Category Archives: Religion and Faith

FRANK BRENNAN. Our Church or Our Museum? Contributing to a confident, humble, listening, and questioning Church.

Even with changes to governance and participation, the Catholic Church remains at a cross roads between life and death, between relevance and irrelevance, between a Church and a museum in our post-modern world.

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WILLIAM GRIMM MM. What’s under the miter? Legal systems and media exposure are the chief tools to deal with corruption among church leaders

When I was a boy, I watched a narrow clamshell bucket dipping into a sewer up the street from our home to clear muck. I was still too young and too inexperienced in the ways of the Church to be … Continue reading

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DAMIEN CAVE. She’s 83 and a Famous Nun. Australia’s Catholic Leaders Want Her to Stay Away

Sister Joan Chittister, a well-known American nun, feminist and scholar, was looking forward to speaking at a Catholic education conference in Australia next year, figuring there would be plenty to discuss in a country where Catholic schools educate roughly one … Continue reading

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BHIM BHURTEL. The threat to Christianity is from within. (Asia Times 21.6.2019)

Christianity is an indispensable cog in the idea of “Western civilization” along with other core values of “the West” supposedly based on the moral and ethical foundations of Christianity. Perhaps no one can imagine “Western civilization” secluding Christianity as depicted … Continue reading

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PAUL COLLINS. A badly governed Church needs a new model. Catholicism continues to wrestle with the unrealized vision of the Second Vatican Council.

It is an understatement to say that Catholicism is in deep trouble. The sexual abuse tragedy and the secrecy and denial surrounding are obvious symptoms. A key element in the broader Church crisis is governance.

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MASSIMO FAGGIOLI. Massimo Faggioli explores how conflicting memories of Nazi-Fascism on two continents is impacting global Catholicism. The European and American Catholic divide

This year marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, when the Allied troops invaded Normandy on June 6, 1944. Just two days earlier the Allies had carried out the Liberation of Rome, making the Eternal City the first capital to be … Continue reading

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ROBERT MICKENS. Vatican document on gender is like lipstick on a pig. The call for dialogue cannot disguise the text’s uncompromising ideological views .

Catholic bishops, including those in Vatican offices, are not exactly the most credible authorities on issues pertaining to sexuality these days. Few people would disagree with this, except – maybe – bishops themselves. And, of course, those who are trying … Continue reading

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PETER SINGER. Rugby Australia’s “Own Goal” (Project Syndicate 11.6.2019)

If Rugby Australia had existed in the first century of the Christian era, and Paul had had enough talent to be a contracted player, the sport’s national governing body presumably would have ripped up his contract once his first letter … Continue reading

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KIERAN TAPSELL: Has the Pontifical Secret Been Secretly Buried?

After the criticisms of the pontifical secret at the February summit conference in Rome on child sexual abuse, it was widely expected that it would be abolished. It never happened, but recent announcements by two bishops’ conferences suggest that it … Continue reading

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PAULINA GUZIK. Polish bishops hope ‘knight of Malta’ will help Church battle abuse. Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, the Vatican’s chief expert on clerical sex abuse, will visit Poland on Friday.

When the people of Poland think of Malta and the Catholic Church, they usually think of the Knights of Malta, the fraternal order which is active throughout the country. Next week, a different kind of Maltese knight will be arriving: … Continue reading

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ROBERT MICKENS. The current state of the priesthood and episcopacy seems to be in shambles. Broken trust in a broken clerical system.

“If you want to be priest, lie!”That was supposed to be a punch line in “Mass Appeal,” a comedy-drama written by American Catholic playwright Bill C. Davis. First staged in 1980, it was made into a film four years later.

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PETER JOHNSTONE. Is religious freedom code for a licence to discriminate?

Just one worrying aspect of current talk that religious freedom needs to be legislated is that the need is rarely explained. There is vague reporting of the ‘right’ of religious schools to teach faith-based doctrine. This begs the question as … Continue reading

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DAVID MARR. The George Pell story is a long way from ending – even if he wins his appeal. The high court has often backed trial juries in child abuse cases, and looms over the verdict of the Melbourne judges

G eorge Pell stands a good chance of winning his appeal next week. Not that that would be the end of the matter. Lately the Victorian court of appeal has overturned a number of jury verdicts in child abuse cases, … Continue reading

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PAUP KARP. Coalition delayed religious freedom reform and ‘exploited’ fear, Labor senator says. Deborah O’Neill points to ‘mischievous’ misinformation about Labor’s position on religious issues

