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22 May 2017 |
Catholics have a proud record of exercising their democratic rights within Australian democracy as voters, members of political parties and lobby groups, and as elected representatives. But within their own church they have been taught to leave their democratic rights at the door. Now is the time to challenge that norm in parishes, dioceses and the wider church. In responding to the royal commission the church needs an infusion of democratic values, including transparency and accountability.
18 May 2017 |
As adults we deal with KPIs every day at work, targets defined apparently for one's benefit so we all know what needs to be achieved if our jobs are to be secured. Sadly, they also determine what, how and where we focus our efforts as these targets are internalised over time. If there is to be a future for work, it is to be found in such disobedience, a rejection of the primacy of paid labour for work as 'pleasure in the exercise of our energies'.
16 May 2017 |
As the Church of 2030, we need to be more attentive to the contemplation of believers and our experience of spiritual realities, as well as the preaching of the church. Pope Francis has no time whatever for the notion of the Church as a perfect society. But, there is no way that Francis wants to abandon the ideals and the commitment to truth and justice so well exemplified by his predecessors John Paul II and Benedict.
14 May 2017 |
The reconciliation of this vertical relationship is possible only through the mediation of Jesus who embodies, lives and dies the reality of this reconciliation. He puts us right with our God and thereby establishes the basis for right relationship with each other. In many countries such as Australia, Timor Leste and South Africa, the public rhetoric and programs for reconciliation have, at least in part, been informed and underpinned by this theological perspective.
08 May 2017 |
There came a time for me, as it does for many, when going to church was no longer obligatory. I suspect it's most common in those middle years of adolescence - the time when parents feel the need to loosen their hold over you, but with the blanket of judgement ever fixed. My wane in piety was not unforeseen. Each Sunday, as my family was getting ready, I'd linger by the bathroom. The plan was to tentatively make everyone aware I wasn't quite up for church-going that day. Reactions varied.
07 May 2017 |
Our Church is presently a strained, outdated social institution with an exclusively male hierarchy and clergy. But it is also the privileged locus for us to be called to the banquet of the Lord sharing theology and sacrament which have sustained the hearts and minds of similar pilgrims for two millennia. Thank God for Pope Francis who is showing us the way, helping us to find meaning in our changing and chaotic world, putting a fresh spring in the step of all those Catholics holding in tension the prophetic and the practical, the theological and the humanist, the tradition and the contemporary reality.
04 May 2017 |
The government and the Catholic Church both face difficulties when commending values. The difficulties will dog events during the next week in which both institutions are on public display: the bringing down of the budget and the meeting of the Australian Catholics bishops. The question Australians ask is whether the bishops and other public representatives of the Catholic Church have the stomach for the changes in governance needed to address the factors that led to child abuse.
23 April 2017 |
The transition from Easter to Anzac Day in Australia can be a strange one, particularly when the two celebrations come in the space of two weeks as they do this year. At Easter, we move from the terrible desolation of Good Friday to the joy of Easter Sunday. It's the foundation story for the Christian faith, and speaks of the arrival of new life and hope for the world. Anzac Day forces Christians to confront a different reality - that this new hope has yet to be fully realised.
17 April 2017 |
Last Sunday, I headed to a Buddhist temple in Springvale, in Melbourne's outer south-east. I wasn't going for a Songkran festival (Thai New Year), and it wasn't a regular part of my routine. I was going because my mother wanted to pray for her eldest sister, who had died on the Friday. My mother is a temple frequenter. I am not. But I was thankful for the immediacy with which she felt she was part of a worshipping community, even though she'd never before been to that particular temple.
16 April 2017 |
Following the passing of the Australian comedian and social commentator, John Clarke, his co-presenter Bryan Dawe talked about being on a tram in Melbourne with people nodding compassionately and knowingly at him. Bryan recalled that an old man had once commented to John, 'You know what you two do? It's a secret between you and the audience.' These are not the sorts of things we expect to hear when someone is still alive. Once they are dead, those who love and admire them recall all sorts of details about their life, finding new meaning and new depth even in the everyday things.
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