Pope John Paul II, a reactionary in shepherd’s clothing

Karol Jozef Wojtya, known as John Paul II since assuming the office of pope in October 1978, will be remembered as one of the most significant, though certainly not the most progressive, figures in the history of the Roman Catholic Church.

Pope John XXIII, who preceded Wojtya as head of the Church by two papacies, is still revered by many Catholics for radically reorienting the church by convening the Vatican II Council, which directly fed the growth of what is known as “liberation theology”. From Vatican II the democratic notion emerged that the whole church — laity and clergy … Continue reading

Wanted: Jesus Christ on a good day (and more)

Written by Morris West for the Sydney Morning Herald, April 4, 2005.

The late Morris West wrote numerous novels about the Catholic Church, including The Shoes of the Fisherman. This is an edited version of an article West wrote exclusively for the Herald in 1997, to be published on the death of the Pope.

Let us pray for a man of courage

In the Society of Jesus, there is an interesting practice. When a superior’s term of office expires, his colleagues are asked to submit, in writing, a portrait of the man they think should replace him.

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More monologue than conversation

On issues that are important to women, John Paul turned a deaf ear, writes Veronica Brady for the Sydney Morning Herald, April 4, 2005.

Dr Veronica Brady is a Loreto sister and an honorary senior research fellow in the Department of English, University of Western Australia.

Any attempt to assess the significance of the long pontificate of John Paul II as far as women are concerned is a tricky business.

To an outsider, the Roman Catholic Church probably seems like a large and formidable institution, globalised long before the present era of globalisation. … Continue reading

A little bit of paint goes a long way

Gripped with Easter fervour, Prindiville and Sudla have this week indulged themselves in a little church redecorating. Their redoubtable DIY skills may be admired, not so much on the wall behind the altar where they focussed their attention, but in the paint splashes and smudges on the sacred Kiko carpet, and even, to Naoami Myers chagrin, outside the church on the Aboriginal Medical Service’s path and plants.

Bob Bellear Judge 1944-2005

From the depths to the heights

Obituary for Bob Bellear, Australia’s only Aboriginal judge. Written by community member Peter Manning for the Sydney Morning Herald, March 17, 2005.

Australia is called a classless society. But Bob Bellear, who has died at 60, did what few other Australians have done: he rose from the very bottom rung to the very top. Not just from working-class and rural origins but from Aboriginal deprivation to become Australia’s first indigenous judge.

Holy spies to rate the vicars

How would St Vincent’s rate?

British vicars rarely grumble about people joining their congregations, but a number might be dreading a visit next month by a "mystery worshipper" – the Church of England equivalent of the restaurant critic.

In an unprecedented move, as many as 100 specially recruited researchers will turn up incognito in pews across London on April 24 to judge the quality of the Sunday service on offer.

The volunteers, using pen names such as "Church Mouse" and "Dunelm" to protect their anonymity, will then post their verdicts on the … Continue reading

Signs of the Way

It would seem that Neocats, like many other creatures, are predisposed to marking out what they consider to be their territory.

Time and time again our pastors have insisted that St Vincent’s is not a Neocatechumenal Church. Last week a large sign was fixed to the Redfern Street facade of the old church, emblazoned with Kiko’s Madonna, the unmistakable sign of the Way [see Icons of the Neocatechumenal Way].

The community had not been consulted.