Tuesday, December 29, 2009

In solidarity with the Gaza Freedom March

Imagine hundreds of international peace activists, led by Alice Walk, Syrian actor Durraid Lahham and other prominent opponents of injustice, entering the Gaza Strip through Egypt. Imagine them linking arms with thousands of Palestinians and marching to the Israeli border, under the eyes of the international media, demanding that the siege be lifted for once and for all. This is the Gaza Freedom March!

This organization has many sister groups, to enable each to have a local focus for organizing, and to avoid exceeding Facebook’s limit of 5000 for messaging group members. Please join the appropriate campaign group that is best targeted to your locale. All FB groups will be updated with the latest information. Please invite your friends to this or the appropriate other FaceBook group.

US Press Ignores Egyptian Suppression of Gaza Freedom March

Hunger strike for Gaza  John Dear 

Cairo Journal by John Dear SJ on Jan. 12, 2010

Sunday, December 27, 2009
I left New York City for Cairo on Christmas day, with a long wait in Amsterdam, and this morning at four o’clock made my way to the Sun Hotel near Tahrir Square and the Nile River. Others have come, too -- 1,362 people representing 43 nations -- all of us journeying to Gaza to participate in the “Gaza Freedom March.”

Feast of the Holy Innocents Peace Procession (Simon Moyle)

About fifteen of us gathered outside Victoria Barracks on a perfect sunny day in late December. It was a day many people were hunting for the post-Christmas Day bargains, and many others were immersed in the dramas of the Boxing Day test. It was also the eve of the Feast of the Holy Innocents, the day the church commemorates the children killed by Herod in an attempt to get to Jesus and maintain his grip on power. A day we remember all modern day regimes which see thousands of lives as acceptable "collateral damage" in their quests for power, control, resources and military might.

Beginning with an acknowledgment of the history of this feast day, and of how far away such wars seemed to us, we read the story from Matthew together. We then spent some time naming modern day situations where innocents continue to be killed by power-hungry elites.

East Timor. Afghanistan. Sudan. West Papua. Phillippines. Iraq. Australia's refugee policy. Each with thousands of innocent victims of power politics and military domination. Each considered acceptable collateral damage. We rang a bell for each of them.

Finally, we remembered the plight of the Palestinian people, recognising that even as we sat together, thousands of people were gathering on the Egyptian side of the border with Gaza, preparing to nonviolently break the blockade, bringing food, aid and medical supplies to the people of Gaza. This was particularly poignant given the Matthew passage, which speaks of "a voice heard in Ramah" (the modern day West Bank), "wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refuses to be consoled, because they are no more." The contrast of fear exhibited by Herod and modern day Israel, and the resulting victims of their fear, with the angels appearing to Mary, Zechariah, the shepherds, each time greeting them with the phrase, "Do not be afraid!" These stories continue to play themselves out before our eyes, on the evening news.

With that, we rose together and began to make our way north to the centre of the city, led by our four metre banner reading "End the Afghanistan War". In peak shopping season, the city was packed. Reaction was mixed – from mouthed "thankyous", clapping and nods, to rolled eyes, to outright hostility. Mostly it just registered on people's faces as an interruption to business as usual (literally).

Turning through Bourke Street Mall we made our way west to Defence Plaza, a fairly nondescript city building housing the Defence Department in Melbourne. Here we paused to reflect on the experience, on connections we had made, and on where to from here.

We finished with prayer, and dispersed from there.

My own reflections are on how we do this action/reflection stuff deeply and honestly and yet involve our children. War and its effects on innocents are confronting issues. We brought our kids (3 under 6), and did our best to explain to them the significance of the day. I think it's important that we continue to do that. But we shied away from anything graphic or affecting, talking only in general terms. This is something we will continue to wrestle with as parents and as activists.

I also think that continuing to act in concert with the liturgical year will greatly enhance our understanding of the gospel and our faith and discipleship, and our ability to sustain action over the long haul. Wrestling with these stories as part of an action brings them home, sharpens their contours, and deepens our engagement.

