What Thomas Merton and Muhammad Ali Had in Common
On an afternoon in 1958, near the shopping district at Walnut and Fourth Streets in Louisville, Ky., Thomas Merton was moving about inconspicuously gathering supplies for the Abbey at Gethsemani. The monastery, established in 1848 by the Order of Trappist Cistercians, is in Nelson County, south of Louisville near Bardstown. It is where Merton lived as a Trappist monk beginning in 1941.
Merton’s autobiography “The Seven Storey Mountain,” published in 1948, and other works on interfaith dialogue, peace and nonviolence had made him an international best-selling author. Read more ...
Doctrinal chief dismisses idea of 'fraternal correction' of pope
The Catholic Church is "very far" from a situation in which the pope is in need of "fraternal correction" because he has not put the faith and church teaching in danger, said Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Interviewed Jan. 9 on the Italian all-news channel, TGCom24, Cardinal Muller said Pope Francis' document on the family, "Amoris Laetitia," was "very clear" in its teaching.
In the document, the cardinal said, Pope Francis asks priests "to discern the situation of these persons living in an irregular union -- Read more ...
Faith, Film & 'Silence'
An Interview with Martin Scorsese
On December 23, Paramount will release Silence, Martin Scorsese’s long-awaited film about the persecution of Christians in 17th-century Japan, based on the 1966 novel by Shusaku Endo. One of the last century’s most celebrated Japanese novelists, Endo has been called “the Japanese Graham Greene.” Greene himself praised Silence as “one of the finest novels of our time;” John Updike judged it “somber, delicate, and startlingly empathetic;” and Robert Coles, writing in Commonweal after Endo’s death in 1996, called it “a major witness to Christian introspection.” Read more ...
2017 Aquinas Academy Course List
Aquinas Academy has organised a terrific range of course for 2017, including many offered for the first time but with some old favourites as well. You can explore everything from relationships to poetry, from film to politics to writing your life. Come explore, learn and grow. See the 2017 Course List by clicking on the following link.
Conscience, hope and the double bind
Michael Whelan SM
One of the most wonderful gifts one human being can give another is the sense of realistic possibility. The presence of faith, hope and love tends to do this for us – especially when we are young and vulnerable. When others – typically parents – communicate faith in us, hope for us and love no matter what, it can awaken a realistic sense of our own dignity and worth and allow us to engage the world with some confidence and honesty. It tends to engender in us a life-giving sense of possibility, preparing us for adulthood ...
Absence of meaning has consequences
There is a need for deep repentance and a change in direction on the part of all those who control the resources of the planet, argues the archbishop of Canterbury. Discontent is growing in western democracies as evidenced by Brexit, the election of Donald Trump and the rise of populism. Dr Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and primate of the Anglican communion (1) shares his views with La Croix. Read more ...
Pope Francis, Cardinal Pell and the Grand Inquisitor
Michael Whelan SM
I refer to the report by Dan Hitchens in London’s Catholic Herald, 29 November 2016 (Link here to Article) . Hitchens reports on a talk given by Cardinal Pell in London on St Damien of Molokai as part of a series of talks for the Year of Mercy. It all sounds terribly familiar. Cardinal Pell needs to be challenged as a mischief-maker.
No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear
Toni Morrison on the Artist’s Task in Troubled Times
“Only an artist can tell ... what it is like for anyone who gets to this planet to survive it,” James Baldwin asserted in contemplating how the artist’s struggle illuminates the common human struggle. “War and chaos have plagued the world for quite a long time,” wrote a forgotten defender of E.E. Cummings and the artist’s duty to challenge the status quo, “but each epoch creates its own special pulse-beat for the artists to interpret.” Often, the pulse-beats of chaos that feel most unsurvivable are those which artists must most urgently interpret in order for us to indeed survive. Read more ...
This Lonesome Place
Flannery O'Connor on race and religion in the unreconstructed South.
The two niggers, a man and a woman, cutting across the field are looking for a little moonshine when they spot the white boy, Francis Marion Tarwater—the teen-age antihero of Flannery O’Connor’s startling second novel, “The Violent Bear It Away”—who is digging a grave for his great-uncle Mason. Mason, a self-titled prophet who spent his life denouncing the world for having forsaken its Saviour, believed that Tarwater might have the calling, too, but the boy is not feeling his religion right now, standing in the dirt, just this side of death. O’Connor writes: Read more ...
Strength for the Journey: A Post-Election Conversation
With Mike Kinman
All Saints Pasadena
See this thoughtful, helpful and encouraging sermon recorded live on 13 November 2016. Watch video.
