"Spiritual formation cannot be forced, only prepared for. Hence its means cannot be those of conquest, but only of facilitation and preparation." [Adrian van Kaam, Studies in Formative Spirituality, I, 2 (1980), 303]

Reflections 2015

Four Preconditions for Supporting Marriage Equality

Jfrank brennanA committed Catholic gay man, whose integrity I admire and whose hurt from ongoing homophobia I feel, recently asked me to sign a letter to Prime Minister Tony Abbott urging that Coalition members be granted a conscience vote and that the Commonwealth Marriage Act be amended promptly to include same sex marriage. Read more


The Ethics in Laudato Si'

JPopeFrancisencyclicalFaith-based discussions about ecological issues often revolve around a theme of stewardship, but Pope Francis has taken a different approach in his encyclical, says Henry Longbottom SJ. How does the ecological conversion to which Laudato si’ calls us compare with a movement in secular philosophy which advocates an environmental virtue ethics?


Gore or Glory: An Anniversary and a Feast

Fr Bill Grimm

JBillGrimm01August 6, besides being a feast of the Church, Transfiguration, is a terrible anniversary in human history. Read more


Does Jesus Allow Divorce or Not?

JCardinalsThe Synod cannot simply and unquestionning affirm or deny the Church's customary teaching on divorce and remarriage. A crucial issue is our understanding of the teachings of Jesus. Read more


Fr Lombardi on Pope Francis

JpopefrancisFather Lombardi’s views are nested in a long article on the pontificate of Francis published in the August issue of the famous international magazine “National Geographic”. Read more


A Young Man Speaks of His Experience of Depression

JDepressionThe School Captain at St Ignatius College Riverview spoke at the school assembly. View the video


A Soldier's Quest for God - Book Review

DesertIn his pre-Christian past, which is most of his life, Stan Goff was a career soldier who stoutly carried out American foreign policy by obeying orders to inflict violence on human beings in Vietnam, Panama, Grenada, Somalia, Haiti, and other combat zones. Read more.

Robert Manne on Laudato Si'

JPopeFrancisEncyclical01When I was young the intellectual milieu was shaped by the need to come to terms with the unprecedented crimes and the general moral collapse that had taken place on European soil following the outbreak of great power conflict in August 1914 – Hitler and Stalin, the Holocaust and the Gulag, the concentration camps and genocide, the tens of millions of deaths that had occurred in two unprecedentedly barbarous wars. Read more.


Conversation Rather than Argument

JCardinalsWith the positioning and skirmishing taking place before the upcoming Synod of Bishops, the pro-and-con reactions to the pope’s encyclical, and the clashing opinions of the Catholic commentariat, it seems as though the progressive/conservative divide is deeper than ever. The battle lines have clearly been drawn. Read more.


Tom Holland on Prophet Muhammad - The Christopher Hitchens Lecture at the Hays Festival

JTomHollandWatch Tom Holland's presentation. Click here,


Strong Criticism of Laudato Si'

Bruce Duncan replies

JPaulKellyIn a series of articles, The Australian newspaper has strongly criticized the new encyclical Laudato si': On care for our common home by Pope Francis as being wrong about climate change and ignorant about economics. Editor-at-large, Paul Kelly, on June 24 charged that the pope's language was "almost hysterical. Profound intellectual ignorance is dressed up as honoring God." Read more.


The Best Explanation of the Greek-Eurozone Crisis You Will Ever Get

JAristotleView this video - it will help you make sense of nonsense. Click here.


Reflection on the Same Sex Marriage Decision by US Supreme Court

Frank Brennan SJ

Jfrank brennanOn June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Obergefell v Hodges, deciding by the predictably narrowest majority of 5-4 that same-sex couples had a constitutional right to marry, and that the right is protected under both the due process and equal protection clauses. Read more.


Synod: Where is the Thinking Headed?

JCardinalsThe preparatory document for the October session puts the brakes on communion for the divorced and remarried and on homosexual unions. New voices from Africa and Latin America. All in support of perennial doctrine.Read more


Laudato Si' Critique and Counter-Critique

JDavidBrooksPope Francis is one of the world's most inspiring figures. There are passages in his new encyclical on the environment that beautifully place human beings within the seamless garment of life. And yet over all the encyclical is surprisingly disappointing. New York Times columnist critiques Pope Francis' encyclical. Read More. Anthony Annett offers a response to David Brooks in Commonweal. Read more.


Atheism - A Book Review

120px rainforest bluemountainsnswThis book - Atheism: What Everyone Needs to Know - purports to 'lay out dispassionately the issues surrounding atheism, the arguments against it and the arguments for it, its critics and its supporters', to 'move beyond the polemics and look at the underlying issues', to offer 'a balanced look at the question of atheism'. Re

ad more.

Political Motives Behind Capital Punishment

Jfrank brennanThe lesson from the trials of the Boston Bomber and the Bali nine is that the death penalty is always political and macabre. Last week, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston bomber was condemned to death. Read more.


Francis and the New Papal Politics

Jpopefrancis"If you continue talking like this, sooner or later I will begin to pray again and return to the Catholic Church." That's what Raul Castro confessed to having said to Pope Francis during their May 10 private meeting at the Vatican. Read more.


Keeping the Sabbath

JSabbathOne of the great ideas dominating the theology of Deuteronomy is that future moment when God will cause Israel to possess the land of Canaan. Possession, inheritance, and rest function almost as synonymous ideas here. Read more


When Things Fall Apart

800px cradle mountain seen from barn bluffBefore Pema Chödrön became a world-renowned Buddhist teacher and best-selling author, she had what she calls a "conventional" life and marriage. Then, one day, her entire world came crashing down in a matter of seconds when her then-husband blurted out that he wanted a divorce. Chödrön recalls it being one of the most devastating moments in her life, but looking back, she now understands it was also one of the most profound.  Read more