How forced migration defined Francis' papacy
From the very first moments of his pontificate, Jorge Bergoglio signalled a departure in style from that of his immediate predecessors. His taking of the name Francis, his eschewing the full papal vestments, and his appeal to the masses gathered in Saint Peter's Square below to pray for him, before imparting his own blessing, all indicated a more personal, pastoral style.
Francis, most commentators agree, was elected on his perceived ability to address the need for reform of a Roman Curia increasingly beset by paralysis, inefficiency and scandal. It soon became apparent, however, that he saw this reform as a subset ... Read more
An Ecumenical Day of Prayer for Creation
Today, September 1, the Church celebrates the Day of Creation with a message from the pope drafted jointly with Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.
Peace on January 1, Youth on Palm Sunday, Vocations the Fourth Sunday after Easter...Each of these world days sprinkled throughout the Catholic Church year is the occasion for a message from the pope to the faithful.These messages are often published several weeks in advance so that communities will be able to prepare, ....The only exception to this rule is the brand new World Day of Prayer for Creation launched by Pope Francis in 2015 ... Read more
How beauty is the true goal of leadership
“The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with joy are goodness, beauty, and truth.” ~ Albert Einstein
At a leadership seminar that I recently ran for senior students from twelve schools, one of the more intriguing conversations I became engaged in was with an obviously sincere young Muslim man. He told me that in a discussion with his peers on the essential objective of leadership, he had provoked bewilderment, and not a little laughter, by suggesting that it was beauty.
As he tried to find the words to articulate his conviction, Read more
Seamus Heaney: ‘Walk on air against your better judgement’
On 30 August 2013, news of the death of Nobel Prize-winning poet, Seamus Heaney, was met with sorrow around the world. He was universally admired for his kindness as well as for his poems, which ‘gaze into the reality of the world and see its mystery’. On National Poetry Day, Edel McClean pays tribute to the life and work of a man whose death, according to his fellow poet, Don Paterson, ‘seems to have left a breach in the language itself’. Read more
Review: God Is No Thing (Rupert Shortt)
An excellent response to New Atheism
Some high-profile atheists insist on arguing against propositions that no serious Christian writer would endorse. This (book) is a spirited corrective, argues Rowan Williams, covering the origins of the universe to the use of the Bible.
In one of his letters, CS Lewis repeats the story of an earnest atheistical school teacher instructing her young charges that all forms of animal life derived from the higher apes, under the impression that she was teaching them Darwinism. The anecdote is probably too good to be true, but it is a reminder that in any decently reasonable argument it helps to know what exactly it is that is being attacked or defended. Read more
Spiritual Pilgrimage to India (2018)
Information evening 6pm, 12 September 2017
Marie Fonseca (Spice Odyssey) is organising her 6th Christian spiritual pilgrimage to India “One Heart and One Soul” from February 19 – March 10, 2018.
The highlight of this pilgrimage will be a four night meditation/yoga retreat with daily mass led by Fr. Joe Pereira (Mumbai), in Goa. The pilgrimage also includes attending a Mass at St. Teresa of Kolkata’s Tomb and visits to some of her homes.
Breaking the family legacy of silence over the Third Reich
Nearly 70 years after being executed as a war criminal, the memory of Third Reich ambassador to Slovakia, Hanns Ludin, continues to weigh on his descendants. His granddaughter Alexandra Senfft has broken the family silence.
The room at the Literaturhaus Foundation in Munich, the prosperous Bavarian capital, is packed for a debate hosted by the Institut für Zeitgeschichte.The institute was founded in 1940 to promote research on the National-Socialist dictatorship with respect to the memory of Germany’s Nazi past contained in family histories.
Don’t ignore family history. Read more
The fear conundrum
How much fear do we want? Enough of it preserves our lives. Too much of it diminishes our lives. Currently, the balance is skewed by an overload of fear. Anxiety, its clinical name, is in epidemic proportions.
In favour of the measure to monitor social networks, it can be argued that it can significantly improve security agencies’ ability to deal with terrorist organizations. The claim is that intelligence agencies that monitor the networks, in many cases, can protect their territory from terrorist attacks. For instance, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), ... Read more
Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism in the USA: A surprising ecumenism
In God We Trust. This phrase is printed on the banknotes of the United States of America and is the current national motto. It appeared for the first time on a coin in 1864 but did not become official until Congress passed a motion in 1956. A motto is important for a nation whose foundation was rooted in religious motivations. For many it is a simple declaration of faith. For others, it is the synthesis of a problematic fusion between religion and state, faith and politics, religious values and economy. Read more
Flannery O’Connor’s ‘Sacred Monstrosity’
Flannery O’Connor, who died on 3 August 1964, was a celebrated but divisive author whose stories are notorious for both their violence and their religiosity. Can her work speak to modern readers, or is it necessarily of her time? Michael Kirwan SJ considers this question, with a little help from James Joyce, René Girard and Quentin Tarantino. Read more.
