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Who cares for lonely white Muslim converts?

23 June 2015 | Irfan Yusuf

Muslim community illustration by Chris JohnstonA poorly-organised ill-resourced minority community often feels it has better things to worried about than 'white' converts who, like converts to any faith or belief system are known for their zeal. If the government really imagines young Muslims and converts are ripe for 'radicalisation', an excellent investment they could make would be in support services for new Muslims. In our lucky country, there is much loneliness in this group and many reasons to feel marginalised.

Francis puts environment above short-term politics

18 June 2015 | Paul Collins

Laudatio si coverLaudatio si is an extraordinary document addressed to 'every living person on this planet'. Ecological issues are no longer an after thought but up there with social justice and equity in an incisive, practical, realistic and far-reaching encyclical that tackles the most important issues facing us honestly and with absolute integrity. It will upset a lot of apple carts in the Church and in the world.

Getting ready for Pope Francis' environmental Rerum Novarum

10 May 2015 | Neil Ormerod

Both John Paul II and Benedict XVI made passing reference to environmental issues. Benedict spoke of the need for protection of the environment, resources the climate in his encyclical Caritas in Veritate. But in terms of its significance, Pope Francis’ forthcoming encyclical has the potential to do for the environmental movement what Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum (1891) did for the union movement – to provide it with a powerful source of moral and religious legitimacy in the face of those forces which have sought to limit their influence. 

Pope Francis in the fight for women's rights

03 May 2015 | Andrew Hamilton

Pope FrancisIn Western societies, the acceptance of the right of women to work and to equal pay has been built on their full participation by being able to vote and to be voted for. If the Catholic Church is to have credibility in endorsing the continuing struggle for women's rights, it will need to find effective ways in which women can participate equally in the governance of the Church at all levels.

Atheist Pratchett's Discworld has lessons for Christians

15 March 2015 | Michael McVeigh

'You can't go around building a better world for people. Only people can build a better world. Otherwise it's just a cage.'

When I heard English author Terry Pratchett had died, I immediately jumped online to start looking through some of my favourite quotes from his books. The above, from Witches Abroad, is one of many that have accompanied me over the years.  

His 44 Discworld novels could be broadly described as comic fantasy, or fantasy satire, and yet that's really just the starting point for the immense variety of complicated ideas they explored in such a fun, joyous way.

Perhaps strangely for someone whose work is so grounded in atheism, Pratchett has had a profound impact on my religious faith. Read more

Fundamentalism in the land of Jesus

20 January 2015 | Lawrence Cross

Israel flag in desertIsrael is demanding to be recognised as a Jewish state. The corollary is that they have an interest in getting Christians out. On the Palestinian side, the Islamic influence has been intensifying for decades. Fundamentalism creates the perfect audience for the disinformation and propaganda that masks the slaughter of some of the world's oldest Christian groups.

Francis moving Church from pale green to deep green

19 January 2015 | Paul Collins

Green globePope Francis has been hailed for his ‘rattling’ and ‘upsetting’ Catholic climate change sceptics and politicians. His predecessors John Paul II and Benedict XVI were ahead of most politicians on the issue, but essentially they underestimated the magnitude and urgency of the environmental problems we face. It is likely that Francis will make a decisive effort to confront climate change during 2015.



An Aussie Muslim's Taiwan Christmas

18 December 2014 | Irfan Yusuf

Tainan templeChristmas is a fabulous time to spend at home. Even those of us who aren’t terribly Christian can enjoy a free holiday with friends and family. And if you like choral music, you can always come along with me and a Jewish mate to St Mary's Cathedral. But last Christmas I found myself in Taiwan.

A messy birth and a vulnerable baby

17 December 2014 | Richard Leonard

‘What Are We Waiting For Finding Meaning in Advent and Christmas’ cover imageAt a Christmas party, I met the charge nurse of the maternity ward. Pleading that because I was a celibate I would never be at a birth, I enquired if I might be allowed to come and see'. … Mary and I met six hours into her labor, which was an unusual circumstance within which to meet your birthing partner.' She had very little small talk, maybe because she had no breath at all.

Joe Hockey's prize orchid

16 December 2014 | Marcelle Mogg

Prized orchidIn his Mid Year Financial Economic Outlook statements this week, Treasurer Joe Hockey construed 'The Economy' as a rare prized orchid, requiring careful nurturing. The orchid is to be admired, and the gardener more so for the skill, expertise and craft that gives rise to such a beautiful creation. The trouble with treating The Economy like a prized bloom is that we fail to recognise that the it exists to serve people. 

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