Monday, July 01, 2019

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday Brisbane

Date: Sunday 7th July 12.00pm

Cathedral of St Stephen, 249 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane, QLD

NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee) Week is being celebrated this year from July 7 to 14.
It is a welcome celebration of the significant culture, history and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders over a timeframe that stretches beyond imagining.
The Archdiocese will come together as one to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in liturgy, through this celebration of a NAIDOC Mass.
All people are welcome and encouraged to attend.

 Luke 10:1-12. Queenie McKenzie

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Taking Pride to Corpus Christi

You can pick a real Catholic because they know how to spell Corpus Christi and even know what it means. Exception made for the Texans who live in the city of Corpus Christi.

In Catholic tradition the feast of Corpus Christi has pretty good cred. It's been around long enough to have gathered all sorts of customs and public displays that range from the pious to the flamboyant.

In Brisbane the annual Corpus Christi Procession has evolved  from laps around the  oval at Nudgee to a full-on street parade in the heart of the city.  This year it included a GoFundMe appeal to cover the costs that raised only $170 of the $10,000 target. Perhaps the Archdiocese should have hired Israel Foloa as their fundraiser!!!

Having followed recent processions as a photographer, I decided to join he Corpus Christi procession with my Rainbow Flag cape representing my LGBTIQA+ community of faith in a more public statement. This  decision was prompted by a workshop I attended in May at the Catholic Missions 2019 conference. One of the workshop options offered was: Valuing LGBTIQA+ People, How Can We Include All? The workshop provided a safe space for people to reflect on the issues and experience of exclusion and homophobia in the Church.

My colours blended in well with the bright umbrellas of the Syro-Malabar community but proved a strong contrast to the mostly staid  officials providing escort for the procession.

There were a few wonderful moments and encounters. At one stage I was standing by taking pics when a young man asked:"Are you a Catholic?" when I confirmed  my identity he smiled and said" Well done". Towards the end I was taking some pics of people kneeling n the steps of the Cathedral during Benediction.As I stood up to move to another position a lady leaving saw me with my cape and said" You can go in God loves everybody"!!

My Rainbow Flag didn't get a mention in the official report of the procession in the Catholic Leader but I am happy to think I was a little wave of pride in the "sea of  Catholics"!!

Corpus Christi Declaration 2019
Corpus Christi Procession Brisbane 2019
Holy Irritant Corpus Christi posts

Friday, June 28, 2019

Jesus gives his heart to West End.

Nothing quite catches the eye like religious iconography in unexpected places. Today as I was wandering down Boundary Street in West End, Brisbane I saw this Sacred Heart Candle among the bric-a brac in Ecclectica esoteric books & curiosities.

Today in Catholicland is called the feast of the Sacred Heart. It’s day when a couple of religious communities who have this moniker in their name gets to party like there is no tomorrow. Every Catholic building worth it’s salt has a statue or window of the Sacred Heart.

The popular image is probably a bit “out there” for many people as it depicts a Hollywood style Jesus with coiffed curls pointing to or holding his heart while staring hard at the viewer.

Behind the saccharine art work is an amazing bit of theology that says the Divine has a “bleeding heart” as those on a certain side of politics say to deride anyone with compassion. In plain language it means God is on the side of those pushed to the social margins like prisoners, refugees, migrants and so many others.

So here in the middle of West End today I find Jesus Sacred Heart staring out with Divine compassion to those on the street who may be feeling the wrath of a rugby player too keen to condemn and too slow to let his heart become sacred.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Forgotten Australians at the Ad Limina Apostolorum

This is one of the many pics flooding my social media  feed from the Australian Catholic Bishops currently in Rome. They are on what is called the Ad Limina Apostolorum, reporting on the state and condition of the Australian Church to the Pope.
There have been Masses celebrated in the great Basilicas with homilies about history, religion and grandiose calls to humility. Bishops have also posted comments about the intentions and people for which Masses are being offered.
So far, and the visit is almost over, there has been no mention in my reading of prayers of lament or sorrow for the victims of clergy sexual abuse and the crime of concealing evidence and protecting offenders by their peers in a sordid history of our Church.
As I hear so often "these guys don't get it". It 's not just about signing off on a National Redress Scheme for the most affordable outcome.Nor is it about scoring brownie points for good protocols from the head prefects in Rome. It is about restorative justice where relationships need to be healed and forgiveness needs to be sought.
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference really needs to do an Ad Limina Apostolorum with the people of the Church in Australia before it gets too excited about the Plenary Council 2020