Richie Benaud's silent reproach to Trumpism
Climactic events demand we give an account of ourselves. Where were you when you heard that JFK was assassinated, or when the planes went into the World Trade Centre? If we can't remember, we fear we may convict ourselves of reprehensible levity.
In future years when I am asked what I was doing when Donald Trump was elected President, I shall have a ready answer: I was reading Brian Matthews' splendid reflection on Richie Benaud. Read more ...
Trust or bust after shattering US election campaign
The United States election, to no one's regret, is now over. It remains to wish Donald Trump well as he prepares to take up the office of president and to bid farewell to Hilary Clinton as she pursues a future outside the White House. It is tempting to see Clinton as Humpty Dumpty and to ask how she can pick up the pieces of her life, when she is tarnished and wearied by an election campaign so full of personal abuse, revelations of tawdry behaviour and a lack of grace.
Some commentators blamed the vitriol of the campaign and the distaste for both candidates on the poor choice made by both political parties. But so widespread was the popular anger and mistrust of politicians, Read more ...
Redress scheme for abuse victims is a good start
The announcement late last week by the Turnbull government that it will establish and run a national redress scheme for the survivors of institutional child sexual abuse is a great decision that has the potential to be one of the most significant social policy reforms in recent history. Friday's announcement has the potential to benefit tens of thousands of people now and into the future who have suffered the most damaging and tragic abuse — institutional child sexual abuse.
The estimates are jaw dropping, more than 60,000 children abused in hundreds of different institutions across Australia for many decades into the past. Read more ...
Post-earthquake, kneelers give way to cots in Italian parish
The Church of the Holy Spirit in Tolentino, a town of about 20,000 people in central Italy, has converted its interior into a makeshift homeless shelter after the latest earthquake to rock the region, with the pastor describing it as "nothing special ... the Church welcomes people, always." From the outside, the Church of the Holy Spirit in Tolentino, a town of about 20,000 people in central Italy, still looks like an ordinary Catholic church. On the inside right now, however, it more closely resembles a homeless shelter, because that’s exactly what it’s become. Read more ...
An Interview with Arturo Sosa
Two days after his election, the communications team of General Congregation 36 sat down with Father General Arturo Sosa to discuss his life and thought. The conversation introduces the new Superior General in a way that is more personal, to Jesuits and the wider Ignatian family around the world.
On being elected General of the Society:
Like all the electors, I arrived at the congregation asking myself who would be the best candidates for the job of General, and obviously, I did not have myself on the list. The first day of murmuratio1, I began to gather information about the delegates I thought were good candidates. The second day I began to sense that some delegates were asking about me or had asked about me. Read more ...
Luther, reformer and spiritual guide
Luther's message has a permanent value because it recalls the primacy of grace and God's unconditional love. In the Lutheran Church as in the Catholic Church, the understanding of Martin Luther has greatly evolved over the past five centuries. Today he is perceived not only as a daring reformer but also as a spiritual guide. Even if Catholics and Lutherans have learnt, especially since the Second Vatican Council, to read and interpret Luther together, the place that this historical figure occupies in each of the two Churches will never be the same for each. Read more ...
Joint Catholic-Lutheran Commemoration of the Reformation
The Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church will hold a joint commemoration of the Reformation on 31 October in Lund and Malmö, Sweden, under the theme From Conflict to Communion – Together in Hope. The commemoration will take place in anticipation of the 500th Reformation anniversary in 2017. It will highlight the solid ecumenical developments between Catholics and Lutherans and the joint gifts received through dialogue. Read more ...
Joint Commemoration livestream
Swiss Christian nursing home must allow assisted suicide
A Swiss court has ruled that a Christian nursing home must either permit assisted suicide on its premises or give up its charitable status. The nursing home, which is run by the Salvation Army, the UK-based Christian charity, lost a legal challenge to new assisted suicide rules. The regulations, introduced about a year ago, compel charities caring for the sick and elderly to offer assisted suicide when a patient or resident requests it. Read more ...
For fans of Leonard Cohen
Spiritual themes have been present in the musician's work from the very beginning. Following the release of Leonard Cohen’s latest album, You want it darker, the Dominican theologian Dominique Cerbelaud examines the place of God and the Bible in the musician’s work.
You want it darker (Audio).
Dominique Cerbelaud interview.
Rolling Stone review.
The Guardian review.
Safeguarding children's rights
Over the past decade, Fr Zollner has become an articulate, leading, sought-after expert and prolific author in the area of the safeguarding of minors and child sexual abuse prevention as well as in the area of spirituality of priesthood and consecrated life. He is also a Member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and has visited more than 35 countries and addressed the ecclesial leadership of each country on these topics. See video here.