Religion

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 ...

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In December 2015, Israel’s Ministry of Education banned Dorit Rabinyan’s prize-winning novel All the Rivers from the high school curriculum on the grounds that the story of a romance between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man ‘threatens separate identity and promotes intermarriage’. Far-right Education Minister Naftali Bennett backed the decision ...

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Australia’s politicians may be too mired in power skirmishes to notice that 31 October 2017 marked the five-hundredth anniversary of Martin Luther’s trumpet blast of the Reformation: the posting of the Ninety-Five Theses, his ‘Disputation on the Power of Indulgences’, on the bulletin board of a castle church in the ...

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George Pell is the most polarising religious leader Australia has had in recent decades, certainly since Daniel Mannix – perhaps since Samuel Marsden. For most of his career he has been loathed or adored for his sternly inflexible defence of a Catholic orthodoxy predating the second Vatican Council, his robust and sometimes ...

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This book came my way at the right moment. I read it in the week that the Royal Commission enumerated the fact that, so far, 4,444 individuals have brought cases of sexual abuse against Catholic institutions in Australia – a staggering number. I know of others who are still struggling to come forward and tell their story. The archbishop of Sydney described the res ...

According to A.N. Wilson, the Bible is badly misread by those fundamentalists, whether believers or atheists, who choose to read it in a literal-minded way rather than as ...

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‘Most history is simply lost.’ By means of a regular biographical column in the Jesuit magazine Madonna published over the past twenty-five years, Father Edmund Campion has preserved pieces of Australian personal history that might otherwise have been neglected, if not forgotten altogether. In this, the author’s second collection of biographical sketche ...

Simon Caterson reviews 'Mannix' by Brenda Niall

Simon Caterson
Wednesday, 25 March 2015

With her long-awaited life of Archbishop Daniel Mannix, Brenda Niall, one of Australia’s leading biographers, has conquered a subject that for decades she regarded as compelling yet ‘intractable’. ‘As a presence (I wouldn’t claim such a remote and magisterial being as a neighbour) Daniel Mannix was part of my childhood,’ Niall recalls. She grew up in the ...

Ray Cassin reviews 'The Prince'

Ray Cassin
Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Church leaders have rarely become national public figures, let alone objects of political contention, in Australia. Since Federation, the number who could be so described can be counted on fewer than the fingers of one hand. There is Ernest Burgmann, the Anglican prelate who earned the sobriquet ‘the red bishop’ for his espousal of left-wing causes during ...

Tony Coady reviews 'Why Priests?'

Tony Coady
Thursday, 26 September 2013

Garry Wills is a distinguished American historian whose writings over the past twenty years or so on the frailties of the Catholic Church, notably in such books as Papal Sin: Structures of Deceit (2000) and Why I Am a Catholic (2002), have provided stinging critiques of the institution to which he still steadfastly belongs. His new book, < ...

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