2013    Articles by Fr John Wotherspoon                     2012 articles


Dec 16: Bishop Schneider's pastorally disturbing visit to Hong Kong
My advice to good people puzzled/disturbed by Bishop Schneider is: stop breathing his poisonous air. Rather, breathe the fresh air of the Holy Spirit found in the daily messages of Pope Francis

Dec 15: People are tired of hearing about Church. They want to hear about Jesus
"The countries of Europe have turned secular mostly because the people are tired of hearing about church. They hunger for spirituality and intimacy with God, and all we give them is church"

Nov 12: How a school principal's wisdom and determination
saved a whole town from Philippine typhoon

Oct 20: How maps can help us pray
Maybe a large map of the world in churches would help congregations pray globally.  Not a geography lesson, but a way of caring about the whole human family, especially for groups and places going through difficult situations

Oct 13: Aberrations of Gospel Christianity
No one questions the enormous good that clergy and religious have done over the centuries, but maybe it's time to return religion, return prayer, return leadership to the rank-and-file, to ordinary life

Oct 7: Asylum seekers ....and us
We tend to have nothing but contempt for "people smugglers", and in the way they deceive and exploit poor people they deserve contempt, but their existence is an unwelcome reminder that legal migration of poor people to better places is too little, too restricted, too selfish on the part of the receiving places.
Indifference to the situation of asylum seekers is indifference to Jesus....

Sep 30: Facebook and the dumbing down of society
Just as we need to make a conscious effort, on a daily basis, to choose healthy rather than junk food, just as we need on a daily basis to take some exercise to keep fit ....so we need to make a conscious effort, on a daily basis, to take an interest in current affairs

Sep 22: Pope's prayer and Middle East peace: any link?
To deny the reality of intercessory prayer is to deny an ocean of Bible teaching and spirituality history ....and to flatten our own pneumatic tires

Sep 16: Globalisation of Indifference  
- term used by Pope Francis to describe a growing harshness towards the poor: (asylum seekers, prisoners, people living in poverty). What can be done to reverse this trend?

Aug 26: Two men named Francis and the reason for Pentecostal growth
Pope Francis - and Francis MacNutt's prediction

Aug 2: "Reject what is contrary to the Gospel"
Pope Francis is practising plenty of rejection

July 28: Weather and World Youth Day    Storms in Spain, Rain in Brazil ....

July 21: Drug Mules  An issue affecting almost every country in the world, with a real life story of a Tanzanian mule now in a Hong Kong prison. Article names and shames some important people in Tanzania, including a prominent politician Iddi Azan. Hopefully this article will discourage people from being mules

July 6: A Rotating Papacy?To stop/prevent the Western/European domination of the Church, maybe the papacy could become a rotating leadership, with a new pope every 3 or 5 years from each of the main regions of the world: Africa, Europe, South Asia, East & South East Asia, South America, Central & North America.

June 21: Websites - what's the best format?
A reflection on recent changes to CathNews, Eureka Street etc

June 17: Same-sex marriage: two elephants in the (men's) room
On the issue of same-sex marriage, I see two elephants in the men's room that no one wants to talk about. The first one is taboo and is rarely mentioned in same-sex marriage discussions. The second one is on the way to becoming a taboo topic. By tabooing these topics, we are not doing the gay community or the general community a favour. On the contrary, we are putting both at risk

June 15: Pope Francis and Gnosticism  
Christianity is a mud-on-the-boots religion, a down-to-earth practice,
not a pie-in-the-sky theory like much "New Age" thinking

 June 13: Pope Francis and Pelagianism
To what extent are some restorationist groups displaying a "Pelagian current"?

June 8: Bishops who are following Pope Francis' example  - two encouraging reports so far (any more?) 

June 7: "Over the top" - the love in Jesus' heart  
The more we remember Jesus' love, the more we become aware that every one of us has benefited from his over the top love: 
      by protecting us, by rescuing us, by healing us ....from scum situations

June 3: Corpus Christi Collect confusion - a confusing hindrance to prayer

June 1: Today is also the anniversary of someone most Catholics have never heard of: Watchman Nee, who died on this day 1972 in a Shanghai prison.  This article tries to show that Nee's life and teachings hold many valuable lessons for Christianity in all parts of the world

May 31: Mary got involved, from start to finish
- Mary a model re Pope Francis' words "get out", "get involved", "look outwards"

May 27: A  new symbol for the Trinity: the three-blade fan

May 13: Loss of enthusiasm
  "You can only have long-lasting enthusiasm if you have a fire that burns within you"

May 6:   In each diocese a Vicar for the Poor
Pope Francis wants a "poor Church that cares more for the poor".
One way to promote this ideal is for each diocese to have a specific person designated as "Vicar for the Poor"

May 3:  Which James is which?

