Author: Frank Brennan

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Border control gulags have had their time

    • Frank Brennan
    • 04 October 2015
    28 Comments

    Anyone hoping a Turnbull government will be more accommodating of boat people than an Abbott government will be sadly mistaken. But that is not the end of the matter. Now that the government has firmly closed the entry door to Australia, there is no warrant for maintaining the chamber of horrors in the Pacific which was set up as a 'circuit breaker' deterrent. Turnbull needs to admit that a purposeless chamber of horrors is not just harsh; it is cruel, and it is unAustralian.

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  • Reshaping the public space: Lessons for Australian refugee, Aboriginal and climate policy

    • Frank Brennan
    • 17 September 2015

    Pope Francis's concerns are not narrowly dogmatic or pedagogical but universally pastoral. He knows that millions of people, including erstwhile Catholics, are now suspicious of or not helped by notions of tradition, authority, ritual and community when it comes to their own spiritual growth which is now more individual and eclectic. He wants to step beyond the Church's perceived lack of authenticity and its moral focus on individual matters, more often than not, sexual. He thinks the world is in a mess particularly with the state of the planet — climate change, loss of biodiversity and water shortages, but also with the oppression of the poor whose life basics are not assured by the operation of the free market, and with the clutter and violence of lives which are cheated the opportunity for interior peace. He is going to great pains to demystify his office. He wants all people of good will to emulate him and to be both joyful and troubled as they wrestle with the probl

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  • AUSTRALIA

    It’s time Mr Heydon was taken to court

    • Frank Brennan
    • 08 September 2015
    7 Comments

    Senator Penny Wong moved a motion requesting the Governor-General to sack Dyson Heydon from the unions royal commission. This is a disgrace. It evokes memories of Governor General John Kerr sacking Prime Minister Gough Whitlam almost 40 years ago. The unions must appeal Heydon's decision to the courts, or abide by the umpire's decision.

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  • The inviolable inherent dignity of Aylan Kurdi

    • Frank Brennan
    • 06 September 2015
    11 Comments

    I believe in Aylan's inviolable, inherent dignity as a human being like all of us, no matter what side of a national border we might live. I believe that a globe of 7.3 billion people with inviolable, inherent dignity confronts huge challenges and real evil when almost 60 million people are displaced. I believe that secure national borders for a country as geographically and jurisprudentially isolated as Australia confronts an enormous moral challenge, and that we are falling short, badly and selfishly.

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  • The politics of popular evil and untrendy truth

    • Frank Brennan
    • 31 August 2015
    1 Comment

    If you want to form government in Australia and if you want to lead the Australian people to be more generous, making more places available for refugees to resettle permanently in Australia, you first have to stop the boats. If you want to restore some equity to the means of choosing only some tens of thousands of refugees per annum for permanent residence in Australia from the tens of millions of people displaced in the world, you need to secure the borders. The untrendy truth is that not all asylum seekers have the right to enter Australia but that those who are in direct flight from persecution whether that be in Sri Lanka or Indonesia do, and that it is possible fairly readily (and even on the high seas) to draw a distinction between those in direct flight and those engaged in secondary movement understandably dissatisfied with the level of protection and the transparency of processing in transit countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. The popular evil is that political

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  • The insights of Pope Francis in shaping Catholic health and aged care

    • Frank Brennan
    • 25 August 2015
    7 Comments

    When addressing Italian doctors last November, Pope Francis quoted St. Camillus de Lellis who suggested that the most effective method in caring for the sick was simply to 'Put more heart into those hands.' Let's do something to change the market settings and political settings here in Australia to modify the behaviour of all Australians in the future, and let's attend to our own Franciscan interior ecological conversion with our care for the vulnerable.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Four preconditions for supporting marriage equality

    • Frank Brennan
    • 11 August 2015
    142 Comments

    I readily accept that the Commonwealth Parliament will legislate for same sex marriage in the foreseeable future. When Parliament does, I will be fully accepting of that decision. If asked by politicians how they should exercise their conscience vote, there is no way that I would say that they should not support civil recognition of same sex marriage. But neither would I say that they must support it NOW. If I were a member of parliament, I would want four assurances before I voted for same sex marriage.

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  • A trinity of questions about Laudato Si’

    • Frank Brennan
    • 05 August 2015
    3 Comments

    Pope Francis is not the first pope to address a social encyclical to everyone. But in comparison with his predecessors, Francis has been more inclusive in the process of writing the encyclical and in the final content of the document. He quotes from 17 different conferences of Catholic bishops. He is at pains to indicate that he is collaborative and that he takes the principle of subsidiarity very seriously. Being the final redactor of the text, he has felt free to interpolate some very folksy advice from time to time. He has also taken the liberty of inserting some very blunt, evocative images of environmental and economic devastation.

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  • Homily for the Feast of St Ignatius Loyola

    • Frank Brennan
    • 02 August 2015
    1 Comment

    I am one of those Jesuits who sometimes has been perceived as not being sufficiently loyal to the church hierarchy. From time to time, people of good will have urged me to consider Ignatius' rules for thinking with the Church which are appended to his Spiritual Exercises. The stereotypical view of those rules is often summed up by quoting the first sentence of the 13th rule: 'To keep ourselves right in all things, we ought to hold fast to this principle: What I see as white, I would believe to be black if the hierarchical Church would thus determine it.' But life was not ever that simple, even in the time of Ignatius. Feast of St Ignatius homily by Frank Brennan

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Modest but realistic hope for a 2017 Referendum

    • Frank Brennan
    • 21 July 2015
    7 Comments

    Australia is more mature and more complex than it was at the time of the 1967 Aboriginal citizenship referendum. We need to be very attentive to the diversity and (hopefully) emerging consensus of Aboriginal viewpoints. We also need to be attentive to what measures the leaders of our major political parties will be prepared to sponsor during the life of the next parliament, championing those measures in a referendum campaign.

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  • The challenge of education for social justice

    • Frank Brennan
    • 07 July 2015
    3 Comments

    I suspect Pope Francis had some of our Jesuit alumni in mind when he wrote in his encyclical Laudato Si: 'A politics concerned with immediate results, supported by consumerist sectors of the population, is driven to produce short-term growth... True statecraft is manifest when, in difficult times, we uphold high principles and think of the long-term common good. Political powers do not find it easy to assume this duty'.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The US Supreme Court's gay marriage overreach

    • Frank Brennan
    • 02 July 2015
    75 Comments

    In its determination that same sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, the US Supreme Court took it upon itself to discover a definitive answer in the silent Constitution on this contested social question. This is regrettable, because there can be no doubt that the democratic process was taking US society in only one direction, and the Court's unilateral intervention has reduced the prospects of community acceptance and community compromise regarding the freedom of religious practice of those who cannot embrace same-sex marriage for religious reasons.

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