Labor senator Deborah O’Neill has accused the Coalition of botching religious freedom reform while profiting from faith-based communities’ fears about Labor. With Coalition MPs calling for greater protection for religious freedom in the 46th parliament, Labor MPs are debating whether … Continue reading

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ELENIE POULOS. Winners and losers in the politics of religious freedom

There should be no winners and losers when it comes to the protection of human rights in Australia. The international human rights framework was developed as a language and a set of tools to help us do better at upholding … Continue reading

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SR MONICA CAVANAGH RSJ. Letter to PM Scott Morrison from CRA President — Catholic Religious Australia

Josephite Sister Monica Cavanagh writes on behalf of the members of Australian Religious Institutes to the newly elected Prime Minister, Mr Scott Morrison. He is reminded of his moral and legal obligation to all the people of Australia and to … Continue reading

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MIKE KELLY. A smile.

A man may smile, and smile, and be a villain.                        – Shakespeare, Hamlet

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JOHN WARHURST. Church Governance Review Project Team Opportunity

The church governance review now underway has garnered considerable national and international interest as a forward step in church reform. This opportunity should not be over-sold as taking control of church reform, because of the considerable constraints under which the … Continue reading

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ASSOCIATED PRESS REPORT. ‘Revolution’ in Poland as nation confronts priestly abuse.

Poland thought it had started confronting the problem of clerical abuse and its cover-up by church authorities. Then a bombshell came: A documentary with victim testimony so harrowing it has forced an unprecedented reckoning with pedophile priests in one of … Continue reading

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MASSIMO FAGGIOLI. A Postscript to Dignitatis Humanae. A New Vatican Document on Religious Freedom

 It’s been more than fifty years since Vatican II ended—on December 8, 1965—and some of the conciliar documents are now showing their age. One of these is the declaration on religious liberty, Dignitatis humanae, the conciliar document that benefited most … Continue reading

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PHILIP ALMOND. Five aspects of Pentecostalism that shed light on Scott Morrison’s politics

Prime Minister Scott Morrison began his victory speech on Saturday with the words, “I have always believed in miracles”. This was no mere hyperbole. Morrison appeared to be declaring his belief that God had actively intervened in the political process … Continue reading

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NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES IN AUSTRALIA. May 21, 2019 Media release on Manus and Nauru asylum seekers.

  Marking this time of new beginning, we urge the newly elected Federal Government and Prime Minister Scott Morrison to resolve the plight of the 1000+ refugees in Manus and Nauru, some of whom are now in Australia. Let them … Continue reading

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JONATHAN LUXMOORE. ‘No words to express our shame’: Polish bishops apologize for abuse

The Polish bishops’ administrative council met in emergency session May 22 and later admitted the church failed to act against clerical sexual abuse. The meeting came amid outrage over a two-hour documentary, “Just Don’t Tell Anyone,” that included drastic accounts … Continue reading

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MARILYN HATTON. Will the Australian Catholic Church face “the elephant in the room”?

  Australia could lead the way on reform of Church governance. The scrutiny of the Royal Commission and work arising from the 2020 Plenary Council has equipped the Australian Catholic Church like no other in the world at this time.  

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JOAN CHITTESTER St Benedict’s Rule offers fresh insight into age-old problem

A new series written by Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister OSB is exploring the question of institutional breakdown through the Rule of St Benedict.

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MILES LITTLE – Israel Folau. Free speech and its limits?

The skilled and charismatic Rugby player Israel Folau has caused a stir at many levels by posting the unambiguous message that certain categories of sinner will go to Hell. His attitudes to gay people have surfaced before and since, but … Continue reading

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NICK HALLETT. Christian persecution ‘near genocide levels’

The worldwide persecution of Christians is at near “genocide” level, a report for the British government has said.  The review, led by the Anglican Bishop of Truro, Philip Mounstephen, said Christianity is set to be “wiped out” from parts of … Continue reading

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KIERAN TAPSELL: Pope Francis and the Closed Door Syndrome

For all his good points, Pope Francis has a credibility problem over child sexual abuse. Public statements are made, but once the door is closed, the paper that comes out contradicts what has been said. His latest Apostolic Letter, Vos … Continue reading

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ROBERT MICKENS. Pope Francis’ race against the clock. The 82-year-old pope looks increasingly like a man rushing to complete a mission

The first rays of dawn had barely begun to rise over a cloudy St. Peter’s Square and the Vatican. But at 6:20 a.m. on Sunday, May 5, Pope Francis was already on his way to Rome’s Fiumicino Airport where, 40 … Continue reading

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ANTHONY HOGAN. The Christian Left – a case study of value driven social progressives?

Perhaps being socially progressive and Christian are not such mutually exclusive value positions after all?

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