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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Contemplating war in ordinary France

    • Bronwyn Lay
    • 16 November 2015
    16 Comments

    As I marched for Remembrance Day in our small village in France, I wondered, 'How long will these villages keep these ceremonies? When will someone decide these wars are too long ago or too far away?' Two days later, Paris was attacked. The news came like war does: sudden and violent. Then came declarations of a state of emergency and the closing of borders. My eldest daughter was over the border in Switzerland without a passport. War starts in increments, in the small ordinary worries of families.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Why Pope Francis is not an anti-Capitalist greenie

    • Frank Brennan
    • 23 October 2015
    4 Comments

    Francis knows there are all sorts of issues inside and outside the Church where for too long people with power have tried to keep the lid on, in the hope that the problems and complexities will go away, often by parodying those who see the problems or complexities as small 'l' liberals or cafeteria Catholics. He delights in being joyful and troubled while contemplating big problems, calling people of good will to the table of deliberation reminding them of the kernel of the Christian gospels. He has the faith and hope needed to lift the lid without fear and without knowing the answers prior to the dialogue occurring.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Pity abandoned on the banks of the Parramatta

    • Sarah Klenbort
    • 21 October 2015
    6 Comments

    A young man introduces himself: Ashley. He has sandy blond hair, a lithe body and an ease and grace with the kids. The lessons are free, but my daughter doesn't wait to for this explanation; she's already picked up a unicycle. 'You need a helmet first,' Ashley explains, and I tap my daughter's arm and sign, 'Helmet'. 'Does she read lips?' he asks. 'If you could just look at her when you're talking,' I say. 'Okay,' he says with the slightest trepidation. 'She's d-d-deaf and I have a stutter.'

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The church must be a poor church

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 15 October 2015
    23 Comments

    The image of the body of Aylan Kurdi cradled in the arms of a Turkish soldier jarred with our sense that poverty is simply the deprivation of material goods — there is no greater poverty than death, and no greater deprivation than that of a child stripped of life. Francis speaks powerfully of the need to address poverty. He insists that the church must move out of its comfortable centre to the margins where the poor live. To address poverty we must know people who live in poverty as our brothers and sisters.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Breaking the silence in the kingdom of the sick

    • Ellena Savage
    • 09 October 2015
    7 Comments

    While suffering from cancer, Susan Sontag suggested that it, like tuberculosis the previous century, was a disease shrouded in metaphor, morality, and silence. As time passed and the AIDS epidemic raged, she expanded her analysis to include that virus. What would she think of today's culture around mental illness? Like allergies, some of the origins of mental illnesses are societal. And the social and political conditions which produce illness are not generally a part of the medical project.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Family violence more complex than sexual abuse

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 13 August 2015
    9 Comments

    Childhood experience of violence is associated with many other aspects of disadvantage which, as a recent study shows, interact with and intensify one another. Violence at the home is likely to be linked to irregular eating habits, poor educational achievement, mental illness, contact with the justice system, and substance abuse. The challenge of responding to family violence is even more complex than that of protecting children from sexual abuse.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Greece's lonely season

    • Jena Woodhouse
    • 04 August 2015
    5 Comments

    A tarnished pomegranate warms the chill niche of the windowsill, mottled like a faded kilim, mellow rose, dull gold; the island in the autumn thrums to lyres of the bourini, the pagan tongues of log fires in the chimneys; ancient ferries plying the Aegean in the winter run the gauntlet of the gales like emissaries of reason. It is the lonely season.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    When life and death break into the game

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 09 July 2015
    8 Comments

    Because football and other large sports are an image of life, they are safe spaces in which loss is never final and youth is never lost. But occasionally, as in the death of Philip Hughes and Phil Walsh, real life breaks into the image. Death and horror have to be grappled with.

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  • RELIGION

    Francis puts environment above short-term politics

    • Paul Collins
    • 19 June 2015
    24 Comments

    Laudatio si is an extraordinary document addressed to 'every living person on this planet'. Ecological issues are no longer an after thought but up there with social justice and equity in an incisive, practical, realistic and far-reaching encyclical that tackles the most important issues facing us honestly and with absolute integrity. It will upset a lot of apple carts in the Church and in the world.

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  • Frank Brennan's 'fifth gospel'

    • William Morris
    • 15 June 2015
    7 Comments

    'Frank points out that the Church cannot credibly proclaim a message of social justice in a pluralist democracy when its own processes fall short of ordinary community standards of justice. It needs to turn its teaching about human rights and human dignity back on itself, the Church, insisting on due process within the life of the Church community.' Bishop William Morris helps launch Frank Brennan's new book Amplifying That Still, Small Voice.

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  • Demanding justice for the small, still voices

    • Shannon and Kateena
    • 12 June 2015
    1 Comment

    'In chapter 12 "Respecting Autonomy and Protecting the Vulnerability of the Dying", Frank quoted my grandmother ... "Well there is not much to say about euthanasia is there? Just don't kill people and look after them while they are dying. What more can you say?" Well Grandma, I am not certain that I share your view. Just as Pope Francis did not know all the answers at age 36 years, neither do I.' Frank Brennan's nieces Shannon and Kateena help launch his new book Amplifying That Still, Small Voice.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Speak of the Devil no longer

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 20 May 2015
    19 Comments

    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. 

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