Search Results: secularism

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  • RELIGION

    Freedom from the tyranny of doing

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 05 February 2018
    12 Comments

    The human brain has always needed silence, and there have always been people who needed solitude, at least for certain periods. In 1948 war hero and adventurer Patrick Leigh Fermor retreated to a French monastery simply in order to write. But the experience of silence was an unexpected bonus.

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  • RELIGION

    Demystifying 'God's Rottweiler'

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 07 February 2017
    18 Comments

    The inflated image I once had of Cardinal Ratzinger, and that many Catholics have of cardinals and other authority figures, was shaped by fear. Fear hands over to the human beings behind the image a power they do not possess. Conversations always turn to them and inhibit the free and constructive living of faith. In helping to demystify such images Last Testament, the autobiography (written with Peter Seewald) of Pope Benedict XVI, serves us well.

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  • RELIGION

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

    • Frank Brennan
    • 26 November 2015
    2 Comments

    '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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  • Reshaping the public space: Lessons for Australian refugee, Aboriginal and climate policy

    • Frank Brennan
    • 17 September 2015

    Pope Francis's concerns are not narrowly dogmatic or pedagogical but universally pastoral. He knows that millions of people, including erstwhile Catholics, are now suspicious of or not helped by notions of tradition, authority, ritual and community when it comes to their own spiritual growth which is now more individual and eclectic. He wants to step beyond the Church's perceived lack of authenticity and its moral focus on individual matters, more often than not, sexual. He thinks the world is in a mess particularly with the state of the planet — climate change, loss of biodiversity and water shortages, but also with the oppression of the poor whose life basics are not assured by the operation of the free market, and with the clutter and violence of lives which are cheated the opportunity for interior peace. He is going to great pains to demystify his office. He wants all people of good will to emulate him and to be both joyful and troubled as they wrestle with the probl

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  • RELIGION

    Religion in the state school curriculum

    • Kevin Donnelly
    • 30 August 2015
    23 Comments

    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.

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  • The challenge of education for social justice

    • Frank Brennan
    • 07 July 2015
    3 Comments

    I suspect Pope Francis had some of our Jesuit alumni in mind when he wrote in his encyclical Laudato Si: 'A politics concerned with immediate results, supported by consumerist sectors of the population, is driven to produce short-term growth... True statecraft is manifest when, in difficult times, we uphold high principles and think of the long-term common good. Political powers do not find it easy to assume this duty'.

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  • RELIGION

    Pope Francis in the fight for women's rights

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 03 May 2015
    23 Comments

    In 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.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Pope Francis celebrates a homeless man's 50th

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 19 November 2014
    29 Comments

    Last week the Pope's almsgiver installed showers in St Peter's Square, for people who are homeless. This followed his meeting a homeless man, discovering it was his 50th birthday, and inviting him to dinner in a local restaurant, only for the man to decline on the grounds he smelled. The gesture was seen to have Pope Francis’ finger prints all over it, and it illuminates the differences of perspective between him and other church leaders.

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  • RELIGION

    Constitutionally Australia is a religious country

    • Kevin Donnelly
    • 02 November 2014
    27 Comments

    Unlike France, Australia's Constitution specifically accepts the place of religion in the broader society, with its reference to Almighty God in the Preamble. Its only stipulation is that governments should not privilege one religion over another, or unfairly discriminate. Moreover, our legal system and institutions might be secular in nature, but they draw heavily on Christian ethics and morality.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Human Rights, the national interest and the will of the people

    • Frank Brennan
    • 10 April 2014
    1 Comment

    'Whether or not we have a bill of rights, much of our human rights jurisprudence remains partial, failing to extend rights equally to all. Once we investigate much of the contemporary discussion about human rights, we find that often the intended recipients of rights do not include all human beings but only those with certain capacities or those who share sufficient common attributes with the decision makers. It is always at the edges that there is real work for human rights discourse to do.' Frank Brennan's Blackfriars Lecture

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  • RELIGION

    Jury still out on Francis the game-changer

    • Paul Collins
    • 12 March 2014
    12 Comments

    The greatest danger is that we expect too much from Francis. He brings a new perspective that has little to do with the preoccupations of the developed world. But we shouldn't kid ourselves that he is a closet progressive. The other danger is that he could turn out to be all show and no substance. His 'Gang of Eight' has not even begun to address the diabolically difficult problems embedded in reforming the curial structures of the Vatican.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australia is neither Christian nor atheist

    • Michael Mullins
    • 19 January 2014
    34 Comments

    The Greens have called for the dropping of the Lord's Prayer from the opening of each day's sitting of federal parliament. Because Australia is not a Christian country, they are right to question the exclusive use of a Christian prayer. But any change should reflect a multi-faith society, not a no-faith society.

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