The challenges within Fratelli Tutti

On October 4, the feast of St Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis released a new encyclical entitled, Fratelli Tutti – On Fraternity and Social Friendship. It can appear a rather depressing read because of its searing realism, except it plays the long game of Christian hope. Fratelli Tutti lays out reasons why there’s so much…

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Spirituality and the second half of life

One size doesn’t fit everyone. This isn’t just true for clothing, it’s also true for spirituality. Our challenges in life change as we age.  Spirituality hasn’t always been fully sensitive to this. True, we’ve always had tailored instruction and activities for children, young people and for people who are raising children, carrying a job, and…

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The hidden face of evil

We tend to be naïve about evil, at least as to what it looks like in everyday life. Our picture of evil has been falsely shaped by images taken from mythology, religious cults, and from books and movies that portray evil as personified in sinister spiritual forces. Demons haunt houses, appear at séances, are summoned…

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Rest assured…God is happy

Christianity, Judaism, and Islam ultimately all believe in the same God. Interestingly, too, in the popular mind they also all tend to conceive of God in the same way, namely, as male, celibate and not being particularly happy. Well, the gender of God is not something we can ever conceptualise. God is neither male or…

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Moving beyond mistakes and weaknesses

The excusable doesn’t need to be excused and the inexcusable cannot be excused. Michael Buckley wrote those words and they contain an important challenge. We’re forever trying to make excuses for things we need not make excuses for and are forever trying to excuse the inexcusable. Neither is necessary. Or helpful. We can learn a…

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Mystical experience and everyday people

What kinds of things help induce mysticism in our lives? I was asked that question recently and this was my immediate, non-reflected, answer: whatever brings tears to your eyes in either genuine sorrow or genuine joy; but that response was predicated on a lot of things. What is mysticism? What makes for mystical experience? In…

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The last temptation, the greatest treason

The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason. T.S. Eliot [pictured] wrote those words to describe how difficult it is to purge our motivation of selfish concerns, to do things for reasons that are not ultimately about ourselves. In Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral, his main character…

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The invitation to courage…

Courage isn’t one of my strong points, at least not one particular kind of courage. Scripture tells us that as John the Baptist grew up he became strong in spirit. My growing up was somewhat different. Unlike John the Baptist, as I grew up I became accommodating in spirit. This had its reasons. I was…

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Internet pornography

…by far and away, the biggest addiction in the whole world The ancient Greeks had gods and goddesses for everything, including a goddess of Shame called Aidos. Shame for them meant much more than it normally means to us. In their mind, shame brought with it modesty, respect and a certain needed reticence before things…

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Understanding suicide and melancholy

We no longer understand melancholy. Today we lump all forms of melancholy together into one indiscriminate bundle and call it ‘depression’. While a lot of good is being done by psychiatrists, psychologists and the medical profession in terms of treating depression, something important is being lost at the same time. Melancholy is much more than…

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