Print Version    Email to Friend
What would Jesus make of our Christmas?

If Jesus were to visit us again, how puzzled he would be with our Christmas. He would be wondering, who is this Santa who seems to be everywhere, a feel-good guy certainly, but wanting us to spend up big.
Yet for all the commercialism of this season, for many people around the world, whatever their belief or religion, Christmas is rather a hopeful celebration of good will among peoples and a time for families and friends to gather, often expressing their love and esteem in gift-giving.

Print Version    Email to Friend
… of gifts and strangers

In the week before Christmas I always delay buying presents. I find it a difficult time because I am not gifted with the imagination needed to buy truly personal, simple and endearing presents.
If I had my way, I would buy everyone a gift voucher, but I appreciate that is hardly the spirit of gift-giving. 
Then there is always someone for whom it is difficult to buy, because they don’t seem to need anything.

Print Version    Email to Friend
The scriptures are meant to bite

When I was a lad, we had a family bible. There were pages in the back where my mother entered dates of births, baptisms and confirmations. There were pictures. Though it was obviously a book—in fact that’s what the word bible means—I have no recollection that I or anyone else in the family ever read it.
We were good Catholics, but bible reading was something Protestants did.

Print Version    Email to Friend
Human dignity and an unpleasant truth

My Family’s Slave is a personal story written by Pulitzer-prize winning author and journalist, Alex Tizon, who died last March.
Tizon grew up in the United States of America (US) where he migrated with his family in the 1960s. He was four-years-old at the time.
He left behind a moving and conscience-searing story about his yaya, the family domestic worker, who cared for him and worked her whole life for the Tizon family.

Print Version    Email to Friend
Who remembers what the pope said?

The Philippines seems to be off the international comment agenda of late. Even Pope Francis seems to have forgotten about its existence since his triumphant Palm Sunday-like entrance into Manila in 2015.
Papal condolences have been sent to France, Egypt and England on more than one occasion in recent days, but after a catastrophe in a Manila resort, a besieged city and declaration of martial law, as well as a kidnapped priest and people, some in The Philippines must be wondering what more they have to do to do to rate a papal mention.

Print Version    Email to Friend
An on air Get out of jail free pass

HONG KONG (SE): The old Monopoly game offered a Get Out of Jail Free pass to the odd lucky player, but in real life prisons in Hong Kong no such privilege is available to those securely locked behind bars. They are there for the duration.
However, at least for foreign prisoners in the city some respite is offered every Sunday night when Bruce Aitken hunkers down behind the microphone at AM 1044 Metro Plus.

Print Version    Email to Friend
Imprisoning children a risk to the nation

There are some haunting images from the past when children as young as six-years-old were put in jail behind bars in cells mixed with adults where they were abused by paedophiles. 

They are mostly hungry children guilty of begging for a bit of food in the street to survive, but then jailed as criminals. But some members of the congress want them back in jail and have introduced a bill to lower the minimum age of criminal liability from 15 to 12, and even as young as nine. It is a return to the penal code of the 1930s. 

Print Version    Email to Friend
Ex-Catholics are becoming younger

WASHINGTON (SE): “Young Catholics are leaving the faith at an early age—sometimes before the age of 10—and their reasons are deeper than being bored at Mass,” Mark Gray, a senior research associate at the Centre for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University (CARA), says in a new report published in conjunction with two national studies done in the United States of America by the centre.

More from this section

Print Version    Email to Friend
The road of the young in search of Love

I was in the elevator of a shopping mall when two university students walked in. As the elevator door closed, one girl gave her phone to the other and said, “Here, this is the girl.”

“But she’s okay looking,” replied the other girl, “why did Ben decide to dump her?” The girl took back her phone and shrugged, “I don’t know, John said it is maybe because she was getting too fat.”

Print Version    Email to Friend
Good and bad news on plant species

I made my first visit to Kew Gardens in London in the early 1980s. It is a beautiful and highly scientific place and in May this year, it produced an extraordinarily important report on The State of the World’s Plants.

The good news is that the staff now believe that there are 390,000 species of plants on earth. The director of science at Kew Gardens, Kathy Willis, spoke to Damian Carrington of The Guardian about the importance of plants for humans.