September 14, 2018

Wherein I get to talk about sloths! Oh… Readers in Sydney might be interested to know that the Parish of St Peter’s in Surry Hills have kindly invited me to give a short presentation on the vice of acedia, on 23 Sept at noon. I will be drawing on RJ Snell’s Acedia and its Discontents (which I discuss further here) and will go through a passage of the Praktikos by Evagrius of Pontus, and will discuss it through the lens… Read more

August 30, 2018

I had the chance to see Crazy Rich Asians in the movies. It features a set of mainly Singaporean-born American Chinese millenials attending a wedding in Singapore (there is more than this, of course). As a migrant from Singapore, I could not resist. For a summary of my reactions, please see fellow Asian Catholic blogger Justin Tse’s post on the movie here. To elaborate, the most interesting thing about the movie was that it avoided the most typical asian stereotypes,… Read more

August 24, 2018

In my paper “Christ in Hyperreality”, I reiterated the point put forward earlier by William Cavanaugh that we do not live in godless societies strictly speaking. Instead, we live in societies where, in Cavanaugh’s words, the holy has migrated from one place to another. Whilst one facet of this migration is framed in terms of a shift in devotion to particular artifacts (sports, politics etc), another facet is the incorporation of symbols of the holy into those artifacts. More accurately,… Read more

July 24, 2018

A couple of weeks ago, the Perth-based Dawson Society for Philosophy and Culture held their first conference on the legacy of 1968.  I gladly accepted their invitation to present a paper on the thought of Guy Debord and Jean Baudrillard, entitled “Christ in Hyperreality: Cultural Marxism, Kulturkritik and Fake News”. I argued in the paper that Debord and Baudrillard continue to have relevance not only in diagnosing the mobilising power of images that soak our cultural fabric. I also argued… Read more

July 12, 2018

One of the joys of being a theologian is getting to know gifted theologians from non-Catholic traditions, whether Orthodox or Protestant. One of those I know lectures at Hillsong College, a pentecostal college which runs theology courses for undergraduate and postgraduate students. At the invitation of this friend, I gave a guest lecture for a political theology course and led a class on Catholic conceptions of justice, framing the lecture around Aquinas’ conception of justice as one of the four… Read more

July 3, 2018

One cold night, a Seattle teenager named Rosie Larsen is found murdered, her body stuffed into the boot of a car pulled from the bottom of a lake. So begins the investigation that takes up the first two seasons of the American crime drama, The Killing. What makes this more than standard crime drama fare is the exploration of the ways in which the killing of this one teenager figuratively ricochets out to kill others, both people and institutions. Each… Read more

June 25, 2018

This week, I was reminded on social media about already dated, but still very endearing, video that focused on an Australian magpie named Penguin. The story focused on how Penguin, a chick that fell out of her nest, was cared for by the Bloom family of Newport, New South Wales. The central thread of the story was not so much Penguin, but the effect that she had on Sam, who sunk into a deep depression following an accident. Without saying… Read more

May 25, 2018

At the end of the movie Knight of Cups, the final moment is marked by Rick, the film’s protagonist, who says “Begin”. I just got back from a retreat run by the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation (CL), where Fr John O’Connor of Food for Faith, built on the spiritual exercises of CL’s leader, Fr Julian Carron. The exercises centered on a line taken from Isaiah (43:19), where God through the prophet says: See, I do a new thing…do you not perceive it?… Read more

May 18, 2018

I have just finished the Netflix anime series Violet Evergarden, which looks at the life of a brutally efficient and seemingly emotionless former solder with a fierce dedication to her former major, who was her mentor and only friend. Following the war, Violet tries to settle back into civilian life as a ghost writer for hire – an “auto memory doll” –  travelling through the land with her typewriter and writing letters and plays for royalty and commoner alike. The driving… Read more

May 11, 2018

Last Sunday, the Archdiocese of Sydney celebrated the bicentennial of the preservation of the blessed sacrament at what is now the site of St. Patrick’s church at the Rocks in Sydney. The bicentennial marked the time when, after the prohibition of Catholic practice in the colony of New South Wales, the last priest in the colony, just before his expulsion by the government, purposely left the Eucharistic host open in a private home for veneration by the colony’s Catholic faithful…. Read more

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