Simon Moyle

In one of those "graced" moments of life, I literally bumped into Simon and the group in prayer as I walked up Bourke Street from the Southern Cross station.

I stood with them outside the Defence Plaza for the final prayer. The comfort and joy of my family gathering for Christmas was blessed in a moment of solidarity with the grief and anguish of my extended human family struggling with the experience of war and poverty.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The eternal christ in the cosmic story

Richard Rohr: “What the Christ means is the confluence of divinity and physicality, spirit and matter. When the material and spiritual worlds coexist, we have Christ (Read article here)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Faith: What Australians believe in

December 19, 2009
NEXT weekend the nation's churches will be filled to overflowing. But then, Christmas and Easter are the exceptions to the great Australian indifference to worship. Belief for most Australians is about values far more than devotion. It's belief without belonging.
But those beliefs are strong. They challenge old assumptions that Australia is an essentially secular country. When 1000 of us were quizzed by Nielsen last weekend for this special poll on faith, we identified ourselves strongly as believers and strongly Christian. Half of us say religion is important or very important in our lives. And even many non-believers still identify themselves as Christian by background.
Read full article here
Discussion on Catholica.com.au here
JacquelineMaley Commentary and Reader Response

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Great Moments in Religion

Peace in the Holy Land

The people of the Holy land continue to live with insecurity and tension. The people of this troubled land very much appreciate prayers of hope and messages of peace, justice and good will from people in other lands. During Advent, you are encouraged to send such prayers and good wishes to the people of the Holy Land. You can e-mail your prayers and messages to the Arab Educational Institute at the following address: aei@p-ol.com. To read all the messages, please visit this site

Saturday, December 12, 2009

What If We Just Said Wait? The case for a grassroots review of the new Roman Missal

We are very concerned about the proposed new translations of the Roman Missal. We believe that simply imposing them on our people -- even after a program of preparation -- will have an adverse effect on their prayer and cause serious division in our communities.

We are convinced that adopting translations that are highly controversial, and which leaders among our bishops as well as many highly respected liturgists and linguists consider to be seriously flawed, will be a grave mistake.

For this reason we earnestly implore the bishops of the English-speaking world to undertake a pilot program by which the new translations -- after a careful program of catechesis -- can be introduced into some carefully selected parishes and communities throughout the English-speaking world for a period of one (liturgical) year, after which they can be objectively evaluated.

We are convinced that this approach will address the concerns of those many bishops who feel that they have lost their voice in this matter and that it will also give a voice to the People of God whose prayer is at stake and who accordingly have the most to gain or lose by the translations.

We realize that a pilot project of this kind is unprecedented, but so is the process by which these translations have been approved.
Sign the Petition here

Samples of the New Latinized Missal translations

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Some good advice from John Dominic Crossan

Only One Verse is Necessary

One verse in one psalm is the lens through which I see all else in—since I am a Christian—the Christian Bible. It is Psalm 82:5b which says, within its context, that, “injustice shakes the foundations of the earth.”

Were all else lost forever from the Christian Bible, that single verse would be more than enough as surviving remnant to start over again from scratch. (Outside and apart from any Christian Bible, that verse can be rephrased to warn that, “injustice threatens the future of human evolution.”) But, in any case, back to Psalm 82.

It does not start with any of that divine bully-pulpit stuff about, “I am the only God—there are no other Gods, etc. etc.” Instead, it imagines the High God seated in heaven surrounded by all the other Gods and Goddesses who run the world. It is like a divine CEO sitting down with Upper Management. And, unfortunately, UP is in serious trouble. Its performance review is an indictment for global malpractice with this bill of particulars:

“God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: ‘How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.'" (82:1-4).

That is clear enough as a judgment of transcendental malpractice. But what follows is surprising.

You expect excuses from those castigated divinities. “We are so busy, so much to do, so many things to take care about." Instead we get complete incomprehension. We get this: “They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk around in darkness” (82:5a). They say, as it were: We handle retribution, we don’t do distribution. Our purpose is power, who brought up this justice stuff?

