Author Archives: Paul Collins

Paul Collins

About Paul Collins

Paul Collins is an historian, broadcaster and writer. A Catholic priest for thirty-three years, he resigned from the active ministry in 2001 following a dispute with the Vatican over his book Papal Power (1997). He is the author of fifteen books. The most recent is Absolute Power. How the pope became the most influential man in the world (Public Affairs, 2018). A former head of the religion and ethics department in the ABC, he is well known as a commentator on Catholicism and the papacy and also has a strong interest in ethics, environmental and population issues.

PAUL COLLINS. First Step to a Better Church?

I must admit up-front that I’m not a fan of committee reports. They’re usually pedestrian and repetitious, even at the best of times. So, to be honest, I didn’t approach the 200-page Governance Review Project Team (GRPT) report The Light … Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 15 Comments

PAUL COLLINS. Back to Nature

It is five years this week since Pope Francis published perhaps the most radical and important papal encyclical ever issued, Laudato si’, mi’ Signore (‘Praise be to you, my Lord’) on ‘care for our common home.’

Posted in Environment and climate, Religion and Faith | 4 Comments

PAUL COLLINS. Meditating with J.S. Bach

There is no better way to meditate this week leading up to Easter than with J.S. Bach

Posted in Religion and Faith | 7 Comments

PAUL COLLINS. COVID-19. A chance to rethink the deeper moral and human issues

We are part of nature and the most important lesson of COVID-19 is that it reminds us of our sheer vulnerability.

Posted in Environment and climate, Politics | 8 Comments

PAUL COLLINS. A New Era of Fire Part 2

Never before have we experienced fires like the present. They challenge us to re-assess our whole approach to living in Australia. With global warming a reality, we now face some pretty stark options.

Posted in Environment and climate | 5 Comments

PAUL COLLINS. Bushfires and the Culture War. Part 1

The bushfire culture wars have already begun. For some the current crisis is apocalypse now, for others it’s just an extreme example of business as usual on our incendiary continent.

Posted in Environment and climate | 4 Comments

PAUL COLLINS. Ten new papal electors

Last Sunday Pope Francis unexpectedly announced that on October 5 he would appoint thirteen new members to the college of cardinals from thirteen different countries, a truly international group. Ten of the new appointments are under the age of 80 … Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 1 Comment

PAUL COLLINS. Where to from here?

One persistent question that has been asked since the failure of Cardinal George Pell’s appeal last Wednesday has been: Why isn’t the Vatican acting to force him from the College of Cardinals and expel him from the priesthood? They moved … Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 15 Comments

PAUL COLLINS. Give me a break!

Please, please, give me a break from Israel Folau! We’ve all heard more than enough about who’s going to hell. He can believe whatever he wants and he can blow his bags ad nauseam to his Pentecostal mates. But we … Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 15 Comments

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.

Posted in Religion and Faith | 3 Comments

PAUL COLLINS. Parochialism Reigns Supreme

The Coalition, like many of those who voted for it, seem incapable of grasping the big-picture evidence required to deal with global warming. Morrison says he always believed in miracles, but unfortunately that’s not going to work for climate change.

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PAUL COLLINS. Talking Heads in the Catholic Church

 

Posted in Religion and Faith | 19 Comments

PAUL COLLINS. Catholicism’s Year from Hell

Without a doubt the last twelve months have been Catholicism’s annus horribilis and, let me assure you, there’s still not much light at the end of the tunnel.

Posted in Religion and Faith | 8 Comments

BRIAN COYNE. A response to Paul Collins’ “The real crisis of Australian Catholicism”.

Paul Collins’ recent commentary, “The Real Crisis of Australian Catholicism”, raises some contradictory challenges for the future of the Catholic Church in Australia.

Posted in Religion and Faith | 11 Comments

PAUL COLLINS. The Best of 2018: The Real Crisis of Australian Catholicism.

