theology and Business from the University of Notre Dame in the United States of America and is also a full–time working mother. She created FemCatholic to help Catholic women – and men – discover real feminism. Povlock personally struggled to reconcile her “boldness with the quiet, docile picture of Mary that every song at church seemed to paint. I thought that’s all the Church envisioned for women.” She found peace, hope and joy in her faith – but found it lacking in secular feminist solutions to genuine social problems. For Povlock, secular feminism has “not succeeded in attaining true equality for us. Because without the lens of complementarity, men are still made
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to be our benchmark – for our bodies, our styles of leadership, and our vocational fulfillment … Catholic feminism is not a contradiction – it’s a call”. FemCatholic aims to educate women on the true meaning of their femininity, to encourage them to find answers to worldly challenges in their faith, and to empower them to embrace their femininity and offer its gifts and strengths to the world. Through savvy use of social media, Povlock has quickly built up a wide network of engagement. The website features constantly–updating articles from a group of contributing writers, as well as submissions from ordinary Catholics – including priests and seminarians who are also working out their relationship with feminism.
Pope John Paul II greets Mother Teresa of Kolkata at the Vatican. Photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano.
This diverse range of Catholic writers have one important thing in common: they all accept the Church’s teachings wholeheartedly, even if they are struggling with some aspects of them. For Povlock, this uncompromising faith is essential. “The Church needs your strength – the Church needs your boldness. She needs your maternal heart like a Mama Bear going after her lost and suffering bear cubs. She needs you to be fierce, and cunning, and obedient.” “Mary reveals the power in obedience – power to persist in the face of catastrophic tragedy, doubt, and fear. I realised the Devil had tried to hide this power behind my impressions of Mary as boring and meek, because his greatest fear is it being unleashed in the world.”
... the power in obedience – power to persist in the face of catastrophic tragedy, doubt, and fear.” FemCatholic has an in–house ‘Dear Edith’ column, named after St Edith Stein, where each month a difficult question is answered by multiple participants. No topic is off limits: not trusting men, struggling with Marian devotion, not fitting in with your local parish, finding meaning in singleness, and how to manage when people deride your faith. Feature articles tackle controversial issues head on. Why is women’s ordination not a viable option? What does the sexual abuse
Samantha Povlock, the Founder and Creative Director of FemCatholic. Photo: Sourced.
crisis mean for us as a Church? How can I stay in the Church when everything seems to be going wrong? What does it mean for a Catholic marriage when you are infertile? What about single women? What about divorced women? How can we do a better job of chastity education for young people? Human sexuality is not the beginning and end of Catholic feminism. FemCatholic also goes beyond the prolife sphere to address broader social inequalities and injustice which are also part of the Church’s mission. In Evangelium Vitae (1995), St John Paul II called for a ‘new feminism’ which would acknowledge and affirm the true genius of women in every aspect of the life of society, working against all discrimination, violence, and exploitation. Povlock likes to quote St Paul VI’s prophecy: “The hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of woman is being achieved in its fullness, the hour in which woman acquires in the world an influence, an effect and a power never hitherto achieved.” FemCatholic is a part of that vocation and that mission. FemCatholic will hold it’s first conference in Chicago in March 2019. For more information, go to: www.femcatholic.com/conference
EDITOR’S NOTE: many of the quotes are from a guest post written for The Catholic Woman: www.thecatholicwoman.co/letterstowomen/catholic-feminism-is-not-a-contradiction-its-a-call Phillipa Martyr is a lecturer at the University of Notre Dame Fremantle.
I S S U E 1 6 DECEMBER 2018 29
In a messy, chaotic world where young people are constantly bombarded with negative ideology, propaganda and falsehoods disguised as truth, lies the ever growing need for young people to deepen their relationship with God.
ut what do the youth of today seek in their lives? Do they recognise the need for God?
