Search Results: Andrew Hamilton

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  • RELIGION

    Australian bishops gather in the light of the royal commission

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 04 May 2017
    51 Comments

    The government and the Catholic Church both face difficulties when commending values. The difficulties will dog events during the next week in which both institutions are on public display: the bringing down of the budget and the meeting of the Australian Catholics bishops. The question Australians ask is whether the bishops and other public representatives of the Catholic Church have the stomach for the changes in governance needed to address the factors that led to child abuse.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Youth justice system needs reform not repression

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 25 April 2017
    7 Comments

    We need only to imagine ourselves as a child subject to the practices described in these accounts, to find them scarifying. The recurring images of children lying in the foetal position, in solitary confinement, hooded or surrounded by guards say it all. When we set them against the results of research into the biological and psychological development of children, detention, prolonged lockdowns, isolation and a culture of punishment are destructive and counterproductive.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Take care not to co-opt soldiers' and civilians' deaths

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 20 April 2017
    4 Comments

    At Anzac Day it is common to set the deaths of soldiers into the context of a larger cause; as shaping a template of national identity. This year we celebrate it in a sea of citizen deaths from terrorism and military actions. Such killings are also often set within a broader context such as democracy, national security, or the Western way of life. Deeper reflection suggests that to attribute meaning and value to people through their relationship to a cause does not enhance but diminishes their humanity.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Easter is the right time to find homes for children

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 12 April 2017
    5 Comments

    Sometimes events coincide happily. At other times the coincidence rings strangely. This year Youth Homelessness Matters Day is celebrated the day before Easter Sunday: desolation confronts happiness, penury plenty, and deprivation plenitude. When events clash most sharply, they may also illuminate one another most brightly. The Easter stories invite deep reflection on home and on homelessness, on finding a home and being made to feel at home.

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  • RELIGION

    Labor Party reform through Catholic Social Teaching

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 04 April 2017
    5 Comments

    It can be disconcerting to hear our family history told by a sympathetic outsider. I found Race Matthews' new book that treats Catholic engagement in public social issues fascinating in that respect. Matthews' perspective is that of a member of the Labor Party who admires Catholic Social Teaching, especially its commendation of the communal ownership of business enterprises. He sees the possibilities this presents for the reform of Australian society, particularly if adopted by the Labor Party.

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  • RELIGION

    Religious belief in a tempest tossed church

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 28 March 2017
    29 Comments

    The Tempest Tossed Church will invite some Catholics to ask how they should visualise and plan for the future of the church. The Catholic challenge will be to shape pockets in which religiously literate and radical communities are formed around the symbols of faith. Its contribution to a more humane society will be made by joining other small groups in keeping alive the sense of 'something more' and by passing on the craft of finding the words, symbols and silences that catch it.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Don't underestimate the politics of hate

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 21 March 2017
    15 Comments

    The Prioress in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales had a brooch alluding to Virgil's phrase, 'love conquers all'. In her case, her love for her two lapdogs beat her affection for mere people. But in public life one wonders about the truth of the epigram. Indeed a good case could be made that hatred conquers all, and that it is stronger than love. The advent of Donald Trump with his individual style has occasioned lament that the public world is now dominated by hatred and contempt. But there is nothing new in it.

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  • MEDIA

    Pub test is a kangaroo court for victims of racial hate

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 13 March 2017
    10 Comments

    Arguments for repealing 18C ignore the symbolic force of law in an imperfect society in which we live. In public life the One Nation Party, which is able to exert some influence on legislation in a fragmented parliament, regularly criticises Muslims. These views are also retailed by commentators in some mainstream media. They increase the anxiety of immigrants from Muslim nations. In such a context any weakening of 18C will be seen as the declaration of open season against such groups.

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  • RELIGION

    Larger principles underpin Pope's beggar belief

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 08 March 2017
    27 Comments

    We often find ourselves invited to respond to people who ask us for money on the street - beggars, homeless people and so on. We can respond in different ways: give them something, decline as a matter of course, decline as a matter of principle, or not notice them. Last week Pope Francis recommended that we always give coins. To many this will seem to be too categorical. However as has so often been the case, Francis' throwaway lines illuminate much larger social issues.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    No one wins as public discourse thins

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 28 February 2017
    18 Comments

    It is a commonplace that our political discourse is much impoverished. Speeches are built around sound bites. The Trump administration is experimenting with letting go of speeches and communicating within the limits set by Twitter. In such a world there is little space for more complex rhetoric, for cultural reference, for reflection on historical precedents, or for wondering. Our politicians' words leave no echoes. It is worth musing on what may be lost in the thinning of public discourse.

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  • RELIGION

    Clarity beyond clericalism: Bishop Long at the Royal Commission

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 21 February 2017
    70 Comments

    The most thought provoking testimony given during the Royal Commission's Catholic 'wrap up' was that by Vincent Long, Bishop of Parramatta. It was notable for its directness, honesty and the awareness it displayed of the importance of church culture. Bishop Long grew up in the Vietnamese Catholic Church and was afterwards chosen to lead the Australian Church. In his responses he focused particularly on clericalism and its role in giving license and cover to clerical abuse.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Uprooting toxic inequality

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 13 February 2017
    19 Comments

    In itself inequality is not harmful. It is part of the diversity proper in any human society. But the inequality that is now in question is toxic because it is extreme when measured by any scale, and because it is programmed to increase. It is self-perpetuating and self-intensifying. The increase of wealth of the few entails the marginalisation and impoverishment of others. Inequality is the enduring root and not the transient blossom of the plant of social division.

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