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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. 

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.

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