Vol 23 No 5

11 March 2013


 

  • INTERNATIONAL

    Party games in darkening Canberra

    • Benedict Coleridge
    • 22 March 2013
    10 Comments

    Our political leaders are suffering from the disenchantment of the electorate. Canberra and its political hackery has less appeal now than it's had for a long time. It might be worth listening to Bob Hawke, who recently unwittingly echoed the seniment of French philosopher Simone Weil's essay 'On the Abolition of All Political Parties'.

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  • RELIGION

    Rudd right not to run

    • Frank Brennan
    • 22 March 2013
    40 Comments

    Some lamented that Rudd had abandoned his own supporters to their fate. But what political morality would dictate that he break his word simply because Crean had decided an immediate challenge was the only available circuit breaker for the woes of a dysfunctional divided Labor Party?

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Film takes sex abuse guilt to the Vatican

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 21 March 2013
    8 Comments

    Fr Murphy's atrocities include using the confessional as a lair in which to abuse his deaf students. With the Royal Commission already gathering steam, Silence in the House of God warns what revelations may be to come, and reminds those with high hopes for Pope Francis how much work remains to be done.

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  • RELIGION

    Pope Francis' unfinished business with the poor

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 21 March 2013
    24 Comments

    The relationship between the Catholic Church and the poor was explored most seriously in Latin America. I caught its dimensions most vividly in a dawn trip on a clapped out US school bus to a small regional town in El Salvador.

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  • RELIGION

    The difference one pope can make

    • Neil Ormerod
    • 21 March 2013
    7 Comments

    There are 57 cardinals over 72 years of age. If Francis is in office for eight years or more he'll have a direct hand in replacing each of them. Just as John Paul II shaped the college of cardinals for the election of Benedict, so Francis is likely to shape the college for the election of his successor. This is a long term impact.

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  • CARTOON

    Stalin assesses Comrade Stephen Conroy

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 20 March 2013

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  • MEDIA

    Free speech is safe from Conroy's feather duster

    • Ray Cassin
    • 20 March 2013
    5 Comments

    Free speech is not at risk, and the media companies know it. Their real fears concern the proposed Public Interest Media Advocate's task to determine whether future mergers and acquisitions are in the public interest. The outcry is motivated by self-interest, not concern for the rights and freedoms of citizens. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Post-Saddam Iraq defined by division

    • Kerry Murphy
    • 20 March 2013
    1 Comment

    One Christian engineer remembers celebrating religious festivals with his Muslim neighbours. They in turn would celebrate Christmas with him. Such interfaith experiences are almost unknown now. Iraqis tell me that at least under Saddam you knew where the boundaries were. Now there is uncertainty and indiscriminate violence.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Why we didn't stop the war

    • Justin Whelan
    • 20 March 2013
    9 Comments

    Iraq was the first war in history to be declared unjust by the people and by almost all Christian leaders in the West before it had started. One poll found that 90 per cent of Australians opposed the war without UN authorisation. Yet under John Howard's leadership we went to war anyway. Where did the anti-war movement go wrong?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Watching as Iraq crumbled

    • Donna Mulhearn
    • 20 March 2013
    9 Comments

    I sat with my Iraqi friend in his photo store. I was his last customer, he said; the bombs would begin tomorrow. And then he began to weep. I remember thinking that his life, and the lives of others like him, would not be given a second's thought once the invasion started. The next day, the bombs began.  

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Gillard playing chicken with skilled migrants

    • Fatima Measham
    • 20 March 2013
    7 Comments

    The Prime Minister's aggressive attempts to tighten the rules for 457 visas is part of a campaign to appease her party's blue-collar base. This didn't begin last month in Western Sydney; it was kick-started as far back as 2011 when she said the 'Australian Greens do not share Australian values'.

