Sunday 14th of July 2024

losing bums on seats...


The devilish Pell and the catholic bum fights — or losing bums on seats...

Life is complicated... So some people work hard at making it more complicated for other people of the same brood. Take Timor Leste for example...

Earlier, on this site, I have floated the idea that Timor Leste owe a great deal of its independence to Laurie Brereton — a good catholic. Meanwhile Paul Keating, a good catholic too, was quite dismissive of Timor Leste's independence on the account that if the Timorese had not been catholics no-one would have cared about their plight — and that it was not a Labor policy, to free Timor, since the Whitlam days. Father Frank Brennan (I've already mentioned him in regard to a church in Redfern and we'll come back to that one later on) — a good Jesuit in favor of a free Timor — got the brunt of one of Paul Keating's acidic barbed attack on this subject... Meanwhile I believe Paul was an "admirer" of President Soharto for his ability to rule "secularly" over a country of more than 200 million muslims — and to a great extend efficiently minimise extremism. Laurie pressured Howard, the methodist, to do the deal with a weakened Indonesian government after Soharto and let Timor vote. There was a pay off for Johnnee, of course — the Timor sea oil fields...

Laurie is famous for having been the enforcer of Darling Harbour and its monorail, of the electronic lane change on the Harbour Bridge and of Sydney Airport third runway — amongst many other things. There has been of course critics of Darling Harbour (mostly mugs jealous they were not involved and did not get their cut of the loot), but all in all despite a few teething problems the concept was great and far better than what was there before: an immense dirty railway goods yard with only one rail line in or out — a line now used by the light rail tram to Leichhardt and beyond... All this project, started under Premier Neville Wran, also involved the Western Distributor, a set of short expressways on top of each other that liberated most of Sydney's traffic to the west.

This project also included the Entertainment Centre — a 14,000 seats arena that, now, the Liberals (conservatives) in New South Wales, (overrun by catholic extremists Opus Dei) are fretting for the next election result to put their hands on this space, demolish it and give it to highest bidding friendly developers, possibly for a high rise with low ceilings and a discreet cross on top...

Meanwhile the American catholic at the head of the New South Wales government, Kristina Keneally is in the gun sight of some jealous Labor's Irish catholics who think they should have had the gig or that she does not deserve the job (a job which in my opinion she does well under very trying circumstances)...

One starts to have respect for the "faceless men" (they are not faceless) of Sussex street for being able to deal with this fighting lot.

And of course, our Abbott is a good catholic, good friend of Pell — Pell who also sits on the right side of the spirit of Ghengis Khan, supporting the more extreme catholic NSW opposition leader O'Farrell, himself propelled by... Opus Dei and the "neo-catholics" — catholic conservatives who think vatican I and II were a waste of time.

The lot would be quite funny if it was not tragic for the poorest of us. As a good catholic told me a while back "they're all in it for the power"... I would not be surprised if they all went to the same masonic lodge. Even Noel Pearson, the Lutheran-raised brilliant Aboriginal lawyer, has his critics amongst his own people in regard to the Wild Rivers legislation in Cape York. It is also a power struggle between former friends...

One has to feel for Pell as well... The cardinal — our eminence grise — did not get the gig he was vying for at the vatican. Apparently a sexual harassment case (involving one of his priests?) that he did not deal with "properly" when he was in Melbourne came back to haunt him — gave him a cross instead of a tick in the box. So we're stuck with him.

He's got a big problem... The source of clergy in this country — mostly country boys (possibly the gay ones who would have "traditionally" joined the church are now out of the closet) — has dried up and he has no-one to man his fiefdom of parishes. Plenty of women would put their hands up but this is the "catholica ultraconservativa" at work and men are the only one to be ordained for the dicky jobs. So Pell, like the other cardinals in Australia, is forced to import young kids and/or seminarians from other countries — mostly from poorer countries such as Brazil and others places from Africa — and mould them to his pointed views of the world — neocatholical.

To themselves, these new priests, are missionaries. Convert the masses of ingrates is their mission. The law of Pell is their weapon. Some hardly speak englo and sermons are pidginized. But they are there to do the work of Pell and they botch up the work of god. So the church attendance dwindles like cheap church candles... But who cares. The church is protected from the liberal catholics and that's all that matters in the mind of the neos.

So we come back to this little church in Redfern. First, the "block" is about to be demolished... The block represents the last bastion of Aboriginal resistance now riddled with grog and drugs. The more advanced aboriginal people who don't live there want to see the "block" demolished but the residents who have been there for yonks disagree. Another tragedy in the making, though the NSW government and the Aboriginal community has made much progress in creating an excellent art centre and a community centre in Redfern on top of a good health centre for aboriginal people. Bangarra the superb Aboriginal dance group used to perform not far — at the "black theatre" — in its early days. I believe Premier Keneally is also reasonably in tune with Aboriginal people. She speaks to the elders and is genuinely very respectful.

