Monthly Archives: July 2011

Make yourself at home

It’s not an uncommon debate: When you move to a new country, a new culture, how much of your old culture do you have to leave behind? What can be retained? The burqa debate, questioning the wearing of certain outfits that some people in western cultures find offensive, is one of the more obvious examples of this inculturation of people into a new society. This weekend, I was in a small town and attended Mass there. The priest is from … Continue reading

Am I too insensitive?

I was watching the television news last night and there was a report on two men being sentenced to “life in prison” for the murder of a man after what was apparently a drug deal gone bad. Now, there are plenty of possible aspects of this story that I could highlight in today’s post. These guys will be back on the streets in 12-15 years. That’s a disgrace. The senseless loss of life is also a travesty. At the risk … Continue reading

The confessional seal

On opposite sides of the world, though for ostensibly the same reason, politicians are attacking the sanctity of the Catholic sacrament of confession as a possible way of lowering the incidence of abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. In Australia, an independent senator has suggested that priests should be forced to disclose the contents of confessions they hear if the penitent admits to abusing children. Nick Xenophon is really echoing the calls being made in Ireland as the Church there … Continue reading

The Soapbox’s 200th post

Over the past several months, I’ve been fairly serious in most of my posts on The Soapbox. I have found a few funny stories along the way and tried not to be too serious; people who know me offline would never accuse me of being that. So, as I was tossing up between two stories on which to write today, I noticed that this is my 200th post. I decided it should be a little bit different, and I guess … Continue reading

Dublin archbishop speaks of shame

Every day it seems there’s a new story coming out of Ireland in relation to the tragedy of sexual abuse that has struck the Catholic Church there. I wrote about this a couple of days ago, referring to the stinging criticism — justified to a large extent — from Enda Kenny, the Irish Prime Minister. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin weighed in soon after, speaking of the awful behaviour of some leaders within the Church who did in fact seem fixated on … Continue reading

Brothers in alms

We often hear about people who have chosen to write a “tell-all” book about people of varying degrees of famousness. It’s the former princess’s former butler or personal assistant or sous chef or something like that. We place a great amount of trust in their ability to cut through all the fluff and give us the real story of who the person is, what they’re like, how they like their eggs and what their sleep patterns are like. A load … Continue reading

Plenty of blame to share around

Earlier this week, the prime minister of Ireland launched what the BBC has dubbed an “unprecedented attack” on the Vatican over its handling of the sexual abuse crisis. Enda Kenny has said that the relationship between Ireland and the Vatican can never be the same. It’s understandable for the PM to come out and make some very strong statements, especially in light of some of the revelations that have been uncovered in the Cloyne report into abuse in Ireland. It … Continue reading

Friday folly

It’s bad enough when our regional newspapers run stories that demonstrate the idiocy of some people in good ol’ New Zealand. We know that we have our fair share — or more than our fair share — of fruit loops. It’s worse still when a major newspaper in Australia is the new agency that’s reporting on the “quirkiness”, to be generous, of some Kiwis. This from the Sydney Morning Herald: NAMING your new bundle of joy Lucifer has been effectively … Continue reading

What makes a Catholic school Catholic?

Recently, a group of educators gathered in Queensland to talk about Catholic education. The focus of the gathering was to address the question above: What makes a Catholic school Catholic? The topic was obviously interesting enough to grab the attention of a local news radio station, which decided it was a subject worth discussing on air. So they invited in Fr Richard Leonard, SJ, a fairly prominent Australian priest who was to speak at the meeting, to answer a few … Continue reading

When will it happen here, part two?

Earlier this month, I blogged about the ordination of a Vietnamese priest as an auxiliary bishop in Melbourne, Australia. It was an historic occasion because it marked the first episcopal ordination of an Asian-born priest in Australia in the Latin rite. I asked the question then, “When will it happen here?”, pointing to the growing influence of Asian migrants in the Church in New Zealand, including in the priesthood. Looking overseas again, there are developments taking place that could well … Continue reading