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  • MEDIA

    Pope for the Twitter age

    • Beth Doherty
    • 20 March 2013
    1 Comment

    The power of social media was manifest during the days following the announcement. Images of the Pope washing and kissing the feet of women, cancer and AIDS patients, and the poor, went viral. Francis himself recognised that the often maligned and misunderstood work of the media can play a part in spreading a message of justice.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Sorry I was high

    • Peta Edmonds
    • 19 March 2013
    2 Comments

    On the corner, like an unloved spider, if you've got a cigarette, they've got the lighter. They're in love with all the Gods. They get along with their bong. For them the smoke is the Holy Ghost.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australia's ten wasted years of war

    • Tony Smith
    • 19 March 2013
    14 Comments

    Gone are the days when Australians believed everyone deserved a fair go: the principle that 'might is right' has replaced the ideals of equity and justice in the national psyche. It is not surprising that after engaging in costly military actions over a decade Australians are more fearful now than when we invaded Iraq in 2003. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Gina's subpoena threatens press freedom

    • Michael Mullins
    • 18 March 2013
    11 Comments

    During the week, media power brokers portrayed Communications Minister Stephen Conroy as a Stalinist enemy of press freedom. This coincided with an assault on one of its core principles — the protection of journalists' sources — by Gina Rinehart, one of Australia's up and coming media barons. It appears politicians are scared to speak out.

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  • RELIGION

    A funny thing happened on the way to the Vatican

    • Richard Leonard
    • 18 March 2013
    8 Comments

    Francis stood there alone for the cruellest time. This is why members of royal families never appear on balconies alone: you can only wave so often. The Latin Americans went nuts. This guy is now the most famous Argentine ever, jumping Che, Evita and Maradona. Like 'Francis', they specialise in one-name handles too, but with friends like that ... 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Optional voting dims democracy

    • Patrick McCabe
    • 18 March 2013
    14 Comments

    Is voting about giving the finger to politicians you can't stand, or determining which candidate is the one most suited to being given power? In a democracy, we maintain that the best candidate is the one who is most preferable to the most people. If some of us refuse to say who they prefer, we can't work out who is the best candidate.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Dawn of the Assange cult

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 15 March 2013
    8 Comments

    The roots of Assange's civil disobedience are linked to his derision of his mother's penchant for ineffective peaceful protest. His family's run-ins with the mountain cult of which they were one-time members hints at lasting psychological trauma in Asssange that may contribute to his later persona as a lone avenger.

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  • MEDIA

    Caucusing cardinals trump greedy media

    • Ray Cassin
    • 15 March 2013
    10 Comments

    The media abhor a vacuum, and thus we got to hear about, among other things, the cabal of anonymous gay clerics who are allegedly at the heart of the Vatileaks and banking scandals. UFOs and monsters from space didn't appear in these stories, but if the Church had endured another week of sede vacante they probably would have.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Nothing romantic about living in squalor

    • Ellena Savage
    • 15 March 2013
    5 Comments

    The Arts Minister Simon Crean's new Creative Partnerships initiative is another more-of-the-same, fund-career-administrators-and-educators-and-leave-artistes-to-their-hellish-squalor kind of model. Art can be a satisfying occupation, but artists cannot live on self-satisfaction alone.

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  • RELIGION

    A Jesuit learns to live with a Jesuit Pope

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 14 March 2013
    49 Comments

    I indulge a passing self-congratulatory thought that the Pope is, like me, a Jesuit, and will understand our Jesuit ways. And that the Church, of course, will benefit immeasurably from his Jesuit training. That is immediately followed by a touch of anxiety: perhaps he will understand our ways all too well.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    How Pope Francis will mend a broken church

    • Michael Mullins
    • 14 March 2013
    21 Comments

    The new pope is a conservative, but as Archbishop of Buenos Aires he chose to live in a small apartment rather than the palatial bishop's residence. He failed to openly challenge Argentina's dictatorship of the late 1970s, but he regarded clericalism as a scourge that 'separates the people of God from salvation'.

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  • RELIGION

    Pope for a new Reformation

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 14 March 2013
    28 Comments

    If the Church is to be a school for holiness it must reassure Catholics above all that it is a safe school. In schools, this normally demands a change of culture to shift focus from reputation and power to the dignity, growth and empowerment of students. In the Church it will mean dealing decisively with the abuse of power by clergy.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Child soldier learns murder and motherhood

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 14 March 2013

    Komona is just 12 when she is brutally conscripted by rebel soldiers. Before long she falls pregnant under horrific circumstances. The best that can be said about her situation is that it offers fragile hope that life may be made to flourish even in a landscape of violence and death.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Agnostic prayers for an infirm infant

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 13 March 2013
    15 Comments

    Orestes was found to have a malformed oesophagus and, at the age of only 19 hours, underwent a two and a half hour operation. I'm what Patrick White might call a 'lapsed egotist agnostic pantheist occultist existentialist would-be though failed Christian Australian'. But if I have ever prayed, I prayed that night.

