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Pope warns punishment is not a way to peace

26 October 2014 | Andrew Hamilton

Pope FrancisPope Francis warns perceptively that the urge to create peace by punishment leads to the search for more targets. The best way to peace and security is not to wage war on people but to be curious about them – what leads them to criminal acts, and how we can intervene to help them make good connections with society.

Best of 2013: A Jesuit learns to live with a Jesuit Pope

05 January 2014 | Andrew Hamilton

Pope FrancisI 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.

Irrational fear of the Muslim Brotherhood

20 August 2013 | Irfan Yusuf

Muslim Brotherhood

It’s a crude and misleading line of reasoning to declare that Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood can’t be committed to democracy because it is an Islamist organisation much like al-Qaida and Hezbollah. On what basis do we label individuals or groups 'Islamist'? Or 'fundamentalist'? Or 'extremist'? How can we have a monolith amongst a set of congregations making up almost one quarter of the world's human population? The history and politics of Islam is just as complex as that of Christianity.

Unlocking Australia's incarceration culture

22 May 2013 | Andrew Hamilton

Man slumped against prison barsThe Commonwealth and the Victorian state budgets this year were marked by a contradiction. Both committed more money to incarceration — detention centres and prisons; and both limited programs to help the people confined there. Such contradictions are usually signs of a bad policy that flows from shallow cultural values.

Clobbering religious gay prejudice

21 May 2013 | Michael Kirby

Detail from book cover, Pieces of Ease and GraceThe 2011 book Five Uneasy Pieces offered an alternative reading of the so-called 'clobber passages' that are at the core of religious unease about homosexuality. A follow-up volume pushes the envelope further by examining the biblical recognition of the variety of human love beyond traditional marriage.

Pope Francis the smiling revolutionary

16 May 2013 | Neil Ormerod

Pope Francis smilingIt is difficult to get into the mind of a person who might have been pope eight years earlier. Would the intervening years have been filled with 'what ifs'? Would he have watched Benedict and wondered how he might have led differently? Whether they knew it or not the cardinals initiated a quiet revolution in electing this man. 

Aged care and the business of gift

08 May 2013 | Andrew Hamilton

Carer and elderly woman smile at each otherIn our care of the aged, not only their health and security are at stake but also their self-respect and dignity. It is impossible not to sympathise with the argument that the high skills this requires from carers should be better remunerated. But in the business of business and remuneration, love is the skill that dares not speak its name.

Catholicism beyond slogans

01 May 2013 | Andrew Hamilton

Crossed street signs, one says Liberal the other says ConservativeThe future of the Catholic tradition will not rest with Liberal, Conservative or Evangelical Catholicism. Not because those who would define themselves as members of such groupings are liberal or conservative, but because they are essentially reactive. They derive their energy from opposition to the perceived weakness or wickedness of other groups. 

Positives of discrimination

17 April 2013 | Andrew Hamilton

Red pen circles silhouette of personThe debate about the right of church organisations to discriminate in employment is usually framed in terms of exclusion. But it can be framed more positively. A religious background may be required not because it satisfies the demands of the church, but to ensure that those whom the organisation serves continue to be treated with great respect. 

The healing God of the Royal Commission

11 April 2013 | Fatima Measham

Jesus carrying a sheep on his shouldersThe Church is unique among the institutions under scrutiny from the Royal Commission. The trust laypeople hold in priests and other vowed religious is not the same trust held in teachers, doctors and coaches. It is sourced from the stories that feed their faith. This is the context in which the betrayal must be understood. 

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