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 ...
An Interview with Arturo Sosa
Two days after his election, the communications team of General Congregation 36 sat down with Father General Arturo Sosa to discuss his life and thought. The conversation introduces the new Superior General in a way that is more personal, to Jesuits and the wider Ignatian family around the world.
On being elected General of the Society:
Like all the electors, I arrived at the congregation asking myself who would be the best candidates for the job of General, and obviously, I did not have myself on the list. The first day of murmuratio1, I began to gather information about the delegates I thought were good candidates. The second day I began to sense that some delegates were asking about me or had asked about me. Read more ...
Luther, reformer and spiritual guide
Luther's message has a permanent value because it recalls the primacy of grace and God's unconditional love. In the Lutheran Church as in the Catholic Church, the understanding of Martin Luther has greatly evolved over the past five centuries. Today he is perceived not only as a daring reformer but also as a spiritual guide. Even if Catholics and Lutherans have learnt, especially since the Second Vatican Council, to read and interpret Luther together, the place that this historical figure occupies in each of the two Churches will never be the same for each. Read more ...
Joint Catholic-Lutheran Commemoration of the Reformation
The Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church will hold a joint commemoration of the Reformation on 31 October in Lund and Malmö, Sweden, under the theme From Conflict to Communion – Together in Hope. The commemoration will take place in anticipation of the 500th Reformation anniversary in 2017. It will highlight the solid ecumenical developments between Catholics and Lutherans and the joint gifts received through dialogue. Read more ...
Joint Commemoration livestream
Swiss Christian nursing home must allow assisted suicide
A Swiss court has ruled that a Christian nursing home must either permit assisted suicide on its premises or give up its charitable status. The nursing home, which is run by the Salvation Army, the UK-based Christian charity, lost a legal challenge to new assisted suicide rules. The regulations, introduced about a year ago, compel charities caring for the sick and elderly to offer assisted suicide when a patient or resident requests it. Read more ...
For fans of Leonard Cohen
Spiritual themes have been present in the musician's work from the very beginning. Following the release of Leonard Cohen’s latest album, You want it darker, the Dominican theologian Dominique Cerbelaud examines the place of God and the Bible in the musician’s work.
You want it darker (Audio).
Dominique Cerbelaud interview.
Rolling Stone review.
The Guardian review.
Safeguarding children's rights
Over the past decade, Fr Zollner has become an articulate, leading, sought-after expert and prolific author in the area of the safeguarding of minors and child sexual abuse prevention as well as in the area of spirituality of priesthood and consecrated life. He is also a Member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and has visited more than 35 countries and addressed the ecclesial leadership of each country on these topics. See video here.
Clinton campaign chief helped start Catholic organisations to create 'revolution' in the Church
John Podesta said: 'We created Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good' to help change the Church. Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief helped to create campaign groups to press for a “revolution” in the Catholic Church, according to leaked emails. John Podesta, head of Clinton’s campaign, says he helped to found two Catholic organisations to press for change in the Church. Read more ...
From Tübingen to the Tiber
A Conversation with Peter 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
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
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
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)
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
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 ...