"Life is not so much beginnings and endings as it is middles, middles that don't measure up -- and our happiness depends on how we come to terms with the pale reflections of our dreams. (Paul D. Zimmerman, "Middles and Muddles," review of film "Sunday Bloody Sunday," Newsweek, September 27, 1971, 106)

News

From Tübingen to the Tiber

A Conversation with Peter Hünermann

JPeter Hünermann

During the recent debates about the sacramentality and indissolubility of marriage initiated by Pope Francis, much attention has fallen on Cardinal Walter Kasper and his “theology of mercy.” With clear evidence of Northern European theology filtering all the way down to Rome—and all the way up to the papacy—some have revived Ralph Wiltgen’s famous ecclesiastical quip: “The Rhine flows into the Tiber.” Read more ...

Donald Trump's letter to Catholic leaders

JDonald Trump

Denver, Colo., Oct 6, 2016 / 12:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wrote a letter to Catholic leaders during a two-day conference in Denver this week, identifying himself as pro-life and vowing to support core values such as religious liberty and school choice.

“I have a message for Catholics: I will be there for you. I will stand with you. I will fight for you,” he wrote Oct. 5. Read more ...

Another win for 'David' Timor against 'Goliath' Australia

JTimor

David Timor has once again scored a win against Goliath Australia in the international legal forum. Last time it was in the International Court of Justice which took strong exception to Australia's raiding of the office of a lawyer involved in the preparation of Timor Leste's case, though admittedly Australia's one ad hoc judge did dissent on key points from the other 15 judges! Read more ...

Vice-presidential debate a clash between two types of Catholic

JMike Pence

The US vice-presidential debate tonight between Mike Pence and Tim Kaine will be a showdown between two very unconventional Catholics, reports The Daily Beast. Senator Kaine, as is well known, is a progressive Catholic whose focus on the Church’s social gospel was sharpened during a year’s mission in Latin America. But while media coverage of Indiana Governor Mike Pence has tended to depict him as a standard right-wing conservative Christian, this label belies the complexity of his own spiritual journey. Read more ...

Bellarmine in perspective (and the Galileo affair)

JBellarmine

On 17 September we celebrate the feast of a Jesuit theologian who was a key figure in the Counter-Reformation. St Robert Bellarmine is perhaps best known for his dealings with one Galileo Galilei, whom he warned off teaching the Copernican ideas that would later underpin astronomy. However, Vatican astronomer Br Guy Consolmagno SJ takes a closer look at the interaction between the theologian and the scientist and finds that there was more to the Galileo Affair than meets the eye. Read more ...

Pope Francis among other disruptive leaders

JPope Francis  cameras

Evaluations of Pope Francis usually contrast him with his predecessors. When engaging in politics, however, he faces the same challenge as they did. He must first strengthen the Catholic Church in its faith, and so influence national and international relationships by persuasion and diplomacy. His distinctive contribution will come through the way he embodies and commends his personal faith.

Pope John Paul II did this through Read more ...

Benedict had trouble with arguments in Humanae Vitae

JEmeritus Pope Benedict XVI

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI was among those who were dissatisfied with Pope Paul VI's 1968 teaching prohibiting Catholics from using artificial birth control, according to interviews that have formed the basis of a new book, reports NCR Online.

In the new book, published in Italy on Friday, the Pope Emeritus says that while he agreed with the conclusions Paul drew in the encyclical Humanae Vitae, he had trouble with the argumentation. Read more ...

Purifying language vital to renewing 'polluted' churches

JChild Arise

The crimes of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, and in other institutions, have generated a wide literature. It encompasses the experience of victims, the institutional causes of clerical abuse and the steps needed to do justice to its victims and to ensure it does not happen again. Read more ...

Overseas Course: Holy Listening

Jholy listening

10-21 July 2017
I (Cathy Holling) recently attended a course in Contemplative Prayer, called “Holy Listening”, at Sant Anselm, Rome. We spent two weeks studying Spirituality, Lectio Divina, Prayer, The Rule of St Benedict and Spiritual Accompaniment.

Our days revolved around prayer. Lauds, Mass, Matins, Vespers, interspersed with classes, meals and visits down to the sights and sounds of central Rome and it’s gelato bars.

Read more ...

Premiere of award winning film ‘Cast from the Storm’

JCast from the Storm

6 September, Cremorne
Amnesty International Au

Join us for the national premiere of Cast from the Storm, an award winning Australian documentary that tells a tender story of transformation, acceptance and belonging. It brings you into the lives of ordinary teenagers with extraordinary stories – and the theatre program that gives them a voice. Asfar, Maryam and Wiam face the usual challenges of navigating high school – with one difference. They were forced to leave their home countries and everything they knew behind. Watch film trailer or Read more ...

