Archive for the ‘Justice’ Category

Inbetween is a very dangerous place to be

January 5, 2009

 In-between is a dangerous place to be 

Joan Chittister OSB

Maryknoll priest Roy Bourgeois is under threat of excommunication for giving a homily at the unauthorized priestly ordination of a woman sponsored by the group Roman Catholic Womenpriests. The question, especially for those who know this priest to be a justice-loving, selfless prophet of peace, is how Fr. Roy’s “case” will be handled by the Vatican. No doubt about it: The situation is an important one — both for him and for the church who will judge him.

It is important for Fr. Bourgeois because it involves the possible fracturing of the commitment of a lifetime.

A man who has given his life for the Gospel, been one of the church’s most public witnesses for human rights, stood for the best in the human condition and modeled the highest standards of the priesthood should certainly not end his life a victim of the conscience that has stirred the conscience of a nation.

But the way this situation is handled is at least as important to the church as it ever will be to Roy Bourgeois. (Read full article)


Christian Nonviolent Direct Action as Public Theology

October 7, 2008

October 7, 2008 by Justin Whelan

Nonviolent vigil at Baxter Detention Centre

Peace Tree Community nonviolent vigil at Baxter Detention Centre

In  August 2005 a group known as Christians Against Greed joined a rowdy protest against a conference of global corporations at the Sydney Opera House, and found themselves sharing the Eucharist with riot police and anarchists. On Human Rights Day that year, four activists calling themselves Christians Against All Terrorism broke into and attempted a “citizens’ inspection” of the Pine Gap spy base. One week after their trial ended in 2007, five people walked into a war games zone at Shoalwater Bay to play frisbee with defence personnel.

These events were all very public and deeply theological. Yet we tend not to consider them, and other actions like them, as examples of public theology – a term for the process of the church thinking and speaking to the general public about contemporary issues.

In this paper I want to argue that we need a broader understanding of ‘public theology’ that includes public action on the part of the church (or members of the church) that speaks directly into the public sphere. I suggest that Christian nonviolent direct action should be seen in this light, and that both the acts themselves and the public statements made by the actors are clearly designed to articulate a Christian message in response to critical problems of their time.

In this paper I look at three recent examples of Christian nonviolent direct action in Australia. Using the ‘best practice principles’ for public theology identified by John W. de Gruchy, I will explore the way in which these actions make statements to the public about God’s judgment of current policies and God’s vision for a transformed world.

Read the full paper here (4000 words, 434kb PDF)

Seduced by Grace: contemporary spirituality, gay experience and Christian faith

November 28, 2007

Seduced by Grace‘Seduced by Grace: Contemporary spirituality, Gay experience and Christian faith’
by Michael Bernard Kelly
With a Foreword by The Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG

RRP $24.95

ISBN: 9780980298321

These are the passionate despatches of a reporter from one of the most hostile – for gay men and women – regimes on earth: the Catholic church. Michael Kelly has come out but stayed in. His indictment of the church is stark but his vision of what it might become has the power to move even hardened atheists. – David Marr

Every chapter in this book is an invitation. Its thoughts and stories carry you over and over again into a deeper place where you can reflect on your own life and, indeed, universal life. At one point, its author observes ‘…religious talk is about religious talk. Life becomes a footnote.’ Life is never a footnote for Michael Kelly. His close experience of the engaging of religion with life is both challenging and inspiring. I couldn’t put this book down, not just because it relates to my own story but because it is authentic, vulnerable, yet life-giving. It does not demand that you agree, but gently and profoundly opens up the questions within a brave and faithful journey. Rev. Dorothy McRae-McMahon

Michael Kelly writes with great precision and poignancy of a yearning which everyone shares. A yearning for love, both physical and spiritual. A yearning for completion. In this wonderful collection of essays, Kelly seduces the reader with his insights into those fleeting moments in which we encounter the greatest mystery of all. – Dr Fiona Capp

 In these collected writings – essays, articles, letters, talks – Michael Kelly invites us into an intimate exploration of the inner wisdom and radical challenge of Christianity. In reflections that take us from the fields of Nicaragua to the ‘War on Terror’, from the joy of erotic pleasure to the challenge of rebuilding the church, Kelly gives voice to a spirituality of desire, grounded in justice and love. Michael Kelly is a freelance writer, activist, counsellor and educator, known internationally for his ministry in spirituality, sexuality and human integration.

