keywords: The Death And Life Of Otto Bloom

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Life beyond Brussels and Paris terror

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 04 April 2016
    2 Comments

    When suicide bombers struck Brussels, I was travelling far from home, in southern Italy. The news evoked in me a sense of vulnerability, for within days I would board a series of flights from Reggio Calabria to Rome to Abu Dhabi and then Sydney. For a moment, it seemed the terrorists had achieved what they set out to do: spread fear and distrust far beyond the site of their attacks, across countries and continents and oceans so that eventually the whole world would be infected.

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  • MEDIA

    The butterfly effect of online grief

    • Kate Mani
    • 27 January 2016
    2 Comments

    A few months ago, someone I know died. We had only met a couple of times, accepted each other's Facebook friend requests, and messaged each other on and off. But I grew to know him well. His face filled my Facebook newsfeed weekly. Now I see his family's farewells, and the preceding year of photos makes it even easier to picture their grief. Be it the loss of a friend or a city shattered by terror, the 21st century colossus that is social media has reinvented the wheel of commemoration.

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  • EDUCATION

    Preppies' hope cuts through the terror of terrorism

    • Paul Mitchell
    • 20 January 2016
    4 Comments

    Last year, I was my son's main school-day carer. It was a year of which the second half was dominated by acts of terrorism around the world. For the first time I properly registered the fact that there were people on the planet who, given the opportunity, would kill the preppie and me because we didn't want the kind of world they wanted. I started to feel a presence looming over us. It wasn't a pleasant reality with which to engage. Nor, I soon realised, was it any way to live.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The changing face of racism

    • Ruby Hamad
    • 30 November 2015
    10 Comments

    It is naive to equate racism with individual acts of bigotry. The current anti-Muslim and anti-Arab sentiment for instance goes deeper than sporadic attacks against individuals. Australian jobseekers with Middle-Eastern sounding surnames must submit up to 64 per cent more resumes than someone with an Anglo name in order to secure an interview. People may not actively engage in racist displays against Arabs, but that doesn't mean they are willing to spend time in close proximity to them.

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  • RELIGION

    Discerning the place for the churches in the great moral questions of the age

    • Frank Brennan
    • 27 November 2015
    2 Comments

    'The crisis of child sexual abuse in our societies has required that our institutional procedures be more transparent and that we learn from the ways of the world in exercising power openly and justly. This means we have to restructure some of our church arrangements so that power is exercised accountably and transparently. All of us who have positions of influence and power in institutional churches need to be attentive to the voices of those who have suffered within our institutions.' 'Discerning the place for the prophetic voice and pragmatic cooperation of the churches in the great moral questions of the age', address to the Association of Practical Theology in Oceania conference, 26 November 2015.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Adjustable ethics at the wheel of a self-driving car

    • Patrick McCabe
    • 23 November 2015
    1 Comment

    The safety features of self-driving cars could save many lives. But driving also involves making decisions, including ethical ones. Imagine you're in your self-driving car, travelling at speed on a highway. Suddenly an oncoming road train swerves into your lane and thunders head-on towards you. You may just be able to swerve, but unfortunately five men are standing on the side of the road, and you will surely hit them. Should the self-driving car kill five people, or stay the course and kill you?

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Zones of sacrifice in the Western Downs gasfield

    • Mark Copland
    • 02 November 2015
    10 Comments

    When Chinchilla farmer George Bender took his own life, it ended a ten year struggle with the coal seam gas industry that has wreaked havoc on his property and that of his neighbours. Despite mountains of paper regulations, despite a well-resourced Gasfield Commission and Gasfield Compliance Unit, people in the region feel abandoned. It seems that government bodies are enablers and facilitators of the industry rather than regulators and protectors of the people, the soil and the water.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Ode to the demise of hard rubbish

    • Sally Cloke
    • 23 September 2015
    11 Comments

    Our local council has announced the end of hard rubbish. As an adult, my enthusiasm for what the council calls 'scavenging' has become the source of many beautiful and useful items. But my objections are philosophical as well as practical. Ugliness has its place, and at clean out time, we literally bring to our doorsteps what we would rather put of sight and mind. Hard rubbish symbolises the costs of our throw-away consumer society while going a small way towards recouping some of them.

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  • Reshaping the public space: Lessons for Australian refugee, Aboriginal and climate policy

    • Frank Brennan
    • 18 September 2015

    Pope Francis's concerns are not narrowly dogmatic or pedagogical but universally pastoral. He knows that millions of people, including erstwhile Catholics, are now suspicious of or not helped by notions of tradition, authority, ritual and community when it comes to their own spiritual growth which is now more individual and eclectic. He wants to step beyond the Church's perceived lack of authenticity and its moral focus on individual matters, more often than not, sexual. He thinks the world is in a mess particularly with the state of the planet — climate change, loss of biodiversity and water shortages, but also with the oppression of the poor whose life basics are not assured by the operation of the free market, and with the clutter and violence of lives which are cheated the opportunity for interior peace. He is going to great pains to demystify his office. He wants all people of good will to emulate him and to be both joyful and troubled as they wrestle with the probl

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  • Homily for the Feast of St Ignatius Loyola

    • Frank Brennan
    • 03 August 2015
    1 Comment

    I am one of those Jesuits who sometimes has been perceived as not being sufficiently loyal to the church hierarchy. From time to time, people of good will have urged me to consider Ignatius' rules for thinking with the Church which are appended to his Spiritual Exercises. The stereotypical view of those rules is often summed up by quoting the first sentence of the 13th rule: 'To keep ourselves right in all things, we ought to hold fast to this principle: What I see as white, I would believe to be black if the hierarchical Church would thus determine it.' But life was not ever that simple, even in the time of Ignatius. Feast of St Ignatius homily by Frank Brennan

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  • The challenge of education for social justice

    • Frank Brennan
    • 08 July 2015
    3 Comments

    I suspect Pope Francis had some of our Jesuit alumni in mind when he wrote in his encyclical Laudato Si: 'A politics concerned with immediate results, supported by consumerist sectors of the population, is driven to produce short-term growth... True statecraft is manifest when, in difficult times, we uphold high principles and think of the long-term common good. Political powers do not find it easy to assume this duty'.

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  • Maintaining the humanity of the public square

    • Greg O'Kelly
    • 01 July 2015
    3 Comments

    The phrase 'the public square' is peppered throughout Frank Brennan's work. The 1988 film Cinema Paradiso depicts the public square in a Sicilian village over 30 or so years, and its slow and subtle change from a place where human beings gather to laugh, play and discuss. Billboards and garish signs appear and it becomes a car park bereft of its humanity.

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