RELIGION


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The problem with heroes

5 Comments
15 February 2016 | Andrew Hamilton

Heroes of the Faith edited by Roland AshbyPeriods of anxiety are times for dreaming of heroes. We contemplate our own pedestrian lives and pedestrian politicians, and long for someone who can lead us out of the wilderness into the promised land. Yet although heroes invite us to dismount from our couches, breathe the open air and take on the world as they do, they also persuade us that they are a different breed, urging us to keep within our divinely given limitations and leave the business of change to those sown as lions' teeth.


Meeting Pope Francis

22 Comments
24 January 2016 | Frank Brennan

Frank Brennan presents Pope Francis with a bottle of Sevenhill wineHailing from Argentina, Francis puts his trust neither in ideological Communism nor in unbridled capitalism. We need to enhance international security, building the rule of law within multilateral organisations, and fostering the climate for investment sensitive to the triple bottom line - economic, social and environmental. I return from Rome grateful that we have a pope prepared to open these questions, accompanied by senior prelates happy to mix it with business and community leaders.


Corrupt churches need women leaders

48 Comments
13 December 2015 | Moira Rayner

Dr Kathleen McChesney with Truth, Justice and Healing Council CEO Francis SullivanThere is a culture of brotherhood in the upper echelons of the Church. There is also a natural urge to homosocial reproduction in its instrumentalities. If I have learned anything from my work with companies and organisations on cultural change, it is that these comfortable cultures need to be broken up, because they are readily corrupted. The best way to change a culture is to start giving women positions of real influence and respect. They are outsiders, and outsiders see what insiders cannot.


Free speech and the plebiscite on same sex marriage

39 Comments
10 December 2015 | Frank Brennan

Archbishop Dennis HartChris Puplick, a former senator and former president of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board, is one of a rising chorus expressing strong objections to the Australian Catholic bishops daring to evangelise and speak publicly about their views on same sex marriage. I too would be very upset if my bishops were saying, as Puplick claimed in an opinion piece in The Australian, that homosexuals are 'seriously depraved, intrinsically disordered, less than whole and messing with kids'. But they're not.


Pope Francis and the face of mercy

2 Comments
08 December 2015 | Frank Brennan

'I joined the Jesuits in 1975 just as the previous 32nd General Congregation (GC32) was concluding. Pedro Arrupe was at the height of his powers. That Congregation asked the question: 'What is it to be a companion of Jesus today?' and answered unequivocally, 'It is to engage, under the standard of the Cross, in the crucial struggle of our time: the struggle for faith and that struggle for justice which it includes.' I have always regarded myself as a GC32 Jesuit. Many of those who gathered for GC33 thought that the GC32 mission was a little too one-dimensional. I suspect Bergoglio was one of those.' Frank Brennan on the eve of the Catholic Church's Jubilee Year of Mercy.


A third way in the marriage equality debate

45 Comments
06 December 2015 | Michael McVeigh

Keyboard with win/lose buttonAt the moment, the conversation on marriage equality vs traditional marriage is being driven by extremists on both sides, people who see the struggle as a polarised conflict with the goal of overwhelming victory. But most of us would find that victory unattractive no matter which side is triumphant. Instead, we can choose not to press the button, and to work together to allow both same-sex couples and practising Christians to live their beliefs faithfully, to the fullest of their flourishing.


'Equal laws and equal rights ... dealt out to the whole community'. How close 161 years on?

1 Comment
03 December 2015 | Frank Brennan

'Tonight, gathered here in the Southern Cross Club in the national capital, gathered as Eureka's children. We affirm that there is room for everyone under the Southern Cross. I hope you will return to Canberra carrying the Southern Cross flag when we proclaim the Australia Republic on 1 January 2020 which will be two elections after Australia last had a monarchist leader of a major political party. Tony Abbott is the last of his type. Whether the prime minister honoured to witness the proclamation is Malcolm Turnbull, Bill Shorten or another matters not.' Annual Dinner for Eureka's Children, Southern Cross Club, Canberra, 3 December 2015.


How do we navigate medico-legal questions without a bill of rights?

02 December 2015 | Frank Brennan

The consideration of medico-legal problems in the public square of a pluralistic democratic society keeping pace with profound technological change is often marked by simplistic assertions, precluding considerations of comprehensive world views, whether religious or philosophical. It is now commonplace for doctors to be told to leave their consciences at the door, as their patients are consumers and they are suppliers and of course the market decides. Debates about law and policy are often resolved with simplistic assertions about individual rights and autonomy, with little consideration for the public interest, the common good, and the doctor-patient relationship. Even conscience is said to be a matter for contracting out. This evening I ask whether there are more compelling ways to resolve medico-legal dilemmas, while conceding a limited role for law in determining the range of acceptable answers.


Challenges and opportunities for the Catholic Church in the 21st century

6 Comments
29 November 2015 | Frank Brennan

'No one doubts the pastoral sensitivity of Pope Francis. But the Church will continue to suffer for as long as it does not engage in open, ongoing discussion and education about the issue of women's leadership. The official position is no longer comprehensible to most people of good will, and not even those at the very top of the hierarchy have a willingness or capacity to explain it.' - Fr Frank Brennan SJ outlines five challenges and opportunities for the Catholic Church in the 21st century.


Discerning the place for the churches in the great moral questions of the age

2 Comments
26 November 2015 | Frank Brennan

'The crisis of child sexual abuse in our societies has required that our institutional procedures be more transparent and that we learn from the ways of the world in exercising power openly and justly. This means we have to restructure some of our church arrangements so that power is exercised accountably and transparently. All of us who have positions of influence and power in institutional churches need to be attentive to the voices of those who have suffered within our institutions.' 'Discerning the place for the prophetic voice and pragmatic cooperation of the churches in the great moral questions of the age', address to the Association of Practical Theology in Oceania conference, 26 November 2015.


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