A society that forgives wins

JOlympics

Almost all public conversation quickly turns to transgressors. At the Olympic Games competitors growled about proven and suspect drug users. Many people believed that all Russian athletes should have been excluded from the games. They wanted people found to have used drugs named, shamed and shunned.

This insistence that transgressors should definitively lose their good name and the right to participate is not confined to sport. It is found also in controversy about penal policy, and particularly in the populist cry to lock criminals up and throw away the key.The three strikes' policy, Read more ...

Women Deacons & Subsidiarity in a Fragmenting Church

JWomen Deacons

Nearly three weeks after the Vatican’s announcement of the commission on women deacons, we still do not know much about its agenda or schedule. Nor do we know what it might result in: a report, a study, a recommendation to the pope? Will it be made public? But even if the commission does result in a female diaconate, does it necessarily mean there will be women deacons throughout the Catholic Church?

This is one of the interesting questions arising from my reading of America’s   editorial in favor of a female diaconate. Read more ...

A solution to our refugee crisis

JRefugee Boat

Illustration: Jim Pavlidis
There are two powerful arguments about the plight of the refugees dying a slow death in the offshore processing centres Australia has established and which it maintains on Nauru and Manus Island.

The supporters of the present policy argue that we cannot bring these refugees to Australia because to do so would act as a signal to people smugglers, allowing their trade to begin again.
Those who hold this view point to the experience following the Rudd government's abandonment of the policies of offshore processing and naval turn-backs. Read more ...

US Lutherans recognise agreement with the Church

JMartin Luther

The largest Lutheran denomination in the US has approved a declaration recognising “there are no longer church-dividing issues” on many points with the Church, reports the Religion News Service. The Declaration on the Way was approved 931-9 by the 2016 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Churchwide Assembly held last week in New Orleans.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton called the declaration “historic” in a statement released by the denomination following the vote on August 10.
“Though we have not yet arrived, we have claimed that we are, in fact, on the way to unity. Read more ...

Time to defuse Nauru and Manus Island time bombs

JJesuit Refugee Service

Frank Brennan. On the weekend, I joined Robert Manne, Tim Costello and John Menadue in calling for an end to the limbo imposed on proven refugees on Nauru and Manus Island. I think this can be done while keeping the boats stopped. I think it ought be done. Appearing on the ABC 7.30 program last Thursday after The Guardian's release of 2000 incident reports from Nauru, Peter Dutton, the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, told presenter Leigh Sales, 'I would like to get people off Nauru tomorrow but I have got to do it in such a way that we don't restart boats.' Read more ...

Sisters open LCWR 2016 assembly

JLCWR Conference

On Tuesday night — from a stage lined with LED candles and backlit with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious’ signature green and blue — LCWR president Sister of St. Joseph Marcia Allen officially kicked off the conference’s 2016 annual assembly in Atlanta.

LCWR leadership planned for contemplative dialogue to be the focus of this year’s assembly, and the opening night was no exception. Read more ...

Forgiveness is 'direct route' to Heaven

JPorziuncula chapel

Pope Francis has visited Assisi, central Italy, to mark the 800th anniversary of the Franciscan feast of the Pardon of Assisi.  Francis marked the feast with a pilgrimage to the Porziuncula chapel in Assisi’s Basilica of Mary of the Angels, where the feast originated. After praying silently in the chapel, Francis moved into the main basilica to offer a reflection on Matthew 18.21-35. In this Gospel passage, Christ tells Peter to forgive his brother “not seven times, but seventy times seven”, Read more ...

Quick Links

The changing face of the law across generations. Frank Brennan. In July 1863, 153 years ago, the David McIver, a migrant ship, arrived in Hervey Bay carrying 404 immigrants, there having been only one death at sea Read more.
Francis mandates changes for contemplative women religious. Joshua McElwee. Pope Francis has issued a new wide-ranging set of guidelines for how the tens of thousands of Catholic women religious living in contemplative communities around the world should regulate their lifestyles, Read more.
Pope's new step in dialogue with Al-Azhar. Less than two months after one of Sunni Islam’s highest authorities came to the Vatican following several years of icy relations, Pope Francis has sent a representative to Egypt’s Al-Azhar University Read more. 

 

 

 

Vatican ratchets up defense of pope’s family document

JCardinal Schoenborn

  Cardinal Schoenborn

The Vatican is striking back at conservative critics of Pope Francis’ landmark document on family life, ratcheting up its defense of the pope with new vigor as bishops begin implementing the document around the world. Read more ...

Pope's new step in dialogue with Al-Azhar

JPope Francis in St Peters Square

Vatican City, Jul 13, 2016 - Less than two months after one of Sunni Islam’s highest authorities came to the Vatican following several years of icy relations, Pope Francis has sent a representative to Egypt’s Al-Azhar University in a bid to relaunch dialogue between the two. In accordance with “the explicit wish of Pope Francis,” Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, is currently in Egypt for an official visit to the Al-Azhar University,  Read more ...