"Without any understanding of man's deep-seated urge to self-transcend, of his very reluctance to take the hard, ascending way, and his search for some bogus liberation either below or to one side of his personality, we cannot hope to make sense of our own particular period of history or indeed of history in general, of life as it was lived in the past and as it is lived today. For this reason I propose to discuss some of the more common Grace-substitutes, into which and by means of which men and women have tried to escape from the tormenting consciousness of being merely themselves. .... human beings have felt the radical inadequacy of their personal existence, the misery of being their insulated selves and not something else, something wider, something in Wordsworthian phrase, 'far more deeply interfused'." (Aldous
Huxley, "Appendix" from The Devils of Loudun, Penguin Books, 1971, 313f.)

Reflections-2014

Mary McAleese at the Sydney Town Hall (September 7 2014)

JMaryMcAleesewithAndrewWestOn Sunday afternoon of September 7 2014 the former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, was the guest of Aquinas Academy and Catalyst for Renewal for the Rosemary Goldie Memorial Lecture in the Sydney Town Hall. It was a memorable occasion! Radion National's Andrew West interviewed Mary and the highlights were replayed on Andrew's Religion and Ethics Report. If you would like to hear those highlights, click here.

Mary McAleese in Conversation with Professor Ronan McDonald

JUNSWMaryMcAleese01The Global Irish Studies Centre at UNSW hosted Mary McAleese on September 10 2014. To view the vide of Mary's conversation with Ronan click here

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Divorce and Second Marriages in the Orthodox Tradition

JOrthodoxThe example of the Orthodox Churches that allow second marriages is an argument enlisted by those who want the Catholic Church to set aside the ban on communion for the divorced and remarried, with Cardinal Walter Kasper in the lead. Read more.

 

Should We Speak of Death?

 

DesertA medical practitioner tells of his experience in being with patients who are dying. He tells of how he moved from lying to them to telling them the truth and why. View the video

Flannery O'Connor on "Christian Atheism"

JFlanneryOConnorFlannery O'Connor was a short story writer, born and raised in Georgia, USA. Like the rest of her family, she was staunchly Catholic. Her writings and lectures reflect her Catholicism as well as her cultural environment in the deep south of the US. She had a very good sense of humour with loads of common sense and a deep distrust of rationalism.

Read more ...

Our Hopes for the New Archbishop of Sydney

Reflection by Geraldine Doogue

JGeraldineDoogue02What are the ideal characteristics of a man taking on the formidable job of Archbishop of Sydney in this early 21st century? Bishops have always occupied a venerable place in the life of the church. Read more.

 

Miroslav Volf on the Gift of Forgiveness

JMiroslavVolfMiroslav Volf is the Henry B. Wright professor of theology at Yale Divinity School. He is also the Director of the Center for Faith and Culture at Yale. Volf is the author of a 150 editorials and 11 books including Exclusion and Embrace as well as The End of Memory - Remembering Rightly in a Violent World.  Click here to watch any of several videos.

 

From South to North: Lessons for the Church from the Developing World

The Tablet Lecture 2014 by Bishop Kevin Dowling

JDowlingTabletLecture2014Born in Pretoria and ordained as a Redemptorist priest in 1967 Kevin Dowling was appointed the Bishop of Rustenburg in 1990. He has ministered in various parts of South Africa, including townships in Cape Town and Pretoria and has been at the forefront of the Church's response to the HIV/Aids pandemic. Listen

Mary McAleese: Mandela Lecture in South Australia 2014

JMaryMcAleese04The former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, gave the Nelson Mandela Lecture at the University of South Australia on September 3 2014. It is available as a podcast on ABC Radio National. Listen

 

Women Can Be Priests

JMaryMcAleese01They say the debate is closed. I think they had better turn up their hearing aids. Let me say at the start that I love the Church. I love the bones of it; I love the stones of it. Read more

 

War is Madness

JPopeFrancis01Pope Francis made an impassioned appeal for peace in the world during his Angelus address, echoing his words yesterday at the World War I memorial in Redipuglia. The visit to the Austro-Hungarian cemetery and memorial in northern Italy "makes us understand how war is madness!" Read more

 

Is Being Gay a Choice?

JFamily01This is a video of a straight man who asked a number of gay men whther they chose to be gay. Watch the video.

I Am The Son of a Terrorist - Here is How I Chose Peace

JZakEbrahimIf you're raised on dogma and hate, can you choose a different path? Zak Ebrahim was just seven years old when his father helped plan the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. His story is shocking, powerful and, ultimately, inspiring. Watch the video.

 

Thanks for Nothing Adam and Eve

Jandrew hamiltonIn recent centuries the relationship between Christian theology and the prevailing political and intellectual culture has alternated on both sides between dismissal, avoidance and accommodation. Occasionally, as in St Augustine's monumental City of God,it has been conducted as takeover. Augustine offered a magisterial account of Roman culture and its presuppositions, claiming that its contradictions and aspirations could be reconciled only on the basis of Christian faith. Read more.

 

Synod on the Family Needs to Listen

JFamily01Today's family is under pressure everywhere. It is the wisdom of our present pope to have realized this, and to have called for feedback from Catholic families across the globe. It's also time for the 'listening Church' to tell the 'teaching Church' many truths it probably doesn't want to hear. Read more.

 

My Last Lecture

JMichaelHimesFather Michael Himes, a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, New York. Fr. Himes is a theologian currently teaching theology at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. He served as professor and academic dean of the Seminary of Immaculate Conception on Long Island, New York, and as associate professor of theology at the University of Notre DameFather Michael Himes, a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, New York. Fr. Himes is a theologian currently teaching theology at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. He served as professor and academic dean of the Seminary of Immaculate Conception on Long Island, New York, and as associate professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame. He was invited to think about what he would say if it was his last lecture. Watch the video.

 

 

 

The Power of Vulnerability

JBreneBrownA Ted Talk by research psychologist Brene Brown - Watch the video

 

The Need for Solitude

JSherryTurkleTED Talk by psychologist Sherry Turkle on the need for solitude in the face of the possibilities of social media - click here.

 

The Legacy of Matteo Ricci in China

JMatteoRicciDuring a press conference on board the plane flying back from Korea Pope Francis said he could not help but think of the figure of Matteo Ricci while flying over China. Veronica Scarisbrick speaks to Father Emmanuel Lim SJ about this charismatic Jesuit, one of the founders of the Jesuit China Mission who died in 1610, whose memory still lives on in China today. This programme includes a passage from Matteo Ricci's diary : "..the work of evangelisation , of making Christians should be carried on both in Peking and in the Provinces, following methods both of a pacific nature and of cultural adaptation. Europeanism is to be shunned."...

To listen to the talk click here.

 

Mary McAleese Criticises Plans for Synod on the Family

JMaryMcAleese01Mary McAleese - who will be the guest of Aquinas Academy and Catalyst for renewal on Sunday September 7, 2pm, in Sydney Town Hall - has criticsed the plans for te Synod on the family. Ms McAleese, a two-term President of Ireland, strongly questioned Pope Francis calling a synod to review the Catholic Church's teaching on family life. She won the backing of the Association of Catholic Priests with some of her comments, which demanded a "new theology of women" instead of an "old boys club". She said there was "just something profoundly wrong and skewed" about asking clergy for their views when they were all "male celibates". Read more.