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Ted Szukalski

Gallery of fine art photography.

Religion in news and on the Internet


On my train ride back home from work few days ago an older man sat next to me and started to read a book on writing sermons. I say “started” because he fell asleep almost immediately. I had a read of a paragraph in his book. It basically said that a successful sermon must relate contemporary real life issues to the religious teaching. It is an interesting statement. Perhaps many religious scholars all failed asleep while reading this ever so important paragraph too and that is why we have so much ridiculous religious news recently, which fail that simple suggestion.

In last two weeks, we had reports in news of various Islamic clerics proclaiming it is OK to marry underage girls, force sex in marriage, physically abuse wives, declaring that all Australians are drunkards, gamblers and adulterers. On the Christian side we had a priest stealing millions of dollars from the faithful and yet another lawsuit against the Catholic Church in a sex abuse case. And Pope now has a YouTube channel.

Internet is a fantastic medium of communication and in pure sense, religion, which is the basis of our moral values should help humanity to better itself. However, as long the messages delivered over the medium are so absurd, incompatible with civilization and day to day issues people producing these “sermons” will only alienate people against religion (and indirectly their followers).

PS: I hear the Earth is no longer flat and knowledge of herbs does not make you a satanic spawn. If these two things have changed perhaps other religious “teachings” could be refreshed too.

World Youth Day Sydney 2008 – Day 1


River of pilgrims from all over the world is flowing along almost every Sydney street towards Barangaroo for Cardinal Pell’s opening Mass. Media is reporting the expected number of pilgrims at 140,000 accompanied by clergy:26 cardinals, 400 bishops and up to 4000 priests. With numbers like that the Mass will be the biggest Catholic Mass ever held in Australia.

Sydney has turned on a beautiful, summer like day for the attendees, so there should be no surprise most of the young people really enjoy their stay here. Lots of laughs, singing and flag waving no matter where you look.

The crowd behaviour is so far exemplary and there are no protesters in sight. Security was limited to a small numbers of police walking along with pilgrims. This however many change, as Federal Court has today removed the highly controversial “annoyance” clause form the World Youth Day Act. It “affects freedom of speech in a way that, in our opinion, is not supported by the statutory powers” in accordance to Federal Court judges.