There is so much to admire in Pope Francis, not the least is his humanity.

We appreciate it when our Prime Minister travels by tram in Melbourne or by ferry in Sydney, how much more when a worldwide leader, after addressing the US Congress, steps away from the politician and has lunch with the poor. “Closeness to the poor, the refugee, the immigrant, the sick, the exploited, the elderly living alone, prisoners and all God’s other poor, will teach us a different way of resting, one which is more Christian and generous” the Pope said.

Francis’ kindness and pastoral concerns are refreshing, in the name of the Lord Jesus who became flesh and pitched his tent among us, His pastoral under-shepherds must reach out to, and be with, people of need.

The Lord Jesus mixed like that, the worst his enemies could say against him was that he ate with the wrong kinds of people. He mixed with wealthy tax collectors and sinners, because he recognised their deep spiritual poverty, his concern, as the Spiritual physician, was to reach the sick, those far away from God, and to do all he could to bring them to eternal health. His repeated message was Repent, the Kingdom is near because the King is near.

I trust that Pope Francis takes his opportunities, in the midst of encouraging relief and aid, to speak about the fact that the God who made us, loves us and has sent His Son to rescue us.

Moderator's Comments - Posted 17 September 2015

There are two qualities sadly lacking in Australian public life, qualities which, by contrast, ought to be evident in the life of every believer.

Believers are what they are by the grace of God. We enjoy his favour not as an award for good behaviour or because we deserve it, but because God favours us contrary to our deserving, it’s called grace. The fact that our sin is forgiven does not reflect our superiority in any way to anyone else. We are all fellow beggars, “nothing in my hand I bring”. God has favoured us by opening our eyes to see our own spiritual poverty and directing us to Christ, the certain ground of our forgiveness before God.

Moderator's Comments - Posted 8 September 2015

To guide your holiday reading and listening, here is a selection of resources for a sermon series on marriage in preparation for the possibility of an upcoming plebiscite.

Moderator's Comments - Posted 1 September 2015

Dr Ryan Anderson is the William E Simon Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation in the USA and Founder and Editor of the online journal Public Discourse (www.thepublicdiscourse.com).

Dr Anderson recently visited Australia, sponsored by the Australian Christian Lobby to speak about same sex marriage. I attended his Sydney meeting held in the Strangers’ Dining Room at NSW Parliament House, the following is a summary of his speech.

Moderator's Comments - Posted 19 August 2015

The latest biography of the late B.A. Santamaria, by Gerard Henderson, records an interesting incident. Santamaria had cooperated with the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, Daniel Mannix, to see the successful establishment of the Democratic Labor Party in Victoria, but had less success with the church’s Sydney heirachy.

The Sydney Archbishop Gilroy and his Bishop, James Carroll opposed the establishment of the DLP in NSW. Santamaria worked with James McAuley, a prominent convert to Catholicism, a journalist and a poet, to persuade Gilroy and Carroll to cooperate, but was unsuccessful. McAuley’s parish priest expressed the fear that these political battles in Sydney might diminish McAuley’s recently acquired faith, he responded,

“Why do you think that because my Bishop is a liar and a schemer that this somehow disproves that Christ rose from the dead?”

The new Atheists assert that faith and reason are opposites, so that, religious faith is “unjustified belief”, according to Sam Harris.

McAuley was correct to recognise the reasonable basis of the Christian faith is the historically verifiable, bodily resurrection of Jesus.