And that is when we get the key verse. That most clearly and fully expresses my own Christian faith. You expect some anthropomorphic threats about the anger of the High God and the downsizing of Upper Management, Instead, there is only this threnody for a threatened world: “all the foundations of the earth are shaken” (82:5b).

We should write that verse on our hearts and on our consciences. We should inscribe it on our bathroom mirrors so it our first bleary-eyed vision each morning. We should carve it on our domestic programs and on our foreign policies. We should even use it as a criterion when the time comes to choose between political candidates: Do you agree that justice shakes the foundations of the earth? And, if you do, what will you do about it?
There's more good content in the "Comments" including the astute observations of my mate Allan Popa!!

Good Heavens Your Eminence!

Gays ‘will never go to heaven’: cardinal

The Heavenly CardinalVATICAN CITY — Homosexuals and transsexuals “will never enter the kingdom of heaven”, a leading Roman Catholic cardinal said on Wednesday. (leading? sorry is anyone following this clown?)

Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan said that while the Church regarded homosexuality as an “insult to God”, this did not justify discrimination against gay and transsexual people. (hey Lozano old dear, it’s called homophobia)

“Transsexuals and homosexuals will never enter the kingdom of heaven and it is not me who says this, but Saint Paul,” the cardinal said, in comments reported by the Ansa news agency. ( Did you ever actually study Paul?)

“People are not born homosexual, they become homosexual, for different reasons: education issues or because they did not develop their own identity during adolescence. It may not be their fault, but acting against nature and the dignity of the human body is an insult to God,” he said. (So God prefers his/her  faves to get around in robes, live in exclusive  accommodation and fly first class? )

Barragan, the retired head of the Vatican’s Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, quoted a passage from Paul’s epistle to the Romans which speaks of “men committing indecent acts with other men”.
( Hey Lozano, you spoken to any Irish Bishops lately about this? When have you spoken out about the scandal of  clergy abuse and episcopal cover-ups?  Your words are empty))

“Homosexuality is therefore a sin, but this does not justify any form of discrimination. God alone has the right to judge,” the cardinal said. ( Weasal words from the Church again!)

“We on earth cannot condemn, and as human beings we all have the same rights.” ( ROTFL)

And now a song for the good Cardinal

Saturday, November 21, 2009

By George, is it Catholic?

Controlling Catholic media
November 20, 2009, 3:21 pm
Posted by Paul Moses

There are some interesting comments from the ChicagoTribune.com, U.S. Catholic and National Catholic Reporter about what a statement by Cardinal Francis George means for Catholic media  ( does that include this blog??) and, by the way, what it might mean to Commonweal. Here is what the cardinal said in opening remarks at the recent meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:

If there is a loosening of relationship between ourselves and those whom Christ has given us to govern in love, it is for us to reach out and re-establish connections necessary for all to remain in communion. As you know, we have recently begun discussions on how we might strengthen our relationship to Catholic universities, to media claiming the right to be a voice in the Church, [italics added] and to organizations that direct various works under Catholic auspices. Since everything and everyone in Catholic communion is truly inter-related, and the visible nexus of these relations is the bishop, an insistence on complete independence from the bishop renders a person or institution sectarian, less than fully Catholic. The purpose of our reflections, therefore, is to clarify questions of truth or faith and of accountability or community among all those who claim to be part of Catholic communion.
Read full article and comments here

ps Note for Australian readers: Cardinal George should not be confused with our very own George Cardinal
Here they are in pictorial form should you bump into one of them down the street.George Cardinal likes to wear the big red number when he goes out as it employs a few lads to carry the excess material. As far as I know this gear does not include pockets so I am not sure where George 1 carries his Ipod and mobile. Perhaps he has a secret compartment in the red hat.