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Corpus Christi 2019 Declaration
Yes, let’s honour the presence of Jesus on this land which always was, always will be Aboriginal Land of the Turrbal People and the Jagera People
Let’s honour the presence of Jesus in our streets where commercial exploitation dominates the landscape.
Let’s honour the presence of Jesus on footpaths where homeless people sleep rough seeking shelter and comfort.
Let’s honour the presence of Jesus on streets where people have marched in protest for refugee rights, for worker’s rights, for women’s rights and for peace and justice.
Let’s honour the presence of Jesus not only today with this religious process but in our solidarity and presence with those who process on these streets for a civic and just society.
Let’s carry this sacred Sacrament in gilded glory but let it not distract us from our religious duty to feed the poor, to set the prisoners free, to care for the widows and orphans, to protect this planet, our common home, to welcome the stranger, to proclaim the social upheaval of the Magnificat of Mary.
I will join this Catholic procession as a Gay man wearing my rainbow flag. I will add my colours to the banners of parish and ethnic communities. I will bring the flair of the rainbow alongside the brocade and lace of religious vestments.
I will process in these streets with my Catholic community as I have processed so often on previous demonstrations of my core beliefs with those seeking justice, human rights and liberation.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Celebrating Anthony

One of the significant days of this month is June 13th, my name  day. My parents made sure I would spend my life gaining easy and instant recognition as a good Catholic boy by naming me after St Anthony of Padua whose feast-day falls on this day

Now this saint should not be confused with the many other holy Anthonys who have front row seats in the celestial realm.

My "Anthony" is a one of Catholicism's pin-up boys. He is patron for a number of a eternal chores that occupy most of his working days 

In his spare time he poses for thousand of popular images and statues that adorn churches homes and religious houses.

Somewhere along the timeline he also found time to star in a series of movies. My favourite is this classic from the silent movie era made long before the days inter-religious dialogue.


It's always good to remember that saints are often given to us to admire rather than imitate. Anthony was part of the weird and wonderful world of medieval Catholicism  in the early 13th century. He died at 36 in 1231 and never had an intimate relationship. So far I've outlived him and have not found the queue for the call to lifelong chastity.

Anthony was a great public speaker and had a pretty sharp intellect. Catholicism has a quaint practice of awarding posthumous PhDs to smart cookies and Anthony eventually got his in 1946.

Iconography of the saints is a big business as Churches, Monasteries, Convents,Schools, Oratories, Retreat Centres,Presbyteries and the humble domestic house have all gone shopping for their heavenly personalities to decorate walls. Anthony has quite large choice for the discerning shopper. 

This feast falls within the anniversary of the death and burial of Anthony Foster who won't make it into the Litany of Saints but will be remembered for his  passionate challenge to the Church.and its sad history of clergy sexual abuse.  Anthony Foster's legacy has ensured that the Church has to undergo a shift in culture.  Perhaps it is time to replace the popular 17th Century image of St Anthony with the child Jesus as no longer appropriate. Despite an attempt to theologise the image I suggest it is one that has well passed its use by date. The icon used in this blog is from the work of Robert Lentz OFM. 

Tourism is also part of every saints working life after death. Anthony has inspired a series of Churches and Basilicas. In Melbourne the local Capuchins applied for an extension of their friary chapel back in the 1950s. By the time they finished Power Street Hawthorn was adorned with its very own Italianate Shrine to St Anthony.
I have also discovered that Anthony himself goes  on tour for special events. He last appeared in 2010 when his less than attractive remains were taken for a lap of honour around his home base Basilica. Close up pic here.  However, it seems that  the locals may have been short changed as a bit of his floating rib goes out on tour minus the rest of the bones.

Behind the saccherine hagiography lies the story of a man of faith and service, a man of his time with passion for truth, people and the needs of his era. Yeh, I still invoke him when things go missing and he has been part of my community of faith since my childhood days when his pic used to hang in my parents house over the bathroom door!!!.

So here's a call out to all those who share variants of the name Anthony! Celebrate, eat some good bread, indulge in some Italian or Portugese wine and make a public statement about  your passions

Understanding Islam:The Prophet's Covenants

A growing number of scholars now contend that the Prophet Muhammad made pledges to protect Christian, Jewish and other monotheistic communities and granted them rights of religious freedom. These Covenants contradict the restrictive and discriminatory rules found in texts of Islamic law and challenge long-held beliefs about Islam's teachings on the rights of non-Muslims under Muslim rule. This presentation delivered in Brisbane on 11th June 2019 examined the evidence for the authentication of the Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad and discusses their implication for interfaith relations, peaceful coexistence and our understanding of Islam's original teachings.

