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  • Main image: Woman and dog sitting in sunny window (Malte Mueller/Getty Images)
    arts and culture

    Why we need to think communally in lockdown

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 29 July 2021

    The despair induced by daily infection and death tallies would be, in normal times, ameliorated to some extent by one’s workaday routine. And the crisis would be borne in togetherness — an impossible response, since the pandemic calls on us to withdraw into ourselves rather than draw together.

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  • Main image: Barbed wire at sunset (Getty images)
    australia

    The ebbtide of responsibility

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 28 July 2021
    1 Comment

    The tidal movement from treating children as persons each with their own dignity, and worthy of respect and of encouragement to a good future, to treating them as adult and incorrigible criminals worthy only of punishment is both irrational and injurious of society as well as of the children themselves. Yet it is deeply rooted in the mindset of all Australian Governments.

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  • Main image: Children reading while parent uses iPad (Chris Johnston illustration)
    arts and culture

    The value of novels

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 26 July 2021
    7 Comments

    I was at university when I first heard of the so-called death of the novel, and was frightened by the thought. But I’ve since heard the phrase many times during the ensuing decades, and am cheered by the fact that so far the novel has clung to life, albeit precariously, while novelists persist in writing, despite the many drawbacks attendant upon the practice.

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  • Main image: U.S. President George W. Bush (L) and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld attend the dedication ceremony for the new U.S. Air Force Memorial (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

    The amoral world of Donald Rumsfeld

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 22 July 2021
    13 Comments

    The late Donald Rumsfeld, twice US Secretary of Defense, a Fortune 500 CEO, and congressman for three terms, did not let evidence and the firmness of facts trouble him. If he had a cause to pursue he would. Morality was merely an impediment to service.

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  • Main image:  Prime Minister Scott Morrison delivers a keynote address during a luncheon at the Perth USAsia Centre on June 9, 2021 in Perth, Australia. Morrison gave the keynote address, ahead of the G7 Summit. (Photo by Matt Jelonek/Getty Images)

    The rift with China: a time for harmony

    • Joseph Camilleri
    • 15 July 2021
    17 Comments

    The souring of relations with China is driven not just by prime ministers, foreign and defence ministers, or even by Cabinet. It is the product of converging interests with immense reach and influence.

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  • Main image: U.S. President Joe Biden (R) hosts Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani in the Oval Office at the White House (Getty Images/Pool)

    Western withdrawal from Afghanistan marks the beginning of an uncertain future

    • Justin Glyn
    • 13 July 2021
    5 Comments

    The atrocities committed in the Taliban siege of Mazar-i-Sharif in the late 1990s have not been forgotten. Nevertheless, the ‘progress’ brought by the invading forces — after twenty years’ hard fighting against the forces which they themselves had previously armed and trained against the Soviets — is equally debatable.

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  • Main image: Statue of Themis (Stella Vogt/Pixabay)

    The fraying of judicial nerves in migration cases

    • Frank Brennan
    • 13 July 2021
    12 Comments

    Australian governments and judges have been playing catch up for a long time trying to deal with the backlog of claims for migrant visas. A couple of recent judgments highlight the frustration at work in the system.

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  • Main image: Illustration Chris Johnston

    Don’t be distracted by the individual blame game, focus on the system

    • Cristy Clark
    • 13 July 2021
    13 Comments

    Although there has been a reasonable level of attention paid to governance issues — such as the incredibly slow vaccine roll out, the ongoing problems with hotel quarantine, and the timing of the lockdown itself — Sydney’s current lockdown has also been marked by an unhelpful focus on individual actions.

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  • Main image: Aboriginal flag waving (Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

    The uncomfortable legacy: colonisation and the church

    • Brian McCoy
    • 07 July 2021
    17 Comments

    Reading the paper, Instrumentum Laboris, written in preparation for the coming Plenary Council, I found myself quite disappointed by the lack of depth, awareness and any sense of the need for an apology. Much less an openness to any serious conversion that is needed within the Church.

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  • Main image: Woman in church wearing a face mask and praying with her hands outstretched. Other pray in the background. (Gabriella Clare Marino/Unsplash)

    The challenges of representing Catholic Australia

    • John Warhurst
    • 20 July 2021
    32 Comments

    The Plenary Council First Assembly is only two months away, but uncertainty still remains about the role that its 282 members will play. Not just about what work they will do but what conception of the role they will bring or will be imposed upon them by the authorities.

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  • Main image: Benedictine monks work in a garden at Pluscarden Abbey (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

    St Benedict and communities: not to retreat from the world, but to engage deeply in it

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 15 July 2021
    13 Comments

    Benedict’s rule anticipates and handles the weakness inherent in enthusiastic movements led by charismatic leaders to leave the world. They import into the communities the power-based relationships in the world that they left.

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  • Main image: Priest giving out the host (Thays Orrico/Unsplash)

    The Eucharist is a schooling for sinners, not a reward for the just

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 08 July 2021
    38 Comments

    Looking from outside at the debates among American Catholics about whether President Biden should be refused communion has been a little like watching the crowd in a Rangers v Celtic game in Glasgow. Much that was said and done fervently in the name of faith showed little familiarity with it. To understand the issue we must enter the Catholic imaginative world in which the Eucharist is central.

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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
    5 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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  • Main image: Pope Francis (Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk/Flickr)

    Climate crisis, displacement and solidarity

    • Stephen Minas
    • 13 April 2021
    2 Comments

    On 30 March, the Holy See engaged with an important aspect of displacement with the publication of its ‘Pastoral Orientations on Climate Displaced People’. The intersection between climate change and human displacement is a still emerging area of concern. Nevertheless, we know that climate change is already a factor in various forms of human mobility.

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  • Main image: William Bradley drawings from his journal `A Voyage to New South Wales', ca. 1802 (Mitchell library, State Library of New South Wales)

    The complexity of epidemics

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 22 July 2021
    8 Comments

    It is refreshing to find a work that is exploratory and invites its readers into a world more complex than they had imagined. Such a work is a recent book by Peter Dowling, Fatal Contact: How Epidemics Nearly Wiped Out Australia’s First Peoples.

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  • Photo of a bee hive (Bianca Ackermann/Unsplash)

    The colour of you

    • Rory Harris
    • 20 July 2021
    2 Comments

    The green of your garden. A white box. Hive of bees. The colour of you.

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  • Man grinding metal (Manki Kim/Unsplash)

    My father's tools

    • Tom Manning
    • 06 July 2021
    6 Comments

    Father’s hands of finer metal. Chisel, bandsaw, axe and mallet. Bone on wire and flesh on steel. He wore your scars and jabs and cuts. Your friction burns by grinding wheel.

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