Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category


The two sides of Mother Mary

18 December 2009
Sydney Morning Herald
December 18, 2009

Angelic in pose, Mary MacKillop was also a battle-hardened streetfighter of the finest political traditions, giving as good as the church hierarchy threw at her, reports Linda Morris.

The black and white portrait of Mary Mac-Killop returns the gaze of the camera, penetrating eyes framed by full nun’s habit.

Encapsulated in that one frame, hung in the MacKillop chapel in North Sydney and printed on prayer cards distributed in their hundreds of thousands to her devoted public, are all the characteristics of a future saint: humbleness, patience, virtue and compassion.

Yet there is another image of Mary MacKillop emerging on the eve of the Vatican’s momentous decision as early as tomorrow to decree a second miracle through her intercession. This is the last step before canonisation, which should happen next year, making MacKillop Australia’s first saint.

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Are we really the secular nation we think we are

24 November 2009

Everyone has the human right to freedom of religion and belief. But often religion and belief can be used as grounds for discrimination and as weapons of division and hate. As a nation, we need to make sure that this does not happen.

Over the next three weeks there are two very different religious conferences being held in Australia. One is the Parliament of the World’s Religions conference in Melbourne, with the theme, ‘Making a world of difference: Hearing each other, Healing the Earth’. The other, this weekend, is the National Conference for all Concerned Christians in Sydney, themed ‘Australia’s Future and Global Jihad’.

Australia is a nation of many religions and beliefs. Some people say we are a Christian nation. More often than not, we are described as a secular nation. But which is true? And why, if at all, does it matter? Read more

The Punch


Pope opens door for Anglican defectors

22 October 2009

Source: ABC News

Pope Benedict has approved a “canonical structure” to ease the way for Anglicans, including married priests, to join the Catholic Church, the Vatican announced.

The Apostolic Constitution responds to “numerous requests to the Holy See from groups of Anglican clergy and faithful in various parts of the world who want to enter into full and visible communion” with the Catholic Church, Cardinal William Joseph Levada said.

The move follows years of discontent among many Anglicans opposed to the ordination of women and gay marriage.

Several conservative Anglican priests have defected to Catholicism since the ordination of women was adopted from 1984 in various branches of the Anglican Communion and by the Church of England as a whole in 1992.

Leading the charge has been an Australia-based group, the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), whose leader Bishop John Hepworth made a formal request to the Pope in 2007 for all of its members to be allowed into the Catholic fold.

The TAC, which split from the Anglican Communion in 1991, claims a membership of 400,000.

The Anglican Communion split from Catholicism in the 16th century when Pope Clement VII refused to grant King Henry VIII a divorce from Catherine d’Aragon.

Roman Catholic clergy, priests and bishops are all male, which the church believes obeys the directives of Jesus Christ, whose 12 apostles were all men.

The Church of England, led by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, is the mother church of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which has about 77 million followers.

The Catholic Church counts some 1.1 billion faithful.

The overture to traditionalist Anglicans comes as the Pope has stepped up outreach to another traditionalist group known as the Lefebvrists, who broke away in 1988 over the modernising reforms of the 1960s.

Early this year Benedict sparked controversy by lifting the excommunication of four Lefebvrist bishops, including Holocaust denier Richard Williamson.



Rabbis on wheels

17 September 2009

A rather innovative way of bringing religious faith to the community.


Fitting prayer into our lives

15 September 2009

Prayer doesn’t always take effort. We can take that moment with God and feel his presence through the busyness of our day. But sometimes we need that sense of space. Maybe it’s time a lone in a room. Lit candles and dimmed lights, or even just a view across the beach and ocean or through the mountains. Whatever finds our inner peace.

For Muslims (who need to pray five times a day) there is a need to integrate praying during the day with the elements of society and practicalities of work. Maybe the perspective of a young Muslim below exemplify how to build a sense of prayer, where perhaps there wouldn’t normally be one…

“I converted two years ago. I feel it in my heart every morning when I get up for the first prayer at dawn. The first time you pray you feel like an idiot, your head’s on the ground. But now I go down and everything in the world stops.

I remember in the early days Amanda’s brother would say, “Why are you smiling?”, and I would say, “I just prayed.”

I’ve been working in a beer restaurant in Sydney because they brought me in on a working visa. I have to handle pork (which is forbidden in Islam), which I do using plastic gloves. We also serve alcohol. The way I look at it is, this is a really hard test and I am winning because I haven’t drunk alcohol or eaten pork.

Sometimes I miss the social aspect (of drinking), the release of coming home late, watching TV and having a beer to relax. But I don’t miss the consequences.

At work I have to pray in a small vestibule next to the goods lift – the only other choices were the cold storeroom, where there is heaps of pork, or the wine storeroom.

I got a few looks in the beginning, questions about how long my prayers were going to take. I said, “Five minutes, seven if I pray slowly”. Then I asked them how long their smoke breaks were. They said, “Oh, yeah”. So now I go “pray-o!” instead of “smoko”.

Liam Bruun
Sydney Morning Herald Weekend Edition
28-29 April 07