Director of Catholic Youth Ministry (CYM) Perth, Vincent Haber, and Principal of Acts 2 College of Mission and Evangelisation (Acts2COME), Jane Borg, spoke to The Record about youth of today. Mrs Borg says it is young people especially, who are searching for their identity and purpose. “They are asking, Who am I? What am I to do in my life? How do I fit in - whether it be with my family, friends, career, and society?” “The answer to this of course, lies in God. God is the source of our identity; our relationship with God is the reason we exist.” Mr Haber expanded on three specific things he believes young people constantly search for in their lives. “The youth are looking for real happiness, and are looking everywhere to attain this, experiencing everything good or bad as they constantly search for contentment in their hearts. “Young people also want a place to belong so they can feel loved and valued. Finally, they seek validation,” he said. “They want to know whether they matter in this busy and chaotic world and desire acknowledgement
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and affirmation. That is why social media is huge for young people, especially teens, who seek validation based on the ‘likes’ of their peers.” Mrs Borg was in agreement, saying that whether they realise it or not, each and every person has a deep need for God, with young people especially vulnerable in today’s society. “If they have not encountered God in a real way, they will search for something to fill the gap,” she said. “The world offers many activities that give superficial pleasure, but none provide the deep fulfilment offered by Christ – resulting in an empty feeling, searching and bouncing from one thing to another.”
DO YOUNG PEOPLE REALLY NEED GOD WORDS Josh Low
However, Mr Haber said when young people have an encounter with Jesus, they experience what true love, mercy and compassion is all about which then gives them a model on how to love, be merciful and compassionate towards others, with a genuine joy in their lives.
If they have not encountered God in a real way, they will search for something to fill the gap. “My hope for young people that may not know God is that they realise there is a God who loves them; that they know and believe they are worthy of His love and mercy, and that they know they are not alone, but have a family in the Catholic Church who will journey with and guide them in their search for truth and genuine joy,” he said. He added that his experiences in youth ministry have given him many opportunities to meet people who have had their lives changed after an encounter with Christ. “One particular example is a young man, brought up in a Catholic home, who, because of his desire to belong, got in to the wrong crowd. His life spiralled out of control due to his addictions and peer pressure, in a lifestyle that went on for many years.
“But encountering Jesus Christ at a youth conference in New Norcia one year was the start of his journey towards healing, becoming a better person and striving for holiness. “It doesn’t mean it’s all roses; he still fails and struggles but he now prays for Our Lord to give him the strength and the perseverance to overcome daily obstacles, and prays for healing from his past so that he can move forward and use his God given gifts to pursue his dreams,” Mr Haber said. “This is why young people need God. They need someone who will ‘have their back’ when life gets tough; they need to know that they are loved unconditionally, and that they are made for greatness. “Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life and it is only through Him that they will find the true joy that they are searching for, just as St Augustine proclaimed when he wrote, ‘Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee’.”
I S S U E 1 6 DECEMBER 2018 31
HOW PERTH CATHOLICS ARE MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD WORDS Matthew Lau
People of the Perth Catholic community have utilised the opportunity to make their voices heard in the build up to the 2020 Plenary Council.
ore than 180 local representatives from across the Archdiocese of Perth – officially known as Animators – have led group sessions in parishes and various other communities that work to encourage people to participate in the Listening and Dialogue encounters. Since the launch of the Plenary Council’s open Listening and Dialogue stage at Pentecost, individuals and groups – large and small – have shared their stories of life and faith. The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference revealed that by the end of September 2018, more than 10,000 individuals had contributed their responses. Plenary Council 2020 facilitator Lana Turvey-Collins says she hopes this figure is just the tip of the iceberg as the Church builds towards the Plenary Council sessions, which will be held in Adelaide in October 2020 and then again in May 2021 in an eastern state metropolitan city yet to be decided. Three Perth Catholics recently shared their experience with The Record Magazine on what they believe God wants the Church in Australia to do in order to bolster a brighter future.
Applecross Parish has been particularly active in hosting Listening and Dialogue encounters, with more than 350 responses recorded. Fr Nelson Po (bottom left) leads a session with members of the St Benedict’s Young Adults Group on 2 November.
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Photo: Matthew Lau
“... the Church, can internalise the humility and compassion of leaders.” Vicki Buchanan of Holy Spirit Church, City Beach Parish, hopes the Church in Australia can find a way to “reconcile its irrefutable mission to teach people the ideals of Christian living with the ability to welcome all who genuinely seek the grace of the Eucharist and the fellowship of believers in their lives”. “My wish is that we, the Church, can internalise the humility and compassion of leaders like Pope Francis and Mother Teresa, who remind us that Jesus showed love, not condemnation, to the people he encountered,” Mrs Buchanan said. “I have felt God’s presence at some challenging times in my life when my prayers were particularly fervent. Those special moments nourish my ongoing faith and inspire me to keep praying. “I can’t visualise an image of God, but I try to imagine myself in His place, reaching out and shaping the galaxies. It is a strangely comforting way of feeling connected to the divine in the universe,” she added.
