THE POLITICAL COMMUNITY
Human beings are made to live together. We cannot survive without others and can only grow and achieve our potential in relationship with others. Societies need some kind of authority to coordinate or regulate the network of relationships between individuals and groups, providing laws, institutions and procedures that foster the good of each and of all. The role of the State then, is to serve the human person by organizing and promoting the common good.
What Australia doesn’t want East Timor to know
The famine of 1977-79 cut a swathe through East Timor's civilian population. Having failed to subdue the Timorese, the Indonesian military opted to starve them out. Details from that little-understood period are contained in cables that Attorney-General Nicola Roxon has blocked from public access.
Occupy Wall Street left its mark
It seems the Occupy Movement has finally run out of puff. The press has moved on and city councils from London to New York, Sydney to Seattle, have cleared their public spaces. They’re gone, but did they have a point, asks Michael Elphick in Aurora.
The Vatican calls for financial reform
Pope Benedict has again called for ethics in the global economy during his New Year speech to diplomats accredited to the Holy See. Last October as world leaders gathered in Cannes for the G20 summit to discuss ongoing turmoil in financial markets, the pope made an urgent call for new, even radical thinking about the rules and institutions governing the global economy. The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace issued "Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority" to add its voice to those arguing for capital controls (such as the "Tobin tax") to discourage international financial speculation.
Burma announces amnesty for more than 6,000 prisoners
President Thein Sein orders release of inmates, but it is not clear how many will be political prisoners. Burma is to release more than 6,000 prisoners – apparently including political detainees – in a potentially important step by the repressive south-east Asian regime in opening up to the outside world.
A total of 6,359 prisoners are to be freed today under an amnesty by Thein Sein, the former military officer who now acts as president of a civilian government which took power in March, Burma's state-run media announced.
Cambodia: Judges investigating Khmer Rouge crimes should resign
Human Rights Watch
The two investigating judges at the hybrid Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), created to try Khmer Rouge mass crimes and to bring justice to the Cambodian people, have egregiously violated their legal and judicial duties and should resign, Human Rights Watch said today.
New Zealand fundraiser for Cambodian landmine survivors
The New Zealand Campaign Against Landmines (CALM) is fundraising for Cambodian landmine survivors ahead of the Mine Ban Treaty’s annual meeting to be held in Phnom Penh November 28.
Abbot and Costello meet Catholic social teaching
Former federal treasurer Peter Costello has revealed his fears that Tony Abbott's education in the collectivist principles of Catholic Social Teaching will frustrate the Coalition's ambitions for free market reform of workplace laws.
Save the altar girls
America magazine has launched a campaign to “Save The Altar Girls.” It seems that the practice has barely been in place for five minutes yet already there is a backlash against it. A number of parishes in the American midwest have decided to discourage girls as altar servers articulating a growing trend in the wider church—in the priesthood, the liturgy and in the role of the people of God. From now on in Ss Simon and Jude Cathedral in Phoenix, Arizona, only boys may serve; girls may apply for jobs as sacristans. Why? The rector of the cathedral told The Catholic Sun that the cathedral is not alone in making this regulation. A parish in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, he argues, have found that replacing girls with boys as servers leads to more vocations to the priesthood.
SAS not training for the Olympics
Rev Sande Ramage | 20 August 2011
The death of a New Zealand SAS soldier in Afghanistan is tragic. He was caught in the sheer terror of war and his family will mourn. At the same time families all over Afghanistan, and other troubled places, are mourning their family members killed in war.
Although we are creatures born to die, any premature death ought to force us to think clearly about its circumstances and our role in it.
United Kingdom: Blaming the Riots on Human Rights is Corrosive and Wrong
Benjamin Ward Published in: The Guardian | August 17, 2011
When faced with a crisis, governments often look first to fix the blame before fixing the problem. That reflex has been in full view this week as the prime minister, David Cameron, responded to Britain's worst riots in decades by blaming human rights.
Christian Groups on Deficit, Poverty
CNS and other sources | August 15, 2011
After President Barack Obama signed the Budget Control Act Aug. 2 to raise the nation's debt ceiling, a collective sigh of tentative relief was immediately followed by plenty of speculation and analysis of what the country should do next. Although much of the discussion relied on the opinions of economists and politicians, religious groups bypassed the usual pundits to consider how Jesus would react to the country's financial fiasco. And apparently he could have differing takes on ways to solve the debt crisis, according to two different Christian groups.
A gutsy new nation prepares to elect fresh leaders
The tiny nation of Timor-Leste, 500 kilometres north of Australia, is preparing to elect a new government next June, 12 years after its people voted overwhelmingly for independence from brutally repressive Indonesian rule. One person hoping for a peaceful parliamentary election is the secretary-general of Red Cross in Timor-Leste, Isabel Amaral Guterres, who was a commissioner on the Reception, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, 2000 to 2004.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s inner freedom
Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd recently had the privilege of spending two hours with Burma’s pro-democracy hero Aung San Suu Kyi. The rest of us were privileged to have the opportunity to listen to the first of her BBC Reith Lectures, which was broadcast in Australia on ABC NewsRadio.
Should UK Catholics support an alternative voting system?
Exercising one's vote is the most basic act one can take on behalf of those marginalised by a society that favours the rich. It can mean making a preferential option for the poor. In the United Kingdom, voters are about to vote on a revision of the voting system in search of a fairer one. Here Peter Scally SJ explores the question of whether the Church has anything to say about voting.
The Big Society and Catholic Social Teaching
Theologian, James Hanvey SJ offers a powerful critique of our current social and economic climate as he explores the meaning and potential of the Big Society from the perspective of Catholic Social Teaching. In a major address delivered last month to a Caritas Social Action Network conference, Fr Hanvey argues that 'the Church must claim its freedom in all its works of charity'.
“The common good requires that civil authorities maintain a careful balance between coordinating and protecting the rights of citizens, on the one hand, and promoting them, on the other.”
Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, n 65
Stories And Reflections