Monday, December 30, 2013

‘Beliefs and Practices of Australian Catholics’ Conference in Melbourne, February 2014
Much of what we know about the Catholic Church in Australia today is a result of the work the Pastoral Research Office (PRO) has done over the years.
Since its establishment in 1996, the PRO has carried out numerous research projects that have helped us grow in understanding of the Catholic Church in Australia, its people and structures, its context and challenges.
The Conference and the Parish Workshop Day will explore the issues that matter to all Australian Catholics. We will look at the research results and beyond the data to consider what it all means and how we need to respond.
Both events will be strongly informed by research. All the talks and the workshops will be based on research carried out in the last five years.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Quirky Religious Trivia: Happy St Adelaide Day to the Crows!!

Today, December 16  is the feast of St Adelaide, so here's holy shout out to the burghers of the City of Adelaide. Catholicism has a pretty colourful collection of characters and this one is a child bride, feminist of her day, a political dynamo as the ever reliable Wikipedia reminds us : the most prominent European woman of the 10th century; 

So, let's have a Coopers for Adelaide!! And her's a link for those wondering about the reference in the heading to the Crows

Sunday, December 08, 2013

A Wave of Prayer to End Hunger

Caritas is launching a global #Food4All campaign to end world hunger in 2 days! They're inviting you to be part of the launch by praying  at midday on 10 Dec - this will be part of a global#waveofprayer involving every continent in the world. 
Find out how you can be part of the wave of prayer –

Friday, December 06, 2013

In Memory of Nelson Mandela

A stained-glass depiction of former South African president Nelson Mandela at Regina Mundi Church in Soweto, South Africa (CNS/Reuters/Siphiwe Sibek)
Mandela was ever-mindful of church role in South Africans' struggle [Winnie Graham in Johannesburg is a retired Catholic assistant editor of The Kansas City Star. Graham was a young reporter when Nelson Mandela was charged with sabotage October 1963. Her husband was one of a team to cover the famous trial. She was at The Star when Mandela was released in 1990 and this year, her journalist son, Stuart, will cover his funeral.]

It was with sadness that I learned of the death of former President Nelson Mandela, and I send prayerful condolences to all the Mandela family, to the members of the Government and to all the people of South Africa. In commending the soul of the deceased to the infinite mercy of Almighty God, I ask the Lord to console and strengthen all who mourn his loss. Paying tribute to the steadfast commitment shown by Nelson Mandela in promoting the human dignity of all the nation’s citizens and in forging a new South Africa built on the firm foundations of non-violence, reconciliation and truth, I pray that the late President’s example will inspire generations of South Africans to put justice and the common good at the forefront of their political aspirations. With these sentiments, I invoke upon all the people of South Africa divine gifts of peace and prosperity.
Pope Francis December 6 2013

pope mandela
Nelson Mandela welcomed Pope John Paul II to South Africa in 1995, and was appreciative of their mutual concern for the poor, commitment to equality, and undying fight for liberation from oppression. On the occasion of Pope John Paul II's funeral, Mandela said, "Pope John Paul II was a consistent voice articulating the need for moral regeneration and caring for the poor and marginalized."

Mandela; National Catholic Reporter

Images That Open You Eyes

Picture of Christmas lights taken in the Via del Corso, one of the main shopping street of Rome, on December 6, 2013 (AFP, Gabriel Bouys)
Hosted by Google

'Gay' Christmas  lights  spark Rome  row

Friday, November 29, 2013

New Items in "Australian Theology Resources" on this blog

I have begun a review of the links that  are provided on the sidebar of this site and will publish updates over the coming weeks.

A list formerly called "Must Read" has been renamed as "Australian Theology Resources" and now includes new material on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Theology as well as references to the Pacific region.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Christ the King Rocks!

Get out the balloons and whistles, ring a few bells and dance in the nave of your Church. Today is the feast of Christ the King. It began as an "in-house" political campaign by Catholics which has been taken up by many other Christian traditions who yearn for more ritual and rythym.

In an extended tweet to senior clerics Pius XI established the feast in 1925. Quas Primus is a bit of a quaint read in the 21st century with its regal overtones of the royal "We' and a woeful devotion to men as an adequate descriptor of the human race.

