RELIGION


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Religion in the state school curriculum

23 Comments
30 August 2015 | Kevin Donnelly

Jewish candles Various state based legislation argues that education in government schools should be secular in nature, but it does not rule out a place for religion in the general curriculum. To argue that religions should have a greater place in the school curriculum is not to proselytise. Rather it is to recognise that, while we are a secular society,  students need to encounter a more transcendent sense of life that incorporates a strong moral, spiritual and ethical dimension.


The nun who couldn't say no

12 Comments
11 August 2015 | Philomena van Rijswijk

Nun prayingOur family life was fraught with conflict, centred on our parents' inability to cope with my father's serious mental illness. During the early years of her childhood, my sister was made my mother's intimate confidante. This was a time of anguish for Mum, about both her marriage and a series of tragic miscarriages. My sister left home when she was 14, and entered the juniorate on the way to becoming a nun.


Encyclical's groundbreaking critique of technology

9 Comments
14 July 2015 | Paul Collins

Cover of Guardini's 'The End of the Modern World'While Francis has no time for technological solutions and 'fixes' for complex ecological problems, he is no techo-Luddite. What he does is link technological knowledge to power and says that those with this knowledge and the economic resources to use it, gain 'an impressive dominance over the whole of humanity and the entire world.'


Coal warriors targeting Pope Francis

29 Comments
14 July 2015 | Neil Ormerod

Cover of Laudato SiIt is not surprising that The Australian should be leading the local pushback on the environmental encyclical Laudato Si'. What is surprising is that a Catholic priest - Fr James Grant - should be joining the chorus against the encyclical, initially in an IPA media release. His more recent contribution to The Australian is right out of the briefing notes supplied by the coal industry in its global public relations efforts to shore up its waning reputation. 


'The Australian' gangs up on Pope Francis

37 Comments
09 July 2015 | Bruce Duncan

'Green-left Pope Francis endorses flawed view of progress' op-edIn a series of articles, The Australian newspaper has strongly criticised the new encyclical Laudato Si', with editor-at-large Paul Kelly charging that the Pope has 'delegitimised as immoral' pro-market economic forces. This is wrong. Pope Francis is not opposed to the free market in principle, but insists that it be well regulated to ensure social justice for all involved.


Who cares for lonely white Muslim converts?

10 Comments
23 June 2015 | Irfan Yusuf

Muslim community illustration by Chris JohnstonA poorly-organised ill-resourced minority community often feels it has better things to worried about than 'white' converts who, like converts to any faith or belief system are known for their zeal. If the government really imagines young Muslims and converts are ripe for 'radicalisation', an excellent investment they could make would be in support services for new Muslims. In our lucky country, there is much loneliness in this group and many reasons to feel marginalised.


Francis puts environment above short-term politics

24 Comments
18 June 2015 | Paul Collins

Laudatio si coverLaudatio si is an extraordinary document addressed to 'every living person on this planet'. Ecological issues are no longer an after thought but up there with social justice and equity in an incisive, practical, realistic and far-reaching encyclical that tackles the most important issues facing us honestly and with absolute integrity. It will upset a lot of apple carts in the Church and in the world.


Getting ready for Pope Francis' environmental Rerum Novarum

20 Comments
10 May 2015 | Neil Ormerod

Both John Paul II and Benedict XVI made passing reference to environmental issues. Benedict spoke of the need for protection of the environment, resources the climate in his encyclical Caritas in Veritate. But in terms of its significance, Pope Francis’ forthcoming encyclical has the potential to do for the environmental movement what Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum (1891) did for the union movement – to provide it with a powerful source of moral and religious legitimacy in the face of those forces which have sought to limit their influence. 


Pope Francis in the fight for women's rights

23 Comments
03 May 2015 | Andrew Hamilton

Pope FrancisIn Western societies, the acceptance of the right of women to work and to equal pay has been built on their full participation by being able to vote and to be voted for. If the Catholic Church is to have credibility in endorsing the continuing struggle for women's rights, it will need to find effective ways in which women can participate equally in the governance of the Church at all levels.


Atheist Pratchett's Discworld has lessons for Christians

4 Comments
15 March 2015 | Michael McVeigh

'You can't go around building a better world for people. Only people can build a better world. Otherwise it's just a cage.'

When I heard English author Terry Pratchett had died, I immediately jumped online to start looking through some of my favourite quotes from his books. The above, from Witches Abroad, is one of many that have accompanied me over the years.  

His 44 Discworld novels could be broadly described as comic fantasy, or fantasy satire, and yet that's really just the starting point for the immense variety of complicated ideas they explored in such a fun, joyous way.

Perhaps strangely for someone whose work is so grounded in atheism, Pratchett has had a profound impact on my religious faith. Read more


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