Author: Frank Brennan

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Four preconditions for supporting marriage equality

    • Frank Brennan
    • 12 August 2015
    142 Comments

    I readily accept that the Commonwealth Parliament will legislate for same sex marriage in the foreseeable future. When Parliament does, I will be fully accepting of that decision. If asked by politicians how they should exercise their conscience vote, there is no way that I would say that they should not support civil recognition of same sex marriage. But neither would I say that they must support it NOW. If I were a member of parliament, I would want four assurances before I voted for same sex marriage.

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  • A trinity of questions about Laudato Si’

    • Frank Brennan
    • 06 August 2015
    3 Comments

    Pope Francis is not the first pope to address a social encyclical to everyone. But in comparison with his predecessors, Francis has been more inclusive in the process of writing the encyclical and in the final content of the document. He quotes from 17 different conferences of Catholic bishops. He is at pains to indicate that he is collaborative and that he takes the principle of subsidiarity very seriously. Being the final redactor of the text, he has felt free to interpolate some very folksy advice from time to time. He has also taken the liberty of inserting some very blunt, evocative images of environmental and economic devastation.

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  • Homily for the Feast of St Ignatius Loyola

    • Frank Brennan
    • 03 August 2015
    1 Comment

    I am one of those Jesuits who sometimes has been perceived as not being sufficiently loyal to the church hierarchy. From time to time, people of good will have urged me to consider Ignatius' rules for thinking with the Church which are appended to his Spiritual Exercises. The stereotypical view of those rules is often summed up by quoting the first sentence of the 13th rule: 'To keep ourselves right in all things, we ought to hold fast to this principle: What I see as white, I would believe to be black if the hierarchical Church would thus determine it.' But life was not ever that simple, even in the time of Ignatius. Feast of St Ignatius homily by Frank Brennan

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Modest but realistic hope for a 2017 Referendum

    • Frank Brennan
    • 22 July 2015
    7 Comments

    Australia is more mature and more complex than it was at the time of the 1967 Aboriginal citizenship referendum. We need to be very attentive to the diversity and (hopefully) emerging consensus of Aboriginal viewpoints. We also need to be attentive to what measures the leaders of our major political parties will be prepared to sponsor during the life of the next parliament, championing those measures in a referendum campaign.

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  • The challenge of education for social justice

    • Frank Brennan
    • 08 July 2015
    3 Comments

    I suspect Pope Francis had some of our Jesuit alumni in mind when he wrote in his encyclical Laudato Si: 'A politics concerned with immediate results, supported by consumerist sectors of the population, is driven to produce short-term growth... True statecraft is manifest when, in difficult times, we uphold high principles and think of the long-term common good. Political powers do not find it easy to assume this duty'.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The US Supreme Court's gay marriage overreach

    • Frank Brennan
    • 03 July 2015
    75 Comments

    In its determination that same sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, the US Supreme Court took it upon itself to discover a definitive answer in the silent Constitution on this contested social question. This is regrettable, because there can be no doubt that the democratic process was taking US society in only one direction, and the Court's unilateral intervention has reduced the prospects of community acceptance and community compromise regarding the freedom of religious practice of those who cannot embrace same-sex marriage for religious reasons.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Constitutional change that will improve indigenous quality of life

    • Frank Brennan
    • 01 July 2015
    6 Comments

    Those Aborigines who are most at home in modern Australia tend to be those with a secure foothold in both the Dreaming and the Market. Those who are most alienated and despairing are those with a foothold in neither. Constitutional change alone won't make things better. But a good Constitution is a better complement to other measures – such as a statutory charter – than a bad one.

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  • My tribute to Vicki Clark's passionate ministry

    • Frank Brennan
    • 26 June 2015
    4 Comments

    The simple Aboriginal ritual over the burial site of Conaci was in stark contrast to the pomp and hierarchical ceremony in St Peter’s Square the previous day.  Vicki and her companions were there leading those of us who are the descendants of their colonizers, teaching us the history, sharing the story, and enabling us to embrace the mystery of it all.

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  • Christian perspectives on war and peace

    • Frank Brennan
    • 24 June 2015
    1 Comment

    Given the ready access we have to international media and the world wide web, we can no longer plead ignorance of the trouble going on in our world. Those of us who are purist pacifists can presumably put a coherent case for eschewing violence in all cases, even were a madman to be imminently threatening the lives of our most vulnerable loved ones. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Speaking for others in the public square

    • Frank Brennan
    • 22 June 2015
    4 Comments

    Walking towards the courthouse, I heard a cry, 'Hey, Father Frank, over here! You've got to support us mob.' I was torn. I was chairing a national consultation at the request of the Commonwealth Government. I did not want to politicise our presence in town.   But then again, I did not want to abandon Ben and his colleagues in their hour of need. They all stood in front of an Aboriginal flag.  Some were crying out for justice for their deceased loved one.

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  • Call off the Cardinal Pell witch-hunt

    • Frank Brennan
    • 04 June 2015
    22 Comments

    As we await Cardinal Pell's appearance before the Royal Commission, many Australians are baying for his blood. It is time for those of us in the Church to stop paying undue deference to those who exercise ecclesiastical power in a fashion at odds with contemporary notions of transparency and equality. It's also time for all commentators to play the ball, and not the man.

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  • Romero answers the question of who a pastor should side with

    • Frank Brennan
    • 01 June 2015
    4 Comments

    We recall that Oscar Romero was chosen by the Vatican to be the new archbishop of San Salvador in 1977 because he was regarded as a safe spiritual leader who was acceptable to the politically powerful in El Salvador.  It was thought that he would not challenge the status quo.  Such predictions came to nought given the events of 12 March 1977 when his friend, the Jesuit Fr Rutillio Grande SJ was killed with two of his companions.

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