Pius XI made the cover of Time in 1933. He was shrewd politician who pulled off the Lateran Treaty and then took a few steps from the Vatican to St Peter's Square to begin a new age of the Church's engagement with the City Politic. There is a great bio available on the Mad Monarchist site. Enough of the Pope, let's get to the main act of the day.

The feast of Christ the King falls within days of our Governor -General backing a Republic, gay marriage and an ethic of care.Somehow a feast of Christ the President just doesn't capture the imagination does it? And "Hail Redeemer President Divine" wouldn't get into Songs of Praise. PS, doesn't that version rock!!

There are plenty of reflections for the feast if you want to do a Google search. I suggest this is a celebration for  music and what better image than a real monarch singing away to the "matchless king through all eternity"

Best read for the day is The Girardian  Lectionary

A general reflection on "Christ the King" Sunday: We don't often think in terms of kings or kingdoms anymore. The PC way of talking about it is to talk about a "Reign of Christ." But I'm not sure that catches it, either. In this democratic, capitalist age we don't talk about either kingdoms or reigns. Even "nation" is becoming less of an issue. What is it that we talk about the most these days when it comes to social constructs? Isn't it "culture"? Everything these days is about "culture," isn't it? So how about the "Culture of Christ" Sunday?

And then Girard's cultural anthropology, which is both generative and evangelical, promises tremendous insight. The generative aspect is quite unique. I get sick to death, frankly, of going to seminar after seminar in which there is so much babble about culture that amounts to little more than a cataloguing of characteristics. I am not aware of any other theories about culture that actually suggests how culture is generated, how it comes into being. That kind of depth of understanding about culture has been sorely and ironically lacking in this culture of ours which talks ad nauseam about culture.

And Girard's cultural anthropology is evangelical in that he puts the Cross of Christ exactly at the center of what reveals to us the generation of culture as founded in murder -- which is exactly what this Sunday can be about. In the cross of Christ we see both the revelation of how we found our culture and how God founds the divine culture offered to us in Christ. The latter is founded in Christ's giving himself up to the murder which founds our culture, at the same time that he forgives us for it.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Images That Open Your Eyes

You can bet there will be a flurry of denial theories and claims as in the Times report below about the Vatican not promoting this image. Bottom line is that this #Pope knows the power of symbol and image. He has abandoned the gaudy brocade and lace of his predecessor. He knows the power of the selfie in promoting issues and causes that address poverty and exploitation. The message is clear and the Pope gets a good Tee for those casual walks around the #Vatican.

What is Fracking

Water is worth more than gold

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Aunty Jean's Annual Christmas Cafe

A Time for Prayer and Solidarity

Catholic Choirs Concert Brisbane

Performances by St Mary's Choir from St Mary's Church South Brisbane, Chinese Catholic Community Choir, Korean Catholic Community Choir, and Indonesian Catholic Family Choir. Tea and light snacks are provided during break.

St Ita's Church Google Map

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

+ Fr. Dr. Jerome Murphy O’Connor R.I.P.

The 11th November is traditionally revered as Remembrance Day A generation before the Great War the date was already written into Australian History as the day Ned Kelly was hung a in Melbourne.In 1975 Australia again usurped the date in the dismissal of the Whitlam Government.

And now in 2013 it will be remembered by scholars and Biblical enthusiasts as the day Fr Jerome Murphy O'Connor passed away. The announcement of his death was published on the web site of the Ecole Biblique

 Frère Jérôme MURPHY O’CONNOR O.P.
a été rappelé a Dieu.
Il s’est éteint dans la paix, muni des sacrements de l’Eglise reçus quelques jours auparavant.
En communion avec sa famille et ses amis, en action de grâce pour son oeuvre immense au service de la Parole, et pour son amour indéfectible envers l’Ecole,
nous prions pour le repos de son âme.
« O beatum virum, cujus anima paradisum possidet! Unde exsultant angeli, laetantur archangeli, chorus sanctorum proclamat, turba virginum invitat: Mane nobiscum in aeternum! » (Antienne du Benedictus de ce jour)
His CV testifies to a life of significant scholarship that will continue to challenge and inspire those who seek to explore the literature and geography of the Biblical texts. His last interview with the Uk Catholic Herald is a Corker as he reflects on Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The online tributes and eulogies will be worth following as we pay tribute to a man who \opened our eyes" to the core texts of our faith, particularly the writings of Paul.

