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University

International Movement of Catholic Students Australia

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 Contents - Oct 2004AD2000 October 2004 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Addressing the shortfall of priests - Michael Gilchrist
Today's non-practising young Catholics: are Church conservatives to blame? - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church around the World
Society: US bishops call on Catholic institutions to oppose culture of death - Patrick Reilly
University: International Movement of Catholic Students Australia - Aaron Russell
Liturgy: Why priests should stick to the Mass texts - Bishop T.J. Paprocki
Books: Be Not Afraid: Cardinal George Pell's new book to be launched in November
Society: Why marriage should receive greater government support - Michael Casanova
The Pope's Encyclical on the Eucharist - Sr Mary Augustine OP
Letters: Pastoral letters (letter) - Charles Francis, AM
Letters: State Aid (letter) - Alan A. Hoysted
Letters: Liturgical abuses (letter) - George Simpson
Letters: Graham Greene (letter) - Thomas A. Watkin
Letters: Come As You Are? (letter) - Brigid P. McKenna
Letters: Ghana: help needed (letter) - Name and address supplied
Letters: Year of the Eucharist (letter) - Fr Glen Tattersall FSSP
Letters: Catholic Doctors' Association of Victoria (letter) - Dr Dominica Ho
Books: The Ceremonies Of The Roman Rite Described, Fortescue,O'Connell, Alcuin Reid - Msgr. Peter J. Elliott (reviewer)
Books: The Organic Development of the Liturgy, by Alcuin Reid OSB - Msgr Peter J. Elliott (reviewer)
Books: The Two Wings Of Catholic Thought, edited by D.R. Foster, J.W. Koterski SJ - Br Christian Moe FSC (reviewer)
Books: More new titles from AD Books
Reflection: Our Lady, Fatima and the 'annihilation of nations' - Anne Lastman

To its critics, an international body of young Catholics meeting once a year must seem like a token response at best. It is the sort of thing no bishops' conference could refuse to fund and which if it does no discernible good, probably doesn't do any harm either.

In the decades since Vatican II there has been a lot of activity, broadly thought to engage the young, which has failed to treat them or its mission very seriously.

Catholic students representing every state gathered in Brisbane last month for the annual national conference of the International Movement of Catholic Students Australia (IMCSA). While some states were under-represented, at least those who came were evidently serious about their faith.

The Book of Job provided the theme: "But Where Shall Wisdom Be Found?" and some of it came from the pen of the keynote speaker, Fr James Schall SJ, a professor in the Department of Government, Georgetown University. Prevented by illness from delivering it in person, his speech on "The Greatest Things in this World" dealt with our divided nature - a longing for the familiar and longing for the divine.

Developing Evelyn Waugh's sense of exile, ("for here we have no abiding city, but look for one that is to come") he cited Chesterton's intuition of how it is possible to be "homesick even at home". From there came a descant, via Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas to self-knowledge and right understanding.

Fr Schall concluded: "The Socratic admonition, the knowing 'that we do not know', the knowing of ourselves, leads to knowing that the Godhead is Trinity, that God is not alone, that we already have a place to begin to 'know ourselves'."

Other speakers included Dr Tracey Rowland, Dean of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family, Patrick Quirk, Associate Professor Ave Maria Catholic Law School, Eamonn Keane, and the movement's chaplin, Fr Gregory Jordan SJ.

The IMCSA is a member of the International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS), which is itself a constituent part of Pax Romana, a lay movement established in the 1920s. It exists to provide practical support for Catholic student clubs and societies on university campuses and to assist students in their individual apostolates.

Judging by the people attending the conference, the issues that concerned them were starkly at odds with what most of the clergy imagine when they talk about youth ministry. One zone of contention, or at least interest, was the varying degrees of attachment to the Latin Mass or the more conservative liturgical options within the Novus Ordo.

Social historians might be interested to note that there was all-night adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; something, until recently, unheard of amongst undergraduates.

It was heart-warming to note that Catholic students across the nation are interested in the same issues of abortion, ethics, questions of gender, love and responsibility, as well as conventional and student politics.

But perhaps the most salient feature of informal conversation between sessions, as well as during discussion time, was the preoccupation with articulating a Catholic worldview on campus. The most conspicuous indication of this was the level of enthusiasm for pro-life organised groups and demonstrations.

The 2005 IMCSA National Conference will be held in Sydney. For further information about IMCSA or to get in touch with your local representative please email me: secretary@imcsa.org.au

Aaron Russell is National Secretary of IMCSA - www.imcsa.org.au

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 17 No 9 (October 2004), p. 7

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