The greatest objection to religious belief in our time is possibly the perceived connection between religion and violence. All the religions have messages of peace; all are historically complicit in violence.
A private Members’ Bill will shortly be debated in the NSW Parliament. The effect of this law would be to permit euthanasia or voluntary assisted dying for people experiencing severe pain, suffering or physical incapacity to an extent unacceptable to themselves – provided they are over 25 with a terminal illness likely to result in death within a year.
“I love your new boss” was said to me numerous times after Pope Francis’ election to the papacy in March 2013. Often the remark was made by someone who did not share my Catholic faith; often, too, by someone under thirty. To this day, there’s a freshness and vibrancy in Francis’ leadership of the church.
During the past week I have visited and been part of the Newcastle Islamic Centre at Mayfield, joining with them and others in our Interfaith initiatives. Just over a week ago they hosted an information evening in which they shared their faith with us. Those who wished, were then invited to join them for prayer on Monday afternoon or night and then on Thursday they hosted the United Nations International Day of Peace.
I trust by the time you are reading this message you have visited the website www.linasproject.com.au and viewed the audio-visual presentation that was part of the proceedings on Friday night, 15 September, The Atonement: Lina’s Project. You are also invited to provide feedback and to share ideas.
I spent much of last week in Melbourne, at the National Pastoral Leaders and Planners Conference. There were about 200 people there from across Australia and New Zealand. I was blessed to receive the words, inspiration and passion of so many wonderful presenters, and in turn I have wondered what I might share with you in this week’s message.