keywords: World Youth Day

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  • RELIGION

    Free speech and the plebiscite on same sex marriage

    • Frank Brennan
    • 11 December 2015
    39 Comments

    Chris Puplick, a former senator and former president of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board, is one of a rising chorus expressing strong objections to the Australian Catholic bishops daring to evangelise and speak publicly about their views on same sex marriage. I too would be very upset if my bishops were saying, as Puplick claimed in an opinion piece in The Australian, that homosexuals are 'seriously depraved, intrinsically disordered, less than whole and messing with kids'. But they're not.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    What will children dream if not of bears?

    • Brian Doyle
    • 09 December 2015
    2 Comments

    If a three-year-old likes bears, you are into bears for the foreseeable future. Bears have been around since before there were pencils, my young friend said, which is inarguably true, and not something I had ever considered before. When we talk about what is lost in a world in which wilderness is lost, we never talk about the loss of the life we imagine. When there are no bears in the world, then no children will dream of bears, and draw bears, and sleep with bears, and that will be a terrible shame.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Myanmar Mother Suu's moment in history

    • Amal Aung Zaw
    • 13 November 2015
    5 Comments

    The results resonate beyond the shores of Myanmar. The manner in which a fragile woman with the power of empty hands wrought a miracle, melting decades of totalitarian dominance, is the stuff of history. The world savours this moment as its own. This is the Gandhi moment, the Mandela moment of the 21st Century. In an era of ISIL killings and chronic violent wars in the middle east for 'democracy', a woman from the east has once again affirmed the moral superiority of non violence.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Before they were monsters they were us

    • Michael Walter
    • 11 November 2015
    10 Comments

    This photo is quite ordinary. It seems as though the men have just arrived somewhere, and have awkwardly posed for a camera. What is so haunting about this photo is the story of what these men would do. The man on the left is Pol Pot, leader of the Khmer Rouge. The man in the middle is Comrade Duch, the meticulous chief of Tuol Sleng Prison. In 50 years' time, what stories will be embedded in the ordinary photographs of today? What stories will be attached to ordinary photos of us?

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Modern Islamophobia echoes murderous anti-Semitism

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 30 October 2015
    7 Comments

    Invoking Joseph Conrad's story about seagoing doppelgangers, 'The Secret Sharer', Edward Said identified Islamophobia as anti-Semitism's respectable twin. Indeed Israeli PM Netanyahu's description of the Mufti urging Hitler onto greater evil contains an echo of the old anti-Semitic canard of Jews as shadowy manipulators. This trope is central to the infamous Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, was a key element in Goebbels' propaganda campaigns, and is now central to contemporary Islamophobia.

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  • RELIGION

    Family Synod neglects feminine genius

    • Beth Doherty
    • 29 October 2015
    28 Comments

    We can assume that despite the recent Synod's focus on families, most of the voters have never had any involvement in raising families, and certainly not of experiencing pregnancy and childbirth. None have directly dealt with an abusive spouse, struggled to regulate family size, questioned whether to stay in an unhappy marriage, or dealt with a child identifying as gay, lesbian or transgender. Last year, I spent time working in a parish in Paraguay, where, unlike the church more broadly, women run the show.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Kids need care not cruelty to avoid radicalisation

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 23 October 2015
    4 Comments

    A particular issue in Australia is the age of criminal responsibility, which varies in different states between ten and 12. Research into brain development suggests that people cannot fully take responsibility for their actions until they are 15 years old. Responsible policy must respect the human development of the child and ensure that the response to their wrongdoing takes into account their age and does not place them in processes they can neither understand nor properly participate in.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    I was a teenage Cold War Russophile

    • Brian Matthews
    • 18 September 2015
    9 Comments

    When Josef Stalin died on 5 March 1953, a couple of months into my Matriculation year, my Russophile leanings seemed about to be intensified. Research in those days was a matter of consulting encyclopaedias, or, if possible, going to the Public Library, but in Stalin's case the newspapers were full of reports, history, anecdote, judgement and various degrees of relief, so there was suddenly plenty of information.

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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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  • AUSTRALIA

    Nanny state Australia could learn from Europe

    • Cam Hassard
    • 21 August 2015
    17 Comments

    After almost two years living abroad in Germany, I have observed a stark difference in how European societies strike a balance between legislative oversight and individual freedom. More or less anything is tolerated here, as long as you respect the rights and freedoms of others. Tolerance and 'least intervention' thrive on personal responsibility and eschew knee-jerk intervention. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Middle age suits me just fine

    • Isabella Fels
    • 22 July 2015
    10 Comments

    Ageing. Looks fading. No longer able to wear the clothes from my early twenties. Feeling slovenly and matronly but enjoying the respect I never got when I was young. Deep down I love being called Madam. In middle age, I feel much more empowered and no longer so cowered towards authority.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Greeks suffer as leaders quarrel

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 23 June 2015
    6 Comments

    My youngest son, who lives in central Athens, is on the phone. ‘What do you think I should do with my money?’ he asks. The New York Times likens Europe and Greece to two prize-fighters, but I suspect that this is a male take on the matter. The women on the scene, Chancellor Angela Merkel and IMF chief Christine Lagarde, are more or less playing the part of the firm mother to naughty, quarrelling boys.  

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