But the Redfern (St Vincent) church is still in a "lock-out" mode. Some young Pell Brazilian "missionaries" have been parachuted there to stop the people "owning" the church. Not so much the real estate which the people don't want to take over but the church of Christ — the heart of Christ — for which the Aboriginal people desire a more flexible, more hopeful, more free and more joyful affair rather than the tight arse Pell old-fashioned anti-people liturgical decrees that perpetuate the stigma of their already trodden lives...

"no-oooo, finish.. finished... no prayer!!!" were words to the effect reported by my moles when the Brazilian priest wanted to "lock-out" the church after mass and stop a few parishioners to pray a minute longer for the soul of the new canonised cardinal in England, John Henry Newman. Pitiful display of arrogance and fear, and ignorance, and carelessness.

And that has been the old catholic way all the way. Pell in his dreams would regret the disappearance of the inquisition and its stretching racks, I think... Should we elect the Liberals in New South Wales at the next election, we're in for some shocking prods from the neos.

And did I mention Kevin Rudd, the catholic? Or that some of the 'religion" editors in the Sydney papers are GOOD friend of cardinal Pell...

That's why Julia is such a breath of fresh air...

I'm an atheist.

More next week...

stone the crows...


The "ravens" in the cartoon refer to Elijah being sent into the desert by god... where Elijah would survive by being fed by ravens... I have some hunch that the catholic church does not want women priests because of Jezebel, the priestess for Baal, the god of the Caananites, while Eilijah was batting for Yaweh, the god of Israel...


If Pell had actually received all the Roman jobs for which he’s been prominently mentioned, by now he would virtually be running the Vatican all by himself.

While Pell may be at the top of the charts as a rumor magnet, he’s hardly the only example of the species. In fact, most countries with a significant Catholic population and an active press culture have at least one guy who’s always mentioned whenever an important Roman post looms. Other examples of perennial rumor magnets include:

• Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, Austria
• Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec in Canada
• Cardinal Francis George of Chicago (though since George took over as president of the U.S. bishops conference, and as he has aged, some of the speculation has died down)
• Archbishop Reinhard Marx of Munich
• Cardinal Pedro Scherer of São Paulo, Brazil

Though different in many ways, these rumor magnets share four defining characteristics:

• They have Roman experience, making it reasonable to think that they might one day head a Vatican office.
• They’re perceived as enjoying a close relationship with the current pope.
• They take strong positions on controversial issues, giving one camp in their local church a strong desire to see them promoted and another camp a strong desire to see them move on.
• They have a high media profile, so they’re well known both inside the church and in the broader society.

While there may actually be solid logic for thinking these figures are serious candidates to end up in the Vatican, that’s hardly the only reason they constantly attract media interest when important jobs come open. Precisely because of their high profile and their “love ‘em or hate ‘em” reputation, they are always, in the language of the news business, “good copy.” In other words, linking them to some prominent Roman assignment – however tenuous the rumors may be in any given case – is guaranteed to attract an audience.



Gus: in today's regular Sunday Telegraph column (no link available), Pell extort the christian values that we (I believe he refers to the secularists and atheists) are the "noisy zealots" who want to destroy...

Fair enough, Pell defends his turf.

But "we" do not want to destroy christian values, while he strongly wishes to destroy the greens and the atheist humanists — often liking to the devil. While preaching his method to rule the world, he is very wrong on many issues from condom to the historical record of his church — and of the way nature works.

a church for the people...

According to the wind (my informants) on a bright sunny day, the St Vincent Catholic Church in Redfern got a great service this Sunday (26/09/10). The church was packed to the rafters...
The 10 am Mass, led by the Brazilian head-priest, was assisted by another Brazillian priest and a "deacon"...
After the last amen, the priests retired to the presbytery and came back dressed in their black neo-catholics long outfits that seemed to come from the wardrobe of "The Robe"—  that movie set in 17th century Canada....
Reverend Dorothy McRae-McMahon, the retired Uniting Church priest, invited them to join in with a ceremony of blessings to four aborigines going to Rome for the canonisation of Mary McKillop. The warm wind told me only the assistant priest, under the quiet but powerful persuasion of Dorothy, stood up and grudgingly held his arm out in a blessing gesture that looked more like a nazi salute.
After the blessing, the priests were also invited to join in the next "organised festivity" but declined. This little Church in Redfern is still under the spell of two "saints" — Father Ted Kennedy and Mum Shirl —  the memory of which Pell and his neo-troops are trying hard to erase forever.
About 18 months ago, to the horror of the congregation, a baptismal-font made of three large stones was removed from its rightful place after the Brazilian priest decided they were not "clean enough". One must say a "careless" painter had spilled paint on them while repainting some of the church. The stones could have been cleaned on the spot but the priests preferred to move them away, "at the back". I would suggest the stones were remnants of "Saint" Father Ted Kennedy's era — the libertarian priest who though the church was for the people — mostly Aboriginal — and not so much for narrow-minded flagellating priests... These very heavy stones came from "Country" — Aboriginal sacred places in the highlands, south of Sydney. Much of the same stone had been quarried for the construction of many building in "early" Sydney.
The Aboriginal community elders decided to reinstate the stones of the baptismal font, to which request the priests had 'refused". Thus after the Brazilian priests departed, the church community carried on. The three heavy stones were carried back and reset as before... with the power of eight men.
I believe there were media and personalities invited to witness the event.
Hopefully, Pell will come to terms here with a church of the people, for the people, by the people guided by priests with a heart and loving understanding — and not a church ruled with an iron fist by neo-catholic dinosaurs who use the penitent whip.
A learned pigeon flying past also told me that for a while, Reverend Dorothy McRae-McMahon was a minister of the Uniting "Church next door". Now retired, she apparently has been a mover and shaker in the Aboriginal community. Her help in making the ceremony a success was measured and respectful...


