Category Archives: Religion and Faith

ALLAN PATIENCE. The ALP and the religious right in Australian politics

The religious right is casting a darkening cloud over Australia’s democracy.

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MASSIMO FAGGIOLI. Catholic synodality as a response to the crisis of democracy.

The global crisis of democracy is yet one more challenge for a Church fighting for social justice.

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J. A. DICK. Political Religion and the Prosperity Gospel

Re-reading a bit of political philosophy, I came across a 1939 quotation by the French philosopher Raymond Aron (1905-1983) who warned of ‘notre époque de religions politiques.’ If Aron were around today, he would have much to wrote about.

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GARRY WILLS. Changing the ‘Changeless’ Church. A view of John O’ Malley’s ‘When Bishops Meet: An Essay Comparing Trent, Vatican I , and Vatican II’

In John O’Malley’s When Bishops Meet—the latest of his five books on ecumenical church councils—he compares and contrasts what he has written on the three last councils and argues that there should be a new one.

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J.A. DICK. Faith Development or Stunted growth.

Thinking about some well-known public personalities who, despite their age, are still rather adolescent in their beliefs and behaviour, I went back to James Fowler’s understanding of faith development.

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RAMZY BAROUD. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinian Christians that Nobody is Talking About (CounterPunch 31-10-19)

Palestine’s Christian population is dwindling at an alarming rate. The world’s most ancient Christian community is moving elsewhere. And the reason for this is Israel.

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RANDALL HEYN-LAMB. Episcopal Church officially bars investments in companies benefitting from the Israeli occupation (Mondoweiss 24-10-19)

This week, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church adopted a human rights investment screen related to Israel and Palestine and will sell its holdings in Motorola Solutions, Caterpillar, Inc., and the Israel Discount Bank.

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NICOLAS SENEZE. A book sheds light on mismanagement of Vatican’s funds. Journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi reveals the tripling of the Holy See’s budget deficit and how reforms are sabotaged by a Curia that opposes any control

Is the Vatican facing a payment crisis? Despite the denials by a Vatican finance manager on Tuesday in a interview with L’Avvenire, journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, however, said the risk will become real by 2023. His latest book, Giudizio Universale (Last … Continue reading

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PETER DONNAN. The Plenary Council: Searching for Australian Catholics

Approximately 8% to 10% of those who identify as Catholics are regular mass attenders and almost a third of these are between 60 and 74; decline in mass attendance has been occurring since the 1950s, according to the National Centre … Continue reading

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GEORGE BROWNING. Please Leave.Please Come Back

In his speech at last week’s Sydney synod, Archbishop Glenn Davies made it clear he wished those who support the blessing of same sex marriage unions to leave the Church because ‘you cannot bless sin’. Subsequently he attempted to clarify … Continue reading

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IAN JOHNSON. The Eastern Jesus. A review of R.S. Sugirtharajah’s “Jesus in Asia”

Over the past few years, the authorities in Beijing have given churches across the country orders to “Sinicize” their faith. According to detailed five-year plans formulated by both Catholic and Protestant organizations, much of this process involves the predictable palaver … Continue reading

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MARK O’CONNOR FMS. Letters from the Synod. There are new steps: Prophetic voices amaze and energise in first week of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region

  I am sure some of you might remember that fine Australian film Strictly Ballroom. In it, there was an epic struggle going on. On the one hand, there were those convinced that there is only one model of ballroom … Continue reading

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PRINCE CHARLES, THE PRINCE OF WALES. John Henry Newman: The harmony of difference

When Pope Francis canonises Cardinal John Henry Newman tomorrow, the first Briton to be declared a saint in over forty years, it will be a cause of celebration not merely in the United Kingdom, and not merely for Catholics, but … Continue reading

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MICHAEL MULLINS. The role of ordinary Catholics in clerical sex abuse

NZ bishop Charles Drennan was forced to resign after a young woman complained about his sexual behaviour towards her. The #MeToo movement has forced a reckoning about the imbalance of power between clerics and lay Catholics. This is a major … Continue reading

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THE SOUTHERN CROSS (Adelaide). New Vietnamese church a blessing. Our Lady of the Boat People.

