section: Religion

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  • RELIGION

    Knowing the unknowns of clerical sexual misconduct

    • Stephen de Weger
    • 27 November 2013
    82 Comments

    Is there an agony in the garden of Catholicism which has yet to be faced — the dark figure of clerical sexual misconduct involving adults? From my research into this issue, two aspects have become quickly apparent: that it is a 'known unknown' within Catholic life, and that it is a very complex issue. That it occurs is not in doubt. More often than not, the victim is blamed.

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  • RELIGION

    No copping out of abuse blame

    • Frank Brennan
    • 26 November 2013
    32 Comments

    The Catholic Church hierarchy now seems more prepared to admit institutional and personal failures prior to 1996. They are yet to admit the pervasive, closed clericalist culture which infected the Church until at least 1996, but that will come. Let's hope that the Victorian police can also now move forward admitting past mistakes without manufacturing excuses which do not withstand the contemporary spotlight.

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  • RELIGION

    Heed the voice of the wounded child

    • Moira Rayner
    • 15 November 2013
    22 Comments

    If it happened then, it could happen now. Unless we take children seriously as people, it will. Unless individuals within the culture of their institution see it as a duty to stick their necks out and challenge its culture, it will. Unless bishops and archbishops and cardinals and religious supporting them take personal responsibility for protecting vulnerable people ahead of protecting the reputation of their institution, it will happen again.

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  • RELIGION

    Church's family reality check

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 14 November 2013
    14 Comments

    In a welcome first step, the Vatican has invited lay Catholics to offer their views on the family. The document that accompanies the survey represents a fairly traditional Catholic theology of the family, setting it within a high theology and expressed in elevated language. This theology has been developed principally by celibate men, no doubt familiar with family life through their childhood and pastoral ministry, but at a distance from it.

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  • RELIGION

    This time in the Church

    • Frank Brennan
    • 12 November 2013
    5 Comments

    'Having thrown off the shackles of compulsion endured by pre-Vatican II Catholics, we relish that we come to the table not because we are forced, not because of social expectations, not because of the mindset of the mob, but because we are graciously called and freely responding.' Frank Brennan's Camino Address, Parish of Our Lady of the Way North Sydney, 12 November 2013

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  • RELIGION

    Christian social thinking for Australia

    • Frank Brennan
    • 08 November 2013
    1 Comment

    'Many Catholics wonder how we can maintain our Christian faith at this time in the wake of the sexual abuse crisis and the many judgmental utterances about sexuality and reproduction. The Church that has spoken longest and loudest about sex in all its modalities seems to be one of the social institutions most needing to get its own house in order.' Frank Brennan's address to the Yarra Institute for Religion and Social Policy, 8 November 2013. 

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  • RELIGION

    Human justice barometer

    • Peter Kirkwood
    • 06 November 2013
    4 Comments

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  • RELIGION

    Human justice barometer

    • Peter Kirkwood
    • 06 November 2013

    In the years after it began in 1951, the Blake religious art prize was dominated by conventional Christian themes and symbols. More recently its inclusion of images associated with human justice has reflected the increasing multifaith character of religion in Australia together with religious believers' concern for human peace and justice.

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  • RELIGION

    The insubstantial Bishop of Bling

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 31 October 2013
    13 Comments

    Springtime draws attention to the sweet harmonies and scratchy discord between style and substance. Ducks escort their young across green lawns, and peck at anything that dares approach them. Young things in suits or summer dresses sit sozzled in Cup Day mud. Meanwhile in the Catholic Church, Limburg Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst was suspended from office for his profligate spending during a time of austerity.

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  • RELIGION

    Church-state issues and the Royal Commission

    • Frank Brennan
    • 25 October 2013
    2 Comments

    'The Church should not give any appearance of hiding behind the corporate veil. Justice demands that present church leaders agree to satisfy any judgment debt against their predecessors or their deceased predecessors' estates when there is an allegation of past failure to supervise or adequately investigate a sexual predator in the ranks. Any damages should be paid from church assets.' Frank Brennan addresses the Australian Lawyers Alliance Conference, Rydges Lakeside, Canberra, 26 October 2013.

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  • RELIGION

    Pope Francis and Australia’s social justice agenda

    • Frank Brennan
    • 24 October 2013

    'Here is a pope who is not just about creating wiggle room or watering down the teachings of the Church. No, he wants to admit honestly to the world that we hold in tension definitive teachings and pastoral yearnings — held together coherently only by mercy and forgiveness.' Frank Brennan's Wallis Lecture presented in Hobart on 24 October 2013 and Launceston on 25 October 2013.

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  • RELIGION

    Scott Morrison and the power of negative branding

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 24 October 2013
    33 Comments

    Suppose the media, shocked by the cavalier approach to politicians who claim allowances for travel and other perks, unanimously decided henceforth always to refer to our parliamentary representatives not as Members and Ministers, but as Rorters and Archrorters. The stigma that such branding would attach to political life would be reflected in a diminishment of the high level of trust in which they are currently held by the Australian public.

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