Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Limerick for George Cardinal Pell

Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican's financial watchdog, slammed for lavish spending

We gave Rome a "true blue" called Pell. 
Who decided to give them all hell. 
He slipped on his lace.
Got egg on his face. 
That's; taken the shine off his bell

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lent 2015

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 again this year as I celebrate my 62nd Lent my birthday  falls within the season.However I have also decided that I will celebrate this birthday in the the Biblical spirit of jubilee.

Graciously due to my age 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

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 begun in my 60th year continue!!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Queensland Survey on Relationship with God Challenges Interfaith Relations

Here is a promo for a new survey about our relationship to God from 612 ABC in Qld:
Whether you’re a regular Sunday church goer, a Christmas and Easter only visitor or never darken a church door type of person, a Queensland psychology student is seeking help to investigate what makes people feel they have a personal relationship with god.
Chantelle Warren, from Queensland University of Technology’s School of Psychology and Counselling, would like people who describe themselves as religious or spiritual and those who have no religion or are atheists to answer an online survey about their “attachment style” and their degree of religious practice.
You can participate in the survey by clicking here.
Follow the 612 ABC Relationship with God
I notice that despite Chantelle's comment about wanting  to take the research beyond a Christian perspective the image and language promoting this survey come from a dominant Christian world view. See the facebook  612 ABC page here
We have to be much more adventurous if we are going to engage beyond our traditional Western cultural paradigm in  this survey.
There is quite a challenge ahead when you do a Google image search for God I had to think a bit in choosing the image for this post. Which pic of God do I choose? I think the nameplate is a pretty safe inclusive choice. What do you think?
I will do the survey and post an update here and invite you to join the conversation

Monday, February 09, 2015

Friar Paul Hanbridge RIP

Old photos tell stories and hold memories that come to the surface in unexpected moments.

This image features on my Cybefriary Blog and captures the now demolished St Laurence Friary in Wynnum North on the day I took my first vows with the Capuchin Friars. in 1974

Now 40 years later the first of this group has passed away. The tall friar, third from the left is Paul Hanbridge, writer and amateur geologist who died in Sydney on 19 January 2015

We first met as young postulants in 1972. Your family welcomed me  and you generously invited me to spend my holiday break with you in Leichhardt.

I have so many memories of the great conversations with your parents, Hazel and Len. You and I were very different.

This photo of our group on our first profession day is one of my treasures. Only Catholics who have survived a Noviciate year can understand the memories and relationships it leaves.The six of us in this image were a pretty amazing group of two yanks and four true blue Aussies.

After your ordination our paths diverged as I had moved into exploring my masculinity and my passion for social and political reform.When I left the friars in 1977 there was as much loss as excitement as I began a new chapter in my life. I followed your  journey with interest as you committed your life to service in religious research and writing.

Those days are as distant as time in Eliot's "The Journey of the Magi" and we have both lived the rhythm of life and death in so many ways. But now, this death, your passing leaves me with tears and memories. Farewell my old friend. May the angels carry you to paradise and may the company of Franciscans welcome you home to eternal rest.

Paul's Digital Presence

Paul's Youtube Channel
Paul's Linkedin Profile
Paul's Facebook Page

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Let There Be Light: 2015 International Year of Light

To commemorate this year's International Year of Light, which celebrates the importance of light and its role in new technologies, Jesuit astronomers at the Vatican Observatory have launched a number of new initiatives aimed at increasing dialogue with Muslims, nonbelievers and Catholics, who may not know that their faith and science are not at odds.

Jesuit Father Jose Funes, an expert in galaxies and head of the Vatican Observatory, joined Iran's Embassy to the Holy See to sponsor a Jan. 13-15 workshop studying "The Role of Astronomy in Christianity and Islam."

Because it is the same moon, sun and stars for all people, space and astronomy are the perfect common ground for encounter and dialogue, Father Funes said at a news conference Jan. 9.

"It's the same light for Christians, Muslims and nonbelievers," he said.

"Light is extremely important in religion and culture, not just for science and technology," he said, noting that the light from the sun and its reflection on the moon are the foundation for telling time, creating calendars and establishing the rhythms that guide prayer, day and night.(See full report here)

As this blog is posted Christians in many communities will gather to celebrate the feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, also known as Candlemas, a feast of light.

Inspired by the words of the Canticle of Simeon ("a light to the revelation of the Gentiles"), by the 11th century, the custom had developed in the West of blessing candles on the Feast of the Presentation. The candles were then lit, and a procession took place through the darkened church while the Canticle of Simeon was sung..

In Brisbane's St John's Cathedral there is a set of windows on the west front dedicated to  Christ, the light of the Cosmos. Included in the window's imagery is a tribute to Albert Einstein

In this centenary year of Einstein's discovery of general relativity we have a place of pilgrimage in this year of heightened awareness between religions and science.

Cosmic Light 2015 Video Trailer - To celebrate the cosmic light coming down to earth