Was Luther an anti-Semite?
Commemorations of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation have revived a controversy over anti-semitic writings by Martin Luther. "La Croix" talks to an expert on the issue. Pierre-Olivier Léchot, dean of the Protestant Theology Faculty in Paris, a historian of Christianity in the modern era, unravels a polemic over the vehemently anti-Jewish texts written by Luther, which has resurfaced during the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
La Croix: Over the last few weeks, we have witnessed a revival of the polemic over Luther’s alleged “anti-semitism” based on the image of a sow, representing Judaism, on bas-reliefs on a church in Wittenberg. Read more
Finding the high way
In our society ethical questions such as those to do with marriage, crime and punishment, the beginnings and endings of life and freedom of speech are often 'highway' issues. Protagonists establish in advance the right way to go, keep their foot down and their eyes on the road without noticing the terrain the highway traverses. Road signs indicating other destinations or alternative routes are ignored and towns by-passed. Certainty is gained; understanding of country is sacrificed.
Ethical reflection can also be done by taking the tourist route, preferably by bicycle. Read more
Pope Francis appoints Italian biblical scholar as secretary of the C.D.F.
Pope Francis has appointed an Italian biblical scholar, Monsignor Giacomo Morandi, 51, as secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and made him archbishop. The Vatican made this announcement today, July 18.
In less than three weeks, Pope Francis has reshuffled the top leadership of the C.D.F. by not renewing the mandate of Cardinal Gerhard Müller (which expired on July 2) and by promoting the number two and number three officials up one position, thereby ensuring that the C.D.F.’s most senior officials are now rowing with him. Read more
Review: Tracey Rowland’s ‘Catholic Theology’
Tom Ryan SM
Tracey Rowland, an Australian theologian, is a current member of the International Theological Commission (ITQ). Her latest book aims to a) outline the basic principles in any approach to Catholic theology (Ch. 1) and b) explain four dominant approaches (or ‘schools’) in ‘doing’ Catholic theology today and their respective historical backgrounds (Chapters 2-5). Her goal is to offer guideposts for seminarians (and the interested reader) to make sense of theological developments since Vatican 2.
Francis makes clear his mission as pope is far from ended
Pope Francis made it clear this morning that he believes his mission as successor to St. Peter and leader of the Catholic world is far from over. The message can be read as an answer to those who hope his pontificate may end soon. He said that his mission entails being able “to dream” and to share this dream and experience of life with young people today so that they may live prophetic lives.
He spoke in a homily at Mass on June 27 as he celebrated the anniversary of his ordination as bishop in Buenos Aires 25 years ago today. Read more
Le Vent de L’Esprit
The great feast that concludes the Easter season, Pentecost, can only be properly understood against the horizon of the Trinity, which we celebrate a week later, says Professor Peter Tyler. ‘The descent of the Spirit reminds us of our essential Trinitarian nature: rooted in Christ we look both to the Father in Heaven as well as to our fellow suffering humans on earth.’
Suddenly from Heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind and it filled the entire house. (Acts 2:2)
Thoughts from India
I have been thinking a lot about the Holy Spirit over these past few weeks. Read more
Course: The Catholic Church and Democratic Society I
Starts Wednesday 8 March
Presenter Robert Gascoigne
This module will consider the relationships between the Catholic Church and democratic society in the modern period. Using both a historical and theological approach, it will reflect on the ways in which the Church has responded to, and influenced, political and social movements since the French revolution up to the present day, and how the development of democratic societies has affected the Church’s own life. It will have four main foci: Read more ...
Reflections on the Feast of the Ascension
The Feast of the Ascension strikes many Christians as the poor relative of the two rather bigger celebrations which top and tail the long and joyful season of Eastertide: Easter itself, and Pentecost. But Damian Howard SJ ascribes to this feast the utmost significance. What are we to make of the story of Jesus being taken up into a cloud, an episode that not only sounds like mythology but also violates our modern sense of space? Read more
Gonski in an age of budget repair
School funding is a very complex issue in Australia. It's now a poisonous political cocktail.
David Gonski, who had been the poster boy for Julia Gillard's bold education reforms, has now been showcased by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Education Minister Simon Birmingham announcing their new deal for school funding.
The National Catholic Education Commission, the Australian Catholic Primary Principals Association, and the Catholic Secondary Principals Association are upset with the proposed funding arrangements. Read more
Conference: Awakening the Sacred 2017
Friday 7 July - Saturday 8 July 2017
Australian Catholic University
Awakening the Sacred is the fifth in a series of conferences presented by The Sacred in Literature and the Arts (SLA), a community of interest that brings Australian and international writers, artists, musicians, academics, religious and members of the general public together to explore the interplay between the arts and the sacred. More information here.