Death Notuice Irish Times
Catholic Sentinel
Independent Catholic News
Patheos Blog

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Fair Trade Artisan's Market November 1-4 in Brisbane

COSSAG is one of my favourite religious acronyms providing a two syllable sound for the Cathedral of St Stephen Art Group. This extraordinary group have quietly been  building a professional reputation in Brisbane  as curators and exhibitors for  local and International artisans. 

As well as the exhibitions and public talks, the group have a strong commitment to Fair Trade ethics which gives a cutting edge to their work.

Please join COSSAG and Friends at the 
2013  HANDS OF THE WORLD Fair Trade Artisans' Market
1st-4th November 9am-5pm
The Francis Rush Centre 
277 Elizabeth Street Brisbane
This is a Free Event for members of the public

From Ecuador to Laos, from Kenya to Thailand, our global network offers easy opportunities for Brisbane people to admire the ingenuity and skills of women and men in hand making mediums like metalwork, textiles, woven jute, glass, recycled paper, ceramics, jewellery, even designer dresses. The astute and the compassionate will also buy, knowing that in health, education and housing, your even small contribution can mean much to our gifted hard working contacts. An evening preview at 6pm on Thursday 31 October is for the favoured who read this. (Note for Diary.)

Each day at noon, an interviewer with a roving mike in the hall will briefly discuss projects, designs, techniques, traditions, rituals and answer questions. Fair Trade tea and coffee and a snack will be available for sale. 

Mass For Those Killed in Extremism and Human Rights Abuses (Brisbane AU)

In many countries around the world, thousands of people, including Christians, have been killed as a result of attacks by extremists, Government abuses or conflict. 

The Brisbane Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has arranged for a Mass to remember all those killed in countries like Syria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and elsewhere as a result of war, extremism and human rights abuses. 

The Mass will be celebrated on All Souls Day, Saturday 2 November, at 10 AM at St Oliver Plunkett Church, 21 Beauvardia Street, Cannon Hill.

All are welcome. You are welcome to stay for tea and coffee afterwards. Please bring a plate of food to share.

Follow this event on Facebook

Friday, October 11, 2013

Images That Open Your Eyes

A medal commissioned to commemorate the pontificate of Pope Francis has been abruptly recalled after the Vatican realized that it had misspelled the name of someone fairly important to the Roman Catholic Church.
That person is Jesus.
Or "Lesus," according to the papal medal.(see full report here)

Monday, October 07, 2013

Images That Open Your Eyes

This pic is a bit of Brisbane Catholic History that didn't make The Catholic Leader as a news story. Although not great quality, it is a significant record of the night the late Fr ted Kennedy launched his book, Who is Worthy at St Mary's Church in South Brisbane.Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this photo includes images of deceased people.This is probably the first pic i took of a significant gathering of Indigenous Elders in Brisbane.

Sydney priest tours rainbow churchPDFPrintE-mail

Written by Tain   
Sunday, 01 October 2000
St Mary's Church in South Brisbane is well known for pushing the boundaries of convention in theology and politics. On Tuesday, 22 August, the church filled with the curious, the converted and the faithful to celebrate the Brisbane launch of Ted Kennedy's book, Who is Worthy?

Ted sat among many Murri friends. The Watson family, singer Dermot Dorgan and the Brisbane Lesbian and Gay Pride Choir combined for an evening of storytelling song and celebration.

Tony Robertson, a self-styled holy irritant and host for the launch invited Ted to cut a cake baked for the occasion. The rousing chorus of For He's a Jolly Good Fellow was a community tribute to a man many admire as an advocate for the poor and a voice that challenges the structure of the church.

Speaking as a gay Catholic, Robertson says that Kennedy's book will stand as a classic of pastoral theology in Australia because it speaks out for two marginalised groups, gay-and-lesbian people and the Aboriginal community. The theology of the book is directed at the public positions of Archbishop George Pell of Melbourne: it focuses on the role of conscience in the future of the Church.

This completes a tour of the three east-coast capital cities by the 68 year-old parish priest of Redfern. His book was launched with great enthusiasm at his parish church on 16 April where speakers included Judge Bob Bellear and Sister Veronica Brady, and Peter Kearney was among the singers.

