Thursday, 7 June 2007

"Pell-ter Skelter"

The Cardinal Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell has failed in his lobbying this week against the Stem Cell research bill. In so doing he has damaged his own public standing.

THE SMH reports today:

"The Catholic Church supports adult stem cell research, especially for health cures, and remains opposed to the destruction of human life," Cardinal Pell said in a statement.

"In our democracy, parliament legislates. I regret the vote of the NSW Legislative Assembly on cloning and hope that the Legislative Council will be better informed."

"The cardinal said the Sydney Catholic Life Office was prepared to offer information to "any person who wishes to understand the pro-life position better". Cardinal Pell has come under attack by MPs after he said Catholic politicians who voted in favour of the bill could expect consequences for their place in the life of the church."

The failure of Cardinal Pell to bring with him the openly Catholic members of the NSW Legislative Assembly has raised the public profile of Pell's lack of "authority" - and believe me, Cardinal Pell is an "authoritarian."

His public hectoring of elected members of Parliament has also allowed avidly anti-Papist commentators of the Far Right to link Pell's rantings with an unlikely bedfellow, Sheik Taj Aldin al-hilali. The question is too easily asked: What would people think if Sheik Hilali tried to exercise the same "authority" over elected Members of Parliament? There would be screams of outrage, and threats of investigations of breach of Parliamentary Privilege. Why would the same issues not be raised against Cardinal Pell?

The Cardinal needs to realise that he is not Archbishop Danny Mannix, and it is not Australia during the 1950s.

While on the subject of Cardinal Pell, I wonder quite what he was doing visiting the ANSTO's Lucas Heights Nuclear Reactor on 23 November 2006. See the Bragg Institute's website. Scroll down for the photo of 23 November. Even the Bragg Institute's website makes no comment on what George was doing there. I wonder if they invited him, or if he asked for permission to visit?
*Photo of Cardinal Pell (top) "courtesy of" Larvatus Prodeo, although I note that it was taken in Germany, but they did not give a photo credit.
** Photo of Danny Mannix courtesy of the amazing website of the "Catholic Diocese of the Australian Military" (I kid you not - there is such a "diocese").

I note with fascination that by the end of WW1, Daniel Mannix, who had (in 1914) publicly condemned Australia's participation in the War, and actively opposed Billy Hughes's referendum on Conscription (in 1917), was appointed - in that same year - by the Department of Defence to be Army Chaplain-General (Catholic). This ironic situation arose following the death of the previous incumbent, Archbishop Carr. Archbishop Mannix succeeded Carr in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, and the was then nominated by the Catholic Bishops to take over Carr's former responsibilities. The Department of Defence must have been grinding their teeth when they made that appointment, for at the start of the war, many people regarded Mannix as a traitor. Here he was being appointed as Army Chaplain-General, less than four years later!

As Wikipedia says:
"By the end of the war Mannix was the recognised leader of the Irish community in Australia, idolised by Catholics but detested by many Anglo-Australian Protestants, including those in power federally and in Victoria - for many years he was ostracised and not invited to the official functions his position would have entitled him to attend."

My, my, t
he irony of politics of Church and State in Australia.

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