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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Francis sticks in Republicans' craw

    • Fatima Measham
    • 30 September 2015
    28 Comments

    The only people who regard Francis as radical are those who think popes should only attend to matters of personal conscience. Topics such as abortion and same-sex marriage are safe zones for comment because they don't concern the economic order, or threaten systems that generate wealth for the few. But Francis has smudged the line between faith and economics in a way that many conservatives find inconvenient.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Good race relations is not just an American thing, it's democracy

    • Frank Brennan
    • 10 March 2015
    17 Comments

    Saturday marked the 50th anniversary of the voting right marches across the bridge in Selma, Alabama. The movie Selma is a great though imperfect study in race relations, which is still a hot issue in the US following the spate of police killings of young African American men. Good race relations still has a long way to go, as it does in Australia.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The dark side of a migrant's American Dream

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 05 March 2015

    Abel's life is pointedly contrasted with Peter's, a young truck driver who has been the victim of several violent assaults on the job. Peter idolises Abel, for whom the Dream has apparently come true — if Abel can make it, so too can Peter. The problem is that Abel's Dream stands on the backs of ordinary workers like Peter. Peter is a tragic antihero coming to learn that for many, the Dream will remain just that.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Pope's Romero move could heal Latin American divisions

    • Antonio Castillo
    • 10 February 2015
    19 Comments

    Forces inside the Vatican stalled and blocked it for 20 years. But earlier this month, Pope Francis issued the declaration that Salvadorian Archbishop Oscar Romero was murdered 'in hatred of the faith' and not for political reasons. He is no longer officially suspected of being a Marxist sympathiser. In fact liberation theology itself has been undergoing a quiet rehabilitation during Francis' pontificate.

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  • RELIGION

    The Vatican's Francis Revolution gains pace

    • Paul Collins
    • 11 November 2014
    23 Comments

    An important power shift occurred in Rome at the weekend, and it has a genuine Australian connection. The nuncio in Canberra Archbishop Paul Gallagher was named Secretary for Relations with States, which will put him third in charge at the Vatican. He has been popular here because he has kept in touch with pastoral life, having volunteered to help out in the far-flung western NSW of Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes during his first Easter in Australia.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The Americanisation of Australia's universities

    • Sarah Klenbort
    • 10 November 2014
    23 Comments

    The US, whose citizens owe more on student loans than they do on credit cards, is the land of deregulation. Australia’s Education Minister Christopher Pyne has the support of university management in his desire to see Australia to follow the US path. But it is clear to lecturers, tutors and researchers that this will only create more inequality, mainly by forcing people without money to either miss out all together on higher education or go into a huge amount of debt.

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  • RELIGION

    Catholic Church returns to pluriformity of Vatican II

    • Neil Ormerod
    • 20 October 2014
    31 Comments

    Conservative elements were quick to criticise the interim 'relatio' of the Synod that opened the door to gay and other estranged Catholics. Undoubtedly there will be pushback, but the Catholic Church is going through something not experienced since Vatican II – a Church willing to debate topics once felt long settled, without fear or favour.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Mexican border reflections on Australian asylum seeker policy

    • Frank Brennan
    • 15 August 2014
    30 Comments

    We Australians confront none of the complexities of sharing a land border with a poor neighbour. Most Americans, I find, consider our policy morally repulsive and just stupid. They cannot believe that we routinely lock up children, that we recently held 157 people on a ship in the Indian Ocean for almost a month, and that we are now going to send up to 1000 asylum seekers to Cambodia.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Central American ganglands spark child refugee crisis

    • Antonio Castillo
    • 23 July 2014
    2 Comments

    The exodus of thousands of unaccompanied and undocumented children from Central America countries to the US — via Mexico's unforgiving northern border — has become a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented dimensions. While organised crime continues, economic violence remains unresolved and the US doesn't get its migration policy right, such children will keep risking their lives.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Abbott's Australia beds American Calvinism

    • Lawrence Cross
    • 27 June 2014
    30 Comments

    While a number of Cabinet ministers are Christian, their policies seem to lack any Christian emphasis on caring for the poor and disadvantaged. America's interpretation of Christianity is heavily influenced by the doctrine of the theologian John Calvin, according to whom the rich who work hard for their wealth are preparing themselves for heaven, while the poor not only deserve their plight, but may well be abandoned by God.

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  • RELIGION

    Vatican perspective on Australia's refugee brutality

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 06 June 2014
    3 Comments

    Very few Vatican documents on world events are exciting. But some can be helpful when local response to these events is febrile and anxious. The Vatican guidelines on ministry to forcibly displaced persons provide a helpful mirror to reflect the public Australian response to asylum seekers. It offers a long view of Catholic reflection on refugees and a broad perspective on the human reality of having to seek protection.

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  • RELIGION

    South African lessons about racial discrimination

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 27 March 2014
    7 Comments

    The South African experience suggests racial discrimination begins with the appropriation of wealth and power by one racial group and its consequent suppression of other groups in order to extend its wealth and power. If we are to address racial prejudice and discrimination we need to examine the way in which wealth and power are distributed and protected in society. In Australia, they are being concentrated increasingly in fewer hands.

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