Friday, December 07, 2018

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Reading That Touches Your Heart:

Latest Edition - Bridges - December 2018

  • The Editorial reflects on speaking & listening (p.1).
  • I report on The Parliament of the World’s Religions(pp. 6-7).
  • Interfaith Dialogue Feeds the Soul (p. 8).
  • Rather than speak in the abstract, share personal experience (p. 9).
  • Distinguishing “Islam” and “Islamism” enable us to speak without denigrating Islam and Muslims (p. 10).
There are the familiar pages: Centre News (pp. 2-3), World News (pp. 4-5) and Coming Events (p. 11). 
In November I attended the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Toronto.  The word “Parliament” comes from Old French, “parler” = to speak, and gives us the theme for this issue of Bridges, speaking and listening.
Click here to download the Bridges #81, December 2018
Download bridges
Let us speak well to, and of, each other;and let us listen deeply to each other.
I wish our Christian readers a happy and holy Christmas;I wish all our readers, safe holidays and every blessing in the New Year.
May people of all faiths grow in human solidarity as sisters and brothers together.  
Rev Dr Patrick McInerney
Director, Columban Centre for Christian-Muslim Relations

Monday, December 03, 2018

A Question for All Australians From the Catholic Church

How can we renew your TRUST? Will you connect with us on this question? It is a step on a shared journey.

This is pretty bold. The Catholic Bishops acknowledge that trust has been broken. Given the growing number of empty pews that are normative on most Sundays this is pretty obvious.

There is no room for new wine in the old skins as those skins are covered in parasites We now know them as clericalism, entitlement and ontological change. In so may ways we are in an era of re-founding of Catholicism.

So, friends, give them your tuppence worth and check the culture of current responses. Will it make any difference? Well, at least we can create ripples in the stream of consciousness out there!!!
If you would like to share your answer it will help the Catholic Church in Australia forge a new path. The answers will help establish a deeper understanding of how better embrace our communities now and in the future.


Saturday, December 01, 2018

Advent 2018 Week One

Advent is now out there on a shelf near you. Advent Calendars are up there with other themed goodies in supermarkets, up market stores, street markets and online. The rush of end of year parties, break-ups, annual general meetings and the hot sticky climate of December in Australia all tend to be exhausting. Yet the liturgical season is one of pensive waiting, reflective awareness and active living in the climate of grace.Al these movements challenge the dominant commercial glitz that can overwhelm us in these wonderful four weeks.

Anticipation of a coming
Desire for salvation
Voices of prophets
Expectation of something new

Time to prepare

I have gathered some reflections that  I will be using each week of the season. I hope you too find them nurturing at this time.  You will find more resources on the Sojourners page here

If Jesus is the archetype of what the gift is and how a gift is given, Mary is the archetype of how a gift is received.

The amazing thing is that the Scripture says nothing especially positive about Mary. No credit rating is stated; it doesn’t say she prayed a lot or regularly went to the temple. No heroic anything. Mary seems to know she is nothing according to her own Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). She clearly knows and fully accepts she stands under the total mercy of God. Mary knows she did not earn this. It was all mercy, mercy, mercy. Divine choice says something about the chooser much more than the one who is chosen. In the spiritual world, all worthiness is given. Our only job is to fully and freely receive. Mary was a supreme receiver station.

From an unpublished talk given in Tucson, Arizona Richard Rohr

As we begin the church year, we are facing an overwhelming apocalyptic situation

Father William Grimm, Tokyo 

Monday, November 26, 2018

Young, Gay and Catholic in Australia

Finn Stannard tells SBS News why he chose to share his journey to accepting his sexuality with 1,500 people, as footage of his powerful speech is released.

Finn Stannard
Finn Stannard making his keynote address.
St Ignatius’ / SBS News

Congratulations to Finn Stannard and the school community at St Ignatius College, Riverview. This young man has taken a public stand with the support of his principal and as such has firmly challenged the pastoral practices of the Catholic Church.
Most significant is that in the week the Australian Catholics Church has celebrated the conclusion of the Year of Youth, a young voice has spoken a truth that needs to be heard and welcomed with the enthusiasm that is normative for such events.
It is also worth noting that this item is making news as we celebrate Social Inclusion Week across Australia. Thanks again Finn for stretching the boundaries!!!

