Friday, 10 October 2014

That Synod on the Family

I watched this first on Fr Z's Blog, and I'm reposting here - it's pretty full-on, so don't watch it if you're easily offended!

If this is too much, you might like to try Bruvver Eccles' alternative solution.
And if this is not your cup of tea either (gosh, you're hard to please), try Dr Gregory Popcak's new book, When Divorce is Not an Option, published by Sophia Institute Press.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Fr Benedict Groeschel - RIP

I was delighted to hear of the death of Fr Benedict Groeschel CFR on 3 October, the vigil of the Transitus of St Francis (the patron saint of this wise old Franciscan).

Why delighted? Two reasons: I knew he'd been in pain for a long time since his car accident, and now I can pray to him, as well as for him. This to me looks like a win-win situation. Plus, what an amazing time to go to God - what a sign of God's favour and a confirmation of Fr Benedict's mission in reforming his corner of the Franciscan family. (PS I was also thrilled at the death of St John Paul II, for all the same reasons).

I have been reading Groeschel's work for years now, starting with The Courage to be Chaste, and through Arise from Darkness and A Still Small Voice. I've listened to him on audio recordings, and watched him on YouTube.

I also met him once, when he came to give a talk at Tyburn, during which he uttered the unforgettable line, informed by decades of psychological practice and solid common sense:

"Most people are depressed because they live depressing lives".

(But you have to imagine this with a Bronx accent.) He was kind enough to give me a blessing afterwards, which I think did me good.

So here, by way of a treat, is the Fr Benedict Groeschel that none of us remember, just so you will be sure to recognise him in Heaven when you meet him there:

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Yes, That's Right

This is why I wrote that piece in QED today.

It's to do with being a Catholic.

When it began to emerge that numerous priests and even some bishops within the Catholic Church had been sexually abusing children, impregnating women and then disappearing, and raping young men, there was a huge outcry in this country. This is the 100% correct response to this kind of outrage.

When Cardinal Pell was accused, he immediately stepped down from office, pending an investigation. There weren't enough ways we - ordinary Catholics - could apologise to those who had been injured and scandalised.

We tried, and tried and tried, including me, to make sense of what had happened, and to learn from it, and to learn how to make sure it never happened again.

So now there's policies, and police checks, and standards, and precautions of all kinds to ensure that everyone who has contact with anyone in an official position in the Catholic Church is safe from this kind of predation.

These powers were put in place by individual dioceses, by the State, and also by the Vatican, which in 2009 gave local bishops the power to laicise clergy for certain proven offences, to save time.

What I am asking in QED is that Islam in Australia shows itself willing to go through the same purification, to disassociate itself from terrorism, IS and other forms of destructive jihad.

The Catholic Church has centralised authority which can make rules about this kind of stuff, but Islam is actually far freer in its structure. There is very little stopping local Muslim congregations from making these types of decisions themselves.

And yet they continue to avoid this.

The Catholic Church did the same thing for many years - moved priests, hid the truth, demonised complainants, and covered up for each other. That's because those in power were complicit in the wrongdoing, often quite personally.

I would suggest that the same is taking place with Islam. There is far more tacit and open support for IS, terrorism of all kinds, and militant jihad in Australia, than anyone is admitting.

This is the only reasonable explanation for the continued silence and occasionally lame response from Islamic senior figures in Australia.

Monday, 22 September 2014

On The Road Again

I will be giving a couple of talks in the Eastern States in the first week of October.

Tuesday 7 October: 9am, keynote address (one of several! I can share!),  Australian College of Mental Health Nurses 40th International Conference, Melbourne

Thursday 9 October: 'Christianity and Feminism', Christopher Dawson Centre for Cultural Studies, Hobart

I will be leaving Perth on Monday 6th, and won't be back till Friday evening. During this time, I won't be checking my gmail account, so don't be offended if I don't get back to you till the weekend (I don't do the whole device thing).

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Happy Birthday to Me!

It's that time of year again, so I'd invite you to be upstanding and join Stevie Wonder in a singalong with me this Sunday.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Good News - Now Brought From Aix To Ghent

If you weren't able to make it to the presentation last night (but thank you to the nearly 100 people who did make it; how nice to meet you!), you can listen to it below:

'Catholic Spirituality and Mental Health', Dawson Society, Perth, 2 September 2014

(I don't remember the chamber orchestra being there at the beginning, that's all ...)

Thank you very much to Tom, Elizabeth, Daniel and all other organisers of the Dawson Society for inviting me to speak - it was a pleasure.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Tochter aus Elysium

Last night we went to see/hear Beethoven's 8th and 9th Symphonies performed by the WA Symphony Orchestra (WASO) and the WASO Choir, at the Perth Concert Hall. (Actually, we went to hear the 9th, but were prepared to take the job lot ...)

We had dinner beforehand at a Nice Restaurant, where the ManChild picked the olives out of the garlic bread, but otherwise behaved perfectly.

The music was magnificent. In fact, it was DAMN fine. Double in-fact: the 9th got a standing ovation.

I've only once been at the Concert Hall in the past when there was a standing ovation, and that was the first time I ever heard the 9th performed live, with the Wiener Singverein, in around 1990. My friend Helen and I had tickets from someone/somewhere, and we sat in the boxes, almost on top of the double basses. So of course, when that theme was introduced in the fourth movement, we not only heard it, but felt it vibrating up through the floor.

The performance was later panned by the music critic of the West Australian newspaper, which triggered a very cranky response from people asking whether the music critic had even been there that night.

I don't think that will happen this time, though.