• Church Life,  Faith and Life

    Confessed Out

    For several years now, I have noticed something strange happening when it comes to Confession. Confession is that Catholic thing where we (usually) go into a little wooden cubicle in the Church and verbally confess our sins to a priest, sitting behind a screen. Although this practice seems to be a cause of some hilarity for many outwith the Church and – more recently – the subject of heated discussion in some places, still it is a practice Catholics take fairly seriously. Or at least, we did. And that is really the nub of the matter, because fewer and fewer Catholics are participating in this practice as time goes on.…

  • Church Life,  Scripture

    The Seed of the Word

    It can be tempting for us as Catholics to consider that the Word of God is simply that first part of the Mass, which we listen to every Sunday. We may well be listening with attention, but I think we often do so with more than a degree of passivity – listening, if it goes no further than mere listening, is indeed a passive activity.  Now, this is not the intention of the Church; our Mass is comprised of two broad parts, each one given the title of ‘liturgy’ – the ‘liturgy of the Word’ and the ‘liturgy of the Eucharist’. This tells us very clearly that an equal dignity…

  • Church Life,  Opinion

    A Forgetful Church

    It’s been a fractious week in my relationship with the institutional Church. At various points this past week, I have found myself reading articles regarding the deaths of two notable figures in the Church – the former Pope Benedict and Cardinal Pell of Australia.  While many of the articles focussed on the former Pope were looking at whatever legacy he leaves behind, there were also reports of his private views on our present Holy Father and his pontificate – needless to say, these were not always complimentary. Now it needs to be noted clearly that these views were ascribed to him and did not come directly from him and so,…

  • Church Life,  Faith and Life,  Scripture

    Follow The Star

    Finally, those three Kings – or Wise Men, depending on the translation you read – have made it successfully to the little stable where their journey finds it’s fulfilment. We took care of this in the parish early this morning, placing the three figures gently within the Manger, close to Mary and Joseph, and shifting the poor shepherds just a little in order to make some room for them. The Baby Jesus lay there serenely throughout. Saint Matthew’s Gospel describes the scene – And suddenly the star they had seen rising went forward and halted over the place where the Child was. The sight of the star filled them with…

  • Church Life,  Faith and Life

    The Local Church

    I keep an eye on what is happening to the Church and within the Church at the global level – it’s often hard to avoid this perspective, especially for anyone with an interest in social media or world events. This is particularly the case at moments of greater import happening within the Church, when specific events are being widely reported in the mainstream media and news outlets. And this can be fascinating, especially when there are all sorts of opinions and perspectives being offered upon the events themselves as well as everything contributing to them. Sometimes this ‘global’ perspective has an unintended consequence – we lose sight of what is happening…