Finn Stannard
Finn, centre, with his boyfriend Tom Moiso, left, and a friend at his school formal.
Finn Stannard / SBS News

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Tell Prisoners That They are Prisoners No More

One of the folky type hymns from the 1970s that I loved singing in my #Catholic culture included the chorus:
He sent me to give good news to the poor
Tell prisoners that they are prisoners no more
Tell blind people that they can see,
And set the downtrodden free
And go tell everyone
The news that the kingdom of God has come
Yes,,"tell prisoners that they are prisoners no more". Can't imagine the "Law and Order" brigade of certain political world views singing that with ease. Funny thing is it's a line straight out of Hebrew (Isaiah 61:1) and Christian (Luke 4:18) Scriptures. it's a pro-life call that is rarely heard from the pulpits or proclaimed from the Cathedra.
Debbie Kilroy is one of my local heroes and a women who speaks truth to justice in a way that challenges structures and individual prejudice.
To whet your appetite for this article: "Abolition pushes us to envision ways of addressing violence and creating safer communities without using forms of harm to do so. In her keynote, Angela Davis said it takes courage to imagine this different future as we inevitably feel most comfortable in what we know. To build a world without prisons is to disrupt a society built on inequity, patriarchal violence and colonisation.
Feminism that sees prison as the answer is no friend to our most marginalised women.
This means addressing the roots of poverty and trauma".
Read it and then send it to your State and Federal politicians and tell them you want to sit down with them and discuss this as a political action.

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We often apply more humanity to property than we do humans we deem unworthy

Saturday, November 24, 2018

A Catholic Feast from a Mennonite Perspective

Being Latin rite Catholic, we do things out of sync with lots of the commercial, sporting and political world. You see today is the "end of the year" for us and next Sunday we will start a new year with preparation for the Christmas season.
However, today's celebration is as political as it is religious. It's a day we celebrate Christ the King. Now I know the republicans within will throw their liturgical arms up in dismay and the cries of "Patriarchy" will echo in the halls of the righteous.
Here's an insightful perspective on this very Catholic day from an unexpected source: 
Melissa Florer-Bixler is the pastor of Raleigh Mennonite Church in North Carolina where she works towards the formation of broad coalitions that exercise citizen power for the common good.

This Sunday, the last one in November, the church makes room for Christ the King Sunday. This is the church’s New Year’s Eve, before we remember—once again—that God enters history as an impoverished baby, born to an unwed mother. But before baby Jesus we pause here, remembering the God who formed stars and planets.
The roots of Christ the King feast day go back to 1925 when it was initiated by Pope Pius XI. It was a year of grief, the nations reeling from World War I as government structures and institutions devastated by war left a vacuum filled by terror. That year, Benito Mussolini made a speech to the Italian Chamber of Deputies that was the turning point for his reign of fascism. The Ku Klux Klan held a march in Washington, D.C. that attracted 35,000 white supremacists. In 1925, Hitler was rebuilding the Nazi party and solidified his role as absolute leader. The future was uncertain.
Pope Pius wanted to remind the church of God’s absolute rule over history. In his encyclical Quas Primas, he writes to the people that the kingdom to which Christians belong is “spiritual and concerned with spiritual things … it demands of its subjects a spirit of detachment from riches and earthly things, and a spirit of gentleness. They must hunger and thirst after justice and more than this, they must deny themselves and carry the cross.”
I wonder how these words sit with us now, our eyes on history. We now know that Mussolini went on to be one of the world’s worst mass murderers, responsible for 400,000 deaths in World War II, 30,000 more during the Italian invasion of Ethiopia. The lynching of black people abetted by white Christians in concert with the KKK between 1882 and 1968 is a wound on the soul of our nation. Six million Jews, seven million Soviet citizens, and nearly a million other disenfranchised people died at the hands of the Nazi regime.
What do we say of Pius’ assertion that Christians are to be “concerned with spiritual things” in the face of such terror?