Cardinal George also likes red but does not appear to own as much red as George 1.  He likes seeing other men dressed up at his outings and enjoys long walks and waving to people. He too does not have pockets or a manbag as part of the outfit. However his hat allows room for Ipods, mobile (which he insists on calling a Cell Phone) and a thermos of hot coffee for those long ceremonies.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Sugar Coated homophobia

Sugar-Coated Homophobia
Pastor Joel Osteen is one of the most popular preachers in the country, and the author of several best-selling books that help people achieve "their best life now." Gay Rights blogger Michael Jones writes that while Pastor Osteen has made a name for himself selling a friendlier version of religion, there's still a sour dose of homophobia that lies at the core of his sugar-coated message. It reared its ugly head this week, when Pastor Osteen boldly claimed that "homosexuality is not God's best." On the contrary, we humbly suggest to Pastor Osteen that homophobic preachers are not likely to be a loving God's best. (Read more)

Friday, November 06, 2009

Making an ass of human rights


The Tablet 7 November 2009

Making an ass of human rights

What is a crucifix? It is not a symbol of the almighty power of the Catholic Church, but a representation of one innocent man’s agonising death at the hands of the state, after torture and a sham trial – in other words, a gross human-rights violation. Catholics believe that that innocent man is also the Son of God, but the depiction is realistic, not metaphysical. The decision of the European Court of Human Rights to order the removal of crucifixes from the walls of state schools in Italy is therefore one of the worst examples of human-rights legislation bringing the wrong result for the wrong reasons. The real damage is to the cause of human rights itself: the decision makes not only the law look an ass but also the court and the convention it is supposed to uphold. To Catholics, moreover, Christ’s suffering on the Cross is a sign of his human and divine solidarity with all who suffer cruelty and injustice, an example that has comforted and encouraged countless victims of torture and oppression down the centuries. Read fulll text here

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Call for Catholic Men to Apologise to Women of the Church

This is  "An Invitation to Catholic Men to apologise to the Women of the Church". It arises from an initiative of  a small group of Australians concerned with the Church's attitude to women, which they see as a matter of justice, of basic human rights.

They suggest it is time to correct the glaring injustice of women being confined to secondary status in the Body of Christ, especially in their exclusion from leadership roles.

I have signed this petition and ask if you would consider joining in the promotion of this cause.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

“Are we on the Bus?”

A look at the situation of Indigenous Australians place in Church and Society through the eyes of one who is
still standing at the Bus Stop.
Speech delivered to the United Faculty of Theology
1 – October 1st 2009
Graeme Mundine
Executive Secretary - NATSIEC

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Breaking News:Church can reject gays, single mums

Gay rights advocates have criticised slated changes to Victoria's equal opportunity laws that will continue to allow religious organisations to discriminate against gays and single parents.
State Attorney-General Rob Hulls says a new Equal Opportunity Bill will be introduced into parliament next year.
Under the changes, religious groups will no longer be able to discriminate on the grounds of race, disability, age, physical features, political belief or breastfeeding
Read Full Story from Nine MSN News here 
Follow discussion on same same forum

Friday, September 25, 2009

From Detroit to Rome 'Wrong Call Papa!!!

Hierarchs and lower-archs in the church

Once again Thomas Gumbleton, Retired Bishop of Detroit has provided some solid theology and a mild rebuke to the emerging culture of "reform' coming from the Vatican. His

In recent weeks, Pope Benedict XVI -- every Wednesday he gives a talk to thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square every Sunday from his window in the Vatican Palace; he blesses the crowd down in the square and speaks briefly -- in one of those talks recently, because he has made this what he calls the “Year of Priests,” he told the crowd that Mary, the Blessed Mother, had (and these are his words) “a special affection for priests as her sons because they are more similar to Jesus.” In other words, the ordained priest, just by being ordained, has a status that puts him apart from, and obviously above, others in the church.

Now that isn’t the way of Jesus. At the Last Supper, what did he do? He got down and washed the disciples’ feet, but he was celebrating what we think of as the first Eucharist. He wasn’t presiding, overseeing; he was acting as a servant. He had given up power; he didn’t need power like that, the world’s power. And here were are, now they’re talking about putting the altar rail back so there’s a barrier between the priest and the people, make sure the priest is above and better, holier. Not true!0

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Mass movement in the Church

And Also With You: Is the New English Version of the Mass a Betrayal of Vatican II? by Paul Collins.