Halim Rane is an Associate Professor of Islam-West Relations at Griffith University. His research encompasses the fields of Islamic studies, sociology of religion, media and communications. In 2015 he received the prestige award of Australian University of the Year. His latest publications include the peer-reviewed paper, "Cogent Religious Instruction": A Response to the Phenomenon of Radical Islamist Terrorism in Australia, and the book, Islam and Muslim Communities in the West: Major Issues and Debates.



Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Images That Open Your Eyes

Optimism 101
Two young Mormon Elders door knocking inside St  Mary's Catholic Cathedral,Sydney

Monday, June 03, 2019

Images That Open Your Eyes

The message to Muslims from the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue on the occasion of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr 1440 H. / 2019 A.D. It was prepared by Bishop Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, whom Pope Francis recently appointed President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Images That Open Your Eyes

Iftar Meal Archbishop's House Sydney 2019
To his credit, the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney hosted an Iftar Meal at his home for faith communities on 29th May 2019.

There is a certain irony in this photo if you look closely at the portraits on the wall. You see one of those former Archbishops  of Sydney is renowned for his claim: "Considered strictly on its own terms, Islam is not a tolerant religion."
"By George, did he really say that? Yes he did!!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Mass Dress Up,_Countess_of_Salisbury

Tuesday 28 May 6.30pm

St Patrick’s Cathedral, 1 Cathedral Place, East Melbourne
Mass to be celebrated by Bishop Peter Elliot.

‘Margaret died for the Faith. She was a martyr who died courageously because she was the target of “odium fidei”, hatred of the faith, and that was the judgement of Pope Leo XIII in 1886 when he beatified Margaret Pole, the Countess of Salisbury. (niece to King Richard III)
Inspired by her Australian descendant, the Earl of Loudoun, we pray in this Mass that she will be raised to the altars of Holy Church as Saint Margaret Pole. May she pray for us as we gather to promote her just cause.’ – Bishop Peter Elliot.

Leading Opera Soprano, Rada Tochalna, will sing two arias, Ave Maria and Panis Angelicus, as sung by Andrea Bocelli at the recent Royal Wedding.

Dress is lounge suit and after 6.00 wear . Uniforms and Medals are appropriate.

Please indicate by return email to if you will be attending.

While the pews are emptying at an alarming rate Melbourne Archdiocese invites us to dress up and play "Royalty". Honestly, you have to be kidding me. I think Ave Maria and Panis Angelicus were sung for far more ecclesial events than a "recent Royal Wedding". As for "after 6" I usually wear my PJs and I don't own a lounge suit. What's wrong with my Yakka Jeans and RM Wiliams shirt? Will there be space for us mere peasants at this Liturgical event or are we shut out by our lack of uniforms? Oh, yeh, I have a miraculous medal to wear, will that get me in?

Friday, May 03, 2019

A Papal Blessing

On this day in 1952 my parents were married 
In good Catholic practice I arrived nine months later. To celebrate this anniversary I am publishing a the Papal Blessing given to Mum and Dad in 1961 providing a one way ticket to heaven for them and their family!!
You need to understand a bit of pre Vatican II Catholic Culture here. Receiving a Papal Blessing was not the average Catholic thing. You had to know someone who knew someone who knew the ropes and knew you were deserving. In most cases these items were framed and proudly displayed on the mantle-piece or near the three ducks on the wall.You definitely do not blue tack one of these onto the kitchen cupboard
However I found this among Mum's personal bits and pieces as it had never been publicly displayed.
Of course it begs all sorts of questions: As there is no"use by" date I presume it is valid for ongoing generations of the family. Does "family" include those who marry into as well as the DNA carriers? Can anyone from the maternal and paternal linage who appear on the family tree lay claim and is it retrospective?
I imagine that by now my friends of the reformed traditions are tearing their hair out. And I wouldn't be surprised if a good number of Catholic friends are looking in bewilderment having never seen one of these before.
Ah, the wonder of Catholicism!!!

