News and views from Australia and around the world
'No religion' may be the new normal; Anglican school head tells parents to 'chill'; and taking gender out of God talk.
July 4 2018
The 2016 Census recorded that those declaring that they had “no religion” had increased to just over 30 per cent, with the “nones” (as they are sometimes called) the most numerous response category in every generation until those over 70. Melbourne Anglican priest and sociologist Gary Bouma says having “no religion” is becoming the new “normal” in Australia – with profound effects in ways that are only just becoming apparent.
The conviction and sentencing of Adelaide’s Roman Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson for concealing child sexual abuse has made headlines globally. Frank Brennan, Jesuit priest and lawyer, examines the troubled history of the law under which he was charged and the ailing Archbishop’s future in this article for Eureka Street.
The principal of a leading Anglican school in Sydney has taken aim at a minority of parents who have verbally abused, physically threatened or shouted at staff members, urging them (in words familiar to their offspring) to “chill”. Dr John Collier says declining civility is partly a function of the poor behaviour of role models in public life.
Geelong Grammar School has paid tribute to Michael Collins Persse, a teacher and mentor to many – including Prince Charles – during his 63-year association with the school. Watch this 2013 interview with Mr Collins Persse in which he reflects on how he suddenly abandoned the path to ordination in order to devote himself to teaching.
The US branch of the Anglican Communion is to consider whether to revise its Book of Common Prayer to make it clear that God doesn’t have a gender. Julie Zauzmer of The Washington Post outlines what’s at stake when the General Convention of the Episcopal Church meets in Texas this week and next.
Three US bishops have proposed a motion on same-sex marriage that they say “allows conservatives to flourish within the structures of the Episcopal Church, but not at the expense of progressive congregations in conservative dioceses”. They say that while at first glance it may sound unnecessarily complex, it is a “middle way” that makes room for all in one Church.
Watch the 7.30 program’s update on Michael Lee and his wife Joanna Mawson-Lee. Their response to Michael’s Motor Neurone Disease – that life can still be worth living, even with a terminal disease – was first telecast during the Victorian parliamentary debate on euthanasia last year and is updated now as Canberra considers whether to allow the territory legislatures to make decisions on this issue.
A UK study of clergy psychological profiles suggests the Church of the future may be “more tightly managed” and “less inspirational”, led by conventional clergy who “do not rock the boat”. Read Ed Thornton’s report on the study’s conclusions in Church Times.
Christopher de Hamel has spent a lifetime studying ancient illuminated manuscripts, many of which tell the story of Christianity. Listen to his conversation with Claire Nichols on ABC Radio National’s The Hub on Books.
The honorary director of lay discipleship in the Diocese in Europe, Dr Clare Amos, considers the Book of Revelation in this blog for the Anglican Communion News Service. Dr Amos says a window in Holy Trinity Cathedral Auckland has helped her understand that Christians are called to live in a kind of creative tension between the world of the “ordinary” and the world of the apocalypse or Revelation. “We need both and they are the two poles of our faith,” she writes.