Saturday, November 25, 2017

Images That Open Your Eyes

It’s almost impossible to find a Christ figure that expresses both LGBTQ identity AND non-white racial / ethnic identity. “Neither” by David Hayward is one of these uncommon treasures.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Trapped In a Closed World: Catholic Culture and Sexual Abuse

Kevin Peoples lives in Melbourne. He is a retired Technical and Further Education (TAFE) teacher and has a Master of Arts Degree in Australian History from the University of Melbourne. As a late vocation to the Catholic priesthood, he returned to complete his secondary education at Chevalier College, Bowral, NSW in 1962. He entered Saint Columba’s Seminary, Springwood in 1964 and left in 1966. He is the author of Santamaria’s Salesman (2012) and From the Top of the Hill (2016).

Book Purchase and distribution

"Trapped in a Closed World is timely, comprehensive and accessible to a broad readership. Peoples’ acute insights on beliefs, values and practices that have led to sexual violence and cover-up scandals shows why the Church must stop tinkering with the clergy culture in the vain hope of rescuing it from these historical revelations." ...Dr Jane Anderson, honorary research fellow, University of Western Australia

"The reactions of the Catholic hierarchy to the child sexual abuse scandal confirms Ralph Linton’s quip that the last thing a fish would notice is the water. Kevin Peoples spent three years in a seminary pond, and provides us with a well written account of his own struggle with the cultural murk, while interweaving it with the results of the many inquiries. All great tragedies have a mixture of the good and the bad, and the author describes them both in a book difficult to put down." ...Kieran Tapsell, author Potiphar’s Wife: The Vatican’s Secret and Child Sexual Abuse

"Peoples takes a hard look at the toxic culture of the Catholic Church, the madness of seminary training, and the tortured, lonely lifestyle of the clergy. Trapped in a Closed World is a serious contribution to the ongoing debate about the future of the institution we know as the ‘Vaticanised’ Catholic Church." ...Chris Geraghty, former priest and retired judge

"Through the prism of his own seminary training, Kevin Peoples enables his readers to see what has gone wrong. Clericalism, misogyny and mandatory celibacy are demonstrably major factors in this unfolding tragedy. This book is not for the faint-hearted, but the Scriptures assure us that ‘the truth will set us free’." Bishop Pat Power, retired auxiliary bishop, Canberra Goulburn Diocese

"A deeply-felt account of a personal journey with faith and disillusionment."...Ailsa Piper, author Sinning across Spain and with Tony Doherty, The Attachment

"Peoples makes a very personal and persuasive case that the institutional Catholic church must reform its closed culture if it is to respond positively to the lessons of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse." ...John Warhurst, emeritus professor of Political Science, Australian National University

"I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking to understand how, when, and why the open window dream of Vatican II lost out to the reality of secrecy, clericalism and the protection of the institution’s power, identity and reputation at all costs." ...Michael Morwood, author It’s Time. Challenges to the Doctrine of the Faith

"Kevin Peoples has brilliantly combined his experience as a student priest in a Catholic seminary with reflections on clerical child abuse and the Church’s cover-up. With insight, humour, and extensive research, he shows that clerical abuse is linked to the history and culture of the Church with its authoritarian structures, misogyny and celibacy. A powerful, compassionate and courageous book." ...Iola Mathews OAM, author My Mother, My Writing and Me: a Memoir

"Peoples describes a toxic seminary and church culture which created clerical egotists who felt comfortable only with defenceless children. He links this to the solid research on the over-representation of Catholic clergy among clerical abusers worldwide and makes sensible suggestions for another Reformation. The book is a page-turner and a heartbreaker." ...Helen Praetz, professor emeritus, RMIT University

"Reading Trapped in a Closed World you warm to Kevin Peoples. That is the sign of a good memoir. He has a good story, knows his material and is a good teacher. It is a page-turning read. He describes the authoritarian style, enclosure from the world and misogyny that pervaded Springwood seminary. He shows how this was a seedbed for clericalism and narcissism; no check for any latent paedophilic inclinations, and a direct contributor to the denial and defensiveness of the church leaders that it produced." ...Eric Hodgens, retired parish priest, alumnus of Corpus Christi College

"It is essential that truth-telling about what has gone on behind closed doors is not left to abuse survivors alone. Through telling his seminary story, Peoples stands in solidarity with all who have suffered from the misuse of power by what is coming to be recognised as a heretical sect. Peoples shows these discredited leaders, and truth-seekers everywhere, how honest storytelling can be a path to liberation." ...James Boyce, author Born Bad: Original Sin and the Making of the Western World

"A profound contribution to understanding the sexual abuse crisis that has ravaged the Catholic Church. At once sympathetic and forensic, Peoples opens up a secretive world." ...Barney Zwartz, formerly religion editor of The Age, is a senior fellow with the Centre for Public Christianity

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Frank Brennan SJ on History, Catholicism and Culture

On Thursday 23rd November at St Ignatius Parish Toowong in Brisbane Fr Frank Brennan was asked to speak on 'Being Catholic in Today’s World'. Listen to Frank Brennan here

The Legacy of Justice Higgins: Seeking a True New Start for all Job Seekers and workers

Fr Frank Brennan SJ AO, gave the 2017 Rerum Novarum Oration, The Legacy of Justice Higgins: Seeking a True New Start for all Job Seekers and Workers, on the 110 year anniversary of the Harvester decision.

An Economy That Works For All

The Catholic Church has a role to play in encouraging action from those in power to deliver an economy that serves all in our community, particularly the most vulnerable, because our Church is one of the organisations who help the poor and vulnerable people who have been left behind. - Use this link to read the full text of Fr Frank Brennan's speech

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

St Columban's Day 2017

Today is the feast of St Columban and 2018 will the centenary year of the foundation of the Missionary Society of St Columban.

To acknowledge the Centenary year I will be hanging  the 2018 Columban Calendar as my calendar of choice in my study. This calendar was the norm in my childhood home along with the Far East magazine. The calendar added classic religious art works to the house decor and the Far East brought the issues of global poverty and development into our suburban world.

In the 1970s I studied with young Columban students with whom I traveled in the Philippines during the tumultuous Marcos regime. Thanks to the Columbans this  experience included my first encounter with Islam and my introduction to the work of Fr Brendan Lovett.

I have been mentored, inspired, challenged and befriended by these men. Some have remained in the community, others have moved on to other life choices.

I want to acknowledge the mentoring and wisdom I learnt from many conversations with the late Cyril Halley. The first Columban my parents befriended was Fr Colin McLean who exchanged letters and news via mail. Today I have several Columban friends connected via social media.

Recently I met up with Columban twins Kevin and Peter O'Neill. Kevin is currently the Superior General of the Columbans residing in Hong Kong and Peter is based in Taiwan fighting for the rights of migrant workers. They get a special mention and picture today because they share their birthday with this great feast day!!!!

Friday, November 17, 2017

How can our government better support and foster human values?

In the lead-up to the Queensland State elections on 25th November the Archdiocese of Brisbane has  launched a public forum inviting  discussion on public policy and Catholic values.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge encourages participation in these words:

 " I warmly invite you to contribute your thoughts on the ways you believe the future Queensland Government could better support families, particularly those who support Catholic values. We would like to see improvements in learning and education from a future government that reflects the core values of decency towards Queenslanders. 

Your feedback can help to continue shaping an environment for our children, anchored among Catholic values that include respect for others"

The heading for the online forum points to "human values" yet the blurb invites a reflection on "Catholic values" This itself is a good starting point for conversation.  So, away you go. Let's build this conversation. The link is here