"If I cannot listen to the subtle manifestation of rich reality in my environment, I will necessarily try to impose my wilful codes on others. If I am not open to reality and do not obey the voice of reality, a terrible distortion takes place. Sooner or later I will turn the whole relationship around: Instead of listening to reality in people and events, I become convinced that reality in people and events should listen to me."

[Adrian van Kaam, The Art of Existential Counseling, Dimension Books, 1966, 80.]

Reflections 2015

The German Bishops and the Synod

JCardinals"We are not a subsidiary of Rome. Every episcopal conference is responsible for pastoral care in its own cultural context, and must preach the Gospel in its own original way. We cannot wait for a synod to tell us how we must shape the pastoral care of marriage and the family." Read more.


The Synod: Is a Third Way Possible?

JCardinalsOne widespread impression - sometimes deliberately fostered - is that the pre-synodal discussion is polarized between two extreme positions: on one side, those who would like to introduce radical changes into the Catholic doctrine and practice of marriage, allowing the dissolution of the bond and second marriages; on the other, those who are adamant in punishing with de facto excommunication anyone who violates the dogma of indissolubility. Pope Francis, in closing the previous session of the synod, had tough words for both of these forms of extremism. It has in fact become clear that he wants the Church to find and take a "third way": absolutely faithful to the commandment of Jesus on marriage, and at the same time loving toward those who have violated it. Read more.


Fidelity to Tradition Demands Capacity for Change

Reflection by Massimo Faggioli

JMassimoFaggioliMany people forget, or simply do not know, that the early Church (in a situation that was culturally and sociologically similar to the Church of today) had a procedure and a discipline to keep divorced and remarried Catholics within the fold. Read more See also An unbroken tradition?



Changes in Approaches to Marriage

J2015-04-30-1430372981-2940948-gaypridebible-thumbIn truth, like most social institutions, the institution of marriage has shifted and changed over the years in ways that have strengthened it and made it both more accessible and more just. Read more


Book Review: Liberal Arts v Neo-Liberalism

JBookReview01In Excellent Sheep, William Deresiexicz presents a devastating critique of the idea that college education is simply about learning marketable skills; he also makes a compelling case for the humanities. He revives, in effect, the old words — the old quest for meaning, self, and soul. Read more.


Thich Nhat Hanh Helps Us Understand the Grace of the Present Moment While Eating

JThicNhatHanhWhen we're busy at work, it's easy to quickly scarf down a meal at your desk or skip a healthy lunch altogether. But what does this kind of eating do to our souls and the environment? Read more


Repeating History - Pope Francis and the Armenian Genocide

JArmenianGenocideDear Armenian Christians, today, with hearts filled with pain but at the same time with great hope in the risen Lord, we recall the centenary of that tragic event, that immense and senseless slaughter whose cruelty your forebears had to endure. Read more


Oppression Is Not a Law of Nature

Interview with Noam Chomsky

JNoamChomskyNoam Chomsky, who was born in 1928 and began teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1955, has been described as the "father of modern linguistics," but he is even better known as a political activist and public intellectual.Read more



Full Text of Pope Francis' Proclamation of the Holy Year

Misericordiae Vultus

JPopeFrancisHolyYearMercyA Holy Year of mercy was proclaimed by Pope Francis on 11 April 2015.

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Bishop Geoffrey Robinson's New Book on the Synod and Divorce and Homosexuality

Text of Bishop Bill Morris' presentation

JGeoffreyRobinsonGeoffrey Robinson has written a new book entitled: The 2015 Synod - The Crucial Questions: Divorce and Homosexuality (ATF Press/Catalyst for Renewal, 2015). The book was launched by Bill Morris at the Dixson Room in the Nsw State Library on April 9.

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How Free is Free Speech in the Catholic Church?

Jandrew hamiltonSome 60 years ago the German Catholic theologian Karl Rahner wrote a pamphlet on free speech in the Catholic Church. His explorations may seem now to be very tentative, but were daring at a time when the pope took positions on disputed questions and demanded acquiescence. Read more


Divorce and Remarriage - Another Perspective?

JMarriageOrthodox"The Orthodox follow the theology of what they call 'oikonomia,' and they give a second chance [of marriage], they allow it. I believe that this problem must be studied within the context of the pastoral care of marriage." Read more

Celebrating the Passion of the Lord

JCrossThe busiest afternoon of the year for Catholic churches is that of Good Friday. People throng to participate in a liturgy entitled, 'Celebration of the Passion of the Lord'. The mood for this celebration is set by three readings from Scripture, which invite us to meet the Lord Jesus under three aspects: as Servant, as Priest, and as King. Read more


Triggs Was Attacked for Defending the Powerless

JRichardFlanaganBetween the knighting of Prince Philip and the attacks on the human rights commissioner, Gillian Triggs, we now see revealed the essence of this government – one that believes in a near-feudal hierarchy with a European monarch's consort at the top and women and children at the bottom. Read more


The History Behind Holy Thursday

JPopeFrancisMaundyThursdayMaundy Thursday is observed by Christians on the Thursday before Easter, which falls this year on April 2. "Holy Thursday," as it is also commonly known, marks the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with his apostles prior to his betrayal, trial and crucifixion as portrayed in the Christian gospels. Read more


Tim Winton's Palm Sunday Plea

JTimWintonPalmSundayFor generations, in communities all over the globe, Palm Sunday has been a day when people walk for peace and reconciliation. And not just Christians. People of every faith and of no faith at all come together as we have today in solidarity. To express our communal values and yearnings, the things that bind us rather than those that separate us. Read more


Everyone Around You Has A Story The World Needs To Hear

JDaveIslayDave Isay opened the first StoryCorps booth in New York's Grand Central Terminal in 2003 with the intention of creating a quiet place where a person could honor someone who mattered to them by listening to their story. Since then, StoryCorps has evolved into the single largest collection of human voices ever recorded. His TED Prize wish: to grow this digital archive of the collective wisdom of humanity. Hear his vision to take StoryCorps global — and how you can be a part of it by interviewing someone with the StoryCorps app. Watch the video presentation

Interfaith, Interlove Project

JInterloveWith so much talk these days about 'opposing beliefs' inciting conflict, violence and hate, I wanted to approach it from a positive angle and talk about 'opposing beliefs' coming together with respect, honour and most importantly, love. Encountering strong social, political and religious challenges in the name of love must surely prove that 'opposing beliefs' can fundamentally rise above diversity. Read more


Why Islam Needs a Reformation

 JAliAyaan Hirsi Ali in The Wall Street Journal

"ISLAM'S borders are bloody," wrote the late US political scientist Samuel Huntington in 1996, "and so are its innards." Nearly 20 years later, Huntington looks more right than ever before.

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Nostalgia, Truthful Memory and the Great War

JEdwardThomasSo before we embark on this showcase of memory at this centenary of appalling violence, it is a good thing to ask: What are we about to do? What is a correct orientation to all of this? Read more