Analysis and Comment

Christmas tree Comments 0

Thursday, December 12th, 2019

At Mass, on the first day of Advent, a friend gave me some rosary beads. I had three sets of rosary beads at home, but they are made of plastic.  These are different, made of wood, warm to the touch. Instantly, they connected with my hand in a new way and spoke of two lives. Read more

With Tagle to Rome, Francis signals more changes to come in Vatican posts Comments 0

Thursday, December 12th, 2019

As Francis did last month when he appointed a fellow Jesuit, Fr. Juan Guerrero Alves, to take charge at the Secretariat for the Economy, the pope is filling a high-level Vatican post with a known friend and supporter of his reform agenda. And some observers wonder if this is the start of a trend that Read more

A.I. could bring a sea change in how people experience religious faith Comments 0

Thursday, December 12th, 2019

The Michigan-based company Covenant Eyes markets itself to Christians who want to stop viewing pornography. Its software takes screenshots of a user’s screen activity, uses A.I. to scan it for pornographic imagery, and then sends regular reports to the user and a designated “ally” who has agreed to hold him accountable. The company’s name comes Read more

Royal Commission or royal mess? Comments 0

Thursday, December 12th, 2019

This should have been a heroic first year for the $80 million inquiry. It wasn’t, unfortunately, and there were rather a few too many occasions when it seemed as if – adapting the words of the 18th century English essayist Horace Walpole – everything has been at sea except the fleet. While striving to get Read more

The Two Popes: a mixed bag theologically and politically, with bravura performances Comments 0

Monday, December 9th, 2019
The Two Popes

Netflix’s The Two Popes may be best described, borrowing a turn of phrase from Fredric Jameson, as “nostalgia for the present”. Biopic and historical dramas are traditionally reserved for people who are dead, so I felt suspicious about watching a movie about two popes who are alive. It feels premature and slightly reminiscent of Barack Read more

Dishonesty and the abortion debate Comments 0

Monday, December 9th, 2019

In 1956, two American physicians, J. A. Presley and W. E. Brown, colleagues at the University of Arkansas School of Medicine, decided four recent admissions to their hospital were significant enough to warrant a published report. “Lysol-Induced Criminal Abortion” appeared in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. It describes four women who were admitted to the Read more

Top emitters must commit to a U-turn at COP25 Comments 0

Monday, December 9th, 2019

Epitomizing the disconnect between scientific warnings and human action, global temperatures are now on track to rise by an unacceptable 3.2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels by 2030 while greenhouse gas emissions hit all-time highs. As the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, COP25 Read more

A tale of two cathedrals Comments 0

Monday, December 9th, 2019

This is a tale of two cathedrals. It’s a story of two bishops, a tragedy and even a prince. There’s more than one battle in this long saga and only one of the cathedrals will have a happy ending. Both buildings were severely damaged by the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes and aftershocks, and both sit Read more

Conscience and Vatican persecution of Fr Seán Fagan Comments 0

Thursday, December 5th, 2019

Marking the opening of the new legal year in October, the Vatican’s diplomatic representative in Ireland, Archbishop Jude Okolo, reminded legal practitioners that justice “rests on respect for human rights, assuring that people’s natural and objective rights are not trampled upon”. Indeed. The institution Archbishop Okolo represents displays a breathtaking disrespect for human rights, trampling Read more

Solving the problem of decreasing church attendance frequency Comments 0

Thursday, December 5th, 2019

A phenomenon is impacting churches. Maybe your church is an anomaly. But most churches—regardless of size and denominational affiliation—are experiencing a decrease in attendance frequency. Attendance frequency measures how often a person comes to church. For example, an “active” member was once considered someone who came twice, or even three times a week. Today an Read more