Monthly Archives: November 2011

Out with the old, in with the new

Because New Zealand was quick off the mark in introducing the new translation of the Roman Missal last Advent — the people’s parts, at least — this Advent passed with little fanfare in terms of incorporating new words into the Mass. Here in Australia, or in Canberra at least, there has been an introduction of the new translation over the past three months or so, so it wasn’t a drastic change in one foul swoop. It seems in other parts … Continue reading

Election time

Within 48 hours, New Zealanders will have a new Government. Well, it might be the same Government we’ve had for the past three years, more or less, but there will be some changes in the composition of the new Parliament. Having moved to Australia three months ago, I’m not as in tune with the political scene in New Zealand as I have been for the past two elections, when I was following the build-up very closely because I was reporting … Continue reading

Two views on religious congregations

In the past couple of months, I’ve made a number of trips along the Hume Highway from Canberra to Sydney and back. It’s a pretty easy three-hour drive, and the cost of flying in and out of Canberra is so high that it just makes sense to drive rather than fly. At one end of that stretch of road, one of the major daily newspapers has just run a story on the optimism around an increase in interest in religious … Continue reading

Turning off even the lapsed

Since the launch of The Soapbox almost 12 months ago, one of the most often visited topics is the new English translation of the Mass, which will become the official text for most of the English-speaking world this coming weekend, if it wasn’t already. I’ve consistently espoused my support for the translation, responding to some of the common criticisms of it. I’ve now stumbled across an interesting aspect of this debate. My flatmate is a lapsed Catholic — apparently the … Continue reading

We think we’ve got it bad

I’ve blogged before about how hard it can be to be a Christian in a country like New Zealand and, to a lesser extent, in Australia. Society has become increasingly hostile to Christianity over the past 40 or 50 years. But I’ve also commented about how what we consider “hard” pales in comparison with the trials and tribulations and real dangers that some of our Christian brothers and sisters face in some parts of the world — Africa, the Middle … Continue reading

Um… what took so long?

It seems it’s a week of strange stories on The Soapbox. Today’s “gem” — well, it was actually reported earlier in the week but hadn’t made the cut — comes from the Netherlands, the homeland of the incomparable Fr Roderick Vonhogen. Well, it’s also the homeland of another priest who is now well known, but not in the positive way Fr Roderick is known. Fr Jan Peijnenburg has received some advice from Den Bosch diocese: Leave your girlfriend or leave … Continue reading

We need more stories like this

If you’re on the lookout for a story on the discernment into religious life for three young British women, I’m sure you’d instinctively know that Vanity Fair is the place to go to find such an article. What? You don’t? It is hard to believe, but the internationally respected publication has just run a story on a young woman who entered a convent, only to find that particular order’s lifestyle wasn’t for her. It also references a BBC documentary that … Continue reading

More vigorous head-shaking

Last night, I was expressing my dismay at the Church’s involvement in selling pornographic material in Germany. Today, I came across another story that had me wondering what the world was coming to, but at least this time the Church wasn’t directly responsible for what is going on. Many of you will have heard of Pamela Anderson, who rose to fame in the TV series Baywatch as one of the buxom lifeguards on the show. She became even more famous … Continue reading

Now THIS beggars belief

After working in Catholic circles for almost seven years now, it’s hard for me to be shocked by stories that emerge about the shortcomings of the members of the Body of Christ. There are the obvious crimes that I’ve written about before, and then there’s the stories like the recent one about a woman who was stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Catholic organisation in New Zealand. There are priests who run off with women (and sometimes men). … Continue reading

Back in the West

Hello friends, Sorry about the lack of any new posts for the best part of three weeks. I’ve been on holiday in Asia and Internet access (for me, at least) was pretty intermittent. I’ve heard too many data roaming horror stories to take that risk, so I was at the mercy of the free Wi-Fi police. I’ve accumulated a number of ideas for posts on The Catholic Soapbox, which will begin tomorrow. Mind a bit foggy after all the travel … Continue reading