On 17 July, Kennedy's Melbourne launch was held at Saints Peter and Paul's Church in South Melbourne where Father Bob Maguire is parish priest. Lois Peeler welcomed people on behalf of the Bunurong and Woiworung people. Naomi Meyer, vice-president of a peak national Aboriginal medical body, praised his lifetime's work in solidarity with Aboriginal people while Dave McKenna, lawyer and member of the Rainbow Sash group, celebrated Kennedy's contribution to turning around an atmosphere of fear and suspicion. Jan Coleman thanked him on behalf of parents of gay and lesbian children. In formally launching the book in Victoria, Professor Tony Coady combined learned comment and joking stories of his long friendship with Kennedy. Jadyn Lillyst sang They Took the Children Away and a series of powerful numbers. Brendan O'Dwyer represented the publishers, Pluto Press. Ted Kennedy's address was printed in Tain no. 8. Val Noone was master of ceremonies. Bob Maguire remarked that as he walked over to the church for the launch he noticed a rainbow over the building. Some 350 people attended the function which marks a new stage in developing alternative forums in the Melbourne Catholic Church.
TAIN October 200

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Mental Health Week 2013 for Catholics

The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World set the tone for a new engagement between religion and community "The joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well" 

In this context I would expect there to be some attention from the pulpits of our Churches to the fact that in Australia, October 7-12 is dedicated as Mental Health Week.

Mental illness is very common. One in five (20%) Australians aged 16-85 experience a mental illness in any year. The most common mental illnesses are depressive, anxiety and substance use disorder. These three types of mental illnesses often occur in combination. For example, a person with an anxiety disorder could also develop depression, or a person with depression might misuse alcohol or other drugs, in an effort to self-medicate. Of the 20% of Australians with a mental illness in any one year, 11.5% have one disorder and 8.5% have two or more disorders. Almost half (45%) Australians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime [1]. (Facts and Figures about Mental Health and Mood Disorders)

A quick scan of the popular Catholic blogs, forums and news services draws a blank on this week's theme.  In my home Archdiocese of Brisbane Catholic Pyschiatric Pastoral Care
 invites you to Mass at St Patrick’s, Fortitude Valley on Friday 11 October @ 1.00pm to celebrate Mental Health Week. This
year’s theme is We’re all in this together. Light refreshments will follow Mass. 

Readers of this blog may like to spread the word about an invitation to A National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Awareness Recovery and Understanding. This initiative of A Nouwen Network will be held on the Sunday of or following World Mental Health day, October 10.

A great resource of prayer and worship resources is available on the site. You might like to take up the suggestion to promote a National Day of Prayer for this cause. You can do that by sending your request to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and National Council of Churches


One of the Prayer resources I will use during this week is a Candle  Lighting Service allowing for a candle for each day of the week. I invite you to join with me using a candle at home  or in your place of worship:

  • We light the candle of Truth that God will help us dispel ignorance and misinformation about major  depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, severe anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. (Silent prayer) 
  • We light the candle of Healing that troubled minds and hearts,  broken lives and relationships might be healed. (Silent prayer) 
  • We light the candle of Understanding that the darkness of stigma,  labels, exclusion and marginalization might be dispelled for the sake  of those touched by mental illness. (Silent prayer) 
  • We light the candle of Hope for persons and families living with  mental illness, for better treatment, for steadier recovery, for greater  opportunity to work and serve. (Silent prayer) 
  • We light the candle of Thankfulness for compassionate, dedicated  caregivers and mental health professionals; for new discoveries in  brain research and better medications. (Silent prayer) 
  • We light the candle of Faith to dispel doubt and despair for those  who have lost hope and are discouraged. (Silent prayer) 
  • We light the candle of Steadfast Love to remind us of God’s love  and faithfulness, and to remind us to share the light of love and  service for those living with mental illness. (Silent prayer) 
Carole J. Wills 

Anam Cara.(Brisbane)

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Francis of Assisi Patron of Streaking and Naturism!

Happy St Francis Day. The young idealistic and visionary Italian  who turned his back on social and religious protocols is a conversion story as great as that of Paul's road to Damascus. It's too easy to dismiss the movie clip as romantic and sweet. It sets us a challenge as we prepare for Anti-Poverty Week to review our sense of attachment to possessions. Today s also the day we celebrate the feast of streaking as a religious act and the grace of naturism as a healthy choice.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Lazarus at Our Gate

The parables of Jesus are universal stories that challenge human prejudice, injustice and the abuse of power.The story of the Rich Man and Lazarus has been a popular theme for artists musicians and of course homilists.

