"God has left us abandoned in time. God and humanity are like two lovers who have missed their rendezvous. Each is there before the time, but each at a different place, and they wait and wait and wait. He stands motionless, nailed to the spot for the whole of time. She is distraught and impatient. But alas for her if she gets tired and goes away. The crucifixion of Christ is the image of the fixity of God. God is attention without distraction. One must imitate the patience and humility of God." (Simone Weil, "The Fathers Silence" in The Simone Weil Reader, edited by George A Panichas, David McKay Company, 1977, 424-25)


Truth Justice and Healing Council Report

JFrancisSullivanIn February 2013 the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) jointly established the Truth Justice and Healing Council to lead and coordinate the Church's response to and appearances at hearings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Read the full report.


Abbott's Woes Through Pope's Human Values Lens

Article by Andrew Hamilton

Jandrew hamiltonPope Francis' recent speech to the European parliament provides a useful lens for reflecting on the priorities and policies of the Australian Government, themselves currently the object of introspection and criticism. Read more

Interview with the New Chicago Archbishop

JArchbishopCupich"I would not use the Eucharist, or as they call it 'the communion rail,' as a place to have those discussions or a way in which people would be either excluded from the life of the church," he told CBS News' Norah O'Donnell in an interview that aired on "Face the Nation" Sunday. "The Eucharist is an opportunity of grace and conversion. It's also a time of forgiveness of sins, so my hope would be that grace would be instrumental in bringing people to the truth."  Watch the video


Cardinal Francis George on Pope Francis

JCardinalFrancisGeorgeThe tempestuous October synod on the family, the appointment of the new archbishop of Chicago, and the demotion of Cardinal Raymond L. Burke have marked a turning point in the pontificate of Pope Francis. Read more.


Pope Francis Celebrates a Homeless Man's 50th

Jandrew hamiltonLast week Bishop Konrad Krajewski, the Papal almoner, installed showers for people who are homeless, in St Peter's Square. The move followed his meeting a homeless man, discovering it was his fiftieth birthday and inviting him to dinner in a local restaurant, only for the man to decline on the grounds he smelled. Read more.

Transformative Spirituality and Justice

JRightrelationshipsChristian spirituality is the way in which the invisible heart of God is made visible to the world by revealing the life of Christ in the lives of his followers.... From a Christian perspective, spirituality is integrally related to the deeper needs and concerns of the human heart. Read more


I'd Rather Go to Jail than Break the Seal of Confession

JReconciliationWe have recently had a nice clear statement from Romereaffirming what we all believe about the absolute nature of the seal of confession. Hurrah for that. You may have seen me on BBC1 on Sunday morning doing the same thing: I had a long interview on the subject, but only about three minutes made it into the programme, and can be seen here, starting at 47 minutes in. Read more


Surgeon Questions Modern Medicine's Treatment of Dying Patients

JDrAtulondeathanddyingDr Atul Gawande has been making life and death decisions for a decade, but only in the past few years has the Boston-based surgeon questioned whether medicine gives people what they really want at the end of their lives. Read more.


Do We Have The Right to Assisted Suicide?

JFrankBrennanPhysician assisted suicide and euthanasia are back in the courts of Canada and the United Kingdom, and back in the parliaments of the United Kingdom and Australia. Last month, the Supreme Court of Canada finished hearing a case in which the applicants claim that a 1993 Supreme Court decision upholding the criminal ban on euthanasia should be overruled. On Friday, the House of Lords will resume debate on Lord Falconer's Assisted Dying Bill. Read more.


Climate Change and the Prophets

JClimateAs the question of how we set about tackling climate change increasingly becomes not just an economic and political issue, but a moral one too, a new paper from Christian Aid draws inspiration from the Biblical prophets. Read more


Synod According to Jesuit Periodical La Civillita Cattolica

JSynodThe periodical's Editor-in-Chief, Fr. Spadaro SJ, talks about the Synod's failure to reach a two-thirds majority vote on the issue of remarried divorcees: the decision was "anomalous in a way because it is as if 74 out of 183 fathers didn't want the discussion to be recorded, pretending it had never even taken place". Read More


Language at Synod Signals Shift in Thinking?

JNicholasMartinLanguage used at the Synod on the Family to describe gay relationships was "revolutionary", according to Ireland's senior archbishop, welcoming the changes signalled by the meeting in Rome last month. Read more


Full Text of Final Synod Report

JCardinalsThe official translation of the Syond report is now available. Read it here.

The 613 Prescriptions in Judaism

JStarofDavidHere is a list of the 613 mitzvot (commandments). It is based primarily on the list compiled by Rambam in the Mishneh Torah, but I have consulted other sources as well. As I said in the page on halakhah, Rambam's list is probably the most widely accepted list, but it is not the only one. The order is my own, as are the explanations of how some rules are derived from some biblical passages. Read more. For more about the mitzvot click here.


A Pope Who Wants To Talk With Us

JNoelConnollyConversation, communication and dialogue are vital to Francis. He is famous for throwing away his prepared text and speaking directly to his audience. Read more.


Pope Francis Chips Away

JPopeFrancisaftertheSynodThere was no agreement at the synod on homosexuality and divorce, but in the end it will be the pope who decides. And he already has in mind the changes he wants to introduce, or rather is already putting them into practice. A commentary by Paul Anthony McGavin. Read more


Was the Synod a Defeat for Pope Francis?

Jandrew hamiltonPopular expectations of the Synod on the Family rose to unexpected heights when the draft report was prepared. They fell to earth with the publication of the final report which removed more welcoming and positive phrases about homosexual relationships. Read more


The Synod: What is Happening?

JSynodPopeFranciswithCardinalsNew paradigms of divorce and homosexuality are now at home in the highest levels of the Church. Nothing has been decided, but Pope Francis is patient. An American historian confutes the ideas of "La Civiltà Cattolica" Read more


Relatio Post Disceptationem

JCardinalsThe Extraordinary Synod on the Family has published a working document - "Relatio Post Disceptationem" ("Report after Debate") - summarizing input at the Synod. After the Ordinary Synod of Bishops next year, we can expect Pope Francis to publish an Apostolic Exhortation based on the work of the Extraordinary Synod and the Ordinary Syond. To read the English translation of the "Relatio Post Disceptationem" click here.


Various Perspectives on the Synod

JCardinalsThe national Catholic Reporter has a series of reports on the Extraordinary Synod on the Family. Click here.