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Tears as a sign of inner strength in troubled waters

14 July 2015 | Cassandra Golds

Teary woman'You are stronger than you know.' To scroll through Facebook is to meet such exhortations constantly. Often circular, and strangely unhelpful. Some, at a time of rising concern about violence against women, are downright alarming. 'A strong woman is one who is able to smile this morning like she wasn’t crying last night.'

US Bishops reckon with same sex marriage support rollercoaster

07 July 2015 | Peter Kirkwood

Journalist Michael O'Loughlin is national reporter for Crux, the Boston Globe's regular supplement on Catholic Church issues. His book The Tweetable Pope: A Spiritual Revolution in 140 Characters, to be published in September. In this video interview, he analyses the US Bishops' response to the recent US Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriage.

Two goats, a sheep and Grexit

30 June 2015 | Gillian Bouras

Alexis TsiprasIn the early hours of Saturday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had announced a referendum for July 5. Whether the average Spiro and Soula has much idea of the macroeconomic issues seems doubtful. I certainly haven’t. And there is not much time for them or me to learn. Spiro and Soula and I are naturally concerned about the supply of ready cash.

Greeks suffer as leaders quarrel

22 June 2015 | Gillian Bouras

Greek PM's address at Russian forumMy youngest son, who lives in central Athens, is on the phone. ‘What do you think I should do with my money?’ he asks. The New York Times likens Europe and Greece to two prize-fighters, but I suspect that this is a male take on the matter. The women on the scene, Chancellor Angela Merkel and IMF chief Christine Lagarde, are more or less playing the part of the firm mother to naughty, quarrelling boys.  

Speak of the Devil no longer

19 May 2015 | Gillian Bouras

The Death of God debate raged on and off several decades ago. Now it's the Devil's turn. Medieval clerics believed he was everywhere. Earlier this year the General Synod of the Church of England decided it was time for him to retire, and have 'disappeared' him. 

The death of bullying victim Vangelis Giakoumakis

07 April 2015 | Gillian Bouras

Vangelis GiakoumakisHere in Greece, a 20 year old youth was subjected to concentrated and constant bullying, and eventually he could bear no more. Who knows, really, what triggers bullying? Except that bullies, who are always cowards, invariably select as victims people who seem weaker and thus vulnerable to pressure, both physical and psychological. Vangelis seems to have been the sort who could not or would not fight back.

The case for defending children and their advocates

24 February 2015 | Gillian Bouras

Child in detention drawingChildren have always suffered and been exploited. Only recently have been regarded as being children at all, rather than mini-people. Reformers like Dickens raised consciousness beginning in the 19th century. Bombs are raining on children in Syria and elsewhere. Not so Australia, but many are being damaged nonetheless. The Australian Human Rights Commission is having to defend its report on Immigration Detention from critics that include the Prime Minister.

Aussie diggers' pen as mighty as their sword

16 December 2014 | Gillian Bouras

Cartoon from 'Aussie'A soldier's life is usually one of bursts of brief action followed by extended periods of drudgery and boredom, and never was this more true than during this dreadful war of attrition that dragged on apparently interminably between 1914 and 1918. A book titled Aussie was published in 1920 as a bound collection of AIF soldiers’ own paper of the battlefield, wholly written, illustrated and printed in the field. 

Homage to the king of herbs

02 December 2014 | Gillian Bouras

BasilIn pride of place on this feast day, a modest silver cross lies in a glass case. The cross is surrounded by leaves of basil, the plant that was supposedly found growing on the True Cross when it was discovered by St Helen in 326. The word basil means king, the plant is considered the king of herbs, and bunches of it are always used in the sprinkling of holy water.

How Pope Francis took the world by surprise

25 November 2014 | Peter Kirkwood

Pope Francis is one of the most prominent international leaders at present. In our Skype conversation, US born Vatican watcher Robert Mickens shares his frank views on the relatively brief but highly significant, surprising and unsettling pontificate of Pope Francis, who has declared that almost anything is open for discussion.

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