May 2: Pope Francis is giving new meaning to the famous words of Paul VI

April 30: Divide a parish into zones
How this was done in one HK parish

April  29: Imitating Pope Francis' common touch  
Popes, bishops, priests and religious with the common touch should not be the exception. They should be the rule  

April 28: Bangladesh tragedy and Fair Trade and me      
How many dioceses/parishes/schools  have/support a Fair Trade shop?
When Pope Francis speaks about "going out" and "getting involved in the world" the Fair Trade issue is the sort of thing he has in mind

April 26:  The mud on Pope Francis' boots

April 24: Pope's G8 should be G9? 
Cardinal Tagle should be added to group

April 22mitating Pope Francis' liturgical simplicity
How can we imitate Francis who prefers simple vestments and non  operatic-type liturgy and who does not give high priority to external dress? 

April 17: Pope Francis and the new translation 
It's no secret that many priests and not a few bishops around the world have refused to use the new translation. 
The fact that one of our number is now pope must surely be giving supporters of the new translation a few sleepless nights

April 15: Imitating Pope Francis' simple lifestyle   
I suppose the psychologists would say we first need to downsize our image,
our "keeping up with or surpassing the Joneses" ego

April 8: Imitating Pope Francis' concern  for the poor
"Are we helping as many as God wants us to help?"

April 7:  Picking up rubbish  for Pope Francis

April 6: Keeping up to date with Pope
Following Pope Francis is like
Black Caviar!

April 3  Pope Francis' "peculiar" actions should be common 
Living simply, special care for the poor, avoiding ostentation .. should be normal practice for church leaders

April 1: Following Francis' example
There are four areas of our lives where we can try to follow the inspiring example of Pope Francis:
A simple lifestyle, concern for the poor, liturgical simplicity,  the common touch

March 31: The mystery of evil

March 30:  Holy Saturday reflection
What place closed down some time after 3pm on Good Friday?

March 25: Pope's Pentecost Plan
Pope Francis hopes that after Pentecost every diocese, parish, school and organisation 
will develop a strategy for putting into practice the goals of a simpler, humbler, more caring Church

March 25: The Universe - God's Womb

March 24: Today's Romero Anniversary will inspire Pope Francis
In today's Palm Sunday Mass no doubt Pope Francis will refer to Romero as someone who followed Jesus in laying down his life for others, a martyr for truth and justice

March 19:  Pope Francis - like John XXIII  and John-Paul I  

March 18: Will Pope Francis give Communion on the hand?

March 17: Pope Francis has given us a spring in our steps  

March 16: Pope Francis - Day Two
Another day of good news

March 15: Pope Francis - Day One
 It's as if  Mother Teresa  became pope!

March 11: Praying for a Romero Pope
May the new pope undergo a Romero transformation!

"Feb 4: "Our vestments are pompous"
In this time of shame and sorrow re child abuse, it would be good, 
as a sign of sorrow, for priests  & bishops & cardinals & pope to wear just an alb and stole
..to abandon the chasuble for "a year of sorrow"

Feb 27: Be still and know that I am God
At a time of sadness and shame, a time of disarray in the Church, this song takes on more meaning

Feb 24:   2005 insights into 2013 conclave
Cardinal George Pell to be the candidate for carrying on the JPII-B16 legacy?

Feb 19: If next pope is a European, big disappointment  in Africa, Asia, South America ...again
61 of 117 cardinals are European

Feb 18: A Politburo Papacy?
young Joseph Ratzinger suggested the Church needs more patriarchs. An older JR then changed his mind.

Feb 17: Church's Obama moment
This time next month, I wonder if the tears will again be flowing, for the first black pope in the Church's history?

Feb 12:  Near Death Experiences
We should not base our faith on such books, but these books are a great encouragement for our life of faith.
These books are especially an encouragement for families which have recently lost a loved one - as one comment on the site of Mary Neal says: 
I recently lost my 23 year old son and I cannot express how much hope and comfort your book gave me

Feb 8: The Calisthenic Mass
In the space of 25 minutes for a daily Mass, people are up at start, down for readings, up at Alleluia, down for homily, up for Prayer of Faithful, down for Offertory, up for Pray brethren, down for Eucharistic Prayer, up for Consecration acclamation, down after Lamb of God, up for receiving Communion, down after Communion, up for Prayer after Communion....that's a 7-Up Mass!

Jan 28: A dysfunctional Church?
Laity to the rescue? What do you think?

Jan 20: The new translation  - a Humanae Vitae moment?
The unreasonableness of the new translation is not unlike the unreasonableness (for many people)  of Humanae Vitae. Both the translation and HV impinge on, (trample on?) very sensitive areas: liturgical life and sexual life

Jan 14: Children at church

Jan 13: The new translation after one year  - readers' views
Our views can give courage to bishops, to help them become "tank bishops"!

Jan 7:   "I see...now I get it" moments
Paul, Augustine, Francis, Ignatius, Eugene, Vat II ... and Benedict XVI