Catholic wrap-up at the Royal Commission
By Frank Brennan
Last Monday, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse commenced its three-week examination of the causes of child sexual abuse and cover up in the Catholic Church in Australia over the last 60 years. The statistics were horrifying.
Every case represented a person who claims as a child to have been abused by a person of authority in a Catholic institution — whether it be a school, a parish, an orphanage or a children's home.
Whichever way the statistics are interpreted in comparison with other institutions, they are appalling. Read more ...
Course: Poetry and Art
Starts Tuesday 28 February
Presenter Elizabeth Guy
“This four week course explores the interface between Art and Poetry and our persistence to know God. We will be exploring some poetry that you cannot live your life without! In our conversation I will model how to unpack various poems and share knowledge and skills to enhance your experience of some of the greatest poems ever written. ... This course is for the intrepid explorer of both art and poetry. Read more ...
Pope orders review of the new Mass translation rules
Pope Francis has ordered a review of “Liturgiam Authenticam,” the controversial decree behind the most recent translations of liturgical texts from Latin into English and other languages. The commission, established by the pope just before Christmas, is also tasked with examining what level of decentralization is desirable in the church on matters such as this.
The mixed commission includes bishops from all the continents. Significantly, Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Arthur Roche, the secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, to be its president. The English-born archbishop Read more ...
Course: The Poetry of Grace II - Francis Webb
Starts Tuesday 7 February
In The Poetry of Grace II the focus will be on the renowned Australian poet Francis Webb with an appreciation of his courage and insights, inviting a deepening understanding of our inner world through creative literature and suffering.
Presenter: Michael Griffith, PhD
When: Tuesdays 7, 14, 21 and Friday 24 February, 10am – 12noon
Where: Level 5, 141 Harrington Street, Sydney
Cost: $144 per person, including notes
More information ...
Course: Film Lectio I - Creativity in 'Autumn Sonata'
Starts Thursday evening
In 'Autumn Sonata,' writer/director Ingmar Bergman examines the strained relationship between a mother and daughter. Eva (Liv Ullmann) has not seen her mother, Charlotte (Ingrid Bergman), a successful concert pianist, in seven years. Their meeting surfaces the tension that has its roots in the Eva’s neglected childhood relationship with her mother and her longing to be recognized and appreciated by her.
Through this film we will explore the sources of our unique creativity. How does competitiveness, envy, ... More information ...
‘Amoris’ argument is far from over
The fact that guidelines from bishops for the pastoral application of chapter 8 of Pope Francis's 'Amoris Laetitia' present opposite interpretations on the issue of access to the sacraments for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics confirms one truth: the argument is not yet settled.
Charged debate around the implications of footnote 351 of Pope Francis’s Amoris Laetitia, the document with which he closed a three-year process involving two Synods of Bishops on the family, has been going on for almost 10 months, and there no signs it’ll wind up any time soon. Read more ...
What Thomas Merton and Muhammad Ali Had in Common
On an afternoon in 1958, near the shopping district at Walnut and Fourth Streets in Louisville, Ky., Thomas Merton was moving about inconspicuously gathering supplies for the Abbey at Gethsemani. The monastery, established in 1848 by the Order of Trappist Cistercians, is in Nelson County, south of Louisville near Bardstown. It is where Merton lived as a Trappist monk beginning in 1941.
Merton’s autobiography “The Seven Storey Mountain,” published in 1948, and other works on interfaith dialogue, peace and nonviolence had made him an international best-selling author. Read more ...
Doctrinal chief dismisses idea of 'fraternal correction' of pope
The Catholic Church is "very far" from a situation in which the pope is in need of "fraternal correction" because he has not put the faith and church teaching in danger, said Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Interviewed Jan. 9 on the Italian all-news channel, TGCom24, Cardinal Muller said Pope Francis' document on the family, "Amoris Laetitia," was "very clear" in its teaching.
In the document, the cardinal said, Pope Francis asks priests "to discern the situation of these persons living in an irregular union -- Read more ...
Faith, Film & 'Silence'
An Interview with Martin Scorsese
On December 23, Paramount will release Silence, Martin Scorsese’s long-awaited film about the persecution of Christians in 17th-century Japan, based on the 1966 novel by Shusaku Endo. One of the last century’s most celebrated Japanese novelists, Endo has been called “the Japanese Graham Greene.” Greene himself praised Silence as “one of the finest novels of our time;” John Updike judged it “somber, delicate, and startlingly empathetic;” and Robert Coles, writing in Commonweal after Endo’s death in 1996, called it “a major witness to Christian introspection.” Read more ...
2017 Aquinas Academy Course List
Aquinas Academy has organised a terrific range of course for 2017, including many offered for the first time but with some old favourites as well. You can explore everything from relationships to poetry, from film to politics to writing your life. Come explore, learn and grow. See the 2017 Course List by clicking on the following link.
