"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 2017

Of God and Safeguarding

Thomas Ryan sm
JTom Ryan

Safeguarding, protection of children and vulnerable adults: protocols, police checks, training. Who would have imagined these words as daily currency in the Catholic Church 20 years ago? Since then, we’ve been confronted by the devastating moral failure of the Church (and other institutions) – in public ministry and leadership.

The sexual abuse crisis, it has been said, is, perhaps, the Church’s 9/11. We are called to confront deliberate denial and evil. This requires, most importantly, acknowledging the pain and suffering of victims and survivors and a determination to stand with them.

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John Menadue - Why I am still a Catholic

JPearl

Cardinal John Henry Newman once said that there is nothing as ugly as the Catholic Church yet nothing as beautiful. It is hard to see that beauty at this moment. It is a time for sackcloth and ashes. But I will hang on.
Below is an edited and updated article of mine that was first published by David Lovell Publishing in 2003.

G K Chesterton said, ‘I cannot explain why I am a Catholic, because now that I am a Catholic, I cannot imagine myself as anything else’. Personally, I now cannot imagine not being a Catholic either, yet ... Read more

Why I cannot go back to being an atheist

Jwoman-praying
My father-in-law is one of the fairest, most patient, and most virtuous people that I know. He’s always available to help out, his capacity for forgiveness is immense, and when he’s unavailable it’s usually because he’s caring for or teaching people in his community. He’s intellectual honest, and he’s a profoundly decent human being. He’s also an atheist.
He’s part of the reason why I have respect for people in the atheist community, and why when I write about atheism I usually have positive things to say. Read more

Life is gracious

Michael Whelan SM

JGracious

   The fundamental polarity of human life between what is and what ought to be, between lack and fulfilment, between determination and freedom, is not abnormal; it is the norm. Every person is exposed to it because of the inescapable structure of human formation. (Adrian van Kaam, The Transcendent Self, Dimension Books, 1979, 172.)

We grow well when we interact well with the grace of living, in the midst of the tension “between lack and fulfilment, determination and freedom”. Grace is everywhere! Facing your limits, submitting to the truth of your limits, is potentially a particularly rich experience of grace.

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