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Looking for light amid Royal Commission's Catholic wrap-up

05 February 2017 | Frank Brennan

Listening to the media and our church leaders in recent days, we know that there is plenty of darkness ahead for our Church in the weeks ahead with the Royal Commission's so-called 'Catholic wrap-up'. We're told that the statistics will be terrible and we expect that some of our church leaders will appear, looking stunned and helpless. This morning, I think we need to reflect on these stark realities in the light of the scriptures. And this can be done only by holding the victims clearly in focus.

My mother's burqa: an irreverent history

13 December 2016 | Irfan Yusuf

Woman in NiqabSome of my South Asian 'aunties' are very much opposed to wearing any religious head covering. Mum has only recently started wearing a tiny Egyptian number she picked up during her last Haj. Like many South Asians, she has become a bit more religiously observant as she gets older. She grew up in the Indian university town of Aligarh, some 140km South East of Delhi. Aligarh was a very conservative town, and her father, a professor at the local university, was a rather conservative chap.

Why the seal of the confessional should remain in tact

04 December 2016 | Frank Brennan

ConfessionalOne distinctively Catholic practice is personal confession in which an individual confesses to God their sins and seeks forgiveness in the presence of and at the hands of a priest. Some groups and individuals are proposing to the royal commission that the seal of the confessional no longer be inviolable. I was quoted in The Australian saying, 'If a law is introduced to say that a priest should reveal a confession, I'm one of those priests who will disobey the law.' Being also a lawyer, let me explain.

Tackling porn and alcohol key to family violence responses

29 November 2016 | Andrew Hamilton

Man threatening womanOne of the weaknesses in our society is its lack of effective regulations governing the marketing and availability of alcohol. A second is the ready availability of pornography, as many young men learn how to behave towards women from sadistic and explicit pornography. In the case of the lack of restrictions on the availability of both, churches concerned to respond to domestic violence will need to meet the libertarian objections to regulating profitable business and individual behaviour.

All the way to Mass is Mass

23 November 2016 | Brian Doyle

Ash groveAll the way to Mass is Mass, says my wife. I know what she means. Walking along the wooded shore of the lake, through the halls of ash and maple trees, past the cedars and firs ... past the blackberry bushes and the burbling kindergarten and the redolent bakery and the cheerful bank tellers who wave ... is such a walk not a celebration of miracle, a witnessing of grace, a reminder that the quotidian is deeply holy in every detail did we only attend closely enough to see His mark?

Larger fears fuel cardinals' divorce beef

22 November 2016 | Andrew Hamilton

Cardinal Carlo CaffarraFour cardinals wrote to the Pope demanding yes or no answers as to whether his reflection Amoris Laetitia was faithful to Catholic tradition in its treatment of the reception by divorced Catholics of communion. On not receiving a reply they published their letter, and one followed it up with murmurs about impeachment. The incident prompts reflection on the propriety of cardinals questioning a pope in this way and the reasons why discussion of communion for the divorced should raise such passion.

Redress scheme for abuse victims is a good start

07 November 2016 | Francis Sullivan

Child with teddy bear observed by threatening adultWith all institutions taking part, this scheme will succeed and it will deliver fair, consistent and generous redress for survivors. If some institutions don't take part it will be yet another blow to abuse survivors, with some reaping the scheme's benefits while others are left to suffer further defeats and humiliations. A case in point is the South Australian government. Before the ink was dry on the announcement, SA had already indicated it would not take part. This is appalling, whatever the justification.

From Caracas to Rome: The story of Arturo Sosa

1 Comment
06 November 2016 |

Two days after his election, the communications team of General Congregation 36 sat down with Father General Arturo Sosa to discuss his life and thought. The conversation introduces the new Superior General in a way that is more personal, to Jesuits and the wider Ignatian family around the world.

New Jesuit General's feeling for the political periphery

06 November 2016 | Andrew Hamilton

Fr Adolfo Nicolas SJ with Fr General Arturo Sosa SJOrdinarily I wouldn't dare to say political leaders have anything to learn from Jesuits. But these are the kind of extraordinary times of anxiety and flux that led ancient rulers to consult oracles, read tea leaves and look at the flight of birds. People fret because their future and pockets rise and fall on the tide of of would-be presidents. In the sour slurry of discontent and puzzlement the election of a Venezuelan political scientist as international leader of the Jesuits provides material for broader reflection.

Buried or burned, respect for the dead is what matters

01 November 2016 | Andrew Hamilton

UrnLast week the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued an Instruction on the conditions under which cremation is legitimate for Catholics. The starting point is the conviction that for Christians the best way of treating the body after death is through burial. Yet cremation is open to possibilities that the Instruction does not envisage. Sprinkling the ashes over the sea or a place significant to the dead person can be consistent with an informed Christian sensibility. It need not be pantheistic.

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