This year the Australian Catholic Bishops have chosen this parable as the  focus for the 2013 Social Justice Statement, Lazarus at Our Gate.

It may be too easy for observers and the disillusioned  to dismiss this statement in the light of the horrifying revelations about sexual abuse and the failure of Church leadership to act for the protection of children and the vulnerable.It would be irresponsible for Australian Catholic clergy to ignore the message and challenge this statement offers to the cult of clericalism and its failure to witness to a "preferential option for f the poor".

We who claim Catholicism as our faith do so across a colourful spectrum of commitment.And in Australia we carry on a long tradition of social engagement that challenges political and religious abuse which sits uncomfortably in the pages of our history. The Australian Catholic Bishops have issued 65 of these statements since 1940.

As the new Abbott Government begins its Parliamentary term I hope each member of the Cabinet as well as all elected members of the House and the Senate will read this document and respond to its final challenging question, "Who is at Our Gate?

I have collected a series of resources and references that I hope will add to your reflection and  action in response to this year's Social Justice Statement.


The ACSJC website - - has resources available for download free of charge  They include Social Justice Sunday Liturgy Notes, a PowerPoint presentation and resources for schools and social justice groups.

Lazarus at our Gate A Reflection from the Columbans

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Song for Greg Reynolds

Excommunication is one of those dream words in Scrabble that can land you a winning margin. However, outside the scrabble board it can land a recipient on the losing side of their religious community. Christian leaders  have been busily excommunicating since Paul started the trend.

Thanks to Wikipedia we have a comprehensive list of those who fell off the scrabble board from the first Century. The list is inclusive for the first few centuries but the post Constantinians are Roman Catholics. It is worth noting that the 4th and 8th century were pretty quiet with only one name for each.

With the rise of new communication technologies, Television and  the internet the 20th Century became a boom time with 13 listings of excommunication. Some of these were group bookings so the number is quite inflated. The list includes a few who either recanted or had their excommunication lifted.

We are only 13 years into the 21st Century and heading for a Guiness breaking record as there are twelve listings and  87 more years of Temple Policing to go. Despite Catholic demographics  Australia manages to stand out in the listings with Saint Mary MacKillop appearing for a brief excommunication in the 19th century and most recently Fr Greg Reynolds, the newest recipient of the  letter from Rome.

Greg Reynolds expressed his "shock" at the Vatican decision.However as with so many other  middle aged, middle class,middle of the road Catholics he forgot to use the Duck test. Bottom line question: "Is the Pope  Catholic"?  Yes,Greg Popes excommunicate, as do most institutional leaders and groups from time to time.I don't quite know why there is so much angst about the excommunication as the movement Greg has founded makes it quite clear they don't want to be associated with the Church's' forms of governance"

And, yes for those who are wondering I  have been through the MAMCMOTR journey in Catholicism. It\s an interesting but somewhat unworkable acronym like its membership.

Media, blogs and  everyone with an opinion  suddenly know Greg Reynolds,a decent and passionate  bloke  who I remember from my days at Corpus Christi in Melbourne.

No doubt Greg and  those who will follow him will take some inspiration from Pete Seeger's classic rendition of the old rebel song,

Die Gedanken Sind Frei (Our Thoughts Are Free) 


Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Faith Response to Military Intervention in Syria

For Christians the city of Damascus sits in our collective memory as a watershed moment of conversion and commitment to non-violence.The story of the conversion of Paul was not just a religious experience. It was a political commitment to stand against the power of Empire and walk in the steps of Jesus the peacemaker.

These news items are published here to give voice to the tradition of peacemaking and nonviolence which should call us to Damascus in these days

AMRIS is part of ISTEAMS, the International Support Team for the Mussalaha (reconciliation) initiative in Syria.  
It brings together Australians from different faiths and allegiances. 
AMRIS is working to promote the 10 Points Towards Reconciliation and Peace described by Mother Agnes Mariam, the Carmelite nun from Homs, on her visit to Australia in October 2012.

.Huff Post Religion Just War Doctrine and Syria Even as the world’s powers grasped for a last-minute resolution to the crisis in Syria, it remained an open question whether any amount of diplomacy could prevent the conflict from claiming at least one more victim: the classic Christian teaching known as the “just war” tradition.

