Monday, August 15, 2016

The Brand New testament

God is real and is a mean bastard who never gets off his computer. You already know about his son, now let’s hear about his daughter. This new film from Belgian director Jaco van Dormael (Toto the Hero, Mr Nobody) won’t exactly win favour with the ultra-faithful, but for those who like their Bible stories with a thick coat of satire, The Brand New Testament is a peppy, original and (importantly) very sweet story
Read Guardian review here

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Catholic Response to The Nauru Files

The Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA) has today called on the Federal government to establish a Royal Commission following allegations of countless cases of abuse, sexual assault and self-harm of people seeking asylum on Nauru.

The leaked ‘Nauru Files’ by the Guardian Australia, details more than 2000 incidents involving people placed on Nauru by the Australian government from May 2013 to October 2015. More than half of these cases involved children.
CAPSA firmly believes that mandatory, arbitrary and indefinite detention of people seeking asylum is unjustifiable, unnecessary, and a breach of Australia’s responsibility to respect the human dignity and lives of those in its care.
Read full statement here
Jesuit Social Services has joined the calls to immediately bring people seeking on Nauru to Australia in light of the leaked ‘Nauru files’ which allege countless cases of abuse, sexual assault and self-harm of people in Australia’s care.
“Jesuit Social Services believes that the mandatory and indefinite detention of people seeking asylum in Australia, and who are often fleeing trauma and persecution in their home countries, is inhumane and directly in breach of our responsibility to respect the human dignity of those in our care,” says Jesuit Social Services CEO Julie Edwards.
Read full statement here
The current policy has about it a cruelty that does no honour to our nation. How can this be when Australians are so generous in so many situations where human beings are in strife? Think of the way the Vietnamese boat people were welcomed in the 1970s and 80s. The question becomes more pointed when we think of the politicians who are making and implementing the decisions. They are not cruel people. Yet they have made decisions and are implementing policies which are cruel. How can this be so?
Island dwellers like Australians often have an acute sense of the “other” or the “outsider” – and that is how asylum seekers are being portrayed. They are the dangerous “other” or “outsider” to be feared and resisted because they are supposedly violating our borders.
Read full statement here
The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO) has published a kit to mark Migrant and Refugee Week and help us ponder how we can help and advocate for the rights of migrants and refugees.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

A Church Apology to LGBTIQ People

‘I believe that the Church ... should apologise to the person who is gay.’ — Pope Francis, 2016. 

Perhaps for the first time in Australia, we have a Catholic Church respond to these words, where we invite you to community prayer in recognition of our failure to keep LGBTIQ people safe from discrimination and hurt. And to pledge that we do better from here on. 

Please join us — gay and straight together.

Friday 12 August at 8PM

(Corner of Bedford and Station Streets)

We acknowledge the Cadigal people of the Eora nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which St Joseph’s stands. St Joseph’s aims to Provide a safe place for all people to pray regardless of age, race, creed, gender, cultural background or sexual orientation.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Music to Open Your Ears

This is music to open your ears.This is music that speaks to the heart. This is music that comes from a heart that knows the mystery of love. This is music that crosses borders of division and breaks through fear of difference.This is sacred music. #gurrumul

Friday, July 15, 2016

Archbishop Chaput Puts Sex in the Headlines

Catholics in Philadelphia who are divorced and civilly remarried will be welcome to accept Holy Communion – as long as they abstain from sex and live out their relationships like “brother and sister”.

We read of Archbishop Chaput
Whose mouth was filled with his foot
Whenever he spoke
It made people choke
So they called him a silly old chook
So Chaput is pronounced as "shap poo"
So rhyming with foot will not do
But his words are absurd
Which of course rhyme with turd
And that's why this Limerick just grew!!!!!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

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 boy 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 buyer although these days the neighbours might raise their eyebrows at an image of a grown man swooning with a near naked boy. 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 is 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.

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