RELIGION

Section: RELIGION

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  • RELIGION

    Theology of elections

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 29 June 2016
    8 Comments

    During the campaign neither of the major parties addressed seriously the major challenges facing Australia: climate change, inequality and the forced movement of peoples. That makes it inevitable that following this election, sovereignty, mandates and other weighty words will continue to dominate public conversation. They usually function as political knives to cut through the messiness of our democratic order. But they also carry a theological weight that may illuminate our present condition.

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  • RELIGION

    Catholic bishops deliver election year ethical wedge

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 18 May 2016
    13 Comments

    The bishops speak less trenchantly than Pope Francis, who criticises sharply the assumptions and practices of neoliberal economics. But in the context of this election, they add their voice to that of those who are concerned about economic assumptions that enrich the few and exempt corporations and business from social responsibility. Their statement will encourage those who see the now notorious behaviour of banks, finance business and corporations as symptomatic of a vicious economic ideology.

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  • RELIGION

    Pope Francis' social activism has long roots

    • Bruce Duncan
    • 15 May 2016
    38 Comments

    Pope Francis is determined to highlight the opposition of Christian social thinking to the tenets of neoliberalism or market fundamentalism, an ideology which assumes that free markets of themselves will produce the best outcome, and which pushes aside considerations of social or distributive justice. It is unlikely Francis would be waving the flag of social justice so boldly on the world stage had Pope Leo XIII not written his famous social manifesto, Rerum Novarum, 125 years ago.

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  • RELIGION

    Women deacons the solution to priestly power problem

    • Phyllis Zagano
    • 10 May 2016
    21 Comments

    Pope Francis may be interested in better situating women within Church governance and ministry, and there is sufficient theological evidence to readmit women to the order of deacon. Even so, significant curial roadblocks keep him from moving in the obvious direction. Women deacons could take up significant posts, at the Vatican and around the world, but in 2008 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith decreed ordination of women a crime worthy of automatic excommunication.

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  • RELIGION

    The divisive life of a pacifist priest

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 03 May 2016
    18 Comments

    By many United States Jesuits including military chaplains, Dan Berrigan was seen as a divisive figure. I also found his actions challenging. I was still to move from my concentration on the goals of military action to focus on what happens to people who make war and have it made on them. Berrigan and others helped me to see the dishonesty in the conduct of the Vietnam war, the cost to Vietnamese civilians and to soldiers on both sides, and the corruption of ethical sensitivity in both societies.

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  • RELIGION

    The past, present and future of the Easter Rising 1916

    • Frank Brennan
    • 01 May 2016
    2 Comments

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  • RELIGION

    Anzac Day and just war scepticism go together

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 24 April 2016
    26 Comments

    The classical arguments originated at a time when casualties were suffered mostly by soldiers. In modern warfare, civilians overwhelmingly suffer. Just war theory is used as spin to give specious justification to military campaigns in whose devising ethical considerations played no part. Wars that governments wage are just; those waged by their enemies are unjust. By joining in such debate churches are co-opted into playing an intellectual game designed to make legitimate killing and destruction.

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  • RELIGION

    Neerkol orphanage findings and the place of compassion

    • Frank Brennan
    • 21 April 2016
    16 Comments

    The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has now published its Case Study 26 on the Neerkol Orphanage in Rockhampton. It finds that the response by the bishop and by the Sisters of Mercy to victims making complaints prior to 1996 was often inadequate and lacking in compassion. The word 'compassion' or 'compassionate' appears 21 times in the report. I have no problem with church people or other individuals adversely judging church leaders for a lack of compassion. There may even be a case for politicians doing it. But I don't think it's the job of a royal commission.

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  • RELIGION

    Crossing boundaries with the wire-cutter Pope

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 18 April 2016
    15 Comments

    Lesbos is famous for crossing boundaries. It was the home of the poet Sappho and the tender, delicate lyrics dedicated to the woman who was her lover. More recently it has been the home of refugees who have crossed from the murderous conflict in Asia. Pope Francis is also as famous for crossing boundaries as we Australians are for patrolling them. He is reinventing the papacy as a one-man barbed-wire-cutting team. So it is not surprising he decided at short notice to cross into Lesbos.

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  • RELIGION

    Pope promotes radical tenderness

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 11 April 2016
    10 Comments

    By the standards of papal documents Amoris Laetitia is a baggy elephant. Many in the developed world hoped the document would break new ground in allowing communion to the divorced and adopting new attitudes to gay marriage and gender issues. They will be disappointed that it works within traditional definitions of marriage, gender and discipline. But Francis' insistence on going out to people where they are with full respect for who they are demands an even more radical change of heart.

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  • RELIGION

    Pope's tips for building a marriage

    • Michael McVeigh
    • 11 April 2016
    16 Comments

    As Pope Francis was releasing his long-awaited response to last year's Synod on the Family, my fiancé and I were taking part in a marriage preparation course, where we were told: 'Statistics tell us that one in three of your marriages will end in divorce ... while only a third of you will have a happy marriage.' If love is a type of craftsmanship, as Francis writes, then our hope is that day to day, with small and large acts of love, we can help each other become masters of our craft.

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  • RELIGION

    Life beyond Pope Francis

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 10 April 2016
    19 Comments

    As Francis begins his fourth year in office, questions are raised as to whether the changes he has brought to the church will last beyond his time in office. Some argue that because he has made no significant changes in governance, his changes will not survive him. His successors and the Curia will be free to restore former expressions of church life. This argument highlights the need to embody vision in institutional structures. But good structures alone do not ensure the continuation of vision.

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