The article on the AIMN by Sean Stinson, May 25th entitled, “CATHOLIC SCHOOLBOYS RULE” was so well presented, I thought it deserved a follow up article to further articulate its message. Twistie 1, who was one of several who joined in the discussion captured the mood best for me when he wrote, “I have little doubt that Abbott is a psychopath who is incapable of empathy. He uses religion as a facade against his inherent wickedness. He is not the first, and will undoubtedly not be the last, to do so.”
As one who endured the cruelty of Catholic Church teaching in the 1950/60s, it doesn’t surprise me that so many like me still carry the psychological baggage Catholic teaching generated about Hell and Purgatory. It wasn’t until my late forties that I began to see through the facade of Catholic teaching and its inherent evil. I think I am one of the lucky ones who through education, logic and reasoning was able to extract myself from its tentacles. There are many people I know who, although they see the flaws in church teaching, are so entrapped by the fear of everlasting hellfire that even reason and logic won’t displace it.
Then there are people like Tony Abbott.
If Abbott actually believes in the teachings of the Church, as opposed to simply using them as a tool to further his political agenda, I would be surprised. I am similarly unimpressed by his mentor, George Pell. I suspect Abbott, like Pell, is so seduced by the power that such teachings offer to men in high places that it becomes a defining feature of their character. I suspect Abbott saw the priesthood as an avenue to that power but later realised there was still greater power in politics. I suspect he realised that in politics he could combine the notion of spiritual power, which he has cleverly crafted, with secular power, which he now has; using one to help achieve the other makes psychopaths very dangerous. Having a cabinet dominated by men who feel the same way makes such a government even more dangerous. Malcolm Fraser has tried to warn us of the danger he recognises in Abbott. Men who lust after power have no respect for democracy but will use it to advance their personal agenda.
My experience in the Catholic Church leads me to believe that it has no respect for democracy either and Abbott and many of his cabinet are a product of that environment. I think they are less interested in the parliament than they are in power. They are guided by the politics of opportunism. They seize upon moments of confusion and uncertainty to capture the hearts and minds of the weak-minded, the easily lead. This is how they were able to so skilfully convince that 4-6% of the electorate who changed their vote last September.
It may be that Abbott is more Catholic than Christian. His attitude to the poor, the downtrodden, the weak, the vulnerable, the dispossessed and the unemployed suggests so. The Princes of the Church have always pretended to champion these, the least of their brethren, while living the high life, strutting about the world preaching one message while practising another. I would like to know how many of the Catholic contingent of the current cabinet are also members of Opus Dei. As stated on the Opus Dei website, “The aim of Opus Dei is to contribute to that evangelising mission of the Church, by promoting among Christians of all social classes a life fully consistent with their faith, in the middle of the ordinary circumstances of their lives and especially through the sanctification of their work.” If one reads between the lines it is not hard to identify a sinister fundamentalist agenda in that statement. Opus Dei is a strong defender of the Catholic position on matters of social morality particularly in the realm of marriage, abortion and euthanasia and its members are expected to influence government policies in these areas. While professing the importance of faith in their agenda, their aim is overwhelmingly to further Catholic teaching. Faith is the smokescreen.
But it is in the field of science that the Catholic Church is the most vulnerable and it is no surprise to me that climate change, one of the most divisive issues we currently face, is where we find our present Catholic government resisting so vehemently. Without a minister for Science, what does that say about its true intent? The Catholic Church teaches Christianity but it does not practice it. Most of its priests, brothers and lay workers devote their lives to the Christian message but they are ruled by a bureaucracy that conveniently ignores it in favour of furthering its own wealth and influence. That bureaucracy rules under the principle, ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’ Do Abbott and his cabinet belong to this bureaucracy? We don’t know. We can only speculate. But we can make a considered judgement by their actions. Not in what they say, but in what they do. Their appalling betrayal of our trust with the recent federal budget is a good guide as to their intentions.
So where does that leave we, the people, whose trust has been so ruthlessly violated? As it was so eloquently articulated by a member of the audience on Q&A this week, when politicians promise something so deliberately before an election only to reverse their position within months of winning, there should be some mechanism where the people can call for a referendum on whether they want that government to continue its term in office. When company board members deliberately mislead shareholders there is a mechanism to have them removed. We the citizens of Australia are far more important than shareholders in a corporation yet, as matters stand, we are powerless to call our elected leaders to account other than every three years.
When one feels so deceived, so cheated by those who abuse our trust, there should be some form of redress to set right what is wrong.