Monthly Archives: October 2007

Another Australian Saint? The more the merrier!


For some reason, most Catholic saints seem to have been born in Italy. God knows why… perhaps its something in the wine.

Well, we have plenty of good wine here in Australia, so I raise my glass to Clara Geoghegan (a regular reader of this blog) and her “Friends of Mrs Chisholm” in their attempts to draw Caroline Chisholm to the attention of the Italians in the Vatican.

Aside from being an Australian, she was (is?) a LAY person. Makes a change from all those founders of religious orders… And you can see why Clara is keen for this to happen–she is the coordinator of the Catherine of Sienna Called and Gifted program in the Melbourne Archdiocese.

Won’t it be nice when the Caroline Chisholm Library can be renamed the SAINT Caroline Chisholm Library?

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I’ve ordered my copy: Cardinal Schönborn’s new book "Chance or Purpose"


I’ve just gotten off the phone to the Central Catholic Bookshop (their motto is “faithfully expressing the Catholic Tradition”, which I like. I’ve gone off John Garrett’s since they published and promoted +Geoffrey’s book) and they have a copy of Cardinal Schönborn’s new book “Chance or Purpose: Creation, Evolution, and a Rational Faith” winging its way to me right now. It promises to a great read.

Regular readers will know that I have been a Schönborn fan for some time. I believe this book is a translation of (or an adaption of) the series of catecheses he gave in St Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna over the last few years. It will be good stuff. Get it while its hot!

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"Beware the Jaberwock, my son!…"


“…The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun The frumious Bandersnatch!”

Fictitious monsters have always held a fascination–no more so than that fictitious monster, Triumphalist Roman Papalism. I will leave it to historians to argue whether or not there was ever such a monster, but today–believe me when I say this folks–there is no such animal.

Nevertheless, I am amazed at the power this mythology has even to skew modern ecumenical relationships. You can’t start a healthy relationship on an “hermeneutic of suspicion” (“you speak with forked tongue!”). Dialogue requires a relationship of trust.

I can partly understand the long ancenstoral memories of those whose fathers’ fathers, and whose fathers’ fathers’ fathers, and whose fathers’ fathers’ fathers’ fathers (you get the idea) remember some atrocity committed by this ancient monster. Yet, even those who have no personal stake in this history (eg. recent converts to Orthodoxy) seem more than eager to adopt the full mythology and paradigm of the world which includes this horrible monster.

Fr Christopher Orr (born and raised Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran and received into Orthodoxy in 2001) is a case in point. In a recent comment on a previous blog, Fr Orr stated:

Whatever positive, inclusive, friendly steps have been taken in the past decades – and they have been honestly taken, I think, in the main – there is a long history of RC abuse and domination that is well-remembered by the Orthodox and Protestants. Time will need to go by to ensure that positive language is not simply a marketing ploy, a bait and switch; until Rome can come to a dogmatic determination that is more in line with your explanation of Vatican I and II, most will simply fear not what this or the most recent Pope’s have said or done, but what future ones may do with their dogmatically unfettered power.

Oh, Christopher. That is really unworthy of you. A “marketing ploy”? A “bait and switch”? What future popes “may do with their dogmatically unfettered power”? Good grief. I know (as my Mother-in-law keeps on telling me) that the Pope and bishops of the Catholic Church are “only men”, but please–they are are at least men of charity and justice, and of integrity.

Beware the hermeneutic of Suspicion, my friends! It will be the undoing of us all!

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A New Entry in my Year of Grace blog (about bloody time too!)

Yes, finally I have gotten around to adding a new entry to my Year of Grace retro-conversion blog–the blogspot where I am steadily putting up the journal of my conversion year (Easter 2000 to Easter 2001). You can check it out at: http://yearofgrace.blogspot.com/

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Brother Michael Herry

I had a nice evening last night at my local parish with Marist Brother and liturgical song composer Brother Michael Herry. His music is simple and often “Taize-like”. Not all of it will appeal, but I can recommend most of it to all but the purists among you. I had a short discussion with him afterwards on the “voice” of liturgical song. If you are interested, I have posted my thoughts on this matter on my other blog, “Sing Lustily and with Good Courage”.

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Thank you, Marco!

What are friends for? Quite unknown to me, Mr Marco (we can’t call him Fr Marco any more) has done the following good deed:

I have nominated Herr Schutz for the Blogger’s Choice Awards in the category of Best Religion Blog. It is the best Australian Catholic blog and deserves some recognition. He adds to the mix of the discussion rather than sitting on the sidelines throwing stones.

Isn’t he nice? You can be nice too, by going to the Blogger Choice Awards website and adding your vote!

By the way, the voting at the moment is for next year (2008). Last year’s top three were The Cafeteria is Closed (11 votes), Ask Sister Mary Martha (6 votes), and Stand Firm (1 vote)–so the competition wasn’t stiff.

This year will be a little harder. The very deserving Fr Z. is out in front with a whopping 48 votes, followed by The Hermeneutic of Continuity (12 votes), The Cafeteria is Closed again (this time with 11 votes already) tying with Sister Mary Martha (also with 11 votes), and then a heavenly host of follow ups with 2 or 1 vote (including yours truly). So get in there folks! I don’t expect to top WDTPRS or Closed Cafeteria, but surely we can get an Australian blog somewhere there near the top?

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If ever you needed proof that J.K. Rowling is NOT J.R.R. Tolkien…

it comes with this morning’s news that Rowling has “outed” Dumbledore, the venerable headmaster of Hogwarts, as gay.

Great. And here I am about to play that character this afternoon for my daughter’s birthday party.

Well, apart from all the moral issues of introducing such a theme into children’s literature (something that seems more and more acceptable, if Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” is anything to go by), there is a literary critical point that needs to be made.

1. The book series is finished. In that book, there is no indication of Dumbledore’s sexuality. His sexuality does not once enter the arena.

2. Rowling is (was?) the author of the Potter series. We are the readers. Her idea about what she meant when she wrote the novels has no bearing at all on our freedom as readers to make our own interpretations. (That’s called “reader response theory” folks, and, while we generally reject it in the case of Holy Writ, we are completely free to adopt it if it serves our own selfish purposes in relation to the interpretation of other texts).

So who on earth does Rowling think she is? A painter cannot go back to his painting once it is hanging in a museum and say “I just want to add a bit of paint up in that top corner…”.

The novels are finished. Yes. But what about the memory of poor old Richard Harris (R.I.P.) who played Dumbledore in the early films, who was, by all accounts, a red-blooded male?

And what about poor old Michael Gambon who now has to play the “gay” Dumbledore in the final movie with his “lover” Gellert Grindelwald.?

And what about poor old me, who has to go through a whole afternoon as (gulp) a gay man at a children’s party? (I just hope the kids haven’t read the newspaper this morning…)

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