Peter Rollins Book Review, The Orthodox Heretic: Reading ‘Impossible Tales’ at Christmas

At the centre of many Christians’ conceptions of Christmas is a story about how Jesus’ birth came to pass. The gospel writers supply different stories about Jesus’ birth and its significance – for instance, Luke emphasises Jesus’ humble origins and how his birth was announced first to the outcasts of society (shepherds), while John writes […]

A Victim of Clerical Sex Abuse Speaks Out

In all of Ireland’s current sex abuse scandals, it seems the perspectives of the victims keep getting lost as we focus on the bishops of the Irish Catholic Church, or on abusers like Liam Adams. Today an anonymous victim of clerical sexual abuse had a letter published in the Irish Times. It is heartbreaking to […]

Priest Tells Congregation to Shoplift

Shoplifting is a Christian option. So says Fr Tim Jones of St Lawrence and St Hilda Parish in York, who advised the poor members of his congregation to steal from large national businesses if they were desperate in the run-up to Christmas. Fr Jones’ comments have been roundly denounced by the police and by the […]

The Religious Education Debate: Does Religion Need the State?

Terror and wonder. Religious education has the power to instil such emotions in the young. Recent revelations have exposed the physical and sexual abuse that was rampant in many of the state-run, church-controlled churches on this island. On the other hand, in my own research in Northern Ireland I have spoken with people who cherish […]

Sex Sells: Advertising Christmas in New Zealand

A ‘Progressive Christian’ congregation, St Matthew’s in the City in Auckland, New Zealand, has launched a provocative billboard campaign for Christmas, depicting Mary and Joseph in bed, with the words: ‘Poor Joseph: God is a hard act to follow.’ The priest at the church told Ekklesia that the aim of the billboard was to spark […]

Never Heard of the Hard Gospel?

Last week when lecturing master’s students on the role of the churches in reconciliation in Northern Ireland, I spoke about the Church of Ireland’s Hard Gospel Project. I was surprised when a local student, with a long history of involvement in inter-church reconciliation activities, said that this lecture was the first he had heard of […]

Re-Organisation of the Irish Catholic Church

The word from the Vatican is that ‘the Irish Catholic Church faces major reorganisation.’ This comes in the wake of the child abuse scandals and their cover-up by senior officials of church and state. An article by Patsy McGarry and Paddy Agnew in Saturday’s Irish Times quoted a statement from Pope Benedict that: “The Holy […]