Author: Frank Brennan

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Constitutional change that will improve indigenous quality of life

    • Frank Brennan
    • 30 June 2015
    6 Comments

    Those Aborigines who are most at home in modern Australia tend to be those with a secure foothold in both the Dreaming and the Market. Those who are most alienated and despairing are those with a foothold in neither. Constitutional change alone won't make things better. But a good Constitution is a better complement to other measures – such as a statutory charter – than a bad one.

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  • My tribute to Vicki Clark's passionate ministry

    • Frank Brennan
    • 25 June 2015
    4 Comments

    The simple Aboriginal ritual over the burial site of Conaci was in stark contrast to the pomp and hierarchical ceremony in St Peter’s Square the previous day.  Vicki and her companions were there leading those of us who are the descendants of their colonizers, teaching us the history, sharing the story, and enabling us to embrace the mystery of it all.

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  • Christian perspectives on war and peace

    • Frank Brennan
    • 23 June 2015
    1 Comment

    Given the ready access we have to international media and the world wide web, we can no longer plead ignorance of the trouble going on in our world. Those of us who are purist pacifists can presumably put a coherent case for eschewing violence in all cases, even were a madman to be imminently threatening the lives of our most vulnerable loved ones. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Speaking for others in the public square

    • Frank Brennan
    • 21 June 2015
    4 Comments

    Walking towards the courthouse, I heard a cry, 'Hey, Father Frank, over here! You've got to support us mob.' I was torn. I was chairing a national consultation at the request of the Commonwealth Government. I did not want to politicise our presence in town.   But then again, I did not want to abandon Ben and his colleagues in their hour of need. They all stood in front of an Aboriginal flag.  Some were crying out for justice for their deceased loved one.

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  • Call off the Cardinal Pell witch-hunt

    • Frank Brennan
    • 03 June 2015
    22 Comments

    As we await Cardinal Pell's appearance before the Royal Commission, many Australians are baying for his blood. It is time for those of us in the Church to stop paying undue deference to those who exercise ecclesiastical power in a fashion at odds with contemporary notions of transparency and equality. It's also time for all commentators to play the ball, and not the man.

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  • Romero answers the question of who a pastor should side with

    • Frank Brennan
    • 31 May 2015
    4 Comments

    We recall that Oscar Romero was chosen by the Vatican to be the new archbishop of San Salvador in 1977 because he was regarded as a safe spiritual leader who was acceptable to the politically powerful in El Salvador.  It was thought that he would not challenge the status quo.  Such predictions came to nought given the events of 12 March 1977 when his friend, the Jesuit Fr Rutillio Grande SJ was killed with two of his companions.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The path to a successful referendum

    • Frank Brennan
    • 27 May 2015
    5 Comments

    We gather on the 48th anniversary of the 1967 referendum. All major political parties to an agreed referendum question when going into the next federal election, with the understanding that the new government and the new parliament would proceed to put a referendum to the people, perhaps on Saturday 27 May 2017, the fiftieth anniversary of the successful 1967 referendum.

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  • The spirit of Redfern's Ted Kennedy a decade on

    • Frank Brennan
    • 24 May 2015
    7 Comments

    There are many things different from Ted's day, but he would have spoken of them without fear or compromise. A pope from the South who asks 'Who am I to judge?'; a 62 per cent Irish people's vote in favour of expanding the definition of civil marriage;  the long awaited beatification of Oscar Romero whose identification with the poor did not win immediate Vatican approval; the call by civic leaders for an Australian cardinal to return home and answer questions posed by a royal commission; and the election of a black US president.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Slow progress in Constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians

    • Frank Brennan
    • 18 May 2015
    7 Comments

    Our Constitution is premised on the outdated notions of terra nullius and assimilation. It is more than three years ago since the Gillard Government set up an Expert Panel, and the Abbott Government is waiting for consensus. Noel Pearson is right to insist that Aboriginal leaders need a place at the table.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Boston bomber sentence shows death penalty is always political

    • Frank Brennan
    • 18 May 2015
    11 Comments

    The lesson from the trials of Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and the Bali nine is that the death penalty is always political and macabre. In the US, Justice Scalia was not at all minded to consider the merits of the argument about the effects of the drug Midazolam because he thought the case was all part of a long term political campaign to delegitimise the death penalty. 

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  • Anzac Day centenary homily at Harvard Memorial Church

    • Frank Brennan
    • 25 April 2015
    5 Comments

    This Memorial Church here at Harvard was dedicated on Armistice Day 1932 in memory of those who died in World War I. It is fitting that we, Australians, New Zealanders, Turks and Americans should gather in this place to mark the centenary of Anzac Day, the day on which Australians and New Zealanders landed in the stillness of the early dawn on the Turkish shoreline wanting to assist with the Allies’ advance on Constantinople, now Istanbul, the day on which the Turks commenced a successful, eight month campaign to defend their homeland against the assault.

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  • The death penalty is always political

    • Frank Brennan
    • 30 March 2015
    10 Comments

    Some of the Australian commentary on the Indonesian justice system has been understandably very critical.  But living here in the USA for a year, I have come to realise that the death penalty infects every justice system no matter how good and robust it is.  In the end, the death penalty is always political.  That’s why I am very grateful to Pope John Paul II who changed his position.

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