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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.  

Iraq intervention meets just war conditions

14 October 2014 | Chris Middleton

Crucifixion victimThe theory of just war has evolved as a way of laying out the conditions under which a war may be justified morally. The case against ISIS in terms of it being an aggressive force inflicting lasting, grave and certain damage is compelling. Millions of Iraqis and Syrians have been displaced and there is widespread hunger.

A conundrum for Pope Francis

13 October 2014 | Paul Collins

Synod audienceMelbourne's Archbishop Denis Hart told Vatican Radio that the Bishops currently attending the Synod on the Family in Rome 'want to engage with people and see the needs of families ...  The bishops have been emphasising that we are pastors'. This emphasis indicates Pope Francis' challenge when he asks the bishops to assume the level of leadership necessary to act collegially with him.

Catholic press struggles to earn trust

06 October 2014 | Tim Wallace

The sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church has affected mass attendance and contributions to the collection plate. The credibility of its newspapers has also taken a hit, with coverage of the crisis generally following the official line. The publications must  appease both their clerical owners and their supporters, the readers, whose trust needs to be earned and maintained.

Ian Paisley's no middle ground

21 September 2014 | Frank O'Shea

Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness

Somehow Paisley and McGuinness worked well together. The Chuckle Brothers they were called, an attempt to present them as two buffoons out of their depth. But for ordinary people, it was an endearing image, a tribute to a pair who had brought their respective sides with them in an unlikely peace. 

Picking on Muslims is getting dull

11 September 2014 | Ruby Hamad

Weekend Australian front cover 'fight Islam 100 years'The readiness with which some westerners take the most violent and extreme groups as legitimate expressions of Islam betrays the racism that underpins perceptions of Muslims. Whether I like it or not, my religious background and my name tie me to these 'jihadists.' I feel the permanent weight of expectation to publicly apologise for their actions.

Not a good time to be Catholic

27 August 2014 | Kevin Donnelly

Girl lighting a candle Growing up in working class Broadmeadows in a Housing Commission estate with a communist father and a Catholic mother – mass on Sunday and the Eureka Youth Movement on Tuesday – taught me first hand about two of the most influential and powerful forces of the 20th century.

Learning from the homeless

06 August 2014 | Andrew Hamilton

Homeless Persons Week PosterContrary to the message of this year's Federal Budget, there is much more to people than their ability to work. When we come to know the disadvantaged well we are often impressed as much by their resilience as by their great need and their fragility. Their worth is not defined by their economic contribution.

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