Sunday, February 17, 2013

Annual Lenten Art Exhibition and Sale Brisbane

My Jubilee Lent

Baptismal Cup  8 March 1953
It probably takes a certain type of Catholic eccentricity to be able to proclaim that I am a  Lent baby. In 1953, the year of my birth, Ash Wednesday fell on  18 Feb,5 days before I was born.. And this year as I celebrate my 60th Lent my birthday once again falls within the season.However I have also decided that I will celebrate this birthday in the spirit of jubilee.

In my jubilee year I am exempted from some of the Lenten discipline: Canon 1252  All persons who have completed their fourteenth year are bound by the law of abstinence; all adults are bound by the law of fast up to the beginning of their sixtieth year. Nevertheless, pastors and parents are to see to it that minors who are not bound by the law of fast and abstinence are educated in an authentic sense of penance.

However, Jubilee is not about age but rather a deep and challenging journey into relationships and forgiveness. The Lenten Pastorals from New South Wales and Brisbane  Bishops  have left us in no doubt about the Church needing to seek forgiveness as we confront the dark history of sexual abuse of vulnerable children during the Royal  Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The call to traditional Lenten discipline takes on a new urgency in this climate.

Abstinence is hardly penitential  for many of us who have abandoned the  meat based diets of our childhood and see a mixed diet as a more graceful way of living for body and soul. The call to penitential practice is a tradition in many religious communities. These practices are about transformation of our values and behaviours. Our penitential  commitment is a call to live in the light.

The call to live more simply also invites us to fasting in solidarity with those who live in hunger and poverty in our global village. My commitment to Fair Trade shopping also ensures that I am supporting sustainable projects to provide dignity and work in developing communities.

The annual Project Compassion appeal of the Australian Catholic Church  awakens me to my  global relationships and responsibilities. My first photographic appearance in Catholic media  happened in 1979 when I did a busking gig for  the launch Project Compassion  on the steps of the GPO in Bourke Street Melbourne.

There are an almost exhausting number of online resources for Lent with the challenge being to "keep it simple". My prayer in Lent will continue to be my morning bus ride with the "Pray as You Go" meditation.  My fasting will be guided by Robert Herrick's poem: "To Keep A True Lent". My giving this year will be the start of a new  way of living. Rather than "giving up" I have decided that from now on I will give away  much of the 'stuff" I have gathered over these past 60 years.Any gift I now give to family and friends will come from my shelves and cupboards so that it will have new life in a new house.and I can learn to live with less.

So, let the Jubilee begin!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Drasko Dizdar:The End of Religion?

There are moments when you stumble across a piece of writing that demands more than  cursory  attention.

Dr Drasko Dizdar is a member of the Emmaus monastic community, and a theologian with the Tasmanian Catholic Education Office.

Thanks to Drasko for this contribution. This text demands  reflection of some depth. It calls us to conversion of mind and heart that shakes the very foundation of our relationships.

Desire, envy and the consequent violence are never far from our lived experience. The call to nonviolence is the core of the Gospel and is as radical s Drasko's claim of Jesus as the first "non-religious" person.

In this contest our practices through Lent of fasting, almsgiving and prayer take on a fresh urgency in a culture of death and violence.

The invitation to "put on Christ" (Romans 13:14) is the way we become "Easter people"

On Violence and Religion

Other works by Drasko:

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Media Releas re General Peter Cosgrove

Brisbane based Catholic Justice advocate, Tony Robertson has called on the Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University, General Peter Cosgrove to return his Papal Knighthood. General Cosgrove was invested as a  Knight of the Grand Cross in the Order of St Gregory the Great on February 6th by George Cardinal Pell in Sydney.
Mr Robertson  said: “The conferring of a Papal Honour on General Cosgrove for services to the Church of Sydney is a scandal that will further alienate Catholics of good will from their Church”
“General Cosgrove chose to lead Australian troops into a war in Iraq in 2003 against the explicit moral directives of Pope John Paul II” he said.
Mr Robertson said “General Cosgrove is a public face of Catholicism and has an opportunity to acknowledge that he failed to fulfil his duty of “loyalty to the Holy See” by his participation  in the 2003 Iraq Invasion.
Mr Robertson has been supportive of a campaign begun in 2010 to have General Cosgrove removed from his position as Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University.
“Our nation needs leaders who will stand against the culture of death and war. We need educators who can nurture a community of peace making with a commitment to non violent living. General Cosgrove  does not represent such leadership” Mr Robertson said.