Sunday, November 22, 2015

One Week to Sign the Catholic Climate Petition!!

Over 600,000 Catholics signed the petition. Help us get to 1 million!
World leaders will meet in the U.N. Climate Summit in Paris (called COP21) in late November 2015, to sign a treaty to tackle climate change. After decades of failed negotiations, let’s urge our governments to be more ambitious to solve the climate crisis (more info below).



Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Face of Islam

Peace Rally Brisbane 2003 Tony Robertson Photography

The face of Islam in my city is not the face of terrorism
The face of Islam in my city is a couple standing in solidarity for peace not war.
The face of Islam in my city is like the faces of my brothers and sisters who walk the streets building community amidst diversity.
The face if Islam in my city looks at me with hope.
The face of Islam in my city is different and brings rich colour to my community
The face of Islam in my city challenges me to discover, to learn and to embrace.
The face of Islam in my city is human.
The face of Islam in my city is welcome.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Catholic March for Climate

George Gittoes Sydney Peace Prize 2015

As I grow older and perhaps a little wiser I am more convinced that art will touch the heart and challenge the attitudes of people as much as politics and religion.

The winner of the 2015 Sydney Peace Prize, George Gittoes deserves to be among those we name as national treasures.His biography  is a litany of grace and power for social change.

In 2015 George Gittoes was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize

Some highlights of a remarkable life

1986: Travels to Nicaragua, Central America and visits the arts collective on Solentiname Islands, collaborating with Miriam Guevara, Olivia Silva and Ernesto Cardenal.

1992: Awarded Blake Prize for Religious Art for the painting Ancient Prayer, inspired by the death from motor neurone disease of his close friend and artistic collaborator Ronaldo Cameron.

1994: Awarded Blake Prize for Religious Art for the painting The Preacher, which came out of the Rwandan series of works.

1997: Travels to Northern Ireland. After contact with both Irish Republican Army (IRA) and Protestant paramilitaries, commences a series of works based on confrontations between the two groups.

Contributes to the group exhibition, Sarajevo, developed by Ivan Dougherty Gallery, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney and touring nationally.
2002: Commissioned by the Visible Art Foundation
to create a painting for the Republic Apartment Tower in Melbourne to mark the anniversary
of the attacks on the World Trade Center. The commission is cancelled once the work is completed and the painting, War on Terra, is subsequently exhibited at St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne on 11 September.
Explore his work, but more than that take it to heart and engage with it and watch what happens!!!!

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Travelling To Freedom

I was blest to have parents with a love of music. Not only did we have plenty of music to listen to on old 33s, I also had opportunities because of my Catholic schooling to sing in choirs. Quite a bit of my life has been spent  "Singing My Way Through Catholicism"

The first choir I sang with was at St Patrick's Primary School in Geelong West, Victoria, Australia where we had a regular Sunday gig at Ss Peter and Paul's Church. Our organist was a young Roger Heagney who would go on to become one of Australia's leading organ and Harpsichord players.

The usual hymn book of the era was the Living Parish Hymn Book, a classic in Catholic Parishes before Glory and Praise, As One Voice, and Gather landed on the pews.

Rumblings of change were evident in the 60s not only in rock music and protest music but also in the choir lofts of parishes.In 1971 one of the authors of the Living Parish Hymnal, Tony Newman together with Peter Stone published Travelling to Freedom which was promoted as a song book not a hymn book.

By this time the wings of change had taken me in full flight and unlike the Living Parish Hymnal I now had a collection of religious and popular music with enough chords supplied to keep me singing for a lifetime.

Travelling to Freedom had all the elements of 70s publication. The text ran across, over and circular, the pages were done with different layout and even challenging colours that swallowed the chords and lyrics.It's contents included some of the familiar lyrics from the LPH alongside the new words of Bob Dylan,Malvina Reynolds, Peter Kearney, Pete Seeger and even the Beatles.In a wise move the editors left out Lennon's Imagine and gave us Eleanor Rigby. These were the days before the Catholic Bishops published their preferred list of recommended hymns and songs.

This was more than a songbook and it has been a faithful companion now for over 40 years. It is also a manual of quotes to inspire and challenge. There are the great voices from the Jewish and Christian Scriptures alongside MLK. Bonhoeffer, J.H Newman, Erik Erikson, JFK and lots of other men.. As a product of its time only a few women's voices were included. Even the list of thanks for the publication only has 4 women noted out of 46 names.But as the song on page 156 reminds us, The times they are a changin'..

Travelling to Freedom deserves a tribute page as it hardly features in search engines and its contribution to religious and popular music in catholic circles has largely been neglected.

You can borrow copies here.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Thich Nhat Hanh Receives the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, renowned for bridging Eastern and Western spirituality, is the 2015 Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award recipient.

Bishop Martin Amos traveled to Deer Park Monastery in southern California to present the award on Saturday, October 31, 2015 to the 89-year old Zen master. Sister Chan Khong and Brother Phap Dang accepted the award on behalf of Thich Nhat Hanh, who continues to recover in San Francisco, in the presence of 120 monastics and 500 retreat participants.Read full report here

Thich Nhat Hanh's Speech at the Vatican, December 2, 2014

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Sr Pauline Coll RIP

My work as a photographer takes me to places and graced encounters where the images from my lens become icons of wonder.

To the left of this image is  a good friend and mentor, Sr Pauline Coll sgs who passed away on 9 October 2015.  The photo was taken in August 2014 to celebrate the work of the Young Christian Workers Past Members Association.

The image captures much of Pauline's spirit and enthusiasm of her 77 years, of which she lived as a member of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan for 56 years. Pauline was one of those women that exuded joy and presence. Her legacy of justice seeking continues in the work of ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans) Read the tributes and comments here

I post this tribute with a great sense of loss and admiration for Pauline's presence most often when i was at Justice Place in Woolloongabba, a hub of justice and community building.

Friday, October 02, 2015

I Support the Queensland Bill to Reinstate Civil Partnerships

The Relationships (Civil Partnerships) and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2015 proposed by the Queensland Parliament seeks to reinstate legislative provisions removed in 2012 in respect of legally recognised partnerships between two adults, to:

  • allow a state-sanctioned ceremony prior to registration of a civil partnership
  • allow such a relationship to be registered as a ‘civil partnership’, rather than a ‘registered relationship’. 

The Bill would also support the transition to a digitised births, deaths and marriages registration service, establishing electronic lodgement as the means of lodgement for births and deaths.  It would recognise the validity of digitised copies of source documents relating to registrations of life events, the same legal status as the original paper versions. 

This legislation first step on the journey of honouring the human dignity and commitment of same sex couples. It is also a basic human right that protects the legal status of the relationship. Written submissions addressing the Bill’s proposals as outlined above are now invited, and will be accepted until 4.00 pm on Monday, 19 October 2015.A guide to making submissions is available here.

I find it bizarre that so many of my fellow Catholics get upset by this. The Church blesses all sorts of inanimate objects including  houses, cars, footballs,  statues and buildings. It has blessings for all sorts of people from students to pilgrims but won't even offer a blessing ritual to same sex couples.

The official book of blessings however does include a Blessing of Organisations Concerned With Public Needs so perhaps Brisbane LGBTIQ Action Group  could qualify for that.