Click here to view a copy of the pamphlet (It is also available in hard copy).

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Befriending a Vengeful God
Sunday 24 October 2004
Presented by David Busch

One of the rising stars of Catholic theology, Father James Alison of England, re-thinks the atonement - the death of Jesus as the means of salvation.
A short documentary about James Alison produced by Trinity Institute, New York City

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Civil Disobedience or just Naughty Christians?

August 3, 2009

Jarrod McKenna - Christian ActivistFour anti-war protestors risked their lives recently, by entering defense land at Shoalwater Bay in Queensland, during live firing and bombing exercises.

They were attempting to halt a major military training operation, called Talisman Saber. The peaceful protesters were arrested, and fined for trespass and obstruction.

What’s unusual about these protesters is they were all Christians – two women and two men, including Reverend Simon Moyle, a young Baptist pastor from Urban Seed in Melbourne, and Jarrod McKenna – founder of the Peace Tree community in Western Australia.

They call themselves the “Bonhoeffer Four”

Listen Now - Christian peace activist Jarrod McKenna dicusses civil disobedience

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Swiss villagers want to reverse vows regarding glacier

Swiss Catholic villagers who have for centuries offered a sacred vow to God against the advancing ice mass of the Great Aletsch glacier now want to alter the vows.

The villagers' vow, established in 1678, is that the citizens of the mountain hamlets of Fiesch and Fieschertal would pledge to lead virtuous lives and in exchange, God would spare their homes and livelihoods from being swallowed by Europe's largest glacier as it expanded toward the valley with heavy winter snows, the Associated Press reported.

But the Aletsch is melting amid temperatures that are 0.7 degrees Celsius warmer than in the 19th century. The New York Times featured a picture of the nearby Rhone glacier , which also depicts diminished ice.

"We all know, and the Holy Father reminded us in his Easter message, that an unprecedented change in the climate is taking place," Rev Pascal Venetz said in his sermon to 100 people at the Ernerwald Chapel, where until modern times pious women were prohibited from wearing coloured underwear for fear of provoking the glacier.


Swiss now pray that glacier will stop shrinking (Google News, AP)

Praying (and stripping) for ice (New York Times)

Once again here is a tribute to the wonderful world of Catholicism. Honestly, you wouldn't want to be a boring reformer when you can have the inspection of pious womens' underwear as part of a Church tradition would you?

And I just love the "bargaining with God" vow.Even better is the request to the Pope to change the words. Whatever happened to the principle of subsidiarity? The words of the vow come from the needs of the village people surely.

However the text published here has left out the best part of the story. If you check the link to the New York Times report you can watch the video clip of Spencer Tunick doing one of his famous naked group shots on the diminishing Aletsch Glacier. I presume the participants included some of the pious women of the villages affected although the report does not tell us how much the glacier was provoked by all those naked bodies!!!!

Mustard Seeds Calendar

Mustard Seeds Calendar

With this Mustard Seeds Calendar for August we hope to inspire you and your community to join other creative and passionate people in living and celebrating our year in a new way. The... More »

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Song of the Moment: Bruce Springsteen - My City Of Ruins (live, 2006)

There's a blood red circle
On the cold dark ground
And the rain is falling down
The church doors blown open
I can hear the organs song
But the congregations gone

My city of ruins
My city of ruins

Now the sweet veils of mercy
Drift through the evening trees
Young men on the corner
Like scattered leaves
The boarded up windows
The empty streets
While my brother's down on his knees

My city of ruins
My city of ruins

Come on rise up!
Come on rise up!

Now there's tears on the pillow
Darling where we slept
And you took my heart when you left
Without your sweet kiss
My soul is lost, my friend
Now tell me how do I begin again?