It is patently obvious that Australian Catholicism is in crisis. The usual analysis is that this has been caused by the appalling mishandling and cover-up of child sexual abuse and the subsequent investigations of the Royal Commission. However, this is … Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 3 Comments

PAUL COLLINS. The On-going Threat of Fundamentalism

Religious fundamentalism is having an increasing influence on democratic societies, most obviously in the US, but also here in Australia. The so-called ‘religious freedom’ debate has re-ignited the culture wars that originate in fundamentalist demands to maintain a kind of … Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 4 Comments

PAUL COLLINS. ABC -Shenanigans at Ultimo’s Level Fourteen.

Monday’s Four Corners on the ABC’s management shenanigans—the Guthrie-Milne, she said-he said fiasco—and the failure of the rest of the ABC Board to own-up and answer publicly for their performance tells you everything about what’s wrong at the top of … Continue reading

Posted in Media | 7 Comments

PAUL COLLINS. Don’t say I didn’t tell you!

I know its obnoxious to say “I told you so”, but I’m going to nevertheless. Back in June I told Pearls and Irritations readers that “the greatest danger to the ABC comes from within, from the board and the corporation’s … Continue reading

Posted in Media | 1 Comment

PAUL COLLINS. The Sacking of Michelle Guthrie

Commentating on the sacking, former MD David Hill says that “no reasonable explanation” has been given as to why. While there’s some truth to that, I think we can begin to sort out why board chairman Justin Milne acted. And … Continue reading

Posted in Media | 5 Comments

PAUL COLLINS. Breaking the Seal.

Recently we’ve seen a slew of articles in the media, both informed and otherwise, on the question of the seal of confession. Already a couple of Australian governments have acted to enforce mandatory reporting on priests when sexual abuse of … Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 10 Comments

PAUL COLLINS. No longer eight cents a day.

For a lumbering, slow-moving, accident prone government, the Liberals moved like Speedy Gonzales to reassure us that they wouldn’t “privatize” or “sell” the ABC as recommended by a Young Liberal motion at the recent Liberal federal council meeting. Energy minister … Continue reading

Posted in Media | 2 Comments

PAUL COLLINS Stop the Buck-passing and Resign.

President Harry S. Truman promised that ‘the buck stops here’. Well, last Friday afternoon Rome time, the Chilean bishops—all thirty-four of them—decided to stop the buck-passing and ‘face the music’, that is confront the consequences of their pretty-much complete failure … Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 9 Comments

PAUL COLLINS. The Real Crisis of Australian Catholicism.

It is patently obvious that Australian Catholicism is in crisis. The usual analysis is that this has been caused by the appalling mishandling and cover-up of child sexual abuse and the subsequent investigations of the Royal Commission. However, this is … Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 8 Comments

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

Posted in Religion and Faith | 5 Comments

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

Posted in Religion and Faith | 13 Comments

PAUL COLLINS. Marriage equality – some thoughts for the perplexed.

Throughout human history all types of arrangements have evolved to nurture children, of which a common form is a reasonably stable relationship between woman and man. Whether or not this was seen as marriage varied widely.  So, use of the … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Religion and Faith | 6 Comments

PAUL COLLINS. An Open Letter to Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher

I am disturbed by your identification of your personal views on marriage equality with those of the Catholic Church… The saddest thing is that you have linked Catholicism with some of the most reactionary and unattractive political forces in the … Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 31 Comments

PAUL COLLINS. There’s Movement at the (Radio) Station

It is not only ABC management that don’t take religion and specialist broadcasting seriously. What can you expect from a board that is made up of business people and technocrats. The fault here lies with the federal government that has … Continue reading

Posted in Media, Religion and Faith | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

PAUL COLLINS. Sniffing the Ecclesiastical Wind

  There’s one thing you have to concede to Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane: he can unerringly sniff the direction of the wind in the Vatican; mind you, he’s a frequent visitor to Rome. He’s spotted that Pope Francis is … Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

PAUL COLLINS. How powerful is Pell in Australia?

  The papacy only gained complete power over the appointment of bishops in the mid-19th century; it’s that recent. Previously many different systems operated, but the key issue was that the local church had a major say in who was … Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments