Category Archives: Religion and Faith

KIERAN TAPSELL. Secrets and the Royal Commission’s final report.

Media attention has been drawn to the recommendation in the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that religious confession should not be exempted from civil law requirements to report child sexual abuse. However, … Continue reading

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ERIC HODGENS. Christmas Prompts Reflection on Power.

The powerless Jesus of the Christmas Gospel stories offers a tutorial on power in the Church today.

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KIM OATES. The Royal Commission, a beginning, not an end.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is testament to both the evil in our society and to the courage and determination of many of the victims. But we need to be aware that most child sexual … Continue reading

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HUGH MACKAY. Another kind of deficit

Here’s a quick Christmas quiz. (Warning: it’s not a very merry quiz.)

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TONY DOHERTY. A Christmas reflection.

Christmas is the celebration of a story. A story told in the gospels by two storytellers – Matthew and Luke. It’s a tale told and retold, and often so badly that, should the original storytellers be alive today, I could … Continue reading

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JOHN TULLOH. Onward Christian Soldiers – but not all of them.

Communities throughout the world are torn by religious divides. Persecution of Christians, concentrated in but not unique to the Middle East, is commanding relatively little attention.

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BRUCE DUNCAN. What would Jesus make of our Christmas?

 The Christmas stories were not written for children but as preludes to the adult message of God in Jesus walking in solidarity with the entire human family.

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DES CAHILL and PETER WILKINSON. Clericalism, celibacy and child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Australia

The Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was published on 15 December 2017.  Among its 409 recommendations was one which is proving controversial, namely, the introduction of voluntary celibacy for diocesan priests. There … Continue reading

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PAUL COLLINS – Will the Vatican play ball?

We now have the recommendations of the Royal Commission (RC) to the Catholic Church. Many of them request the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) to take specific issues to the Vatican requesting that they be implemented. The question immediately arises: … Continue reading

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KEVIN PEOPLES. An end of sorts.

There is a time for everything …a time to be silent and a time to speak…Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 Today the Royal Commission came to an end. I feel as if I have lost a friend. It seems somehow improper to say … Continue reading

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MICHAEL MULLINS. Mothballing the clerical collar would help prevent clergy sexual abuse

An attitude of superiority on the part of a priest or other religious functionary carries with it the distinct possibility that they will abuse their position by taking sexual advantage of someone less powerful. On the other hand, if they … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE Repost of a Submission to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

 In November 2013, together with colleagues, I made a submission to the Royal Commission on the governance and systemic problems which lead to an abuse of power in the Catholic Church.  That abuse of power is not limited to sexual … Continue reading

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PETER JOHNSTONE. Public relations responses to Royal Commission

The damning findings of the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in the recent reports on the Catholic dioceses of Melbourne and Ballarat seem to have elicited a standard Church response: 1. Accept critical findings; 2. Express … Continue reading

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SANITSUDA EKACHAI. Why Buddhists fail simple test of compassion

When Pope Francis avoided addressing the Rohingya genocide directly during his recent Myanmar visit, questioning his silence is missing the crux of the problem.

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FRANK BRENNAN. A Catholic reflection on the Royal Commission as the curtain closes on Act One.

On Friday, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which has been part of the Australian political and ecclesial landscape for the last five years, will cease to exist.  The commission will present its report to the … Continue reading

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GEORGE BROWNING. Child sexual abuse, the Church and the Royal Commission.

The findings of the Commission have sent shock waves through the institutional Church and generated disgust in the wider community. Is there any good news, any reason to hope for something better? 

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PETER JOHNSTONE. The Seal of Confession: resorting to the Age of Christendom

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has recommended to Australian federal and State governments, that the Catholic ‘seal of confession’ should not exempt priests from a proposed offence of ‘failure to report’. The response of some … Continue reading

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PAUL COLLINS. The Royal Commission—a mixed blessing

I’m not looking forward to the report of the Royal Commission. As a still-practising Catholic with a minor public profile, I am very ashamed of what the Commission has revealed about my church. But, despite its excellent work, I still … Continue reading

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KIERAN TAPSELL. The Royal Commission Report on the Melbourne Archdiocese

On 5 December 2017, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released a redacted version of its Report of Case Study No. 35: the Archdiocese of Melbourne. It strongly criticized Church personnel for failure to protect children … Continue reading

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LARRY JAGAN. Suu Kyi should heed Pope’s suggestion on UN role

Pope Francis’ visit to Myanmar last week was an overwhelming success and may provide the much needed spark to ignite the government’s peace process and its efforts to bring reconciliation to the country’s violence-torn western region of Rakhine. The Pope’s … Continue reading

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DONELLA JOHNSTON. Why women should run the Catholic Church.

You know an idea is starting to become mainstream when you read about it in the Australian Women’s Weekly.

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MICHAEL KELLY. The Pope in Asia

Pope Francis was true to his word about the best place for the Catholic Church to be is on fringes, away from the cosseted privilege that keeps reality at bay. Traveling to Myanmar and Bangladesh – both in the top … Continue reading

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BRUCE WEARNE A Suggestion to the Ruddock Committee

The discussion of Freedom of Religion in relation to proposed changes to the Marriage Act should not avoid analysis of how the current Act refers to a wedding ceremony’s “monitum”. The Marriage Act decrees that the “Monitum” must be announced … Continue reading

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MICHAEL KELLY SJ. Pope Francis and The Lady meet

The much-anticipated meeting between Pope Francis and Aung San Suu Kyi will disappoint those who expected an attentive focus on the Rohingya.  

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IAN MACPHEE. A deeper view of the Rohingya crisis than media provide.

Since writing my blog on 13 October in defence of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (whom I will now only term Daw Suu) external media has continued its criticism of her for not condemning the military for its brutal attacks … Continue reading

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MICHAEL KELLY. What brings a Jesuit Pope to Asia?

One of the biggest influences on Pope Francis remains relatively unexplored – Pedro Arrupe, the Superior General of the Jesuits (1965-83) who appointed Jorge Bergoglio Provincial of the Jesuits in Argentina (1973-79) at the tender age of 36.

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PATTY FAWKNER. The mystery of death and life

Death and dying have been in my thoughts. Not only in November when the Christian tradition especially remembers the dead. Not only since July when my mother died. But constantly throughout the year because of two books which offered me … Continue reading

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Justice Peter McClellan says Police had an ‘understanding’ to protect churches from scandal

POLICE in Sydney and Melbourne had an “understanding..for many years” about protecting church figures accused of child sex allegations, royal commission chair Justice Peter McClellan will say in a speech in Melbourne on Tuesday. This is an article written by award winning journalist … Continue reading

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PETER WILKINSON. Catholic Church 2020 Plenary Council: bishops must tap into the grassroots without delay

The Catholic Church in Australia is in the midst of a massive and existential crisis, the greatest in its history. The Catholic bishops have responded by proposing a Plenary Council in 2020. They say it will no longer be “business … Continue reading

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FRANK BRENNAN. Same sex marriage and freedom of religion

On Wednesday, the ABS will announce the results of the survey on same sex marriage. The return rate on the survey is a very credible 78.5 per cent. In Ireland only 60.5 per cent of eligible voters turned out.  

Posted in Human Rights, Religion and Faith | 12 Comments