  In what was a momentous occasion in its 40-year history in South Australia, the Church of Our Lady of The Boat People was dedicated by Apostolic Administrator Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ, with an evening of Vietnamese celebrations to follow.

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GERARD O’CONNELL. As Amazon Synod begins, Pope Francis looks to proceed with a ‘pastoral heart’

Pope Francis opened the first plenary session of the synod for the Amazon region this morning by praying with the synod participants at the tomb of St. Peter in the basilica dedicated to his name and then gave an incisive … Continue reading

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ROBERT MICKENS. A controversial synod and an unusual consistor. Pope Francis doubles down on reforming the Church and the Vatican

There’s a lot of commotion in and around the Vatican right now. It consists mostly of the angry rumblings of traditionalist Catholics who don’t particularly care for the way Pope Francis is leading the Church. Then there are the retaliatory … Continue reading

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MASSIMO FAGGIOLI. The emergence of synodality and the inadequacy of canon law. Historically the Church has never been regulated exclusively by legal codes, says Massimo Faggioli

Catholic bishops around the world are responding in various ways to the crisis the Church is currently facing. Some have tried to show that the bishops in the United States and Germany are doing so in a similar fashion.

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ROBERT MICKENS. Pope Francis steps up his campaign for immigrants

“Xenophobia and aporophobia today are part of a populist mentality that leaves no sovereignty to the people. Xenophobia destroys the unity of a people, even that of the people of God.”No one who has been following the activities of Pope … Continue reading

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ROSEMARY O’GRADY. For the Record

On the evening of Monday 16 September 2019 at a Melbourne bookshop, Allen & Unwin launched Fallen: The inside story of the secret trial and conviction of Cardinal George Pell by Lucie Morris-Marr.

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ERIC HODGENS. Where Do We Find the Authentic Catholic Voice?

Cardinal Pell got his voice heard from prison. Furthermore, surrogate Pell voices are heard from bishops he has promoted in Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart. But, on three current issues polls show that most Catholics disagree with them. So, which voice … Continue reading

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JAMES CHAPPEL. Weigel’s ‘Irony of Modern Catholic History’ in review.

The pope is far less in control of his flock than most people realize. This has always been the case: no leader in history, let alone one in charge of a billion people across the globe, has been able to … Continue reading

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MASSIMO FAGGIOLI. Brexit as a spiritual crisis: remain, leave, and an incarnational Church. The whole debate about leaving or remaining in the Catholic Church amid the sex abuse crisis is a form of ecclesial Brexit

In his novel “A Legacy of Spies” John Le Carré ponders the relationship between England and Europe.

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SPENCER ZIFCAK. The Religious Discrimination Bill

The Religious Discrimination Bill, introduced by the Attorney-General Christian Porter, has its flaws. Nevertheless, it walks a more or less acceptable line between arch proponents and critics of the recent campaign for greater religious freedoms. The Government has produced relatively … Continue reading

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DAVID TIMBS. Archbishop Comensoli needs to cut the ecclesiastical umbilical cord.

Peter A Comensoli has been the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne for just on a year. So far he has demonstrated very little understanding of the disastrous situation he inherited. Nor has he shown any clear indication of the kind of … Continue reading

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MICHAEL LEAHY. The Catholic Weekly: seeking justice for Pell or waging a culture war?

As a former colleague in the seminary and priesthood, and friend, of Cardinal Pell, it gives me no pleasure to see him fall so dramatically from grace. Along with all Australians of good will, I want to see him get … Continue reading

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IVAN LEVINGSTON, DAVID WAINER. The Most Undiplomatic of Diplomats Is Trump’s Man in Middle East (Bloomberg 30-8-19)

David Friedman has upended American policy in the unstable region.

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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

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NICHOLAS KRISTOF. What religion would Jesus belong to?

ONE puzzle of the world is that religions often don’t resemble their founders. Jesus never mentioned gays or abortion but focused on the sick and the poor, yet some Christian leaders have prospered by demonizing gays. Muhammad raised the status … Continue reading

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NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER. Editorial: Those who dismiss Pell verdict ignore integrity of legal process

The response in certain circles to the Aug. 21 court decision upholding Cardinal George Pell’s conviction for sexually assaulting two choirboys in the 1990s was as swift as it was irrational.

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