Monday, August 19, 2019
I may not judge a book by its cover, but I certainly take notice of the cover. Into the Deep Seeking justice for the people of West Papuafeatures an image of a lone man walking a rough road in the highlands of West Papua. It is a telling image of the wonderful way in which the author, Peter Arndt weaves storytelling, history and theology into a compelling narrative.
This small booklet is part of the Catholic Social Justice series which began in. 1987 and continues to provide research, education and advocacy about the Church’s social justice teaching and their application within the Catholic Church in Australia.
This paper draws our attention to West Papua and in the words of Bishop Vincent Long who wrote the forward, Peter “honours us by sharing his experience over a number of years. He shows us how he has come to understand their indomitable desire for self determination and to recognize how the Gospel calls him to walk beside his friends on their journey”.
This booklet is a call to action grounded in the spirituality of the Gospel and nourished by solid political and historical documentation. Peter Arndt provides us with a fresh and challenging approach to the classic catholic social teaching of solidarity. By sharing his personal journey with the people of West Papua Peter takes us as the title suggests into a deep appreciation of solidarity in suffering, struggle and determination.
Into the Deep is a personal diary as much as an educational tool. It will be useful for groups and individuals looking for an introduction to a regional issue that calls for our attention. The notes referenced in the paper provide further reading and valuable resources. The names of West Papuans whose testimonies and stories are shared can also be found in videos and reports online. This electronic material supports Peter’s commitment to the journey of self determination for the Indigenous people of West Papua.
Schools will find this booklet a useful reference for senior study of religion, history and social study. Again, most of the references provided by Peter are accessible online for those wanting to research original sources. The booklet lends itself to a series of lesson plans which could include valuable learning outcomes in narrative, history, religion and politics.
So, back to the cover where the lone figure walking that rough road in the West Papua highlands invites us to a deep understanding of the history, the politics and the struggle for self determination in West Papua. I recommend this booklet as a pilgrim text to be read and then responded to with the words and deeds of Jesus that nourishes our faith.
Into the Deep Seeking Justice for the people of West Papua by Peter Arndt is available in print and electronic versions.
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Saturday, August 03, 2019
Here's a cheer of support from Australia. I cherish my memories of time in the Philippines in 1979-80. Thanks so much for this practical and deeply spiritual decision. My hope is that Catholics across the globe will take up the call to care for our common home and all who inhabit the lands and seas. May our witnes inspire allpeople of good will to join us as stewards of creation.
Monday, July 29, 2019
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Saturday, July 27, 2019
Friday, July 26, 2019
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Join us this year to mark Earth Overshoot Day
Monday 29th July 2019 11.45am-12.15pm
St John'a Anglican Cathedral,Ann Street Brisbane
Safeguarding the integrity of the Creation requires us to walk lightly on the earth in more ways than simply reducing our carbon footprint. Our need to do this is highlighted by the marking of what is known as Overshoot Day.
Overshoot Day is the day when humanity's demands for ecological resources (fish, forests, fresh water etc), exceeds what the Earth can renew in a year.
It is driven by our attitudes and disconnect towards the Earth, our common home. We are collectively over consuming and overexploiting our resources.
Last October the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that we have just 12 years to avoid catastrophic climate. In May, another United Nations report suggested we are heading towards the extinction of one million species.
Climate change and biodiversity loss are the tragic warning signs of our broken relationship with God's Creation, of our loss of understanding our interrelationship with all living things.
And Australians are some of the biggest contributors. If everyone behaved like us, humanity would consume the equivalent of 5.2 earths a year.
As Christians, we want to mark this event, to raise it in the public consciousness and create a call for transformation. Ultimately, as both Pope Francis and Rowan Williams have said, we need an 'ecological conversion.'
To mark Overshoot Day, one of the Cathedral’s bells will toll from 11.48am, for 12 minutes until midday, Monday 29 July. At Noon we will hold a short service.
Other actions you might like to consider:
Pray - for people to see the ecological crises in our midst and for 'ecological conversion'.
Tell - others in the community why Overshoot Day is important.
Act - as Christians we need to examine and commit to how we Live the Change that we proclaim in the world.
In recent years I have adopted a patron and spiritual mentor whose feastday falls on July 24. In keeping with my heightened sense of the "feminine", my newly adopted patron is a woman saint. Christina the Astonishing, Virgin (1150 - 1224) (when read aloud the word "comma" should be pronounced as she was not just an astonishing virgin, but astonishing in other ways!!)
Christina's bio reads like the script from a Dan Brown and Steven Spielberg collaboration. This is definitely a PG rated text. It is best read, seated with all lights on and the children safely in bed.
This image depicts the first recording of Christina's public appearances when she was believed to have died, but managed to soar from her coffin during her funeral Mass. Not surprisingly, such behaviour saw a quick exodus from the Church with only the dutiful priest and her distressed sister left to witness this amazing resurrection. And yes, there was more: while presumed to be dead, she had in fact been "on tour" to Hell, Purgatory and Heaven. Upon this return visit she decide to dedicate her life to a sort of public pyschodrama performance where she acted out the downside of the nasty behaviour she saw around her.
For the next forty years Christina managed to cause alarm and anxiety in her local community by performing Olympian spiritual exercises which included extreme prayer balanced on poles. She had no dress sense, ignored any protocols about workplace health and safety and refused to be tamed by doctors priests or any other men of the town.
Yet, the records of the time also note that her advice was sought by both civic and religious leaders of her day.She was even summoned to the death bed of a local Count to hear his confession.
Like other popular residents of the celestial realm Christina had been provided with w series of patronages to keep her busy. It may not surprise readers that the list includes:
- against insanity
- against madness
- against mental disorders
- against mental handicaps
- against mental illness
- mental health caregivers
- mental health professionals
- mentally ill people
So, I invite you to join me on her feast day as we celebrate Christina, a parable of the reign of God. The eccentric grace that drove her to extremes is the spirit in which I now invoke her as patron of "Holy Irritants".
In this age, the mere example of nonconformity, the mere refusal to bend the knee to custom, is itself a service. Precisely because the tyranny of opinion is such as to make eccentricity a reproach, it is desirable, in order to break through that tyranny, that people should be eccentric. Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage which it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric, marks the chief danger of the time. On Liberty John Stuart Mill
Monday, July 01, 2019
Date: Sunday 7th July 12.00pm