Origins of the Catholic Church in Australia.

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Origins of the Catholic Church in Australia. The first Catholics to come along to Australia, were amongst the first convicts to step foot on the shores of Port Jackson in Sydney. These Catholics were Irish in origin, and brought Catholicism to Australia, although Anglican Ministers were trying to stop the spread of Catholicism in Great Britain and her colonies. Most of the Irish who came here came here because of the British persecution of Irish Nationalists. The first obstacle to Catholicism spreading came with the Passing of the so called, White Australia Act, 1903 which prohibited those with of non-white colour from successfully settling in Australia. After World War II, there then came a relaxing of the immigration prohibitions, the Federal Government under Prime Minister Menzies and Prime Minister Chiefly opened Australia’s doors to immigrants of European origin, which brought over 1 million Catholics in a short period of time. This period brought dramatic change to the Australian Catholic Church. The Church was not the centre of life as it was in Asia or in Europe. The separation of Church and State was clear, and the Church had nearly no influence in Politics. Australian Catholics focused on saints of Irish and English origin, while these saints held nearly no influence in other nations. Catholic Practices Prior to 1962. The Catholic Church prior to 1962 was very different to what it is today. Most things were practiced differently, such as mass, churches, and catholic participation in the church. This all changed when in 1962 the pope at the time called a council that would forever change the church. Before this council, the way a church building would have been set out was very different. A church built prior to 1962 would have been built as if it were a large cross if you were to look at it from the sky. Also, pre-1962, a Catholic Mass was very different. In a catholic mass prior to 1962, a priest would speak to the congregation in Ecclesiastical Latin and it was not practiced in the local languages. The people were not encouraged to participate. Practices such as Benediction, Novenas, and Rosary were practiced by the family as a whole. Benediction was on Friday nights where the whole family would attend. The novenas would be attended by children prior to important schooling events (held by the school itself) and the rosary was a family ac... ... middle of paper ... ...of the clergy, almost always condemning the laity to hell for even the most minor things. Once, the relationship between us and the clergy was rather formal, as many of the religious felt they were superior that us. This all changed after Vatican II as it liberated the church. The changes made by Vatican II were essential, as society was becoming more liberal, and religion was becoming increasingly irrelevant with its old and conservative ways of practicing Catholicism. Without Vatican II, almost certainly the Church would have lost its appeal to the increasingly liberal societies of the late 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and now. Vatican II stopped the Catholic Church from becoming an irrelevant part of our society, and now is stronger than ever. But, many Catholics, and Christians believe it is time for further reform as the undirected youth of today strays from the church. Bibliography Sheets: Church Council The Second Vatican Council The First Vatican Council Camille’s Story Everyday Life before Vatican II Books To Know, Worship and love, Rev. P.J. Elliot, James Goold House Publications, 2002, East Melbourne. (Chapters 2- 4) Video: Brides of Christ, Australian Broadcast Corporation

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