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  • RELIGION

    Best of 2013: Advice for the Pope on reforming the Church

    • Geraldine Doogue
    • 14 January 2014
    13 Comments

    I wish he would invite me to be his temporary consultant, to offer him advice for his next 500 days. I'd begin by proposing a substantial Vatican-led inquiry, into why the Church has been so troubled by sexual abuse across various countries. Then I would point to the experiences of several large secular institutions, including the New York Times and US Army, that have rebuilt after crises.

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  • MARGARET DOOLEY AWARD

    Best of 2013: Slow down, you're just in time

    • Megan Graham
    • 08 January 2014
    1 Comment

    At a certain point, emotional and mental overstimulation leads to a sort of emotional numbness, as the brain and central nervous system can only respond to so much. With enough dopamine hits from 'likes' on Facebook, and adrenalin spikes from sensationalised news stories, one's emotions can become blunted. That is, with the notable exception of general irritability borne of expecting one's real life to be as fast-paced as one's online one.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Best of 2013: Watching as Iraq crumbled

    • Donna Mulhearn
    • 07 January 2014

    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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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Alternatives to trash reality TV

    • Michael McVeigh
    • 20 December 2013
    4 Comments

    In Pimp my Soup Van, contestants are asked to deck out a van with items that could be used to help people on the streets. In Please Marry My Boys, they sit down with the mothers of people in gay relationships and hear about their experiences. The Refugee Factor asks contestants to listen to asylum seekers' stories, and press a red button at the point where they feel that they, too, would have fled their homeland.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Supermarket self-regulation is a joke

    • David James
    • 10 December 2013
    15 Comments

    It is hard not to smile over Woolworths' and Coles' 'voluntary' adoption of a code of conduct. Now that the duopoly has decided to mend its ways, it seems it can occupy the moral high ground and preach to everyone else. The Western world has been subject to a quarter of a century of propaganda about the virtues of deregulation. A closer consideration of the supermarket giants' promise to do the right thing offers little reason for confidence.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    They call him backflipper, but Gonski's still sliding

    • Ray Cassin
    • 04 December 2013
    9 Comments

    The Education Minister Christopher Pyne has spun the latest developments on education funding reforms as having saved Gonski and achieved what Labor could not. But it is an achievement derived from surrendering oversight of how the money will be spent. If public schools continue to be the losers in the battle for funds, the reversals of the past fortnight will be remembered as the start of a slow burn for the Abbott Government.

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  • RELIGION

    No copping out of abuse blame

    • Frank Brennan
    • 26 November 2013
    32 Comments

    The Catholic Church hierarchy now seems more prepared to admit institutional and personal failures prior to 1996. They are yet to admit the pervasive, closed clericalist culture which infected the Church until at least 1996, but that will come. Let's hope that the Victorian police can also now move forward admitting past mistakes without manufacturing excuses which do not withstand the contemporary spotlight.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Sad life of a serial killer whale

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 21 November 2013
    1 Comment

    I was grateful that I had my back to my colleagues. My tears were occasionally due to sadness, but just as often they were a result of outrage. Blackfish finds much ground for moral outrage in its consideration of the suffering endured by trained orcas. It is an impassioned riposte to a commercial model in which death and suffering, human and cetacean alike, are merely the byproducts of profit.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Troubled Belfast's rickety punk prophet

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 14 November 2013

    In a city riven by violent hatred between Catholic and Protestant, non-religious and charismatic music lover Terri Hooley managed to stand outside and above the conflict. He became a kind of rickety prophet to Belfast's disaffected youth, as godfather of the city's burgeoning punk music scene. If any community had a reason to embrace the rage and unity of punk culture, it was Terri Hooley's Belfast.

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  • RELIGION

    This time in the Church

    • Frank Brennan
    • 12 November 2013
    5 Comments

    'Having thrown off the shackles of compulsion endured by pre-Vatican II Catholics, we relish that we come to the table not because we are forced, not because of social expectations, not because of the mindset of the mob, but because we are graciously called and freely responding.' Frank Brennan's Camino Address, Parish of Our Lady of the Way North Sydney, 12 November 2013

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  • RELIGION

    Pope Francis and Australia’s social justice agenda

    • Frank Brennan
    • 24 October 2013

    'Here is a pope who is not just about creating wiggle room or watering down the teachings of the Church. No, he wants to admit honestly to the world that we hold in tension definitive teachings and pastoral yearnings — held together coherently only by mercy and forgiveness.' Frank Brennan's Wallis Lecture presented in Hobart on 24 October 2013 and Launceston on 25 October 2013.

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  • RELIGION

    Has the Catholic Church in Australia any credibility left?

    • Frank Brennan
    • 03 October 2013
    18 Comments

    'What a pope; what a man! ... The credibility of the Catholic Church has been enhanced with this new pope. We see in him many of the finest aspects of the presently battered and ageing Church.' Frank Brennan's presentation for Spirituality in the Pub, Pumphouse Hotel, Fitzroy, Vic. on 2 October 2013.

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