Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Vatican and the US women religious

One of the biggest Catholic stories of the year has been unfolding over the past week and because of work commitments and a bout of illness I haven’t yet been able to blog about it. The story is, as the headline above suggests, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s recent rapping over the knuckles of some of the female religious orders in the United States. Now, as I said on The View from Down Here earlier this week, … Continue reading

Christianity in the public domain

People of faith around the world, and seemingly Christians more than anyone else, are fighting a number of important battles that are seen to be of great importance. One that is often raging is the battle with secular forces over the place of Christian thought and Christian prayer in society today. I’ve blogged before about how prayers in public places are often challenged by atheists/humanists/”rationalists”/secularists and are more often than not ordered to be removed. The foundational principles of Christianity … Continue reading

God and golf — again

A couple of weeks ago I posted about Bubba Watson, the man who won this year’s Masters golf tournament. Winning on Easter Sunday was a big deal for a devout Christian man like Bubba. My post back then was entitled “God and golf”. I’ve found reason to combine those two loves of mine again, albeit in a more lighthearted fashion this time. In fact, this is a joke my mum sent me, and it revolves around a golf-loving priest — … Continue reading

This isn’t a joke — apparently

When I was chatting with my friends Brendan and Tim Malone last week on our podcast The View from Down Here, one of the Christchurch boys made a passing reference to a cardboard cathedral. It rang a vague bell, but I wasn’t entirely sure what they were on about. Well, now I do know. The headline reads “New Zealand: plans for a cardboard cathedral” Now, if/when you read that headline, wouldn’t you think it was some sort of joke? Well, … Continue reading

Two very important questions

I’ve often heard it said that in some countries, the two largest religious groups are Catholics and former Catholics. It is a fact that there are plenty of Catholics who have either actively left the Church — for another Christian or non-Christian faith — or drifted away from the Church and are, at best, cultural Catholics. Now, I don’t begrudge anyone their freedom to leave any faith. How could I? But it is a phenomenon that the Catholic Church has … Continue reading

Is the priesthood a popularity contest?

I think it’s safe to say that everyone wants to be popular. It seems to be something that develops quite early. During primary school, kids are already mindful of the stigma and loneliness that comes with being unpopular, so there is a desire to avoid such a fate. It continues on through one’s life for many, many years, and it’s likely that some people never grow out of it. People in positions of power and influence, though, are often people … Continue reading

More atheist-believer back and forth

I wrote last week about the highly anticipated and subsequently much maligned debate between Richard Dawkins and Cardinal George Pell. I was one of those who was decidedly unimpressed by both men and their inability to do much to advance the discussion. Well, largely because they’re interesting and also because I’m pushed for time today, I thought I’d share a couple of opinion pieces that have generated a lot of dicsussion on the issue of belief versus non-belief/atheism. Atheism and … Continue reading

Seven years have flown by

It’s a time of great excitement at the Vatican as Pope Benedict marks a double celebration with his 85th birthday followed quickly by the seventh anniversary of his installation as Pope. A busy few days, without doubt. But it seems every year around this time, as Benedict continues his rise up the list of the oldest popes ever, it starts chins wagging as people ask a couple of questions. Is Pope Benedict still up to the job? Might Pope Benedict … Continue reading

Catholic politicians — and criticism of them

I’ve posted on The Soapbox before about the criticisms that many conservative/orthodox Catholics have of Catholic politicians who cherry-pick parts of Church teaching and somehow justify their views based on their own interpretation of what is taught. Some call them cafeteria Catholics and they’re often criticised for supporting abortion and contraceptive rights, as well as same-sex marriage, IVF and cloning funding, to name but a few. Well, it appears the shoe is on the other foot at the moment with … Continue reading

A ratings hit, but didn’t impress me

On Monday night, one of the worlds most well-known atheists/humanists/rationalists/non-theists Richard Dawkins, who is in Australia at the moment, was a special guest on the ABC show Q&A. It’s pretty much what the name suggests — a question-and-answer show. There’s often a group of four or five people who sit on a panel and work their way through a number of topics. On Monday, though, there was only one person sitting around the desk with host Tony Jones and Dawkins. … Continue reading