Many people have heard of Gerald Ridsdale, defrocked Catholic priest of the diocese of Ballarat and a notorious convicted paedophile. But comparatively few people have heard of Ridsdale’s contemporary John Day. A priest in the same diocese, he too preyed upon many hundreds of children who came under his pastoral care. Ridsdale, who for a time served as Day’s cur ...
Not the least portent of change in the Catholic Church since the Argentine Jesuit Jorge Bergoglio was elected as Pope Francis earlier this year has been mounting speculation that the new pontiff will disclose all documents in the Vatican archives concerning the most controversial of his twentieth-century predecessors, Eugenio Pacelli, who reigned as Pius XII from 19 ...
Any recent ‘big picture’ church history will suffer by comparison with Diarmaid MacCulloch’s A History of Christianity (2009). That book discovers all manner of new evidence about this protean religion and opens up questions about its life in every age and across every continent. Even its subtitle, The First Three Thousand Years, wants us to appreciate that Christianity has to be understood through its origins in the Hebrew and Greek cultures of the millennium before Bethlehem. Geoffrey Blainey’s history begins more conventionally with the birth of Jesus.... (read more)
Australian universities have long taught early modern (c.1500–1750) English/British and European history, but with Alexandra Walsham’s recent appointment as the first female to occupy a Cambridge history chair, there are now (with Oxford’s Lyndal Roper) two Melbourne-trained early modernist Oxbridge professors ...... (read more)
The limits of enchantment
The Joy of Secularism: 11 Essays for How We Live Now
edited by George Levine
Princeton University Press (Footprint Books), $46.95 hb, 272 pp, 9780691149103
The war of religion currently being fought with fusil ...
I am a doctor. Once I was a doctor of individuals, now I am a ‘doctor of populations’. Population health is about actions to improve the health of communities, nations, and the world. Challenges are many: the mobility and density of populations, contemporary desires and pressures, the safety of food in complex systems, poverty, the immense power of big businesse ...
Cardinal Newman’s ‘moral factory’
Newman’s Unquiet Grave: The Reluctant Saint
by John Cornwell
Continuum (Rainbow Book Agencies), $42.95 hb, 288 pp, 9781441150844
In October 2010 Hugh Brady, president of University College Dublin ...
On the attack
The Australian Book of Atheism
edited by Warren Bonett
Scribe, $35 pb, 442 pp, 9781921640766
Once mainly associated with shrill killjoys and desiccated reductionists, atheism has recently received a j ...
Haunting the West
The Cambridge Companion to Muhammad
edited by Jonathan E. Brockopp
Cambridge University Press, $55 pb, 325 pp, 9780521713726
In A Fundamental Fear (1997), Bobby Sayyid wrote about the spectre of Islam haunting ...