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

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 in the May 13 2013  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, Janet McKenzie,   Mirium Therese WinterOdetta, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Maureen Watson, Oodgeroo  Noonuccal  Mirium Rose Ungunmerr Baumann and so many more.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Holy Week 2019

Laughing Christ no.10 Noel Counihan

This week  is different for those who share my community of faith. This is a dramatic week dominated by the colours of blood red, regal purple and dazzling white. This is the week of donkey riding, foot-washing service, breaking bread and drinking wine with the discovery of an empty tomb as the peak moment of belief and solidarity.
This is the commemoration of a moment in history that has defined values, fired the imagination and plunged us into the joys and hope, the grief and anguish of human life.
These are days of storytelling, dramatic recreations of passion, suffering and life, and music that finds the crack in everything; that’s “ how the light gets in”
Today our religious observance and language will be meaningless if we refuse to confront the powers of empire .
Our cries of "Hosanna" must echo the cries for freedom and liberation of those detained  because they seek refuge and asylum in our land.
This week will not be Holy unless we refuse to crucify the innocent.
This week will not be Holy unless we break bread and drink wine with the poor and abandoned of our community.
This week will not be Holy unless we walk the passion of the earth.
This week will be Holy if we commit to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with all that is sacred. 

The image I have selected for Holy Week 2019 is the Laughing Christ no.10  by Noel Counihan 1972

 In his series of the Laughing Christ Counihan makes a strong statement expressing what he saw as institutionalised religion’s support of the Vietnam war. Counihan’s Christ laughs in derision at the charade of Vietnam and the Church’s participation in supporting the military intervention.

Counihan’s Christ is an Australian. He sits upon the cross, arms folded across his body like a wharfie at a union meeting. He wears his crown of thorns indifferently, even jauntily. The bulky figure exudes apathy and indifference, the mouth wide with cynicism and condemnation.

Today this Christ will grimace at a Church that has become a byword for shame and disgrace. This Christ will  grimace at a clerical culture that has valued power over service, status over transparency and wealth over stewardship.

May this distorted  image of the sacred shake us from religious apathy and indifference to live this Easter renewed with a re-imagined faith with the vision of the women who first proclaimed the Resurrection.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Creation and the Cross

No one had to die for our sins.

It’s time to rethink the crucifixion, says theologian Elizabeth Johnson.

By A U.S. Catholic interview | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Care for creation often falls low on the list of priorities for the majority of Christians, with many even vocal that environmental stewardship isn’t a Christian call. There’s something deeply wrong with that, says Elizabeth A. Johnson, one of the church’s foremost theologians of the 20th and 21st centuries. The problem lies in how we think about the redemption offered by God, which she addresses in her latest book Creation and the Cross: The Mercy of God for a Planet in Peril (Orbis).

Read full text here

Creation and the Cross
Review by Colleen Mary Carpenter

Thursday, March 28, 2019

A Call to Religious Friendship

he World's Most Prominent Religious Leaders Call On Everyone To Make Friends Across Religions #MakeFriends Press inquiries Click here  for press releases (16 languages), FAQs, overview and biographies of religious leaders, research report, videos, visuals and more. Send us your questions and contact details via or Welcome to the Make Friends channel. On June 14, 2017 many of the world’s most prominent religious leaders made a joint statement encouraging people everywhere to make friends across religions. Friendship and getting to know one another are the antidotes to negativity and divisions in society, enhancing understanding and unity. We invite you to download our toolkits for friendship and study: We pray that the message and example of unity, shown by these leaders, will contribute to bridging divisions by inspiring you and your friends to start new conversations with people of different faiths. Follow the example, spread the message. Thank you for sharing in this movement.
The Elijah Interfaith Institute ( Here is more information on the initiative: Please share this video using hashtag #MakeFriends Biographies of participants can be downloaded from Brief pointers on participants: Grand Mufti Shawki Allam, (Sunni, Egypt) Amma Amritanandamayi (India) Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (Orthodox; Turkey) Ven. Chan Khong (Buddhist, Vietnam/France) Swami Chidananda (India) H.H. the Dalai Lama, India Pope Francis Dharma Master Hsin Tao (Buddhist, Taiwan) Archbishop Antje Jackelén, Church of Sweden Ven. Khandro Rinpoche, (Buddhist, India) Chief Rabbi David Lau, Israel Ayatollah Sayyid Fadhel Milani , (Shia, UK) Imam Dr. Adamou Ndman Njoya (Sunni, Cameroon) Ayatollah Sayed Hassan Al Qazwini (Shia, United States) Swami Ramdev (India) Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, UK Sri Sri Ravi Sankar (India) Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh (Sikh, UK) Rabbi Avraham Skorka, Argentina Swami Suhitananda (Ramakrishna Order, India) Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury Sheikh Hamza Yusuf (Sunni Leader, USA) The video statement was compiled from a series of in-depth standardized interviews made exclusively for this purpose. These interviews can be found below. On this Make Friends channel you will find: - Main video statement of the Religious Leaders (without subtitles and with English, Spanish, Arabic, Hindi, Chinese, Japanese, German, Italian, French, Portugese, Russian, Bangali, Punjabi, Hebrew, Persian, Dutch subtitles) - Full interviews with religious leaders (without subtitles and with English, Spanish, Arabic subtitles) - Press material and video compilation of the press conference (without and with English subtitles) - Additional interviews on friendship

