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13 January 2014 |
I wish he would invite me to be his temporary consultant, to offer him advice for his next 500 days. I'd begin by proposing a substantial Vatican-led inquiry, into why the Church has been so troubled by sexual abuse across various countries. Then I would point to the experiences of several large secular institutions, including the New York Times and US Army, that have rebuilt after crises.
08 January 2014 |
Ramadan is supposed to fine tune your soul, weaken the ties binding you to your physical appetites and test your religiosity. This month unites Muslims around the globe in an envelope of piety and mercy. At least that's the theory. In reality, for most of us Muslims Ramadan is the month of massive weight gain.
05 January 2014 |
I indulge a passing self-congratulatory thought that the Pope is, like me, a Jesuit, and will understand our Jesuit ways. And that the Church, of course, will benefit immeasurably from his Jesuit training. That is immediately followed by a touch of anxiety: perhaps he will understand our ways all too well.
18 December 2013 |
Christmas tells the story of a God who entrusted Christ as a baby safely to the care of Mary and Joseph in a markedly hostile secular environment. The stories told at the Royal Commission are of parents who entrusted their children unsafely to the care of representatives of the Church. The face of Herod in our day is not that of a persecutor who threatens the church from without. It is that of a minister of the church who betrays from within.
16 December 2013 |
Pope Francis' vision for the church of the poor is now joined to a stinging critique of our globalised economy which promotes a 'new tyranny' of unfettered capitalism and an attack on the 'idolatry of money'. While such language has not been uncommon, buried in the riches of Catholic social teaching, this pope has made it up front and centre stage of his message.
10 December 2013 |
Last week I went to the Royal Commission and had a private session, which means, in short, that I am a victim of sexual abuse. That history spanned nearly three decades. My encounters with one perpetrator prepared me for more harrowing experiences during adolescence, and later in a marriage that turned violent. While I commend the Royal Commission process for its sensitivity and professionalism, I would like to offer some alternative thinking.
04 December 2013 |
To my knowledge this is the first church document that refers to 'sourpusses'. It must be the first lengthy papal document for some time, too, that refers to the Magisterium only twice in passing. Nor does Pope Francis refer explicitly to clerical sexual abuse. Francis is not interested in radical institutional or doctrinal change but wants to help a dysfunctional church work better at compassionately communicating God's love.
03 December 2013 |
01 December 2013 |
How refreshing to have a pope write: 'It is not advisable for the pope to take the place of local bishops in the discernment of every issue which arises in their territory. In this sense, I am conscious of the need to promote a sound 'decentralisation'.' Vatican monsignori in long flowing robes will be troubled to hear him say, 'mere administration can no longer be enough. Throughout the world, let us be permanently in a state of mission.'
28 November 2013 |
In his recent address to the Yarra Institute about Christian social thinking, Fr Frank Brennan expressed the view that 'Christian churches are all but absent from the economic debate other than making the occasional, predictable utterance about ensuring that no one is left worse off as the result of new policy measures'. This seriously understates the public advocacy of the Australian churches and does a disservice to many people and organisations.
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