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Paul Collins

Paul Collins is an historian, broadcaster and writer. A Catholic priest for thirty-three years, he resigned from the active ministry in 2001 following a dispute with the Vatican over his book Papal Power (1997). He is the author of fifteen books. The most recent is Absolute Power:  How the pope became the most influential man in the world (2018). A former head of the religion and ethics department in the ABC, he is well known as a commentator on Catholicism and the papacy and also has a strong interest in ethics, environmental and population issues.

Paul Collins reviews 'A Twentieth-Century Crusade: The Vatican’s battle to remake Christian Europe' by Giuliana Chamedes

March 2020, no. 419 21 February 2020
The papacy’s role in international affairs is often underestimated. A recent example is Pope Francis’s participation in the 2015 negotiations leading to a détente between Cuba and the United States. It helped, of course, that Barack Obama was president and that Raúl Castro had replaced his brother Fidel in Havana; but it was Francis, building on the work of his predecessors who had maintaine ... (read more)

Paul Collins reviews 'New Jerusalem' by Paul Ham

April 2019, no. 410 25 March 2019
The link between fundamentalist religion, violence, and madness is well established. The conviction of absolute truth becomes especially toxic when believers are convinced that the end of the world is nigh. This is exacerbated in times of major socio-economic change and political instability, such as during the Protestant Reformation. Paul Ham’s New Jerusalem vividly illustrates this. It tells ... (read more)

Paul Collins reviews 'The Fountain of Public Prosperity: Evangelical Christians in Australian History 1740–1914' by Stuart Piggin and Robert D. Linder

October 2018, no. 405 26 September 2018
Mythology, Manning Clark regularly assured us, was our ‘great comforter’ because it explained creation, evil, and our place in the world. According to Clark, three ‘mythologies’ were dominant in the formation of non-Indigenous Australia: Protestantism, Catholicism, and the Enlightenment. ... (read more)

ABR RAFT Fellowship: 'God and Caesar in Australia' by Paul Collins

March 2018, no. 399 23 February 2018
Like it or lump it, Catholicism is enormously influential in Australia. This is true even just in terms of raw statistics. The Catholic Church is the largest religious body in the country, with 22.6% of the population self-reporting as Catholic in the 2016 Census. It is also Australia’s largest non-government employer, with around 230,000 people working for the church (ACCIR, 2017). This figure ... (read more)