Newsstand 1 - 7 April
Easter celebrated across the world, prayers for Myanmar, new report by La Trobe reveals full extent of religious gay conversion harm, the Vatican's murky finances back in the spotlight, and why Hillsong is the Dominion voting machine of the Australian left
April 7 2021
The Archbishop of Canterbury said in his Easter Day sermon that “death is the greatest and most devastating liar, the lie that the final breath is the end, there is nothing more; the lie that we will always be separated from those we have loved, ultimately losing those we love for ever”. Archbishop Justin Welby said death mattered and it was brutal, terrible and cruel. “But it lies when it claims to be the final word. Easter calls time on the lie.”
Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon issues an Easter message in which he calls on Christians everywhere to set aside time to pray for the people and country of Myanmar – that wisdom will prevail and enduring peace will come. “And to the people of Myanmar, I say: You are not alone. You are not forgotten. You are not abandoned. The world is watching as this situation unfolds and we are praying that a durable solution will be found bringing peace to all.”
Bishop in the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne Paul Barker has shared this distressing first-hand account of the internal strife in Myanmar that was recently sent to him. Bishop Barker taught in Myanmar for 15 years and has visited over 40 times, and is organising a prayer vigil service for Myanmar on Saturday April 24 at St Paul’s Cathedral.
A Sydney Jesuit considers a recent Vatican document on the blessing of same-sex civil unions and asks, in light of recent remarks by Pope Francis about the “style of God” being “closeness, compassion and tenderness”: “… Might we be generous enough to allow God to choose whether or not his blessing might be imparted and find a home?”
A new report from La Trobe University, Healing Spiritual Harms, has found the harm caused by religion-based LGBTQA change and suppression practices is more severe than previously thought, leaving survivors with complex PTSD. Lead author Dr Timothy Jones says pseudo-medical gay conversion that promotes practices such as electroshock “treatment” have been overemphasised compared with faith-based practices, which may be equally harmful.
Pope Francis caused a stir in the Vatican last month when he ordered cardinals and other senior officials to take a pay cut. How much cardinals spend on maintaining the dignity of their office will always be highly political because it cuts to the heart of the Catholic Church’s spiritual brand. With the Vatican’s finances still notoriously murky, today’s cardinals may well find a way around the pope’s cost-cutting measures, just as earlier cardinals did for Francis’s predecessors.
Colac real estate agent Anthony MacDonald says in this piece in Domain that there are some property buyers who are very drawn to the idea of converting churches. “There’s definitely a whole group of people who have a particular interest in churches and converting those into a home and we have seen quite a few of those people at our inspections.”
Ridley College academic Michael Bird says “Hillsong is the dominion voting machines of the Aussie left.” Eternity News editor-in-chief John Sandeman agrees, and here looks at some of the major misconceptions and conspiracy theories that have abounded on platforms like Twitter about Hillsong.
The Archbishop of Canterbury tells Italian newspaper la Repubblica: “I think this is the most extraordinary moment of choice in my lifetime. It's a choice. We had a choice in 1945 in Western Europe and the better choice was taken to seek reconciliation, peace, democracy and freedom. That led to what in France was known as Trente Glorieuses, the thirty glorious wonderful years.”
Esau McCaulley, an assistant professor of New Testament at Wheaton College in the US, writes in The New York Times that in St Mark’s Gospel, the women who went to the tomb of Jesus on the first Easter morning did not go there looking for hope. They were searching for a place to grieve. They wanted to be left alone in despair. “The terrifying prospect of Easter is that God called these women to return to the same world that crucified Jesus with a very dangerous gift: hope in the power of God, the unending reservoir of forgiveness and an abundance of love. It would make them seem like fools. Who could believe such a thing?”