Christmas Message 2017: an ‘annus horribilis’ for Catholics

Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher has called 2017 an “annus horribilis” for Christians whose faith has been challenged in the marriage and euthanasia debates, as well as the revelations about the Catholic Church unearthed during the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse.

“The shameful crimes and cover-ups in our church uncovered by the Royal Commission” as well as ” freedom of religion in put in doubt” had made this a testing year, he said in his 2017 Christmas message.

“But the Christmas story insists there is a star in the dark sky, light amidst the fears and failures. Christmas speaks of new hope. In Sydney we had a glimpse of that hope on the faces of tens of thousands of young people who recently celebrated the n Catholic Youth Festival. We look forward to similar scenes throughout this year that marks 10 years since World Youth Day in Sydney,” he said.

“Like the Christmas baby, our idealistic young people give us all hope for the future.”

Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Glenn Davies, has for the first time tweeted his Christmas message, condensing Christmas into 280 characters.

“Twitter now seems to be the preferred method of communication for at least one of our world leaders,” Archbishop Davies said.

“With a limit of 280 characters it is difficult to say much – let alone explain anything complex. Who knows what might happen if the leader of another country takes something the wrong way?”

Dr Davies then gave a tweet version of God sending Jesus to our world. It read: “God creates the world We rebel God sends his Son Jesus into our world to be born in a stable + grow up to die on a cross but that’s not the end He defeats death + is raised to life offering every1 freedom from death. In short a baby born in a shed saves the world #canyoubelieveit.”

The Archbishop urged people to read the full version of the Christmas events, in the book of Luke in the Bible.

Rev Keith Garner, CEO of Wesley Mission said Christmas is a time when we take stock of the year and look with hope to the future. At dinner tables across the nation a range of topics will be eagerly discussed, he said.

“One dominant theme continues to resonate: the loss of trust in our political system and aspects of our social and economic life. Many of the things which we held true and gave us meaning and certainty have been stripped away. Survey after survey shows that we are a generation which has lost confidence … Perhaps it explains our desire to ‘like’ something on social media without committing to it,” he said.

* Catholic mass at St Mary’s Cathedral: Christmas Eve, 5pm First Vespers of Christmas (Cathedral choir) 6pm Vigil Mass with congregational carols, 8pm Choral vigil mass with St Mary’s singers. From 11.15pm on, midnight solemn mass. Christmas Day 7am, 9am (with carols) 10.30am and 6pm (with carols).

* Anglican Service at St Andrews Cathedral: Archbishop Glenn Davies will preach at St Andrew’s Cathedral at 10am on Christmas Day and on Christmas Eve at 4pm, 6:30pm, 8pm & 11pm.

* Wesleyan Mission Services: Christmas Eve services at 9.30am 10.30 am 3pm and 6pm. Chinese service: 10am – Lyceum Room. Christmas Day 10am.