"When leaders in various fields ask me for advice, my response is always the same: dialogue, dialogue, dialogue. It is the only way for individuals, families and societies to grow, the only way for the life of peoples to progress, along with the culture of encounter, a culture in which all have something good to give and all can receive something good in return. Others always have something to give me, if we know how to approach them in a spirit of openness and without prejudice. I call this attitude of openness and availability without prejudice, social humility, and it is this that favours dialogue. Only in this way can understanding grow between cultures and religions, mutual esteem without needless preconceptions, respectful of the rights of everyone. Today, either we stand together with the culture of dialogue and encounter, or we all lose, we all lose; from here we can take the right road that makes the journey fruitful and secure." (Pope Francis, Address to leading members of Brazilian society, Saturday July 27 2013, reported online by Official Vatican Network.)

Reflections-2014

Easter Memory Loss Makes Plastic of the Present

Jandrew hamiltonAndy Hamilton's Easter mediation in Eyureak Street - click here

Michael Leunig in Conversaation with Fr David Ranson

JMichaelLeunig

Michael Leunig is one of our truly wise people. He is worth listening to - whether it is through the medium of his cartoons or in person. David Ranson and Michael may be seen in an extended conversation - click here.

Meditation on the Cross

JElizabeth Farrelly 127x127Elizabeth Farrelly has written an evocative piece on Easter for the Fairfax Press, published on April 16 2014. Click here.

Do You Like Chopin?

JFredericChopin

Frederic Chopin wrote some of the most sublime piano pieces in a tragically short life of just 39 years. It is particularly inspiring when someone plays Chopin today with a good understanding of his music. It is inspiring when a little girl of 9 does that. Watch the video.

Expecting a Down Syndrome Baby

JDownSyndrome

How might you respond to the news that you are expecting a Down Syndrome child? Here is a response - click here.

Cultural Issues for the Synod

 

JIndianresponseThe Extraordinary Synod on the Family scheduled for October has captured the attention of the faithful like no other synod. Simply because this time the bishops will be discussing an issue on which the laity are experts.

The enthusiasm of the “laity” is plain to see from the numbers of user-friendly surveys that have spun off from the Vatican questionnaire addressed to the bishops last October. As the Catholic Organizations for Renewal, a US-based partnership of 15 Catholic groups observed in a letter to their bishops, “individual Catholics are hungry to make their voices heard”.

Read the full report

Saying the Right Thing

JBlindSometimes a change of words can make all the difference. This little video is worth hours of reflection. Watch the video

Where Might the Money Go When Taxes are Reduced?

JTaxesMost political leaders have learned the art of spin these days. We therefore need to apply a careful hermeneutic to what they say. Most of us do not have that skill. I think this many's insights might help. Watch the video.

 

Pope Francis Speaks to a Gathering of Pastors in the US

JPopeFrancis01This is a remarkable video. It begins with a televangelist. It moves to a young South African pastor speaking of, among other things, his association with Pope Francis before he became Pope. Towards the end of the video there is a few minutes of Pope Francis giving a simple and beautiful messahe to this group of pastors. This is the sort of thing that reminds us that we have, in Pope Francis, something very special. Watch it and rejoice! Watch the video

 

Threshold Community - Bishop Greg Thompson's Sermon

JBishopGregOn Sunday February 2 2014, Sr Marie Biddle RSJ and I had the privilege to be present in Newcastle's Christchurch Cathedral for the installation of the new bishop - Gregory Thompson. It was a splendid occasion, certainly, because of the magnificent singing and the enactment of the liturgy. But far more importantly, it was a splendid occasion because we were part of the faith community gathering around a remarkable man who is to be their leader in the diocese. Greg's sermon will tell you much about him and his vision. With his permission it is reproduced below. Bishop Greg sounds more than a little like Pope Francis who recently told the Jesuit journalists from La Civiltà Cattolica that ‘Your proper place is the frontier,’ the cultural frontier, where they were ‘not to build walls but bridges’ to those who did not share their Catholic beliefs or culture. Pope Francis told a group of devout Catholics that we should not ‘lock ourselves up in our parish, among our friends . . . . with people who think as we do’ but instead ‘The Church must step outside herself. To go where? To the outskirts of existence, whatever they may be’.” Michael Whelan SM

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Pedro Arrupe SJ

JPedroArrupePedro Arrupe probably had more influence on the Catholic Church than any other churchman in the last century – including the popes. The Jesuit Refugee Service was one of his great legacies but I do not think it was his greatest. It was the last important thing he did but I would say that his greatest legacy was to summon the 32nd General Congregation (GC32), the most authoritative body the Jesuits can assemble, which gave a new identity and purpose and redefined the role of the Jesuits for the modern age. Some people rightly call him therefore, 'the founder of the modern Society'.

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Where Our Clothes Are Made

PovertyDo you know where your clothes are made? And if you know where they are made do you know anything about he people - their wages and conditions - who make them? Watch this video

 

I Should Not Be Here

Maraquita explores a woman's false incarceration in an Australian mental hospital, as remembered by her son Tony. Maraquita spent 22 years of her life in Sunbury Asylum on a diagnosis that was later to be found incorrect. She was separated from her five children and subject to experimental treatment without consent. Now, 50 years later, Tony re-visits the asylum where he first met his mother and tells both her story of injustice and the lasting impact it has had on his life.

Watch the video

An Introduction to Climate Science

JClimateIs there global warming? Is there climate change? How might we think of these and similar questions? They are hardly insignificant questions. Watch this video 

It's the Gospel Truth - So Take It or Leave It

A N Wilson

JBeingchurchThe paradox is that growing or shrinking numbers do not tell you anything. The Gospel would still be true even if no one believed it. The hopeful thing is that, where it is tried – where it is imperfectly and hesitantly followed – as it was in Northern Ireland during the peace process, as it is in many a Salvation Army hostel this Christmas, as it flickers in countless unseen Christian lives, it works. And its palpable and remarkable power to transform human life takes us to the position of believing that something very wonderful indeed began with the birth of Christ into the world.

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