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Pope Francis and the Culture Wars in Catholicism

The Papal visit to Loreto in March 2019 attracted media  attention for clips of Pope Francis  swiftly moving his hand away when people attempted to kiss his ring.

Christopher Lamb presents a  context for the demise of this and other customs  under recent papacies.  above The extended version of the clip  featured here shows the Pope using discretion as he allows some older religious women to kiss the ring but discourages most of the general visitors from the practice.

But there is a lot more than the demise of papal customs in this video. The Liturgy that the Pope presided at was celebrated "ad orientum". This is an ancient Christian tradition of facing East for the Liturgical rites.

Part of the cultural wars in Catholicism has been the creation of the "Temple Police" a sub culture of  conspiracy theories and militant activism to "protect" the Church.One of the most famous example of the Temple Police in action was the determination to  have  the works of  Aboriginal artist, Fiona Foley removed from the Cathedral of St Stephen.

Although the temple police might be excited by the Pope celebrating ad orientum they would be less than happy with the obvious number of the congregation who prayed the Our Father with the "orans" posture which means praying with the same posture as  the priest. Sharp eyes will also note those who are holding hands during this prayer which is another cautionary yellow card for participants.

"Ringate" has become the issue of the day  for the girls and boys over at Rotate Caeli and their militant colleagues.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Climate Change: A Catholic Perspective

A Statement from The Catholic Justice & Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Brisbane  on Climate Action

The Catholic Justice & Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Brisbane acknowledges the deep concern and frustration of many people with the failure of political leaders in Australia and around the world to take urgent and far-reaching action to address the climate crisis. The most recent report of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) makes it crystal clear that the world is on the brink of unprecedented environmental and social upheaval as a result of dangerous climate change. Fellow Australians in the Torres Strait and our neighbours in the Pacific are not just worried about the future; they are facing the destructive impacts of climate change now.

In his encyclical, Laudato Si, Pope Francis criticises the short-sightedness of “power politics” which delays the implementation of policies which effectively address critical environmental challenges in a timely manner. In these circumstances, it is understandable and appropriate that people of all ages in every country take action to pressure political leaders to stop evading their responsibility to do what is urgently needed to deal with environmental crises like dangerous climate change. The Australian Government must commit itself to phasing out the use of coal and other fossil fuels quickly. Fossil fuels do not have a future if we are to respond to the evidence on climate change before us now. We must transition quickly to renewable energy and we must support communities affected by the phasing out of the mining and burning of fossil fuels.

The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Brisbane respects those who take nonviolent, peaceful action to pressure decision makers to protect the earth and all who live on it from even more serious consequences of dangerous climate change.

The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Brisbane is in solidarity with our damaged and degraded earth. We are in solidarity with the peoples of the Torres Strait Islands and the Pacific. We are in solidarity with all those who take action to protect us and the earth from more serious climate change impacts including young people who, in good conscience, choose to take action today and in the future.

We will continue to find ways to enable all their voices to be heard and respected.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Militarism and the Church

You might think the threat of war is lower than ever. The opposite is true, writes Professor Joseph Camilleri.
Recent revelations of Australian arms exports to the Middle East have rightly provoked widespread consternation. But this is no sudden aberration. Nor is it a uniquely Australian phenomenon.
Ours is a world of expanding military budgets, soaring arms sales, deeply entrenched conflicts, and large-scale military interventions. The result: humanitarian disasters, record numbers of forced displacements, immense damage to the natural environment, and the use of a nuclear weapon now more likely than at any time since the worst days of the Cold War. (Read full article here)
"It should also be noted that the production, acquisition and transfer of arms represent a pernicious misallocation of human and financial resources, a profound disregard for the cries of the poor and the cries of the Earth."