Francis Waring is a member of the Sacred Heart steering committee in Thornlie. “I would hope that the Church can heal itself and overcome the recent injuries to its image. I believe that this can be achieved if we put great emphasis on the love of God,” Mr Waring said. “I believe that the main way is by being living examples of his love, by reaching out with compassion and genuine concern. By sharing what
God means in our lives. Helping them to understand that the message of God’s love is in all the things and people around us.” Scripture is the key guide to how God wants to be part of our life, he said. “The words of scripture are leading me to a greater understanding of what my relationship with him should be, so that I can learn from the real examples and parables how I should be living my life.”
The Centre for Faith Enrichment recently hosted Listening and Dialogue sessions at Newman Siena Centre.
Gerald Stack is an Animator for St Aloysius Church, Shenton Park Parish. The parish has hosted four meetings with adjoining parishes – Subiaco, Nedlands, and Claremont – to share experience and activities. “I hope that the Church learns to bring the Kingdom of God alive through loving communities rather that structures and rules. As Archbishop Costelloe says: Bring Christ to the Church, and bring the Church to Christ,” Mr Stack stated. “The Holy Trinity is the complete giver of existence who loves me so
Photo: Matthew Lau
much that I am God’s hands when I do good [that is, complete God’s plan for me] and also when I do evil [thwarting that plan], such is God’s love. “Scripture is a rich, many layered guide to knowing and inhabiting God’s creative plan for me, the creature,” he concluded. The open Listening and Dialogue stage of the Plenary Council runs until Ash Wednesday 2019, but facilitator Lana Turvey-Collins said that will not mark the end of the engagement with the community.
Submissions can be made online at the Plenary Council 2020 website: www.plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au/resources/have-your-say
I S S U E 1 6 DECEMBER 2018 33
Hope exists for those who seek in An Interview with God WORDS Peter Sheehan
his American film develops an intriguing plot line about a crisis-ridden journalist who returns home after covering the war in Afghanistan, and then conducts a series of interviews with someone who claims he is God. The journalist named Paul Asher (played by Brenton Thwaites) works for a New York City tabloid and whose life is crumbling. His traumatic experiences in the Afghanistan war and his failing marriage are challenging his faith. In the midst of his anguish he interviews a person, identified in the movie simply as “The Man”, played by David Strathairn, and it is an opportunity he finds impossible to resist. He is granted three 30-minute long separate interviews on three consecutive days. Paul at one time believed in God, but now queries everything he was taught about religion after living through the horror of the war. As his life starts disintegrating, he thinks an interview with the Almighty might help, and for a budding journalist, it could be an interview of a lifetime. The film provocatively explores Christian themes of significance which doesn’t focus on the identity of “The Man”, but more about finding faith and exploring human relationships. The director of the movie, Perry Lang creates genuine intrigue in our wondering what Paul will ask God, and how God will answer him, and Thwaites and Strathairn work very well together to maintain the tension. The first of the three conversations signals Paul’s lack of faith in God, with two subsequent conversations shift much more to a focus on God interviewing Paul. Deep theological questions about the need for salvation, and free-will are raised. Paul comes to see the potential consequences
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of his crisis of faith which has been tested on the
Brenton Thwaites as Paul Asher and David Strathairn as “The Man” in An Interview with God.
