RELIGION


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Family matters: Strengthening respectful relationships

5 Comments
25 June 2017 | Frank Brennan

Here in Ballarat, you know better than most other Catholics that respectful relationships in the church community have been rent asunder by the depredations of child sex offenders whose exploits went unchecked by those ordained to exercise tradition, authority, teaching and discipline. We will strengthen respectful relationships only with a voluntary commitment to truth, justice and healing — and not one forced by a royal commission or public odour. 


Live by love and not by fear

4 Comments
25 June 2017 | Frank Brennan

These cardinals have a few strong concerns. They think the pope should be setting down clear universal rules that apply to everyone in every situation. Having spent a life time as a pastor in Buenos Aires, Francis knows life is much more complex and messy than that. These four cardinals pine for the papacy of John Paul II. John Paul was a great leader and a great pope for his time. Francis is also a great leader and a great pope for his time, for our time. John Paul and Francis are very different. But then again, the times are very different.


Vatican II, the sexual revolution and clergy sexual misconduct

63 Comments
06 June 2017 | Stephen de Weger

Vatican IIThe sexual revolution and Vatican II was a release from 'parental control' resulting, for many, in the sudden emergence of full-blown psychological adolescence with its risk taking, experimentation and lack of a fully developed sense of responsibility. Many clergy either slid into adolescent liberalism or, collapsing under new adult demands of freedom, retreated into reactionary conservatism. Others grew up and moved on, into new ways of being 'celibate'. Clergy misconduct is found in all three groups.


Muslim feminists have their work cut out for them

9 Comments
28 May 2017 | Rachel Woodlock

t-shirt This is what a Muslim feminist looks likeI used to have a t-shirt that read 'this is what a radical Muslim feminist looks like' and I got my fair share of raised eyebrows and challenging questions. The most obvious group that thinks Muslim feminism is oxymoronic are those who we've started to call the 'alt-right'. This group salivates over images of burqa-clad Muslim women scuttling in fear from their bearded oppressors. It is not that they want to free Muslim women so much as it is they don't want the Brown Man ruling.


Catholic citizens needed within the Church

53 Comments
22 May 2017 | John Warhurst

Kristina Keneally, Marilyn Hatton and Francis Sullivan presented at the public forum for Concerned Catholics of Canberra-Goulburn, and are pictured here with John Warhurst (far left).Catholics have a proud record of exercising their democratic rights within Australian democracy as voters, members of political parties and lobby groups, and as elected representatives. But within their own church they have been taught to leave their democratic rights at the door. Now is the time to challenge that norm in parishes, dioceses and the wider church. In responding to the royal commission the church needs an infusion of democratic values, including transparency and accountability.


The work of disobedience

14 Comments
18 May 2017 | Susan Leong

Cartoon by Chris Johnston shows modern works going against the grain of drone-like traditional workers.As adults we deal with KPIs every day at work, targets defined apparently for one's benefit so we all know what needs to be achieved if our jobs are to be secured. Sadly, they also determine what, how and where we focus our efforts as these targets are internalised over time. If there is to be a future for work, it is to be found in such disobedience, a rejection of the primacy of paid labour for work as 'pleasure in the exercise of our energies'.


Becoming a church for mission 2030

16 May 2017 | Frank Brennan

As the Church of 2030, we need to be more attentive to the contemplation of believers and our experience of spiritual realities, as well as the preaching of the church. Pope Francis has no time whatever for the notion of the Church as a perfect society. But, there is no way that Francis wants to abandon the ideals and the commitment to truth and justice so well exemplified by his predecessors John Paul II and Benedict.


Reconciliation and mission

14 May 2017 | Frank Brennan

The reconciliation of this vertical relationship is possible only through the mediation of Jesus who embodies, lives and dies the reality of this reconciliation. He puts us right with our God and thereby establishes the basis for right relationship with each other. In many countries such as Australia, Timor Leste and South Africa, the public rhetoric and programs for reconciliation have, at least in part, been informed and underpinned by this theological perspective.


The sad release of skipping church

11 Comments
08 May 2017 | Ryan Suckling

Church pewsThere came a time for me, as it does for many, when going to church was no longer obligatory. I suspect it's most common in those middle years of adolescence - the time when parents feel the need to loosen their hold over you, but with the blanket of judgement ever fixed. My wane in piety was not unforeseen. Each Sunday, as my family was getting ready, I'd linger by the bathroom. The plan was to tentatively make everyone aware I wasn't quite up for church-going that day. Reactions varied.


Finding meaning in a chaotic/changing world

1 Comment
07 May 2017 | Frank Brennan

Our Church is presently a strained, outdated social institution with an exclusively male hierarchy and clergy. But it is also the privileged locus for us to be called to the banquet of the Lord sharing theology and sacrament which have sustained the hearts and minds of similar pilgrims for two millennia. Thank God for Pope Francis who is showing us the way, helping us to find meaning in our changing and chaotic world, putting a fresh spring in the step of all those Catholics holding in tension the prophetic and the practical, the theological and the humanist, the tradition and the contemporary reality.


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