My city's in ruins
My city's in ruins

Now with these hands
I pray Lord
With these hands
For the strength Lord
With these hands
For the faith Lord
With these hands
I pray Lord
With these hands
For the strength Lord
With these hands
For the faith Lord
With these hands

Come on rise up!
Come on rise up!
Rise up

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Christianity Without the Cross Rosemary Ganley

Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of this World for Crucifixion and Empire
By Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Ann Parker
Beacon Press, 2008

I will never again see a person wearing a crucifix or even contemplate a church tower bearing a cross without thinking of this highly original book.

Rita Nakashima Brock, a Disciple of Christ minister and Director of Faith Voices for the Common Good, and her writing partner, Rebecca Ann Parker, who is president of the Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, California have, with passion, scholarship and clear writing, laid out a fascinating thesis. It is also a stylish and readable book.

from ReligionDispatches

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Weeping Statues or Tears of Shame?

Places where statues weep as in the US, Canada and Australia are happening in unprecedented numbers, places and forms. Some explain them away with science, some mock them and to some they are the words of God reaching out for prevention. However, when the messages come true, they are not so easy to explain away, are they? Can the answer be that such present day phenomena are a prelude to events yet to take place.

Abortion, racist hatred, killing for greed, white collar crimes of thievery; all of which are prevalent today. All of which happening in a society which seems to be turning away from God at warp speed.

Should we be on the look out for heightened storms, both physical and spiritual? Shall we brace for intensified sorrows? History will certainly write the final chapter, but where will our names appear?

Part of what these prophetic events highlight is the activity of Satan, the archenemy of our Lord and Saviour.

People of faith in Jesus Christ and those who make a habit of reading Holy Scripture, will readily acknowledge and understand the many instances of demonic presence in the time of Jesus.

We owe it to ourselves to take an intelligent look at these phenomenon and ask ourselves why on earth are these things going on? - Vanessa Barnes, Houston Roman Catholic Examiner (click here for full article)

I don't really have a problem with Mary making regular guest appearances for the Holy Tourist industry. Catholicism has always had a curious and quirky circus side.

However what really gets me thinking is:Whenever Mary decides to abandon her celestial realm and drop in on in the "valley of tears" she seems to have a different outfit for each trip, better than QEII and Imelda Marcos put together.

So, the mystery of faith is: does she have exclusive access to the biggest Vinnies Bin in Heaven for her wardrobe? Does she in fact sometimes double up and think:"Oh dear, it's the fence post at Coogee again, better wear the Fatima number as it is salt water resistant.

This would all be very comical if it wasn't for the fact that this article is an attempt to cover up the tragic mission history of Rwanda and its contribution to one of the worse abuses of human rights in the last decade of the 20th century. It is we who should be weeping for our collective injustice.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Song of the Moment; Down to the River Alison Krauss

O Brother Where Art Thou introduced us to some classic songs including - Down to the River to Pray which is sung here by Alison Krauss

Monday, July 13, 2009

In solidarity With The Bonhoeffer 4

I dedicate this post to four nonviolent Christian activists who entered the Shoalwater Bay Training Area this morning to stop the Talisman Saber exercises. Calling themselves the “Bonhoeffer 4” after Kevin Rudd’s favourite theologian, Margaret Pestorius (44, Social Worker, Cairns), Jarrod McKenna (28, School Peace Educator, Perth) Jessica Morrison (33, University lecturer, Melbourne) and Rev. Simon Moyle (32, Baptist Minister, Melbourne) are currently moving towards a live-fire area. They call on the Australian and US forces to cease their involvement in the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and the undeclared war in Pakistan.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I support the Bonhoeffer 4, do you?" http://lnk.ms/1Jryx

Peace Vigil
Fight Fire with Water is a Catholic anti-war group which holds a weekly vigil each Friday from 4.30 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. in Anzac Square, Brisbane. The group is focussed on ending military action in Iraq and Afghanistan. The vigil is a dignified gathering in which the names of people of all nationalities killed in both countries are read and candles lit in their memory. All who long for an end to war are welcome.


