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