We do not just need to change the Government this year, we need to change the culture of militarism.
As a practical response to this issue I call on Archbishop Mark Coleridge and the Cathedral of St Stephen, Brisbane to ban the traditional armed catafalque party from the ANZAC Day Mass on 25th April. This will be a powerful symbolic gesture of endorsement of Catholic Social Teachings.

An ANZAC Hymn for the Cathedral of St Stephen

Monday, March 11, 2019

Call to Remove Saint Status from Pope John Paul II

Is it time to remove the title "John Paul the Great" from the statues of the late Pope in the grounds of the Catholic Cathedrals of the Archdiocese of Sydney and the Diocese of Parramatta?

A call to remove the status of sainthood from John Paul II has been published in  France. A translation of the French text and the original source are included in this post

Christian Testimony

The women's rights day of 2019 will be for us, women, Catholic or not, a day of mourning and indignation. We shout our horror by discovering the documentary Religieuses abusées, the other scandal of the Church on the abuse and rape of religious women by priests.
We lack words to condemn these priests and religious predators and rapists. On the grounds that the nuns gave their lives to "serve", they themselves served, served on the bodies of these women, denying their vows, their word, their dignity - though so often invoked by the Church! - their very person to be human free and responsible for his body. In their clutches, these women have been dispossessed and reduced to a sexual function, a use that is agreed upon, then thrown or "shoved" to another for "profit" With impunityJoin the debate
We indignant ourselves with the system in which these facts are inscribed. No, they are not mere isolated abuses perpetrated by some perverts. It is clear that they are part of this "culture of abuse" denounced by Pope Francis. Yes, it is a system and a culture that denies the body of the other, that of children as well as women. This system is rooted in the male inter-self and is perpetuated by the idolatry in which the function of the priest is held.
But there is worse. There is the concept that the Catholic Church has forged and that she calls "the Woman". We denounce the poverty and indigence and the maneuver of domination that drives this vision. Under the decisive influence of Pope John Paul II, "the Woman" becomes an idea, conceived exclusively by men - single in addition. Its sole vocation, its purpose is to help man through marriage and motherhood or to serve the Church in religious chastity; a vision that is unrelated to the women of flesh, blood, spirit and soul that make up half of the human race and at least two-thirds of practicing Catholics.
We dare to say that the first abuse committed against women is this idealization, this deception which masks the numberless discrimination of women in their own Church. It is on the altar of this woman-idea that the lives of real women are sacrificed.
In the Catholic Church, "the Woman" must respond to a dual vocation "virgin or mother". She is assigned to her sexed body; its "non-use" in the virginity or its "use" in the maternity, without any place being left to the other dimensions of the human being!
We denounce the lie and hypocrisy of this ideology weighing on us. It is this that reveals the abuses on the bodies of the religious women. They have vowed chastity and their word is violated along with the body. When these rapes lead to pregnancy, they are forcibly aborted or their child is cynically abandoned, on the express order of the head of the community. The violence done to their bodies is then at its height since even motherhood, their "other" vocation, is forbidden to them.
Thus, not only do the leaders of the Catholic Church impose on all women their ideology of "the Woman", but - aided by some women acquired in the system - they themselves violate the rules they impose on all.
Our accusation is not about criminals and rapists alone. It aims at the conspiracy of silence that surrounded these monstrous actions. "We wash his dirty clothes with the family," it is said to justify keeping the media and justice at bay. But this dirty linen is simply moved, without ever rubbing laundry or soap. Would one be in an army that manages his BMC (countryside military brothel) as a lesser evil?
On March 8, with the Gospel and the attitude of Jesus himself towards women, we reaffirm the imprescriptible rights of women, who are those of every human being, everywhere and especially in the Church. .
We call for the decanonization of Pope John Paul II, protector of the abusers in the name of the "reason of Church" and principal architect of the ideological construction of "the Woman *", as well as the prohibition of teaching, propagating or to publish the "theology of the body" that he preached during his catechesis on Wednesdays.
Christine Pedotti and Anne Soupa, co-founders of the Skirt Committee.
* John Paul II was the decisive voice that led Pope Paul VI to condemn contraception (encyclical Humanae Vitae ). He then developed a theology of the Woman, always referred to the Virgin Mary, a figure of silence and obedience.