Online media stories from Talisman Saber 2009.

Sign up for updates.

The Samuel Hill 5
Advice on Peacemaking from the Saints

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A Divine Society- Dave Andrews

Dave Andrews, is a mate and inspiration who continues the great tradition of hairy men with spectacles changing the world. He is pictured here with another of my favourite "hairy men with spectacles", Jarrod Saul McKenna These two blokes are all the inspiration and encouragement I need to stop shaving and celebrate change in our human community and our planet.

Dave, well known through his work with Waiters Union has written a new book, A Divine Society - The Trinity, Community and Society, launched in Brisbane in June 2009. ‘The doctrine of the Trinity - that God is one yet three without ceasing to be one - is for many people the most perplexing of all beliefs. How does one make sense of it?' Dave shows us how the Trinity can be ‘an indispensable paradigm for living together in a cruel, violent and lonely world.' Dr Chris Marshall, Senior Lecturer, Victoria University.

.Other publications and articles by Dave Andrews (all highly recommended - provocative and inspiring reading!). If you're exploring Dave's website, it's worth a look at the songs - thoughtful and challenging lyrics.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

No Laughing We're Catholic

Jokes at the end of Mass are not appropriate, Sydney Auxiliary Bishop Julian Porteous says. (and if you read the comments on this article it seems that the "Temple Police" are ready to pursue this cause with laugh-outs)

Bishop Porteous told the Sydney Morning Herald that Mass was not the venue for the priest to indulge his own personality.

"A religious ceremony, for Catholics a Mass, is a sacred event, and therefore the whole context of celebration should be one that engenders respect, appreciation of the divine and a whole sense of reverence for holy things, that is always got to be the ground in which a priest approaches his duties.

"There has been a tendency for people to feel a joke at the end of the Mass is something to leave people with a smile, but I personally don't think it is appropriate."

And it's not just the Catholics. Anglicans in Sydney also have their "Grumpy Old Bishops' ready and willing to de-smile the liturgy.

But all is not lost. I found this gem from a google search:

I liked going to church because I loved pleasing my father, but honestly, it could be pretty boring for a young girl. Sitting in the pew, I'd pretend to pay attention to his sermons while I found ways to entertain myself. I'd draw pictures on offering envelopes; make all kinds of lists and play word games with hymns. I'd flip through all 300-plus pages of Praise and Worship or Worship in Song, putting the phrase "under the covers" after all the titles. It worked like this:

Just As I Am under the covers.
Joy Unspeakable under the covers.
How Great Thou Art under the covers.
Love Lifted Me under the covers.

How would a local Catholic version go?

  • If I were a Butterfly under the doona
  • Glory and Praise in my Holden Ute
  • All Are Welcome at the pub with no beer
  • Firmly I believe I feel like a Tooheys
    Hail Queen of heaven aveagoodweekend
  • Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence Shuddup Your Face
Join the Discussion on the Catholica Forum

Monday, May 25, 2009

Radical love and Simple Living

In the early 1980s I was living in the parish house of St Joseph’s Collingwood exploring community faith and justice. I can still remember with amazing clarity the day I opened the front door to a Franciscan friar who introduced himself as Ferdy Parer and asked to see Tony Robertson because he had been told about my work with people living in the local housing commission estates. I hold that moment in graced humility now as I had no idea of Ferdy’s work at the time.

Nearly 20 years later I settled in West End and began attending Masses at St Mary’s South Brisbane.When I realised that Ferdy was the celebrant of the week day Masses, I made a point of going as often as I could. Those Masses were the most extraordinary moments of grace and community I have ever experienced at St Mary’s in almost 20 years of participation.

Ferdy’s sight was going but his spirituality was as sharp and insightful as ever.The Mass was full of moments of glorious wonder. Gordon Smith, older than Ferdy I suspect would arrive every morning in his suit to serve. With quiet dignity and grace Gordon also read the gospel as the text in the Lectionary was too small for Ferdy to manage.And then as he handed the cruets of wine and water over for the preparation of the gifts, Gordon would kiss them in a gesture of beauty and grace.

