Author: Andrew Hamilton

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Don't pick the scab of meaning from our national holidays

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 23 January 2017
    16 Comments

    The enjoyment of the holidays did not soften the mayhem and malice of the public world and the people whose lives and happiness are so destroyed by them. It held in mind the images of death and diminishment, but set them on a canvas of thanksgiving for the ways in which kindness and humanity are embodied in people's lives, for the strength and delicacy of relationships that we take for granted, and for the gift of a beach holiday that is an impossible dream for so many Australians.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Obama's shining light in sombre times

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 17 January 2017
    12 Comments

    In an otherwise sombre start to the year Barack Obama's final speech has been a shining light. He celebrated what he saw as the successes of his administration without sneering at his political opponents. He spoke graciously and decently, and evoked hope for the future. Obama is right in insisting that empathy is the necessary starting point for reconstructing a broken economic framework. It enables a global perspective from which the good of individuals and groups is set within the flourishing of the whole community, and especially the most disadvantaged.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Christmas story trumps the games that power plays

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 15 December 2016
    11 Comments

    TS Eliot's 'Journey of the Magi' ends with the ambiguous line, 'I would be glad of another death'. If we set alongside one another the birth of a new and sour political order and the birth that is central to the first Christmas story, we are challenged to resolve the ambiguity. We may give up our hopes for a just and peaceful world, retire from it as gracefully as we can, and accept the victory of power and brutality. Or we can return to the Christmas story and to the hope that is central to it.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Christmas blighted by child detention obscenity

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 13 December 2016
    7 Comments

    This year International Migrants Day has called for children to be released from detention. It is appropriate that an event held in the shadow of Christmas should advocate for children. For they lie at the heart of Christmas. The insistence in the Gospel stories on the obligation to respect and nurture children is not exclusive to Christians. It is echoed in the attention to children and concern for their growth into responsible adults shared by other religions and cultures.

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  • RELIGION

    Tackling porn and alcohol key to family violence responses

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 29 November 2016
    11 Comments

    One of the weaknesses in our society is its lack of effective regulations governing the marketing and availability of alcohol. A second is the ready availability of pornography, as many young men learn how to behave towards women from sadistic and explicit pornography. In the case of the lack of restrictions on the availability of both, churches concerned to respond to domestic violence will need to meet the libertarian objections to regulating profitable business and individual behaviour.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Khmer stories illuminate our world's present brutality

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 28 November 2016
    3 Comments

    I spent some summers in the border camps around the same time as Healy. This was life-changing: it made me subsequently look at policies from the perspective of those affected by them. But on reading these stories told by from the perspective of the Khmer people I recognised how much of their life I had not noticed. This gap between perception and reality may be pertinent to reflection on how we are to respond to the startling recent shifts in our world and to the brutality that runs through them.

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  • RELIGION

    Larger fears fuel cardinals' divorce beef

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 22 November 2016
    30 Comments

    Four cardinals wrote to the Pope demanding yes or no answers as to whether his reflection Amoris Laetitia was faithful to Catholic tradition in its treatment of the reception by divorced Catholics of communion. On not receiving a reply they published their letter, and one followed it up with murmurs about impeachment. The incident prompts reflection on the propriety of cardinals questioning a pope in this way and the reasons why discussion of communion for the divorced should raise such passion.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Richie Benaud's silent reproach to Trumpism

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 14 November 2016
    8 Comments

    Climactic events demand we give an account of ourselves. Where were you when you heard that JFK was assassinated? Where were you when the planes went into the World Trade Centre? If we can't remember, we fear we may convict ourselves of reprehensible levity. In future years when I am asked what I was doing when Donald Trump was elected President, I shall have a ready answer: I was reading Brian Matthews' splendid reflection on Richie Benaud.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Trust or bust after shattering US election campaign

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 08 November 2016
    21 Comments

    The US election, to no one's regret, is now over. It remains to wish Donald Trump well as he prepares to take up the office of president. It is tempting to see Hillary Clinton as Humpty Dumpty and ask how she can pick up the pieces of her life, when tarnished and wearied by a campaign so full of personal abuse, revelations of tawdry behaviour and a lack of grace. Yet it is not Clinton that lies broken at the foot of the wall. It is the polity of the US, shown to be bereft of the trust necessary for national wellbeing.

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  • RELIGION

    New Jesuit General's feeling for the political periphery

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 06 November 2016
    6 Comments

    Ordinarily I wouldn't dare to say political leaders have anything to learn from Jesuits. But these are the kind of extraordinary times of anxiety and flux that led ancient rulers to consult oracles, read tea leaves and look at the flight of birds. People fret because their future and pockets rise and fall on the tide of of would-be presidents. In the sour slurry of discontent and puzzlement the election of a Venezuelan political scientist as international leader of the Jesuits provides material for broader reflection.

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  • RELIGION

    Buried or burned, respect for the dead is what matters

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 01 November 2016
    29 Comments

    Last week the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued an Instruction on the conditions under which cremation is legitimate for Catholics. The starting point is the conviction that for Christians the best way of treating the body after death is through burial. Yet cremation is open to possibilities that the Instruction does not envisage. Sprinkling the ashes over the sea or a place significant to the dead person can be consistent with an informed Christian sensibility. It need not be pantheistic.

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  • RELIGION

    Heed the echoes of Mussolini's Italy in today's world

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 24 October 2016
    11 Comments

    When surveying one's world it is always dangerous to forget the past. Australian historian John Molony's recent book about Italian priest and politician Luigi Sturzo is an accounting, showing how easily democracy, freedom and respect for human rights can be surrendered both by politicians and by the Catholic Church. It invites reflection on our situation today. The Italy in which Mussolini came to power and in which Sturzo operated has haunting similarities to today's world.

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