battlefield in war and in his marriage. As “The Man” fades out of view in a shaft of light, Paul is left with a message that gives him hope: truth will be revealed to those who participate actively in life’s struggles to find faith, which as the film says is a process that “takes time and dedication every day”. The film is best seen as a conversation stimulus for dialogue with those who have the Christian faith, or are looking to find it. It projects the message that God listens empathically to all those he cares for, and persons wanting answers should try to explore what different solutions might mean for them. The film does not try to anchor itself to scriptural interpretations, nor is it theologically very sophisticated. It works by establishing intriguing scenarios that are resolved positively, and it communicates the significance of love, hope, and self-help in a comforting and reassuring way. Providing one accepts the film’s fantasy premise, which turns out not to be a particularly hard ask, the movie provides a fascinating excursion into religious belief. Peter Sheehan is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting ∞ Rialto Distribution
POISSON EN PAPILLOTE
RECIPE AND PHOTOS Matthew Lau
COOK IN: 15 MINS
IN THIS DECEMBER 2018 edition of The Record Magazine, we celebrate great women of the Church. In the culinary world of inspirational females, one can look no further than Julia Child, a passionate chef recognised for bringing French cuisine to the American public. Fish baked in parchment paper is a foolproof and versatile recipe, the technique of which cooks
PREP TIME: 15 MINS
the fillet ever so delicately. You can use cod steaks, salmon, monkfish, groper etc. If you don’t have spring onions, then substitute it with red onions. If you prefer Chinese flavours, then add ginger and soy sauce, and serve with rice. You can transform it into a Moroccan dish with the inclusion of couscous, chermoula, and preserved lemon. The possibilities are endless…
4 snapper fillets (about 150g per portion), skinless and deboned
1 spring onion, julienne
1 red capsicum, julienne
1 carrot, julienne
100g button mushrooms, sliced
100g fresh spinach
400g cannellini beans
1 lemon, sliced
100ml white wine
40g garlic butter
Fresh herbs to garnish (e.g. parsley, dill, coriander)
Sides of your choice
METHOD 1. Preheat the oven to 180°c. 2. Cut four pieces of non-stick baking paper, roughly A3 in size. 3. Mix the julienne vegetables, mushrooms, spinach, and cannellini beans in a bowl with enough extra virgin olive oil to moisten.
8. Fold one corner in and continually crimp the edges tightly with your fingers
4. Distribute the medley in the centre of each
to seal the package completely.
sheet, followed by the lemon slices, to
9. Set the parcels on a baking tray and
act as a bed for the fish fillets to sit on. 5. Season each side of the snapper with flaky sea salt and white pepper, and lay each fillet (its most attractive side up) on the lemon slices. 6. Place 10g of garlic butter on top of each fillet, followed by a swig of white wine. 7. Cut another four pieces of parchment paper and place over your prepared fish.
cook for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish.
10. To serve, carefully transfer each package to a dinner plate, and simply cut the top of the parchment open. 11. Garnish with a sprig of fresh herbs and serve with your sides. I have used asparagus, baby new potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and garlic prawns.
I S S U E 1 6 DECEMBER 2018 35
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10 Catholic singer, Bing ___ 11 Saint of Loyola 12 Catholic ___ 16 Wealthy biblical land 18 Magdalene and the sister of Martha 20 Book after Chronicles 21 Biblical name for Syria 22 It is immortal 23 “Behold the ___ of God” (Jn 1:36) 24 Blessing before meals 26 Spiritual program 28 Kind of Carmelite 32 St. Peter’s, for one 33 Ten Hail Marys 35 Luke’s symbol is this kind of ox 36 Prayer beads DOWN 2
“…thy will be done on ___”
Balaam spoke to
29 Where Vatican City is
one (Num 22:28)
30 Temple tree
Joseph was sold
31 Where King Saul
into slavery here 5
27 Jewish month
One of the seven
consulted a witch 32 According to Paul,
at the name of
Jesus every knee
Notre Dame nickname,
should do this
“The Fighting ___” 9
13 “…a chosen race, a ___ priesthood” (1 Pet 2:9)
34 Catholic international aid organisation ANSWERS
14 Land of St. Patrick 15 Learned literary men of the New Testament 17 Brother of Ishmael 19 Make up for sin 21 Possible Easter month 25 Apostle number
I S S U E 1 6 DECEMBER 2018 37
Cover image by Jamie O’Brien
OUR MISSION STATEMENT The Record Magazine seeks to promote awareness and understanding of vocation – God’s particular call to each of us to live and become what we were created to be. There are many such vocations – marriage and family life, priesthood, religious life or being single – with the first and universal vocation being to holiness, as described by the Fathers of the Church in Lumen Gentium.
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During his general audience of February 2015, Pope Francis spoke about the need to do much more in favour of women. As a son, brother, husba...
Published on Dec 5, 2018
During his general audience of February 2015, Pope Francis spoke about the need to do much more in favour of women. As a son, brother, husba...