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  • religion

    Synodality is a work in progress

    • John Warhurst
    • 23 September 2021
    9 Comments

    Synodality, the new term which is sweeping the church, is an aspirational goal not a proven methodology. For this reason, it is a test case for the lasting impact on church reform of the papacy of Pope Francis. He has given us an aspiration but also set us a test.  

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  • religion

    Is it time to re-think seminaries?

    • Gideon Goosen
    • 23 September 2021
    27 Comments

    The Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse identified clericalism as a significant contributor to abuse across religious institutions Australia-wide. Clericalism is rooted in a theological belief that the clergy are different to the laity, having undergone an ‘ontological change’ at ordination, and feeds the notion that the clergy may not be challenged. And according to the report, the culture of clericalism is on the rise in seminaries in Australia.

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  • australia

    A disarming day

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 23 September 2021
    7 Comments

    Unlike December 25, September 26 is a World Day that passes by in silence. It calls for the Elimination of all Nuclear Weapons. Nuclear power is too mysterious to understand, too horrific to dwell on, and too far away to take responsibility for. It and its destructive power are unthinkable. And yet it continues to press on us, most recently in the announcement that Australia will build nuclear-powered submarines.

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  • Ted Lasso's workplace

    • Michael McGirr
    • 20 September 2021
    8 Comments

    It’s not hard to understand why so many people are watching Ted Lasso (Apple TV), nor why it was nominated for twenty Emmy Awards and won seven. Believe it or not, it is twenty years since The Office first premiered on the BBC. Not since then has a comedy series cut so close to the bone of our cultural needs and anxieties.

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  • 20/20

    • Geoff Page
    • 14 September 2021
    1 Comment

    Once again we’re forced to think about the ones who’ve kept us going, doctors, nurses, nurses’ aides, swallowing their fear and knowing masks, however good, can never be sufficient, those who check each other’s PPE, all suited-up as if they planned a landing on the moon.  

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  • The surprising joys of the Olympics in lockdown

    • Brenna Dempsey
    • 14 September 2021

    I have never paid much attention to the Olympics or Paralympics. The games always seemed too patriotic while simultaneously being too individualistic. Plus, I don’t enjoy watching people push themselves so hard for something to the point where they need to throw up. That said, I’m in Melbourne in lockdown, I’m working from home, and living alone and I need to have something on in the background while I work, or I feel too lonely. If I play music, I get distracted. So I decided to tune into the games and have them on in the background, volume low, to see if it helped me focus.

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  • Australia’s nuclear submarine trade-off

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 20 September 2021
    19 Comments

    Defence is a costly business, and few branches of defence are more costly, and questionable, than a country’s submarine capability. Since 2009, Project SEA 1000, the name for Australia’s Future Submarine program, has fascinated strategists and defence planners.  In 2016, this resulted in an agreement with the French submarine company DCNS (now called Naval Group) to build an un-designed attack class vessel. Other contenders in the competitive tender — Germany and Japan, for instance — had existing models. 

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  • New Yorkers remember 9/11 twenty years later

    • Jim McDermott
    • 14 September 2021
    3 Comments

    Giovanna Slon was just beginning her third year at Fordham University in the Bronx when a plane hit the World Trade Center on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. ‘At 8:47am, my R.A. bangs on my door and tells me “You have to get up. There’s something happening.”’   

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  • The Tampa legacy 20 years on

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 07 September 2021
    23 Comments

    It took 438 desperate human beings upon the overladen wooden fishing boat, the KM Palapa, to present Australia’s Howard government in August 2001 with an electoral opportunity. At first, there was feigned ignorance from Canberra about any signs of desperation. The vessel, lacking power, lay some 100km off Christmas Island. Despite a coast guard plane noting men jumping up and down on the roof in a frenzy, nothing was initially done.

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  • The Mercy Sisters of the Pilbara

    • Paul Cleary
    • 21 September 2021
    1 Comment

    In the late 1970s, two Mercy sisters answered a call to work with Aboriginal people, and they chose a place in the Pilbara region of Western Australia that had a notorious reputation. Sisters Bernadette Kennedy and Bernadine Daly arrived in the largely Aboriginal town of Roebourne in Australia’s north-west in mid-1978 to see if they were needed. They quickly discovered that in a town ‘awash with alcohol’ there was great need.

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  • Why Australia needs a national Frontier Wars museum

    • Zachary Wone
    • 16 September 2021
    15 Comments

    The movement for genuine and long overdue truth telling about Australian history has gained considerable momentum in recent years. The Frontier Wars in particular has emerged as one of, if not the most significant untold stories which it is now broadly agreed must be included in any such process.

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  • Three ways Queensland’s assisted dying bill goes too far

    • Frank Brennan
    • 15 September 2021
    21 Comments

    The Queensland parliament, like the Victorian parliament four years ago, is committed to legislating for voluntary assisted dying. The bill being considered by the one-chamber Queensland parliament this week basically follows the contours of the Victorian legislation. But there are three major developments proposed that are very worrying in this new field of social experimentation.

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  • Valuing human life

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 09 September 2021
    16 Comments

    In recent weeks the value of human life has become a topic of public conversation in different contexts. Proposed legislation on abortion and assisted dying has continued to focus attention on it. Debate about loosening COVID restrictions has also balanced the risk of death from the disease with risks to health and economic welfare from lockdowns. In Afghanistan the victory of the Taliban has again raised questions about the morality of the war and the killing involved by both sides.

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  • The Plenary Council: Consulting the faithful

    • Bill Uren
    • 30 August 2021
    29 Comments

    One might submit that a Plenary Council is a cumbersome instrument to ascertain the genuinely representative views of the Catholic Church in Australia. Many of the canonical strictures regarding the membership, agenda and process of the Council will dampen the original enthusiasm for the Council that provoked over 17,500 submissions.

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  • Strapped in for the Plenary Council ride

    • John Warhurst
    • 26 August 2021
    25 Comments

    Those of us who are members of the Plenary Council are now strapped in for what looks likely to be an uncertain ride. Some members, having concluded their initial formal formation and training, are now meeting in officially organised discussion sessions to build up their preparation for the first assembly which is now just over a month away.  

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  • Children don’t need counselling for climate anxiety, they need climate action

    • Cristy Clark
    • 13 September 2021
    7 Comments

    It was reported recently that Coalition MPs have been calling for an expansion of the government’s school chaplaincy program in order to reduce the mental health impacts of climate change ‘activism and alarmism’ on children. Yes, that’s right, they want to address the mental health impact of activism, not the impact of the actual, visible effects of climate change itself, or the very real threat that it poses to children’s futures.

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  • As nuclear waste storage Bill passes, the fight continues

    • Michele Madigan
    • 26 July 2021
    14 Comments

    For several decades, successive federal governments have tried but failed to establish a national nuclear waste repository, primarily to take waste from the nuclear research reactor site operated by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) at Lucas Heights, 30 km south of Sydney. Currently a site near Kimba on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula is being targeted.

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  •  River red gum at Mt Ridley reserve in Craigieburn (Elizabeth Donoghue/Flickr)

    The true quiet Australians

    • Brian Matthews
    • 03 June 2021
    6 Comments

    Red gum, this ‘smooth-barked large tree that gives watercourses all over Australia their Australian feel’, seemed intent on bobbing up in my life one way or another, sometimes as a result of sheer luck or coincidence.

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