Category Archives: Religion and Faith

ERIC HODGENS. Back to following The Way.

Power is still the Church’s stumbling block. Mind you, Jesus warned us: The gentiles lord it over their subjects – not so with you. The Church’s power to “lord it over” society has been curtailed by today’s pluralism but is … Continue reading

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KIERAN TAPSELL. A Response to Francis Sullivan

I agree with what Francis Sullivan has said in the edited version of his speech to Catalyst for Renewal. But there is a recitation of history in the full version that cannot go unchallenged.  

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JONATHAN PAGE.  Who Pays The Ferryman? Befriending Death.

The human experience is haunted by mortality. It is important to encourage deep discussion of the reality of our own individual death from an early age. The potential psycho-spiritual and behavioural benefits of this discussion are immense. 

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FRANCIS SULLIVAN. Where to from here?

I don’t think anyone was prepared for the extent of the abuse and the appalling rate across male religious orders and within the priesthood. The posturing and spin of years past has been seen for what is was – an … Continue reading

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ERIC HODGENS. The Catholic Dilemma.

Clerical privilege took a heavy blow when Catholic bishops were summoned to appear at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to child sexual abuse (RC).  The             church answering to the state.  

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GEOFFREY ROBINSON. The Royal Commission.

I am convinced that there must be a full and open discussion of all aspects of the Church if we are ever to put this scandal behind us. Quite simply, we need a different church. The Royal Commission was not … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Failed Leadership in Church and State!

From my experience and observation good leadership is about creating disequilibrium and a process to galvanise the group to change. Without disequilibrium there will be no worthwhile change.  

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GARRY EASTMAN. Response to Jack Waterford: We need a Catholic Yom Kippur, and a serious sacrifice.

There are now no survivors or parents of survivors on the Commission nor are there any on the Australian Towards Healing or Melbourne Response agencies for handling complaints by victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. The same criticism … Continue reading

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CHRIS GERAGHTY. Jesus and CFMEU

It’s not a time for business as usual. It’s a time for outbursts of horror, for open-throated cries for justice – a time for sackcloth and ashes, for fasting and floggings of repentance – a time to cease celebrating, singing, … Continue reading

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KIERAN TAPSELL. Vatican Reform on Child Sexual Abuse in Disarray – Does Pope Francis get it?

Zero tolerance in a professional context almost invariably means dismissal, but Pope Francis’s claim that the Church has a “zero tolerance” policy is not borne out by the figures he presented to the United Nations: only one quarter of all … Continue reading

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PAT POWER. The Royal Commission and the need for reform.

Despite all the warnings, I don’t know of anyone who has not been shocked by what has emerged from the Royal Commission. For twenty years or more, we have heard accounts of abuse, sometimes very close to home. But somehow … Continue reading

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FRANK BRENNAN SJ. The Catholic wrap-up at the Royal Commission.

But in the past, these spiritual leaders were also professing their commitment to an institution which commanded their hierarchical obedience and clerical acquiescence in protecting the institution’s public reputation and its coffers.  

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JOHN MENADUE. The Catholic bishops don’t understand their responsibility and accountability.

In any other walk of life or area of public administration, admission of criminal neglect would be a prelude to the tendering of resignations. The criminally negligent are not fit and proper persons to hold senior administrative responsibilities. Not so in … Continue reading

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BRIAN COYNE. The randomness and chanciness of life…

In this short essay, Brian Coyne, explores how much randomness and chance play in the outcomes we experience in life. He asks how much we are influenced by the Christian biblical mythology that an afterlife where the first will be … Continue reading

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ERIC HODGENS. The need for new Church Leadership.

While the Catholic population is increasing, active participation in parish life is steadily decreasing. This means that the pool of future lay leaders is steadily getting shallower. If this decline is to be reversed, now is the time to select … Continue reading

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PETER DAY. ‘The smell of the sheep’ (Pope Francis)

It should be noted that the intention of this reflection is not to play ‘the man’ (bishops, clerics), but rather ‘the ball’ (church governance, culture): to shine a light on a deeper and systemic illness that needs root and branch … Continue reading

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PETER JOHNSTONE. What sort of bishops do Catholics want?

Concerned Catholics who responded to a recent Catholics for Renewal online survey showed widespread dissatisfaction with the current state of their local diocese and parishes. Their dissatisfaction referred to current governance arrangements, the need for a stronger pastoral focus and … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR. A trans-Tasman story out of school

The Gonski recommendations were our best chance to create something better, but it didn’t happen in the way the review envisaged. As one of the Gonski architects puts it, instead we are just on a path to nowhere.  

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FRANK BRENNAN SJ. The Catholic wrap-up at the Royal Commission

Last Monday, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse commenced its three-week examination of the causes of child sexual abuse and cover up in the Catholic Church in Australia over the last 60 years. The statistics were … Continue reading

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KATHLEEN McPHILLIPS. Royal commission hearings show Catholic Church faces a massive reform task.

In research prepared for the Royal Commission, 7% of priests were identified as perpetrators. By far the worst offenders were in religious orders: for example, over 40% of John of God Brothers, 22% of Christian Brothers and 20% of Marist … Continue reading

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Catholic Church and the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

“It would be easy to write the problems off as a few ‘bad apples’;  however, the problems that have brought the [Catholic] Church to the very edge of disaster and beyond, trashing its reputation as a moral leader, were never … Continue reading

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Local boy makes good!

Michael Kelly SJ, a regular correspondent for Pearls and Irritations, met with Pope Francis on February 9. In the photo below Pope Francis greets Father Michael Kelly SJ, executive director of ucanews.com on the occasion of receiving the English edition … Continue reading

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JAMES CARROL. Pope Francis is the anti-Trump.

Who would have thought that, on an elemental point of liberal democracy, the United States could take instruction from the white-robed man in Rome? And who would have thought that liberal democracy itself could have a stake in the unfinished … Continue reading

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TERRY LAIDLER. ‘Catholic Clericalism’

I heard the Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge, a man I counted as a good friend many years ago when I too was a Catholic priest, speaking to Fran Kelly on RN Breakfast yesterday [https://tinyurl.com/rn170207]. Rightly, in my opinion, he … Continue reading

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MICHAEL KELLY SJ. Six archbishops examined by Australian judge.

An extraordinary piece of evidence presented to the Commission is that up to 7% of Australian Catholic clergy have been child abusers.  

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PETER DAY. Catholic Archbishops to front Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

This week the Catholic archbishops of Australia will be called to give evidence at the full panel of Royal Commission in Sydney.  

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PETER DAY. Trump’s Tower of Babel

Indeed, “May God well bless America”, because what it needs now appears to be well beyond the scope of mere mortals.  

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DENIS FITZGERALD. Non-violence is the key to peace, and it starts at home.

For Pope Francis, peace has been a constant theme, as it was for his name-sake, St Francis of Assisi.   His message for 1 January 2017, his fourth such message, draws on the major documents of his pontificate as it focuses … Continue reading

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ERIC HODGENS. Epiphany – A Supernova In Full Eruption.

Love is a many splendored thing. So, too is a diamond. The more skilled the diamond cutter, the more brilliant the diamond’s sparkle. Love and diamonds pair perfectly. 

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ANDREW AILES. Peace on earth – the children of Aleppo.

Peace on Earth Peace on earth. Goodwill to men, Echoes like Sullivan’s Great Amen: The chord he lost when sitting by, His brother as he watched him die.

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