This new book presents Michael Kelly’s collected writings and lectures, composed over a ten year period. Exploring contemplative spirituality, erotic grace, prophetic activism, gay experience, and the soulful challenges of contemporary living, this collection is a major new contribution from the author of The Erotic Contemplative lecture series.

Publisher: Clouds of Magellan

Title distributed by Bulldog Books

Publisher: Gordon Thompson – 0423 625 760 –

BOOK REVIEW Deep spirituality underlies gay Catholic’s activism
Terry Monagle
Seduced by GraceMichael Bernard Kelly undergoes the personal struggle to reconcile his own deep faith with being proudly gay. He then takes up the fight for acceptance of gays in the Catholic Church.
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Listen to the People, Listen to the Land

July 2, 2007
Listen to the People, Listen to the Land
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Listen to the People, Listen to the Land (Paperback)
by James Sinatra (Author), Phin Murphy (Author)



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700 days in El Salvador

November 6, 2006

700 Days in El Salvador

Michele Gierck

Non-Fiction Writer

 700 Days in El Salvador is Michele’s first book, published by Coretext in May 2006. This memoir is written with earthiness and humour. It is a personal journey: through life and death, love, longing and belonging and the shattering of innocence. In describing the author’s involvement in El Salvador during the 1980s and 90s, it is an insider’s account of political struggle, war and its aftermath. The book does not focus on the bombs and massacres but rather the personal human stories about the way people respond to war, their fear, resilience and hope. It also questions just how much we will put on the line for those we love and when it’s time to walk away.

Michele is a Melbourne based freelance writer whose feature articles have been published regularly in Eureka Street magazine since 2001 and also appear in the daily newspapers The Courier Mail (Brisbane), The Age (Melbourne) and The Australian (throughout Australia). She is an experienced public speaker who is booked regularly in Melbourne and Brisbane.

Eureke Street review

Beyond the Boundary

November 6, 2006

Beyond the Boundary

Beyond the Boundary

a memoir exploring ethics, politics and spirituality by Noel Preston

This tapestry of personal story and social analysis is a candid self-disclosure of a quest for ethical clarity and creative political alternatives, integrated with a credible spirituality forged amid recurring personal crises involving divorce, cancer and depression. Noel Preston is an ethicist who has pursued a varied career in the roles of academic, minister of religion, social justice advocate, media commentator and political adviser. He writes from a vantage of challenging social boundaries of Queensland society through the sixties, the controversial Bjelke-Peterson years and the aftermath of the Fitzgerald Inquiry.

… a unique, deeply personal, scholarly insight into the significant events of a fascinating era and (the author’s) own growth as these events unfolded. (Tony Fitzgerald AC, QC)

… (its) profound engagement with questions of life, death and spirituality, both personal and in the wider world, invite a fascinating parallel journey for the reader. (Rev Dorothy McRae-McMahon)

… a combination of an honest and humble account of a life well lived, warts and all, a political history of turbulent times in Queensland and a spiritual journey, moving from preacher, to activist, to academic and ethicist, to a believer in and practitioner of “eco-spirituality”. (Di McGrath-Fingleton, Magistrate)

… an Australian story of social responsibility … seen and experienced from a talented insider who, thankfully, never got lucky enough to win the confidence of any political party. (Dr John Uhr, ANU)

… Noel Preston has been a champion for the underdog. This memoir is a testament to this. (Jackie Huggins AM, Aboriginal author).

Launch Speech Governor Quentin Byrce

Zeus Publications

Extracts published by the Westender