"The fundamental polarity of human life between what is and what ought to be, between lack and fulfillment, between determination and freedom, is not abnormal; it is the norm. Every person is exposed to it because of the inescapable structure of human formation." (Adrian van Kaam, The Transcendent Self, Dimension Books, 1979, 172.)

Reflections 2016

Climatologists have erred on the side of optimism

JGlobal Warming

Since COP21 last December, bad news has accumulated on the scientific front. Air temperatures and sea levels could be rising more steeply than previously predicted. Read more ...

Three Pillars

A Reflection by Michael Whelan SM
JThree Pillars

Forgiveness is absolutely necessary to human existence. Without it we fall into despair and chaos. Behind all the hatred and violence in the world – writ large in wars, writ smaller in personal and local strife – you will find lack of forgiveness. This reveals a deep ambiguity in human existence. Hamlet lays it out in his characteristic way: “What a piece of work is man!

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"Spotlight", the movie

A Reflection by Michael Whelan SM

“There's no higher compliment to pay this steadily riveting, quietly devastating take on investigative journalism than to say Spotlight gets it right.” So wrote Peter Travers in Rolling Stone, November 4 2015.

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Sometimes God Wants You to Shut Up

David Mills
JCharlie Brown and Snoopy

The truth can comfort you, but it doesn’t comfort you in the same way that a friend sitting at your side comforts you. It was a honking big needle the nurse held up as my very sick friend pulled up his sleeve. I really, really don’t like needles, Read more ...

Mercy: a case history

Jgod of mercy

The readings from Isaiah that we heard at the Easter Vigil put Karen Eliasen in mind of a song which can help us make sense of Pope Francis’ call for the Church to be a ‘convincing herald of mercy’. The prophet is just such a convincing herald because he reminds us that ‘God is a God of mercy and justice, and his business with us is ongoing in its love and pain’ – how does he do this? Read more ...


Elusive Easter's challenge to wider society

Andrew Hamilton
JEaster Cross

One of the abiding human challenges is to endure with gallantry prolonged hard times. It is enshrined in Australian memories of long years of drought that drive some off the land while others stay. More jocularly, it is reflected in the mixed pity and admiration accorded supporters who never give up on their unfailingly failing football team. Read more ...

Easter must wait

Father Robert McTeigue SJ
JEaster must wait

Are you ready for Easter? I hope not. Let me explain. Read more ...


Soldier, scholar, Papal mentor


The Catholic Herald
This month marks the 120th anniversary of the birth of one of the most influential theologians of the modern era, a man whose life reads like an adventure story.
Henri-Marie Joseph de Lubac was born in Cambrai in 1896, one of six children. He joined the Jesuits while still in his teens, and in the normal way would have studied with them in France. Read more ...

High Court not the answer to Nauru depravity


The moral depravity of Australian funded and orchestrated holding of asylum seekers, including children, on Nauru and Manus Island is to continue. On Wednesday the High Court made clear that it is in no position to question the retrospective law passed by the Commonwealth Parliament on 30 June 2015 authorising the Australian Government to do whatever it takes to assist countries like Nauru with the detention of asylum seekers sent there by Australia as of 18 August 2012. Read more.

Pope Francis Asks Protestants for Forgiveness


Speaking at an annual Vespers service on Monday in St Paul’s Basilica in Rome attended by representatives of other religions, he asked “forgiveness for the un-gospel-like behaviour by Catholics towards Christians of other churches.” He also asked Catholics to forgive those who had persecuted them. Read more.


Scientists on the Possibility of God


When President Barack Obama nominated the Christian geneticist Francis Collins to head the National Institutes of Health in 2009, some American scientists questioned whether someone who professed a strong belief in God was qualified to lead the largest biomedical research agency in the world. Read more.


Thomas Aquinas - Still Relevant?


28 January is the Feast of the great Doctor of the Church, St Thomas Aquinas. But why does the theology of this Dominican priest who died in 1274 still carry so much influence today? Renowned Aquinas scholar, Fergus Kerr OP explains why there has been a turn back to Thomism in recent years, and gives just a few reasons why we are still reading Thomas Aquinas. Read more. See also essay by Joe Egerton, "Thomas Aquinas, Philosopher Saint".


David Suzuki on the Pope

JDavidSuzukiFew scientists are more widely beloved by the public than the amiable David Suzuki. His background is in genetics (he was a professor at the University of British Columbia until his 2001 retirement), but the 79-year-old Canadian biologist, broadcaster and environmentalist has spent the past five decades explaining the wonders of nature – and, increasingly, the threats to our survival from climate change – to a popular audience on radio, television, and through his best-selling books; the most recent of which, Letters to my Grandchildren, is a mix of memoir, philosophy text, and urgent call to action. Read more.


A Hierarchy of Truths

JHierarchyoftruthsFormulated at the Second Vatican Council in 1963, the hierarchy of truths is a concept that can be applied to dialogues other than that between the different Christian confessions. Read more


The Great Conservative Fail

JDivorceAs the Synod of Bishops on the Family passes into history and the new Year of Mercy kicks off, Catholics continue to debate the impact of these events and their meaning for the future of the Church. In particular, they debate the unresolved issue of whether or not to continue the ban on Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics who have not had their marriages annulled. Read more.

Facing the Ruins: Theodicy Between East and West

JTheodicyIn 1950, before the late Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian (1916-2013) returned to China from Europe, he visited Pompeii. Facing the ruins of the collective calamity, he wondered how a benevolent God could have permitted such a total destruction: the entire population, rich or poor, pets and livestock. Read more


John Courtney Murray Lecture 2016

Rabbi Daniel Polish

JJohnCourtneyMurrayAs the conversation around matters of faith and public life continues to grow, both domestically and internationally, America Media is proud to present this year's John Courtney Murray, S.J., lecture. In the lecture “Nostra Aetate: A Lever That Moved the World,” Rabbi Daniel Polish will discuss the progress made in ecumenical and interfaith relations in the 50 years since the “Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions” of the Second Vatican Council. Read more


Catholics and Lutherans Find Common Ground

JPopeFranciswithLutheransAfter 498 years since the Reformation, Catholics and Lutherans have moved from the divisions of Martin Luther’s 95 theses to 32 statements of agreement, according to a groundbreaking new document that summarizes the results of 50 years of ecumenical dialogue. Read more.


Pope Francis' "Who am I to Judge?"

JPopeFrancisinStPetersSquareThe Name of God is Mercy, to be released Jan. 12, is a book-length interview of Pope Francis by Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli. The book is meant to “reveal the heart of Francis and his vision,” according to Tornielli's foreward. He had wanted to ask the Pope about mercy and forgiveness, “to analyze what those words mean to him, as a man and a priest.” Read more.



An Evangelical Speaks about Pope Francis

JPopeFrancis01One of the extraordinary phenomena is the way that many outside the Romanm Catholic Church are turning to Pope Francis as a leader of wisdom and substance. Here is a particularly beautiful and powerful instance.

Watch the video.