Mark, thank you for recalling to mind this man of God and servant of the Gospel. In these days of “exile’’ and religious spin may he call us back to where we are most truly at home among the “little ones” of our fragile human family.

This post is a response to a blog Calling to mind Father Ferdy Parer OFM by Mark Bahnisch

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Brisbane Gay Catholic Challenges Church on Homophobia

May 17 2009

International Day Against Homophobia 2009
Brisbane Gay Catholic advocate, Tony Robertson has made his annual call for the Catholic Bishops of Australia to include May 17 the International Day Against Homophobia in diocesan, parish and school calendars.

Tony first made his appeal to the Bishops in 2005, when the International Day Against Homophobia was launched to commemorate the removal of homosexuality from the General Assembly of the World Health Organization(WHO)list of mental disorders on 17 May 1990

“The inclusion of the International Day Against Homophobia in Church calendars will send a clear message to those in the Church who fail to understand that the dignity of the human person is a core Catholic teaching which challenges homophobia in our community” he said.

Tony will also be inviting the Australian Catholic Bishops to join him in an online photo exhibition This Is Oz. Mr Robertson said “I believe that the Bishops images on the site will help to fight discrimination against Australia’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community. Their participation in this project will also demonstrate the Bishops commitment to core Catholic teachings including the statement in the Catechism of the Catholic Church addressing homosexuality which states: “ Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” Mr Robertson’s self image shows him holding a sign which reads: I am Catholic I am Queer, Homophobia’s Un-Christian. Hear?

Tony said “My experience as a participant in online discussion forums about faith and sexuality has raised my concerns about a culture of homophobia which is evident among some of the contributors to such forums. Strong leadership from the Church will help to change a culture of death to a culture of life for my sisters and brothers who live in sexual minorities.”

Tony Robertson



Friday, May 01, 2009

Philosopher/psychoanalyst Slavoj Žižek reveals the intolerant kernel of liberal multiculturalism - tolerant of all except antagonism, that is the class antagonism that is the basis of capitalist society.

The credentials of those who, even prior to its release, virulently criticize Mel Gibson's Passion seem impeccable: are they not fully justified in their worry that the film, made by a fanatic Catholic traditionalist with occasional anti-Semitic outbursts, may ignite anti-Semitic sentiments? More general, is Passion not a kind of manifesto of our own (Western, Christian) fundamentalists and anti-secularists? Is then not the duty of every Western secularist to reject it? Is such an unambiguous attack not a sine qua non if we want to make it clear that we are not covert racists attacking only the fundamentalism of other (Muslim) cultures?

Read full article here

Monday, March 02, 2009

Coming to a Street Near You.....More catholics!!!

The number of Catholics grew to 1.147 billion in 2007 with the number of priests also increasing while the number of bishops worldwide is closing on 5,000, Vatican statistics show.

UCA News reports the number of Catholic priests worldwide rose from 405,178 in 2000 to 408,024 in 2007, after markedly dropping in the previous two decades, reported Radio Vatican and other media.

The increase for Asia and Africa was 21.2 percent and 27.6 percent respectively. The number of priests in America remained "stable" while Europe and Oceania saw a drop of 6.8 percent and 5.5 percent respectively.

The number of Catholics worldwide grew from 1.131 billion in 2006 to 1.147 billion in 2007. Asia saw an increase of 1.7 percent in this period. The percentage of Catholics worldwide remained stable, at about 17.3 percent of the global population.

The number of bishops worldwide also increased, from 4,898 in 2006 to 4,946 in 2007.

But not everyone sees these figures as a sign of positive growth.

German theologian Fr Hans Kung has said the Catholic Church increasingly threatens to deteriorate into a sect under Pope Benedict, DW World reports.

An emeritus professor of ecumenical theology at the University of Tuebingen in southern Germany, Kung said he was "very sad" over the direction the current Church leadership was taking.