This blog offers an Australian perspective on faith, religion and spirituality. It invites you to join the joys and hope, the grief and anguish of a middle aged Aussie Catholic.
The material reflects my interest in global as well as local issues.My perspective is probably more quirky than orthodox.
Not only has she exposed the tip of the iceberg of clergy abuse of vulnerable women; Jennifer has also exposed the Achilles heel of the Catholic priesthood. Clericalism and male entitlement are the false idols of the Church which continue to attract a new generation of inappropriate clergy both home born and imported.
If we are to be honest about the Church we love and the power it has for compassion, hope, and dignity of all life then we need to confront the dark truth that roams our sanctuaries like a wolf in sheep's clothing.
Father Tom Knowles. Photo: Newcastle Herald
The beautiful historic Church of St Francis in Melbourne is now tainted by the memory of the abusive behaviour of Tom Knowles. His skill as a renowned liturgical leader is meaningless in the light of his history of neglect of the very vows he proclaimed in public. His removal from priesthood testifies to a culture that needs to be named and confronted. His congregation of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers will need to hold a public ritual of lament before I return to pray and worship in one of my favourite churches.
Is it ironic or a moment of grace that this news is breaking as we "Orange the World" to end violence against women and girls? It would have been a welcome gesture if clergy adopted orange as the colour of their vestments during this campaign!!
In the Catholic tradition November is a month to remember those who have died. In many Churches there is a custom of writing the names of family, friends and significant people in a book of remembrance.
Today I visited the Cathedral of St Stephen to add two names to their remembrance book. These are significant names that deserve mention in every parish listing of those who are deceased and worthy of our prayers.
Hamid Khazaei died as a result of neglect and abuse by detention centre staff on Manus Island. His death is another indication of the cruelty and inhumanity of Government policies and treatment of asylum seekers and refugees,
Tyrone Unsworth took his own life at 13 as a result of homophobic bullying by his peers. The tragic death of a young Indigenous boy in these circumstances cries out for a community of welcome, inclusion and safety.
Australians faced a challenging question in the 2016 Census this year. The optional religion question always creates great party conversation and passionate declarations from religious bodies.
Like many of my friends and associate I ticked the Catholic box not quite realising how it would come back to haunt me within months. You see ticking the Catholic box aligns us with a political world view that pits us agaainst the powers of "Empire" endorsed by major parties who we vote for at elections in Australia.
In the calendar of this Jubilee Year of Mercy Pope Francis has named Sunday 6th November, 2016 as the day of Jubilee for Prisoners.
The Australian Catholic Bishops have written to prisoners informing them of this special day of blessings for them and reminding them that throughout our lives we all experience the ‘ups and downs’ of life. We can all stumble and fall but with help we can all commence again.
We would like you to be aware of this special occasion within the Catholic church, but as is the spirit of Pope Francis, this day is one of recognition of all those who are in prison.
We invite all parishioners to join in prayer for all prisoners that they come to know their God’s love, mercy and forgiveness.
May all of us remember the victims of crime and also those victims who became offenders.
We remember also all those who are entrusted with the care of those who are incarcerated, especially our prison Chaplains.
"We are still a long way from the time when our conscience can be certain of having done everything possible to prevent crime and to control it effectively so that it no longer does harm and, at the same time, to offer to those who commit crimes a way of redeeming themselves and making a positive return to society. If all those in some way involved in the problem tried to . . . develop this line of thought, perhaps humanity as a whole could take a great step forward in creating a more serene and peaceful society."
Just a reminder that the market opens 5pm this Thursday the 27th of October for a preview at 5pm to 7pm. The market continues 28/10 to 31/10 open 9:30am to 4:30pm. If you can't make it please let others know who may be interested.
For the preview on Thursday evening the Cathedral car park will be open for guests from 4:30pm - entry Charlotte Street. Please park on the B2 level.
Featuring Fair Trade products from around the world.
* Unique and traditional handmade wares
* Genuine fair trade products
* Eco friendly products
Be an ethical consumer and do your Christmas shopping here at the market. Discover beautiful artisan products that are not readily available in the shops.
October is Fair Trade month. Not only can you shop but also become informed. Artisan's work from around the world - over 20 countries - will be on display and for sale.
In a stark prognosis for contemporary Catholicism, a leader of the conservative wing of the U.S. hierarchy has said that "a smaller, lighter church" of fewer but holier believers is preferable to one that promotes inclusion at the expense of traditional orthodoxy.
In a speech delivered Wednesday at the University of Notre Dame, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput also suggested that many prominent Catholics are so weak in their faith that they ought to leave the church. (Read full text here)
This is the man responsible for the unholy treatment of Bishop Bill Morris of Toowoomba. Will any of the Australian Catholic Bishops challenge this myopic vision of Catholicism?
I disagree with most of the public statements of Archbishop Chaput but I would never suggest he leave our community. What a bloody disgusting pompous statement about our diversity and wealth of experience!!
Being Catholic is not comfortable nor easy. It is a community founded on the words and deeds of Jesus. it's founding heroes were the early martyrs who made a sacrament of civil disobedience. It promotes princplles of non-violence and non compliance with the empire. It stands against the values of neo-liberalims embraced by mainstream political parties.It calls us into social action on behalf of justice as well as a deep spiriituality which is close to the practice of #Dadirri
Archbishop Chaput does not speak for me or the Cathoics who inspire my faith and politics.
An ecumenical prayer service for Anti Poverty Week will be held on Thusrday 20 October 6.00pm at the Cathedral of St Stephen in Brisbane. The service has been organised by: Wesley Mission Queensland to recognize the hardship within our community.
‘Within an unjust economic system marked by significant structural inequities, the situation of the marginalised is daily becoming worse. Today, in many parts of the world, people are starving, while in other places there is opulence.’
Pope John Paul II, World Food Day, 16 October 2003
In preparation for the service you might like to use the following resources:
Meeting a few the official representatives of the forum and supporters was one of the highlights of my day The work of the Forum was also acknowledged by Senator Claire Moore who stopped by the stall for a photo with the team.
However the image of the stall that I will treasure happened while I was setting up for another picture with supporters. As I aimed my lens a group of young boys "photobombed" my shoot with energy, pazzaz and that cheeky initaive that only younge people can bring to community. I love this image. The people who staffed and visited the stall were like me part of the "Ageing Society" identified by the Australian Cathoic Bishps in this year's Social Justie Statement These young men who stand in front of the banner prmooting dialogue and understanding may not have realised or even cared what the stall stood for. However, a couple have aready tagged themselves and we have planted a seed for the future as we welcome the diversity of religious faith and commitment. A Picture is worth a thousand words and this image will nuture hope for the future. More About The Forum In the Queensland Forum for Jews, Christians and Muslims ("The Forum") representatives of QCT meet with representatives of the Jewish Board of Deputies and the Islamic Council of Queensland. This forum was set up approximately six years ago, while a Jewish-Christian dialogue had been taking place for longer.
Taking inspiration from the Australian National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims, and Jews, the Forum has given itself a set of purposes and objectives which clearly position it as a bridge-building and peace-making body of the Abrahamic Faiths in Queensland.
One project of the Forum was to compile three short brochures, "On Entering a Church" ,"On Entering a Synagogue" , "On Entering a Mosque" . These contain explanations of religious practices in places of prayer/worship in the three traditions. They describe in a simple manner what a visitor should do in order to feel comfortable and not to offend.
Each month members of the Forum - there are up to five from each faith - meet to discuss topics of interest and joint activities. During the meal that follows, to which all contribute, conversation is often light-hearted.