RELIGION

Section: RELIGION

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  • RELIGION

    Trials of a recalcitrant priest

    • Frank O'Shea
    • 18 March 2014
    18 Comments

    Irish priest Fr Tony Flannery wrote that he did not believe 'the priesthood, as we currently have it in the church, originated with Jesus'; that some time after Jesus 'a select and privileged group who had abrogated power and authority to themselves' claimed that priesthood had been instituted at the Last Supper. He was duly silenced by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. His supporters now hope that Pope Francis will reinstate him.

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  • RELIGION

    Church abuse crisis and the law

    • Carmel Ross
    • 13 March 2014
    23 Comments

    Reports from the Royal Commission this week have focused on the efforts of John Ellis to have his experience of sexual abuse as a teenage boy, perpetrated by a Catholic priest, acknowledged and adequately addressed by the Church. The finding by the High Court that Australian law as it stands does not allow an individual to sue the Catholic Church is an untenable situation if our nation believes justice for individuals is important.

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  • RELIGION

    The celebrity Pope

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 12 March 2014
    5 Comments

    The appearance at the end of Francis' first year of Berlusconi's new magazine, Il Mio Papa, is testimony that the Pope is now mythical, a celebrity, and that the myth can be manipulated, marketed and monetised. It is difficult to give an accounting for celebrities, but merely popping their balloon also misses what in them attracts popular attention. So it is with evaluating what is distinctive about Francis and what he has contributed to the Church.

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  • RELIGION

    Chords of community in a country church protest song

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 12 March 2014
    9 Comments

    The conflict began with falling church attendances and a decision by the Koroit parish priest to rationalise resources. Although Regina Lane describes in detail the battles to save St Brigid's, her book is far more than a protest song against the power of the Catholic Church. The larger stories embodied at St Brigid's, the immigrant groups who formed the first congregation and their relationship to the first Australians, have continuing importance.

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  • RELIGION

    Radical Pope's gender flaws

    • Megan Graham
    • 12 March 2014
    47 Comments

    The broad support Francis receives from progressives, despite his unwillingness to even consider female ordination, demonstrates how marginalised women's issues really are in our society. He may have changed the game in terms of the Church's engagement with the poor, but this does not diminish the significance of his oppressive and outdated views on gender roles.

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  • RELIGION

    Winds of theological change at the Vatican

    • Neil Ormerod
    • 12 March 2014
    10 Comments

    No one can deny the impact Francis has had. The question remains whether the differences between him and his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI are a matter of style or substance. Francis has downplayed the prospects of major doctrinal changes, yet the rehabilitation of liberation theology and the bringing in from the cold of outspoken 'extreme centrist' theologian Cardinal Walter Kasper do reveal a fundamental shift.

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  • RELIGION

    Jury still out on Francis the game-changer

    • Paul Collins
    • 12 March 2014
    12 Comments

    The greatest danger is that we expect too much from Francis. He brings a new perspective that has little to do with the preoccupations of the developed world. But we shouldn't kid ourselves that he is a closet progressive. The other danger is that he could turn out to be all show and no substance. His 'Gang of Eight' has not even begun to address the diabolically difficult problems embedded in reforming the curial structures of the Vatican.

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  • RELIGION

    Encouragement for bleeding hearts

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 05 March 2014
    35 Comments

    To call someone a bleeding heart is an insult, not a description. It has no meaning but does have connotations. Those who call advocates for asylum seekers bleeding hearts usually dismiss ethical arguments. Although they may accept in the case of personal relationships that it would be wrong to inflict pain on people in order to deter others, they usually claim without supporting argument that governments are not bound by this ethical principle.

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  • RELIGION

    Robber bands in Parliament

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 26 February 2014
    14 Comments

    Augustine wrote of the Roman Empire, 'Without justice, states are robber bands.' His mordant comment aimed to strip away the self-congratulatory rhetoric of empire from the reality of a Rome concerned purely with asking how to achieve desired goals uncontrolled by respect for human dignity. If we appreciate how robber bands work we can better understand what states do, including Australia.

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  • RELIGION

    Coming out of Cardinal Pell's shadow

    • Chris McGillion
    • 25 February 2014
    75 Comments

    George Pell's promotion to Rome is proof of the powerful friends he has made. As for enemies, it is not hard to compile a list of those who will be glad to see him go. It would include most liberal Catholics, many priests, and a good many of his fellow bishops. One group who are likely to regret Pell's departure are the journalists and commentators for whom he has loomed large as a figure of ridicule if not outright contempt.

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  • RELIGION

    Discussing a good death with Philip Nitschke

    • Frank Brennan
    • 23 February 2014
    25 Comments

    I was able to mix with other writers bemoaning Australia's refugee policy including the obfuscation about the death of an asylum seeker on Manus Island and Julie Bishop's latest diplomatic initiative asking Hun Sen to accept refugees from Australia for permanent resettlement in Cambodia. I came away wondering how passionate refugee advocates could be so sanguine about doctor administered death even for children.

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  • RELIGION

    Social justice with a smile

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 19 February 2014
    7 Comments

    Social justice has to do with what we owe to others. No one likes to think of their debts. And when the debts are universalised so that they are owed by us as members of society, we do not want to know about them. No wonder it is more effective to appeal to our individual generosity than to our shared duty, and for religious leaders to be less comfortable speaking about justice than about love.

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