Author: Neil Ormerod

  • RELIGION

    Winds of theological change at the Vatican

    • Neil Ormerod
    • 13 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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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Coal hard facts for religious investors

    • Neil Ormerod
    • 11 February 2014
    12 Comments

    The international movement to divest from investment in fossil fuels is gathering momentum. Investors are starting to realise that as governments act to restrain fossil fuel consumption, fossil fuel companies will find their assets being written down. This is particularly pertinent to Australia, the second largest coal exporter. And it raises questions for Australian religious bodies about the prudent and moral use of their resources.

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  • RELIGION

    Is the pope a Marxist?

    • Neil Ormerod
    • 17 December 2013
    27 Comments

    Pope Francis' vision for the church of the poor is now joined to a stinging critique of our globalised economy which promotes a 'new tyranny' of unfettered capitalism and an attack on the 'idolatry of money'. While such language has not been uncommon, buried in the riches of Catholic social teaching, this pope has made it up front and centre stage of his message.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Climate denial tide is turning

    • Neil Ormerod
    • 04 November 2013
    47 Comments

    With the publication of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Los Angeles Times made the bold decision to no longer publish letters from climate change denialists saying climate change is a matter of fact, not opinion. While this might seem like a small victory, the more substantial issue on the horizon is the global campaign for divestment in the fossil fuel industry. As it gains momentum and fossil fuel companies will be forced to reassess the value of their assets.

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  • RELIGION

    Pope Francis the smiling revolutionary

    • Neil Ormerod
    • 17 May 2013
    17 Comments

    It is difficult to get into the mind of a person who might have been pope eight years earlier. Would the intervening years have been filled with 'what ifs'? Would he have watched Benedict and wondered how he might have led differently? Whether they knew it or not the cardinals initiated a quiet revolution in electing this man. 

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  • RELIGION

    The difference one pope can make

    • Neil Ormerod
    • 21 March 2013
    7 Comments

    There are 57 cardinals over 72 years of age. If Francis is in office for eight years or more he'll have a direct hand in replacing each of them. Just as John Paul II shaped the college of cardinals for the election of Benedict, so Francis is likely to shape the college for the election of his successor. This is a long term impact.

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  • RELIGION

    A pope for hard seasons

    • Neil Ormerod
    • 18 February 2013
    27 Comments

    One of the major challenges facing the new pope will be to find creative and compassionate ways of addressing the issue of clergy sexual abuse. A proper response will require a change in heart and mind, to see the world through the eyes of the suffering and humiliated. Can we expect anything less from the next pope?

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  • RELIGION

    Bruises all round in Pell-Dawkins street fight

    • Neil Ormerod
    • 11 April 2012
    89 Comments

    Atheist Richard Dawkins' debate with the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams in February was a gentlemanly affair. By contrast Dawkins' debate with Cardinal George Pell on the ABC's Q&A this week was billed as a 'title fight of belief'. As one comment on Twitter noted the next day, 'they both lost'.

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  • EDUCATION

    Future bites for theological colleges

    • Neil Ormerod
    • 06 September 2011
    11 Comments

    The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency will have real teeth, operating on a risk analysis basis with the power to deregister institutions. In this context Melbourne College of Divinity's historic bid to become a specialised 'university of divinity' is a leap of faith.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Tony Abbott's FUD factor

    • Neil Ormerod
    • 01 August 2011
    36 Comments

    In the 1980s computer journalists used to refer to the 'FUD factor' and its impact on computer purchases. FUD — Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. Tony Abbott has become the master of the FUD factor in the debate over climate change and the carbon tax.

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  • RELIGION

    Twelve Steps to healing an abusive Church

    • Neil Ormerod
    • 23 March 2011
    32 Comments

    I received a letter from a former student. Ten years ago, he had suddenly vanished without warning or further communication. Now he was about to reveal the reasons for his disappearance. It was the sort of story I had heard often before.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Best of 2010: Tony Abbott's missing moral core

    • Neil Ormerod
    • 11 January 2011
    18 Comments

    Tony Abbott has been in public life for a long time. Most recently there has been his meteoric rise to leadership of the Liberal party and to a hair’s breadth from the prime ministership itself. Charming and disarming as he can be, there is something deeply disturbing in the way he carries out his public role.

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