Stone the crows...


mum shirl

rumbles from the grassroots bishop...

Clergy shortage

He says the Catholic Church is in a "critical position" in Australia and may other parts of the world in terms of shortage of clergy.

"While we persist in this disciplinary world that Catholic priests in the Latin rite are not able to marry, there are just less and less young people coming into the priesthood," Father Power said.

"We're in a situation in our diocese, for instance, where we're just desperately short.

"I wrote to the Pope in 2010, talking about the situation in Wilcannia-Forbes and suggesting that in each of those parishes, good married men... after some training, could be ordained and serve the church there and I said what's happening there is progressively going to happen across the rest of Australia."

He says it was a message the Vatican did not want to hear.

"I think that's sad and I think a lot of times bishops are reluctant to speak as strongly as I have about it for fear that they're being disloyal to Rome," he said.

"But I think that it's important that we look at the life of the whole church.

I think as local bishops, we've got a responsibility to enable the Pope and his advisers to see what the real state of affairs is on the ground."

But while the 70-year-old says the hierarchy is deaf to concerns like his - he says he draws strength from the activities of the church's grassroots.

see the rambling bishop at top...


easter proselytising...


Pope Francis has called on Catholics to bring the message of God "to the very ends of the earth" during an Easter vigil mass in St Peter's Basilica.

The mass wrapped up a series of Vatican ceremonies leading up to Easter Sunday - the holiest day in the Christian calendar, which celebrates the belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Francis said the core of the Easter message was about returning to the basics of faith and asking: "Have I gone off on roads and paths which made me forget it?"

He said there was a need to recover "the fire which Jesus has kindled in the world and to bring that fire to all people, to the very ends of the earth".

The message reiterates his previous calls for a Roman Catholic Church that is closer to ordinary people, more international and less "Vatican-centric".





Meanwhile the dynastied Anglican sons and daughters...


Locked in a safe in Sydney's St Philip's Church, the Fleet Bible has been signed by every monarch to visit Australia in the past century.

Church rector Reverend Justin Moffatt says the book has an "extraordinary place in the European history of Australia".

Brought out in the First Fleet, the large leather-bound bible is inscribed with the address of Botany Bay.

It is believed to have been used by chaplain Richard Johnson to conduct the first Christian service in the colony.

The mass would have provided solace for the convicts after their long passage from England, Reverend Moffatt said.

The bible is charred in places, bearing the marks of a fire in 1798, which destroyed Sydney's first church.

Paying homage to this history, every Royal to visit Australia has visited the church on York Street to leave their mark.

The first, in 1920, was Edward VIII, who is renowned for his scandalous abdication of the throne to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

George VI - known as Albert or Bertie - and his wife, Elizabeth, also signed the book.

Their daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, signed it in 1954 when she was on a whirlwind tour of Australia, visiting 57 cities and towns in about as many days.

Newlyweds Prince Charles and Diana penned their names in 1983.

"I'm very happy that Will and Kate have taken the time to look, understand and sign this precious book," Reverend Moffatt said.

"[Christianity is] at the heart of the First Fleet and at the heart of the settlement in Sydney.

"Very few people know about this bible and this prayer book which is a pity."


Read articles from top...

Gus Leonisky, in his annual April 20th SUN day message, has called on all atheists to go and discreetly spruik for a better world with equality, justice, understanding of natural things and friendship.

On a small soap box, Gus told an audience of one (himself) that religions are mostly ways to enslave sections of the community into believing that being poor is a plus, ways to justify sexism by denying same performance rights to women and ways to eliminate any curiosity of who we really are, by telling fanciful historically manipulated fables.