Shane Dwyer

Shane Dwyer

Shane Dwyer is the former Director of the National Centre for Evangelisation, of which the Catholic Enquiry Centre is a part. He is a Catholic educator with experience in theological course provision, resource development, spiritual direction, faith and spirituality formation and ministry support.

Friday, 27 September 2019 10:07

How Do Catholics Relate to Scriptures?

How Do Catholics Relate to Scriptures?

A while back I was discussing our faith with a young man I encounter on a regular basis. He describes himself as a ‘former Catholic’ or, more positively, as a ‘devout Atheist.’ He gave up on the practice of his faith because, the course of one of the religious education classes he attended at a local Catholic secondary school, he was told that the world was created in seven days. He was instructed that he needed to accept this because the Bible says so. When he questioned this reading of history from a scientific perspective, he was told that science is wrong. He decided then and there that ‘belief in God is for idiots.’

Wednesday, 28 August 2019 09:44

Science or faith…or both?

Science or faith…or both?

A young friend of mine laughed at me the other day. My response to his question about why God doesn’t appear to answer prayer struck him as funny. When I said that God always answers prayers, just that he often responds either ‘no’ or ‘you need to be the person I will work through to get this done’, my friend laughed and said: ‘you mean God delegates?!’ We both laughed at the thought. Bear in mind that my friend is a self-described ‘devout atheist’. Most things to do with God strike him as funny. And yet he keeps asking me questions…

Monday, 29 July 2019 20:23

Faith is More than Belief

Faith is More than Belief

If you were to tell people you know that you believe in them what might they assume? Chances are they would recognise that you were affirming them and indicating that you have confidence in them. You could be telling them you have faith that they will succeed in what they are trying to do. You could be saying that you place your trust in them, in your certainty that they won’t let you down.

Thursday, 27 June 2019 18:26

Contemplating Tradition

Contemplating Tradition

Those of you who have had anything to do with Christian faith communities, other than those of the Catholic and the Orthodox, will know that a significant bone of contention amongst the various Christian denominations is the role of something referred to as ‘Tradition’. Put simply, Tradition (the capital ‘T’ is deliberate) refers to those teachings of the Apostles passed on to the Church that, while in keeping with Scriptural sources, may not be explicitly developed there.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019 09:36

A Resurrected Life

A Resurrected Life

Stop and contemplate the meaning of “resurrection”. It’s easy to glide over the word, take it for granted as part of the Christian story, and not think of its implications as we make our journey in faith today. As we are still in the aftermath of Easter, this is perhaps an appropriate time to give it some thought.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019 10:29

Life from Death

Life from Death

By the time you read this the Easter holidays will be over. For those of us who were able to take a break I am sure they were much appreciated. They remain an interesting vestige of our past as a Christian culture, only partially understood by the majority, but we’re thankful for the holiday nonetheless. Perhaps you’re interested in learning one or two things about what Easter actually is? If so, read on.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019 12:30

Getting in Touch With Desire

Getting in Touch With Desire

Desire is everywhere. Whether it’s for (or on behalf of) ourselves, our families, our friends, or our world most of us desire something most of the time. It is part of being human. We might not all talk about it in spiritual terms, but as the great philosopher Plato observed: “We are fired into life with a madness that comes from the gods and which would have us believe that we can have a great love, perpetuate our own seed, and contemplate the divine.”

Friday, 01 March 2019 09:37

Time to get serious

bigstock Lake 150x150 The Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

I remember an incident from when I was a boy, probably about 12 years of age.

It was the practice of my family to attend Mass together on a Sunday morning. I wouldn’t say that my brother, two sisters and I were particularly fond of this aspect of family life, but it had been the case for as long as I could remember and none of us really thought to question it.

Yet I had to admit that, by the time my early teens came around, there was a quiet resentment starting to build toward anything the relevance of which I couldn’t immediately see. Church seemed to be the obvious recipient of this resentment, largely because it fell on a Sunday morning and surely there were better ways we could be spending our time…

Wednesday, 23 January 2019 16:40

In the Midst of Chaos, Peace

Pieta
Sr. Wendy’s favourite Vatican treasure, Michelangelo’s Pietà

Since last we corresponded a significant little figure who added her own beautiful take on how to understand the wonder of human creativity has died. She was the unexpected television star, winning a following the world over as she made the journey from country to country, gallery to gallery, work of art to work of art, to contemplate the essence of what she saw before her.

Sister Wendy Beckett was a natural guide and teacher. A nun vowed to the life of prayer and simplicity, she responded to the invitation to share her insights into the world’s great art because, in faith, she believed that was what God was asking of her. She had never seen a television program, much less understood what had to go into making one. Producers were initially perplexed by her as she refused to provide them with a script. She would talk off the cuff about what she saw before her, drawing spontaneously from the many hours of study she had put into her favourite hobby.

Monday, 17 December 2018 11:42

Getting on with the Journey

Manger

The Christmas story is all about journeys. The journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. The journey of the shepherds from the fields to the stable. The journey of the wise men from the East. The journey of the Holy Family as they flee from Herod into Egypt. Their journey back to Nazareth once the coast is clear. These are the obvious journeys associated with these stories. There are others.

For a start, there’s the journey the celebration has taken from Jesus’ likely date of birth (probably sometime in September) to its current date of 25 December. Explanations vary widely as to why this has happened. Of course, the moving around of a birthday has precedents in our experience. Queen Elizabeth II was not born on the second weekend of June, any more than Jesus was on 25 December. But the latter will do as a date to celebrate in the absence of any other certain date. Those of us who have been part of ‘Christmas in July’ festivities know that, for the southern hemisphere at least, the feast has the potential to be once more on the move…

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