Conscience, hope and the double bind
Michael Whelan SM
One of the most wonderful gifts one human being can give another is the sense of realistic possibility. The presence of faith, hope and love tends to do this for us – especially when we are young and vulnerable. When others – typically parents – communicate faith in us, hope for us and love no matter what, it can awaken a realistic sense of our own dignity and worth and allow us to engage the world with some confidence and honesty. It tends to engender in us a life-giving sense of possibility, preparing us for adulthood ...
Absence of meaning has consequences
There is a need for deep repentance and a change in direction on the part of all those who control the resources of the planet, argues the archbishop of Canterbury. Discontent is growing in western democracies as evidenced by Brexit, the election of Donald Trump and the rise of populism. Dr Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and primate of the Anglican communion (1) shares his views with La Croix. Read more ...
Pope Francis, Cardinal Pell and the Grand Inquisitor
Michael Whelan SM
I refer to the report by Dan Hitchens in London’s Catholic Herald, 29 November 2016 (Link here to Article) . Hitchens reports on a talk given by Cardinal Pell in London on St Damien of Molokai as part of a series of talks for the Year of Mercy. It all sounds terribly familiar. Cardinal Pell needs to be challenged as a mischief-maker.
No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear
Toni Morrison on the Artist’s Task in Troubled Times
“Only an artist can tell ... what it is like for anyone who gets to this planet to survive it,” James Baldwin asserted in contemplating how the artist’s struggle illuminates the common human struggle. “War and chaos have plagued the world for quite a long time,” wrote a forgotten defender of E.E. Cummings and the artist’s duty to challenge the status quo, “but each epoch creates its own special pulse-beat for the artists to interpret.” Often, the pulse-beats of chaos that feel most unsurvivable are those which artists must most urgently interpret in order for us to indeed survive. Read more ...
This Lonesome Place
Flannery O'Connor on race and religion in the unreconstructed South.
The two niggers, a man and a woman, cutting across the field are looking for a little moonshine when they spot the white boy, Francis Marion Tarwater—the teen-age antihero of Flannery O’Connor’s startling second novel, “The Violent Bear It Away”—who is digging a grave for his great-uncle Mason. Mason, a self-titled prophet who spent his life denouncing the world for having forsaken its Saviour, believed that Tarwater might have the calling, too, but the boy is not feeling his religion right now, standing in the dirt, just this side of death. O’Connor writes: Read more ...
Strength for the Journey: A Post-Election Conversation
With Mike Kinman
All Saints Pasadena
See this thoughtful, helpful and encouraging sermon recorded live on 13 November 2016. Watch video.
Richie Benaud's silent reproach to Trumpism
Climactic events demand we give an account of ourselves. Where were you when you heard that JFK was assassinated, or when the planes went into the World Trade Centre? If we can't remember, we fear we may convict ourselves of reprehensible levity.
In future years when I am asked what I was doing when Donald Trump was elected President, I shall have a ready answer: I was reading Brian Matthews' splendid reflection on Richie Benaud. Read more ...
Trust or bust after shattering US election campaign
The United States election, to no one's regret, is now over. It remains to wish Donald Trump well as he prepares to take up the office of president and to bid farewell to Hilary Clinton as she pursues a future outside the White House. It is tempting to see Clinton as Humpty Dumpty and to ask how she can pick up the pieces of her life, when she is tarnished and wearied by an election campaign so full of personal abuse, revelations of tawdry behaviour and a lack of grace.
Some commentators blamed the vitriol of the campaign and the distaste for both candidates on the poor choice made by both political parties. But so widespread was the popular anger and mistrust of politicians, Read more ...
Redress scheme for abuse victims is a good start
The announcement late last week by the Turnbull government that it will establish and run a national redress scheme for the survivors of institutional child sexual abuse is a great decision that has the potential to be one of the most significant social policy reforms in recent history. Friday's announcement has the potential to benefit tens of thousands of people now and into the future who have suffered the most damaging and tragic abuse — institutional child sexual abuse.
The estimates are jaw dropping, more than 60,000 children abused in hundreds of different institutions across Australia for many decades into the past. Read more ...
Post-earthquake, kneelers give way to cots in Italian parish
The Church of the Holy Spirit in Tolentino, a town of about 20,000 people in central Italy, has converted its interior into a makeshift homeless shelter after the latest earthquake to rock the region, with the pastor describing it as "nothing special ... the Church welcomes people, always." From the outside, the Church of the Holy Spirit in Tolentino, a town of about 20,000 people in central Italy, still looks like an ordinary Catholic church. On the inside right now, however, it more closely resembles a homeless shelter, because that’s exactly what it’s become. Read more ...