“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God.” These words of Pope Francis and more were covered in the media all over the world last Thursday, 22 October. The Holy Father went on to say, “You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.”
Is it proper for the government to share tax revenue with the education and charity initiatives of the Church? This has always been a matter of contention. Whenever the government speaks about school funding, arguments about the share to the Catholic Schools becomes a hot issue of discussion in the media and otherwise. It is nothing new.
The scandal caused by now disgraced Cardinal Giovanni Becciu has been another challenge for the Holy Father Pope Francis. What should the Holy Father do with such baddies in the Church? Such scenarios were present all through history, starting with the early Church. Evangelist Matthew reflected on a similar situation in his community in Matthew 22:1-14.
Have you heard of a public sinner and scandalous man becoming the moral stalwart of the Church? Augustine of Hippo had his back to the Church. It was public knowledge that he fathered a son with a concubine. That was his early life. Then, he who said ‘no’ to Christ and his Church had a profound conversion. That led him to become the bishop of Hippo and a great teacher of Christian truth. His case was an example of the words of Jesus, ‘I tell you solemnly, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you’ (Matthew 21:31) .
Bakhita, her name means ‘the fortunate’. That is not the name her parents gave her. She was snatched as child from her parents by Arab slave traders. The trauma she suffered as a slave made her forget her own name. Bakhita, the name the slave masters gave her, even as they tortured her terribly, was proved true and fitting for her life by God. You wouldn’t call Bakhita lucky who was sold and bought five times before completing her teenage years, in the latter half of nineteenth century.
I have a crafted Christmas nativity scene on the wall of my presbytery, a gift on the 25th anniversary of my ordination. The artwork of Jilumol Mariet Thomas. But this creation is not the work of her hands, she does not have hands. The amazing piece of art was created with her legs alone. When I met Jilumol she was a school girl in an institution run by the Sisters of the Destitute, where my cousin Sr Christine was in charge. Now she has a university degree in graphics and animation and works as an animation artist.
On this Father’s Day, I pray God’s blessings on all fathers. Some of the men in the parental role may be faced with uneasy situations when the world around them is celebrating the gift of fatherhood. It could be due to hurting family relationships where there have been break ups, infidelity and incompatibility.
To some people being Christian is an easy option. Having children baptised into the church, one can easily get into Catholic Schools for a better education. Going to church whenever it pleases them, feeling good and making others feel good are the kind of commitments some people consider as Christian identity. But for Mary it was different.
In an open letter to Perth Catholics on July 2, Archbishop Costelloe said one of the main purposes of the amendments to the Children and Community Services Act 2004 was to introduce mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse for ministers of religion, which includes “religious confession”.
The nomination of Kamala Harris, daughter of a black man from Jamaica, to the Vice Presidential Candidacy of the Democrats in the United States made headlines lately all over the world including Australia. In the wake of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, there are issues to be solved in America.