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Activists strike back against the Empire

11 December 2014 | Sally Cloke

Love Makes a Way badgeOn Wednesday, 53 Christian protesters were arrested staging 'pray-in' actions at politicians' offices around the country. Eight were allegedly strip searched before being formally charged with trespass after praying in the Perth office of Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. There are echoes of martyrdom in the early church, which involved the refusal to worship the emperor. In contemporary Australia, the resistance is to the border protection regime.

Restorative justice for child sexual abuse victims

16 November 2014 | Vic O'Callaghan

HandsTotal focus on designing the right professional standards policy could be creating a hole, where all that is heard is a droning 'let's move on' message. Where are the stories of people gathering to help mend and heal themselves and the victims of this horrific episode in our history?

Tonti-Filippini's intellectual quest undaunted by physical pain

12 November 2014 | Zac Alstin

Nicholas Tonti-FilippiniUtilitarian philosopher Peter Singer paid tribute to his friend and intellectual nemesis Nicholas Tonti-Filippini, who died last Friday after suffering pain and discomfort for much of his life. The majority of Tonti-Filippini’s influence on bioethics in Australia took place out of the public spotlight, including has work as chair of a govenment committee on the care of people in an unresponsive or minimally responsive state.

Which bishop is challenging the bank on fossil fuels?

11 November 2014 | Jill Sutton

CBA logoThere has been an avalanche of divestment, including from the Rockefellers and the ANU, as they discern a lack of concern for environmental, social and governance issues. Shareholders attending Wednesday’s Commonwealth Bank AGM will hear a resolution requesting more transparency about the bank’s fossil fuel investments. But the bank’s response can seem like a game whose rules only become clear to its participants as they play it. Banks and other powerful organisations can still exploit any lack of clarity. 

The Vatican's Francis Revolution gains pace

10 November 2014 | Paul Collins

Archbishop Paul GallagherAn important power shift occurred in Rome at the weekend, and it has a genuine Australian connection. The nuncio in Canberra Archbishop Paul Gallagher was named Secretary for Relations with States, which will put him third in charge at the Vatican. He has been popular here because he has kept in touch with pastoral life, having volunteered to help out in the far-flung western NSW of Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes during his first Easter in Australia.

Constitutionally Australia is a religious country

02 November 2014 | Kevin Donnelly

Constitution of Australia Unlike France, Australia's Constitution specifically accepts the place of religion in the broader society, with its reference to Almighty God in the Preamble. Its only stipulation is that governments should not privilege one religion over another, or unfairly discriminate. Moreover, our legal system and institutions might be secular in nature, but they draw heavily on Christian ethics and morality.

Pope warns punishment is not a way to peace

26 October 2014 | Andrew Hamilton

Pope FrancisPope Francis warns perceptively that the urge to create peace by punishment leads to the search for more targets. The best way to peace and security is not to wage war on people but to be curious about them – what leads them to criminal acts, and how we can intervene to help them make good connections with society.

Buddhism's challenge to Christian churches

26 October 2014 | Jenny Stewart

Christianity is a warm, people-centred faith. Buddhism is cool and cerebral. Christianity offers narrative and prophecy of human failing and human glory. The Buddhist sutras are impenetrable discourses on the absolute. Yet Christianity in Australia seems to be fading.

Catholic Church returns to pluriformity of Vatican II

19 October 2014 | Neil Ormerod

Session at Synod on the FamilyConservative elements were quick to criticise the interim 'relatio' of the Synod that opened the door to gay and other estranged Catholics. Undoubtedly there will be pushback, but the Catholic Church is going through something not experienced since Vatican II – a Church willing to debate topics once felt long settled, without fear or favour.

National Curriculum a step forward

15 October 2014 | Chris Middleton

Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne has supported a national curriculum, while some observers have cautioned that it is not the panacea for improving educational standards that many may hope for. The Federal Review report released in the past week addresses many of the concerns, and on the whole their recommendations seem appropriate and constructive.  

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