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05 June 2014 |
Very few Vatican documents on world events are exciting. But some can be helpful when local response to these events is febrile and anxious. The Vatican guidelines on ministry to forcibly displaced persons provide a helpful mirror to reflect the public Australian response to asylum seekers. It offers a long view of Catholic reflection on refugees and a broad perspective on the human reality of having to seek protection.
01 June 2014 |
In Unheard Story, Fr Padraig McCarthy rightly highlights shortcomings in legal-political-media processes like the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation. The future wellbeing of children demands that the spotlight be shone on all equally. But there is no getting away from the fact that in Ireland and Australia, the reported instances of child sexual abuse has been greater in the Catholic Church than in other churches.
28 May 2014 |
Talk about politicians' faith is a trivial indulgence that diverts attention from more important questions. To conclude that a politician is influenced by their faith or is unfaithful to it may give satisfaction to the person who makes the judgment, but it does nothing for those affected by unfair policies. Nor is this kind of judgment one that Christians may make if they wish to be consistent.
26 May 2014 |
When I first proposed what was to become Jesuit Communications, the organisation that now publishes Eureka Street, Julian Slatterie was the first to respond. 'Now Michael,' he said. 'This proposal rests on five assumptions and three presuppositions and if any of them is voided, the project is likely to fail.' He answered that hesitation with 25 years membership of the board. Julian died suddenly of a heart attack last Tuesday.
26 May 2014 |
'Some of us would question Benedict's assertion that the Church "must not take upon herself the political battle to bring about the most just society possible. She cannot ... replace the State." But we would all agree that the Church "cannot and must not remain on the sidelines".' Frank Brennan's presentation at the Jesuit Social Services Symposium on 'The role of faith based community organisations in contributing to a civil society'.
30 April 2014 |
In April the Victorian Court of Appeal upheld an earlier ruling that a youth camp run by the Christian Brethren had discriminated illegally against same-sex attracted persons by refusing a booking from a community health service for an event for young gay and lesbian people. This is not an isolated case. It is sobering that churches often seem to need the courts to give them lessons, if not about sex, then about hospitality and fairness.
23 April 2014 |
Quite striking is the similarity between the warm response to Pope John XXIII half a century ago and to Pope Francis today. Both broke through the gilded cage of outdated conventions and stereotyped expectations. Both stepped over barriers of ideology or religion to evoke bonds of a common humanity committed to promoting the wellbeing of all people, especially the poor and marginalised. The contexts were of course quite different.
21 April 2014 |
I write to defend Cardinal Pell in the wake of Elizabeth Farrelly's claim in the Fairfax press that Pell, when appearing before Justice McClellan at the Royal Commission, proposed a 'priestly child abuse insurance scheme'. Pell is not one of my fans, and neither am I one of his. But I think Farrelly has unfairly kicked him when he is down, and muddied the waters about what is a critical issue for the victims of child sexual abuse.
16 April 2014 |
Both the Jewish Passover and the Christian Easter are exercises in memory. The Jewish child who asks why this day is remembered is told a story of slavery in Egypt followed by deliverance by God. He stands in line with other children who asked the same question during the Holocaust. The devaluation of history and memory has a deeply corrosive effect on society. In our society we can see this in our treatment of asylum seekers.
02 April 2014 |
It seems most Sydney Church leaders did not see Ellis primarily as a vulnerable person to whom they should reach out in compassion, but as a threat to the financial wellbeing of the Church. Even though it was recognised that he had been abused by a Catholic priest, the callous treatment he received was inspired by the desire to avoid large payouts. These leaders effectively accepted that human worth can be measured by economic price.
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