Friday, May 16, 2014

Is your Church Acknowledging the International Day Against Homophobia?

http://www.homophobiaday.org/
The catechism of the Catholic Church instructs Catholics that gay men and women “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives.”

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin cautioned Catholics against homophobia in a series of interviews over the weekend, warning that such behavior is an insult to God. “God never created anybody that he doesn’t love,” Martin told The Independent. Read full text here

Welcome to www.homophobiaday.org
An Italian Catholic Bishop calls for change
Catholic Church Homophobia
What lies behind religious homophobia?
Queering the Church



Thursday, May 15, 2014

Taize Prayer This Weekend in Brisbane


Potiphar's Wife:The Vatican's Secret and Child Sexual Abuse

Potiphar's Wife:The Vatican's Secret and Child Sexual Abuse

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Quick Overview

Kieran Tapsell studied for the Catholic priesthood at St. Columba’s College, Springwood, and St. Patrick’s College Manly in the 1960's, during which time he studied Canon Law for some 3 years. After leaving the seminary, he studied Law at Sydney University. He was admitted a Solicitor and Barrister of the Supreme Court of NSW in 1973, was a partner in the firm of Watkins Tapsell from 1973 to 2004, an Accredited Specialist in Commercial Litigation and Advocacy, and a District Court Arbitrator and Mediator. He was an Acting District Court Judge from 1996 to 1999 and the author of many articles in legal journals on topics within his area of specialization. Since his retirement from his legal practice in 2004, he has been translating Latin American literature and newspaper columns from Spanish to English.
More Details here
Catholica Discussion on this book



Thursday, May 08, 2014

Reclaiming May in Catholicism

As a young boy I was fully inducted into my privileged state  in the Catholic Church. I was a altar server which meant I had access to the sacred in ways that my revered grandmother would never know.I was taught the ritual language of Latin and dressed in robes that marked me off from others in the Church.

The elite male caste of clericalism is one that can easily trap a young boy with religious interest,imagination and dreams of adventure. Although I had my share of comic book heroes, some of whom were military monsters, I also read of the martyrs and wonder workers of my faith tradition who ranged from the hard working to the eccentric. Few of these stories were of women whether  in comic books or biographies of saints.

I spent a number of years as a young adult within this culture of male clericalism. I learnt much from this  experience. My choices meant that I lived in a  multicultural religious community of men. This nurtured a  new appreciation of cultural diversity that has stayed with me since.It also gave me insights into masculinity that have led me to a new understanding of my sexuality as a gay man.

My passion for social justice led me to an awareness that at the core of my life was a deep injustice both personal and systemic. It was an injustice deeply rooted in  the very culture I had taken on board as my  source of meaning and fulfillment.

Patriarchy is the elephant in the room of Catholicism and much of Christianity.In my younger days I took it for granted that males had rights and privileges.When I was a young altar boy there was one Sunday in the year when girls took centre stage in the Church.

The annual crowning of Our Lady's statue was a high  religious festival in May. It involved  flowers, lyrical songs and young girls dressed in white strewing rose petals on the nave of the Church, There was even a "WHS" factor ignored at the time, when one  special girl in full white wedding gear had to climb a ladder to place a wreath of flowers on the head of the statue. Many observers would see the day as a bit of Goddess worship Catholic style where women had their  15 minutes of religious fame. But after all the processing and drama of the crowning we went back to hearing a male priest tell of the glory of Mary.

In  2012  the NCR has published one of the best pieces of writing I have ever read by Sr Joan Chittester : Silence about the global treatment of women is disquieting. Chittester concludes this item with this call:

From where I stand, it seems to me that male "protection," paternalism and patriarchal theology are not to be trusted anymore because the actions it spawns in both men and women have limited the full humanity of women everywhere, and on purpose.

Isn't it time for us all to really be converted, to say the real Truth about women from our pulpits, from our preachers, from our patriarchs, until both they and we finally believe it ourselves? Then surely the actions that make it real will follow.


I am all for keeping May as a month of "woman awareness". I believe we should rediscover the mythology and person of Mary of Nazareth in our day. My preferred text for such an approach is Marina Warner's "Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and Cult of the Virgin Mary". It speaks with far more religious and feminine insight the Louis de Montfort's True Devotion to Mary.

I have  my own Marian Shrine in the back garden. "Our Lady of the Milk Crate" is a local devotion inspired by the appearances of Mary at Coogee Beach. Readers may be surprised to know that the Virgin Mary had made an earlier visit to Coogee in 1911 to a young woman, Eileen O'Connor who founded Australia's Brown Nurses.

On a practical and pastoral response perhaps our Churches could begin by recognizing May as Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month.No such mention of this basic issue last year  in the May 13 ceremony of the consecration of the Pontificate of Pope Francis.

My many women friends continue to challenge me into the full maturity of my masculinity. I recall with gratitude the women of global influence I have been privileged to meet or know online and through their writings. I honour the work of Dorothy Day, Jean Houston, Helen Prejean, Pauline Coll, Julia Cameron. Marina Warner,  Mirium Therese WinterOdetta, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Maureen Watson, Oodgeroo  Noonuccal and so many more.