keywords: Religious Devotion

  • AUSTRALIA

    Pope Francis looks beyond hammer and sickle crucifix chatter

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 16 July 2015
    17 Comments

    The media declared Pope Francis not amused after Bolivian President Morales presented him with a crucifix superimposed on a hammer and sickle. It turned out that the design was from Jesuit Luís Espinal, who was captured, tortured and killed by right-wing paramilitaries in 1980. It depicted Christ's affinity with workers and peasants. Pope Francis was more interested in the reality of a crucified people than in discussing representations of the crucified Jesus.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Carefully burning Scientology

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 09 July 2015
    12 Comments

    If you're going to apply a blowtorch to an institution as wealthy and litigious as the Church of Scientology, you might best be advised to first apply a magnifying glass. Alex Gibney details the dark side of the movement: its dubious tax-exempt status; allegations of psychological and physical abuse of current members and harassment of former members. But he is equally interested in unpacking the nature of belief in Scientology: what draws people to it, and also what drives them away.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The US Supreme Court's gay marriage overreach

    • Frank Brennan
    • 03 July 2015
    75 Comments

    In its determination that same sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, the US Supreme Court took it upon itself to discover a definitive answer in the silent Constitution on this contested social question. This is regrettable, because there can be no doubt that the democratic process was taking US society in only one direction, and the Court's unilateral intervention has reduced the prospects of community acceptance and community compromise regarding the freedom of religious practice of those who cannot embrace same-sex marriage for religious reasons.

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  • Christian perspectives on war and peace

    • Frank Brennan
    • 24 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

    Mannix, master conjurer in the cause of the underdog

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 26 March 2015
    15 Comments

    Daniel Mannix, who was Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne 1917-63, knew how to control an audience and shift the perception of events. He argued fiercely against conscription in the 1917 Referendum, and railed against the exploitation of struggling workers. On finishing his new biography, I imagined a meeting between him and Pope Francis, both masters of public symbols with a disdain for church clericalism and sanctimonious speech.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Paul Collins illuminates sectarian divide in Australian history

    • Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk
    • 19 December 2014
    4 Comments

    The chasm between Catholics and Protestants is thankfully unknown to my children. Paul Collins' new book A Very Contrary Irishman - The Life and Journeys of Jeremiah O'Flynn is a labour of love that presents a very driven man of the colonial era whose actions - and attributed actions - changed lives and helped shape our culture.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Homage to the king of herbs

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 03 December 2014
    7 Comments

    In pride of place on this feast day, a modest silver cross lies in a glass case. The cross is surrounded by leaves of basil, the plant that was supposedly found growing on the True Cross when it was discovered by St Helen in 326. The word basil means king, the plant is considered the king of herbs, and bunches of it are always used in the sprinkling of holy water.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Pope Francis celebrates a homeless man's 50th

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 20 November 2014
    29 Comments

    Last week the Pope's almsgiver installed showers in St Peter's Square, for people who are homeless. This followed his meeting a homeless man, discovering it was his 50th birthday, and inviting him to dinner in a local restaurant, only for the man to decline on the grounds he smelled. The gesture was seen to have Pope Francis’ finger prints all over it, and it illuminates the differences of perspective between him and other church leaders.

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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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  • RELIGION

    Catholic press struggles to earn trust

    • Tim Wallace
    • 07 October 2014
    21 Comments

    The sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church has affected mass attendance and contributions to the collection plate. The credibility of its newspapers has also taken a hit, with coverage of the crisis generally following the official line. The publications must  appease both their clerical owners and their supporters, the readers, whose trust needs to be earned and maintained.

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  • RELIGION

    Ramadan's challenge for all Australians

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 26 June 2014
    9 Comments

    Ramadan fasting is the symbol of a deeper commitment to focus on what matters. For Muslims it is a time to correct bad habits, mend relationships, read the Quran and pray, give alms to the poor, and meet people. It is serious business, but not a private business. The seriousness of this quest to recognise what matters and to live by it is a challenge to all Australians because it invites us to ask how we deal with these questions ourselves.

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  • RELIGION

    Best of 2013: Another round of Ramadan lunar-cy

    • Irfan Yusuf
    • 09 January 2014
    1 Comment

    Ramadan is supposed to fine tune your soul, weaken the ties binding you to your physical appetites and test your religiosity. This month unites Muslims around the globe in an envelope of piety and mercy. At least that's the theory. In reality, for most of us Muslims Ramadan is the month of massive weight gain.

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