Category Archives: Religion and Faith

Bishops and branch stacking: the second oldest profession

Branch stacking scandals are not new to Australian politics of whatever colour. Nor is the phenomenon new to the Catholic Church. In fact, the caper originated within Jesus’ inner circle and it hasn’t let up since.

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A dissenting opinion on a key Discernment Paper for the National Plenary Council of the Catholic Church in Australia 2021-2022

It is not so much what the paper says; it is what the paper omits, that has attracted initial criticism.

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NUALA KENNY. Disinfecting denial and secrecy.

“Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known” (Matthew 10, 26-28)  Courageous proclamation of the “good news” of God’s love for us is the heart of Jesus’ mission. 

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Catholics want reform

Catholics are rising up and accepting responsibility for renewing their Church. Catholics across Australia and New Zealand have met via Zoom to support the growing movement for reform of the Catholic Church.

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National Plenary Council Discernment Reports.

The purpose of the Discernment reports is, seemingly, to inform the development of an agenda for the formal sessions of the Plenary Council of the Australian Catholic Church. The documents are important in determining the success or otherwise of the … Continue reading

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A Plenary of Broken Promises?

When the people in the pews get so restless that evidence of deceptive dealing at the top of the Catholic Church in Australia starts falling off the back of trucks these same leaders should know that they have a calamity … Continue reading

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Unlearning racism starts with deep listening

The George Floyd case has given witness to social systems in the US that privilege whiteness. However across the world, there is institutional police brutality that is an expression of existing tensions and hierarchies.

Posted in Human Rights, Indigenous affairs, Religion and Faith | 1 Comment

The Light From the Southern Cross. A Report on Catholic Church Governance

The Church culture of the past is still the culture we have today. And that is fundamentally what the Implementation Advisory Group (IAG) had to confront. How to navigate the realpolitik of the Catholic Church. No mean task for a … Continue reading

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TERRY FEWTRELL. . Catholic bishops need to give up secrecy and learn to trust

Australia’s Catholic bishops seem to have learned little from the sexual abuse scandal and associated cover-ups, writes Terry Fewtrell. Pushed by a Royal Commission (RC) report to implement reforms, they recently reverted to standard operating procedures of delay and secrecy … Continue reading

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Necessary disruption for church culture change to protect children

A ‘secret bishops report’ has called for the declericalisation of the Catholic Church in Australia. The bishops are keeping the report under wraps until the end of the year ‘to do it justice’, while critics are calling it ironic for … Continue reading

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GEORGE BROWNING. Trump vs Christianity

 Just as Muslims worldwide have been expected to stand up against the appropriation of their religion by extremist ideologies that have expressed themselves in various forms of terror, so the Christian community must make it clear that Christ and the … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Religion and Faith | 10 Comments

FRANK BRENNAN SJ. ‘I can’t breathe.’

Martin Luther King said ‘in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard’. 

Posted in Human Rights, Religion and Faith | 8 Comments

RICHARD R. GAILLARDETZ. A promising roadmap for ecclesial reform and conversion. One of the world’s top ecclesiologists analyzes an unprecedented Church governance report

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and the Catholic Religious of Australia (CRA) instituted the Implementation Advisory Group to respond to the Royal Commission Report. That group, in turn, created the Governance Review Project Team (GRPT). This team was tasked … Continue reading

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RICHARD R. GAILLARDETZ. May the Global Church Discover “Light from the Southern Cross.” Review and analysis of “potentially groundbreaking document” on Church governance

As the entire world struggles with the challenges, tragedies, and constraints imposed by the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Catholic Church finds itself in the midst of an altogether different kind of global pandemic, one of a distinctly spiritual and ecclesial … Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 4 Comments

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

JOHN MENADUE. The Light From the Southern Cross.A Report on Catholic Church Governance

This confidential 208 page Report ‘promoting Co-Responsible Governance in the Catholic Church in Australia’ was commissioned by the Australian Catholic Bishops and Religious Superiors to review the Catholic Church’s governance and management structures. This followed the final report of the … Continue reading

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The New Rite of Baptism?

The Church modernises…

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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

PETER WILKINSON AND GAIL GROSSMAN FREYNE. Historic Church Governance Report locked down by Australian Bishops

On 4 May 2020 the Project Team commissioned by the Australian bishops and religious superiors to review the Catholic Church’s governance and management structures, presented its 200-page final report. Its 86 recommendations include the need for greater transparency and co-responsibility. … Continue reading

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GERRY MCKERNAN and PETER SHEEHAN. The Plenary Council: Where to after Coronavirus?

The pandemic is forcing communities everywhere to adopt new approaches, unthinkable only a few months ago. This must apply to the Catholic Church too, and provides an opportunity to revive its Plenary Council process.

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JOHN WARHURST. Catholic Bishops must embrace transparency and accountability

Senior Catholic bishops must exercise leadership and firmly grasp the fresh opportunities now provided to them for increased transparency and accountability within the church. They must grab the moment.

Posted in Religion and Faith | 10 Comments

CHRIS GERAGHTY. Pell Again

Dear George, More bad news. When will it cease?

Posted in Religion and Faith | 24 Comments

JACK WATERFORD. Prosecution as an obstacle race

Many people who had opinions about Pell’s guilt or innocence will retain them despite the High Court’s decision. Whether they fall on one side or another, there are several words of caution:

Posted in Religion and Faith | 22 Comments

JACK WATERORD. A free and innocent Pell, but not a martyr to any cause

The jubilation in some quarters, and the dismay and despair in others when the High Court unanimously ordered a judgment of acquittal of Cardinal George Pell on child sexual abuse charges was entirely predictable, if only because the case has … Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 6 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

SUSAN CONNELLY. The World is Full of Scapegoats

Compromised politicians, muted religions, a distracted and increasingly partisan media and a malleable crowd combine in another tragedy. Scapegoating it is, but thanks to the Gospel it is not destined for seamless success.

Posted in Religion and Faith | 4 Comments

MICHAEL MULLINS. Blind obedience and the Pell trial jury

While I was training to be a Jesuit in the late 70s, I learned about, and practised, ‘blind obedience’. Rightly or wrongly, what I learned about blind obedience has informed my understanding of how juries work in the court system.

Posted in Religion and Faith | 18 Comments

CHRIS GERAGHTY. The Pell Decision.

Finally the George Pell dilemma has been put to rest by the illustrious High Court of Australia. Or has it?

Posted in Politics, Religion and Faith | 40 Comments

BRUCE DUNCAN. Faith and the Triple Crises of Corona Virus, Economic Shutdown and Climate Change.

The photo of Pope Francis speaking on 27 March to the completely empty square in front of St Peter’s in Rome spoke volumes. Isolated and alone, like so many others because of the corona virus outbreak, he epitomised the dilemmas … Continue reading

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ROBERT MICKENS. A priest-centered Church, confused and unprepared.

In the past five or six decades, Catholic bishops in almost every part of the world have stood by, paralyzed, watching helplessly as the number and quality of priesthood candidates have continued to dwindle.

Posted in Religion and Faith | 5 Comments