RELIGION


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Ensuring justice for all after the Royal Commission

1 Comment
16 February 2017 | Frank Brennan

The commission's forensic scrutiny of past actions of church officials in no way constitutes an interference with the freedom of religion. Its spotlight is to be welcomed, provided only that it is shone on a truly representative sample of all institutions which have been found wanting and provided the same light filter is applied to all institutions. I do however have a problem with the commission making findings on issues like the want of compassion when those findings are made only against a Church.


Language, power and harm in clerical sexual misconduct

20 Comments
15 February 2017 | Stephen de Weger

Woman in confessionalThree years ago I began my research Masters into clerical sexual misconduct involving adults (CSMIA). I have now completed that study. It revealed highly relevant and crucial information towards the understanding of CSMIA. One conclusion based on my and other studies is that three major aspects need to be included in any discussion of CSMIA, in order to reach a fuller understanding of how CSMIA is able to occur, how it is interpreted, how it affects people's lives, and how it is dealt with.


The Catholic wrap-up at the Royal Commission

57 Comments
12 February 2017 | Frank Brennan

Cardinal Pell with paper titled Sexual AbuseLast Monday, the Royal Commission commenced its three-week forensic examination of the causes of child sexual abuse and cover up in the Catholic Church in Australia over the last 60 years. The statistics were horrifying. Every case represented a person who claims as a child to have been abused by a person of authority in a Catholic institution. Whichever way the statistics are interpreted in comparison with other institutions, they are appalling. We need to hold the victims clearly in focus.


Time to repeal 'ugly' Mass translation

60 Comments
08 February 2017 | Gerry O'Collins

Roman MissalIt is good news that Pope Francis has appointed a commission to revisit Liturgiam Authenticam. This Vatican document, issued on 28 March 2001, provided the unfortunate guidelines that 'justified' the ugly, Latinised translation foisted on English-speaking Catholics by the 2010 Missal. I sincerely hope that Francis' commission will not merely revisit the document but strongly press for its repeal. The road will then be open to revisit the clumsy, difficult 2010 Missal and replace it.


Demystifying 'God's Rottweiler'

17 Comments
07 February 2017 | Andrew Hamilton

Benedict XVI, from the cover of Last TestamentThe inflated image I once had of Cardinal Ratzinger, and that many Catholics have of cardinals and other authority figures, was shaped by fear. Fear hands over to the human beings behind the image a power they do not possess. Conversations always turn to them and inhibit the free and constructive living of faith. In helping to demystify such images Last Testament, the autobiography (written with Peter Seewald) of Pope Benedict XVI, serves us well.


Sister Barbara and the books that changed everything

19 Comments
06 February 2017 | Julie Davies

Nun silhouetteSister Barbara taught me in my fifth and sixth years. She had a large multi-grade class, yet she found time to realise I wasn't 'a bit slow' but was actually half-blind, partially deaf and bored witless. She ensured I was placed close to the front where I could hear, and arranged my first eye examination. Sister Barbara also sent away for high school English books just for me and that year this supposedly 'slow' child came first in class. These acts changed the course of my life.


Looking for light amid Royal Commission's Catholic wrap-up

15 Comments
05 February 2017 | Frank Brennan

Listening to the media and our church leaders in recent days, we know that there is plenty of darkness ahead for our Church in the weeks ahead with the Royal Commission's so-called 'Catholic wrap-up'. We're told that the statistics will be terrible and we expect that some of our church leaders will appear, looking stunned and helpless. This morning, I think we need to reflect on these stark realities in the light of the scriptures. And this can be done only by holding the victims clearly in focus.


My mother's burqa: an irreverent history

2 Comments
13 December 2016 | Irfan Yusuf

Woman in NiqabSome of my South Asian 'aunties' are very much opposed to wearing any religious head covering. Mum has only recently started wearing a tiny Egyptian number she picked up during her last Haj. Like many South Asians, she has become a bit more religiously observant as she gets older. She grew up in the Indian university town of Aligarh, some 140km South East of Delhi. Aligarh was a very conservative town, and her father, a professor at the local university, was a rather conservative chap.


Why the seal of the confessional should remain in tact

18 Comments
04 December 2016 | Frank Brennan

ConfessionalOne distinctively Catholic practice is personal confession in which an individual confesses to God their sins and seeks forgiveness in the presence of and at the hands of a priest. Some groups and individuals are proposing to the royal commission that the seal of the confessional no longer be inviolable. I was quoted in The Australian saying, 'If a law is introduced to say that a priest should reveal a confession, I'm one of those priests who will disobey the law.' Being also a lawyer, let me explain.


Tackling porn and alcohol key to family violence responses

10 Comments
29 November 2016 | Andrew Hamilton

Man threatening womanOne of the weaknesses in our society is its lack of effective regulations governing the marketing and availability of alcohol. A second is the ready availability of pornography, as many young men learn how to behave towards women from sadistic and explicit pornography. In the case of the lack of restrictions on the availability of both, churches concerned to respond to domestic violence will need to meet the libertarian objections to regulating profitable business and individual behaviour.


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