Category Archives: Religion and Faith

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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JOHN MENADUE. Seasonal favourites.

I would like to share with you some of my favourites at Christmas, a time of hope.  

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PETER DAY. Grandpa’s favourite Shepherd

This Christmas child won’t give you discounted goods … rather he’ll invite you to be humble, other-centred.

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GERALDINE DOOGUE. Connections in our lives.

Underneath the jollity and frantic end-of-year scurrying, I detect a wistfulness about the lack of certainty of connections in people’s lives these days. 

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MICHAEL KELLY SJ. 2017 for Pope Francis: what to expect.

At the heart of what Arrupe sought to do was get Jesuits out of their comfort zone, engaged with the real world and most especially reconverted to Jesus Christ by their encounter with the poor.  Pope Francis would agree. 

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ERIC HODGENS. Christmas – An Epiphany.

What he stands for is the real object of our celebration – love of family and friends; love of enemies, too. He stands for peace, for fair consideration of everyone we deal with, for a world in which we work … Continue reading

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MICHAEL KELLY SJ. Understanding challenges the church in Asia faces.

The Church in Asia can absorb and replicate its hierarchical, tiered cultural surrounds, or leave behind the clericalist conception of the Church, as a tightly run top-down organisation. It lies at the intersection of local hierarchical cultures and the culture … Continue reading

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PETER JOHNSTONE. The Royal Commission and the Catholic Church’s Dysfunctional Governance

  In May 2016, the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released Issues Paper 11 – Catholic Church Final Hearing, inviting submissions for its final Catholic Church hearing scheduled for three weeks 6-24 February 2017. That … Continue reading

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PETER DAY. Is western civilisation bored?

  Religion. The mob. Capitalism. Fundamentalism. Bad parenting. Racism. Materialism. Youth unemployment. Poverty. Thugs. Multiculturalism. Rich vs poor … Take your pick; even add to the list, as we collectively grapple to decipher the root causes of the violence and … Continue reading

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Catholic Bishops – It Is Time To Bring Them Here

Statement in support of offshore detainees By Archbishop Denis Hart, President, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference One of the greatest crises of our day is the plight of people forced from their own countries by war, persecution or poverty and forced … Continue reading

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LYNDSAY CONNORS. Cometh the hour, cometh the man?

  Is the Hon. Simon Birmingham, Federal Minister for Education and Training, the man? In his recent appearance on the ABC’s Q&A, Senator Birmingham announced that there are private schools that are ‘over-funded’. This came as the Turnbull Government is … Continue reading

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KIERAN TAPSELL. The Royal Commission and Religious Liberty

  Three law professors, Michael Quinlan and Keith Thompson (Notre Dame) and Frank Brennan (ACU) have criticized any attempt by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to discuss the doctrines and canon law of the Catholic … Continue reading

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MICHAEL KELLY S.J. Making saints.

  In our dreary world full of incredible people making claims to leadership, finding the occasional hero or heroine can’t be a bad thing. So why begrudge the Catholic Church its idiosyncratic ways of creating people for believers to admire … Continue reading

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BRUCE DUNCAN. Don’t blame welfare for budget woes

  Prime Minister Turnbull promised us more centrist and fairer policies, but the Treasurer Mr Morrison appears to be playing a politics of resentment against people on income supports. On 25 August he declared: ‘There is a new divide – … Continue reading

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MILTON MOON. Waiting for Godness -a narrative poem

by Milton Moon.© I’m due to die sooner rather than later. My wife of sixty-seven years has already gone, her mortal remains, in ashes waiting for mine. Together they’ll go, somewhere as part of the seasons or the tides ebb … Continue reading

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