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  • CARTOON

    Smoke signals for Labor and the Vatican

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 13 March 2013
    2 Comments

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Nice guys of Victorian politics finish last

    • Moira Rayner
    • 13 March 2013
    6 Comments

    Geoff Shaw, who belittled the now-traditional 'welcome to country' and publicly equated gays with dangerous drivers, is currently the most powerful man in Victorian politics. His resignation helped ensure the downfall of the humane and likeable Ted Ballieu, whose achievements as Premier jarred with pre-election promises. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Roman Polanski and the chain of abuse

    • Lyn Bender
    • 12 March 2013
    15 Comments

    In 2009 I wrote an article examining the suffering of Polanski, the acclaimed filmmaker who was wanted on a rape charge he'd pled guilty to 30 years ago. I soon discovered how cruel an online lynch mob can be. Some commentators wished rape upon me, so that I might know how bad it was. The truth is I was already 'in the club'.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    A wild new pope

    • Barry Gittins, Brian Doyle and B. A. Breen
    • 12 March 2013
    8 Comments

    Man, yeah, I would be pope, if the phone rang, late at night, collect from the Vatican. Yes, I would, if I could do it right. I'd call a meeting of the Curia and say boys, we are letting women run everything for the next five years. Each of you gets a new boss in high heels.

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  • RELIGION

    Cardinal's legacy transcends gay scandal

    • Duncan MacLaren
    • 12 March 2013
    25 Comments

    Many Scottish Catholics are concerned Cardinal O'Brien's legacy will be solely one of drunken fumbles with adult men. We need to remember the other O'Brien: his passion for the poor, his courage in having workshops in Catholic schools on HIV/AIDS, his support for married clergy. The lynching must stop, and compassion begin.

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  • RELIGION

    The Vatican's tragic farce

    • Desmond O'Grady
    • 11 March 2013
    2 Comments

    The internationalisation of the papacy over the past 35 years has been accompanied by an Italianisation of the Vatican media coverage, particularly in Benedict's reign. Vatican coverage reads like Italian political stories with smear campaigns, back-biting, wild accusations and turf wars.

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  • RELIGION

    We need a pope who can handle the truth

    • Brian Lucas
    • 11 March 2013
    15 Comments

    Effective chief executives are those who work with collaborators who are better at most things than they are. The next pope needs to collaborate with the best theologians, communicators, diplomats and administrators, and have the strength of character to surround himself with those who will not defer to his status but tell him the truth.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Vatican secrecy ensures trivial media coverage

    • Michael Mullins
    • 11 March 2013
    4 Comments

    Channel 7's Weekend Sunrise mocked the Catholic Church during its papal conclave preview. The Vatican's culture of secrecy encourages journalists to act like children. Last week the US cardinals took a more open approach and got positive media. But they were slapped down and the coverage became trivial once again.

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  • RELIGION

    Lay Catholics can be cardinals too

    • Constant Mews
    • 11 March 2013
    25 Comments

    The College of Cardinals is meant to be a representative assembly. If the Church is serious about reforming its governance it would do well to revisit the major constitutional reforms established in the 11th century, restoring the category of cardinal to those in the Church below the rank of bishop, and even to lay men and lay women.

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  • RELIGION

    Benedict's legacy of faith and reason

    • Joel Hodge
    • 11 March 2013
    4 Comments

    The deepest desire that humans have is for the sense of self found in happiness and fulfilment. Benedict held that reason, as the faculty that allows us to be aware of ourselves and understand the meaning of things, is directed not just toward knowledge but toward a deep and critical comprehension of what it means to be fully human.

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  • RELIGION

    Pope for a polarised Church

    • James McEvoy
    • 11 March 2013
    6 Comments

    Traditionalists turn to the leadership for tighter control over doctrine, liturgy and practice. Progressives look to the leadership for removal of constraints in the same areas. The Church needs a pope with an engaged, open stance, sensitive to the struggles of contemporary seekers and not pushing pat answers.

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