Pope Calls for Day of Prayer and fasting on September 7 May the plea for peace rise up and touch the heart of everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and be let themselves be led by the desire for peace.To this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Take Action Now Contact your two U.S. Senators and your Representative and urge them to vote against a resolution authorizing the use of military force in Syria. Instead, ask them to support U.S. leadership, in collaboration with the international community, for an immediate ceasefire in Syria and serious, inclusive negotiations for peace.

Catholic Patriarch Gregiore III Enough With The Intervention

"Instead of trying to change the (Syrian) government, help the government to change. We are all for change. We are all for reforms. But not in this way, with blood."

The patriarch said external intervention "is destroying the whole sense of community, of friendship of love between peoples, of conviviality, of living together, Christians and Muslims." 

A letter from Trappist nuns in Syria: “Blood fills our streets, our eyes, our hearts” We look at the people around us, our day workers who are all here as if suspended, stunned: “They’ve decided to attack us.” Today we went to Tartous…we felt the anger, the helplessness, the inability to formulate a sense to all this: the people trying their best to work and to live normally. You see the farmers watering their land, parents buying notebooks for the schools that are about to begin, unknowing children asking for a toy or an ice cream…you see the poor, so many of them, trying to scrape together a few coins. The streets are full of the “inner” refugees of Syria, who have come from all over to the only area left that is still relatively liveable…. You see the beauty of these hills, the smile on people’s faces, the good-natured gaze of a boy who is about to join the army and gives us the two or three peanuts he has in his pocket as a token of “togetherness”…. And then you remember that they have decided to bomb us tomorrow. … Just like that. Because “it’s time to do something,” as it is worded in the statements of the important men, who will be sipping their tea tomorrow as they watch TV to see how effective their humanitarian intervention will be….

Sojourners Keep Doomsday Religion Out of the Syrian Conflict

Ask the Judeo-Christian world: have they forgotten Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s comment about erasing Israel from the face of the Earth? Ask the Muslim world: have they forgotten George W. Bush’s post 9/11 declaration of the war on terror being a “crusade.” Who’s to say that political decisions are immune from such eschatological yearnings? As the war engulfs Damascus, one wonders if our actions or inactions are partly motivated by religious beliefs.

Pope Francis and King of Jordan  Negotiation is the Only Option for Syria
Archbishop Maroun Lahham, patriarchal vicar for Jordan in the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, told Vatican Radio the meeting of Pope Francis and King Abdullah was an opportunity for both of them to discuss ways to encourage peace in Syria “in the midst of all these threats we are hearing. With what is happening, Jordan – although it is a small country – can play an important role for peace in Syria”.

NCR Editorial: Military intervention in Syria won't solve anything

Our experience tells us that the last two decades of war have extracted a great price at home with so little to show for it. And the loss has not been just in lives and treasury, though those losses are staggering, but also in our understanding of who we are and what moral imperatives drive our decisions. In this case, the real strength may be in resisting the bully's taunt.

Thomas Reece NCR What moral theologians say about getting involved in Syria As the Obama administration prepares to respond to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, what are the ethicists saying about the morality of military intervention? In this article, I will examine their views about whether intervention in Syria fits the criteria of a just war. Links are provided to the more complete thoughts of each expert.

Pax Christi urgently calls religious leaders – regardless of the specific community to which they belong – to use their moral authority to speak clearly and with urgency in private and in public for an end to violence; to strongly call for a political solution to the armed conflict; to support the creation of zones of non-violence; and to promote active campaigns of prayer, non-cooperation and public witness for an immediate end to the violence in Syria.

Pax Christi Syrians Need Safety Zones for Humanitarian Relief
Syria’s government, responsible for protecting the people, is not only failing to do so, but is accused of viciously attacking civilian communities, including with its substantial air force. Between the Assad government, the Free Syrian Army and the many extremist elements increasingly involved in the conflict, few people we met in Lebanon thought that a negotiated solution in the near future was possible. Instead they were predicting a long, bloody war. We heard strong voices speak against any kind of a military intervention, but for consistent, diplomatic, relief and solidarity support from other countries without self-interested geopolitical maneuvering. - See more here.

John L Allen Jnr (NCR) Syrian Christians say Western attack could make things worse "We heard a lot about democracy and freedom from the U.S. in Iraq, and we see now the results -- how the country came to be destroyed," said Chaldean Catholic Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo in a recent interview. "The first to lose were the Christians of Iraq."

Do something today and add your signature to the petition which calls for a Non Violent resolution of the conflict in Syria.