Category Archives: Religion and Faith

PETER JOHNSTONE. Should Australian Catholic Bishops be Trusted?

“The bond of trust between the laity and their bishops has been severely impaired…a serious erosion of trust in the hierarchical leadership of the church’’.- leading Australian Catholic theologian Professor Neil Ormerod of the Australian Catholic University in Fairfax papers … Continue reading

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ROBERT MICKENS. Pope Francis, a brewing crisis and ‘feminine genius’

The biggest error Catholic leaders have made regarding the church’s response to priests abusing children has been the exclusion of women leading the policy-making and reform process.

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STEPHANIE DOWRICK. Weapons of Moral Destruction

A few days ago I drove with a friend from Sydney to Leura in NSW’s Blue Mountains. We were heading towards a meditation centre and on the way shared views about social justice and most especially peace activism. As long-time … Continue reading

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KIERAN TAPSELL. “Catastrophic institutional failure” can be fixed.

The Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse spent five years interviewing over 8,000 survivors, their abusers and personnel from institutions that had covered up the abuse. The Commission found that 61.8% of all survivors within religious … Continue reading

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ERIC HODGENS. Melbourne’s New Archbishop.

2018 will be a fateful year for the Catholic Church in Australia as Melbourne gets a new archbishop. This appointment, if successful, offers some hope for the Church; if a failure, it will hasten the Church’s decline into insignificance. Here’s … Continue reading

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PHIL GRANO. A personal response to the marriage equality postal survey.

At first I was angry and irked by Sydney Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher’s linking of an annus horribilis with the passing of marriage equality laws in Australia.  Now, a few days later, I feel saddened that the leader of the … Continue reading

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FRANCIS SULLIVAN. Australian Catholic Church must take abuse commission report seriously or risk irrelevance A REPOST

After five intense years of inquiry and more than 400 recommendations — with 20 new recommendations specifically relating to the Catholic Church — the report of Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is due a considered … Continue reading

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JASON HOROWITZ. Cardinal’s death highlights sex abuse divide.

Early on Wednesday morning, hours after Cardinal Bernard F. Law died in a Rome hospital, a priest unlocked a small chapel at the Basilica of St. Mary Major and pointed to the spot under the marble altar and life-size crucifix … Continue reading

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Pope Francis, on Christmas Eve, says faith demands respect of immigrants.

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis strongly defended immigrants at his Christmas Eve Mass on Sunday, comparing them to Mary and Joseph finding no place to stay in Bethlehem and saying faith demands that foreigners be welcomed.    

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JOHN HANNON. Failed leadership and systemic failure

I believe it is time to address the elephant in the room, now that the Royal Commission has presented its findings. Last weekend’s Saturday Age had a dark front-page image of a large cross with claw like hands descending from … Continue reading

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MARILYN HATTON and MOIRA COOMBS. Catholic women speak out.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse’s report and its recommendations are essential for the care and protection of children and care of victims and their families. They are also important steps in preventing the perpetuation of the destructive … Continue reading

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MARK METHERELL and JOHN WARHURST. Royal Commission provides almanac for what Catholic bishops should do now.

Our group, Concerned Catholics of Canberra Goulburn, was formed back in April 2017 in response to the tide of evidence of child sex abuse that has swept the church.  Our motivating concern was to press for reforms in our church, … Continue reading

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PATTY FAWKNER SGS. Of Mary and Maya.

When we see the images of Mary and her child this Christmas, may we pause and think of Maya and the countless victims of sexual exploitation, writes Sister Patty Fawkner.  

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KIERAN TAPSELL. Secrets and the Royal Commission’s final report.

Media attention has been drawn to the recommendation in the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that religious confession should not be exempted from civil law requirements to report child sexual abuse. However, … Continue reading

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ERIC HODGENS. Christmas Prompts Reflection on Power.

The powerless Jesus of the Christmas Gospel stories offers a tutorial on power in the Church today.

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KIM OATES. The Royal Commission, a beginning, not an end.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is testament to both the evil in our society and to the courage and determination of many of the victims. But we need to be aware that most child sexual … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Religion and Faith | 4 Comments

HUGH MACKAY. Another kind of deficit

Here’s a quick Christmas quiz. (Warning: it’s not a very merry quiz.)

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TONY DOHERTY. A Christmas reflection.

Christmas is the celebration of a story. A story told in the gospels by two storytellers – Matthew and Luke. It’s a tale told and retold, and often so badly that, should the original storytellers be alive today, I could … Continue reading

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JOHN TULLOH. Onward Christian Soldiers – but not all of them.

Communities throughout the world are torn by religious divides. Persecution of Christians, concentrated in but not unique to the Middle East, is commanding relatively little attention.

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BRUCE DUNCAN. What would Jesus make of our Christmas?

 The Christmas stories were not written for children but as preludes to the adult message of God in Jesus walking in solidarity with the entire human family.

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DES CAHILL and PETER WILKINSON. Clericalism, celibacy and child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Australia

The Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was published on 15 December 2017.  Among its 409 recommendations was one which is proving controversial, namely, the introduction of voluntary celibacy for diocesan priests. There … Continue reading

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PAUL COLLINS – Will the Vatican play ball?

We now have the recommendations of the Royal Commission (RC) to the Catholic Church. Many of them request the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) to take specific issues to the Vatican requesting that they be implemented. The question immediately arises: … Continue reading

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KEVIN PEOPLES. An end of sorts.

There is a time for everything …a time to be silent and a time to speak…Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 Today the Royal Commission came to an end. I feel as if I have lost a friend. It seems somehow improper to say … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Religion and Faith | 1 Comment

MICHAEL MULLINS. Mothballing the clerical collar would help prevent clergy sexual abuse

An attitude of superiority on the part of a priest or other religious functionary carries with it the distinct possibility that they will abuse their position by taking sexual advantage of someone less powerful. On the other hand, if they … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE Repost of a Submission to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

 In November 2013, together with colleagues, I made a submission to the Royal Commission on the governance and systemic problems which lead to an abuse of power in the Catholic Church.  That abuse of power is not limited to sexual … Continue reading

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PETER JOHNSTONE. Public relations responses to Royal Commission

The damning findings of the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in the recent reports on the Catholic dioceses of Melbourne and Ballarat seem to have elicited a standard Church response: 1. Accept critical findings; 2. Express … Continue reading

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SANITSUDA EKACHAI. Why Buddhists fail simple test of compassion

When Pope Francis avoided addressing the Rohingya genocide directly during his recent Myanmar visit, questioning his silence is missing the crux of the problem.

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FRANK BRENNAN. A Catholic reflection on the Royal Commission as the curtain closes on Act One.

On Friday, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which has been part of the Australian political and ecclesial landscape for the last five years, will cease to exist.  The commission will present its report to the … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Religion and Faith | 13 Comments

GEORGE BROWNING. Child sexual abuse, the Church and the Royal Commission.

The findings of the Commission have sent shock waves through the institutional Church and generated disgust in the wider community. Is there any good news, any reason to hope for something better? 

Posted in Human Rights, Religion and Faith | 2 Comments

PETER JOHNSTONE. The Seal of Confession: resorting to the Age of Christendom

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has recommended to Australian federal and State governments, that the Catholic ‘seal of confession’ should not exempt priests from a proposed offence of ‘failure to report’. The response of some … Continue reading

Posted in Religion and Faith | 4 Comments