"I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. I do not want a Church concerned with being at the centre and then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures. If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life. More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us: 'Give them something to eat' (Mk 6:37)." (Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (November 2013), #49)


Reflections 2015

Border Control Gulags Have Had Their Time

Essay by Frank Brennan SJ

JDetentionCampWhat are the chances of Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten agreeing by Christmas that it's time to close the refugee processing centres on Nauru and Manus Island? Turnbull and Shorten already agree that the boats coming from Indonesia should be stopped. The boats are now being stopped, if need be, with turnbacks, which neither side of politics now questions. Read more.


Objections to the "Instrumentum Laboris" for the Synod

JCardinalsThe "Instrumentum Laboris" is the working document for the Synod commencing on October 4. Not everybody thinks that document is a good one. Read more. Together with the critique of the "Instrrumentum" you will find at this site a link to the "Instrumentum".


The US Catholic Bishops Web Site

Information on the Upcoming Synod

JCardinalsThis site offers basic facts like dates and themes and list of names of participants. Read more


Pope Francis, the Prince of the Personal

JDavidBrooksOne of Pope Francis’ favorite novels is “The Betrothed” by Alessandro Manzoni. It is about two lovers whose longing to marry is thwarted by a cowardly and morally mediocre priest and a grasping nobleman. A good simple friar shelters the suffering couple. Then a plague hits the country, reminding everyone of their mortality and vulnerability, and also bringing about a moral reckoning. Read more


Pope Francis' Visit to USA

Reflection by Peter Steinfels

JPopeFrancisUSAI'm exactly the sort of Catholic who should be cheering for Pope Francis’ historic trip to the United States—but instead I’m dreading it. Rather than drinking in the spectacle this week, I’m tempted to turn off the TV, close my laptop, leave the newspapers unread and keep the radio tuned to classical music. My discomfort is by no means with Francis himself, but with how this trip will inevitably be politicized. Read more


Pope Francis and Catholics in the US

JAmericanFlagLanding in Washington after visiting Cuba, Pope Francis is setting foot in a country that was born Protestant but in which almost half the population today has a connection with Catholicism. Read more


The Question of God Implies the Question of Humanity

JClimateChangeThe question of God is often declared obsolete. Then, like embers smoldering under ashes, it makes a furtive appearance in the course of a debate over the ultimate purpose of things. And sometimes it is insistent. Read more



New Laws On Annulments

JWeddingringsThe Holy See released two Motu Proprio Apostolic Letters today written by Pope Francis that announce reforms to the canonical process of marriage annulment. Read more.


Differing Opinions Emerging for the Synod

JCardinalsWhile the geographic epicenter of the resistance is above all in Africa, that of the innovators is central Europe, in particular Germany, France, and Switzerland. The presidents of the episcopal conferences of these three countries organized last May 25 in Rome, at the Pontifical Gregorian University, a sort of shadow synod whose ambitious ideas were afterward published in three languages on the website of the German episcopal conference. Read more

Pope Francis on the Divorce Between Theology and Ministry

JPopeFrancis11One of the truly monumental challenges facing the Catholic Church is the separation of academic theology from the the pastrosal care of the people. This is particularly evident in the matter facing the Synod - the place of those who are divorced and re-married. Read more of Pope Francis' message.


A Live Interview with Pope Francis

JPopeFrancisencyclicalIn preparation for his trip to the United States, Pope Francis participated in a series of link up with people in the US. Watch the video.


Thomas Merton: The Myth, the Monk, the Man

Reflection by Luke Timothy Johnson

JThomasMertonwithcameraWhen The Seven Storey Mountain was published in 1949 and became an instant classic, Thomas Merton was only thirty-four years old and had been a Trappist monk for just seven years. Read more.

Bishop Geoffrey Robinson Before the Royal Commission

JGeoffreyRobinsonIt has been a breath of fresh air to hear Bishop Geoffrey Robinson respond to the questions of counsel assisting the Royal Commission - forthright, honest, courageous - Watch video One. Watch video Two. Watch video three.


Raimond Gaita on Common Humanity (Melbourne Writers' Festival 2015)

JRaimondGaitaWhat is a ‘common humanity’? One of Australia’s most prominent moral philosophers, Raimond Gaita, explores this fragile idea, in a world where we treat asylum seekers as criminals, lock up children and refuse to change the way we live now, despite the dire consequences for the next generations. This Talking Points session at the Melbourne Writers Festival 2015 is hosted by Maria Tumarkin. Watch the video


Religion and Environment in Peru

JArchbishop Barreto 465After three weeks of reporting in July and August in Peru, a country that is 75 percent Catholic and whose Conservative Opus Dei Cardinal, Juan Luis Cipriani, offered only tepid support for the encyclical, I found many differences among Peruvian Catholics and clergy in their embrace of the teaching document targeting 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide. Read more.


Rediscovering God

Reflection by Peter Lowman

JSpaceMenRediscovering God isn’t like discovering whether a particular subatomic particle exists. Rather, it is like learning to know, and love, a person. Above all it is relational. To say that raises two immediate issues. Read more

Dom Helder Camara: Prophet of Vatican II

"When I give food to the poor they call me a saint; when I ask why the poor have no food they call me a communist". Read moreJDomHelderCamara


Revisiting Rowan Williams' Address in Rome

JRowanWilliamsI have just revisited Archbsihop Rowan's address to the Synod of Bishops in Rome in December 2012. I think it is worth a second look! In that addres he spoke about the profound connection between contemplation and the task of evangelisation, saying it “must be rooted in a profound confidence that we have a distinctive human destiny to show and share with the world”. Read more.


The Music of Silence

JThierrydeBrunhoffA talented, highly acknowledged musician who chose silence. A man whose profession called for engaging with the public by playing Chopin or Schubert, who decided to withdraw from the world... Read more


Archbishop Says Non-traditional Families Deserve Mercy

3006cupich 22472artthumb.jpgIn a 15-minute homily, Archbishop Cupich, who Pope Francis has appointed a delegate to the upcoming Synod on the Family, said bishops and other Catholics should avoid “absolutising one particular era” by remembering the richness and diversity of their faith. Read more.